A Recap of My Journey to Publication

I’m sure there are many writers out there who have similar stories. I wrote my first ‘book’ when I was ten years old. A sixty-nine page ‘novel’ about a girl and a wild horse who save each other. Of course, life took over and I kind of forgot about the dream. There was school, and kids, and jobs, and house payments, and…well, all those things that get in the way. I really didn’t think I had any talent, so if I wrote it would just be for myself, and who has time for that? I journaled. That would have to be enough.

But  school didn’t last forever.  And the children grew up and moved away–mostly. And so, fifteen years ago, I started writing. I wrote seven books. They were all mediocre. The first one was never ending, and the rest were weak plots filled with cardboard characters.

After years of writing and getting a lot of rejections, I met a wonderful group of women who call themselves the NOLA Stars, a part of RWA. I joined their group and soon after, found a critique group within.  These ladies were wonderful. They were generous and supportive.  I spent about eighteen months writing romance novels, if you could call them that, and having the pages critiqued every week. I remember that one Thursday I brought in the last pages of my most recent attempt at romance. Fortunately, there were five other women in the group with submissions, so it wasn’t too painful. When the next week rolled around, I had nothing to submit. I sat down hastily, chose a ‘what if’ and whipped out two or three pages right before heading for group.

Before they had finished the first page, their responses were stupendous. They praised and smiled and must have felt that finally, their words had trickled into my brain. “Why have you spent all this time trying to write romance? This is what you’re supposed to write!”

Those pages are the opening of the manuscript that became ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery. They were filled with gore and violence, and the ugly human condition. And the ladies loved it. They still give me unconditional support—those who are left, and I believe that I never would have written a saleable book had I not met them.

The other contributions to my success are: books on writing; helpful blogs by writers and supporters of writers. You can find a list of the books I depend on, and links to those blogs in the side column of this blog.

At the end of 2013, I sent the manuscript for book two, ULTIMATE GAME, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, which I hope will be out by June of this year. The publisher contacted me yesterday and said she would assign an editor in the next few weeks! Yaaay! Book Two!


Review by Ryder Islington, author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

I really enjoyed ENTER TO WIN. The story was well put together, with a strong plot, and very well rounded characters. The plot involves the murder of a soap opera director who has created a contest where fans have the opportunity to have a character based on them. Four Finalists get to spend two weeks in a Beverly Hills mansion. But when the director is found dead, everyone is suspect. The book is written entirely in first person, with rotating points of view that include the finalists, as well as a few people on the set.

I loved the red herrings, the alibis and the way Kirsten Jany was able to keep me guessing right up until the end. This is a mystery worth reading. At just over two hundred pages, it’s a quick read. I hope Kristen Jany continues to the good work. I’ll be looking for her next book!