Give it Up or Suck It Up

Jordan Dane
@JordanDane




This anonymous question was submitted to our blog. I thought I would attempt an answer and would love it if everyone could share their own answer.
“When you were at your lowest point and about to give up writing fiction, what pulled you through?”

I distinctly remember this low point. Ironically it came after a huge high. Go figure. I’d been working full time in the energy industry, doing a demanding job with travel, and had been writing for 3-4 hours every night (much longer on weekends). I did this grueling schedule for 3 years and it felt as if I worked two full time jobs at the same time.

I had joined a writer’s group, attended conferences & craft workshops, entered national writing contests, and submitted proposals to agents and editors with countless rejections. Mind you, I’d been named winner or finalist in half the contests I entered and I’d been receiving “good” rejections. The ones with handwritten notes or encouragement to resubmit from editors and agents, and I had 7 full requests out at the time. This kind of feedback requires risk. A writer has to dare to put their work out there for public scrutiny and rejection in order to learn and open your mind. Here’s an excellent post from TKZ’s James Scott Bell on the importance of Rhino Skin.

With every one of these aspiring author stories, there often comes tantalizing peaks along with devastating emotional valleys. I had entered (for the first time) the Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) Golden Heart contest for aspiring authors and had been named a finalist. This is like the Oscars for RWA. This was the Mt Everest high I’d talked about.

A good friend of mine, who had also been a finalist that year, gave me good advice. She told me to simply focus on my writing (a new project) and not get caught up in all the hoopla of the event, like what formal dress I would wear, or my shoes, or hair. From her experience, she knew it was too easy to get distracted and that if I didn’t sell from this, I would have to find a way to carry on and keep going. As high as I’d been from the contest, I felt my hopes dashed when I didn’t sell by the time the event came around. (Often, expectations are the proverbial albatross.) My friend had been right. I had to focus on what was important.

What got me through the crashing low after such a Rocky Mountain High was one question. I asked something that would change how I looked at my writing from there forward. “Would I still write if I never sold?” When I answered with an enthusiastic “YES,” I knew why I wrote. I wrote for the passion of the process and the love of storytelling, my way. I had tapped into a form of self-expression, creating something from nothing, that I hadn’t experienced any other way. The love of writing and reading had been with me since I was a child. It would always be a part of me.

Writing has elevated my quality of life. It’s changed me forever and in that moment, the burden of expectation (something I had no control over) was lifted. After I’d let go of the Must Sell mentality, it wasn’t long after that I sold big. My first sale story is here at this LINK. Yes, I sacrificed a body part to sell. But after I finished “No One Heard Her Scream,” I knew it would sell. Don’t ask me how I knew. I just did. Who needed pain killers when the euphoria of writing had me walking on clouds?

In that stage of my writing journey–after I’d rediscovered the joy–I focused on the craft of writing and forgot about what was popular or what some publishers were wanting in their detailed submission guidelines. I never was one to worry over or chase trends. I had my day job. I treated my writing as something I did because I loved it. Writing still brings joy to my life and I continue to write the stories I want to read.

I’d love to hear from others in our TKZ family. What gets you through the slumps? What keeps you going?

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$.99 E-Book Specials & Online Writing Class

By Jordan Dane

HarperCollins has been testing the waters of discounting their e-book pricing and it’s my turn. My “NO ONE” series (3 suspense books, including my debut book NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM) are now available at $.99 for a limited time. Book #1 is a standalone novel, but books # 2 & 3 are a connected story line. They are best read in order.

My debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM was named Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2008, NO ONE LEFT TO TELL and NO ONE LIVES FOREVER were selected TOP PICKS by Romantic Times Magazine with NO ONE LIVES FOREVER nominated as RT’s 2008 Best Intrigue Novel.


These books have such a special place in my heart. They bring back so many memories of my first sale and the extraordinary people who helped me. Click HERE for a link to my first sale story. I had to sacrifice a body part to sell and a very generous, well-established author jumpstarted my career.
Over the years, I’ve found the publishing industry has been filled with generous people who I’ve had the pleasure of crossing their paths, either online or in person. I feel very blessed to be a part of such a community so I wanted to bring these discounted books to the attention of my TKZ family.

I’m on deadline with a new YA series for Harlequin Teen (THE HUNTED) so I haven’t surfaced much online. I’m also in the midst of promoting my latest YA – ON A DARK WING (Harlequin Teen, Jan 2012). (Everything happens at once, even if you think you’re planning your schedule. And no one gets a break from the TAX MAN. *shiver*)

I have an online writing class coming up Feb 20 – Mar 3, 2012 also. The Young Adult online chapter for the Romance Writers of America (YARWA) is hosting the workshop. The link for that class is HERE.


I’d like to hear from TKZers. Please share:
1.) Your first sale story
2.) Or what it meant to see your first self-pubbed book on sale
3.) Or what keeps you writing.


The HarperCollins sale links to retailers of my $.99 e-books are below (B&N, Amazon, BAMM, Google EBooks, Kobo, iBookStore & other retailers):

NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM
NO ONE LEFT TO TELL
NO ONE LIVES FOREVER

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$.99 E-Book Specials & Online Writing Class

By Jordan Dane

HarperCollins has been testing the waters of discounting their e-book pricing and it’s my turn. My “NO ONE” series (3 suspense books, including my debut book NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM) are now available at $.99 for a limited time. Book #1 is a standalone novel, but books # 2 & 3 are a connected story line. They are best read in order.

My debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM was named Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2008, NO ONE LEFT TO TELL and NO ONE LIVES FOREVER were selected TOP PICKS by Romantic Times Magazine with NO ONE LIVES FOREVER nominated as RT’s 2008 Best Intrigue Novel.


These books have such a special place in my heart. They bring back so many memories of my first sale and the extraordinary people who helped me. Click HERE for a link to my first sale story. I had to sacrifice a body part to sell and a very generous, well-established author jumpstarted my career.
Over the years, I’ve found the publishing industry has been filled with generous people who I’ve had the pleasure of crossing their paths, either online or in person. I feel very blessed to be a part of such a community so I wanted to bring these discounted books to the attention of my TKZ family.

I’m on deadline with a new YA series for Harlequin Teen (THE HUNTED) so I haven’t surfaced much online. I’m also in the midst of promoting my latest YA – ON A DARK WING (Harlequin Teen, Jan 2012). (Everything happens at once, even if you think you’re planning your schedule. And no one gets a break from the TAX MAN. *shiver*)

I have an online writing class coming up Feb 20 – Mar 3, 2012 also. The Young Adult online chapter for the Romance Writers of America (YARWA) is hosting the workshop. The link for that class is HERE.


I’d like to hear from TKZers. Please share:
1.) Your first sale story
2.) Or what it meant to see your first self-pubbed book on sale
3.) Or what keeps you writing.


The HarperCollins sale links to retailers of my $.99 e-books are below (B&N, Amazon, BAMM, Google EBooks, Kobo, iBookStore & other retailers):

NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM
NO ONE LEFT TO TELL
NO ONE LIVES FOREVER

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What’s the Weirdest Thing You Ever Did… For Research, That Is?

When people ask me about the research involved in my thrillers, I usually focus on the really cool things I’ve done. My first experience was signing up for a Citizens Police Academy in my town where I participated in over 45 hours of presentations from key departmental supervisors, field trips to various law enforcement offices, a late night ride along with an on-duty officer, and I even had an amazing day at the firing range where we blew up stuff with the bomb squad, shot all sorts of weapons, and watched the K-9 unit go through its paces. I also met my first police technical advisor who helped me with police procedure and crime scene analysis for my first suspense book. And since he knew I wanted to use a flashbang grenade in my book, he set one off near me so I could “feel” it. (Only an author would think this is a good thing. And no, getting my hair blown back by a grenade is NOT the strangest thing I’ve ever done.)

Still solidly on the side of good things, I also have taken a tour of a state of the art crime lab. And last year, I visited Washington DC and toured the FBI at Quantico (where I shot weapons at the FBI firing range and heard a presentation by the only FBI Special Agent who interrogated Saddam Hussein before he was executed), the CIA at Langley, the US State Department and the US Postal Inspectors. Some very cool adventures.

But I’ve also done some peculiar things that I rarely talk about—until now.

My husband once found me stumbling around in a dark room—with the lights completely turned out—because I wanted to know what it would be like to move around with a hood over my head. One of my characters had a childhood tragedy that left him afraid of the dark. And his way of overcoming his weakness was to immerse himself in his fear and fight “sighted” attackers without the use of his eyes. He developed a 6th sense in the dark and I wanted to know if I could “feel” a wall before I ran into it. Most times, I could. Most times…

And one time, when I was stymied by my plot, I walked away from my computer to clear my head and found myself watching an old movie, Gleaming the Cube, a 1989 skateboarding flick with Christian Slater in it, when he was really, really young.



When my husband came home, he saw me sitting on the sofa in the middle of the day when I normally would be writing. He asked what I was doing—after seeing Christian Slater on the small screen—and I told him I was working. Yeah, right.























After he laughed–like he seriously didn’t believe me–I walked calmly into my office and outlined the rest of my novel. That book became my debut novel – NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM – and it sold in auction. I saw something in that silly movie that triggered the solution my brain had been searching for. The whole plot fell into place after that. Cool, huh?

The way I figure it, I owe everything to Christian Slater. I’m even considering putting together a research workshop on the Six Degrees of Christian Slater. I may have OTHER things that I’ve done that are so out there they may never see the light of day, but that’s for me to know, and you to find out.



So how far have you gone for research? Come on, it’s just the two of us. Tell me everything…




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