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Starting a Novel Series with a Partner: The Planning by E. J. Williams

October 3, 2021 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Starting a Novel Series with a Partner by E. J. Williams tagged as , , ,

My husband, Will Zeilinger, and I co-write the thrillers of INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY SERIES, as E. J. Williams. Our tales transport the reader from 1962 Southern California to various international locales. In the first new book of the series, STONE PUB, we find ourselves in County Cork, Ireland.

Planning the series, then planning the individual novel in the series takes a great deal of time. It is so easy to get stuck on one idea and not move ahead. The two of us had MANY ideas we threw around.

So, we implemented deadlines—not just for writing (which needs to happen) but at the planning stage … making decisions.

For example, “By the next meeting follow, we will decide on:” 

1) Romantic scene, when, where, and with who.

2) Car chase: where will it take place and who is chasing whom, etc. Once we agree on these details, one of us writes the scene, and the other adds to it.

Beware of analysis/paralysis. We knew of a co-writing team who couldn’t agree on the names of the characters, not just one but all. Their writing ground to a halt for months!

Remember that your mutual goal is to write a good story.

The takeaway: When writing together, plan your approach.

Remember… the crucial thing is to write a good story. So, stay tuned … there is more to come.

STONE PUB is the first in the series, and yes … we are still married!

Websites:

Janet  Elizabeth Lynn

Will Zeilinger


Some of Janet’s and Will’s Novels

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

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Make Mine Slang by Jenny Jensen

August 19, 2021 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , , , ,

This character, Tall T Reynolds, is growing in my mind. I can see him tanned and raw and a bit dusty. I know his world is the 1940’s rural west and I know he’s going to briefly meet Lottie, a beautiful girl in a gleaming open topped coupe. Their brief exchange will never leave his mind. Soon after, Tall T will go off to war in Europe. He and Lottie will meet again in a most unexpected way.

I want these two MCs to be drawn as very different in all ways but the heart. I want to show those differences subtly and naturally. I want to tell the story mostly in dialog, no long narratives, no narrative tells. I know that means voice and tone will have to be pitch perfect so it’s language that shows their differences, that makes each wholly human and credible. I thought about using dialect but rejected the idea. I don’t trust my skills to pull that off successfully. Besides, they are both smart and fairly well educated. This is not a rustic pauper gets the princess story. Still, they are from very different worlds – until they’re not.

After rummaging about a bit in the writer’s toolbox, I’m thinking slang as a way to initially set them apart and ultimately bring them together. Slang is an interesting critter. It’s a very flexible tool. It’s hard to pin down what is slang and what isn’t. Slang changes so fast. Yesterday’s ‘far out’ is today’s ‘snatched’, but it’s pretty clear what slang does for us. The casual use of slang terms show we’re in the know, we belong to that group who understands what it is to ‘I oop’. More to my purposes, slang is a shared affinity of age and disposition and attitude.

Slang can be subversive, playful, derisive, affectionate, even endearing – all such very human qualities – and human is what I want to show in circumstances that aren’t all that humane. Ever changing, almost updating itself to fit shifting circumstances slang morphs from common terms to become familiar to a community who is living and sharing shifting circumstances. How else explain today’s use of ‘ghost’? Slang can turn meaning topsy turvy, assigning an opposite meaning to words – an effective response to a world that feels turned upside down. To say you ‘destroyed’ something today certainly doesn’t mean to me what it means to a teen.

Because slang is a hallmark of a shared, exclusive world it’s the perfect devise to reinforce the journey of Tall T and Lottie through the chaos of a world war to a shared reality. They will be tested in ways they’ve never imagined in a world where familiar conventions don’t always apply and time can be frightfully short. At their first meeting, Lottie’s language will baffle Tall T; he will know from that brief exchange that they are from very different worlds. By the end, they will share an unspoken understanding of how fubar life can be. They’ll both know the world is cockeyed and with one exchange of peepers they’ll know where to meet because they have all the dope on the good places. They are people with plenty of moxie who become each other’s killer diller.

I will be careful though. I don’t want them to sound like they’re trying too hard to be cool, or are too stupid to express themselves in any other way. I want to salt the slang effectively, add just that kick of heat a touch of chili adds to a good stew. Like seasoning, I’m going to need a deft hand. I can imagine how clumsy a slang word could feel, or how tiresome the overuse could become. There’s a lot of revision ahead for me if I’m going to Keep it 100. Forewarned is forearmed. I’ll stop beating my gums now and immerse myself in the slang of The Greatest Generation. Roger. Wilco.


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AUTHOR RECOVERY

January 5, 2021 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , , ,

Happy New Year. I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

This morning I woke up to a daunting historical fact. Five years ago, I made a rather strange decision or idea to publish a title a month for a year. I’ve spoken about this project several times over the past years. When I set out to do it, I had one main reason, to sell more books.

I heard the best way to gain readers and sell more books was to write more books. I also heard it was easier to do advertising with more than one book.

When 2016 started I had one full-length novel, a novella and a novelette. What I didn’t have was a completed series, or at least a duet. I now know that was a big mistake. If I were to ever do another challenge like that, it would center around one series.

