Summer Time Blues

I’m going to be honest with you. I hate Summer. It’s way too hot and muggy. The whole project involves yard work, mowing, and sweating. I dislike all three, especially the last one. Now, when I was a kid I loved Summer. Mainly because, I didn’t have to go to school and could read all night. Yeah, even way back then it was all about books for me. As I sit here hiding from humidity next to a fan and air conditioning blowing on me, I can be truthful and say I miss those days.


Now, instead of wishing I could stay up all night reading books, I wish I could stay up writing them. I say that as someone with a deadline staring him habitually in the rearview mirror. Like a lot of people my age, I wish I could channel half the energy I had back then. If I could, maybe I could work a full time job and still manage to write into the wee hours of the morning. Okay, I’d like to work some reading in there somewhere. Hey, writers are readers first and foremost.


This may sound crazy, but I find it hard to write during the summer months. Maybe it’s the sunshine and a need to be outside. Though, if you remember from above, I hate heat and sweating. Seriously, I just seemed better able to create during the fall and winter. I don’t know why, but I just do. I also get a creative charge out of storms too. Yeah, I’m kinda weird.


But, weird defines authors. We have our times when the juices just seem to flow. Usually, mine hits just before it’s time to wrap things up and go to bed. Again, I think this goes back to when I was younger. I could stay up all night painting and do some of my best work. Growing up and becoming a productive member of society did away with all that. Up by dawn, go to work, come home, piddle around house, eat, shower and if I’m lucky, knock out a paragraph or three before bed. You guessed it. Rinse and repeat daily. All this monotony makes Jack a dull boy. Extra credit if you can get the literary reference there.


It’s true, though. The longer I write, the more it seems that instead of easier, the process has become harder. It isn’t that I am unable to form words. It’s just harder for me to get enthused by the project. Each word is a struggle. I see the scenes in my head, but squeezing them onto a screen is a chore worthy of Hercules.


To write, everything needs balance. Right now, my balance just isn’t what it used to be. I constantly find myself looking for my ‘Happy Place’. Wherever that is. Whatever that is. I seriously can’t remember either one of those things. And, summer isn’t helping. I won’t go into the episodes of LIFE that keeps cropping up and getting in the way. We all have them, so you get where I’m coming from. I don’t know if there’s an easy fix for this, or not.


More than likely, it’s just one of those things I have to work through myself. I know I’m not the only author who fights this particular demon. We all have those moments of frustration and self doubt. It’s not that I doubt I can write. I’ve done it before so know the ability resides within me. It’s more of a question of do I want to write. Since I’m so freaking messed up over not doing it, I must. Otherwise I wouldn’t be agonizing over it in a public setting like this.


Do I see myself just giving up? Not any time soon. But, I do feel like I need a recharge. Discover the feeling of joy I once felt turning on my computer and spilling my imagination across a document. It’s difficult to feel joy when you’re busy being a grown-up.


Because, let’s face it. I don’t write grownup books. Sure, they’re Romance, but they’re the Romance of youthful exuberance. They’re the adventures we dreamed we’d go on when we were kids looking at our futures with wide-eyed innocence. The innocence of the ignorant quite frankly. Ignorant of how the real world really works. Ignorant that one day summer won’t mean freedom. It’ll just be another part of the year where the day job gets in the way of you being that person you thought you’d be lying on the beach and hoping the day would never end.


So, before I fade into preparing myself for yet another Monday, I cordially invite you to take a trip back to those days when the world was yours to hold and you could be anything you wanted to be. I invite you to be a Vampire, a Werewolf, a Slayer. Anything you want to be, just as long as you’re having fun. How? Well, inside one of my books, of course. It’s where anything can define who you are and can always can be.

Just step through either of the two links below to start your adventure or find me on your favorite online bookseller.




Desert Breeze Publishing




The Characters inside my Jmo’s Head, An Interview

Yes, it is I, Stud L. Monkey yet again taking over J. Morgan’s Giggles from the Darkside. This time the geekoid asked me to interview him about character development, or some such foolishness. If you ask me, if a guy asks a figment of his Id to talk to him, he has bigger issues than being an author. Like being stone cold nutters with a capital Nutty Buddy in his belfry, because not even bats would roost in his bell tower. But, hey, it’s a paycheck, and since I’m something of a character myself, I thought it’d be fun to screw with him.

Stud: All comfy there, Jmo? Stop fiddling with the buckles. It’s supposed to be that tight. If you keep messing with it, the tie in back will come loose.

