Hiya peeps;

a bit overdue with a blog again, but that’s because I have been;
a) busy
b) laid out on the sofa because I put my back out again.

Work of course is always mad and unforgiving, but happily right now I am very busy with writing. I am working on book 3 of the Sprig of Holly series, which is due to release next week on 1 December.

I am really pleased with the way this story has gone, and I’m busy lining up ARC reviews for it at the moment so if you would like to review it and can commit to leaving a review on 1 December or within a couple of days of that, bring me a comment below and I will add you to the list!

In addition to that, Holly 4 has gone through its first draft and is going into editing. I say it’s going into editing, but that is a little imprecise as technically at the moment I am in contact with the talented Wes Souza to get the next cover done.

Watch this space for details of the reveal!

Holly 4 is going live to preorder, hopefully in time for the release of Holly 3. The story is getting a little bit more twisty and complicated as things start going wrong in the mountains, so I am hopeful that you will enjoy the ride as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

And then there’s Holly 5… Phew! I can hardly wait to introduce you to the next set of characters! I can hardly wait to see Wes’s cover, come to that, but I can’t say much about it because spoilers… 🙂

In any case, it’s always heartening to have a new release, even if it’s only a short story – and the fact that the rest of the Holly series is already written out in at least initial draft is very pleasing.
Working on a little bit of marketing for the release but not huge amounts just yet as with three short stories in a line it’s not really going to get much traction until we have the whole series up. That’s also nice because it takes the pressure off me a little bit. Sadly it also means I’m writing the series at a bit of a loss, but that’s the way of it. Fingers crossed, when the end of it comes out it might start selling a bit and pay for itself.

In addition I am starting to plan out the two Dragon series. I am thinking of starting with the series – currently a trilogy – which will be known as “A Blaze of Dragons”, a group noun for dragons from a 15th century manuscript. Isn’t it cool? I love that.

In any case, I have three of the covers already lined up due to the small but not inconsiderable glitch in cover buying mentioned in earlier blogs, so I have the skeleton of a plan in place and I’m busily fleshing out the bones of it. This is the second half of my NaNoWriMo project, but in all honesty I am not bothered if I don’t make the 50,000 words this year, as a significant chunk of it was spent finishing off Holly 6 (or maybe 7, depends on how the editing pans out) and so it has done what I needed it to. I am still doing chunk of words every day just because I like adding it to the graph, but if I flag before the 30th, I’m quite chilled with what I’ve achieved already.

Looking at my back posts, it strikes me that I have now been dictating for nearly 6 months. Certainly it got a lot easier when I bought the Dragon software (and a halfway decent headset) but it’s an interestingly different way of writing.

For a start, you really do need to plan things, and I have always been a bit of a discovery writer. At first I found it difficult, but actually as time goes on, I find myself still doing the discovery writing but just in smaller chunks – inside the scene rather than plot stuff.

I think verbalising the plot instead of manually typing it is starting to come a little bit easier, and certainly while my back has been bad I have had quite a productive time because whilst lying on the settee I can simply put the headset on and dictate. It makes me feel like Barbara Cartland, only a Barbara Cartland who detests pink, doesn’t write steamy romance, isn’t 300 years old and uses far less ellipses – or at least has far less left in after the final edit! Oh, and also isn’t a millionaire. So almost exactly not like Barbara Cartland…

But it’s quite comforting because although I’d never realised that writing was quite an intense activity, dictating seems to come far more easily. The planning is dull, but the actual dictation session is getting easier every time, and hopefully the editing will become easier as my brain gets up to speed.

Certainly the dictating is getting faster which I put down to a joint effort between my brain getting used to it, and the dictation program software learning more about my accent and the way I use words. It still comes up with nonsense sometimes, and makes me laugh, but usually if it doesn’t get the right word first time, it’s on the list of suggestions.

It’s pretty impressive stuff, and I find myself wondering if in 20 years time we’ll look back on keyboards like we do now on typewriters and faxes – the sort of things where, if somebody’s still using them, it’s a bit of a surprise.

I’m starting to feel as if my writing process is becoming a bit more streamlined. My first book took 10 years to write, and subsequent books have been two or three years in the processing. This is partly because I keep writing other books but then having to cut bits out that turning to other books which is frankly a silly idea, so pinning them down and planning them out seems to keep that process under control a little bit. We shall see.

In any case, as I progress through the Dragon books I hope to ultimately end up back at On Dark Shores in such a way that I can edit it into a sensible order and reissue it along with book 3 and indeed book -1. Because I did so well in the order of writing those books…

I’m also working on editing Song down so that I can change it to its new title sooner rather than later, though the new cover won’t be ready till well into the New Year. (this one is being done by a new designer, and one I haven’t worked with before, so it’s all a bit of an unknown quantity).

So it’s all progress, albeit in tiny steps.

And as part of the Holly 3 release I will probably do some kind of giveaway with paperbacks of Scarred Artisan, if only because they are so cute and will make great stocking fillers so the timing is good to give some away!

There isn’t really much more to add today, so will stop blathering and get on with my next chunk of dictating. Just wanted to check back in and give you the latest goss!

In the meantime, have a great weekend, and Happy Thanksgiving (and indeed Joyous Wolfenoot!) for those who celebrate.
All the best;
JAC.

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