Sunday, May 28, 2017



Well, finally, there’s some news!  Mostly I’m spending my life hunched over the keyboard.  Writing new books, of course.
In the last month, all that hunching has been devoted to reissuing three older books.  (And you cannot believe the amount of time and effort that takes, even when the book itself is not changed.)  However...
The new version of Calendar Girl is Western Heroes:  Burn
The new version of Stalking Bel is Western Heroes:  Quincey
The new version of Reckless Promise is Western Heroes:  Mac
The new covers, which I think are just gorgeous, are


If you haven’t tried any of them yet, they’re available at most on-line vendors, and most offer a free peek inside.

In other writer's lives, check out Jennifer Skully's  hotness, and Shelley Adina's newest (and alas, the final one in the series (maybe), but don't worry, there's a spinoff series coming).

After that overly complex sentence, it's time to get back to work on Western Heroes: Grey.  It was coming along nicely until the heroine got lost in a gold mine.  I’d better go get her out.
Have a happy month.
      Jenny

Tuesday, April 25, 2017



How Do You Read?
A more common question is ‘Why do you Read?’. It never occurred to me to question that, but when I Googled the question...wow.  Lots of answers.  
 When readers answer, they say things like entertainment, escape, knowledge, experiencing something new.  When the arbitrators of our lives answer, they have much more esoteric reasons—improving memory, improving verbal ability, reducing stress, etc.  I’m going with the readers on this one.
 But how do you read?  Do you approach a book as a reader or as a writer?  Yes, there’s a difference.  When I began to write novels, my experience as a reader changed dramatically.
What happens when you pick up a book?
Do you dive into that first page, ready to experience a different life?  Do you float along on the story—as long as the writer has done his/her job well—and cruise through the twists and turns with enjoyment?
Or do you approach it hopefully but with a Show Me attitude?  Does that Show Me attitude get in the way?  Why did the writer do that?  What is the reader supposed to think now?  Is that a red herring?  Is that character going to die at the end?  Etc. etc.
The truth is, you sometimes do it one way, sometimes the other.
Neither way is right, neither way is wrong.  Do you get more out of a book if you dissect it as you go?  Well, that depends on what you want, doesn’t it?  If you’re a writer, you’re always, on some level, looking for hints about how to do it better.  And believe me, it’s annoying to want nothing more than an hour of escape and then end up thinking how to do it better.
Maybe you’re a critical reader.  I think of this as a hybrid, a literate reader who notes—and sometimes even marks typos and grammatical errors on the page...or highlights them on the ereader.
The downside of critical reading?  It can get in the way of the story.  The upside of critical reading?  You may see  more levels of meaning in the writing.  Example?  Sure.  My poetry-reading sister-in-law once read me a poem and explained the subtext of the wording.  Who knew that ‘daisy’ comes from ‘day’s eye’ and, knowing that, she understood much more of the poet’s intent.  (Okay, you knew about the whole daisy-day’s eye thing.  I didn’t.)
And does it matter?  No.  Just enjoy.  As my license plate frame says:  Read Books!

Thursday, March 23, 2017



Five Ways Writers Are Not Like Real People

Are writers real people?  Yes.  No.  Maybe.  Sometimes.

1.  Writers like to be alone.  No.  Writers have to be alone sometimes.  The muse is often shy, and she doesn’t come out to play when there are too many distractions.  Other people may turn off the phone and ignore the doorbell, but I’ll bet writers do it more often and with less guilt.
2.  Writers often forget where they are and what they’re doing and with whom they are doing it because the story has commandeered their brains.  Does the term ‘space cadet’ describe their behaviour?  Yes.
3.  Writers have long conversations with people who aren’t real.  And oh, man, this is truly one of the perks of writing.  (And of insanity, but of course we writers are not insane.)  The first time one of my characters spoke back, I ran screaming to my dh--“He talked to me, he talked to me.” (DH was underwhelmed.)  What the character said was, “Get real, babe.  I wouldn’t do that.”  Then he walked off the page and there was much work involved in getting him back.  And in changing the story to one in which he agreed to participate.
4.  Writers are totally portable.  All it takes is paper and pen.  Or computer and the ability to recharge. As long as they can record those random thoughts that might lead to a best-seller.  This is a real plus if the writer’s significant other likes to take spur-of-the-moment trips.  Or go camping.  Just grab the writing implements and go.  The downside is that the writer is apt to dive into the story and not emerge until bears are pillaging the campsite or white water has tossed the boat over a waterfall.
5.  Writers may not get dressed for days and days and days.  Or weeks.  Stumbling from the breakfast dishes (piled in the sink, of course) to the computer and starting work while still wearing pjs is one of the big perks of the profession.
And, bonus point here:  Writers are sure getting the book done on time is worth any number and size of dust bunnies.

Saturday, February 11, 2017



Over the Coffee Cup
Morning Musings Over This and That

James Frey wrote a book  titled Telling Lies for Fun and Profit.  [It’s about writing, of course.]  It’s a very good book, but right now I’m interested in the implication rather than the content.  [Not to mention I’m a little uneasy with the idea that I spend my days crafting untruths!]

So, to get to the implication here:  do you think fiction equals lies?  Or do you think fiction reveals truth in indirect ways?

I’d like to believe the latter.  Contrary to what many non-writers believe, characters are not malleable puppets.  Still, as the writer, you can put characters in situations that reveal many of their secrets.  Of course, the character can always refuse to cooperate if asked to do something that doesn’t fit.  The shock I experienced the first time one stood up, glared at me, said “I wouldn’t do that,” and walked off the page is unforgettable.  [That was Logan, whom you’ve never met; we’re still arguing about a few things.  He’ll make it to print or screen one of these years.  Maybe.]

The point is this:  I tried to force Logan to do something that violated his inner truth.  That was bad.  Once a character has been created, his or her [yes, we need a new pronoun] actions must be consistent with that character’s persona.

So my promise to you is this:  I will always listen to my characters.