All posts by EilisFlynn

About EilisFlynn

Elizabeth Flynn, who writes as Eilis Flynn, is an editor and writer. Find her on social media.

The Story Behind the Story: An American Dream, with Sprinkles, by Mayly Tao with Chuong Lee

You’d think a memoir based on donuts would be a sweet story, full of sugar and contentment. This mother-and-daughter story ultimately is the icing on top, but it starts during the horrors of the Khmer Rouge’s brutal reign in Cambodia following the 1975 disengagement of the United States in Southeast Asia. Fleeing genocide and labor enslavement during the barbaric restructuring of the country, Chuong Lee arrived in Southern California homeless and penniless, then married into the family of another Cambodian refugee, Ted Ngoy, who opened hundreds of donut shops in the Los Angeles area for other refugees. Mayly’s story celebrates her mother’s journey and her own unique upbringing as a donut “princess” who used modern social media to make the family business one of the most successful donut shops in the world. Every bit as harrowing as any thriller, every bit as American as a glazed donut, Mayly turned her life into a book that shows that while all American stories start with the same ingredients, her family’s approach is as different as yours was.

What’s the theme behind your story? 

The theme behind my story is honor. Through An American Dream, with Sprinkles: The Legacy Story of the Donut Queen and Donut Princess, I honor my mother and her journey that she faced when she came to the United States from Cambodia. The theme of honor persists throughout the book—in my mother’s relationship with her parents, in her relationship with her mother-in-law, and the way that she ran her business so fiercely for forty years. The theme of honor continues with me as I carry on the family business and fight to create our family’s donut shop to be globally recognized. 

What’s the logline?

How did one immigrant survive her war-torn country and enslavement camps to run one of the most popular donut shops in the world?

What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea of this book occurred to you? 

I’ve had this idea ever since I was a little girl. My mom told me many of her stories of her trauma during the war and what she went through. I remember crying and feeling an instant sense of compassion when she told me. As I grew older and was encouraged to stray away from writing, the idea to tell her story was placed on the back burner. It was only after we sold our donut shop that I finally had time to sit down and go through stories about the years of trauma to create this story.

How did the original idea change as you went along?

The original idea changed as I went along because the premise of the story was extremely sad. I decided to add my version of the story to assist with the resolution of my mother’s idea of the American Dream as it lives through me. 

How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change?

Since this is a memoir, the characters stayed the same, but the references to them were more defined by recognizing them in Teochew (a Chinese dialect) and/or Khmer (the Cambodian language). This changed as I thought about my audience and I considered what would describe them the best. 

Are you pleased with the results, or do you wish you had done anything differently in the story? Why or why not?

I am pleased with the results, and I am hoping people will learn and get a firsthand account of what it was like to live through war and to come to America in search of the American Dream.

Who would play your leads in the movie if (when!) you make a deal? 

I would hope that Gemma Chan would play my character and Michelle Yeoh would play my mother. Both actresses are beautiful, fierce, and understand the role of mother/daughter in an Asian American family.

Mother, Chuong Lee, left, and Mayly Tao, daughter, right, standing in front of their family donut shop opened for forty years, DK’s Donuts & Bakery. (Photo: Business Wire)

What else do you want readers to know?

I want readers to know how proud I am to be able to tell my mom’s story and how I hope it will inspire others to document their family’s origin stories and celebrate them. I hope it will bring more compassion to this world, regardless of global borders. 

Bio

Mayly Tao is LA’s self-proclaimed Donut Princess and the owner of Donut Princess Los Angeles, a donut bouquet delivery concept. She is the host of her podcast Short N’ Sweet: A Donut Princess Podcast where she explores mindset, women’s empowerment, and small business tips. You can find her ”securing the box” at @donutprincessla. She is featured in the Donut King documentary as seen on Hulu and on domestic flights across the US. She also has her own YouTube channel, where she visits Cambodian-owned donut shops and highlights their stories. She hopes to elevate Asian-American voices and representation and vows to create a legacy for the next generation of Asian-Americans.

