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Interview with Janet Lane Walters

I “met” Janet Walters on line, both at the EPIC Authors social group (Electronically Published Internet Connection) and at a CoffeeTime Romance Monthly Book Club forum event. Known as Dame Amber in Jewels of the Quill, Janet Lane Walters is an award winning author of over two dozen books. Her genres include mystery, suspense, romance, sweet to spicy, fantasy from young adult to mature, and non-fiction. As she puts it, she feels free to write what she likes to write! Perhaps that’s why her blogspot is titled The Eclectic Writer!

I caught up with her earlier this month for an interview:

Adriana: With so many genres and a spate of award winning novels, which is your favorite to write, and why? 

Janet:  Strange as it may seem, the genre I’m working on is my favorite at the time, though I tend to be working on more than one at once.   At present I’m working on a fairy tale sort of story, The Amber Tower where a prince like Repunzel is a prisoner in a tower.  Then there’s the alternate world, a sort of fantasy but not Called In Other Worlds — Egypt at present where a heroine from this world is transported to an ancient Egypt, one with camels.

Adriana: And now I’m curious – What is your favorite genre to read and why, and could you share a couple fave authors and titles? 

Janet: No one favorite genre.  I’m eclectic in my reading material.  Dick Francis and Marilyn Meredith for mysteries.  For fantasy a slew including Andre Norton, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret L. Carter and Jane Toombs.  In romance I generally stick to Regencies but do read some contemporaries.  Allie Boniface and Kathryn Attalla are among those I enjoy.  Then there’s action adventure.  I’m a mega James Rollins fan and have just about all of his. I read a lot both print and on my ereader.

Adriana: Mmm, I’m a Dick Francis fan, too! Can you tell us something about your current W.I.P.?

Janet:  I’ve spoken about two I’m finishing up and I’ve begun working on the fourth book in The Henge Betrayed series.  This is fantasy and suitable for YA and adults.  This book will finish what started out as a single book using my grandchildren and a friend’s child as models for the characters.  When the outline grew to about 70 pages I knew I had to do more than one book.  In this story the five are not sixteen, though not all have a viewpoint and they are finally heading into a confrontation with the evil men.  These young people have affinities for the elements, Air, Water, Fire and Earth.  Right now they are leaving the refuge where they have spent several years honing their affinities.  They are out to cleanse the land and finally face Dom Senet and He Who Walks With Evil.  I’ll also begin reconfiguring a spicy romance.

Adriana: I like the sound of that – the ancient understanding of the four basic elements. I’ve noticed you offer a lot of writing tips on your blog (and I highly recommend your blog to our readers!!). What are some things you wish someone had told you when you first started writing fiction?

Janet:  I began writing in 1968 and the greatest piece of advice I ever received was to finish the book and then revise.  I wish someone had told me that revision is fun and that a rough draft must usually be torn apart.  When I began writing I knew no other authors and so I felt as though I worked in a vacuum.  I wish someone had told me there were groups of writers you could meet face to face.  Back then there was no internet which now gives a writer a large support group.

Adriana: In the same vein, what is the most important advice you would give a new writer starting out now?

Janet:  Write what you enjoy reading and no matter what when you start a piece be it short of long, finish it.  You may toss the work out but while writing you will be honing your craft.

Adriana: Tell us about your association with Jewels of the Quill, which is celebrating its seventh anniversary this year. How did you become involved with this group? Do you recommend other authors form similar groups?

Janet:  My friend and co-writer Jane Toombs was a Jewel and she recommended me as a member when one of the group left.  I’ve been happy to be a member and we are supportive of each other.  We also have the anthologies that give us more exposure to readers.  A group like this would be wonderful and some of them may work well.  Karen Wiesner who heads the group is amazing and it takes someone like this to make the group work.

Adriana: Of course it wouldn’t be an interview without a pitch for your most recent release – Title, blurb, what you love about it, and could you favor us with a brief excerpt or a link to an excerpt?

Janet:  I’m not sure what my latest release is and it could be one of three, though two came out back to back.  Murder and Mint Tea and Requiem Murder are cozy mysteries featuring Katherine Miller, retired church organist and retired nurse who lives in a Hudson River village.  In Murder and Mint Tea, she must discover who killed her tenant, a rather nasty woman, before one of her family or friends is accused of the murder.  This is sort of a who will kill her kind of story.  In Requiem Murder there are two people who deserve death, one the charismatic choir director and the other a member of the choir.  One thing I’m really proud of is that the covers were done by my son-in-law.  These books are rereleased of earlier books with revisions to bring them up to modern things like cell phones.  The other is Dragons of Fyre a sensual fantasy honoring the multitude of dragons on the shelf above my computer.

     

Adriana: Lastly, where can readers find you on the web – blog, twitter, MySpace, Facebook, etc. 

Janet:

Eclectic writer 

Facebookmine 

Jewels of the Quill  

Books We Love Author Janet Lane Walters

AdrianaThanks so much for stopping by today!

 

First Steps ~ Guest Blogger Mahalia Levey

If anyone  would’ve asked me where I saw myself heading, I doubt I would’ve said I’d be a published author. I’ve always had this love for piecing words together, almost like one of those dimensional puzzles you can buy on line. It just amazes me what words can create, be it in story, poem, and song.  

This new journey is by far the second most rewarding in my life; the first is being a mother. I don’t believe in setting limits for success, but in trying your hand at something new and striving to do your best. I don’t do anything half way; it’s all the way for me or not at all.  

