Surviving a Deadline

I am so happy to be back in the blogging world!

Most of my regular followers know I’ve been burning the midnight oil on my latest manuscript to meet a publisher’s deadline. I’m happy—make that ecstatic—to say I finished on time and my editor graciously gave me another week for clean-up. I also have to send a huge shout-out to my excellent critique partner, Staci Troilo, who went above and beyond in turning sections around quickly—and expertly—so I could meet my deadline. Staci, my friend, you rock!!

I’ve been up against deadlines before, but this one was the toughest by far. Part of my problem was I languished on the beginning, and by the end of July only had 19K of the 80K I needed. I ended up writing 61K in 6 weeks—while working full-time! It’s amazing what you can produce under pressure, but it’s not something I EVER want to duplicate again. I can do without the anxiety attacks at 3:00 A.M.

Fortunately, my deadline for book 2 has more of a buffer. This one was tight because my publisher didn’t want to go over a year between releases from A Desolate Hour. I fully respect that decision. It’s all about keeping your name forefront in the mind of readers—not easy to do even when you have multiple releases close together.

I’ve already got my revamped blurb from Kensington. Earlier, I submitted my suggestion. Their gurus work from that and send an updated version. I liked theirs better, but did ask for a few minor tweaks. No cover yet, but I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

The book delves into the old Spiritualist practices of the late 1890s—think mediums and séances—but also has a full storyline set in the present. I’ve got two mysteries going on in this book, along with a haunted house, and an urban legend about a Spring Heeled Jack-like creature. The research was riveting!

This is a Ouija board with lit candle on the antique setting.

One thing my publisher wants to change is the title—The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill. We’ve already decided this will be book one of the Hode’s Hill Mystery Series, but Kensington’s marketing team isn’t in love with my title. I can understand why. When it comes to marketing, it’s a mouthful. So we’re currently debating other titles. I’ll definitely be spreading the word when we’ve settled on one.

I’m expecting first round edits from my editor tomorrow and hope to have changes back to her by Monday. I’m heading out of town the end of October and she’s already agreed to work with my schedule. I’m sure we’ll finish things up before I leave. In the meantime, I’m steadily getting back to visiting everyone again and will be sharing blog posts of my own. Thanks for sticking with me while I worked through my deadline hurdle.

It’s great to be back among friends! 🙂

76 thoughts on “Surviving a Deadline

    • That’s true, but I don’t really work in drafts, so by the time I finish and ship something to my editor it usually doesn’t require much work afterward. I’m crossing my fingers that’s the case with this one, as the publisher accepted the book from notes and not a regular submission. I’m actually looking forward to moving ahead on book 2! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I suggested shortening to The Blue Lady too, but they’re looking for something more in the line of suspense (as in my Point Pleasant series). For the most part, titles are hard for me–kind of like summoning up 80K in 2-3 words. Gack!
      At least I know, she’s come across as intriguing 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. How exciting Mae! I can’t wait to hear what title you decide on. You work so hard and produce great books. I’ve just been shown my new cover for Ninja School Mum today and it’s such an amazing feeling to see everything come together. I am now worrying about the timings of the sequel, asI haven’t started it yet as I was finishing another book. The word count you achieved was amazing, so I need to get a move on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh, covers are so much fun, Lizzie! Hopefully, you’ll be splashing it on your blog soon for the rest of us to see.

      And wow, it sounds like you are busy–one book soon to come out, wrapping up another, with a sequel for the first in the wings. I usually do my best writing in autumn and winter. Here’s hoping yours are equally prolific!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to have you back on your blog again, Mae, even though I’ve had almost zero time for blog reading since Hurricane Irma threw us (literally) such a challenge. The book sounds really cool. The deadlines, not so much. When I read things like this, I’m truly glad I am self-published. I’m way too old to have anyone (other than myself) imposing deadlines on me. I’m hard enough on me, as is. But I know trad pub is still the best option for many, and I’m glad it’s working so well for you. Except for those deadlines, of course.

    Can’t wait to see your cover! 🙂 And good luck on a title that works for everyone. Especially you. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • After reading your post today and seeing the photos of that MONSTER tree on your house, it’s no wonder you haven’t had much time for blog reading. I hope things get back to normal for you soon, too.

      And as much as I whine and complain about deadlines, I have to say they are a powerful motivator. When I didn’t have one I actually felt weird, kind of rudderless. I just don’t want to ever have one this tight again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like a good plan to me, Mae. And I work well with deadlines, as long as they are my own. I actually pay attention to them and work hard to meet them. But if it were someone else’s deadline, I’d get very nervous, and then angry, and drag my feel worse than ever. I can be contrary that way. 😀 So sounds like we are both good with our approaches to what we do. And as we say down here, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kim. As soon as we settle on something, and I can share the blurb I’ll be splashing it around. I just wish titles weren’t the bane of my existence. I rank them right up there with commas—pesky little creatures 🙂

      Like

    • Thanks, Jacquie. I’ve come to the realization that deadlines are part of being an author and I just need to suck it up and handle them better, LOL!

      I’m glad you think the book sounds interesting. The research on this one was fascinating!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Holy crap! I hate that kind of pressure. Glad you survived it and glad you’re back. Have to say, having a critique partner who’s there for you when there’s a gun to your head is a wonderful thing. I have to give it up for Staci Troilo. My critique group is like that, and it’s one of my many blessings. The Spiritualism of Arthur Conan Doyle’s days fascinates me, and I find the Ouija board terrifying. Add in mysteries? This sounds like a great read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought the pressure on the last one was bad, Judi, but this one topped it. And Staci was/is incredible. She was a huge help!

      I have to admit that a Ouija board doesn’t really factor into the story (I couldn’t find a stock photo of a seance circle), but the rest of it does. ACD even gets a mention in the book 🙂

      Like

  4. I’m so glad you’re back! Deadlines make me crazy, so I don’t know what I would do if I had to meet someone else’s deadlines instead of my own. (Except when editing for clients…then I have to meet their deadlines.) I can’t wait to read the new book. It sounds like something I would really like. Of course, I always love your books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lauralynn. I so value and appreciate all your support! 🙂
      And it sounds like you do have some juggling to do with deadlines for your clients. I hate having a deadline hanging over my head, but at the same time, I’m lost when I don’t have one, LOL!

      Like

    • How lovely to have you drop by!
      Yep, life can be a major distraction, LOL. Right now it’s interfering with the polishing, but I’ll wrangle it under control. 🙂

      I’m thrilled to be back and able to roam the blogosphere again!

      Like

  5. Woo-hoo! So glad you’re back, Mae! As I’m just getting started in the whole process, with a full-time job as well, I’m making notes. My first item on the list: WRITE! No excuses. And if I have any doubts, I just remember how you rocked your deadline. Good luck with the edits and here’s hoping there won’t be many 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Julie. I’m a little over halfway through the edits but I got a late start. Hopefully, I can wrap them up in the next day or two.

      And yep, writing is where it’s at. I remember when I published my first book, several other authors told me to build a backlist and I can now say it really makes a difference. You’re going to rock this whole writing thing!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. How about Blue Hill Thriller, Blue Hill Killer, Killer on Blue Hill, The Kill, The Blue Killer, ha ha. Oh my gosh! I like it when titles just come to me and then I forget about it. Sixty-one thousand words in six weeks? Great. Your blog site is super. I need to update next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OOh, those are great suspense titles for sure! We finalized one and sent it to marketing, so I’ll be rolling out news of it soon, but I do love what you came up with. Thanks for visiting my blog and for the comments. I actually want to update my site a bit but that pesky time thing, you know? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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