The title “Coming Soon” is slightly misleading. My story bibles were a mess and needed attention. I realize that I still have quite a few novel treatments that need attention, eventually. Mostly I went crazy because I’ve been into aesthetics lately. Then I figured that since I have a bunch I can’t wait to show off, why not give you a sneak peek what’s coming up in the future?
Aesthetics seem to be the latest in-vogue way of giving visual representation to all kinds of creative processes. It’s particularly popular in the writing community—especially young writers writing fan fiction or making up original characters for small stories or art projects they’re doing. I’ve always done a version of this because I like to have the visual face to the personality that’s in my head.
Here is an example of one I made for my story, Dark Mountain:
Not my best work ever, but gives you a sense of the characters and the mood of the story. You’ve got David and Addie at the top, and then Hana and Matt at the bottom. There’s a hint of an engagement picture with a girl in a wheelchair and the paved path through the woods talked about in the novel.
We Close Our Eyes
This two-parter romance starts in the 1990s as two friends, Beth and Ethan, can’t deny there is something between them but Beth’s in a wheelchair which makes Ethan uncomfortable, and Ethan is a player which has Beth convinced he’d more than likely break her heart. Despite their misgivings, they come to realize that they mean more to each other than their faults. But as Beth later states, they have the worst timing since Romeo and Juliet because both were unwilling to admit their feelings for each other until a disastrous mistake Ethan makes prevents them from being together.
Fast forward to the present day and both Beth and Ethan are now single, each having gone through rough divorces. They discover the spark is still there and try to give their love a second chance. Things are never easy when you’re dealing with unresolved hurts, emotional baggage they both still carry from their recent past, and juggling a burgeoning relationship with exes and kids. All these obstacles may make it impossible for them to reconcile the love they know is still there.
The title comes from the song by 80s band, Oingo Boingo, fronted by the now famous movie music composer Danny Elfman. It was a band that both characters shared a love for and one of the first things to help them find a common ground.
The idea for the story came out of some of my experiences as a young, single person in their 20s in the 90s. To be honest, the decade matters very little. It’s the age that I find intriguing. For me, being that age meant a lot of freedom, but also consequence. It meant having a close group of friends that seemed so important at the time, but somehow we all drifted apart after only a few short years. That group of friends were integral in the learning process of what it meant to be an adult, find love, find either a career or just a job and finding a place in the world where you either come to accept yourself as you are, or learn the difficult lesson of finding out you were never certain who you were in the first place.
Maggie Clement is a rising star author in the YA fantasy series genre. She’s content with her life the way it is – writing, raising her kids and trying to find out who she is after her husband ends their twenty-year marriage. She meets Peter de la Cruz, an aspiring director of Hallmark romance type movies. He’s recently moved to town to direct some movies for a few of the local production companies. They hit it off as friends at first. She doesn’t think they can be more than friends, especially after she finds out that he had been her teenage heartthrob on the most popular teen soap of its day.
But it wouldn’t be a romance if they didn’t find each other attractive even though he’s been in the Hollywood arena for most of his life and she’s a disabled housewife from Utah. She knows she can’t compete in a world so dominated by how someone looks, nor does she want to. And it seems like every time Peter gets sucked back into the limelight, their chances at a happily ever after slowly die.
Funny enough—the idea for this story came from an interaction I had with one of my teen heartthrobs from back in the day — Peter DeLuise from 21 Jump Street, who currently makes a living directing Hallmark movies and TV episodes. He responded to a Tweet I had sent out and suddenly I was 14 or 15 years old again watching Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise play adult cops who pretend to be teenagers to solve crimes within the high schools of their precinct. I love playing what-if and Maggie Rising began as a sort of free-writing session of the idea that went wild.
Brand New Day
Brand New Day (title almost guaranteed to change at some point) is a follow-up book I wrote to the novel, Dark Mountain, I’ve been schlepping around as an experiment in traditional publishing. My daughter and I fell in love with Matt’s character that we couldn’t just leave the poor guy hanging after Hana rejects him.
Brand New Day takes place three years after the events in Dark Mountain. Dr. Matt St. John is still nursing a broken heart after the woman he loved chose her ex over him. Fate, it seems, has him in her sights because a pretty new pharmacy manager at the hospital catches his eye. Chris has a distinct personality from Hana — she’s driven, ambitious, and very no-nonsense. They have brought her in as a department fixer to whip the hospital’s pharmacy back into shape. Her goal is to the be the Head of Pharmacy for a prestigious hospital back East and she will not let someone like Matt impede her dream.
But, of course, who could a resist a face like Matt’s, especially when he’s attentive, funny and caring individual? Chris finds her walls slowly crumbling. But their growing attraction is plagued by rumors flying around the hospital about them, Matt’s increasing dissatisfaction with the culture of the hospital spurred on by his lingering regrets with Hana, and Chris’s realization that she is stuck in place because she’s also the financial caretaker of her ailing parents.
Out of all of them, Brand New Day is the most developed but least written. I don’t think it would take long to hash out a first draft based on the considerable notes I have for this particular project. Maybe if Dark Mountain gets picked up by a publisher, I can sweeten the deal with a second book.
Zoe, Sweetwater Saga – Book 3
Zoe is all grown up. She’s been dating her high school boyfriend, Chad, since they were juniors. While Zoe starts college, Chad only seems interested in partying and working full time. Second semester in school she meets a handsome young man named Simon. Though there is a bit of a spark between them, both are already in relationships and are content to be friends.
Zoe depends more and more on her friendship with Simon. He’s kind and encouraging and seems to see something in her she doesn’t herself. Chad, on the other hand, complains she’s never available to be around him because of the demands of studying and class-taking. He wants her to move in with him so they can be around each other more. But why would Zoe want to move in with someone who’s been acting possessive and jealous?
Zoe has always been the shy child, basking in the love of her family and the people that care about her, but giving of herself without reservation. I wanted to explore how the shy girl with the right encouragement can find her own power as an adult and as a woman.
At the same time, I wanted to highlight the warning signs of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is much more subtle and in some ways more damaging than physical because there are no bruises anyone can see. But it tears down your sense of self and constantly has you questioning your sanity. To make it all worse, the perpetrator of this type of abuse is almost always someone that professes to love you, making it harder to walk away.
So while these are all projects I’m excited to work on, please understand some of them may change fundamentally when the finished product debuts. So coming, and maybe soon—but definitely coming soon!
And remember, if you haven’t read Sweetwater yet, give that a try first before starting on Ophelia. It mostly stands on its own as a book, but there are a few references to Sweetwater in it!
The same goes for Forged in Flame! If you haven’t read Free to Fly yet, you’ll definitely want to see how it all started for Missa.