Tag Archives: beta readers

Almost Gone

January, that is. But where? I can’t even figure out where today has gone, let alone this whole month. I could have sworn the year just changed a week or two ago.

I’m slowly getting used to my new day job assignment. I don’t seem to be quite so tired at the end of the day, at any rate. (Seriously. Who knew that riding a bus for seven to eight hours a day would be so tiring that all I want to do is sleep?) Of course, there were two days this past week where I didn’t work, so I don’t know if it really counts as getting used to it or not. One day was because the school district closed due to weather, and the other was the student being kept home.

I got my car inspected today, then got my second dose of the Covid vaccine, so those are both out of the way. And outside of a doing a load of laundry and taking a bag of garbage down from my room I haven’t done much of anything else.

Except read.

I’m working my way through re-reading the Academy of the Accord series so I read Book Four today, and so far it’s coming in as one of my favorites, although the ending totally sucks and needs to be completely redone. (Endings are a major weak point in my writing, but this one is especially bad and lazy. I really need to “read as a writer” and note how other writers wrap up their books.)

Yes, I know I’m supposed to be writing the prequel to Song and Sword, and I am still plugging away at it, but it’s not what’s calling to my heart right now.

And I’m also still poking at edits for Onyx Sun, and the rearrangement of my computer hutch is making that project much easier, so there is light at the end of that tunnel, although I’m afraid that my self-imposed deadline for it is going to go swooshing by. (Kind of like my To Do list that I just keep changing the date on.)

The Academy of the Accord, even with the amount of overwhelm and frustration I feel about it sometimes, is truly my heart project. I just sometimes despair of ever getting it finished and edited and free of continuity errors. (Especially that last one!)

Then there’s going to be the issue of finding a beta reader (or readers) for a 13 book series plus a prequel.

And coming up with titles for all of them. (Naming things is hard.)

And blurbs. Fourteen blurbs.

But one thing at a time. I have to finish writing a couple of them, and edit all of them, but I’ll get there. Eventually.

I just need to find a balance between the big picture and a narrow focus, and to a creative mind that frequently goes in several dozen directions at once – and multi-tasks in all of them – that is easier said than done.




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September Goals 2016

Since this is the last post for August (other than Wednesday Words) I thought I’d set up my goals for September, since, you know, I did so well with the August ones.

Since I didn’t meet my August goals, the logical thing to do would be to simply carry them over to September, right?


Well, maybe not wrong exactly, but definitely not what I’m doing. Some goals I’m keeping, some I’m tweaking, and some I’m letting ride to October. (Or beyond.)

Of the August goals, I’ve done pretty well at writing a hundred words a day.  Maybe not writing every day, but averaging that, I think. For September I’m changing the writing goal to a thousand words a week.  That’s more than August’s goal, but if I do the thousand words on a day off (or even on a work day) that frees me from that obligation for another week, which takes off a lot of pressure.

I’m relatively certain I can still get the last bit of the changes to Book 4 of The Academy of the Accord done before Thursday rolls around, even if I am still struggling to figure out what I meant with my note about the note.  I need to get it finished so I can get it printed for another round of editing before it goes to a beta reader because I’m still not sure I’ve patched all of its plot holes to my satisfaction, and since I’m really not happy with the ending and think that it needs to move to an earlier part of the book, because the scene that happens shortly before it is a much better ending. (Unfortunately, that scene leads up to the current ending so I’m not sure how I’m going to flip flop them.)

So, anyhow, since I’m almost done with that project for this round, my Academy of the Accord goal for September is to enter the changes for Book 5 and do first round paper edits of Book 6.  Maybe.  I’m really trying not to set myself up for failure by taking on more than I can possibly expect to accomplish next month.  (It would really be a nice change to meet all or at least most of my goals.)

I think I might have to set up primary and secondary goals.

