Jesse Hayworth
Jesse Hayworth

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Jesse Hayworth

sc-chalk-outline

Look at this poor guy. If he were a chalk outline, he’d be the opening scene for an episode of Criminal Minds. As it is, he’s currently lying on my living room floor.

Four-plus years ago, when I joined the Jaunty Quills, he looked like this.

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(Original: cowboy78401.jpg)

Okay, not exactly, but it was close. Having picked him (the doll, I mean) up at the local thrift shop, I made him the star of a series of funny toy “photoshoots” I put together—with captions—to promote the first of my Mustang Ridge books. (Of course I can’t find the darned things now. Too many computers in the past, I guess…)

Look at him, all sassy and shirtless (no, Autocorrect, I don’t mean mummified, thankyouverymuch) and smoldering. Yep, that was my Shirtless Cowboy back in the day, when I had deadlines and voices talking to me in my head, and I started every morning with a cup of tea, my computer, and the last thing I had written the night before.

We had some good times, the cowboy and I, promoting Summer at Mustang Ridge, then Winter at Mustang Ridge. After that, though, I moved on to other promos, and the Shirtless Cowboy moved into a Rubbermaid container that was full of toys I had kept from childhood or acquired along the way. It was labeled, as are so many stories (and perhaps Rubbermaid containers, too): What If??

There he stayed for some time, while I wrote more books, more blogs, each word coming harder than the last because my life was changing—I was changing—and the industry, too.

Then, not too long ago, the shirtless cowboy made his return, in a very Toy Story fashion, when I opened up that What If box, and the kiddo who had come into being in the interim grabbed him and announced, “Cowboy ride bulldozer!”

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And so my Goodwill refugee turned romance novel model has returned to his roots and become once more the focus of a child’s imagination. As for me, I’m slowing down and narrowing my focus, too. Just as the Jaunty Quills are winding down, I’m stepping back from writing and turning my attention to other things.

I am proud of the books I have written and so very grateful for the friends I have made in the world of romance novels. I will always be a writer in my heart, but I don’t expect to have any books to promote for a while. And when I do return, I doubt I’ll be writing the same books as before, because I’m far from the same person I was.

I’ll look for you, though, my JauntyFriends, my ReaderFriends, and my WriterFriends, and hope that we’ll see each other then. Or, better yet, that we’ll cross paths in the worlds of other wonderful authors, and the books we all love.

Until then, you’ll be in my heart. I wish you all the best in life, love and books. As the shirtless cowboy would say: Ride on!

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Photo by Barry Watrous


Jesse Hayworth
Jesse Hayworth

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Jesse Hayworth

I think we’ve all had a moment or three where we’ve brushed up against a Famous (or Semi-Famous) Person of importance to us.

When I worked at a local feed store, I once waited on a profoundly stark-looking man with long dark hair and these crazy silver rings that looked oddly familiar. It took teenage me a few tries to place Joe Perry from Aerosmith … and I only stuttered a little when I took his grain order. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Same goes for the other members of the band, who all came in at one time or another.

I will also confess to totally and abjectly fangirling (I’m not even going to tell you what autocorrect wanted to make that into!) Connie Brockway at an RWA convention not that long ago. Because, Connie Brockway. If you haven’t read My Dearest Enemy, you must do so immediately.

I stared at the back of John Cleese’s head at a horse show at Madison Square Garden once, and I’m sure I’ve had a few other brushes that are currently eluding me. Which brings me to my husband.

Now, Arizona does pricing for a high-profile company that makes art-piece-level woodwork for the likes of Oprah and Sting, and he’s not generally struck with any particular “Ooh, aah” in that milieu. So it was highly entertaining when, as we were heading up the mountain at a bike park near us this past weekend, a random dude asks if he can jump on our lift chair with us, and strikes up a conversation about Arizona’s beloved, carefully built and much prized mountain bike: a Canfield Jedi. And then, about halfway up the mountain (after they’ve talked about turning radii and compression damping enough to make my eyes cross), introduces himself as Lance Canfield … aka the guy who engineered Arizona’s bike, and a top-notch rider in his own right.

I may never again see my stoic, manly man of a husband close to tongue-tied, so you can bet I enjoyed the moment. And to give him credit, he was totally cool and genuine about being a fan, and then got back to the technical questions. Because, Arizona.

How about you, JauntyFriends? What is your favorite brush-with-fame story? Was it an author? An actor? Something else entirely? I’m curious as to what hits each of our “squee!” buttons.


The other night my husband, who I call Ultimate Sportsfan (USF), and I turned off baseball and turned on a new documentary about romance writers and readers. Have you seen Love Between the Covers? It’s on iTunes and Amazon, and I’d seen clips of it, but I hadn’t had a chance to watch the whole thing. I really enjoyed it. It’s always interesting to hear about other authors’ experiences and paths to publication.

Check out the trailer (at the end is my editor and the owner of my publisher, Sourcebooks).

Love Between the Covers – Official Trailer from Laurie Kahn on Vimeo.

 
USF found them movie interesting because it was an inside look into the romance genre. He sees a lot of the inside of the industry, but he only sees it from my perspective. This documentary widened his field of vision a bit.

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My favorite part of the movie was the interviews with the romance readers. They’re the true stars of romance. In a sense, we’re all readers, and it’s amazing how books can change and affect our lives so completely.
 
My other favorite part was watching interviews with two of my friends here at the Jaunty Quills! Jesse and Kristan were both featured, and I think they both came off as very professional and insightful. I have a small cameo in the movie. I’m signing behind one of the authors the cameraman is filming meeting readers. I only saw it because I recognized the dress I was wearing.
 
