Streamlining During Chaos: Fiction? YES.

Nothing is yet cast in stone… but in about a week the full force of this particular Chaos Storm is going to hit. The Current ChaosTM is pretty close to becoming the Big Right On Top Of Me Chaos — a state that could last from a best case of one month to a worst case of maybe three. 

(See me bravely ignoring the “Wanna bet on that worst case?” utterance from my Muse, who has ridden this train before.)

I can’t accomplish everything I want to do and still do what I need to do. So I have put some things on hold for a while in order to accomplish anything.

My brain turns to fiction when things get rough, stressful, difficult. It always has — reading when I was a kid, writing when other people’s worlds stopped being what I needed.

I won’t complain. Being able to fall into fiction when things are hard is a Big Damn Advantage when you’re a novelist. I’ve decided this time to play to my strengths, and to NOT try to do everything.

So from today until we’re out the other side of this, my writing is going to be exclusively fiction.


  • WRITE: Complete the first novel in The Ohio Series and get it into its month of cool down. (I’m only a couple chapters from the end, so this is a small goal.)
  • REVISE: Finish the write-in and type-in revisions of Dead Man’s Party and get it out to beta readers. (I’m most of the way through the write-in revision, but still have a significant type-in ahead of me, and I do a LOT of on-the-spot revision and adding things during type-in, so thing is a BIG goal.)
  • OUTLINE AND WRITE: The Emerald Sun first draft. (And this is a big goal, too.)

I’ll do a worksheet or two for the podcast as we need them.

I will NOT be starting into the Canary Revision of How to Revise Your Novel. until after I’m through the biggest part of the coming mess.

My plan had been to pick that up on Monday and do it as an after-fiction thing. At this point, by best-case scenario moves that to early September.

Absolute worst case, the first part of next year. (Never start a massive project in December.)


Get Holly’s Free Fiction Sampler, plus Weekly Fiction Updates


image_pdfDownload as PDFimage_printPrint Page


13 responses to “Streamlining During Chaos: Fiction? YES.”

  1. Yuliana Avatar

    I know that this is an old post (2 years!) but this is the latest post entailing The Emerald Sun that I could find. I know you may feel exasperated by the same question, but is book 3 still coming? It’s been so many years now and I am still waiting eagerly for an ending – especially an ending for Genna and Doyati, though it may not happen in the end (sniff). I also look forward to the hinted romance between Dan and Yatri, as well as Cat’s backstory ( I know it’s very hard to fit everything in one book, so I’m actually hoping for a fourth installation – but I’m getting ahead of myself.)

    I know writers hate to be prompted to write, and I swear that’s not my intention at all (but I am well aware that this is what I sound like, so I apologize for that). Please do take care and hope everything goes well for your writing!

    1. Annabell Lewis Avatar
      Annabell Lewis

      Literally, I check this blog all the time. Probably once every six months for the past, I DUNNO how long has it been since The Silver Door?

      My husband mentioned this to me today, he wants to reread the ruby key ❤️ he’s perfect I know. And I was like, oh I’ll check the website. I laughed out loud seeing SOMEONE ELSE ALSO POSTED TODAY!

      We’re in this together sis. I’m forever waiting and am forever disappointed.

    2. Holly Avatar

      The Emerald Sun is still coming.

      I KNOW there is no chance The Emerald Sun will pay for itself when I write it, so I have to write books that have a chance to pay for themselves (plus extra) so I can afford to finish this story I love that’s been waiting for its conclusion forever.

      Because midlist writers — writers who don’t sell millions of copies, and that’s what I am — don’t get rich writing fiction. If we’re lucky, we make enough to pay our bills, we work hard, we get books out. We write the things that sell better because we have a better shot at keeping the lights on and food on the table.

      But when we want to write something we KNOW is not going to pay for itself, we have to make enough from writing our other fiction to cover those special projects.

      I cannot guarantee that the current five-book Ohio Novel project will make EXTRA money, which is what I have to have to write The Emerald Sun, and writing five books back to back before selling any of them is a serious gamble all by itself.

      But I’ve seen folks follow the process I’m following and start making a survivable, decent living from their fiction — and on the chance that I can be one of those folks, and that my popular fiction will be able to support small, beloved projects like The Emerald Sun, I am pushing myself hard to write the five Ohio Novels. The Ohio Novels are not a small project. They are is 500,000+ words of fiction that must be written, revised, edited, typeset, covered, blurbed, and promoted before I’ll know if it worked.