Jmo: When I asked you to interview me, I didn’t mean put me in a straight jacket while I was taking a nap.

Stud: I ain’t Oprah! If you wanted a nice comfy chair with a key to some eco-friendly car under the seat, you shoulda asked somebody else. Now, shut you yap, and let me make with the David Letterman. So, have you always been crazy, or is this a midlife crisis thing?

Jmo: That wasn’t on the list I gave you! And, I’m not crazy.

Stud: You’re basically talking to yourself, and you say you’re not crazy. You’re the freaking poster-child for it! Okay, I’ll ask you something that won’t make you turn all red in the face. So, Mr. Jmo, how do you go about developing your characters?

Jmo: I start with a basic idea. A rough sketch of who I believe my character is. Usually, I start with my heroine. She is the one telling the story most of the time. I’ve said this before but I usually base them on a friend. That might sound like life plagiarism, but to me the people I know are just too interesting not to use. The hero comes next. He plays straight man to my heroine. Not all the time, but most of the time that’s the case. I pull in from a lot of sources to create just the perfect foil for her. The only book I can think of where my hero came first was Love Free Stake Hard, and well Mis-Staked, of course. Both those books have something in common. The heroes were based partly on me.

Stud: Ha! So you admit that your heroes are all you! I knew it!

Jmo: When you get right down to it, all my characters are me. As a writer it would be impossible to create a character without bring part of who I am into them. My experiences, moral compass and geeky disposition oozes into every fiber of each character that pops out of my head. So, I guess you could say, my personality disorder finds an outlet other than just being the voices in my head. That isn’t to say that every character is the same. Each character is uniquely themselves. I just channel a different aspect of who I am, coupled with whoever I base the character on. That would make them the love child of me and my muse. That sounded so much better in my head.

Stud: Ew! That’s where it should have stayed too. If I were one of your muses, I’d sue for child support and mental anguish. Let’s move on before you say something to make me upchuck. You said you start with a rough sketch of a character. What brings definition to them?

Jmo: The plot. The book itself defines who they are. Just like when you meet someone for the first time, all you get is the good first impression. It’s only after you hang out with them for awhile that you get the real picture of who they are. Through the course of the book, characters surprise you by how they react to any given situation. That means that no matter how well you thought you knew them, they do things that make you go hmmm, very interesting. To me writing is like reading. I’m never sure what’s going to happen until it happens.

Stud: Very interesting. And how do you feel about that?

Jmo: Are you trying to psychoanalyze me?

Stud: Am I?

Jmo: Just ask the next question?

Stud: Alright, but my fans will not be pleased by how you abuse me. In fact, I’m bored now, so which characters stand out as those closest to who you are?

Jmo: You of course. Breathred for all his geekiness is me at heart. A guy who wishes to be a hero in a world that doesn’t want one, but needs one. Deme from Love Bites 3, for his naïveté and seeing the world through a computer screen most of the time. Caern from Immortally Damned. As a man who constantly struggles with his spirituality and his place in God’s plan, I purposely went into that book wanting to address that struggle and all its implications. But, when you get down to it, all of them hold some part of me inside them.

Stud: Okay, twizzle britches, what about the characters you’ve based on your buds?

Jmo: Ha! My greatest achievement as an author would have to be capturing the heart of my sister of the heart Susan, in character form. Waterfall Woman is her to a T. Madison from The Southern Werewolf Chronicles is my wife body and soul. Jenn might not be a Southern Deb, but she and Madison capture the spirit of Southern women. Strong, opinionated, beautiful and ultimately willing to do anything for those they love. Mad Marlene from the upcoming Bite Marks Two truly hits so close to home, not even I can tell them apart. The same goes for quite a few others, but names of the innocent, or not so innocent, must be protected.

Stud: That jokes so old, Moses wouldn’t even use it. And, on that I’m out of here. Jmo, you can Houdini your way out of that jacket, because I am offended that you think I’m fictional. Buddy, me and you are the same person. You’re just too scared to admit it. Now, I’m off to see how fast that Prius will really go!

Jmo: Stud! Let me out of this thing. If you don’t, you’ll so regret it.

Boom! Insert door slamming here.

Jmo: Okay, I’ll regret it. Before you go, in the coming weeks, I’ll be interviewing some of my character muses to see how they felt about being immortalized by the written word, and how close I came to capturing them.

Good night folks. Uh, if anyone out there would like to help me here, I’d appreciate it. He turned off the light, and I’m sitting in the dark.


