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NaNoWriMo 2017

Let the race for words begin! Yes, I’m participating this year (you can find me as joelysueburkhart).

I wasn’t sure which book I was going to write for NaNoWriMo this year. I’d intended to start The Mummy’s Captive Witch, but Queen Takes King was flowing too well and all the stars aligned for me to just continue writing in that world. I had 32,000 words at the end of October and decided to just keep on going.

So my plan is to finish the King (guessing 60-65K) and then go straight into Queen Takes Queen. Ideally… I’ll finish both this month!  Though Queen might go a bit into December.

I’m taking every Monday off in November, plus the week of Thanksgiving. We’re not hosting this year, so I won’t have to burn days of vacation cleaning house and shopping and cooking.  So I should have plenty of 3-5k+ days to get both books done this month.  That’s the plan at least!

I’m still working out my release schedule for the next few months and beyond. I did finally hear from Carina and it was a no. The only remaining publisher obligation I have is a contemporary proposal for Entangled, but it’s not working yet and I’ve got other things cooking right now.

I haven’t decided if Queen Takes Queen will come in Jan or Feb yet.  I should have the cover early Jan, so it’s possible I could release that month. We’ll see.  I’ll firm it up once I see how this month unfolds.

For 2018, I’m really going to shoot for the moon. My ideal releases will include

  • Queen Takes Queen (Jan-Feb)
  • secret pen name release, books 2 and 3.
  • Another Queen book or two in a different queen’s POV.
  • Queen’s Checkmate or Endgame (haven’t decided which title I like best)
  • Three Cuts Deader
  • The Mummy’s Captive Witch
  • The Prince’s Beast under a new pen name
  • A spinoff of the Billionaire series for Entangled

I’m also working on

  • A Connagher boxed set. Have the cover–but need to get the formatting done.
  • Getting the Shanhasson trilogy into print
  • Getting the Connagher books into print
  • Getting Lady Doctor Wyre and her men back up for sale (new covers).

These all cost $$$ so I need new releases out to pay for everything. Hence the big push for words.

Words, all the words. My focus in 2018 is MORE WORDS.

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 18

I set a new personal record today.  I don’t think I’ve ever written so many words in a single day.  8300+ bringing my NaNoWriMo cound to 40,119.

Even better….  I’m in the climax of the book.  A few more scenes, and this baby is done.

*muppet flails*

I don’t know what happened.  Everything just clicked and it was time to go.  I struggled with the set up for the final scene and I thought about it off and on throughout the day.  When it was finally time to work on it tonight, I was ready.  I knew what needed to happen.

So now I’ve got Ranay fighting for her life.  She’s more active than I originally planned in my synopsis, which is a very good thing.  She was too passive.  This is working much better.  I can’t WAIT to grind through these last few scenes!

Middle has an away basketball game tomorrow night 1.5 hour one way, so maybe I can get more serious wordage in the car.  I could feasibly finish the book tomorrow.

We’ll see.

No snippet right now – my laptop is down to 6% battery.  I’ll try to post a little tomorrow!

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 17

As usual with weekends, I don’t have a ton of wordage to show, but I did keep up with at least 1K a day and I’m still slightly ahead.  Even better, I got over the typical hump between end of Act 2 and beginning of Act 3.  The story is overall nearly at 75K, one of the longest books I’ve written in quite some time.

Even better:  I only have 10-20K left to write and this book is DONE.  GRINS HAPPY DANCE YAY!

NaNoWriMo total as of last night: 31,818

He fisted his hand in my hair and forced my gaze away, up to his face.  “This isn’t about what you want, Ranay.  This is about what I want.  I want you to stop me.  I want you to have a limit that you don’t allow me to cross.  I need to be able to trust you in this or we can’t be together.  I’m too dangerous otherwise.  I need you to be able to stop me.”


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NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 12

No D&E this morning as expected.  Middle had a late basketball game last night so I didn’t even try for early today.  I did manage a couple of hundred words in the car after dimming my laptop screen so it didn’t affect That Man’s driving too much.

Story wise I’m on the very edge of the first shocking reveal.  Ranay is going to hear some very disturbing things.  Is it really Charlie’s work?  Or someone else?  But why would the FBI think it’s him…?  She’s on her own and heading into the darkest point of the story.

Yesterday’s final NaNo count: 24,634


His pants hung open enough to reveal the dark cotton of his briefs and the bulge hidden beneath.  He tugged the black T-shirt over his head, bare skin drawing my gaze up.  He was as lean as I suspected, chiseled muscle that made my mouth water.  More chest hair than I’d seen on a man before but not so much that I thought of a burly backwoodsman.  Both his left shoulder and pec bore ink.  From the eagle, flag, and skulls, I guessed some kind of hardcore military background, but I couldn’t concentrate on the design.

