Posts

It’s the end of 2019 and plans for 2020 are forming in the back of my mind as I attempt to focus on writing to finish the first novel in my new series, currently called The Missing.

Confession: this blog post is actually a form of procrastination. So I’m going to try to be concise a do a bulleted list.

What did I do in 2019?

  • released Fierce Justice
  • completed edits on Forever Strong
  • drafted the intro novella to The Missing
  • hopefully finished drafting the 1st novel of The Missing (in progress)
  • started physical therapy for nerve issues and extreme, chronic pain in my hands and arms due to issues in my neck/back/shoulders
  • starting learning to write via dictation
  • re-released 4 novellas formerly under my PJ Schnyder name
  • instructor and staff on the Writing Excuses workshop and retreat cruise
  • guest speaker at Surrey International Writer’s Conference
  • signing author at ApollyCon
  • featured author at Book Lovers Con
  • re-launched my Patreon to share task management & project planning, as well as lessons learned in writing via dictation

Those are the highlights, with a whole lot of hard work and some crazy obstacles to overcome behind the scenes.

It’s been a rough year, struggling with depression and anxiety along the way, and I am going to let 2019 go in the rear view mirror without too much examination. I’m also not going to plan too much about 2020 before it actually begins.

So that’s the end of 2019 and plans for 2020 are?

My focus will be on health, balance, and my writing. I want to dive into my writing and savor the joy of it.

There will be fewer cons or book signings and more writing retreats.

I love my readers and I’m pretty sure you all love me primarily for my books, so I’m going to focus on writing more.

Speaking of savoring…

Updates to Patreon

Sharing my journey in learning to write via dictation, as well as my tips on project planning and task management, has worked out well on Patreon. I intend to continue into 2020.

Based on a whole lot of stress cooking in 2019, with plenty of pics posted to my Facebook profile and Instagram feeds, the subsequent requests for recipes, then private messages from people asking me for those recipes again later when they couldn’t find the FB post where I’d provided the recipe or at least guidelines of what I did (because a lot of my cooking doesn’t involve me following a recipe) … I’ll be sharing recipes or relate how I cooked a dish on my Patreon, made available to public.

This means you don’t have to join a paid tier to have access to those posts, only follow me on Patreon. Patrons who did join a paid tier will have early access to my cooking posts, then the posts will be available to the public after a bit of time. Either way, it’s an easy place to go find those recipes and cooking instructions.

I will be adding a paid tier for those interested in vlogs (videos) of me cooking various favorite dishes, especially food I’ve included in my books as part of my character building. Shenanigans are sure to occur as I have fun with this and I cannot predict just how many bloopers are going to happen but I promise not to edit them out. Look to join the “Trail Cache” tier, or any of the higher tiers on my Patreon for access to those videos.

I am happy to announce a new series, The Missing, from Sourcebooks coming in 2019!

Here’s the announcement posted in Publisher’s Marketplace:

The Missing by Piper J. Drake

Piper Drake’s THE MISSING series, about a diverse group determined to find the lost men, women, and children who slipped through society’s cracks, to Mary Altman at Sourcebooks Casablanca, in a nice deal, in a four-book deal, for publication in fall 2019, by Courtney Miller-Callihan at Handspun Literary (world).

The Missing

I’m very excited to write this series and also incredibly happy to be coordinating with my editor at Sourcebooks. Ever since I met her, I’ve been hoping timing and the right project would coincide for us to work together. And here we are!

This series will kick off with a novella to introduce readers to my premise, a couple of my main characters, and the main themes of The Missing. Then there will be at least three full length, single title novels.

For those who’ve loved my other books for the heart-warming canine characters, stick with me. While The Missing does not feature working dogs, I will definitely have some distinctive canine personalities to herd the humans in the right direction. 😉

What about the True Heroes?

There are two more books still coming in the True Heroes series, both currently scheduled for release in 2019. Trust me, I’d love to write even more. We’ll see what the future brings, but the best way to let my publisher know you want more (of my books or any author’s books) is to buy the books as they release. Don’t wait for the series to complete.

That’s a long time to wait!

It is, but I will do my best it make it worth it. In the meantime, the best way to get the latest news on any of my books, get sneak peeks or draft snippets, and the most up to date intel before I mention it anywhere else online is through my newsletter. If you enjoy quotes and snippets, also consider liking/joining my FB page and reader group.

Contracted Defense by Piper J. Drake

The post title says it all. CONTRACTED DEFENSE joins the Safeguard novels in Print in 2018!