An impromptu photo opp for Stud.

This message is chimp approved..


Due to a whole lot of editing and writing, my blog idea for today just didn’t happen. So, instead of leave you hanging, I decided to give you a sneak peak of my current WiP, the third book in my Southern Werewolf Chronicles. Please bear in mind WiP, stands for not finished, but getting there. If by any chance you have not picked up the first two books in this series, I sincerely hope, you like this taste of furry love. Enjoy!

ImageThe Southern Werewolf Chronicles

Book Three

Were Love Finds You


Being raised a true Southern Deb prepares you for a lot of crap, but being body jacked by your own inner bitch ain’t one of them! Mrs. Chaney, my third grade teacher, might whoop me for daring to use the word ain’t in a sentence, but under the circumstances, she can just bite me. After saving the love of my young life, I should be preparing for my wedding, the wedding of the century if you wanted my opinion. Instead, I was skulking around inside my own skull watching my furry skanky half run around like a heathen wearing my body. Good Lord, just yesterday she took me shopping for shoes at Wal-Mart. I’m surprised my head hadn’t exploded right then and there! Luckily, for me and my subconscious, I have an advanced degree in denial.

Of course, that wouldn’t save me from further degradation, if I didn’t figure a way out of this slice of hell. This, excuse the dead on expletive, bitch had stolen my life and nothing short of exorcism would stop me from getting it back. That didn’t necessarily mean I wouldn’t accept some Papal assistance if it was offered. Hell, give me a voodoo witch doctor with a chicken fetish for all I cared. Anything, as long as it got me out of this fix.

When I reluctantly agreed to give control of my body to my wolf self to save my fiancé, Nicholi, I never thought that she could really take control. Of course, my being totally ignorant of the whole Maegunous — or werewolf, for those not in the know — situation probably aided that screwed up assumption. See, until a year ago, I didn’t even know what I was. Sure, the once a month fur fest after a European one night stand sorta clued me in, but I had no idea of all the crap that went along with it. Nicholi, the one night stand in question, showing back up into my life clued me in on some of those. We had that entire Moonlighting thing going on for a while until a group of monster hunters showed up to toss us into each other’s loving arms. The day was saved, and I kindly allowed Nicholi to think he’d come up with the idea of marrying me all on his lonesome. Aren’t I just the most gracious person alive? Don’t answer that. My ego was too fragile to handle the truth at the moment.

That all should have spelled happily ever after, but my life had always been a soap opera. He had to go home to handle tribe business because he was Paxium of the European Tribes, or packs, of the Maegunous. That translated to high muckety muck in some circles. Werewolf ones apparently. Anyway, some buttwipes decided to kidnap him. Long story short. He’s safe, and I’d ended up trapped in my own ID. Great way to spend the month before the biggest day of my life.

Normally, I avoided prolonged flashbacks like a pitcher of unsweet iced-tea, but my current whereabouts had given me nothing but time to think. Sometimes, that’s a bad thing. Sure, I had my share of plotting my wolf’s horrific demise. A dull Lady Bic may have been involved sans shaving creaming. Gorilla Duct Tape could have entered into the picture, as well, followed by a rusty pair of catfish skinners. Those covered the first few days. After that, I went straight into remembering the last issue of Elle. My photographic fashion sense gave me a couple hours of false comfort. Then, it was back to murderous intent. That was four days ago. Murderous intent had become bored out of my skull real quick. Which was funny, because I was too freaking trapped in my skull to get out.

When had I morphed into some whining little snot? Probably, somewhere in my formative years when Big Daddy was spoiling me rotten and letting me have my way whenever I batted my eyelashes. That didn’t excuse the condition. It just explained my one flaw. You look for others though and things could get nasty. So, let’s not go there.

The worst part of this whole thing. Ms. Beoytch had more or less installed a flat screen in my, her?, head, so I could see what she was doing with my body. That was what hurt the most. I could see what the bitch was up to! Not one bit of it was a lick of good, let me tell you.

Now, that I’ve caught you up, how about helping me get out of this mess. Short of breaking down this fourth wall any further than it already is, I don’t see that happening, so sit back and get ready for the ride of your life. Things are definitely about to get hairy. Excuse the pun, but my biographer thinks he’s funny. Since he works for free, I’m stroking his ego and not telling him what a dufus is.

One more thing before I go, for continuity reasons, this chapter of my life story takes place before the events of Bite Marks Book One. Whatever that means. I so wish this guy would stop putting words in my mouth. It’s beginning to really cheese me off.

