Welcome to the Seeds of Inspiration Event!
Every Thursday this spring, a guest author will tell us what inspires her.
Be sure to mark Thursdays on your calendar as the place to be to learn more about your favorite author or discover a new one.
You'll also find great reads and have a chance to win prizes every week.
Please join me in welcoming fantasy/romance author Janie Franz to the J.Q. Rose blog. Be sure to leave a comment to enter the drawing for a chance to win this week's ebook, The Bowdancer, first in the series of the Bowdancer Saga. Winner chosen after 12:01 a.m. Sunday morning.
As Janie tells it, she comes from a long line of liars and storytellers with roots deep in east Tennessee. Honed by the frigid Northern Plains and the high desert of New Mexico, as well as a degree in anthropology, her writing skill and curiosity generated thousands of feature and cover articles over a vast range of topics for more than a hundred regional, national, and international publications.
She co-wrote two books with Texas wedding DJ, Bill Cox (The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book and The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book), and self-published a writing manual, Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid!She is a professional speaker and occasionally still reviews books, CDs, and concerts. Previously, she ran her own online music publication, Refrain Magazine, and was an agent/publicist for a groove/funk band, a radio announcer, and a yoga/relaxation.
Contact Janie Franz online
Anasazi Dreams (news and blog hosting):The Bowdancer Saga blog
Seeds of Inspiration--It’s Not Too Late for Anyone
By Janie Franz
Like many writers, I’ve been writing bits of stories since I was a child. Completed short stories only began to appear when I was in junior high and I was encouraged to submit them to the school anthology. But it wasn’t until I was a sophomore in high school that I really thought seriously about being published. My creative writing teacher, John D. Engle, Jr., was a published poet and playwright. He saw potential in his students and pushed us to submit our work into specific magazines and local newspapers. Ironically, though the short story was my specialty, I only published an essay and a couple of poems for money in magazines and one memoir in the local weekly for free.
I was smitten with the idea of becoming a published writer, though I toyed with other career ideas that probably would have been more lucrative. Unfortunately, I was told by my father that he couldn’t afford college so most of those ideas fell by the wayside. When I was 21, I showed a college brochure to my father for night classes. He saw how modest the credit hours were and he helped me nibble my way through requirements for two years. After I married, I continued to go to night school and then took one full year on campus, only to have my husband declare he was going to grad school at another university.
I tabled my plans of becoming a writer and supported him while he finished an intensive one-year program. He found a position in his new field and we moved a thousand miles away to North Dakota. Children came. I got busy with them and my community: La Leche League leader and regional newsletter editor, church school teacher and superintendent, church board of deacons, church newsletter editor, gifted student organization parent liaison, school facility committee member, Church Women United celebrations coordinator and state president, volunteer art teacher for one of the schools, community theater participant (actor, props, sound, director), booking agent/publicist for my son’s touring rock band, yoga and relaxation instructor, radio announcer and local entertainment writer and theater commentator.
I was in my late 40s when I finally completed my BA, but it wasn’t in English. It was in anthropology with a concentration in English. Because I had done a lot of writing prior to re-entering a university setting, many of my English requirements were waived. I took writing workshops to finish my English concentration. Because my anthropology workload was heavy, I lightened my load by pulling out stories I had in a drawer. I broke every rule the workshop professor set: no genre fiction, no stories about animals, no emotional work.
Curiously, what career I actually made a living in was freelance journalism. I wrote about anything and everything for local, national, and international newspapers, magazines, and web publications. I probably wrote a couple of thousand articles (feature and cover stories) for a hundred different publications. It was a rich training ground. I told other people’s stories and was good at it. But I wanted to write my own stories.
In 2009, I picked up one of those college workshop stories, The Bowdancer, and fleshed out. I pitched to Breathless Press in 2009 during a pitch session for the Muse Online Writers Conference. They picked it up, published it December of that year, and then released two new books in that series. I was 60 years old when I had my first book published. It’s not too late for anyone.
