Author Archives: SeeJanePublish

The End Is The Beginning… by Nancy Brophy

 

Two years ago, Kim, Susan and I sat together planning the beginning of See Jane Publish. Yes, there was probably alcohol involved. With minimum floundering we began a blog site and recorded our separate journeys into the changing world of publishing.

Susan and I tested the waters of self-publishing while Kim headed in the direction of editing. It was a heady time. I thought I would never run out of words and those friends who know me would probably have agreed. But time brings change.

The advent of a new career has taken a toil on my writing spirit. The uphill learning curve required by a new job has depleted my creative thoughts and I have found for the past month, I had nothing to say. For the first time in my life I sit in front of a computer screen and ponder the blank page.

For me it is time to drop back and recharge.

Jessie Smith a frequent guest blogger agreed to take over the management of See Jane, bringing in fresh voices and new perspectives. Occasionally I will drop in to poke and prod my fellow writers, but for now I will sit on the sidelines.

To those who read my words, thank you. Even if you didn’t agree, I found your comments insightful and appreciated the opportunity See Jane provided.

I won’t say goodbye, but instead will end with … until we meet again.

Bonehead move

I misspelt Jenna’s name – please Google her at: WWW.JENNAZINE.COM.

 

Welcome Jenna Zine, Guest Blogger

We are delighted to welcome Jenna Zine as a guest blogger today.  We found her insights delightful and know you will, too. Her words will give you insight into a  Jane In the making…
I’m writing my first novel. It’s made for some of the greatest joy – and greatest hell – I’ve known. The days when I actually sit down, get in the flow, and create some hilarious dialogue? Those are heady moments. Other days are spent popping in and out of my chair, clinging to every distraction I can possibly justify. It turns out I can justify a lot – and my apartment is usually sparkling clean in testament to this fact.bigstock-opened-book-lying-on-the-book-12763865

But, in the end, I keep writing. And, every once in awhile, I’m rewarded with a burst of creativity or an answer to a pesky plot problem. The great thing about the craft is, as much as it is in life, these things happen when we least expect them. Such was the setting when my husband and I randomly dropped into Clyde Common (a restaurant in downtown Portland) before seeing a film at the Living Room Theater. I had recently penned a scene where one of my characters is dining at Clyde Common. She gets in a fight with her husband and runs off to the bathroom to cry. (Good thing it’s fiction – I had a lovely time there with my honey!) I had my character slipping into a stall to bawl, subsequently sitting in pee and having to use the hand dryer to dry the back of her pants. (Did I mention I’m penning a best seller?) While sipping a cocktail with Larry I suddenly realized, “Oh my gosh, I’m here! I should actually check out what the bathroom looks like.” I excused myself, in the name of research. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the ladies’ room was exactly the opposite of how I’d described it. There are no stalls; it’s two gender neutral rooms. Pop in, lock the door and have at it! And when it’s time to wash your hands you’ll find paper towels. Not a hand dryer in sight.

My point? I didn’t research, I assumed. I picked a popular Portland eatery, checked out their menu online and wove it into my novel. One of the hooks in my plot is the backdrop of the city of Portland. There are generous doses of history, people, places and things. I want those things to feel as vivid to the reader as they are to me when I experience them in real life. I want someone to come here, based on reading my novel. I want them to think, “Oh, that’s where Amy had that crazy fight with James. That restaurant sounded cool. Let’s go check it out.” And, when my reader has to pee, I want them to have an authentic experience. I won’t promise you a hand dryer when I’m really schilling paper towels. Even the tiniest detail will be as true as I can make it. I promise to research every bathroom in the Northwest if it means I get it right. And it’s what I hope will make my sweet little Chick Lit novel great.

Happy Sunday and a Giveaway!

Hi all!

So, it’s been a loonnng time since I’ve posted. I know that Susan, Darla and Nancy with assistance from Jessie, have done a wonderful job of keeping things going. I have lots to tell you about my journey, my life, lately but today, with the temperatures being cool (lower 60s) and things turning around a bit, I’m in fabulous mood so I want to share with you all this nice Sunday.