ImageIf you liked what you read, feel free to visit my author pages at either the Desert Breeze website, or Amazon to check more from me.

Mashed Up Romance

I’m going to be honest with you. When I went to bed last night, I had no idea what I’d write about. My brain had literally been killed by the heat and the work week. Yeah, it was one of those weeks. Don’t ask. Neither of us needs a rehash of all that. Really, we don’t.


This morning, a totally different story.


I don’t know if it was divine inspiration, or HBO shoving ‘Pitch Perfect’ down my throat 8 times on three different channels last night, but an idea greeted me when I finally crawled out of bed. Mash Up!


Okay, how does a ‘Gleeism’ apply to a Blog by a guy who writes romance? Simple! Romance is the ‘Mash Up’ master. It takes everything readers love and meshes them into a damn fine story time after time. Huh? What yo talking about Jmo?


Romance, especially modern Romance, is all about presenting a story that appeals to any reader. Seriously, it doesn’t matter what you love to read, Romance can give you a story that you’ll love. Let me give you a few examples.



Westerns. My good friend Paisley Kirkpatrick mashes the Old West with Romance in such a way that readers who normally would only read the Western genre could easily slip into the old west and feel right at home. I say that with confidence because she exhaustively researches her books before writing it. The historical details are right on the money. You read about a mining town, you better believe it’ll be historically accurate. Same with wagon trains. Trust me when I say, she goes beyond the norm to make sure her readers walk away feeling like they just stepped out of the Old West. Before I scamper off onto my next tangent, she adds a level of Suspense and Mystery to her books. That’s a Mash Up hat trick of goodness.


Suspense. Again, I’m going to touch on one of my fellow authors. Melanie Atkins goes to the same extremes crafting her stories by researching police techniques and everything else that it takes to create a story steeped in police lore. When you enter one of her books, you feel like you’ve just spent the night riding along with a detective. What about the Romance? Trust me, she has that covered. Not only are her facts top notch, she works some magic that keeps you breathless from her thrilling plots, but her characters make you fall in love right along with them.


For my last example, I’m going to a true master of the Mash Up! Jennifer Hartz in her Future Savior series doesn’t stop with combining Science Fiction with Romance. Oh no! She combines elements of SciFi, Fantasy, Inspirational, and Romance. Oh my! Out of all my fanatical reads, Future Savior is my all time fan boy pleasures. Jennifer has taken world building to a whole new level. If that wasn’t enough to knock your socks off, she gives you multiple timelines all at the same time! Past, present, future, she rips you across time and makes you like it. Like C.S. Lewis in the Chronicles of Narnia, Jennifer presents the perfect spiritual allegory in such a way that the message is subtle and gives you a warm toasty feeling that makes you dig deeper for understanding. And, the Romance? She doesn’t give you a slam bam thank you ma’am. No, her characters’ romance is a continuing story toldover five books with all the twists and turns that real life gives you. So, when you get right down to it, she mashes SciFi, Fantasy, Inspirational, Romance and real life, and you can toss in a little Contemporary. Now, you see why she’s my idol.


So, what about me? What do I mash together like a big bowl of cheesy bacon mashed potatoes? You knew it was going to be about me eventually. Wink.


I mash together whatever I can. Like Jennifer, I started off building a world. I make that world so real in my head that I live there much of the time. It’s the world we know, but slightly left of normal. My Love Bites world is a mash up of our world, ancient mythology, ancient aliens, the usual paranormal elements, but all swirled together into something new, yet old at the same time. That’s my first Mash Up.


With Love Bites and Bite Marks, I wanted to craft stories embodying all the things I love. Romance, the Paranormal, Fantasy, Comedy, a little SciFi and High Adventure, with some Tom Clancy type espionage elements thrown in to keep me hopping. Hopefully readers hopping too. Why all that? Because, when I read books, those are the things that hold my interest. So do I write Paranormal Romance? No, I write a Frankenstein version encompassing all of the above.


The Vampire stories are more story driven with plots that cross over all the books in the series to give you a broader view of the world I’ve created. My heroines and heroes main job aside from falling in love is to keep the world safe. Hey! That makes them superheroes. My Vampire Avengers! Guess I better add another genre to my Mash Up. If you’ve read my books or this blog before, you probably already knew that, but it slipped up on me. Funny how that happens.