The main change is going to be in regards to Onyx Sun.  I’m chugging through the paper edits with the comments of beta readers in mind, and I’m finding a lot of things that could be expanded on.  Not doing so is going to seriously short-change the book so I’m going to ease off on its goals and push back its release date to ??? Maybe October but more likely December or even January.  We’ll see how September goes but I’m not going to rush it.

(I’m not going to rush The Academy of the Accord either.  If it doesn’t see the light of an e-reader until 2020, so be it.)

I’m still going to be hammering out outlines for other books in the Song and Sword universe.  One is almost done. It’s missing… something that I can’t quite put my finger on, and it needs me to figure out what order some events happen in. (I think some index cards might be involved in that project.)  I still have two months to figure it out, though, so I’m not worried. (Much.)

The other main change I’m making for September is going to sound counter productive and counter intuitive to finishing all (or even any) of the above.

And maybe it is.


I’m going to spend at least one hour a week on (gasp!) some other hobby or craft. It won’t matter if it’s crochet or counted cross stitch or a junk journal or some other paper craft or working on a doll house or other miniature project, but at least one hour a week is going to be devoted to some other creative outlet.


Because I get so frustrated because there is so much else I want to do but all my time seems to be devoted to writing, and then I end up resenting it, even though it’s my main obsession and first (and truest) love.

How is all this going to work out?

I’ll let you know as soon as the Magic 8 Ball is done laughing at me.



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The Hundred Word Solution – Part One

Onyx Sun is definitely not coming out until August.  There’s just too much to do to flesh it out enough to match beta reader suggestions.  (One additional scene is already written, but I have to figure out where to put it, and two others (one of which is a totally new ending) are half-written in my head.)

So, it’s looking like Camp NaNoWriMo (which starts in 10 days! Yikes!) is going to be a ‘finish it” month after all, leaving NaNoWriMo in November for the start of a Song and Sword sequel.

So, Camp NaNoWriMo goals are to finish Book Six of The Academy of the Accord and write a new ending and at least one more scene for Onyx Sun.

And then, if there are days and words left, I have a few dozen other projects that would love to have some words added.

Like Book Two of The Other Mages trilogy. (Someday it really will be a finished first draft instead of an on-going inside joke.)

Or writing the alternate (original) version of part of Book One of the Trilogy-That-Is-Yet-To-Be-Named.

Or a prequel to Song and Sword in which Pashevel meets Hierik. (It was supposed to be a short story…)

Hedge House is feeling a bit neglected.

And then there’s Sea Witch that I made the mistake of re-reading the other day and enjoyed and now want to go back to. (It’s a fun story!)

And Disturbed Magic has people who would like to see it finished.

And The Lost House.  I really want to finish that one. I absolutely love one of the main characters. (Well, both of them, actually, but one still needs to have some sense smacked into him and grow up a bit.)

And The Sword and the Shield.  It really just needs a couple more scenes written and it will be done.  (Well, except for an editing issue of monumental proportions that is sitting right smack dab in the middle of the thing and is the main reason I’ve been ignoring it for four and a half years.)

And there are others – too many to mention by name, both works in progress and planned sequels (or prequels).  And that doesn’t count the ever-growing pile of plot bunnies waiting for me.

So with all of these fun and wonderful projects, why haven’t I been writing?

Probably lots of reasons: feeling overwhelmed, lack of motivation, miserable summer heat…

Lots of reasons, but only one solution:



Even if it’s just a hundred words.

In fact, when I set up my non-NaNoWriMo Month word trackers I think I’ll make that the daily goal, at least until I get back into the habit of daily novel writing.

In fact, I might even start tomorrow.

After I clean the rat cage, run errands, catch up on blog hops…

A hundred words is still doable.

But which WiP do I add them to?

I’ll let you know on Friday.


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Up, Down, and Inside Out

Things are looking up a bit since Friday’s post.

