Spring Cleaning

spring cleaningSpring has allegedly sprung. I say allegedly because in Washington D.C. today it’s a very un-Spring-like 40 degrees; and with cloud cover, feels more like 36 degrees. Still, I’ve decided not to let that dampen my mood. I’m doing a little spring cleaning this weekend. Not just of my physical space, but of my mental space too. I don’t know how it is for other writers but I tend to live with my characters when I’m writing them. They move into my head and they get comfortable there, and just about every experience I have while they’re visiting I view through dual lens. The lens of the writer and that of the character.

What the heck does that mean, you ask?

Here’s an example: while writing ‘Maybe Never‘, I might eat a piece of chocolate cake and suddenly it would come to mind that Tracy, the main character would not have eaten the cake because she’s extremely concerned about her appearance, and meticulous about what she eats. That characteristic about Tracy might or might not make it onto the page but since she resides in my head, I cannot help but think it. When that happens, it makes the process of writing about a character and making them three-dimensional almost easy. Each scene develops not according to an outline (not for me, though I know many fine authors use outlines) but according to what that person (character) might do given the circumstances of the scene.

The downside of having characters move into your head is that when you find them compelling, it’s often difficult to get them out. Like a way-too-comfortable house-guest, they sometimes linger even when you would prefer that they move on. Or, like now, when you need them to move on so you can turn your attention to new guests. Like some of you who’ve written to me, I find myself wondering how Tracy and Brendan are, when I really need to be checking on Trey and Darren, my main guys from ‘The Art of Endings‘ and cleaning out those spare rooms in my head for them.

But this weekend, I’ve made up my mind, as difficult as the parting will be, Tracy and Brendan have got to go. And of course, there’s always the prospect of perhaps having them visit once again when I write Chris Scaife’s story this summer. . .

Happy Reading!


Perfect Romance

I tried to write ‘perfect romance’ but don’t know how . . .

Now that ‘Maybe Never‘ is done, and I’ve had some time to sit with it, I have to admit it was hard to let Brendan and Tracy go. When I first wrote about them in ‘Commitment‘, they weren’t a couple and only very gradually learned how to become friends. But it wasn’t their story, so I foreshadowed a little bit (without even knowing that that was what I was doing) to what would become their story. Tracy was Riley’s beautiful best friend who never seemed to have a man around, and seemed content to offer commentary on someone else’s love life rather than have one of her own. In ‘Unsuitable Men‘, we learned why–Tracy didn’t have relationships because she just couldn’t. And Brendan, the man she falls for, was barely able to do relationships himself. But somehow they found a rocky, painful, convoluted path to each other.

At the end of ‘Unsuitable Men’, Tracy was still working on some stuff, as was Brendan and there was always the lingering question of whether it was even possible that they might find a happily ever after. ‘Maybe Never’ was supposed to be a love letter, my Valentine’s kiss to readers who wrote to me, genuinely concerned that the ambiguity at the end of Unsuitable Men meant that maybe, somehow, Brendan and Tracy would break up. And so I set out to assuage those fears and give these readers a gift of a perfect romance.

messy loveBy now, if you’ve read ‘Maybe Never’, you know that it was many things, but it was most definitely not a “perfect romance” – not in the sense of its technical construction and execution and most definitely not in terms of the relationship between Brendan and Tracy. They have baggage, they have issues, they have problems and doubts and all kinds of shit to work out. And that’s because at the end of the day, as I work on this craft I’ve come to learn something about myself as a writer. I can’t do perfect. Not by a long-shot. I don’t know those people whose relationships end with a tidy HEA.  I know the people who love hard, who fight hard, who mess up, who have lousy relationships with parents that influence their love lives, or great relationships with parents that still influence their love lives in lousy ways, people who sometimes get horny looking at someone other than their partner . . . people who have messy, messy loves.

I tried to give the gift of perfect romance, but couldn’t. And fair warning for those who in future may be inclined to read what I write – I couldn’t do it in this instance and likely won’t ever be able to. I offer instead, stories about what I know to be true: that sometimes, through all the craziness and the chaos that we impose on ourselves, the drama and the messiness; sometimes we reach out and we find someone. Not someone perfect, but maybe if you’re lucky, they’re perfect for you . . .

Happy Reading.


Release Date for ‘Maybe Never’ . . .

So it’s Valentine’s Day and somehow the present I planned isn’t all wrapped and ready to go.

Yes, sadly, I’m referring to the novella about Brendan and Tracy, ‘Maybe Never‘. I am, as I type this, on a plane headed to someplace in the Southeastern part of the United States, cramped beyond belief and wishing I’d chosen to fly business-class. And yet, I’m thinking about this book, and the characters in it, and about why they mean so much to me, and maybe to you as well. And because of that, I can’t rush this one to completion and have to let it play itself out. That ‘playing out’ should be done with soon, and the release date is Friday, February 22nd.

In the meantime, if you have a notion, tell a friend about ‘Unsuitable Men‘ and let them know that tomorrow only, it will be free on Amazon.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Breaking Through

Maybe Never coverThe messiest of love stories to be found in any of my books, hands down, is the love story between Brendan and Tracy in ‘Unsuitable Men’. Tracy is beautiful on the outside, but feels ugly inside. She can’t love herself, and she can’t accept the love of a good man, Brendan, because she fundamentally doesn’t believe she’s a good woman. Even when there seems to be a breakthrough, with a woman as complicated and as troubled as Tracy, you have to wonder, can there really be a happily ever after?

This novella provides the answer: ‘Maybe Never‘. Coming Soon.

Now, because I know some people might be curious about when ‘soon’ is, all I can tell you is that I love giving Valentine’s Day gifts.  Having said that, I also love giving birthday gifts, but am generally the person who winds up calling to say ‘Happy Belated Birthday’ and sending the gift late by FedEx. And I’m also working on ‘The Art of Endings’ so that’s a factor as well.

In the meantime, my suggestion would be to (re)read ‘Unsuitable Men’ and fall in love with Brendan and Tracy (again, if you loved them the first time around). This book is both their (sort of) ending and the prequel to the book about Chris Scaife, the unlikeliest of leading men to come out of ‘Commitment’.

Happy Reading!