What’s Cookin’?

An author pal and I recently emailed about writing. I think I’d mentioned that I was stuck in my editing cave, swearing and cursing about content edits, and having mini hissy fits. Anyway, she emailed back that she was confused. What was the title of the manuscript? She was confused!? She was confused!? See, I said it two times, which means it’s really important. Ha ha.


Last year was a whirlwind of publishing for me, and seriously, I don’t think I can ever do four books in one year again. By November my brain had turned to oatmeal.  I shut down all social media and hid in Australia for three weeks. After about eight months I had felt physically ill. I was way past mentally ill. In fact I saw the guys coming in the green van and carrying the white straight jacket, but I managed to slink to the floor and hide beneath the computer table. They finally quit ringing the doorbell and went away. That was a close call. But it was also a wake-up call. This year I’m only submitting two manuscripts. No guarantee the small press will contract any books, but at least I’ll try with two.

So I got to thinking what do I have on the grill? And what is in the microwave? What is on the back burner? And what is chillin’ in the fridge?MP900439465[1]

Fresh out of the oven is Gone Tropical (romantic suspense/adventure set in Australia)GoneTropical_w8255_750 and I loved writing this story. The setting is the Daintree rainforest in Queensland’s far north, rugged country, excellent for some hijinks involving the city girl, her gruff PI protector, and the fun-loving Aussie Federal Agent.

On the grill is Corsica Gate (a contemporary romance with a thread of magical realism and set in San Diego’s Little Italy with a side trip to Europe.)100_0056 It has passed the partial submission round, content edits have been returned, but there is no contract yet. Fingers crossed, as this is a new line, and a new editor. I hope she will see some promise and want to work with me on perfecting the story.

The microwave just beeped, so I sent Ring Me Later (a romantic suspense with a stalker and a London twist) out to beta readers. 100_1240There is one reader to go. Then I’ll revise it, and ask my critique partner to do a final check, and then I’ll submit it to the house to the suspense line. I’ll also have to submit to a new editor as my former one has retired.

On the back burner is Black and White, (a contemporary romance with a decades-old mystery thread set in NYC and the English countryside) it’s in the discovery stage, which means snippets of conversation, a rough outline, a blurb, and bits of location research are added to the pot daily. This one may merit a research vacation. Ooh, wouldn’t that be luverly?

Chillin’ in the fridge is a three book series (hard-boiled, crunchy PI, Noir type intrigue/mystery) and I adore the hero, and his name, and want to start on this so badly, but first things first. I had to put this guy in the icebox for a while, he’s so damn hot.

So, while there’s a lot going on here, and it seems like I’m back to juggling, it’s really all quite manageable. It could be another year before I take the PI out of that freezer bag. What about you? What are you up to these days? If you’re a writer how many stories do you juggle at the same time?


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20 Responses to What’s Cookin’?

  1. Sam Beck says:

    Wow! You do have a lot going on! I’m overwhelmed just reading about it!

    I’m a one-at-a-time kind of girl. I’m expecting second-pass/copyedits soon on a new release scheduled for late June, I just turned in a new ms last Friday, (and it wasn’t even due ’til 5/1!), and today I start the synopsis for the follow-on to that story. Plus I’m trying to schedule a little promo work on a re-release dropping at the end of this month.

    Whenever I get a shiny new idea I’ve got no time for, I open up my “More From You Later” file and dump it there with all the other sparkly stuff I hope to play with one day. 🙂

  2. robena grant says:

    You sound like you’ve got the juggling part down pat, Sam. : )
    And I agree with you on the “next big shiny” those things often pop up to distract us from the hard work at hand. I like your “More From You Later” file.

  3. Kady Winter says:

    I love the “back burner” riff, Roben! And your juggling does make my head explode. My recent blog post gave you the gory details of my current meal prep. Glad to see I’m not alone in having more pots boiling than I think I can handle! Hopefully, I’ll succeed as well as you at getting them to the table. 🙂

    • robena grant says:

      Oh, I’ll have to check out that post, Kady. I’ve missed a lot in the past twoo weeks. When I roll that big rock in front of the editing cave entrance it blocks out everything. ; )
      I’m sure you will succeed at whatever you do!

  4. Kaitlyn Stone says:

    You’re living the saying: Variety is the spice of life.

    I feel like I’ve got a stir fry on the stove at the moment. A little bit of this and a little bit of that, marrying together to create a colorful and flavorful life at the moment. I know I’m going to burn out on stir fries after while and need to switch to a more bland meal, but they’re just so damn tasty.

  5. Well my head is spinning just reading about your juggling. How can anyone keep up with you. LOL.
    I’ve got a trilogy chillin’ like you do – I hope I get the opportunity to write it next year. As for this year, I’m 2/3rds through my mss due April 1st. Good thing I asked for an extension – becoming a grandma definitely messed with my routine, but of course I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world. Next I have two medicals to write before the end of the year. They will be a 2-in-1 for 2015, and will take place in Wyoming. I’ve been dying to write a book set in a lovely little town I visited called Afton, WY.
    3 books is my max for any year. You, my dear, are pushing the envelope. I think your plan for next year is much more doable for keeping sane. We can’t have those men in the green van come get you!

    • robena grant says:

      Well, you were the person (the author pal) who made me stop, think, and write this blog post, Ms. Lynne. : )
      Now I can see your line-up is as busy as mine. Hope we both get to write the trilogy that’s chillin’. I’m feeling good about allowing for some fexibility, in case of changes, there was no “white space” in my life last year.

  6. Holy cow, Robena! You are a one woman show. This is you slowing down? Congrats on all your projects. I’m wondering how long you’ll really be able to keep hot stuff on ice!

  7. Nia Simone says:

    Hi Roben,

    I can’t believe you wrote 4 books last year! I’m glad you’re taking things a bit more sanely this year. I try to do sequential but I was getting stale with all edits so I started a new one while I go through my final (for now) edits on the big one. I think I’ll do that from now on, let myself start a fresh, shorter romance whenever I’m in the last round of edits because I was getting stale and unmotivated with all edits all the time.

    Great post! Thanks!


    • robena grant says:

      Truth. I didn’t write them all in 2013, but they were published in 2013. I edited, edited again, published, promoted, edited, edited again, published…etc.etc. That made me dizzy or was it ditzy. : ) Your idea of writing something shorter, while editing the big book, to keep that excited feeling is good.

  8. Liz Flaherty says:

    Well, you’ve exhausted me–I can barely keep up with the one on the stove top! Good luck, Roben. They’ll be great when they get to the table.

  9. Barb Han says:

    I love this post, Robena! You most definitely have a lot going on. Can’t wait to hear more about hot stuff. 🙂

  10. Cindy says:

    Robena, thank you. So much goes on behind the scenes after you’re published. I like what Nia said about taking breaks with shorter pieces…I have two series, working on second book for fantasy series, waiting for revision notes on second in women’s fic. I have 5 stories for women’s fic series in various stages, mostly raw. On the fantasy, that’s where I want to go shorter, play, and have fun. I have publisher for women’s fic (no contract yet on book #2) and am going indie on fantasy. And I want to read hot guy chilling in fridge, too!!

  11. robena grant says:

    Sounds like you have a full slate, Cynthia.
    I agree. Those shorter pieces keep the creativity alive. Edits on a novel take so long, and go through so many rounds, that by the time you’re done you never want to see the book again. (Until it comes out cover and all and then your in love all over again.) Ha ha.

  12. Robena, this has to be the most creative analogy on writing ever written. I love it! Personally, I like to focus on one project at a time to complete, while jotting ideas and notes down for my dishes in the fridge as they come. You are a true Wonder Woman completing four projects in a year; and you have so many ready and waiting! I say, take your time and enjoy the process. At least you’re not empty on ideas!
    Side note:
    After seeing your FB post of Australia I must read Gone Tropical!! Cheers to a hungry appetite! 😉

  13. robena grant says:

    Thanks for coming by, Trish. I hope you do read Gone Tropical and let me know what you think. I recall you saying you’d been to Australia a few times but I’m not certain if you made it to the far north. But maybe GT will bring back fond memories. ; )