Deadlines and Demands

Managing multiple demands can be challenging, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I mentioned in another post about starting a business, and for the last six weeks, I have been in “kick-off” mode to get it moving forward. On top of that, the third book in my series, Hidden Promise, is due for release in less than three months. I have to finish it and decide on a new cover artist. 


For the first couple of weeks, I was putting all my time into this and paying attention to nothing else. My stress elevated, my sleep depleted, and I knew it would be unsustainable. I can’t run at that speed and not burn out, so I had to find a better balance. 

My first step was to assess my goals and identify the ones I was okay failing at. I’m a perfectionist, and this is one of the most difficult things for me, but when you have twenty hours of work and only ten hours in which to do it, some things will fall to the bottom. I had to decide what those were for me, and look at potential partial successes instead of “winning” at everything. While I’m still putting in a lot of hours, this has helped me carve out and recover a little time. 

Hidden Promise

I have received some great beta reader feedback and started working out ideas for revisions and adjustments. Fortunately, I have great alpha readers, so it will not require major rewrites. I would have liked another one or two beta readers to get some eyes on it, but I’m out of time. I have one month to squeeze in enough hours for the changes, and I will need every moment. 

My manuscript upload is due the first week of June, so I need it back from my editor with time to do a final review of the edits and corrections. Once I hit the “Publish” button on this one, I might take it easy on writing for the rest of June before starting up on my next project. My alphas already have Hidden Strenght to read, and this next book will be YA/NA genre, so closer to the 50-80k word mark instead of the 95-120k I have been writing. 

Time will tell. Who knows if I can actually mentally sit still for a whole month. 

Me Time

One of the most important things I do to manage multiple demands is to make time for self-care. I am striving to reprioritize spending time with loved ones. My husband and I halted our daily walks for a while since I was working so late, but we started back up again. Even if we shorten it to a smaller block, it is worth the time to step away, talk, and unwind.

Ultimately, managing multiple demands requires patience, discipline, and knowing when to be flexible. It’s important to be kind to yourself and to recognize that you can do less if you burn yourself out than by setting boundaries. I guess time will tell if I’m finding the right balance.

Sounders game this morning, and I’m trying to get at least another hour of revising in today. Happy Saturday, all!

Artist Search

You may have seen the post on Facebook recently where I announced that the artist for the first two books in my series is unavailable to continue with the third. I will eventually need to change all the covers to something more “action scene” oriented, but I have always wanted the first runs to be more artistic. These magnificent scenes played out in my head as the world came to life within my imagination. 

Jonathan Lebel did amazing work taking my stick figures and descriptions and turning them into beautiful imagery. 

The first is a scene from early in Hidden Memory when Annalla is still within the traken forest. She has her borrowed blade and boots, with her wings wrapped around her. 

The second is from Hidden Sanctuary when Annalla arrives at the river crossing. This is just before the events unfold (you know which events I’m referring to if you have read this one). 

Onto the Third

I want to continue in this same vein for the third and fourth before I look at shifting the style of all four, so the hunt is on for a new artist who can capture the same grandeur of my fantastical world. The cover of Hidden Promise will be an image of their arrival in the sanctuary, flying through and providing a glimpse of how and where the people live. 

My terrible sketch and description have gone to one artist, and I have reached out to a few others, so I hope to have a cover to show you in the April newsletter. It might be out a little later than my usual mid-month Saturday, but I hope it will be worth the wait. 

As for the cover of the fourth, you will have to wait until next year for more information on that one!

Have a great weekend!

My Grammar Police

Today is National Grammar Day! I don’t know if most authors are like me, but I’m much better at story than the grammar part of writing. I’m the “idea person.” With that limitation in mind, I reach out for assistance on this aspect of my work; the bigger the production, the more help involved. 

For blog articles, I’m simply writing in Grammarly’s free version. It’s straightforward and easy to use. It catches the more glaring mistakes, and I feel fine ignoring it sometimes when the suggestions are not fitting my flow. The web add-on also helps with grammar basics when writing my book’s first drafts. I do those chapter by chapter in AutoCrit, which provides some advice on pacing, overusing words, and other such, less-grammatical advice. 

Those are the basic tools. The real work comes from a couple of individuals at two specific stages of the book drafts. During the alpha review stage, my husband provides editing and feedback including catching glaring grammatical errors. Those pull him out of stories, so he finds more. While my other alphas help with story points and feedback, he helps provide a cleaner draft for my beta readers. A cleaner beta draft means the beta feedback is that much more valuable. 

The second person correcting any remaining grammar issues is my editor, Maxine Meyer. You will find her credited in my copyright as the editor, and she does an amazing job. I’m working on becoming more consistent with my tense usage, but that is the one she probably finds and fixes the most. I also have a love/hate relationship with commas. I love using them and hate their limited (appropriate) usage. 

Maxine cleans up the final manuscript before I submit for publication, and it is a crucial step in the process. Any and all remaining errors are mine alone, and she helps me get that as close to zero as possible for your reading pleasure. (Note: I only scribbled out the prices on the main pic as prices change over time and internet pics are forever!)

Hidden Promise

Hidden Promise is back in my hands with some beta reader feedback. I have a few minor adjustments to make, but I should have the manuscript in Maxine’s hands by mid-late April. This places me right in line for my release timetable of mid-June! I’ve gotten some great feedback from my beta readers, and my alpha readers have started on the series finale. I’m excited to share with you all how things are coming together in Hidden Promise and how it ends in Hidden Strength next year. 

As a reminder, Hidden Promise is only $3.99 until its release. The price will go up to $4.99 after go-live, so don’t forget to preorder!

Have a great weekend, and “Go Sounders!”

Happy Birthday (to me)!

I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day because my birthday is so close. One year I was supremely irritated because the holiday fell on the weekend closest to my birthday. My family tried to go out for a birthday dinner and it was insanity. Parking was impossible. There was an almost two-hour wait to get into any restaurant. I was in my teens at the time and had a teenage breakdown (not so bad where my parents went into “don’t make me turn this car around” mode).

Since that day, I have been hyperaware of the holiday’s proximity to my desired family meal day. The latter is this afternoon, and we are going to a local Korean BBQ place. This will be my grandmother’s first time trying it, so we’ll see what she thinks. I suspect she will like the sweeter marinades the best and not care as much for the spicy sides. 

A friend also sent me the flowers in the main picture, which was very thoughtful. Other than that, I’m planning to take it pretty easy this weekend. I’ll polish another six to ten chapters of Hidden Strength to send off to my alpha readers. I have just over twenty chapters left to send, so I’m hoping to get those out before the beta feedback for Hidden Promise comes in. 

Though, I should also reach out to the cover artist if I want to have that done in time for the April newsletter…Okay, maybe “take it easy” is a bit of an overstatement, but these are busy times, and there are only so many days between deadlines! 

Entering Sanctuary

I’m busy editing, so here is a snippet for you from Hidden Promise (unedited)! The release is set for June 2023!

*Spoilers for Hidden Memory and Hidden Sanctuary*

Snippet –

On and on into the night, they flew at a pace no horse could ever match, and Larron wondered just how large this land was and how they managed to keep it hidden for so many lifetimes. Finally, he made out pricks of light filtering through the canopy ahead. His assumption of habitation was confirmed when he felt them drop slowly toward the trees. Their descent remained easy until they reached the forest. The prince told Larron to hold on but said nothing else before he pulled up and then dove straight down through the branches.

The ride twisted and turned, as jerky as any he ever experienced flying with Annalla. Larron struggled to cling to his bearer as the force worked to pull them apart. Behind him, he heard a brief, deep-voiced shout of surprise along with Patrice’s screams of fear. The one carrying her would bear claw marks for certain after this; the cat-like irimote was not at all fond of flying.

Once below the clustered branches, where the foliage opened, there was a final jerk as the prince righted himself and slowed to fly between the thick trunks. Sturdy trees surrounded them, and Larron saw an increasing number of structures positioned among the thick branches. There was no obvious way to ascend to the buildings dangling precariously high above the ground. Thin wood planks made the basis of their visible construction, with a gauzy material stretched over the windows. Bindings lashed them to the trunks and branches, but there was no invasive external support holding them in the trees. Assuming they were as sound as he suspected, Larron felt an elvish respect for a people who treated their land with such care. To use it without destroying it took an effort many races overlooked.

They weaved in and out of buildings growing in number and size. Most remained dark within, the people here either gone home or asleep for the night. The prince pulled them up once more in front of a large treehouse and set down upon the open porch circling it. The rest of their party followed close at his heels, and Patrice jumped down from her fairy and dropped to the floor. She clung to the boards even as she murmured repeated apologies.

“Patrice,” Annalla knelt at her side, putting an arm around her as she spoke, “she speaks little of the market tongue, but tells me her skins protected her well enough. She is fine, and you will not have to fly again too soon.”

The irimote rubbed her face before looking gravely at Annalla. “I really do not like flying.”