Nancy: October Accountability Thread

Me on September 30 (which I thought was September 29)

Okay, first things first. For the first several hours of the day, I had no idea we’d entered October. Somehow, I thought it was September 30. Thus I was working on a post about the incredible writing experience I had this past week at the WFWA annual retreat, which was taking longer than expected because I was including examples of some of my workshop exercises.

Now that I realize it’s the first Monday of a new month, we have some accountability to discuss, and my WFWA squee will have to wait until next week (which means better examples, anyway). So, first up, my September recap.

September Progress


Whatever I said I’d get done in September, feel free to assume I didn’t accomplish it. It’s not all bad news, as my reason for this shortcoming is I spent 25 of the month’s 30 days away from home. I crossed eight time zones. I cooked exactly three dinners, and depended on relatives and restaurants for the rest of my nutritive intake. I worked out exactly…well, let’s not quantify that depressing state of affairs.

What I did get done re: writing, though, was research. In Denmark. For a mystery series, a brand-new-to-me writing genre that I can’t wait to tackle (but I’ll have to wait until next spring because my October – April schedule just got a whole lot busier to make up for a lost month).

Also, I had an amazing, maybe even transformative experience taking workshops with one of my mentors, writing coach extraordinaire Jennie Nash, founder of Author Accelerator. Next week’s post will be all about that, so for now I’ll just say my writer mind is blown!

And I did get some new words on the page. I handed my coach 18 new pages of story, plus a two-tier outline with the layout of every remaining scene in the third book (second full-length novel) in my Harrow’s Finest Five series, Two Scandals Are Better Than One. And the amazing news is, there aren’t many scenes left to write!

October Goals

I’m not even going to bother putting this into a nice, numbered list for you. That would imply there is some organization, some method to my ever-increasing madness. In reality, I just need to do all the things, all the time, every day. I have set up a daily list of specific tasks for each and every day of the month, laid out on a hand-written calendar (courtesy of a four-hour plane ride yesterday, on the ACTUAL last day of September). It would be impossible to capture the inanity of it here, so I’ll just give you snapshot, by project.

Too Clever By Half, Novella in the Harrow’s Finest Five Series

This story has taken me to hell and back more than once. As I wrote in my post a few weeks ago: Hardest. Hundred. Pages. Ever. There is still so much left to do on this one, I might not make my planned mid-November release, although that’s still the target. I’m going through final story tweaks in response to the editor’s last pass and beta reader comments this week. Then I’ll send it for copy edits and proofreading, which, due to its 27k length, won’t take long. While that’s happening, I have to deal with the massive revisions necessary to get the cover ready.

And if all that falls into place, I still need to drum up enough newsletter followers, using the free collection of HFF vignettes and the friend ‘meet cute’ of the heroes, to line up ARC readers. This requires a very intense parallel marketing track. Can a person do all this in a month? Probably. Can I do all this in a month? Possibly. Am I going to do my damnedest, in my best deadline-driven, mule-stubborn, detail-obsessed Virgo way? Absolutely.

One Kiss From Ruin, First Full-Length Novel in the Harrow’s Finest Five Series

Over the past several months, I completed OKFR, revised it (exhaustively), sent it to a kick-ass editor, got back a seven-page edit letter (not bad!), and have been revising it (exhaustively and exhaustingly) yet another time. In the next few weeks, I’ll wrap up those revisions and get this baby to beta readers, and back to the editor for her last pass. We’ll talk more about the November and December plans for this one in future posts, but for now, I’m still on track for a late January (or very early February) release, which has been the long-term goal for Emme’s and Daniel’s story. Phew!

Two Scandals Are Better Than One, Second Full-Length Novel in the Harrow’s Finest Five Series

I am down to the last 20k words of the first draft of this book (three weeks or less in writing time). Yippee! While I don’t want to play favorites with any of my characters, as I really do love them all, I have to admit that Edward (hero of this story) holds a special place in my heart. He’s the brother of the heroine in OKFR, and I thought I had his number when I started writing that book. By the end of it, though, I had a whole new understanding of him, and couldn’t wait to give him his own HEA (and some long-needed adventure along the way for good ol’ steady Eddie). So, VRRRYYYY excited about finishing this first draft and moving into revisions this month.

Take the Money and Run, a Stand-Alone Women’s Fiction Novel, Because Why Not

This story has been through a book coach and one deep revision, and is out with beta readers now. Between their comments and the skills I learned (or re-learned) at the WFWA retreat last week, I’ll do another deep revision, then hopefully get it out on submission to agents before the end of the year. For October, that means collating comments, working through the first 40 pages or so with my book coach, and setting up a plan to tackle the rest of the revision in November.

Snoopy, looking much more innocent than he really is.

And on a personal note, my October goal in Catopia (which would totally be my all-girl, alternative-rock band name) is to get this adorable little monster through the month without serious harm to him or my house. He’s a daredevil who has yet to miss his target when making crazy leaps, and he was too busy causing mischief (like stealing bread in any form from any unprotected surface) to read the memo about cats hating water. He thinks my kitchen sink is some sort of kitten play land. I can’t rinse a dish or wash a vegetable without a furball ‘helper’, which leads to lots of lakes on my counter tops and hardwood floors. Wish me luck!

Now it’s your turn. Any projects (or kittens) to tame this month? Any big, lofty goals to share with the group? Anyone else feeling overwhelmed, now that we’re in the last quarter of 2018?

7 thoughts on “Nancy: October Accountability Thread

  1. First off, I laughed at your “HAHAHAHAHA!” because that was August for me. I made great progress in September (after holing myself up in a flat in London for 8 days) and need to keep up the momentum in October, despite fall break and family travel, which will consume a week of my time.

    Wishing you luck with the kitten. My family wants another puppy and I have said absolutely not because I’m the one who does all the work and I don’t have time for that right now. I’m even ambivalent about another parakeet, which is way easier!

    Wishing you luck on your goals this month. And thanks for the total downer at the end…”the last quarter of 2018.” That was an OH F#%! moment for me!

  2. Awww! If you finish with the kitten, that’s all I can think about! What a darling cat! My family used to keep the bread in the microwave oven. Otherwise, the bag of whole-wheat sliced became a cat toy in the night. I don’t think they ever ate much, but we didn’t want shredded wheat for breakfast . . . .

    I see that I got distracted by the cat last month, as well, LOL.

    Well, my September goal was to finish two ghost stories. I finished one, and got started on another one before I stalled out. I’m hitting the restart button, and making my goal to write four ghost stories this month. Also, I will read through all of my Jack and Olivia stuff, and decide what needs to be done. IF I find myself with spare time, I’d like to read through all the Bunny Blavatsky stuff, as well. Bunny is a winter story, and would be more suitable for November, December and January than the J&O WIP, which is set in the summer. I’m trying not to get myself hemmed in by these artificial boundaries (it can be summer in my mind!), but it’s hard not to.

  3. Pingback: Nancy: Accountability Thread and…Free ARCs! – Eight Ladies Writing

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