Thursday, May 3, 2018

Keeping My Coconuts Series Fresh

Readers and reviewers are happily writing rave reviews for CHAOS AT COCONUTS, Book 2, in my Coconuts series which all began with double award-winning THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. Trust me, authors hold their collective breaths when their book babies enter the world. We never know how they'll be received, so I'm breathing a little easier now.

As I endeavor to pen Books 3, 4, (and probably 5), I continually strive to keep the characters fresh, engaging, intriguing, and compelling.

As background, my main POV characters are three thirty-something best friends since high school. Suzy’s a newly married wedding planner who creates fun, themed weddings; Hope is a high school guidance counselor who deals with both at-risk and honor students; and Alex is a bank marketer who dates a sexy bad-boy cop. The threesome enjoy Happy Hour at their oasis, Coconuts, an island-themed bar, in land-locked Crystal City. 

Secondary characters such as neurotic brides, an intern from hell, crazy exes, and hippies create gleeful havoc along the way.

In CHAOS AT COCONUTS, I introduced a newcomer, Cheri Van Buren, a wealthy New York socialite and celebrity chef. You’ll have to read my novel to see why she makes a splashy visit to Coconuts. At first, Suzy, Alex, and Hope aren’t too keen about having a beautiful, filthy rich woman as competition, and they may or may not befriend the stranger.

I also introduced Izzy, a lazy, disrespectful teen stepdaughter for Suzy, who her new husband forgot to mention during his whirlwind proposal!

Alex is dealt a job-stealing marketing intern and stalker ex-wife who both unleash mayhem.

Hope has a couple of major issues to deal with at Hilltop High. One is a spoiler and the other is a devastating tornado. This was my first attempt at a tornado scene and it wasn’t easy. The fact that I’m from Missouri and saw the destruction after an EF5 tornado made this a bit easier to construct but still gut wrenching, even if on paper.

Here are some tips I used to keep my series fresh:
  • ·         I added several new characters.
  • ·        Characters are from other states with unique professions and vastly different backgrounds.
  • ·        A monster tornado barrels toward the high school.
  • ·        There are two very different weddings for two totally opposite couples.
  • ·        Bits of backstory was added (mainly using dialogue).
  • ·        Plenty of plot twists with old and new characters is guaranteed!
  • ·        The unique “flavor” of the island bar, Coconuts, remains the same.
  • ·        There's plenty of humor, suspense, and romance like the first novel in the series.
  • ·        Both novels may be read as a standalone.
  • ·        The same font was used on the cover for branding purposes.
Want to read the blurb? Here it is:

To most, Coconuts is simply a bar. But for three best friends, it’s their oasis. That is, until everything comes crashing down.

Socialite Cheri Van Buren makes a splashy, paparazzi-filled visit to Coconuts. Secretly dabbling in disastrous online dating, the wealthy caterer desires normalcy away from the society pages. A few girlfriends would be nice too.

Hope’s life is routine, if not dull. The most exciting part of her day is counseling students until a monster tornado heads toward Hilltop High. Now she’s in shock—and not just from the devastating twister.

Alex oversees a marketing intern from hell who appears intent on stealing her job. Her relationship with her sexy cop boyfriend isn’t so sexy, especially after his ex-wife stalks her.

Suzy’s new marriage is challenged by her surly teen stepdaughter, a unique Halloween wedding, and her son’s ever-changing nuptials. If that isn’t enough, the family discovers an astonishing revelation requiring a giant leap of faith.

Will the women overcome the chaos or will it tear them apart?

Amazon buy link:
Do you prefer books in a series? I also write standalone novels and novellas.  I’d love to hear from you!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

How The Reality Show The Voice Helps Writers

I was thrilled to be asked to write an article for Southern Writers Magazine. They asked me to write "The Last Word," which is a standing advice-type feature in their bi-monthly literary magazine.

I pondered what to write, and as I watched my favorite reality television show, The Voice, it hit me! Read a portion of the article below to see what I mean. Here's my article in a nutshell: Emmy-winning coaches on the show tell singers to "find their lane." Of course, they mean country, rock, blues, gospel, hip hop, or rap. I realized this advice could easily apply to writers because readers expect us to stay in our lane, otherwise, they would get whiplash if we penned a heart-wrenching contemporary romance only to follow that with a western, and the next year, wrote a time travel sci fi for good measure.

The other similarity between The Voice and writers is the very premise of the show. Coaches do not see the singers until they've been selected. Much like writers who toil away in their offices or at Starbucks and submit their work to agents and editors online (behind the cloak of their laptop.) Our submissions are selected based upon the quality of our work--not on our appearance, which is a lot like The Voice, right?

This was a fun piece to write. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, March 4, 2018


Hi everyone!

I'm thrilled to tell you about my new release, CHAOS AT COCONUTS, which is book 2 in my Coconuts series. Book 1, as most of you know, was double award-winning THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. Both are romantic women's fiction with plenty of humor and suspense.

Without further ado, here's my cover and an Amazon pre-order link. I'd greatly appreciate pre-orders. My release date is April 11.

I think you'll enjoy catching up with Suzy, Alex, and Hope again, as well as meet the wealthy socialite, Cheri Van Buren. I had great fun creating havoc--and satisfaction--for  them. *evil author laugh*

Amazon pre-order link: