I’m so thrilled to welcome author Jayne Denker to my book blog today. Jayne brings with her an excerpt from her new book, Unscripted, and a special guest post just for us. Welcome, Jayne!
Before we read the wonderful excerpt from Unscripted, Jayne has written a special post just for us about her participation in NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, and starts tomorrow – November 1!
Guest Post: NaNoWhatNow? by Jayne Denker
I’ve always been a writer. A lot of writers say that, I know. But I really have been—I wrote stories when I was a kid, I majored in creative writing at college, and I even spent most of my adult life in jobs that paid me to write. But I never wrote a novel until I was in my forties.
I left my last full-time job several years ago to be a stay-at-home-mom for my son. I did some freelance writing, and I enjoyed it, but it was a scramble to find regular gigs. Then my husband suggested, “Why don’t you take a weekend, knock out a few dozen romances, and make a million dollars? It can’t be that hard.”
Yes, he actually said that. He’s since been schooled.
Around the same time, a friend said I should try National Novel Writing Month. Of course, when I found out it was a thing where you promised to write fifty thousand words in thirty days—during the month of November, with Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping and baking and everything else in the mix, no less—I laughed. Loudly. I couldn’t imagine cranking out around half of an entire novel in that short a time.
Still, as October cruised along, I got to thinking that NaNoWriMo would be a great way to keep me on track if I felt like writing a novel. Which I really didn’t have time for. But if I did…
And then, against my will, my first heroine showed up in my head, as did her friends, and her awful boss, and then the hero. Spouting dialogue. Doing things that I realized were plot points. Revealing their motivations and their feelings and…aw, dammit. I really was gonna do this, wasn’t I?
I started NaNoWriMo three days late, grateful that the story was a contemporary (no time for background research for a historical or something else I knew nothing about) and a comedy. After all, if I was going to commit to this thirty-day bout of insanity, I was damn well going to laugh my way through it.
Did I manage those 1,400 words every day that NaNoWriMo recommends, in order to stay on schedule? Oh, hell no. Some days I wrote a hundred. Some days I wrote none. Then again, other days I wrote thousands. I wrote into the wee hours of the morning. I thought up ideas as I baked pies. When my son came down with a virus, I wrote in between fetching him ice chips. I absolutely did not consider sending him to school sick…well, maybe just for a moment or two. I wrote on Thanksgiving, even through the inevitable food coma. When I fell behind, I tapped into my stubborn streak (hey, I’m Italian) and kept going.
On November 30, I threw my fifty thousand words into the official NaNo word count verifier and—bzzzt¬—came up short. What?! I separated the words that were linked up by em dashes and ellipses (two addictions of mine). Still short. Why? Because I was using NeoOffice, and its word counter wasn’t very accurate.
So I simply wrote more. Frenzied, frantic, plowing through scenes, promising myself a variant of the greatest dismissive excuse in film production, “We’ll fix it in post.”
Two hours shy of the end of NaNoWriMo, I finally made it, with 50,896 words. The excitement! The victory laps! The…realization that I was nowhere near finished with the novel. Like, not even close. It was only the beginning. I only had a little over half a story. And it was just a first draft.
So what did I do? Collapsed for the holidays, then started writing again. Now my novel was real, and I liked it—and maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to get it published.
It took a while, but I did. By Design was published by Kensington last May, followed by Unscripted in August. Down on Love is coming in November, and I’m working on a fourth novel.
And it all started with that crazy contest, NaNoWriMo. Which I joined again, several times, just for the motivation. There’s nothing like that damned bar graph clocking your daily word count to keep you from giving up. And you should never, ever give up—you never know where it’ll take you.
About Unscripted by Jayne Denker:
One of Hollywood’s hardest working women is about to discover there’s a lot more drama behind the camera than in front of it…
Faith “Freakin’” Sinclair probably shouldn’t have called her boss a perv…or grabbed his “privates.” But as creator of the hit dramedy Modern Women she’d had enough of his sexist insults. Now she’s untouchable in the industry—not in a good way. The only way to redeem herself is to convince Alex the wildly popular wildly demanding former star of her show to come back. But there’s one obstacle in her way—one very handsome broad-shouldered obstacle…
Professor Mason Mitchell is head of the theater department where Alex is studying “real” acting. The only way he’ll let Faith anywhere near Alex is if she agrees to co-teach a class. It’s an offer she can’t refuse—and as it turns out the professor just might end up teaching Faith that there’s more to life than work—and that real-life love scenes are way more fun than fake ones….
