I am a writer among many other things. I have finished my first novel, Deconstructing Tara and am nearly finished with a second one. I have written and published a number of short stories and essays. This site is being constructed to allow me to continue to write and share information.
In case anyone out there is reading, I have a pitch scheduled for tomorrow to a local publisher at the Tennessee Williams Festival. The festival is going like a house afire and I wrote today with a couple of wonderful northern mid westerners. It is such a joy to hear other people read their work.
Now, I’m tired, just watered and have to take the dog out, but I worked out my pitch and I have two really good little mysteries and started a third, so wish me luck as I do all of you.
Have nearly finished my first tour with Voice Map, about Algiers Point. I will post the link here as soon as it’s finished.
Am nearly finished with a week of marathon writing and am SO INSPIRED that I will update this site in the next week or so. In the meantime, please contact me if you end up here. Thanks and XXX
I am finally writing and editing a lot of my own work again. If you come here from the crones site on facebook, you will find the eco essay under essays. I will be adding more as I can.
Going to try to keep up with this site more this year. I’m getting back into writing again after a month or so of lolling around listlessly. I have pitched the first Algiers Point mystery to an agent and am working on the second one now. Appreciate any comments.
Been writing and thinking about writing and today I re-contacted those who have some of my work under consideration to see where we stand. If you haven’t done so already, you should check out Auf Wiedersehen Herr Schmid. It’s the newest of the bunch.
UPDATE 9/4/15 I am several chapters into the fifth Lilac Grove mystery and have posted the first chapter of a new series taking place in Algiers. Check out Auf Wiedersehen Herr Schmidt.
UPDATE 8/21/15 Finished the complete first draft of the fourth mystery.
UPDATE 7/20/15 Just finished up two very short pieces of fiction started during the summer Marathon/Retreat, “1905” and “The Crossroads of a Bizarre Bazaar,” both posted in short stories. Let me know what you think.
UPDATE 7/7/15 For some reason my short stories all saved as word pad docs and were awful. I corrected them. I don’t know how that happened. I am into the later part of the third part of four of the latest mystery. Give it a read and let me know what you think. What Thought They of Death?
UPDATE 6/19/15 Manuscript is with a potential publisher and I have spent the last three days organizing the first three books. I don’t want anyone or any place to change appearances without my knowing about it. I continue to make minor changes but will definitely have to get static when something is published. Mystery 4 moves along.
UPDATE 6/16/15 I am officially a pedestrian. Anna Mae went to NPR last week. Got another agent rejection, but she gave me some really good advice and I followed it. I will update the writing samples posted here soon. Mystery 4 is moving along as well.
LILAC GROVE MYSTERY #4 tentatively titled What Thought They of Death? has taken me by the throat. I should have known better than to court the devil by putting in print that I was going to do something other than write. I have posted the first part of the first part. If you haven’t read any of the others, I’d really appreciate a comment as I know these people really well now and perhaps am missing something crucial.
NEWS I have begun a second Welcome page so that you don’t have to scroll through all my jabbering to find something. I’ve been seriously at this writing business for over two years now and have completed five novels. By serious I mean that when I am not working for someone else (which has been for most of this time) I write or edit for six to eight hours nearly every day. I am bold facing the contents of paragraphs so you can more easily find what you might be looking for. Of course I would like to have you read and comment on everything, but I know how busy everyone is.
NOVELS I have just finished another edit of the first three novels in my Lilac Grove Mysteries With Histories series. I have read each of them at least a dozen times or more, and they are books I would pick up at the library. They are very different from the first novel, Deconstructing Tara, which I believe was, for the most part, channeled. Likewise, they are different from The Lives and Death of Taya DuChamps, which is also a book I would pick up at the library, though it is really not a mystery, more an adventure. The first part of each novel is posted here, When Lilacs Last Bloomed on the Lake, Midst the Campfires’ Fitful Flames and All Shrouded in Thick Sprinkled Bunting. The referenced Walt Whitman quotes are posted on the appropriate link.
PUBLICATION I am now actively investigating publication–in various formats. I have a vision of these that includes maps, the various font changes and graphics, none of which seem to be very useful if published on Amazon as a Kindle.However, I am a writer and I am flexible. I just want readers.
ACCESS I will get all these in PDF format soon and that will probably be easier to read. In the meantime, I have book stubs and a PDF formatted Tara. and I can send you any of the others as a rich text attachment.
REVIEWS On my website, I will accept constructive criticism as I am probably my own most critical reader, however, if you would be so kind as to review Tara on either Amazon or Barnes and Noble, please say nice things. It’s unfortunate, but most people now must have someone else like or recommend a read before they will check it out on their own.
