Romance, Writing, and Pulling the Trigger

Some writing days, I feel like Indiana Jones trying to get to the point in the most direct way possible.  Indy runs.  He hides.  He darts through the marketplace.  I tiptoe, I hide, I dart through the kitchen on my way to my laptop.  (Shhhhh, kids, not time to get up yet….)

Indiana Jones is confronted by a wily, gifted swordsman.  Shall he engage blade-for-blade?  I am confronted by indecision: I know where my scene is headed, but have several openings duking it out in my head.

[SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen Raiders of the Lost Ark (really?  How come?), you intend to see it, and you prefer the thrill of the new rather than the joy of recognition for one, tiny, 26-second scene, bookmark this page, stop reading, and move along to my next blog post.  Remember to come back after you’ve seen the movie though, ok?]

Indy doesn’t allow himself to become mesmerized by the fancy bladesmanship of the would-be assailant.  Noooo!

Blam!  Indy pulls out his gun and shoots his attacker.  (No matter what your position on guns, gun ownership, and gun use is, put it aside for a moment – we’re talking fiction here.)   I take a deep breath and Blam!  I’ve commited to my scene-opener – same rush of adrenaline, same sensation of satisfaction, same matter-of-fact push to get to the point of the scene.

This is to say that I plunged in to write a hot scene first, and the story is falling around it.

Now, I shall fire-up my screensaver and tiptoe back to the kitchen to make five breakfasts (no cereal here) and two lunches.

Clean Laundry and Hot Romance?

Dang, that Jasinda Wilder can write!  (Yes, I know that Jack and Jasinda write together, but the cover gives credit to Jasinda, so I’m going with that.)

I did a deep dive into Jasinda’s early works – as per the publication schedule on  She writes about women who inhabit the world of what is plausible.  A woman flees from an unfaithful husband and oppressive marriage to a small town (The Preacher’s Son: Unbound).  A woman who is confident that she can take care of herself feels vulnerable when she doubts that a man can love her plus-sized self (Big Girls Do it Better).  A faithful, naïve young wife finds her husband in bed with a woman she knows (Delilah’s Diary: A Sexy Journey).

Then, Jasinda has her leading ladies embark on a journey of joyous sexual self-expression (you knew that from the cover art, right?), explicitly written, while finding True Love.  Don’t overlook the explicit part – Jasinda gets it right.  There’s steam, there’s spice, and it adds up to a compelling, don’t-want-to-put-it-down read.  They are enormously fun to devour (adults only).

The author spins her tales over several books in each series.  In fact, between August 29, and November 20, 2012, Jasinda (and Jack?) birthed ELEVEN hot romance novellas, all in either a Preachers, Big Girls, or Diary series.

With this modus operandi and their impressive publication release schedule, Jasinda and Jack were able to make their mortgage payments and save their home.

How do they do it?  They have five little ones.  End of August is back-to-school.  There’s everyday meals and homework.  There’s Halloween (must be huge when multiplied by five) and then there’s the mother of all female-work holidays: Thanksgiving.  Yet, Jasinda and Jack said that they stayed holed-up in their clean, toyless, finished basement – the size of a mansion by New York City standards – taking few breaks, unswerving in their devotion to create and publish – dare I call it? – product.

Who’s covering the kids, making sure everyone is wearing clean clothes, and bringing in the groceries?  And can they come visit me?

And in the beginning… There Was Jasinda Wilder

We graduated from law school with high hopes.  PJ moved to the left coast, both of us went on to clerk for judges, wrote some very fine law – if I must say so myself (and I must) – and then [cue screeching needle sound] each of us underwent much treatment to have kids (what a coincidence!), she in California, and me in New York, New Jersey and Chicago.  This endeavor slowed down each of our legal careers in a way that was not reflected in our husbands’ career paths – those went along just fine.  Around that time, during our many phone conversations, PJ and I compared notes about our lives and the cases that had come before our judges.  “You can’t make this stuff up!” we would always conclude.

During some chat about the legal predicament of someone PJ knew, we concluded that, if we just twisted the facts this way and that, and threw in some pop-culture elements, why, we’d have a mighty fine screenplay.  To us, a mighty fine screenplay that we would sell to someone meant instant “coolness” and universal acceptance.  Writers love acceptance.  We opined about the color of dresses we would wear to the Oscars™ (I believe navy taffeta was mentioned) and if we could top Sally Field’s “You really, really like me!” for our acceptance speeches.

Of course, never being gals to remain satisfied with the easy way out, we endeavored to write two screenplays concurrently – a thriller and a romance.   Our goal, as I remember it, was to write something we would want to see on a date night – if we ever had a date night with our husbands again.

PJ’s baby arrived eleven months before my two made their appearances, and no baby took a nap at the same time – across four time zones.  You can see where this is headed, right?  We spun lots of bits of great stories, but didn’t, well, have not yet, finished a work (but they’re really great, believe me!).  PJ wrote regularly for her newspaper, joined a writers’ group and won awards for short fiction, and I did quite a bit of ghostwriting.

Life happens, which is to say, while our “babies” were growing gloriously into full-fledged children, they incurred, by golly, expenses!  In the ensuing years, if you throw in a couple of illnesses the treatment for which insurance does not pay (this predates The Affordable Healthcare Act), some other catastrophes, and the economic collapse of 2008, our catch-as-catch-can phone calls took on a wistful “how do we get back in the game because the proverbial wolf is at the door,” feel.

Until June 18, 2013.

On June 18, PJ called me.

“Hailey!” PJ said, barely suppressing a happy squeal, “Did you see the report on CBS about the writers?”

I had not.

PJ recounted for me the now-famous tale of a midwest couple, parents of five little children, the youngest of whom became ill right before they lost their jobs, who generated enough income from their steamy romance writings that, the very first month, they were able to pay their mortgage.  Subsequently, they have continued to publish, and their income has topped $100,000 per month.

This is a video of the couple, Jack and Jasinda Wilder’s, experience in self-publishing:

(If clicking the video doesn’t work, try clicking here.)

“Hailey,” my BFF PJ exclaimed, “This is for you!  Your circumstances are dire!  Why don’t you write your way out?”

So I’m writing and researching (can’t stop that lawyer training).

I hope you’ll visit often and linger, leave comments, and take the journey with me here to see what comes of this.  Readers are why writers write – I appreciate your stopping by.