Thursday, October 31, 2013

What's Good for the Goose

What's good for the goose, is good for the gander, right?  If I'm going to look at my writing and my descriptions of my female characters in Farmer's Daughter, then I have to be honest and take a look at the male characters.

Do I have to????

I think this is an area that I really kind of fall short in.  I really skimp on describing my male characters, even worse than the women.  There's just not that much there.  The Carman's are all noted as having auburn hair, the matriarch Maude being described as just having dark hair.  There is no other description of Philip that I can think of off the top of my head other than he has brawny arms.  Which makes sense if you consider that he's an active farmer.

Craig, the male lead and Angela's romantic interest, is taller than her though I never specify by how much beyond stating that she swims in his clothes.  Brown hair, brown eyes.  She thinks he's handsome; several of the female characters share that opinion.  One can conclude that he's physically fit given that he actively maintains his black belt in karate.  In my head, given my mood on any given day he bears a striking resemblance to either a young Stephen Caffrey (The sole reason why I watched Tour of Duty) or Chris Pine (my current Hollywood favorite).

Everett Crane is described as being tall and slim with red hair and green eyes with wrinkles around them.  And he likes to wear suits.  A lot.  The typical dress code for the mob, right?  It's commented later in the novel that he's older than Philip.  A similar comment is made about Doctor Evans looking a great deal older than Philip.

Is my lack of description good or is it a failing?  I'm not sure at this point.  At least the very least I highlight what I think is "important" when looking at a man.  My husband's eyes were the deal clincher for me, back when I first noticed him and just had a 'crush'...I took one look into those hazel-green eyes and thought, "Oh my God, you've got to be kidding me!"  I've been hooked ever since.

The one character who receives negative descriptions would be Harry Flynn, one of the minor male antagonist.  He's referred to as greasy, not just shorter than Craig (because we see him early on having to look up) but also smaller than him.  In my initial re-scan of our first meeting of Harry Flynn, I could find no reference to his hair color or his eye color.  He's also referred to as weaselly, though it's far more a commentary to his character than any physical appearance.

Even though I don't think it detracts from the story at all, and allows the reader to use their own imagination as to the minor details of the characters appearances, I may have to work on this for the next book in the series, Ring Of Fire.

For those of you who celebrate Halloween, have a happy and safe one!

Monday, October 28, 2013

And Then There's Maggie

In my previous post, I mentioned being uncomfortable writing an overweight character because of my own body weight issues.  This is only part true, but may very well be part of the reason why I keep forgetting about Maggie Witherspoon (no relation to Reese).

She seems to be a relatively minor character in my novel Farmer's Daughter, but she's far more important than might be suspected.  Mentioned through the novel at several different spots, usually in connection to her red sports car, we don't actually meet her until almost three quarters of the way through.  It is a short scene, and we are left with the impression of a large woman uncomfortable in her own body.  She hides her plump curves with baggy cargo pants and large t-shirts.

I portray her this way on purpose, because I want her to remain a mystery.  No one pays attention to the fat chicks in life.  Even when she's mentioned in connection to the kidnapping scene, I want people to wonder about Maggie.  How is it that this plump awkward woman is capable of moving in such a confident manner  Who is she really?  At the end of the novel, we're aware that Angela goes to see her, but the reader remains clueless as to what the two women discussed.  Book two will illuminate us more on the true nature of Maggie's part in the story, but I will then plunge us back into darkness.

Not because fat women are supposed to remain in the background.  How often did I get that impression while I attended church?  Women in general are meant to serve in the background...quietly doing their chores, making coffee and tending to the dinners.  Fat women even more so.  Sometimes I am amazed that I was allowed to be on the dance team during its peak...after all, no one wants to see a fat woman dancing, even in worship.  Maybe especially during worship, if you consider the fact that a few times I was asked to take my dancing self to the back of the sanctuary where no one could see.