The Southern Werewolf Chronicles is an extension of the Love Bites Universe, but it deals more with a single relationship. It is the continuing love story between Maddy and Nicholi. It begins with their unlikely reunion after a European Vacation gone furry and continues from there. So, with it I’ve mashed up Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Comedy, and Romance with a Southern Flavor. Each book tells a snapshot of their lives growing to love each other and understanding what that love means to two people used to depending on only themselves. Something anyone in a lasting relationship has to come to grips with.


My Amor Immorati series, I’ve gone to the other side of Paranormal. For one thing, Comedy isn’t the main story element. In each book, two so far, I’ve mashed up specific genres to tell my stories. Immortally Yours combined my love of Ancient History, Fairy Tales, Detective Novels and Fantasy in the form of bigger than life heroes. Set in the modern world, it falls under the ultimate mash up genre, Urban Fantasy. Book two, Immortally Damned examines Religious themes and redemption. Immortally Yours dealt with the same theme but approached it from a different angle. That’s what’s so great about these mash ups. You can literally tell a thousand stories and be original about with each one because of the tools you use.


Mash ups are more than a musical term. It’s a tool. A tool any artist can use. I can say artist, because authors paint pictures like a painter uses brushes or pencils, or like a singer, D.J. or musician uses their individualized instruments. The creative process does not limit what you can do with the tools you’re taught to use. It’s limited to what your mind can conceive. Romance authors are the quintessential artists. We love so many genres as readers, that when it comes time for us to become writers, it’s natural for us to gravitate to those things we endeavor to paint portraits of love in the minds of our readers. We can do it in the present, the past, the far flung future, or worlds you’ve never seen before.


That’s why when someone asks me what I write, I’m proud to say that I write romance. It’s not only the language of love. It’s the language of imagination gone wild.


Before I go, a couple other Mash Up Authors you should check out.


Gail Delaney: Her Phoenix series is just amazing. If you love Science Fiction, it is not to be missed.


Gloria Clover: ‘Children of the King’ is quite simply the most wonderful adventure I’ve been on all year. A Mash Up of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Inspirational, this series is a true delight.


Jordan Bollinger: Duty with Honor mashes together suspense, spy thrillers and romance. If you love James Bond with a Scarecrow and Mrs. King mentality you’ll love this tender tale of love and espionage.


Now, go forth and mash up your reading!


Comedy in Two Parts



If I remember correctly, I’m supposed to be doing something about comedy this week. Of course, this has been one of those weeks that makes you forget your own name, so who knows? Since I’m brain dead, I beg your forgiveness for any rambling drivel you may be forced to endure on my behalf.


Comedy is the exaggerated norm. That is I guess the first Law of Jmoism. Without a normal base line to go from you can’t achieve comedy. Comedy works because first and foremost you present a believable character or situation and extend outwards from there.


I love Big Bang Theory. Sure, it’s a sitcom about unbelievable characters, but if you go back to that first season and the beginning episodes, the writers gave you characters you could believe in. They might have been outside most peoples’ circle of friends, but they presented them first in ways that you could understand and empathize with. After they hooked you, the craziness began.


That’s how I do it. In my books, I attempt to introduce you to characters, who are unabashedly raw, human, flawed. Sure, they’re vampires, werewolves and ghosts, but at their hearts they’re just like you or me. But, not that guy. Yeah, you over there in the corner. Put that away and move on. Shoo… Shoo…


Now, where was I? Oh, yes.


See what I did there. I started off serious. You were probably thinking that this guy, meaning me, was about to make some profound point or another. Then, he, me, moves on to talking about werewolves and such. You were still on board, but might have been wondering where this was leading with your finger cautiously hovering over a bookmarked icon on your toolbar. Wham! I end it with some insanity about a guy in a corner? But! You kept reading, because it might have been mildly amusing, especially when you began to think about all things this jerk in the corner might have had to put away. I bet your mind might have even dipped into a gutter or two. Mine did.


But, that profound point you were waiting for me to make is this. Comedy is seriousness laced with the ability to make your imagination work overtime. It’s just like horror. The lights dim and you imagine all sorts of lurky things coming toward you in the dark. Comedy is horror’s opposite. Instead of the dark, it’s mimes in sunshine coming at you. Okay, bad example, but you get the idea.


The second Law of Jmoism is that you can’t be funny all the time. Comedy in huge doses just doesn’t work. For one thing, it makes you one dimensional. Do you laugh all the time? Man, I hope not. People might think you were crazy for one thing. For another, life is about the good, the bad, and then you have the Facts of Life. The Facts of Life. Loved that show, but I’m not digressing as you may think. The facts of life is this, you have equal, or sometimes unequal parts of good and bad in your life. Laughter allows you to deal with the bad. Sorrow allows you to appreciate the good all the more because it is fleeting at times and needs to be cherished.


