Valid question. Very soon! I’ll be releasing a full-length contemporary romance this November! More details will follow, fret not, but this will be the book that I worked on with fellow Maine playwright/Actor, Randy Hunt. I wrote the novel, and he wrote the play that my characters are rehearsing in the novel. How meta! Stay tuned for interviews and more details about how this book came together in the coming weeks.
For those of you reading my Where You Left Me series, you might be saying, but what about Vol. 4 and 5 of that series? Is that still happening? YES. Vol. 4 has gone through 2 drafts and Vol. 5 is being written at this very moment.
There is a grand writing plan, that is written in pencil in my handy-dandy notebook (20 pts if you get that reference.) In fact, the next three years have been roughed out.
Now, even with this detailed writing plan, sneaky stories find their way in. This morning, for instance, I was supposed to be writing a post for my newsletter but instead, my fingers, of their own accord, opened up a blank word doc and typed out a chapter for a new suspense story that was not on the 3-year-plan. I write things down in pencil for a reason. I need to be flexible with this muse of mine. She has a mind of her own, and I want to know where she goes, I have to be willing to pivot. (You all yelled “Pivot!” didn’t you?)
Well, that’s it for now. In the meantime, know that I am hard at work on several projects at once and publish them as soon as I am able within the confines of a day job! Until next week!
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve had Ulcerative Colitis for about 16 years. It’s a fun little autoimmune illness that decides to attack your colon. Good times. To combat this, I take a handful of meds every day and have to limit my fiber intake (narrow colon + ulcers = a lousy place for roughage.)
Because of this diagnosis, I have to get a colonoscopy every 2 years. You may have read one of my blogs on the adventure. Thanks to the pandemic, my routine procedure was pushed, leaving a 4-year gap. Not to fear. I was doing great. I was having normal (for me) trips to the bathroom, no cramping, and short-lived flare-ups. When they had me do a stool test to check for active disease, I was like “I’m gonna pass with flying colors.”
I did NOT pass. My stool sample showed I had active disease going on. What? Really? But I felt great. How can that be? A colonoscopy was pushed up the schedule, which I had recently, and yep, the colonoscopy said the same: Active disease.
Well, shit. Literally.
The good news, the biopsies they took show that the illness hasn’t progressed any further up my colon. No polyps needed to be removed. All good things. Today, I went in for bloodwork to see if the meds I’m on are still working. If they are, great. But we’re gonna bump up my dose. If they aren’t? Well, it will be time to try out new meds.
In the meantime, I’m on my flare-up meds (even though I don’t feel like I’m flaring) another stool sample had been ordered for a month from now, and I’m upping the dose of one of the two meds I take to control this, and I have to take fiber gummies. Since I can’t eat fiber the normal way without hurting my plumbing, the gummies are going to help make it so there are, er, no clogs in an already fragile system. I hate the texture of gummies, so this will be fun.
In a month or so, I’ll have a better grasp on what’s going on, but my new GI doc seemed confident he could get me back into remission easily enough, so I’m holding onto that. Perhaps my ‘normal’ doesn’t need to be quite so annoying? Wouldn’t that be lovely?
In your romance books, that is? Now that I’ve split my books into Dani and Danielle Bannister, Dani for the romance-heavy titles, Danielle Bannister for the suspense/romance, I’m trying to figure out what readers of mine prefer.
Some of you have been with me for the last ten years and have read all the MANY genres I’ve written from YA, to fantasy, to rom-com, up to and including my spicy and suspense titles.
Now that I’ve narrowed myself to romance and romantic suspense, I wonder about heat levels and if readers are anticipating a consistent level of heat from me, or if they prefer variety. Hence, asking you!
Any feedback on this topic will help me with future books because I want to give you what you want (That’s what she said.)
The road to publishing a book on your own is long and winding. There are covers to have designed, editors, to tear apart your work, formatting for ebook/print (because of course they are different( and marketing plans to create (and implement *cough.)
Typically, I like to have paperbacks on or as close to release day as humanly possible, but trying to time out how fast your distributor will get them to you is a crap shoot. Such was the case for Where You Left Me, Vol. 3.
