I’m getting to the end of the first draft (or, as I refer to it, the “garbage draft”) of my current novel, Anna, Daughter of Creed. So today, I’m going to share what I plan for the next steps.

Every author works a little–sometimes a lot–differently, but learning how others work can help each of us refine our craft.

This post is for people waiting for my next novel and is a way for me to remain transparent to my readers. It’s also for new authors starting or finishing their first or second novel, and experienced authors who’d like a peek at one writer’s process.

 

Finishing the Garbage Draft

I’m about 71,000 words into Anna, Daughter of Creed, now! I have the ending planned; it has some interesting twists, and my goal is to get it done by San Diego Comic-Con, which my son are attending in a week and a half. I think this draft will come to about 80,000 words, so I need to write about 1,000 words a day. It will be a great feeling to have this book finished!

I started it nearly two years ago and wanted to have it done in about a year. However, even with an outline, the first two attempts didn’t feel quite right. At first, I wrote about 20,000 words, then started again. That time, I got to 61,000, and realized it wasn’t quite right! It sounds crazy, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’m sure many of you have heard about this sort of thing happening with screenplays. How many movies go through several complete bottom-up rewrites before a studio gets the script that feels right?

Anyway, I’m pleased with the latest draft. This story still has many of the elements you expect from my Creedverse novels if you’ve read my trilogy, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed, but in different measurements. It makes sense. Anna is Creed’s daughter, but while he’s an intelligent action hero, she’s an intellectual who will face danger when needed. You see, a unique balance.

On to the next step after the draft is done!

 

Marking Up the Draft

After writing the first (or garbage, or vomit) draft of a novel, many writers like to print the manuscript and go over it with a pen and highlighter. I haven’t done this with all my books, but I like this, too. However, printing the manuscript on my printer, or getting it done at a print shop like Fed-Ex, costs a lot and doesn’t produce a lasting product.

I’m going to do for Anna, Daughter of Creed what I did for the garbage draft of Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate: get a hardcover print of it from Barnes & Noble Press. There, you can either publish books or order personal copies. I’m simply going to make a personal copy of this, double-spaced, and order that. This costs quite less than going to a photocopy shop and looks much nicer.

I should get it shortly after San Diego Comic-Com, and will read over it, highlighting sections and taking notes.

 

Major Edits

With that done, I’ll set the book out on my desk and go through it with the Word manuscript, making changes. This will probably take a few weeks.

Then, I’ll edit the novel solely in Word, using the track change feature, adding scenes as needed, changing details, and so on. I’ll probably end up going over the book a few times this way until I feel the story is solid and the book is well-polished.

 

To ProWritingAid

Next, I’ll use ProWritingAid to catch as many errors as possible. This is a fantastic program that uses AI and other advanced features to check grammar and more.

 

To My Editor, Etc.

Still, it’s not done yet! Every author knows it takes another set of eyes, or maybe several. Even today’s top-notch grammar software doesn’t catch everything. And, even after my editor works on the book, errors will still get through. The point is to get rid of as many as possible and to really polish the prose.

My editor, KH Koehler, who also worked on Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake and Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate, does a fantastic job, and will keep going over the book until we’re both satisfied. She’s an absolute gem.

After her first round of edits, and after I’ve incorporated them, I’ll have Word read the book aloud to me. Of course, this will take about a week, but it’s another way to discover if anything sounds wrong and to fix it. Then, it might go back to K, depending on how it seems to me.

 

Finally, Publication!

The last step is formatting and publishing the book! I use novel format templates provided by KDP. These are excellent and will make it easy to format the book professionally. I’ll also create a header for each chapter, something I eventually did for The Adventures of Bodacious Creed trilogy.

I’ll choose a publication date, and I’m sticking to Tuesdays from now on, which is when major publishers release books, so it’s when many expect book releases. I’ll set up pre-orders, and order a proof copy for myself to make sure it looks right, and when it does, approve it.

I’ll send digital ARCS to potential reviewers. Also, since I run a Kickstarter for each of my books, and, of course, did for this one, I’ll send out digital copies to backers about a week before the book is live to the public. And, I’ll send out the print copies as soon as I receive them after publication.

I expect to have Anna, Daughter of Creed out in early 2025.

Aside from other marketing steps, that’s about it! Yes, once the garbage draft is done, there’s still a lot of work. Some authors dread the revision phase, but I love it. I find it the easiest and most satisfying part, making sure everything fits, finally being able to see the big picture of the story, so I’m eager to get this draft done and to get Anna, Daughter of Creed ready for the public to enjoy.

“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” (Casual Chance, 1964) ~ Colette

16

Dramatica Theory 

I learned about Dramatica in the late 1990s and used it to write two fantasy novels, Children of Rhatlan and Tamshi’s Imp. Though I now write steampunk westerns, aka weird westerns, I’m proud of those fantasy novels, and they’re available for anyone interested in them.

Also, while I don’t strictly use Dramatica any longer, many of the ideas have stuck with me and still affect my plotting and character development. Learning how Dramatica works is worthwhile for any author, so let’s go over the basics.

 

pARTS OF dRAMATICA

These concepts are central to how Dramatica works.

 

Four Throughlines

 

  • Main Character Throughline: Focuses on the personal journey and growth of the protagonist.
    Impact Character Throughline: Explores the character who challenges the protagonist’s beliefs and drives their transformation.
  • Subjective Story Throughline: Centers on the relationship and conflict between the Main Character and the Impact Character.
  • Objective Story Throughline: Represents the broader, external conflict that affects all characters and drives the plot.

Story Mind

Dramatica views a story as a single mind trying to solve a problem. This concept helps writers explore different perspectives and conflicts within the narrative, ensuring a well-rounded and coherent story.

64 Story Points

Dramatica identifies 64 essential story points that need to be addressed for a complete narrative. These include elements like the Goal, Requirements, Consequences, and more. This exhaustive list ensures the author won’t miss any critical aspect of the story.

Character Archetypes

Dramatica defines eight primary character archetypes, such as the Protagonist, Antagonist, Sidekick, and Skeptic. These archetypes help writers understand and define character roles and their interactions within the story.

Plot Progression

The theory outlines a detailed plot progression model that guides writers through the development of their story. This model includes the Story Goal, Driver, and the Four Signposts that mark key stages of the narrative.

 

Using Dramatica in Plotting

Here’s the method Dramatica provides for plotting a story.

 

Creating a Storyform

The process begins with creating a Storyform, a unique blueprint for your story based on your narrative’s specific elements. This involves answering questions about your story’s theme, characters, and conflicts, which Dramatica then uses to generate a detailed structure.

Developing Throughlines

Writers develop the four throughlines, ensuring that each aspect of the story—personal, relational, and external—is thoroughly explored and interconnected. This helps in creating a multi-dimensional narrative with depth and complexity.

Ensuring Completeness

By addressing all 64 story points and adhering to the defined plot progression, Dramatica ensures that the story is complete and balanced. This meticulous approach helps prevent plot holes and unresolved character arcs.

Character Dynamics

Understanding character archetypes and their functions within the story allows for richer character interactions and development. Dramatica’s focus on character relationships, especially between the Main and Impact Characters, adds emotional depth to the narrative.

 

Benefits and Challenges

How can Dramatica help you, and what challenges does it present? Let’s explore!

 

Benefits

  • Thoroughness: Dramatica’s detailed framework ensures that every aspect of the story is considered, leading to a well-rounded and coherent narrative.
  • Complexity: The theory’s focus on multiple throughlines and character dynamics allows for rich, multi-layered storytelling.
  • Guidance: The structured approach provides clear guidance for writers, helping them navigate the complexities of plot and character development.

Challenges

Complexity: Dramatica’s  exhaustive approach can be overwhelming, especially for new writers.

Rigidity: Some writers may find the structured framework too restrictive, preferring a more flexible and organic approach to plotting.

 

Final Thoughts

While I have moved on to other methods, Dramatica’s focus on balance has influenced my approach to storytelling. Studying it, and trying it, is a great way to expand how you think about your stories.

“A word after a word after a word is power.” ~Margaret Atwood

 

 

Steps in My Author Journey

I’ve read from various sources that an indie author should be publishing several novels a year. The idea is to keep putting out books for your readers so they never have to wait very long. The contention seems to be that if you take a year or more, your readers will move on to other authors and forget you.

That seems crazy to me. I’m always reading books by different authors, and if I like a series, even if I have to wait years for the next book to come out, when it does, I buy it.

Still, I want to be able to write and publish a book, or maybe two, every year. I published Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate about fourteen months after Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake. My next book in the same world, Anna, Daughter of Creed, will be coming out in early 2025, about two years after Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate.

I keep studying outlining methods as I refine my writing process. I mean, I really want to have the next Anna novel out about a year after the first.

Anyway, I’m just about done with the first draft of Anna, Daughter of Creed. I’ve figured out how it’s going to end, and I’m excited to write the rest of it. I think it’s a great ending. The thing is, I outlined the novel before I started writing it, but specifics changed as I wrote. Often, there are small deviations to the original outline as I write that lead to larger, cumulative changes. My outlines are guides, but they’re flexible.

All this—figuring out the end of the novel, thinking about how to get the next one out sooner—inspired me to write this post about some of the different outlining methods and theories of story out there. Here are a few. If you plan to write a book and get stuck, try these methods for plotting a novel.

 

The Snowflake Method

Author Randy Ingermanson, developed The Snowflake Method. If you’ve looked up writing books on Amazon, you’re sure to have noticed this one. It’s a structured approach that begins with a simple idea and expands it into a full-fledged novel. You start with a single sentence summary, your novel idea, and gradually build up to a full outline with character development. Here are the basic steps.

 

  • Step-by-Step Expansion: Start with a one-sentence summary of the story. Expand this into a paragraph, then into a page, and so on, fleshing out characters and plot details as you go.
  • Character Focus: Develop detailed character profiles alongside the plot to ensure character motivations and arcs are well integrated.
  • Iterative Process: Continuously refine and expand upon your initial ideas, which helps in building a robust and detailed plot.

Writers who prefer a highly organized and detailed approach to plotting will find this method a good fit. It allows for thorough planning and ensures that every aspect of the story is well thought out.

