Jan. 5, 2022

Peering into souls with Janet Walden-West

Peering into souls with Janet Walden-West

Sexy Big Bads


Janet Walden-West is on this week’s Steam Seat! Janet and I get honest about how we both struggle to trust that conflicts developed through relationships are enough to sustain our books. Plus we talk about consent and dubcon, and the importance of sensitivity readers. And I read a naughty bit from her book Agent Zero, which is part of her Region Two urban fantasy series.

 

Hook up with Janet online: 

Website: http://www.janetwaldenwest.weebly.com 

FB: www.facebook.com/janetwaldenwestauthor 

Twitter: @JanetWaldenWest 

Instagram: janetwaldenwest

 

Grab a copy of Agent Zero on Amazon.


 

Transcript

Elle 0:00
Janet Walden-West lives in the southeast with a pack of show dogs, a couple of kids and a husband who didn't read the fine print. But weird dog show chicken or downtime. She's also a founding member of the William the million words craft blog, a two times pitch wars alum and pitch wars mentor and a golden heart finalist. She writes intersectional sexy times romance and boss girl fantasy heroines. Her debut multicultural contemporary romance Salton stilettos is out now from Seattle press. Her urban fantasy short stories are available in multiple anthologies, and her new urban fantasy romance. The region two series is out now. Janet, welcome to steam scenes. Thanks for being here.

Janet 0:42
Oh, thank you for inviting me.

Elle 0:46
I'm, like super stoked that you're here. Because like I write romance. I also write urban fantasy. So I feel like yeah, I'm actually very interested in the urban like, urban fantasy romance. I've never heard that before. And, I mean, it's been paranormal romance, or urban fantasy. And so I'd love to sort of talk to you about urban fantasy romance because I'm intrigued. What's so what? How is it different from PNR?

Janet 1:23
My completely unofficial seat of my pants definition would be for me a paranormal, it seems to mostly deal with shifters, werewolves even vampires, that sort of thing. And there's a lot of fated mates involved. And for me, urban fantasy still has, it still has elements of that. But there's also a little bit more action, and you've probably got humans involved.

Elle 1:56
Right? Okay, that's a really good. Really, that's a really good actually gives me a lot to do. So. Okay, so here's the thing. So I wrote a piece for an anthology that is supposed to be coming out in September, right, um, for, and it's it's urban fantasy. And I'm just trying to figure out what to do with it now that I've written it. And so, you know, because once the anthology comes out, it was for a friend's Kickstarter, right. And I can just kind of do what I want with it. And it's a story that I've wanted to write for a really long time. But now I feel like I'm pretty entrenched in the romance world right now. So I don't know that I want to bounce back to urban fantasy, because it takes me forever to write things. So. So I'm trying to figure out like, what to do with this thing? And how do I make it a romance? And so um, so for your urban fantasy romances, because now you've got two in the same series out? Correct?

Janet 2:53
Yeah. Well, I will have a second one out at the end of the month. Also, there's also a novella, so Okay, technically, I guess.

Elle 3:01
Okay, so you've got so are you doing that thing where it's the series but you have like, every every book is like a different character.

Janet 3:09
That was the general idea. But since I'm really really awful at doing things the smart way. I'm the first tape actually feature the same couple and then we move on to the other members of her team.

Elle 3:26
Okay, explain to me how you do that. Because my envisioning with this particular book that I did this, you know, short for for the anthology was going to be one character, because I just wasn't, there was going to be romantic elements. It wasn't going to be a romance. I was just going to follow this one character over a series of different books. And then I was like, Well, maybe you should do it as a, you know, a PNR. But now I'm loving urban fantasy romance. Much better. And but then I'm like, oh, but then I have to switch up the characters. And so I would love for you to tell me like how you did it with the two same characters? Like what how did you? Did you break them up and make them up? Like what happened with

Janet 4:05
in the anthology or in a series?

Elle 4:06
In the series, all of above?

Janet 4:12
Um, what the series The first book is, follows, you know, pretty traditional patterns they meet for the first time, you know, it's very much and opposites attract enemies to lovers and typical, you know, black moments, and then they get back together in the second book. I threw a few more real world problems at them. Whereas the first book, it's more dealing with the fact that one has just found out about this world of cryptids that they had no idea about.

Elle 4:52
Oh, oh, I like that. Oh, so that's, that's sort of the the sort of elephant in the room that threatens to break them up. That's really cool. Who I've really liked that. Okay, I've completely jumped ahead. So we should probably start at the beginning. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Janet 5:15
I have always loved reading. I was that kid that was in the corner, you know, reading animal books. And then Jamie Yolen when I was young, but I never thought of myself as a writer or thought of it as a career because for me, writers were these people that were honest, like pedestal and they were like, the most awesome people ever. And I just kind of fell into it. The joke is, it was brought on by sleep deprivation, because I had just had my son and he was one of those babies that wanted to nurse like, every 15 minutes, so nobody's getting any sleep. And I had stayed. I had stayed up binging on a series that are really loved. And then we got to the end.

Elle 6:00
Who can you tell us? What? Can you tell us which series?

Janet 6:04
It was actually Vampire Diaries. And I was

Elle 6:10
totally okay with me. I love the show. I've never read the books, but I love the show.

Janet 6:15
No, I haven't either. But yes, so I loved it. But I was not crazy about the ending. And it was like, you know, oh my god, I will just anybody could write a better ending. And I started writing and you know, spoiler alert. It is not that easy to write a good ending. And mine was not better. But that's how I started.

Elle 6:36
Game of Thrones. Yes. I

Janet 6:39
don't even I my dragons are dead. No.

Elle 6:45
That was the worst last season. I mean, it wasn't even. I mean, the ending was a disaster. But the whole last season. That was the word I was actively angry the whole last season.

Janet 6:56
Exactly. Because we were so excited. Even my husband got in on it. And usually he's like, pop culture, whatever, you know, anything like that. Also into it. And then that season happened.

Elle 7:11
Oh, my God, I had to like, watch the, you know, the big battle scene. It happened. It was like you had to change the settings on your TV. Because the whole the whole thing was so damn dark. You couldn't see anything?

Janet 7:25
Yes, yes. It was like you had to change your settings like to brighten or

Elle 7:29
like whatever it was so that you could actually see what was going on. I was like, Who made this thing?

We were doing this because it wasn't the ones that did it like before. It's something that was so great become such a disaster.

Janet 7:46
I know I a friend of mine said You know, I really think that episode, that scene was so dark because they didn't really want people to see it.

Elle 7:57
The CGI was bad. And they were like, we just make a really dark no notice. So I'm curious what ever happened to this first book that you struggled with the ending for? Did it turn into one of the books that you released? Or is it sort of sitting in a drawer somewhere?

Janet 8:12
Um, it is sitting on a harddrive. Like I said, I never did the smart thing. You know, I have not heard Hey, don't write a series if you're not published yet. Because who knows if it will ever get picked up and you've wasted time. So I actually wrote that book, and several more in that world. And that the first one was the manuscript that I submitted to pitch wars, which is an online Twitter event and kind of mentoring program. So I had no idea. I think maybe I just gotten on Twitter. And I thought it's like, oh, this is cool. I could send it in and get some feedback having no clue. And, and luckily, I was chosen that year. And it was like, Okay, let's start at the foundation and rip this thing apart because you have problems.