It may have taken a hot second to get them but they are finally here!
I do have a few back titles on hand of this series and others in my backlist if you want to get a jump start on holiday shopping. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
For those of you who have been following me for a while, you’ll remember that I have Ulcerative Colitis. I’ve had it for about 16 years. There have been many ups and downs, medication switches, trips to the hospital, and, yes, colonoscopies.
Because of my illness, I have them every two years. I know. I’m lucky like that. And instead of having 4 biopsies done, I get about 40 which makes my recovery time all that much more enjoyable. But, due to the pandemic, the last one I had was in 2018. They pushed them back, and rightfully so.
It is now my turn to get the once over. A recent test indicated my illness might be active again (though I feel okay.) The meds I’m currently on are only usually good for about 10 years before their effectiveness wanes. It’s been twelve. There are other medications, but they are a higher class of drugs and come with more side effects, blood tests, etc., so we’ve been trying to stay on my current meds for as long as we can. This colonoscopy will determine if that course of treatment is over. If it is, a whole new treatment (and potential rough few months as we try doses out.)
For those of you who have had colonoscopies, you know that the prep is the worst. But up until this one, it was a prep I knew well. Miralax mixed with Gatorade and a 4 dose of Dulcolax. And then, get comfortable in the bathroom. I had a system. This year, however, I have a new GI doc, with a new prep.
Drinking this much fluid isn’t daunting to me. I drink a LOT of water usually. It’s the speed at which you have to drink it that is challenging. If it were just water, no problem. I drink water fast normally, but this is gonna have a flavor. Probably a strong one to cover the taste of the med. I mean, lemon’s okay, but THAT much lemon? With the old prep, I could change up the flavors so it wasn’t so gagging at the taste. This time, it’s all lemon, all of the time. I should be grateful it wasn’t pineapple like my mother’s was. *shivers. (Update: I did half the prep last night. There was NO lemon taste. It tastes like watered-down salt water. Nasty.)
My son will drive me to the procedure where I hope things go as smoothly as one can expect. Mercifully, I have the day off and work from home, so my week-long recovery from so many biopsies should be as comfortable as it can possibly be. (Yes, I have a donut pillow and a sitz bath. This may be part of the reason I’m still single…)
Afterward, it’s a waiting game to hear from the doc about what the future holds. She’s guessing it is gonna be a monthly iv medication. Oh, joy. Stay tuned.
For those of you who follow my blog, or my social media, you know I dig the MCU. They raised my eyebrow with Iron Man and sealed the deal with Avengers. In all the movies that followed, have they all been winners? No. Not by a long shot. But their track record is pretty good in my book. With top-tier gems like The Winter Soldier, Civil War, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarock, Infinity War, and Endgame, they are entitled to have a few duds. (I’m looking at youDr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.)
Of the (up until now) trilogies, Thor’s movies had been the weakest entry. Until Ragnarok. That completely changed how I felt about Thor. The once bland, boring, 2-dimensional beefcake character now had depth, humor, and heart. They’d finally figured out Thor. Or so I thought.
My daughter (whom I’ve proudly introduced the MCU to) and I went to see Thor: Love & Thunder on opening night. Each of us was pumped to see the Thor from Ragnarok once again. And then, before our eyes, Thor turned back into the bland, boring, 2-dimensional, even bigger beefcake who was forcing out dialogue that was trying really hard to be funny but just wasn’t. Thor was working so hard for laughs that he lost his heart. His humility. He felt more like a caricature rather than the fleshed-out character we’d seen change and evolve over the movies. He’d gone backward in development.
Now maybe that is some bigger arc for him. That he’s attempting to use humor to hide his hurt, which we saw a tiny glimpse of but it was quickly rushed over in favor of a weird battle with bird aliens?
(Spoilers Ahead) But the biggest issue with this movie for me was the warring tones. On one side, you have this colorful, humorous (or attempting to be), song and dance vibe, and then on the other, you have a dark character of Gorr the God Butcher played brilliantly by Christain Bale, a terminal breast cancer diagnosis of Jane, and a forced rekindling of a romance that never had any chemistry from the start. The two tones did NOT play well together so it felt like you were watching two different movies. As a result, the stakes never felt real. The ‘sacrifices’ didn’t feel earned. I was being told a story instead of feeling the story.