Well, at least as far as Onyx Sun is concerned.  One of the comments I got from a beta reader was that the end was… unsatisfying.  That she wanted to see Maureena get what was coming to her, not just read about what happened in a summary type thing.   Well, while soaking in the bath tub the other day I had a great idea with how to do that.  I haven’t written it yet because, well, because I can’t seem to figure out exactly how to start it. But the idea is there, percolating, and it won’t be long until it comes out as actual words on a screen.  (Maybe even on my “weekend” – Tuesday and Wednesday.)

Although Tuesday and Wednesday should be spent doing house stuff… (If I get the blog hops finished before I go to work this afternoon I might tackle a little bit of that.)

Oh, and good news on that front — we have access to a dumpster for getting rid of big stuff.  Yay!

Now for the down.

I’ve been working on the first round paper edits of Book 5 of The Academy of the Accord and every time I start working on it I swear it’s a bigger disaster than it was the last time.

I was talking to my friend Danielle about it and she suggested (and then ran away) that I might need to start rewriting it from the ground up.  I’m afraid she’s right, and that’s sort of what’s happening.

And that leads to the “inside out” portion.

In an effort to salvage as much as I can I’m going to get a bunch of colored index cards. I’ll use one color for Book 5, one for Book 6, and one for Book 7. (And maybe one for Book 8.)  I’ll go through Book 5 and write one scene on each card and if it’s something that belongs in one of the other books I’ll put it on a different color.   (I love to color code things.)

That’s going to let me see at a glance where things belong so I can sort them out and put them in the appropriate novel files.

Then I’m going to rearrange a few scene cards for Book 5 and see if I can move some things around so I can anchor the plot better.  Right now the plot is sort of hard to find, and the major conflict takes place (and resolves) far too early in the novel.  (Not to mention that it doesn’t seem to be all that major or threatening, so I need to kick that up a few notches.)

So, yeah, it needs a lot of work, but at least now I have a handle on how to tackle it.

Now, if I only had a handle on how to get more hours in a day.


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Editing Whine

I hate editing.

Well, no, that’s not entirely true.  I don’t really mind editing – it’s making the changes in Word that gets to me.

I’m still slogging through the changes to Book One of The Academy of the Accord and Book Two is waiting to have its changes entered and Book Three’s hard copy is being edited so it’s going to be waiting to be changed in Word soon too.

Somehow making changes on paper seems to go faster than entering said changes in Word.

And that’s a large part of the problem.  I should probably slow down (once I catch up to myself) and enter changes as I go.  That way they would still be fresh in my mind and I wouldn’t have to struggle so hard to read my handwriting.

But on the other hand, I’m working on continuity (or trying to) so having the whole thing with me so I can check back on stuff makes sense.  (Eventually I’m going to have to binge read/edit the whole thing over the course of a day or two for a continuity check.)

And the worst thing is that I’m second guessing myself.  I was working on Book One before work yesterday and had a bit of an “ah-hah!” moment that let me salvage a fair amount of stuff that I had been going to cut but kind of wanted and needed to keep.  But now I’m not sure if what I kept is still valid because I’m thinking that I might have made a change earlier that makes this scene not possible.  But I can’t find any mention of that change so maybe I dreamed it or thought about it or toyed with the idea, or…


I hate editing.

I would stop and start over at this point — or maybe finish it and print it again and start over with a fresh copy of the current round of changes — but I’m going to be doing another round anyhow and there’s a beta reader waiting so I may as well wait until she’s given me her suggestions and then do it all at once.

Except I feel like it’s still full of plot holes and inconsistencies and shouldn’t go to a beta reader until they’re fixed, but…

But I’m already thinking that a release date of January of next year is looking rather unrealistic.  I’m still going to try, though.




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My writing and editing goals (along with others) seem to have gotten derailed.

Badly derailed.

But I’m trying to get back on track and moving again.

I have so much I want to do this year that it’s kind of overwhelming, so I’m going to try to focus on smaller pictures rather than the big one.

The big one, of course, is to get The Academy of the Accord edited, beta read, and revised so that I can start releasing the books in January of 2017.

