I Finally Emerged from My Writing Cave! (and Here's What I've Been Writing...)

I Finally Emerged from my Writing Cave

I can cop to the fact that I have a habit of disappearing. Not going anywhere for real, just sequestering myself in my cave. When I’m in the middle of an unfinished story, my cave is the textured glass patio table on my back deck. It’s warm enough in California that I get to write outside for most of the year. In the mornings, it’s Lady Grey. In the afternoons, I drink decaf. In the evenings, it’s (clearly) wine.

But the cave is a harsh place. I don’t feel quite human while I’m in it, and when I emerge, I look like the woman in the picture: I’m bloodied, I’m injured and I’m in yesterday’s clothes, but hey, at least I’ve still got nice boobs :) Yes, there are moments when my brain isn’t busy ironing out characters and plot or, in the case of the marketing guides I write, wisdom. But in those moments I’m decompressing. Usually this means binge-watching a series on Netflix that is as un-romantic as possible (::cough:: “Broadchurch” ::cough::). Or worse, if I’m blocked, or stuck and literally unable to write, you’re sure to find me hanging out on Facebook.

I’ve been in the cave for (::cringes::) a year and I’ve been so cautious about announcing release dates I’m worse than HBO with Game of Thrones. On one hand, I’m SO excited about my upcoming titles. On the other, I really miss sharing my work. And my silence has created the unintended illusion that I’m not writing at all. I won’t go into the many reasons why I have to hold a few things back. Most of them have to do what I can vs. can’t say if I plan to traditionally publish. But I will at least give you a taste of what I’ve been writing.

Worst Holiday Ever: A Family Drama Romance Anthology (A Romantic Comedy Anthology). Inspired by my own very crazy family, I figured it was time to write a story about a couple surviving the holidays (holidays at my house mean lots of drinking, talking and managing folks who shouldn’t be doing either). Then I thought, hey—wait a minute—I know other authors with crazy families. Let me call them and see whether they want to do an anthology. From there, “Worst Holiday Ever” was born. Ten authors, to be exact. That means ten stories, and ten couples enduring humorously horrible holidays. With forced proximity and alcohol, what could possibly go wrong? This one releases on November 15th and is already available for pre-order.

The Secret Ingredient (A Contemporary Romance): Cella, a famous television chef, has rented a house in the idyllic seaside town of Longport. Ostensibly, she is there to write her next cookbook—in reality, she’s licking her wounds from her latest failed restaurant project and hiding out to escape her predatory agent and an otherwise messy life. When she learns that her next-door-neighbor, Dr. Max Piccarelli is the nephew of the late, famed chef Alessandra Piccarelli, she enlists him to become her kitchen assistant. This is a mixed blessing for Max, who has secret longings to be a professional chef, but who has his own ghosts around the fact that his aunt’s award-winning restaurant has sat empty in the five years since her death. But there are other things to grapple with—Max is sick of traveling so much as a plastic surgeon for a third-world non-profit and contemplates a return to live permanently in town. Cella, meanwhile, must learn not to kowtow to what her handlers want. Their respective paths might lead Max to re-open his aunt’s restaurant, and lead Cella to return to her life in LA with new purpose. But when the end of the summer comes, how will they say goodbye? The Secret Ingredient won the 2018 Stiletto Contest for Short Contemporary Romance.

Crocodile Tears (Fiction with Romantic Elements): Ruby Paige returns home to her small town in Oregon to attend the funeral of Dale Flynn, the patriarch of a family that has feuded with hers for generations. Outing their secret friendship to Wes, Dale's estranged son and heir apparent, becomes inevitable when the reading of the will delivers shocking news. Dale has left half of his fortune to Ruby, with a single condition: they must spend three weeks demystifying the origins of the feud and learn how the Flynns became sole owners of a wine empire once half-owned by the Paiges. Crocodile Tears won the 2018 Stiletto Contest for Contemporary Romance, earned 2nd Place in the Rudy Contest for Fiction with Romantic Elements, and is a finalist in the LERA/Writer/Rebecca Awards. Though, technically, it’s fiction with romantic elements, with a central plot that relates to the feud, it follows in the footsteps of my other books, which offer a solid HEA.

The disclaimer here is that most of these are working titles and, with the exception of the holiday anthology, I have no idea what release dates will be. I have two more projects that are so, so promising (but so top-secret, because I’m not done them yet). Still, there may be one more surprise release before the end of the year.

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