Elle 9:04
So, ouch. Yeah. Oh, wow. Okay, so this first book, The, let's say the book that you submitted to pitch wars, was this romance was this urban fantasy? Was this your urban fantasy romance? What genre were you in at that point?

Janet 9:24
It is urban fantasy. And in the first book, there's like, you know, some attraction between the heroine and one of the characters. And then in a second, third books that are wrote for it, it's full on romance, and they almost I think, go more urban fantasy romance, because if you cut out the romance that would kind of get part of the plot.

Elle 9:53
Oh, okay, cool. Okay. All right. Cool. So when did you start writing the steamy bets

Janet 10:00
Yeah, that was pretty much from the get go.

Elle 10:07
You're like, Yeah, I'm just like, I'm just going for.

Janet 10:12
Right in.

Elle 10:15
Because I'm trying to think if you're if you're, if you were kind of inspired Well, at that point, were you still inspired by Vampire Diaries? or were there other authors that or even, you know, TV series that you were looking at? And sort of going, Okay, I'm getting some, I'm digging this vibe.

Janet 10:31
Um, I think it was just like a mixture of both. Because I've always read urban fantasy fantasy, you know, all of that. And, you know, if it's on TV, I would watch it. And of course, you know, supernatural. That is everyone's gateway drug. Probably. True. Yeah. Supernatural, that a couple of the others that used to be on Sci Fi, as far as authors, say, 10 are, of course comparison, the not True Blood, but the Sukie books that is I really loved. So I think all of that plays into it. And I think when you're a new writer, or at least for me, and most of the people I've worked with, you kind of start out mimicking your heroes, voice and style, and then it takes a while to work up into your own. Yeah, I

Elle 11:26
would, I would definitely agree with that. So funny. You, you and I have that sort of same reading order. Like I think I think the only one missing from from yours is Oh, my God, and I just spaced her name. Oh, I do that all the time. I need to Blake and the NCAA books. Yes. Oh. Oh, my God, I can't think of her name now. Anyway, Wow. Must be getting booed.

Janet 11:58
I have always I have a list in front of me with like, names and titles. Because otherwise, you know, people will say, Oh, have you read a book? You know, what's a good book? It'll be like, book? Ah, hmm.

Elle 12:14
I don't know, what is this thing you speak of books? I do not know what that says. So I mean, out of those, do you? Sort of the group of authors and urban fantasy authors? Do you look at any of them and say, Okay, that's really the urban fantasy romance world that I that I'm writing in? Because I know like a Anita Blake - writer name escapes me, please forgive me - you know, I know that series would definitely not be considered romance. I mean, I think manage or, or reverse harem, perhaps? Because there's a lot of quote unquote, cheating on I suppose you could call it that goes on? Um, you know, Kim Harrison, and that was kind of a slow burn on her.

Janet 13:01
And those are my favorites. I think that's why I like urban fantasy and urban fantasy romance. They're so close together. And it always seems like it is a slow burn drawn out relationship instead of you know, love at first sight or fated mates right away.

Elle 13:18
Right, right. So, so, for your books? Are you kind of dragging that out? Or do you go for it in that first book? Do you see that that relationship happen? You've got the sex on the page, you've got the happily ever after? Or I should say for now at this point?

Janet 13:35
Yes. With the contemporary and the romance that I have out now. Yep. Both we go for it. And the first book also, you know, it gets kind of, at least by the halfway mark before anything really starts happening.

Elle 13:51
Okay. Okay. So kind of curious, always curious, writing your first steamy scene? What was that? Like? Was it weird? Or were you just like, this is fun. It's just like another day? No, right? And,

Janet 14:05
um, it was, it was a little bit weird, because it's like, you know, Hmm, how many adjectives can I use in here? And then you have to stop and think about, you know, blocking where your characters? How many legs? Do they really have? How many hands are in this thing? I think there's one too many. You know, if you kind of have to go back and worry about that.

Elle 14:25
Yeah, the blocking is really that'll that'll do it. So, I mean, how long did it take you a long time to write your first gaming scene? Or, or, or even or even now that you're a little bit more seasoned with writing them to like, is that does it take you a long time to write it? Or are you just able to sort of like dash it out like anything else?

Janet 14:46
The first one, there was a lot of innuendo in the first one and it was fairly short. And once I had that on the page, it's like, okay, this is not so scary. It's not bad. And so it really does doesn't take me that long to do them now.

Elle 15:04
Okay. All right, that's cool. And because you're writing also with the fight scenes, which is I think my favorite thing to write even more than the sexy times, actually way more than the sexy times. What do you prefer writing? Do you prefer writing the fights? Or do you prefer writing the sex?

Janet 15:23
I'm honest. Honestly, it is what kind of mood I'm in that day. Because sometimes it's like, oh, we need some sexy times. And sometimes it's just like, I need to blow some shit up today.

Elle 15:40
Did you have a hard time? Because you did write a contemporary romance in stilettos? Yeah. Are you blowing shit up in that one to get

Janet 15:49
badly? No, my, my heroine does have a taser. So we at least have that in the first draft of it. I was one I actually sent into pitch wars again. Because of course, the urban fantasy market had kind of like bottomed out at the time, I was working on the first one. And I queried widely, with very little interest, you know, or I should say, interest. But you know, the result was always, you know, this is great, but we can't sell it. So just out of pure frustration for a change of scenery, I sat down and wrote a contemporary, and then it's like, okay, this isn't that bad. And sent it into pitch wars. And again, I got in that way. And the first draft of the book, there is a stalker elements, and a stalker did show up and a hero was, you know, rushing in to save the heroine, and she ended up saving herself and you know, knocking the guy out. And I have my mentor made me cut all that.

Elle 16:50
Oh. You know, why? Because it's our crutch. It's a crutch

Janet 16:58
it is. And she was also talking about, you know, this, this is writing another line, which is a problem that you have as an author. This is not suspenseful enough to be a romantic suspense. But it has too much in it to really be a contemporary

Elle 17:15
temper. Yeah. Okay. Fair enough. I mean, it's very funny, because I find, you know, I, I have a very hard time trusting that the emotional conflicts are going to be enough for my character. And so I get to the point where I'm like, Okay, now we're gonna blow something up like that. Now, now we need somebody needs to pull a gun. And it's, like, so hard for me to trust that the romance is, you know, the romantic entanglement is a big enough conflict and to just go with it. And it's, I always get the sort of itchy fingers on my keyboards to make something explode. Yes,

Janet 17:55
yes, exactly. Oh, I have the same problem.

Elle 18:00
really relieved to hear that you were like, yeah, and then there was a stalker, and he did this thing, and he got his character they can somebody may be caught up. Because, because without that, I actually really do struggle with conflict in my writing. I haven't I don't know if

Janet 18:20
I have the same problem. And whether it was the urban fantasy or the contemporary, it was the same thing. And I think you're right about like, not quite trusting that, that the relationship dynamic is gonna pull it off and you need to, you know, stick in some kind of outside conflict.