COMMUNICATION Unless book four grabs me by the throat, I intend to find a method of publication before I jump into that with all four feet. However, I will make regular updates on jeanneswords.com and I will send out regular emails to my contacts list. If you wish to be included or deleted please let me know and I will comply.
TIP JAR As always, most writers are pretty poor and I am no exception. I won’t go into the gory details, but my last paying job was an absolute disaster and my car just lost fourth gear so until I either find another part time job close or sell some books, I am living on Social Security. Thus, if you are flush, like what you read, and would like to support my writing habit, tips are very much appreciated. Just click on the paypal link on the first welcome page. It takes you right there.
Been a while. Quite a run but convinced me that there is no way I can teach and write quality work. Some people can do it. I can’t. I put way too much of myself into teaching and it drains me. It’s fun to get feedback on my writing from students but not worth the toll it takes on me physically, emotionally and mentally, not to mention creatively.
Over the past two days I have completely revisited and revised the first two books of the Lilac Grove mystery series. I’m pretty satisfied with them. If anyone out there would like to read one pre-publication, please email me and I’ll send you a link. I’m going to get reorganized this week and hopefully complete the first draft of the third book.
Had an absolutely wonderful time as always with the writing marathon. In spite of being late both days and missing writing with anyone at all on Sunday, I got some really good writing done. Now it’s back to the school grind. I have two classes scheduled for the next round as well. Yikes.
Didn’t seem as though it had been so long. Working adjunct at Herzing University here in New Orleans and the 8 week schedule is a little overwhelming but I have succeeded and think they will ask me back next semester. It’s nice to be working with adults and it is also nice to be paid every two weeks, so totally unlike traditional universities.
The Tennessee Williams Festival is in full swing here now and I can’t wait to participate in the marathons tomorrow and Sunday. Have a lot of catch up to do here and want to take some of the Bunting writing with me in case I get really inspired.
An updated, edited version of Part One of All Shrouded in Thick-Sprinkled Bunting is posted here as well as the newspaper article preceding Part Two.
I have posted an updated version of Part One of When Lilacs Last Bloomed on the Lake. Check it out and comment if you have time.
The paypal button below will allow you to “tip” me if you like what you read or just want to help support a struggling writer.
January 30, 2015
I have posted the first few chapters of Part One of the third Lilac Grove Mystery, All Shrouded in Thick-Sprinkled Bunting as a new page. Please read and let me know what you think. No images yet, let me know if you have any suggestions. This particular book covers the Fourth of July, thus the title.
It’s that time again. Mardi Gras. Don’t know about parades this year. I’m still a little bit in mourning over Dobie. It’s funny how some dogs just won’t let go. Miss the old fart every day.
The writing is coming along. Thanks to Ellen for forcing me to write. Without Deconstructing Tara, as difficult as it was to write, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing now which is the Lilac Grove series of mysteries. I know how to do this now and am actively seeking an agent or publisher. I’m on book three and will post the first part as soon as I have it finished.
I edit every single time I re-read so the excerpts posted for Lilacs and Flames are probably not exactly as they are now, but the plots and action and characters are. Comments are greatly appreciated.
When writing a series like this it is very important that the reader not be confused by who is who and that history remains that. I have two wonderful villains in this third mystery and am really looking for feedback.
My sister, Bonnie paid to publish Tara, The Lives and Death of Taya DuChamps is still with a potential publisher and I have hopes for the mystery series. Writing is the most fun and the most work of anything I have every done and those of you who know me, know that is an extensive history of labors.
This is Dobie. All dogs are wonderful but he was especially so. He died at 1:26 AM on December 26 and I still can’t believe it. He was a stubborn individual who never complained and got along with everyone. There is a story here but I am not up to writing it right now. Stay tuned because he was quite a guy.
IS IT JUST ME?
As you know, I am a writer and a writer needs readers and will do almost anything to get them. I am also a boomer and thus have not grown up with a mouse or cell phone in my hand. I have always loved the printed word and to me there is an important difference between having paper in my hands rather than a computer or tablet screen.
I appreciate the labor that goes into the crafting of a story. I just edited my first mystery again for what is probably the 20th time so that I could change the margin to allow it to be printed and put into a three-ring binder. Definitely old school. I have other friends who are writers and who generously share their resources with me. For much less work and money I have learned I can get pre-publication copies printed through Amazon. Thus, if I can find readers willing to read the manuscript, they could get a copy for far less than the binder offer I made the other day.
It is not just because I resist technology. Once I figure something out, I really appreciate not having to do things the hard way. But my purpose in offering signed and numbered copies of the manuscript of When Lilacs Last Bloomed on the Lake was not simply to make a little money before I am able to get the novel published, but because to me, the opportunity to have that somewhat bulky but in a way historical document is a way to honor the process that birthed it.
