The Ohio Series: Tori and the Townie

I had a rough time starting today. Had other things I had to do first (setting up for the Summer of Fiction Writing event), which made getting the words pretty rough at the start. 

But when Becky came in and we started running tens together, things picked up.

And today was interesting. 

My main character, Tori, saw a guy her first day in town that the first identified as a knob, who then demonstrated he probably had more to him than what shows on the exterior.

Today she ran into him again after tripping over what her grandmother had buried in the basement, and it turns out he knew of her existence. 

And the two of them took turns over coffee trying to figure out how much of what was going on the other one knew.

It was a fun couple of scenes. And left me in a good place for tomorrow.

Also, Tori named her kitten Gordon Malloy, after her favorite character on The Orville.

Also mine.

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SOFW: Goalsetting in progress now

While the actual Summer of Fiction Writing event doesn’t start until June first at 10 AM ET, folks are heading in now to set their goals — goals that are designed to give each writer work achievable in the time that writer has, and with the built-in leverage to get the work done.

These are nothing like all those New Year’s Resolutions that were dead by February 1st.

So if you want to actually achieve the thing you set out to do, sign in or create your free account at:

Then go here:

I’m using the step-by-step process for goal-setting that got me through my first novel before my 25th birthday — though I just barely made it.

But know what?

Just barely is good enough.

So go in, learn how to set meaningful, achievable goals you’ll hit — then figure out the goal you want to hit this summer (or winter, for my Down Under guys). And hang out with us. This is going to be an awesome three months for writing fiction.

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Yesterday was chaos, site issues over on, and constant interruption, so while I worked on the book, I didn’t hit my word goal. I did get 1391 words, which is still good.

Today, though… Today was pure joy. I got 2542 words that just flew off my fingertips, and made me laugh as they hit the page.

Lemme give you a chunk of my morning (with the caveats — this is copyrighted to me, don’t quote, this is first draft and subject to change, don’t report errors because this is raw first draft):

There was a smaller box inside. It was bright green, with bold orange letters that said, “Instant Mover in a Box” and the contrast between the green and the orange made my eyes water just a little bit.

The picture on the box showed a can with a partially lifted lid, and suitcases, furniture, clothes, and other things pouring out from the inside in a steady stream. I raised an eyebrow.
Lifted the smaller box from inside the bigger box. It had a decidedly gag-gift look to it.

There was a note taped to one side of the box which read, Open this when you’re ready to be done with us. LOL! Love, The Gang

I grinned.

Somebody had gone shopping at Spencer’s.

Cops collectively have a weird sense of humor — it’s born of seeing humanity at both their absolute best and their absolute worst, from knowing what bullshit looks like from wading through it all day every day, from knowing that any moment of any day could be the instant that something benign goes bad and you end up dead without warning.

So whatever my comrades in arms back in Miami had put in the can was, I was pretty sure, going to jump out at me.

Or was going to smell terrible.

Or was going to make an incredibly loud noise.

Probably all three.

I chuckled.

Opened the box, lifted out the can, which did weigh just about enough to have something springy and noisy inside that was going to explode out at me when I opened it.

Again… not my first rodeo.

I sat on the couch, wedged the can between my knees, aimed the lid part toward the imaginary co-worker who’d bought it for me — probably Sarge, who fucking loved practical jokes — and lifted the lid.

And two things happed at the same time, neither of which included a spring-loaded giant paper snake or confetti.

A small, adorable, very alive kitten jumped out of the can.

Upstairs in Mom’s old bedroom, something exploded.

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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.


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Last week I wrote a stand-alone ending for Dead Man’s Party.

This week, because I had one week and one chapter left, I wrote a series ending, and showed how I built out pieces of story that do not exist in the first draft, but that, if I decide I want Dead Man’s Party to be the first book in a series — (all perhaps with titles of songs by Oingo Boingo…) — I could do that. 

The writing went well, and now the novel, completely finished in first draft whether I want to write it as a stand-alone one-off or as a series, gets a 30-day (or slightly more) breather before I head into revising it.