Elle 18:39
Right. Right. I mean, and I guess, you know, in all like, some some, not all some craft books or you know, craft teachers will talk about you need the outside conflict in the inner conflict. And so the, the plot point is the outside conflict driving the action, but then there's a whole internal thing going on for with the characters, and I don't and that I guess doesn't quite ring true with with contemporary romance, because it's sort of you know, we have to position the characters as kind of their own worst enemies, right?

Janet 19:17
Basically, yes. I mean, it was it was a huge jump to go from fantasy to contemporary because it's like there is no outside you know, huge threat. There's no you know, looming Vampire, Werewolf battle whatever. That was difficult to set up.

Elle 19:38
So how did you end up doing it? Were you just able to drop that on that part? And and still, and still it was and realized that it was able to stand on its own or did you have to do a lot of rewrites there?

Janet 19:49
Oh, no, no, this was another one. Let's take this thing apart. Which, you know, I knew going I knew going in also, when you first get those notes, it's like, oh my god. How many pages of notes are these? But I think I kept the opening, we cut multiple characters cut most of the middle because we had cut those characters alter, alter the conflict in, you know your darkest moment. And it completely rewrote the last three or four chapter endings. And I changed it from first person to third.

Elle 20:27
Oh, wow. Okay, why did why did you change from to third? I always write first because I feel like I just get more into that character. So I'm curious why you changed it.

Janet 20:37
I do too. And it's probably because you know, that whole urban fantasy thing is so common. And my mentor was very direct, you know, the part of this is mentoring, because you want to query you want an agent, you want a traditional deal. And third person at that time was the most common and contemporary romance. And which I knew and was trying to avoid, because I had entered several art of UA contests as well. Because the big draw there is the judges give you feedback, and a lot of the feedback, but I hate first person or I hate first person, but so we knew going in that that was a problem. So also, I don't know why you go ahead. No, no, that God it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Because I also have a terrible habit. When I do a dual point of view, male, female, my heroine is always first person. And my hero is third. Yeah,

Elle 21:44
and I'm jumping back and forth on that. Make my edits and disaster.

Janet 21:52
I've seen it more in romance. It's mostly self published indie romance. And but a couple of well known authors do it. So we're not completely crazy. But yeah, and I'm not sure I think a lot of it, you know, the first person, heroine, it's so easy to get in her head. And first person is so common in fantasy and paranormal. And maybe with writing the guys, it's not quite as easy to get in their head. And third gives you a little bit of distance.

Elle 22:22
Yeah, that's kind of what I'm finding, although I found I don't write I normally don't write dual point of view on at all and, and so I've gotten enough, like reader feedback to know that I need to do like, I need to try it. And so my next one, I'm doing a dual point of view, surprise, surprise everyone. And but I keep jumping with him between first and third, first and third person. And I'm like looking over I was looking over my draft today go God is gonna be disaster. But because I just can't decide like where I want to end up with him if I want to keep it in first with him. Or if I want to go to third, I'm leaning towards third. I'm leaning towards third. And again, I think it's like just to put that distance. I feel like I feel like I need that distance. And again, I don't know, maybe it's across. But what I was gonna say is, I don't know how I would feel about that feedback. You know, coming back, I hate first person and, you know, it, you know, because I mean, because ultimately, like, that's kind of a preference thing. And I don't think that that should necessarily be you know, sort of critical feedback. Because I know some people like honestly, I'm not a fan of reading third person. I like reading first person I prefer I prefer to read first person because I feel like I'm, I'm in it to I don't and I do feel like third person has me at the Remove.

Janet 23:53
I agree. I do. I don't know why I enjoy writing my heroes and third person unless it just really is that distancing element because same as you I prefer to read first person. But in a bit, the contests. Like I said, the whole point is to get feedback early on from multiple, usually published writers maybe even you know, library and something like that. And it is subjective. But then the whole industry is subjective. What readers are gonna like, what readers are gonna hate. Yeah. I think it's one of those situations where you take whatever critique resonates with you, and then you just saw the rest of it in the trash.

Elle 24:41
Well, I mean, you clearly you know, you were to time pitch were two times through pitch wars. And then you became a mentor. And I'm kind of curious, like, what was it about pitch wars that obviously, you must have felt really kind of like an affinity towards it that you then said, You know what, I'm going to be a mentor.

Janet 24:59
You Yes. Both times in pitch wars, even though the first manuscript I submitted, the every fantasy did not, you know, get me an agent or a book deal both times, I had really great mentors. The first was JC Nelson. And a second was Brian Walsh. And they were both great about giving detailed notes, telling you why they felt something worked and why something didn't handing out homework, you know, to kind of study so that you would better understand what they were talking about, or giving examples. I'm one of those people that learns best by examples. They were always there, they were always there for brainstorming. It very much was a mentorship. And I had great experiences with both of those, even though you know, it was something like, Hey, here's 90 days to redo your entire book, have fun. It really was a good experience, despite that, and it probably was with a 90 day thing too, because, you know, how often are you writing on deadlines, whether it's your editors or your publishers? Right. And part of the reason that I volunteered as a mentor was from that and part of it was just in general, they probably wouldn't call them formal mentorships. But I've been so lucky with workshops, and just one on one with other authors who have been so giving and so supportive and willing to help out newbies. And is one of those kind of pay it forward things if you can

Elle 26:37
write? Well, I know on the million words, which is a website, I guess that you found it did you found you found it that with a few other writers cracked or are you contributor,

Janet 26:48
we found it as a group, it was really funny. It was one of those things, we were at a convention, most of us did not know each other. We all enjoyed, you know, fantasy, sci fi spec fiction, obviously, and had a couple of authors in common. And, you know, the last day of the con, everybody should just, you know, worn out tired hasn't slept much. And we're in the last panel, we're standing talking afterwards, just like this has been so great, you know, conventions give you this kind of energy and renewed determination to write when you get home. And someone else said, Yeah, I wish we could do this, you know, every year, you know, get together and someone else said, Well, I have a vacation retreat. And it kind of went from there. So the group, that critique group, which did meet every year for quite a while, turned into the million words blog.

Elle 27:39
Amazing. That's really amazing. Well, you did a post that really like sort of jumped out at me about how you read almost 200 submissions for pitch wars. I was like, Holy shit, that's a lot. I know. And, and, and one of the posts that you did, in this post, I should say, um, you talked about where, you know, after reading 200 submissions, you're able to discuss where writers got tripped up on their openings. And I was like, Oh, this is really fascinating. And I'm wondering, and you might not because you, I'm assuming you're not reading full manuscripts on these submissions. These are just like, the send me your first 20 pages or whatever.

Janet 28:23
Basically, it send a query letter A synopsis, and you know, your first chapter, first chapter first. That kind of thing. And then I

Elle 28:34
was kind of wondering, oh, yeah, go ahead. Sorry.