Back in June, I was able to share the news that HIDDEN IMPACT and DEADLY TESTIMONY were picked up by Harlequin’s Direct to Customer (DTC) program. This meant subscribers to the program would be receiving print copies.

Print editions will be available on some third-party dot-com retailers, including Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, for those who are not subscribed to the DTC program.  Now, I’m happy to say that readers will be able to order all three of the Safeguard novels and receive those print copies they’ve been requesting!

Check each book’s page for added links to order the print formats. I’ll be updating those as they become available!

Thank you, readers, for wanting the Safeguard novels in print and ebook formats. It’s because you’re out there and buying my books that these became available. <3

Haven’t read CONTRACTED DEFENSE yet? Here’s the blurb…

Time is running out and the enemy is at the gate.

Adam Hicks may be the rookie at Safeguard, but he’s no novice in the field. Retired from active duty after multiple tours and back fresh from a brief rest in New Zealand, he’s itching to return to action. But the challenge he hoped for arrives in an unexpected form: his sexy yet stern new partner.

The last thing Victoria Ash wants is to work with the new guy—especially one as gorgeous as Adam. His relaxed attitude about their first “easy” assignment together—setting up a private home defense network for a reclusive client—doesn’t impress her. Easy usually means trouble. She’s proved right when Adam discovers that the multiple incursions on the physical and cyber security systems aren’t just glitches. They’re under attack…and there’s a traitor in their midst.

As tension mounts, so does the attraction between Victoria and Adam. They must protect their client and the research he’s desperately trying to keep secret. Working together, they have to find the mole before their defense measures, in the fortress and online, are compromised and the deadly secrets they’ve sworn to protect are revealed.

Kanban is a method for managing work to be done without overloading the people doing said work. The method is applicable to writers, especially when undertaking complex projects. It allows the author to have a nice overview of what needs to be done while still having it easily organized into do-able tasks.

Kanban starts with creating a few basic categories for your work. I divide my process into Triage, Do Today, In Progress (right now), and Done. You can divide your process into categories that resonate with you and match your personal way of doing things.

Post It Notes and Kanban

At first, I take each of my tasks and put them in the Triage category. These should be finite, do-able tasks. If I’m drafting, this could be researching a particular detail or writing a specific scene. If I’m revising, this could be addressing a specific revision note like clarifying my order events and timeline or adding more detail to my hero’s backstory.

At the beginning of my day’s work session, I pick one or two tasks–no more than three–and put them in the Do Today category. Then when I’m ready to start working, I pick one task and put it in the In Progress category. Then I get to work.

This allows me to focus on the task at hand. And maybe I’ll finish it, so it then goes in the Done! category. Or maybe I’ll have worked on it as far as it can go before I finish other tasks, so I’ll leave it in In Progress and take the next task from Do Today.

The goal here is to not be overwhelmed by all the things floating in the Triage category. I’ve identified them. I know they’re there. I can even add more. But on a given day, I’m only focusing on the few tasks I’ve placed in Do Today. Because I’m focusing on them, I can get them done.

Kanban method can be done on paper. I have big Post-It notes on my workspace wall, actually. Or there are online web apps to let you organize. I use Trello, for example.

Trello and Kanban

Using the kanban method to manage my “things to do” is effective to keep myself productive and protect myself from getting overwhelmed. It makes me feel better to have all my random, free-floating to do’s in the Triage category. It let’s me focus on the specific tasks I’ve pulled into my Do Today. It feels really good to drop a task into my Done! category.

Does this method interest you? I’d love to see examples of this method applied to other authors’ work.

I’ve got some challenging deadlines writing both the Safeguard series (mercenaries, explosive action, strong heroines) and the True Heroes series (hot military heroes, the women who love them, and the dogs that always have their backs). The time management involved can be intimidating.

So you might have seen me get excited about Erin Condren Life Planners somewhere around social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or heard me talk about them with Katee Robert and Robin Covington in my most recent #EMEPiper podcast episode. If not, shoo! Go check it out somewhere.

But come back!

Because I decided the Erin Condren Life Planner helped me organize my writerly life so much, I wanted to share the organization fun (really, it can be!). So to celebrate this Independence Day weekend (Happy 4th of July!) I’ve decided to give away an EC Rose Gold LIMITED EDITION 18-month life planner to one winner (open to Residents of the US only this time).

It’ll be enough to get you started in planner fun right away in July 2015 and take you right to the end of 2016.

Erin Condren Life Planner

a Rafflecopter giveaway