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I Wish I Could Tell You When My Next Book Come Out

“When’s your next book coming out?”

I love this question. And I hate this question.

I love it, because it means my previous book did its job of pulling that reader into my world (MUWHAHA!)  filled with detailed characters and twisty-turney plots. I hate this question, because I can usually only offer the vaguest of answers.

Some authors are startingly good at scheduling their book writing, editing, and release process. They can say months in advance exactly when the public can get their greedy little hands on that author’s novel.

Me? Not so much. My writing process is not serene and consistent. It is messy, frustrating, thrilling, and unpredictable. Some authors I know are hella’ good at writing in-depth outlines and following those outlines to a tee.

I outline, too. Really, I do, but my characters don’t always feel like staying on the paths I lay out for them. An outline is just a starting point, and as I dive into a crafting the novel, often the story veers in directions I never imagined as I was cheerfully typing up the outline, thinking, Yep, this is solid as can be.

As a result, I often have no idea how long a book will be, which can stretch the writing days. My most recent book, How to Become a Henchmanweighed in at a respectable 78,000 words. My second book in the series, How to Defeat a Hero, currently bends the scales at almost 95,000 words! (Not respectable at all.)

I admire (cough… envy) authors who can breeze right through that first edit of their rough draft. That happens sometimes to me… you know, once. Most of the time, though, the first draft of a novel is really just a suggestion. It’s like half a shape of the thing it’s meant to be, and it’s up to me to take the chisel (okay, chainsaw) and carve out its true form. This takes tons of mental sweat and muscle and sometimes very real tears.

The first draft of How to Defeat a Hero was so rough, (sorry, book, I love you!) that I actually had to do a second edit just to stitch my darling little Frankenstein monster back together again. And then it was time to throw it to the hounds.

I mean, my sweet, understanding beta readers.

If my beta readers were terrible, unhelpful people, they would tell me my book was great and I would smile and delightfully toss the manuscript into the Amazon Kindle store where it would slowly sink into the murky depths of forgotten books.

My beta readers really are awesome people. They don’t pull their punches. They tell me when my characters suck, when my plot is slower than a one-winged duck trying to fly against a hurricane, and when there are plot holes the size of a moon crater in the story.

That means more edits. More time.

So, add it all together, and it’s nearly impossible to predict when my book will be polished and ready until I’m pretty much done with the last word of the last round of edits.

This situation makes it frustrating for me to try to plan my book launch, and I know it drives some of my readers batty. (Sorry, readers, I love you!)

But—and here’s the important thing—I wouldn’t have it any other way. My timeline is so whacky because I won’t publish a book until I’m sure it’s the best I could make it, until I know that I can give you a story that I’m proud of. You know it’s worth the wait for Grandma’s famous, handmade lasagna even if you’re practically starving.

This is me making my lasagna. Slow. Haphazard. But filled with love.

Thanks for waiting!

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Deidre


Age: 24
Occupation: Housekeeper to Nathaniel Hayward
Hobbies: Playing the cello

About: Deidre may not be a particularly good housekeeper, have a lot of natural talents or ever be able to tame her frizzy red hair, but what she lacks in life skills she makes up for in perseverance.  She needs a lot of it as she dodges the practical jokes of the haunted mansion's two resident poltergeists, makes sure The Thing In The Basement has fresh cow heads to munch on, and puts up with her cranky boss Nathaniel who is libel to drain whoever knocks on his door (usually Mormons) if she doesn't watch him.

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Nathaniel


Age: 266
Occupation: Vampire of leisure
Hobbies: Cleaning musket, reading biographies, watching I Dream of Jeannie, campaigning for Dwight D. Eisenhower

About: Nathaniel doesn't understand why everyone gets so uppity about newfangled fads like the telephone and horseless carriage. He also doesn't approve of the loose today's loose social morals, what with women walking around wearing pants and making it to age 20 without at least one child on their hip. This isn't what Nathaniel fought in the Revolutionary War for (only at night). The worst of the lot is his housekeeper, Deidre, a bitter old maid who insists he stop sucking the life blood from the Mormons who knock on his door and can't even get prune juice stains out of his kerchiefs.

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Dex


Age: Unknown
Occupation: Conveyor of Extreme Emotions
Hobbies: Guiding unwilling individuals to the conclusion that true fear resides in the devastation we bring to our planet and to our society.

About: Dex is dedicated to transcending the poltergeist stereotype by delving deeper into the nature of fear and showing his unwilling victims that our own reality is what truly deserves our fear and notice. He accomplishes this by through artistic haunting - murals, dioramas and even living projects (which tend to scurry away and end up jumping out at Deidre from the kitchen cabinets). Dex is a ghost with a cause, and he won't rest in peace until you've heard it.

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Sloppy Joe


Age: Unknown
Occupation: Scary-ass Poltergeist
Hobbies: Making Girl Scouts piss their skirts

About: Sloppy Joe grew up on the mean streets of Zanesville, Ohio  where he was pursuing a career as the world's latest and greatest skinny white rapper when he met his untimely death. Nathaniel's mansion is his first official haunted residence. He's still getting used to his powers, but that doesn't stop him from trying to make Deidre's life hell and demonstrate that death doesn't keep down a brother from Zanesville.

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Silas


Age: 79
Occupation: Retire factory worker/part-time vampire hunter
Hobbies: Collecting lawn gnomes, killing vampires

About: Silas was all set to marry his high-school sweetheart in the 1950s until she came home one day a couple of shades paler and with some dental enhancements. After staking his fiancé, Silas vowed to  kill the vampire who had turned her. This led to a 50-year stint as a part-time vampire hunter  and eventually brought Silas to Nathaniel's door. With his fanny pack filled with stakes, Silas is ready to avenge his long lost love.

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Silvia


Age: Claims to be 45
Occupation: Between jobs
Hobbies: Bingo, shopping on QVC, flirting

About: Silvia is proof that some gold diggers never stop digging. When she sets her sights on Nathaniel, she's not worried about his fangs as long as his bank account is just as sharp. Not one to put all her eggs in one basket, Silvia also treats Henrick the werefrog to a little of her wrinkly good stuff. Sure, the extra long tongue is a bit of a turnoff, but she just saw the cutest pair of heels on QVC. No time for scruples when there's sexy footwear on the line.

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Henrick


Age: Unknown
Occupation: Insect control
Hobbies: Taking a snack break at the dumpsters behind the nearest buffet (he only comes for the flies)

About: Henrick is an obese werefrog who was quite the monster back in his day. Now, confined to an electronic scooter, his terrorizing the human populace days are well behind him...unless something really gets him riled up.

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Drew


Age: 25
Occupation: Assistant shift manager at Arbys
Hobbies: Rooting for the Browns, playing Xbox

About: Drew just wants to be your everyday slacker jock. He's got the good looks, nowhere job and deep thought avoidance radar that would make him the perfect addition to any state college frat keggar. Unfortunately, a small genetic inheritance keeps getting in his way, as Deidre learns first hand. Even the knowledge of Drew's dark secret can't douse the flames of Deidre's crush though she knows that the handsome jock never falls for the chubby nerd...or does he?

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The Thing in the Basement


Age: Unknown
Occupation: Vortex of destruction
Hobbies: Anything that involves mayhem

About: The Thing In The Basement shall not be spoken of.

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