Were it All Began: A Southern Werewolf Blog

It all started with a line. I know that is stating the obvious, but it’s true. Back in 2007, I’d just begun my writing career in earnest. My first book had been published and my second was due out in April, so I thought I knew what I was doing. Back then, I was big on first lines. First lines were gateways to adventures. Still are, but that’s beside the point.


Where was I? Oh, yeah. So anyway, I had two books started already. One would go on to be Mis-Staked, published by Champagne Books, and the other was only a chapter or two of a book titled Immortally Yours, now, published by Desert Breeze publishing. I mean with two books more or less kicking my butt, why would I even entertain thoughts of starting a third, not to mention I had edits coming on the book coming out in April. Yep, I’m a glutton for punishment. Least I was in those days. I’ve learned my lesson on multiple books at the same time, tyvm.


But, this line was so intoxicating, I couldn’t let it go. I mean, it floored me with all the possibilities that went along with it. I knew right away it was going to be a paranormal romance. As I stared at the line, I saw a Southern Belle uttering the line. In fact, it was my wife’s voice echoing in my head.


“Not to sound totally insane, but how much wax does it take to do a bikini line when you’re a freaking werewolf?”


Not to say she’s hairy or a werewolf, but it was so a thing she would say. I had my heroine, but how did she become a werewolf? I’ve lived in the south my whole life and werewolves weren’t exactly common place. Goth kids in vampire makeup you could see everywhere. Tripped over them at the mall, Walmart. You name it. Werewolves? Not so much.


Then it hit me. What if lycanthropy was a sexually transmitted disease? That insane thought gave me the how. My heroine, who I named Madison, was rich and had gone on a vacation to Europe. She somehow got lost and ended up in Transylvania. Still, with me? Good, I know I’m hitting you with a lot of back story, but the biggest part of writing is getting to know your story and characters. I sat in my recliner living this back story in my head for a few minutes and fell in love with Mads. She is my wife so it was kind of easy.


Lost in Transylvania demanded a tall dark mysterious man. And, Nicholi Grant was born, or created rather. Madison, being who she had gradually become in my head, would have no problem having zee roll in zee hay with a tall dark mysterious stranger with the devilish good looks of Gerry Butler. My good friend Paisley Kirkpatrick made me say that, but it’s true. Nicholi does sort of remind me of him.


I had my first line, a Southern Belle and a mysterious one night stand who apparently turned out to be a werewolf. Sounded like I had a book on my hands. Nope, but I was close. I still needed a plot, a story to toss them into and shake like some fish in cornmeal and Tony’s. If you’re from the South, you’ll get that analogy. If not, I’m sorry.


This put me to thinking. Okay, it put me to watching a Buffy marathon on TNT. Then it hit me! Rather, my wife did and told me to stop mumbling to myself, Angel was on. Back to the Eureka. I needed monster hunters! But not as the main plot, a subplot building to the conclusion of the overall story. Still, what was Mads’ and Nicholi’s story?


There was so much to choose from. How did she become a werewolf? Will she forgive Nicholi for giving her a paranormal STD? Why did Nicholi show up after so long? It had been a year since their one night stand. These questions led me to wondering about Madison’s life in general. They were well off, but what if the family business was in trouble? Now, I had something to work with!


Namely, a multilayered story about a woman who’s a werewolf and meets the one night stand who turned her into a werewolf and just so happens to be trying to buy her family business, while a group of monster hunters are trying to kill them all.


Whew, try typing that three times fast!


Summing up the epic in those words doesn’t really sum it up either. The one line that would go on to become, Were Love Blooms is the story of a romance born in Europe but fully realized in the heart of Dixie. It is also about everything I grew up being surrounded by. A book about family. A book about a small town. A book incorporating the world I know and the world living inside my head.


As I look back on the seven years since I jotted down that mind numbing line, a lot has changed. It took me three years to finally finish Were Love Blooms. Thanks to Gail Delaney, I let Madison’s story play out. She read the beginning and said that I had to finish this book. I did and Desert Breeze ultimately published it. My wife and I have survived 16 yrs of being married and are stronger for the bad times, and happier because of the good times. I’ve seen three publishers go under, and found a home with Desert Breeze. I’ve seen over 20 books published and discovered a bigger world inside my head than I thought lived there. I’ve become a grandfather. I’ve seen the world grow bigger and smaller at the same time thanks to the internet. Lastly, I’ve been able to share my imagination with others for over 7 years and met readers and authors who have become friends and family to me. In short, life has been and is good. I am truly blessed.