Mayly Tao is a Khmer, Thai, and Teochew Chinese Asian-American born to Khmer refugee parents who arrived in America to start a new life. Her uncle, Ted Ngoy, sponsored hundreds of Cambodians, enabling them to come to America, then helped them manage and own their own donut shops. She recently sold her family’s bakery after her mom decided to retire after celebrating forty years in business at DK’s Donuts & Bakery in Santa Monica, CA. 

Her focus on helping people and making an impact led her to creating new businesses as a serial entrepreneur. She successfully launched her new luxury-car rental business, Donut Exotics, in summer 2021. Her plans for 2022 include becoming a life agent to help families find life insurance; a mobile home-care business; and a liquid IV business, and to publish her mom’s book on her experience after the genocide. Stay tuned with her on her instagram @maylytao.

Buy link

Stirring the Plot: Taking your basic plot across the genres

Photo by https://mattbango.photo/at Morguefile.com 

About my upcoming presentation to the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Romance Writers chapter of the Romance Writers of America

Making your story work, no matter the genre

“Do you imagine your story as a single sentence or as a series of sentences? Do you find yourself telling someone about your story, only to have them tell you, “That’s not the kind of thing I’m looking for”?


Plots. Aren’t they fun? You take a premise or an idea and you craft a story, using elements out of nowhere (or somewhere). In my workshop “Stirring the Plot,” we’ll be looking at plots, how you can mix and match them so you can come up with a fully fleshed out story, even crossing genre barriers. In the workshop you’ll also have a chance to work on your very own story plot in a series of exercises.

So what the heck is plot? It’s the observation of the human condition, the bones of your story, what your story means. That’s the fancy definition. Plot is story, more than theme (which is a main idea, a central topic or idea or underlying meaning of a story and shapes the events of the story), less than the events and characters of your novel. It’s not genre.

Okay, in that case, what’s the difference between story and plot? The novelist EM Forster explained the difference this way, using the example of “The king died and the queen died.” Two events, two simple statements.

You’ve probably heard how to connect the two deaths and work them into the start of a story: “The king died and the queen died—of grief.” Now, think of how you can turn the simple statements into variations of plot. The plot asks why and how the story happened. Could it be:

  • Was the king murdered and the queen decided to take revenge, only to be killed trying to do so?
  • Did the king die of an illness, and in her grief the queen made a series of decisions that destroyed the kingdom, only for her to realize too late what had happened? If this were a historical Japanese story, she’d probably get herself to a convent or commit dramatic suicide. If this were an opera, there would be a lot of singing.
  • Or, say, the king died and the queen died of grief, plunging the kingdom into a war among the children over who would rule?
  • Or the king died because the queen murdered him, and the ensuing guilt drives her mad, leading to her suicide?
  • Or did the king die when aliens landed, led by the queen, who’s been in disguise all these years and waiting for her people to invade?
  • For that matter, did the king and/or queen actually fake their deaths and run away for a reason you’ll come up with? Did they kill their doppelgangers for a reason you’ll think up?

So many questions!

All those from the initial simple statement. And there are more, of course, but I’ll leave that to you to think up.

Plot requires the ability to figure out the intricacies between characters and the events in the story. In essence, it’s what you find yourself thinking about after you finish reading the story.

We’ll be discussing popular plots. They won’t be new to you and they aren’t the only plots out there—you can probably come up with more on your own, but it’s a useful starting point and it’ll allow you to think of all the variations.

Here are the 20 plots, stated briefly. The plots are pretty much self-explanatory by their names, and you’re already going to get an idea of the themes involved:

1: Quest
2: Adventure
3: Pursuit
4: Rescue
5: Escape
6: Revenge
7: Riddle
8: Rivalry
9: Underdog
10: Temptation
11: Metamorphosis
12: Transformation
13: Maturation (coming of age)
14: Love
15: Forbidden Love
16: Sacrifice
17: Discovery
18: Wretched Excess
19: Ascension
20: Descension

And you’ll be able to figure out how to work those basic plots into a story appropriate for your genre. Think about those and how your story reflects one of more of these. You’ll be doing more of that later.

Intrigued? In that case, I hope to see you next month at my FF&P workshop!