Janet 28:37
after that. It really is kind of like being an agent or an editor because you read through these and after that, you know, hey, do I want to request more? Do I want to request 50 pages, the whole thing to go

Elle 28:47
through? Okay, so that's kind of the process, right? So since you know, you saw where that where writers got tripped up in their openings. I was wondering if you had a sense of where romance Romance Writers got tripped up in the steamy scenes, like, what should we be looking out for when we're writing these things?

Janet 29:06
I think the most obvious thing is you know, positioning these these people can't do this like that people body something that like paranormal body stuff in that way. But other than that I have a big issue with consent. I realized that you know, a lot of people's kink is dubious consent or kidnap fantasies or whatever, and that is perfectly fine. But for me, consent is important. Like having a real connection is important. My just for me, my sex scenes start way before the clothes ever start to come off because I want to feel like this intimacy between the couple before anything else really starts working for me. Yeah, I realize other people were like, you know, just like get up against the wall and bang, it's great. Always have to have a little bit more of the lead in to find it sexy.

Elle 30:10
So for you what makes that sort of the intimate moments, not necessarily the sexy moments, but the intimate moments like, what do you like? What do you like to see between the characters

Janet 30:19
is really great when it's early on in their relationship, and they're letting those barriers down and letting the other person see what they're really like, what their fears? Really, maybe, especially if it revolves around having a relationship. That's always fun.

Elle 30:37
Okay, cool. I'm so sorry. I'm just sort of like my head is like, wow, what else can you ask or what else can you I'm just gonna do the lightning round while I'm trying to like collect my thoughts, wishes wishes shifters are vampires go oh,

Janet 30:58
I'm gonna have to go with shifters who tell me why. I love that idea of having like a dual personality getting back to nature, that kind of thing. Love it.

Elle 31:13
No, have you written a shifter romance or shifters storyline?

Janet 31:17
Yes, there there are several in things that are not published yet. And they are I think in they are in two of the three short stories. I haven't in anthologies.

Elle 31:30
Oh, that's really cool. I know. You have the anthologies were kind of blowing my mind like you were in one with faith Hunter. And I was like, holy shit. Okay. It was a major heavy hitters that you were writing within here. And I was wondering, you know, how well first of all, how did you end up getting in them? And then also, was there a takeaway for you, as a writer by being included in these anthologies?

Janet 31:55
The very first one we did was a benefit Anthology for a very dear writer friend who was part of our original group who passed away unexpectedly. And as kind of a memorial to her, we wanted to put something together with her short story, the one she had just finished. And that is first story in there. And of course, she was part of our group. So based on her John Hartness, several other well known authors also knew her and were generous enough to contribute towards that anthology.

Elle 32:31
Amazing. A really cool,

Janet 32:37
that's my biggest takeaway from those is you can edit and cut off a lot more words than you thought you could.

Elle 32:45
Oh. So what was what did you have a word count constraint?

Janet 32:52
The first one we didn't since it wasn't a publisher publisher putting it out. We were all going in on that. And working with it, we tried to keep it like a reasonable amount, you know, just for paperback costs once it came out for readers. And the other two anthologies, yes, there were word counts. And I would stomp around swearing because I've already gone over them. And this was my precious baby, and what was I gonna cut out of it?

Elle 33:25
Can I ask what what the word count was and what you were and how many words you actually had. I'm very curious.

Janet 33:32
The first I don't remember the second one, it was like a 10,000 word limit. And it's like even the rough rough draft had like, you know, 13 or 14. And I always write long so and then have to go back and edit. So I knew I would have to but there's still that stomping around, because this editor clearly does not get my vision and wants to cut my words.

Elle 34:00
I love it. I love it. Um, so we did talk a little bit about the urban fantasy authors that you've, you've read, but I'm curious. Do you remember your very first romance? And was it like a piano or an urban fantasy romance?

Janet 34:15
My very first romance. I was probably entirely too young to read it, but like a lot of other romance readers. My mom had books. And so I think I was bored one summer and went through one of her stacks probably when she wasn't around. And at that point, historical stuff was just so fascinating. And the first one I picked up. I liked because the it was a pirate one and a pirate was a woman. So I had I had one it was no I have no idea what the title was, or the author. I would love to find that again, one day, but that that just intrigued me and fascinated me and that's where it started?

Elle 35:02
Would you ever write a historical I would love to but the research is I like I love research, but I go down the rabbit holes. I would never get it done.

Janet 35:12
Yeah, no, it would be like, Oh my god, this is so cool. Wait, so is that let's click over to it. I'm like, you haven't love to write one but you know, just the research involved in getting it right. That is daunting.

Elle 35:23
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Cuz I've always wanted to like I was like, I would write a pirate romance. And the pirate would be like, for me, I was like, the pirate would be a woman. Like, that's exactly what I want to write. Which is why I'm like, Ooh, I want to read that. What book was that? What book was which I'm like, Ah, god. Okay, so to you, to you. What makes a sex scene good.

Janet 35:50
I think it is that mix of emotional intimacy that the couple has, you know, they're they're kind of just like, get period each other soul kind of and then as some just get down and dirty, sexy times, you know, maybe some sex toys and they're having fun especially if it is someplace I should not be if you've got a wall we'll go up against that. I think the excerpt I set the first excerpt I thought about sending you was actually outdoors on a roof

Elle 36:23
I want to back up let's talk about sex toys. I haven't put any in my books yet. But I really, really want to tell you about this.

Janet 36:32
The region to book that I wrote, that was the first time I had put them in there. I had read. Oh, I'm going completely back. Rebecca Weatherspoon, she does really great stuff with sex toys, in her stories. And after Xeni, I can't remember the title. Now. I had picked it up a couple minutes before and it's like their sex toys galore is there there's a chair there, you know, it's like stuff I'm gonna have to like go online and researches I don't even know what this is. But it was so much fun. And even with all of the sex toys, there were still that intimacy and connection between the partners and I just loved that.

Elle 37:16
So what kind of research did you do that when you put the sex toys in yours, were you like at the local sex toy shop? To get through the bends?

Janet 37:25
No, we did not get to do that. You know, because there's a lot online, like you probably know about. What is it smart bitches, trashy books. I love them. They are the best blog, I get so many of my book recommendations from their reviews. And yeah, they review sex toys every now and then. And that's a good place to start. And there are a couple of like romance box services where it's like sex toys, and they pair it with a book. I think it's Body Book worms. They're a couple like that. And editor, right? About that? Yes. Ooh, they do not know about that. They have they have like a big box that's got all kinds of stuff in you know, sex toys, the book that is paired with, you know, kind of things like that. And they've got a smaller one that you can also do, but it's really great. And it's fun seeing what they pair up. The ones that I first saw was through a woman and the heroine owned a vineyard. And she was you know, very well put together stylish. That was her armor. And the sex toy in the box was a vibrator, but it looked like a tape of lipstick.

Elle 38:38
Oh, god, that's so fun. Oh, that was awesome. That's super fun. Okay, I'm totally gonna, I'm totally gonna look that up and maybe like order a box or two because that sounds like such a good time. In so many ways.