Were Love Blooms and the entire Southern Werewolf Chronicles aren’t just the story of two people in love. It’s the story of me growing in my craft and in the process becoming friends with the world. To those of you who have read the Southern Werewolf Chronicles, thank you for spending both your money and time for a glimpse inside my head. To those of you who haven’t, I invite you to come and read for a spell. I might be biased, but I think the price of admission is well world the ride.


 were love bloomsfrom

Desert Breeze Publishing



Available from




other online booksellers


Wishing you a good week, and of course, happy reading!


Making a good first impression Jmo style!



ImageIt never hurts to make a good first impression. Bad impressions generally get you hit over the head with a beer bottles and rudely shoved out the door of your favorite watering hole. Since this blog is about writing and all writers want to make a good impression, we’ll be discussing my favorite first impression.


The first line of a book is your first impression. It’s the first taste a reader will get of your book. After honing my scan of a first paragraph, I’ve come to judge books by their first page and rarely by their covers. Sure, the cover sparks my interest, but if the first page makes me yawn, I slap it back on the shelf and mentally berate artists everywhere for tricking me. I grew up devouring books with covers by Boris, Frazetta and the Hildebrant Brothers, so I’m no stranger to picking up books based on cover art. It serves its purpose if the artist knows what they’re doing.


But, it’s up to me as an author to draw you past a cover with my writing skills. If you, or me, as a writer can’t back up that cover, we need to rethink a career in writing. That first line thing goes for chapters too. I’m also a big believer in last lines. The final line of a chapter should make you speed turn the page to find out what happens next. Most of the time, you have something to back that up, but not all chapters can leave you breathless. Some have to further the story in more mundane ways. But, this isn’t about last lines. It’s about first lines.


To illustrate my point, I’m going to use one of my favorite first lines from one of my books. This one is from Love at First Stake.


“Madam, are you aware you just shoved a sizable stake through my heart!”


Okay, see what I did there? That one line informed the reader of two things.  A. This book is about Vampires. B. This book just might be funny. Now, let’s see what tone I’d set if I went a different way.


            Her fist came down, slamming the ash hewn stake through the bloodsucker’s heart.


That sets a totally different tone. A. We still know it’s about Vampires. B. This book just might get gory and more serious than I intended. Another thing. It’s kind of boring. How many times have you read a vampire novel that is all about the mythology and mired in clichés? Love Bites was intended to be a different take on Vampires. A funny take. Something to set it apart from the horde of vampire books out on the shelves already. Hopefully, I succeeded in drawing in readers with that first line and keeping them entertained long enough to keep reading to the end.


One more first line. This is from Were Love Blooms.



Not to sound totally insane, but how much wax does it take to do a bikini line when you’re a freaking werewolf? 


Again, I’ve defined the subject matter and tone of the book in a comical way. We immediately know the main character is a werewolf and none too happy about the fact. By the way, if anyone can answer that question for me I’d really like to know how much it takes. I might not be a werewolf, but I’m quite hairy.


But, I digress. This blog is about writing, not my follicle issues.


If you’ve been following this blog series, you’ve got a grasp on the concept that characters and plot are your first concerns. Once you know both of those things, you can get to the fun stuff. And, that’s the real point of writing. Having fun doing it. If you see it as work, it’ll come across as work. Nobody likes work, least of all readers. We read to escape work, life and stress in general.


I’m in no way saying comedy is everyone’s favorite, but the first line first impression works no matter what genre you’re writing. Let me show you. This is from a current work in progress that I’ve been playing around with in my spare time. Ha! What spare time? Please forgive the language, but sometimes situations dictate a harsh response, especially if you’re dealing with a harsh type of character. The name of this work is Shadick’s Brand.


“Son of a bitch!” Jace Shadick let the curse roll across his lips, as he saw the plume of smoke painting the dusty blue sky.


What does the first line tell you? Probably not a comedy. Something bad just happened. Something worse is probably going to happen. The title of the book hints that it’s a Western, so I tailored his speech and the visual description to mirror his environment and times. Not only does the first line give you his frame of mind, but it allows you a look into the world around him. Dusty blue sky equals cloudy day. The smoke gives you an idea that a tragedy has occurred. The curse tells you it is something he doesn’t want to deal with. That’s a lot for a line to tell you. More importantly, does it make you want to read more? Feel free to tell me the truth. I would appreciate it.


What can we bring away from all this? First lines are windows to your book. It’s a hook to make a reader want to read more. The impact defines the tone of a book. A single line can give a complete overview of what a reader can expect. Finally, if you’re doing it right, first lines can be fun.


So next time you sit down to write, consider how important that first impression is. From there it’s up to you to either totally kill it, or get hit with a beer bottle. Figuratively of course. But, if it were me, I’d try to kill it, just in case. Beer bottles really hurt.