Archive for August 6, 2016

Tasty Dish: Cover Reveal

I promised you all a cover reveal of Tasty Dish at the end of my annual writing writing retreat. The book will be available on October 18, 2016 and is currently available for e-book pre-order at Barnes & Noble; iBooks; Kobo; and Smashwords (including a version for Kindle). The print version will be available closer to the publication date.

There’s no excerpt up on those sites yet, but you can read one on my website at:

This is Teresa’s story – she is Victoria’s best friend, first introduced in In Concert. She had a little fling with one of the other characters and has plenty of adventures in her own book…

I’m pleased to present another gorgeous cover for the third in my That’s Entertainment series:

Tasty Dish


Writing Retreat 2016: Day Four

Bad, bad manuscript.

Oh, the run-on sentences; using five words when one will do; the wretched passive voice…

I don’t know who created this list, but guess what stage I’m at right now?

The Creative Process

1. This is awesome

2. This is tricky

3. This is shit

4. I am shit

5. This might be ok

6. This is awesome



Writing Retreat 2016: Day Three

Have I mentioned how much fun I’m having?

Writing a book is hard. Reading one is easy, which is why so many people think that writing one must be a cinch, too. Writing is challenging (good books need to be coherent, well-thought-out, and keep the reader’s attention), butt-numbing (all of that sitting), frustrating (Oh, crap, what color were his eyes again? Great, none of that five pages I just wrote is going to work in the final draft. Gah! How am I going to fit in this Really Important piece of information?), time consuming (you can put a lot of words on the page fairly quickly, but do they translate into a good book?), and sometimes all-consuming. Until this morning, I hadn’t left the house for two days. I’m pretty sure I brushed my hair before going to the grocery store, but I’m a little sketchy on the details…

But that all-consuming part? It’s also one of the good aspects. When I read a good book (Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, the entire Harry Potter series, to name a very few), I am IN that world. It takes over and suddenly I am a time-traveler, a cowboy, or a boy wizard. How cool is that? And when I write, I get to see all of these things unfold. I get to create worlds, people, and situations. Sometimes, I’ll be struggling so much, I think it’s never going to happen, this book is terrible, no one is ever going to want to read it, but that’s okay, because I’ll never actually finish the dumb thing anyway. Then one small thing will click into place–an idea, a piece of dialogue, a plot point–that tiny puzzle piece I needed for the rest of it to make sense.

That happened today. I had one plot point toward that end that I needed to make everything else before and after it make sense, but the reasoning I had for it didn’t work. I could tell I was trying too hard to make this one thing happen without a good reason. Then, after much struggle, the right reason popped out in the middle of a few terribly worded sentences. I wrote for about five hours straight after that, because everything now made sense.

I actually don’t need to be a boy wizard sometimes, because writing itself is magic.

Writing Retreat 2016: Day Two

Rearranging bookshelves always takes longer than I anticipate. That was my reward on Day Two. Normally, it would be an avoidance technique, but I worked on them after finishing a brand new scene I’d been struggling with for the past 12 hours or so. It involves food trucks, pot smokers and a little dalliance up against an office wall (hey, I write romance! If it was a mystery, it might be a dead body on an office floor…). I was so happy with the final result, I took some time out to read a little of Feint of Art, from one of my favorite writers (Juliet Blackwell, writing as Hailey Lind).

But I’ve been eyeing my bookshelves for awhile. I live in a tiny space, I have a lot of well-loved mementos, I love books – instant dilemma for someone who likes things to be tidy. I had seen some beautifully organized books online recently that combined said mementos with the books – on the same shelf! I know! As a book lover, I’d honestly never thought of “covering up” my books, or having them share shelf space. They needed to be front and center. But I wanted some of my treasured treasures to be seen, too, so I experimented a bit with combining the items. I’m not completely happy with the result, but there’s some promise there…

Now, back to those dalliances…

Writing Retreat 2016: Day One**

Any day that I can get writing done is a good day, so yesterday–a day dedicated to working on Tasty Dish–was heaven. It always goes slower than I hope (I usually have myself finishing the damn book on the first day of my retreat!), but I made a lot of progress, and not only added new scenes, but plumped up some sparse ones. I also fleshed out a secondary character that I’ve grown to love. She may need to make an appearance in another book.

She speaks her mind, doesn’t care what people think of her, has a blue mohawk, and is married to a guy who looks like Viggo Mortensen’s character in GI Jane. I may or may not have spent a lot of time researching that character’s appearance.

It’s all to improve the book, people. I sacrifice for you…

** I swear I didn’t crop the above picture specifically for that…area. It’s all WordPress’s doing, but I do find it amusing.

Cookie's husband Urgayle


Writing Retreat 2016: The Weekend

I kicked off my annual writing retreat by sharing the weekend with my fellow critique group members, Tracy and Cary, at Tracy’s house. We dubbed it Oasis, a true getaway, and dedicated the entire time to writing. From Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, we wrote; consumed many, many snacks; discussed what a crazy/wonderful business writing is; bonded; and helped each other through some difficult places in our manuscripts where we felt stuck. This included finding the perfect name for one of the characters – a very important endeavor.

After a full day glued to our computers, a little dazed from our single-minded focus, we did go out for Mexican food on Saturday night (yum!), watched part of an exciting bike race with a course that ran through the middle of town, and played “Marrying Mr. Darcy,” the card game (you read that right) for some entertainment.

But then it was back to the editing/creating. My focus right now is the third book in my “That’s Entertainment” series, Tasty Dish. This one follows Teresa Steplowski, who was introduced in In Concert, as she enters a reality TV cooking show contest and tries to make smart decisions in the face of backstabbing fellow contestants, hostile judges, and two very tasty men pursuing her.

At the end of this week, I’ll be doing a cover reveal for Tasty Dish, so stay tuned!

Here’s the current first paragraph, which may or may not end up in the final draft:

“Instead of dreading Sunday dinner with her ultra-conservative family, Teresa Steplowski brought along her pregnant, unmarried, hippie friend to shake things up. Instead of toning down her outfit, Teresa wore blue cowboy boots, a red floral handkerchief dress and denim jacket. Instead of outright bravery, which she’d been trying to incorporate into her life, she chose passive aggressive behavior.”