By the time you read this it will be the day after Valentine’s Day, and I spent yesterday agonizing about what to write.
This angst over Valentine’s Day and romance is not unfounded. My first book was a romance. In Passion’s Defense was about a defense lawyer falling in love with a prosecutor during a gruesome trial. That should have been my first clue that perhaps mayhem rather than meet ups was my cup of tea. But I was slow on the uptake, and I wrote eight category romances. I think they are pretty darn good and they got better with each one. I wrote my heart out for Harlequin but I couldn’t seem to color in the lines, so I started writing women’s fiction. The editorial freedom, the more intricate plot lines, and the emphasis on plot rather than relationship helped me thrive. Dreams, Seasons, Vanities were just some of my titles. I wrote a lot of women’s fiction, but still I hadn’t hit my comfort zone as a writer. Then two things happened that sealed my fate.
First, the incredible RWA bookseller—Michelle Thorne—delicately informed me that my idea of romance was the hero chucking the heroine on the arm and giving her a smile. She was right. I was not a sexy writer in the years when other authors were pushing the envelope. My editor at Kensington was more direct. He said ‘You have to stop killing people before they get in bed!’. In essence he fired me from romance. I was devastated. Later I realized this was the silver lining in my very dark cloud.
When I started writing thrillers I found my passion and isn’t passion what love is all about? Still, without the learning curve of the romance genre, without the editors and readers, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to break up with women’s fiction as it was defined all those years ago and move on to my literary partner for life.
That doesn’t mean I left romance behind completely. Every book I write is based on relationships, but the emphasis of stories is little different from the classic romance novel. And then there’s my mom. One day she asked if I could write a book-without-bodies. I wrote three. On my mother’s ninetieth birthday, I presented her with a trilogy of sweet, romantic comedies: The Day Bailey Devlin’s Horoscope Came True, The Day Bailey Devlin Picked Up a Penny and the Day Bailey Devlin’s Ship Came in. These books encompassed every thing I love about romance: humor, honesty, confusion, honor, and affection for not just one man but all the men in Bailey’s life. Young or old, they be a lover or father or friend, it was all about love. I will always be most proud of, be in love with, the Bailey Devlin Trilogy because it reflects my definition of romance.
Today I put those three books in a boxed set and I hope when a reader finishes the stories, her (his) heart will be fuller, there might be a tear in her eye, she will have laughed out loud and then will turn around and pass all that feeling on to someone she loves.
Happy Belated Valentine’s Day.
Jaclyn lives in the woods of Maine on a Mountain next to a lake. She shares her version of utopia with her husband, two sons, and furbabies! She’s a recovering English teacher who loves digging in the garden, but seems to kill everything she plants and cooks daily, but burns more dinners than she can count. Good thing she knows how to write!
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Funny you ask this! I never did until this year when a fellow author mentioned that she likes to form her writing year around one word to define her year. So, I decided that I would give this Word of the Year a try and this year it’s Create. To remind me that is my goal and what I am driven to do. Create stories. Create an engaging author platform to connect with readers. I want to share the worlds I am creating and the stories I weave from those worlds. I’m finding that this word is driving me to produce not only books, but also create ways to engage readers in my life and get them interested in my work. It’s also forced me to create a network with other authors so we can help each other and learn from one another.
Last night, I decided another word needs to be in my office and life too. UNPLUG. I’ve been so driven to create I can’t forget about the other things in my life that need attention too. So, I’ve started turning off my mobile and other electronics so I can create and maintain meaningful relationships where I am present and engaged.
I am finalizing edits on my debut – Dark Legends: Curse Breaker that will be released on March 15, 2020.
It’s a novella about the Goddess Isis who is reborn into this century in the body of Kalissandra Doe though Kali doesn’t know it yet. She must travel across the world to a remote Island and break a curse to free not only herself but also the man of her dreams.
Kalissandra Doe has a to-do list worthy of the reincarnated goddess she could be.
Break a curse, or die.
Raise a long-dead god, or die.
Reassemble the Osiris Stone…or die.
But when she comes face-to-face with the man, she has literally dreamed of all her life,
Kali realizes that much more than her life is at stake.
The other project I have in the works is called Charming.-
It will be featured in the limited edition Once Upon Another World: A Twisted Fairy Tale Box Set on October 6, 2020.
It’s a re-imagined take on some of your favorite fairy tales with some wicked twists. If you were a fan of Once Upon Another Time, you’re going to love this series. Charming is about a runaway princess who escapes a dark fate by being transformed into a boy. She hides as a servant in a brothel, where she has a chance meeting with a charming prince who persuades her to follow him on a quest. Will they escape the clutches of evil, break curses, and find their happily ever after?
When I was little the best thing in the world to me was a bookstore. I called them my mecca and being there was heavenly for me.
At 11 years old, I’d walk over two miles from my house just to go sit and read crossed legged in the aisles of the closest bookstore being transported to the many different worlds the author’s crafted. Every detail of that store is etched into my memory; including the way it smelled of freshly printed books and promises of adventure. I’d always buy a book or two with any money I saved up, but there were so many I wanted. I could, and probably, did spend hours choosing the right ones. I traveled the world and through time as a knight, a princess, evil queen and many more in that store.
