These days I've been so busy editing other people's books that it's been difficult to find time to work on my own projects. So, like other authors I know who are in a similar situation, I took a look at my schedule in search of pockets of time that I could reclaim for my writing, and my thoughts led me to this place.
We are lucky enough to live in Kimberley, BC, a nice little town on the edge of the Rocky Mountains that just happens to have a ski hill right in town. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, I ski from about 9:00 - 11:00 (before the lineups get too long). During that time, I ski somewhere between 6-8 runs, which means I spend nearly half of that time on the chair lift. Seeing as I've mostly been riding alone due to COVID-19, I realized that gave me basically two hours each weekend to work on my books.
So, that's exactly what I've been doing for the past couple of months. Each day I set a different task for myself to accomplish, and then I record my thoughts on my phone as I sit there taking in the beautiful mountain views.
As a result, not only have I been able to work out virtually all of the story kinks for Brooms, book 2 in the Uncanny Icons Series, I've also done the same for LARPers, book 7 in the Milligan Creek Series.
All that to say, many people dream of writing a book, but most of those people never do it because they say they can't find the time. However, if you're serious about it, you will find a way, and it may be in a place that you least expect!
Here's a brief excerpt:
I’ll be honest, this is the most I’ve smiled yet in the Milligan Creek series (which is saying a lot because I’m always grinning and giggling with these books – they take me back to that childhood time where I snuck away and read books all day… ahh, the memories).. . . I also super love how fast-paced this book is. It’s filled with lots of fun and lots of cool movie ideas. Can I please see some of these movies? Someone make them. They sound downright hilarious!
You can read the rest of the review here.
I'm super excited about this book, which combines Milligan Creek with one of my other passions--filmmaking! Here's a quick summary of the book.
To celebrate their purchase of the old movie theater in Milligan Creek, the new owners launch a short film contest, complete with a chance to have the winning films screened at the theater’s grand reopening. When word leaks out that a real Hollywood movie will be filming nearby, Matt and Chad Taylor and their best friends, Andrew and Dean, concoct an outrageous plan to make their short film the most spectacular of all by secretly taking advantage of everything the big-budget movie production has to offer, but only if they can pull it off without getting caught!
I just came across this on Amazon.
I have been reading all 5 of these books to my grandsons via FaceTime. They live many states away and this is our connection. The boys are 6 and 9 and both of them identify with the charecters in the books and all of the creative trouble they get themselves into. No matter where we are in the books they are sad when I say....we must end. I often read for 2 hours at a time while they play with legos. I must admit that I am enjoying the books right along with them and we all end up making comments like " Oh man, now what!?" or" Oh no! There is going to be trouble!" What really works for these books is that there is an age span of the charecters so the the youngest in the story will ask his older brother to explain something thus explaining it to the reader at the same time so no one is confused. So it is great for both my grandsons. We are sad that we are on the final book. I reccommend reading them in sequence.
I gave myself 20 days to do it, and I managed to complete it in 7. What a good feeling! The manuscript came in at 60,744 words, which makes it the longest book in the Milligan Creek Series to date by about 5,000 words. (Snowbound! was the longest book before this.) That word count is certain to change as I begin the revision process, though which direction it will go won't be clear until I have a chance to read the entire manuscript through from start to finish, which I plan to do tomorrow. That'll show me where it's running long, where I haven't explained things thoroughly enough, and so on. However, I'm hoping that when all is said and done, it'll come in about 1,000 words shorter than it is right now.
Meanwhile, it's time to step away from the computer and celebrate this milestone--starting by showering and eating lunch (I'm still in my pajamas because I didn't want to break my momentum). I like to joke that being an author involves days and nights of misery punctuated by brief moments of despair--and then something really bad happens. So, as difficult as writing is, when something good happens, such as completing a draft, celebrating is not an option. This is my seventh novel in the last five years, which feels like an amazing achievement considering I mostly write these books in my spare time. Hopefully it inspires other aspiring writers out there to go for it. You don't know what you're capable of until you try.
It's been a LONG summer dominated by a seemingly endless stream of editing projects. Unfortunately, that meant I had to put Quiet On Set!, book 6 in the Milligan Creek Series, on hold since mid-June. It's the longest I've gone without writing for years. It's my fault for booking myself so heavily, but I've finally managed to eke out 20 days of writing time, during which I plan to finish the novel, with hopes of releasing it by early November, just in time for Christmas. I'll keep you updated here. I've already managed to complete just over 30,000 words, and with a target word count of about 50,000 words, it seems like a short bridge to cross. But these are the hardest 20,000 words, seeing as I now have to pay off everything I've set up--and there are a LOT of plages spinning in this story--but I'm excited to finally return to the boys and their shenanigans.
Meanwhile, over the sumer I've done a lot of thinking about Brooms and Teeth, books 2 and 3 in the Uncanny Icons Series, so as soon as I complete Quiet on Set!, I'll be back into another spooky supernatural tale.
For the record, I have one more book planned for the Milligan Creek Series, putting the total number of books at 7. I also have another idea for a book that will act as a postscript to the series, taking place many years later once Matt, Chad, Andrew, and Dean are all grown up, with most of them returning to Milligan Creek after a lengthy absence to pull off one last caper. If I happen to come up with an idea for another book prior to this time jump, I will gladly get moving on that. I never want to say goodbye to this world, but I also want to make sure every idea merits a stand-alone story.
At any rate, I'm already procrastinating! Time to get to it.
That's right, folks, you can now listen to Up the Creek, Unlimited, and The Water War, all of them narrated by Kimberley, BC's own Tanner De Bruyne. The audiobook versions are available on Amazon, Audible, ACX, and Apple Books. You can listen to the first chapter of The Water War for free here. They'll make for great listening on that end-of-summer road trip!
As mentioned in a previous post, I'm in the process of having the first three books i the Milligan Creek Series converted to audio, narrated by Tanner De Bruyne. He's doing a great job. I just listened to chapter 1 of Unlimited and thought I'd share it here. It was one of my favorite chapters to write, and it's one that I've read aloud hundreds of times at writing workshops, so I was interested Tanner's take. It's so much fun. You can listen to it here. If you want to buy the audiobook for Up the Creek, it's available here.
I'm super excited to announce that Up the Creek is now available as an audiobook on Audible and Amazon and soon to be available on iTunes. If you already have an Audible account, you can listen to it for free. Otherwise, you can purchase it for the seemingly arbitrary price of $13.08 (Audible sets the price, not me). Anyway, Tanner De Bruyne did an excellent job of narrating it, and he's already working on Unlimited, which will be made available on audio this summer, followed by The Water War. You can listen to the first chapter for free below.
Brief thoughts and updates on writing, publishing, and life