It’s the middle of September already. I don’t know where the summer went. The leaves are changing at my house, and the temperatures have already dropped significantly. The apples are almost ready, and my thoughts are turning to winter preparations.

The last few weeks have been a hard push to reach the end of Scold of Jays. This last week I wrote about 75 pages, 37, in the last two days.

Thursday and Friday this week, I woke up at 7 and started my coffee, and was writing by 7:15. I didn’t stop until about 8 pm. Two twelve-hour days of typing left my hands sore and my eyes burning with computer screen spots.

I finished draft one of Scold of Jays!!

At about 9:30 last night I finished a glass of wine and shut my laptop, and stared at the wall, delirious, hungry, and exhausted. Only then did I realize I hadn’t showered, and I was still in my clothes from the day before. It’s not a novel yet, there are still a couple of pickup chapters to write and back-weave to smooth out the pacing and flow.

I fell into bed too tired to brush my teeth, then was wide awake at 2am making notes for things that need to be stitched in, pulled together, and tightened up as I prep for a beta read. I think I fell back to sleep around 4am, still worrying about all the details that need to be tagged and plugged in.

Pacing is important. I don’t claim to know all the pacing tricks in the book, but I’m aware that pacing can make or break a story, so I’ll be working on tuning the timing before the manuscript is handed out for beta. The next few weeks will be all about tuning, and cleaning it all up.

I’m also struggling with some basic logistics. I could have made this book several chapters longer, and it wouldn’t have upset the structure, in fact, I would have really liked to keep going on the manuscript without breaking at a hook—but I am a little worried about the girth of the binding when it comes to being a self-publisher.  There are a few points to consider when thinking about size of the spine; price point, shelf space, uniformity, and story length.

I’m working on a series, so I’d hoped to keep the books all a 5×8, and low price point so people will continue to be able to afford the books. Also, the mass market size allows for easy uniformity for collecting, and for being set up later to be able to box the set. If I make the books longer, more chapters, I’ll need to graduate to a 6×9, which means I’ll need to re-do the other books, or have uneven releases, and mismatched price points. Not a huge deal, but something I need to think about when I’m plotting out the long-term future of the series.

I could easily write a set of thousand pages novels and not run out of material, then not be able to afford to produce them, and they’d be priced out of a range of average affordability.

Fabric I picked to cover my dragon journals and notebooks.

For Scold of Jays, I’m still within a range I can work with in size and scope, but I’d rather be thinking of the issues now, than halfway through the series if I have to remodel and re-release the set.

Since I’m still only in draft, it’s a question that can wait until I add my pick-up chapters, and tweak the pacing. Some content will be edited out, some replaced or boosted, and so on. I won’t know where I sit with this book until about draft four or five—then I’ll know if I will have to bump up to a 6×9 to fit the binding, and if that’s the case by just a short margin…. I may as well go ahead and add a few more chapters to draw the length past the hook to a better settling point.

Something that’s on my radar.

Anywhoo, it’s a current small victory. Four months of hard writing produced a draft, and for that, I’m grateful to patrons and friends, and family who have been so supportive and helpful. When people ask me why it took five years between novels, I have to remind them, gently, that life happens. Mostly, I was working a full time plus job, trying to run a label, and have a small social life while writing full time. I kept burning out. So it took literally five years of writing as I had time and energy to finish Sinnet of Dragons.

Leaving full-time work and being backed by patrons, and supporters allowed me to finish a much longer book in just a few months. Uninterrupted, undivided focus was priceless. It would have taken another five years to get through this chunk.

To be sure there’s still production: editing, formatting, etc. And that can only happen as I have the funds. So part of the bottleneck now for Scold of Jays to release, is saving up the funds to be able to produce. That may take some time.

Here’s the cover for Scold of Jays, another beautiful piece of art by AM Sartor. Please check out her work at www.amsartor.com. She’s a brilliant artist, and a fabulous human being. I hope we’ll be able to make some lovely books together for a long time.

Note to my Patrons:

In other mid-month news, I’m behind on patron monthly content as I pushed so hard on the manuscript, but I’ll be catching up in the next two weeks. My plans for recipes include apple butters, and some autumn inspired flavors. I’m working on a new crafting video, and scheduling time to read the next chapter in Sinnet of Dragons to podcast. Please stay tuned! Though the content isn’t always writing or publishing related, I hope to keep providing small pieces of interest to Patrons to keep creative juices flowing and show my appreciation for all the support.

Dear Patrons, I could not have made it through Scold of Jays this fast without you.

Coming up:

My last appearance at the Tillamook Farmer’s Market is on September 23rd.

I’ll be teaching Beginning Self-Publishing at the Manzanita Library on September 28th from: 3-5

Beginning Self-Publishing at the Pacific City Library on September 30th from: 12-2

Advanced Self-Publishing at the Manzanita Library on October 5th from: 5-7

Here’s to a wonderful September!

A walk along Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

Your creative challenge, should you choose to accept it:

Visit a local second-hand store. Browse the trinket and knickknacks, shoes, or dishes.

Find an item that sticks out to you; something you’d like, or something that’s just plain weird.

Write an origin story for the object. Who owned it? Where did it come from? Does it have magical properties? Historical relevance? How did it come to end up in a Goodwill or Salvation Army?