Author Feature: Judy Lynn

Author Feature: 

Judy Lynn

The Author herself:
For Judy Lynn, writing stories has always been a pastime. Writing novels has always been a dream. Her favorite place to write is near the ocean in Northern California or in the middle of the woods. Nature calls to her and she loves camping, hiking, and just being outdoors at any time. She combines her love for nature and her love for writing into the same pastime. Currently, she lives in Northern California where she is the Circulation and Technical Services Manager for the library of a small college. 

She's not fond of the city, but if you must live in one, being perfectly situated halfway between the mountains and the ocean is good. Judy has three boys to keep her busy, so finding time to write can be a challenge. But with the publication of  her first novel Veil of Deceit, it is all worth it. She also writes fantasy short stories: Life After the War and  To Pay a Debt.

Her Debut Novel:
Prisoner 7578359, Commander Jayla Sans, is innocent. Framed by her own godfather and convicted of treason, she’ll spend the rest of her days on the prison spaceship Tarsha—however few she has left. During her last investigation for the military, she found a vast and insidious conspiracy, and now, various factions will kill to acquire or destroy the information in her head. Jayla must protect the truth at costs, even if that means severing ties with her loved ones. But is Jayla truly alone?

You can check it out here.

The Interview:

The age old debate--Are you a plotter or pantser? Tell us your process.

I am a complete die-hard pantser. When I wrote Veil of Deceit, I had no idea what the story was when I wrote the first line. Usually, I have a tiny piece of the story in my head when I start, but no plan on how to write it. I write on paper as it comes. When the basic story is done, I type it into my computer. At that that point, more scenes may get added, and more than once I’ve skipped over a part with the thought of “What was I thinking when I wrote that?” By the time that draft is done, it’s usually not more than a skeleton. A few more passes add detail, fix holes (because there’s always plenty when you don’t plan ahead), and solidify the POV. Then comes all the editing. Usually it’s a few more passes before I’m comfortable letting anyone read it. When I am ready, I use a critique website to get input from other writers. I have to say, that without these critique partners, none of my stories would be ready for traditional publication. I would be one of those writers who give a bad name to the self-publishing industry because I thought my first novel was ready before I even understood what a POV character was! I thank God for this website. As my critique partners work through the draft, I make many changes. They ask lots of “Why didn’t this character…?” and “What was the logic behind…?” Not to mention pointing out when emotion and descriptions were lacking, and when a new scene is needed to round out the storyline. The first rewrite is always the largest. After that, its several tweaks, then with each pass, less and less get changed, until the piece is ready to send to my publisher.

I will die on my pantser platform too. I think our methods are similar but I do less rounds and only have a couple betas. I'm naughty for that, I've been told.

Moving on, what is your preferred category and genre to write? Why?

I love both science fiction and fantasy. Asking why is like asking why I like soccer better than basketball. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. It’s just what naturally comes out of the end of my pen. One benefit to it: My science fiction is in the future, so to a point, I don’t need to research things like laws and modern medicine because it’s simple enough to make the story fit what I want. 😉

I haven't fully dabbled in sci-fi myself but love writing fantasy too. My current work is a lot of real-world research so I feel you. Future and fantasy is kind of easier. So tell us what is next for you.

I currently have two fantasy books contracted with Authors 4 Authors Publishing. They are the first two books of the Tribes of Chalent series. The first, Chieftess of Acora, is set to come out in June of 2021. The second, Guardian of Kelvia, will come soon after. The third in the same series, Healer of Simot, has gone through it’s first major rewrite, but still needs some tweaks before it’s ready to send off to them, but hopefully it won’t be long. I also have another short story that is ready to be exposed to my critique partners, and then to the publisher, with a couple more not far behind.

Wow, I thought I was busy! Sounds like you've earned yourself a seat at the table in the publishing industry. What have you learned most through your publishing experience?

There are no quick roads to success. I guess that’s something I already knew, but every new author, even though their head knows it, hopes they will be the exception. The realty can hit your heart hard, even when it’s something your head knew.

 No truer words.

Check out Judy Lynn's work and keep track of her journey through the following links:





Romance Book Review: Ask Me No Questions...I'll tell You No Lies

Romance Book Review: 

Ask Me No Questions...
I'll tell You No Lies

Ask Me No Questions...I'll Tell You No Lies, by Ann Jeffries, is a heartwarming look at the interestingly glamorous side of the elite rich that shows there's always a second chance at life and love.
Loretta Hill Mason, a long-suffering wife of a womanizing and oppressive husband, is told they are getting divorced when their last of three children (two being his love children) goes off to college. Heartbroken and lost because she knows no life but with him, she ends up at Oceans Inn Resort during a hurricane. This is where Justin (Willis) McCoy finds her in a catatonic state and gets her inside. Justin is a business rejuvenator and happened to be in town trying to protect and rekindle business for the inn. That's not the only thing rekindled. A couple weeks of spending time with Loretta and this former ladies' man is in love. But with so many complex things in his life from his teenager daughter, money-hungry ex-wife, to a shady mob-like family, the Delawares, trying to force his hand into doing business, Justin has more to lose than his heart. Instead of declaring his love for Loretta, he instead attempts to fulfill her every wish and give her the future her past should have been before Mason and Loretta's family dashed her dreams and her self-esteem repeatedly. Torn apart by careers and danger, will Justin and Loretta be able to fulfill the last dream they both have and be together? Or will the Delawares strike where it would hurt Justin the most, his heart?

First, let me say Jeffries is amazing at creating characters you love and ones you love to hate (ugh, Mason). It quickly pulls the reader in empathizing with Loretta who has given herself over to her family and is completely self-less, so much so that the feminist in you wants to smack her upside the head. But this is a wonderfully done move on Jeffries part for Loretta to have a wondrous and realistically-pace ascension into a mighty powerful woman. Justin is middle-aged yummy, and deep down a sweet guy under his professionally closed-off demeanor. The two suited each other, and I loved how he wanted to rejuvenate Loretta, a girl he once saw in a beauty pageant. 

The plot was oh-so-complex, but awesomely so. Jeffries writes a saga and carefully weaves familiar characters from other books and plants seeds for future books. This is ingenious and now I want to see how so-and-so ended up together and what will happen between Dustin right-hand man and Loretta's badass sister. The plot is weaved so well. You have chapters of Loretta's story and of Justin's story separately, and at times they weave together. Side characters are also given some attention playing key roles the main characters' lives and setting up the next thread for another book. It creates an amazing tapestry of love, danger, and soulful healing. 

I recommend this book to any reader who loves a slow-burn romance with inferno highs, and who enjoy seeing people have a second chance to fulfill their dreams. I got sucked into the Family Reunion saga, and with 20+ books in the series, it will take me a while to read them all. 

If interested, check out the book here.

Book Reflection: Judy Blume's Fudge Series

Book Reflection: 

Judy Blume's Fudge Series

My son is eight. He loves books. He also has autism and ADHD. Despite reading above his grade level, he isn't patient enough to read chapter books unless they have lots of pictures. (Thank you for your works Dav Pilkey and Jeff Kinney!). However, he loves MG stories, so I never stopped reading to him. This was a tradition my mother passed down to me. She read to us until my brother was probably about 15 and I was 12. She would read my brother's reading-list books to us when he was overwhelmed. When he didn't need her to anymore, neither did I because I was devouring my own reading late into the night. My mom also told allegorical stories to me to make me overcome my fears when I was little. I do the same for my son. 

The past 2 years, I read him the entire Harry Potter series and then Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Next came Roald Dahl which he loved. Then we bounced around trying to find a series he'd fall in love with. Every book he likes, but after those three series, I didn't have many more chapter books. We searched. There were ones about video games, dinosaurs, and other kid-friendly action books. He liked them of course, but I longed for him to hear a book that he could not stop talking about or acting out as he had before. 

If you know about autism, socialization and communication skills are a difficulty. We talk to my son, teach him through books, and he communicates back through them. If fact, he relies so much on literary conventions, like similes and metaphors, creating parallels, analogies, contrasts, etc. (and lines from movies he's watched), to describe his feelings which helps us further immerse ourselves into his world. 

So I was out of books to read him when COVID-19 hit. The library closed, and he gets distracted by the device if I read from a kindle so ebooks were out. I kept a lot of my childhood books. One that survived the years was Judy Blume's Fudge-O-Mania. The title and cover sucked him in. Out of four classic kids books I had, he choose that one.
Old-School Cover

He loved it. Not only did he love it, he would stop me continuously to ask questions. As an only child with only a couple friends, he soaked up sibling relationships and friendships like a sponge. He would retell us the story with his cousin replacing the main character's friend, his friend was cast as Fudge, the little brother who you love but annoys you. He also saw how Fudge's behavior was much like his own; he could see himself in Fudge. I was surprised how much he loved it. When the libraries reopened for pickup only, we snagged the rest of the series. Now he's studying and understanding time and growing up. He realized Fudge-O-Mania was not book 1. Where was the little sister? he demanded right in the beginning of Super Fudge where the mom announces she's pregnant. Basically, my son is learning so much about life, about people. 

Frequently, we are told kids want to be entertained--action, page turners, mysteries, anything to keep them reading! In reality, sometimes they like the beauty in everyday situations that crop up--mom having a baby, annoying siblings, moving, etc. They love things they can relate too--like when Peter has to pee so bad he contemplates going in the living room plant (I had to reread it twice, my son was laughing so hard)--or ones kids cannot relate too, like having a sibling (like my son). Us parents of autistic children are also told to cater learning toward the child's interests, while some other experts proclaim we should push them into the unknown just a little bit so they learn to adapt to new situations. There's a fine line between my son embracing an experience with glee and having a meltdown, so I tend to teach him down the middle of those camps of advice. I push the boundaries through books; he learns about things that in real life would make him uncomfortable (like when he hides in a friend's room when there are four other kids around and takes out every single toy to sooth himself). Seeing the interaction with the children in the books can help him see how human nature works, so when he sees those kids again--hopefully soon--he'll be able to watch them and see Peter and Fudge and transpose that story onto them and understand the sibling dynamic. Once he understands, I hope he won't have to hide and he can at least watch them, if not fully engage.

So, this is a long-winded way to thank Judy Blume, and all the writers of the 70s and 80s, for writing truly timeless pieces about children's human nature in everyday settings, while still being able to entertain. Forty years later, Judy Blume, you are helping kids deal with common issues. Not only that, you're helping one little socially disadvantage kid understand himself and others. There is beauty in simplicity and reality that maybe kids books should return to.

So tell me, what classics should I read to my son next?

Tales in Publishing: Progress Update!

Tales in Publishing: 

Progress Update!

Here's a progress update of what I've been up to lately and hopefully tell those of you who are eager for more what is to come. Trying to answer the questions I've been asked.

Celestial Spheres

The draca (dragons) are coming! Draca book 2 of Celestial Spheres is on it's way with a July 19th release date. We are currently gearing up for the final touches--copyedits, back cover blurb, cover art, and marketing plans. We'll see the dragons for the first time, and see what happens between Toury and Alex after their relationship was left a bit rocky (to say the least). We'll also meet some unexpected--and perhaps unwanted--family members. 

Stay tuned for the cover reveal, book launch party date, and pre-order date. If you are behind, book 1 can be found here: Fyr (Celestial Spheres book 1) 

The Immortal Transcripts

The Immortal Transcripts book 2 Fever was accepted by the publisher late last year and we have completed the first round of edits. It is slotted for February 2021 roughly around Valentine's Day. I'm currently working on book 3 Shudder. I enjoyed writing this story and the first draft will go fast, but draft 2 where I do a lot of research will take me a long time. Our gods will take us to many worldwide locales. (Thank you Google for your street maps and Earth satellite app.) If you're behind, book 1 can be found here: Quiver (The Immortal Transcripts book 1).

The publishing world varies. While my publishers for Fyr and Quiver are working hard with the voice actors making them audiobooks (stay tuned--might have a fall/winter release of the audio of Fyr). My former publisher, however, didn't do audiobooks at all. That means in the contract I held the rights to my book for audio. I had no idea where to start but luckily my critique group went over this in a meeting and taught us how to easily get it done through Amazon's service ACX--where some Audible books are made. It was easy and fun. The voice actors come to you, virtually, auditioning. Then you use Amazon's contracts and then it is now magically being made. Considering all the goes into making one, I believe the release of this audiobook will be early August.

Possible Future projects?
I'm working on and off on a children's chapter book for my son. If I can pull it off, I actually think it could hit it big. However, a lot will need to go into it and I'm calling it my top secret project because I don't want anyone to take such a good idea and get it done before me (it happens). Also, I cannot get two spin-offs of Celestial Spheres out of my mind, so I think the series will continue with two other characters. The Immortal Transcripts has five books altogether so those will continue. Other than that, I have about 8 shelved full rough drafts to choose from as my next endeavor, but those will have to wait a few years, obviously.