That said, was it as bad as Multiverse of Madness? No, that was just awful in my opinion. Love & Thunder I’ll watch again. But it will hold the same weight as the first Thor. Which ain’t saying much.
If you want to hear more about my thoughts on why tone matters so much in writing, check out the podcast I did with writer, Tina Moss, on our podcast Bound By Books.
It’s hard to believe that this series started off as an experiment to try out Kindle Vella and has now turned into a 5 novella series. Funny how life works. Today is the release day for Where You Left Me, Vol. 3. Jasmine and Shawn are back from The Bahamas and back to reality. Their wedding was fake, but the connection was real. Wasn’t it?
The honeymoon’s over. What’s next?
First, she was left at the altar. Then, she fake married a volunteer. What could have been torture with a perfect stranger was anything but. The honeymoon cruise with him was off the charts hot, but now the escape from reality is over. The fake relationship has to come to an end, right?
Jasmine doesn’t want to go back to her life where nothing but humiliation, personal tragedy, and financial ruin await her. She wants to stay in paradise with her fake husband. But she can’t. She confessed her feelings and he bolted.
Emotionally numb, she knows that once she gets home, her heartbreak will continue. On top of it all, her ex-fiancé comes sniffing around, wanting to take her back. But does she want to go backward? Knowing what she had with Shawn was possible?
And what will happen if Shawn ever finds out she might be having his kid? The honeymoon might be over, but the real fireworks are about to begin.
Find out the details today in this red-hot lust-to-lovers series in Where You Left Me, Vol. 3.
Not sure if this series is for you? Why not check out the FREE Prequel Chapter that tells Shawn’s point of view in the moments leading up to where Vol. 1 begins. It’s short, spicy, and should give you a sense of the tone/voice of the series without spending a dime!
If you happen to read Vol. 3 (or any in this series) dropping a quick review helps small indies like me out in massive ways. It lets reluctant buyers know if this new author is worth the money. Any love you can send this series way, I would be most grateful.
I hope to share some of those reviews on this blog once they start to populate! Until next time, happy reading!
I’m not much of a cook. In fact, it’s one of the things I hate most in life. Probably because I wait to cook food when I’m ‘hangry’ (so hungry you get angry.) I’ve noticed, however, that since starting my new remote 9-5 job, I enjoy cooking even less. If that’s possible. At the end of every day, I’m so mentally drained and hungry, that the idea of going to make food in this recent heat leaves me eyeing the cereal boxes. And on days when the kids are with their father, that is often my go-to.
My children, however, probably should have something a tad better than Corn Pops for dinner. Lately, it’s been frozen pizzas or chicken nuggets and fries, etc, because… well, see above.
Last weekend, I went down a YouTube rabbit hole of quick and easy dinner ideas. Two things I love. Quick and easy. These same YouTubers tell me I’ll save money this way too. Well, wouldn’t that be a nice bonus?
Most of them said variations of the same thing:
1. Take an inventory of what you already have in your house. What spices do you already have (have they expired?) What condiments are in that side drawer of your refrigerator (have they expired?) What’s in the pantry? What’s frozen that you’ve long forgotten about?
Admittedly, this is a valid step. Did I do it? Well, not to the extent it suggests, but I do plan on doing these things. In chunks. Starting with my spice rack. I KNOW there is stuff in there that should be tossed or I will NEVER use. I re-did my pantry recently, so things are pretty easy to see, and yeah, I have stuff I should use up before I buy more. My freezer is small, so again, not much hides there, but I could widdle that down too. I’m starting to see how this might save some money ha.
Write down all of the meals you know how to make without thinking about it. This will eventually sort itself out into about 20-30 meals that you can rotate through which will take out some of that stress of shopping.
My list is NOT great. Part of why I want to try this. Maybe my ideas can expand. My poor kids. ha.