A silver ring was planted in his left nipple.

I could almost feel that metal between my teeth.

He stood silent and unassuming, not threatening or large.  His arms were loose at his sides, his shoulders down and relaxed.  Nothing screamed domination and control in his stance.

Until I dragged my gaze back up his body to his eyes.

I trembled.  I couldn’t help it.  The fire blazing in his dark eyes seared my brain to ash.  It took all my concentration to force out one word.  “Master.”

His eyes.  Always his eyes.  It was why I’d worked so hard at never really seeing him, or at least never meeting his gaze fully.  Once he saw what I really was, I knew I’d never be able to escape.  He needed no cuffs or chains or collars to bind me to him.  All he needed was that dark all-consuming need that swallowed me whole and left me crying for more.

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 11

Made it two out of five days this week Dark & Early so far.  This morning, I got the most words I’ve ever gotten that early:  over 1400.  It was all dialogue and went quickly.  In fact, I’ve been writing to that scene … for quite some time now.

The bottom fell out.  Of everything.

Maybe it’s because this story started as a 35K novella, but I’ve always thought of it as three separate parts, each with its own three-act structure.  Part 1:  Owned.  It even “ended” with a high point for the romance.  Part 2:  Betrayed.  Yeah, that doesn’t sound good, does it?  This is the opposite.  Everything is falling apart.  Charlie is actually gone, completely off page.  I know what he’s doing, but Ranay (and the reader, since it’s first person) doesn’t.  I just brought the story to the end of that section.

Now all of the plot that’s been so carefully hinted at and laid down from the beginning is suddenly tightening into the real weave of the story.  Part 3: Redeemed.  This next part is suspense, dark, and probably violent.  It’s also going to be gut wrenching because Ranay is alone.

She has to be alone to pull this off.

Part 2 is currently 28K, which is about where I was thinking.  I allowed 30K but I think I need to go back and add a scene, so that was a pretty good guess.

Part 3 will be fast and furious, maybe shorter.  We’ll see.  I think I still need at least 20K to make everything happen and wrap up all the threads.  Possibly as much as 30K but that’s pushing it.

I may not have enough story to hit 50K for NaNo, but that’s okay.  I just want to finish the book!!

NaNoWriMo count as of this morning:  20,117


“What are you hard limits?”

“I don’t have any.”  He arched a brow, so I rushed to clarify.  “At least not that I’ve ever found.”

I’d lived as a full-time slave for a year and had a breakdown when I had to leave.  How could I have any limit if I allowed myself to fall into such a black hole?  Staring up into his eyes, I felt like I was tottering on the edge of an endless chasm.  One step toward him and I would fall.  Hard.  People said they fell in love all the time, head over heels, like it was wonderful.  Sunshine and bunnies and floaty hearts weren’t in my repertoire.  When I fell, I crashed like a flaming meteor that wiped out an entire planet.

“Well, we’re going to start slowly.  You have limits, whether you think so or not.  And if you don’t…”  He narrowed his eyes slightly but the full force of his determination rocked me back on my heels as he set me back on my feet.  “Then I’ll help you develop and enforce them.  You need to learn to protect yourself, especially from men like me.”

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 9

Weekends are crazy around here.  I had to be up at 6:30 Sat. to get Middle around for basketball practice.  Then Littlest had two basketball games that morning (different location).  That Man took her to her first game, I picked up Middle from practice, and then we all went to watch Littlest’s last game.  Papa came down to watch, so then we went out to lunch and I did some tech support on his laptop when we got home.

After getting up so early, I was exhausted early, so each word was a struggle.

Then yesterday, I took Princess and Littlest to church and watched the remainder of the Chiefs game.  After that, Middle took my laptop to continue working on her presentation, so I got Dropbox installed on That Man’s (my old backup) laptop so I could still work.  But naturally she needed my help, so I got a couple of hundred words at the most.  We spent the rest of the evening doing homework.  She had to get this presentation done since she’s got a tournament this week (her first games!) and she’ll have other homework all week to struggle to keep up with.

Unfortunately, she remembered she had math and science homework too.  At 10 PM.  Which I had to help her with and then check all her math work too.  Ugh.  So it was after 11 PM last night before I got to bed and I had hardly anything to show for words all day.  That late, I thought it’d be difficult to get up D&E this morning, but I actually woke up at 4 AM and then had a hard time going back to sleep until the alarm went off.

Miracle of miracles, I made over 1K this morning too, bringing my total to 15,975.  I’m still behind, but that’s a doable amount to make up.

