Friday, July 26, 2013

How I Became A Writer - Jan Scarbrough

This week, I'm very pleased to welcome author
Jan Scarbrough who shares her journey into

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After almost bleeding to death and spending four days in intensive care, I decided it was time to pursue my dream of becoming a romance writer. Little did I know it would take me on a lifelong journey that has yet to end.

Most writers love to read. I did too: Black Stallion books as a kid, Georgette Heyer Regency romances as a teen. In ninth grade, I had an English teacher who forced us to write essays, and that’s where I realized I enjoyed writing. My most famous ninth grade essay, written during an hour long class, was “Why I Love the Beatles.”
When I went off to college, I majored in English—because I loved reading and writing. After five years teaching high school and middle school, I became a technical writer—applying what I knew instead of teaching it. But I’d yet to try writing a novel.
After almost losing my life, I decided I shouldn’t take it for granted any longer. So I enrolled in a local “how to write romance” class with Karen Robards as the instructor. Eight years later, I was published by Kensington Precious Gems.
I’m a far better writer today than I was when I started. I’ve enjoyed that about the “process,” recognizing my improvement. I’ve also enjoyed my writing buddies, friends I’ve made through writing, and all the places I’ve gone and things I’ve seen which I can call “research.” Recently, my husband and I attended the Professional Bull Riders Bass Pro Chute Out—cowboys and bulls live and in person!

Kentucky Rain, my March release from Resplendence Publishing, is the seventh book in my Bluegrass Reunion series. Although each romance stands alone, they have a few things in common. Set in Kentucky, they are reunion stories. The heroine is usually a single mom; and in keeping with the Bluegrass theme, a few horses are thrown into the plot for good measure, especially American Saddlebred horses.
The books were written in this order.
·         Kentucky Cowboy—Bull rider/veterinarian—She dumped him in high school, because he was a risk-taker.
·         Kentucky Woman—Banker/exercise rider—She loved him when she was a teenager, but they never connected.
·         Kentucky Flame—American Saddlebred Horse trainers—She had his baby, but he left not knowing the truth.
·         Kentucky Groom—Teacher/software designer and Saddlebred groom—She can't afford to fall in love with a lowly groom.
·         Kentucky Bride—American Saddlebred Horse trainer/CEO—She rejected him once, but he’s willing to try again.
·         Kentucky Heat—Country music singer/artist—She doesn’t need to take on another project, but he won’t take no for an answer. (Sequel to Kentucky Bride.)
·         Kentucky Rain—Divorced single mom/security consultant—She has responsibilities to her daughter and to herself, not to the handsome guy next door. (Mentions characters from Kentucky Cowboy.)
I am working on a first-person, Gothic paranormal ghost story called Timeless for Turquoise Morning Press. It is for their Splintered category series
You can find me online at these sites.
·         Twitter:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Janie Emaus - How I Became A Writer

 Hey, ever wonder how writers get started? Well, here's Janie Emaus to share her story with us.

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I believe our DNA leads us to our path in life.

Mine was too shy for a job in sales or anything involving public speaking. Too uncoordinated to work with a ball, bat, racket or mitt. And too queasy to wear a stethoscope.

But the strand which asked too many “what if” questions (along with too many voices giving answers) led me to conclude I was meant to be a storyteller.

Early on I would read the newspaper to my younger sister, incorporating her name in the featured story.

“Really?” she would say when I finished reading about two ten-year-old girls who claimed to have a magic peach tree in their backyard on Lake Michigan. “My name is in the paper?”

“Seriously?” I would answer. We live in California and we have lemon trees in our backyard. How in the world could she believe me?

I was flattered that my story telling was so compelling.

With my sister’s encouragement  in the back of my mind I went through my school years writing stories about my friends.  Using a “reel to reel” tape player (yes, I’m giving away my age), I created plays starring my BFF. While my best friend played the beauty queen, the bride or the first female president, I was everything from the secondary characters to the sound effects.

So, you would think once I graduated high school, I would follow the voices in my head.

But no.

I did what a lot of young adults seem do to: NOT take the advice given them by those in the know. Although, my teachers advised me to follow my DNA into literature,  I took a U turn into psychology, which landed me a job as bookkeeper. (Long story for another time.)

Yet, I never gave up writing.  Poetry. Short stories. Ad copy. You name it. I wrote it. 

I didn’t really have a clue how to sell any of my work until joining a critique group and several writing organizations.  