 

The Three-Act Structure

The Three-Act Structure is a classic narrative framework that divides a story into three parts: Setup, Confrontation, and Resolution. Think of many Shakespeare plays or the original Star Wars trilogy.

 

  • Act One – Setup: Introduce characters, setting, and the main conflict. This act sets the stage for the story and hooks the reader.
  • Act Two – Confrontation: The protagonist faces challenges and obstacles. This is the longest part of the story, where the stakes are raised, and the tension builds.
  • Act Three – Resolution: The climax occurs, and the story reaches its conclusion. Loose ends are tied up, and the protagonist’s journey comes to an end.

You’ll see this structure used in novels, films, and plays. It provides a clear framework that helps in maintaining a coherent and engaging narrative flow.

 

The Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey, popularized by Joseph Campbell, follows the protagonist through a series of stages, from their ordinary world to the extraordinary world and back.

 

  • Departure: The hero receives a call to adventure and leaves their ordinary world. Note that their they may stay in the same place, but it has to either have changed, or something has to be significantly different for the protagonist.
  • Initiation: The hero faces trials and gains allies and enemies. They undergo significant growth and transformation.
  • Return: The hero returns to their ordinary world with new wisdom or power.

This method is excellent for character-driven stories and helps in creating a deeply engaging and transformative narrative. Quest stories, like The Lord of the Rings, follow the Hero’s Journey, and you’ll find traces of it in most fiction.

 

Mind Mapping

Remember learning about brainstorming in school? Mind mapping is basically that: a flexible, visual plotting style that involves creating a diagram to explore the relationships between different plot elements.

 

  • Central Idea: Start with a central idea or theme in the middle of a page.
  • Branching Out: Create branches for main plot points, characters, settings, and subplots.
  • Connections: Draw connections between different elements to visualize how they interact and influence each other.

This method is useful for brainstorming and exploring different possibilities without being constrained by a linear outline. It allows for a more organic development of the plot. Once you have your mind map, you can organize your ideas with one of the other methods.

 

The Index Card Method

 

Do you have a lot of scene ideas that don’t quite make a full story? With The Index Card Method, you write individual scenes or plot points on index cards and arranging them to create a coherent narrative.

 

  • Flexibility: Easily rearrange scenes to find the most effective order.
  • Visualization: Lay out the entire plot visually to see the story’s structure and pacing.
  • Detail Management: Include notes on character development, setting, and key events for each scene.

This method is ideal for writers who like to experiment with different narrative structures.

Each of these methods offers a unique approach to plotting a novel. The Snowflake Method and Three-Act Structure provide detailed and organized frameworks, while the Hero’s Journey focuses on character transformation. Mind Mapping and the Index Card Method offer flexibility and visual tools to explore and refine the plot. Feel free to experiment with each so you can figure out what works best for you.

Next week, we’ll look at Dramatica, a method I tried in the 1990s, which deserves its own post.

Happy plotting!

“I spend eight months outlining and researching the novel before I begin to write a single word of the prose.” ~ Jeffrey Deaver

 

(Article images from my Tarot deck, The Modern Wordsmith Tarot, available in my Etsy shop.)

 

Recently, while the Kickstarter for my novel, Anna, Daughter of Creed, was still running (April 30 to May 30, 2024), I shared it across many Facebook groups. In one group, someone commented that if my book was any good, it would be picked up by a traditional publisher and not self-published. I tend to ignore these sorts of foolish comments.

However, two other people came to my defense! One person said, “Or, the marketers in traditional publishing don’t know something good when they see it,” and another added, “Lots of great authors choose to publish independently for many good reasons.” This incident underscores a critical discussion in the writing community: the choice between self-publishing and traditional publishing.

 

Why I Chose the Indie Route

I chose the indie (self-publishing) route for several reasons. While I had a professional agent for my book Tamshi’s Imp, it wasn’t sold because most publishers thought it was too short. (It’s 67,000 words, while most fantasy novels by first time authors are around 80,000.) Despite this, my agent and his first reader loved the manuscript. I’ve had short stories published in semi-pro publications and one in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, a pro publication back in the 90s. If I had kept pursuing traditional publishing, I probably would have succeeded that way.

As indie publishing became a more viable option in the early 2000s, I decided to explore it. Indie publishing offers me more control over my fiction, formatting, book covers, and more. Plus, most traditionally published writers still have to do their own marketing, so I figured, why not publish myself and keep more royalties? With indie publishing, my books won’t go out of print unless I decide to take them out of print.

 

The Biggest Advantages of Self-Publishing

The most significant advantage of self-publishing is the control it gives me. I have complete say over what stays in my books, their presentation, and the marketing strategies I employ. This creative control is invaluable to me as an author who cares deeply about every aspect of my work.

 

Challenges in Self-Publishing

Self-publishing isn’t without its challenges. Marketing, in particular, can be daunting. Even traditionally published authors face this issue, but as an indie author, it’s entirely my responsibility. Additionally, designing book covers that look professional and appealing has been a learning curve. However, through research and practice, I’ve managed to hone this skill.

 

Experience with Traditional Publishing

I had a short story, L’Autre Margot, published in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine. This was a fantastic experience, especially since Vincent Di Fate did the artwork for little fantasy tale. I’ve also had two flash fiction pieces published in the yearly Queer Sci Fi anthology. So, I’m no stranger to the world of traditional publishing.

