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Alyssa Drake Novels

Steamy Romance with a Twist

Journey into the mind of a writer on deadline...‚Äč


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Day 79 - The elephant

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 28 October, 2021 at 11:50 Comments comments (0)

It's time to address the elephant in the room, or at least the one in my room.

While I would love to support myself solely with my writing, the reality is, that like so many others in this profession, that dream is currently supplemented by a day job. As jobs go, this particular one is unique in the aspect that it is a chocolate factory (sorry, no oompa loompas).

I love chocolate (and books and coffee) so having a job in this industry is fantastic, but... While everyone else just started thinking about Christmas, I've been focused on it since August as this is our busiest season (honestly, who's shocked by that revelation?). As we get closer to Christmas, the demands upon my time from the day job increase, which subsequently reduces my available time for author related activities.

Based on past history, I knew this would happen, but I was hoping this year would be different.

It's not.

So, output goes down, stress levels go up, and Christmas music is blaring on my speakers... I could go for a peppermint mocha right now.

Day 78 - You're never too old to Trick or Treat!

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 27 October, 2021 at 18:00 Comments comments (0)

With all the doors active (but hidden) on my website, I began scheduling the posts to appear every hour. The fun part was going through each one to make sure they worked. To be honest, I'm disappointed I don't get to participate in the event (although I did grab the freebie from Door Five - thank you Tiff). I hope everyone has a wonderful time.


This is that moment of anticipation (like Christmas morning) that I love so very much. I'm great at keeping secret what gifts I buy (no one else in my family can), and I'm sorry I can't trick or treat with all of you.


However, if you loved the event, please let me know. It may make it on the schedule for next year.


A side note. My kid goes back to school tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be a bit more product on Wednesday. He's been home with me for the past few days with a cough and a runny nose. It's not "the virus", but it was enough to make the school send him home until he received the "all clear" from the doctor (which he did).

Day 77 - You should be writing

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 26 October, 2021 at 17:10 Comments comments (0)

I know I'm running out of time to get the Halloween event up, so tonight my goal is to complete every webpage for the Trick or Treat. With the first template finished, it should be a simple matter of creating a new page, copying the previous format over, then editing it to match that particular door's theme. Notice, I said "should be".


My son is sitting next to me counting candy corn for the "guess how many pieces" giveaway. I'm certain a few of them didn't make it into the jar, but that's okay, because he deserves a treat for offering to count them all.


The door I'm curious to see will be the "Tell our own Ghost Story". I intend to collect all the pieces and post up the story (or paragraph) once we've passed Halloween.


While I do love doing this, I must admit, these administrative activities do take away from the time I should be writing. I'm on a deadline (actually more than one), and that little nagging voice is getting louder the closer we get to November.

Day 76 - Post-it Notes

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 25 October, 2021 at 18:05 Comments comments (0)

I have the attention span of a gnat.


I intended to work on the Halloween doors today, however, I found myself picking at the beginning outline for the second book in my historical co-write series. I never considered myself a plotter, in fact, I was adamantly against it because I felt it stifled the creative process. However, I discovered while writing A Perfect Deception that I had inadvertently created a makeshift outline through post-it notes. Yup.


Picture this. I wrote plot points, one per post-it, and stuck them to a large sheet, then rearranged the points until I reached the order in which I wanted the events to occur. I consider it to be a living outline, because I could move the points as needed. While this is a fun method, it's not very portable, so I started creating skeleton outlines, and then filling them in as the details emerged.


Over time I developed a hybrid outline process which is partially detailed, and allows for changes as I'm writing (those moments when I have an epiphany and want to tweak the direction of the story). This process also means that I spend several days working on the outline, but tonight's focus is just the major pieces, which works out to be usually 7 - 9 large events that sum up the story. On my second pass (which won't occur tonight), I'll flesh that out into one sentence per chapter. The third pass is for ensuring the story flows in a logical manner, and to add specific details that must be included in specific chapters. Then, I begin writing. As the story progresses, I'll come back and revise the outline to make sure I've included events that were not previously recorded.


But for tonight, I've got my skeleton done. Check that off the list.

Day 75 - Take two

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 24 October, 2021 at 14:55 Comments comments (0)

Halloween event take two.


I completed one door today, the first one, which happens to be a trick (hee hee). This one took the longest, because I played with the formatting more than I should have, but since it's the first time doing this event, I wanted it to be easy to copy in case I do it again next year (which depends solely upon the response I get). However, door one was finished, and I realized I would need 12 more door images to set this up.