Which means Monday is now an open fiction writing day.

Wednesdays through Fridays are all The Ohio Series, Book One.

Tuesday is going to stay Marketing Tuesday. I need it. A lot.

Monday, though…


Starting next Monday, I’m rereading and annotating Moon & Sun — both The Ruby Key and The Silver Door, and out of them pulling the characters, worldbuilding, and conflicts I need to resolve in book three, which WON’T be called The Emerald Sun, but which I’ll be calling that for now, until I’ve finished the first draft.

Once I have that done, I’ll start writing M&S III on Mondays. It won’t be finished terribly quickly. But this way, it will finally get done.


The completion of my demo novel ALSO finishes the writing portions of my How to Write a Novel class.

This week I’ll be building Lesson 38, in which I show folks who have finished their first novel how to streamline and adapt the processes in the course into their own personal, flexible, reusable novel-writing system.

And then I’ll be building the Class Bonus. Still three days left to go on the vote on that, and there are still some folks who have not voted.

And the voting for the top few possibilities is CLOSE.

I’ll be building a lot of the other suggestions as inexpensive paid workshops or little classes. Not all. But there were a lot of really good ideas folks came up with in suggesting what they wanted as their included bonus, and I think a lot of other folks might find them helpful, too.

Not going to say anything that might influence the voting (like hinting what the leaders are at the moment).

HOWEVER… This is everything on the ballot

  • How to brainstorm and create bonus stories to promote a novel or series
  • My personal Getting Shit Done daily writing system, in detail
  • Behind the Scenes: DMP and the No One True Way novel-writing process
  • 25 Alternative Idea-Generating Methods for Novels
  • How to Resurrect and Complete Your Hard Drive Zombies (So They Stop Eating Your Braaaaainz)
  • How to Turn a Stand-Alone Novel into a Series
  • Tutorial: Getting Your Novel Into Print
  • The Conflict Resource: The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of Great Conflict 
  • Interweaving Multiple Story Threads in Big, Complex Novels
  • Alternatives to and Adaptations for the Provisional Outline

And these were the five suggestions that were more broadly applicable that I kept off the ballot. I will probably to them as stand-alones.

  • How to Find Your Home Genre
  • Writing at Production Pace
  • How to Work Around POV Limitations
  • How to Foreshadow and Misdirect in Fiction

And this thing I think I’ll just do as a freebie for everyone:

  • My Favorite Writing Tools, Services, and Stuff
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Overhauling the site

As you might have guessed (by the fact that everything is broken), I’m overhauling the site.

I’m having a miserable, cussing, growling, horrible time of it.

On the bright side, the site now loads fast.

On the dark side — everyfuckingthing else is dark side.

EVERYTHING. The blog is not on its page. The first few articles are linked here on the front page, but the past twenty years of posts? Good luck finding those. I can’t.

Writing Articles? Nope. Going to have to hand-link every single article on the Writing Stuff page.

Sidebars? Nope.

Plugins? Nope.

If I could go back, I’m so frustrated and angry and miserable trying to use documentation that doesn’t answer my questions that I’d  almost certainly return to the shitty, way-too-slow site.

But I can’t. I knew I’d end up here, so I DELETED the old set-up so I couldn’t go back.


I’m too pissed off to work on this any further today. I’ll come in, see if I can get a few things fixed tomorrow. My day off. Going to be a while before I have one of those again, I think.

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While I did not get a lot of words today — we have a bit of nice chaos going on here at the moment — the ones I got were good.

First, cookies rear their dangerous heads in my fiction again, this time cookies that apparently have just a hint of magic to them.

Second, I found out what was in the locked third freezer.

NOT what I expected.

Way cooler than what I imagined. So…

Here’s a tiny teaser from what I got today. Your set-up for the snippet is this — my cop MC is sitting on the lid of the third freezer in her dead grandmother’s basement, from which she just cut off a lock — and once she’s seen what was inside, is now holding it down until help arrives. Mr. Yeager was her grandmother’s lawyer. Or so he says…

A corpse, I thought, would have been a lot less worrisome. I would have known how to deal with that.

I had my cell phone in its holster. I pulled it out, and I called Mr. Yeager. When he answered, I said, “I have a deal for you. Go to a hardware store and buy me a keyed medium ABUS brass shrouded padlock, bring it to me in Grandma’s basement, don’t ask any questions about what I’m doing, and I will bake you a batch of cookies.”

I heard a pause on the other end. “How many cookies in a batch?”

“A dozen,” I said.

“I’ll do it for two dozen.”

Mr. Yeager still wasn’t convincing me of his lawyer-ness. But I began to see where he might play one on TV.

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Had a LOT of things going today, all of which were important, some of which were urgent, and all of which collided with my words.

But I did get 1408, and I’m now on Chapter 4.

And Tori got her bolt cutters, took the lock off the basement freezer, opened it, closed it again, and is now sitting on top of the freezer wishing she’d bought a replacement lock while she was at Wal-Mart.

What’s in the freezer?

Dunno. But I’m going to find out tomorrow. Should make for an interesting writing day.

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To help writers beat the summer doldrums, I’m going to be hosting a Summer of Fiction Writing event on (HWC).

During this three-month writing party, (June 1st – August 31st) folks in the free HCW writers’ community:

  • Will focus on helping newer writers create smaller start-to-finish projects written in the months of June, July, and August, while helping more experienced writers create and complete larger projects
  • Will have “involve your kids” support — I’ll put together a free downloadable Superhero Summer activity PDF that lets younger writers — male and female — invent cool characters, build the worlds they inhabit, make fitting dangers for their superhero to fight, and learn some fiction skills at a very basic level while doing this, so parents who want to write and have children out of school for the summer can let the kids do something cool, too. (No kids on the forum, however. We are an adult community that occasionally deals with subjects that are NOT kid-friendly.)
  • Will support finishing existing hard-drive zombies (possibly with a new How to Revive Your Hard Drive Zombies workshop toward the end IF I can make the time AND if that doesn’t become the How to Write a Novel class bonus — voting isn’t going in that direction at the moment, but it’s way too soon to call it)
  • Will have dedicated event threads in the main discussion board
  • Will focus on helping writers set achievable goals and then achieve them in three months
  • Will be a free event with a limited-time participant signature pip and a blog badge for everyone who participates, AND upgraded “Hit My Goal” pip and blog badge for folks who hit their goals

This will be Holly’s Writing Classes’  first home-grown event.

This 3-month writing event will let participants use any of my paid or free classes or workshops, as well as any of the free PDF workshops I have here on my personal site.

All of the workshops above are available as nicely formatted, downloadable, printable PDFs — just scroll to the bottom of the page you want and select the Download as PDF option.

Our objective in the writing community will be — first —  to set our own goals and then hit them, and — second — to help you set goals that you can reach within the time limit, and then encourage you to post them, to hit them, and to join us in supporting other folks while hitting our OWN summer goals.

Want to get in early and help us brainstorm the upcoming three months, and get a head start on figuring out what you want to start AND finish in that time?

Go to and sign in or create your free account right from the front page.

Then come in and hang out with us here: The SOFW Event Thread.

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First Rewards for my supporters announced on Ko-fi

My Ko-Fi account funds my fiction writing.

At the moment it’s funding less than an hour a day, but I am getting close to hitting that first goal.

So today I announced the first rewards.

Anyone who has funded me on Ko-fi EVER (who is not a family member or one of my indie contractors) is eligible to win. 

I’m pleased to be able to start doing some things for my supporters (besides writing fiction), and grateful for your your support.

I’ll go into more detail on upcoming rewards over on the Ko-Fi blog. One of the things is discovered from my survey here is that a lot of folks have cool ideas for rewards, and I want to do most of them.

But again, more on that in another Ko-Fi post.

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