One More Try

I’m a glutton for punishment. I want to give Vella one more try. I like the IDEA of a serialized story. I had fun loading one or two chapters on my weebly website when I had it, and my followers seemed to enjoy it, too. Vella is sort of the same concept, and this time, I’m going to write the story as I go. And I plan to enjoy myself.

My maybe not-so-brilliant idea is to work on Jazzi and Ansel during the week and to play with my Vella story on the weekend to post at least one chapter a week. If I can write a few chapters ahead, I should be fine. And if you’re shaking your head at me, I don’t blame you. But I have a story idea I like. Here’s a tiny tease.


Chapter 1

Sylwan rubbed sweat off her brow with her wrist.  She’d pulled her wavy, dark hair into a knot, to keep it off her neck.  It was early in the day and already hot.  She’d milked the goat and was getting ready to make cheese while Gudwif pickled vegetables from the garden.  Coblyr was adding more thatch to the hut’s roof when he called down, “Someone’s coming out of the woods.  He’s heading toward us.”

The two women stopped their work and stepped past the animal shed to see who was coming.  Someone young, not very tall, and he was swaying and stumbling as he neared them. 

“It’s Bronson!”  Coblyr scrambled down to them and rushed to his nephew before he fell.  The boy threw himself into his arms.  Sobs shook his body.

Sylwan and Gudwif ran behind Coblyr and stared at the smears of dirt and streaks of blood that covered him. 

“What happened?”  Sylwan stared at his bare feet and pajamas. 

“A monster.  It came from the water.  We ran outside to see who was screaming.”  His teeth chattered and he buried his face in Coblyr’s tunic. 

Voice gentle, Gudwif asked, “What kind of monster?”

“As tall as Sylwan, and three times as long, with a long tail.  Big jaws.  It snapped up people and ate them.”  He shivered.

“My brother?  Your family?”  Coblyr’s voice shook, but he held the boy close, trying to comfort him.

A tear made a trail down his cheek.  “Everyone was running, but no one was fast enough.  Mom made it inside the house.”

Gudwif’s expression looked hopeful.

“It broke down the door.” 

Solstice Retribution

I finished and loaded the last chapter of my urban fantasy novella. So far, Vella has been a bust for me, and I have no patience (ask my poor HH). I changed the cover and the tags, but I’m tired of waiting for even one reader to find my story there. In case readers are waiting for the entire thing to be available, I scheduled all of the remaining chapters to go live on August 3rd–a meaningful day for me,–my younger daughter’s birthday. But I don’t ;have high hopes that anyone’s going to look at it that day either. Which is fine.

I knew Vella was a high risk venture when I started it, but I didn’t expect it to be a total flop. I have insurance, though. If the novella stays a stillbirth, I’m giving it a few days and then I’m taking it down to self-publish on Amazon–for free. Muddy River is never a huge success, but I enjoy writing it. So I thought this was worth a shot. And visiting Raven and Hester again has been fun.

In the meantime, I polished the first five chapters of POSED IN DEATH and sent them off to my agent with a note that it’s not a cozy. She asked for a short synopsis, so maybe she’ll represent it. My agent is a saint. She’s stuck out the bumps with me. Even if she decides to give it a try, the next step is submitting it to various editors. And the long wait. Remember I said patience isn’t one of my virtues. I’m going to have to try to be virtuous. Ugh. But by then, I’ll be starting to write my next Jazzi and Ansel, and working on a new project helps me push visions of a million rejections out of my mind, especially when I’m working on an old favorite.

So August should be an interesting month for me. Hope it is for you, too–interesting in a good way, that is:)


I’ve been playing around with the idea of trying a serialized novel for Amazon’s new Kindle Vella program. If I try it, I’d put up one chapter a week for a Muddy River short novel. I used to post free chapters on my old Weebly site, but it got to be so much work, I had to give it up, even though I really enjoyed it. But I can only write so many words, and I ran out of time to post free pieces week after week and still finish novels in any decent length of time. I’ve already written nine chapters of SUMMER SOLSTICE RETRIBUTION, (my working title. It might change), so I’d have a little head start to give myself a safety net to meet a once a week deadline.

Writing a book, knowing it will be a week between one chapter and the next, has made me keenly aware of hooks and cliff hangers. I know that when you write ANY novel, you’re supposed to end each chapter with a hook, trying to entice the reader to start the next few pages in the next chapter, so that they never put the book down. I understand the concept, but the truth is, I read at the end of each day, and when the clock strikes midnight, I hardly ever have the energy to start a new chapter. But still, a great hook does make me more ready to pick up the book a little earlier the next night to see what happens. With a week between the chapters? I’m thinking I’d better have something decent to pull the reader back into the story. I’d better have good hooks and cliffhangers.

I have to admit that, in general, when I’m reading a series, I hate it when an author ends a book with a cliffhanger. It feels like a cheap gimmick to make me read the next book. It usually has the opposite effect for me. I no longer trust that author to deliver a satisfying ending on the new book either. I’m a no sale. But Vella is different. It’s ONE novel that’s serialized, so the ending should wrap up the story.

There’s no guarantee that Vella is going to be a success. There’s no certainty that readers will be attracted to Muddy River, but the idea appeals to me, so I think it’s worth a shot. I have an idea for a cover. If readers like it, Muddy River’s fun for me to write. So why not? I think Vella’s supposed to start this summer. I need to make up my mind whether to load my story or self-publish it as a regular short novel. Honestly, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t taken the time to decide. But I need to. In the meantime, I came up with two ideas for a cover. I’ve changed the title a little since I created them. Which do you like best? Or should I keep trying?

witch or no witch? Let me know what you think.