• Tag Archives Lisa Medley
  • Book Two is in the Harlequin E Queue

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    Book two of the Reaper Series, Reap & Redeem, is all wrapped up, copyedited and on it’s way to Harlequin. Book three, Reap & Reveal, is out to my beta readers and awaiting its turn.

    Reap & Reveal is due for submission to my editor Jan. 31 so I have a few more tweaks to make to it before I hit send. Hitting send on book three is just as scary as hitting send was for book one.

    Some days I wonder how all of this actually happened. As I was reading through Reveal for the umpteenth time, it seemed like someone else entirely had written it.

    Apparently, birthing books is a lot like birthing babies and you pretty much immediately forget all of the pain and discomfort they caused you all those long months the moment they finally appear, fully-formed into your world.

    And now I’m ready to do it all again.

    The books birthing, not the baby birthing. I’m all good on that front. I don’t feel the desire for a series of real babies.

    What I do have is a burning desire for is a BACK LIST. And the only way you get a back list is if you continue to write and publish books.

    I’m spending the remainder of December brainstorming and working up synopses (what a weird word that is) for three ideas which have been scurrying around the nether regions of my brain. Plotting a book is a heady thing.

    I spent all afternoon last Sunday working on a ghost romance idea. As you can imagine, there are some obstacles to romance to overcome with that idea but it’s fun trying to figure out how to make it happen. I already have a working title, hero/heroine names, settings, and the beginnings of a playlist. And yes, the plot is coming together.

    I went to bed at midnight Monday morning and couldn’t turn off my brain. Those characters are already pounding at the door wanting to tell their story.

    I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve discovered through the years I am a great STARTER but sometimes have trouble SUSTAINING. With writing, I get to enjoy the best of both of those worlds. Brainstorming new novel ideas feeds my organization and STARTER self while 75-80K seems to be just about the end of my SUSTAINING capacity. If I had to write longer books, I think I’d lose interest before I ever completed them.

    Writing a series right out of the gate has been challenging. Keeping ALL of those details straight would be impossible for me without the help of my beta readers and my fantastic editor. I really lucked out when Angela was assigned to me.

    The ghost romance will be a standalone book.

    Plotting a new book is a lot like working a puzzle without having the picture on the box to look at for guidance. Right now I’m gathering all of the pieces and working the framework. I know it’s say, a picture of birds and flowers, or in this case a ghost romance but the rest is revealed as the writing progresses.

    I know what the general picture is going to be but there are lots of details that won’t take shape until much farther into the story. I think that’s what makes writing so exciting.


    It’s true!

    I’m trying to resist writing those first lines until I have worked out more of the framework but it’s hard!

    I thought I’d take a break but I think, writing something new and different and taking a step back from the reapers for a bit will re-energize me and enable me to see where the reapers are headed next.

    Sometimes you have to leave the forest to appreciate the trees.

  • Reapers Go to ePress March 2014

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    Reap & Repent is officially on the Harlequin E publishing calendar. For reals! I have seen it with my very own eyes.

    Not only is it on their calendar for a March 2014 release date, but you are going to get THREE MORE great Paranormal/Urban Fantasy titles along with it! That’s right, Harlequin E is releasing Reap & Repent in a four-book box set for $4.99.

    Not that you’ll WANT to buy it twice–although I certainly won’t discourage that level of devotion–but Reap & Repent will then have a second release as a standalone title in June. I expect the standalone price to be $3.99.

    By the end of 2013, I should have a cover to reveal for book one. Book two, Reap & Redeem, is off to the copyeditor, and I just typed THE END on my first draft of book three, Reap & Reveal.

    It’s been a busy month.

    I expect book two to come out in another box set in June when the standalone book one releases, then book three in a box set in September with the standalone release of book two.

    I can’t even imagine the logistics of launching a new publishing imprint.

    If all goes as planned above, I’ll have three books published in 2014.