I’m going to do a giveaway of a $25.00 Amazon, Barnes & Noble or store of your choice gift certificate today!

All you have to do to get a chance to win is pop on, say hi and tell me what you are doing today. That’s it!  How much easier can that be? Oh wait, leave me your email address so I can notify you if you win.

Tonight, after 8:00 p.m. Pacific, I’ll post the winner.

And who knows, I might have other stuff to giveaway. :)

Have a lovely day!

Getting Through… by Nancy Brophy

I was with a man a while back who said his entire life was on his smart phone, essential implying his phone held his schedule and to accomplish everything he needed to do, he did what his phone told him to do next.

I know this is another sign I’m old, but technology has let me down too many times to have gained my complete trust.

I am a list maker.

While I’m willing to use the computer to create the list, in actuality, I need the printed paper to function. Otherwise I shop with the intention of buying a loaf of bread and a jug of milk and come home with $250.00 worth of groceries and no milk. Not to mention a husband who stares at the table loaded with grocery bags and asks, “were you hungry?”

Maybe. Or perhaps I just needed to fill in the gaps in my life and thought a bag of chips or a candy bar would help.

A friend of mine died this past week. She had cancer. Her family owns an equestrian center and this weekend was their biggest show of the year. With riders coming from great distances to attend, the show couldn’t be cancelled. All the family could do was grit their teeth, don a stoic mask and get through it. Keeping busy probably helped.

Because I was asked, I cancelled my plans and resumed a temporary “job role” to help out. Skills I hadn’t used in a while, kicked into auto-drive as I created lists that needed to be accomplished. Each list spawned off-spring until my whole life was one big sticky note.

The event went smoothly. At least I think it did. The only portion I focused on was my small wedge of the pie and on the surface that went smoothly. But old memories were dredged up – both good and bad. And who I wanted to tell was my friend. She would have laughed and added stories of her own.

But another interesting thing happened. I lost one friend, but others, both friends and co-workers that I hadn’t seen for years re-appeared to help me pull this off. I am grateful to each of them. In the face of death I am reminded that life is a constant re-birth.

One day I will write a story about this and it will be more eloquent because I will have both distance and insight. But for today, I am going to lay in bed and rest my feet. Tomorrow is soon enough for wisdom.

And They Say There Are No Happily-ever-afters… by Nancy Brophy

I had a light bulb moment last week which dovetails nicely into some of my recent posts about how one can never see all the ripples in the water. All we can do is observe where the stone entered the pond.

As many of you know, my house burned a few years ago. When we built back we decided to add a deck. In order to do so we needed to move our ancient hot tub. The tub was all ready on its last leg. The move killed the outside supporting structure, combined with the fact the filter no longer worked properly and the heater needed to be replaced.

It was huge, designed for eight people to sit comfortably. We don’t know eight people who would want to be present in a hot tub with us. Plus – and this may fall into the TMI category – my husband and I aren’t always 100 percent fully clothed while using the tub.

Our lives have changed since we first purchased the home. We are older. I no longer work on my feet all day. Did we really need to replace the tub? We put that decision on the back burner. We hemmed. We hawed. One day.  Maybe, we said…

But a funny thing happened. Dan had a week off from school, so we went on vacation, spending a couple  of days getting away from it all at the Kennedy School. Neither one of us had the time to take a “real” trip, so we settled on a vacation across town in an air-conditioned room without a television.  And we had a really good time.

Several hours were spent soaking in the hot salt-water pool (clothed enough to not embarrass ourselves). We talked. My husband and I are happily married which for the most part provides me with a great deal of joy. But I realized that without the hot tub, we still talk, but now we have the backdrop of the TV or we’re only half paying attention because we are also working on another project.

Our backyard hot tub was about relaxation and winding down, but it was also about the intimacy between two people who listened to what was going on in the other person’s life. Each of us prodded and poked until the mask fell and let the other see us as we truly are.

This week, Dan returns to teaching and me – well, I am shopping for a new hot tub.  Our characters are not the only one who must reveal themselves. In real life as in fiction, having someone who understands you and loves you anyway is beyond value. And for the relatively cheap price of a hot tub I can achieve help create this feeling over and over again.

Congratulations to the Winners!

Let's PartyThe best laid plans of mice and men…

I’m late but very pleased to announce the winners of See Jane Publish’s 2 year anniversary celebration we had the middle of June. Where does time go? I’m beginning to think that is a recurrent pondering I have since most days seem to pass by in a blink.

Without further ado, here are the winners. To claim your prize, please email me at rwakw@yahoo.com no later than next Sunday.

Jamie
Barb Robinson
Sarah
Paty Jager
Sari
Susan E
Maggie Faire
Sabrina York
bn100

Digital Copy of:
Girl Most Likely To…
Dragon’s Thief
Jane’s Long March Home
The London Affair
Hell On The Heart
Blind Faith
Relic Defender: Key of Solomon
Children of Egypt: Blood on the Moon
Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Print Copy of:
Relic Defender: Key of Solomon
Children of Egypt: Blood on the moon

Other:
Notebook with  Dragon’s Thief book cover 9×6 with lined pages

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We’d also love to welcome our newest subscribers:

Lisa Writes
Jessa Gray
Renea Mason
Kathy Wheeler
Kristen Machado
Manda
Viola Cross

For joining us during our anniversary, I put your names into the nifty randomizer my husband created for me and am tickled to announce that Renea Mason won the $25 Amazon gift certificate!

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Now, for the grand prize of the Kindle Fire Tablet – 7″ LCD Display, Wi-Fi, 8GB drawn randomly from the 150+ subscribers we had during our anniversary celebration.

The winner, who has been with us for 11.5 months is: Christine Friesenhahn

Congratulations Christine!

Again, to claim your prize, please email me at rwakw@yahoo.com.

 

Thank you to all of you who not only helped us celebrate our two year anniversary but who help us celebrate every day by subscribing and commenting. Honestly, I don’t know about the other Janes’ but I’m surprised to still be blogging this long. However, more than surprised, I’m thrilled.

Hope the rest of your summer is fabulous!

Happy 4th of July! 9 Things You May Not Know

Hope your 4th of July was a bang of a celebration and I don’t mean the fireworks. I’ve also found the 4th fascinating but all I ever knew was the history taught in school–well, the history I remembered. As I’m sitting here, watching Independence Day, trying to soothe my 8 month old puppy who is not having a good first 4th celebration and listening to the two older dogs bark with each crackle, pop and bang, I got to thinking (and remembering) past celebrations from driving with my parents to the high school and sitting on a small hillside on blankets munching on hot dogs and popcorn while fireworks burst overhead to sitting near a seawall on Oahu and watching the colors gleam off the Pacific.

Many fond memories.

So, even though I’m very late, I thought I’d share a little history of our great American celebration. I can’t take credit for this information–I found it http://www.history.com/news/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-declaration-of-independence/?cmpid=INT_Outbrain_HITH_HIS&obref=obnetwork but I enjoyed it so much, I thought you might as well.

There were several things I either never knew or had forgotten. How about you?

1. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4, 1776. On July 1, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, and on the following day 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s motion for independence. The delegates then spent the next two days debating and revising the language of a statement drafted by Thomas Jefferson. On July 4, Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, and as a result the date is celebrated as Independence Day. Nearly a month would go by, however, before the actual signing of the document took place. First, New York’s delegates didn’t officially give their support until July 9 because their home assembly hadn’t yet authorized them to vote in favor of independence. Next, it took two weeks for the Declaration to be “engrossed”—written on parchment in a clear hand. Most of the delegates signed on August 2, but several—Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean and Matthew Thornton—signed on a later date. (Two others, John Dickinson and Robert R. Livingston, never signed at all.) The signed parchment copy now resides at the National Archives in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, alongside the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

