Category Archives: Updates

It’s Hard to Kill with Mistletoe and Other Things I’ve Learned as an Author

It’s Hard to Kill with Mistletoe and Other Things I’ve Learned as an Author

There is a writing adage to “Write what you know.” While this is faster and easier, it’s also limiting. If I wrote only what I knew, Tess would wear plain old undergarments instead of expensive French couture lingerie.  Jack would drive an old Honda instead of a Tesla. The only thing that I know is chocolate.

The challenge of making things up when you write is being as accurate as possible. To that end, sometimes I need to do research. While research in school was tedious and boring, research for writing fiction can be very interesting. Here are a few cool things I’ve learned by researching for my books:

  1. You can’t poison someone quickly with mistletoe, which is why Santa was stabbed in Death Under the Mistletoe.
  2. Stabbing someone in the mid-back on the side can still be fatal. I had to figure out where to stab someone in the back to avoid a fatal injury for Meant to Be: Southern Heat Book Two.
  3. Chocolate with nibs is yummy. Scharffen Berger’s chocolate with nibs makes an appearance in for Deadly Valentine.
  4. There’s such a thing as Moonpie Moonshine, although I haven’t been able to taste it yet. Moonshine shows up in Meant to Be: Southern Heat Book Two.
  5. I hate to fly (like Jack Valentine), but I learned how to fly a Cessna through a Youtube video for a new cozy mystery I’m writing.
  6. I have learned how to make a chocolate martini. You can find the recipe in ‘Til Death Do Us Part: A Valentine Mystery Book 4.
  7. I knew the French Blue eventually became the Hope Diamond, but learned that when the original stone was cut into the French Blue, there weren’t enough cuttings to make more jewelry. The French Blue shows up in With This Ring, I Thee Kill: A Valentine Mystery Book 3. I also take some liberties with the cuttings.
  8. The Grimms were disturbed brothers. I have a new character who likes fairy tales, so I’m reading Grimm’s’ stories and others.
  9. The southern accent is the most similar to the English of our forefathers than the accent in other parts of the U.S. I used this plus other cool stuff I learned about the southern accent in a free ebook How to Speak Southern.
  10. There’s a mystery surrounding the Confederate treasury and gold. I have been thinking of using it in a Delecoeur novella, but I might save it for something else.
  11. It’s legal to make beer and wine at home for personal consumption in Virginia, but not moonshine.
  12. Franklin County, Virginia is the “Capital of Moonshine.”

 

How a Sassy Southern Gal and Aloof New York Man Made it to Publication (almost)

Drawn to Her: Southern Heat book 1...coming in April

It’s taken some time to get Southern Comfort, now renamed Drawn to Her, ready for publication. But all of a sudden, things have picked up. The cover is nearly finished. I just received an ARC to proof. My publisher has posted the blurb for Drawn to Her online. The release date is set for April 12. Now it’s time to get the word out!

What started out as a little story idea I jotted down nearly ten years ago, is about to enter the world!

Just for fun, I thought I’d share the history of Drawn to Her:

  1. The idea: I can’t actually remember how the idea for this story came about, but it’s probably because it was so long ago. The original story had a scene in which Drake Carmichael (the male lead) has a phone line installed into his grandfather’s home so he can access the Internet (way back when you needed to attach the computer to the phone line to get online). Eventually it was changed to DSL and in this final release, he uses his phone as a hot-spot. But as you can see, this story started long ago. So long ago, I was a little worried it end up being a historical romance.
  2. The completed work: When I sent the three chapters to the first publisher, the book was a very rough draft. In fact, it wasn’t even done. I finished it in about 3 weeks, hoping she’s ask for the full manuscript. My effort paid off, when she asked for the full manuscript about 4 weeks after that.
  3. The rejection: The editor of the first publishing company was very positive, which is probably why I let it sit for two years while I waited for a response. In that two years, I published at least three, maybe even four, of the Valentine stories.
  4. The agent: Two months before I received a rejection from the first publisher, I submitted it to an agent. I figured an agent would have an easier time getting a response from a publisher. Plus, if it didn’t sell to the current publisher, the agent could get it out to other publishers.
  5. The fix: After the rejection, my agent sent back ideas for making the book better. New scenes were added. Old scenes were fleshed out, cleaned-up and improved.
  6. The sale: During the summer, while on a family reunion in the Outer Banks, I got the call. Penner Publishing wanted to buy this book, as well as two others in a series. Whoop!
  7. The fix number 2: Although I thought the book was in pretty good shape, first round edits came back in November with several suggestions to improve it. So after a few more tweaks, it went back to the publisher.
  8. Approaching the release: I received mock up of the cover last week, and was very excited about it (you’ll need to stay tuned for the reveal). I also got the release date (April 13). This week I received a copy of the book that had a few more edits and questions, which I dealt with and sent back the next day. Today, I received the mobi ARC to proof. This is exciting because it’s the completed book, with formatting, drop caps and all the stuff that makes it look like a book, instead of a Word doc. I’ll review the ARC this weekend and send back.
  9. Gearing up for release: What many people may not know is how much work goes into the marketing a book, particularly the release. There are reviews to get, tours to arrange, and buzz to build. The next few weeks will be busy, but I’m excited. Finally, my sassy southern belle and cool, aloof New Yorker will make it into the world.

