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Saturday, January 12, 2019

#WeWriWa: Rescuing Mara's Father - Caught Daydreaming

Each weekend the Weekend Writing Warriors share an 8 - 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other authors. You can find them here.

Last week, I started sharing a new story, a Middle Grade/YA science fiction adventure. It's a work in progress, so suggestions would be great. This snippet follows last week's. BTW, the narrator is Mara, an almost 15-year-old girl. Sorry for the confusion last week.

Please excuse the creative punctuation, necessary to keep this within the guidelines. It's also edited from the original.

Of course, where I’d really rather be is in the pit at spaceport taking apart the engine of a Gilean Cruiser or, better yet, at Pamyria Tech learning how to fly one. I can’t wait so I don’t have to listen to—
“. . . Mara?”
How in Smilian's Pit does Teacher always know when I’m not listening? Reluctantly, I get to my feet because he insists we stand when speaking like we’re in a real classroom on a Central Planet instead of his study in a mining village on the Outer Rim. Since there are only eight of us older kids, we sit in two rows, one in front of the other. Usually, I sit in the back row with my buddy Jako, but today the others got there first, and I had to sit in front. Lukus always sits in the front row whether or not he comes in late, like today—he missed the linguistics and mathematics lessons that were a lot more interesting, where I always know the right answers. Now, he gets to see me humiliated—not that I care what he thinks of me, I don’t.
Teacher waits as I try to figure out what question he asked, while part of me wants to crawl under the table and hide, instead I continue to stand, back straight, head up, my face burning hotter than the Laborian Desert.

Tentative blurb:
My father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. I have to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.
Never mind, we’ve had a rocky road lately. Instead of the kind, loving father I’ve always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in our frontier outpost. I’d rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give me a starship engine to take apart or, better yet, fly, and I’m happy.
Never mind, Father promised I could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when I turn fifteen, where I’ll learn to fly starships.
Never mind, I ran away because I’m furious with him for reneging on that promise. Father is my only parent. I have to save him.

Be sure to check out the other WeWriWa authors. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

GUEST: Jenna Jaxon #NewRelease TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE @Jenna_Jaxon

I'm happy to welcome back author Jenna Jaxon with her latest release, Time Enough to Love, a compilation of three stories. Is this a great cover or what? Jenna's here to share a little about the story.

Two Heroes

When I was writing my very first romance novel series, I started in an organized manner with a detailed story outline.  I still have that outline saved and it is amazing how different it is from the book that was finally written.  And those changes are all due to one character who decided he wanted to be a hero.

My story was about a knight, Sir Geoffrey Longford, who was betrothed to Lady Alyse de Courcy, whom he had never met. They are both courtiers in the service of Princess Joanna of England. Geoffrey falls in love with Alyse and therefore vows he will win her heart before they are married. Pretty straightforward. 

Then my muse whispers, “You need more conflict.” So I create a best friend for Geoffrey, Thomas Knowlton, Lord Braeton, with whom the 17 year old heroine is infatuated.  Nice addition to the conflict. And Thomas is a fun, secondary character who will be part of the courtiers of the court, but not much more. He will only be in the first book.

Then, just after Betrothal (Book One) ends and Geoffrey is called home, I realize I need someone to bring Alyse a message from Geoffrey.  The next thing I know, Thomas is waving his hand and saying, “I’ll do it.” And in that moment, the entire rest of the outline was thrown out. Because I suddenly re-envisioned the whole novel as a love triangle brought about by the treachery and ambition of Geoffrey’s father. That became Betrayal (Book Two).

But now I had a big conflict of my own, because I had two heroes, Geoffrey and Thomas.  And Beleaguered (Book Three) is the story of who gets the girl and why and how.  It was incredibly difficult to write.  I had two very different but very likable heroes who both love the heroine and whom the heroine loves.  If that sounds familiar, it’s a common trope in romance.  The most popular one in recent memory has to be The Twilight Saga.

So I now have Team Geoffrey and Team Thomas.  And who the hell gets the girl? 

Geoffrey is the big, brooding, bruiser of a knight, whose major character flaw is jealousy over Alyse’s attitude toward Thomas.  Thomas is suave, the playboy of the medieval world type, much more the wit, whose jealousy surfaces, but who manages to control it.  His major flaw is his jaded attitude toward everyone and everything.

This all made the book harder to write because while there is an HEA as there must be, it is not a ménage a trois.  So someone has to lose the girl.  Jacob did not get Bella.  And in Beleaguered, someone will get the girl and someone will not.  Who will it be?  Only time, and the book, will tell.

Diane here: what a conflict! I have got to read this book just to find out who gets the girl.


When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend. 
From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.
As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?


“Thomas.” Alyse curtsied quickly then blurted out the fear she had fought almost since Geoffrey had left. “Is my lord well? Have you news for me?” 

Thanks to Anne and Margaret’s thoughtless comments, she had become convinced Geoffrey had fallen ill with Sir Robert’s ailment and now himself hovered between life and death.

Avoiding her eyes, he answered briefly. “Aye, my lady. When I left him, Geoffrey was well enough.”

While his words relieved her, a shadow still lay on her heart. If Geoffrey was not ill, why had Thomas’s manner changed? What had summoned this aloof stranger? He was withholding something from her.

“And Sir Roland?”

He hesitated, searching her eyes then looking away. He fisted his hands. “Sir Roland is…has…”

Alyse could stand it no longer. She crossed to stand directly before him, laid a cold hand upon his arm, and gripped it. “Tell me.”

That there was something he could not bring himself to tell her filled her with terror. He said Geoffrey was well enough when he left. What about now?
Before she could question him further, he drew out a folded piece of parchment, sealed with blue wax and stamped with a signet ring bearing Geoffrey’s family crest. She stared at it, a cold dread creeping through her.

