Scorched, and a little road rash, too

- by Sharon Ashwood

It’s the silly season chez Ashwood – my second book, SCORCHED, is out December 1 (hurrah!), so there’s lots of promo activity going on. Plus, I just turned in book three, UNCHAINED, last night after a five-day editing marathon. No offence to my characters, but I feel like I’ve had demanding house guests drinking all the beer and watching my TV about three weeks too long.

“Do these wings make me look fat?” complains the incubus.
“Got any smokies?” says the demon, his head in my fridge.
And where’s the slayer when I need her? Never around when the place needs a bit of pest control.

Anyway, fame and fortune having evaded me thus far, it was off this a.m. for the office, my post deadline brain limp as a wet tea bag. As I settled down to watch the spreadsheets do a can-can before my sand-blasted eyeballs, I wondered at the perfect storm that had conspired to create yet another race to the literary finish line. I have excuses (who doesn’t?) but the fact remains that a quality book every six months is a challenge for someone who works full time.

I know it’s entirely possible to request a longer span between books, but I’ve hesitated to broach the topic. First, because I’m infinitely grateful to have someone actually want the books. Also, I’m hesitant to mess with things because frequent appearances on the racks is a good way to build readership. At least, that’s the prevailing wisdom. Occasionally, I wonder about the truth of this, knowing how long it takes most people to work their way through TBR piles. One could be churning out book 12 before the majority have got around to book 2.

However, mine is but to do or die, and before the latter occurs, I would be most curious to know:

Does anyone have good strategies for managing the six month cycle? I understand rigorous scheduling, but beyond that?

How does one refill the well fast enough to get a proposal out the door mere weeks after finishing the last major opus?

And, most of all, do people believe the six month schedule is really an important selling tool?

What’s left of my curious mind wants to know!

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