Tag Archives: romance

Stop Yer Whining….

Okay, I KNEW this revision was going to be tough. I’d done a quick pass once. Sent the work to some friends (even though I know better than to do that in the throes of I finished a book! adrenaline.

My friends who read the work were sweet. They said things like “I really like Sam and Patty but…” and “It seems like you could use a little more something….” and “you know, I can’t really see anything in the story. It needs some fleshing out maybe.” and…. “Your end conflict…completely unbelievable.”

So I put Sam and Patty’s story aside to look at later. And I drafted another book. And I came back to Sam and Patty and I loved the story still. I mean so what that it’s just a bunch of dialogue with some paint swatches thrown in for color every once in a while. I agreed totally with the end conflict cliche I’d written, so I fixed that. But something wasn’t right.

So I put Sam and Patty’s story aside to look at later. And I drafted another book. And I came back to Sam and Patty and OH DEAR GOD. I’ve written some awesome dialogue. For paper dolls. This poor story couldn’t be more flat. It isn’t a real story at all!!! It’s a detailed outline. A beginning. But nowhere near done.

And so the revision work…the real revision work not editing work…starts.

That’s my self-publishing word of warning. It’s easy to hit publish on a book that’s not ready. Find people you trust to give you feedback on whether the story is ready. And read a ton. I know the books I’ve read the last three months helped me see the gaping holes in this story. I mean the whole time I was reading and making notes tonight I was thinking What Would Jill Shalvis Do? AND Where is the Karen Templeton Emotion? And write a ton. Those other two drafts I’ve written are drafts…I know that. The second one is better than this one, but it’s still a draft. The third one is waaaayyyyy better than this one and the next, but it’s still a draft.

I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Friends who so kindly let me know this book wasn’t ready without totally killing my writer soul…thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!



Finding Flaws

Sometimes you need a lesson. I’m getting one now.

Thank God for lessons.

A long time ago author Helen Myers, told my (now disbanded 😦 )romance writing group if you’re going to write, you have to be willing to bleed on the page. I’m trying to channel the emotions into the story I’m working on. I think I might need to take up kickboxing and channel some emotion in that direction, too. (Okay, not really. If you know me at all, you know there is zero percent chance of me kick boxing. I would hurt myself.)

It’s funny because in critiques I’m always telling my friends they’re committing the nice-nice sin. Making things too easy on the characters. I see it in their work because it’s a huge flaw in mine. I like the people I create. I don’t want to put them through hell. But those struggles make the book so much better!





Love or Hate…Rock or Rockstar

Oh the agony…

Okay, not really.

I’m working on the beginning of the first draft of a book. It’s a love/hate relationship.

One day I love the words. They’re gold. They are rockstar. They sing to me while I breathe life into the story.

And the next they are struggling to be anything more than rock…not pretty rock, just that plain white gravel…that stuff that flies off of trucks on the highway and smacks my windshield and scares the crap out of me and makes me want to call the “How’s My Driving?” number on the bumper sticker and tell whomever answers exactly what I think about that…

Anyway, the beginning is always like this. Okay, again, not really.

ALL OF IT IS ALWAYS LIKE THIS. Even the muse inspired stuff.

So yeah, I’m working on the beginning, and I’m trying to find the voice of the story and the characters all while working through opening plot points that make sense to the characters that begin to take form as the opening morphs into something more than words on the page.

Once I get chapter one where I want it, I can go NANO-style, fastdraft on the first draft. Until then, it’s slow going. And I’m good with that, because this is fun.


New Characters

I sat down and read the first 2k of the new manuscript and knew I had a problem. My main character was all over the place. SHE didn’t know who she was. She was just there on the paper tagging along because her book was next.

Enter spotify.

Yesterday I worked on her a lot, trying to mold her into the person she needed to be with goals and motivations. Hopefully with the right attitude to lead to great conflict with the hero.

Thanks to Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies, Cassadee Pope, Kacey Musgraves and the Dixie Chicks, she’s quite the spitfire.

Thanks to Susan Gable’s Character Motto, I found her tone of voice: Mama said “Catch more bees with honey.” I figured squish the damn bee with my shoe. If I miss and it stings me, at least I down fighting.

Thanks to Scrivener, I’ve got the main character sketches done and an opening.

Tonight I love this book. Tomorrow…well, if you’re a writer, you know how that goes. 🙂


FYI: The next Sharlene Gallagher Guardian book is out with beta readers. Not long until Angel Eyes hits the market!



Pretty Reckless by Jodi Linton Out Today!

Jodi Linton’s Pretty Reckless hits shelves today, and I’m thrilled to share the news. You guys are going to LOVE Deputy Laney Briggs!

PrettyRecklessHighRes_final coverPretty Reckless by Jodi Linton

Welcome to Pistol Rock, Texas where everyone knows secrets last about as long as the sporadic west Texas rain showers.

