Leaving Wandalucia

Early this year I was going through a bit of a crisis with Glass House. I had fallen in love with this book and the stories that would follow for another 7 books.  I didn’t want to risk my mother’s history with traditional publication by taking that route with them.

Why?  Because even if they were successful, a publishing house could feel they weren’t successful enough and cancel the series, forcing me (as my mother had to do decades before) to wrap up the series early.  And worse?  They’d have the rights to the world for many, many years.  Decades, even.

Um… Fuck that.  Not only are there 8 books I want to write in the Glass House series, but many, many more follow that entire WORLD.  I want to write so many in these different connected towns full of mystery and magic that I’ve created and dreamed of since I was 19.  I can’t imagine someone else holding the legal rights to my dreamworld.

However, I had made that promise to my husband that I would submit a novel to a traditional publisher.  So what was I to do?

I put aside Glass House and focused on getting back into writing romance.  This time, Suspenseful Romance.  I love the very wide genres of romance and erotica, despite all the shit they catch and the sometimes less than stellar books out there.

On March 6th I started plotting here and there.  Then forgot about it until the 31st.  I started writing it on the 31st.  Finished it on April 19th, missing only one day of writing in that time!  I took 4 days off and started revisions on April 23rd.

I cannot be grateful enough for the course, How to Revise Your Novel.  I know, if you follow me on Instagram you have seen my hashtags and yes, I am mentioning it again.

Thanks to that INSANELY in depth course I handed off my book to my content editor on July 6th.  He sent me back his comments over the weekend (he doesn’t actually WORK weekends, but I think his schedule was wonky).  I opened them today and instead of the week long slog I was anticipating fixing all of my errors and plot-holes and poorly developed storylines or characters – I spent less than two hours.

This credit is given to the course, 100%.

The How to Revise Your Novel course was very literally the hardest and most insightful (at times infuriating) course I have ever taken.  It was the hardest task I have ever given to myself.  At times you’re wondering how in the world what you’re doing will relate to the book or even how in the world you can REPAIR this book.  Because you get so damn close to the subject, you’re torn, thinking your book is crap and you should just start over.

That’s not the case.  You rebuild after you tear down.  And it’s amazing.

I have my first two readers in love with the story and characters.  So I have only one issue left to work on before sending it out to my bug hunters on the 28th.  I pushed aside the sex scenes focusing on the story itself.  This was important, I wanted the characters to be lovable, the story compelling and the sex, hot, yes, but I needed the story to be right before I could work out the sex.

Strange, because I’ve never needed that before!

So I have roughly two weeks to ‘work out the kinks’ in the intimacy department and my bug hunters will receive my novel!  I am so excited and nervous!

I’ve started plotting book two (started on the 7th of July LOL) and I’ll be sharing my methods here.

Looking forward to submitting this new book.  The working title is from my content editor, Matt Turano (from MattContentEdits not an affiliate link) :

Leaving Wandalucia.


(the above links to HTRYN are affiliate links and never charges anyone extra, but you can always just Google “Holly Lisle How to Revise Your Novel” as well).


Leaving Wandalucia

Altering Characters, Abilities and Adding Details

Though not productive in numbers, I did well today.  Very well, it feels like.

I started out with 451 words written last year, background on characters, two of which are only hints in this first novel.   I had to change a few things built into their characters, the magical abilities and predilections.  As I finally built the bones of the magical system, now I have rules in which to play, thank goodness.  Rules set limitations and limitations add stress, risk and reliability, to name a few things.  The also, most importantly, provide conflict and a world in which your reader can become accustomed.

So I went down to 326 words, then began building the characters up through their characteristics, physical looks, magical traits as well as natural, non-magical but still paranormal traits.  I built up a little bit of the past as well and started integrating the character whose background I needed to build in order to gather the motivation of the villain (you can see where I figured out what I needed while backtracking through what I didn’t have in Not Quite a Fail).  So I’m getting there.

Considering the research I had to do, the berserker kittens that went insane and cost me about 7 minutes of writing and the 5 minute coffee break, I did well.  With 48 minutes I ended up with 1255 words, 929 of them new.  I ended up with images of two of the characters homes and a bit of research done to indicate what elements each character (past) would focus on.  There was also a lot of sitting and thinking, trying to figure out just how these characters differed and how their home lives would effect their choices.  I’m not done but I’d like to think I’m halfway or more there.  Then onto the victim’s backstory.  I just need to get my MC’s family tree open and it’s with a program I originally only had a trial of, argh.  I could have sworn I had purchased it.

I might write more today, but I do also have commissions nearing their deadline and these need to get finished (for the smaller ones) and worked on (for the paintings).

Altering Characters, Abilities and Adding Details

Not Quite a Fail

This morning I was dragging!  I used to have to get up at 4:30 to 5am to complete a very lengthy process to get to work by 8am.  Our car had been totaled, we had no money for another one, so I was walking (eventually I rode a bike once we had a little $ to buy one) to catch a bus to get to the Tri-Rail (when we lived in South Florida) and then from there I would walk or ride my bike, unless a friend of mine picked me up.  I’d leave work around 6 to 7 to get home around 9pm and crash around 10 to start the whole thing over.

All this and yet I feel as though 7:30am comes so fast!  Still, I’m grateful I am no longer where I was.

Today I sat down to my computer, found out my mom had been in there already for a half hour.  She did GREAT today!  I, on the other hand, struggled.

I got some great notes on how to start integrating one character’s past through just actions and little hints.  That was the first ten minutes, but then I was done with that.

The next task was to find the detailed motivation for this antagonist to kill his victim.  Of course, this should have been covered pre-book writing, but I had been so excited by my concepts that I rushed ahead.  Now I’m carving out and slim-grinding these bits and pieces to fit the puzzle I have created.  Not for the faint of heart.

What’s worse is that, while bits and pieces of his motivation ARE in HIS backstory, I needed his victim’s backstory.  And to create that I needed MORE backstory and 3 bios along with a clearer definition of three now-dead characters’ past powers, updated to fit the newly created magical system.

So before I can create the motivation for a single character, I need all of this.  It’s actually a good thing to have figured all of this out and now I have a clear direction.  Hence the “not quite a fail” title.  It’s still difficult, but I have a solid path in front of me.

Off to work!

Not Quite a Fail

Another Amazing Morning in The Focus Room

My mother and I did our focus room again, this time extending it to roughly two hours with one ten minute break in there.  So the total approximate time was 130 minutes.  I lost out on about 15 to 20 minutes of writing time with various issues, but for the most part got in a good amount of time!

I got a total of 2194 words.  Not bad for the time involved and, again, this was creating a magic system for witches and, once that was finished, creating the backstory of how two characters met – I had to read some of the previous backstory written for one of the characters as well.

A neat thing that came from this work was the creation of another character that I really, really like right now and that will surely die in some horrible fashion somewhere in this 7 book series.  So sad!

What’s also neat is how writing all of these things I need to know to have a solid series (and of course, first book) opens up more and more and ties everything in together in awesome and unpredictable ways.

So I’m giving some huge shout outs to having a writing buddy and a Focus Room!

Another Amazing Morning in The Focus Room