Janet 38:54
Romance Writers research the best stuff.

Elle 38:58
I know, don't worry, there was a way I wish I could remember it was actually a site that sold toys. But it had this sort of off to the side almost like web web magazine. I think that it went to Funko probably because of costs and it had like it had the toy reviews it had erotica, it has you know, erotic fiction writing it had you know, some you know, health and body image and like it had all this stuff like it was a magazine essentially on this sort of like other part of the website. And it was so cool. But I think that they stopped doing it because of I assume because of money because it didn't get updated for a long time. And now I can't even remember what website it was like what shop it was that had this thing because there was an archive and it was really great to just kind of dig through that and see um, you know the pairings with the toys and the reviews and and there were just some really, really smart and actually very feminist writing going on there though. I really appreciate it.

Janet 40:01
Oh, that sounds so cool.

Elle 40:03
Yeah, no, I can't remember what it was so old. Yeah.

Janet 40:08
Oh, lists are my friends. I really, I think it's fascinating that you said feminists too, because that is probably something I should have dropped in, that is a key to a good 16. For me. i All of them that I write, and my favorite reads at the moment, you know, the hero's gonna get the heroine off first before, you know, he does his thing. And I think that I think that is really cool.

Elle 40:39
I have a problem with DevCon I can't read it, you know, and so I can't, you know, and obviously, I can't write it. Um, and so, you know, I, so I do have very, like, that's just who I am. And they do think, you know, by its very nature, and I've been dinged about this by people. And it's very frustrating. But I do think like, by its very nature, romance, is reading romance and writing romance is actually one of the most feminist things you can do. Yes. Oh, thank you. And I, you know, and I've been dinged on it from both sides, you know, people who are feminists are sort of, like, that's trash. And you know, it's not, you know, because it's, you know, in the sex isn't even good sex. And it's like, well, I mean, you know, who's to say, whose version of good sexes, you know, and, you know, even with DevCon, I won't read it, I won't write it, but I get that there are people that, that it appears like, there's appeal there. And I understand that, you know, um, and so I never want to sort of Yuck, someone's yum. So not very cool.

Janet 41:49
It goes back to subjects. No, it's not my thing, either. But I know a lot of other people love it. I know. A lot of people have said it has helped them work through their feelings about sexuality, or, you know, sexual abuse. And it's like, if that works for you, that is great. For me is the opposite. I can't do it either.

Elle 42:10
Yeah, yeah, I find it too. Just too difficult to read. But yeah, I mean, there are people that say, Hey, it has helped me work through what, you know, XYZ issue. And it's like, well, you know, you can't fault it, you know, you got to, if you get if that is the way that you find your empowerment, like, grab it, grab it and go. You know, I mean, that that I think is like the most important thing. I do know that you write inclusion in romance and urban fantasy, and I think that this is a really important conversation to have, particularly as we are on kind of the tail end or well, not tail on it. It's over the Vivian awards. And I know that I know, we both start laughing. And Sarah Whitney, who has been a guest on Steam scenes, she's one of the first ones and I adore her and I know she one. Isn't she fabulous, and her books are so great. And she one of Yvan, I forgot what the mid can mid length or something like that, I think was a category. And then she turned around and gave it back the next day and and resigned from our part of our wa which I resigned a while ago and didn't go back. And so I just because it I guess there was in the Christian romance category, there was a very problematic book. Yeah. So which are free? You know, because you do right, inclusive, and multicultural? What do you want to experience? I'm assuming you read, you read as much as you can, as well. So what do you want to experience as a reader? And as an author? Like, can we dig into this a little bit? Please?

Janet 44:04
I think that what you're writing and what you're reading should hopefully reflect the real world. And I'm sure there are some spaces that are full of you know, upper middle class or wealthy straight white people only but and I'm sure it has a spot but the rest of the world you know, it's not like that. And I like correct writing and reading all points of views. I think that a lot of marginalized groups are not represented in the publishing industry period. And that needs to change and bring all of that perspective and that talent in. So and that is I'm with you, that is a problem. Our WA has had I went ahead and re upped mine, when there is the first, you know, let's drag out all the dirty laundry thing which didn't need to be aired. And I went ahead and stayed because I am part of the multi multicultural chapter and a local chapter both of which I like. And you know, there were all the promises, and we're going to do so much better. We're going to institute diversity training, and they have tried that, and clearly from the Vivian's we have learned that it did not work. So.

Elle 45:31
Yeah. When all of that shit hit the fan, the first time with Courtney, Milan, I had actually just signed on to be a reader for the Golden Heart, which I had never done. And I was like, Well, let me let me give this a go. And I did have to go through a diversity and inclusion seminar online, that I thought was really not good. Yeah. And then the shit hit the fan, and I just pulled out and I said, Forget it. I'm not doing this. So yeah, it was it was, there was just a lot of, like, problems and issues there. And I applaud the ones who stuck it out. I really do. Um, I was just like, I don't get enough from this group to like, keep going here. So I can just, you know, step away, basically, um, yeah. Because you do write in this sort of multicultural world, I struggle in terms of like Own Voices. And as much as I want to write a world, I also know that this is not like my world. So I don't want to also take that world from somebody who is writing that experience, how do you balance that?

Janet 46:42
I think the best way I ever heard it put, and I don't remember who said it, and I wish I did. So he gave them credit, was if you don't have a group of friends in that group, you don't need to be writing it. I mean, I think that is probably just the bare baseline right there. If you do not know and regularly interact with people from whatever group, it may be, you probably should not touch that. I think it's also very important to have sensitivity readers. So the rate and two I was very worried about because the hero is Jewish, and I wanted to do a good job. I did not want to, you know, support stereotypes. And so I did have several sensitivity BETA readers for that. And of course, I still worry about it.

Elle 47:41
Yeah, it's hard not to write. I mean, it was yeah, you know, I, I do always worry. But I also know that I want to, I want to reflect the, the world that we live in. Yeah, you know, when it's not a straight white, you know, says hat world. And, and I think that it's important to to reflect that for sure. Okay, I want to dig into your sexing Agent Zero from the region two series. Why did you pick this one? Because you said it was between this one that I have, and the one that took place on a roof outside? So what was it about this statement that you packed?

Janet 48:25
The difference between the table is really kind of linked. The first one on the roof was their first sexual encounter, it was fairly early in the relationship and it was just kind of one of those blowing off steam things. You know, the heroine was like, oh, uptight, he's gonna throw a clot or something, you know, hey, do you want to go on the roof and have sex to chill out that there was more setup for it, whereas the second scene was also fun, but they were more into their relationship. So you could kind of you know,

Elle 48:57
okay, so. So they've already at another point in time have had sex together is that when we get to this point, okay, so can you set this up for us a little bit, where, where are we in the story and why are they about to go for it in this particular instance?