Laney Briggs has long been considered reckless, but she’s turned herself around—she’s respectably engaged and she’s become a Pistol Rock deputy sheriff. Everything’s fine until a dead body turns up and her ex, Texas Ranger Gunner Wilson, decides to stick his boots into the town’s first murder case.

Laney will be damned if she lets Gunner trample all over her turf and her chance at a quiet, contented life. His seemingly endless ability to undermine her resolve and her libido was only outdone by her constant urge to butt heads with him. But when the bodies start to pile up, Laney has to ask the lethal bad boy for a hand—and a truce in exchange for his help.

Having an ex-boyfriend as an ally might not be the best idea, but Laney has always been pretty reckless…

Author bio:

JodiJodi Linton lives and works in Texas, with her husband and two kids. She can be found cozied up to the computer escaping into a quirky world of tall tales, sexy, tight jean wearing cowboys, and a protagonist with a sharp-tongue quick enough to hang any man out to dry.  PRETTY RECKLESS is her first novel. She is currently at work on her next Deputy Laney Briggs book.

buy links:

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Draft done

Finished the first draft. My first drafts are way too thin, but the basic plot structure is there and the characters are developed. Now to go build their world.

I’ve been listening to one of my early books that’s been produced into an audio book. WOW. I tell my students that all the time: two musts if you want to be a writer–read a lot and write a lot. I’ve written a lot in the last ten years.

I’m in the middle of reading a book by one of my former students right now. I can’t wait to share more about that book with my blog followers. People are going to love Laney.

Jodi’s posts about Laney helped me with my first draft of the new book. I checked out strong female country artists on spotify and they helped me write more words a night than I had in forever. I love writing to songs that set the tone for my books. (Amy LaVere’s Damn Love Song might be my most favorite song ever!)

Looking forward to working through this draft. I don’t rush revisions any more, though. I’ve found time is a HUGE help on revisions.

People ask about writing processes all the time. To be honest, any time I read about other authors’ processes, I hang on to their every word. But I’ve also discovered the writing process changes from person to person. I used to critique with the amazing writer who wrote scenes all out of order. If something popped in her brain, it went down on paper, no matter where the scene took place in the book. I plotted with a best seller who wrote a scene and revised it to perfection before moving on. When she finished a book it was D.O.N.E.

I have to get my beginning set and then I can write like crazy to get to the end of the draft. Other than my beginning, my draft is CRAPTASTIC with moments of magic. I go through and flesh it out a couple times then let it rest, go work on something else, then come back. I have to handle revisions like this, especially during the school year.

It’s going to be crazy cold tonight again. March and we’ve got a winter weather advisory. STRANGEST winter ever. At least all that cold inspired me to write. 🙂




Make Me Cry, But Warn Me First

Media kit file.

Media kit file.

I don’t care how many times I watch Moulin Rouge, every time Satine dies, I cry. When Christian holds her close and screams “No!” I’m right there with him. Earlier when she’s still alive and it looks like Christian’s going to walk away and  Toulouse remembers his line and screams “The greatest gift you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return,” I cheer. Even though I know in a few minutes Satine’s going to die from TB and wreck Christian’s whole world. 

I love that movie. I always have. I could watch it every day and not get tired of it. The music, the characters, the story. Every bit of it makes me happy even though it shatters my heart every time.

If the movie didn’t start by telling me Satine died, I’d HATE it. But I know, and I appreciate the story of freedom, beauty, truth and love.

I love a handful of movies other than Moulin Rouge that make me cry: Steel Magnolias, Hope Floats, Beaches. None of them surprise me with deaths used only to trigger emotion. All tell amazing stories.

I write romance novels. I’m a fan of happily ever after. People who pick up my books know they’re in for that ride and not the kill off the main character or make the protagonist the villain book. If an author gives me a heads up in foreshadowing or flat out telling me the end before the beginning, I’ll follow them along that box of Kleenex path, no problem. But if they surprise me with a death just to make me cry or because they don’t want to be classified as romance novelists, I’m not going to be a happy camper.

What about you? Tears or happily ever after? Both or it doesn’t matter?#


I write romance novels and mysteries. Check them out here.



Q&A with debut author Janet K. Brown

I met Janet Brown years ago at a local RWA group meeting. Over time I watched as she grew in her writing. When Janet got the call for her novel Victoria and the Ghost, I wasn’t surprised. Join me in welcoming her here today.

1. When did you start writing?

Writing – in junior high school
Studied with a writing teacher in 1980s.
Work and life got in the way, so, then
Studying the craft and submitting my work – 2005

2. What is your writing ritual? 

I write nearly every day, except Sunday, I keep BICHOK (bottom in chair, hands on keyboard) nine to twelve in the morning. I also attempt to get back to writing before dinner most days. I stop by 7:30 pm. That’s hubby time.

3. Toughest part of writing?

Balancing my time is problematic, but on the writing itself, I hate editing.

4. Best part of writing?

I love facing a blank page with ideas popping in my mind.

5. Best writing advice?

Write every day to keep your head in the story.
Also, when you get a rejection letter, have one day of a pity party, if you must, but then send it off again and send something else besides that.

6. Where do you get your ideas?

Life. The people I meet. Things my family, friends, or I face. With a twist, of course.

7. How do you handle self-doubt?

First, I write straight through without turning on the self-editor.
When I must edit, I quote my favorite saying, “If God leads me to it, He’ll get me through it.”
I persevere.

8. If you could go back and tell your beginning writer self something, what would it be?


9. Can you tell me about your writing journey so far?

I’ve written all my life. Shortly after moving to Wichita Falls, I studied under a wonderful writing teacher, Connie Stockard, but then, for years, my demanding job and active family stopped all writing except journaling.

When I retired in 2005, I took writing courses and joined groups to learn more. I wrote, submitted, and faced rejection. I attended several conferences.

I first sold short stories and articles, some without pay and some with good pay, while I pursued my desire to publish a novel. I completed seven Christian novels, and nearly finished one non-fiction book before I published. In July, 2011, I received a contract for my YA. This year, that book has become a reality.
10. Tell me about your new book.

The title is Victoria and the Ghost.

At fifteen, Victoria, a city girl, loses her mother’s love and copes with country isolation, no friends and no one who cares, until she meets a ghost.

When her mother leaves the family to become a Dallas trophy wife, Victoria’s dad moves her and her sister to a North Texas farm to herd cattle and raise chickens. Refusing to believe this is more than a temporary set-back, Victoria tries to make new friends which isn’t an easy task. The first one stabs her in the back with gossip and a sharp tongue. Meanwhile, her new stepsister takes Victoria’s place in her mother’s heart. Rejection and anger stalk Victoria like a rattlesnake in the cemetery. Good thing she makes friends with a ghost and through him, a good-looking teenaged cowboy

11. Why do you write inspirational fiction?

When I first joined Romance Writers of America, an inspirational romance writer, Margaret Daley, taught our local chapter. I’ll never forget the title of her talk. “Falling in love, without falling in bed.” She inspired me to write what I know and what I like to read. I turned toward Christian fiction, and never looked back to anything else.

12. What other writing do you do?

Christian romance, women’s fiction, YA, short stories, and most recently a book of devotions.

13. What’s next?

I jump all over the board. In May, I proposed a 365 daily devotion book for compulsive overeaters. I recently received a request for that full manuscript, so I’m hurrying to complete it within a month. Otherwise, my work-in-progress is a romance. I plan to attend American Christian Fiction Writers conference in September and pitch it. Next will be another teenage ghost tale. I find I love them.

14. What writing organizations do you belong to?

RWA, and the inspirational RWA group, Faith, Hope and Love, ACFW, Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc., Christian Writers Fellowship International, DiAnn Mill’s fiction mentoring group, Rippers.

15. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

God allowed me to do what I love to do. I feel blessed. Also, He provided me with kind friends to help along the way. Elizabeth Lee taught me Twitter, and helps on linking social media. I’m blown away by ones like her willing to give their time and expertise to assist others.

I also want to thank 4RV Publishing for taking a chance on a new author. They don’t publish exclusively Christian, but all genres are consistent with Christian values. A few years ago, Vivian Zabel used her years of experience in writing and publishing to begin her own company. Her authors have brought her recognition and awards as a publisher. I’m honored to be their newest challenge.  Thanks to Harry, KC, and Robyn for all the help with editing, and a big vote of gratitude to Aidana WillowRaven who designed the beautiful cover for Victoria and the Ghost.

Thank you, Mary Beth, for allowing me to visit your blog.

Janet K. Brown Facebook and twitter @janetkbrowntx To Buy the book click here.

Writing God’s Message of Hope

Thank you, Janet, for sharing your journey with us!

I FEEL like a romance writer

I got new clothes. Jeans. Small jeans. Sexy jeans.
And a bunch of other stuff too.
I look and feel great. DH took one look and said WOW. That’s all. One word.
And that’s all he needed to say. 🙂
My friend Claire gave them to me. She just lost a ton of weight and wanted the clothes too big for her out of her closet. I am SOOOOO thankful.
It’s expensive losing weigh and I already spent my budget on this size. Now I won’t have to buy again for a long time!

It’s amazing how feeling good makes me WANT to write. I didn’t even realize it affected my ability to create characters, but it definitely does. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize how important feeling good is to writing. I’m more awake now. I can breathe. I don’t groan when I look in the mirror. I can actually wear the shoes my heroines want to wear. 🙂 It’s awesome. Incredible. Wonderful.

Almost as amazing as the brainstorming session I took part of last night on Gonna-Beez. I stumbled across the group on e-Harlequin and joined on a whim. Good timing. They’d just gone through a revamping of their board and list. Last night’s brainstorming session was wonderful. They call plotting “in the hot seat.” The person accepts ideas or says no, that won’t work. The big thing is there’s an abundance of ideas and people just toss ideas out there. It was great. I can’t wait to be in the hot seat. 🙂