So, if you’re planning to attempt comedy, trust in balance. There is balance to more than just the Force. Latticework in your funny when it’s needed. To break a heavy situation. To hide insecurity. To showcase a character’s snark or personality, but understand this. If your own thing is one liner after one liner, it won’t work. It took me awhile to figure that out, so feel free to learn from my mistakes.


Exaggerate the norm. Let’s go back to that. Enhancing a character’s personality quirks is just one tool. I’ll refer back to Sheldon on Big Bang for this one. We all know someone who is introverted and maybe just left of center. Which is why we love him as a character. Here’s the thing. After five years of watching him, we see evolution in his character. He is not the same guy we got to know in the beginning. As writers, we need to strive to have the ability to do that in our characters. If your hero or heroine is the same person they were on page one, as they are on page two hundred, you just failed.


How to twist a character, though. What you talking ’bout Willis? Serious, but funny? That just seems like a contradiction in terms. Well, it is, but it works. To show you what I’m talking about, here’s a few of my tricks.


In Love at First Stake, I had Donatello Ravell, be allergic to human blood. Savannah was the ultimate Buffy. She was trained to kill Vampires, but really not experienced enough to get the job done.


In Were Love Blooms, Madison Lee is the ultimate Southern Belle, but a European vacation gives her something they didn’t cover in her Southern Belle handbook. A raging case of the werewolf cooties. Nicholi Grant, the hero in this story, is the consummate straight-man to her Lucille Ball. Like I said above. Comedy without seriousness doesn’t cut it.


Love Free Stake Hard, gives us Deme, a four thousand year old Vampire, who has never truly lived. It’s up to our human heroine, Dela, to show him that a life not lived is not really a life at all.


Each of those three examples start off at that norm base line I talked about. Normal people in normal, or in my case, paranormal, situations thrust into situations that can’t help but lend themselves to comedic episodes. You twist the serious until you laugh at it or cry from experiencing it.


I know I’ve harped on that sorrow and cry business, but that is the heart of comedy. Avoiding the stuff that you can’t face without going insane.


A Southern Deb who suddenly becomes a werewolf? To her, it’s the end of her world. To us, it’s a chance to laugh along with her until she realizes her curse just might be the thing that she’s needed to make her stronger.


A first time Vampire Slayer, who might not be up to the challenge, but who is up to falling for the Vampire she’s sent to kill? Again, end of one world, beginning of another.


These aren’t just stories, they’re examples of looking on the bright side and finding happiness.


And, that just might be the point of Comedy.


Til, next week…


Happy Reading!


The End, as Jmo sees it

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end…

I know. I stole that from the Doors, but it applies. It also happens to be the perfect lead in for my last blog on Writing the Jmo Way. Just like you only get one chance to make a good first impression, you only get one shot at leaving a reader either breathlessly wanting more, or saying to themselves, ‘I wasted three days of my life reading this drivel for that!’ I’ve been there and said it, so know it’s true.

So how do you write that one amazing ending that totally leaves jaws dropping and with that eternal of I wonder what happens next burning a reader’s lips? There is a simple answer to that. It ain’t easy!

Too many factors go into the equation to give a pat answer. Each book is different, with its own set of problems. If you’re working on a single book, it narrows the field. In Romance, we strive for a ‘happily ever after’ most of the time. Other genres might not be so forgiving. Or, giving, as the case may be.  I write series. Series gives you the option of continuing the story so you can draw out that HEA. In the case of Love Bites and Bite Marks, I get to play with the best of both worlds. You get the individual happily ever after of my hero and heroine for that book, while you get to keep wondering what happens next as the plot that runs through the series keeps unfolding.

Why a continuing plot? Because, I hate to turn characters loose. Savannah and Donatello kicked Love Bites off. I loved them so much, I wanted to keep visiting them. They’ve popped up in nearly all of the books. Not only do I get to glimpse inside their continuing and growing relationship, the reader does as well. With Book three’s hero and heroine, I found something special. Deme and Dela have a specific role to play with their continuing and definitely growing relationship. And, no, I’m not telling you what it is. If you’ve been reading the series, you know. If not, consider that a tease to make you start reading. This is a writer’s blog after all. Just a spoiler, Book Two of Bite Marks will mark a big event in their relationship. Ebil ain’t I?

