Marketing Tuesday & Fiction + Classes Wednesday

By Holly Lisle

Here’s what I did yesterday for Marketing Tuesday:

  • A new cover for Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood:

Hunting The Corrigan's Blood - New Cover

  • A new cover for Warpaint:

New cover for Warpaint

And I worked on getting the books out wide. Not done yet, but I’ll work on that more today.


The first thing I did was get 2187 new words on Tori and her increasingly weird problem, which includes Mr. Yeager getting absolutely shitfaced on a bag of fresh cookies she baked for him and passing out on her floor.

But it also includes him telling her how her mother died. And why.

Good fiction day.

So now I’m going to see if I can fix the front page of this site. And then, work on the LAST lesson of How to Write a Novel. Which is going to be open for registration all of June at the current (NOT completed) price. It’s part of what I’m doing for our Summer of Fiction Writing event.


Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

The Wishbone Conspiracy: Accidentally finished the novel today

By Holly Lisle

This is awkward.

You have plans when you’re writing a novel, you know what you’re writing toward, you’re moving along at your planned pace, doing your planned scenes, and you start writing a scene you know was coming and have been looking forward to writing…

And your MUSE shows you a character you have been writing about in emails, and writing toward in this book…

And the face you see is not the face you expected.

Oh, boy… not even a little bit.

You read what you just wrote, and you think… “What the hell? Where did that come from?”

And you can’t even delete it, because it’s RIGHT.

It isn’t what you planned, but just as in life, fiction happens while you’re making other plans.

When your plans weren’t as good as reality, you just shut up and keep writing.

As for how this happens…?

The good, solid, gripping surprise that blindsides you, the writer, comes from your right brain asking questions you don’t hear, playing around with edges and corners of your story and your story world that your conscious mind isn’t considering, knowing things your Inner Editor doesn’t…

And when your Right-Brain Muse commits this startling change, your Inner Editor reads it, and instead of slapping the Muse with well-deserved admonishment for wrecking a perfectly good plan, it just mutters, “Damn, I wish I’d thought of that.”

And you end the first draft of your novel ten thousand words and about a week and a half early.

For me, ending short of my planned word count is not actually a problem.

I always run long in revision — always end up adding in scenes to create some foreshadowing for important bits (and today’s little revelation is going to need some of that) and tying things together, because I want to make sure my characters don’t drop, “Suddenly, TRAIN” on anyone’s head.

I am, in other words, not the jerk my MUSE is — the one who just dropped “Suddenly, TRAIN” on mine.

So for at least one week, I’ll let The Wishbone Conspiracy sit. Since I’m not on a hard deadline, I’ll probably be better off it I let it sit for a month.

And then, when I’ve recovered from the shock of actually being done with the first draft, and have had a chance to let all the words get cold, I’ll print it off and revise it.

As Fridays go? So far, this one is… remarkable.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

The Wishbone Conspiracy: 2014 words, and sneaking up on my ending

By Holly Lisle

Today I discovered something I did not know — that the layered conspiracy that pulled Cady and her allies into danger did so with way more initial planning than I’d realized.

That the horrifying crimes she uncovered and solved might have just been a convenient way for someone to get her in front of a much bigger and much older secret — something that has been legally murdering people for a couple hundred years.

There are two big questions I don’t have answers for yet.

The first is: Why has it been brought to light now?

And the second is: EXACTLY why was it hidden in the first place?

I get a little shivery just thinking about the depth of deceit involved in this, and about what sort of terrifying secret might be tucked away at the back of it.

I’ll get the answer to the first question by the end of this novel.

The second question?

That’s bigger. A lot bigger. And the thing I think every time I look at it is… “When they find the answers, my folks had better be ready for the consequences.”

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

The Wishbone Conspiracy: 2094 words, and a bit of grimdark at the end

By Holly Lisle

Started rough, ended well.

That’s been a theme lately. I love the words I got, but just getting started getting them was an uphill run blindfolded.

Once my guys started Shooting To Thrill, and came Back in Black, though, my fingers got moving and did not stop.

And at that point, I had the story twist on me in a couple of places and connect with my own childhood and personal experience at one point (look for the mention of Achilles tendons — I sliced my right one in two when I was seven, and pulled the details of the experience into a fight scene in this novel.

But this day’s writing went dark. A murderer was exposed, and with him the details of the murders. And (very light but suggestive) details of what the killer was doing while his victims died.