    Part of me wants to sit back and coast for a while, but I don’t think my writing addicted brain will let me. By the time book three is in copyediting, I have a feeling the voices in my head will revolt and demand some action.

    Next up is either a ghost story romance (possibly in the Shivers Harlequin E genre) or an Erotic Vacation novella I’ve been incubating for Harlequin E.

    Stay tuned.


  • Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Reaper Like Me?

    Reapers are not the cloaked, skeletal figures of legend. Or HalloweenCostumes.com If you want to see a reaper, look at my banner on the top of this website. Yeah, not too bad, right?

    And the Grim Reaper is not a supernatural Santa Claus, collecting all of the souls in the world in need of reaping. There are LOTS of reapers and they are nothing like any of these costumes.

    Since the normals might freak out if you walk around in your street clothes while carrying a real scythe on Halloween, visiting graveyards, hospitals and funeral homes looking for souls to collect… Here are a few costumes I found to get you by.

    This one they call Adult Grim Reaper. I shudder to think there might be a real child grim reaper somewhere (shades of Gage from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary anyone?). Of course all reapers are adults. Don’t be ridiculous.

    Thankfully, my reapers will never look like this. Reapers stop aging after their first successful reaping which usually happens late twenties to early thirties.


    Then there’s the Winged Reaper. The wings are a nice touch but not true. Only angels have wings, silly. And what’s up with the bedazzled scythe Martha Reaper?

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    Of course, we can’t forget the EXCLUSIVE Sexy Reaper. As if fishnets and high heels were conducive to soul collecting through graveyards. Or demon hunting. Which happens. A lot.

    Sure there are lots of female reapers, but many of them grow up to become Valkyries. And none of them dress like this girl.

    Sexy reaper

    And that scythe is clearly not a supernatural weapon. It looks as dull as a political convention. Put some shine to that thing!

    One last note: the scythe isn’t used in the actual reaping. It’s used in the event of a demon encounter. Think on that for a while.

    Happy Haunting!




  • ORACON 2013 Afterglow


    Last weekend was amazing. I know, I know. You’ve been seeing my tweets and shares about ORACON 2013 for like what? The past six months? Well, if you are a writer or even tangentially interested in being a writer and you weren’t there… you so missed out.

    More than ninety authors from all over the Midwest including Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Missouri were in attendance. This shot is the the whole gang!

    The amazing Laurie McLean of Foreword Literary Agency, Holly Atkinson of Samhain and Tish Beaty of L. Perkins Agency took pitches and asked for submissions from nearly twenty authors. That alone was worth the price of admission… But wait! There’s More! 

    The Dynamic Duo Jennifer Jakes and Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs (both fantastic authors in their own right) presented workshops on self-publishing as well as branding and the importance of high quality covers.

    Jeannie Lin and Shawntelle Madison revealed the secrets of worldbuilding and how to get your books noticed in a crowded market. Tish Beaty gave us some great tips on self-editing our work and character development. And Leigh Michaels’ workshop on plotting backwards was inspiring.

    And if that wasn’t enough, Davis Photographic Designs took headshots for authors in an event room. So this happened…

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    Which means you will no longer have to stare at my selfie when I tweet and share more amazing Ozarks Romance Authors events!

    When I attended the Romantic Times conference this spring, I knew it was a big event. It FELT like a big event. More than two thousand in attendance. I bow down in awe to the organizers.

    I would have grown an ulcer before the thing ever launched. I certainly won’t take anything for granted this coming year in New Orleans when I attend RT14.

    I was so proud to be a part of planning and participating in this day. It was exhausting but all of the kind words of attendees both during and in the aftermath made it all worthwhile.

    If you are interested there are like eight million pictures here. I won’t inflict them all upon you now. Although, they are fabulous.

    In fact, looking at them has already given me euphoric recall and made me a little sad it’s all over.

    Let’s do it again!

    But let’s wait until next year 😀



  • How The Plot Thickens

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    Last week my spanky friend, Cara Bristol, posted on how she plots. You can find Cara’s post here. She had some great advice. As she begins her tenth book, I’m still writing through my third and her advice was timely.