You see I'm busy. I hope other authors stay busy fulfilling their dreams of publishing as well. What are you working on?

The DNF Debate: When Do you Stop Reading?

The DNF Debate: 

When Do you Stop Reading?

Recently, as a reader, I've been in a slump. I rarely have a DNF (did not finish) novel. In fact, I used to finish everything I ever started for the most part. Then I read a book that was so badly written it felt like I was staring back at 14 yr-old me (no offense 14 yr-old writers, but personally I wasn't the best--explained below). This DNF was way back, on my first Kindle. Although the book I read was awful and research led me to finding out the author was my age at the time, 23, and self-published, it spurred me to actually write a novel. So every DNF does have a lesson for us as a reader and writer. 

During my adolescence, I had written short stories and screenplays, doing well with plots but not sharp enough to pull off descriptions and POV to my higher standards. This DNF was my first that I can recall. As a broke college and grad student after, I went for cheap or free books. That was probably a mistake. Some goodies go on sale at times, but otherwise I started reading reviews to weed out some. 

I do have to admit here I've got older and pickier about books. After degrees in English and becoming a published writer myself, I see the work that goes into it. Recently, I added an extra vetting step: downloading samples. There have been a lot of samples that deterred me from buying, particularly recently. And I have bought a few anthologies where 1 or 2 novels in them have becomes DNF, although the rest were enjoyable. 

So what makes me DNF or not buy? (in no particular order):

Terrible grammar--
I mean terrible, like sentences with 2 or more errors and maybe 1 sentence a page I have to read 3 times to make sense of it. It turns on my grading brain and I correct it so I understand it clearly. I recently downloaded a sample of a novel and it lacked commas and shifted tense so much, I became lost in time and what was happening. 

Now this could be subjective but I can't get sucked into a book if things are overly described, like I don't need to know the level of details when describing exactly each needle on a pine tree branch. So much description slows down pacing. Then again, it could be worse to not have enough. In the same example above, the author also had someone leave the room then he talked as if he was still there, but the part where he returned was missing. I like to call this the Goldilocks rule: description should be "just right."

The dreadful lull.--
All stories have a lull. Constant action can make someone's head spin. However, if the scene is not propelling the plot forward or character growth, it is wasted pages. This one book I recently read, I made it through 2/3. It had amazing world-building, a fantastic action-packed beginning, then a slow burn romance that sucked me in, and fell flat. I keep trying to go back to it, but I keep falling asleep...literally, unfortunately. 

As part of description and lulls, pacing can also be affected by other elements in the story involving the plot. Sometimes books move too slow. Sometimes that bores us. Sometimes they move too fast. Rarely have I heard people complain about page-turners, but I've read a few fabulous ones that I wish went into more depth with the characters and narrative. 

Character, POV, narration--
I'm putting these together since they overlap so much. I've read books that lacked in point-of-view, meaning I put it down after the character made stupid decision after stupid decision but we never had her thoughts to know why. I also didn't finish one from a famous author because the narrative was so purposely emotionless and the character was an anti-hero but bland. When his life was on the line, I found I didn't care if he die--and I'm usually a very nice person actually. I realized as a reader that I need to connect to a character or the world. I've tried this book 8 times now--it is long, but I've made it to the 2/3 mark.

False advertising--
I recently read a book that was a DNF for sure, but I made myself read it to find the plot promised in the synopsis. Let's call it a "I wish I DNF." The cover art and the synopsis were intriguing, reviews were in the middle, and I skipped a sample because it was 99 cents for just one day. Big mistake. The premise given happens at the 62% mark from the character who you didn't see since the prologue. I finished to a cliffhanger. I was half a book plot-wise drawn out and boring. The false advertizing? The book blurb told pretty much the entire story.

There are more things I think that bother some readers, but if I go into more it would be personal preferences or genre based. From this exercise, I think I've learned two things. One, a couple of these used to be my greatest weaknesses, so no wonder I notice them. Two, your book seems to be safe if I make it through the 2/3 point. Most likely I tend to finish because the writer at that point should be building towards the climax of the story. That is the point a reader should find it impossible to put down, and so I won't. 

What makes you DNF a book?


Tales in Publishing: Query example

Tales in Publishing:  Query example I'm sharing my successful query to others in hopes it exemplifies what to do and helps other au...