Updates on My Books and Trying to Plan What to Write and In What Order

1.  To Have and To Hold is almost done!

I have three more scenes to write and the first draft will be complete.  At 1000 words a day, I expect to be done before Monday.  I’ll have to adjust the word count estimate because it’ll be under 80,000 words.  I’m thinking anywhere between 75,000 to 76,000 words.  The first round of editing will wipe out some of that.  Maybe 1000 to 2000.  Not much.  Most of what is in this book will stay in it.

I would like to do a third book with Dave and Mary.  I just don’t know what a good plot would be, but maybe in a year or more I’ll come up with it.  I’ve enjoyed being with Dave and Mary all over again in this book.  As much as Dave gives me grief on this blog (I actually enjoy it, by the way), he’s very easy to work with in the books.  With Dave and Mary, the books pretty much write themselves.  I enjoyed writing To Have and To Hold more than I thought I would since I tend to not enjoy sequels.  I don’t think I could do a sequel for every couple I write, but with Dave and Mary it worked.  It’s hard to explain why, but with some couples, it’s easier to connect with them than with others. 

2.  Her Heart’s Desire

I’m right at the halfway point for this one, and things are vamping up to Sally’s elopement.  I consider this to be one of my lighthearted romances.  To Have and To Hold is more serious, as was Eye of the Beholder.  But Her Heart’s Desire is lighthearted the whole way through.  It’s not exactly a comedy, but it has some funny parts in it.





3.  Mitch’s Win

This one calls to me more often than Her Heart’s Desire.  Again, more serious in the plot, but Mitch and Heather are very easy to write.  The plot is unfolding naturally as I’m writing it, and I really did not have any plot in mind when I started this one.  With To Have and To Hold and Her Heart’s Desire, I pretty much had the bones of the plot set out.  With this book, all I knew was what I’d do with the first two chapters.  Since the characters kept bugging me, I started it.

Anyway, I am happy with the progress of this story.  It’s hard to believe it’s been less than 24 hours in book time and I’m already at the 15,000 word mark, but a lot happened in those 24 hours.  Mitch and Heather are married and she’s getting adjusted to the children.  I expect a main plot point to pop up soon when some snooty women give Heather some bad advice on how to be a good wife.  This is advice that won’t work to her and Mitch’s advantage, of course.  If the advice did, there’d be no conflict.  😀

4.  Bound by Honor, Bound by Love

I have figured out how Penelope and Cole from A Chance In Time fit into this book, and as it turns out, they play a significant role in it and will be the reason why Citlali makes he decision he does once he becomes the chief of the Mandan tribe.  He takes over when the current chief dies. 

This is one of those books that doesn’t come as easily to me, which is why I keep pushing it back on the “Works in Progress” list.  There are some things weaving through the book that will be tying up all loose ends in the Native American Romance Series.  After this, I am not writing another Native American Romance, so I have to be sure I don’t leave any questions hanging.

5.  Just Good Friends

The timing of this one is important because it’s a holiday romance.  Since it spans from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, I want to publish it at the end of October to get it ready for the holiday season.  Currently, I’m in chapter two.  Not far, but 100 words a day will add up by the time August (estimated) gets here.  At that time, I will switch this book up to 1000 words a day to get it done some time in September (probably late in the month).  Then it’s off to editors and proofreaders.  I expect it to be up on B&N, Amazon, and Apple by mid-November.  I have to go through Smashwords in late October to make this happen.

Currently in this book, Tyler has agreed to pretend to be Tiffany’s boyfriend and go with her to Glendive, Montana (I have been there since my husband’s family is there) to attend her sister’s wedding over the Thanksgiving weekend.  Her meddling mother is already giving her and Tyler a hard time about getting married.  I notice I do a lot of meddling mothers in my books.  It might seem like I had a horrible mother because of this, but the truth is, my mother was one of the nicest people who ever lived.  She’s no longer alive, but I will say when I look in the mirror, I look just like her, which is almost scary.  LOL

6.  The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife

I just started this one.  I got excited by the plot.  Now that I wrote it out, I can pass it along…

Nathaniel Buford doesn’t want a wife, but his brother died, leaving him with the title of the Earl of Roderick.  Now Nathaniel is bound by duty to get an heir.  Unfortunately, to get the heir, he must find a woman to marry.  As luck would have it, he gets caught in a scandalous situation not of his doing, and the next thing he knows, he’s married…and to a woman reported to desire money above all else.

