I just read my past two blogs to see how badly I put my foot in my mouth. Pretty bad, huh? Sigh. My family says I jinx everything. Every year I say it’s gonna be amazing and… it hasn’t been sunshine and roses for a long time. This year is no exception.
First off, I hope you’re all doing okay. Me? I’m damn happy I left the mainland when I did and am in self-isolation in Hawaii rather than Las Vegas. My sister is still in Vegas and it’s been impacted hard by this pandemic. I also have another sister in Oregon and a brother in Washington. I used to put off going to the store until I literally had nothing left in my fridge. My siblings were like, “You wouldn’t survive this if you were on your own.” They’re probably right. Thank God I moved home when I did and have family members who get stir-crazy and need to get out of the house and buy whatever we need while I happily hibernate. I love being a hermit, but I admit that if I was still living in a complex and everyone was home, I might have lost my shit. So, I’m happy my family has a property where I can lay on my pink lawn chair in the warm sun and breathe fresh air without worrying about social distancing.
After six months, I have finally settled in. Unpacked, switched my car registration and addresses over, and gotten used to the unpredictability of friends and family dropping by with no warning and turning my perfectly planned day into complete and utter chaos. The first three months I was home, I worked from 10pm to 4am. Those seemed to be my golden hours, but that’s slowly shifting to more normal hours as we transition into summer.
In the six months that I’ve been home it’s been nonstop madness, but I knew it would be. During the holidays, my mom got shingles, which is extremely painful. Thankfully, she’s recovered and better than ever. In February, my 5-year-old nephew came to stay with us for a month (right before this pandemic happened) and at the same time one of my uncle’s passed suddenly. COVID-19 hit as all my relatives were flying in from the mainland. We weren’t sure whether to gather or not in my uncle’s honor and everyone was afraid of getting stuck here, so it was an hour by hour update of who was going to be where. All of the hotels on the coast have closed, leaving many unemployed. There’s a 14 day quarantine even if you’re flying inter-island. Everything’s been cancelled or postponed until further notice. It’s been… indescribable.
It’s been a very trying time for all of us, adjusting to all of these sudden and drastic changes. I kept thinking this is some people’s worse fear–a viral, lethal outbreak. My writer’s mind has been sparking like crazy. After all, this is stuff we see in movies or read in books. I never thought I’d live through something like this. Unprecedented is the word that keeps coming to my mind. There aren’t words to explain the impact this pandemic has had on the world. The uncertainty is something we’re learning to live with. I heard someone mention today that it’s forced us all to reset and I couldn’t agree more. This has made me step back and look at how I live and be grateful for the little things in life.
This may sound silly, but writing during a pandemic felt frivolous and wrong. Like, people are suffering and you’re writing a romance? I should be doing something important and practical, right? I should watch the news and try to hunt down toilet paper and soap and stock up on medicine rather than retreat into an imaginary world when others don’t have that leisure. At first, I was so consumed by what was going on and the gravity of it that I had trouble focusing. I was talking to a friend about this and she snapped me out of my melancholy. She said, “You feeling sorry for those people and punishing yourself for it isn’t going to help them.” Well, damn. Ok. Ever since she said that, I’ve stopped feeling guilty for being fortunate enough to be safe at home with my family and pushed forward with my project.
Which leads me to Book 5, the conclusion to Carmen’s story. I’m in the last quarter of this monster. It’s a damn beast. Like, Harry Potter size! Carmen is basically getting her own trilogy crammed into two books. I kept trying find short cuts to get to the nasty (good) stuff sooner, but no can do. We have to take the scenic route and I hope you guys enjoy the ride.
Every time I think I know this world, I write a new book in it and realize I’ve only skimmed the surface. Each book changes my perspective and drags me deeper. Whatever outlines I had were shredded as Carmen and the others took hold of this story. Writing strong characters is like trying to walk five Great Dane’s. Good luck, buddy. I always feel like I’m digging in my heels and yanking on the reins and end up facedown in the mud. I cry and whine and eventually get back up and try again. There’s a lot of uncertainty and, “What the hell are you guys doing? Don’t you know everybody’s waiting?” I’ve learned to be patient, work steadily, and let the story unfold at it’s own pace. I used to write sporadically, a binge writer that writes fast and furious or not at all. That seems to have changed. Since I’ve come home I’ve been on a writing streak! I’ve written every single day since January 11, which is unheard of for me. You guys will see the fruits of my labor once Carmen’s book comes out! I’ve also worked on some other future projects that I’ll release after the Singed Series. Wink wink.
Carmen’s still hell on heels. I never know what she’s going to do or say. So far, this book has made me laugh, cry, swear, sweat, and ponder many things. This book really puts a spotlight on the characters and examines their pasts and how it’s molded them into who they are. There’s a lot of breadcrumbs in this story for future books, which resulted in an insane amount of notes. Oh, God, don’t get me started!
Book 6 has intersecting plots and timelines with book 5 so I’m writing them back to back and will be releasing them close together. I’ll be announcing the pre-order in the coming weeks and include a hefty scene so you guys have an idea of what you’re in for. I can’t wait for you guys to read Carmen’s conclusion!
As for the Singed Series, Bitter Heat is currently FREE on all retailers through June 4, 2020:
And I’ve put up a pre-order for Bitter Secrets:
One year as Mrs. James Roth and her family can keep their birthright and she’ll be free of him forever… If she can survive him and the bitter secrets he’s hiding.