I am very confident that the novel will be published and I really anticipate some success with it. I am a persistent broad and though financial success has never been an end all for me (though I’d like to be able to pay my bills), George Orwell’s four reasons that writers write: egoism, historic impulse, political purpose and the love of words certainly loom large with me.
And though it is a real kick to see one’s own book in print, the process that gets it there should be equally important. I think of the notations T. S. Eliot made on Djuna Barnes’ manuscript of Nightwood. And though my manuscript offer will not have such illustrious addenda, it is a testament of sorts to the making of a book. For me, just a numbered pre-publication copy is not the same.
But in the practical sense of seeking readers, I will look into the Amazon option and offer that to any who would be so kind as to read and comment. It wasn’t what I had in mind, but I can see that it is a viable alternative.
Tools are just that, but I certainly wouldn’t throw my hammer away just because I got a nail gun. You can read Orwell’s essay at jeanneswords.com.
TRULY UNIQUE GIFT OPPORTUNITY
For the reader, mystery lover, boomer, or curmudgeon on your list. Signed and numbered original manuscript of first mystery novel in series by Jeanne Elaine Northrop, When Lilacs Last Bloomed on the Lake. For details see Manuscript Offer above.
Finished an almost final edit of the second mystery and feel really lost like I don’t have anything to do. I do, of course, but it must be rather like sending a child off to college. I miss my characters already and am ready to start on the third, but I have to work on marketing and I’m just not quite up to it.
Beautiful day here but I am out of sorts.
My dog Dobie has had a few bad days but he seems to be better. I am really getting this genre down and am pleased at finding clues where I hadn’t planned them. Please read the first installment of Flames and let me know what you think. I may be nearly finished with this by Thanksgiving.
One more turn of the wheel. And I am writing, still. We won’t starve but discretionary income is nil. However, I am making excellent progress on the second mystery. If you have a chance, please read Midst the Camfires’ Fitful Flames and let me know what you think. I believe I have this genre down.
I am using the remainder of the calendar year 2014 to polish the first two books of my mystery series and outline the remaining ones. I know that writing does not seem like a real job to many people but the past couple of years have convinced me that I at least have to regard it as such or I will never complete anything.
I have completed three novels in that length of time and am about half way through the fourth. I work at this 35 to 45 hours a week.
With the coming of the new calendar year I feel that I will have a really strong series to pitch to agents and/or publishers and with which to work the net which takes an enormous amount of time.
And yes, for those who think I’m wasting my time, I will also devote myself to looking for a real job so that if I fail as a writer my friends and family will not have to worry about my animals starving.
In the meantime, if you are purchasing anything through Amazon and do so through the Deconstructing Tara link herein I will receive a tiny (really tiny-$2.02 on five purchases!) commission and it will cost you nothing extra. Pass this on to friends. I will always support writers when I am able.
As a final note, I have done things in my life that brought me much more money but far less joy.
NEW CATEGORY: JEANNEFOOD’S FAVORITE RECIPES
A number of years ago I tried my hand at vegetarian catering and JeanneFood was born. As with most of my projects, my timing was off and without any capital for advertising word of mouth simply didn’t pay the bills. But I loved cooking and those who ate it were pleased. Especially as the weather cools, I get the urge to cook and bake so I am sharing these recipes on jeanneswords.com and pinterest.
The first recipe up is “Four Directions Beans” which also happens to be a short story. Coming soon are brownies, dog treats, fudge and sage bread.
Recipe Number Two is up. “I Love Stuffed Artichokes But Not the Work.”
I would greatly appreciate it if you would read a little something and comment. Unlike comments on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, it won’t affect my approval rating, but will greatly help me understand my audience.
On other topics, I realize that Deconstructing Tara is difficult to read for some because of the graphic sexual scenes and the fact that Tara seems oblivious to her fate, but I don’t apologize. It would not be Tara’s story otherwise.
The Lives and Death of Taya DuChamp is still with a possible publisher. I recently re-read it and except for the usual and continual errors in grammar and punctuation, I like the story and think it has validity. Wish me luck. Please check out the post. I will be using my friend Maury White-Hereford’s painting as the cover.
I am now writing a series of mysteries, kind of like cozies (think of Lilian Jackson Braun and Rita Mae Brown though my animals are far less helpful). I realize this is not the genre most of my friends and relatives read but if you know someone who does, please ask them to check out When Lilacs Last Bloomed on the Lake, the first in a series of eight or ten “Broke ‘N’ Bored, Mick O’Clery Mickelson and Jody Jenkins Lilac Grove Mysteries.” Anyone who wants to read the entire manuscript can just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Manuscript Request” in the subject line and I will reply. The beginning of the second, Midst the Campfires Fitful Flames will be posted this week.
Thanks for your continued tolerance and support. Sorry for the length of this.