Your Valentine Questions Answered and More

To Love, Honor, and Kill: Valentine Book Five

What chocolate confection will Tess make Jack for his birthday? Is the Senator really Jack’s biological father? What car did Tess buy to replace the one totaled in Old Flames Never Die? Will Daniel ask Kate out? All these questions and more will be answered in To Love, Honor, and Kill: A Valentine Mystery Book Five.

The first draft of Valentine five was written in November 2014 as part of NaNoWriMo. But plot issues and a busy scheduled prevented me from getting the book ready for release until now.

Not only will the book come out this week (watch for it Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015), but also, all the other Valentine books will go on special from Wednesday through Friday. Deadly Valentine: A Valentine Mystery Book One will be free and the other three will be $0.99 cents! That’s a whole lotta lovin’, murder and chocolate for very little price!

If you’re not yet a member of the SweetHarte street team, please join as I’m planning some fun stuff and freebies to celebrate the release.

Summer Lovin’ and Fun

sweethartesI’ve had a crazy, busy summer, and have ambitious goals for the fall and winter! To finish the summer, I thought I’d have a little fun by having a giveaway for my Sweet Hartes. Not a Sweet Harte? No worries. You can join in the fun for free. I answer your questions, give sneak peaks to upcoming books, have giveaways and more. Visit the Sweet Hartes at Facebook to join now! Then be sure to stop by to see what sorts of fun and goodies will be going on in August.

More news….

I announced on Facebook, that I just received a 3-book deal on my Southern Heat romance series. The first book, Southern Comfort, was the book that sat at Harlequin for nearly 2 years (1 yr, 11 mos, 3 weeks…but who’s counting)! Luckily, during the wait I got an agent, beefed up the book and sold it to Penner Publishing! Southern Comfort will be released in January, at which point book two, Southern Persuasion will be due. The third book, Southern Conflict (I may ask to change that title), is due in July.

I’m very excited to have received this deal. Unfortunately, it puts off more Valentine books for a time. My goal is still to have To Love, Honor and Betray: Valentine Book 5 published in September as well as a Christmas Valentine short story in December. I have several other book ideas for the Valentines, but with the three book deal at Penner, I need to get the other two books written. Plus I have a new idea for a cozy that I’m eager to write (probably for NaNoWriMo).

Here is a picture of fall/winter writing schedule:

Jenna Harte Fall 2015 Writing Schedule

It’s a little ambitious, but I can write fast when I clear my schedule and I know what I want to write. I know you might be questioning this as it has taken forever for Valentine 5 to get finished. That has been partly busy schedule and partly plot issues. But starting in August, I’m making a big push to get it done and to my editor before the end of the month.

So that’s it for now… I’m off to write and when it’s time for a break, I hope I’ll see you in the Sweet Hartes group.

I Promise to Do Better…

Last week while I was on vacation with my family, I got a call from my agent that a publisher was interested in buying Southern Comfort. Whoop! Happy dance. At the same time, I had this sense of dread because the offer included a three-book deal (another whoop), but I still haven’t published Valentine book five. Guilt! On top of that, all my traveling left me little time to engage on social media or be involved with the Sweet Harte Street Team.

I’m home now and in a few weeks my kids are off to college, which I hope means more time to write. My goal is to have Valentine five published in September. And because I feel so bad that it’s taken so long, I hope to have a short Valentine Christmas novella for you in December.

I hope you’ll be excited about Southern Comfort. It’s a romance that will be part of a series that take place in Central Virginia. Many publishers like the southern setting and had great things to say about it, even when they didn’t buy it. Once that series is done, I hope to move on to a cozy mystery that’s been peculating in my brain. That doesn’t mean the Valentines are done, though. I have several story ideas for them.

Although the writing (and revising and editing) are foremost, I hope that I’ll do better staying connected with you. If you’re a member of the Sweet Harte Street Team, I’m working with my virtual assistant to come up with fun stuff, giveaways and more. (If you have ideas, I’d love to hear them).