Miss Claire Lowell wanted to get married, but she never intended to marry a man who felt trapped into it.  And despite what he thinks, she’s not the woman he thinks she is.  No amount of telling him this makes any difference.  Nathaniel has made it clear theirs will never be a marriage of love, and that’s something she can’t accept. 

When he catches her trying to run away in the guise of a stable boy, he can’t resist the opportunity to play along and pretend he doesn’t know her true identity.  But in the disguise, he might discover his inconvenient wife is not so inconvenient after all.

7.  The Earl’s Hasty Marriage

I got the second book in the Earl Series in mind.  I haven’t written a summary of it, though.  I did get another pre-made cover from www.romancenovelcovers.com.  I decided for my Regencies, I’m going with the pre-made covers.  As of right now, I’m planning to write one more to complete the series.  I prefer to keep series to three books, such as the case for the Native American Romance Series and the South Dakota Series.  I’m going to put The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife and The Earl’s Hasty Marriage under the “Earls Series”.  I know, the titles of my series aren’t very profound, but they help me keep the books organized, so I use them.  I don’t know when I’ll start this particular book, but I will add it in the queue.

Right now all I know is that the hero in this book is good friends with the hero from book 1, and this hero has a limp, and to complicate matters, he tends to stutter and twitch when he’s nervous.  So he’s not exactly the type who has women falling all over themselves to marry him.  I’m thinking he’s going to marry a widow to save her from poverty, but it’s too early to tell yet.

Current Anticipated Order to Writing and Publishing Books

I have Isaac’s Decision out, and To Have and To Hold’s first draft is almost done.  That makes two books for my 2012 goal complete.  I had six books total for my goal for this year.  That means publishing the books, not necessarily writing them.  After I finish a first draft, it tends to take between 1.5 to 2 months to publish it.  Having others help me polish it up is why I’m able to do this so quick.  So with two books pretty much out of the way, I am looking at a good strategy for the other books in my Works in Progress and Queue. 

I don’t want to run into the same problem I ran into last year.  I published books in popular series right away and then the not-so-popular series later on.  Then I left this huge hole from July to November where nothing came out.    I’d like to spread things out better.   I write primarily historical westerns, but I do enjoy mixing it up with other genres.  It helps me keep things fresh so I avoid burn out.  I am starting to need something other than historical westerns.  I just wrote three books that are historical westerns (Shotgun Groom, Isaac’s Decision, and To Have and To Hold).  I have three more historical westerns currently being written (Her Heart’s Desire, Mitch’s Win, and Bound by Honor, Bound by Love).  I am not at the point yet where I am needing the refresher, but I’m approaching it.  So I need to figure out a way to mix things up along the timeline I’d like to publish books this year so I don’t get burned out from historical westerns.

So I am thinking of bumping up the Regency since it’s new and different.  I’m thinking of keeping momentum going on Her Heart’s Desire and keeping Mitch’s Win going since those are calling to me to write.

The other ones are more iffy, which isn’t surprising since they are further down the list and later in the year.  Just Good Friends is set.  I don’t want to do Runaway Bride until I get more historicals under my belt (which will be Her Heart’s Desire, Mitch’s Win, and The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife).  I also don’t want to push out two contemporaries too close to each other unless I have a strong historical to go with it.  Bound by Honor, Bound by Love is not a strong historical (meaning it doesn’t have a strong interest).  The historical westerns are very popular, but not the Native American Romance division.  Contemporaries are the least popular of the books I write.

I do watch sales because are a report card to show me what people want me to write.  Over the past two years of studying sales (aka my report card), it’s been consistent. 

  • Historical westerns are at the top.  (Nebraska Series and South Dakota Series)
  • The Virginia books (surprisingly) comes second but that series is complete so I don’t really count it when I figure out what to write next. 
  • My other historicals are third.  (Falling In Love With Her Husband, Meant To Be)
  • Native American Sereis come fourth.
  • Contemporaries comes fifth
  • My sci-fi thriller is about nil.  I do want to write another one, though, but that is pushed back to 2013 or 2014.
  • Fantasy books pretty much non-existent, so no, I won’t be writing another Raz book.

