Writing Life

I am Jan Krause Greene. I explore the vast capacity of the human heart as a novelist, poet and storyteller. My first novel was released in August of 2013. I currently have three other works in progress.

Introducing Renee Novelle

Dear Readers,

Some of the fun of having a blog is getting a chance to introduce and promote other authors. So without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Renee Novelle. She is a woman with many talents -author, journalist, screenwriter and blogger.  Not only that, she is amazingly prolific.


I asked her how she manages to get so many books out so quickly. Her answer:

I made a deal with the devil... Lol, no just kidding. I'm very focused when I write. And I think all my years in journalism provided a great lesson in writing tight prose on a tight deadline. It also helps that I have a short attention span. After two months or so I get bored and need to move on to the next story. I prefer to have a book completed before that happens or it may sit on my computer unfinished for years!

True to her word, she has a brand new book coming out this week.  The Boyfriend List  is a light, New Adult romance about friendship, trust, and learning to let go in order to embrace what real love can offer.


Here's a little Q&A with Renee:

Me: Is there a message you’re trying to get across the readers? What’s the one thing you want readers to think when they have finished your book

Renee: Providing entertainment is my primary goal for my readers. But after that, I would love for them to put down the book and look a life a little differently. Be a little happier, think a little deeper, question a little more. That’s the beauty in a book that you can’t necessarily find in all other art forms.

Me: When did you know you wanted to write a book?

Renee: I’ve always loved writing, but it wasn’t until I was about 11 or 12 that I felt the need to write a full-length book. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with the idea. 

I can't resist commenting!  Obsessed for sure. In 2013, she released 3 books! Calculated, Driven and Reflections. I'm impressed. Very!

Me: Where’s your favorite place to write?

 Renee: I write in my office most frequently, or as I’ve termed it, my writing cave. There I’m surrounded by my personal inspiration and things that have meaning to me, and it really gets my creative juices flowing.

Me: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Renee: Practice all the time! Write everything, at every opportunity. Jot down your ideas and hone your skill until it shines. I don’t think there’s any such thing as being the “perfect” writer, it’s all kind of a beautiful learning process, but always strive to make each work better than the last. And grow a thick skin because readers have lots of opinions.

Me: What’s one thing about the writing process that you think every writer should know?

Renee: That promotion takes WAY more work than I ever thought. But it’s a very necessary part, and can be really enjoyable once you start making contacts and developing relationships.

Again, I can't resist. Promotion does take tons of work. It was the biggest surprise for me as a new author....and developing relationships with other authors and bloggers is the pleasant reward for all the hard work of promotion.

Me: What’s your favorite part about the writing process?

Renee: I actually really enjoy the editing process. Writing that outline and skeleton draft can be brutal. But then cleaning it up, adding the detail, making the characters really come alive, that’s absolutely heaven.

Here are some ways to buy her brand new, hot-off-the-press book!

Amazon - The Boyfriend List
Barnes & Noble - The Boyfriend List
Smashwords - The Boyfriend List

You can connect with Renee here. I am sure she would love to hear from you. 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ReneeNovelle

Twitter - https://twitter.com/RS_Novelle

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/RSNovelle

A funny thing happened on the way to this morning

Manet painting woman writing

                                                                      Woman writing - Edouard Manet, sketch

This week I was a guest blogger on B.C. Brown's Books site. Her home page says "Because weird is good...."

Not sure what that says about me, but I am open to all interpretations!

Here are a few excerpts, but please go to B.C's page and read the whole thing.  Even better, please leave a comment there to show your appreciation to B.C. for sharing her blog.

Excerpts (don't look for continuity...these are just sentences picked out of the actual blog.

A funny thing happened to me last night. Funny as in strange or unexpected. Not "funny ha-ha" as my dad used to say.

So, there I was working hard at not thinking. The only problem is that when I work hard at something - no matter what it is, even relaxing - I end up wide awake. Last night was no different, except that I was wide awake and really angry.

I could literally feel the anger in my forehead....

I was filled with anger and I hated myself for it. Not because I am such a good and kind person and I knew the anger was mostly about feeling sorry for myself. Equally, not because some of the anger was justified and righteous and I was mad at myself for not expressing it to those who deserved to hear it.

And then something shifted. I decided to think about love. Not romantic love, but the other, bigger, broader kind of love - love of life, love of nature, love of the universe.

Yes, I do have a sort of love affair with the universe - all that space with stars and planets and energy and possibility that somehow brings people and ideas together and fuses their energy into something new.

Within minutes, I had a feeling that I have not had since my book was picked up by a publisher more than a year ago. I felt peace. Most particularly, I felt peace about the book and its potential readers...the people who would appreciate it would somehow find it. The message that I hope to spread would be heard by those who will respond to it.

It doesn't have to be a bestseller... It can simply exist. I can let it go out into the world without me. I can focus on the next thing I write, instead of trying so hard to promote this one book. I can let it do its own thing.

In a way that I can't really explain, a sleepless, angry night brought me insight and peace of mind. Sure, I hope people want to read my book. But I no longer need them to.


Funny thing is I had no idea what I would write about when B.C. offered me a guest blog spot. I didn't think it would be about not worrying about how well my book does. I thought I would write some lofty words on what it means to be a writer. Yet, I ended up writing about not needing my book to sell.

