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Monday Madness: Jane Toombs

Monday Madness:

Jane Toombs 

What do you do when one of your publisher calls and asks if you’re writing a Christmas story for her? I learned a long time ago the right answer is not “no.” Although if it really is impossible, the answer can start out, “Much as I’d love to, here’s what’s gong on with me right now…”

She’d already said short story, so I started  out with “How much time do I have?”

The answer was that the story was due in four days.

Whoa.  But she’d said 1000 words or more.   That’s not impossible in four days. We went on to discuss different possible settings and genres and we decided I’d try to do one set along the Hudson River where I used to live, and possibly make it historical.

Okay, I sit down to write a short synopsis because I’m a plotter and what pops into my mind? A ten-year-old girl whose father was killed in Afghanistan three years ago. Furthermore there’s snow and she’s in the woods of MI’s Upper Peninsula looking for the stray dog she’s saving scraps for.

I’ve learned the futility of arguing with my green dragon muse who is far more stubborn than I, besides being much larger and more dangerous.  And so The Christmas Catalyst got written in four days and got accepted.  Of course it needed some expanding, but I knew that when I submitted it.  I just finished the last edits and it’s now over 5000 words.

So It’ll be out in December from Red Rose Publishing and I already have the cover.

Another 2011 story I wrote with a lot more time to do it is A Christmas Surprise, in Christmas Gems, a Jewels of the Quill Anthology published by Whiskey Creek Press.  JOTQ is a closed group of twelve authors  who banded together to do promo for each other and the group and also to have each other to complain to about life and writing problems, knowing it’d be kept private. Our fearless leader is a dynamo who’s kept us together for many years now.  After what is almost too many anthologies to count (many of them award-winning), this Christmas Gems one is our last.  At least in the foreseeable future.  A usual JOTQ is  giving away a lot of goodies for Christmas–one being Christmas Gems  How to enter can be found at http://www.JewelsoftheQuill.com

Unfortunately the synopsis I wrote for A Christmas Surprise didn’t work well,  The three members of the  JOTQ group doing the editing had multiple problems with the story because of it and made various suggestions.  None of them were quite right but it told me I’d lost touch with the characters and so I had to woo them back and promise I’d listen to how they wanted the story to go. I did three overhauls before I finally felt it worked  We’ve had some great reviews on the anthology, so I guess I actually did get it right.

I had to relearn what I did know, but somehow let go of–that it’s not a good idea to stop paying attention to your characters.  And that was a nice Christmas present for me.

This makes two Christmas stories this year–and very different from each other, but each one dealing with a loss that is finally resolved as part of Christmas.

Jane Toombs is the author of somewhere near ninety novels and novellas, plus novellas and short stories in anthologies.

Jane, the Viking from her past, and their calico grandcat, Kinko, live in Michigan’s beautiful  Upper Peninsula where they enjoy three marvelous seasons and one miserable one.  Jane gave up writing for New York publishers some years back and is now happily writing for epublishers.

You can visit Jane’s site at http://www.janetoombs.com/

Click here for a full list of her works.

December 12, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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