General Update *Salutes*

Hola, Dear Reader, it has been too long. I took some time off from most of my work while my niece visited for two glorious weeks. We watched more movies that I do in a whole year, ate more junk food than I should in a lifetime, and had exactly as much fun as Covid would allow. My heart goes out to every parent. Hardcore. But she was a lovely little ray of sunshine in what has otherwise become some of the most repetitive, gloomy days, and for that I am so thankful.

But now I have to get back to the writing (and the social media-ing). Also hardcore. A truly, I missed it. A lot. Let’s start with #1linewed.

I’m diving into a rewrite of The Association with plans to get it out to beta readers by September 1st which is lofty AF. I have a huuuuge problem with the book right now that I may have just solved in the last fifteen-ish minutes real time, but I’ve been uncertain about it for so long that I’m not sure if I’ve actually worked it out or just fatigued myself into accepting just about anything that seems like a fix. I guess that’s sort of the point of beta readers though–to tell me what works and what doesn’t. And if it doesn’t, well, I’ll have a whole month to get it right, and by gods I certainly should be able to.

Besides that big issue, I fixed a couple little issues. I have two primary characters named Hunter and Fletcher, both names I really like and fit their respective characters, but obviously that would not fly. (I mean, actually it would be really funny, I think, but not for this novel.) I’ve been searching for a replacement for Fletcher for a while and finally landed on what I thought was perfect: Heath! I did a huge find and replace in Scrivener (which is a major pain (Major Pain *salutes*)), only to realize that I then had two dudes with “H” names that played big roles and I grumbled my way to choosing Oakley as Fletcher/Heath’s new name. I think it will grow on me.

“Ashley, why don’t you just name these guys like Michael and Andrew? It would be easier and more realistic and–“

Don’t tell me what to do!

I also fixed my chicken problem. Didn’t know about the chicken problem, did you? Well, neither did I until I read the really flippant note that Past Ashley left for Future/Current Ashley at the end of the first draft. That woman drives me nuts.

Overall, I really like The Association, a feeling I’m adjusting to becoming familiar with. It’s a little darker than the other two books I have out (I mean, duh, it is a murder mystery), but I think that lends itself to upping the comedic ante which I really want to do: more ridiculousness, please! I also get to mess around with vampires and werewolves, and I know they’re always falling in or out of favor with readers, but I don’t care–they’re just too fun! Book trends are cyclical anyway. That’s what I hear at least.

So now I have four and a half months to release two more books if I stick to my original schedule. It’s possible, especially since I won’t be doing NaNo in November (shocker, I know), but I’m nervous. I still want to get that novella out by year’s end too, though that’s tertiary to The Association and Vacancy (series and actual titles STILL pending).

I think I’ll pull out the “Whydunit” chapter of Save The Cat for a quick reread as inspiration and then just barrel in full speed. No use in fussing around with the problems, just need to create those solutions as I go.

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