Back to what this blog is all about. The End!

What goes into crafting an amazing ending? First and foremost, it has to be satisfying — and true to the heart of the book. That last bit is the important part. The most important part! If you slap a kiss and a walk off into the sunset at the conclusion just because you think that’s what readers want, you’re cheating three sets of people. Yourself. Your readers. Your characters. Sure, you want your characters to have that, but is that the end result of what they’ve experienced? Some relationships take more that the span of a single situational experience to reach an ‘I love you forever’ moment. They might get to the ‘I love you,’ but realistically does every book deserve the wedding, and horse drawn carriage to end it. It’s an easy fix, but is it always the right fix?

In my Southern Werewolf Chronicles, Were Love Blooms ends with the I love you, but I hold off on the I love you forever. The characters feel it, but I leave room for them to explore their relationship before thrusting either of them into a big wedding and a future defined by the heat of the moment. I, personally, as the author went into the first book wanting to write a story about two people who find each other, then get into discovering if the ‘I love you’ means they can spend their lives together. Because love does not always equal compatibility.

Each book, there’ll be three, has a different theme. Were Love Blooms was finding true love. Were the Moon Don’t Shine was about what you’d do to keep true love alive. Book Three, which is still brewing in my head, will be about those two people discovering if they can survive all those little irritating things that all couples have to work through. To me, that’s what love is all about. Not the heat and passion, but the ability to love someone enough to stick around and let that love grow in spite of the constant nagging that someone left the toilet seat up again. It was the cat, and I’m sticking to that story.

Another key ingredient to a satisfying ending is remembering to tie up all those pesky loose ends. Subplots can get lost along the way. In the rush to finish a book, it can be easy to forget that you left Timmie in the well or whatever. A first draft is the race to finish. A second draft is the jog to finish well. Third draft? Well, that’s the slow walk to finish grammatically well. When we inevitably fail on that last one, we become an editor’s headache before we become a reader’s comma spliced migraine. Okay, maybe I need to reverse that. Editor’s migraine does sound more to the truth. The thing is as an author we need to remember what we’ve set in motion and make damned sure we finish what we start, no matter how small that might be. The devil, or in my case, the werewolf is in the details.

Even though my worlds are paranormal and exaggerated comically in nature, I attempt to base them on the real world. What each of us has gone through, or are going through, every single day of the week. In that way, I hope readers can relate to what I’m peddling. That means when they close the book, the end might be the end, or the end for now. How satisfying that is, I leave up to them to decide. For me, it’s as satisfying as I can make it limited to my observations of the human condition.

That’s the thing. Books are only as good as an author makes them. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I’m left wondering what I did there. That’s the reason we do multiple drafts, and if we’re smart, have people in our lives who read it before it reaches the online bookshelves. If it doesn’t satisfy them, then we know we need to go back to the drawing board. In this case, honesty is the best policy, so surround yourself with people not afraid to hit you where it hurts. Egos are made to be bruised. From personal experience, that drawing board can crack down the middle before we finally get what we want. Nay! Need.

All this basically means this. The End is hard work. It isn’t something that just falls into place magically. It should be the first thought you have when you type out that first line. Where am I going? How do I get there? How does all this lead to where my characters need to be? Hey, what happened to my bag of Oreos? Those are some other good questions you should ask yourself throughout the course of writing your book. Especially that last one. Those bags come up missing an awful lot.

To sum up this whole blog series, writing isn’t about telling a story. It is about totally immersing yourself into a story from beginning to end. For me, if you’re not living the story as much as your characters are, you’re not doing it write. I’ve probably said this before but it bears repeating. Writing is acting on paper, or its modern age’s equivalent, on the screen. I am my characters. I cry when they cry. I bleed when they bleed. Most of the time, I snark when they snark. And, when it’s all said and done, I’ve told the best story I’m able to. If I didn’t think that, I’d be even later on my deadlines than I already am. Because, for me to send a book to my editor, I have to honestly believe I couldn’t do it any better. If you can say the same, when you type out ‘The End’, then you’re not a writer, you’re an author.

Thanks to everyone, who has taken the time to stick with me through this drawn out process. I hope I’ve imparted some knowledge to you, or kept you mildly entertained. Either way, have a great day, and happy reading!

The End,


Interview with the Jmo- Part Deux


When last we left out intrepid author, he had been handcuffed to a chair in a roach infested, DNA splattered motel room. Fearing for his life, our brave Jmo did the only thing a studly specimen of manhood could do in his situation.