Excerpt from Unscripted by Jayne Denker:
I got out of my SUV and stared up at the blinking neon sign of the Super Duper Nine Motor Court. The place’s slogan was evidently “One Louder”—at least judging by the noises coming from the parking lot and the rooms overlooking it: car stereos, laughter of people around a portable barbecue, slamming doors. It was still hot, but without the searing glare of the sun, the air was a bit more tolerable—except that it was thick with the ozone from the day and the exhaust of countless cars. So much for emission control. Somewhere behind me a siren blared as a police car or ambulance zoomed down the street.
It was past 10 p.m., but I was still looking for a place to crash. I had barreled as fast as I could out of L.A. and into Moreno Valley, then I had to drive all over the place looking for a hotel. I’d found out pretty quickly, thanks to my handy “find lodgings” app, that there were no luxury hotels anywhere nearby. So I started with the top-rated of the chain hotels, only to learn that they were all booked. Apparently there was some huge convention up the road in Riverside, and Moreno Valley’s hotels had taken the overflow. All but the Super Duper Nine Motor Court, I hoped. And that thought filled me with a sick sort of dread; I was so desperate that I wanted this place to have a vacancy?
I hesitated with my hand on the office door. I could give this up. I could just go back home—my home, even though it was currently inhabited, and being decimated, by my stepbrother, and my mother was fairly close by for weeks, if not longer. The thought made me shudder, but I could put up with it, couldn’t I?
And then I recalled the reproachful look Mason gave me when I was repeatedly late for class. I hated to see that disapproving expression on his face; I vastly preferred to see him laughing and smiling.
Okay, never mind how I preferred to see him. The point was that he was right—if I kept driving from L.A., there was no way I was ever going to be on time. Something was always going to delay me—either my own ineptitude, or the traffic, or both. And for some reason, I desperately wanted to prove to him that I could do this; I needed him to take me seriously. Maybe our last argument had affected me even more than I thought; I truly wanted to do this teaching thing right.
And if that meant toughing it out at what was evidently one of the worst motels on the planet, then so be it. It would be a small price to pay.
As was the cost of the room, and thank goodness for that.
“No check. Cash.”
“I’ve got three different credit cards—take your pick.”
“No credit card. Cash.”
I stared at the lumpy man in the flowered shirt behind the counter. “What kind of place doesn’t take credit cards?”
“This kind. No credit. Cash.”
“All right, all right . . .” I surreptitiously dug around in my wallet, trying to shield the contents from him, as well as from the dude in the filthy jeans who was hanging out on the ratty sofa a few steps away. I glanced over and was a little relieved to realize I didn’t have to worry about him, as his eyes were going in two different directions, neither of them pointing my way. “How much?”
“I’ve got forty-two.”
“Come on, man, give me a break.”
Growling deep in my throat, I rooted around in the change compartment. “Forty-two . . . seventy-three.”
“Forty-five. Yeah, I heard. Wait a minute.”
I retreated to my SUV, which was attracting way too much attention from the other motel guests, and collected every quarter, every dime, every penny from every cupholder and crevice in the dashboard, then headed back inside, making sure to lock my car first. The arming bip seemed unnaturally loud as it bounced off the building, and the folks in the parking lot looked at me accusingly, as though offended that I didn’t trust them. Well, too bad.
I slapped my money down on the counter. “Forty-five.”
Lumpy sorted out all my change with a thick forefinger. “Forty-four eighty-eight.”
The skinny guy in the filthy jeans, who had fallen over sideways on the couch while I was outside, started giggling. I wasn’t sure if he was laughing at me or something going on in his own reality.
He considered for a moment, then shrugged. I had a feeling I was going to get the room next to the ice machine.
About Jayne Denker:
Jayne Denker is the author of three contemporary romantic comedies, By Design, Unscripted, and Down on Love, and is hard at work on a fourth. She lives in a small town in western New York, USA, with her husband, son, and one very sweet senior-citizen basement kitteh who loves nothing more than going outside, where she sits on the front walk and wonders why she begged to go outside. When Jayne’s not hard at work on another novel (or, rather, when she should be hard at work on another novel), she can usually be found frittering away stupid amounts of time online.
Connect with Jayne Denker!
Follow Jayne Denker on her CLP Blog Tour!
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October 29- Traveling With T – Guest Post & Excerpt
October 30 – A Blue Million Books – Guest Post, Q&A & Excerpt
October 31 – Julie Valerie’s Book Blog – Guest Post & Excerpt
November 4 – One More Chapter – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
November 5 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt
November 6 – Brooke Blogs – Review & Excerpt
November 7 – Amie’s Reviews – Review
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November 12 – Chick Lit Goddess – Excerpt
November 13 – Ai Love Books – Review & Q&A
November 14 – Everything Books and Authors – Excerpt
November 15 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
November 18 – Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews – Guest Post