    So far, my biggest writing problem seems to be weaving my plot and subplot lines together simultaneously. I already have a tendency to wrap thing up around the seventy percent mark then tack on some … But wait! There’s more!

    While tackling my structural edits for book two and attempting to rearrange my last third plot line, I cut apart my chapter-by-chapter synopsis (I’ve done one for each book which I find very helpful) and tried rearranging it on my wall.

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    Trying to do this on my laptop alone is nearly impossible. I need the visual, and I just can’t see it all on my screen. Once I had the chapters reordered in a better way, I renumbered my chapters on the opposite wall.

    Then I got down to the hard work: the rewrite. Of course, spending  some more time in Kylen and Alivia’s story isn’t all bad.

    That said, my goal for book three is to avoid the last third rewrite. I love you Nate and Maeve, but let’s write it right the first time this time 🙂

    Write on.



  • Harlequin So You Think You Can Write 2013 – It’s on like Donkey Kong!

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    A year ago today I entered a contest. It was a big one.

    The Harlequin So You Think You Can Write contest. More than 700 writers uploaded their first chapters for the world to see. It was exhilarating and terrifying. And ultimately it was the launch pad for my writing career. 

    Getting that email from ucanwrite@harlequin that said, “Congratulations!” was the second best moment of my career so far. The first was the call from Malle Vallik in Toronto with Harlequin e and a two book offer 🙂

    The good news is YOU can enter the same contest. The most amazing thing this year is that you are GUARANTEED to have top Harlequin editors reading your first 5,000 words!

    This is YOUR year. You have NOTHING TO LOSE and everything to gain.

    You still have a few days to polish those manuscripts. And you’ll want to. If you are chosen as a Top 50 entry, the editors will request your full manuscript. Trust me. You don’t want the stress of trying to finish a manuscript under that sort of pressure.

    The online conference begins next week. Be there.


    Make it happen.


  • Gravitating to Graveyards

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    I got completely lost yesterday.

    For my day job, I’m a vampire for a local blood bank. I travel around organizing blood drives across five counties and am responsible for nearly ten thousand donations a year. Most days go smoothly since I’ve covered the same ground for the past nine years now, but one wrong turn yesterday took me completely off the map and into parts unknown.

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    The unexpected writerly benefit was I found some super cool graveyards.

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    You probably don’t really pay much attention to cemeteries. Once you start looking, you’ll see they are like Chinese restaurants and banks…there’s one on every corner.

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    I am particularly drawn to decrepit and neglected graveyards. There is an abundance of such places in the rural countryside. Most rely on volunteers to mow the grounds and some haven’t been mowed in a very long time.

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    Those are the best.

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    I especially like broken tombstones and those worn slick by time and the elements.

    If you’d like to read my sentiments on the tradition of burying our dead in steel boxes, you can find a post here.

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    No one will ever admire my broken tombstone, but that’s okay.

    Since I write reapers, I find graveyards inspiring.

    Sometimes you can find inspiration in the strangest places.

  • Reaping The Benefits: Tracking Book 3 and Book 2 Edits

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    I received my next two contracts from Harlequin in the mail last week and diligently filed them away. I can’t believe this is becoming routine.

    Monday, August 12, I’ll get my structural edits for Reap & Redeem, book two of my Reaper Series.

    My goal (admittedly impossible) was to finish writing book three before the book two edits arrived. That did not happen. Life happened.

    What did happen is that I wrote 24,646 words in fifteen days, and now I’m sitting at 61K on book three. I still have to write the ending and the entire first draft feels thin to me. After my book two edits are finished, I’ll be ready to tackle it again. I need to be over 80K at completion. And I have to turn it in by October 31.

    Now THAT is scary.