 

Advantages of Traditional Publishing

Traditional publishing has its perks, especially for those authors who are strongly backed by their publishers. These advantages include extensive marketing campaigns, book signings, and potentially lucrative advances. However, it’s important to note that not all traditionally published authors receive this level of support. In fact, most don’t.

 

Disadvantages of Traditional Publishing

One significant disadvantage of traditional publishing is the short window authors often have to prove their book’s success. If a book doesn’t perform well quickly, it might be challenging for the author to secure another traditional publishing deal. Bookstores may not want to carry their subsequent novels. This pressure can be quite stressful and limiting.

 

Creative Control in Self-Publishing

Self-publishing has dramatically impacted my creative control over my work. Indie publishers need to ensure their books are as good as, if not better than, traditionally published ones. I’ve been writing for a long time, studying the craft, taking courses, reading extensively, and writing millions of words. I hire a professional editor for each book and usually have a few first readers provide feedback before finalizing the drafts. This process ensures that my books are polished and professional.

 

The Role of Marketing in Self-Publishing

Marketing plays a crucial role in my self-publishing strategy. I write a weekly blog post to generate interest, send out a weekly newsletter, and swap book mentions with other authors to grow my subscriber base. I also run a Kickstarter for each novel when I’m close to finishing the first draft to help offset editing expenses. Additionally, I share information about my books, blog, and writing on Facebook, Threads, and Substack.

 

Successes and Milestones

Through self-publishing, I’ve achieved several milestones. I now have five published novels. Two are fantasy novels from around the year 2000, and the other three comprise my trilogy, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed, which marked my shift from fantasy to sci-fi westerns. Finishing that trilogy was a significant milestone for me.

 

Advice for Aspiring Authors

For authors considering self-publishing versus traditional publishing, my advice is to explore both options. You don’t have to stick with one path. There are traditional authors, indie authors, and hybrid authors. If you decide to self-publish, hiring an editor is crucial, no matter how well you think you can edit your own work. The investment in professional editing will significantly enhance the quality of your book.

Choosing between self-publishing and traditional publishing is a personal decision that depends on your goals, resources, and preferences. Both paths have their pros and cons. For me, the control and creative freedom of self-publishing outweigh the challenges. It’s a journey that requires dedication, but the rewards are deeply fulfilling.

“Be confident in your work, but be careful not to put a book out into the world until you are sure that it is your very best work and professional in all respects (writing, editing, cover design, formatting, etc.). As with anything, you get only one chance to make a first impression, and every reader deserves a quality product.” ~ Darcie Chan

 

The Dreaded Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is a common challenge that every writer faces at some point. It’s that frustrating moment when you’re staring at a blank page, knowing exactly what you want to write, but feeling unable to proceed.

It’s toughest when you don’t know the cause, but as you gain experience as an author and learn from others, you learn what might be underlying your block, and can get past it. And, while there are many causes of writer’s block, one culprit I run into sometimes is the pressure to get it perfect on the first go. Despite knowing it doesn’t have to be perfect, the desire for near-perfection can create a mental barrier. So, how do you overcome this? I’ve found a solution in varying my approach.

 

Understanding the Block

An effective strategy I’ve been using to overcome this block is to change how I approach the page. If you typically write in a specific style, tense, or viewpoint, try mixing it up. Here’s a method that works for me:

1. Change the Tense and Style:
I usually write my fiction in third-person limited viewpoint and past tense, which can sometimes feel too formal for an initial draft. To break through this formality, I switch to writing in present tense and adopt a more casual style, as if I’m recounting the story to a friend. This relaxed approach can free your creativity and make the process feel less daunting.

2. Use Parenthetical Notes:
When you encounter details you’re unsure about, don’t let them halt your progress. Instead, add a note in parentheses to remind yourself to work those details in later. This keeps you moving forward without getting bogged down by specifics.

3. Allow Flexibility in the Scene:
Go back and add elements to the scene as you realize they’re needed. This iterative process can help you build a richer narrative without feeling the pressure to get it all perfect in one go.

4. Shift Viewpoints:
If you usually write in third person, try switching to first person, and vice versa. This can provide a fresh perspective and make it easier to get words down on paper. Even if you stick to one viewpoint, allow yourself to explore what other characters are thinking. When you revise, you can refine it to ensure it sticks to your chosen viewpoint character’s experiences.

 

Final Thoughts

Writer’s block, especially when you know what you want to write but feel stuck, can be incredibly frustrating. However, varying your approach can be a powerful tool to overcome it. By changing the tense, adopting a more casual style, using parenthetical notes, and experimenting with viewpoints, you can unlock your creativity and get those words flowing. Remember, the first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. I even call mine “garbage drafts,” another way to remind myself that they can be a mess, and that I can clean them up later. Allow yourself the freedom to write imperfectly, and it is much easier to move forward.

This approach has worked wonders for me, and I encourage other writers to try something similar. By giving yourself permission to write differently, you might discover new insights and break through the barriers holding you back.

“When you face writer’s block, just lower your standards and keep going.” ~ Sandra Tsing Loh

 

I’m the author of the trilogy The Adventures of Bodacious Creed, a steampunk western series that takes place in an alternate wild west with a resurrected U.S. Marshal as the protagonist. The novels in that series are Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake, and Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate.

