Thursday, November 06, 2008

GUEST AUTHOR: Jenny Gilliam

Writing and the Other Woman

Writing is my first love.

It has been a constant in my life even when I spurned it. Which I did. Often. It was waiting patiently in the recesses of my mind, knowing that one day, I would come to my senses and sit back down at the computer. Which I did. And spurned it again. I won't bore you with this seemingly endless process that has marked my twenties. Let's just say the last time I sat back down, I kept my butt on the chair and finished something for the first time in my life. Well, like four somethings. In less than a year.

Before I had a chance to enjoy the success, however, reality intruded. Or rather, reality in the form of: "MOMMY!!!!!" Need I say more? How about: "Where are my socks? Can you wash my work jacket? When are you going grocery shopping? I need to go out into the shop for the next five years. See you when I'm forty." And then there's: "Why haven't you been returning my calls? I e-mailed you three times? Are you dead? All you ever do is write!"Once I overcame the dilemma of my own neuroses (i.e. laziness, fear of success/failure, an underwater basketweaving class to take), I realized that I had a whole slew of others to contend with.

For the last ten years, I have devoted myself to my family and friends. This has, by no means, been a hardship. I love my family. I love my friends. That goes without saying. But, now, my first love, that other woman, has come back into my life, this time to stay (I hope). How in the world do I juggle this? I spent the first two weeks of November 2006 hunched over my keyboard, pounding out the last 160 pages of my first novel. I finished it in a fervor; red-eyed and hissing at my family when approached for things like OJ, snacks, and dinner. I resented every moment that took me away from my computer.

When the dust settled and I came up for air, I realized that this approach doesn't work. Not for me and certainly not for my family. I came up with a pretty good working plan: I will write every morning for two hours while my daughter is in school (provided that my three-year-old son isn't scaling the walls and/or poking his stubby little fingers into the fish’s eye sockets) and when I have dead time at work (I have a very good boss).

It's all good in theory. But, as I walk by my desk, a laundry basket glued to my hip, I stare longingly at the square, flat screen. At the boxy keys that sound like heaven as I run my fingers over them, tapping out a melody my heart and soul recognizes. I begin to pant. A flush creeps its way up my throat. I can literally feel the power that sings through my fingers as I pour my soul out onto the page.

“Come on,” it taunts. “Just for a minute. Nobody will notice. Barney is on. The boy is fine. You know you want to.” I have no self-control. I smoke, I eat things that I know I'm not supposed to. I drink too much coffee. How can I possibly resist the power of this machine who holds me captive? I sit down, running my fingers lasciviously across the screen. Stop! a part of me screams. Once you start, the world will cease to exist!

And this is a bad thing?

In the end, the temptation passes. Why? One word: REVISIONS.

J.K.: Everyone say thank you to Jenny for joining us today. That was an awesome blog! Before she goes, she's going to share a teaser of her new release, The Truth About Roxy, available November 7 from the Wild Rose Press, and she'll be back and forth to reply to any comments. Thanks Jenny!


Roxy Palmer is a walking, breathing cliché. And darned tired of it.

Working as the assistant librarian in her small, Southern home town, Roxy also anonymously pens the local love column, Ask Paula Rockwell— Thorton , Georgia 's answer to Dear Abby.

But when the door leading to Roxy's lifetime dream is slammed in her face by one of the good ol' boys, Roxy brings out the big guns--and turns the genteel town upside down with her racier, feminist, home-wrecking new format.

Paula Rockwell is making Sheriff Noah Kennedy's life crazy. He's got angry husbands lined around the block, demanding the cancellation of the column, fights breaking out and women catching their boyfriends' trucks on fire. If he ever gets his hands on that woman…

But he's got his hands full of Roxy at the moment, and if he ever discovers the truth about Roxy, all hell will break loose.


In the course of one weekend, women had become the bane of Noah’s existence.

He was beyond pissed; he was downright fuming. Between Roxy and Mary Lou’s little excursion to Atlanta and his conversation with Joe this morning, he wanted to rip something, anything apart. With his goddamn bare hands. And teeth.

To compound matters, he had just gotten out of a meeting with Merle Granger, who wanted to know if Noah could do anything about The Gazette and the Paula Rockwell column. Never mind Bobbie Townsend had the First Amendment backing her civil liberties.

He had a nasty headache and a raging case of lust that a twelve-pack of beer and two hundred miles hadn’t been able to put a dent in. He couldn’t yell at Mary Lou, because one look at her face this morning had sent him back the way he’d come.

Well, he would damn well deal with one of them. Noah stormed through the glass doors of the library. His manners abandoned him, a testament to his state of mind, as he failed to remove his Stetson. He scanned the circulation desk for the librarian who was causing mutiny in his body and…heart—no, mind.

“Can I help you, Sheriff?” Alice Monroe asked.

“I’m looking for Roxy.”

“She’s re-shelving books in non-fiction.”

He didn’t have a clue where non-fiction was, but damned if he’d ask. In his current mood, he might unload on the head librarian and get himself banned, Sheriff or no.

It took him under a minute to find her. She stood at the end of the 800’s, a book in her hand, her eyes on the top shelf.

She wore one of those God-awful jumpers, and she had done something to her hair. It floated down her back in sable and crimson waves, and the sides were clipped back by some metal contraption. He felt a wave of unwelcome lust punch him square in the groin. He tried to focus on the shapeless dress she wore, but now he knew what she hid under it.

Soft, pink skin, gorgeous curves and one amazingly perfect ass.