I creeped myself out.

Just saying… The places were I have said the least, like the Danya and the wolves scene in Diplomacy of Wolves have been the ones where I have taken the worst beatings from readers. In every case, it’s been because I have given no details, and have left my readers to fill them in from their own imaginations.

I suspect this is going to be another of THOSE scenes.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

The Wishbone Conspiracy: Still in the exciting “first ending” bits

By Holly Lisle

Herog decided to be difficult this morning.

I had what he was going to do all nicely planned out, and then it didn’t go the way I’d planned at all.

Cady is now in a bad situation that’s about to get worse, Herog is in a dreadful situation that he might not be able to handle, the first part of the truth about the Wishbone Conspiracy has been revealed as a fraud and NOBODY wants to believe their own eyes or their own senses, and while I know things that need to happen next, I have no clue right now how they’re going to happen.

Things have the potential to get very messy and to throw some pain and heartbreak at people I like.

Tomorrow is going to be an interesting writing day. (Where the definition of “Interesting” is… Oh, crap. How do I fix the mess I made?)

Oh, yeah. And while it took me way to long to get them, I got 2054 words. And I am very happy with them — at least, if tomorrow I can figure my way out of this mess.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

The Wishbone Conspiracy: Down to the wire on Plot One…

By Holly Lisle

Today was fun. I got 2024 words, two complete scenes, and am now rolling out the end game for the part of the story that I haven’t been hiding. 

I’ve hinted a couple times at the part I have been hiding — it’s cheating if you don’t.

But by the end of this week, I should have the obvious story neatly wrapped up — and be getting into the complicated, scary, “conspiracy” part of the story at full speed, and with my usual wicked glee.

I’m so excited about Cady — and where she and her team are heading next.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

The Wishbone Conspiracy: The twist that took me by surprise

By Holly Lisle

Had a hard time getting going today, but something Becky mentioned in one of our recent podcasts (with derision and loathing) turned out to be a step that helped…

Her comment? A reminder that at one time I’d written to an eternally looped version of Classical Gas played by Mason Williams. That was back in the days when I was on publisher deadlines, we were eternally broke, and I was writing ten to twelve hours at a stint.

Today I was having a hard time hitting flow, so I dug Classical Gas out of mothballs, put it back on in Infinite Loop mode…

And just like that, the words flew.

My Muse knows that Classical Gas means, “You’re going to sit here until you get the damned words—“ and it has gotten much better about getting the damned words. <insert happy grin here>

And I don’t have to do ten thousand a day, which makes the right-brain Muse much happier. So.

Got 2177, which puts me at 50,420 words total…

Which means that I only have 19,580 words left to finish the novel.

I could run longer on the book, of course. I often do.

But the story is coming together the way I want it to, it’s hitting the things I need to hit in the places where I need to hit them, and the totally unexpected twist that landed at the end of today’s words won’t add length to the story. Depth, definitely. And a bit of unexpected extra conflict.

Was a good, good writing Friday. 😀

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

The Wishbone Conspiracy: Cady comes up with a terrible idea — 2101 words

By Holly Lisle

Today went well, and when I say that, I say it with a positively evil laugh.

The little secret I’ve hinted at in the Settled Space series emails is now open knowledge to Cady and her team. Well, the fact that Cady has a problem is now open knowledge. 

The person behind the problem remains well hidden.

So Cady and her folks are faced with the OTHER problem, the immediate one, where the guy who’s massacring tons of folks — and getting away with it — is going to keep getting away with in unless they figure out a way to stop him.

And Cady has come up with a dreadful idea that is the only idea that might work for solving the mass murderer problem. 

I’ll note, however, that it is a very, very bad idea.

So I’ve just realized it’s about time to bring Herog back into the picture.


GOOD story day. 

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

And I’m back to fiction, and Wishbone… Kind of…

By Holly Lisle

Got 1883 words of the 2000 I’d planned for the day. Had, however, a brutal time getting anything done at all.

Have been fasting since Sunday, (just water and coffee and a bit of salt), and today my focus was just gone. So I broke my fast with some pecans and cheese.

Tomorrow will be a better writing day.

Did love what I got on The Wishbone Conspiracy, though.

The scene is coming together beautifully, and with a hint of external, hidden evil that’s creeping into a discussion about a monster Cady and her team just shut down.

