Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Call of the Redneck

Drumroll please: AND THE WINNER IS..................................MIA ROSE!!!!!!!!
Congratulations, Mia! Please send me an email at
jana (at) janadeleon (dot) com

And I will send your Louisiana prize package out for you to enjoy. Also, in your email, please let me know if you want the autograph personalized. Thanks for reading and coming to our anniversary celebration!



Welcome everyone to the anniversary celebration for Killer Fiction. Can you believe it's been a year already? I can't. Apparently, time flies when you're hanging out with such fabulous people. For our anniversay week, we're all going to share with readers our stories of "the call," and giving out prizes to boot. My prize is a gift bag complete with Louisiana goodies, and a signed copy of RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU and UNLUCKY. All you have to do is post to be entered to win. So you want to know about the call, right? Well, in order to understand my call, you have to understand why I started writing in the first place.

The truth is, I was always writing. I wrote some of my first stories in grade school. But reality sank in and I got into high school and college and off into my career and although I was a voracious reader, the urge to write was never a dominant one. Then one year someone introduced me to Janet Evanovich. A couple of months later my grandmother passed away and I trekked to Louisiana for what would be the final gathering of my mom's family in one place. Now, it had been years and years since I'd seen a lot of my family and even longer since so many had been in the same space. Standing in the cemetary, I looked around and thought "these are the strangest people in the world, and by god, if Evanovich can write crazy characters in New Jersey, why can't I do it in Louisiana?" So I went home and started writing.

Now, I have always been a mystery lover. Started with Trixie Beldon, moved on to Nancy Drew and have the entire collection of THE QUEEN OF ALL MYSTERY WRITERS, Agatha Christie. But I knew there was no way in hell I would ever measure up to Dame Agatha, and I wasn't even about to try. I also had a huge love for the happily ever after. I wasn't actually a big romance reader, but I loved stories that also contained a romance. Life is hard enough. I like my fiction to have a satisfying ending. So I set out to write a romance/mystery hybrid - a genre that didn't quite exist. I knew it would be a hard sell. I knew I was setting myself up for rejection, but that's where my heart was and I didn't feel I could write with the same enthusiasm for anything else.

RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU landed me my ultra-fabulous agent, Kristin Nelson, and I was off to submission hell. And that's when things got hard. You see, if editors had just said "not good enough," I could have kept working and written something better. Instead I got "I love it but don't know what to do with it." It was passed up the line and went to committee at different houses, but the outcome was always the same - we're going to pass. So I asked Kristin what we were going to do. She suggested maybe we should shelve it for now and go back to it later. Get another book out there and see what would happen.

But what was the point, I asked. The second book will be another humorous contemporary romance/mystery hybrid set in southern Louisiana and everyone will be just as scared to take a chance on it as they are on RUMBLE. Then we got the offer from Leah Hultenschmidt at Dorchester. Not only did Leah "get" my voice and style - she loved it. It was a match made in heaven and I couldn't be happier with the enthusiasm and support I get from Leah and Dorchester.

Leah called me at work the afternoon I accepted the offer, and we had a great conversation. I remember her words "I'm so excited to buy this book because for one, it's great and two, it needs no work." (Of course, we're not going to talk about the three page edit letter she sent later on) :)

I couldn't believe it. Not only had I sold the unsaleable novel in the non-existent genre, but Dorchester (in their infinite wisdom) had decided to push an entire line of mystery hybrids, starting with Gemma and Kathleen. I couldn't ask for better company.

Am I the best writer? Heck no. Is my technique where I think it needs to be? Um, I'm going to plead the fifth. But I'll tell you what I DO have that I think makes all the difference in the world.....I entertain people. I make people laugh.

Expect the unexpected is what I shoot for in my books. I like the twists and turns of the mystery as well as the hidden secrets from the character's pasts. I love to entertain and absolutely nothing makes me happier than getting an email from a reader that says I made them laugh. Life is hard. Laughter is the best drug on earth.

In conclusion, I want to leave you with a video of an audition for the show America's Got Talent. The guy plays the trombone and when he walked on stage I thought "god, I hope he's good, b/c trombone........not so interesting." I couldn't have been more wrong. THIS guy knows the value of laughter. THIS guy knows how to entertain. And he was certainly unexpected. Enjoy.



Deadly DeLeon

73 comments:

Dru said...

