Friday, January 29, 2016

Straight Chatting from the Library: Jenny Schwartz

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jenny Schwartz will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Ten Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

1. Write every day.

2. Don’t feel guilty when life stops you writing one day. Question why you’re not writing when you don’t write for more than three consecutive days.

3. Remove adverbs, but keep those you really love. Adverbs are not the enemy, but they can be a sign that you’re not showing what a person is doing as strongly as you could be. Quick example, first with adverb, then without.

“No!” he said angrily.
“No!” He struck the wall with his fist.

4. Sometimes it’s okay to tell the reader what’s happening, rather than always living the mantra, “show don’t tell”. Transitioning between scenes might be one reason. But on the whole, as an author, this is a mantra to live by. I’m telling you!

5. If you can slip some humour into your work, go for it. We all need humour, and you’re probably funnier than you think you are.

6. Take a risk now and then. I call them stretch projects. Sky Garden was my stretch project in 2015. I wanted to see if I could write an 80,000 word novel and what it would take. Turns out, it was a fantastic experience and I learned loads about plotting.

7. Find a critique partner. I used to debate this one. Do you need a CP or don’t you? Having lucked out with my CP, Eliza Redgold, I thoroughly recommend hunting down a great CP – but you can’t have mine! A good CP gets what you’re trying to do, and helps you do it. Yes, they can clear that muddle in the plot so that your editor never realises it was there.

8. Value and contribute to the supportive, enthusiastic author-reader-book community out there. It’ll get you through the tough times, and maybe, you’ll help someone else through their tough time.

9. Remember that the story trumps everything. Trust your instincts in crafting it. Word choice, grammar, punctuation. Everything can be fixed, and sometimes readers won’t even notice those flaws, if the story grips. What makes a story grip? Characters and conflict. We have to care about your characters and fear that they can never reach their goal (and we have to want that goal as much as they do).

10. This final tip might only be true for me, but if you have writer’s block, it is for one of two reasons: something non-writing related is compelling your attention instead (work, health, family, etc.); or, you’ve written your story into a dead-end alley. With the latter reason stop, backtrack and fix that plot snarl. Writer’s block is actually an alert to something.

One final thing, enjoy your writing journey!


On the rooftops of London, you can be anyone.

A year ago, Lanie Briers escaped a serial killer. She grew up in a theatre family and her act was mediumship, but not anymore. Life, now, is a hidden retreat above a quirky Bloomsbury museum, where she waits and watches.

Nick Tawes is an unexpected intrusion. He's a landscape architect filming a television series on roof gardens, and he intends to build one in Lanie's aerial territory. He has his own demons, old family troubles, that lure Lanie out of her refuge and into living again.

But as summer progresses and the sky garden grows, Lanie's enemy is closing in--because some secrets must go to the grave.


Stories fed identity—and changed it.

Lanie had used stories to shock and survive. She’d used them carefully, crafting her old stage act of mediumship to draw out people’s stories and reflect them, eliciting gasps of awe at her insight. Magic, went the murmur. But it wasn’t magic. They were the same tricks conmen used.

And she’d used those tricks brutally, as the one weapon left to her. Survival had cost her the joy of performing.

But that was the past. She forced the memories away. Here was safe harbor, the library that was a sea captain’s final berth. A fantasy, but a comforting one.

She was searching for a spy glass to add to the photos she’d take when the electronic beep from the front door signaled the entrance of a visitor.


A tug at her jacket and a pat to her hair—Good, the chignon doesn’t wobble—and she was ready to perform.


Bio: Jenny Schwartz is a hopeful romantic with a degree in Sociology and History — people watching and digging into the past. She lives in Western Australia and is working towards her dream of living by the sea. Jenny writes romantic suspense, as well as contemporary and paranormal romance.


Amazon buy-link for “Sky Garden”:

“Sky Garden” will be $0.99 during this tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. What character in a book would you like to sucker punch in the face?

    1. Mai, what a question! Hmm... well, the villain of SKY GARDEN, but if I mention him I'll -- oh, I know! there's a journalist towards the end of the book whom Nick wants to punch. I'd join Nick! such an annoying guy -- and I wrote him! Oops :) Sometimes characters are definitely fictional, but this guy is realistically annoying!

  2. Hi Judith and everyone! thanks so much for the chance to visit. I hope my ten writing tips help someone -- and if you have any tips for me, any hard-earned writing lessons, I'd love to hear them!

  3. Nice tips!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Exciting sounding story. I really love the excerpt.

  5. Sounds like great read! Entering under the name of Virginia

  6. I really enjoyed the guest blog, thank you for sharing, Jenny!

    1. Thanks, Betty! I hope you're having a lovely weekend :)

  7. What great tips! Another one that I'll add is, read your story out loud, see how it flows. Good luck with the tour.

    1. That's an excellent tip! Some people have used the read-aloud feature on their kindle, so they could listen.

    2. Thanks for dropping in and the good wishes, ELF :)

  8. Enjoyed the guest blog and the excerpt, sounds like a terrific read, thanks for sharing!

  9. Great Tips! I also enjoyed the excerpt. I can't wait to read more. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Ree Dee! I'm so glad you're enjoying the Sky Garden tour :)