Jeanne: Identifying Your Reader

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Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

This week I happened across a new writing blog, How To Write Anything (Well), by Dana Sitar.

What led me there was a guest post she did for Joanna Penn’s, The Creative Penn, on tone and voice in writing.  It was a good post, but an embedded link led me to one I found even more interesting–this post on understanding your audience. 

In it, Dana recommends, rather than writing what you like and then identifying the reader who might enjoy it. you identify your ideal reader and then write what she wants to read,

How do you identify that reader? By filling in the blanks of this sentence (which is totally Dana’s and not mine and, seriously, go check out her blog):

As a [type of person], they want [some goal] so that [some reason].

I approached this writing gig backwards, the exact way Dana recommends NOT doing it. I wrote a couple of books I really enjoyed and now I’m trying to figure out who might want to read them. Since I am where I am, I figured it was worthwhile to go through this exercise. Continue reading

Jeanne: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

On Friday, after 46+ years working in the same building (two different employers, multiple different jobs and all three shifts) my husband retired.

I’m excited for him. When I quit my job two years ago, I discovered that I LOVE it. Although I’ve always been a fairly achievement-oriented person, it turns out I’m happy as a clam having my days to call my own. Hubs is much more mellow to start with, so I predict he will luxuriate in not having to get up at five a.m. to go into work.

On the other hand, it will mean some changes. Less income, of course, and new health insurance, courtesy of the U.S. government (in return for a reasonable monthly payment). Continue reading

Jeanne: To See or Not to See

ParagraphsA few weeks ago, I attended a book talk at Paragraphs Bookstore in Mt. Vernon, Ohio with Donna MacMeans, a member of my RWA chapter and former treasurer of RWA National.

Donna’s first novel, The Education of Mrs. Brimley, won the Golden Heart® for Historical Romance back in 2006. She has since followed it up with nine more published novels.

At Paragraphs, she described the book as “a book-length strip-tease.” She went on to explain the premise: unmarried Emma needs to escape London and the twisted domination of her uncle. She discovers an advertisement for a teaching position in Yorkshire, but the successful applicant must be a widow. Desperate, she applies anyway, forging a reference that nets her the job. Then, attired in her late mother’s widow’s weeds, she heads for Yorkshire. Continue reading

Jeanne: Affirmation Is Sweet

NRCA finalistI recently received an email from the Oklahoma Romance Writers organization, letting me know that The Demon Always Wins is a finalist for Best First Book in their National Readers’ Choice Award contest.

I was thrilled. Although TDAW did well on the contest circuit back when it was just a manuscript, it hasn’t fared as well in more competitive contests against published books. Continue reading

Jeanne: Taking the Bees out of Baseball

Recently, a Cincinnati Reds ballgame was delayed for over a half hour due to swarming bees. I don’t own the picture, so I can’t post it, but you can see one here.

bee-705412_640This could have had a very bad outcome in the form of a quick-acting pesticide. Or a neutral outcome in the form of a strong mint spray, which doesn’t kill bees, but which they dislike heartily enough to fly away. (That’s what I use on carpenter bees at my house to keep them from chewing up my porch railing.)

With the world’s honeybee population currently undergoing severe population declines, though, even breaking up a community would be an unfortunate thing. The fact is, whether or not you personally like bees (I do, but I have a granddaughter who is phobic about them), we need them.

So what happened was pretty cool. Continue reading

Jeanne: Spring Fever

Front Porch Flowers 2019
I meant to do my work today—
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand—
So what could I do but laugh and go?                                                 Richard Le Gallienne

I usually write my blog posts on Sunday afternoon, but this Sunday, after a week of rain and cold, the weather turned beautiful. So, instead of hunkering down at my desk, I bopped up to the garden center around the corner and bought geraniums and begonias to fill my front porch planters. And then I spent a happy afternoon playing in the dirt.
We’ll categorize this post as “Work Life Balance.”

Jeanne: A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to My New Covers

My cover artist fired me.

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Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

I’m still not sure exactly what happened. I LOVED his initial draft of the cover (which I can’t show you because he refunded my down payment, which means his work is not mine to show).

As you may remember from last week’s post, I had two changes I wanted: to remove the snake glyph, which I’d decided against, and to make my name more visible by decreasing the letter-spacing and increasing the font a point or two.

I sent him that request, but when the cover came back, he had also changed the color of the font from white to some kind of gray.

Huh?

So I sent back a note, asking him to revert to the original white. I expected a quick turnaround, but what I got was:

I’d rather we didn’t do that because it’s balanced as it is. If you put you name in white what would happen is that the name and the title would fight against each other and it would look odd. Did you read my last email about the visual index. You have have EVERYTHING SHOUTING on a cover. It doesn’t work if you do. And it looks a mess. But here … I’ll show you. It looks all unbalanced. I don’t know whether to look at the title or the author name now. Horrid. Continue reading