That’s a lot and it’s overwhelming to think about, so I’m focusing on smaller goals.

Like getting the changes to Book 1 entered into Word so I can send it to my patiently nagging beta reader before the end of this month.  I have roughly 150 pages to go to finish it and then a quick once-over and then off to Danielle. I figure if I can do ten pages a day on work days and more on my days off I should be able to get it to her before the 31st.

Then it will be on to entering the changes to Book 2 while I finish the first round paper edits of Book 3. (I’m roughly a third of the way through it.)

And so on.

April is Camp NaNoWriMo (yes, I am thinking that far ahead) so I need to have as much done as possible before then because everything else will get put on hold for it and NaPoWriMo.

And again in July for the second Camp Session and then in November for the regular NaNoWrimo.

And somewhere in there I need to finish the revisions for Onyx Sun and get it released. And finish Hedge House.  And Book Two of The Other Mages.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is how I got derailed in the first place.  I need to focus on just one thing right now.  Well, three things.  Finishing the changes to Book One, finishing the first round edits of Book Three, and finishing the first draft of Book Six.  Then I’ll think about the next steps.




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Roadblock: Construction Zone Ahead

So, I’ve been zipping along entering the changes of the first round of edits for Book One of the Academy of the Accord series, and according to the page count I’m nearly half way through.  (It really helps the motivation to know that there is someone waiting to read it.)

And then, there it was.

No warning.

Just a sudden stop.

Nothing all that major, just enough of a snag to make me lose momentum.

(And it’s extra annoying because it’s one of those things that I should have fixed in the paper edit and didn’t so now I have to.)

What kind of snag?

Vinadi’s last name.

(I’ll need one for Marsden, too, before this is done, but for now, I need Vinadi’s for the note they found.)

I mean, I can’t send this mess to my beta reader:

Members of the House of [*V] must be destroyed. If you are loyal to the House of [*BB] you will not rest until all traces of them have been removed from the world.  Destroy House [*V] and all that it has built and you will be rewarded beyond measure.”

[*V] refers to Vinadi, of course, and [*BB] refers to “Big Bad” (the villain behind it all).

Actually, the whole thing really needs to be redone, based on events in later books that changed a few things.

Come to think of it, there are other large chunks coming up that are also going to be headache-inducing.

But that’s a later worry.

Today’s “editing” project is going to be rewriting that note so that it fits with reality.  Who would have thought that fifty words could cause so much trouble?

Pass the Excedrin…

And buy stock in it.

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Good News, Bad News

That’s what my writing life has become: a good news/bad news joke.

(Actually, sometimes I think life in general is a joke, but that’s another story.)


Good news: I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to finish Book 7 of the Academy of the Accord series this month, which only leaves me one book to finish by the end of the year in order to have all of them rough drafted.

Bad news: I’m not going to make my goal for my1K-a-Day Challenge this month unless I write something other than Book 7 of the Academy of the Accord series.  Seriously, patching a book together out of scenes shared with another book (or two, in some cases) and random scenes that I wrote because they needed to be written is far more time consuming than I expected. And while I may have added 5000 words to the story in one day, I actually wrote less than 500 new words. It’s really hard to get into a groove and make any headway when you’re only writing 25 or 50 words at a time to link scenes together.

Good news: I’m just about to a place where I can write a few hundred words, and soon (by the end of today, I hope) I’ll be done with all (or at least most) of the patching.

Bad news: I still don’t think it’s going to be enough to get caught up on my word count goal for the month.

Good news: I have lots of other stuff I can work on for word count if I need to.

Moving on:

Good news: I got Onyx Sun back from a beta reader, and it mostly passed.  The concerns she expressed were, for the most part, not too different than the ones I already had, plus a few things that make sense in my head but apparently don’t in other people’s – which is why I love beta readers.