    I have a problem with all of my books actually ending around 70K then I tack stuff onto the end. Apparently, I should be writing 70K length books. But the contract says 80k and that’s what I’ll do. Originally I thought I would write maybe ten books in this series but it’s feeling more like a trilogy.

    I have plenty of characters I can spin off into a new direction however, so we’ll see.

    After I finish with book three, Reap & Reveal, I plan to take a break and wait for at least one of them to publish. It looks like Jan-March will be the likely time frame for Reap & Repent. Reap & Redeem should come out three months later. I can’t wait to have a book out so I can start sharing and promoting it!

    Although, I don’t think I’ll be able to stay away from the keyboard for long.

    I have two other book ideas eating a hole in my NOVEL IDEAS folder. One is a ghost romance and the other is an erotic vacation romance. I also plan to write a Reaper short story to post on my site or sub to an anthology once the books start publishing.

    Once the writing Kraken is released, it won’t go easily back into the dark night.

  • Keep On, Keeping On

    I started book three in The Reaper Series.

    This is Nate’s story. It’s called Reap & Reveal. To be honest, it’s felt slow and painful here at the beginning. Today, I finished at 12,259 words. I’m not sure why this one has been such a herky-jerky process.

    I actually made about five pages of notes before I even began. Maybe that’s the difference? Maybe trying to convert from pantser to plotter has its consequences. Sucks some of the magic out of it?

    Reap & Repent is still out for copyedits and no news on a release date. Reap & Redeem is with the HQ acquisitions team, and I’m waiting anxiously to see if they’ll officially pick it up. I felt good about book two. It was the easiest to write so far because I was a little in love with Kylen. He’s a dark and tortured hero.

    After getting some editor feedback on it from Angela (nothing official), I realize I tend to write fast and furiously up to the 70% point of my story, then sort of run out of steam and tack stuff on at the end. I’m going to work really hard on this one to NOT do that.

    The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same things and expect different results, yes? I want to do it right the first time.

    I’ll probably never do it right the first time.

    But I will keep trying. I’m hopeful that my story will break over soon and then I can ride its wave. I continually alternate between thinking it’s total crap and okay. The author’s curse in all its glory. This is the EXACT reason authors become alcoholics. 

    Lucky for me I don’t really like booze that much. Sure a gin and tonic with a twist is nice from time to time, but give me a bag of chocolate… Good God, man! I could put a hurt on that.

  • Write. Edit. Write. Edit. Repeat.

    First off, I’d like to give huge thanks to my editor, Angela Polidoro, for her saint-like patience in editing my first novel, Reap & Repent. The woman is the Word Whisperer. For reals.

    Angela sent me three pages of structural edits to help me get my sometimes random and errant plot in line. I’m a pantser. Or at least I was on the first book. A pantser just starts writing with a vague idea of where the story may or may not go then continues forward until the end.

    Yeah. That was book one.

    Angela labored meticulously over my book, pulling the gems forward and giving me gentle suggestions of ways to solve my plot problems.

    I did everything she said and basically rewrote/restructured the second half of the book. It’s much better.

    Then came the line edits. Holy. Cow. She would give Job a run for his money in patience. I happily accepted all of her suggestions and tried to find some rhyme to reason or common denominator in her edits so I could do better next time. I don’t know if she laughed more or cried more during what had to be painfully tedious revisions.

    I emailed her and asked for any common things I could try to avoid next time to save her sanity. She just said,” Everyone needs a good polish!”

    Bless her heart.

    She’s the best and most positive cheerleader. She’s obviously worked with dozens of emotionally needy authors and knows how to soothe our savage insecurities.

    I promised her I could do better.

    She already has book two. I think my plot/story is better in book two. It’s a darker book, which I totally dig. More of a J.R. Ward vibe (I hope) as opposed to the little quirkier vibe of book one. I suppose I’ll know soon since she’s reading it now.

    I only have 800 words written on book three so far, but I do have five pages of notes.

    Slowly but surely, I’m upgrading to a plotter. See…I can learn.

    God help me.

    God help us all.