the series Hearts in Hazard & Into Death

the series Hearts in Hazard & Into Death

Progress Meter

1st draft of The Hazard of Secrets (book 10 in the Hearts in Hazard series)
1st draft of Discovering Your Characters (book 5 in the Think like a Pro Writer series)

My Amazon Author Page

amazon.com/author/malee

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Discovering Your Novel ~ Newest Release


What kind of writer are you?  Planner or Plotter?  Pantster?  Puzzler?  Muse Muffin?

Whether you use the mosaic method or a chronological one, whether you outline every scene or let the words flow, the method does not matter.  What matters is the end goal.

So, what’s the end goal with your writing?  Just to write?  To publish?  Fame and fortune?

Plenty of frittery flutter-bys write and write and go nowhere.  As for fame and fortune, those can’t be guaranteed.

However, when your goal is publication, Discovering Your Novel is the guidebook to help you overcome the Sisyphean task of first word to publication.

With the goal of completing a novel in 52 weeks, this guidebook can be self-paced or tracked week by week for persistent success.
·         If you have a half-completed manuscript that you’re lost in, use the Foundations and Visioning sections to work your way out of the labyrinth.
·         If the story’s a mucky mire more like quicksand than a novel you can build on, use the Analysis section to clear away the mud and weeds.
·         Like a long ball of string, the multiple charts will help you keep track of where you’ve been and where you will head next.  Printable charts are available for free at the website address provided in the guidebook
·         When you complete the manuscript, what do you do next?  The sections on Harvesting and Finishing answer these questions as they guide you to creating a professional career as a writer.

Launch your writing journey at your current location on the publishing road—incipient idea or character sketches or story plan or struggling manuscript or completed novel looking into publication.

Track your progress with daily word counts recorded on the charts.

Learn the devices and definitions that pro writers have swirling in their heads.

Maintain the discipline and preparation that keeps pro writers at work, no matter the interruptions.

Writer M.A. Lee meandered along the road of unfinished manuscripts and completed novels with nowhere to publish for many years before she decided to drive to her own destiny.  If you’re tired of gatekeepers and pay-to-play schemes, if you’re weary of elitist traditional publishers and you’re eager to jump on the self-publishing juggernaut, then Discovering Your Novel will give the guidance you need.

Sample pages are available at www.writersinkbooks.com.  Purchase at this link.

No ghostwriters or work-for-hire writers or other collaborators are ever used in the writing of M.A. Lee’s books.








Saturday, March 30, 2019

350,000 Words: Stop NaNoWriMo Playing, Start Publishing

From the Raison d'Etre section of my newest writers guidebook, Discovering Your Novel.



How many miles have you traveled on the road to writing your novel?  If you’re not far on that road, Discovering Your Novel will help you drive through those problems.
if you keep backing up, if your engine stalls, if the myriad of roads confuse you, then

No one else can write the novel of your head and heart.  That’s a road you have to find and follow.  Yet this workbook, like a mountain guide, can guide your journey to publication.

Publication is the goal, isn’t it?  Not just to write but to share your writing through publication.

I ask because I recently met a NaNoWriMo[1] participant ecstatic about her eighth year of participation after “winning” for the previous seven years.  Winning means that she achieved the word-count requirement.  In seven years she’d written 350,000 words (minimum) yet still had nothing published.

350,000 words.

Let that sink in.  Most novels are around 75,000 words, with the epics around 120,000.  That’s at least four good-sized books, or three-plus epics.  This writer may have submissions to agents and editors with traditional publishers or small presses.  All I truly know is that she still wasn’t published.  7 years & 350,000 words and not published.

Ouch.

. . . .

If you're tired of playing at writing and want to start publishing, but ....

If the book you're writing seems to be going nowhere ....

If the plot is scrambled or the process fried you up ....

Discovering Your Novel can help.  Check out the Table of Contents in the Look Inside feature of Amazon to see if my guidebook has the guidance you need.








[1] NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month, every year in November.  The group that runs NaNoWriMo (pronounced Nano-Rhi-Moh) has a website with all sorts of templates for your perusal and playtime.  Writers who sign up to participate have to write 50,000 words in one month, which is about 1666 daily.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Browsing Books

I used to love browsing bookstores.  I would go inside a cozy retailer and browse the genre sections of mystery and fantasy.  I could spend hours, and I would drop much more money than I should have with every visit.

Then bookstores got bigger and less cozy until they felt like a big box store.  The people helping no longer knew anything about the books.  If they couldn't find it on the computer database, they didn't know what to do.

I miss small bookstores where the owner at least knew something about the book or knew who else liked those books.  Even visiting Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, a mecca for book lovers, didn't recall those wonderful old days of the small cozy bookstore with an in-the-know owner.

