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! 🙂

What Now?

For the last month I’ve been focused on little else but meeting the publisher’s deadline for A DESOLATE HOUR, the third book in my Point Pleasant series. Wall-to-wall writing marathons each weekend plus late nights at the keyboard helped me deliver the manuscript on time.

Celebration time, right? Yes…and no.

Part of me is excited by the prospect of being able to start something new, but the other part is saddened to see the series end. The biggest lesson I’ve learned? Never undertake writing a series while working fulltime. Kudos to anyone who can juggle both, but it’s beyond my time management skills. The deadlines are too tight, not to mention I’m tired of using concealer to hide the dark circles under my eyes. Bleh!

Now that the dreaded “D” word is behind me, it feels weird not to have to produce on demand. For the last year and a half I’ve been writing based on deadlines and suddenly all that pressure is gone. A wide open road ahead. I’m bummed about saying goodbye to my characters (even the Mothman) but am looking forward to starting something new. And one of the characters from the last two novels could easily spin off into his own series.

Oh wait—did I say series? Let me rephrase—he could be spun off into new tales. As much as I see the potential for him to be a repeat character, I don’t want his saga turning into a series based on deadlines. I’ve had my fill for a while.

A notepad with pen under the word Write in large letters

I remember when Kensington first offered me a contract for all three books. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be challenging. I also knew if I walked away from the opportunity I would regret the decision. Now that it’s over and mostly done (there are still edits), I feel like I’ve taken strides forward in my journey as an author. I’ve also learned that I can write on demand and when push comes to shove, can deliver a finished manuscript in under four months. Who would have thought?

All of that aside, I’m looking forward to the release of book 2 in the series, A COLD TOMORROW, which rolls out on December 20th. I hear it makes a great Christmas gift and is available for pre-order right now. Yes, that’s a blatant hint, folks. 🙂

In celebration of UFO visitors (did I mention there are UFOS in A COLD TOMORROW?) here’s another graphic Kensington did for me. I love that my book is tucked in along with Greg Olsen’s and Lisa Jackson’s latest releases. Now if we could just push TOMORROW to their level of sales, LOL! 🙂

A collage of thriller novels available on dark background with creepy house

Anyway, thanks for listening to me ramble. I can’t wait to start blogging about new projects. I just need to decide which one and….what now?