As I said above, Middle has a tournament this week and it’s a 30-45 min drive away.  Wed. night she doesn’t play until almost 9 PM, so it’ll be late, lots of traveling, and somehow we have to get her homework done too.  D&E will be crucial even if I’m exhausted or I’ll never be able to keep up this week.

PLUS, I have first round edits on Billionaire #2 in my inbox, and line/final edits on Mama C are just around the corner.  Busy, busy, busy.


“Hear me now, Ranay.”

His voice made me shiver, all raw and barely leashed violence.  I’d never imagined he hid that kind of aggression behind his sweet dimples and curly hair, but I loved it.  Oh how I loved it.  He was my bad boy and my Master and my gentle lover all wrapped up into one tidy package.

“I never break my promises.  Never.  If you give yourself to me, I will treasure you.  If you feel weak, I’ll help make you strong.  If you have a need, I’ll meet it, whatever it is.  And if at any time I’m not good for you, then I will free you to protect you.  I won’t leave you high and dry, alone and afraid, but I refuse to tear down anything you’ve built for yourself.  If you need to be free, I’ll do it,” he said, his left hand rising up toward his right eye, “even if I have to take a bullet to the skull.”

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 6


Graphic courtesy of Lynn Viehl.

I’m still grinding through that same BDSM scene (that just started to turn into a sex scene Dark & Early this morning).

Fun Fact:  I ought to go figure out my longest scene ever and then count the words in this one and see if I beat it.  There are scene breaks — to give the reader time to draw breath — but there’s no break in location or anything like that.  They’re still going at it.

I made it D&E every day this week!  Even this morning.  Fridays are hard and I usually want to sleep in, but NaNoWriMo doesn’t care whether it’s Friday or whether the monsters have basketball games/practices early tomorrow (they do).

Still lost my laptop awhile last night so Middle could continue working on her presentation, but she didn’t get home until after 7, so I had plenty of time to get work done first.  My eyes were pooped by then anyway.

2480 words yesterday, bringing my total to 11,330.


I waited for him to make some lame excuse or joke, to blow me off.  I’m damaged goods.  I should have known I couldn’t hide it from him for long.  Though I’d hoped I would at least have had a night or two to tie me over for the rest of my life.  I smiled at him wistfully.  “Is it okay if I still watch Sheba tonight?  Then I won’t bother you again.”

His face tightened into grim lines that melted the ice sealing off my heart and sent it thumping frantically.  He cupped my chin and squeezed hard enough I’d probably have red marks on my face.

God it felt good.  Too good.  I couldn’t imagine not ever having someone touch me like this again.  Who knew effortlessly what I needed before I could even voice it.

“You’d better bother me again.  It’s taken me a year to figure out how to get the truth out of you.  Don’t give up on me so quickly, Ranay.”

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 5

My two oldest monsters both needed my laptop last night for school.  Of course they couldn’t use my old/backup laptop That Man uses.  It had to be mine.  So I didn’t get much done after 8 PM, when I can usually scrounge out a few more words and set the next scene.

Luckily/unluckily the scene I’m in is a MAJOR BDSM/sex scene that will take days to get through.  It’s so brutal.  Physically.  Mentally.  Emotionally.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it. But it’s the major candybar/midpoint scene.  Everything from here is a whirlwind of reveals and secrets and spiraling doubts/fears.  Hopefully I can pull it all together.  And no, as much as it kills me, I can’t share any of that scene here.  It will spoil everything if you know too quickly.  🙂

Still managed 2238 words yesterday for a total of 8850.

“You’ve been hiding, denying what you are.  Denying what you need.  So I have to ask, who hurt you, Ranay?”

My fingers convulsed tightly around his but he didn’t complain at how hard I squeezed.  He lifted my hand and lightly kissed my knuckles, and then he placed my hand on his chest over his heart. I fisted my hand in his shirt, but I didn’t try to jerk away from him.  I knew what he was going to do.  I wanted it.  Even though I feared it.

His fingers settled beneath my chin and he tipped my face up to his.

I didn’t even close my eyes, although the intensity of his searching gaze made my chest seize up so hard I was afraid my heart would burst with effort.  It felt like my blood had turned to concrete in my veins, cold and hard and heavy.

“Talk to me,” he whispered, his voice achingly gentle despite the command.  “Tell me what happened.  I need to know so I don’t make the same mistakes.”

I could feel his will reaching into me, stretching out like seeking fingers through my mind.  I blinked rapidly, not fighting the feeling but trying to adjust.  It was like my body temporarily forgot how to function on its own.

“When you give yourself, you give all the way.  You don’t hold anything back.”

I managed to nod a little, still not able to find my voice.  He pulled away enough to get my glass and gently lifted it to my lips so I could take a drink and at last I was able to speak.  “Some men can’t handle that.  It’s too much responsibility.  Too… creepy.”

