AMBER LOVE 22-JULY-2016 The third book of the Farrah Wether series was written in the early spring to summer of 2016. It’s the only one of the series that wasn’t rough drafted during NaNoWriMo. It also showed in my process. I didn’t buckle down nearly as hard as I did during the first two books. I took my time and had plenty of dull days with no productivity. I was also trying to keep the Patreon going during this time and produce some Vodka O’Clock podcasts.

Also, without the encouragement of NaNoWriMo friends to constantly talk about word count progress, I hadn’t made any writing progress blog posts as I did before. I actually miss that. I should’ve done it anyway. What I did continue to do was screen capture the word count graphs. They may be boring as hell for anyone else to look at, but they keep me going. I love those Scrivener graphs!

“You must not come lightly to the blank page.” ~ Stephen King


Lenore Lexington is a tarot reader that main characters Farrah Wethers and June Cho befriend. They fear for her safety from an abusive boyfriend while each of them has problems of her own. The scandal behind Lenore’s pregnancy is the beginning of her troubles. Even after losing the baby, her life and mental health are still in jeopardy. Farrah works with Detective Morrison to get to the bottom of who is terrorizing the poor young woman.

Admittedly, this isn’t a “whodunit” because it’s not hard to figure out one of the culprits. It is, however, written to be thrilling and suspenseful as Farrah and June worry for their new friend’s deteriorating mental and physical health. They don’t know if they can save her from the darkness of feeling like she’s lost her sanity completely. The attacks on Lenore don’t give her a chance to mourn the loss of her baby as someone else would.


Even though it wasn’t “official” NaNoWriMo season (November), there was Camp NaNoWriMo in June. It’s less pressure in a way. I already had my manuscript in progress so I wasn’t starting from zero trying to get to 50,000 words. In fact, all I wanted to do was finish my rough draft which I estimated would be 25,000 more words hoping to end around 70,000. The June Camp NaNoWriMo had a nice spreadsheet tool where you can plug in your word counts and see if you’re staying on track. That’s great if you’re not using Scrivener.

I mocked up a book cover as I have for the other books. This book introduces a couple of characters who work at an occult botanica shop – like a new age spiritual shop but with a lot more focus on the fused religions that had to be incorporated into Christianity from the slave trade.


Below in the gallery of word count graphs, I have some notes in the file names that say “felt better.” There were some incredibly tough weeks of depression while writing this book. Not that it was any different than the stress of my life during books one or two, but for some reason, I was without the same enveloped and safe feeling of NaNoWriMo. Part of it was my own relationship trouble; a lot was losing Caico; part was the difficult subject matter of miscarriages and family planning; and yet another part was Farrah’s marriage breaking down further than where it was left off in book two, Full Body Manslaughter.

You can imagine how it was being a person with mental illness writing about a character gaslit by someone convincing her she was mentally ill the way Lenore is in this book. I didn’t feel protected in a cocoon of writing. Then April 28 to May 5, I felt better and the words came out so much easier. When people like Jerry Seinfeld or Joe Lansdale say writers’ block doesn’t exist and that it’s just being lazy, I want to scream in their faces and show them what having a better mental state can do for the creative process.

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”  ~ David Foster Wallace

During this time, my relationship fell apart and Caico died. Then I tried to adopt another cat and had to return her because she was sickly and too feral. I eventually adopted Guster “Gus” Nabu and the relationship is slowly being patched together with caution. So writers who are out there that say you have to work through the pain have no concept of how other people’s reactions to trauma and tragedy are different from their own. In other words, they can suck it.


“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”   ~ Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation


On days when I felt that the words weren’t coming out, I did make effort to do something related to the writing process. I would share memes of inspirational quotes, for example. I also created the Pinterest boards for books one and two. I organized the posts on this site so that there are tags for each book and the series as a whole: tag/cardiac-arrest, tag/full-body-manslaughter, tag/miscarriage-of-justice, tag/farrah-wethers-series.

Once I finished the rough draft of Miscarriage of Justice, shorter than Cardiac Arrest if that matters, I put it aside to give yet another proofreading pass of book two, Full Body Manslaughter. I estimated I had only two days to go when something else happened.

This week, I threw out my back yet again. It’s one of those things that nags and hurts every day in different spots, but only sends me to the doctor about once a year. This week, well, it was enough to send me to the ER. I’ve been away from the terrible desk chair that I sit in for writing at my desk and instead have been medicated pretty aggressively with four different prescriptions (none as good as all the stuff they gave me in the ER). It’s confirmed that I have at least one bulging disc – no shock at all. I’ve had giant breasts since age 12 and back pain for as long as I can remember. Bad posture. Worn out chairs. Depression and not being active physically. It all adds up so I wasn’t surprised.


I have to finish editing Full Body Manslaughter then go through the long, painstaking process of readying it for publishing. That involves a lot of compiling in Scrivener, pulling into .doc, checking formats, making .css code for the HTML version, and seeing about getting a proper book cover to match with the first book. Then book two will be out and I get to repeat all that for book three which hasn’t been through rewrites yet.


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