The Themes in Our Lives

I have a new post up today over at Operation Awesome about themes in fiction. I wrote it a week or so ago, and it’s funny how this idea of a central message keeps popping up in strange places. I went to a meeting last night of the Maryland Writers’ Association where I live, and the speaker — who is a playwright — touched on this, too. Her point was that every play she writes must have something universal running through it, something that anyone can relate to. The theme is what makes a piece part of the human experience, or identifiable to most people. I’m kind of obsessed with this concept at the moment — maybe it’s because I’m currently procrastinating like a BOSS. 

I started something new about two months ago. But I’m in that last third, that sticky part where you question everything in the last 20k words and wonder what the hell you’re doing. I always feel that way at this point in a book, but this one has been harder. Because this is a whole different kind of book. It’s not a romance, exactly. There is a romance in the story, but this is a different kind of story than the others I’ve written before. More literary, more lyrical. And that makes it harder because I don’t have any footprints to follow to get where I need to go on this one. My other books — the romances — generally contain some tropes, so those give me a lot of clues about what will happen. And romance usually follows a predictable arc to some degree. 

And I have to put the new thing aside because I’ve got a book due to Carina UK in October. And the second book in the Girlfriends of Gotham series publishes September 30th with Swoon, and I owe them the third and final in that series in December. And I’ve got a third Wine Country Book spinning around in my head and I know I need to get that bad boy on paper. And then there’s the new project that sits in the corner and seethes while I do all these other things. And I’ve got a shiny new editing project for one of my very favorite authors, Sarina Bowen. I’m diving into that this weekend and will have to constantly remind myself that I’m EDITING. Not reading for pleasure. But her books are… man, I just love them. 

Maybe that’s the theme in my life right now. Something in there – procrastination? No, more like planning. In my writing life and beyond, the end of summer seems like time for planning for all that comes when fall arrives. What’s the theme in your life at the moment?

It’s Not You, It’s Me

I know it’s been quiet around here. Sorry about that… But it isn’t because I’ve fallen off the face of the earth (except for one week back in June).

Quite the contrary. I’ve been very busy. I’ve got lots of things up my sleeve, but the one I’m ready to talk about today is this:

I’ve been asked to join the blogging crew over at Operation Awesome! Today is my first post there. Check it out! It’s a great writing-focused site that covers all aspects of this writing life. There’s a great group of writers there, and I’m proud to be a part of it. If you’re in a querying place, you might be interested in the monthly Mystery Agent contests, too. Check those out here.

So there’s that.

The second bit of news is that Redemption Red has been chosen as a 2014 Kindle Book Review Semifinalist and is in the running to become a top 5 finalist! semifinalist

So that’s pretty cool. :)

There’s more news coming! Stand by… and thanks for all the love lately for the Wine Country Romances!

 

New Cover Reveal! Forgotten Fairytales

There’s a great book out by a friend — Angela Parkhurst. If you like fairytale retellings, give this one a try. And she’s got a snazzy new cover that I can’t stop staring at!

Here’s the description:

Once upon a time, seventeen-year-old Norah Hart believed in the lure of fairy tales and happily ever afters. That was before she was forced to live in a fairy tale nightmare.

A psychotic, couture-clad, shoe obsessed Princess.
A not-so-charming, alcoholic Prince.
A hot Big Bad Wolf that she absolutely cannot fall for—no matter how well he kisses.

If Norah had known she’d be attending a boarding school for the nut job reincarnations of fairy tale characters, she would have insisted on going to Moscow with her father. But getting out isn’t as easy as she thought. Especially once Norah realizes she, too, is a storybook character. An Unknown. The first one in history. Soon Norah learns she has the ability to rewrite the stories, putting everyone’s Happily Ever After in jeopardy. Some princesses will do whatever it takes to protect their endings. Even if it means betraying the one closest to you.

And here’s the gorgeous new cover!

ForgottenFairytales ebook

And here’s everything you need to go grab your copy!

Beyond Redemption – Cover Reveal!

Beyond Redemption – the next installment in the Wine Country Romance Series – launches on Tuesday! I’m so excited to share the cover with you today… But first, here’s a bit about the novella:

This racy Wine Country novella takes readers back to Redemption Road winery, where Audrey and Tyson are continuing the paths they discovered in Redemption Red.

This book focuses on Rebecca and Ray… And while Rebecca has made peace with her family and returned home to help build the winery into a wine country destination, she is still struggling with ghosts that threaten to destroy her happiness.

When someone shows up from the family’s past, everyone must face the truths that time can hide and come to terms with new realities…

This novella contains mature situations and is not appropriate for readers younger than 17.

