Monday, March 11, 2013

Guest Author: J. A. Dennam


Today I would like to introduce you to our first guest J. A. Dennam author of TRUTH AND HUMILITY, FLESH OF ANGELS, and FLESH OF THE FATHER, now represented by the Corvisiero Literary Agency. She is starting off our tour by sharing with us her experience with editing, or lack thereof, in this very honest and refreshing post. 

I am almost afraid to read my first book. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read it a million times. I know it’s good. Awesome, even. I’ve self-published all three of my novels, but our budget didn’t allow for professional edits, book covers, interior design or digital formatting. I did it all myself for free without even the benefit of a critique group. I was very much alone in this and treated the whole thing like a fun, obsessive-compulsive hobby. I never even considered that there were a bunch of rules to write by...

My first wake-up call came when my latest novel, TRUTH AND HUMILITY, was professionally edited. At 112K words, it seemed short to me considering the length of my other two novels. But I was asked to shave off at least 23K words in order to make it a desirable length. Wow. It was tough, time consuming, heartbreaking… but do-able. Now, if I were to do the same to my first novel I would be required to shed 100K words! That’s over half the book! Yes, FLESH OF ANGELS is an out-of-control beast of 188K words, but all I could think of was those four-inch thick epic tales I loved to lose myself in.

The second wake-up call – POV. You mean you can’t hear anyone else’s thoughts besides the H&H? Not anyone, even that most loveable, cool guy who has so much to contribute to the story? Since even my random blind date had a POV, this was almost harder to fix than the word count. Why didn’t I notice that when reading other books, I wonder? I do now!
While the thought of tackling my other novels in the same way sends chills down my spine, I am most anxious to start my next story armed with this knowledge. It feels good to know I’m not alone anymore, to be able to gather valuable input from my beloved writing community, now that I have chosen this as a full-time career. 

Since TRUTH AND HUMILITY has been fine-tuned, it is ready and waiting for mass market. It is a Romeo-and-Juliette sort of tale about two people from feuding families who find forbidden love while facing incredible odds, but with a happier ending. You can read all about it on Amazon.

When it comes to blood, Danny Bennett will do anything to protect her family, especially from the enemy Cahill clan.  But she realizes just how dangerous Austin Cahill – her brother, Derek’s, accuser and most hated foe – can be when she is forced to succumb to his anger, his command... and finally, his passion.  Can she protect her brother from Austin’s wrath?  Or is she only fueling the fire?

I am a wife and mother of four children. I am an artist, motorcycle enthusiast, baker of pies and problem solver. In order to find time to write, just like painting, I do it in the middle of all the chaos. I sit here in my kitchen, typing this while my son flies his Lego jet-plane creation around my head. Perhaps this is why it’s so easy for me to write about chaos. Thanks to the success of TRUTH AND HUMILITY, and to my agent, Marisa, I am now able to justify this obsessive compulsion of mine. My next highly anticipated project is the companion novel to T&H. Stay tuned, especially those of you who fell in love with the characters…

We give thanks to J. A. Dennam for participating in this tour and wish her many many successes! I know that she continue to make them. 

I hope that you enjoyed this post. I was so glad when she presented this to me because I can't emphasize the important of editing enough. There are several other posts in this blog about editing and word count I hope that you take a look at them and that you come back tomorrow to meet the next guest. 

Happy Writing! 


  1. Personal lessons in writing make the best blogs because we've all made, or will make, the same mistakes. Thank you for sharing. I loved your blog...Dean

  2. I love your wrist style including the varied change of view points. Plus, you write one hot sex scene! I think I released a, "Hot Damn! " or two during T&H. ;-) Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. You're books make me blush in the best way possible. Thanks for sharing your story!

  4. Totally agree with Dean--we all have made, or will make, a lot of the same mistakes. I have my own list of things I still shudder over. I am sure there are tons more waiting for me to learn about--and shudder over. Thanks for sharing! <3

  5. I tried the self-publishing route in much the same manner as you and cringed as the reviews came in. "great stories, but bad editing and crazy fonts made them hard to read." I was skewered in a couple. So hard to read. But you are right, only having the shortcomings illuminated awakened me to their importance. Thanks for this post!

  6. Shaving words is so tough. They're like my kids. I love them dearly, and can't bear to watch them get on the school bus and go away.

  7. You go, girlfriend! I love reading your books and wait impatiently for more. You are making all of your dreams come true and by proxy mine also. I can't wait to purchase the edited books and put them side by side on the book shelf.

  8. This is an interesting read about publishing a book. Well I learned a lot from it, that editing counts a lot to create a professional work.