4-Week Course Starts March 7, 2022
Through a series of exercises, this workshop tells you how to identify your story’s strongest plot points and how to start shifting its elements so you understand exactly how your story comes across to your audience and how you can strengthen it.
$35 for non-FF&P members • $25 for FF&P members
REGISTER TODAY

Red Herrings And How To Keep Track of Them

Writing mysteries? Then you may want to stop by my February 3 presentation to the Columbia River Chapter of Sisters in Crime, where I’ll outline the use of red herrings for the whodunit set (and others).

Click here to register (it’s free) in advance for the meeting (9 pm Eastern/6 pm Pacific). After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


We Are All Other

Originally published in Novelists Ink, October 2021

How authors can dive into cultural research 

By Elizabeth MS Flynn 

Authors are eternally curious, and they are fortunate in that they can not only assuage their curiosity by doing research for their latest work in progress, but also learn a lot of interesting (not necessarily related) facts as well. They can discover fun facts like when buttons came into use (earliest noted 5,000 years ago!), but they also can find out about other cultures and what makes them unique, and how that can be used for unique characters and stories. 

But where do authors start? When researching other cultures—any culture at all, whether it’s one we’re familiar with or one with which we have no familiarity at all—we are faced with how to track down the information we need, ascertain accuracy, and enrich our work. Start at the basics: 

General research 

Wikipedia is one place to start, but can’t be the only place. Believe it or not, another place would be children’s books and textbooks, because those authors have to boil down and explain complex concepts to a younger audience. If you’re trying to figure out how to tackle a subject and you’re not sure where to begin, tracking down a children’s book on the topic or a related one may be a good place to begin. 

I asked Lerner Books, the publisher of children’s books and middle-grade books, what they would recommend for a start on difficult, complex subjects, and they responded with a few possibilities: For Black history, Ruth and the Green Book and Unspeakable. For Asian American/ Pacific Islander history, they recommended Kiyo Sato and Sachiko. For LGBTQ history, Lerner recommended No Way, They Were Gay? Covering all of those plus Latinx and Indigenous, the publisher recommended Into the Streets, and, finally, for all of those and more, Dictionary for a Better World

Interviews and biographies 

Track down a member of the culture you’re interested in (if you’re doing research for a look at daily life circa 35 BCE, however, you may have to stick to the history books and biographies), but keep in mind that the responses you get may be specific and unique to that subject. Always keep in mind the background of the person. If possible, track down more than one interview subject. 

If you can’t, you may want to get the information by diving into a related point of interest, something you can find information about, and expand from there to find what you need. If you want an idea of some of the issues that were notable during the middle to late 20th century, for example, you could examine a biography of a notable person during that time. And keep in mind if you want to interview as a journalist, decide whether you want to get to the heart of the story or more about the people. 

Social and religious attitudes 

Anthropologists will tell you that you must separate your own beliefs and attitudes from that of your research subject if you want to understand the mindset of another. You may be a Christian, but to truly understand, say, Hinduism, you’ll have to set aside your skepticism about the existence of multiple gods. Simply put, your beliefs are not necessarily those of another culture. Margaret Mead made her name as a young anthropologist in Samoa, but her work was eventually considered to be flawed because she made many of her conclusions based on her assumptions going into the study instead of describing the culture with an unbiased eye. 

Authenticity readers (also known as sensitivity readers) 

These readers are specialists in a given topic, and as author services provider Reedsy explains, they read manuscripts specifically to look for “cultural inaccuracies, representation issues, bias, stereotypes, or problematic language.” One example might be focusing on the differences between China, Korea, and Japan. The latter two cultures have their origins from the former, but they are very different, and the languages are not intelligible to each other—in speech. The Korean and Japanese written languages have their origins in the Chinese language, and to some extent the Korean, Japanese, and Chinese people may be able to discern what is being written in the other language, but only to some degree. 

Spoken language, though, requires an article on its own, as does being able to discern between the facial characteristics of the three cultures. (Hint: If the Asian cultures can’t do it consistently, neither can anyone else.) All three of those cultures are different yet similar, not unlike how there are differences between Scotland, Ireland, and England, all of which have similarities but are different and also come from a long shared history. Differences can be hard to discern: if you’re not from European ancestry, the differences between the Nordic people and the Mediterranean people may be negligible. If you’re from European ancestry, you see the difference keenly. 

Then there’s viewpoint, which can be classified under social and religious attitudes. Consider the differences in how cultures think. To get an idea, you may do well to find books on sociology and anthropology. In his Geography of Thought, Richard Nisbett avers that there are differences between Eastern and Western thinking; Western culture emphasizes individualism versus Eastern culture, which emphasizes common values within the society. Western goals of the individual aren’t the same as the Eastern goals of the individual, which are counted into the goals of the society as a whole. But there are similarities, too. Both have the concept of family embarrassment—“saving face” is a common admonishment in Eastern societies (as in, don’t bring shame to your social group), and is echoed in Western societies when you hear your parents saying, “Don’t embarrass me.” (On the other hand, according to Nisbett, to compliment someone in public can give face. And public praise in both Western and Eastern societies is a good thing.) 

As Asiaexchange.org blog notes, it may take time to adapt to a culture different from your own, but your reward will be a deeper understanding of the culture and topic: “Embrace those things that are uncomfortable, those things that don’t make sense, those things that are frustrating. Those are the things that will teach you the most.” 

There are mystifying elements in any society, ones that don’t make sense to anyone not in the know. But there are elements common to every culture. Every culture, every society, every person needs food, shelter, community. But they may approach those things very differently. Knowing those things will flesh out your characters into real people, not stereotypes. 

I have a checklist on my website that allows you to consider what makes your characters fully thought-out human beings. Taking a look at the elements allows you to decide whether your characters are real, memorable people. 

So in this way we are all other. We have so many things in common; whether it’s saving face or your parents saying, “Don’t embarrass me,” there’s the element of “We do that too!” no matter where you go. All it takes is a little research. 

________________________
Elizabeth MS Flynn is a professional editor and has been for more than forty years, working with topics as diverse as academia, technology, finance, genre fiction, and comic books. Her work for this article comes from her studies in anthropology, with a linguistics and folklore concentration. 

References and Resources 

  • alllooksame.com 
  • Asiaexchange.org. “Navigating cultural differences in Asia.” 
  • Bieschke, Marke. Into the Streets: A Young Person’s Visual History of Protest in the United States. Zest Books, 2020. 
  • Bunting, Joe. “How to conduct an interview like a journalist.” thewritepractice.com. 
  • Dictionary for a Better World. Carolrhoda Books, 2020. 
  • Enjeti, Anjali. “Craft Capsule: Why You Need an Authenticity Editor,” pw.org. 
  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/writersfordiversity/. 
  • Flynn, Elizabeth MS. “A Look from the Other POV” checklist, http:// emsflynn.com/we-are-all-other-a-pov-checklist/. 
  • Goldsmith, Connie, with Kiyo Sato. Kiyo Sato: From a WWII Japanese Internment Camp to a Life of Service. Twenty-First Century Books, 2021.
  • Kuang, R.F. “Racial Rubber Stamp,” SFWA blog, 2018 
  • Lernerbooks.com. 
  • Mead, Margaret. Coming of Age in Samoa. Harper Perennial, 1971. 
  • Nisbett, Richard. The Geography of Thought. Free Press, 2004. 
  • Oluo, Ijeoma. So You Want to Talk About Race. Seal Press, 2018. 
  • Quora.com. “What’s the difference between the facial features of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people?” 
  • Randomwire.com. “How to tell the difference between Asian languages.”
  • Reedsy. “Sensitivity Readers: Who Are They and Should Authors Use Them?” 
  • Social Psychological and Personality Science. 
  • Statista.com. 
  • Stelson, Caren. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story. Carolrhoda Books, 2016. 
  • Sting. “The Russians.” The Dream of the Blue Turtles, 1985. 
  • Strauss, Gwen, Calvin Alexander Ramsey, and Floyd Cooper. Ruth and the Green Book. Carolrhoda Books, 2010. 
  • Tett, Gillian. Anthro-Vision. Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 2021. 
  • West, Eliana. Elianawest.com/diversity.
  • Wind, Lee. No Way, They Were Gay? Hidden Lives and Secret Loves. Carolrhoda Books, 2021. 

Testimonials! We got ’em!

“Thoughtful, thorough, and experienced. Highly recommended!”—Heather Hiestand, author of The Marquess of Cake

“Elizabeth did a fabulous job of proofreading and line editing for me!”—Alexis Morgan, USA Today best-selling author of the Paladins series

“Fast turnaround, accurate editing, and a final proofread. Works for me!”—Jacquie Rogers, author of Mail-Order Ruckus

 

“Timely, professional and accurate. Exactly what I was looking for.”—Susan Mallery, New York Times best-selling author of the Fools’ Gold series

“Eilis is a gem! She always goes the extra step to polish my manuscripts so they sparkle. Fast, professional, and precise. When other writers ask for a recommendation for an awesome copyeditor, she’s always at the top of my list.”—Crista McHugh, USA Today best-selling author of the Kelly Brothers series

“Eilis edited my historical romance and provided the right balance of edits to smooth out the rough spots and help make my writing pop!”—Mimi Sebastian, author of the Necromancer series

“Eilis’s edits made me look at each sentence and really think of the intention and purpose of each word. Totally taxing on the brain, but the work was so much stronger when finished.”—Anna Alexander, author of The Cowboy Way

“Thank you for being the copy editor of my dreams! Also really interesting collaborating since you are also a writer. Some of your editing suggestions got me thinking a little differently (in a good way) about a line of dialogue or prose, so it felt a bit like a creative collaboration too!”—Laura Navarre, author of Interstellar Angel

The Story Behind the Story: Interstellar Angel by Laura Navarre

It’s been said that there’s a man out there for every woman. But… suppose there were three men out there for a take-charge goddess? How would you write about that? And how would you write about that in a universe where your father is worshipped as a god? That was the challenge Laura Navarre took as she moved from writing dark romances for Harlequin to her new Astral Heat Romance.

What’s the theme behind your story?

I write redemption stories about deeply damaged dark heroes who find salvation through love. I also tend to write books about characters with father issues, and this one has a doozy—a galactic sci-fi heroine whose father is worshipped by billions as a god, which makes her a goddess herself. A fate she’ll kill to escape, because goddesses like Kaia are worshipped in chains.

Laura Navarre had to learn how to write about an erotic relationship between one woman and three men. Writing can be very difficult.

What’s the logline?

In a galactic mating contest where desire is deadly, the only guys she wants are the three she can never trust.

What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea occurred to you?

Interstellar Angel was pretty much inspired by the character of Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens—a dark, broody villain who happens to be the galaxy’s most mesmerizing telepath and sexy as fuck! He was the spark for my telepath hero Ben Nero, who originally aspires to save his dying race by submitting to his planet’s draconian breeding program.

How did the original idea change as you went along?

I’d actually never read a reverse harem romance, or even a menage romance, before I wrote this series. So I was totally bewildered by the fact that I seemed to be writing a book with three heroes. Not to mention the fact that my rebel princess seemed to want all of them…and then they all seemed to want each other… 😊 So I had to learn about male–male romance and the sexual geometry of MMMF as I went along.

How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change?

This story is Star Wars meets reverse harem by way of The Hunger Games. My scourge-of-the-galaxy space pirate Zorin was originally supposed to be the villain, but he was so sexy he became one of my favorite heroes! I’d also never written an age gap romance before, and Zorin in his late but hunky 40s is a lot older than the twenty-something threesome he falls for. There’s also a student–teacher kink, because Zorin was Dex’s mentor way back when, and always off-limits for that reason. Not to mention the fact that in this galactic empire, men are literally crucified for unconventional sexual unions.

Are you pleased with the results, or do you wish you had done anything differently in the story? Why or why not?

I actually can’t think of anything I’d change. The Astral Heat Romance series is a total genre pivot for me from traditional historical romance, which I wrote for Harlequin for years, to indie sci-fi reverse harem. I launched Ascendant Press specifically to publish this series, and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s all turned out! 

Who would play your leads in the movie if (when!) you make a deal?

Hmmm. Kate Mara as my fiery rebel princess Kaia, Adam Driver as the galaxy’s most powerful telepath Ben Nero, Domhnall Gleeson as my icy imperial enforcer Dex Draven, and Michael Shannon (who played the noble villain General Zod in Man of Steel) is my inspiration for Zorin.

What else do you want readers to know?