Now, I’m writing the first in a spin-off trilogy about his daughter, Anna. In fact, my Kickstarter for the project just wrapped up! I’m finishing the first draft, and plan to have the book published in early 2025.

To celebrate the success of the Kickstarter, which was 499% funded, here’s Anna’s backstory. Mild spoilers ahead if you haven’t read Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, but not heavy spoilers.

 

Setting the Stage

Anna Lynn Boyd’s journey from Laura Ann Creed to the influential figure she became is a tale of resilience, transformation, and self-discovery. Her story, set against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1870s in an alternate timeline I call the Creedverse, examines how both external circumstances and internal determination shape one’s identity.

 

Early Life: Laura Ann Creed

Born as Laura Ann Creed on April 8, 1853, in Charlottesville, Virginia, familial warmth marked Anna’s early years. Her parents, James Creed, a deputy sheriff, and Raquel Anita Creed, a homemaker, provided a stable and loving environment. Laura’s childhood play, learning, and the security of a close-knit family filled her days.

Her life took a dramatic turn in 1859. When she was just six, a devastating fire engulfed the Creed home, claiming the life of her mother. Her uncle, Emilio Boyd found Laura, who had been playing in the nearby forest. In the tragedy’s aftermath, Emilio and his wife, Loretta, both devout Quakers, made a fateful decision. Believing that James Creed could not adequately care for Laura on his own, they took her away, convincing James and the rest of Charlottesville that Laura had perished in the fire.

 

A New Life: Becoming Anna Lynn Boyd

Emilio and Loretta moved, taking Laura with them. They changed her name to Anna Lynn Boyd, hoping to give her a fresh start away from the painful memories of her past. They raised Anna in a Quaker household, which significantly influenced her values and worldview. The Quaker principles of simplicity, peace, and equality became integral to her character.

During her teenage years, Anna discovered the truth about her origins. She learned her father hadn’t abandoned her, as her uncle and aunt claimed. This revelation sparked a deep desire within her to reconnect with her roots and understand the world from which she had been torn away.

 

Interest in Science

Anna displayed a keen interest in science, often found engrossed in books far advanced for her age. Even as a child, works such as Mary Somerville’s “On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences” and Michael Faraday’s “Experimental Researches in Electricity” captivated Anna. Filled with complex theories and experiments, these books fascinated her and fueled her desire to understand the natural world. This early exposure to scientific literature laid the foundation for her later achievements, as she continued to devour every scientific text she could find, from treatises on mechanical engineering to advanced research on steam power and metallurgy. Anna’s childhood passion for science not only survived her life’s upheavals, but also became the driving force behind her innovative spirit and transformative inventions.

 

A Journey Across America

At sixteen, driven by a need to rediscover herself and reclaim her identity, Anna fled from the Boyds’ home. She embarked on a cross-country journey, disguising herself as a boy to avoid suspicion and danger. During this period, she worked as a tinker and fix-it person, joining caravans and assisting people in various settlements. She honed her skills and gaining invaluable life experiences.

 

Arrival in Santa Cruz and a New Beginning

Anna’s journey eventually led her to Santa Cruz, California, in 1870. However, arriving in a new city without resources, she found herself out of money and options. Desperate to survive, she took up work as a prostitute at The House of Amber Doves. Here, she met and shared a room with Maybelle Templeton, forming a close friendship that provided her with much-needed support during a challenging time.

Despite the hardships, Anna’s inventive spirit remained undiminished. In 1872, while still working at The House of Amber Doves, she invented her first celestium alloy rod, a metal that tapped into the power of the luminiferous ether. This breakthrough marked the beginning of her journey into the world of emerging technologies.

 

The Inventor

Anna’s invention caught the attention of Miles Morgan, a prominent industrialist. Recognizing her genius, Morgan quickly hired her. This opportunity allowed Anna to leave prostitution and focus entirely on her inventions. She lived with the Morgan family in secret, working on various technologies that would revolutionize the world.

By mid-1875, Anna had accumulated enough success and resources that she felt ready to return to public life. She purchased The House of Amber Doves establishment from Margarita Fullerton and undertook significant renovations. Anna had the building expanded; each woman employed there received her own private room, and she had a secret laboratory added in the basement. This lab became a hub of innovation, where Anna and her partner, Jonathan Johns, worked on revolutionary technology for Morgan’s corporations.

 

Reclaiming Her Past: The Resurrection of James Creed

One of the most remarkable chapters in Anna’s life began with the resurrection of her father, James Creed, in 1876. Using the experimental healing properties of her celestium alloy technology, she brought him back to life as a partially mechanical being, an act of love and scientific prowess that reunited her with her father.

 

The Legacy of Anna Lynn Boyd

Anna Lynn Boyd’s unwavering spirit and intelligence are further highlighted in my upcoming novel, Anna, Daughter of Creed. If you’re curious about it, check out the Kickstarter, which recently wrapped up. Follow me on Amazon to get an email when the book comes out, or sign up for my newsletter by clicking on one of the free stories in the right sidebar. And, to jump in into her world now, check out the first trilogy, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed.

