Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Introducing… March 26, 2008

Who is Jane Mulberry Jones and why is she writing this blog?

 

This is where I think out loud about my writing. I used to keep a writing journal, now I blog.

Why?

It’s more fun, I get some feedback  from interesting people who either agree with me or tell me I’m nuts, and putting it “out there” in the blogosphere somehow makes me feel more accountable to follow through on my goals.

But bear in mind, this is purely my opinion, it’s all subject to change without notice, and what do I know about writing anyway? I’m still unpublished (well apart from a few professional articles, and some short stories in my college magazine, but they don’t really count- fiction is where it’s at for me!)

Okay- who am I?

I am Jane, a 47 year old  incorrigibly middle aged youthed (Jeez, am I really 50 already?) hopelessly hopeful wannabee romance writer, living in a small town just north of London. I’m Australian, but have lived in England for 12 13  14 years now, after coming for a one year working holiday that grew, and grew, and….  I now work almost entirely with Americans, so I find myself plotting stories set in all three countries!

I miss my family and the sunshine, but there are some compensations. Like the sense of history when I’m wandering along the River Thames in London, or hurrying along cobbled streets past medieval buildings in Cambridge;  enjoying Christmas when it’s actually cold and chestnuts roasting on an open fire are appropriate not anachronistic;  and of course my infuriating oh so lovable English husband, who proves a bald spot is no hindrance to true Alphadom.  

I’ve worked as a nurse or midwife for over 30 years now (saying that makes me feel very very old, when did that happen?). I had professional articles published, but never lost the longing to write fiction, and see it published. I’ve written stories since I first learned to write, had my first rejection of a submitted magazine story at 14, accumulated a box full of unfinished romances in my twenties, then got sidetracked moving to England and pursuing other dreams, motherhood being the biggie.  I eventually had to accept that was never going to work out, after a series of unexplained miscarriages. 

In December 2007, I decided to put my focus back on another old dream, getting a story published by Mills and Boon, sticking with it, and ultimately becoming a full-time writer. Got off to a flying start writing a 50,000 word story in JanNo 2008, then entering a different story in the HMB Instant Seduction competition in February 2008, after first hearing of the contest only 17 days before the closing date.

Screeched to a halt later in the year when I was hit with massive changes at my workplace, the dream job morphing into the Day Job from Hell, and the added challenge of my husband being made redundant, and unlikely to ever get another job due to health problems. After wrapping up a major project at the Day Job from Hell, I moved on to what I thought would be a better job. Oops, just because it would have been my dream job 10 years ago didn’t mean it would be now- it was Day Job from Hell 2!  Now at what is hopefully not Day Job from Hell 3 (good pay, nice people, and interesting work, just waaaaaay to much of it!), and praying my husband gets a job sometime soon and his elderly mother doesn’t get ill again!

Also, the rejection letter from HMB after the IS comp, that I should have  been able to just get straight back in the saddle after, knocked me more than I expected or realised at the time. I still had a lot to learn- it was definitely a rejection, but not a discouraging one.

So there have been times of writing like a crazy woman, being incredibly productive; longer periods of drought when my creative mind goes numb, spending hours on eBay suddenly become enormously seductive, and nothing gets written at all. And a growing file of story ideas that fizzled and first chapters that went nowhere (but may still someday- edit hard but never throw anything out is my rule).

The challenge for 2009 will be making writing my top priority, creating some consistent writing time, and learning all I can to crack the mystery of writing a good romance story.  And finishing a story. Not just a first draft, but an all the way through honest-to-God edited and ready to submit story.

Okay, I clearly haven’t edited this page for a while, as it’s now nearly the end of 2010 and I’m only now updating things! I did manage a few more subs this year. I’m waiting on a Superromance partial subbed to slush in August. Other subs- got a form R from the Medical Fast Track in September, entered a different story in New Voices in October.  Not surprised they got nopwhere as both were hastily thrown together first draft. They were fun to write and I learned from the experiences, so that can’t be bad. Now I’m getting ready to sub the first chapter of my NaNo Superromance to So You Think You Can Write.  I still can’t honestly claim to have achieved my 2009 goals, so they can roll over to 2011. On a personal note I also lost 50 pounds this year, so it’s been busy!

Why romance? My tag line is  “we all deserve a happy ending”, and that’s why.  I am a happy ending junkie. There’s enough misery in the world without watching it and reading it and writing it. Also, no point writing what I don’t love reading. I’ve adored romance since I discovered my first Georgette Heyer Regency at twelve and my first Mills and Boon at thirteen. Occasional forays into fantasy, and I did English Literature at Uni so I can read a literary novel for pleasure too, but romance is my first and true love.

When I’m not reading or writing, I spend my time lusting after gorgeous heroes (including my lovely dh), eating too much chocolate and drinking too much wine, spending too much time on discussion boards when I should be writing, and shopping on ebay, my number one time waster. Hey, at least the writing discussion groups I’m hanging out with other writers, learning loads, and being part of a fab community! That’s my excuse anyway.

JaneJones I’m mulberry on I Heart Presents, eHarlequin, and the Mills & Boon Community; and janemulberry on Twitter.

If you want to email me, it’s madaboutbooks8 (at) yahoo.co.uk

The idea of this blog is to help me stay focused on my writing goals, especially getting a romance novel (and ultimately more than one!)  published, though it will very possibly turn out to be a distraction instead. I’d love for it to also offer inspiration to other unpublished writers,  as I will post here what I’m learning along the way in my quest to become both a good writer, and a published writer.  I’ll also include links to writing information, and any books and other tools I find helpful. The worst case scenario is that I can serve as a good example of how not to do it, as I will also post all the mistakes I make in my journey- there are sure to be plenty! 

Maybe I’ll make it, maybe I won’t, but I definitely plan to have fun along the way. If you’d like to join me for the ride, come along!

Romance- because we all deserve a happy ending!