Friday, July 20, 2018

To ReRead or not to ReRead by Robin Janney

So yeah, looked at least weeks posts and I think I've recentered myself.

How I keep track of the timeline while I write...
I suppose technically if you are one of the people who has read the first version of The Farmer's Daughter, you probably wouldn't have to reread the second version when I re-release it. The overall plot is still the same. Boy meets girl...they fight their feelings for each other...love wins the day.

However - I would highly recommend it. I'm not sure how to replace the kindle version to get you a new copy of the novel, but if you own a paperback I will send you a new copy free of charge. Just get in contact with me with on Facebook or the email listed here on the blog. (Over to the right) You don't have to wait for the re-release to let me know, feel free to send me your info now so I can have it all planned out.

Some of the changes I made, while 'small' are significant. And the one change at the end is not small and will no doubt continue to give me fits as I work my magic on the sequel. The end result will be worth it. I hope that's not just my wishful thinking and that my faithful readers will agree with me!

I will look into the Kindle e-version part of it, and if I've found any answers before this posts on Friday, I will insert that paragraph here. If you're reading these words, then I haven't found the answer yet! Edit: I will have to ask Amazon to send those with a Kindle Version an update notifying them that there is a new version. They may or may not approve my request and it's not something I can do until I do the re-release. Will keep you updated as I go.

One of the continuance problems I've run into in my novels...is the moon phase. And I only just now noticed that if I've printed off the calendars shown in the picture to the left, I don't have to google what the moon phase was back in the novel's time period because...it's right on the bottom of the calendar!!. I am too funny sometimes!

If you've never read The Farmer's Daughter, I hope you'll decide to buy it when I re-release it. I think it's a worthy entertaining novel.

Until next time, have a great weekend!

Much love!

Monday, July 16, 2018

One Week Left by Robin Janney

The one spot I asked my husband not to weed eat or mow...
cuz....daisies!!
So, for those of you who remember, I've been off work for about three months now. I returned to work in April after my March surgery only to have another problem crop up. 

I've been going to physical therapy for a while, and having been receiving a steroid treatment to the trouble spot. It's not 100% better, but it's well enough to try going back to work next Monday.

Looking forward to getting a paycheck again...being out of the air conditioning and away from my computer - not so much. But still, there are bills to be paid, so until I hit the big time, "day job" it is.

I was told that my specific position was put up for bid since I've been out longer than 90 days, so I'm not even certain what I'll be doing when I go back (no anxiety there!). I'll find out more about that tomorrow.

I've been working my way through my second novel while the first one is out to people to be read. I'm afraid I'm going to have to end up reworking the entire middle section of the book because it feels to me like I'm doing more telling than showing. I will probably wait on doing that until I've worked my way through the novel for the first set of changes.

So I have a week to finish that first going through. I do have One Drive installed on my smartphone, so as long as I have internet on my phone, I'll be able to work on my stories anywhere. It's not my most favorite way to write, but it is better than nothing. I'll go back through my blog posts about Farmer's Daughter, see what I hit and missed on what I wanted to talk about in the first place. I can't believe I pounded out 3 posts last week, all in one sitting. Especially since I'm sitting here now thinking 'wut r words?'

That said, I'm signing off for my Monday blog. Here's hoping to a productive week!

Much love!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Why the Changes pt 3, by Robin Janney

Why did I change names, (Sara to Maeve, Jannie to Jeannie), personalities (Maude and her mother Pearl have been reversed a bit, Philip's protectiveness of his daughter is more prevalent) and either change or speed up plot points?

Sheesh, where to begin?

I have hated naming my characters ever since the first release of Farmer's Daughter because I was asked if I had used so many family names on purpose. Uhg, no. While I put more thought into some names than others - Angela's names are all symbolic of who she is and what she represents to Craig...including the Hebraic etymology of Carman, although that's something I only just found out (talk about a collective consciousness)...and her name change from Carman to Moore is just as symbolic.

I specifically chose Craig because of the etymology of the name (it means Rock) and not because I have a cousin Craig. I was probably choosing family names, even though I was nearly estranged from my family at the conception of the story and it's early germination because they're names I'm comfortable with. My character Craig certainly doesn't look like my cousin in my head! If you know me well enough, you know exactly who my mind has already cast for his role in my imaginary movie lol

The role of one of Angela's childhood mentors was originally named Sara...If I remember correctly, I struggled a little with it even in the beginning because I have a sister of the same name. I can't even tell you my original motivation for choosing the name aside from the fact I was probably trying to stick with a biblical theme as it was originally meant to be 'Christian fiction'. And I'm stubborn and don't want to admit when I'm wrong. I left the mentor of Irish descent, even though it doesn't fit with the traditional idea of a karate sensei...because I know for a fact it's something which crosses cultural lines. But the name didn't fit with the ancestry, especially if she was Irish enough to have a faded accent. So I cast about on the internet and rechristened her Maeve...more to do with the brief Criminal Minds' character than the etymology of the name.

I renamed Angela's birthmother Janine in nickname only. Jannie felt clunky to me, so I added an E and Jeannie flows off the tongue a whole lot easier. Same with a minor side character never seen and only mentioned...Rena to Trina.

Ah, personality changes. Probably the most notable was the switch between Angela's mother and grandmother. I reread the story and realized it didn't make sense for the grandmother to be more accepting of Angela than her mother was, especially if part of the reason was Maude's own desire for her mother's approval. So I had to make Grandma Pearl, who though she is loved, is a bit judgier than she had been previously. Maude still falls on the judgy side because of this, and because she feels her own early life choices were a mistake (because her mom said so) and doesn't want her own daughter following down the same path...even though for Maude it is the path which led her to her husband Philip...so she's got a bit of her own complex going on too. Don't we all?

Another minor personality change was in the character Kevin. Craig's college roommate and closest friend - he is also a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry (because I'm an armchair psychiatrist lol) who has been aware of his friend's issues the entire time - although he didn't learn of his friend's abuse until their sophomore year and Craig was refusing to sleep after returning from spending spring break at his father's home. There is NO WAY he'd have let Craig continue avoiding his issues as long as he did in the original manuscript...especially after making the two-hour trip to remove a gun from Craig's home to make contemplating suicide harder for him. Kevin's own sister suicided when they were teens, and this event would have scared him even more than Craig's post-spring-break behavior.

I failed to follow through on some of the foreshadowings in Craig's Dragon Dream, so I had to tweak the ending. It wasn't an easy decision, but the more I considered what I had already written, it was already there and I just had to follow through with it. It made Angela's reticence to go home with her husband after waking up from her coma much more believable and understandable. Also, I failed to deliver on the harassment Angela went through prior to the kidnapping...so I gave the phone calls more descriptions...which in some cases called for changes in the scene around them. I also added mentions of items in her apartment being out of place, of it not feeling right to her. I don't focus on it, because at this point in her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, she's accepted the harassment as normal even though it scares her.

Let's be honest, there is a certain level of harassment women take for granted on a daily basis anyway.

But anyways.

Some scenes I simply told from a different person's perspective. The deli manager Becky, or the state trooper Erica. Because I also failed to show the small imaginary town of Tyler's Grove rallying around the budding romance like I said in the book's back cover synopsis.  Not everyone supports them, but enough to make an impact on Craig...who even though he's lived there for a decade, doesn't feel like he belongs. Minor issues, easily fixed.

It feels like the story has a smoother flow now, and even though it's long (lover of epic stories), I don't think it has the drag I felt from my read through. Granted my perspective is different, but I think my readers will end up agreeing with me. I hope so anyway!

Much love!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Who is the Farmer's Daughter, pt 2 by Robin Janney

One thing I grazed over in my last post is how I changed the name of the series from The Country Music series...but not the book titles. Because as I explained, the storylines aren't the same.

In my novel, the plot revolves around a farmer's daughter and what amounts to an identity crisis. While her love interest Craig is struggling with his sexual identity, Angela Carman is struggling with her identity as a person. She starts out confident enough, knowing exactly who she is...even though she struggles to meet others expectations of her...hence the struggle.

When Angela was four, she almost choked to death on a piece of hot dog her father hadn't cut up enough and had a near-death experience. Complete with Jesus and what looked like heaven to her four-year-old mind.

That vision never left her. Not even during the years which she ran wild after the death of her older brother. Anger and despair became constant companions, and she acted out accordingly. She was too young for what she witnessed and didn't know how to get the help she needed in order to process it. I mean, there is no good age to witness someone being run over by a car.

But during the summer of her seventeenth year, she grew tired of her own behavior. In large part due to the local vet allowing her to help take care of the animals kept at the vet clinic, and the tutelage of her karate instructor who often allowed Angela to take her anger out with her on the mat. Even though she didn't feel like she really needed to, Angela wanted to make changes so she recommitted her life to Christ even though as she tells Craig - I recommitted my life to Christ. It didn’t fix everything, didn’t fix anything really. I never really felt I had strayed from Him, but I wanted to remind myself I guess. My vision from when I was four never went away. I started changing things, dressing more conservatively, not swearing, not dating bad boys. It didn’t change what a lot of people thought of me. Even my own sister thinks I’m a slut, my mom too. But as I was trying to be different, trying to make my mom happy.

Angela was never able to see her parents love for her, specifically her mother's, because she knew she wasn't their biological child. She never confronted them about it, otherwise, she would have learned it was a legal adoption and not the theft she thought it was. She craved their love and approval.