His groin tightened again, irritating him further. He wasn’t supposed to have these feelings for Roxy. Damn it, he wanted things back the way they were. As if she had put some sort of spell on him, bewitching him with her sexy body, he charged forward, ready to give her hell. She’d caused this. If she hadn’t…

What, Kennedy? Taken a shower in her own house? Hell, he was more pissed off at himself. For his reaction to her, and her lack of reaction to him. He’d never been in this place before. Women always chased him. All he’d ever had to do was sit back and wait to be caught.

It was unsettling to be the pursuer this time.

Roxy looked up as he approached, her lush mouth forming a little “O” of surprise. He swore she flushed just a little before looking back down at the cart of books she was shelving.

Satisfied he affected her on some level, he stalked toward her. “I need to talk to you.”

“Really?” she asked. “Well, it’s a good thing you caught me then. I’m awful hard to track down.”

Noah narrowed his eyes. Was she making fun of him? He closed the distance between them, looking hard into her wide green eyes. “You’re damned lucky I’m the law ‘round here, Roxanne.”

In a purely female move, she tilted her head back and fluttered her eyelashes. “Why, Sheriff, I had no idea.”

With frustration and lust dueling inside him, he grabbed her arm and pulled her body flush against him. Her soft, heavy breasts pushed against his chest, and he went from semi to full salute instantly. “I ought to haul your ass into lockup to teach you a lesson.”

All teasing fled. The shallow breaths she dragged into her lungs, and the flush that worked up her pretty neck were all Roxy. Unable to control himself, he pushed her against the metal bookshelf, widening his thighs to cradle hers.

“Noah,” she whispered.

She’d have to be dead from the waist down not feel how she affected him. While the rational part of his brain screamed This is Roxy!, the wild beast straining to break free looked down into her face, into eyes gone emerald with lust, and smiled.

This is Roxy.

Jenny began writing at the age of twelve, when she realized the voices talking in her head were characters, not a result of pre-teen induced psychosis. She’s been writing on and off for almost twenty years, but actively pursuing publication for the last three. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. She is the author of four novels. Jenny loves to hear from her readers. You can visit her at


Tamela Quijas said...

I've been following the progress of Roxy's story the past few weeks and I am thoroughly intrigued. I can't wait for the book to come out and read what situations the woman gets into. She sounds tantilizing and oh, so very human.

On a lighter note, as a fellow author, I understand the draw of the computer and the need to write. There is a point where, no matter how hard one tries, there is that story lurking deep within each one of us that begs---no, it pleads with the sultry dark tones of a lover---that it MUST be written. We forsake all others, without intent, for the siren song of the tale that unravels within our minds that longs to be nutured, loved and shared with others.

Kudos to you, Jennie, for allowing us a window into your story.

Jenny Gilliam said...

Thanks for the kudos, Tam! You're comment was rife with beautiful prose. I appreciate the note. I loved writing TTAR; it's one of my favorites.


Lesli Richardson said...

Great post, Jenny! I just blogged about a similar topic, what makes a "real" writer on the Lyrical Press blog.

Sometimes we just have to slip those moments in where we can, and even if we're not putting words to the page, as long as we're still in "writer" mode, like analyzing what we read with a writer's eye, composing scenes in our head, boning up on writing-related information, it's all still contributing to our "writing" even if we're not in the process of feloniously assaulting our keyboard in a lascivious manner. *G*


Lesli Richardson said...

OH...and I meant to say you cannot count coffee/caffeine as a vice.

Sorry, it's a necessity. *LOL*


Jenny Gilliam said...

You're right, Lesli. Caffine is definitely a necessity. I cannot function without it. You should see the amount of coffee and diet Mountain Dew I consume.


J.K. Coi said...

Hi Jenny! Thanks for joining me today and congratulations on your new release.

I can totally relate to the "have to write" syndrome, as I'm similarly afflicted. But it's who I am and I go with it. There are times I try to hold it all back because I've been seriously neglecting my family, but I'll still be carrying around a pad of paper.

J.K. Coi said...

Thank you Tamela and Lesli for dropping by today!

Jenny Gilliam said...

Big thanks to you, J.K., for having me! I, too, carry around a notebook so I can write down ideas, scenes, etc.

Stormy Glenn said...

Hey Jenny, having six kids myself, I fully understand your delimia. When do I write? Inbewteen laundry loads? After running errands? What if I stay up till 4am (happens often). You basically said it all.

I have Saterdays, though. Husband is at work, kids are doing whatever kids do. I lock myself in my bedroom with my iced vanilla mocha and type all day long on my laptop. Kids know to leave me alone. Husband knows to leave me alone. Friends know to leave me alone. One day a week... it feeds the need.
Thanks for the article. It was great. Glad to know I'm not the only one.


Shelley Munro said...

Jenny - Roxy's story sounds intriguing. I resisted the siren lure of writing until I woke up one morning and decided I'd run out of time if I didn't start soon. Sometimes we just have to bite the bullet and do stuff for ourselves. :)

Jenny Gilliam said...

Wow, Stormy, six kids! My hat goes off to you. Thanks for the great comment; it meant a lot to me.

Shelly, you're totally right about doing things for ourselves. And why is it that when we do, we feel guilty? Or am I the only one?

J.K. Coi said...

Wow Stormy. That's all I can say.
Oh, that and...I can't wait for your visit tomorrow LOL :)

And no, Jenny you're not the only one. I just had a conversation about this very thing with someone else today.