Not dead yet…

I just realized it’s been over a month since I posted. Ugh! Since I’ve been busy working on screenplays for the last five months (and life… how does anyone ever get anything accomplished in the middle of doctors’ appointments and dentist check ups and teens who insist they need to go to Target–RIGHT NOW for (fill in the blank) and laundry and shopping and should people really expect me to cook? No. And yet they do.)

Anyway, when I haven’t been writing screenplays, I’ve been reading or listening to courses on writing screenplays. Go ahead and ask me about Greek tragedies influence on cinema. I know things now.

Every once in awhile I get emails asking when the next  Slayers book will come out. And then I weep.

So… that’s been my life. It sort of feels like I’ve dropped off the face of the writing world, but I haven’t.

Answering three questions about becoming a writer

Sometimes people email me for school assignments or other types of assignments where they need to learn about how to become an author. I just got one such request and thoughts I would post the three answers I gave an aspiring writer.

1. What are your job responsibilities?
 As a writer, it probably won’t surprise you to find out that my main responsibility is to write books. Sometimes I have a deadline from the publisher and have to hole up like an unwashed obsessed person, trying to wrestle words from the air and pin them on the page. Other times, the deadlines are all internal and then my children get fed dinner once in a while. Publishers also expect you to do a large amount of marketing for your books. I hadn’t expected this when I got my first contract and I foolishly forgot to get a degree in marketing.  If you want to become a writer, the more you can learn about marketing, the better.
2. What training or education did you obtain to do the job?
 The nice thing about being a writer is that part of the education is reading a lot of books. However, you’ll also need to read books on writing and get some sort of a critique group that will give you feedback on your writing. If you can’t find a group near you, try an online critique group. Or you can also find critique groups by genre. Romance writers frequently join RWA etc.
Since you will also be receiving high degrees of criticism and rejection, I suggest you train for the job of a writer by going to high school. Every time you’re snubbed, you can tell yourself: That ain’t nothing. I can take it. I’m going to be a writer.
 3. What contributions does your job make to society?
 As a writer, my main contribution to society is to convince girls and women that there really are hot awesome guys around who are both romantic and witty. This may be a total lie. I’m not sure. I’m married to an electrical engineer. But because people need entertainment, it’s important for authors to provide good uplifting novels that readers don’t have to feel bad about reading. Hopefully, I do that too.

.99 romantic comedy and 25.00 Amazon gift card giveaway

These two novellas were so much fun to write–and I promise they’ll be even more fun to read because you won’t have to rewrite any sections. (That makes a huge difference in your enjoyment level.) And now, because I need Amazon reviews, the book is on sale and I’ll be giving away one 25.00 gift card to a reviewer on about June 29th. To be eligible, just review the book and then send me a link to your review at jrallisonfans @ yahoo.com. Random.org will choose the winner. Your review doesn’t have to be long or a five star–and as always with any of my ebooks, if you see a typo/grammar mistake feel free to tell me what and where they are. (I have about eight people proofread my books and things still slip by.)

Click Here to Buy My Fair Lacey & A Perfect Fit

Here is a description, and scroll down for an excerpt.

Lacey has dreamed of opening a restaurant for years – but first, she needs a loan. When Garrett Halifax, her roommate’s Harvard-educated brother, offers to help her clean up her appearance and manner to impress the bank manager, she jumps at the chance. She makes mistake after mistake, and perhaps the biggest mistake is falling for sexy Garret.

This modern retelling of My Fair Lady offers all the humor of the original movie with a splash of romance thrown in.

Jojo Halifax, Lacey’s roommate, believes that winning Echo Ridge’s float competition is just what her fledgling art career needs. And if that means giving her ex-boyfriend, Anthony, a second chance so she can be a designer on his team, well, she’s willing to make the sacrifice. But when a lost bet leads to a blind date with her brother’s friend, Wyatt, she begins to have second thoughts about second chances. Wyatt is handsome and charming and just might have been paid to make her forget about Anthony. Is falling for his charm worth the risk or should she take Anthony back again?