Isn't it great when you have an idea of what you book is and someone takes that chance.

Wendy said...

I totally agree that laughter is the best drug. Great post! :)

Adelle said...

You are a rare gem and a true inspiration to authors who dream of someday landing a dream agent. I love the video, expect the unexpected. Kudos to you. I wish you continued success!

Karin said...

Even Simon would have had a hard time keeping a straight face with that trombone player!
I enjoyed your article and many thanks to Leah for understanding that many of us enjoy humerous mystery stories about crazy people who are much like our own relatives. (I am the only sane member of my family, of course!)
Karin

terrio said...

What a great story! Thanks to you for starting the trend that has brought us some great stories and given other authors a chance to be on the shelves.

That trombone dude certainly has a unique act. And serious guts to get out there and do that.

I agree, laughter is always the best medicine!

Tori Lennox said...

I'm so glad your book found a home because you can never have enough books that make you laugh. :)

And we had much the same reading taste as kids. *g*

Christina said...

great stroy! I love when people get you, snd you don't have to explain what you mean.

Keri Ford said...

This is a great story, Jana and a great example of being ahead of the curve! Even that doesn't make the road to published any easier.

(and since i'm about 10minutes from the Louisiana border, leave me out of this running. Rather someone who'll get a good culture shook to win the goodie bag!)

Gemma Halliday said...

AAAh! I LOVE that clip! You are truly the trombone player of writers, Jana. :)

~Gemma

Kristi said...

I love your books because they make me laugh. I keep wishing that I could meet some of your characters.

PS. I loved Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew growing up and still have some of them stored in the garage.

tetewa said...

The clip made me laugh and I enjoyed your post today!

Anonymous said...

Your romance-mystery blend that makes me laugh is absolutly my favorite kind of book. Thanks for filling that need. .... Mo

Karen H in NC said...

Great story and loved the clip. I'll bet that guy has the girls standing in line to dance with him at the clubs in NYC. I'm still giggling.

Mia Rose said...

HaHaHa... that clip is priceless! Too funny.
What a great story, and inspiring too, to every quicky writer out there.
(as if there's such a thing as a 'normal' writer!)
Thanks for sharing, and I'm glad you found a publisher who knew to take a chance on such a wonderful story and genre.

CrystalGB said...

Great post. I enjoyed reading your call story. :)

Suzan Harden said...

Hey, when y'all can make me curl up on the couch and ignore the laundry, the dust bunnies, and the hungry faces staring at me, your books make everything okay.

And the trombone dude would've had my vote too!

anne said...

Just finished unlucky and can't wait until your next one. I loved the "solution" to the original curse.

catslady said...

All the great books are when the author has a vision of what he/she wants to write. Especially if it's not just the "in" thing to write.

That clip was hilarious!

cas2ajs said...

Oh, gosh, that clip was great! Thanks for sharing it with us . . . just what my day needed.
I'm another one with similar reading tastes when I was younger. I read all the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books I could get my hands on.

Cheryl S.

flip said...

I love books set in Louisiana. Always have.

PS I love your blog!!!

Estella said...

I enjoyed your post. Keep writing the awesome humerous mysteries.

ruth said...

Wonderful and inspiring post. Wishing you best of success and all your further dreams.

Susan said...

What a fantastic post! Where would we be without laughter? Your books are terrific.

anne said...

Laughter is the best medicine. Always felt that way. Loved your post and video. Thanks for the entertaining day.

ellie said...

Thanks for brightening up my day. Always need a laugh which you provided. What a wonderful story and lovely post.

diane said...

A real treasure learn about this fascinating insight into your writing career. Laughter is a cure all for everything.

peggy said...

i love a story that puts a smile on my face

Jana DeLeon said...

dru - It is the best thing in the world. There was nothing else I wanted to write. Thank god for Leah!!!!

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Wendy!

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks so much, adelle!!! And in return, I wish all those who have supported me success in whatever they are pursuing!

Jana DeLeon said...

Karin - right there with you on the same family member thing! :) Us guys have to stick together.....well, and write about people we know in books. (but don't tell)

Jana DeLeon said...

terrio - oh, I can't take credit for starting it, but I was in at the beginning and for that, I am truly grateful. And anything that opens the doors for other writers is always a good thing!

Jana DeLeon said...

Ah, tori, you have to love the childhood classics! I still break them out and read them from time to time.

