Writing While Driving

 I’ve discovered that writing doesn’t just happen when seated in front of my computer.

It happens when I’m washing dishes, folding laundry, putting almond butter on toast or best of all … when I’m driving. This weekend, I spent a lot  time heading out to parks, museums and the beach with my son in tow and music on the radio. Both of us enjoying the drive, me with my coffee and he with his sippy cup of water.

 I found myself mulling over ideas on my Work-In-Progess and had some great ideas pop up all while I was driving  to my different destinations.


Writing is a journey and the simmering part can be just as important part as the writing itself.  Sometimes it’s during the simmering that characters freely chatter, make funny quips and lead me toward their path in the story.  I find myself laughing or even talking out loud (yes, i look nuts)  while I work through a scene and it moves my story along or even in a new direction. .

It’s always an experience. And this was a good weekend for simmering, lots of creative ideas cooking in my mind that I am excited to get to this week!

What about you? What’s your process?

Let’s Eat ~Write~Love with Taste of Home Editor Emily Betz Tyra

Backstory: I met Emily when I moved to Wisconsin to work as a food writer for a spice company. She and I became fast friends and bonded over our love of food writing, champagne for breakfast and cooking up beautiful meals, which Emily does with complete ease.  She is now Senior Editor at Taste of Home magazine and  is here to help me kick off summer with brunch talk. 

Welcome Emily!



EAT It’s so close to summer I can taste it! I love making this blueberry coffee cake  for friends. Your house smells like blueberry heaven. All of Taste of Home’s recipes come from our readers, and this one from Lori Snedden in Sherman, Texas, is very similar to something my mom baked when we were growing up that we called Huckle Buckle. It’s old-fashioned, not too sweet. I add even more blueberries to the batter and always put cinnamon in the streusel topping. Make peppered bacon to go with it—I do mine on a cookie sheet in the oven. Recipe here.  If you haven’t tried it, you will not believe how easy it is. And no splatters on your cute apron!


WRITE (READ) South of Superior by Ellen Airgood. The protagonist, Madeline, leaves behind her job and boyfriend in Chicago and moves 500 miles north to a coastal village on Lake Superior to take care of a family friend. It’s tender and quirky. I’m rooting for Madeline to find someone to love, even in a very small, remote beach town. I met the author, Ellen, when I was doing a travel story about Grand Marais, Michigan, which is a real-life far-flung beach town way up in northern Michigan. She runs a diner with her husband during the day and writes at night. The morning I met her, a bear had broken in the back kitchen door and devoured all the homemade hamburger buns she had on the baking rack. She even showed me the greasy bear paw print on the back door. Just a part of living up north!

LOVE (ing)
Our front porch is back in business after the long Wisconsin winter, wahoo. My house is tiny, so the extra room on the porch means now I Girls_ontheporchcan have more people over for big-laugh brunches, or just a glass of something cold. We like to say hi to the dogs and their people trotting by and count the neighbors making a bratwurst run to the meat market on the corner. Backyards are awesome, and so is privacy, but I am discovering the front porch is the better place to watch the world and feel like a part of it. Makes me happy.


Do check out the new summer edition of Taste of Home magazine. It’s our June/July America the Tasty issue with the best homemade regional dishes from coast to coast. We talked to military spouses about the one food that they can’t wait to have—or to make for the person they love—when returning from deployment. After the kissing is out of the way, of course. Also there is a crazy-good Bloody Mary recipe in there with garnish ideas from all over the country. And my personal favorite, a milkshake from every state. It’s on newsstands June 11.



Emily Betz Tyra is originally a Michigan girl  from Traverse City, she grew up on a  cherry orchard and slept in a haunted lighthouse all in the name of journalism. These days she cooks, writes and edits in Milwaukee, where she’s a senior editor at Taste of Home magazine. She and her husband Andy can’t wait to camp this summer.

REVEAL:Heartbreak Cake Cover and Blurb

It’s hard to imagine that I’m even able to blog about this, because it all just seemed like a dream I had years ago that one day I would write a book. And after several years of spurts and stops, different plotlines, lots of wine, lots of chocolate and lots of long walks I am thrilled to announce that my publisher Simon & Fig has just released the cover and blurb for Heartbreak Cake.

I really love it and I hope you do too! I’ll make sure to write more as we get closer on the inspiration behind the cover but today, let’s just soak in the beauty of this cover and blurb!


