I haven’t looked at my blog in weeks. This has mostly been because I was in England for 17 days, then had my three out-of-state kids and two grandkids visiting for 3 1/2 weeks, and all last week I had my downstairs floor torn up and tiled. (As I write this, my downstairs toilet and sink are sitting on my back patio, making me look like the white trash house in the neighborhood.) Also, I’ve been helping my sons with their books. Yes, both of my sons–neither of which liked to read growing up–have written books. My daughters who love to read and have actually considered writing books–they haven’t written anything for you.
James’s book already has a publisher, (They contacted him with the idea of writing a book–which never happens to authors.) and will be out in April 2018. It will probably sell more than all of my books combined, but whatever. No one is more proud of his success as a youtuber than I am.
Anyway, you’ll be glad to hear that throughout the renovations, I’ve been busy working on Slayers 4.
It’s now about 500 pages long and I still have a few scenes to add. Plus I haven’t decided whether to leave one of the characters dead or unkill him. I’ve written the ending two different ways–one for Team Jesse and one for Team Dirk. Yes, I am trying to make everyone happy… and I have to say, it’s sort of weird. Like, my brain doesn’t know which ending is the truth. This is probably why more authors don’t use this technique.
My romantic comedy novella A Perfect Fit is done–yay–and will be out in September.
I also am waiting from my Disney editor to get back to me on several projects, and hoping I can finish the Slayers series before putting anything else on my plate.
And I’m avoiding talking to my agent about that WWII romance that I’ve been researching for the last year. It doesn’t need to be written right now…
So that’s the update. Someone create more time and send me some!
I just came home from an awesome week of teaching at WIFYR. I always take my work-out clothes and tennis shoes when I go to writers’ conferences—which proves that I am an optimist and that I don’t learn from past experiences. Because I never have time to exercise at conferences. I am talking with other authors into the night and then reviewing student’s manuscripts.
Erasing Time is now available as an audio book, which means I will soon have some audio codes for reviewers. I thought I would do a giveaway on my blog. Here’s what you’ll need to do for a chance to win one:
- Have an Audible.com account or be willing to set one up for a month so I can give you a code. (You can cancel afterwards, although to tell you the truth, you might become addicted to audio books the way I have. It’s so much more fun to clean, drive, or put on makeup while listening to a book.)
- Be willing to review the audio book (and you can use the same review to review the regular book on Amazon.)
- Leave me a comment telling me where you’d go if you had a time machine.
Here’s info about the book:
When twins Sheridan and Taylor wake up 400 years in the future, they find a changed world: domed cities, no animals, and a language that’s so different, it barely sounds like English. And the worst news: They can’t go back home.
The 25th-century government transported the girls to their city hoping to find a famous scientist to help perfect a devastating new weapon. The same government has implanted tracking devices in the citizens, limiting and examining everything they do. Taylor and Sheridan have to find a way out of the city before the government discovers their secrets. To complicate matters, the mob-like Dakine has interest in getting hold of them, too. The only way for the girls to elude their pursuers is to put their trust in Echo, a guy with secrets of his own. The trio must put their faith in the unknown to make a harrowing escape into the wilds beyond the city.
Full of adrenaline-injected chases and heartbreaking confessions, Erasing Time explores the strength of the bonds between twins, the risks and rewards of trust, and the hard road to finding the courage to fight for what you believe in.
If you already have an audible account and just want to order it (or if you want to set up an account–new accounts earn one free book) here’s the direct link: Order Erasing Time!
Another Whitney Awards has come and gone and I know you’re all wondering if I managed to retain my title of: Author with the Most Books Nominated Who Has Never Actually Won a Whitney.
Yes, yes I have.
Fitting or not, I feel that my most lasting legacy to the writing world will be the annual Loser Cheesecake photos.
This tradition was born the second year of the Whitney Awards when Julie Wright and I began a photo shoot depicting the effects of losing a Whitney. Mostly, the effects involve eating large amounts of chocolate.
I admit that this picture makes me laugh every time I see it.
This year, Tamara Heiner came up to me after the awards and told me she thought I was very gracious and handled losing well. I should have told her that practice makes perfect but I’m not nearly as witty as my characters. Maybe I’ll use that line in a book someday, though.
On the bright side, I did win the James Dashner Shrine that they give away at conference. This consists of a paper James Dashner mask, a framed picture of him and Jeff Savage, and plastic cup and notebook with his movie title misspelled. I proudly posted the picture on Facebook and had about twenty people congratulated me as though it was an actual accomplishment. In actuality, James pulled my name out of a bowl. Still, I’ll take my congratulations where I can.
As I’ve been getting the book The Girl Who Heard Demons ready for paperback format, I read over a few of the comments the editor made and the comments I made back to her. During a scene where the main character has been kidnapped and duct tape placed over her mouth, I had her say several lines of dialogue to the villain.
The editor asked how she was talking and how she managed to break the seal of the duct tape. This was my reply to her:
I have a WWII romance in the writing queue. After finishing Slayers 4, an Echo Ridge romance novella, and an upcoming project that I haven’t seen the contract for so I won’t announce yet, I will finish it. And because I know it’s there I’ve been watching WWII documentaries and reading books set in WWII for about a year. Here are some things that will happen to you if you study the subject as well.