I keep Maggie in the background, because when the truth about her quiet work comes out people will be astounded that a large woman could pull it off.  Hopefully not in the veiled contemptuous way I was complimented for dancing with the group.  "You're so much more graceful than I expected."  Unsaid is: for a fat woman.  But I always heard it.  Hopefully the readers will be more appreciative than that.

Maggie is beautiful in part because she works in the background out of love.  A friendship with Angela was forged in those few short scenes, although they may never have the chance to explore that friendship.  And her love for Angela compels her to break rules, go deep undercover in rough situations, and even put her own romance on hold.  I keep us in the dark about Maggie, because that's her nature.  It has more to do with her character than her looks.  And like any beautiful woman, she uses her looks to disarm people.  Instead of wowing people and distracting them, Maggie makes herself invisible.

All to often I myself have felt forced to remain in the background.  Maggie chooses to do so.  We all get to choose, which image we present to the world to see.  And sometimes, we chose to surprise people when we allow ourselves to shine.  Will Maggie ever allow herself to shine?  Or will she insist on remaining invisible?  Time will tell.

Shine on.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Price Change!

Hi peeps!

Just a quick blog to update you on the changes to the price of my novel.  Amazon has the paperback priced at $9.68 I don't know how long that will last, as that is their offer and not mine.  Grab it quick if you like the feel of a novel in your hands!  I've lowered the Kindle price to $2.99!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Body Image and Angela Carman

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Last weekend I was engaged in a rather heated discussion with a man on a friend's Facebook post over body size and beauty.  He was insistent that a large woman wasn't beautiful or sexually appealing and that the men who thought so were somehow twisted.  Being a large woman myself, which is something you can't really tell from my profile pic, I insisted that it doesn't matter what size we are, we're beautiful.  Fat chicks need love too!

Which brought me to my female lead character in my novel, Farmer's Daughter.  Angela Carman is regarded as beautiful by nearly everyone in the novel.  She is between 5'7" and 5'8", slim and physically fit (which makes sense since she has a black belt in karate).  Why did I do this?  Did I fall prey to the media need to have a physically appealing female lead?  Am I as guilty as the man I was arguing with about what physical beauty is?

Uncomfortable thoughts.  Granted, I made Angela to be what I myself want to be.  What I am in my head.  It may be that my own discomfort with my own body makes me hesitant to try to write an obese character.  So often, I am unable to see my own beauty, just like Angela.  Angela's own body image will become more of an issue in later novels.  Does she have an eating disorder?  Will she ever believe herself to be the Angel that Craig calls her?

And how will Craig handle her issues?  Will he become frustrated?  Will he always be patient?  My own husband gets a little frustrated with me, because I don't always believe him when he calls me "Cutie" and "Gorgeous".  Am I really beautiful to him?  Or is he just trying to make me feel better?  Although I had not met my husband when I first began to write the character of Craig, I was better able to fine tune his relationship with Angela after I had some of my own experiences.  His acceptance of me will probably seep into Craig's character.

Time will of course tell, as we only see the merest blush of what their future together holds in this first novel.  I'm excited as I explore this world that has opened up to me, and can't wait to share all the nooks and crannies of it with everyone.  And as I become more comfortable with who I am, physically and spiritually, the more interesting their lives will be I think.

Because Angela's beauty, as with my own and your own, is far more than just what is on the outside.  She is a strong woman facing the weakest part of her, facing the darkness inside of her and battling demons she's been afraid of for far too long...and by doing so, she gives others the courage to do the same.

#robinjanney #farmersdaughterrobinjanney #bodyimage #truebeauty #courage

pic from

Monday, October 21, 2013

Books and Genre

Like many writers, I like to read.  Currently I'm reading Ted Dekker's "The Bride Collector", and then I'll be reading Matthew Keith's "Watchers of the Night".  Dekker is an old favorite of mine, going back to "Blink" and "Blessed Child".  Keith is a new author I am trying out, someone I found on Facebook.

I tend to bounce between two general genre's when I read, Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Christian Romance.  Occasionally I'll find decent Christian Fantasy, although they tend to call it Allegorical, as if Fantasy is something to fear. This is probably why my own novel is a blend of the different worlds, it's Romance, but it's also Fantasy, or Urban Fantasy.

