I’ll be the first to admit it. The last six months or so have been difficult. It’s been impossible not to be impacted by Covid-19 and this so-called “new normal”. (BTW, I hate that term. This isn’t the new normal. This is, at best, a temporary normal until santiy returns.) For much of the time, I found it difficult to focus on writing consistently. I know I’m not alone in this. It’s hard to be creative when everywhere you turn, the media and politicians are screaming about the end of the world as we know it–and gleefully rubbing their hands together at the prospect.
Then something happened. I’m not sure what it was. Perhaps it was seeing more and more folks standing up and telling local and state politicians that they’ve had enough. We aren’t children who need to have our every move monitored and dictated. Perhaps it is seeing at least some media outlets demanding a more accurate accounting of the number of Covid cases in the area (hint: Dallas County is suddenly breaking down their numbers and admitting a percantage–often double digit–of those daily numbers aren’t current numbers but go all the way back to March tests. Way to inflate the numbers and keep a boot on the necks of everyone, Dallas County).
There are other possibilities for why, suddenly, the creative juices started flowing but that would take me from treading close to the political line to jumping far over it.
What I do know is about a month ago, the mental log jam broke loose with a vengeance. I finished Rogue’s Magic. It went live a week ago. I have it’s sequel, Magic Rising plotted and a cover drafted. My butt has been in the chair and my head down as words flowed every day but one since then. That, in itself is different. Usually, I need a week or two after ending one project before I can even find the mental space to start another.
Not now. As if making up for lost time, Myrtle the Evil Muse has kept me busy. I not only have the plot worked out for Magic Rising, but there’s a novella that will come before it, A Magical Portent, that’s going out to my alpha reader today or tomorrow. Yes, it is already in the rough draft stage. It is now available for pre-order and will be released September 29th.
Dr. Jax Powell and her best friends, her sisters from other misters, are determined to do whatever it takes to protect their town and loved ones. Each of them, once considered the town’s wayward children, have returned home. All but one: Magdalena “Maddy” Reyes. She’s not refused to return to Mossy Creek, but she appears to have dropped off the face of the Earth—or at least from the streets of London.
Can they find Maddy and save their town or is it already too late?
But that isn’t enough to Myrtle the Evil Muse. With A Magical Portent basically written and only needing some tweaks and edits, she kept my butt in chair and along came Cat’s Paw. This is a prequel of sorts to the new story arc for Mac Santos and friends from the Nocturnal Lives series. It introduces some of the changes–and challenges–that have happened since the world-at-large learned shapeshifters really do exist.
And, as she feared, that knowledge has not made things easier for Mac and her family and friends.
Cat’s Paw went live yesterday for pre-order with a publication date of October 27th.
Five years after the world learned shapeshifters are real, Mackenzie Santos is at a crossroads. Her responsibilities to the local pride and the Tribunal are taking more and more of her time. As the Dallas Police Department’s official liaison with the federal government on all things dealing with shapeshifters, she often finds herself on the road. That means she is away from her daughter, who is growing up much too quickly. Something has to give, and it might just be the job she loves.
But walking away isn’t going to be easy. Someone out there is determined to prove monsters do walk the face of the Earth and that they are the top of the proverbial food chain. They don’t care how many lives are lost or how many innocents are hurt. This is war and Mac and those she loves are in the middle of ground zero.
Leaving the DPD may no longer be an option. Yet the restrictions placed on her as a cop may prevent her from stopping the carnage, especially since she doesn’t know where the danger comes from or where it will strike next.
I’ll admit, part of me is terrified having a brand new release and two pre-orders out with such close publication dates. But another part is responding to the challenge. Perhaps it is the result of the creative block finally breaking free. Perhaps it is the need to have hard deadlines, ones with consequences, that has me writing so much right now.
Or maybe it is just Myrtle being Myrtle. All I know for sure is I love it, even if my fingers are starting to feel like they’re being tortured on the keyboard. 😉
I guess this is all a way of saying a couple of things. First, don’t give up. Give yourself permission to scream into the wind of stupidity (especially political stupidity). Then give yourself permission to find ways to get back to work. Don’t be afraid to try something different. Change the location where you write. Change how you write–if you do your outlining and rough drafts on your laptop or desktop computer, go old school and try it long hand or dictate it. Try a new genre. Do something to shake up not only your “new normal” but something to get the creative juices flowing.
And give yourself that hard target deadline. Doing so for me is a reminder that writing is my job and I need to get back to treating it as such. That means deadlines with consequences.
Of course, there is the parachute Amazon gives of letting you delay a release by 30 days. But you can only do so once and if you screw up your release then, you lose the ability to do pre-orders for a year. So there are some pretty serious consequences if you scew up.
Now the only question is how long I can keep up this pace. If everything keeps going like it is, Magic Rising will be released December 15th (or thereabouts). I’ll put the pre-order up after A Magical Portent goes live. I might like having the hard deadlines a pre-order gives, but I’m not completely masochistic. That said, as long as I can keep it up, I am going to a new title every 8 to 10 weeks schedule. Not all will be novel length. Some will be short stories and others will be novellas with a full-length novel ever other or every third new release.
Fingers crossed I can pull this off.
And that means I need to find more coffee and get my butt in chair and get to work. Later!