Many thanks to RT Book Reviews for posting about my time researching LAST CHANCE LLAMA RANCH, which drops August 25th. It was indeed a ridiculous amount of fun to write a book about sweet fluffy creatures, and I’ve never had more fun researching a story in my life.
Last Friday, October 31st, I finished my novel and handed it in to the publisher. After a year of death, divorce, and devastation, it felt like a Herculean task, and I have to admit there were a lot of times I wasn’t having fun writing it. But I learned something about writing. You don’t always have to be having fun to do your best work.
And I think this may be my best work.
I think there’s humor, and craft, and solid characterization. I think there’s growth, and interpersonal conflict. And, for what it’s worth, there are alpacas. Lots of fuzzy alpacas. I’m pleased and proud of what I’ve wrought (writ?), and I hope my readers will be too.
So now the $64,000 question… what should the next book be about?
Folks, I’ve been sitting on a secret…
For weeks I’ve known just how fabulous the cover for Book Two looks. But it’s only just now that I’ve been given permission to shout it to the world. So, with great delight, I bring you…. LAST CHANCE LLAMA RANCH!
I think it’s safe to share a little about the second novel I’m writing. It’s about a woman named Merry; six-foot-three, red hair, former Olympic skier from a high-expectations family. After a horrendous crash ends her career, Merry is looking to find her place in the world, and ends up becoming a travel writer for an online magazine. The magazine abruptly announces her column isn’t spicy enough, so they decide to send her off on “Don’t Do What I Did” missions–anything crazy, dangerous, or just plain gross. Her first mission lands Merry in the tiny town of Aguas Milagros, New Mexico… on a llama ranch. Her job? Muck stables, feed critters, guide tourists up and down the local mountains–anything that needs doing, Merry’s the new Gal Friday. Her bosses are Dolly the llama lady, who raises alpacas as well as her llamas, and spins a mean yarn (literally), and Sam, Dolly’s rough-and-tumble nephew, who’s not too keen on interlopers at the ranch.
The story’s all about finding your true home, coming to grips with your limitations, and challenging yourself to overcome the ones you can. Spitty llamas, adorable alpacas, and even a poltergoat roam the ranch. Wool, crafts, skiing, and naked hippie hot springs play a part–as does an unexpected romance with Surly Sam.
Now I just need a title. Some early contenders are: Wild and Wooly, Unraveled, Making Merry, The Last Chance Llama Ranch. Maybe y’all can do better…?
Welcome, dear readers, if any there be. Wonderful things have happened to me this year, and I’m so glad to be able to brag… er, I mean, share my good news. So, what am I on about?
Well, a year ago somebody asked me what my goals were. I said, without hesitation, that I’d like to get my novel published and to be a normal weight by the time I was 40. With a little help from Weight Watchers and the folks at Redhook Books (for whom I would gratefully bear firstborn, do laundry, wash windows, etc), I’m getting to see both these efforts come to fruition. After 7 months obsessing over “points” and sweating out details on my magnum opus (or maybe it’s a minimum opus – that’ll be for you to decide) I lost 42 pounds (my favorite number, because of Douglas Adams) and BLISS is coming out in November. And I’m still just 39. (I will probably stay that way for a good ten years, but it’s actually true for now.)
Yee to the HAW!
This blog will serve to share more triumphs, admit to struggles, keep you abreast of doings both great and small, and inflict pictures of fuzzy animals and sweet desserts on you whenever possible. I hope to share snippets of my novel-in-progress, “outtakes” from BLISS, and whatever else strikes m’ fancy.
For now, here’s a little something from my “research” for Book 2.