Archive for March, 2023

Chapter One Complete (and Plans for Camp)

Well, squiders, I thought it couldn’t be done. Well, no, I didn’t, but it was starting to feel that way.

I finally got done with the re-write on Chapter 1. It’s a little over 3000 words (which is about average for me for chapter length, but is, I suspect, considerably shorter than it was before) and probably terrible.

At least, it felt terrible. It may not be. I’m going to go through and see if I can tweak it emotionally, because I feel (again, haven’t re-read it yet, so who knows) like maybe I’ve gone too far and made Lana unlikeable again. Blagh. It’s enough to make me feel like I’m an idiot who doesn’t know how to write.

(That being said, I was showing Hallowed Hill to someone yesterday, and I scrolled down to see the reviews, and there was a new 5-star one from someone I don’t know at all that was super complimentary, so everything is subjective and creative endeavors do stupid things to your head.)

(Also I may leave it for now and come back to it after a few more chapters, with the hopes that I will establish Lana’s new character better over time and will be able to do more justice in a bit.)

Anyway. I started doing the paper edit of Chapter 2 on Wednesday, and then yesterday I had no free time and today I got an injection into my back to hopefully get rid of the last of my back pain, so I haven’t gotten back to it. (Maybe after this.)

I have been working on training with Taig, which is going okay thus far but is getting a little confused because the smaller, mobile one thinks he’s adorable and keeps getting him out when I’m NOT writing. Also, someone got chocolate on him. I’m not saying it was her but I have my suspicions.

But here we’ve come to the end of March, and April is upon us. April should be smooth sailing, as far as regular writing time goes, so I went ahead and put a rather ambitious goal of 25,000 words for April as my Camp Nanowrimo goal.

This is for a combo of two things:

  • The continuing revision of Book 1
  • A serial novella that I owe Turtleduck Press

I am aware that I should stop taking on novellas, but here we are.

Serial novellas for TDP get posted in increments up on the website, and then, in theory, get consolidated into a single story and released as ebooks. At least, that’s the new plan. This novella is the trial run of the idea, so, you know, no pressure or anything.

Generally I write serials as I go, but I’m thinking it may be easiest and best to just sit down and write the whole thing all at once this time through. This will allow me to make sure the whole story makes sense before I start to post segments of it (something I always worry about) and if necessary I can go back and make edits as well.

The story is outlined (has been for a while) and will be about 15K when complete. I’m hoping it can be done (first draft wise) in two weeks or less, based on how long it typically takes me to write a 10K story. I re-read the outline while I was on the cruise a few weeks back, though, and there’s a couple of later plot points that I don’t like, so I do need to either poke those before I get going or hope I will figure out something better as I actually write the thing.

Now, Kit, you might be saying, how is 25,000 words ambitious when you can and have routinely done a full Nano at 50,000 words?

Well, couple of reasons. 1) It is easier to do 50K during Nano because of several reasons, such as the fact that almost always (but not always) I’m working on a new project, and so there is New Project Momentum, and because there is creative momentum from a ton of other people working toward the same goal. 2) Uh….no, I guess mostly one. NO WAIT. I have done Camp Nano for years and years and years (and, before that, April Fools, which functioned the same way, where you set your own word count goal. One year, several people set 300K words as their goal AND MANAGED TO HIT IT, which to this day is madness) and the most I have ever done in April is 35K. I usually manage somewhere more in the 10 to 15K range.

Actually, one year where I hit 25K, I made a weekly goal chart because I was working on multiple projects, and that worked really well. I’m going to hunt that down and re-do it for this year right after this too.

Anyway, I hope everything is going well for you, squiders, and wish me luck!


Promo: Hacienda Moon by KaSonndra Leigh

Happy Tuesday, squiders! Today I’ve got an expanded re-release of Hacienda Moon for your perusal! KaSonndra was also gracious enough to put together a guest post for me about the coolest things she learned while researching the book.

Hacienda Moon cover

Hacienda Moon
by KaSonndra Leigh

GENRE: Paranormal Gothic Romance

Tandie Harrison is a police medium struggling to pick up the pieces of her life after a devastating divorce that left her without her precious daughter and her psychic visions. With a heavy heart, she escapes the hustle and bustle of New York City and moves into the alluring plantation house, Chelby Rose. Here, she meets Eric, the home’s charismatic caretaker. Despite the ghostly warnings, Tandie finds herself drawn to him, and as their affair intensifies, so does the centuries-old curse haunting them both.