By novel's end, Angela no longer knows who she is. I'm not going to spoil it for you, aside from saying she decides to identify with the farmer who raised her, who eased her panic attacks even if he was injured in the process, who fished her out of the pond when she tried killing herself.

The romantic love story between Craig and Angela is not the only love story I'm telling. I myself will never know what it is to love a child of my own, but as a daughter myself, I know the struggle between parent and child is real. I know what it is like to wonder if I am loved and accepted for who I am, even if that person isn't what they necessarily had in mind.

I'll be honest, fear of my mother's disapproval over my writing has always been my biggest hangup and depression aside, has probably been the biggest cause of the writer's block I've struggled with between books 2 and 3. I need to go someplace dark in my novels, and I can't if I'm afraid my mom is going to scold me for using the F-bomb.

Which, shows up a few more times in The Farmer's Daughter than what it had previously. Because it's the appropriate word for the character to use at the time.

I love my Mom, but she may not want to read any of my books after today because I'm writing the story as it needs to be written. Life is not pretty. People swear, people hate, people do terrible things to each other regardless of how they feel about each other...and sometimes recovery from said terrible things isn't pretty.

I may  be writing a romantic fantasy to illustrate the healing power of love, but I am by no means writing a fairy tale.

Much love to all. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Farmer's Daughter - Part 1 by Robin Janney

As my manuscript is being sent to Beta readers for a read through, I thought I'd take some time to talk about the novel. What it and the series is about, why you should reread it if you already read it the first time I published it, why I made some of the changes I did, and why I write about the subject matter that I do.

I think I'll start with the name of the overall series. It was originally called The Country Music Series because I had this cute idea to name the books after country songs thinking it would be 'ok' since the books had nothing to do with the story the song told. But, then I did some more research and realized I was flirting with trademark infringement. You know, trying to use the popularity of the song to promote my own work. Depending on the artist involved, they might not appreciate that.

For example, the song Farmer's Daughter is about a guy going to work for a farmer and falling in love with his daughter while my novel is about the farmer's daughter going to work in a general/grocery store and falling in love with the owner. By keeping the series name The Country Music series, I'm actually being dishonest and trying to trick readers into reading my books. I didn't realize it at first, but now that I've realized my mistake I'm going to do my best to fix it.

So, the series is now called: The Dragon Dream and this is why.

Number one...the male lead character, Craig Moore, suffers from a recurring nightmare he and his best friend Kevin dubbed the Dragon Dream while they were still sharing a dorm room in college. Because - it revolved around Craig's battle with a dragon. His damaged psyche cast his abuser in the role of a dragon which kills him repeatedly in his dreams. As the story progresses, the dream foreshadows events in the real world - it takes him a while to catch on, even after the demon known as the Beast enters them. Like, he's only 'kind of' figuring this out at the end of book two.

The dream/vision near the end of the book features both Craig and his love interest, Angela. The closest I've come to having a shared dream myself, are the few times my husband and I have dreamed about the same subject matter on the same night. However, this is fiction and I most decidedly ran with it. As the one deceased character answered when asked: Is it a dream? “No. It’s…some would call it purgatory, some heaven, some hell. It’s different for everyone. I call it the razor-thin edge between life and death, between dreams and reality."

Hence, the reason why I say I write fantasy as well as romance. Not to mention, one of my antagonists is a 'minor' demon...and the dog Princess is an angel in disguise. But that there is probably a whole other blog post!

Not my picture I'm afraid. Stole it. Jail me.
I can't even find a link for the original,
Sadly, different fonts don't translate into Kindle e-books, but I also give the Dragon Dream scenes an extra indent from the rest of the story. It's a separate battle in Craig's mind...and yet it is a battle between two worlds blending together. In his dream, Craig is battling for his freedom from the oppression of his abuse and the deep guilt it left him over his sexual desire and identity. As Cassie says in the second novel, in many ways he was struggling to come out as straight. Craig's actual dreams are the only time scenes in that realm are indented more. Any time Angela steps into the same realm, it is the same font and indentation because to her there is no separation of realities. Something none of the characters are aware of yet, but I'll tell you that much.

Also, since the story itself was birthed from a dream I had years ago...I figure it's only fitting! The dream was nowhere near as entertaining as the novel is, I'm afraid. The only thing which remains is the main character's life being in danger because she was dating the man she was working for. And that's about it. The dream I had was also a lot shorter - but that's because once I killed the seed the dream planted, the darn thing sprouted all over the place.

I'm too late for this to be my usual Monday blog, but I was busy tweaking stuff yesterday and every time I changed windows to try and start a post...my brain jammed up. So, as I'm waiting for feedback on the changes I've made I'm going to write up a few blogs posts, schedule them and get started on weeding out the dross in Ring of Fire.

Much love to all.