the series Hearts in Hazard & Into Death

the series Hearts in Hazard & Into Death
Last in Series Coming Soon!

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1st draft of The Hazard with Hearts (book 12 in the Hearts in Hazard series)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Running Behind and Looking Ahead

Well.  The title of this post is "Running Behind and Looking Ahead.

I'm running behind because my current mystery, The Hazard of Secrets, was supposed to be finished on the last day of June. Here it is 25 days later, and I'm still not finished.

For HoS, I have 5 to 7 more chapters to write. My expected word count was 55,000. I am currently at

When I look at the scenes that are necessary to finish the mystery and solve the crime and close the other threads, I think that word count is going to be closer to 70,000 than 65,000.

Throughout July and the tail end of June--the reason that I am running behind--I've only managed two days of creative writing each week. As I am looking ahead to the end of July, I see no time to write on Friday or Saturday or Sunday, and maybe a little time on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  This is the kind of thing that drives me crazy!

I've had tons of disruptions--and have used the time crowded around those disruptions (when the brain won't settle to creativity) to work on revisions--and have been contending with a back injury at the end of May. I just found out that the back injury is actually a broken rib. No wonder I've been hurting and not able to sleep the night through.

12th rib. A floating one. It's the bottom-most rib. Right there at my liver. Yikes!

When I launch into a year, I have a plan, the Yearly Plan, of what I hope to accomplish. For most of my teaching career, I over-scheduled. That helps when you're dealing with teen-agers: Idle hands and the devil's workshop and all that.


Based on my plan at the start of the year, I should be in the middle of my 11th Hearts in Hazard book, The Hazard for Spies. Well, no.

That plan also had me nearly finished with a writing craft book, Discovering Your Characters. I was supposed to be working slowly through that nonfiction book (5th in the Discovering / Think like a Pro Writer series). Nope. I have about 21,000 of an expected 35,000 guidebook. I know what needs to come next. I've got words roughed out, some merely sketched out, and the vaguest of ideas for the rest.

I re-adjusted by Yearly Plan at the start of June. I knew I was running behind on HoSecrets; I figured I would start H4Spies around July 20. I knew I was running behind on DiscChar; I figured I would finish it around July 30.

That ain't going to happen.

I may not have any words or even a tagline,
but I've got the H4S COVER!
Yes, I said ain't.

Now my whole Yearly Plan is thrown off. Gee whillikers.

Mysteries ~ 

Hazard of Secrets, new deadline: August 15.

Hazard for Spies, new deadline: October 15.

Hazard with Hearts, new deadline: December!

That will finish the 12-book Hearts in Hazard series. I've enjoyed Regency mysteries. I've discovered that I'm really not happy writing "suspense" and "scary" and that I prefer mysteries and vintage gothics a la Mary Stewart and Phyllis A. Whitney and Victoria Holt.

One of the things that I have wanted to do for this series is to turn them into real paperbacks. Holding the book (rather than the electronic device), flipping the pages, dipping in and out--that's a reader's true joy. So, converting the manuscripts to paperback is the plan for 2020.

As for the Rest of my Writing Year

Writing Craft Books ~

Discovering Your Characters, new deadline: August 15 (half-a-month behind)

Discovering Your Plot, new deadline, September 30 (30 days behind). 50% is already roughly written; the rest has notes and ideas and sketched points that should speed along.

Discovering Your Author Brand, new deadline ??? About 15% is roughly written. The rest will have to come from scratch.

Discovering Sentence Craft, new deadline ~ ??? May not make 2019, so early in 2020.

Fantasy ~ Me as Remi Black and Me as Edie Roones (Oooh, two for one).

I have two fantasy novellas that I want to write. I really, really enjoyed the one that I published in early May. Writing To Wield the Wind was inspired and inspiring. I'm going to enjoy returning to this world with parts 2 and 3 of this Enclave World series under my pseudonym of Remi Black.

I want to finish this series over the winter, so I'm hoping for the first in December and the second at the end of February.

These two novellas to finish the series will happen, even if it means the Writing Craft books are pushed back into 2020. That's okay. I want to bundle all five of the Discovering / Think like a Pro Writer books as ebooks as well as put them into paperback form. The paperback form wasn't going to be possible until 2020, so I'll just combine those projects into one big focus.

Poor Edie Roones is just sitting there, hanging out, waiting for her turn. I have the Sansward four-part series to finish, with Spring Magicks. I have ideas but nothing written. That's on schedule for 2020 as well.

2019 Becomes 2020

I need to finish the Isabella Into Death series with Portrait with Death. That's M.A. Lee. Maybe it will happen in 2020, maybe not.

M.A. Lee has 14 novels (as well as 4 nonfiction books) under that pseudonym. Finishing the Into Death series will put that number at 15. Ideas are popping up for the next series already. Geez, brain, slow down a little.

I need to devote more writing time to Remi Black and Edie Roones. I have two novellas under Remi Black that I am desperate to write as well as the last 3 Alstera / Enclave books. I have more ideas for the Edie Roones pseudonym, remaining focused on Medieval--fantasy and mystery as separate lines.

When I look at 2020, I see so much that I want to write already, and this is not even an official plan!

Heavens, LIFE IS GOOD!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

3rd Look, 3rd Character in The Hazard of Secrets

Writers can tell you that sometimes the story will take hold, and they're just along for the write.

One of the ways that the story takes hold is when a minor character demands more participation in a story. That character enters with a strong voice and full-blown personality and lobbies for scenes that belong solely to him.

In The Hazard of Secrets, that's the character Vic, a boy running the streets at the Liverpool waterfront. Enlisted by Clarey, he becomes a crucial part of the early story and returns for the last third, playing yet another crucial role.

Vic opens the novel. Here's his introduction.

Prologue ~ The Hazard of Secrets

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

2nd 1st Look from The Hazard of Secrets

Time for a look at the second protagonist in my newest book, The Hazard of Secrets.

Jem Baxter is hiding from past misdeeds with an assumed name when he encounters Clarey Parton and three members of a press gang working on the Liverpool waterfront in 1814.

And that's not even the major mystery of the story!

Here, meet Jem and Clarey joins forces to escape his impressment and her trafficking into a brothel in a very rough look at the second chapter.

Chapter 2 ~ The Hazard of Secrets

Friday, July 5, 2019

1st Look at Hazard of Secrets

June 30 was my wishful publish date for The Hazard of Secrets, but a life roll and additional characters have pushed publication back, either to July 10 or July 15.  I'm currently 93% finished!

I'll announce publication with a buy link on this page, on Writers Ink Books, and on my M. A. Lee Facebook page.  Watch for it!

As for now, here's a first and very rough look at my chief protagonist, Clarey, who has more than a few secrets when she encounters unexpected danger in the Liverpool of 1814.

First Chapter ~ The Hazard of Secrets

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

July is all about *The Hazard of Secrets*

Over on the M.A. Lee Facebook page is a freebie gift from my cover designers, the book cover as a 3D Facebook banner.

Somehow, these two images create movement on the Facebook page.  Check it out.

I don't know how it works, but it works!

The Danger of Secrets ~ Paperback Now Available

A baffling murder interrupts a charming romance in The Danger of Secrets . Too bad for Maddy and Gordon that secrets can kill.