Hello, friends! I thought it might be fun and helpful for me to list out ALL OF MY WIPs! This includes manuscripts in all stages of being, from baby ideas to zeroing in on final edits to languishing on the shelf (for now).
Palomino Canyon is my story that just won’t die. I started writing it as 100% fun wish fulfillment, the way some people write themselves into fan fiction. But with this book, I was writing my ideal life if I lived in Los Angeles in 1968. Palomino Canyon (my fictional version of Laurel Canyon) is the titular home of my main character, Dawn, and the other three major characters, Linda, Gigi, and Maybelline. This multi-POV story follows the four girls as they swirl through the glittery rock-n-roll nightlife of late 60s L.A., finding themselves, supporting each other, and of course, having lots of steamy rock star romances.
When I started writing Palomino Canyon, it was for my eyes only. I wasn’t even going to burden myself with a PLOT, but then after a while it turned into, well, a real story, and I fell in love with the characters, and that was a few years ago and here I am, still tinkering with it. It’s been shelved, but like, not really shelved. Honestly, I’m in a weird limbo with it. I have no idea how to pitch it, with the in-between age (the MCs are all 19-ish) and the fact that it’s multi-POV, and there’s probably too much sex to be women’s fic/chick-lit but not enough sex to be straight romance, and I don’t know which direction I want to take it. I might just leave it where it is and keep it for myself – that’s who I wrote it for in the first place, anyway.
Mama Tried is the real book of my heart thus far. It’s a Southern Gothic novel about a loner named Marty who loves metal detecting and works at a hospital laundry facility in Jacksonville, Florida. He finds out that his job is being outsourced, and after a major misstep with his friends, starts to question his own sanity. He’s always been painfully shy and isolated, but after learning that he shares some childhood experiences with a lot of famous serial killers, he wonders if his eccentricities go beyond being a quiet, mild-mannered guy. What if he snaps one day? Marty, along with Winky, the stray dog he just found, sets off on a journey to follow only his good impulses, which takes him through the state of Florida setting things right. When he picks up a hitchhiker, Tiffany, he’s presented with the perfect opportunity to do a good deed and get her to her destination safely. It turns out, however, that Tiffany has a dark secret of her own… and the two of them might not make it out alive.
Like I said, I love this book. I’m also stuck right now. I have edits to make and more writing to do to get it where it needs to be, but I just haven’t been able to move forward on it in, like, months. Part of that is because I’m distracted by my current first drafts, but I also just lost momentum with it and am struggling to get back in the saddle. I need to get back to this book soon, because I want to share it with the world so badly.
PLOT IN MY BACKYARD: A BLUEBIRD TINY HOUSE MYSTERY
THAT’S RIGHT, I’M WRITING A COZYISH MYSTERY SERIES. Maybe. If I ever finish this first book. I have ideas for, like, the next four books in the series, and I love this MC, Jenn MacDougall, an architect and fledgling tiny house builder. I love her sidekick/bestie, Thea Night, even more because she’s a wry, loyal, wildly popular ace goth who lives in the creepy Victorian house of your nightmares.
Jenn moved to the little mountain town of Pine Knot, Arkansas, to grieve the sudden passing of her mother, unaware that she was relocating square into the middle of disputed territory. The turf war between the old guard (in the form of the Pine Knot Heights Neighborhood Association) and the newer transplants from the nearby university town (mainly professors and college students) rages on with every new proposed business or building. When Jenn lands a lucrative contract to build a mobile tiny house for a high-profile blogging couple in town, she finds out just how contentious a rolling home on wheels can be. After a presentation to the neighborhood association goes poorly, Eunice Staples, the association’s social director, turns up dead, and Jenn’s client is the top suspect. Jenn needs to clear her famous client’s name so that her business, the Bluebird Tiny House Company, can get off the ground, but she’s about to find out just how many secrets the Pine Knot elders are holding.
Also, there are two potential love interests, and I fully plan to have Jenn go back and forth between them until the series is over (but I know who wins out eventually!).
This is a paranormal thriller and it’s the book I’m the most focused on right now. I absolutely adore this premise and it’s honestly the most confident I’ve ever been about a book while drafting it (I might eat my words later on, though).
Shauna Taverner is the darling of the cryptozoology community. She appears at all of the conventions for panels and podcasts, all because her husband, Jason, a noted bigfoot researcher, disappeared while on a solo expedition two years ago. She shows up. She dabs her eyes. She appears every bit the grieving widow. But she has a secret: she’s glad her husband is gone.
Jason may have disappeared two years ago, but Shauna lost him to the bigfoot community long before that. That’s why she doesn’t feel bad taking their money. Besides, she needs it to survive, so she’ll play the part of the sasquatch widow for as long as she can. Jason was her rock before bigfoot took over their lives, and Shauna feels ill-equipped for life on her own.
Shauna is just starting to move forward (and even has a new love interest) when Jason shows back up. Shauna’s reeling, trying to come to terms with his sudden return and the weird circumstances of him being there. Like the fact that he has no memory of what’s happened since he disappeared. The fact that he looks exactly the same down to a healing cut on his shoulder that Shauna had helped dress a couple of days before he left for that last bigfoot trip. Two years ago.
Mother Road is just a baby idea that I’ve written a couple of chapters on, mostly noodling while I get to know my four main POV characters. I’m imagining Mother Road to be like Stranger Things for adults x The Stand all taking place on Route 66 in the early 80s. If you Google “Picher, Oklahoma,” you’ll see my real-life inspo (spoiler: it’s really creepy). I don’t have a lot to tell you on this one yet, but it’s percolating. And I’m excited for it.
I hope you enjoyed reading about all my WIPs. If there’s one theme that runs throughout all of my work, it’s that I always write about weirdos and misfits finding their place in the world! What can I say, it’s the Aquarius rising in me.
And that’s all, folks! One day I will write an entire post all about my journey with Debs, my beloved, permanently-shelved YA novel (the first book I ever wrote), but you’ll just have to wait for that one.