Suddenly, Tandie finds herself at the center of a dark and dangerous web full of deceit and intrigue. As fear begins to consume her, she must find the courage to face the demons of her past if she is to have any chance at a future. Hacienda Moon is a captivating story full of suspense and romance that will ensnare you from start to finish.

Note to readers and bookclubs:

This is the expanded and revamped edition of the Hacienda Moon that was originally published in 2012. Please be sure to add this version to your to-read list as this edition contains more gothic suspense, intrigue, and of course romance.


Topic: the coolest thing you found while researching your book.

As I delved deeper into my research for Hacienda Moon, I came across some truly fascinating historical facts that added a whole new dimension to my story. One of the coolest things I discovered was the true history behind the Catsburg Store, a real-life location that features prominently in the novel. This store, located in North Carolina, was actually established in the late 1800s and served as a community hub, selling everything from groceries to farm equipment. I was able to incorporate this rich history into my novel, lending an authentic air to the setting.

Another incredible historical detail I uncovered was the story of the Fortuna, a real Spanish warship that landed in Bolivia in 1748. This ship and its crew were on a secret mission to establish Spanish control over the country and were met with fierce resistance from the native populations. The tale of the Fortuna’s journey and eventual defeat became a powerful metaphor for the struggle of the indigenous people in my own story.

Finally, researching the history of plantation homes in North Carolina provided me with a wealth of inspiration. Many of these homes still exist today, and I was able to visit some in person to get a sense of the time and place I was writing about. Incorporating real-life locations into my story gave it a greater sense of depth and authenticity, and I’m excited for readers to experience these details for themselves in Hacienda Moon.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Meet your word sculptress…

Author of the #1 Amazon International bestselling novels, the Prelude and the Lost Immortals Saga, KaSonndra is also a mother, designer, reader, gardener, home renovator, and a slayer of undead Egyptian mummies in Tomb Raider. She believes in karma, coffee, and seriously wishes that the producers of Xena would bring her favorite show back.

KaSonndra was born in the race-car city of Charlotte, NC, and now lives in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, NC, when she’s not hanging out in Bardonia (Lost Immortals Saga setting). Most of her characters are based on people that she has met throughout her travels and adventures.

People tend to stop and start conversations with KaSonndra as if she has known them her entire life. Does this freak her out? Not really. Her mom says that one day she’ll get kidnapped by one of these folks. KaSonndra’s response? She told her mom that if it weren’t for these lovely people, then she wouldn’t be able to create such fabulously romantic stories!

Visit KaSonndra’s at one of her online homes:
Main Author Webpage
Facebook Fan Page
Twitter: @kasonndraleigh
Instagram: @kasonndraleighbooks
Online Blogazine:
Amazon author’s link:

KaSonndra Leigh will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hello hello, squiders! I hope you’re doing well! I’m doing a month’s worth of work on a project in a week, so that’s good times.

(I did, however, sign up for Camp Nano, and, fingers crossed, I shouldn’t have anything major happening in April that will keep me from regularly writing and making progress on my revision.)

So a few weeks ago, I introduced you to my new writing friend/trigger object, and asked for names.

(Here he is again, in case you forgot:

After looking over all my options, I’m pleased to introduce you to Taig the Turtle!

Now, Taig is the American English phonetic spelling of the Irish/Scots Gaelic name Tadhg, which means poet, philosopher, or storyteller. Seems like a good fit for a writing friend!

(“dh” makes an “i” or “ee” sound in Gaelic.)

(I did several months worth of Scots Gaelic on duolingo last year, leading up to and following our trip to Scotland. I have never been great with languages in general–I took SO MANY years of Spanish and am barely rudimentarily fluent–but Gaelic was especially hard for me. No combination of letters ever made the sound I expected it to.)

With Gaelic names I’m normally pretty good about equating what the name actually sounds like to the spelling (Saoirse to Sear-sha, Eilidh to Ay-lee, Siobhan to Sha-van, etc.) but since my little friend here is supposed to be helping and not causing extra stress, I’m going to change the spelling for my own sanity. I will remember that Tadhg is pronounced Taig, but I will have to think about it for a minute each time, and meh.

