Friday, March 27, 2015

Author on tour

I’ve been challenged by Linn B. Halton, author and managing editor of the online Love a Happy Ending Lifestyle Magazine, ( to join the Lovely Blog Hop to share some of the things that have helped shape my writing and my life.
Thank you, Linn.

First Fond Memory 

Riding on the sleigh under the moonlight with my father, the bells on the harnesses tinkling harmoniously along with the squeaking of the horses’ hooves on the hard packed snow—a romantic memory of a harsh life on the lonely prairie.


No electricity, no radio, no TV. What’s a kid to do? Read and read and read. Anything I could get my hands on. Books from the storage area in the little one room school house, Little Lulu comics when my dad could afford to buy me one.


A bit of magic come to Earth laced with the frustration of only being able to take out three books at a time. Only three? How to choose? Back then, at least one had to involve horses.


Travel has always been paramount and I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen much of the world. My lifelong dream was to go on safari. That trip met every expectation and more. There’s no describing the silence, the vast spaces unmarred by civilization, the animals in their natural habitat—it’s a beautiful sort of time travel to another world.


Learning never stops. From the one room school house to university, from formal education to daily life, we always learn. Through my writing I’ve learned to be a more discriminating reader. I’ve also become an excellent proof reader and substantive editor. Two ways I can help other authors.


Joyful, frustrating, easy, painful—all of those and more, but never ever dull and never ever something I would give up. Once a writer, always a writer.

Darlene Jones

Friday, March 20, 2015

Help Wanted: Book Assassin

Yes, you read right. Please come and bash my books. Tell everyone they are anti-religion, profane, and wicked. The louder you yell, the more strident you are, the better. Tell the world they’re more than sci-fi with otherworldly beings. Say that the action and love story are a ruse to disguise subversive social commentary.

Someone needs to write to the New York Times and complain about my books, slam them for all depravities contained therein. I don’t really care what you say as long as it garners attention. 

Oh, wait. It would be best to brand them anti-Christian. I’d sell millions. Just ask Dan Brown. Religious controversy worked for him.

I didn’t think I’d written anything controversial until readers gave me feedback. Some say my books are very anti-religion. Others ask if Yves is God. I admit that my goal was to get people thinking about world conditions. But, such strong responses from what started out to be an adventure romance with a little sci-fi thrown in for the magical element it could bring to the story?  

These reactions startled me and beg the questions for authors.

Is there anything controversial in your book?

Should there be anything controversial in your book?

Can your novel be successful without controversy?

I’ve heard it said that if you want to stay friends with someone, you must avoid three topics—sex, politics, and religion. Is the same true for novels?

Doesn’t seem so when it comes to sex. Many novels, certainly not just in the romance genre, are replete with sex and they sell.

Novels featuring political themes are popular too. Who doesn’t love the intrigue of political machinations? Add some sex and you’ve got a best seller on your hands and, in real life, juicy headlines that threaten to topple even those highest on the ladder.

And religious controversy in books … well, remember Salman Rushdie?  

Controversy grabs attention. Controversy sets people talking and arguing. Controversy sells.

Should an author deliberately write something to cause controversy? And, if so, what? 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Humor in Writing

Humor can be anything from a belly laugh and the giggles to a chuckle or a smile. As long as it makes us happy to some degree, humor is doing its job. Here’s an excerpt from my novel EMPOWERED—an example of humor in a book that is not meant to be a comedy.

Victor grabbed Jasmine’s arm and dragged her to his office. “Don’t you guys all have something to do?” he said over his shoulder, but none of the men moved. He saw Jasmine look back at them and wink.
“You tell her, Vic,” one of the guys hollered just as he slammed the door.
“Woman, what were you thinking when you came here? It’s not safe and you stand out like a sore thumb.” Victor glared at her. “Please, tell me you’re not that dumb.”
“Belize, I think.”
“Belize for our honeymoon.”
“Honeymoon!” He heard the guys hooting on the other side of the door and imagined a whole lot of high-fives taking place out there.
“Yes, good snorkeling. We’ll have to have a society wedding of course. But we can keep it small and limit the photographers.”
“You’re totally nuts.” Victor shook his head in disbelief.
“We’ll make beautiful babies,” she cooed smiling up at him.
“Babies?  Babies!” Victor screeched. “Get this straight. We. Are. Not. Getting. Married. We. Are. Not. Making. Babies.” What did it take to make her understand?
“We are,” she said in a matter of fact way that enraged him even more. “We have to.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Victor, I love you. I can feel you in every atom of my body. My bones feel like jelly when I’m with you. Can’t you—?”
“You don’t even know me,” he yelled as he yanked the door open. The guys scrambled out of the way. With one hand on Jasmine’s arm and the other on the small of her back, he propelled her out the door to the waiting men. Jasmine stopped abruptly and Victor’s forward momentum caused him to press against her. He jerked back as if scalded. Jasmine turned to the audience in the doorway and mouthed, “I’ll be back.” Five thumbs turned up.

“No, you won’t!” Vic deposited her with her bodyguards and stomped back to his office. “Jesus H. Christ! Miss Jasmine Wade Berdin you are one hundred percent certifiably insane,” he said to no one in particular as he sagged heavily into his chair. His bones felt like jelly.