I love the color Lilac.
It’s such a happy, relaxed, quietly confident little color. It reminds me that spring is right around the corner, and I can’t wait. I’m ready to have some sunshine, flowers, and the smell of cut grass in my life again. After this restful winter, I’m ready to wear myself out again with outdoor activities and new adventures.
But since we are still cooped up here in the great PNW, I’ve finally had a chance to begin really editing Definitely, Maybe and I feel like I might be in the zone now.
Instead of John and Jane Doe, my main characters have real names now (well, John is still John. Couldn’t let go of that one). And it’s nice to feel like they are honest characters, with individualized names now, rather than just place holders.
Writing tip: try to nail down names for your characters right away. At least for me, it helps make their voices come alive during the writing process.
Once I finish my round of edits, my next task will be to let my advance reviewers have a crack at the manuscript.
By the way, if you aren’t on my Advance Review Team and would like to be, you can sign up by following this link. It’s a great [FREE] way to read new novels, while simultaneously helping me make them better.
After I take the feedback from my team, I’ll make some changes to the manuscript and then send it out to my editor for a final round of corrections.
Meanwhile, it will be time to start working on a cover! This is a very fun, but also very difficult, task. Coming up with a cover design involves all kinds of questions, especially in the romance genre. It’s very hard to nail the right design, and despite what people say, we all definitely judge books by their covers.
Needless to say, there is still quite a lot of work to be done in order to get this next book released.
But I do so enjoy it all, and I’m beyond grateful that people like you are interested enough to read what I write!
The beautiful cover of this book drew me in. See? Totally judged it by the cover.
Is it romance? Is it suspense? A thriller? Just what the heck is this book about? And then after two very trusted reader friends recommended it, I set everything aside and dove in.
And it took over my life for about two weeks.
The Boy and his Ribbon is a wonderfully complex story covering over a decade of time between the two main characters, Red and Della. But don’t let the idea of a time-expansive novel turn you off. Pepper is such a wonderful writer, you won’t even notice time passing.
Here’s the synopsis:
From New York Times Bestseller, Pepper Winters, comes one of her best tales yet…
“What do you do when you meet your soul mate? No wait…that’s too easy. What do you do when you meet your soul mate and have to spend a lifetime loving him in secret?
I’ll tell you what you do.
Ren was eight when he learned that love doesn’t exist—that the one person who was supposed to adore him only cared how much he was worth.
His mother sold him and for two years, he lived in terror.
But then…he ran.
He thought he’d run on his own. Turned out, he took something of theirs by accident and it became the one thing he never wanted and the only thing he ever needed.
I was young when I fell in love with him, when he switched from my world to my everything.
My parents bought him for cheap labour, just like they had with many other kids, and he had the scars to prove it.
At the start, he hated me, and I could understand why.
For years he was my worst enemy, fiercest protector, and dearest friend.
But by the end…he loved me.
The only problem was, he loved me in an entirely different way to the way I loved him.
And slowly, my secret drove us apart.
And if that isn’t enough to spark your interest, take a look at this book trailer video the author created.
I would definitely recommend this book for a vacation read or a beach read, or just a rainy/snowy Oregon day read. It’s sweet, it’s sexy (definitely some heated scenes), it’s raw with emotion and heartache…it’s a great read. Check it out.
I finally finished An Anonymous Girl, and whoa…usually at the end of a thriller or suspenseful book, the last few chapters are page-turners and you can’t put the book down.
Not this book.
No, it was more like the last QUARTER of the book I found to be unputdownable.
It was definitely intense and had me wondering how it was going to end. This book is Fatal Attraction meets Single White Female meets Good Will Hunting. The characters have incredibly strong, independent voices which made reading the different perspectives easy and enjoyable. And the psychiatrist…well, let’s just say I’m still thinking about Dr. Shields.
I would recommend this book for book clubs, for fans of psychological thrillers, and for people who like mysteries. A 4-star read for me.