So I have to take that into consideration when I plan out what I’m going to write and in what order.  I’ve been doing historical westerns in the Nebraska Series because people love those the most and I hadn’t put out a Nebraska Series book at all in 2011, except for Shotgun Groom and (if you count a Smashwords publication on Christmas day), Isaac’s Decision.

I have no idea if Mitch’s Win (a Montana Series book) historical western will be popular.  I have no idea if The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife (an Earl Series book) Regency will be popular; it might end up being the equivalent of the contemporaries since I’m not known for them.  I do know Bound by Honor, Bound by Love will not be popular.  Just Good Friends and Runaway Bride will be even less popular.

So this is what I’m looking at as I figure out a way to modify the “To Be Written and When to Publish” list for 2012.  What I will need to do is mix up the popular with unpopular books, so I can stay refreshed in my writing to help the creativity flow best and not take such a hit in sales.  I consider Bound by Honor, Bound by Love, Just Good Friends and Runaway Bride to be my “losses” since my “report card” has alerted me to which books people want and don’t want.  Make sense? 

What I’m going to do is sit down with my calendar and estimate word counts and due dates.  Then I’ll have a better idea of what is going on.  I don’t like the idea of doing two contemporaries in the same year unless I have an extra historical western to put out there (unless Regencies do well; then the Regency would act as a historical western in terms of a buffer).   I think this is stuff publishers look at when they are trying to decide which books to put out and when.  It’s not an easy road to navigate, but it’s one worth checking out.

Now that I have hit 2100 words, I’m going to end this post here.  Sorry to go on and on.  😀 

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to www.ruthannnordin.com or check out https://ruthannnordinauthorblog.wordpress.com.
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6 Responses to Updates on My Books and Trying to Plan What to Write and In What Order

  1. Karen Miller says:

    I’m so excited that you are gonig to do at least 3 regencies. Regencies are my favorite. Just reading the plot of your one has me chomping at the bit for it to come out and its not even written yet. You and Rose are spoiling me with getting books out in a timely fashion. I’ve waited 2 years for my other favorite author to even announce what book she is coming out with next and its not coming out until July. Keep up the good work Ruth.

    • Thank you, Karen. 😀

      One of the reasons I enjoy self-publishing is because I can work at my own pace and write books that appeal to me at the time. I can’t see myself writing one type of book when I enjoy writing and reading a variety. I always lean toward romances, but I like the different types out there. From the list I got, I can see the variety is alive and well. LOL

  2. I’m trying to prioritise my writing projects for this year too. Like you, I have a lot of pots on the boil at the same time, but you’re way ahead of me in the organisation stakes with having covers all sorted (and such super ones). Looking forward to reading your new books when they’re ready, and wishing you a successful year of publishing.

    • Thanks! It’s taken me four years, but I think I finally got a system that works for me. Until recently, I never had an actual plan. I knew what I wanted to work on and even switched projects around back then (like I do now), and I did try to get the schedule written on a calendar. I don’t know what works for you, but it wasn’t until I put the book covers up on this blog and had the word widgets to track my progress that I finally “got it” right. I like seeing the progress, and seeing the covers there helps me know that even if a few hundred words a day doesn’t seem like much, it gets me closer to the goal.

      It sounds like you’re a lot like me in working on a few projects at one time, so you probably see the method to my madness. Some people wonder how I can keep them all straight, but if one project is starting to stall, I like knowing another is there to work on so I don’t lose the creative edge. I’m not sure if that is the same for you, though.

  3. Judy DV says:

    The Earl books look great!
    Can’t wait for the books in the series like Bound by Honor. Just read the first two books in the series and really enjoyed them. Well okay, I enjoy all your books 😉

    • Della Jacobs (I think) is the person who designed those covers for the Romance Novel Covers site. I like them because they were pre-made, so I didn’t have to struggle deciding on a picture and then tweaking on it. Plus, it’s harder to find good Regency covers on the photo sites I usually buy pictures from.

      I pushed Bound by Honor up a little bit. I don’t want to do 1000 words a day because the story requires me to weave in the first two books in the series and the novella on the side that goes along with it. I hope at 500 words a day, I can hit a happy medium. 🙂

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