Years ago, when I was starting my first free-writes for "Farmer's Daughter", I let a church friend read the first few chapters I had.  At that point, it was loftily named "Dominions of Darkness" based on a bible verse.  And it was mainly Romance, as I had yet to feel free enough to read what I really liked.  She gave the notebook back to me with mixed reviews.  "It's good, have to decide which world you're writing for."  She didn't like the sexual overtones I had in it at the time, specifically the emphasis on Craig's fascination with Angela's body.  In essence, was I going to write a secular novel, or a Christian novel?

This stumped me for a while back then.  I was a terribly self-conscious young woman at the time, easily upset by criticism from people I looked up to.  Eventually (almost ten years later) I decided that I didn't have to pick a world to write for...I only had to write the world in my head.  Once I made that decision, that world became unlocked to me.  It is filled with hurting humans struggling to find peace, filled with demons and dragons unhappy in their own existence and so feel the need to interfere with the humans.  Eventually, they will collide.

So, my question to you:  what do you like to read?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hello there!

This is not my first blog, but since I've decided to self publish my novel and throw myself out into the public, so to speak, I've decided that it's time for a new platform from where to speak.  My old blog was an online diary, where I would vent or ramble given my mood.  I used to be quite prolific, but life got in the way and it dwindled down.

I just had my first Google+ Hangout today, which was pretty darn cool!  Ever since my birthday, life has just been one adventure after another.  I'm not sure what was special about this past birthday, but I'm not minding what life is bringing me!

So it was Jeff Roach from and it's about building a community of like believers etc. instead of traditional marketing.  I'll end up signing up for their membership eventually, once Justin gets done working on his truck.  Well, that might never happen...he's always working on one vehicle or another!  But once that gets settled down, because I can learn on my own - I just need a few pointers to get me headed in the right direction.

One thing I took away from the Hangout was that I'm on the right track by beginning to blog again.  He used an example of another author blogging about their area of expertise.  Even though I write fiction, that's still something I can do to.  I might not be an expert in anything, not even in writing, but I am an expert in my own writing LOL

I've been writing since I was in the third or fourth grade.  I can remember my first stories...they were 'fanfiction' for a tv show I really liked back then.  "Airwolf".  Oh my goodness...I had such a childhood crush on the guy that played Stringfellow Hawke, Jan-Michael Vincent!  My writing has gotten much better since then...thank God!  All by villains were names "Bad John" or "Bad Kelly" etc.  While of course their counterparts were "Good John" and "Good Kelly"  LOL

So, "Farmer's Daughter" the novel I so impulsively self-published...because I decided I believed in it.  It is actually based on a dream I had in either 1997 or 98.  I really don't remember which, just that I was still working as a nurses aide when I was doing the first free writes for it.  It changed drastically from those first free writes, and that's a good thing.  The original idea had Craig being hesitant to build a relationship with Angela because he was afraid of a sexual discrimination lawsuit, but out of the free writes evolved the idea that it was actually because he'd been sexually molested as a teen.  Some of the villains were re-"casted" since then as well...which is going to turn out to be really cool in the long run.

After I finished it, about 2005ish according to my email records, I hit writer's block.  I had ended it in a cliff hanger - the kidnapping mentioned in the synopsis, and then I hit that brick wall.  Well crap, now what?  I tried starting a sequel, but didn't get anything.  I was able to write a few poems here and there, but it was like the pond had dried up.  So, I let it sit idle in my email until last April when I decided to download it and reread it to see if it was any good.  And it was, it is.  But I still didn't like the ending.  So, I tacked on a new ending, that went a different direction and opened the flood gates not just for a sequel but for a series of either 3-5 books.  It'll probably be 5, but I don't want to bore people so we'll see.

For right now, I think I'll stick to Monday/Thursday posting and see how it goes.  Back in the old days, I used to write a blog post everyday.  Not sure I have the time for that anymore.  Still learning, which is good.

Robin  :)