Nancy: Happy April and Accountability!

April might very well be my favorite month of the year. So many great things happen during this first full month of spring! My daughter has her birthday. Trees and flowers begin blooming for another year (allergies be damned!). Days grow longer and warmer, but not yet hot and humid (usually).

This year, in honor of this  uplifting month, instead of just discussing my goals and plans on the April Monday accountability thread, I’m sharing the things I’m looking forward to seeing/having/doing this month.

Covers. It’s very exciting to open an email to find your new book cover design attached! Once again, I’m working on covers for the Harrow’s Finest Five series. This time, I’m waiting for the final version of the design for Two Scandals Are Better Than One, which has a book release date of late May. My newsletter subscribers will get the first sneak peek sometime in the next few weeks, and then I’ll share it here by the end of the month – a very exciting way to close out April!

And speaking of covers, I was amused but not surprised when two of the ladies posted about them last week. We do seem to be a little obsessed with them here at the 8LW blog. But now more than ever, covers are integral to categorizing, branding, and marketing books. Maybe sad, often stressful, but definitely true. That’s why I’m also working on a cover update for the novella Too Clever by Half. As more of the series covers come into existence, the pastel cover design no longer fits with the rest of the series. It just doesn’t look quite right when it’s put next to those other covers. So, now I have to figure how to walk the line of capturing the essence of the novella’s story, as well as that of the series, on one cover. It’s not all bad. At least there will be, fingers crossed, a pretty dark pink cover in my inbox soon.

Beta Reader Feedback. Beta readers are worth their weight in chocolate with every book, but my readers for Two Scandals are even more important than usual. This is the first book I completed with a book coach from beginning to end, from the discovery/development through the completed first draft. It was a different experience from handing over the entire finished manuscript to an editor, and also unlike sharing pages with a critique partner along the way. It was more intense. My coach forced me to dive deeper. Knowing she was waiting for pages kept me more focused. And it felt like she was more invested in my story than anyone other than I could ever be. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding. I’m waiting on pins and needles to see if my betas think this new approach to rendering my story worked. And if it didn’t, I know they’ll have a lot of smart things to say about what and where things went wrong, which will be my roadmap to figuring out how to fix it.

Typing “The End”. Full disclosure here. I never type “The End” on a manuscript. I assume many writers are the same way. Saying, “I just typed the end!” is a short-hand way of saying, “I’ve finished the first draft!” Happily, I’m about to see the end of the first draft of the next HFF book, Three Husbands and a Lover, around mid-April. I’ve loved diving into the characters in this book and getting to know them better, but doing justice to their story has been a long, hard slog. (And remembering that the hero has a goal that maybe kinda sorta matters to him hasn’t been easy, either, as I recounted last week.) So it will be good to finish this draft and step away from it for a while, returning to it in May to read the entire story for the first time to see what I actually have.

Discovery. Every end is a new beginning. And thus it is with the books in my series. The end of Percy and Finola’s tale means the beginning of Harry and Amelia’s love story. Like all of my projects, this one has been percolating away in the back of my brain while I’ve worked on others. Now I’ll get to do some fun things to take this from vague images and snatches of story to full-blown blueprint  and outline. For me, this stage includes completing a jigsaw puzzle, building a music playlist, and filling up a white board while brainstorming. This, more than any other time in a story’s life, is playtime for me. It’s digging in the sand and making mud pies without the messy aftermath. And it’s when – if I’ve gotten exhausted and a bit down from the long, hard slog of a first draft – I remember just how much I love writing, after all.

These are a few of my favorite things coming up in April. How are things in your part of the world? Feel free to jump into the comments and share any fun things you’re anticipating this month! And as always, you can share your monthly goals and accountability updates as well, so we can cheer or commiserate, or do a little bit of both.

2 thoughts on “Nancy: Happy April and Accountability!

  1. Lots going on here, too. I’m taking Linnea Sinclair’s class on Crafting Your Characters’ Internal Conflict, which I’m hoping will give me a new perspective on Megan-who-sold-her-soul-to-Satan.

    I’m also starting to play around with Book 4 of the series. In this one, my heroine runs a food truck called Devilish Delights that sells super-spicy food that Satan loves so much he sends Belphegor, the demon of gluttony, Aboveworld to lure her to Hell to become his private chef. This one is a bit more fun-and-games than Megan. Hoping it stays that way!

  2. So many things whirling in the air that I can’t quite quantify them. I’ll be able to do better in May, I hope!

    But how amazing! You have an April baby, too! LOL, parallel lives?

    Also, re: The End. I often type it at the end of my first drafts if/when I finally reach them. I’m just so proud of myself for finishing, and also, my endings feel to me like the end. I may have rushed them, but that’s the end, there is no more until the next time I take up the tale.

    Congrats on all the things you’ve accomplished!

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