When that didn’t work, he curled into a fetal position and sucked his thumb. In the midst of doing a real fine job of that, the motel room’s door flew open, letting in a swirl of yellow taffeta.

Okay, this third person referencing myself has gotten old. I sucked my thumb and whimpered for my momma. Telling people I did it in the third person isn’t going to make it all go away. I did it. Giggle if you must, but let’s get over it. I’m still a hostage. An unfortunate one at that, because I recognize the owner of that yellow prom dress only too well.

Jmo: Madison?

Madison: The one and only, sugah. Now, does Madison Lee know how to make an entrance or what?

Jmo: Nice twirl, but what do you want from me?

Madison: Nothing really, but Nicholi said that Deme wanted a representative from the Maegunous to back him up on this turning our lives into sophomoric comedies. I have no idea what he’s talking about. In the Southern Werewolf Chronicles, you make me come off like the genteel Southern Deb that I am.

Jmo: So, you’re gonna let me go?

Madison: Not so fast, hot stuff. We still have a big problem we need to sort out.

Jmo: We do? Come on, Madison. Were Love Blooms was not only a LASR finalist for Best Book of 2010, but Joyfully Reviewed just named it as one of the best in Romance for 2012. That’s not too shabby.

Madison: Didn’t say it was.

Jmo: Then, what’s the problem?

Madison: Cliffhangers! I’m not going to spoil anyone’s read, but you’re awfully fond of them. Normally, I could care less, but this time, you messed with me. Vampires are too nice when it comes to crap like this. Civilized about it. Well, werewolves aren’t. This one ain’t for damn sure.

Jmo: I’m working on it. I promise.

Madison: Don’t lie to me. I’ve checked your laptop. You’re working on the next Bite Marks book. My readers want to find out what happens to me. They demand to know!

Jmo: I’m sorry, but the VCI have better lawyers than you do. It’s my contract that I have to have a book out a year chronicling their exploits. Not to point any fingers, but you missed four of our last six interviews. How do you expect me to write a book when I don’t know what to write?

Madison: That’s not my fault. I had New York fashion week to attend. Milan Fashion week to attend, then my nails were atrocious. You can’t have me showing my hands in public with werewolf nails. Not to mention, I had a waxing after the last full moon. You just don’t cancel those appointments. They’re set up months in advance. From the looks of that Duck Dynasty beard you’re sporting, you could use one yourself.

Jmo: My facial hair is a fashion statement, thank you very much.

Madison: It looks more like someone slapped a dead opossum on my face statement. I’m just saying, if you don’t get the drag out and write book three, I know people who will make you wish you did. Furry people. Furry people with fleas and large teeth and tails.

Jmo: Okay, as soon as I wrap up the second Bite Marks book, I promise to finish Were Love Finds You, but you’ve got to actually come to our meetings. I’m not only your underpaid therapist, but I’m the guy who has to write your books. unless, you just want me to start making things up?

Madison: Oh hell naw. I’ve seen your imagination. You’ll have me dying my pelt pink and acting like some freaky Wonder Woman rip off. The name of the series is The Southern Werewolf Chronicles, not Big Bang Wolf Theory. I will not become some Geek-a-Rama book. It’s bad enough you did that to the Vamps. I’ll see you this coming Friday. Have your tape recorder handy.

Jmo: Deal.

Madison: Now, I’ve got things to do. There’s a big sale at this little boutique just outside Paris. If I leave now, I can make it there before all the locals get the good stuff.

Jmo: What about untying me?

Madison: No can do boss. You’ve got one more visitor to deal with. If you’re lucky, you might see daylight before those roaches carry you off. If I were you, I’d do a heap of praying, because the next one isn’t as forgiving as me and Deme.

I opened my mouth to say something profound, but as we all know, I just ain’t a producer of profound. All I could do was mumble under my breath as she slipped through the door. Here I was two visitors down and no better off than when I work up in this roach motel. Her ominous words haunted me, but there wasn’t much I could do. calling for momma hadn’t worked. Sucking my thumb did help, but it wouldn’t get me out of these handcuffs.

So, while I sit here waiting on my next ghost of literary heck to come a’calling, please check out Joyfully Reviewed kind review for Were Love Blooms by clicking the cute icon before below. Then if you like what you see, click on the Desert Breeze banner to pick up the book that started it all Were Love Blooms.

Until next week, happy reading. And, somebody find out why my momma ain’t returning my screams for help.


Best of 2012

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