Quick update…

…to say that there will be no more updates until my WIP is finished. Which, Lord willing, will be later this week. The next time you see a post here from me, it will be to announce that Bound Spirits is finished.

Four more scenes to go. Wish me luck.


NaNoWriMo, an update on my dog, and a Bound Spirits progress report

Happy National Novel Writing Month to those who are participating this year! I’m not, because I’ve still got six-and-a-alf chapters left to write on Bound Spirits, but I’m hoping to tap into the collective creative energy that’s in the air this month to make that last push to the finish line. But if you’re in it and you could use some encouragement, here’s a pep talk I wrote last year.

As for Bound Spirits, like I said, it’s nearing the end. I’ve got two-and-a-half scenes/chapters left to go in the second act, and Act 3 only consists of three chapters, at least according to the outline, but these things can change. It’s also possible that I’m not drawing my act breaks correctly in the outline and I’m already in Act 3.

At any rate, the current word count stands at 47,392, not counting an additional 1300 or so words of the half-chapter that’s currently residing on my Alphasmart Neo, which would bring it closer to 49K. It’s shaping up to be on the shorter side — about the same length as Restless Spirits — unless I discover things that need to be fleshed out more on the next pass.

It’s getting really close to done. The thing that’s making it hard is the situation with our dog. Right now he’s requiring round-the-clock care, which means my husband and I are both losing sleep because we have to check on him throughout the night. We also have to drop whatever we’re doing to give him meds and also force feed him every so often throughout the day (yes, it takes two grown adults to force food and pills down the throat of a stubborn 6-pound Chihuahua). None of which exactly makes it easy to focus on writing.

And quite frankly, neither does knowing that even if he fully recovers from the infections we’re currently treating him for, he still has a terminal lung disease. It’s a pretty heartbreaking situation. Sometimes working on my book is a therapeutic escape, but mostly when I’m writing it just feels like I’m ignoring my dog who, barring some type of miracle, won’t be with me much longer. But it’s got to get done, so I’m just going to have to suck it up and find a way to do it.

The good news is, he does seem to be improving and is even showing signs of getting his appetite back, and his breathing has been good since we brought him home from his weekend in the oxygen tank. He’s got about two more weeks of antibiotics left to go for his infections, and he seems to be a little more alert and energetic each day. We just want to get him to a place where he can actually enjoy the rest of his life, however long that may be.

Next week I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things on this here Unblog with a post about the inspiration behind my heroine Chris Wilson and the introduction of a new regular feature in which I share my favorite ‘ships (as in relationship OTPs). But the book’s gotta come first, so we’ll have to wait and see how things go.

Quick Bound Spirits Update!

Bound Spirits is still coming along more slowly than I’d like — because life — but it’s coming along. As of today it’s just under 40,000 words. On the outline there are nine scenes left to go in the second act, and then another six in Act III. At this rate, I ought to have it finished right around Halloween, although I’m doing my ever lovin’ best to pick up the pace as much as I can.

The good news is that I’m really liking how the story is turning out and the relationship dynamics that are in play. Here’s a little peek to help tide you over:

[Ron] sighed. “Joe, you’ve had a whole century to come to terms with being dead. But it’s been a couple of years now for me and I’ve been in denial this whole time. I’ve got to start dealing with it. I’ve got to just accept that my life is over.”

“It’s funny you should say that. ‘Cause I spent all those decades trapped in this house, forced to die again and again. It wasn’t until you showed up that this tired existence of mine started to feel something like livin’ again.”


“Now you listen to me.” He took her by the shoulders. “You’re right. The life you had is over. You’ll never grow old, never have children or grandchildren, never feel the sun on your skin or smell the fresh cut grass on a summer day.”

“Is this supposed to be a pep talk?”


Bound Spirits: Making Progress

Since my last post announcing my blog break while I focus on writing Bound Spirits, I’ve added a little over 10,000 words to the 10,000 or so I salvaged from the initial draft, bringing the total so far to 22,275.

I wanted to get to at least 30,000 by the end of this month, so it looks like I’m on track to get close to that, if not right on target. If I can keep up this pace through the end of August, and include a couple of Saturdays spent holed up writing all day, I just might actually be able to meet my deadline. Hallelujah.

Here’s a little teaser with some sisterly banter to help tide you over.

“Could be. It’s a good working theory, but we shouldn’t assume the two hauntings are related until we have more to go on.”

“You’re right.” Chris blinked and looked at Ron. She wasn’t used to hearing those words come so easily from her sister. She went on like it was no big deal. “I think Joe and I should go back there tonight and see if we can get the White Lady to talk.”

“I think that’s a spectacularly bad idea.”

Now Ron looked surprised. “Why?”

“You’re kidding, right? Do you remember how her crying made you feel? It’s too dangerous.”