And I did get one solid idea about the main character down in my Ohio Series notebook. The Ohio Series is just a conceptual working title, by the way, and NOT what the series will come out under.

Setting up now to start on Lesson 32 of How to Write a Novel.

So outta here until tomorrow. 😀

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

Why I shut down my Patreon fundraiser

By Holly Lisle

I’d intended to send a Questions & Answers email to my How to Write a Novel launch list, but that’s going to have to wait.Instead, I did THIS.

Closed my “Move out of Florida while writing fiction” fundraiser.

Here’s why — it’s this clause in the Patreon Legal Agreement

By posting content to Patreon you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your content.

Understand that I read that clause and all the rest of them before signing up.

BUT… I’m not a lawyer, and I understood that clause to mean that Patreon was claiming the right to use my Patreon-created content (in other words, my POSTS) to promote the site.

I DID NOT think that they were claiming the right to use and abuse the content I was giving my patrons. In this case, three monthly chapters of the raw first draft of one of my current novels in progress, Dead Man’s Party.

A friend emailed me with a link to this post, however:

Turns out, I was wrong. Patreon is claiming rights to my novel.

So I’m out. I sent the first copy of this email to my patrons using a private Patreon post, and then I shut down my Patreon fundraiser, and am now trying to figure out how to actually close my account.

I’m not letting this kill my dream of moving us out of Florida…
…(hopefully before the next hurricane, if not the start of the hurricane season).

How you can help, if you want to —

I have created original classes ranging from under ten dollars to way over a hundred. If one of the classes I offer could help you, then you buying it would help me.


*** How to Write a Novel ***

(IN LAUNCH: On sale ONLY through Tuesday APRIL 8 — Final Discount Launch)

How to Revise Your Novel:

How to Write a Series:

How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers:

WRITING CRAFT SERIES (Each class is under $10)

Create a Character Clinic:

Create A Plot Clinic:

How to Write Page-Turning Scenes:

WORLDBUILDING SERIES (Each class is under $10)

Create A Language Clinic:

Create a Culture Clinic:

Create a World Clinic:


How to Write Short Stories:

How to Write Villains:

How to Write Dialogue with Subtext:

Title Cover Copy Marketing Basics:

How to Find Your Writing Discipline:

How to Find Your Writing Voice:

How to Motivate Yourself:

Beat Writer’s Block:


How to Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck



You can help out by buying some of my indie-published fiction.


Light Through Fog:


Strange Arrivals:


Fire in the Mist:

Bones of the Past:

Mind of the Magic:



Both of the Cadence Drake novels Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood and Warpaint, are off sale while I come up with new titles and new cover art for them, and new key words, descriptions, and other marketing that allows me to correctly put them in front of the audience that likes a few vampires and a bit of horror with its spaceships.

The Longview Chronicles (complete Series) is in the same universe — still dark, but without the vampires:

Or you can get the individual stories:

Born from Fire:

Suzee Delight:

Philosopher Gambit:

Gunslinger Moon:

Vipers’ Nest:

The Owner’s Tale:


Minerva Wakes:


Author Page:

Midnight Rain:

Last Girl Dancing:

I See You:

I have much more fiction that’s commercially published, or which is out of print and has reverted to me, but which I have not yet republished.

I’m not linking to ANY of that fiction, because your purchase of used books or books where publishers haven’t paid royalties in years will not help me.

So there we are.

I want to thank all my patrons again, and I am so sorry that I had to do this, but there is no way I can permit this:

Excerpted from Patreon Legal Terms

You keep full ownership of all content that you post on Patreon, but to operate we need licenses from you.

By posting content to Patreon you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your content. 

No. Just NO.

P.S. I have had one of my Patreon patrons already ask me how she could continue to support me on a monthly basis.

Here’s the answer I gave her:

“I’ll look into what’s available. Right now, I’m crushed to discover the rights Patreon actually claimed, and worried about getting involved with any other site. So I’m in limbo. You’ll find my blog at I’ll be keeping my folks there up to date on how I deal with this. It sucks.

Hugs, and thank you for asking.”

Why is EVERYBODY on my blog, my mailing list, and in my forums getting this?

Because if you know me, you’re probably either a reader or a writer. If you’re a writer, you may be considering using Patreon, and you need to know. If you’re a reader considering funding someone on Patreon, THEY need to know.

And this is the ugliest, broadest rights-grab I have personally ever seen. Or sadly, been caught up in.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved