Jeanne: Contested Decision

award-155595_640Last month, I was elected President of my RWA Chapter, Central Ohio Fiction Writers (COFW). After a couple of years of very little income, it’s imperative that our annual Ignite the Flame contest do well this year.

The contest coordinator sent me the contest description for a listing to be placed in Romance Writers Report, a print magazine sent out by RWA to all members. The copy felt dated to me. In light of the organization’s efforts to update their image and embrace diversity, I decided to try my hand at a rewrite. Continue reading

Jeanne: When Art Imitates Art

So this is the cover of my book that was released in September:

snake winding its way around a practical female hand holding an apple

The Demon Always Wins (image via Amazon)

And this is a statue on display at the Illinois State Capitol, courtesy of the Satanic Temple-Chicago Chapter.

Satanic-statue-exlarge-169

In case you can’t make it out, it’s a sculpture of a woman’s arm, wrapped in a snake, leading up to her hand, which is holding an apple. The inscription on the base reads, “Knowledge is the Greatest Gift.”

Not sure exactly what to make of that…

 

Jeanne: The Complexity of Romance

muffins-2225091_640Romance may be the single most complex genre of fiction there is.

A romance author has to juggle five different arcs:

  • Story (plot) arc
  • Character arc for the heroine
  • Character arc for the hero
  • Relationship arc
    • And within that relationship arc, both the emotional arc and the physical arc of the romance

That’s at least double most other genres, which have a plot arc and character arcs for only one or two characters (and sometimes no character arc at all).

To make things even tougher on the romance writer (though easier for the reader), some of those arcs should line up, sharing common turning points.  Let’s do a hypothetical example:

Our Heroine wants to open a bakery in the perfect location in her little town. She has a character flaw, though. She hates confrontations and backs away at the first sign of conflict.

Our Hero wants the same spot to open a mobile phone franchise. He’s a good guy, but he’s very competitive. Continue reading

Jeanne: A Week of Firsts

The Demon Always WinsThe second week of November was a week of firsts for me as an author:

  • My first opportunity to meet with a book club (who had all read my book!)
  • My first author signing event
  • My first piece of fan mail (okay fan email) from a total (well, near-total) stranger

The book club invitation came from a former co-worker. I thought it would be fun, but it turned out even better than I expected. It turns out that there’s something really gratifying about people liking your book enough to want to know how you came up with the idea and wondering about all kinds of details you wove in.

They also invited me to read. After a short discussion, we settled on the first scene from The Demon’s in the Details, the second book in the series, which comes out in January. They must have liked it, because they invited me to come back once it’s out.

The next day, I attended my first author signing event. A little town about twenty miles south of where I live holds a Christmas Festival each year, including a parade and lots of vendors. The historical society arranges a signing event for local authors–first come, first served. As soon as I saw the notice on Facebook, I hopped right on it. Continue reading

Jeanne: Recipe for an Offbeat Romance

recipe-575434_640Recipe for Belial, Hell’s Chief Operating Demon

(and hero of The Demon Always Wins ((Book 1, Touched by a Demon))

Ingredients:

  • 1 fallen angel with:
    • The face of a seraph
    • The body of an archangel
    • The arrogance of a demon who never fails
  • 1 wager—
    • Satan’s second-in-command vs. God’s chosen champion
  • 1 goal—
    • Seduce her into abandoning her beliefs
  • 1 prize—
    • a single, human soul

Preparation:

  1. Strip away wings
  2. Scent with vanilla and summer rain
  3. Gift with a voice like the strum of a lute
  4. Marinate in the desperation of the eternally damned
  5. Combine with the one woman in the world who can redeem him
  6. Simmer for 300 steamy pages

Accompaniments: Best served with scented candles, a glass of Syrah and some good, dark chocolate.

Yield: One sizzling romance with a feel-good ending.

This post originally appeared on  I Smell Sheep on September 9, 2018.

And now for a real recipe you can actually make and feed people: Continue reading

Jeanne: The Chunky Writing Method

Chunky candy barThis weekend my RWA chapter, Central Ohio Fiction Writers, hosted Allie Pleiter, inventor of the Chunky Writing Method. The Chunky Method is a way of scheduling your writing time to make yourself more productive, based on how you naturally write–in big chunks or small chunks.

The size of your natural chunk can be determined by how many words you can write on a normal day before you run out of energy/creativity. In the absence of writer’s block or incomplete research, which will stop any writer from moving forward, each writer will still hit a point where they just run out of steam.

Big chunk writers, according to Ms. Pleiter, can write thousands of words before that happens. Small chunk writers run dry after only a few hundred words–or even less.

But, she says, don’t despair. By figuring out which kind of writer you are, you can adjust your writing schedule to make the most of the way you write. Continue reading

Jeanne: The Stages of a Manuscript

quill-175980_640Stage 1: This is a brilliant idea! Once this thing is published, it will make me instantly famous and very, very rich.

Stage 2: Okay, it’s a good idea, but how in the world am I going to make this work?

Stage 3: Whatever possessed me to think this was a good idea? Joss Whedon himself couldn’t figure out how to make all these pieces come together.

Stage 4: Okay, okay, I think I see how it can work. I really am pretty smart.

Stage 5: But I SUCK as a writer. This has to be the most boring pile of manuscript crap ever committed to paper.

Stage 6: So that was a pretty good scene. Clever banter, a little humor. Maybe not every reader will abandon ship on page 1.

Stage 7: I have a book! It didn’t turn out quite like I thought it would (or, it turned out nothing like I thought it would), but there’s a worthwhile story here.

Stage 8: Okay, it’s out in the world. How do I make people aware of its existence?

Here’s where I am with the first three books in my demon series:

Book 1: Stage 8

Book 2: Stage 7 (with sudden trips back to Stage 3 as I work through my editor’s feedback)

Book 3: Stage 3

How about you?