Oh well.

It's still possible to sample a book before purchasing, from the coziness of your living room.  This is one of the reasons that I first loved Amazon as an online book retailer.  The LOOK INSIDE feature allows readers to taste a book before they buy.

Here are two images from the Amazon website and the link to my book's page.






Thursday, March 28, 2019

DiscNovel: What are you waiting for?

If you've traveled the hard road of writing a novel only to turn back because the journey seems too hard, then my newest guidebook Discovering Your Novel is for you.

Here are two more sample charts as well as the link to the online retailer Amazon.  Available in ebook format only.




Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Discovering Your Novel: Another Sample

Here's another sample of a chart from the Foundations section of my newest writer guidebook Discovering Your Novel.



Purchase Here.



Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Discovering Your Novel: The Foundations

Here is the link to the Foundations charts that occur in my newest writer guidebook, Discovering Your Novel.

Foundations Chart


Monday, March 25, 2019

Just Released! Pro Writer Advice

Just released is my Discovering Your Novel guidebook, 

for any writer struggling to get through a manuscript and publish it.

What kind of writer are you?  Planner or Plotter?  Pantster?  Puzzler?  Muse Muffin?

Whether you use the mosaic method or a chronological one, whether you outline every scene or let the words flow, the method does not matter.  What matters is the end goal.

So, what’s the end goal with your writing?

Just to write?  To publish?  Fame and fortune?

Plenty of frittery flutter-bys write and write and go nowhere.  As for fame and fortune, those can’t be guaranteed.

However, when your goal is publication, Discovering Your Novel is the guidebook to help you overcome the Sisyphean task of first word to publication.

With the goal of completing a novel in 52 weeks, this guidebook can be self-paced or tracked week by week for persistent success.
·         If you have a half-completed manuscript that you’re lost in, use the Foundations and Visioning sections to work your way out of the labyrinth.
·         If the story’s a mucky mire more like quicksand than a novel you can build on, use the Analysis section to clear away the mud and weeds.
·       Like a long ball of string, the multiple charts will help you keep track of where you’ve been and where you will head next.  Printable charts are available for free at the website address provided in the guidebook
·         When you complete the manuscript, what do you do next?  The sections on Harvesting and Finishing answer these questions as they guide you to creating a professional career as a writer.

Launch your writing journey at your current location on the publishing road—incipient idea or character sketches or story plan or struggling manuscript or completed novel looking into publication.

Track your progress with daily word counts recorded on the charts.

Learn the devices and definitions that pro writers have swirling in their heads.

Maintain the discipline and preparation that keeps pro writers at work, no matter the interruptions.

I meandered along the road of unfinished manuscripts and completed novels with nowhere to publish for many years before I decided to drive to my own destiny.

If you’re tired of gatekeepers and pay-to-play schemes, if you’re weary of elitist traditional publishers and you’re eager to jump on the self-publishing juggernaut, then Discovering Your Novel will give the guidance you need.

Sample pages are available at www.writersinkbooks.com.

No ghostwriters or work-for-hire writers or other collaborators are ever used in the writing of M.A. Lee’s books.





Wednesday, March 13, 2019

W.Ink Glimpse of Newest Book

Just published is The Key with Hearts, my take on a vintage gothic romance with the writing seed before in a Regency romance.

If you want a taste of the novel, Writers Ink has the first chapter.  Find it here.

Writing The Key with Hearts was pure pleasure.  The words poured onto the page so quickly I sometimes felt caught in a flood.

Interested?  Purchase here.


Monday, March 11, 2019

Happy Birthday!

Publication Anniversary



On this date in 2017, I published The Danger for Spies.



Happy 2nd Birthday.  Join Eugenie and Charles, Toby and Melly as they confront murderous French spies.

Find the book on Amazon.  Watch the trailer here.

Monday, March 4, 2019

More Inspiration for Key with Hearts

My recent release, The Key with Hearts, opens with an attempted murder.

Our heroine's life is saved because of Sparky, her border terrier.

Having recently fallen in love with a miniature dachshund, I just had to incorporate a dog into the novel.  The question was which dog?  I needed a breed known in Yorkshire in the early 1800s, which is the basic setting frame of the book.

Off on research I headed and settled on this cute bundle of love.

The border terrier, considered a small dog, is friendly and non-aggressive although it will stake its territory and defend those it loves.  According to wikipedia, it's intelligent and eager to please yet still rather stubborn--in the most charming way, of course.

He will defend his territory and is adaptable to change which are the perfect characteristics for Sparky, who would need to move with his mistress to a new home and then defend her with his quick observation of danger and clever solution that saves her.