“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” ~ Madam C.J. Walker

 

 

As my Kickstarter campaign for my upcoming novel, Anna, Daughter of Creed gets close to wrapping up, I’m filled with excitement and anticipation. There are just three days left! I figured this would be a good time to reflect on the journey so. Here, I’ll share some strategies for wrapping up a Kickstarter campaign, drawing from my experience with this project and past Kickstarters.

 

The Journey So Far: Anna, Daughter of Creed

 

The Kickstarter for Anna, Daughter of Creed has invited fans who share a passion for my Creedverse/Bodacious Creed novels. This upcoming novel, a spin-off from my The Adventures of Bodacious Creed trilogy, takes readers into the life of James Creed’s daughter, Anna Lynn Boyd, during the same time period when Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake and Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate take place.

As the campaign wraps up, it’s essential to keep the momentum going and ensure potential backers are aware of what’s still available. Let’s look at what I’m focusing on, and what I suggest for others wrapping up their Kickstarter projects.

Strategies for a Successful Wrap-Up

 

1. Engage the Community

One of the most effective ways to maintain momentum is by engaging with the community. Regular updates, interactive Q&A sessions, and engaging content can keep backers invested. Throughout this campaign, I’ve tried to keep everyone informed with updates. Could I have done more? Yes, but when you’re busy in other parts of your life, work smart, and I think I did that.

2. Highlight Unique Rewards

As the campaign draws to a close, let me highlight the rewards. You can get copies of the upcoming novel and copies of the previous trilogy in digital or print formats. Anyone who donates $3 or more gets their name in the acknowledgements, and as for the add-ons… Check those out! Get additional book copies, perhaps for friends, become a walk-on character in the novel, or name a character. There’s even going to be a deck of “Anna, Daughter of Creed” playing cards you can add to your rewards! If you’re finishing up a Kickstarter, keep in mind that emphasizing the exclusivity of certain rewards can create a sense of urgency.

3. Leverage Social Proof

Social proof is something I didn’t learn about until I was over forty, but it makes so much sense, and affects all of us. When we know what others think of something, it informs what we think of it. When people give a book great reviews, or back a Kickstarter, people new to the book or project see it has some popularity, and that shows there’s a good chance it’s worth paying attention to. I read a few book reviews before I purchase a book. If a movie is critical reviews, I’ll often put off giving it a shot until it’s available for streaming. So, as your Kickstarter winds down and you post to social media about it, mention how much it’s made or how many excited backers you have!

4. Countdown to the Deadline

Creating a sense of urgency is crucial in the final days. Regular reminders about the ticking clock can encourage last-minute backers to pledge. Using countdowns in updates and social media posts can effectively highlight the limited time left to support the project.

5. Stretch Goals and Bonus Rewards

If the initial goal is met, introducing stretch goals can maintain enthusiasm. These could be additional content, special editions, or enhanced rewards. For “Anna, Daughter of Creed,” potential stretch goals might include additional chapters, exclusive artwork, or a special audiobook edition narrated by a woman. I admit, I didn’t do stretch goals this time, but I have in the past, and I certainly will for future projects. These are usually best for when a Kickstarter is really making a lot of money, making bonuses more affordable for the creator.

6. Thank the Backers

Expressing gratitude is essential. Thanking backers for their support and highlighting how their contributions are making the project possible can strengthen the community. Personal messages or shout-outs can make backers feel appreciated and connected to the project. I make sure to thank my backers on every update.

 

A Closer Look at “Anna, Daughter of Creed”

 

Anna, Daughter of Creed delves into the life of Anna Lynn Boyd, a visionary entrepreneur navigating a steampunk-infused Santa Cruz, California, in the late 1870s. While her father, the resurrected investigator James Creed, chases justice in San Francisco, Anna faces her own battles against societal challenges and personal threats. This novel promises the action, diversity, and depth that fans of the Creedverse love.

 

The Story Behind the Novel

In Anna, Daughter of Creed, we experience Anna’s struggle to champion women’s rights and create new opportunities beyond the traditional roles of the era. Her journey is filled with blackmail, libel, and the fight for personal and societal advancement. The novel promises a blend of historical intrigue and futuristic innovation, a hallmark of my storytelling.

Praise and Anticipation

I’m grateful for the positive feedback from fans who appreciate the compelling female characters in my stories. Anna Lynn Boyd represents the strength and resilience that I aim to portray in my characters. In this novel, I expand the Creedverse and strive to push the boundaries of the genre.

Wrapping up a Kickstarter campaign involves a mix of strategic engagement, highlighting unique aspects, and creating a sense of urgency. By focusing on these elements, I hope to maximize the campaign’s potential and ensure a successful conclusion. With its unique blend of steampunk and Wild West, interesting characters, and rich narrative, “Anna, Daughter of Creed” will captivate readers and expand my fictional world.

As the finish line approaches, every update, every thank you, and every bit of enthusiasm can make a difference. Here’s to a successful campaign and the exciting adventures that await in Anna, Daughter of Creed. Thank you for being part of this journey with me.