Taig should be getting his first run on Tuesday or so (my project ends on Monday afternoon) so I’m hoping I can spend next week training myself to use him as a writing trigger and then it should be smooth sailing from there.

How are you doing, squiders? Anything fun happening?

WriYe and Rewriting

Hi, squiders. Sorry for the long time, no see–I was on a trip, and normally I schedule posts for when I’m gone, but it just didn’t happen this time around.

(The trip also had a surprisingly little amount of downtime, despite planning whole swathes of time for that. I only read half a book–mostly on the airplanes, actually–wrote a single sentence in my writing journal, and read over an outline for a novella and then did nothing else.)

Oh, and last call for name suggestions for my new writing friend! I hope to dub him later this week.

Anyway, here’s the WriYe prompt for the month. Like most Marchs, in homage to the now defunct NaNoEdMo, it revolves around editing and revision.

March: Revision or New Vision? Revising vs Re-Writing? Which one is it?

I am firmly of the belief that if you can finish a story, in general it is working. It’s been my experience that if a story is broken, you eventually reach a place where you can no longer go forward.

That being said, a story can still have a lot of faults even if you manage a finished draft.

So for revision or new vision, I go revision. (Unless, of course, I’m trying to fix a story that I couldn’t complete a draft on the first time through.) You can do a lot of changing and deepening without affecting the core of what the story is about.

For revising or re-writing, well, I think you have to do both. Well, I do both. I always always always plan out my revisions before I do them. It goes so much easier if I can see what needs to change where and know what is changing to what else.

But I rewrite. Some people just go in and change the specific passages that are changing. I can do that–and have, for tighter deadlines–but I don’t like to. I like to start at the beginning and rewrite everything, in order, whether I’m changing the passage or not. I make my changes as I go, but I also re-type parts that aren’t changing rather than copying and pasting them.

This is a little OCD of me, I am aware, but I find this does a couple of things. 1) It ensures a consistency in voice and tone. Your writing voice changes over time, and especially for larger projects or projects I haven’t touched in a while, sometimes it can be obvious you wrote different parts at different times.

2) It helps me keep track of everything to make sure I’m not leaving things out.

3) It allows me to tweak little things, such as removing filtering or improving flow.

Is this slower? Oh, absolutely. But I find the quality of what I get out of doing it this way is much higher, and much more consistent, so we continue on.

Thoughts, squiders? Turtle names?

Help Me Name My New Writing Friend

Hi squiders! I have some sort of especially annoying respiratory sickness (not COVID, I tested) that is making it hard to sleep (and also apparently making me snore), so that’s been fun.


The revision is going–well, not great, but not terribly either. I’m getting 400 to 800 words a session, when I’m getting writing time, which is still much less than I’d like. (And not likely to change in the near future, but maybe by April.)

(Though it does somewhat feel like things are conspiring to keep me from it. Today the larger, mobile one somehow accidentally embedded a pencil in his hand during school and I had to take him to the hospital.)

And while I am working on it, I am still spending an exorbitant amount of time working up to writing, which often includes checking all my Discord servers to see if someone is saying something interesting, checking phone games in case something has happened since I last looked at them, and reading back over what I’ve already written, which takes longer each time.

So, since this is an Issue, I decided it was time to look for a solution.

Something that can be helpful when you find your brain will not settle down and focus on what you need to do is to designate a trigger object. The idea is that this object becomes associated with whatever it is you want to be doing, and over time your brain will move easier into the right frame of mind when it sees said object.

This is something I’ve used rather successfully for many years by putting on hand warmers and/or writing gloves when it was writing time. However, I’ve fallen out of the habit because I outgrew it, and I’m finding it’s not necessarily working as well as I would like at the moment.

So I bought a new trigger object.

He’s a reversible plush turtle, with one angry side and one happy side. The dual expressions appeal to me, because somehow–not sure yet–I feel like I can use them to enhance my writing sessions, whether that’s reflecting the mood of the story, my writing mood, or signaling whether I can or cannot be disturbed.

He’s smaller than expected, but that’s probably actually a good thing, because he’s more portable this way.

So the plan is to start to use him in my writing sessions here and hopefully we can get everything moving a little easier than it is at the moment.