Janet 49:17
Um, this one is a little bit lighter in a book, like I said, it is before the dark moment and with this one, we have, you know, the vigorous you know, fun rooftop six, and this thing has also been, but it is closer to the point where the hero is, he is this you know, social media star. He is always on the move. You know, he comes from this upper class family. You know, he's used to having nice things in life and traveling he cannot stay intimate tied down and he's having that moment of, oh shit. I think I'm falling for this person who has to like basically leave no footprints in the real world. You know, social Media and you know, they're they're super secretive, blah, blah, blah. I don't agree with their, their techniques, their rules. So that's what he's dealing with and the heroine in this story, I wanted them I didn't want the, you know, jaded. Oh my god, I've been forced into this monster hunters on one of them to be like, This is the coolest job in the world. And she believes that, you know, her team is her family literally. And she can't understand why she's attracted to him because the way she was raised, their team should fulfill all of their emotional needs. And then if you want to have sex, you know, you have sex with someone that is in your company, but outside your team, it's just you know, like a blowing off steam scratching an itch kind of thing. So she is really trying to wrap her head around. I want to I want to do more than just have sex with him once you know, I don't even I'm not even sure I like this. Friends with Benefits thing. So that's where they're where they're at. And this thing so it is more intimate.

Elle 51:05
Now, does he know at this point, what she does,

Janet 51:08
yes, from the from the get go. I love flipping the tropes and someone one of my beta readers said, you know, this is like, you know, rescuing the damsel except the heroes today. So, you know, is a very opening, opening to Chapter she saves him from a rampaging cryptid and, you know, gets him home. firsthand what worlds she lives in. And he's like, this is entirely too fucked up for me.

Like this is this hero. He just doesn't give a shit. He swears you know every other word. He is very open about wanting to be the best at what he does and being arrogant and you know what? He just he's a lot of fun. And so you know when she saves him from this thing, he's like, You people are insane. This cannot be happening. This is obviously some big pharmaceutical thing that escaped from their labs. And you're their henchmen out to hide it.

Elle 52:16
Oh my God, that's fantastic. I absolutely love it. I also love that he is this sort of like, you know made from social media. And she has to live her life like completely under the radar and what a like what a dichotomy you're setting up like such so two totally different worlds. Nevermind the monsters

Janet 52:38
monster extra fun.

Elle 52:43
Just like to Blue Ocean okay, go start reading. Okay, huh? Oh, I should say we are in his head. Yes, we are. This is from his point of view. So the room had an ethereal, otherworldly feel the illumination coming from a couple of neon filled glass sculptures one a deep coyote there there a purple cactus, leave it to veto and play kitsch art he'd seen on roadsides glowing against the desert night and aimed at impulsive tourists instead of ordinary lamps. There wasn't one damn thing ordinary about Victoria Ramirez. The neon haloed her like spotlights trained to an to accent a piece of art. Do you remember what I promised you on the rooftop? His question came out more as a growl. V his eyes widen for a moment than clear leaving satisfaction rising to meet his challenge. You said you would go down on me one day. He meant to give her another kind of satisfaction. This is the day oh my god, I love the setup. I'm so hot. And I really love the specificity of place. Like even though I was sort of dropped in in the middle of this. Um, I was kind of like, oh, that like I could really kind of see where they were. And it did feel it actually kind of felt like a pretty stark like cheap hotel. But I'm guessing that it was not as transient as that.

Janet 54:11
No, it is actually her room and they're their base. They have you know, like a compound. Nice kind of thing just for her team. They actually have several that they rotate through but this is their primary one and she is just despite having to stay under the radar all of the time and not really interact with Publix. She's fascinated by everything pop culture. You know, she gets everything she knows about like romance and dating and comes from, you know, binging rom com movies. So she has all of this you know, kitschy pop culture stuff all over her room.

Elle 54:46
Oh, that's super fun. I'm kind of curious. Does that come back to bite her in the ass? Like where she gets her? Does she like wait, this didn't happen? Yeah.

Janet 54:58
across the entire series is You know, because it follows her and her sisters and her brother on this team. And you know, this is the main source for all of them. And she even says at one point, you know, she asks the hero, you know, is this really a thing? Or is this just something that TV writers put in, we never really know. And so there's a whole lot of, you know, learning to communicate with each other because they have, they do not have a similar upbringing. They don't have anything in common to begin from.

Elle 55:28
That's really wild because you kind of have like this fish out of water water story, but it's like the real world is like where she's a fish out of water. You know, like, that's, that's super cool. I really love that. Okay, now we'll get into the good stuff. He reversed with both palms flat against her hip bones and slid his hands up from her waist to the bottom of her tea traveling over soft cocoa butter conditions skin interspersed with rougher scars. When she made an interested noise. He kept going, bringing the shirt up as he went. She raised her arms and he got the fabric out of their way tossing it aside. Her nipples already showed under the cotton of her bra he bent catching and sucking his fingers tugging on the other peek the arch into his hands and he gave himself over to worshiping the breasts he hadn't spent enough time with by half on the roof. He played along the top of the bra and fried both nipples then pressed her breasts together taking both nipples in his mouth. With his unoccupied hand, he kept between her legs, fucking loving that she ground against his palm and that she'd already soaked through. They were doing this his way. And tonight, his way was slow. He let go and laughed when V swore then carefully brought the bra over her head and nudged her arm V took the hint and sat eyes open for him. Fuck v you are killing me here. Good. I loved how he thinks they're doing it his way. And he's like, Oh, you're killing me. I love that this, this part, like really kind of set up that dynamic between them and how the whole thing was so very sexy. You're really like, I mean, okay, so the scene is five pages about 1200 words. But I felt like you were really taking your time with this. Um, and as I'm writing these scenes, like, I always feel like sometimes I'm, I kind of rush a little bit through them. And I'm wondering, do you go back and slow your pacing? Or is are you able to kind of get this in one tick, as they say, in the movie world.

Janet 57:26
There are a few details, I will go back and add. But mostly, with, like, with my other writing, I have to go back and edit down that was a very important lesson that I learned from Brian Walsh, my mentor and pitch wars, you know, along with more six, which was our first commandment, it was, you know, cut the scenes down and make them more compact. So I have to go back and do that.

Elle 57:51
Oh, can you jump back to the more sex part? Like how, how much sex? Did you have before? Or little? And how and how much did the did she want

Janet 58:02
the contemporary that we worked on? They did not have sex till after Well, after the halfway point. Because the sex is like this, you know, big, emotional moment for them. And she's like, you know, you have to you have to go back, we have to have at least a kiss by 25%. You know, and shortly after that, we need something you work with me here. This is what most contemporary writers expect, you know, you have to think about genre expectations. So I went back and wrote it in and they did have sex, but it was one of those quickie ones. And she's like, this is a terrible mistake. We only did this because you know, we were just so excited for the party. Now curiosity is satisfied and we're done.

Elle 58:51
Okay, okay. So it's not like, there was like a hard, hard and fast rule. You need seven sex scenes in a book that is x, you know, 60,000 words long or whatever, you know, but they there is that sort of you need like a physical something at around 25%.

Janet 59:09
Yes. And that was another thing that I whined and moaned about forever, because I do love a slow burn. Yeah.

Elle 59:20
Yeah, that would really bug me and I don't know romance conventions. I've read plenty of books where nothing happens until well after that 50% point. I think it's like the action is there.