Head over to Pinterest and start pinning. So many of these YouTubers said they went to Pinterest for meal ideas, so off I went, and I went a little pin happy.
I now have a bunch of ideas I think my kids would like and that I might realistically be able to make. Including several crock pot meals. If I can’t throw stuff in a crock pot and walk away, then I need to re-think some things.
Get a binder and start printing off meals you’ve tried/liked and will make again. Then, using your inventory, your grocery staple list, and your new list of meals, you can figure out what meals will work best for your family that week given the schedule you’ve got going on.
These are the three meals I’m gonna try out this week.
I’ll eat up some of my frozen leftovers on the days the kids aren’t with me, but this is at least 3 days of dinners that don’t seem super hard and I think will work.
I’ll serve up the sliders with sliced cucumbers, and that bag of frozen fries taking up space in my freezer. The pasta I’ll pair with some frozen garlic bread I have on hand and I’ll whip up a simple salad with the lettuce that I always buy that seems to go bad before we eat it. For the chicken and potato, I’ll roast up some carrots or if I’m super lazy, grab a can of corn or green beans and call it good. Not sure why recipes leave out veggies but they usually do.
Now, did this prep work save me any money at check out? It did, actually. About 50 bucks worth. Is this sort of prep something I can pull off every week? Well, that remains to be seen.
Curious, do any of you meal prep? Got any tips/tricks or easy meals I should add to my binder?
About a month ago, I asked my Newsletter subscribers a question. Who did they see as the main hottie in the Where You Left Me series. I’d confessed to them, that I had two men in mind as I wrote it: Sebastian Stan (because YUM) and Shawn Mendes (because curls rule.) I was curious, however, between the two, who did they, as readers, did they think matched the character better.
While the results are in for the Newsletter and will be revealed in a few days to my subscribers, I’m curious who YOU would have chosen.
If you chose neither, I’d love to know who you pictured. And honestly, this poll has no losers because I’m all for equal muse opportunities and will happily use the ‘loser’ in an upcoming project for my inspiration. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge
It should come to no one’s surprise that there is more to writing a story then putting words down on paper. There are a lot of details that we have to hold onto and some details slip right through our fingers. So, how do I hold all of the moving parts in my head?
Easy. I don’t. I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night, let alone what color I gave a character’s eyes when I wrote them last month. Hell, sometimes even a character’s NAME escapse me. (After 18 books that feels moderately forgivable.) So, how do I keep track of all the details?
I use “book bibles” filled with worksheets I’ve made/researched over the years to hold all of the details together (and still, I forget stuff.) It holds stuff like:
Theme (What’s the lesson you want your MC to learn in this book?)
Hero’s problem/want/need (What problem does the MC have at the start of the book. What do they want that they THINK will make them happy. What is it that they actually NEED to reach the theme/lesson?
Character Profiles Basic stuff like job, family, age, looks, quirks, flaws, horiscope sign, etc. I’ll use images from Google and paste in a person who matches close enough that I can refer back to when describing the characters
The Outline A beat by beat play down of what the story arc will be.
Time and Space More Google images or terrible hand drawn sketches of locations and printable calanders for the month(s)/year the story takes place in. Time is something I have a hard time holding onto in the details, even WITH a print out.
A Family Tree It’s hard enough to remember a MC let alone the sibling or parent details of them!
If the book is a trilogy or a series, I’ll have a few other addtional bits in there as well. Such as;
Series Details Is this going to be a serial series (must read the books in order) or a regular series (books are lined by characters/locations but each book can be read on its own.)
Branding/Vision Basics How many books will there be? What titles will you use? What tropes are you lifting up? What is the genre and heat level for the series?
One Page Outline If writing a series, before I begin the first book, I’ll do a one page mile-high look at what the crux of each book will focus on so that I have an idea of where it’s going.
Even WITH all of this, I still forget stuff. Hey, it happens. But at least this helps me hold on to most of it. And at the end of the day, that’s the best I can ask for.
If you want to hear more about this, author Marianne Morea and I dive a little deeper into the topic on our Bound By Books Podcast. You can watch that below.