“I really like Kickstarter because you don’t have to be a Medici to fund the arts and sciences or to get behind a big idea or a person that sparks your imagination. It’s a type of microfunding directed toward creators.” ~ Lisa Gansky

 

My Kickstarter for my upcoming novel, Anna, Daughter of Creed, is just about to enter its forth week! This novel covers the life of Anna Lynn Boyd, the remarkable woman who runs The House of Amber Doves, during the last half of 1877. The story unfolds in Santa Cruz and explorers her challenges as she pushes for more rights for the women who work in her brothel.

So far, we’ve raised $1,187, and there’s still time to contribute. Even readers in certain foreign countries can get the book in print when it comes out. Plus, there are some fantastic add-ons, like the opportunity to name a character in the novel or even appear in the finished book!

Today, I want to share a bit about The House of Amber Doves. Located in the heart of 1870s in my alternate version of Santa Cruz, California’s business district, this establishment serves as both an upscale restaurant and a premier brothel. Owned by the enterprising Anna Lynn Boyd, The House of Amber Doves is much more than it appears.

A Legacy of Transformation

Originally a modest two-story building owned by Margarita Fullerton, The House of Amber Doves was transformed when Anna Lynn Boyd took over. Anna’s vision led to significant renovations, expanding the building to three stories and ensuring that each woman employed at the brothel now has her own private room. The cherry-red exterior and elegantly designed interior reflect the upscale nature of the establishment. Despite its luxurious ambiance, The House of Amber Doves remains relatively affordable, attracting a diverse clientele and making it a distinguished fixture in the fictional city of Santa Cruz.

Fair Treatment and Empowerment

Anna prides herself on the fair treatment of her employees. The women keep most of their earnings, with only a small portion going towards the maintenance of the brothel and payment for the kitchen staff. This approach ensures a positive and safe environment, earning Anna respect and loyalty from her staff.

Services and Pricing

The House of Amber Doves offers a range of services to its patrons. A standard brothel token costs $5.00, entitling the bearer to intercourse with a willing dove. Clients are expected to arrive clean or pay an additional $0.50 for bathing services in the dove’s room. The cost of other services varies according to the individual preferences and boundaries of the doves. This transparent pricing and the high standards of cleanliness and respect for personal boundaries further enhance the establishment’s appeal.

A Secret World Below

One of the most intriguing aspects of The House of Amber Doves is the secret underground laboratory located beneath Anna’s room. This hidden facility, added during the major rebuilding project, serves as a workspace for Anna’s various scientific endeavors. The lab is equipped with four tall support beams, an operating table, a wheeled table, a regular table, two desks, shelves, and cupboards arranged around the walls. In the corner stands a blacksmith’s forge and the 7-foot-tall automaton, Zero. The walls are outfitted with extra sound dampeners, making it nearly impossible to hear anything outside the lab. Only James Creed, with his enhanced hearing, and some automatons, can perceive what transpires within.

Innovating the Future

Anna and her partner, Jonathan Johns, spend much of their time in this lab, inventing cutting-edge technology for Miles Morgan’s corporations. It was here that they achieved one of their most remarkable feats: bringing James Creed back to life. While most of Anna’s tasks are assigned by Morgan, she still has the freedom to work on her own projects, pushing the boundaries of steampunk innovation. This secret laboratory not only underscores Anna’s brilliance but also highlights her commitment to advancing technology while maintaining her role at The House of Amber Doves.

Anna and Jonny’s Sanctuary

Above the secret lab, Anna and Jonathan reside in a large suite located towards the back of the establishment. Their living quarters, accessible through a short hallway that opens into an alley, include a bedroom, bathroom, and spare room. This arrangement provides them both comfort and privacy, a necessary retreat from their demanding work.

A Pillar of the Community

Under Anna ownership, The House of Amber Doves has become a distinguished establishment that embodies elegance, innovation, and fair treatment. Anna’s vision and leadership have not only transformed the physical space but have also created a positive and empowering environment for her employees. As a prominent local business in the Creedverse, The House of Amber Doves continues to thrive, leaving a lasting legacy in Santa Cruz.

The Kickstarter

If Anna and The House of Amber Doves intrigues you, I encourage you to check out and maybe back my Kickstarter! You can even get the entire trilogy that introduced her, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed, which begins with Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, as part of your backer’s rewards. Check it out on Kickstarter! It’s running until the morning of May 30, 2024.

“Women’s work is never easy, never clean.” ~ Tayari Jones

 

 

May has rolled around, and with it brings Welcome to the Weird West Month at Weird West Fiction. As a steampunk western author, as soon as I heard about it I contacted them to make sure my novel, Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, and the series, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed, would be included. I just sent them back my answers to the interview questions.

So, I’m honored to announce that I will be one of the featured authors on this fantastic platform. I can’t wait to share the ins and outs of my journey through the trails of Creedverse with an audience that appreciates the grit and whimsy of the Weird West as much as I do.

Tall tales and grand adventures, fill the Weird West genre. We find gleaming guns and robots, and the echoes of horse hooves meeting the whir of mechanical wonders. Whether steeped in fantasy or sticking with science fiction, the Weird West allows us to reimagine the dusty, sunbaked streets of frontier towns. It’s about pushing the boundaries of traditional western stories into the realms of the fantastical and the eerie.