When it closed, I was sad. There wasn’t another bookstore within walking distance. No longer could I stop in after school or spend almost every weekend with new books to enjoy. That is until I learned how to drive of course. 😉
That’s the best thing about being an author. The potential to one day to be that, do that, for a reader. Inspire them to walk distances and sit on a hard floor for hours reading the worlds I craft. With all the technology now, that looks different than when I was younger, but the sentiment is the same.
Yes, I listen to custom created playlists on Spotify. I have one’s I listen to for each work in progress and a general #amwriting playlist.
When I am distractible and need to concentrate I listen to Ambient Sound Mixer. I love their Scottish Thunderstorms channel and the Ravenclaw lounge. Fun fact – when I was writing Curse Breaker, I exclusively listened to a channel I made myself.
I love the sound of a Diesel Engine most specifically a Diesel Train.
I used to live on Long Island and commute by train 2 hours to Manhattan. I would wake up at 4am getting to work an hour early every day and leaving a half hour later just to take the Diesel train. The whole truth is that I couldn’t nap on the electric trains. Something about the rumble of the Diesel makes me sleepy to this day!!
My husband and kids on the beach. Sand, sun, fun and no electronics or responsibilities. Just hanging out, being present, and making memories with them.
Readers can pre-order both of Jaclyn’s books below. While you’re waiting for them to arrive, you can read two of Jaclyn’s stories for free. Kiss Me I’m Irish , is a flash fiction short story she wrote last year for Charmed Writers and is available here on A Slice of Orange. Another piece of flash fiction, Harvest of Memories, is available in Charmed Writers Presents Flash Fiction 2019. This collection of short stories will only be available for a short time, so down load your copy today.
I’ve been underwater this month and during the holidays… writer-speaking… inundated with copy edits, proofreading, etc. on my upcoming Titanic book and trying to write a new World War 2 time travel set in Paris… so like Alice, I’m scrambling to get to the party on time…
Not easy for this So Cal gal who’s been living on London time since my publisher is the fabulous BOLDWOOD BOOKS headquartered there. I’m never sure what day it is.
A short post this month to let you know my Titanic love story, THE RUNAWAY GIRL, is on schedule for a March 17 pub date.
Two women hold the keys to his heart.
Only one will survive that fateful night…
A sweeping historical romance set aboard the Titanic, from the author of Christmas Once Again.’
More as we get closer to March, but I’ll be starting Titanic Tuesdays on my blog ONCE UPON A STORY –– this week January 14th with Titanic and the Loo and a lord in a tub.
See you soon on the ship of dreams!
What if Scrooge was a sexy hunk?
I couldn’t resist writing about this modern day Scrooge in my holiday novella, A Naughty Christmas Carol.
Three sexy female ghosts try to save the soul of a Wall Street trader on this naughty Christmas Eve.
Nick Radnor is a Wall Street trader with no heart.
Money is his mistress.
That doesnâ€™t stop him from having sex in his office on Christmas Eve with his secretary, Jinger Hunt.
Or keeping his beautiful fiancÃ©e, Monique Ashford, dangling on a string. Heâ€™s relentless in his pursuit of wealth and power. Wall Street is in his blood, along with the thrill of risking it all, but he canâ€™t forget the painful memories of Christmas when he was a kid.
Nick works hard, but plays harder in a gentlemen’s club called Mamieâ€™s. After a wild Christmas Eve at Mamieâ€™s, Nick is in a drunken stupor when he hears the eerie sound of rattling chains proclaiming the arrival of the tormented ghost of Charlie Harris, his dead partner.
The last thing Nick needs is Charlieâ€™s ghost telling him he is doomed to walk the earth for eternity, chained by his sins.
Whatâ€™s even more disturbing to Nick is the arrival of three sexy female ghosts, who warn him that if he doesnâ€™t change his ways he will lose it all, including Monique, the woman he loves.
On this naughty Christmas Eve, Nick will learn the terrifying full scope of where his life is headed because of his corporate greed. In a peek into the future that will shatter his every expectation, Nick realizes the choices he makes now will have deadly consequences for everyone he loves.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
By the time my post is up, OCC will have passed the 30 year mark. I can only imagine the whisperings and giggling and story plotting filling the hallways at the Embassy Suites this past weekend. How many bestsellers were born that weekend, we’ll never know.
How many lifelong friendships were born, well, that’s something we do know.
If you’re a member of OCC and/or a reader of this blog, then you’ve got friends. I’ve never known a more supportive group willing to share ideas, information and a hug when needed.
Now that the publishing business is in such a flux, it’s more important than ever to share ideas, whether it’s looking for a NY publisher to self-publishing. We will continue to encourage each other to follow our dreams because that’s what we do at OCC.
That’s what friends are for.
Whether it’s helping each other through a rejection (we all get them) or celebrating with a red or pink or white rose, we’re here for you.
Even when you can’t attend the meetings, the OCC newsletter is filled with encouragement and practical information for everyone from the pre-published to the published to the self-pubbed.
No one knows how all this change will work out, but one thing we do know: from print books to e-books to whatever the future will bring, OCC will always be there for its members.
I’m proud to be a member of OCC.
A bit of nostalgia: Here’s a photo I snapped at OCC’s 25th Birthday party showing our newsletters throughout the years:
From hunting cattle rustlers
To being hunted by a killer
A seductive spy. An alpha vampire. A hidden threat...More info →
Rita Calabrese finds her newfound journalistic zeal on a collision course with her fierce maternal instinct.More info →
The FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE box set includes three stories of romantic firsts.More info →