      And all of that effort has to pay off at the end.

      One of the scarier things I’ve ever tried.

      But if it works, The Emerald Sun is at the end of it.

      1. Yuliana Avatar

        I’m so happy to know that The Emerald Sun is still coming! Thank you so much for the swift reply. I understand how difficult it is to write something you love but doesn’t sell well. It didn’t sell well (this I don’t understand), but The Moon and Sun series will always be one of my favourites, and I’m sure that’s the case for many others as well, Holly 😉

        I know you once said that the The Emerald Sun is unlikely to share the same artist as the first two, and that’s okay with me, but is there any chance for the first two books to be republished (if I’m not mistaken, the rights have already been reverted to you, right?)? Again, I know I’m getting ahead of myself but if they are, then I’ll definitely get my hands on the latest copies of this trilogy (I’m somewhat OCD as I prefer series with covers that match, lol )!

        P.S. I laughed too when I saw your post, Annabell. Happy to know that people like us are still keeping an eye on the update this wonderful series!

        1. Holly Avatar

          It didn’t sell well (this I don’t understand), but The Moon and Sun series will always be one of my favourites, and I’m sure that’s the case for many others as well, Holly 😉

          Thank you. It’s one of my three favorites of all the series I’ve published, too — Moon and Sun, Cadence Drake, and The Secret Texts (the rights to which will never revert back to me. The Secret Texts series is irretrievably dead).

          Meanwhile, however, I’ve actively expanded the Cady series since I went indie, and have a new novel, Wishbone Conspiracy, sitting on my hard drive awaiting revision for the same reason Emerald Sun is stalled on Chapter 3. I have to know that when I publish them, I’ll be able to get them in front of readers — that I’ll have a chance of being paid for my work.

          The five-book Ohio Series I’m writing now is my test case for that. Five novels under a pseudonym, released over five months (making me a brand new author), in the urban fantasy genre.

          I know you once said that the The Emerald Sun is unlikely to share the same artist as the first two, and that’s okay with me, but is there any chance for the first two books to be republished (if I’m not mistaken, the rights have already been reverted to you, right?)?

          The rights on the Moon & Sun series reverted to me. So yes, first two books will be republished. And all three will be released in new versions over three months, and will have matching series covers.

          If I get rich between now and then (I’m not holding my breath, and neither should you), I’ll try to buy rights to use the first two covers from Joshua Middleton, and commission him to do a cover for the third book.

          Again, I know I’m getting ahead of myself but if they are, then I’ll definitely get my hands on the latest copies of this trilogy (I’m somewhat OCD as I prefer series with covers that match, lol )!

          That’s not OCD. That’s the only way you can hope to sell series books — if the covers don’t match, the reader can’t identify them as a series, and the books won’t sell.

          So if I cannot afford a Joshua Middleton original for Emerald Sun by the time I can write it, there is no point in buying the rights to use the existing artwork, and having a different artist do the final cover. I’ll have to find someone within my budget who can do matching covers for all three.

          If you want to actually stay on top of how the writing is going, and find out from me firsthand when (if) I am able to get to work on Emerald Sun, I have an email list specifically for readers of my fiction, where I’m doing a once-a-week update on how the fiction is going.

          There’s no spam. It’s just “How’s the writing going, Holly?” with a fair amount of detail.

          If you want to add yourself to the list, you’ll get my free Fiction Sampler, plus weekly fiction updates. Scroll back up to the post, and you’ll see that I’ve added a new sign-up form at the bottom. No spam, just how the books are coming.

          And once they’re out, where you’ll be able to get them.

          1. Yuliana Avatar

            Thank you for sharing the news about the weekly updates, I really appreciate it! The efforts you put into writing those updates are just incredible – they essentially pile up on all your to-do writing! I’ve already signed myself up for the offer 🙂

            I’m absolutely elated to learn about the planned republication of The Moon and Sun series! Like I said, I’ll definitely buy myself copies of all three books when they’re out. I know you told me not to hold my breath, but knowing that the series will be continued is good enough for me. Also, I’ll have you know that telling a reader not to wait is an almost impossible task, Holly 😉 But I’ll be waiting in patience, because I know that working on a five-book series which may or may not pay is a lot of work, so no fussing here.

