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  • 04 - 05, 2014
    Jennifer Jason Leigh
    Got the nod from Barrett, so here’s my contribution to #Mywritingprocess Blog Tour.

    1. What am I working on?

    (Casey, Kelly, close your eyes. Skip to next question.) The answer is, not a damn thing. See last question for clarification.

    2. How does my work differ from others in the same genre?

    Great question. My work doesn’t fit snuggly into the lesfic genre because I don’t write romance. There may be a love interest in my novels, but that’s never the theme. I like to write characters that bring lesbians into the mainstream – they’re out, they don’t have angst about their lesbianism or relationships, but they have problems, life problems like everyone has, and like everyone, hopefully, at some point my characters will move past them.

    Also, I write dark novels – not funny, not frothy, not sweet. If they were coffee drinks, my novels would be as a triple espresso is to a caramel mocha frappucino, with extra whipped creme. And a cherry. I want to slap you awake and encourage you to get on with your life, not put you into a sugar coma.

    3. Why do I write what I do?

    I think we are as limited as the things that scare us. I hate being scared or living in fear, and always want to push beyond what holds me back or keeps me from ‘daring greatly’, to borrow Brene Brown’s phrase. I don’t want to be on my death bed and realize I was to afraid to ____ (fill in the blank). It helps that I have characters I can push out ahead of me, to see how they conquer their fears and demons. They are usually my heroes, and I try to follow in their footsteps.

    4. How does my writing process work?

    Funny you should ask. Lately it doesn’t work at all. RG Emanuelle at Women and Words wrote a great article about when a writer burns out, and while I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m burned out, it’s fair to say I’ve been on an extended break from any new projects. I’ve written   nine books in 16 years, and while that’s not prodigious, it takes it’s toll when a full-time job, wife, grandkids, friends, and the rest of life are added to the mix. I’m okay with not writing right now. I could sit down and force the follow-up to #7 in the Franco series, but I think if it’s written from force that’s the way it will read. I’ve never not written this long, so it’s a little frightening, but I trust I am exactly where I need to be in my writing career. I also have faith that someday some idea, or plot line, will utterly consume me, and I will be off and writing again.

    When that happens, I will write all day Tuesdays and Fridays, after swimming and walking the dogs, and I will try and take as many remote mountain cabin vacations as my wife and boss will allow. I can’t write in fragments throughout the day. I need long, extended blocks of time in which to lose myself to the writing. I just write scenes as they come up – completely disorganized, but often they lead to the next sequence hence end up creating order out of chaos. When I have feel I have enough scenes to make up at least two-thirds to three-quarters of the novel, then I start outlining and seeing how they all fit. It’s like a great big literary puzzle, fitting this scene here, moving that one there, oops, throwing that one out because it doesn’t even belong in this puzzle. Then I fill in what’s missing and add segues that bring it all together. (The glue on the finished puzzle!)

    Thanks for your interest. I like this tour as it’s a great chance to get to know our favorite writer’s a little better. And the next writer up is the talented, speed-defying, brilliantly shod Sandra Moran – also a beloved Bedazzled Ink sister- and her latest release, Nudge.

    03 - 18, 2014

    At least not for this author. In 2011 I self-published my novel The River Within. It was torturous. From the “simple” uploading onto Smashwords, to the “easy” publication at CreateSpace, the tears and cursing continued through promotion,  accounting,  blogging – blah, blah, blah – I loathed it all. The only thing I liked about self-publishing was being able to give away as many books as I wanted.

    I LOVE being traditionally published. I want to think about characters and motivation, scenes and words – not pixels and links, or spread sheets and brands. I am a writer. I’m not a publisher. The extra money I might make isn’t worth it when it takes that much time away from writing.

    So let me express my gratitude to Barrett for introducing me to to Casey at Bedazzled Ink. Without Barrett, I would probably still be crying and cursing in my own private indie-publishing hell. Thanks to Barrett, I can say, “Go to my publisher and buy this book!”