I thought when I signed my first contract that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had no idea what edits were, hell I had no idea if I was even doing things right.  I came from writing for fun on a forum with no technique to— jumping in blindly. I found my way to a few great learning places. AWH was the first, and then I invested in some writing classes on line. Through those classes I learned how to focus my voice and tighten up my writing. I do strongly suggest for new writers to take copy editing classes, plotting classes, and crash revisions. Those three classes made it easier for me when I began writing after taking them. I also have two beta readers and belong to a small critique group. Education is never wasted and a second or third set of eyes, or people who know what you’re trying to say are a blessing. They’re also a blessing not to be taken for granted, since most have their own lives and are writers themselves. Promoting is time consuming, but getting out there and meeting people is a great aspect of publishing. I enjoy people almost as I enjoy books, so it’s been good for me. It’s been a little under a year since I began this new venture. My first book released May 11th at Phaze. Seeing my book up and for purchase really hit me, the reality that I’d achieved the first step of many. My advice for new or aspiring writers is to dig in and try, because you’ll never know until you do. 

Thanks, 

Hales 

Places to be found  

  

www.mahalialevey.com
http://quackersandtease.blogspot.com/  

http://novelsisterhood.blogspot.com/ 

www.hales3000.multiply.com  

 

About Mahalia Levey:

Being smart and sassy with a great sense of humor comes easily for Mahalia Levey. An avid reader of books, she found herself enchanted with disappearing completely into the worlds authors created. One day she vowed to herself she’d be one of them. Then family life came, and college right after. Swayed from her childhood course of action, it took many years for her to get back to that place she held dear as a child. Now she is running full steam ahead to keep up with the many ideas flowing freely. She plans on taking her work to higher levels and expanding her genres. Her main focus is giving her readers variety. Her works in progress include paranormal, fantasy and mainstream romance. Taking characters and watching them grow past what she’s imagined is her true passion.   

 

Sascha Illyvich ~ Guest Blog: Lessons for New Generation of Authors

Lessons for New Generation of Authors

I’ve been spending a lot of time talking with my publicist and discussing the work habits of this new generation of romance authors.  The astounding thing is that observing this generation of new authors gives me both good feelings and bad.

For starters, with the growing E-book revolution (and it IS a revolution) we’re able to get published faster, but so many authors don’t take a hard look at the houses they’re submitting to.  If they did, we’d end up with less crap out on the market. The lesson here is to research not only the house, but other authors who WRITE for that house. This will avoid mistakes.  Take a new publisher that has been courting me lately.  They don’t have a solid reputation entirely due to mistakes made because the owners didn’t understand the business model of the E-book industry from the outset.  They admitted this and this has been confirmed by a friend of mine who is one of the most respected names in Erotica today.  And other authors have come forward to share good experiences about this house as well as a few bad ones.  That’s fine.  Talking to the authors of the house gives you a well rounded view of how they operate. 

Total E-bound has a huge and successful stable of happy authors. Before I signed with them, I looked at the website, got some feedback from some of the authors and felt that I had done my due diligence.

Next up, work ethic.  Raise your hands if you’re a new generation author and you struggle to make that word count every day while trying to promote your books with all the Web 2.0 nonsense.  Tell me it’s a pain in the ass. 

It is. But I do it and have done it for years. I’ve had to grow and learn to utilize different technologies while still embracing the old ones.  Not only do I have to do that, I have to recognize and jump on opportunities that come my way all while writing, doing PR, blogging, doing my Radio Dentata show and attempting to keep a clean house.  I threw that last part in because for the sake of argument (and let’s face it, my S. O. is NOT) I am Alpha Homemaker.  So I cook dinner, do dishes, clean (somewhat) all while maintaining a successful writing career. 

The key is determination and the fact that even as technology improves and makes our lives easier, we need to do the things that make us successful regardless of what they are.  Otherwise we’ll get lost in the shuffle.

Work Ethic:  I’ve seen too many new writers get by on turning in stories that are basically crap other than the bones.  Listen.  I had to bust my ass (uphill in the snow both directions) to get a good first draft finished and then sold.  This goes back to my earlier point about researching the Houses you write for.  A bad house will take a crappy first draft.  A good one will reject it with comments.

Piracy Complaints:  Saw this one coming didn’t you?  How many of us reading this have had our work pirated?  I have.  I was flattered on one hand and pissed on another. Sure I’ve spent time chasing these jackanapes but it’s useless.  Another blogger/author posted a great blog about piracy and she’s right in suggesting that we’re not going to convert pirates to readers or shut down the sites.  Let it go. Hell, call it free publicity and don’t forget to write off the loss as a tax deduction.

Writing and Excerpt sharing:  The concept of an excerpt is NOT to give me 500 words of your 10,000 word story.  That will NOT get a book sold no matter HOW great an author you are.  Christ himself would NOT sell the bible on 1,000 words.  Give us something of value to entice us.  If your story is 5k or less, why?  Learn to write longer.  Take the shorter pieces and sell them to e-zines, throw them up on Literotica for free marketing or put them together in a short story collection.  Then give us a lengthy excerpt from the story.  Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and mine.

If you have a 10k story, that excerpt can and should be 2500 words of HOT. And DON’T GIVE US THE ORGASM.  If you’ve got more than 10k, that excerpt should be no more than 5k.

I know some of this seems harsh but I’ve been around a long time.  And I’ve at least been tactful here compared to my blogs on Midnight Seductions about cross dressing or fellatio! 

What say you? Care to share other lessons for this new generation of authors?

Kinky Erotic Romance by Sascha Illyvich

                  

 
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