All posts by nhluedke

Fall update on writing ventures

The first Sara book is now in ePub format, thanks to a very dear friend. I still need to add the chapter illustrations and the cover art. As an exercise, I keep querying agents and keep tweaking the query letters. The rejections have been much kinder lately, and the query text is being honed into a great jacket blurb, so I’m happy.

The sequel is progressing rapidly – almost too fast. I would guess I’m two-thirds of the way through it. Unlike the first two stories that merged into the first book, this one is coming in bits and pieces, not in a linear write. From past experience, this means one, I won’t get bored with it, and two, it will need a massive editing effort.

Since it’s already September, I am hoping to take a break soon and write some crafty or spooky stories for my friends. I already have a few years’ worth to start the next free anthology, so maybe that can be assembled next year at about this time.

As always, any and all comments on writing or reading are welcomed, but at this point, I know this site is populated by fly-bys, spammers, and crickets (which suits me perfectly).

Take care until next time.


The illustrations for the (now first) book in the Sara series are still in progress, as are the final edits. All will be handed over to my friend in July for online publication processing. Because there are illustrations, I decided to follow my friend’s advice and not to go through the Smashwords meat grinder. Instead, there will be a prepped file that is far more flexible for devices to navigate.

The second book in the series has shot through the 50k word mark and looks to be a good-size novel when completed (though thankfully, not in the same word count category as the first).

Good reads and other updates

Books I’m currently reading:

  • Everyone Writes, by Ann Handley (great book)
  • The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living, by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman (this is a wonderful morning read – one meditation per day)
  • The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth (this is a wonderful bedtime read – a little each night)

Books I’ve read lately:

  • The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield (fast and interesting read)
  • The Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield (stunning and hypnotic)

My current work, the sequel to the first Sara stories (combined in the Unusual Haunting of Sara Leigh Larson), is about halfway along. I am slow on the chapter illustrations for Haunting, but making progress. The deadline for the final edit and all illustrations is fast approaching. It should be polished and posted by September.

The impact of a good story

Most of the writers I know are also avid readers. Why? I don’t know about them, but good stories make me feel more, think more, about things I might not ever get to experience in my own tiny part of the world. I am always grateful to those who have the talent to share their imaginations with powerful, quiet, passionate, subtle and deadly words that spark a reaction in my brain and allow me to come along for the ride.

Speaking of writers and storytelling, a friend posted more links on her personal journal about story crafting:

good one on description

good one on properly using backstory

how to fix plot holes

devising conflict between protagonists

I was so impressed by the author of the backstory link (Lisa Cron) that I looked her up and found this great TED talk: “Wired for Story.”

She pretty much sums up why I love storytelling: it can teach, reach, preach, etc. Good or bad, stories have impact, and we’re hardwired to respond.

If you have anything to share, about reading, writing or stories, please do. I’d love to hear it.

Cover art, word count and sequels

My first post of the year and January is almost gone…this means I have been working hard, and that’s a good thing.

The novel is completed and in the hands of several reviewers while I 1) do the fourth rendition of the cover, 2) create a query to send to agents (just for fun as I will still self-publish this year), and 3) work on the sequel.

Though I have heard back from two reviewers with positive assurances, I’m not holding my breath as I wait for the rest to reply. It’s a long book. The word count was 117k. Okay, that seemed long until I compared it to the word lengths of other literary works.

Fourth cover? Why yes. It’s almost done, I promise. This time, I am using a better medium.

Sequel? Yes again. It seems Sara, Vishi and Miles still have stories to share.

Hopefully I can take breaks and work on some short stories to complete another anthology like this one. And work on finishing the other novel in progress.

In the meantime, I wish anyone who visits this quiet little corner good fortune in finishing your own works or reading wonderful novels you discover online or in a bookstore.

Happy new year!