Ginger, I’m very happy to meet your readers here and let them know a little bit about myself. I’m Janie Franz, and I come from a long line of liars and storytellers. I had an uncle who couldn't read or write, but the man could spin a yarn. When we'd go visiting when I was a child, the women would be in the kitchen, talking about who had affairs with who and showing each other their operation scars. I found that to be so boring and really depressing. The women were so solemn. I'd always slip into the living room where the men were and sit behind my uncle's big chair and listen to his stories about fishing and hunting and mountain “haints.” His stories were funny and full of mountain expressions---and the men laughed so hard! And they weren't sharing around any moonshine either!
Though I began writing short fiction as a child, I never aspired to have anything in print until I took a creative writing course in high school and my teacher wanted us all to get something published before the school year ended. I was the person who was supposed to be specializing in fiction, but the first piece I sold was an essay. Later, I sold a couple of poems. Perhaps it was a portent of things to come.
When we moved to North Dakota, I thought I’d become a stay-at-home wife and write. Well, children came and that writing dream was put aside. When my children were small, I sent out a story or two, but no acceptances. I did receive a couple of handwritten rejections and once got a second read from Redbook. Those stories went into a drawer.
Then in 2000, I started a full-time freelance writing business, handling all manner of magazine and newspaper articles as well as special projects such as chapters in medical encyclopedias and in organic gardening books. Sometimes, I’d take on an editing job such as preparing a dissertation or an academic article for publication. I even co-wrote two how-to wedding books with Texas wedding DJ Bill Cox.
As I built my freelance writing business, I couldn’t take time for fiction because I needed to make money and I also knew just how consuming writing fiction could be. As my business became stable, I thought that I might make some time again for it.
Last year, at the Muse Online Writers Conference, Lea Schizas, who runs the conference, asked for attendees to send in book pitches. I had a couple of novels in a drawer that I was just beginning to do some substantive editing for and I had some short fiction. I didn’t have any longer work polished to the point that I could pitch it. After the deadline for pitches came and went, Lea asked us to see if we could help fill in the few openings she had. I looked at the publishers’ guidelines again. I wanted to help Lea out so that she would be able to offer pitches again at the next conference. There were a few of the publishers that took shorter works so I sent in two and got a slot for each of my pitches.
The second pitch was for Breathless Press, and they asked me to send my work to them. That was The Bowdancer, which was a novelette at the time. They liked it, sent me a contract, and the work grew into a novella through the editing process.
I like to think that an act of kindness got me published.
Today I have two books published in The Bowdancer Saga with Breathless Press and a third, Warrior Woman, coming out in November.
When Lea Schizas started Muse It Up Publishing, I sent her a few of the books I had finally polished. I currently have three books currently under contract with Muse It Up. One is in their mainstream division, Muse It Up, and two others are in their Muse It Hot! division.
Ruins: Discovery will be the first book I’ll have with Muse It Hot! and it will be released April 1, 2011. Part of a trilogy, it follows the adventures of anthropology grad student Kate Ferguson, who studying the connections between Aztec/Mayans and native cultures in Arizona when she meets architect Paul Rodriguez. Embracing ties with the Hispanic culture and a maverick native group that is supposed to be older than other Arizona peoples, Paul is haunted by more than trying to reconcile his mixed heritage. He has deserted his position as shaman and leader of his people because of the group’s use of blood sacrifice. Kate has her own secrets. One is her gift of psychometry (being able to read psychic impressions left in objects) and the fact that she’s still a virgin. As Paul’s enemies draw nearer, Kate becomes embroiled in a power struggle between Paul and his twin sister Mala for the leadership of his people. Kate must learn to trust Paul, not only with her body, but with her very life. Can she really do that?
Two other volumes, Ruins: Artifacts and Ruins: Legacy, are waiting approval.
In addition, Sugar Magnolia, a contemporary romance about the music industry will be out in July, and The Premier, another contemporary romance about Hollywood will be out in November 2011.
I also have a few other ideas for a paranormal mystery series, a sci-fi timewarp novel, and a YA book. Oh, and please do stop by my website.