2. More than one copy exists. After the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the “Committee of Five”—Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston—was charged with overseeing the reproduction of the approved text. This was completed at the shop of Philadelphia printer John Dunlap. On July 5, Dunlap’s copies were dispatched across the 13 colonies to newspapers, local officials and the commanders of the Continental troops. These rare documents, known as “Dunlap broadsides,” predate the engrossed version signed by the delegates. Of the hundreds thought to have been printed on the night of July 4, only 26 copies survive. Most are held in museum and library collections, but three are privately owned.

3. When news of the Declaration of Independence reached New York City, it started a riot. By July 9, 1776, a copy of the Declaration of Independence had reached New York City. With hundreds of British naval ships occupying New York Harbor, revolutionary spirit and military tensions were running high. George Washington, commander of the Continental forces in New York, read the document aloud in front of City Hall. A raucous crowd cheered the inspiring words, and later that day tore down a nearby statue of George III. The statue was subsequently melted down and shaped into more than 42,000 musket balls for the fledgling American army.

4. Eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Britain. While the majority of the members of the Second Continental Congress were native-born Americans, eight of the men voting for independence from Britain were born there. Gwinnett Button and Robert Morris were born in England, Francis Lewis was born in Wales, James Wilson and John Witherspoon were born in Scotland, George Taylor and Matthew Thornton were born in Ireland and James Smith hailed from Northern Ireland.

5. One signer later recanted. Richard Stockton, a lawyer from Princeton, New Jersey, became the only signer of the Declaration of Independence to recant his support of the revolution. On November 30, 1776, the hapless delegate was captured by the British and thrown in jail. After months of harsh treatment and meager rations, Stockton repudiated his signature on the Declaration of Independence and swore his allegiance to King George III. A broken man when he regained his freedom, he took a new oath of loyalty to the state of New Jersey in December 1777.

4th6. There was a 44-year age difference between the youngest and oldest signers. The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin, 70 years old when he scrawled his name on the parchment. The youngest was Edward Rutledge, a lawyer from South Carolina who was only 26 at the time. Rutledge narrowly beat out fellow South Carolinian Thomas Lynch Jr., just four months his senior, for the title.

7. Two additional copies have been found in the last 25 years. In 1989, a Philadelphia man found an original Dunlap Broadside hidden in the back of a picture frame he bought at a flea market for $4. One of the few surviving copies from the official first printing of the Declaration, it was in excellent condition and sold for $8.1 million in 2000. A 26th known Dunlap broadside emerged at the British National Archives in 2009, hidden for centuries in a box of papers captured from American colonists during the Revolutionary War. One of three Dunlap broadsides at the National Archives, the copy remains there to this day.

8. The Declaration of Independence spent World War II in Fort Knox. On December 23, 1941, just over two weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the signed Declaration, together with the Constitution, was removed from public display and prepared for evacuation out of Washington, D.C. Under the supervision of armed guards, the founding document was packed in a specially designed container, latched with padlocks, sealed with lead and placed in a larger box. All told, 150 pounds of protective gear surrounded the parchment. On December 26 and 27, accompanied by Secret Service agents, it traveled by train to Louisville, Kentucky, where a cavalry troop of the 13th Armored Division escorted it to Fort Knox. The Declaration was returned to Washington, D.C., in 1944.

9. There is something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence. In the movie “National Treasure,” Nicholas Cage’s character claims that the back of the Declaration contains a treasure map with encrypted instructions from the founding fathers, written in invisible ink. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is, however, a simpler message, written upside-down across the bottom of the signed document: “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” No one knows who exactly wrote this or when, but during the Revolutionary War years the parchment was frequently rolled up for transport. It’s thought that the text was added as a label.

 

P.S. On Saturday, I will announce the winners of our anniversary celebration giveaways, including the Kindle Fire HD so check back then to see if you’ve won.