Janet 59:32
Right? Yeah. Which is what I love to do. But you know, she had she had a point with that. And I think a lot of the contemporaries that have come out in the last few years have pushed that they've pushed you know, the sex, whatever form it takes back when that's really interesting. It kind of coincides with those illustrated covers instead of photo covers.

Elle 59:56
Hmm, oh, that's an interesting point. Sort of this The covers have changed and yet also the, the interior in terms of how quickly we're getting to the sexy boats. That's really interesting. I'm gonna have to like take another look because I do think for mine, um, generally speaking, I do a slower burn, generally speaking, um, and if it happens in the beginning it's always like what that was a mistake. Yeah, I shouldn't have done that.

Janet 1:00:23
Yeah, what was I thinking?

Elle 1:00:28
Yeah, cuz otherwise, like, What are you writing towards?

Janet 1:00:30
Oh, yes, thank you.

Elle 1:00:34
Yeah, that's I don't know I could be completely wrong. But for me, I'm like, I don't know what I'm writing towards, especially if you're not letting me blow things up or shoot things. So like what I'm on now.

Janet 1:00:49
Yes. You're killing me. Smalls. Come on.

Elle 1:00:54
Girl a break. What did you oh yeah, last boat was a little bit of a long one. So brace fuck, but she didn't hold back her directness and the new throaty PR and her voice was a was a sexy it was a was as sexy as her spread open in front of him. He got back to business keeping the kisses in Contact light. Later, there would be time for teeth and testing limits. He worked alongside acne skin drunk on the perfume of the lotion she'd applied. At the top of her thigh He switched sides ignoring the restless way she arched inviting him in. This time when he hit the top of her thigh he kept going and caught the last bit. That tiny scrap of fabric between his lips and her sex and breezed over the spot. V groaned and he gave in jerking panties down, bearing everything to starving gays damn but you are beautiful. He's circled her clit also loving the slick dampness he discovered loving it even more when he had to slide his hands up with eyes to hold them open. When she clenched switching. He looked over her clip, plunging in flicking, then circling again. Via quivered her muscles on her legs trembling he dared a look up. Her head was tipped back, arms braced against the lockers edge and back arched in a taut, graceful arc, unselfconscious and living in the moment and making it her own in a way few people ever tried. If his cock wasn't already hard, the look on her face would have sealed his fate. He locked his lips over her sex and devoted himself to pushing her past the brink. He wanted to lose. He wanted her to lose herself. Even if it was only for a few minutes. b She got out arching off the locker. He caught her hips and she grabbed the shoulders fingers digging in. He braced her and she wrote the orgasm had thrown back one long line of brown skin from her perfect throat to a perfect flexed toes. Once the aftershocks wore down, he placed a light kiss on her hip bone and sat back on his heels. He kept the hand resting on her knee not ready to lose contact. When I read this, it was literally just after I wrote my own oral sex scene. And I was like, damn, I have to go back and rewrite, because it was half as hot as tell me everything. How do you do this? How did you do that? Tell me everything. But honestly, I did actually love how we were watching it through his eyes in this particular moment. And it became about what did he see? And how much pleasure does that does her pleasure give him and I was like, Maybe I need to reread like rewrite my scene from his perspective. Like I was like, oh, yeah, maybe his perspective would be good for that. Because I just I really loved reading this from his perspective. Um, you know, particularly since you did get that sort of emotional, you were getting the emotional connection between that was sort of going on between them. And from his point of view.

Janet 1:03:56
It was fun to write no lie. I think that I like urban fantasy and paranormal when it comes to romance because there is less of a power imbalance maybe between the couple you know, maybe here's this big guy or this you know, Tiger shifter or whatever but she is also you know, in this case like a train kick ass soldier or you know, as a creature herself, so that that power thing is kind of equal with them physically. Okay,

Elle 1:04:31
I do yeah, I can see that I really do like shifting or equalizing the power dynamics in in romance. And I do think that it can be very hard to find and um, you know, I write rock star for my contemporaries. And so, what I have done a lot of is, you know, it's not always the hero. That's the rock Star, you know, the heroine needs to also have a career, whether she's a rock star, or she's guiding a career, or she's, you know, whatever it is, she's not necessarily I don't want to say never. But she's not necessarily going to be that sort of waitress or bartender, or, you know, Nanny, which I've, I've read a few of them. They've been really good, but that's just not my jam. Like, I want her to be just as career focused and career minded as the hero. And, you know, in terms of conflict that can also serve as a source of conflict between them, because what happens when she goes out on tour, what happens? You know, so so there's a lot that can sort of, you know, happen there. Sounds fun, you know, so, yeah. Yeah, I love my I love my rock stars actually haven't written one where she's the rock star, and he's a civilian, which I think is going to be pretty soon I'm going to be doing one of those pretty soon, because I just think that there's some, there's some like, you know, break, there is great potential there for that. What do you mean, you're going on tour? You know, what do you mean, you're leaving for a year, you know it once or whatever it is, when you go on tour? So

Janet 1:06:14
I will be one click, and I, you know,

Elle 1:06:17
oh, thank you so much. So yeah, this was gorgeous. This was such a great scene, and thank you for sending it to me. And anytime you've got like five pages are just like oral sex on the page, it's like, for that. They're gonna go back into my page count. So what's next for you? What do you have coming?

Janet 1:06:44
The second book in this series, Agent down, comes out at the end of this month. And it is slated for October 31, the third book in the series. So that is, wow, for the rest of this year? I don't know. I didn't think that I'm like, as prolific writer who writes fast. No, I wrote all this stuff last year in the first part of this year. That's the only reason I have three things to come out this year. Yeah, no,

Elle 1:07:21
I got I think I got what three books out last year. And then a fourth this year, I basically got four books out within 1212 months span. And everyone's like, wow, you were I was like, Yeah, two of them. Were done. Yeah. Like, done done. And one was like, halfway through, and then like, I ran out of books, and now I'm like, Oh, shit, like, now this is a little bit more like my pace. Like, you're lucky if you get to a two year automate.

Janet 1:07:45
Really? Yes. I feel you

Elle 1:07:51
know, and I'm curious, do you have sort of, one of the things that I want to get better at is, and I've talked to other writers who do this is they actually, like, set so much up in advance in terms of deadlines? And I'm, I don't know, like, I feel like, Oh, my deadline, but you know, for my last book, like, I was, like, I'm gonna be done by may know. It's August, still not done. Scanner done. Do you? Do you find I, you know, I know you're writing for trod and so you're up against deadlines all the time? Um, how do you manage that?

Janet 1:08:27
Um, calendars, and I have a very complicated relationship are good to make sure I get my butt in gear and do it. But I like them better when it comes to like, okay, the story has been and now I have this deadline to get it out to my critique partners, get it back, you know, work on it, maybe send it out to a second batch, then send it to the editor. When I'm like, writing writing the story, having a deadline feels like so much pressure. Yeah, I think me like really miss with my creativity too.

