Roslyn Bane

I was pleased when Ros Bane accepted my invitation to be one of the first guest bloggers on my website. We live close enough to each other that not only have we have become colleagues, but also friends since our first meeting back in 2015. I’m blessed to have a group of fellow authors I can bounce ideas off of and get encouragement from when needed. BJ Phillips, CJ Murphy, and Ros Bane all serve in that role of support team. I’m blessed to have several other FB friends who beta read for me and provide important detail when it’s needed. How could I have written Match Me without their feedback, or the information supplied, by some readers and FB friends on current slang, customs obstacles, and highlights of things to do in Key west or other island locales.

 I just had the pleasure of proofing her coming book, Time For Terri, expanded second edition. I think you’ll enjoy that one as much as I did. Keep an eye out for it here when it’s released.

                                                                                          AJ Adaire


When AJ first contacted me about doing a guest blog I agreed. After several days of thinking about it, I had no idea what to talk about. After much pondering I decided to start at the beginning.  I first met AJ at the GCLS conference in Alexandria, Virginia in 2015. Several weeks later I would see her again at a birthday party for a mutual friend. We sat down to discuss books, and AJ asked what I was working on. I had just completed The Long Way Home and proceeded to tell her about it. Intrigued, she asked who I was going to pitch the book to and she suggested her publisher. Desert Palm Press liked the story, but it needed work. Several months later, nervous about resubmitting, AJ volunteered to read the story and proceeded to give me numerous grammar lessons and other suggestions. CJ Murphy and I have joked about our Yoda, and without AJ’s guidance, I think I would have had significantly harder time learning the craft. I was also able to attend the GCLS Writing Academy and was taught by some amazing instructors.

I started writing while at home recovering from surgery. I watch very little television and after one week at home was bored. The winter weather kept me from going outside and desperate for something to occupy my time I started cleaning up computer files. Exciting. In that process I found two chapters of a story I had started years before and given up on.  But now I had time, loads of it, so I started reading everything I could about how to write a story. Plotting, setting, dialogue, character development, goals, motivation, conflict. All of these were new concepts. I started reading popular authors, to see how the masters crafted their stories.  They do it so subtly I would get lost in the story and forget that I was reading for knowledge not entertainment.

Finally, the moment arrived when I thought I was ready to try crafting a story. Working one handed I sat at the computer and started to type. I am not a particularly fast at typing but typing one handed was painfully slow. Finally, desperate to get my ideas down faster I started writing long handed in steno books. Weeks turned into months and the pile of steno books got taller. Winter faded, and spring arrived. I was finally able to get outside without fear of falling on the ice. Sitting on the porch I started transcribing my notoriously bad handwriting to the computer. Forty-two Steno pads. I never finished.

I did however pull one of the characters out and started a new story. Several months later my first novella was finished and shortly thereafter Time For Terri was published by Liquid Silver. Research started immediately on The Long Way Home, and three months later I started writing that story. Two years passed between the novels.  I am not a fast writer. It is something I do for fun. Imaginary people enter my mind and won’t leave me alone until I tell their story. 

My ideas are often inspired by observing people walking by on the street, or in a store. Something about them draws my eye and my mind starts to spin. Then a what if scenario emerges and the story starts to come to life. My stories usually have at least one scene that did indeed occur in real life.

 Sometimes it is as simple as what the characters are preparing for dinner is what I had that night.  Perhaps a song that is playing on the radio while I write appears in the story. 

 I enjoy being outside and usually have a camera with me. Photography is a passion of mine. I prefer landscape photography and capturing the sunrise or sunset. I often look for unusual perspectives to shoot from. I rarely manipulate photos with photoshop but prefer to use filters on the front of the camera to get the image I want. Old fashioned, but it adds is to the suspense of seeing what I have captured with the camera. Photography along with kayaking have become my stress relief valves. Now I just have to get brave enough to take a camera in the kayak.

Current writing projects include The Last Line of Defense, the long awaited second book in the Smoky Mountain Romance series. Also, a stand alone novel featuring women in their 4th and 5th decades is underway.

Finally, someone asked me what advice I would I give to someone just starting out writing.  Several thoughts come to mind. First write every day. Even if it is only fifty words, write them down. This helps to carve out the time to write from your busy day and it starts to become a priority.  Second, join a writers group. Join GCLS and /or RWA (Romance Writers of America.)  It is true that RWA is predominantly filled with heterosexual writers, but LGBT writers are welcomed. There are hundreds of exceptional writers in the organization and with over 100 chapters throughout the USA you are sure to find something close. Under the RWA umbrella there are affordable classes that run anywhere from two weeks to one month on just about any writing topic you think of. Third, stamina is needed to complete the first draft, but thick skin is needed for the rest of the process. Revisions can seem painful, but ultimately lead to a stronger book.  Finally, your story is your baby. You have slaved over it, nurtured it, groomed it, and watched it grow to become a complete book. You are proud of it. It belongs to you…until you sign a contract. Then it belongs to you and your publisher…until it is released to the public.  Then the book belongs to the reader. And they can think anything they want about the book. There will be good reviews and bad reviews, the bad reviews may seem unusually harsh, or may even seem to be a personal attack. For that I refer you back to number three. Writing is not for the faint of heart or the thin skinned. But if you never finish the first draft, you’ll never know if you are good enough. Persevere.

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© JEN 2014