For the Love of Music
Music can change your life. Here’s what’s making a difference in mine lately:
And now for some sick recipes.
And by sick, I don’t mean cool or trendy, like the teenagers say these days. I mean literally sick. As in when you’re sick, here are some recipes to make. I’m fun like that.
As I write this, the entire state of Oregon is sick.
And we aren’t a dictatorship here when it comes to illness. Oh no. You can choose from a head cold, a chest cold, a flu virus, or a case of the measles (yep, that is really happening here).
Can you tell I’m not a fan of being ill?
But there is a small silver lining. And by silver lining, I mean thank God for Starbucks.
Did you hear how Starbucks has risen to the top of the illness/drink game? Yeah, they’ve come up with a concoction called the Medicine Ball, and I finally tried it today, because, guess what? I drew the head cold card.
And guys, the Medicine Ball really is SO GREAT!
If you’re a drive-up person like me, just ask them if they can make a Medicine Ball for you. Most Starbucks are on point and will know exactly what you mean (remember the Great Pink Drink apocalypse of 2018?).
But just in case they don’t know what you’re talking about, you can tell them how to do it by following this recipe:
Starbucks Medicine Ball
2 packets honey
1 Peach Tranquility tea bag
1 Jade Citrus Mint tea bag
Fill halfway with hot water
Fill halfway with steamed lemonade
Ba-bam, that’s it! And it is wonderfully soothing and awesome, and for the time I spent sipping it, I actually felt a little better.
So, if you find yourself feeling cruddy and still need to function like a semi-human, consider stopping at Starbucks and ordering this life saving drink.
And then when you drag your sorry a$$ up the stairs to your home, pull out a carton of chicken broth, fill up a mug with it, microwave it until it’s steaming hot and then drink it. I know…it sounds disgusting. And it kinda is. But I swear this will shave off a day or two of your cold. I don’t know why it works, but it does.
And when you are feeling like you might be able to cook something again, make this:
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
- 6 whole chicken legs
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 40 cloves garlic (you’ll need about 3 bulbs), peeled
- 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly ground nutmeg
- 4 sprigs Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth
- 1/3 cup (homemade or low sodium) chicken stock
- Crusty bread or toast for serving
- Heat the oven to 375ºF. Season the chicken legs all over with the salt. Arrange them, skin side up, in a single layer in an ovenproof baking dish with a tight-fitting lid.
- Scatter the garlic and celery into the gaps between the chicken pieces, and then drizzle everything with the olive oil. Grind some black pepper and a bit of nutmeg over the chicken and vegetables and arrange the parsley on top.
- Pour in the vermouth and the chicken stock. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and put on the lid. Bake the chicken for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, without removing the lid until the hour mark. When the chicken is really tender, and the garlic is soft enough to spread, remove the dish from the oven.
- Serve the chicken in shallow bowls with plenty of the fragrant sauce; spread the softened garlic on the bread and then dunk it into the sauce as you eat your chicken.
Here’s hoping you stay well, friends!
Products I Would Give up Coffee For
Free People Asymmetrical sandal. Holy lovely lollipops, look at this awesome shoe! Alas, Free People products are not cheap, $168.00, (for my size, 11. Other sizes may be cheaper). But wouldn’t this be a great treat to take you all through summer and into fall? That was a rhetorical question because of course it would!
But never fear! Check this out: Target, good ‘ol Target has a copycat design of this shoe for so much less ($34.99) and it looks just as scrumptious. The color selection is a bit different, but who cares!
Now that you’ve saved a bunch of money on a cute shoe, you can splurge a little on an even cuter swimsuit!
Look at this stunner. No, you only think it’s a boring, basic one piece. But look at the back!
Dear J. Crew,
Our love affair is decades old. We go way back, you and I. I loved you in the 90’s and dreamed on owning your iconic Barn Jacket. I loved your t-shirts and chinos and preppy, flushed-face style. And I still do. And now, with this gorgeous, retro, devil of a swimsuit in red stripes, STRIPES (my forever weakness), you’ve outdone yourself. The fact that you’re on sale for $77.00 is making me breathless. I’m signing off to find my credit card.
Prepare yourself because these espadrille platforms from Target (hello, lover) are the stinkin’ BOMB! I ordered them for an upcoming trip to sunnier skies, and Sweet Mother, I was blown away by how awesome they are.
They come in black, yellow, and natural. And guys, for $32.99, how can you go wrong? These puppies are instantly cozy and make my feet feel like I’m walking on a memory foam mattress. And they are totally on trend right now, so oldies like me can at least attempt to be in style. I’d recommend ordering them online as I can almost bet you they will sell out in stores right away.
Before we know it, sunnier weather and warmer temperatures will be upon us (hurry up, please!) and it will be time to bring out the outdoor furniture.
One thing I discovered a few years back was how much of a difference an outdoor rug can make to an otherwise normal balcony or patio.
There’s something about putting down a rug outside that makes the whole space seem much more livable, friendly, and inviting. Honestly, just rolling out the rug made so much difference in the feel of being outside. I would highly recommend experimenting with this and seeing if you suddenly feel yourself drawn to your new space.
Here’s a cute one from Target that stands out from the rest due to the fancy little tassels at the ends. And blue and white? Can you say summer any louder? A 7 x 10 size is on sale right now for $125.99. A 5 x 7 is just $60.00! Add a few yellow or red pillows to this baby, and bam! instant Good Housekeeping scene.
And now, something for the guys. It’s never too early for a Father’s Day / Birthday / Anniversary gift, right? Well these awesome shades from Bose are just too freakin’ cool.
“Enjoy rich, immersive, hands-free sound with UV-blocking sunglasses that let you discreetly listen to music, podcasts and more…”
If you know a tech junkie, male or female, I think this product would be a huge hit.
Apps I’m loving
Kyo (kee-oh) is a daily reflection app. Reflection is something we read about Gwyneth Paltrow doing and we think, “yeah, GP, you go girl. I’m gonna do that too.” and then we don’t because we have to make dinner and figure out how to do common core math fractions!!!!
So I was kinda excited to find this app that not only allows us to “reflect” on our phone — probably the one thing that is always with us — but it also gives us prompts and questions to answer to help us get started. Things like, “what made me smile today”, or “what amazing thing happened today”, makes it easer to get started so we don’t spend our time trying to think of something, but rather get right down to recording what we are grateful for, or what we’d like to reflect on.
I see your custom built yoga studio, Gwyneth, and I raise you this FREE app. ha HA!
I read somewhere that our brains are hard-wired to always search for the fearful thing, to always scan the environment to find the thing that could cause us harm. It makes sense, really. Leftover from our long-ago days, way back when we had to survive day to day by relying on our senses, back when we couldn’t order food from a restaurant and have a random person we’ve never met before, deliver it to us.
And all of this constant scanning for harm, in an age where our senses are literally bombarded every millisecond with information vying for our attention, has caused our brains to short-circuit a bit. Our anxiety levels are higher than ever before. We are constantly scanning for danger, without ever really getting a break.
Jeez, took a rather serious tangent there, didn’t I?
But fear not. I also read that we can change this hardwiring of our brain by retraining it to find the positives around us, the good things, the safe things, the easy, relaxing things. And part of the way we do that is by writing down and recording the good things that happened to us during the day. We have to start getting into the habit of finding the happy in our lives again.
And I think this app is a good way to start that change.
‘Cause we could all use more happiness in our lives, amiright?!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my ramblings. I’d be honored if you would share this newsletter with a friend (see the “forward” icon at the end of this newsletter). But what I’d love the absolute mostest in the world is to hear directly from you. And here is my burning question:
How do you feel about romance novel covers: Shirtless guy, random couple, or simple object (a tie, a watch, a necklace, etc.)?
You can click “reply” at the end of this post and let me know your answer, or you can email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your answers will help me with my next book cover design.
Happy March, friends! May all your kisses be sexy ones.