Just before my thirtieth birthday, I sold a story to Turtle Magazine. I received a check for twenty dollars. But it legitimized my writing.

I was more than certain, I was on my way to fame.  Agents, publishers, movie producers, they were all going to come knocking on my door. I would sell everything I wrote from here on. I would be famous.

Well, the only people who knocked on my door were the bill collectors. It was years before I sold another word.

I honed my craft. I worked as a ghost writer for popular children’s series.  

I got an agent. And then -  there went my agent.  The relationship wasn’t working for her. So, I found another one. And then - she broke up with me via an email. Did I give up? No. I signed with yet another agent. Perseverance does pay off.

It’s now fifty-five years from those days at the kitchen table with my sister. And here I am with many writing credits to my name and two published books.   

And I seem to have found my way back to my roots. Along with writing novels about the characters in my head, I now blog about my friends, my family and my life.

No matter what happens next, I know I’ll always be writing.  It’s part of my genetic makeup. I’ve finally become the person I’m supposed to be.

Janie Emaus is the author of the time travel romance, Before the After, and the young adult novel, Mercury in Retro Love. She is a staff writer at In The Powder Room and blogs frequently for The Huffington Post, Better After 50, and Generation Fabulous. She is proud to be named a 2013 BlogHer Voice of the Year. Janie believes that when the world is falling apart, we're just one laugh away from putting it together again. To learn more about Janie visit her blog and her website You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @Janie5010

Love takes on a new meaning when soul mates are brought together through time and space.
Like every goal-oriented twenty-something, Jessica Singleton, an aspiring filmmaker, is obsessed with finding her future as quickly as possible. Tick Tock. What she doesn't know is that the future is obsessed with finding her, too. Renn Porter, an agent with Time Traveling Matchmaker's Inc, blasts back in time - and into her life- in order to transport Jessica to the soul mate who has paid for this the future. But things turn dangerous when it's revealed that Renn has been sent after his own soul mate.

Jessica wants nothing to do with this strange guy and his crazy romantic notions. Who has time for a soul mate anyway? But tell that to her heart.

Caught between two times, Jessica and Renn must struggle to stay alive. Falling in love is the biggest risk either of them has ever taken - because, as they are destined to learn, the very existence of Time Traveling Matchmakers, Inc. rests in Jessica's hands.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Amy Jarecki - How I Became A Writer

I just love hearing writers' stories of how they got into writing. This week I'm very pleased to welcome author Amy Jarecki to share her journey to becoming a full-time author.

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I have always loved to write, like most authors, it’s in my blood. I wrote my first novel in the late 90’s, but in 2012, I left the corporate mix master, set up my home office and started writing full time:

I had a pretty darned good least it paid well. I earned it too, got an MBA, fought my way up the ladder by working 14 hour days and proving myself capable of doing anything my arrogant male counterparts could do. After nine hours of interviews I landed my "dream job" (yeah right) as a plant manager in the plastics industry, a job in the exclusive men's club.

To make an eleven year journey short, after battling unions, leading a plant to the top in EVERY metric known to man, taking another plant from a $6MM loss to a $6MM profit in one year, I was lumbered with a bad decision. The company I worked for purchased another factory that was making a loss and dumped it in my lap. I had six months to close it down and bring the business into my plant...and start making a profit on sales negotiated with a losing margin. By the end of the six months, we had turned the corner and were making ground, though my margins had not made the miraculous leap that the company had hoped for. All of the sudden this golden girl started getting her ass kicked...for a bad decision from corporate. DON'T MESS WITH ME, YOU SONS OF BITCHES!

During this horrible time in my life, wondering if I was going to get fired, my (3rd MS) first book, Koicto, got published. I'd also lived frugally for years and built up my savings. I got another book contract (Chihuahua Momma, which comes out July 28th). About a year-and-a-half ago, my husband and I put our heads together and decided we'd take a chance and become a one-income family while I took the big leap and write full time.

In 2012, I wrote four 90K word romances, three of which are now under contract with a small press, and the fourth is being shopped by my new agent.

I have to tell you. It's been over a year, and I've yet to make any decent money. I couldn't have done this when I was younger, but now I have a husband who supports my efforts fully. I'm still working 14 hour days, but I'm doing something I love.

My advice to you? Find what you love to do and then find a way to make it happen.

~Write on friends!