I have learned a lot about writing and publishing books. I think I finally have a handle on my writing style and what my readers expect from me. I write books that aren’t necessarily written to market. In my books someone is always wrestling with their feelings, raging hormones and how they mix with their faith. I like to hook my reader with something a little sweet and sassy so they can get to know the characters. The heat levels grow as the series progresses. In my writing world, the characters need to read like real people. It should feel like you’re reading about someone the reader would actually know.

I have three series and two duets I need to tie up. I’m not saying I’m going to tie up all of these collections this year, but I’m going to try.

I’m also guilty of using cliffhangers…another thing I tried to sell books. I think it would have been successful if I’d immediately released the next book in the series.

Last year I didn’t release a book and my sales suffered as a result. What did I learn from this…no new book and a lack of marketing my backlist leads to no money. I did however, participate in some incredible free promotions which gave me awesome results. My book Unexpected Love was #1 in one of my categories on Amazon US and UK for three days. I was on the roof. Both of my other books peaked in the top ten of their categories.

These promotions yielded several thousand downloads and sales which I loved.

I take responsibility for my low sales, because I failed to do adequate marketing and advertising. I refuse to kick myself for not sticking to my production schedule. I was distracted by a little thing called COVID-19.

So what is my plan for this year? I’m not quite sure. I know I’ll be releasing a book in February. My goal is to release the next in that series approximately three months later. I’ll also be releasing new covers for my Alex series as well as another book.

The other thing on my list is the follow up to Unexpected Love. I have the cover, title and eleven thousand words. Seeing several free copies have been downloaded and it ends in a cliffhanger, I need to release the follow up asap.

Before I start any writing plan for 2021, I’m going to take a few days, clear my head and make a reachable and achievable plan.

So what’s your author plan for 2021?

~Tracy



Books by Tracy Read

A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

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A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

DESPERATE DESIRE

Buy now!
DESPERATE DESIRE

FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE

Buy now!
FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE

GENERATIONAL CURSE

Buy now!
GENERATIONAL CURSE

GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

Buy now!
GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS
GOD’S BOMBSHELL: LIVING A BEAUTIFUL SINGLE LIFE

INTENTIONAL CURSE

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INTENTIONAL CURSE
LOVE NOTES

MISS MATCH

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MISS MATCH

UNEXPECTED LOVE

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UNEXPECTED LOVE

THE FIX UP

Buy now!
THE FIX UP

THE FLING

Buy now!
THE FLING

THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

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THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

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THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW

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WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW

WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW

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WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW

THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

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THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

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Starting a Novel Series with a Partner–The Stakes by E.J. Williams

January 3, 2021 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Starting a Novel Series with a Partner by E. J. Williams tagged as , , ,
Picture of writing partners, E.J. Williams, both wearing hats and one  holding a gun.

The Stakes

My husband, Will Zeilinger and I are E. J. Williams and we co-write the INTERNATIONAL CRIME FILES, a hardboiled/thriller detective series that takes the reader from 1960s Southern California, then on to international locales. STONE PUB goes to Ireland and is our first book of the new series.

Every author has a unique way to begin writing a crime novel. In this new series, we asked ourselves, “What is at stake?” This question gives the reader something to look forward to as they delve into the story.

The nature of these stakes needs to be agreed upon when writing with a partner. All future books should have stakes of a similar or more intense level.

When we brainstormed about what would be at stake in our first story, we arrived at four great ideas. After talking about them and coming up with subplots for each one, we wrote them down and decided to meet again. Our second meeting focused on the pros and cons of each stake. After considering all of them, we chose the third stake. Once we had the stakes chosen, the story was ready to be outlined. We didn’t realize until much later that we had stakes for the next three novels, all ready to go!

Brainstorming is the best way for writing partners to set the stakes. Remember . . . the most crucial thing is to write a good story. So stay tuned . . . there is more to come.

STONE PUB will be published May 2021, it is the first in the series, and yes . . . we are still married!

Website:  Janet  Elizabeth Lynn    

Website:  Will Zeilinger               


The Skylar Drake Series

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

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How to Finish Your Book and Keep Your Day Job: Protect your writing time like a mother protecting her young

November 3, 2020 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , ,

How to finish your book and keep your day job?

Protect your writing time like a mother protecting her young

Writing a book is a work of love. However, things get in the way, i.e. work. We all dream of the day when we can make enough money to survive by writing. Until that day comes (if it ever does), we need to keep our full time jobs. We wrote and published our first five books working full time.

Time management is nothing to joke about when trying to write and support yourself or family with a full time job. Find the gaps in your schedule or day and use them to the fullest. Guard them and don’t let anything get in the way of your writing time. This is why scheduling writing time works so well. You can plan around the time.


We write between 6:00- 8:00 every morning. The only thing that keeps us from not writing is a fever of over 102. For us this is the best time because our day has not yet begun and we can focus on writing after a good night’s sleep. Pick a time of day where interruptions are at its minimum and plan it. We also clear our desks and have everything we need to write (on the desk) so we don’t need to get up. So just plan ahead.

Keep up the good writing.

Janet and Will


Chatting with Authors

Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn created “Chatting With Authors.” This channel features informal interviews with authors of varied genres, produced via Zoom, and aired every Friday. Head over to YouTube and listen.


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