For your listening pleasure

A couple of readers over the last week have mentioned music to me, and I thought I would share some with all of you.

Since Sarah MacAlpine is an ethno-musicologist and the jumping off point for her journey is a song, music plays a big part in my writing process. It helps me unlock the voices of certain characters, keeps me focused on the theme of the book, triggers the right emotions for a particular story-line. There are many different reasons why I use music when writing.

I thought you all might appreciate a peek into the music that I use when working on these books. So, I am making a couple of my working playlists public on Google Play Music. If you don’t subscribe to this service, you should still be able to listen for free with maybe a few ads. Here is some more information about the service.

The first is one that I used a lot when writing Cauldron to unlock Molly’s voice in my head. It’s called Once & Future book series - Molly’s Mix if you’re searching for it in the app. Here is a link. It is a blend of Appalachian and Scottish folk songs.

The other is Once & Future book series Dermot & Sarah. This is a playlist of songs that capture some of the turbulent emotional journey of Dermot and Sarah. So there are a lot of ballads and a few sweet love songs. Including the new addition of “The War” by SYML. Thanks Ashley for that recommendation.

If you have a song that you think applies to either of these lists. please let me know. I’m always on the lookout for music that helps. Maybe we’ll add it.

No rest for the wicked!

Thrice to Thine is out and readers are loving it. I am still promoting the Thrice to Thine launch with two signings coming up in Wake Forest, NC and Fredericksburg, VA. For details on those, check my Events page.

While you all are enjoying Once & Future Book 3, there have been a couple of characters whispering in my ear. Their story has been percolating in the pipeline for a while. I plotted it out while Thrice to Thine was in the hands of beta readers, and have been working on it in earnest for a couple of weeks now. It’s actually NOT part of the Once & Future Series although it will feature a couple of familiar characters. The working title is Haverhill Harmony, and it’s going to have a different tone from the fantasy series, but I really think you will all love it.

I know many of you are clamoring for Book 4, and fear not. It is coming. I’m plotting and researching that book too. In the interest of getting a draft of this new project down quickly and because it fits my current production schedule, I have decided to do NaNoWriMo this year.

I have mixed feelings about NaNoWriMo. I love that it helps writers achieve goals and build good work habits. It can be a great jump start for a project as it was for me with Cauldron. I wrote almost all of Molly’s story in Cauldron during NaNoWriMo a few years ago. Of course you know that 50k words isn’t even half a novel for me, but it’s a darn good start.

I also love the idea of a community cheering each other on to achieve those goals. Writing can be a lonely business, and it can easily not look like work to those who don’t know how hard it really is. Unlike my previous NaNo experience when I lived too far from civilization to participate in any Write-ins or NaNo related events. This time, I’ve moved and will be able to participate more in the community events. So, if you are also participating, I’m M_R_Stoddard, we can cheer each other on.

However, NaNoWriMo can be a double edged sword. It can make some participants overconfident in what they have achieved. Getting that WInner badge in November doesn’t mean the work of producing a book is done. There is revising and editing and more revising and more editing, and beta reading and more revising. Quality work takes time. Many in the publishing industry roll their eyes at the mention of NaNoWriMo. I have heard agents and publishers say that they are flooded in December and January with queries and manuscripts that are un-revised and unpolished NaNo projects. Those projects frequently go directly into the trash.

Here is a little more about my project, Haverhill Harmony. The cover is just a mock up. Keep an eye on my social media on Tuesdays, you might just catch a teaser, and on my Project PIpeline page for the progress meter.

Copy of Haverhill.jpg

Haverhill Harmony

Six years after her boyfriend turned out to be a serial killer, Amy Monroe's life is a hot mess. She's miserable at her job , travels too much to make lasting friends, and her love life is a series of casual encounters that leave her feeling empty. To top it off she has just inherited a crumbling Victorian behemoth in her tiny North Carolina hometown. 

Wanna see a new cover?

Wanna see a new cover?

Book 3 beta reading is chugging along. I have already gotten feedback from a couple of my readers and so far so good. There are of course, some things that need ironing out, but I'll be tackling that in good time. 

So, it's about time I showed the world the cover for Thrice to Thine. Of course my newsletter subscribers and Kettle Holler Literary Society members have already seen this, but it's about time the rest of you did too So, here it is. 

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