Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

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  • Modern Ink Society-July

    June 30, 2015


    Rachel Vincent

    A Glimpse into Deadline Week in the Life of an Author

    Welcome to the seventeenth session of




    “I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still“.


    — Sylvia Plath


    Introducing the lovely

    Rachel Vincent


     What My Deadline Week Looks Like

    “When Colleen asked if I might want to write a guest post, I had no idea what to write, because I’m on a pretty big deadline, and most of my valuable words are going into the book right now, which leaves me very little of worth to say at the end of the day. And I’m not even kidding. By 11pm on any night of Deadline Week, I’m down to one-syllable words.

    Just ask my husband.

    So I thought that instead, I’d show you what my deadlines look like. So here goes. The start to any deadline week is pretty much pure panic, at which point I turn to my daughter’s magic orb with the following question: “Will this book be a total disaster?”


    Inevitably, the orb speaks the truth, and I have to remind myself that this is the first draft. It’s allowed to be a disaster. The point of the first draft is just to get the story on the page. Er…the screen.

    It doesn’t have to be very good until the next draft. Seriously. The catch is that you have to allow yourself enough time to get through the second draft before the book is due. Which becomes a problem when you realize you’ve painted yourself into a corner in the manuscript. That’s the point at which I start frantically texting my critique partner.

    (The green texts are mine.)


    And if she doesn’t answer those texts immediately, I’ve been known to go on Twitter and tell her to check her phone. For the past couple of years, a big part of all my deadlines has been marathon writing days at Panera Bread with Jennifer Lynn Barnes.


    We both put on noise canceling headphones and earn our food and drink refills by making word count goals. I’ve written as many as 5,000 words in seven hours at Panera. My record for days in one week at Panera is three. My record for meals in a day at Panera is two-and-a-half. (Breakfast, lunch, and a fruit cup.)


    After all that Panera-ing and sitting in a chair with my laptop, what I really need is a trip to the gym.


    Instead, because there isn’t time to go to the gym until I turn the book in, what I get is this:


    With this latest deadline, I’ve been reminding myself to stop every thousand words or so to stretch and get some exercise. Sitting for long periods of time is bad for your joints and your circulation, and I’m not getting any younger, so… 😉 During those last couple of days before the book is due, I spend the vast majority of my time curled up in my recliner or on my couch with this view. (My MENAGERIE ARCs happened to come in the day I took this pic.)


    Right before a deadline, I hate to take time out to cook, so my husband makes dinner, and my breakfasts and lunches include these open-and-eat staples:


    And finally, the day (and night) before a deadline typically look like this:




    I have a book due on July 1st. I finished the rough draft last week, at 85,000+ words. The next few days for me will look like everything I’ve just shown you.

    Wish me luck!”


    A huge thanks to Rachel for sharing a little glimpse into her crazy deadline writing world! I’m amazed at her ability to stay on task and get it done! I’m excited to see her finished work! Rachel, along with other authors (Colleen included) have really opened my eyes to a more realistic view of their world as an author. I used to think authors would leisurely go and sit in a quiet field or lay on a blanket of soft grass with pen and paper (or laptop) in hand and just type away hour after hour all while pure liquid creativity dripped from their fingertips like hot caramel over vanilla ice-cream. It seems the more I learn about the day to day routine of an author, the more I find that they juggle many roles and responsibilities all the while finding the words that make their story come to life.  Crazy and inspirational! If you’d like to learn more about Rachel Vincent and check out her books, you can go to her website, at

     Also, if you were able to participate in the live chat on Goodreads with her and Colleen last night it was so much fun! I really love learning about the how’s and whys behind the story and how it came to life. 

    Stay tuned for next month’s Book Club and Featured Author in July, being announced soon!

    ~Till next time,

    Linda Louise Lotti

    This entry was posted in Featuring Authors, The Modern Ink Society.

    One Response to Modern Ink Society-July

    1. CYNTHIA K. says:

      Hey There, Rachel . . .

      Thanks for the insight into the life of an author.

      Like Linda, I imagined the writing process to be somewhat more fluid and tranquil. To let creative thoughts flow from you and transform into some form of permanent media. (okay . . . so after reading what I have just previously written . . . ya know the permanent part . . . the process sounds kinda scary. as in . . . other people reading what you have created and then wondering what they might think. gggaaaahhhh??!!) So, have decided ya’ll are just BRAVE!

      Regarding meeting your deadline. Here’s wishing ya . . . LUCK! ;o}

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    Author Bio

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.