    Me, I’m going to be writing.

    theriverwithin-bbp

     

     

    03 - 15, 2014

    Interesting  article by Andy Weir on researching your novels. http://bit.ly/1qFWIzi

    03 - 13, 2014

    I had the great good fortune to meet Beth Burnett last fall at the first evah Left Coast Lesfic Conference. Her spirit and soul sing to me, and I suspect to almost everyone she meets. Read her post about joy and see if you don’t fall in love, too. http://bethsnewlife.com/2014/03/03/living-in-joy/

    11 - 23, 2013

     

    I’ve come down from the mountains and so miss walking their forests of pine and fir and cedar. To at least be near trees, I went for a walk this morning along a trail that runs beside a creek and beneath an evergreen bower of oak and bay. There’s a small clearing between creek and trail where someone, weeks ago, built a simple stone labyrinth. When I walked by today I saw the round, water-softened cobbles had been strewn and scattered all about the clearing. At first I was hurt – who would want to destroy a labyrinth? Then I was angry and set about rebuilding the maze, swearing at the various kinds of assholes that might have done this – they were all men, surely, for as a rule men tend to destruction and women to creation. It might have been a devout member of one of the dominant religions who was threatened by the relic symbol; maybe it was a kid who’d had a fight with his girlfriend and threw away his hurt and anger on the rocks; maybe a man who’d lost his job and eased his frustration in hurling the stones about….who knew?

    Canyon Labyrinth

    The clearing was small so of necessity the labyrinth was too, but before I was half finished I realized how much fun it was hefting, hauling and placing the stones. I was glad the original circle had been destroyed. If it hadn’t of been, I wouldn’t have had the chance to create it anew, to re-create it, and isn’t that all life is, creation, destruction, and re-creation? The one is as essential to the other as dirt to a tree, as the ocean to rain. I hoped that the person who deconstructed the labyrinth found relief in the activity, maybe even peace. As I curled the last rock into the center of the gyre, I knew that some of the hikers passing by would pause to stroll the spiral, maybe even add to it, and that eventually it would again be destroyed. That made me smile. I walked on, hoping whoever takes the the labyrinth apart next will have as much fun as I will in remaking and recreating it, over and over again. 

    10 - 20, 2013

    Had the great good fortune to be able to help a friend drive from California to Santa Fe. Found the whole trip through low and high desert terribly moving. It was only as I was leaving it on the last morning, that I realized this is where nature reclaimed me. I was twenty-eight years old when I first came to this land of juniper, pinyon and bare rock. I was ignorant of the natural world, numb to its gifts both seen and unseen. The high country opened me as cleanly as a surgeon with a scalpel. It flensed and cleansed my soul. Slowly, day by blue sky day, the desert filled my hollowed core with spirit, mystery and wonder.

    Georgia O'Keefe - The Chestnut Grey

    At the Georgia O’Keefe museum, I stood in front of “The Chestnut Grey” and cried. O’Keeffe, too, came to the desert a spiritual neophyte, and she was filled. Through her art she was able to communicate the sacred bond we all have with the land yet too often fail to realize. I have been fortunate to see many of her original works, and they are powerfully moving – not so much in what they portray but in the reverence that occupies her canvases, in how she was able to perceive the ordinary, feel the sacred beauty at its core, and filter that essence from eye to soul to canvas. That is the ineffable magic of all art. It is the sacred gift of all life. I cried that I was alive at this moment on earth, alive, and awake enough to see and share the essence of the sacred.

    07 - 24, 2013

    Happy to post that Bella Books wants Hold of the Bone, #6 in the L.A. Franco series. Look for it around this time next year. You can bet I’ll let you know about it.

    07 - 19, 2013


    The Jersey wedding at the end of May.  

     

     

     

     

    Tassajara at the start of June, stuck in a canyon with a hundred other people – albeit delightful people and a gorgeous setting.

     

     

     

     

     

    Four days at the Dallas Golden Crown Literary Conference, the last of June, with about 200 of the nicest women I’ve ever met.

     

     

     

     

    Three days on the Chimineas Ranch in the Carrizo Plains for a San Joaquin kit fox workshop in mid-July. (That’s probably me on the ground.) 

     

     

     

     

    For a woman whose Tarot soul card and life card is The Hermit, and whose entire astrological chart is on the left side (happier with my own company than with other people), I had a great time.

    Good to see old friends,

    and make new ones,

     

    But now it’s time to lone up again (August in Cambria) and get back to writing. 

     

     

    05 - 03, 2013

    Picture iconic FBI Agent Clarice Starling. Add a sense of humor and box of Krispy Kreme Donuts, make her part-Chinese plus a hard decade older, and you have Keye Street, the heroine of Amanda Kyle Williams’ Stranger series.

    Williams is the author of two novels featuring Keye Street (The Stranger You Seek, Stranger in the Room), as well as the four-volume Madison McGuire series published by Naiad Press in the early 1990s.

    If you haven’t yet met author Amanda Kyle Williams stop by Women and Words and introduce yourself. You won’t be sorry you did.

    04 - 30, 2013

    Come chill with me and the ab-fab Liz McMullen on  The Liz McMullen Show. We yakked about The River Within, writing, and even snuck in a wicked preview of Hold of the Bone, the sixth in the L.A. Franco series. Good times!