So that’s the exciting story of my motion picture debut!
 
Have you ever been in a movie? If not, what’s the best film you’ve seen lately? One person who comments will win a tote bag filled with an assortment of romances! **Winner chosen randomly and notified on Sunday. Sorry, only open to readers with a U.S. address because those books are heavy.

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You’ll have to watch the movie to see Kristan and Jesse and to spot my cameo, but here’s an extra I enjoyed.

Why explore popular romance? from Laurie Kahn on Vimeo.


Jesse Hayworth
Jesse Hayworth

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Jesse Hayworth

As a writer, I try to avoid too much in the way of dialect. On a good day, I treat it like a pungent spice, adding just enough to flavor things, but not so much that it distracts from the other stuff that’s going on. On a not-so-good day … let’s just say that editing is my friend.

In TV and movies, I find that dialect can be jarring, especially when it’s done wrong. Like when supposed locals in a Boston-set crime drama talk about taking ‘the 95′ (we take ’95’) or ‘the Massachusetts Turnpike’ (it’s ‘da Pike’). Ahem. I’m looking at you, Rizzoli & Isles.

Closer to home, though, I’ve been getting my own object lesson in dialect, in the form of now year-and-a-half-old, horrifyingly verbal Wallaby. In other words–don’t say something if you don’t want it repeated!

Like the other day, when Arizona comes into the kitchen, looking quizzical. “Did he just say ‘corn on my crotch’?” And I blink innocently, hide the remains of kiddo’s lunch behind my back, and say, “Hm. Don’t know where that could have come from …”

Or when Wallaby says “Goodness sakes!” as his blocks collapse on him. (That’s straight from my mom, and makes me laugh every time I hear it.) Or, well, a few expletives that will remain deleted, and are currently being policed as best we can.

Then there’s the “Nope.” Yes, our son has gotten quite good at the “NO!” of toddlerhood, except that he picked up my version of the phrase. Which is somehow both more adorable and more annoying when you’re on the receiving end from your little cherub.

Me: Okay, dude. Five more minutes and it’s bye-bye playground!

Wallaby: Nope.

Me: That wasn’t an option.

Him: Op-shun. NOPE!

Yep. I’m in trouble, but laughing as the mad descent begins. It all makes me much more aware of language (his, mine, ours, the writing), and how we sound to ourselves and each other. Will it make me a better writer? I couldn’t say. But I have a feeling I’m going to get a whole lot more creative with my non-curses over the next few years.

So help me out, JauntyFriends. What’s your favorite non-curse curse, or out of the mouths of babes story?

 

 


Jesse Hayworth
Jesse Hayworth

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Jaunty Post, Jesse Hayworth

Okay JauntyFriends, it’s confession time. Last year, I published a Mustang Ridge novella about a (sexy, smart aleck) tech-savvy contractor who came into town to update the local library and wound up butting heads (and other things) with the (vibrant, headstrong) vintage store owner who wanted everything to stay the way it had always been. I loved the characters, loved the story, and loved the idea of a library that had seen better days getting a facelift that would keep it at the center of the small-but-growing town of Three Ridges.

So what’s the confession? Until a few months ago, I hadn’t been inside a public library since childhood. Junior high, maybe? High school?

I had fond memories, mind you. There was the big library my parents would take me to when I was very little. I can still picture where the Billy and Blaze books were shelved, still feel the excitement of checking out a microscope–an actual microscope, with glass slides and everything–for two weeks of examining everything from onion skins and pond water to the dust from under my bed. Then there was the library closer to our house, where my mom had to give permission for me to check out Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt books from the grown-up floor. And over the years, those slow-footed travels up and down the aisles to see what was new, what I hadn’t yet read.

I remember the smell of those libraries, the quiet, the fun of discovering a new author or book. But somewhere along the way, I got out of the habit. At first it was because college and grad school made libraries feel like work. Later, it was because I wanted to support my writer friends by buying their books. More recently, it was because … well, just because.

And then along came Wallaby, and the realizations that: a) board books are expensive; and b) board books can become bored books very quickly. So why not borrow instead of buying? As a bonus, I had become friends with one of our local librarians (shout out, Cathleen C!), who hosted a romance book club at the library and went on to join me and author-friend Gail Chianese (shout out, Gail!) at our local RWA chapter. As a more-or-less-well-disguised introvert, it helps when I know someone.

So off we went one morning to the big public library in the town next to ours, where we discovered (in no particular order, but lots of enthusiastic squeals): Trains! Puzzles (or ‘Puzz’)! Row-row (a toy boat)! Story hour! Baby art! Computer stations with toddler-friendly educational programs! Lots of super nice librarians! And, hey, BOOKS!

Suffice it to say that I’ve come back around full circle to being a huge library fan as I make wonderful new memories with my kiddo, much like the heroine of Starting Over at Mustang Ridge. And the other morning, when I asked almost year-and-a-half-old Wallaby whether he wanted to go to the library or playground, expecting an answer of either ‘Slides!’ or ‘Trains!’ he said loud and clear, ‘Li-brerry.’ And when he got there, he bypassed the trains to pick out his three new board books before doing anything else.

Thus, we hope, a new reader–and library user–emerges.

How about you? Did you haunt the library as a child? Did you visit one with your kids? Do you have one you love, or a favorite librarian you’d like to give a shout out? Tell us about them!

 


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