 Amy Jarecki

Available July 28 at Turquoise Morning Press

In the frenetic world of canine pageants like Westminster, where dog hair flies and personalities diverge, Rebecca Lee remains in a cocoon of loneliness. Widowed, with two teenaged kids and a business to run, Rebecca would rather mow through five-hundred poodle cuts than think about dating. But when former quarterback Matt Johnson shows up to buy a Chihuahua, his irresistible grin rocks her world—until Matt’s ex decides she wants him back and Rebecca’s daughter decides she’s against her mom dating. Rebecca now has a choice—crawl back into her realm of dogs or fight for the powerful love that fills her soul.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Audra Middleton - How I Became A Writer

I'm very pleased to welcome author Audra Middleton to share her story of how she became a writer.

Thank you, Linda, for inviting me to share my writing journey with you on your site today.

Part of me was always a writer, in that I have always been a daydreamer.  I might never have written down any of these daydreams, however, if not for the encouragement of teachers, friends, and family along the way.

In third grade, one of my teachers selected me to attend a young author’s conference.  My mom recently sent me the story that won my place at the conference, and I can tell you, I don’t think it was so much that my story was exceptional as it was about trying to boost my self-esteem.  Whatever her reasons for choosing me, it really did spark my interest for writing.  My mom suffered through all of those early stories, encouraging me without giving me empty praise.

As I got older I must have improved, because I had a friend who asked me to write stories for her birthday presents.  In high school, I had a great journalism teacher who taught me a lot about writing and after working with her I actually planned to go into journalism when I entered college.  I don’t know how many people stick with the career they seek at age 18, but I know I changed my mind by the time I was 20, and majored in history, minoring in English and publishing.  I even took a summer internship at Yale University Press as part of my studies.

If Washington State had been home to a publishing house at the time that I graduated, I probably would have pursued a career in publishing as an editor.  Unfortunately, in the mid-nineties the only publisher in town was Microsoft, and working on technical manuals didn’t appeal to me, even if I could have gotten a job with them.  Instead, I went back and got my teaching degree.  At this point I stopped writing, at least formally, because I could never seem to turn off my daydreams.  It wasn’t until years later, after teaching and then having children of my own that I started writing again.

When some friends of mine found out I liked to write, they wanted to read my work.  I had no idea where any of my college papers had ended up, so I decided to write down this daydream I kept coming back to, about a girl who could transform into trees, and a warrior who could read minds.  I built on this one scene where the two meet, telling their story, until at last I had a novel.  Well, I thought I did.  I joined an on-line critique group to get some help with my battle scenes, and discovered that I had a lot more writing to do.  It was painful at first, but in the end my writing improved a great deal.

After many rejections from literary agents via query letters, I joined the PNWA and attended their summer conference, anxious to pitch my book to agents in person.  I bombed my first few pitching attempts, in the beginning being too nervous to complete a sentence, later being so exhausted I just rambled incoherently, at one point confessing that I may have ‘screwed myself’ (thereby ensuring that I had).  But on the last day I decided I didn’t care anymore, sat down, and managed to have a lucid discussion about my book with my future publisher, Champagne Books.

I’m happy to report that my first novel, Watcher, was released in January, and has received some great reviews.  Champagne has also agreed to publish my second novel, a humorous paranormal thriller called The Hitchhiker, which is due out in November.

The ideas keep coming, and I am completing novels at a decent pace for someone who is also trying to raise three boys and keep up her teaching certificate.  I really appreciate those who have encouraged and assisted me along the way, because without them I would still be daydreaming about becoming a writer, rather than daydreaming the idea for my next novel.

For more information about me or my books, please stop by my website and blog at or follow my facebook page at

Available at Burst Books
(an imprint of Champagne Book Group)

Log line for Watcher:

An orphan girl seeks the oblivion of the forest while darkness lures the Chosen Son
of prophecy, yet they find each other, and their budding love could destroy the
very world Goran, the tormented prophet, is trying to save.

Blurb for Watcher:

War threatens to destroy the world of Anthelion unless the holy man, Goran, can solve his porphecy riddle.  For every clue he finds, another obstacle surfaces. An orphan girl, Watcher, becomes his responsibility.  As if parenthood itself isn't daunting enough, she keeps a bear for a pet and transforms into her forest surroundings to avoid socialization. Hope momentarily emerges when Goran finds Benaiah, the Chosen Son of the prophecy. Only he soon discovers Benaiah is a social pariah on the verge of embracing darkness.

When Benaiah and Watcher unexpectedly meet, the two outsiders find in each other a sense of belonging they’ve never known. Now their emerging love promises to bring about the same war Goran is struggling to prevent.