Welcome Guest Fox, Jennifer Bray-Weber

The Hound’s Guest Fox:  Jennifer Bray-Weber!

 By Jeff Salter (The Hound on Thursdays)

            I’m delighted to welcome to our blog’s “Hound Day” a guest fox I’ve known since June last year.  Jenn was one of the first few writers who corresponded with me after I joined RWA’s PRO mail-group.  [To explain our topic (out of context) would occupy too much space here.]  Jenn was gracious and funny and introduced me to her blogs.

            I won’t repeat anything else already featured in her bio blurb (below), but I can’t resist mentioning that Jenn has been a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart Contest.  Jenn finds inspiration in music and she says she writes in a “secret laboratory I fancy calling my ‘office’.”  [That’s what I should call my study.]

            At least every other Wednesday, I try to catch up with Jenn on her blog, Musetracks, where she posts thought-provoking photos which prompt delightfully wicked descriptions from those willing to comment.

            My deep appreciation to Jenn for being my Guest Fox for March.  Please welcome her to our site.  [And be sure to respond to her question, below.]

 What’s in a Name?

by Jennifer Bray-Weber

 That which we call an author  /  By any other name would write as sweet. (Not so Shakespearian.)

First, I’d like to thank Jeff, aka the Hound, for asking me to guest blog. It’s truly an honor to be here at Four Foxes One Hound and I am humbled to share my craziness with all of you.

Now let’s get to it.

How do you know when you can call yourself a writer? Is it ridiculously arrogant to call yourself an author without print credits? What constitutes being a writer? There is no true answer. It’s different for each author. For some, it could be when they land an agent, or a fantastic book deal.

Not me. I’ll never forget when I hit the exalted title.

It wasn’t when my creative writing college professor suggested I take my romantic comedy short story and turn it into a novel. Surely he didn’t mean for me to quit school and follow his advice. Oops. Seven months later, I gave birth to my first pirate romance. He most likely would be proud, I think.

I didn’t call myself a writer when I stood at the post office armed with queries to all the top agents and a lopsided grin. I was, after all, going to blow the doors off New York. 

The name ‘writer’ seemed even farther away upon receiving my first rejection letter, followed by another, and another, and another, well, you get the idea.

Even after I joined the ranks of Romance Writers of America® and was unmercifully spanked and hung up by my toenails by the glaringly obvious fact I had much to learn about the craft and business of writing. Sadly, New York would have to wait.

Believe it or not, I hesitated calling myself an author even after a snagged a spot among RWA’s 2009 Golden Heart finalists with said pirate romance. I’m still waiting for them to realize their mistake.

Though these and other benchmarks are worth a few pats on the back and have been a whirlwind of fun, I didn’t feel like a true author. I was faking it. Yep, I’m a pretty darn good faker, too.

I found the distinction in an unusual and rather personal way.

Bear with me. Writers like to set the scene.

A moonless night had fallen and a steady breeze blew off the ocean. Wispy clouds reflecting light from the nearby hamlet raced across the sky. The wind tickled my nose with briny scents and the surf I could not see crashed onto the beach before me. Enjoying the peace of my seaside getaway, I sat in a deck chair and cuddled my 7-year old daughter perched in my lap.

The stars were coming to life. The longer I marveled the twinkling sky, the more stars appeared. A passing thought crept into my mind. Wow. I’m gazing upon the same stars Zane and Lianna looked upon from his ship almost 300 years ago. I bet they were as awestruck as I am now.

A wink later, I realized Zane and Lianna couldn’t have seen the stars. They are the hero and heroine in my book. Though they are fictional characters, they were very real to me. I felt completely connected to them.

At that very moment, a shooting star trailed across the horizon. My daughter looked up at me and said, ‘Mommy, I’m so proud of you.’ That’s when it hit me. I was a bona fide author.

Brings a tear to your eye, don’t it?

What’s your defining moment? When did you know to call yourself an author?

 Thanks again for hosting me.

Jenn!

BIO:  Wife, mother, domestic goddess and proud native Texan, Jennifer Bray-Weber began writing just four years ago. Her first manuscript garnered multiple contest wins and an honored place among the 2009 Golden Heart finalists. Her second manuscript, too, has generated an award winning buzz. Jennifer knows how to juggle life’s demands with writing obligations. To prove it, she currently is the president of Northwest Houston RWA, writing her third manuscript, and raising two children, ages one and nine. Visit Jennifer at her website www.jbrayweber.com  or stop by her co-authored blog MuseTracks and get a glimpse of her snarky behavior.  http://musetracks.wordpress.com

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About jeff7salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Twelve completed novels and five completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015, "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015, "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015, "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014, "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014, "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014, "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014, "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013, "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013, "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013, "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012, "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012. Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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111 Responses to Welcome Guest Fox, Jennifer Bray-Weber

  1. William says:

    Jenn, that was a beautiful story, and yeah, I can see how it was a Big Moment!

    For me, it’s easy: if you write, you’re a Writer. (Please note, as always, the rules apply to everyone but myself….:))

    My personal “Big Moment” came when I was around seven years old, and had found my mother’s college typewriter. Teaching myself to ‘Hunt and Peck’ the keys to make words, something connected in my head and I realized I could *make stuff happen* doing this. Cowboys, secret agents, doctors, police officers, and superheroes (TV staples at the time were my big inspiration; I was seven, what can I say???) were now mine to command. They could do what I wanted them to do. And that was pretty cool.

    If you create worlds and characters that do not exist and get them on paper (or tablet or screen or whatever works for you) you’re a Writer. If you work with words for the sheer joy of doing so, you’re a Writer. If you have an idea or concept or plot that burns in your brain like a firestorm until you get it all down, you’re a Writer. If you’re watching a movie or TV show and think, “He would make a terrific My Character”, or “My God, she’s beautiful, she could play My Character”, you’re a Writer.

    Having read some of your work, all I can say is, “Jenn, you can WRITE!” So yeah, you’re a Writer….:)

    Like

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Well said, William, and thanks for joining us today. I particularly like your lines about seeing an individual and ‘recognizing’ them as a perfect incarnation of your character.

      Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Tee hee…hunk & Peck. That explains a lot.
      Thanks, Will, for being one of my constant supporters. You know how much it means to me.
      We’ve had many conversations like the one you wrote above, but gosh darn it, it’s so nice to hear it again!

      Like

      • William says:

        HunT and Peck, Jenn…. Although, “HunK and Peck” does indeed reveal a lot about the way your mind works…:)

        “Adam Hunt… former secret agent, betrayed by his own country! Laura Peck, honest cop framed by her ex-partner and forced to resign in disgrace. Two outsiders, righting wrongs outside the system. Together, they fight crime as…. HUNT AND PECK!”

        Hmmmmm…… yanno….. Hmmmmmm….. that might could work….:)

        Like

  2. What a great post! I’m still in denial about the whole author thing, LOL, but that first book release prompted me to at least try the title for myself. Royalty checks also did some convincing. ;c)

    Congratulations on your many, many awards, Jenn. You must be made of awesome!

    Like

  3. Great post- and thanks for being a guest fox today!! I have called myself a writer since the dreaded first edition of the bankruptcy manual I wrote for the Florida Bar back in the early 1990s- as for fiction, that title has been a little harder to get used to. I guess it was when I sold my first short story in summer, 2009- but it was still hard to believe that someone besides me liked my story! Jillian- the Tues Fox

    Like

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Jillian, very good point about writing manuals and handbooks and such. They are every bit as difficult to write as any other non-fiction book, yet they are often scorned. I have some of those under my belt too.

      Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Hey, Tues. Fox!
      I know what you mean about others liking your work. Knowing others willingly want to read my work both perplexes me and tickles my fancy. LOL!

      Looking back to my school days, it occurs to me that all my teachers commented on how fun my stories were. But I had no clue that I should write for myself. Funny how things work out.

      Like

  4. danicaavet says:

    What a fantastic story! Jeff knows how to pull out the guest foxes for sure!

    I hestitated calling myself a writer until I went to my first conference. I’d always said I was “trying to write” even though I’d finished my first manuscript. At some point during that conference though, something changed. I remember getting in the elevator to go to my room and another guest at the hotel asked me what the conference was about. Then he asked me if I was a writer. It dawned on me that…yes, I was a writer. I wrote paranormal romance. The heavens opened up, harps began to play, and then the guy asked me what paranormal meant. *slump*

    However, that’s when I realized I wasn’t an aspiring author. Apsiring means you’re trying to write. I’d written. I’d finished a manuscript. That made me a writer. It still feels funny to say it with two books published, but I know that’s what I am and I’ve never been happier!