Elle 1:09:08
Yeah, I think that it and knowing knowing that I struggle with the conflict. So you know, I, you know, had, I didn't have a full sense of the conflict in My latest work in progress until I was about 60,000 words on. And I don't know, I don't know if you're a plotter or a pantser. I'm a planner. So I plot and then I pants, yes, I would do. Are you the same way.

Janet 1:09:35
I will have like these 14 Page outlines, but then they're like squiggles and arrows and stars drawn in. Okay, there is no real reason for them to do this. And I just figured out what it was. So this is why that happened. So I'm at Harvard taking this like, I'm really bad take as most of the stuff on the outline that I do write down is all the fun sex and emotional stuff. And then it's like, Man, I need to figure out this exterior plot. And while they've been thrown together

Elle 1:10:04
you know, it's really funny because I actually find the exterior plot is what I work on first, and then I end up throwing it all away when I get, because I don't really, I just throw the whole thing out. Because I don't really get into the emotional part pieces of the characters until I'm way into writing. Because I just feel like I don't understand them enough.

Janet 1:10:26
I will say, I know in the back a lot and we'll flesh out character because I think I think a lot of writers did we get to know our characters as we write. Yeah, and then you'd have a better feeling like fit 60,000 words and about who they are and what they are, you can kind of go back and tweak it.

Elle 1:10:44
Yeah, cuz I never know. And, you know, oh, well, you should be writing these long character whatever is and I do, you know, I do, but it's really, it's really the process of discovery like, Well, wait, why would she react like that? And then it's like, oh, it's because you know, her mom was, in my latest work in progress. For example, I kind of like came to, oh, well, her mom was a pageant queen and wanted her to be a pageant queen. And so this is what she's fighting against. And, you know, so it was sort of like this whole that where I was able to like, then go back and write a few like origin story scenes for her that I'm probably not going to use. But it really helped me figure out this character. And like I said, 60,000 words done? Oh, yeah, I would have never come to that at you know, page one, I would have never,

Janet 1:11:30
I know big writers that have it all nailed down, whether it is in their head or in their outline before they start and know their characters and their conflicts inside out. But not one of those people.

Elle 1:11:43
Yeah, me neither. Any time, any time.

Janet 1:11:48
I don't know how it is with you. But for me, outlining the story takes more time than writing the story.

Elle 1:11:57
Um, I think not for me necessarily, because I get very impatient at the outline part. And I just want to write it. So I tend to and this is probably my prop. Well, this is why I'm a plan, sir. I tend to kind of zoom through the outline. So I have a general idea of what's going to happen. But, but then, like I said, a lot falls to shit anyway, so by the time I really get in there, I'm like, Yeah, okay. Wait, what?

Janet 1:12:34
Yeah, sounds familiar.

Elle 1:12:36
Yeah. Okay, good. So where is your favorite place to hang out online, where's the best place to find you?

Janet 1:12:43
Um, I am on Twitter. A lot. That is my, my preferred home on social media. And of course, that's where all the pitch Wars stuff and all of that those good things go down. But you can also find me on Facebook. I have a Facebook author page just down at Walden with author and I'm building my street team. I would love to have fans. Come hang out with me there. And if you want to see lots and lots of cute dog and chicken pictures that have nothing to do with writing, I'm on Instagram to

Elle 1:13:19
check chickens. have chickens.

Janet 1:13:21
I have chickens. Oh, that's so cool. I have turned into one of those. Those cliche chicken ladies.

Elle 1:13:29
Oh chickens and dogs. By the way, what kind of dogs do you have if they're show dogs? I have Australian shepherds. Oh, cool. I'm so glad you weren't like Pekinese because I like my big dogs.

Janet 1:13:47
Dogs you know dog shows I love all the dogs just bring them on but no, I like bigger dogs teeth that get in less trouble

Elle 1:13:58
well my be sir are very badly behaved. But that's you know,

Janet 1:14:05
so are mine. You know, I love I love. I call him my Pepe people. But you know, the people that have you know, dogs from me that are involved in sports and stuff. And you know, there is a lot of performance stuff because Aussies are so active and so smart. You have to give them something to do. It's kind of like having your precious child and I love all of my puppy people who are like, you know, sending me pictures. Oh, yes, we got like our CD x this week with a 200 score and everything. And my son will just turn around and be like, Why don't our dogs behave like that mom and it's like, just shut up

Elle 1:14:41
there so so do you show them yes, you actually show them? Yeah, man. Yeah, no, that's that's a lot. That's a lot of work just to train them.

Janet 1:14:55
Oh, it is it is. And you know, Aussies are one of those breeds if they were You know, the heroes in a romance novel, it would be like you need to get this grumpy grumpy hero out and socialize him with some sunshine heroine. They got like that. Yes, they do. They're the overprotective guys in the shifter romances. Like, I don't know, you need to back off the UPS guy is not a threat.

Elle 1:15:27
Yeah, no. And you need the whole family. Like you need the whole household on board. If you're training, like, that's the thing that drives me because I am like, I tried to be strict with my dogs and train them and be like, no behave. And then and then my partner comes home and he's just like, lets them you know, I mean, he'll like, he'll be taken them on a walk, and you'll pinch one of their asses so that they'll start running and he thinks it's great fun. And I'm like, great, and then they pull with me on the leash and they've nearly killed me. I've got 200 pounds a dog that I'm dragging around so it's just like impossible for you know, for me to completely like have have my dogs behave. And then you know, they're so ridiculous. Like, sometimes I'll let them off the leash. Because where I am can be can be rural, it's kind of a summer communities so you don't do it in the in the summer. But, but you know, they run around like lunatics and they'll eventually come back to me after I'm calling calling calling and they got these goofy ass looks on their faces. And they're just like, we're just having such a good. There's just like, oh

Janet 1:16:39
like well, behaved well, like or cuz like, you know, the thing that I think irritate it's like, you know, my dog jumps on me all the time. And it's like, okay, well, let me tell you how to stop that. You know, that is terrible habit. And then here are my dogs. Here are every one of them with her paws. Planted in my chest. Go I'm mom. I'm just

Elle 1:17:04
Yep. Cuz it's just so cute.

Janet 1:17:11
It is. So much.

Elle 1:17:18
Yeah, I know. I know. Like, Oh, you shouldn't have your dogs in bed with you. And I'm like, You're right. Well, now my dogs are like, yeah, no, we want our own beds. And so they don't get in the bed with us anymore. And I'm like, goodness, the dogs. Ooh, those dogs want to snuggle.

Janet 1:17:35
That is my one hard line. Because basically, it's like everything else in the house. The property belongs to the dog. So the couch is a better mom. Yeah, y'all, you have everything else. So, the dog I gave the dog the cat on the bed, you know? Yes. It's like you let the cat on their wife's cat better.

Elle 1:18:04
You have shepherds. You have a stallion shepherds with a cat

I love that. That's just a sigh. Yeah, I do. You're gonna come back and tell me about this. So come back and talk about our paths the

Janet 1:18:27
whole time. Hey, we can do that. No problem.

Elle 1:18:32
Excellent. Excellent. Janet, thank you so much for doing this. It was really great fun to talk to you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai