Today, I’m happy to host Jean Shorney and her newly released book Progeny of a Killer. Take it away, Jean!

Overloading Plots and Tangents

PROGENY BCWithout the steadying influence of my proofreader, I can become a wayward writer. That is I tend to write everything that pops into my head. I go off on tangents. For example Progeny Of A Killer began life as two stories (and two different genres). Basically the book was intended to be a terrorism thriller, which is what it became. Thoroughly focussed on that one theme, but there was so much other stuff going on in Aidan McRaney’s life. His problems with his young bride. Her insecurities that all the women he had previously dated were tall, sexy redheads or sophisticated blondes. Whereas Caitlan was short, with mousy dark hair, and barely twenty when he fell in love with her. Her hang-ups lead her, beneath the jealous influence of one of her husband’s ex girlfriend’s, to try and change her appearance, much to Aidan’s disdain.

So I needed to combat this. The novel was either a thriller or a Romance. There was only one option left to me. The novel needed to ‘rest’. ‘Progeny’ did just that. I left the draft alone for four months until I was ready to try again. This time I was ready to prune. Progeny Of A Killer became a terrorism thriller, with Aidan McRaney working for the underground Agency, infiltrating fellow Irishman Danny Corrigan’s lair.

Overloading plots are another problem for me. While writing one novel, other ideas spring up and I have difficulty keeping them in. The resting period helps, but there is nothing worse, than getting halfway through a story and you really want to start another. Should the time come when you have to force yourself to continue, then you need to either rest your book, or give up the story altogether.

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Your book maybe your baby. You’ve spent  solitary hours writing it, but your best friend has to be a good proofreader/editor. There are some bad ones out there, who’ll charge you a fortune for their services. I was once charged over a thousand pound for a forty chapter book only to be told the editing was bad. Let’s just say I trust my proofreader more than I trust myself.

Coping with Rejection.

I was far more anxious at being rejected by a publisher than ever being rejected by a man. Let’s face it, the baby you’ve nurtured and loved those past few weeks/months/years, is finally sent into the outside world (well, at least in the form of an enquiry letter and three sample chapters). What about those enquiry letters hey? One I sent a few years ago, was discovered two years later, and replied to only after they moved offices. I did however succeed in grabbing the attention of an agent, which I’ll enter into more in the post on My Writing Journey. 

So how did I cope with knowing my  novel might have landed on the slush pile, was used to swat a persistent fly, or did not  fit into their lists?

I cried buckets. What else? But I was reminded of  the old song ‘Brush yourself off and start all over  again’. Like falling off a bicycle or a horse, you climb back into the saddle, while a few tears never go amiss.

Rejection doesn’t have to mean failure. Apparently Kathryn Stockett, who wrote ‘The Help’ now a major film, was rejected one hundred times. J.K. Rowling rejected fifteen times. The crime writer Raymond Chandler practically two hundred. Do we have that much patience? Thank God for self-publishing. So there are good independent books and bad ones but, it’s fair to say, I’ve read some traditionally published books that should have been put to better use in swatting the office fly than placed in a bookstore.

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A short word on Self-Publishing and Marketing:

Although we are unfortunately swamped with the world, his wife and his cat, writing books, with the advent of self-publishing, at least we are all in with the same chances. The hardest part of course is marketing. Letting the world know we exist. A good, and I stress a good, publicist will help of course. This was certainly true for me, when sales of ‘Progeny‘ really skyrocketed in the wake of the e-book release. But there are some exploitive so-called publicists whose only interest is charging you six grand for a package that you know will never be recompensed in book sales.

Social  Media is an excellent platform, but blowing your own trumpet, as it were, too often can irritate rather than attract. Creating a web site is also an excellent vehicle for attracting people to your existence. Whichever way you do it, if you have a strong enough voice, folk will listen and (hopefully) buy your books.

Author PhotoAuthor Bio:

I live in a country village called Thatcham, in rural Berkshire, England. I am a widow with two sons and a granddaughter. My granddaughter also writes and is training to be a dance choreographer.  I love music, especially old Country, as I have since I was a child. I enjoy listening to Irish Country music, which I also write to. When I’m not writing, I work in a care home for the elderly with dementia. I enjoy watching movies and collect old gangster and horror films. I once owned over two hundred and fifty books on supernatural accounts, but was compelled to give them to charity shops as I had run out of room.

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I own over five hundred movies, and enjoy old anthology series such as The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. My favourite writers are Elliott O’Donnell, Robert Bloch, MR James and HP Lovecraft. I also enjoy the Irish terrorism thrillers of Jack Higgins.

I would like to post an acknowledgement to the lovely Helen Treharne, @Tea_Talks on # Twitter for recommending  Rave Reviews Book Club, and for her continued support.  She’s read all my books to date. Bless her.

Link to Blog:

Twitter: @jmshorney



Barnes & Noble:

Progeny Of A Killer


Barnes & Noble:

This tour sponsored by


Thanks for 4WillsPublishing for presenting the tour and Jean Shorney for sharing her latest book. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process.

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  1. Jean, I thoroughly enjoyed the thoughts you shared about the importance of editing and marketing. I often wish I had studied marketing at university! Good luck on the rest of your tour. Thanks for hosting, PH!

  2. A good editor is key to ensuring a great read – treasure them whenever/wherever you find them!

    Great stuff Jean – and thanks for having us over PH 😀

  3. Thanks for another great and informative post, Jean! I am enjoying following you around this week, and learning more about you 🙂 Good luck with you tour and everything else 🙂

    PH, thanks for hosting Jean today 🙂

  4. P. H., you are the go to guy this week. I really enjoyed Jean’s post. I believe we are both scheduled for an author event tomorrow, so I’ll get to talk to her. (If I can figure out where it is and how to log in.)

    1. I’m more than happy to lend a hand this week. If you can still type after this busy week you should be fine for the log in tomorrow, just get some sleep and you’ll find your way there with some help from your muse!

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