From Fighting Fires to Writing Romance With Lolo Paige & Mark Dawson


From Fighting Fires to Writing Romance (The Self Publishing Show, episode 266)

Story of the Writer: Janice M. Whiteaker



Janice M. Whiteaker



Ladies and gentlemen today we have a very special guest and fellow daytonian Janice M. Whiteaker. She’s is a mom and an author. I absolutely LOVE author moms. Being a parent is tough as it is, but then being a mom AND an author, adds a whole new dimension.

Everybody please welcome Janice! 

Welcome to the locomotion. Let’s begin!





Janice Whiteaker


Janice writes romances with a bit of suspense. One of her books, RUN is available now, and her new book OUT BAD is due on Amazon July 15th 2016. Here’s a peak at the covers.



RUN COVER 4-page-001




Her new book Out Bad, is available to pre-order and will be delivered wirelessly via Amazon July 15th. Check it out, I just pre-ordered!


out bad cover 2-page-001


Hi Janice!

It’s so nice to interview someone from my neck of the woods.

It’s great that you are a full-time mom and pursuing your dreams. I find that very inspiring.  Well, here it goes.

Are you originally from Dayton, Oh?

I am!  I was born at Kettering Medical Center and raised in Miamisburg.  Now, I live in Springboro which is where both my grandfather’s grew up.  One grandfather’s great-uncles actually helped found the city.

That’s awesome, I love Springboro. It’s a bustling area right now too. We frequent the urgent care center there. Lol!


Tell us a little about when you were a hairstylist.

I did hair for 15 years, most of them as a sole-proprietor.  I very much like to be in control of things (the same reason I self-publish) and it was a great fit for me.  I made my own hours and handled my own books.  The profession requires you to be a self-starter and I have found that to be very helpful experience when it comes to writing.

I admire anyone who can tackle self-publishing head on with its challenges. You also strike me as a go-getter. That’ll definitely work to your advantage.


YOU’RE A MOM! AWESOME! I love moms because they’re the hardest workers on the planet. Period. So what’s a typical day like at home?

Essentially, I make food, clean up food, make food, clean up food.  All.  Day.  Long.  Oh, and I try to keep the workplace injuries to a minimum.

I can relate to this all too well. Little eating machines aren’t they? It’s hard to believe human beings can be that messy. I’ve managed to keep that quality in adult life. *sigh* The workplace injuries MUST be kept to a minimum. Safety and fall prevention is part of my day job, I completely understand! Essentially we try to keep them fed, clean, and from killing each other. Fun!



Overworked and Multitasking
An overworked very busy multitasking author-mom under stress



Do you have any major hobbies you enjoy?

I actually have quite a few hobbies.  We own an RV, so we do quite a bit of traveling/camping.  I knit and crochet.  I also love gardening, the edible kind, and canning.  I’m pretty handy with power tools and love home renovation.  These hobbies rotate in importance since there’s only so many hours in a day.  Right now, we are in prime camping season so that is the major one.

Traveling is definitely a fun one. Not too outdoorsy, but I’ll go camping. It’s great you can work power tools. I’m jealous, sort of. Kind of mechanically declined. It’s hopeless.


What’s your genre? Why?

I write romance.  I love it.  Always have.  I love reading and writing about the complexities of love and relationships.  Plus, I’m a little bit sensitive so a book with a sad or upsetting ending will gnaw at me for a long time.  I like knowing the end of a book is going to be a happy one.  With romance, your odds of leaving the story with a smile on your face are pretty darn high.

It’s great you write what you love, love what you write. Makes a big difference. Youre readers are keen on this. I’m curious as to what you think a bad ending is though. 


Tell us about your upcoming book, Out Bad.

Right now I’m neck deep in editing a stand alone titled Out Bad.  It’s about a former motorcycle gang member trying to build a new life, one he hopes will attract a future wife.  He feels his past will make most women avoid him like the plague so he works hard to build a business and a beautiful home, hoping it will be enough to offset his misdeeds.  When he meets the woman he’s been looking for, it turns out the life he actually needs to help rebuild is hers, only in a very different way.

Your premise sounds very intriguing with lots of history. Can’t wait to read it!


1. You’re a writer; so what’s your story?What inspired you to take this journey?

Initially, it was simply to see if I could.  It’s probably odd, but I didn’t always write.  I didn’t always want to be a writer.  I have, however, always been a reader.  At a certain point, I was reading books by women just like me and I thought, I wonder if I could do this too?  So, I sat down and started writing.  Very quickly, I realized there was more to it than just writing.  That’s when I found K.M. Weiland’s books on structure and outlining.  I took some time, educated myself and then went back to work.  Right now I have one published book, one book in editing and another completed draft hanging out and I am deeply in love with what I’m doing.


Hey, you can’t go wrong with KM Weiland. Your story sounds very much like mine! The only difference was I didn’t read alot growing up (this didnt stop my rampant imagination) I did however fancy words a bit, kept a dictionary in my back pocket. Lots of TV and comics too.


2. What’s your GOAL (S) in becoming a writer?

I want each book I write to be better than the last.  I want my books to make people feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.  I want to write stories that stick with the reader long after they’ve finished, in a good way.  I want to keep people up at night, reading one more chapter.

Hmm. I like your focus here. You sound very passionate about what your doing. I love it! The profilic James Patterson said, one thing you can’t teach is passion. Every writer needs it, and you’ve got it. A+. 


3. What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

Well, my first issue was lack of knowledge.  I had to learn the basics before I made a big mess so that really slowed down my first book.  Now, my primary struggle is perfection.  I am constantly forcing myself to keep moving forward and not get hung up on one line.

Somehow I think we’re kin.


4. What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

I really like to push myself to progress.  I want to be the best I can be at everything I do, and writing is a great challenge in that aspect.  There is always something to learn, a skill to develop.

Very inspiring!  Writing will always teach you something new. Nature of the beast. Something of ourselves, characters, our writing process, the world, life etc. It’s the constant learning  that I love. You’ll find perfection in the process,  it comes included in the journey. 


5. What’s your main ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way of you accomplishing your goals?

This is going to totally ruin my chances at winning mother of the year, but as cute as my kids are, they are kind of energy and attention vampires.  Right now, my older son is dancing in his underwear, stabbing the television with a silk flower stem, repeating the dialogue to Pinky and the Brain at the top of his lungs.

You’re already Mom of the Year. Seriously, to your kids, your the BEST ever. That’s all they need. Nice visual.  All too familiar with underwear dancing, especially in front of the mirror before bedtime. Right when my patience is evaporated. They should make it into a sport.

We’ve got two mini-vampires aged 5 and 7. Not sure where their energy comes from, except sucked out of us. Hah! Actually we’ve got one Frankenstein, one Vampire. Adorable little cuties aren’t they?


~Every mom is a superhero to their children~



Author Momma



6. Why do writers give up, quit or abandon their dream?

Being a successful writer means different things to different people.  I would guess, most people want their books to be well received and make them some money.  Unfortunately, getting to that point is preceded by years of hard work with very little financial gain while you build a back list, a fan base, and an online presence.  It isn’t just about writing books anymore.  Now you have to build a brand while you write books.  Success involves strategy and business savvy, not only talent and creativity which can be more than a little overwhelming.

I love this answer, it’s so true!


7. What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up? Or perhaps to encourage other moms in your position?

I think it’s important to realize writing and publishing is a marathon.  You have to train for it and then keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Nice. Words if wisdom here. Definitely a marathon. Takes training, commitment, determination, pleasure and endurance. Well said.




BONUS: What are your favorite quotes?

“You can’t edit a blank page.” Nora Roberts

“If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.”  Margaret Atwood

You can also list a few of your favorite books, novels, or writing books.


Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing-Mignon Fogarty

Smarter Faster Better-Charles Duhigg

All the Writer’s Thesauruses by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi




Keep writing sister! 

God bless you and your family!

Benjamin Thomas




Story of the Writer: Danielle Rose






Featuring Danielle Rose


Welcome back folks for another session of the Story of the Writer series! Today we’ll be featuring romance novelist and owner of editing company Narrative InkDanielle Rose. If memory serves me correctly, I remember Danielle from the 2015 NaNoWriMo Wahoo!  To learn more about Danielle please check out her blog:


~Welcome aboard Danielle~

Glad you’re with us.

vintage locomotive

 Alright time for lift off, let’s get right to it….

Did something or someone influence you as a child to be a writer?

I consider myself to be a late bloomer. While I do remember writing stories as a child, I didn’t start taking my writing seriously until late-2009. At that point, I wrote on and off for several years, while pursing my education, until I started to publish in 2015. In 2008, I began reading religiously, which is what prompted me to write my Blood Books trilogy. After reading at least a hundred books, I couldn’t find, what I considered to be, the perfect story. So I wrote it.

I love your story! It seems that in your hunt for the perfect story, you had a great realization. You had to write it yourself. Epic. If you’d like to explore Danielle’s complete story on becoming a writer click here.  Quite fascinating. 

Where did you go to school and what was your major?

I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in English and certification in professional writing from the University of Wisconsin—Parkside. I then obtained my Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

That’s awesome! I’ve always admired the one’s who’ve actually studied this stuff in college. Flunked technical report writing with flying colors, whoo-hoo! Somehow giving presentations and speeches gave rise to panic attacks. Arrggh. Eventually passed it online. Whew. Got an A in creative writing though.

Obviously you’re a cheesehead, how many packer games have you been to? 

Hmm, honestly, I’m not sure. We have season tickets. I go to games every year, and when I can’t go, I watch the games on TV.

Would love to come to cheesehead country and go to a game. Supposedly I’m 49’ers fan, but they need some serious resuscitation. Somebody call the paramedics.

What’s it like being an editor?

It’s the second best job I’ve ever had. The first, of course, is being an author. Narrative Ink has a fantastic client base, and I’m honored to be trusted to edit their manuscripts.

Amazing. This must keep you pretty busy !

List your favorite writing books or novels.

Some of my favorite authors are Sylvia Day, Lauren Blakely, Meredith Wild, Chloe Neill, and Richelle Mead.  I collect books on the craft of writing, but it’s difficult to say which are my favorites. In a way, they’re all my favorites, because they’re all equally important. Some describe experiences, some give advice, and some discuss the basics. In my opinion, a good writer won’t turn away a good source. So I read and collect.

“a good writer won’t turn away a good source” YES, you hit the nail on the head with this one. Absolutely LOVE reading and collecting craft books. Can’t get enough of them!

What’s your concept of the perfect story? Have you written it? I’m curious as to how you came to search for such a story.

The idea of the “perfect” story is subjective. My idea of the perfect story changes constantly. It usually depends on the genre I’m writing. Sometimes, the perfect story depends on the right balance between action and romance. Other times, the perfect story depends on strong, dynamic characters and dialogue to drive the plot.
I always write the story I need to write, which in and of itself is the perfect story for me. However, I still believe I haven’t written my best work yet. In time, I hope I will.

Love you outlook on this. Your idea of the perfect story is constantly evolving with the right balance of particular elements. Whatever seems to meet the need at the moment.  “I always write the story I need to write.” This seems to resonate with me as well for some reason. Should print this out and stick it on my wall. 
You mainly write romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense? Are locked into this genre or will you branch out?

Yes, I mainly write romance (contemporary, suspense, paranormal, new adult, erotic, etc.), but I don’t limit myself. I have a horror short story published, too, and my paranormal romance trilogy, Blood Books, is heavily urban fantasy. There is just as much action (if not more than) as romance. I’d love to write psychological thrillers one day, too.

Psychological thrillers definitely sound like a must. I’d read it!  Here’s a short story by Danielle. 




Check it out: Daemon Academy: A Horror Short Story


Tell us about the Blood Books trilogy leading up to the final installment, Blood Promise, due to be released June 28th 2016.

My Blood Books trilogy follows the harrowing journey of Avah Taylor, a mortal witch in the midst of a centuries old war against the immortal vampire species. Avah’s intense journey is fueled by blood, sex, jealously, betrayal, murder, and revenge. This trilogy is meant for new adult/adult audiences.

I read a few pages into Blood Rose book and I can tell you’re a skilled writer. Your idea sounds well developed, crafted and flows well. Should be a great read!




Check it out: Blood Rose (Blood book 1)





Blood Magic (Blood Book 2)





Blood Promise (Blood Book 3)  Releases June 28, 2016!