However, he needs a name. So many options, but I thought I’d see if you guys had any thoughts. So give me your best writing turtle names, and we’ll see which one sticks.

See you Thursday!

Cover Reveal: L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 39

Good morning, squiders! I’ve got a cover reveal for you today! This yearly anthology contains some of the best scifi and fantasy stories from new writers, and this is the volume for 2023.


Science fiction and fantasy anthology


From vampires and werewolves to space exploration and time travel, you will love these 12 original and diverse stories because they were selected by some of your favorite authors.


In the world of speculative fiction…

Your favorite authors…

Have selected best new voices of the year.

24 Award-winning Authors and Illustrators

3 Bonus Short Stories by Kevin J. Anderson • L. Ron Hubbard • S. M. Stirling

Art and Writing Tips by Lazarus Chernik • L. Ron Hubbard • Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Edited by Dean Wesley Smith • Jody Lynn Nye

16-page color gallery of artwork • Cover art by Tom Wood


Check out the stories Brandon Sanderson, Orson Scott Card, Nnedi Okorafor, Robert J. Sawyer, Kevin J. Anderson, Jody Lynn Nye and others chose as the best of the best.

Be amazed. Be amused. Be transported … by stories that take you by surprise and take you further and deeper into new worlds and new ideas than you’ve ever gone before….

Twelve captivating tales from the most exciting new voices in science fiction and fantasy accompanied by three from masters of the genre.


A miracle? An omen? Or something else? One day, they arrived in droves—the foxes of the desert, the field, the imagination….—“Kitsune” by Devon Bohm

When a vampire, a dragon and a shape-shifting Chihuahua meet on a beach in Key West, fireworks go off! But that’s just the background.—“Moonlight and Funk” by Marianne Xenos

The Grim Reaper, trapped in an IRS agent’s dying body, must regain his powers before he dies and faces judgment for his original sin.—“Death and the Taxman” by David Hankins

In a metaverse future, a woman who exposes falseness in others must decide what is real to her—the love she lost or the love she may have found.—“Under My Cypresses” by Jason Palmatier

Vic Harden wasn’t lured by glory on a daring mission into the reaches of outer space—he was ordered out there by his editor.—“The Unwilling Hero” by L. Ron Hubbard

Dangerous opportunities present themselves when an alien ship arrives in the solar system seeking repairs.—“White Elephant” by David K. Henrickson

With her spaceship at the wrong end of a pirate’s guns, a former war hero must face down her enemies and demons to save Earth’s last best chance for peace.—“Piracy for Beginners” by J. R. Johnson

Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I., faces one of his funniest and most perplexing cases ever—an enlightened ogre, a salamander with low self-esteem, and a raging fire dragon terrorizing the Unnatural Quarter!—“Fire in the Hole” by Kevin J. Anderson

Years after the Second Holocaust, the last surviving Jews on earth attempt to rewrite the past.—“A Trickle in History” by Elaine Midcoh

When I said I’d do anything to pay off my debts and get back home to Earth, I didn’t mean survey a derelict spaceship at the edge of the solar system—but here I am.—“The Withering Sky” by Arthur H. Manner

High-powered telescopes bring galactic life to our TVs, and network tuner Hank Enos figures he’s seen everything—until the day an alien boy stares back.—“The Fall of Crodendra M.” by T. J. Knight

Knights, damsels and dragons, curses and fates foretold—the stuff of legends and stories, but unexpectedly perverse.—“Constant Never” by S. M. Stirling

Determined to save his wife, Tumelo takes an unlikely client through South Africa’s ruins to the heart of the Desolation—a journey that will cost or save everything.—“The Children of Desolation” by Spencer Sekulin

When a terrorist smuggles a nuclear weapon into London, a team regresses in time to AD 1093 to assassinate a knight on the battlefield, thereby eliminating the terrorist a millennia before his birth.—“Timelines and Bloodlines” by L. H. Davis

The Grand Exam, a gateway to power for one, likely death for all others—its entrants include ambitious nobles, desperate peasants, and Quiet Gate, an old woman with nothing left to lose.—“The Last History” by Samuel Parr


You will love this collection of the best new voices in science fiction and fantasy because, as Locus magazine puts it, “Not only is the writing excellent…it is also extremely varied. There’s a lot of hot new talent.” 











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