During “Weird West Month,” WeirdWestFiction.com is hosting interviews, guest posts, and discussions that delve into the minds of creators who dare to explore this niche. The site does a marvelous job of bringing together a community that promotes a genre where anything is possible—if you can dream it, you can write it.

Taking part in Welcome to the Weird West Month feels like coming home. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what draws me to this intersection of genres and to explore how it influences my work. My passion for steampunk and westerns is about deepening the story possibilities of historical settings, and exploring modern concerns in a familiar, yet changed, context.

For those who follow my work, you know the Creedverse is a labor of love that challenges the norms of what westerns can be. In my books, you’ll find not only gunfights and horseback chases but also walking, talking steely companions that might just have a heart of gold (or at least a heart of finely-tuned gears and circuitry).

As Welcome to the Weird West Month progresses, I encourage you all to visit WeirdWestFiction.com. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to the genre, there’s something wonderfully wild waiting for you. And keep an eye out for my interview—I look forward to sharing it with you and hearing your thoughts.

 

Important Reminder

The Kickstarter for my latest Creedverse novel, Anna, Daughter of Creed, is running until May 30, 2024! Now’s a great time to back it for signed copies of the novel, copies of the previous series (if you’re interested!), and much more! You can even appear as a Weird West version of yourself in the upcoming book!

“May your belly never grumble, may your heart never ache, may your horse never stumble, may your cinch never break.” ~ The Cowboy Blessing

 

Welcome to the exciting journey of bringing Anna, Daughter of Creed to life through my latest Kickstarter campaign, which is running from April 30 to May 30, 2024. This project is for the new spin-off trilogy from my series, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed. (See the sidebar for more!) It represents a deepening of my steampunk western alternate timeline, which I call the Creedverse, and the beginning of The Anna Lynn Chronicles,” a trilogy that promises to expand Creedverse lore.

The Genesis of Anna, Daughter of Creed

The inspiration to focus on my inventor and brothel madam character, Anna Lynn Boyd, originated from the overwhelming response she received from readers, particularly women, who praised her depth and realism—qualities they felt were often lacking in female characters written by male authors. This feedback, along with a moment of revelation while writing Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake, sparked the idea for a new series centered around Anna. As James “Bodacious” Creed pursued justice in San Francisco, it became clear that Anna would have her own set of challenges to face back in Santa Cruz.

Developing Anna Lynn Boyd

Anna’s character is a blend of genius intellect and profound resilience, shaped by her early experiences and the societal constraints of the 1870s. Despite her innovations and contributions to technology, she found herself constrained by the limited roles available to women during the era, initially forcing her into prostitution—an occupation she turned to out of necessity but left behind due to her inventions and subsequent partnership with business mogul Miles Morgan.

I knew it was important to portray her not as a victim of her circumstances, but as a proactive agent of change. Her story is one of overcoming adversity through intelligence and determination, using her wealth and influence to challenge and change the status quo for women—an endeavor that is central to Anna, Daughter of Creed.

Crafting the Narrative

The narrative of Anna, Daughter of Creed intertwines historical elements with steampunk inventions in a plot rich with blackmail, societal critique, and personal growth. The story delves into themes of libel and misogyny, exploring how Anna navigates these challenges in a society that is simultaneously captivated by and cautious of her achievements. This interplay of historical realism and imaginative steampunk elements provides a fertile ground for exploring timeless issues through the lens of speculative fiction.

Reader Engagement and Community Building

A fun aspect of this Kickstarter campaign is how I’m letting backers have a bit of input into the story. This interactive approach has been a cornerstone of my writing process, allowing readers to name characters or even appear as characters within the novel. This level of engagement not only enriches the story but also fosters a stronger connection between the narrative and its audience, making the Creedverse a collaborative space for creativity and community.

Overcoming Creative Challenges

Writing Anna, Daughter of Creed has been an exercise in persistence and creativity. The initial drafts, while extensive, did not capture the story I wanted to tell. Through multiple rewrites and revisions, I have honed in on a narrative that feels true to both the character of Anna and the world of the Creedverse. It’s been a challenge, but incredibly rewarding.

The Future of The Anna Lynn Chronicles

With the broad outlines for the next two books already in place, the journey ahead for Anna Lynn Boyd is vibrant and full of potential. These novels will continue to build on her legacy, exploring new dimensions of her character and the impact of her inventions on society. The trilogy will follow her personal growth and reflect broader societal changes, providing a mirror to the ongoing discussions around gender and innovation.

Your Role in This Journey

By supporting this Kickstarter, you’re playing a pivotal role in the realization of a project that merges historical intrigue with speculative innovation. Every pledge supports the continuation of a saga that champions the indomitable spirit of its characters.

I am committed to transparency and communication throughout this process. I will share regular updates on the progress of the novel, from the first draft through to publication, ensuring that backers are not just contributors but true partners in this creative journey.

Join Us

I invite you to join us on this adventure, to be part of a story that blends the past with futuristic technology and social commentary. Your support is not for a book, yes, and also for a vision of the world where the fierce the fearless, and the compassionate lead the way.

Thank you for considering this journey with me. Anna, Daughter of Creed is a project born from love—for the characters, for the world, and for the readers who have made the Creedverse what it is today. Together, we can turn this vision into reality.

“Writing is an act of willed understanding.” ~ Stephen King