The rabbit hole of searching for images is quite deep and you can spend hours sorting through pictures. I tried to focus on just doors, but I also needed tricks too, and I found myself hunting through scary pictures with my son (which he thought was a fantastic Halloween game). We've also turned on Halloween movies in the background to keep us in the mood (and we're singing along with Pumpkin Jack).


With roughly twenty images downloaded, I logged off for the night, ready to set up the rest of the doors tomorrow. I hope it goes a bit faster than today's door, otherwise, it'll be Thanksgiving before I finish.

Day 74 - How not to make a lightbulb

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 23 October, 2021 at 14:00 Comments comments (0)

After I announced the Trick or Treating event in my reader group and newsletter, I was asked if I could make it available for people who didn't have (or chose not to use) Facebook. I tried, really I did, but me and technical things don't quite get along. After messing with my website for an hour, I'm no closer to figuring out how to schedule posts than I was when I started the project.

So, to those of you who couldn't participate, I am sorry. Perhaps next year I'll be a bit more tech savvy. As such, I only know how to make the pages invisible and have the links appear in my reader group (which was my original plan and the one I returned to now that I've proven I just don't have the know-how).

Sometimes it's best to just admit defeat and stop spinning your wheels. Unfortunately, for today, that means I've done nothing productive. When things like this occur, I think of Thomas Edison's quote, "I didn't fail. I just found 2,000 ways not to make a lightblub."

So, I didn't fail. I just discovered several ways not to schedule posts on my website. That counts, right?

Day 73 - Baby steps

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 22 October, 2021 at 18:30 Comments comments (0)

I haven't yet addressed an important step yet in my process... publishing. If you follow the instructions, it is a fairly simple procedure to set up a new book for pre-order/release, and since Horrified is going into Kindle Unlimited, I only have to set it up on one platform. But the part that isn't, the part that you can spend hours on, is the key word section.


I don't have a crystal ball, so I I tried to pick words to describe the overall collection as well as the stories included that would also be searchable terms (underwater basket weaving may be a great idea, but no one hunts for it). I'm never 100% certain on this part (although I am aware of what words aren't allowed), and sometimes I'll go back in and adjust the key words if I find one that better describes the book.

However, for now, I'm happy with the choices. Cross one more thing off the list. It's slow going, but at least I'm going forward, one tiny step at a time.

Day 72 - Old hat

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 21 October, 2021 at 12:50 Comments comments (0)

I've been formatting so much this month, it's beginning to feel like "old hat", but that also means that I haven't gotten a lot of writing done. However, since I'm working with a limited amount of time, sacrifices need to be made.

There are two major historical writing projects that will absorb my focus for the coming months, and it's been nice to take a break from the past and run amok on Firefly Island. Even though I don't get to spend as much time here as I'd like, I do have the idea for the revelation of the third queen, and when I return again, that will be my next story.


Although it fits with the paranormal theme of the Firefly Island series, the Departed cover is by far the most adorable, and I'm pleased to share it with you (give your fur baby a kiss today).

Day 71 - I have an idea

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 20 October, 2021 at 12:30 Comments comments (0)

Departed came back today from my editor, and with plenty of time to get the corrections done for the fun event I have planned in my reader group on Halloween.

We're trick or treating for adults!


One of the treats will be Departed, which I'm giving away free to everyone who happens to knock on that door when it appears, (more information to follow on that later).

However, tonight, I just want to say how grateful I am for my wonderful editor, who always has time for me, even when she doesn't. I can't express how important having an editor is (and I know I've said this several times), but it one of the early lessons I learned as a writer. No one is perfect. No one. Don't raise your hand. No one is.

Also, I'm listening to Christmas music. Yes, I know we haven't hit Halloween yet, but it's peaceful, and we could all use more of that.

Day 70 - An Imperfect Bargain

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 19 October, 2021 at 23:35 Comments comments (0)

Formatting. My old nemesis. I did not turn off my laptop this time when I completed the format for An Imperfect Bargain (ironically I didn't need to leave it on, because I had zero corrections to do to the formatted file, but I digress).

The most significant change to this story was a tiny tweak which moved the location of Ceresus closer to England. Ceresus is a fictional location that is a pirate hideout (think Tortuga), but it reappears in my contemporary series as a tiny island nation where the subjects want to murder their queen. (That was your Easter egg warning.)

An Imperfect Bargain is free and available to anyone who would like to experience Wiltshire without the commitment of the series. You can download it from my website =>

Happy reading!