- You will be hungry. Seriously. I don’t think you can learn about Leningrad or rationing without getting hungry–or looking at your pantry and wondering how long you’d last if war broke our. Or stockpiling food because of the aforementioned question.
- You sources won’t always be clear. I watched one documentary yesterday that said Britain had 40 million people living there during the war. One today said 50 million. Ten million is quite a difference when it comes to a place the size of Idaho. Germany and England have different dates for how long they think the Battle of Britain lasted. How can I be accurate when my sources (in this case both documentaries put out by the government during the war) contradicts itself?
- You will be dumbfounded. I can’t wrap my mind around the magnitude of this war or the depths to which humanity will sink. I understand madmen exist. It’s so much harder to understand that nations will follow them. And it wasn’t just Hitler. The atrocities from Japan were just as bad. And Stalin was in some ways worst because he committed atrocities against his own people. (And Russia was helping Germany up until the day Germany betrayed Russia and attacked them. I haven’t learned much about Italy but I’m assuming it wasn’t much better. ) How could that many people be so brutal?
- For every one question you find an answer for, it will raise two other questions. I finally decided on a bomber for my German character and in doing so learned that they didn’t just take off from Germany and France. They also had air bases in Norway and Belgium. Now I’ve got to figure out which base his squadron came from on the day of the attack in Chapter one. At the rate I’m going, I will never finish researching.
- You will see death. It’s odd to look at the footage of crashing planes or dead soldiers and realize this isn’t Hollywood’s fakery. It’s real death. I’ve seen the moments before someone died captured on film. Over and over again. I’ve seen countless dead bodies that used to be someone’s son, brother, father, husband. These people had plans, goals, and personalities before war came and cut them all short. And it’s horrible to see and know that it’s real. Yet at the same time, I think every person alive should learn about WW2. It’s not just history, it’s the ultimate cautionary tale.
I admit I wasn’t planning on killing off any of the slayers in the last book of the series. I made this decision for two reasons. One, I don’t like books or movies where characters I like die. I still haven’t forgiven George Lucas for killing off Qui-gon Jinn. We will not even discuss Han Solo. As far as I’m concerned, that death never happened. So I’m not one to just randomly kill off a character because death seems like an interesting plot twist. And number two, I want the book to end with mostly happy scenes. I have a scene where all of the slayers are together the day after the climax talking and laughing and feeling like normal teenagers again. That scene wouldn’t really work if they were simultaneously mourning the death of one of their own.
That said, one of my author friends (Randy Lindsey) reminded me that if no one dies during the journey, the journey doesn’t seem like it was that hard or that dangerous. Authors have to kill off someone to show that the struggle was hard. It’s kind of an author rule. (If you don’t like books where characters die, this is your notice that Randy’s books might not be your cup of tea. Just saying.)
Randy has a point. Even though I don’t like this point. I’m considering killing off Tori’s horse. Although people don’t really like books where animals die, and it’s not like she had that close of a relationship with her horse. True, they spent time together in the first book. But since the next books takes place during the school year and not at camp we don’t see Tori with her horse very much after book one.
Of course, this isn’t to say that I didn’t plan on killing anyone. One of the bad guys meets an unfortunate end in the last book. In the Team Jesse version of the book, *spoiler alert* I planned on killing Overdrake. Then in the Team Dirk version of the book, I had to unkill him because I didn’t think that Dirk would care about romance with Tori if he’d just seen his father killed.
So what do you guys think,? Do I need to kill off a good character to make the journey feel like the struggle was hard enough? I could kill off one of the minor slayers but then does that really count? And even though he/she was a minor character, again the slayers would seem heartless if they were laughing and joking around the day afterward.
Several cities in the nation get trashed in the last book is that enough?
I usually try to blog once a week, but as you may have noticed it’s been ten days since I actually posted anything. This is because I am valiantly trying to finish Slayers 4 (111,000 words right now) and I’m also listening to audio files for Erasing Time.
Slayers 4, by the way, feels like it will never end. Nope. Yesterday, I had three scenes until I finished. I wrote most of one scene and then this morning realized I needed to add another scene. So now I have 3 1/2 scenes left to write. See, I’m actually losing ground.
This sounds like she’s been held captive somewhere, doesn’t it? Not so. Well, unless you count my computer as a place of captivity. Although if we’re speaking metaphorically, I’m the only one that my computer really holds captive because I will not be truly free until I finish Slayers 4. But we’re not talking about that right now. (Janette looks around for chocolate.) Because we’re celebrating a charming romance novella (It’s 125 pages, so it’s half a book.) that’s part of a romance anthology with romance veterans Rachel J Christensen, Cami Checketts, Heather Tullis, and Lucy McConnell.
If you’ve ever sung one of the My Fair Lady songs or wished Professor Higgens was younger, hotter, and nicer, you’ll love this story.
Lacey Johnson has dreamed of opening a restaurant for years. All she needs is one little loan to make it happen. But with the way Lacey talks and dresses, she looks more like someone who would hold up a bank than someone who’d ever get a loan from one. When Garrett Halifax, her roommate’s Harvard-educated brother, volunteers to change her image and teach her to speak correctly, she jumps at the chance. But she quickly finds she’s in over her head. Pretending to fit in with the town’s elite is harder than she thought, and despite her best efforts, she’s falling for Garrett. Could someone who is handsome, rich, and educated ever consider her as more than just a project?