And here’s the gorgeous cover, designed by the amazing Carrie at Cheeky Covers — she has done all the wine country books, and I love them!

BR_med

Add the book on Goodreads today, and pick it up at Amazon on Tuesday!

Beyond Redemption – Releasing Next Week!

I’m excited to announce that the next installment in the Wine Country Romance Series — Beyond Redemption — will release on Tuesday, June 24th!

Beyond Redemption is a novella that takes readers back to Redemption Road Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. It’s a hot, sexy and sweet extension of Audrey and Tyson’s story, focused on Rebecca and Ray.

If you haven’t read Redemption Red, check it out here!

And if you’re a blogger and would like to help with the cover reveal for Beyond Redemption (so pretty… eeek!), the reveal is being hosted by the lovely Giselle at Xpresso. Sign up here!

In Defense of Pink

When I was a little girl, I refused to like pink. Or more specifically, I LOVED pink, but I got the clear impression that everyone around me believe I was SUPPOSED to love pink. So naturally, I declared that I hated it. I was impossible like that. Just ask my mom.

But in my late twenties (and by late twenties, I MIGHT mean early forties)… I am comfortable enough to admit that I absolutely love pink. I don’t wear a lot of light ballet pink, but I love salmon and I own probably too many things in bright pinks (including pants, cuz that’s how I roll). I have two pairs of pink trousers that I wear regularly to work. And maybe it’s because I work in a conservative environment, or maybe it’s because it just isn’t all that common, but I always get comments. And sometimes, if I’m telling the truth, I can tell that they’re those backhanded compliments people offer when they feel they must say something but aren’t sure exactly what they want to say. Or else they’re afraid you’ll kick ‘em in the taco if they say what’s really on their mind. But you know what? I don’t give a pink petunia at this point.

However, I do have a beef with some pink judgers out there. And this goes back to my defense of boxed wine, I guess. Pink wine, y’all. Many of us in the states have a very bad perception of anything in a wine glass that is pink. And that is because we spent far too long ignorantly swilling something called White Zinfandel and not knowing any better. In many cases, that White Zin wasn’t even made from Zinfandel grapes!

You can still get the low rent rosés if you know where to look (7-11 anyone? Well, not in MD, but you get my drift). But there are plenty of pink wines that are well made and absolutely lovely — especially as the days get warmer. And pink is my choice for barbecues and deck parties, so I end up explaining myself more than I’d like.

Blush Wine Bottle And GlassWhere does pink wine come from? In most cases, the pink color is the result of the juice being left on the skins just briefly enough to impart a little bit of structure — and color, of course. So rosé wines can be made from most red varietals (and so you can have real white zinfandel… this is where ideas like “white merlot” and “white cabernet” come from.)  The rosés I like best are based in Grenache, which is the varietal most often used in the Rhône wines, which I tend to favor in general (see A Rare Vintage!)

Pink wines come in all concentrations — from almost fuschia to light light pink (often called Vin Gris). They come from all over the world – my favorites are from France and Spain (where they call it Rosado), but Bonny Doon makes an incredible Vin Gris. They range from sweet to dry, and there’s even a bubbly variety! They’re all gorgeous in the glass and super refreshing.

So I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day weekend… raise a glass of pink to the men and women who’ve sacrificed so much for our freedom.

 

 

A Busy Summer Ahead

The weather’s warming up, the kids are excited to get out of school (though really, I can’t figure out why… since I work, they’ll just be headed off to a different variety of “school”… but don’t tell them that!) Anyway, I’ve got a few commitments coming to an end, and am starting to look forward to some freedom.

I think I talk a lot — or at least I think a lot — about making choices to keep life in balance. I didn’t do a great job of that this year. I let work get very stressful, which isn’t my norm at all. I’ve been president of our local writers’ group, and also served on the PTA (mostly to become known around the school and hopefully earn my little troublemaker another chance or two before he gets suspended from first grade!!) But it’s been a lot. And I missed a publication date that I just couldn’t make because I’ve been kind of chronically stressed.

But I’m stepping down from the writers’ group and PTA ends when the school year does… and I’m looking forward to having fewer people counting on me.

I’ve got a new Wine Country novella coming out next month, and the second book in The Company series is well underway and slated for August. Wine Country 3 is already plotted, and the second Girlfriends of Gotham (Highballs in the Hamptons!) should be out in the fall. I have a two book deal with Carina UK that I’m excited about, but it’s looking like those books might be out next year, so it’s a bit on the back burner at the moment.

The point is, as other things are winding down, I’m getting a burst of energy to get back to writing. And I’ve even managed to make myself work out again. For a former personal trainer, the loss of strength training in my life has been kind of personally shocking…

I hope that you’ve got good things planned for the summer too!