February was probably the most insane month of my life. Outside of writing, I launched Ozark Book Authority, a non-profit literary event programming organization with the goal to raise funds for literacy initiatives in Northwest Arkansas. We’re officially incorporated with the state of Arkansas, and we did our first event at the end of February. That alone was a full-time job, and then I filled the rest of my time with working on BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL, my “The Little Mermaid” meets “The Beauty and the Beast” in Medieval Scotland fantasy. The previous iteration of the book was much stronger than I remembered, so I’ve been able to reuse much of the original material in the new version, which is why my word counts are so high for the month! I had a goal to write 20,000 words by the end of February (and a want to write 40,000) and I ended up with more than 60,000 words in total on that project alone. I’m fortunate that my previous version of the book needed very little adjustment in rewrites, plus I’ve changed my writing process a little bit in the hopes to be more productive in my writing time and stop editing as I go. It seems to be working, but the real test will begin once I reach the end of the already-written material and have to start producing from scratch. I’m pleased that the revisions have been less extensive than I expected. It’s made for a relatively easy, productive month of writing!
I also launched a newsletter for the first time ever. It’s called “Letters, Paper, & Glue” and will mostly be a reskin of my monthly blog post, but with the addition of a few personal/professional extras, if you’re interested in having that in your inbox each month.
Word Counts in February
BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL: 68,917 (outline + book)
Total Words Written in February: 70,750
Total Words Written in 2019: 77,996
February Patreon Round-up
Here is everything I posted to Patreon this month!
ARTWORK: Bag End – a watercolor of everyone’s favorite hobbit hole.
POEM: “My heart for a warm cup of tea…” – a poem about my love of tea.
VIDEO: BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL – Chapter 8 – an 8-minute video showing my progress on BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL, and a bit about my favorite scenes to write so far.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES: Comic Sans and Scene Dumping – a post about the changes I’ve made to my writing process this month to make me write faster.
Note: I would normally only do two excerpts a month, but since I didn’t post any in January, I doubled up in February.
If there is anything in particular you would like to see as a part of my Patreon, let me know! I’m always looking for topics to cover in my writing and editing videos and my behind-the-scenes posts, so suggestions are welcome.
Plans for March
Now that a lot of the business stuff is out of the way for Ozark Book Authority, it’s mostly just event planning and grant requests from here on out. I expect the number of hours spent working on that each week to wind down a bit now. Which means more time for writing!
I have a goal to write another 30,000 words on BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL. Even though I wrote almost double that this past month, I really do expect my writing output to slow down drastically once I run out of old draft to reference. I could be wrong! I hope I am. I would love to knock out another 60,000 on the book in the month of March, but I don’t think it’s a realistic goal. I’d rather aim lower and surpass my expectations than aim too high and feel like I fell short. If I can get a minimum of 30,000 written, I’ll have nearly 100,000 words on the book, which should put me close to the halfway point. (It’s going to be a really long book). I’m at the end of Act I now, so if my average word count holds, the whole book will probably come in around 180,000 – 200,000 words. But who knows for sure until I finish it.
I’ll continue to post content to Patreon, and I’m going to start looking at ways to grow it in the coming months, in the hopes of getting to $100 per month. If I do, I’ll start writing flash fiction as a part of the Patreon rewards, which will be available to all patrons, of every level. So even my $1 folks will get a guaranteed something every month.
That’s it for now!
January has simultaneously been the longest month of my life and a whirlwind of not having enough time to do what I need to do. I managed to plot BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL, my "The Little Mermaid" meets "The Beauty and the Beast" in Medieval Scotland fantasy...
I’ve been thinking over my plans for 2019. Originally, I planned to finish Draft 4 of REBEL ENGINEER by the end of December so I could start the new year fresh with a different project, but December came and went and I didn’t finish the book by the time winter break...
December was a relatively lax month for me. NaNoWriMo left me with burnout (I am really not equipped to write every single day), and I had a hard time bringing myself to work on anything, even though I had wanted to finish REBEL ENGINEER by the time winter break...
Chroniker City #1
Seventeen-year-old Petra Wade, self-taught clockwork engineer, wants nothing more than to become a certified member of the Guild, an impossible dream for a lowly shop girl. But when Emmerich Goss—handsome, privileged, and newly recruited into the Guild—needs help designing a new clockwork system for a top-secret automaton, it seems Petra has finally found the opportunity she’s been waiting for…
Chroniker City #1.5
Petra Wade’s older brother, Solomon, has always dreamed of being an actor. Instead, he works grueling shifts in the clockwork city’s boiler rooms to help support his large adopted family. When Le Theatre Mecanique holds an open call for their upcoming performance, he decides to audition, but the only role he is suitable to fill is that of the theater’s custodian…
Chroniker City #2
It has been six months since clockwork engineer Petra Wade destroyed an automaton designed for battle, narrowly escaping with her life. But her troubles are far from over. Her partner on the project, Emmerich Goss, has been sent away to France, and his father, Julian, is still determined that a war machine will be built. Forced to create a new device, Petra subtly sabotages the design in the hopes of delaying the war, but sabotage like this isn’t just risky: it’s treason. And with a soldier, Braith, assigned to watch her every move, it may not be long before Julian finds out what she’s done…
Brooke is a stay-at-home mom, amateur seamstress, RPG enthusiast, and art hobbyist, in addition to all that book writing. As the jack-of-all-trades bard of the family, she adventures through life with her fiercely-bearded paladin of a husband, their warrior-princess daughter, a cowardly wizard of a dog, and a roguish cat that somehow persuaded them to let him join the party.
They currently reside in Northwest Arkansas, but once they earn enough loot and experience, they’ll build a proper castle somewhere and defend against all manner of dragons, goblins, and whatever else dares take them on.