The mini doxie that has entered my life--my nephew's dog--is also intelligent and eager to please and stubborn--in the most charming way.  Never in my life would I have expected to so love a little ball of fur--he is so cute when he curls around in a ball and takes a long nap.  Funny how the world turns around on you.

Here he is, as a puppy, napping.  He now fills this little doggy bed.  He has also claimed the rug.  It's his safe base, sanctuary when he is being chased.

And here he is, getting in trouble by taking over the pack leader's chair.



If interested in more information or to purchase The Key with Hearts, you can find it at this link.


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Inspiration for the Newest

Where do stories come from?

Writers get asked that question a lot.  I mean, A LOT!

Even though I'm only one of the many, I can tell you that writers get their inspiration from MANY sources.  Those sources may swirl around for years, seemingly lost in a chaotic vortex.  Then the ideas pop out at the strangest times.

Just released ! is The Key with Hearts, Book 9 in the Hearts in Hazard series of Regency mysteries.  I can point to several things were inspiration for this novel.

And after the months and months that I slaved over The Key for Spies (released last month), I expected the writing to be another slow go.  I was wrong, so wrong.  Writing The Key with Hearts was pure pleasure.  The words just poured out, so rapidly that I could barely keep up.

I don't know if the months of K4Spies allowed my ideas for KwHearts to germinate.  All I know is that I had none of my previous difficulties.

Inspiration for KWHearts

I started reading before first grade.  My sister Diane taught me before I started school.  I used to get in trouble during reading circle.  I didn't want my classmates to sound out and learn words I already knew;  I wanted to get on with the story LOL.

I turned from the reading primers to the Bobbsey Twins then Trixie Belden and on to Nancy Drew.

Then I discovered my mother's books.

In those days, vintage gothic romances were more like today's romantic suspense, with no paranormal elements.  A young woman was in jeopardy, and in the best books--chiefly by Mary Stewart--that young woman often got herself out of the trouble she was in even as she fell in love with an appropriately handsome young man of honor.

In my Hearts in Hazard series--KWH is book 9--I've visited some of those vintage gothics:  smugglers and spies, women in jeopardy, mysteries with murder.

I wrote about these inspirations in a blog earlier this year.  For this blog--since my next book is clamoring to be written--I'll just give you some cover images.  Herewith:  inspirations!


I can remember being terrified while I read this classic gothic but being so young that I didn't quite understand the reason for my terror.


I haven't read this one, but Dorothy Eden was definitely a writer that I enjoyed.  Most of the ones that I read by her were contempories, except for Dark Water.



I came late to Barbara Michaels, picking up her gothics only after I buzzed through her Amelia Peabody series, which she wrote under the pen name of Elizabeth Peters.


This Georgette Heyer isn't a gothic with a young woman in jeopardy.  However, it concerns a convenient marriage, and that's the tagline for my book:  A convenient marriage inconveniently causes murder.  In this book by Heyer, no murder is allowed to disrupt the proper English marriage.

My favorite all-time writer remains Mary Stewart, and these are three of her best--with the very covers I had!








Friday, March 1, 2019

Just Published!

Just Published

The Key with Hearts


The ink's not quite dry on my newest release!

So NEW that Amazon has just now provided a link to the sale page.
For now, the book is available exclusively at Amazon.


Tackling the Monsters: Overcoming Project Hydras

For Projects that are Monsters


Like Novels or Website Builds

This unassuming little booklet is absolutely GREAT when you have to tackle Project-based To-Do lists.

The left side is a check off.  On the right is a Gantt Chart to denote progress.


If you haven't met a Gantt Chart, it functions like a progress meter.  You can denote Started, In Progress, and Completed in 12 segments.  OR you can use the Gantt Chart as a monthly calendar.  (The developers even have little numbers to help the page function as a calendar--I prefer the Gantt Chart method.)

I like this method. I can set a project per 2-page spread then breakdown that project into its various segments and track each segment to completion.

I wish I had had this for the Great Website Rebuild last summer. That project had so many different segments that it was like fighting a many-headed hydra or herding cats (please see that commercial ;) or maybe the GWR was both hydra and cat related. It’s done!  I'm happy.).

This booklet would have made unnecessary all those sticky notes that kept getting lost under the normal daily undertakings.

Now I know to get this United Bee To-Do booklet for such multi-segmented hydra or cat-herding projects. I am well prepared for the future. And it serves just as well for my day-to-day smaller projects.

Thank you, developers at United Bees


While this links to Amazon, I am not affiliated nor do I receive money if you click this link.

The Ever-Expanding Novel

I love writing . . .  Even when the story takes hold and throws my whole schedule off. I have a schedule, by the way, to give me hop...