Interstellar Angel is a steamy slow-burn MMMF sci-fi reverse harem action romance with plenty of M/F, M/M, and MMF action and the launch book in the quick-release Astral Heat Romance series. It’s a cliffhanger series with sizzling outer-space action, a guaranteed happily-ever-after (eventually), and the hottest thing I’ve ever written. As in, ever! 

The series has won awards in the first two contests I’ve entered. Its most recent win was a second place finish in the Romance Writers of America’s Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal On the Far Side Contest (futuristic category). Renegade Angel, Book 2, releases December 1, 2021, and finished second in the Chesapeake Romance Writers’ Rudy Award (erotic romance category).

Bio

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, Laura Navarre was an award-winning dark historical romance author for Harlequin, while her diabolical twin Nikki Navarre wrote sexy spy romance. In a daring bid to escape a global pandemic, armed only with an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction and a professional background in weapons of mass destruction, Laura voyaged through a wormhole to an alternate universe where she crafts turbocharged, epic, hyper-erotic science-fiction romance starring three super-sexy heroes, one seriously kickass heroine, and plenty of sleek, sizzling outer-space action.

Buy link

https://books2read.com/InterstellarAngel

The Story Behind The Story: Confessions of a Domestic Goddess by Deborah Schneider

Sometimes, a writer needs to tear a book down to the studs. Such is the case with Deborah Schneider’s Confessions of a Domestic Goddess. Her new novel was first put together many years ago, but didn’t find a publisher. However, as the market changed again, Deborah thought with a little bit of reno, she could flip her original manuscript into something perfect for today’s audience. Yes, her characters, their motivation, and their conflict needed a coat of paint and a bit of teardown, but the story’s bones — its setting, story, and the romance at its heart — provided the perfect frame for the book’s remodel. Here’s how she did it.

Years ago, more years than I’d like to remember, I wrote a contemporary romance. It was, in fact, chick-lit. Those were breezy, funny books in the tradition of Bridget Jones’ Diary. They were about young professional women trying to manage their careers, their love life, and various life problems. 

I shopped the book around a bit (these were the days when you actually sent out queries through the mail) and didn’t get much interest. I put the book away and wrote other books. 

That book sat in the computer files on my desktop. I thought about it once in a while, and then moved on to write historical romance, some fantasy, steampunk, and gothic romance. 

Deborah Schneider remodeled her manuscript to yield a contemporary romance between a local reality TV hostess on the verge of the big time and the home renovation professional working on her family’s rustic island home.

Then there was suddenly a wave of new books about young professional women trying to manage their careers, their love life, and various life problems. These were funny books and called “rom-coms” after the same type of popular films. 

A lot had changed in the time that book was stored, and it needed work to update it. The characters, motivation, and conflict needed to be changed, but the setting, the story, and most important, the romance were strong enough to stand the test of time.

The theme didn’t need to change, because a career woman who has created a persona that she might not be able to live up to in real life has universal appeal. In fact, now with social media so prevalent in our society, giving friends and acquaintances a highly edited version of our life, the story seems even more relevant. 

The main character, Bailey Holmes, is on the cusp of national fame. Her Pacific Northwest local TV show is going big time with a major new network deal (think something like HGTV), a lucrative sponsorship, and with the new shows centered on her hand-crafted dream wedding, the future looks bright.

That future is shattered when she catches her fiancé cheating on her with a member of her staff. To make things worse, the entire breakup is witnessed and recorded by a woman with the most popular wedding podcast in the country. It doesn’t take long for Bailey to become a nasty meme that goes viral instead of a media darling.

At this point, Bailey Holmes fits the book’s logline: What do you do if your life is a fixer-upper?

At this point our heroine is at a low point in her life, and she decides to take a break and go home for a while. She leaves the big city to visit her family in the San Juan Islands. This is the “point of no return” for her. She’ll have to decide to change her life, to move forward, or lose everything she’s worked so hard to accomplish. 

The San Juan Islands, and especially Orcas Island, have always been some of my favorite places in the Northwest. Spread across the Salish Sea north of Seattle, the islands are filled with nature and wildlife that attract people to the beautiful landscape and slower pace of life. The setting is a huge part of this story, and now is the location for the “Bachelor Bay” series that will include at least three more books.

Because I already had all of the characters, the plot, and the setting, the main things I needed to change were the inciting incident and the motivation for the main characters. Bailey — if I were casting a TV movie of this book, it would star Kat Dennings of 2 Broke Girls as the heroine — has a lot of baggage to deal with, and she has to rebuild her show and her life and tear down the false image she’s created for her fans. 

When her family offers her the opportunity to renovate the rustic family camp on the island, she’s eager to accept the challenge. But she has to deal with a gorgeous, opinionated, take-charge man who aggravates, frustrates, and entices her all at the same time. Max Cumberland is a perfectionist who takes pride in his restoration business. If you’d like to see my inspiration for Max, search online for Cole Monahan, who is a model. 

When these two type-A personalities clash, there’s trouble in paradise. Their sexy sizzle of attraction goes from simmer to steamy, and often boils over on the set of the show. The couple is forced to compromise and work out solutions so they both can succeed.

The rewrite of Confessions of a Domestic Goddess required me to take apart an already finished book and strip it down to the basic storyline, then build it back with more details, expert help from a talented editor (take a bow, Elizabeth Flynn), and the courage to admit when something in the book just wasn’t working. 

The phrase that writers use to describe the elimination of story elements they love but that just don’t work is “Killing your darlings.” It’s been suggested that the more painful the process is, the better the book. For me, being forced to consider the reader’s point of view is important. We don’t write books to keep them in the files, we write books to share the stories.

More important, we can rewrite books to make them better, more relevant, and fun. That’s the most important thing I hope readers take away from Confessions of a Domestic Goddess. This book is sexy, sassy fun! 

Deborah Schneider’s Bio:

Award-winning romance author Deborah Schneider writes western historical and contemporary rom-com romance. Under her pseudonym Sibelle Stone, she writes steampunk and paranormal stories, filled with magic, strange machines, and fantastical creatures. She’s published seven books and a novella. Deborah worked for one of the busiest library systems in the country for over twenty years and was named “Librarian of the Year” by Romance Writers of America. She lives in the Pacific Northwest town known as “Twin Peaks” in the movies and television show. 

Buylink: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HRCFHSM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_W3VQTPY1PKTK0B67G9HA

100 Writing Days of Summer: Join Me in a Summer Writing Program and Heat Up Your Work in Progress

Would you like to be writing a novel or memoir this summer? There is help, camaraderie, and expert inspiration that you can tap into all summer long. It’s a writing program called 100 Writing Days of Summer and I’m very pleased to be one of the participating authors. (You know I edit, but I write, too.)

Folks are at baseball games, they’re visiting restaurants, but most of the writers’ conferences aren’t gathering in person this summer, even though it’s prime writing time. School is out, the days are longer, office hours are shorter, the margaritas are colder. (You do you; I’m an iced coffee writer.) Your office can be on a picnic table in the back yard, on a boat, even in an RV. Have laptop, will travel (and write).

Here’s how it works:

  • It starts June 21 and runs all summer long.
  • A panel of eight established, successful authors (me included!) are all going to share their best ten writing tips, so you can turn a corner on problems you might be facing in your current WIP
  • The Author Panel’s expertise ranges from award winning and bestselling novelists, memoirists, YA authors, children’s book authors, fantasy, and flash fiction
  • Julia Roberts – the organizer – is a creative process expert and coach, and she will be your summer mentor in the Facebook group, on Zoom calls, and in the daily emails. Julia Roberts is also the founder of DecodingCreativity.com, the Write Without the Fight Facebook group & 5-Day Challenge, already taken by thousands of writers since its inception three years ago
  • Each email contains an expert writing tip or writing mindset advice, a picture prompt, and group updates
  • Julia will also host 10 two-hour writing sessions and coaching for anyone in the group who gets stuck or frustrated
  • The pop-up Facebook group will be our own “Conference Room B,” where we can meet other writers, socialize and connect.

100 Writing Days of Summer has all the elements of a writers’ conference, combined with the benefits of coaching and a writing retreat. If you’re stuck yourself, if you know someone who needs the coaching, or if people are asking you how they can get started, joining me, Julia Roberts and the other Authors of the Panel is a great way for any and all to learn, connect, and write!

We’ve got hashtags! You should be able to see what’s going on by checking out #100WDOS or #100WritingDaysofSummer/.