    Danica the Hump Day Fox

    Like

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Danica, very perceptive moment! It takes a writer to name a writer … sometimes.
      The coolest part of that elevator anecdote is that other writers can likely identify with this issue [ ? struggle ? ] … whereas those non-writing folk think they “could” write if they only happened to be interested. Ha.

      There was a local guy (about 2 years ago, I guess) who made front page news (the ENTIRE page … in the ‘magazine’ section) because he had set out to write a ‘book’ of ‘poetry’ as a challenge or a bet (or something). What a clod. The few ‘poetic’ lines they printed were awful tripe. He had a website with 2 or 3 poems which were awful and filled with typos. But here’s the punchline: In this profile article, this clod announced that his next challenge was to write a novel! As if …
      So my question to everyone here: is this clod a writer? Or is he more like one of those characters on the TV show Jackass … who will try anything just for the notoriety?
      What say you, Danica?
      Jenn?
      Bueller?
      Anyone?

      Like

      • danicaavet says:

        The question should be, Did he write a novel, polish it, and send it out for others to read? Writing should be personal for the writer. It should have meaning to them in some way. But they can’t hold it to their chests forever and ever, amen. The purpose of writing is so others read what you’ve written. I think that’s the first step to becoming a writer; moving from “I’m writing for myself” to “I’m writing so others can read my stories”.

        Like

      • jbrayweber says:

        The clod may well be a writer, as he obviously calls himself. But others will judge him for his ability to woo readers. Can he do it? That is a question to consider.

        Like

      • William says:

        “There was once a poet,
        But he didn’t know it.”

        No, wait….. okay, how about?

        “There once was a girl from Nantucket…”

        Nahhhhhhhhh….. not working……

        Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      HAHAHAHA!
      Danica, you just made me laugh out loud. (I scared the cat, too.)
      I suppose I never thought of an aspiring writer as someone ‘trying’ to write. That’s a very good point. So does that mean I’m an aspiring best selling author? 😉

      Like

  5. Great post Jenn!
    *waving to Jeff too* Wow, what a small world we live in!

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I enjoyed your post. And your moment with your daughter was truly touching.

    Even though I have two books out and one coming next month, I sometimes still have to pinch myself that this is all happening to me. Enjoy this moment, Jenn!

    Like

  6. Diana Layne says:

    yay, native, fellow Texan, lol. I’m with William. Writers write. End of story. Of course, I didn’t know that until someone pointed out that gem, think maybe it was Susan Wiggs at a DARA workshop. 🙂 So for all of you hovering and debating on what to call yourself? Wanna be a writer? Get thee to writing!

    Congrats Jenn on the guest appearance, you glam sister, you. 🙂

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Diana, thanks for visiting today. Writers write. Very succinct.
      May I add that WHEN writers write, they pour their essence into WHAT they’re writing. So the stuff that writers write has greater *significance* than that which is written by folks who are going through the motions (utilizing words to complete their functions). [Examples: like accident reports a policeman has to write … or damage assessments by an insurance agent … or punch lists by a home inspector]. Of course, having made that distinction, I fully expect to be slammed by a policeman, insurance agent, or home inspector.

      Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Hi Ruby sis and native Texas girl!
      Writers write. That’s so true on so many different levels. Good grief, I’m writing at softball practice, in the pick-up lane in the school parking lot, at the doctor’s office, and right now. There’s not enough hours in the day. LOL!

      Thanks so much Diana, for popping in and for all your support.

      Like

  7. jeff7salter says:

    Danica, those are very profound questions.
    One of my favorite American poets is Emily Dickinson. Some people dismiss her work because so very little of it was ever published during her lifetime. And, true, it WAS very personal to her. But I believe she craved *sharing* and you can see that in some of her journals and letters … especially to the guy who eventually became her posthumus editor.
    Many/most of us write because we have to write. Some of it is to be shared … some maybe not. Lots of factors involved.

    Like

  8. Shea Berkley says:

    What a sweet story, Jenn. I had a friend who got mad at me because I avoided calling myself a writer. She said if I didn’t start acting and calling myself a writer, then I’d never be one. I’m not saying I necessarily agree with her philosophy, or her hitting me aside the head whenever I hesitated to claim the moniker, but to shut her up and stop the pain, I started calling myself a writer.

    I’ve got to say, the main reason I don’t give up the information about what I do is that I don’t like talking about my stories. They always sound lame when I’m cornered into a conversation. Pithy I am not.

    Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Shea, it’s so great that you have friends who support you enough to cause you bodily injury. 😉
      I used to have a hard time telling people I was a writer, and I still do. Because my books aren’t published (YET! Be on the look out.), I feel like they are judging me. Weird, really, because I’ve never cared much what people thought before. (shrug)
      Thanks, Ruby sis, for stopping by!

      Like

  9. Laurie Ryan says:

    Ahhh! What a great story! For me, sitting in a hospital waiting room with my mother, waiting for her name to be called for some test that thankfully turned out negative, I let “the call” go to voicemail. When I picked it up a few minutes later, I was, as you can imagine, over the top. I turned to my mother, the most exceptional person I have ever known, and whispered”I’m an author.” Then, of course, the whole waiting room got in on the party as I could not contain my enthusiasm. Sharing that moment with my mother was precious to me.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Laurie, what a terrific story! Made so much better by your Mom’s med. news being favorable.
      I can almost picture that waiting room. People tend to be a bit nosy in such places, don’t they?
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      That is awesome, Laurie. How incredibly special to share that moment with a cherished loved one. No doubt your mother is proud of you. I know you will hold that memory close to your heart.
      Thanks for popping in!

      Like

  10. Nina Cordoba says:

    I think for me it was after I did well in some contests and was getting a lot of requests from editors and agents. I don’t remember the exact moment I said it the first time, but I do remember that I had to swallow really hard and I got butterflies in my stomach.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Nina, I don’t remember any butterflies, but winning and placing in significant contests was certainly among my very first achievements which affirmed what my insides already knew.
      Thanks for stopping in today. Come back anytime. I’m here on Thursdays.

      Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Hi Nina! (waving madly)
      I find it hard to believe you got butterflies. You are an amazing writer and I’m looking forward to reading your soon to be released romantic comedy.
      Thanks so much for popping in and showing the love.

      Like

  11. Loved you story, Jenn. It sure did bring a lump to my throat. Thank you. AUTHOR!

    Like

  12. jeff7salter says:

    Shea, I think you captured a lot of what I feel about this. I rarely ‘volunteer’ that I’m a writer. Some people know it and some of them bring up the subject [“So, how’s your writing stuff going?”]. But I seldom, if ever bring it up — unless I’m talking with other writers.
    And it’s SOOOO difficult to describe what my six very different manuscripts are “about”. It’s about like someone asking — in reference to your flesh-&-blood children or grandchildren — “What’s Hazel ‘ABOUT’?”
    Well, Hazel is a living, breathing, individual human [none of mine are named that, BTW]. So are my manuscripts.

    Like

    • Shea Berkley says:

      Yep. The strange thing is, I love, love, love to talk about writing, which to most people is the most booooring thing ever. So maybe you know you’re a writer if you get tingles when you start talking about the nuances of plot and story structure, or how to build a character into a three dimensional being (chemistry/biology degree not required).

      Like

      • jeff7salter says:

        Tingles. I know that feeling. It’s happened to me — only a couple of times — when I was talking (with two enthusiastic beta readers) about my ms. and their ideas of how I could fix something I was worried about and asked their input on.
        Very exciting.

        Like

  13. Bethany says:

    Hey Jenn,

    Beautiful post (like the scene you set and yes, you ARE a writer, it’s obvious by this post if it wasn’t obvious for other reasons–you make a great chapter president by the way).

    I don’t think I had any BIG moment per se. For me, writing had been a part of my life for so long I didn’t know what I’d do without some form of it. I didn’t think of myself in terms of a writer or not-a-writer when I was a kid but rather I just wrote. I started writing novels probably in middle school, but chucked that story not too many years later. I wrote A LOT of poetry and lyrics in high school, but I also worked on a re-telling of a fairytale. I don’t know where that story ended up because I re-did it years later. In my early twenties I took a correspondence course through The Writer’s Digest School and learned a lot there. In high school I had a teacher who kept telling me to pursue a career in writing. For years after my correspondence course I sort of wandered through writing–not real sure where I fit. It wasn’t until my mid-to-late twenties I sat down and said, “I’m going to write this story, and I’m going to finish it and I’m going to be serious about this.” I sat down, wrote the story (took me a few months to a year) then during the time I started editing said story I joined RWA and a local chapter. The more I learn, the more I work on the craft, the more I know I’m a writer.

    I guess I always figured if you wrote and were serious about it, you were automatically a writer for those reasons. If you got an agent and/or published that was the “Golden moment” and icing on the cake but to me it isn’t the ONLY way to define that a person is a writer.

    I don’t think it’s arrogant to call yourself a writer if that’s what you do and you’re serious about it because it’s a definition of what you’re doing.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Bethany, Poetry was always my main ‘medium’ for written expression — from grade school up until I took an early retirement. Even if there’s not much ‘market’ for poetry, I think it’s great preparation for novel-writing.
      I’ve written six novel ms. in the past 4.5 years. And I have dozens more that I can’t wait to start.
      Thanks for visiting today.

      Like

      • Bethany says:

        Jeff,

        What genre? (six manuscripts is impressive, way to go!)

        Like

      • jeff7salter says:

        to Bethany:
        Well, For my first three ms. it’s difficult to answer that question, which makes it difficult to pitch them, which makes it improbable they’ll ever be published.
        The first two are a combination of mystery, romance, and local history. I know — Thud.
        My third is a tribute to the Greatest Generation with action, romance, humor, and drama. Yep. Hard to pitch.
        Ah, but I think I hit my stride with ms. # 4 & # 5 — both are screwball romantic comedies. Those I can pitch. An agent has had a ‘full ‘of # 4 for many months (& I’m still waiting). I’m about to query # 5 to another agent with whom I’ve been corresponding.
        Ms # 6 is either a romantic comedy or comedic romance — not exactly sure how to draw that line. But it’s not screwball. I queried the ‘full’ to a small publisher, who turned it down, but did so very gently and with many personal comments. She also left open the door for other queries.
        So, that’s more than you prob. ever wanted to know, Bethany.

        Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Bethany,
      You’ve got the heart of a writer, there is no doubt. You put your all into it and, you are right, there are many ways to define a writer. Perseverance and passion, that is what you have. These are qualities all writers should have. Thanks so much for popping in. And thanks for you support. 🙂

      Like

      • Bethany says:

        Jenn,

        You’re totally welcome 🙂

        Thank you for the nice compliment, very sweet of you to say.

        I hope to read your stories one day (pirates fascinate me, but I don’t feel “called” to write them).

        Wish I’d known about this post at the time I was writing my blog post for the day (sometime after midnight so that it would be up all day today) because I would’ve linked it up on my blog. Hmmm…ideas for Friday’s post 🙂

        Like

  14. The Domestic Goddess strikes again!! Great post Jenn!! And that photo? We already knew how beautiful you were, but that photo is proof!! (((Hugs)))

    Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Can you hear my theme music, Robin? I should have worn my flowing white dress, done my hair up in a massive cascade of ringlets, and dripped in gold jewelry for the picture. Dang, maybe next time. LOL! Thanks Robin! You’re too sweet.

      Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Yep, that’s a great pix for a Guest Fox!
      Thanks for visiting today, Robin. Come back any weekday for our resident foxes — or for the Hound on Thursdays.

      Like

  15. jeff7salter says:

    Responding to Jenn’s question (when did I know I was a writer?) —
    Well, like many/most of you, I’ve known I wanted to write (or needed to write) since I was a youngster. And my parents both encouraged my early efforts.
    But my first external affirmations came when (as a H.S. senior) I ‘placed’ in a reputable contest which drew entries from about a third of that state. Not only did I place, but the contest folks sent out news releases and my local paper printed my poem on the front page! [The paper did not even contact me … which should have ticked me off, but it didn’t at the time.] So I figured: Okay, I’m a writer.
    Ah, but such validations — while very important — are fleeting.
    In that same contest, about 7 yrs later, I won two more awards, including a first place cash prize! Validation! There’s something about MONEY that really affirms one’s authorship!
    Some dozen years later, I won other ‘First’ places in a different (smaller) contest which had cash awards. [Somehow cash prizes always meant more than ‘paper’ prizes. Ha.]
    But it was the four ‘places’ I garnered in the National Writers Club Poetry Contest — eons ago, BTW — which meant the most to me. This was, after all, NATIONAL! The competition was stiff and the judges possibly combed over hundreds of entries. There’s nothing like a national prize to tell you that you’re an author.
    But I wanted more.
    Of course, the really big deal is holding a book with your name on the cover.
    My brother and I co-authored two non-fiction books about aspects of librarianship, which were published by one of the top three royalty publishers of books in that field (at that time). Holding that book, seeing several very good reviews in national trade journals, and seeing our prominent listing in that publisher’s catalog — very heady stuff. And all very affirming.
    But I want more! I want some of my six novel manuscripts published! Then, I’ll know I’m an author!
    See my point? Each affirmation is one step up, but there are always higher rungs I can see which I want for myself.

    Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      You know, I think you are on to something. There is always something more to reach for. If there wasn’t that something more, there would be no dreams to chase. I couldn’t bear not having a goal to push myself harder and farther for.Thanks, Jeff. For having me here and for your eye-opening comment.

      Like

  16. Elizabeth Simmons says:

    For those of you who don’t know Jenn, I’m sorry. She radiates friendship with a forcefield similar to the eye of a hurricane. There might be a moment of tranquility, but watch out for the storm. As she presides over our local RWA chapter, I sit in anticipation of the fun she will create. Whether throwing chocolate to a rejected writer; announcing to a successful member they should get lei-ed (the flower necklace); or just being Jenn; she brings a smile to our face and a song to our heart.

    I realized I was a writer (maybe not a very good one), when my tennis team began to introduce me as a writer to the opponents. Like that was gonna help my game! Of course, my tennis partner keeps me grounded with, “I didn’t know that you knew big words.” I find that hard to believe, since I’ve been using four-letter words around her for years with varying adjectives (but no ly words).

    On a recent cruise to the Grand Caymans, I rode a ship decked out in pirate theme with golden, bronzed, sexy, virile young men in pirate attire. (Whew) The only thing missing was Jenn scrubbing the decks in her bosom-busting rags, yearning for passion.

    Thank you, Jenn, for the heart tugging blog. You’re exactly what a writer should be.

    Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Oh gawd, Elizabeth. What did I do to deserve such wonderful praise? You are so very kind. If I wasn’t blushing before, I’m a full on rouge now.
      And if anyone has a back swing, it’s Elizabeth. I bet you are amazing on the tennis court! 🙂

      Thanks so much, girl!

      Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Hurricane?
      Throwing Chocolate?
      Jenn scrubbing the decks in WHAT?
      Hey, these are sides of Jenn that I don’t know … yet.
      Welcome, Elizabeth, do tell us more about Jenn.

      Like

  17. Bethany says:

    Jeff,

    Actually I LOVE hearing about other people’s work. I’m big on plugging people and work I like/love (especially on my blog) because I believe we writers need each other’s support. (Plus it’s fun!) So no, you didn’t tell me more than I wanted to know. I found it very interesting (intriguing and fascinating).

    Your first two manuscripts sounds like you could maybe say it’s a romantic mystery?

    #3 Is a little harder for me to come up with an idea. Maybe Historical?

    Those ideas are just me thinking off the top of my head.

    I love comedy in a romance, so I’m intrigued by your other manuscripts. Hopefully see them in print so I can check them out 🙂

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, Bethany, and for your interest.
      Yes, I also hope you can see one of my novels in print. Hopefully four of them!

      Like

      • Bethany says:

        You’re welcome, Jeff. I hope I wasn’t being presumptious with my suggestions.

        Drop me an email about it all…Jenn has my email address.

        Like

      • jeff7salter says:

        Not at all presumptuous, Bethany. I appreciate sincere interest in my writing.
        Are you by any chance an agent also?
        : )

        Like

  18. Eliza Knight says:

    Hi Jenn! Excellent post! Even after being pubbed with some e-novellas, I didn’t really consider myself and author either. It’s funny how your kids can really define you. I have this letter hanging by my desk that my 9yo daughter wrote in school, it was a letter to someone you admire assignment. It says, “Dear Eliza Knight, I am a loyal fan of yours…” and it goes on for a few more adorable moments. Now, she’s never read my books, but the fact that she looks up to me like that was very profound and humbling. I’m in the midst of writing her a story she can actually read right now.

    So, are you going to NY this summer for conference? I think you and I need to crash another party together *winks*, maybe find some more pirates? Had a blast with you last year!

    Hugs,
    Eliza

    Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Pirates? Sexy, sweaty pirates whispering how much they love my booty in my ear? Again? I am so there. As for party crashing, count me in! Last year we had far too much fun! Yes! I will be at RWA Nationals. New York won’t know what hit them!

      To write your daughter a story just for her shows how terrific a mom you are, Eliza. Thanks for popping in!

      Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Eliza, thanks for stopping by. Loved that letter from your daughter. Hard to beat that even with a glowing review in NYT.
      Come back by any weekday; I’m here on Thursdays.

      Like

  19. jeff7salter says:

    Folks, the Hound will be off-line for a couple of hours. So any new-comers to this site might have a short wait for their comments to appear.
    Please be patient.
    And visit the previous columns from my colleagues (the resident foxes) while you wait!

    Like

  20. Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

    Jenn,

    You’ve always been a writer. It may have been dormant for a while, but it languished inside you, waiting for you to free it. If the writer inside hadn’t been there, you’d never have taken the leap.

    Once you completed that first manuscript, you became an author. Authors write books, and you’d acheived that. Thus, you deserve the distinction.

    Next step? Published author. You go, doll!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Gwynlyn, thanks for your comment. Very well phrased.
      Glad you visited and feel free to return any weekday.

      Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Thanks so much, Gwynlyn. I always admire the words of wisdom you share with me. If there was ever an author to look up to, you’re it! Thanks so much for your support. It mean a great deal to me, Ruby sis. 🙂

      Like

  21. Chris Bailey says:

    Blogs offer an open window to the world for those of us pursuing what can be a solitary undertaking. I first felt that published writer glow when a feature I’d written about a jazz guitarist appeared on the front page of the local newspaper’s entertainment section. But author? Not yet. I’m reserving that for a fiction sale.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Soon, Chris, soon.
      I hope for me, as well.
      Thanks for visiting.

      Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Waaaaay back in the day, I had been asked to write concert reviews for a local music rag. Even then, I never considered myself a writer. Just some schmuck willing to see her name in print for free. LOL! Funny how the little things I had done were glimmers of what I would become so many years later.

      Thanks for stopping by, Chris!

      Like

  22. Tess says:

    Great post, Jenn! And having been lucky enough to read your work…I have to say you’re not only a writer…but terrific writer!

    I didn’t tell anyone (but dh and kids) I was writing for years. I felt I needed to learn the craft, soak up some knowledge, pay my dues. Then one day dh had a guy from work and his wife over for dinner. I’d had to quit my job because of health reasons and they couple asked what I was doing now. Before I could answer, dh said I was writing.

    I looked at him and thought, I guess I am a writer.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Tess, there’s an old southern saying (about guys) that goes like this: “You’re not a man until your Father tells you that you’re a man.”
      Allow me to modify that to fit what you just said.
      “You know you’re a writer when your spouse introduces you as a writer.”
      I think that’s classic!
      Thanks for visiting today and come back again.

      Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Not only are you a writer, you are a great editor, too! Thanks, Tess, for all your support (and your keen eyes). I’m ready to return the favor any time.

      Like

  23. Vanessa Barneveld says:

    Hi, Jenn and Jeff!

    Jenn, I love the idea of a secret laboratory! And you most assuredly *are* a writer!

    I didn’t feel a could call myself a real writer until I finished my first book 7 years ago. Before then, I wrote a gazillion first chapters.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Vanessa, that’s a great quote (‘gazillion first chapters’).
      In my own case, I have over five dozen ‘starts’ saved up for my next projects. Some of them come to me when I’m deep into another ms and don’t have time to develop them.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

      • jbrayweber says:

        Jeff, I’ve rad one of those ‘starts’ on the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood contest we ran. It was amazing! 🙂

        Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      I feel like I’m a lucky writer sometimes, Vanessa. Lucky, not in that I have so many great writers friends – which I do, but in that I fell into writing and that I share a special distinction with a great bunch of talented people.
      As far as first chapters, those come pretty easy. But since I’m a pant-ster, they rest of the book becomes a challenge.
      Thanks, Ruby sis, for popping in!

      Like

  24. Melissa says:

    Loved your post, girl! 🙂 Hmmmm…I’ll get back to you on the author question when I figure it out. LOL Maybe Blade can help me. 🙂

    Like

  25. jeff7salter says:

    I’ll be off-line again for about an hour or so.
    Please be patient while I’m gone. While you’re waiting, read some prev. blogs of my colleagues, the resident foxes.

    Somebody take notes for me.

    Like

  26. jeff7salter says:

    I’m back!
    So, what happened?
    Did I miss anything?

    Like

  27. tonya kappes says:

    Great question! I called myself a writer when I finished my first manuscript and author when I published my first one:)

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Excellent criteria, Tonya.
      Thanks for stopping by … especially on your BIRTHDAY!
      I won’t reveal how young you are, however.

      Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      I agree with Jeff. Good criteria, Tonya.
      Let me wish you a very happy birthday, too. May all your publishing dreams and outstanding sales come true. 🙂

      Like

  28. Elizabeth Simmons says:

    Jeff,
    As for telling more on Jenn, this writer has one last thing to write …

    Like

  29. Elizabeth Simmons says:

    Jeff,
    SHOW, don’t tell. Besides, Stacey is the one who knows Jenn’s deepest, darkest secrets.

    Like

  30. Well hello everyone! I’m supposed to know Jenn’s deepest, darkest secrets….I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you….because she’d so kill me if she found out! Bwahahahaha Ask her about experimenting with candle wax. That’s all I’m going to say.

    I do everything a writer is supposed to do. I spend hours at the computer, write, re-write, and write some more, I enter contests, I pitch to agents and I hang in coffee shops with my fellow writers! It wasn’t until a very good friend of mine took the time to make me a beautiful canvas scroll that says, “Novelist Me” that I finally understood that I AM a writer. Hear me roar.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Stacey, sorry I didn’t get your comment through the filter sooner. I was in the shower. In fact, I’m still drying off. Ha.
      Yeah, it’s wonderful to have close friends who believe in you and believe in what you’re doing. Sadly, many writers do not have such a support system and face skeptics, cynics, and scoffers. Very sad.
      My late mother-in-law gave me a tee-shirt which says, “Be nice to me or I’ll put you in my next novel”.
      I like that one also.

      Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Just for the record, Stacey has also seen me while removing my make-up. Very scary!!! And the candle wax…..you should ask Stacey about that one first.
      Oh what webs we weave.

      BTW – Stacey is a fascinating writer. I can not wait to get my hands on it when she gets published. She Rocks, in a world catastrophe sort of way.

      Like

  31. jeff7salter says:

    Well, folks, it’s been a long day.
    Wonderful participation from Jenn’s friends and colleagues. Thanks to all.
    Special thanks to Jenn for her Guest Fox column.
    And thanks to the four Resident Foxes for putting up with a homeless Hound.
    Good night, all!

    Like

  32. Great post, Jenn.

    Christie, who thinks our skeleton are supposed to stay in the closet until we need them and then we bring them out and dance with them.

    CC

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      “Dancing with Skeletons” — sounds like a very promising title, Christie.
      Thanks for visiting. Sorry for the delay in getting your comment posted, but I had to have my coffee brewed first.

      Like

    • jbrayweber says:

      Thanks so much, Christie! Let me know when you need the bodies buried. I still owe you!! 😉

      Like

  33. Bethany says:

    Jeff,

    Sorry, I’m not an agent. I’m an aspiring author. Still trying to get that “golden moment” (getting the agent/getting published…although getting published is the big “Golden moment”). I write fantasy romances with paranormal elements (I started querying saying it was paranormal with fantasy elements, but I got set straight not too long ago–I thought it was paranormal because my hero is a shifter of sorts, but because of other elements it’s mostly fantasy with paranormal elements).

    So far, I haven’t gotten “the call” but, I have a lot of support with my family, friends, and the NWHRWA. They’re a great group. Jenn is a great president, full of energy, laughter and support.

    If you want, you can ask Jenn for my email address and we can “gab” back and forth.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Isn’t it funny (not humorous, but bizarre funny) how the ‘wrong’ description can kill a story for some agents/editors/publishers?
      Wouldn’t it be great it we could avoid labels of any kind and simply have someone “in the business” fall in love with our stories?
      Sure it needs a certain amount of categorization for marketing purposes, but … good grief. In my case, is there really THAT much difference between a romantic comedy and a comedic romance?

      Like

      • Bethany says:

        Jeff,
        Honestly, I didn’t know there was a difference between Romantic Comedy and Comedic Romance (I’d never heard people refer to a genre as Comedic Romance).

        Like

      • jeff7salter says:

        LOL — ‘comedic romance’ may not be a term used in the publishing industry.
        But a friend and former colleague (in the public library setting) told me that the ms. (of mine) that she had just read was a comedic romance.
        I guess it depends on where the writer puts the emphasis: on the comedy or on the romance.
        Semantics.

        Like

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