Thursday, January 23, 2014


I FINALLY BROKE 40,000 WORDS THIS WEEK while working on the first draft of The Tattooed Rose, the third book in my Tattooed Witch trilogy. Let me tell you, this has been the hardest book to write, mostly because I know how I want the trilogy to end and some of the high plot points I want to reach, but everything else has been undefined. Way back, when I had the vague idea, "Well, they finally manage to escape Tomás (my sadistic Grand Inquisitor) for a while, and it all happens on the Great Ocean Sea (the Atlantic) and in the Caribbean. Miriam is on one ship and Joachín is on another, and eventually they get together on Xaymaca (Jamaica) where they run into more trouble with pirates, voudou sorcerers (bocors), and the Inquisition, again," that that would be enough. 

Good grief. What was I thinking? I've had to do research on Spanish galleons (naos), carracks, and caravels, how they're built and what kinds of guns they might have carried. I've had to figure out how long it takes a sailing ship in the mid-sixteenth century to get from Spain to the Canaries and then to Hispaniola (Haiti and the DR). I've had to study piracy, and voudou, and African slave routes (yes, slaves are involved), the Taíno (one of the indigenous groups of the Caribbean who were mostly decimated due to small pox), and the myths and beliefs surrounding the Fountain of Youth, and Ponce de Leon. Book Three touches upon all of these. I'm taking a short break to write this post, because I'm not sure what to do next in the plot. I need to think about character motivations, what drives them, what the reactions should be to last actions. I've already written the following scene, but it's a culminating one and I need a stronger lead-up. 

I'll figure it out. I always do.

Still, I never thought writing would be so difficult. The Tattooed Witch took me six years from considering the idea, developing it, writing it, revising it too many times to count, to interesting an agent, to finally seeing the book published through Five Rivers Publishing last summer. (Thank you, Robert, fabulous editor that you are, and Lorina, my wonderful publisher). Book Two, The Tattooed Seer took me just over a year to write and revise, and it wasn't that hard. I had less of an idea for it than The Tattooed Witch, but I knew I wanted Miriam and company to race across Esbaña (Spain) in order to reach a port to sail to the new world. There's more magic in Book Two, and more enemies including Tomás (the Grand Inquisitor), plus more romance, as well. Joachín's and Miriam's relationship deepens. But Book Three, this one... oh, yoy.

It'll be the best book of the three, I know. But in the meantime, I feel like I'm running (writing) a marathon. The end is in sight, but I still have a long ways to go.

(If you haven't read The Tattooed Witch, you can read the first two chapters from my previous post here:

OR, you can read the first four chapters from Amazon here:

If you purchase a copy of the book, thank you very much! As a debut novelist, I both need and appreciate your support. If you like the book, please feel free to write a review - on Amazon, on your blog, or wherever.


  1. Just wondering, but do you use an outline for your novels?

  2. Hi, David. As for outlines, yes and no. For me, they're kind of like New Year's resolutions. I start with an outline, but oftentimes, it goes out the window and I become a pantser. For the second book (don't remember what I did for the first, as it went through so many revisions), I devoted a couple of weeks to creating an outline. I admit, I get impatient with this process and want to get on with the writing. That said, an outline always makes things easier to write. With this third book, I knew the major points I wanted to hit, I developed the outline subplots, but there are always 'fill in the blank' pieces that I seem to miss until I hit them, if that makes any sense. I've done more 'fill in the blank' on this book than I have with any of the others, which may be why it's been a difficult write. Plus, there is so much territory I want to cover in this book. It may turn out to be a tad longer than the others, ending at around 120,000 words rather than 100,000, but it's early days yet. We'll see. Thanks for asking!

  3. Well I don't envy you the task! I pantsed for years but over the last year I've gone to plotting. :) But I still don't know how I would handle/approach a trilogy & the weighty tying-it-all-up book. That sounds like a lot to encompass, whatever method you use!

  4. Tying-it-all-up isn't the problem. I knew how the story was going to end years ago. It's the other stuff that happens on the way. Refining all those vague, 'well, they go here, and then this happens' stuff. Fortunately, I get my best plot ideas when I take a walk (or a shower). Not sure why - maybe my mind is more relaxed so my sub-conscious kicks in and offer inspiration. But yeah, I agree with you. Plotting beforehand makes the writing so much easier.

  5. I find sometimes riding my bike is when I un-knot a plot problem that has been bugging me... maybe dodging traffic encourages non-linear thinking?

  6. Maybe! Each to his/her own!