Story Telling… by Nancy Brophy

We learn though action, but all experiences are not universal. My brother visited from Austin, Texas and last Monday morning we went to the Oregon Coast. His knowledge of the beach is the Gulf in June. Hot. Sunny. Tar, dead jelly fish, and sun-burns from frolicking on the beach.

But the Oregon weather was cold and rainy. The men (not him) were dressed in overalls, rubber boots, and flannel shirts. Sun-burns were unlikely and a lot of people were armed with shovels or had their arm buried to the shoulder in cold sand while digging for clams.

So when a book’s setting is June at the beach, what image do you visualize?

I am currently writing a story that changes locale. Think about the difference in weather in January between Chicago, Illinois – Rome, Italy – Washington DC, and Portland, Oregon. While I don’t exactly hate research, I don’t love it either. But some facts have to be accurate, but there is latitude. Today, only one week later the weather is 95 degrees and Portland is gritting its collective teeth to get through the five-day heat wave.

Emotions are more universal than calendar months. Even if you’ve never been angry enough to kill someone, you recognize anger in yourself. Or the first gut-wrenching stirrings of love. Was it love or the flu? In books we put our heroes and heroines though the wringer. While in real life we wouldn’t go through the agony. If a relationship is too much work, most of us simply move on.

Our job as writers is to tap into the universal emotions of the reader while telling a unique story or a fresh twist on an old tale. Writing takes a lot of focus. I marvel at the woman who became a best-selling author while mothering nine kids.

Computers and most appliances were designed for efficiency – time-saving devices for the modern family. If that is true, why am I busier than ever? Henry Ford designed the black Model T, then became annoyed with the American consumer who wanted it in blue or white. Foolish waste of money for an industry he’d invented.

Everything we do is like throwing a rock in a pond. To a point we can control the rock, but the ripples created take us places we never dreamed. One can’t tell how they will influence others, all we can do is put our words on paper and hope they are good enough.

The Decades of Our Lives… by Nancy Brophy

I’ve lived my life in units of time. Childhood I remember as idyllic because my parents shielded me from reality and in truth I was oblivious. Even when we learned to huddle under our wooden desks in case of an atomic attack and my parents installed a bomb shelter ten feet from our back yard jungle gym, it never occurred to me that anything bad could happen.

The sixties were my awakening. While world events such as the Summer of Love passed by a small, isolated town in North Texas, I eventually broke out of the cocoon and went to college to join the protests. I look back on that time and know that people who are currently my age must have thought America and the proverbial hand basket were making their final descent into hell. There are many days I feel that way now. And while this is another period of change, it is nothing like the 1960s.

I spent my twenties trying to figure out who I was. What did I really believe? I tried to separate conventional wisdom from my upbringing to discover what made me tick. From Texas I moved to Indiana and back to Texas, married and divorced. Careers were discarded like wardrobe changes on a fat day. Happiness eluded me.

With the advent of my thirties, my life improved, but I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I dated, tried more job opportunities. I left Texas for Denver for a closer view of the mountains, but less money. My happiness increased as my confidence grew.

The forties were my decade. I shined. I went back to school and settled into a career. My current husband appeared as part of the move-to-Oregon package. Like the old joke goes – after the first dog left home, I built a stronger fence and put out better food. Two decades later than most, I found out who I was and sculptured my life to look somewhat like what I had envisioned.

Most of my fellow romance authors have lived through similar stages. They’ve married and divorced. Some have remarried. They’ve changed careers, gone back to school, had kids and lived one day at a time. But I think they write romance because somewhere along the line, they found a joy that they could communicate which had gotten them through the bad times.

Someone asked me why I wrote commercial fiction rather than literary fiction. My answer was simple. I live literary fiction. Like you – I need to escape into a good book. Give me a pretty man, a strong woman and an uphill climb with hot sex and I’m prepared to stay up all night to get to a happy ending. How about you? Why do you read/write/escape?

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