Jana DeLeon said...

Christina - yes, that is definitely nirvana, especially when you're different.

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Keri - culture shock is right, huh? The stories I tell...and people swear I'm lying. Ha, I don't even have to. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Gemma!!! Although, I'm thinking the trombone player might be a little more feminine than me....hmmmmmmmm

Jana DeLeon said...

Kristi - what a great compliment!!!!! Thanks so much! I always try to write people I'd like to know if they were real. That's the stories I remember the most so it's great to hear that I managed it for at least one reader.

And did you know they're re-releasing all the Trixie Beldon books again? I'm collecting a whole new set. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

tetewa - glad you enjoyed it!

Jana DeLeon said...

You're welcome, mo - and thank you for being a reader. Without the readers, I don't have a job. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

karen - oh, you KNOW he is the most popular guy in the club. If not before, he certainly will be now!

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, mia rose! And I'm so glad you enjoyed the clip.

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, crystal!

Jana DeLeon said...

oh suzan - even a bad book can make me ignore laundry. LOL But when I forget to eat......well, then I know the author is superb. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, anne! I'm so glad you enjoyed Unlucky and my solution. That one took some thinking on. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

catslady - I agree. I know some writers chase the market but I still believe if your heart's not in it, the book will be flat, one-dimensional. I can always tell when an author is passionate about their work.

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Cheryl! Glad you enjoyed the clip. A laugh to start the morning is the best thing.

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks flip - yes, Louisiana is definitely different than anywhere else on earth!

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks estella - and you can bet I'll keep writing!

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Ruth!

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, susan!

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, anne - glad you enjoyed it!

Jana DeLeon said...

ellie - It is always my pleasure to provide a smile.

Jana DeLeon said...

Diane - I agree. Laughter definitely fixes so many ills.

Jana DeLeon said...

Me too, peggy!

Laura K said...

congrats to you on your first year anniversary- you were so right about laughing- if I didn't laugh at times lately, I surely would have cried.

squiresj said...

Second attempt - it seems all these blogs every do is have to be refreshed so many times it is annoying.
I love your style of writing. I have enjoyed being a part of your newsletter. I pray you a special blessing. I would love to win.

Sue A. said...

Thank God for Leah and editors like her who can spot rare gems like yours. With so much darkness in books these day, the humor in your books will be sure to make them shine brighter. Congratulations!

Barb W. said...

How inspiring! I truly enjoyed reading your post. So much, that I have no doubt that I'd enjoy reading your books.

Laughter is a precious gift. Thanks for sharing!

Hugs,
Barb

swsolo AT charter.net

Jana DeLeon said...

laura - I totally agree with you, and laughing is definitely the better option!

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks squiresj!!! We're glad to have you and I'm so glad to have provided you some entertainment. :)

And I'd wish you luck on winning the prize, but well, UNLUCKY was sorta autobiographical. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks sue!!! Yes, Leah and editors like her a truly a breath of fresh air, and writers are lucky to have them.

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, barb! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Kathy Bacus said...

Enjoyed your 'call' story, Jana! Isn't it a rush when you find an agent or editor who 'gets' you?

Hard to believe it's already Killer Fiction's first anniversary! I'm honored to share the KF digs with such awesome authors!

~Bullet Hole~

Kammie said...

hahaha! Thanks for the morning laugh. I just love that video.

I'm glad someone took a chance on your story! I like the unexpected..it generally makes for a page turning, keeper for me. I'm adding your books to my wish list.

Faye Hughes said...

Jana,

What an inspiring story! And mega congrats on your first year anniversary here at Killer Fiction.

Faye

Maureen said...

Congratulations on your anniversary. I like your call story because it shows it can happen when you don't give up.

Minna said...

Congratulations on your anniversary!

Christie Craig said...

Jana,

I loved hearing your story.

You are a hoot girl. I'm glad Leah is smart enough to know greatness when she sees it.

Crime Scene Christie

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Kathy! I think I'm in excellent company here , too. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks so much, kammie! You will have to let me know if I "unexpected" you. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Faye! What a great group, huh? I'm lucky all the way around.

Jana DeLeon said...

Exactly Maureen. I'm so glad I didn't give up and try to conform. God knows, I've had problem with conformity for most of my life. Why start now? :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Christie! And a round of applause for Chris probably wouldn't be out of line either. :)