Excerpt:

Jojo and Wyatt were nearing their floor. “Anyway, whatever price Garrett paid for your services, it was worth it.”

Wyatt smiled. “Glad to know you’re satisfied.”

His answer shouldn’t have bothered Jojo, but it did. She’d made the comment tongue-in-cheek and had expected him to deny that Garrett was paying him anything. Instead, he’d confirmed it. What was Garrett paying him with? A favor called in? Cash? She hoped it wasn’t that. How much did make-my-sister-forget-her-boyfriend dates run? Hundreds? The more Garrett paid, the more pathetic it meant she was.

The elevator slowed to a stop and the door opened. Wyatt stepped into the hallway and paused, checking the numbers on the wall to see which way to go. Jojo followed him, rolling her overnight bag behind her.

“This way,” he said, heading to the left. His room was 2312; hers was 2310.

She kept pace beside him. “So you’re saying that Garrett actually paid you to take me out?”

“I didn’t say that. I just said I was glad you were satisfied.”

“Then he didn’t pay you?”

“I didn’t say that either.”

“Well, which is it?”

He gestured to the rooms on his right, completely unperturbed by her questioning. “Here are our rooms.”

“You’re not going to answer me?”

He paused in the hallway, seemed surprised by her insistence. “What are you really asking? Do you want me to tell you that you’re pretty enough and interesting enough to get a date without your brother’s help? You absolutely are. But I suspect you already know that. Girls who are as pretty as you are quite aware of it.”

The compliment washed over her, made her tingle. She was pretty and interesting. “Ah, thanks. You’re so sweet.” And then the next moment her doubts returned. “Wait, is my brother paying you to say things like that to me?”

Wyatt laughed, then unlocked his door. “I’ll be ready to go in five minutes. See you then.” He winked and disappeared inside, shutting the door.

That wink. Jojo would look stupid if she tried it, but Wyatt made the gesture flirtatious and intimate, like she’d gained entrance to his inner circle. A place she suddenly wanted to be.

As she walked into her room, she made a new goal for the evening. She would not do impulsive, foolish things, like throw herself at Wyatt in an attempt to get over Anthony. She would not flirt with him and try to get him to kiss her. Nothing good could come of that. Except, of course, the kissing part. With a guy like Wyatt, that was bound to be good.

Nope. She wouldn’t find out.

But then again, maybe she would.

 

Update on…everything

I had planned to finish Slayers before I did anything else. The story is so close to being done. Well, at least the rough draft is close. The finished, polished story is far from being done since revisions take months. But my agent called me the end of March and told me he wanted me to turn three of my books into screenplays.

The first problem with this instruction was that I don’t know how to write screenplays. It’s sort of like telling a comic creator to do a watercolor. Some of the principles are the same but it’s completely different medium. So I’ve been reading screenplay writing books and working on Just One Wish, and All is Fair in Love, War, and High School. When I’m done with those, my agent wants me to turn My Fair Godmother into both a screenplay and a pilot for a series. In case you’re wondering, writing series pilots is different then screenplays so I’ll have to learn another new skill.

In some ways it’s been good for me to work on something so different because it reminds me that learning is a process and I should have more understanding and patience for people who haven’t learned the craft of writing yet. Just because you tell people a rule and even give examples doesn’t mean they’ll know how to implement it. I’ve been told in screenwriting books to avoid overwriting, and I’m still not sure what that looks like.

It takes a lot of hours to learn a craft and I’m just at the beginning of that journey.

Part of me wants to stop with the screenplays after I finish All’s Fair and get the fifth Slayers done. Another part of me realizes that I have an agent for a reason, and I’m supposed to listen to his advice. Strike while the iron is hot, and all that. I might be able to make a decent wage as a screenwriter whereas I know I won’t make that working on the last Slayers book. Harsh truth, I know. But these last books have been a labor of love and not profit.