“Geoffrey bade me place this in your hand and no other, my lady.” Thomas thrust the missive toward her.

Alyse compelled herself to hold her hand out.

He sighed. “He also bade me be at your service, lady, had you need of anything.” He gave the parchment into her hand. As he did so, she looked into his eyes and recognized the same pity she had seen in Princess Joanna’s.
Panic made her arms weak and her fingers numb. She forced her shaking hands to break the seal. Alyse unfolded the letter and slowly read the scratched and blurry words.
* * * *
In her bedchamber, Princess Joanna waited with Maurya, Anne, and Margaret. The women’s faces had changed from puzzlement to fear. Joanna looked from one maid to another, trying to hide her despondency. So many prayers had not been answered today.

Anne finally summoned the courage to ask, “Your Highness, what has happened?” She choked back tears. “I meant no harm, earlier. Indeed,” she crossed herself, “I wish Sir Roland and Sir Geoffrey long life.” She turned stricken eyes toward Joanna and whispered, “Is Sir Geoffrey—”

A wrenching wail of anguish shattered the hushed room, as though the very walls echoed the sound. The four women stood rooted to the floor at the almost-inhuman shriek of grief.

The sound cut off abruptly, and in the eerie silence that followed, they heard the soft thud of a body hitting the floor.



Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical romance in all time periods because, she says, “passion is timeless.”  She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She’s a theatre director when she’s not writing and lives in Gloucester, Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats and one silent one.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as an active member of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has four series currently available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France, and The Widows’ Club series, also set in Regency England and available from Kensington Publishing in both print and digital.
       She currently writes to support her chocolate habit.

Find Jenna Jaxon online:

Saturday, January 5, 2019

#WeWriWa: Rescuing Mara's Father - Another Boring Day

Each weekend the Weekend Writing Warriors share an 8 - 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other authors. You can find them here.

A new year, a new story. I'm sharing a Middle Grade science fiction adventure. It's a work in progress, so suggestions would be great. I'm starting at the beginning with Chapter One [I start a riot].

Please excuse the creative punctuation, necessary to keep this within the guidelines. It's also edited from the original.

Another boring class on another boring day in my boring life. Nothing ever happens here at Raythos Outpost #3, the most boring place on the planet. I can’t wait to leave—just twenty-four days and I’ll be off to Pamyria Tech, then I won’t have to listen to more of this.
“…types of governments:  democracy, confederation, autocracy…”
Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard this lecture a thousand times already, Teacher is only going over it because Perfect Lukus missed the other nine hundred and ninety-nine times. He’s fifteen—a year older than me—my best friend’s brother and a pain in the butt. He only comes to class when his work in the stable is done. Lucky him. I’d rather shovel zircan poop than sit through another history or government lesson.

Be sure to check out the other WeWriWa authors. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

#IWSG: Goal Setting

Happy New Year and Happy Insecure Writers Support Group Day. IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. 

Thanks to this month's awesome hosts:  Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!

Happy 2019. Do you always start a new year with resolutions? Do you look at them at the end of December? My answers? Yes, to the first; no, to the second. So what good are resolutions (goals), if we don’t look at them?

My RWA chapter (Mid-Michigan RWA) has a version of NaNoWriMo. Each month, we set out what we want to accomplish that month. I’m very good at that. Then each week, we (sort of) report our progress—either on our discussion loop or on the monthly database or both. I’m not so good with the follow-through reporting. I accomplish my goals, sometimes even more, but I forget to add them in. When the next month comes around, I think “oops, forgot to report my progress.”

I’ve always been a list-maker. I love checking off each item. What helps is taking a large project (like, I will write three novels this year) and break it down into manageable parts. (BTW, that was my goal for 2018. Didn’t make it.) By manageable parts, I mean list what you have to do to accomplish that goal. How many words/day do you need to write for each book? Factor in all the before-I-start-writing “stuff” (character lists, GMCs, research, world-building, etc.) Estimate how many days you’ll need to review/revise/edit each book. Factor in how long your editor will take to edit the book. If you DIY the formatting, how long will that take? Is three books a manageable goal? Did you factor in marketing? How much time do you need to get the word out that you have a new book? Will you do a blog tour? How much time to you need to dedicate to social media each day?

This sounds so overwhelming I’m scaring myself. LOL

The easiest thing for me is keeping track of word count. I made up a spreadsheet with simple formulas so all I need to do at the end of each daily writing period is enter the ending word count (from the bottom of the Word doc.) I get a feeling of accomplishment when I see that I wrote 500 words or 1,000 or 60. Whatever. It’s progress.

I find setting small goals makes me try to reach them. If I don’t set a goal, I don’t try. I mentioned back in October how we had a flooded basement and everything had to be boxed up and moved out. Before Thanksgiving, all those boxes came back in. My office is still full of boxes. It's so overwhelming I don't even want to look at it. So, my goal of January is to empty five boxes. That's a manageable goal. I'll let you know next month. 

Following up at the end of each month by looking at my list and checking off what I’ve done makes me feel proud. Progress. Moving forward.

But here’s a caveat: don’t measure yourself against another writer. I know authors who publish six books a year. That’s one every other month! I also know writers who are still writing the same book after ten years. (Trying not to judge.) Better to measure against yourself, your previous efforts.

Optional question: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

Where do you get your ideas is a perennial one. Not sure if it’s my favorite or least favorite. It’s getting easier to answer—everywhere. I don’t think they want something so vague. They want a specific, magical answer.

How about you? Are you setting goals?

Happy Writing. See you next month.

Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.