“Which is precisely why it should be Joe and me to try and interview her. So what if she’ll make us sad. It’s not like she can make us suicidal. Or like we can do anything about it if she does.”

“No.” At the defiant look on Ron’s face, Chris added, “Please? Let’s just wait until we can talk to Marsha’s grandma and find out what she has to say.” When Ron didn’t agree right away, Chris pressed. “Ron? Please promise me you won’t go over there until we all agree it’s the only thing left to do.”

Ron slumped a little, but said, “Fine. I promise.”

“Thank you. Was that so hard?”

“It wasn’t easy.”

“Well, I’m proud of you anyway. I’ll be even more proud if you actually keep your promise.”

Taking a Break


Guys, I’m so far behind on writing Bound Spirits. The good news (for me) is that I didn’t have to throw out nearly as much of my first attempt at a draft as I thought I would to get back on course. But the bad news is that there’s still a whole lot more book that I need to write that’s due in August. So I’m going to put the Unblog on hiatus for the rest of this month–and maybe next month, too. I’ll try to pop in from time to time with updates about how the book’s coming as well as any announcements that come up, but all of my regular features are hereby suspended until the first draft is done.

The good news for you is that when I come back I’ll have more new and fun content features to add to the current mix. So watch for that this fall!

WIP: Bound Spirits, April 24, 2017

I want to start logging my progress on a weekly basis, even though, I’ll be honest–so far progress is lacking. There’s just a lot of LIFE happening right now, and also a lot of freelance work, and zero novel writing happened last week. Or the week before that. I’m going to do my best to make it happen this week, or else I’m going to fall too far behind to catch up. Hopefully these progress updates will help keep me accountable.

At any rate…

Words so far: 4,141

Completed scenes so far: 3

Here’s an unspoilery snippet:

Everyone looked at Gus, who sat bent over his open menu. He glanced up at the waitress. “I’m gonna need a few minutes.”

“Gus!” Chris didn’t even try to hide her exasperation. “You always do this, and you _always_ end up getting the patty melt.”

“Something else might look good to me this time.”

She reached over and grabbed his menu, eliciting a “Hey!” from him as she handed it to the waitress. “He’ll have the patty melt.”

Vanessa quirked an eyebrow at him. “You sure, sugar?”

“Yeah,” he said, sounding defeated. “It’s fine.”

“All righty, then. One patty melt, one cheeseburger with fries, and one ultimate breakfast, coming right up.”

“What’s got you so cranky?” he asked after she left.

“I’m not cranky. I’m just not in the mood for your usual nonsense.”

“See,” he pointed at her, “that’s cranky.”

“You do seem a little cranky,” Derek agreed.

Chris rolled her eyes. “I’m _not_ cranky. I’m just hungry and I don’t want to wait an extra five minutes so Gus can read the entire menu before he decides to get another frickin’ patty melt!”

“Okay, you’re right,” said Gus. “That’s not cranky. That’s actually called ‘hangry’.”

Chris took the paper tube off of her straw, crumpled it up and threw it at him. It smacked him right between the eyes.

Oh, and PS – I’m looking for advance readers for Kindred Spirits. If you’re a reviewer, book blogger or bookstagrammer who would like to read and review or otherwise feature it and you don’t mind a PDF ARC, get in touch and I’ll hook you up!

And away we go!

This morning I sat down and knocked out the first thousand words of the first draft of the third book of the Restless Spirits series, aka Bound Spirits. This entry sees sisters Ron and Chris Wilson — one a ghost, the other a medium who can see and talk to ghosts — faced with the prospect of their father’s remarriage as they, along with their ever-expanding crew of helpers, get roped into investigating the apparently haunted wedding venue and the spirit that’s throwing a spanner into the works of their step-mom-to-be’s vision of a perfect wedding.

Whew, what a mouthful. I need to work on that elevator pitch.

Today’s count: 1,014 words.

The plan: to write 1,000 words a day, more or less, minus weekends, and have the first draft finished by the end of June (the final draft is due in August).

I won’t be posting daily progress reports, but I will try to post weekly updates on how it’s coming along, so watch this space if you’re into that sort of thing. Or better yet, subscribe to have updates sent to your inbox via the link in the footer.

In a happy coincidence, I realized this weekend that my noveling goals are running concurrent with Camp Nanowrimo. I’m not participating in that event officially (for one thing, I’ve given myself three months to finish instead of two; for another my life is way too chaotic and disorganized right now), but I’ll sure be taking advantage of the general air of creativity and tapping into the Nanowrimo energy that’s floating around this time of year. And also the hashtags. And I’ll be cheering the Campers on as I go.

In other news, last night I officially signed off on the final edits for Kindred Spirits, which is still on track for its scheduled June 30th release. Yay!

