Saturday, December 8, 2018

5 Things In My WIP

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Next week, we're bringing back one of our readers' favorite events: What We're Writing Week. That's right, gang, you're going to get exclusive peeks at the Jungle Reds as-yet-unpublished works, everything from excerpts of soon-to-be-out novels to paragraphs of first drafts that may never see the light of day. Exciting!

In honor of our upcoming event, and to whet your appetite, we're going to play a game (do a thing? Share a meme?) I've seen on Twitter, entitled, you guessed it - 5 Things in My WIP. Here's what you'll see in HID FROM OUR EYES:
1. Breastfeeding

2. County fair

3. Caterers

4. Russ getting sprayed with a hose during a fist fight

5. Forbidden Love

Of course there's forbidden love. What else do you expect from me?

Reds? Name your Five!

JENN McKINLAY: I'm working on next year's rom com THE CHRISTMAS KEEPER. My five things are:

1. Ugly Christmas sweaters
2. Orphaned baby elephants (yes, for real)
3. A romance bookstore
4. The Royal Order of George (long story)
5. Spiked eggnog

HALLIE EPHRON: I just wrapped up CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR -- pub date next August. My five things:
1. Yard sales

2. A locked storage unit

3. A MAD Magazine "What Me Worry" board game

4. A retired librarian

5. A stun gun


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  Just got the big BRAVA for THE MURDER LIST!  Coming next August 20.              My five things:
1. Envy

2. A necklace

3. Snow

4. Choosing sides

5. Jury tampering?

(May I have forbidden love, too? It's not in there, but--oooh, wait. Yes it is! It totally is! It's actually the point. Whoa..)

JULIA: You get a forbidden love! And YOU get a forbidden love! And YOU get a forbidden love!

RHYS BOWEN: Just handed it my next Royal Spyness for next August. My five things:

2.Bed hopping
3. Polo
4.charging elephant

LUCY BURDETTE: Oh I can't wait to read every one of these!! I'm working on a women's fiction novel called THE HAPPINESS CONNECTION. Five things:

1. Yale Law School

2. a gargoyle

3. chocolate cake (you of course realize that's MY substitute for forbidden love)

4. a self-help happiness group

5. betrayal

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Rhys, just reading your list made me laugh. Can't wait to read everyone's WIPs!

 I promise mine does have a title, I'm just waiting on the final thumbs up from my publisher's sales and marketing folks. So until then, from Kincaid/James #18, five things:
1.a car crash



4.a break up!!!

JULIA: Okay, dear readers, if you're writing, tell us five things in your WIP! If not, let us know what elements intrigue you... and what's YOUR forbidden love? (Spoiler: mine is Reese's Peanut Butter Cup minis. So good. So bad.)


  1. I can’t wait to read everyone’s work-in-progress . . . and I’m intrigued by:
    Russ getting sprayed with a hose during a fist fight
    Orphaned baby elephants
    A retired librarian
    Jury tampering
    Charging elephant
    Chocolate cake

    And my forbidden love is dark chocolate truffle kisses [although lately apple cider doughnut cake runs a very close second] . . . .

    1. mmmm, the apple cider doughnut cake sounds divine....

    2. Oooooo! Apple cider doughnut cake! Post the recipe, Joan, or it's just a forbidden fantasy!

    3. It’s a super-simple Betty Crocker recipe that starts with a box of yellow cake mix.

      Mix together
      1 box Super Moist™ yellow cake mix
      3/4 cup apple cider
      1/2 cup butter, melted
      4 eggs
      2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
      1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

      Beat with electric mixer for two minutes.
      Stir in 1 cup coarsely shredded peeled tart apples (2 medium)

      Pour batter into greased and floured twelve-cup Bundt pan.

      Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

      Cool in pan for twenty minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack.

      Place a plate or waxed paper under the cooling rack.
      Melt 3 tablespoons butter; mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

      Brush the cake with melted butter; use your hand to press sugar/cinnamon mixture up the side and over the top of the cake. Wait twenty minutes and repeat.

      Cool cake completely; store loosely covered.

    4. I forgot to put them in my list, but APPLE CIDER DONUTS are in my new book!! (The kind that are so delicious BUT you have to get them first thing in the morning because after a few hours they turn into hockey pucks.

