Thursday, June 25, 2009


Even though the third Piper series book hasn't come out yet, I'm already busy working on the fifth. That book isn't scheduled for publication until Spring 2011. I've turned in each of the earlier Piper books before their deadlines. Not this one. A draft was due to my editor June 1. I'm still working on the first draft.

I've thought about this story a long time. I always knew it would be a part of the series. I knew the plot points, and of course, I've known the characters for quite a while now. (That's one advantage of a series.) However the historical novel took a chunk out of me. When I finished the copy editing stage, my mind needed to escape. It escaped to a new novel. A few weeks ago, I sobered up from my procrastination daze and returned to the Reed family.

Things have been going nicely, but I was still late. Last week I called my editor and fessed up. "I need more time," I told her.

The reason the series deadline is set in concrete more than my novels is because the illustrator needs to see the story before she begins her work. So my being late affects her, too. Thank goodness my editor gave me more time. Oddly enough, that motivates me. Maybe its because I know I can work with this deadline.

This morning Shannon and I went to a coffee shop and wrote. Before I began I made a web of my thoughts about the upcoming chapter. Kids everywhere are taught this pre-writing tool in school. I learned it later as a writer working on a rewrite. Now I use it every day. The process of brainstorming my ideas and thinking of sensory details before I begin empowers me to write a better first draft. I've discovered the days I don't do it, the manuscript suffers.

There are a lot of nice things in store for Piper. Tim from marketing called yesterday to let me know Holt's plans to work with the domain I registered when I first sold the Piper series. There will be a Piper Reed Club and a poster with curriculum suggestions for teachers using the books in their classroom. Exciting news, but I try to forget every bit of it when I'm writing. Otherwise I'd have trouble moving my pen across the page.

For those of you who are wondering about Jerry's reaction to his birthday gift--he liked it. I think. As I'd mentioned before, for years I'd tried to convince him, with no luck, to get rid of the albums. Then to throw him off, the day before his birthday, I called him at work to plead my case.

"Okay," he said, defeated.

Shannon was listening to my side of the conversation. When I hung up, she said, "You are so bad!"

"No," I said, "I'm so good." Then I did a little jig because I knew the surprise would be a success.

When we saw him drive up, we started playing his Don McLean's American Pie album.

Jerry walked in the house with two empty boxes he'd brought home to remove the albums. He stared at the record player and didn't say a word. I think he was in shock. So I guess he liked it. Either way, we had fun digging out the albums.
The next day we had a small birthday dinner with a few friends. They joined in the fun by bringing their old albums for a spin on the turntable. Not a scratch was heard that night.


  1. Love this story.
    Kimberly, have you posted any examples of your webbing pages on the blog?
    After reading how you have done this when stuck, I gave it a shot with some characters and found it really helpful -- but I'm wondering how you make it work for you in terms of a new chapter or specific action.

    Thanks for all you share here, I'm just beginning to know your blog, and I really like it.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion. I've shown webbing on my website before, but I could show it again, maybe showing something new this time. I'll try to post something next week. I'm glad webbing helped you, too.

    Thanks for dropping by the nest and for your kind words.