I Did an Interview and Other Announcements

Here are various and sundry news-ish items you might like to know about:

  • I was interviewed by author H. Shussman for her blog. Among other things, I discuss who my favorite (of my own) characters are, which authors inspired and shaped my own writing, and my advice about both traditional and self-publishing. Head here to check it out.
  • Yesterday I sat down and started plotting the next entry in the Restless Spirits series, which I’m tentatively calling Bound Spirits. I still need to flesh out the subplots and put everything into outline form before I begin the first draft, but I think the main plot is pretty well hammered out.
  • Lastly, this doesn’t really have anything to do with my books, but I want to offer congrats to my pal Erin Palette for making it to the 10th bloggiversary of Lurking Rhythmically, which has featured a couple of my short stories in recent years. Erin is a vastly talented writer in her own right. If you’ve never read her blog, head over there to see what you’ve been missing for the last decade.

And hey, don’t forget that Love Letter (a Restless Spirits novella) is now available for 99 cents wherever e-books are sold! Here’s the Amazon link, and here’s the Vinspire page with all of the links to buy.



Book sale aftermath and killing a significant number of darlings for the greater good.

So the big October sale is over and everything is back to regular price. It didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but it still gave me a boost in sales, and I gave away a respectable number of books that will hopefully translate to some loyal readers down the road.

One thing I learned is that putting everything on sale to coincide with my book launch was not a good idea. It drew attention away from the new book, which is the opposite of what you want to happen during a book launch week. So… won’t be doing that again.

As for my new WIP, Ghost of a Chance, this morning I trashed all but the first two scenes. The scenes I deleted were meandering all over the place, so I’m going to chalk that up as a discovery draft and example of why I’m not a good pantser. Now I’ve got a partial outline and a better idea of where I’m going and what needs to happen to get there.

If this were NaNoWriMo, I’d have just made some notes about what needed to happen and kept going from there as if I’d already written it that way, and waited until I finished the draft to go back and redo the beginning. But since I’m not (yet) racing to meet a crazy word quota by a certain deadline, going back and writing the correct scenes seemed more likely make the rest of the story flow better.

I will be attempting Nano this year, albeit I’ll be cheating by working on this WIP. I’m going to do my ever-lovin’ best to finish the first draft by the end of November, but a lot depends on my freelancing schedule and workload, so it’s hard to say how that will go. I wanted to try something new in an effort to carve more time out of my schedule for working on the draft. My plan was to keep the little laptop I write on by my bed, and read over what I wrote that day before I turn out my light, and then make myself wake up and start writing in bed when my husband gets up in the morning. But then this morning, which was supposed to be day one of this new endeavor, he woke up WAY too dang early, and I fell back to sleep before I could even remember that I was supposed to write. Then when he came in and woke me up it was time for us to do our morning Bible study together. So… maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow morning.

Nanowrimo participant 2014

If you’re planning to do Nano this year, Kristen Lamb’s blog has several excellent posts on how to do well in that challenge. This post in particular is a must-read for anyone taking on creative endeavors in general.

And now I’m going to join my husband in an off-schedule weeknight cheat night, because the weekend was too short and we have way to much pumpkin and Halloween-related goodies and entertainment options that need to be consumed, and we were both really craving some pumpkin ale (as I write this I’m sipping on a positively delightful Red Hook pumpkin porter). I’m sure I’m going to regret this tomorrow.

Are you doing Nanowrimo this year? Are you playing by the rules or are you going to be a rebel? Let’s talk about your Nano plans in the comments!

Oh! And if you’d like to read occasional excerpts from the WIP, I’ll be posting them on Ello. Be sure to friend me if you’re there already. If not, I’ve got two invitations and nobody to give them to, so holler in the comments if you’d like one.

Sneak Peek: Intruder

Intruder, my followup to Restless Spirits (I really need to come up with a name for this series), is still coming along, veeeeeerry slowly. My word count’s still not up to the 10K mark yet. The slowness is frustrating, but at least slow progress is still progress.

Anyway, here’s a rough draft of the synopsis, and the first chapter to whet your appetite.

The synopsis:

Susan Daly’s abusive marriage ended the night she shot and killed her husband Reggie. A year later, just as she’s settling comfortably into her new life as a single mom, she’s once again assaulted by someone she trusts and cares about. But as the police and Susan’s family struggle to understand why Susan’s neighbor, Alan Doyle, would do such a thing, Susan knows Alan is innocent. She knows because she saw his face as he tried to strangle the life out of her, saw the rage and hatred in his eyes, and the smile on his face. Reggie’s smile. Her husband is back, and he wants her dead, and he’ll use everyone in her life like puppets to accomplish that goal if somebody doesn’t stop him. But how do you stop that kind of evil?


Now onto…

The Intruder: Chapter One

Continue reading “Sneak Peek: Intruder”