2018: The year of Once Upon My Mind!

img_1202At the beginning of this year, I wrote that my next novel, Once Upon My Mind, which I have been working on for fourteen years, seemed like the perfect novel for 2017. Well, the sad news is, it looks like 2017 will miss out on being the year of Once Upon My Mind by a mere six days.

That’s right, the happy news is that I am tentatively circling (never promising anything ever again) Saturday, January 6, 2018 as the release date for both the print and Kindle editions of Once! Why a Saturday? Other than it being the weekend, January 6th happens to be three years to the day since an episode of the beloved game show Jeopardy! aired featuring a certain at-the-time aspiring author and librarian…


…who told Alex Trebek that because she made it to the show, she would honor a promise she made at the auditions a year and a half before to name a character in the fantasy novel she was working on after him (and then proceeded to wipe out in the second round and not make it to Final Jeopardy, but then she and her sister went to Disneyland and rode Star Tours three times in a row, so it was all cool.)

Plus, with a royal baby and a royal wedding in the wings, 2018 seems like an even better year to release the story of a teenage girl, a young prince, and their quest to save both her Texas suburban library and his kingdom! As always, be sure to follow this blog and my Facebook page for the latest updates.

P.S. If Alex Trebek or any of the awesome folks at Jeopardy! are reading this, you get a free copy! I’d love to at least see a video of Alex’s reaction.

Happy Thanksgiving from Hannah!

Credit: Some unknown person who I would buy all the greeting cards from if they made them.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers and happy Doctor Who Day to my readers world-wide this week! I so wish I could supplement my felicitations with a happy update on my next book, Once Upon My Mind, but it looks like the story has much more extensive problems than I previously thought and now won’t be ready until at least early December.

In the midst of all the editing and polishing, I’m still faithfully updating my gratitude journal  every night. Despite a difficult year– with not only my Once release plans repeatedly crumbling, but the unexpected passing of two dear friends and needing to temporarily (I hope!) set aside my efforts to help refugees and other recent immigrants– I still find small but significant things to be thankful for, including but not limited to warm blankets, beautiful weather for biking, getting my seasonal allergies under better control, and my growing list of enthusiastic Time and Tenacity fans!

Speaking of Time, in celebration of Thanksgiving (and 54 years of Doctor Who!), the Kindle edition of Time and Tenacity will be FREE this Thursday, November 23rd through next Monday, November 27th. If you’ve already got your copy, please encourage your friends and family to add one to their cart when they’re doing their Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday shopping! I’ll be taking some off-line time to clean house, make cranberry sauce, and work some more on Once. I’ll be back next week with a Once update, so please be sure to follow this site and my Facebook page!




“Once” launch scrubbed, with my sincerest apologies

onceuponmymind_titlepageHelpful hint from Hannah to all writers: Never, ever “promise” that your new release date will be “really” be the final one.

There’s no professional way to spin this, so I’ll go ahead and give you the simple truth: the proof of Once Upon My Mind did not get the “all clear” from my fellow Colbie Gray staff, and the book will not be ready to go on sale this Tuesday. I’m deeply sorry for this eleventh-hour development, especially after promising no more release date changes. My staff thinks Once is something really special and meaningful and doesn’t want me to rush an inferior product to the shelves.

The good news is that this should only be a short delay; I still hope to have the book out between this Friday (November 17th) and next Sunday (November 19th) in time for your (American) Thanksgiving weekend reading pleasure. I’ve learned my lesson, however, and will not set a new release date in stone until everything gets approved, which I hope will be sometime this mid-week. Be sure to follow this site and my Facebook page for the latest news.


The Making of Time & Tenacity, Part 1: Why Mr. Farnsworth Had to Die

When I was a little girl, the only thing I loved more than Disney movies were those specials on the Disney Channel about the making of Disney movies. I’ve always been fascinated by how things are made, so it’s probably understandable that I’ve always liked to talk (and talk some more) about how my own creative works came to life. As I await the final(!) proof of Once Upon My Mind, I thought I’d give you a little peek into the process behind my first published book, Time & Tenacity (which, incidentally, you can totally buy the second edition of now! Makes a great holiday gift!)


Death seems like a gruesome way to start off this short behind-the-scenes special, but I’m starting with it because one of the first things I decided and stuck with since wondering one night “What if Pride and Prejudice ended with Mary or Kitty Bennet running away with the Doctor?” was that Mr. Bennet’s Time counterpart had to be dead when the story started. His death, as hypothetical as it is the entire time in Pride, is the Sword of Damocles that hangs over the entire proceedings, and one of the first things I wondered was what would happen if Mary/Kitty (one of my other early decisions was to composite them into one character, Jane, so I wouldn’t have to marginalize either of them) was still unmarried when Mr. Bennet moved on and Mr. Collins moved in to the Bennet house.

The rest of Jane’s circumstances were somewhat different, at first. The character who ultimately became Lady Jennings, in this original version, was Mrs. Farnsworth, Jane’s mother, but just as malicious and partial. (Basically Mrs. Bennet with her redeeming qualities stripped away.) Edward, in this version a composite of Bingley and Collins, was the distant cousin who had inherited everything (more Downton Abbey than Jane Austen, I know.) While he didn’t turn Jane and her mom out before her dear dad was cold in his grave, he and Cassandra were a bit too distracted by their own affairs to take proper care of them. Eleanor wasn’t even in the opening chapter when I introduced Jane’s family at all, being at her Pemberley counterpart lying-in. Isabella was pretty much the same as her current boastful, impetuous version, however! Jane would have gone travelling with Riley around various points in time without any of them.

I threw this version out after a few months after realizing even with the change of names and certain circumstances, I was making all our beloved Pride characters absent, aloof, or jerks to make Jane more sympathetic. Also, a plot comprised entirely of loosely-connected episodes of Jane travelling in time didn’t really have a larger purpose or even much of a Austen-esque “feel”. It took reading a sweet Pride sequel to help me realize any retelling of Pride without utilizing more of the wide cast of characters we love so much like Lizzy, Darcy, Bingely, Jane, Bingley, Georgiana, Bingley (ha ha, take a wild guess who my favorite character is), and even Lydia was empty and lifeless.

But even in this new and much improved version, poor Mr. Farnsworth was dead. I can’t really explain why, since in the published version there is still a Mr. Bennet-like figure in Sir Francis. I suppose I was still interested in exploring the consequences of being an unmarried, fatherless woman (or women, since in this case all four Farnsworth girls are left behind at first) in a world where she would have very little resources or opportunities to take care of herself, much like Jane Austen was for a significant part of her real adult life. (Also, like the real Jane’s father, my fictional Jane’s father ended up being a clergyman.)

Mrs. Farnsworth had to be removed from the picture too, for reasons that are obvious to anyone who’s made it to Chapter 15 of Time (and that’s all I’m going to say about that for now!), so the cruel matriarch figure quickly became Lady Jennings. Be sure to follow this blog to learn more about Mrs. Farnsworth’s story and how the other characters, including their names, came to be. If there’s anything about the making of Time & Tenacity that you’re curious about, please let me know in the comments!