I also have been working on my novella: Covertly Yours, which is in the With a Kiss anthology. I and some amazing authors put this anthology together as a fundraiser for Rob Wells. It will only be available for six months so grab your copy now. (Amazon says it’s 666 pages. Apparently one of us should have written one more or one less page.)

Click here to buy With a Kiss

I’ve been at Storymakers and Phoenix Comic Fest where I filmed a whole bunch of episodes of So You Think You Can Write with amazing guest judges. Standby for episodes with Shannon Hale, Melanie Jacobson, Sarah Eden, Donna Hatch, Lisa Mangum, Ben Grange, Brandon Mull, James Owen, and Brandi Stewart (From Changing Hands). I’m probably forgetting someone. But trust me they were all awesome.

Those episodes will be coming out in the next month months.

And that’s what I’ve been doing and why I’m behind on everything, or at least behind on Slayers, which feels like everything.

A New Release: My Fair Lacey & A Perfect Fit

I grew up watching My Fair Lady. Loved it. Still do. In fact, I can sing along with several of the songs. (My personal tradition is to sing the I’m Getting Married in the Morning song to anyone the night before their wedding.)
There was only one thing wrong with the movie: not a good romance.
So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that I wrote a modern-day version with a hot guy. If you like My Fair Lady, you need this book for your collection.
After I wrote the story for the 3rd Echo Ridge Anthology, I knew I needed to write a story about Jojo, Lacey’s roommate too. That novella appeared in the 4th anthology.
Now you can have the two books together. I think they’re a perfect fit, if I do so say so myself… Here are their descriptions:
Lacey has dreamed of opening a restaurant for years – but first, she needs a loan. When Garrett Halifax, her roommate’s Harvard-educated brother, offers to help her clean up her appearance and manner to impress the bank manager, she jumps at the chance. She makes mistake after mistake, and perhaps the biggest mistake is falling for sexy Garret.
This modern retelling of My Fair Lady offers all the humor of the original movie with a splash of romance thrown in.
Jojo Halifax, Lacey’s roommate, believes that winning Echo Ridge’s float competition is just what her fledgling art career needs. And if that means giving her ex-boyfriend, Anthony, a second chance so she can be a designer on his team, well, she’s willing to make the sacrifice. But when a lost bet leads to a blind date with her brother’s friend, Wyatt, she begins to have second thoughts about second chances. Wyatt is handsome and charming and just might have been paid to make her forget about Anthony. Is falling for his charm worth the risk or should she take Anthony back again?
Romantic comedy lovers will eat these two novellas up!

Echo in Time audiobook giveaway.

The long-awaited (at least long awaited by me) audiobook of  Echo in Time is now available! And that means I have some Audible codes to give away to reviewers. I’ll be giving away 15 to commenters on this blog. (Yep, just comment. If there are more than 15 comments, I’ll use Random.org to choose the winners.)

Don’t have an Audible account? That could work out even better for you because when you sign up you get a free book so you can just choose Echo in Time  (Or you can get Erasing Time if you haven’t read the first one. The book contains spoilers.)

Did I mention it has an adorable British narrator? I swear, I love listening to accents so much that I want to just write books that take place across the pond.

Here’s the blurb and then I’ll give you directions to sign up if you don’t have an account.

Echo in Time delivers on “the possibility of an equally thrilling sequel” (Kirkus Reviews) to Erasing Time.

After being pulled 400 years into the future, twins Taylor and Sheridan have found some refuge from the government of Traventon, which used the dangerous Time Strainer to yank the girls from the past. Yet the threat of the dangerous technology still looms. Taylor and an ally, Joseph, are selected to go on a mission to destroy the time machine and weapon. But their actions before they do may have major consequences for the future and the past.

Action-packed and romantic, this futuristic sequel to Erasing Time is perfect for fans of dystopian and sci-fi novels such as The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and Matched by Ally Condie.

Here’s directions to join Audible and get Echo in Time for Free https://www.audible.com/t2/title?asin=B07CJW16ZB

If you already have an account, just comment and chances are good you’ll get one.