            On a final note, I hope everything goes well for you, your family and your career (including the whole writing process and the sales), and please do take care during this pandemic!

            1. Yuliana Avatar

              On a side note, may I know what happened to The Secret Texts series? It saddens me to know that, even though you are the writer, you don’t get the rights to your works :’( That’s just so wrong. Is it because there’s a problem with the contract you had with the publication company? I understand I’m possibly overstepping the boundaries here though, so it’s okay if you choose not to answer my question.

              Best wishes,

              1. Holly Avatar

                @#$%^&*! Commercial Publishing happened.

                Time Warner (the publisher) was losing money because it was spending zillions on literary books no one wanted to read, and keeping its actually salable commercial fiction (the stuff readers actually want to read and are willing to pay for) down in the gutter with no advertising budgets and no love.

                Time Warner and its parent company and other now-tanked publisher (and the surviving New York publishers) weren’t and aren’t running a business aimed at making a profit by giving readers more of what they were actually eager to read. They were/are paying fortunes to buy literary fiction, which has a whiff of prestige about it, but that sells like shit because almost all modern literary fiction (not to be confused with Shakespeare, Dickens, Twain, Cervantes, etc. which are popular fiction so good that people still voluntarily read it) doesn’t even make good toilet paper.

                The current commercial publishing mission is to make stars out of writers who specialize in literary fiction of the Realist school (books in which everything is shit and then you die). Because if any given book is something those of us in the middle and lower classes are actually willing to pay to read, then it can’t be any good, right?

                So, because they are not putting books readers actually want to read in front of the folks who will happily buy them, publisher after publisher is going under (deservedly so — if you’re pushing an agenda instead of making a profit that will keep your business afloat, you deserve to tank), and being bought out, and the new publisher — buyers of these massive catalogues and all their rights) are barfing up all of their backlists onto Amazon without any interest whatsoever in promoting books. These new buyers are actually in it for the profit — which of itself is the only way you can hope to run a business.

                But these new buyers have declared that putting things up on Amazon in ebook-only versions counted as keeping them in print, (so that none of us can reclaim our rights), and so all of us who have works with these remnant-buying dicks are watching our books in ebook form being wildly overpriced ($9.99 for a novel in ebook form is WAY too much), and seeing good books that could fine a decent following at $3.99 or so intead only selling a couple copies a year.

                The remnant buyers have what’s called the Economy of Scale working for them, in which they have a zillion books that are all selling like shit. But because they have a zillion books, they’re still making a profit. Meanwhile, they are killing any chance any of us whose books are trapped in their garbage business model have of making a living on our own work.

                This is why I left commercial publishing as soon as indie publishing became an actual, workable, legitimate thing. The writing was already on the wall. And this is also why no commercial publisher is ever getting its hands on anything new that I create ever again.

  2. Marissa Avatar

    I’m so excited to hear that The Emerald Sun is happening!! I read the first two books growing up many, many years ago, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting this last installment. I cannot wait to see how everything ends, and I will definitely be the first buyer. (:

    Also, is there any guarantee the cover will match the first two books? They are stunning!!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Marissa …

      Like you, I love the covers of the first two. I think my chances of being able to afford a Joshua Middleton original, however, in advance of what I’ll be able to make on the book, are, barring miracles, pretty much zero.

      It’s unlikely that I’ll even be able to afford to acquire usage rights for the first two when I do my own editions.

      The realities of publishing are… frustrating, and I’ll leave it at that. But check this link to see the full response.

  3. Chris Avatar

    Do what you need Holly, we all love you and will be waiting when you have mastered the Chaos.

  4. Lita Brooker Avatar
    Lita Brooker

    You’re always in my daily thoughts. I can’t believe what good fortune – via a writer acquaintance – pointed me to your writing classes site, Holly. I know you’ll get through this chaos.

    You have what it takes.

    So happy that you’re listening to your own good sense, and taking care of the inner you.

    Much love to you and yours

    Lita xx

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you. Fiction is the thing that got me (and my family) through some of the toughest times in our lives. The coming chaos does not qualify as “tough times” but it definitely qualifies as “hard and overwhelming work.”

      So I very much appreciate the encouraging words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x