In 2010, I pitched new books to MuseItUp Publishing, including three more books in the ongoing Bowdancer Saga. This year, all six of those books will be under one publishing roof. They will join the two published books in my Ruins trilogy, a couple of non-formula contemporary romances, and a creepy little horror story—to make eleven books published by MuseItUp Publishing.
I consider myself blessed to have had the encouragement of teachers in my young life, esp. John Engle, who recognized my ability to spin a yarn. Writers, however, have an insatiable need to write. I did a lot of that in more than four decades after high school. But most of that went into a drawer---literally. Some of those story starts are now full-sized novels, published and waiting for eager readers.
And the urge to write isn’t spent. I’m working on the third book in the Ruins trilogy and I have another series I want to write, a big time-warp novel I’m itching to get into my computer (yes, it’s in longhand), and four more Bowdancer books.
I just hope I live long enough to finish them all.
Village healer Jan-nell despairs of finding the child who will be the next bowdancer or a man worthy of love.
Back of the book:
Jan-nell, a young healer and keeper of village lore, despairs of ever finding the child who will be the next bowdancer or a man worthy enough to love. When a village wedding is interrupted by four strangers, Jan-nell treats the injuries of one of them. The leader of these men, Bastin, is an arrogant, intelligent rogue who also is searching for an equal. His presence questions the bowdancer's life choice and stirs more than her mind.
Wow, Janie, what an inspiring life story you have! And coincidentally, my degree is in Anthropology, too. Your books sound fantastic. Best of luck to you!
You are inspirational, Janie. You never gave up on your dream and you succeeded and continue to succeed. Congratulations.
First of all, I'm so impressed with all your accomplishments. I stand in awe, and then second...
Well, as a gal from the mountin's and foothills of east Tennessee, I got a good laugh about those liars and storytellers there. LOL Brought to mind of my own dad doin' the same, hee hee
Congratulations, Janie. Loved meeting you and hearing about what inspired you. Wishing you the best. :)
I totally agree that it's never too late to do almost anything!!! Get in there, work hard, ruffle some feathers and dance your dance!! Good for you.
Janie, what an accomplished writing career you have had! Very impressive! I enjoyed learning of your experiences. Best wishes on your novels!
I loved reading your story, Janie. Your prolific writing career is truly inspiring. And I really enjoyed reading the blurb to your first Bowdancer book. What an imaginative and intriguing tale! Best of luck with all your releases!
Thanks so much, Janie for sharing this inspiring story with us and for participating in the Seeds of Inspiration Event. It may not seem like spring, but your post certainly adds a bounce in my step!
Heather and Wendy, yes, Janie's blog does inspire us to follow our passion. I'm beginning to realize that my guest authors' stories of inspiration will probably inspire the readers to do more. Fantastic!
Miss Mae--so now I understand how you dreamed up I B Nosey and all those zany stories!
Margaret-very wise words of advice. Never give up on your dreams!
Susan, I don't believe people who write organization's newsletters get enough credit for their writing. Janie certainly turned her volunteer writing into an amazing career. Thanks for stopping by.
Helena, prolific is definitely the operative word here. Janie's wide and varied experiences certainly contribute to her putting together great fictional characters and stories.
Thank you soooo very much for hosting me today. I'm always humbled by people's responses to my writing and my life. I remember the first interview I ever did after the first incarnation of The Bowdancer was published. Someone remarked, "What an interesting life you've led!" I almost turned my head to look behind me to see who the person was talking about. Then I thought, "Well I guess six decades of living has to have some substance, doesn't it? Maybe I have led an interesting life." Today, I live in hope for much more adventurous experiences to live and write about....And all of you new writers and seasoned ones, keep writing, keep telling your own stories. You and your readers will be blessed because of it.
Janie, "six decades of living has to have some substance" indeed! You've used them well. I love your attitude to have more adventurous experiences to live and write about. You go, grrrrrrrrlll !!!
You're an inspiration, Janie. Congratulations on your successes now and in the future.
Hi Joylene, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. Yes, Janie's writing future sounds busy and wonderful!
No Rafflecopter this week, so I used the Rafflehubby and he drew the winner for me. Congratulations to Miss Mae! You won a copy of Janie's The Bowdancer!!
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