Heartbreak Cake
Cindy Arora

Business is sweet for pastry chef Indira Aguilar. Her indie bakery, Cake Pan, is fast becoming the talk of the wedding circuit for its unique take on cakes and homespun creations for the modern bride, garnering national recognition and drawing in celebrity clients. But while her professional life is blossoming, her personal life is crumbling.

Indira may have a talent for blending buttercream into bliss, but when it comes to relationships, she’s got a lot to learn. Considering that the love of her life, Josh Oliver is not only married, but also runs the award-winning pastry department of her fiercest competition, Crystal Cove Resort, Indira puts much more at stake than just her heart when she ends her affair with him.

Rumors begin to fly as the small seaside community of Long Beach learns of her secret relationship, and Indira must defend not only her actions, but her wedding business and her reputation while trying to maneuver the choppy heartbreak waters of starting over, finding new love, and facing her past. With the support of friends, family, a fondness for butter, and a determined spirit, Indira may just bake her way back to happiness and possibly into the heart of Crystal Cove’s dishy new chef, Noah. But one thing is certain. Where there’s heartbreak, there must be cake.

SPOTLIGHT: Chick Lit Author Libby Mercer and Her Love of Coca Cola Cake

Editor Note:  We kick off our new SPOTLIGHT feature with Chick Lit author Libby Mercer who recently released Karmic Connection. She shares her  favorite childhood memory,why she thinks opposites attract and her writing inspiration.

To learn more about Libby Mercer, check her out:  http://libby-mercer.blogspot.com/

Thanks Libby for sharing!

libby_,,mercerEAT What’s your favorite childhood food memory?

I actually have loads of memorable times as a child that revolves around food. Is that weird?  One that really stands out is when I was probably about eight or nine years old, eating Coca-Cola Cake at my grandmother’s house. I know how that sounds but it was to-die-for delicious. Really. My grandmother was such an incredible cook. Her Coca-Cola cake was favorite, the cake part is rich and dense, the icing even better – tastes like fudge. So I would always eat the cake part first and save the icing for last. On one such occasion, I’d just finished the cake and was about to dig into the icing when my grandfather directed my attention elsewhere so he could swipe my icing. He was always a prankster.  I think this food memory sticks out in my mind because it’s not only my grandmother’s amazing recipe but also my grandfather’s goofy side.

Write Where do you get your writing inspiration?

Where don’t I get my writing inspiration? Everywhere. From the people I know well to the people I just met. From random situations that just happen to situations I remember from years ago in the past. To give you one random story idea from one random source, when I was nineteen, got a cat I called Priscilla. She was with me all through my twenties and most of my thirties until she sadly passed away last year. I am determined to write a story starring Miss Priscilla – in human form. She had such a distinctive personality, and I want to immortalize her in this way, but I’m not quite sure how to go about it. It’s on the back burner for now.

LOVE What’s your thought on opposites attract?

Oh, I think it absolutely works. I believe that opposites make the best pairs, both in fiction and in real life, with these opposing personalities balancing each other out beautifully. Of all the couples and relationships I’ve known, it’s the ones with the most distinctively differing qualities that have seemed the most solid. Or at least that’s what I’ve observed.

The Book


  How different  are your two main characters Lorraine and Adam?

Well… without getting too spoiler-y, they’re not as different as you might think! On the surface, though, and certainly at the beginning of the novel, they’re polar opposites. Adam is a hopeless workaholic with chronic tunnel vision. He doesn’t care about anything but his career, and he’s livid about being forced not to work. And he’s not the most gracious of people. Riddled with attitude, he’s negative and sarcastic. Lorraine, on the other hand, enjoys the slow-paced life she’s carved out for herself, spending time helping others along the road to wellness. She’s gentle and caring, but she’s also rather tightly wound and rather tense since Adam arrived on the scene.

Describe a yogi breakfast main character Lorraine Jameson would have?

Naturally (pun intended) Lorraine is into health food, and a lot of what she eats is grown right on the Wellness Center’s property. They have an amazing garden. I really enjoyed visualizing it when I was writing some of the scenes. So I think an average breakfast would be a generous portion of fruit grown on the land and a bowl of granola, perhaps with some organic maple syrup from a nearby farm drizzled on top. Lorraine would have a cup of tea to go along with it, and the type of tea would depend on what she felt she needed help with that day – if she’s feeling stressed, she’d go for a relaxing, calming tea. If she’s feeling tired, she’d go for a tea that would infuse her with energy.

Thank you so much for having me here today, Cindy! I’ve really enjoyed these questions!!