    5. Joan, that sounds delicious! Would you mind if I put it on the front page for tomorrow's Sunday recipes?

    6. I’d be honored, Julia . . .
      You can see a picture of the cake with the recipe at . . . .

  2. Oh, I am so excited to see all of your WIP's! I love how you did not realize you had a forbidden love in your book, Hank!
    Let's see, mine has:
    Knitting needles
    A calico cat
    A bloody hand print on the display window

    1. Until you got to the bloody hand print, I thought maybe you were describing the ideal life, Deb!

    2. Yes, I have to tell you, that was quite a moment! It actually changed how I think about my whole book.

  3. What fun. Julia, where do you come up with this stuff? Forbidden love? I can't even go there.

    1. Or maybe I can.

      I discovered something left over from my childhood when we moved to western NY 18 years ago: FRY CAKES! These are the epitome of forbidden love.

      Fry cakes are what the rest of the world knows as cake doughnuts like Grandma used to make. But different. Lighter, richer, if they can be both, and best plain, unsugared unglazed hot out of the fryer. Crispy brown on the outside. Best with a tall glass of local cider.

      These are readily available but we drive ten miles to Schutt's Apple Warehouse for the very best, wait in line, and insist on a dozen but not the ones already boxed. Yes, I want three of one kind, two of another, six of yet another and one with cinnamon sugar. This is how we make sure we are getting them fresh out of the fryer.

      They fry the calories straight out of them, so no guilt.

    2. schutt's! Thanks for the tip. Writing it down on my list, next trip to upstate NY and/or Lake Ontario.

    3. Between the fry cakes and Joan's cider donut cake, This topic CLEARLY should have been "5 Donut-related things in my WIP."

    4. Hallie you’d better put me in that list. I’ll take you to schutts they sell hard cider too

  4. I can't wait to read all those books! Okay, my WIP, Country Store #7 - Nacho Average Murder.
    1. Pacific Ocean
    2. Nacho Average Cafe
    3. High school reunion
    4. A tuxedo cat named Pajaro
    5. An alpaca farm

    Forbidden love? Bailys Irish Cream. So good, so rich!

    1. I love Nacho Average Cafe, Edith! I want to go out to lunch there!

    2. An alpaca farm! I can't wait to see that. And ditto on the Baily's. I like mine a la White Russian, with whole milk over ice.

    3. Nacho Average Cafe is genius, Edith!

    4. I already love the cafe (am only four scenes into this new books). When I go out there for research in February (poor me, I know...), I'm going to be so disappointed it isn't real!

    5. Any preview of a new Country Store mystery is A-OK in my book.

  5. Bed hopping sounds like forbidden love, too. Unless it's because of the ants.

    It's been so darn long since I worked on my book. But it had kitchen design, a character who comes out, a fire, a body in the basement, and too many potential suitors.

    Personal forbidden love? Incredible chocolate lava cakes from Costco. One is too much, they're so rich. They're frozen, and take a gratifyingly brief minute in the microwave. Heaven. And they come in honest to John reusable ceramic ramikins.

    1. frozen lava cakes... decadent. I used to make a lemon lava cake. Joy of Cooking recipe that requires real lemon and rind. I'd start it baking when I served dinner and it came out for dessert.

    2. Wow, that sounds fabulous. Lemon is a very close second to chocolate in my favorite flavors.

    3. I did not know about these, Karen, and I'll have to pick some up. Lava cake is Youngest's #1 favorite treat, but she only ever has it if we eat out at a place that offers them. Lava cake at home would be a big winner.

    4. Oh, I have never heard of those! Just another glorious thing to try… And another excuse to go to fabulous Cosco. Xx

    5. Karen, the first thing on my to-do list when I finish this book is a trip to Costco--now doubly so!! I think I will deserve a treat!

  6. Curtains for the Corpse:
    1. rolling garbage cart
    2. small town Halloween parade
    3. standard poodles learning water retrieval
    4. a painted mural of perennials and bulbs
    5. corn maze

    and a love interest

    1. Yay for the love interest! Also, I definitely want to see standards learning water retrieval. I trust they'll do better than my lab mix when we tried to teach him to fetch in the river. Evidently, he was part-lab, part dump truck. He never did learn anything more than to endure standing in the water while we swam.

    2. Julia- I'm laughing... and feeling such sympathy for your poor baby.

  7. Wow! I cannot wait to read all of these! But forbidden love? And then you say some sort of edible. Come on! You'd probably like to know about my real forbidden love but I cannot tell you that. If I go with a food I cannot resist so I do my best to stay away it would be Doritos.

    1. If it make you feel any better, Judi, my other forbidden love is Kylo Ren from Star Wars. He's so tall and dark and moody, but alas, we can never be together.

  8. Are elephants an emerging Jungle Red theme? And, yes, Julia, Reese's mini peanut butter cups are of the devil. Also divine!

    I can't wait to read all the things everyone is writing. I gobble up Christmas romances like other folk binge on the Hallmark channel, Jen. Yours sounds great. And a necklace, Hank? Excellent! Locked storage units? A charging elephant? Chocolate cake? Riches! And with sheep, there must be a border collie in there somewhere, so it looks like I've got a lot of fun reading in my future.

    I actually do have a WIP, although the odds of anyone but Deb actually reading it are iffy. It features:
    1. A little girl with a secret
    2. A dead woman
    3. A dog
    4. Lost love
    5. Too many black Tahoes

    1. Write it, Gigi! That sounds too intriguing not to see the light of day!

    2. It is terrific. I hope everyone gets to read it!!! (Nagging, Gigi, nagging!)

    3. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Deb. I'll send you mine if you send me yours. And thanks, Julia and Hank. I'm working on it.

  9. Julia, just glad the world's longest pregnancy will be over!

    1. You and me both, Becky. You and me, both.

    2. Whew! I kept thinking, have I missed the birth? Glad it's not me...and glad the book is getting finished.

  10. These all sound great! Julia--carnivals have such potential for evil! Lucy, I've seen that gargoyle--is it in Oxford? Well, I can't resist sharing 5 things from my WIP. TAILSPINNER, the next Frank Bennett Adirondack Mountain Mystery will be released next week. It has
    1. a full moon
    2. a stray cat
    3. a cult leader
    4. a gourmet market
    5. a rattlesnake

    1. Doing a little happy dance in my chair to know I'll have this in a few days!

    2. I was reading in My psychology news letter yesterday that cults are still a big thing, even though we hear about them these days. Eager to read this Susan!

  11. Oh, what a start to a Saturday morning!! So many riches awaiting me as a reader!! But now I'm going to be biting my fingernails, Deborah--because I'm pretty sure the break-up won't be Duncan and Emma. So, please please not Melody and Andy! See what I mean?? And honeymoon, Rhys?? Oooh! Plus, elephants are always a plus. And forbidden love!

    And a WIP:
    1. Italian immigrants
    2. A shipwreck
    3. A lighthouse
    4. An ancient gold pendant
    5. Forbidden love

  12. So I'm imagining a game where you take ALL of these and write them down on index cards and toss them into a bag... Draw out 5 and come up with a story. Might have to use it for my next library author panel... hmmm.

    1. It'll be elephants all the way down, apparently.

  13. Forbidden love??? Why didn’t I think of that??? Argh!!!

    1. You have hot guys with dogs in your books, Jenn. That more than makes up for it.

    2. Ha ha Jenn, you have forbidden love in every single one of your books!

  14. Oh, Gigi beat me to the punch! I was intrigued that two of the seven WIP mentioned by Reds featured elephants. What are the odds?

    1. Right? Now I'm thinking maybe my county fair ought to have an elephant, just to keep it going.

    2. Hmm, wondering if I could fit an elephant into the Cotswolds...

  15. From FAIR GAME (coming May 2019)
    1. County Fair
    2. School bus demolition derby
    3. A missing shoe
    4. A no-tell motel (but no forbidden love, darn it!)
    5. A little burgundy box!

    1. Oooooo. You had me at "School bus demolition derby," Annette.

    2. We have one every year at our local county fair. Only learned recently it's not something EVERYONE does!

  16. Hallie, I would definitely play that game. Joan, thanks for the recipe. It made it to the "Must try" list. Edith, I have not started your Country Store series but with the list you posted it looks like it's time I did. Gigi, maybe with a little coaxing you might give the rest of us a chance to read your work? Anyway...

    My WIP is the 2nd draft of a short story, "Good Grief""
    1. a wedding
    2. a funeral
    3. fungus
    4. a dumbwaiter
    5. twins

    Sorry, there's no "forbidden love" food, just booze!

    1. Lyda, all the other books are set in southern Indiana. But with a protag in her late twenties from southern California, I kind of had to set one in her home town, right? Plus I get to leave Massachusetts and go west in February for research!

    2. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Lyda. I think I would have to coax an agent into coaxing a publisher into letting everyone see my book, but you never know . . .

  17. Lyda, all I could think of for a second was that old joke, "There's a fungus among us!" This is a novel's worth of ingredients, surely. I can't believe you're going to fit them all into a short story!

  18. I just burst out laughing at the picture you posted for my book, Julia! I wish… And I would love it to be that glamorous! But it’s about a law student, and her prosecutor boss, and… Not set in Manhattan or Dallas :-)

  19. And great minds, I guess… You know the blog I am on career Author’s? If you don’t, and you are writing, check it out. Career Author’ Anyway, last week I wrote an entire article about the five things. And how crystallizing they are about a book. And how authors can use them to shape their stories. I will post the link when it is up!

  20. I'm totally hung up on Julia's breastfeeding (I'm hoping that's about Clare and the baby!) and Debs' breakup (I'm hoping that's not Gemma and Duncan!)....bring on all these new books for us to read!!

  21. Anticipation. . . Love these hints. Rhys, please tell me Darcy plays polo. Please. And Julia, if Russ gets hosed please don't let him step in a hole. He has a history of that. Love these snippets from everyone. My guilty pleasure I can't indulge in is State Fair Mini Donuts. Used to get them all over Minnesota. Freshly fried before your eyes. A dozen tossed in a bag and thoroughly coated in sugar and cinnamon. Divine.

    1. See? It's all about the donuts here at JRW.

  22. Julia, love the photo you posted with my list. Now I'm wondering how that car got into that sheep pasture. Surely there is a story there... LOVE everyone's lists!!

    My forbidden love...the little chocolate pots at Pret a Manger. I promise I only had one when I was in London. Or maybe it was two. Anyway, good thing I don't have access on this side of the Pond.

  23. I'm not working on any story or anything, but I do have writings in progress:

    1. Review of the Metal Church CD 'Damned If You Do'

    2. Review of the Uriah Heep CD 'Living The Dream'

    3. The Best of The Cassette Chronicles 2018 article

    4. KNAC.COM Top 10 CDs of 2018.

    5. Best of 2018 lists for Books, Movies and Concerts

    Nothing as thrilling as what everyone else is doing but it keeps me occupied. Oh, and I wrote the text for two of the entries in the Limelight's Top 10 CDs of 2018 article as well.

    1. Jay, you may be the busiest writer of us all, with that list.

  24. Oh, and I know Ingrid Thoft isn't here as an official poster now but I would LOVE to know five things about her upcoming works as well.

  25. Julia, what about those Reese peanut butter cup Christmas trees? Are they as good as the Easter eggs? I don’t want to be disappointed! Can’t wait to hear Clare campaign for public breastfeeding!!!!!

    1. Kathlene, I prefer the minis for the best chocolate-to-peanut butter proportion. However, the Easter eggs are very good. Every year, the Easter bunny leaves some in the children's baskets, which is kind of sad, because none of them like them, and thus have to turn them over to me.

  26. My assignment for next Friday’s writing class is to write a short story that’s a horror or spooky or scary story. At this point I know that I will include the following:
    1. Nouns
    2. Adjectives
    3. Pronouns
    4. Prepositions
    5. Punctuation

    Other than those things, my story is still a mystery to me!

    My forbidden love is See’s Chocolates, especially the dark ones, although I would never refuse the milk chocolate ones!

    And I would just like to say to Hallie that I am picturing a retired librarian with a stun gun!


    1. DebRo, I can assure you you have exactly the right building blocks for your story! Now all you have to do is figure out which nouns, etc., and in what order.

  27. Hid From Our Eyes: "Immortal, invisible, God only wise...". Oh, thank God,it sounds like a new Clare and Russ fix!!!

    May God richly bless Julia's WIP!!

  28. I've been out all day and a bit tonight doing Christmas stuff with my sister-in-law and her friend, who are visiting, and my mother-in-law, so I'm coming in here very late tonight. I loved reading all the different five items from the Reds' WIPs. I can't wait to hear more.

  29. Finally able to read this entry - thank heavens you all have WIPs, I thought my pile of still to be read books was going to get very small. But, no, it's going to continue being beautifully large. Full of all sort of great adventures ..... And some forbidden love thrown in for good measure. :)