Echoes of Accountability: Desolation Progress and One Cool Thing

Hello, Echo-ettes, and happy first Friday of the new year!

(Yes, I know technically it’s the second Friday, but it’s the Friday of the first full work week, hence the first that counts.) Let’s all give ourselves a high five for making it through our first week back to work after drifting through the holiday haze.

My goal heading into the week — and into the year — was to be more consistent, and I’m happy to report that so far I’ve managed to consistently exercise, avoid sugar and work on my non-fiction projects. But more importantly, as far as this community is concerned, I kept my promise to show up each day this week and work on my novel.

So here, without further ado, is the progress I made on Desolation of the Damned, the third and final book in my Trilogy of the Damned series, in which vampires enslave what’s left of humanity following a good ol’ fashioned zombie apocalypse, and humanity fights back.

I’ll break down the daily stats below for the stats geeks among the crowd, but if that sort of thing bores you, you can skip past them to read a short non-spoilery excerpt from this week’s output.

Total words added this week: 4,301

Total novel word count so far: 25,892

And here’s the daily breakdown…

Day 1: Background music: Trilogy of the Damned playlist on Spotify

Session 1: 40 minutes. No words written - used time to go over outline, organize what is already written and get my head back into the story.

Session 2: 30 minutes. 250 words. Spent most of it reading over the scene where I was picking back up.

Session 3: 20 minutes. 450 words.

Total words of fiction for Monday: 700

Day 2: Background music: Trilogy of the Damned playlist on Spotify

Session 1: 30 minutes. 601 words.

Session 2: 20 minutes. 449 words. Finished a behemoth of a chapter.

Total for Tuesday: 1,050

Day 3: Background music: Trilogy of the Damned playlist on Spotify

Session 1: 20 minutes. 437 words.

Session 2: 30 minutes. 706 words. Completed another scene. 

Total for Wednesday: 1,133

Day 4: Background music: The sound of silence

Grocery day. 1 15 minute session. 280 words.

Day 5: Background music: None

Session 1: 20 minutes. 490 words. Broke 25K. No music.

Session 2: 30 minutes. 648 words. 

Friday's total: 1,138


Not bad for my first week back at the keyboard. I’m in that part of writing a novel where I know clearly what happens in the back half of the book but I’m making up the first half of the middle as I go. It’s resulting in some nice character moments, which are a joy to write, but it’s also slow-going. I expect to pick up speed once I catch up to the point where I have a good idea of what needs to happen to get to the end.

Anyway, here’s that non-spoilery* excerpt I promised:

*If you’ve read the first two books. This will spoil Deliverance of the Damned if you haven’t read it yet.

Paula was in the middle of changing the baby when the explosions rocked the camp. Leaving Noah diaperless, she clutched him to her as she took refuge under the flimsy folding table she’d been using as a changing station. Fat lot of good the table would do at providing actual protection if the tent got hit, but that didn’t stop others from crawling under there with her, while other refugees squeezed into the pens and crouched low, pulling cots over themselves for protection.

Whether uncomfortable because he was mid-changing or simply startled by the scary noise and Paula’s own fear, the baby drew in a deep breath and let out an angry scream. Paula patted his bare bottom and did her best to bounce him in the cramped space. “Oh angel, hush now. It’s okay.” Her own voice shook. Who was she trying to convince. “Oh second thought, you go ahead and cry it on out.”

“This might help.” A dark hand held out the clean diaper she’d left on the table. Paula took it gratefully and turned to see Julia beside her.

“Thank you.” She lay Noah on the floor and quickly spread the diaper beneath him. A moment later, she had it secured and zipped him back into his little onesie. He didn’t stop crying. Paula scooped him up and cuddled him against her chest. “He’s scared half to death, poor little thing.”

“With all that child’s been through, I am surprised he scares so easily.”

Paula glanced at the vampire. Former vampire, she reminded herself. “I take it you’re not frightened by a little thing like explosions?”

“On the contrary. I very nearly needed a diaper of my own.”

Paula looked at her straight on. She hadn’t spent much time around the woman, and all she really knew about her was that she’d been high up in the vampire food chain and had been running the prison where they’d all been kept until she’d been cured against her will. This Julia had never struck Paula as someone who made jokes. She’d made the remark with a straight face, but there was a glint in her eye and a slight quirk at one corner of her mouth, suggesting she might possess a sense of humor after all.


Finally, before I leave you I want to share one cool thing from this week. AND! We’re going to try out this new feature that lets us have a discussion thread, where YOU can share YOUR one cool thing from this week. It can be something online, something from your life, news you want to share — whatever. I’m not particular, as long as it’s not political and everyone is respectful and kind to one another. Let’s all share our cool things!

Here’s mine: Tsh Oxenreider’s new podcast The Good List launched this week, and the first episode delves more into Atomic Habits and the concept of setting a lot of ridiculously small goals to help you work up to one big goal (a concept known in Japan as kaizen). While I still haven’t read AH, I’ve been using kaizen techniques to trick myself into actually acomplishing things for a while now, and it’s a big part of how I got myself to bust out of my sugar-and-holiday haze to write nearly 5,000 words on my novel this week.

Your turn! I can’t wait to read what you share.

Until next week,