He narrowed his eyes at my word choice, the first time he’d ever let me see displeasure.  It wasn’t a look I cared to earn again.  “It’s not creepy.  It’s not too much responsibility, either, if the man is dominant enough.”  He lowered his voice and leaned in close enough his nose almost touched mine.  His eyes were searing dark pits, sucking me under.  “And I promise you, Ranay, I’m dominant enough to handle you.”

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 4


Graphic courtesy of Lynn Viehl.

I made it Dark and Early this morning, “meeting” my friend Diana Castle for some words.  I had over 1,100 words from that session, but lost my lunch to errands.  After work today, I sat in the parking lot waiting on Middle to finish up basketball (it was a looooong wait tonight), and was able to get another chunk.

I’m hoping for a little more tonight but I’m fighting tired eyes.  We’ll see.  I’ll go ahead and update my count now so whatever else I get will be for tomorrow.

1813 words today, 6612 total.


“You give off a confusing vibe, Ranay.  I have to be sure.  I need to know what’s inside your head so I can decide how to proceed.  Do you know where I’m going with this or am I going to make a fool of myself tonight?”

I wrapped my other hand around the glass to make sure I kept my hands to myself.  “I know I’m submissive.”

He let out a low chuckle that made me clench my thighs together.  “That’s not even close to the signals you’re giving me.  Saying you’re submissive is like claiming the weather in Missouri is a little changeable.  Meanwhile one day it’s seventy degrees and I’m running after Sheba without a coat, and the next day I’m shoveling my driveway and cursing the ice.”

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 3



Graphic courtesy of Lynn Viehl.

I had big plans for this week.  I was going to get up Dark & Early at 4:45 a.m. so I could write a good solid hour+ each morning this week.

Then someone monkeyed with the alarm on That Man’s side of the bed (no one has taken credit.  I mean blame).  The first time it went off was around midnight.  It went off again shortly after that.  Then he got a work call at 1 AM.  And another at 4 AM.

Needless to say, I didn’t get up on time today.

However, I didn’t have to drive all over everywhere after school today, and we’re having pizza for dinner, so I had this niiiiiccce long stretch of time to write today, plus my lunch.  I was able to get my total word count up to just under 4800 words!  Woot!

Even better, things are getting really dicey in Charlie’s story.

I always like to share a little when I’m deep in the flow of story, but there’s over 40K story from what I’ve shared here before and what I’m writing now.  Lots and lots of story to choose from that’s not anywhere close to what I wrote today.  Plus there’s a huge reveal that I don’t want to spoil.  So I’ll try to keep the deep dark secrets to a minimum.

He pulled down two wine glasses from the overhead rack and led the way into the living room.  Great, now I had to figure out where to sit on the sectional without being too obvious.  If I sat on the far side of the L, I’d be able to see him from anywhere but it might look like I was afraid of him.  I didn’t want him to think that.  Nor did I want to plop down beside him and give him the impression that I was easy pickings.  I am, but I don’t need him to know it.

I’d rather sit on the floor any day, especially if I could curl against his legs.  But that certainly wasn’t an appropriate first sit-down-and-talk position.  Did other people have such incredibly ridiculous difficulty deciding on something as easy as where to sit?  He sat in the middle of the sectional and set the bottle and glasses on the table in front of him, yet I stood frozen, unable to make a simple decision about where and how to sit.  I tore my gaze away from him and stared at the floor, willing the tears in my eyes to go away.

“I won’t bite,” he said amicably.

I risked a quick glance up at his face, horrified that he might actually think I was afraid.  He winked at me, flashing that disarming dimple, and patted the couch beside him.  And I went to him, relieved and yet even more upset at my own inability to act like a normal human being.  I didn’t say anything while he poured the clear wine into the glasses, barely more than a splash in each.

“I have to drive to the airport so I can’t indulge.  But I can’t resist sharing your first glass of good wine, either.  If you don’t like it, I won’t be offended.”

I took the glass but didn’t sip it yet.  I tried to sit calmly, like I sat and chatted with people all the time.  Not like I was a wreck, waiting for him to tell me what to do.  My stomach was in knots, afraid I’d been wrong about him and yet dreadfully sure I wasn’t.  I wanted his commands more than anything, but I’d tried so hard to pretend that everything was okay, too.

He leaned back and propped his feet on the table, careful not to knock the bottle over.  He wore heavy black motorcycle boots that I found just as intriguing and unexpected as his backyard of cows.  He drove a boring beige Buick.  Thousands of them drove around Springfield every day.  Yet I was pretty sure none of the men inside probably wore heavy black boots with buckles and studs.  It made me wonder what kind of surprises he hid under that black turtleneck.  Tattoos?  Piercings?