At one time as a teenager I was obsessed withRussian literature and read as much as I could find. Although Pushkin was my favorite, I think this quote by Leo Tolstoy while no longer politically correct certainly deserves consideration:
“All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.”
This is my first novel. Click on the link to see and purchase on Amazon. Other outlets are listed below. Sample chapters are posted on this web site.
TIMES CHANGE BUT ROMANTIC OBSESSION IS ETERNAL
There is no dearth of tragic literary romances because writers of every era explore the themes of social change, sexual power dynamics and the importance of physical and psychological love. Deconstructing Tara takes place in the 1970’s but the novel’s heroine, beautiful young southern businesswoman Tara Denisovich harkens to Emma Bovary and Anna Karenina, women from vastly different times but facing remarkably similar conflicts. The novel is sandwiched between quotes from the quintessential southern novel, Gone With the Wind whose heroine though surviving, likewise fights against the exploitation of women.
Deconstructing Tara is set in a time greatly affected by dynamic societal changes brought about by burgeoning popular culture media, the women’s liberation movement and the sexual revolution. Tara believes she is a sophisticated woman. She finds that merely having affairs with older men does not make her knowledgeable about men, and her romantic belief in the power of love blinds her to the realities of her relationship with her powerful employer and lover. The trappings of sexual freedom do not make her free.
Having grown up in a household that shielded her from many harsh realities, she has no more than affluence, beauty and talent to protect her against sexual obsession, ruthless business policies, and the objectification of her sexuality. The “Me” decade’s focus on individualism and independence as played out in fashion, discos and decadence allows for no fragility. Deconstructing Tara recounts a much-told tale that nevertheless bears repeating, as women must still put forth more than 100% to compete in a man’s world.
Finally received my copy of Deconstructing Tara and it looks really good but there is a lot to do with publicity. I have to buy copies in order to send them to reviewers and I’m still not working. If you can donate towards my book promotion cause, it would be much appreciated. Just click on the paypal icon below.
Here’s the cover of Deconstructing Tara.
Here is my postscript.
“All you’ve done is to be different from other women and you’ve made a little success at it. As I’ve told you before, that is the one unforgivable sin in any society. Be different and be damned!…Remember, a well-bred female’s place is in the home and she should know nothing about this busy, brutal world.” Rhett Butler Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind, 1936
This was a very disturbing book for me to write. First, because even though it’s my writing, it is not my story. Second, because it’s not the subject matter I usually choose to write about. And finally, because I was absolutely compelled to write it.
Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Whether, as psychic friends have told me, I was channeling Tara’s spirit, or if some deep, previously unacknowledged personal psychosis was at work, I wrote scene after scene of a life I had never known, including those of graphic sexual abuse.
Fortunately, I have learned to be a ruthless editor and my reader has been spared the endless repetition of Theo’s obsessive sexual debasement of Tara’s body, and of Tara’s own obsession with her objectified beauty and desirability.
Having lived through the 70’s as a young woman, and having experienced to some degree the exhilaration and apprehension of what have come to be recognized as the sexual revolution and women’s liberation, I know these characters, many of these scenes, and surely the plot, some of which I actually experienced, but much of which simply ‘came to me.’ Even though I was alive then, this is a work of fiction.
Even with a suicide note, which Tara did not leave, survivors are left to wonder what could possibly cause a loved one to choose death over life. We living, even being aware of the pervasiveness of extreme physical and psychological pain, cannot fully comprehend suicide. Suicides seem to be the result of fearing life more than death.
Personally, I feel that it is the fear of failure or punishment rather than the fear of death that keeps many of us in the corporeal world until our ultimate and inevitable end. None of we living know. We are not allowed a definitive answer from the enemy we must embrace but know not.
I have finished the second novel, The Lives and Death of Taya DuChamps and have submitted it to a publisher. Thereis a prequel and a sequel out there involving Taya’s grandmother, Mama Marie and Taya’s second daughter, Marie, but I’m working on the mystery series now.
The third novel and first mystery in the series, When Lilacs Last Bloomed on the Lake is finished and I am working on final edit. Any promotional ideas, please let me know. This is my genre. Tara and Taya both taught me lessons on how I write and I am now confident that I can do this. Entirely different kind of story but I really like it. Read the excerpt posted and see what you think.
Have begun work on the second of the Lilac Grove mysteries, The Fitful Flame of the Bivouac, and have transferred 30 some pages from my journal. Will be posting as I get it in order. Now you can find the title page, epigraph and introductory newspaper article. Where do you think this is going?
Just a note that all writing is my own, copyrighted and should not be reproduced without written permission from me. I often use excerpts of my own unpublished work for students to write about because they can’t yet be plagiarized.
So I will be attaching writing samples and working on this over the next several months. In the meantime, if you would like to donate toward the promotion of Deconstructing Tara, please do so here or go to the page that has samples of the writing.