Bad news: I have a fair amount of tweaking to do and some scenes to add. (I could write those scenes as part of my 31k for this month – and I probably will – but that’s going to be almost as frustrating as the current patchwork project.)

Good news: That tweaking and adding is going to make a better novel and will solve some of the logic problems that have been bugging me.

Bad news: September might turn into October before it gets released.

(I don’t like October releases because then I’m heading directly into NaNoWriMo insanity and don’t have time to promote it.  Of course, I suck at promotion anyhow, so…)

And speaking of NaNoWriMo…

Good news: I think I know what I’m writing for NaNoWriMo in November.

Bad news: It’s something entirely unrelated to any of my current projects. (Which means sequels are on hold. Again.)

And so it goes.

I’m no longer certain if I’m maintaining my sense of humor or losing my grip on reality or even if there’s a difference.

But I’m having fun.

I think.

If your current life was a joke, what kind would it be?



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Now What?

I have finished the second round of edits on Onyx Sun and it’s now in the hands of some beta readers, so it’s all done and ready to go, right?


There is still a lot of work to be done on it, even before I hear back from them.

For one thing, there’s a cover to commission, which means deciding on a cover artist, which means looking at the work they’ve done and finding someone whose style I like, then hoping they are still doing covers, have the time for a new client, and are within my budget.

Then there’s the front matter.  You know: the copyright notice, work of fiction disclaimer, acknowledgements, special thanks, etc.  That doesn’t really take too long, though – it’s just annoying “busy work.”  (But necessary busy work.)

Then there’s the blurb.

The dreaded blurb.

I’m working on it and so far…

I’m going to be brutally honest here.

It sucks.

The blurb sucks, working on it sucks, revising it sucks.

There are line editors, copy editors, content editors.  There are people who will make covers, who will format the book for you, who will even write reviews if you pay them.

Is there such a thing as a blurb-writer?

If not, could there be?

Yeah, probably not.  Ah, well, it was nice to dream.

So, all of that can be worked on while waiting for feedback from the beta readers.

And once I hear from them it’s good to go, right?


Once I hear from them there will be another round of editing and revising based on their comments.

Then there will be some time for me to sit and stare at it and think about more revisions and tweaks and…

And eventually I’ll have to say “enough is enough” and format it to upload to Amazon and Smashwords.

And if history repeats itself I’ll be feeling miserably tense through the whole process (and backing up each stage in case I screw it up), and my hands will be shaking as I push the upload button.

Someday — maybe by the time I finish the Academy of the Accord series — I won’t be nervous when I send a book out into the world.




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One Thing At A Time

Normally I am the queen of multi-tasking.  I always have been.  As a teenager it wasn’t uncommon to find me curled up in a chair with a book, a bowl of soup, and the television on — and knowing what was happening with all three.

And now I normally have two browsers open with multiple tabs in each, as well as multiple Word docs. (Current count is six.)

And I am frequently working out scenes for novels while doing other things.

At one point I was even editing one novel, writing another, and outlining a third.

Right now, however, I’m finding it really hard to write and edit at the same time, which means that I am 10,000 words behind in my 1K-a-Dday challenge.


Not really.  I should have Onyx Sun to a beta reader by the end of the day, which will free up my writing time.  And I have four days off in a row next week, which is going to suck on payday but which will give me time to get caught up — and maybe even ahead.

Of course, I still have to find a cover artist, and write a blurb, and do the “front matter” and all that other stuff that goes with getting ready to publish.

And then there’s the fact that I want to start editing Book One of The Academy of the Accord.


Deep breath.

One thing at a time.

But at least that editing project will be in the same world that I’m writing in.  And since it’s just the first round edit of the first book, there won’t be any sense of urgency for it, no looming deadline.

And that’s the thing.

Right now I am so close to having Onyx Sun ready for a beta reader that I’m pushing to get it finished because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  (I can also see the next tunnel.)

For The Academy of the Accord all I’m seeing is tunnel.

Lots of tunnels.

One thing at a time…


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