Ironically, at the very same time that I was writing about not worrying about how the book does, I was also getting a lesson in how to promote it. B.C. provided me with a really simple, obvious, straightforward, no-gimmicks method. I can't believe I had overlooked it. She included a description of the book and she posted the buy links! And, guess what, sales picked up again!  Genius.

So from now on, I will post them at the end of my blog too. Only makes sense, right? If someone, clicks on a link and buys the book, fantastic. If no one, does, that is not quite fantastic, but it is no longer something to lose sleep over!


When in doubt eat a cookie - or How I learned to format for Publication

I am so excited to see my first novel cover, but when I was formatting the manuscript for my publisher I had so much trouble I thought I might give up altogether. It seemed so crazy to me that formatting it to be accepted by the publisher's software program was harder than writing it in the first place. I truly came close to tearing my hair out.  I discovered that no matter what I did to prevent it, WORD kept doing what it wanted, and what it wanted was NOT what my publisher wanted.  This is a brief description of my process. Maybe it will sound familiar to you!

Read all instructions from publisher carefully. Underline and highlight important things that must be done. Underline and highlight important things that must not be done.

Open manuscript and realize that I have already done most of the things that must not be done.  I indented at the beginning of each paragraph. I shouldn't have. I put an extra space after each period. I shouldn't have.  I did not use en rules and em rules for dashes. I should have. Tell myself it is okay because I can undo all of these things easily.

Then, remember instructions. Don't use auto correct. Don't use auto format. Don't use macros. (Use them? I don't even know what they are.) Find out what macros are. Heck, now I want to use them. They would make this whole process a lot easier!

Now I realize that I have to go through the entire 90,000 word document and get rid of all indents at the beginning of paragraphs. I have to find the end of each sentence and get rid of the extra space. I have to figure out how to use en rules and em rules, or get rid of all my dashes. This will be hard - whenever I am not sure about how to punctuate something, I just use a dash.

But no worries. I can do this. I disable auto format and I disable auto correct. I begin formatting. Three chapters done. Phew! Not so bad. Oh wait, why are my margins changing? I didn't change them. Hmmm.  Go back and fix margins.  Okay, minor setback. Here we go.

Three more chapters. I am getting bored. Looking for all these periods is very tedious. Maybe coffee will help. Make coffee. Rummage around pantry looking for a cookie. Tell myself I don't "need" a cookie. Coffee is ready. No cookie.

Back to manuscript. Repeat this process every 3 to 5 chapters. Realize the entire day has gone by and it is now time for dinner. Find it hard to believe that I have been sitting here all day and yet, I am not even half way done. Vow to start earlier and work faster tomorrow.

Next day. Open manuscript. Notice that margins have changed again. Curse. Re-set margins.  Go back to beginning of document. Make sure everything I did yesterday has not been undone. Notice that the font changes on page 82. Why?? Rub my eyes. Highlight area -all 12 pages - that have font change. Fix and save.  Stretch. Look at time. Curse.

Continue making required changes. Check toolbar to make sure document is still in NORMAL.  It's not. Why not? Who cares? Just fix it. Go back to beginning of document and scroll down each page. What the hell is going on? It jumps in and out of NORMAL.  Curse. Make coffee. Look for cookie. Find cookie. Tell myself I don't "need" a cookie. Argue with self. Eat cookie. Eat another cookie. Check email. Do some laundry.

Go back to manuscript and begin process again. Keep telling self that it does not matter than I am no further along than I was yesterday. Maybe I didn't save often enough. Save half way through each page.

Get to middle of book. Font changes again. Go online to find out why this keeps happening. Find something about how to fix WORD's autoformat problems. Read it. Try the fix. It doesn't work. Curse, cry, make coffee, eat more cookies. Decide I don't want to be a writer. Take a shower and vow to beat WORD.

Change to correct font. Save. Continue making needed changes. Starting to feel good again. Moving along with no problems. Look at clock. Almost dinner time again. I am afraid to close the document for fear everything will revert. What to do? Leave it open.

Next day. Effin' font changes again. Now I am so mad I don't know what to do. I want to make sure WORD will not substitute this font again. I figure out what I must do. I go into the list of fonts and delete the font that keeps showing up. Victorious! Go back. Scroll through whole document. Another font shows up. I immediately delete it. I am a crazy person now. I will delete any font that crops up. I will save after every sentence, and I will finish this today no matter what. Maybe I should keep the package of cookies next to me. Cookies help. I don't know why. I don't care.

It's almost dinner time. I have corrected and checked the whole manuscript. It is perfect. Well, not really perfect. For some reason my quotation marks are inconsistent. Some are curvy, some are straight. What the heck? I will pretend that I don't notice it. The publisher's instructions did not say anything about quotation marks. They can fix it, right? I need to submit it immediately. I am afraid to close it. I am afraid not to. I have turned into an anxious wreck. I have to get rid of this manuscript before anything else changes. Save. Close. Send. Sigh of relief.

Guilt. I really should have done something about those quotation marks. I will email my publisher's copy editor. I do. The next day I get a reply. Not to worry. They can take care of the quotation marks. I want to celebrate with a cookie. Odd -there are no cookies left.

Truly, this was the hardest part of the whole process for me. But, it was worth it. I have received the editor's proofs and the book should be out for summer reading. Plus, I love my cover!

John Hunt Publishing Soul Rocks imprint.

Cover of my novel!
Cover of my novel!