The Next Big Thing

My pal Donna Fasano cajoled me into taking part in the popular meme, The Next Big Thing. On her post of the same name, Donna had a lovely picture of herself wearing her tiara. Alas, I have no tiara, and, more's the pity, Donna didn't ship hers to me.

So I'm illustrating my post with the symbol of celebration. I always celebrate publishing a book -- the next big thing under discussion  -- with a bottle of bubbly. I'm getting ready to open one any day now.

Joan's Next Big Thing

What is the working title of your next book?

You won't believe this, but I have 2 novels I'm finishing, almost back to back. I won't even talk about the 3 nonfiction books I plan to publish before the end of the year.

The first novel is Scents and Sensuality, the last of my 4 Lingerie Cover books. The second is Cinderella Blue, the second in my duet series: San Antone Blue. For this meme, I'll focus on Scents and Sensuality or this post will get really long.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

From my interest in the science of smell and the science of sex appeal. Fascinating subjects. Lots of scientific studies have been done -- much of it in Europe -- on these intertwined subjects.

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary Romance. I write funny, sexy romance, and these books fit that description perfectly.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Amanda Whitfield and Harrison Kincaid are the two people in Scents and Sensuality who are made for each other. They just don't know it yet.

If I were casting a movie, I'd choose Chris Pine for Harrison because he has the ability to be sexy, devil-may-care, funny, and he's totally male. Kristen Bell would make the perfect Amanda because she is smart and pretty yet she has the ability to portray an underlying vulnerability and uncertainty about herself.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Perfumer Amanda Whitfield, desperate for a date to her snooty cousin's wedding, pretends to be a hot babe to hook a man, but computer geek Harrison Kincaid, desperate to teach his matchmaking mom to mind her own business, isn't what she had in mind.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

As with my other books, I'll be self-publishing this one too. However, like my other books, I'm open to sub-rights deals for Scents and Sensuality too.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

This is a long story. Scents and Sensuality began life as a previously published novel from Kensington. Under the title Say Yes, the book was published many years ago. Since I own the rights to my backlist, I had planned to update and expand the book.

I can remember getting fan mail on Say Yes. Readers loved it. However, when I went in to read the book, I hated it. I couldn't believe it was so, well, immature, but it reflected the times in which it was published. I guess the truth is that I had changed as a person and a writer. I like to think that my writing improves with every year that passes.

I spent days searching for the original hard copy, the notes, the outline, or anything pertaining to the book. I didn't even have the computer file any longer since that was 2 PC's ago, and I think I had moved about 3 times since the book had been published. With every move, I threw away more stuff just so I wouldn't have to move it.

I had to start from scratch in a year in which I was putting on a wedding for my daughter, dealing with some family medical issues, overseeing two home remodels, and diving into audiobook production with my existing books.

Just as I'd get going, something to do with all all that other stuff would occur that would take me away from the writing. Then I'd have to try to get back "into" the book. With all those interruptions, I just couldn't find the essence of the the characters. I couldn't see why anyone would give a crap about them or their issues.

I wrote and wrote until the book was double in size, but I still didn't like it. I got it proofread, but I still didn't like it. So I wouldn't publish it. It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago of hanging in there that I had a breakthrough. Finally, I cared about Amanda and Harrison and his desperate, matchmaking mom.

Now, as soon as I get rid of all those extra pages, I'm ready to publish it. All this emphasizes the point that just because you're written and had published a dozen books or more, that doesn't mean it ever gets easy.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think if you like books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, you might like mine -- I hope -- although I'm not even in the same galaxy as the talented SEP. Some of the authors I always see on my Amazon Book Pages listed under the "Customers Who Bought This Also Bought" listing are: Leslie Kelly, Marie Force, Bella Andre. Annette Blair, Julie Ortolon, Anna Mara, and Shelley Munro to name a few. So I guess if you like their books, you'll like mine too.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I was always interested in the brain link between smell and memory. Strictly because of interest, I read some scientific studies about smell, and that led me to an interest in perfumes. When I began updating the book about Perfumer Amanda Whitfield, I branched into the fascinating studies done in the last 10 years on the science of sex appeal.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Besides the characters and their story, I hope everything from the smell/sex appeal research to the computer angle. Some might be interested in the computer technology at the turn of the century -- that whole Y2K thing that had people predicting the end of civilization. When the book originally came out, right about that time, I had letters from readers who wanted to know whether I was a computer programmer in my real life. That tickled me.

That's it from me. Now, I'm passing the baton to my author friends:

Bella Street -- Bella Street Writes --

Donna Maloy -- Tangled Words --

Liz Flaherty -- Liz Flaherty, Romance Author --

Marilyn Brant -- Brant Flakes --

Suzan Harden -- Wild, Wicked & Wacky --

Takeaway Truth

On November 21, visit my friends at their blogs to read about their Next Big Thing.


  1. LOL It's always interesting looking at your older stuff, isn't it? And Chris Pine as Harrison? YUM!

  2. Joan,
    I love the sound of Scents and Sensuality!! What a fascinating journey this story had. Really looking forward to seeing it available online :).

  3. Thanks, Marilyn. Would love to see it available too!!! *LOL*