Click here to add Blood Promise to your reading list on Goodreads.


At this stage in your career, what is your goal (s)?  (GOAL)

I have many short-term and long-term goals. I believe in the power of setting and reaching goals, so I always strive to add more to my list. I actually have a writing group (We formed our group after meeting in graduate school.), and we check-in with weekly goals. We also do daily writing sprints/stints, which are extremely helpful for writers who struggle with procrastination.

I’m finding that without goals nothing practical happens. Our dreams aren’t coming around knocking on our front door, we have to make it happen. 


Many of us see publication as the only lofty goal, but the lack vision afterwards.

Publication was definitely a long-term goal for me when I started writing in 2009. After achieving this goal in 2015, I updated my list. Some of my goals include publishing a certain number of books each year, perfecting my marketing plan, reaching a bestseller list, attending certain writing conventions as a signing author, and seeing my books on the shelves at major retailers. Honestly, my goals are similar to what most writers strive to achieve.

This is very specific. My goals are very short sighted like, finish my WIP. Not much of a planner so drumming up goals is work for me. I really like your mindset on this though. Maybe if I talk to enough planners it’ll rub off. Hah!

Do you have any major conflicts hindering you from attaining your goals? Once you’re published what’s the next hurdle? (CONFLICT)

I absolutely do. I think conflicts are the main reasons behind why these are goals and not reality. My biggest hurdle is reach. Without readers, I can’t do what I love, and I couldn’t obtain my goals/dreams. This is actually a common problem most writers face.

Very true. Somehow I believe you won’t have any trouble with this one. They’ll come with zombie fueled voracious eyeballs, trust me.

What keeps you motivated? (DESIRE)

Readers, my writing group, and bills. (Ha!)

That’s actually a good list!

What’s the main antagonist in your life or career?

I’m the main antagonist in my life. Like anyone, I can fall victim to my own self-doubt. In my opinion, the mind can be the biggest advantage or hindrance to writers.

This is all too true. We’re our own worst enemy. Every day is different and changes like the wind. Actually, our days are pretty much the same. The mind is what turns on a dime. Heads or tails? Who knows? The best thing we can do is show up every day and be consistent. 

You have your own editing company. What made you want start it?

Honestly, there’s no exciting story here. I have a strong background in editing, and I’ve always wanted to start my own business, be my own boss. I took some entrepreneurship courses in undergrad, so it was fairly easy to branch out and form my own LLC, Narrative Ink Editing.

That’s great Danielle. We’ll always need Samurai editors to slice and dice our manuscripts, for sure. 

As an editor, what are some of the major problems that affect writers and their careers?

In my opinion, self-doubt, shortcuts, and marketing are the three biggest problems writers are facing today.
Self-doubt: There is a fine line between self-doubt and self-pride, and many writers can’t walk that line without stepping over. Writers who experience self-doubt constantly question their writing. When this happens, the book rarely makes it to print.

Shortcuts: On that same note, self-pride can ruin a career. Having pride in your work is great, but at some point, you have to step aside and bring in professionals. Don’t take shortcuts. While you may believe you can do it all alone, the truth is, not everyone can be an editor or book designer or interior formatter or marketing guru. Writers who take shortcuts are hindering their growth. Readers judge books by the cover, design, and editing first. The plot comes second.

Marketing: Many writers believe they only need to write the book. Once it’s published, they can sit back and watch the sales come flying in. This is never the case. Even major authors, like Stephen King and Nicholas Sparks, have a marketing team to ensure the news of the impending release reaches readers. Sure, the name alone will sell the book, but marketing is still involved. Don’t sell yourself short. Invest in a good marketing plan.

I really appreciate the inside scoop on this. Writing and publishing books is only half the battle, while marketing is an oft forgotten element in the equation. The business side of writing is lacking with a lot of writers. Just taking up writing a novel is a huge endeavor, but the business side of matters is another animal altogether.

What made you want to switch from pre-law to English and creative writing?

I was actually pre-med first. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a doctor. I was never the kid in class who said she wanted to be a princess. But after my first year of pre-med, I knew that wasn’t the right route for me, so I switched to pre-law and changed my major from biology to English. That’s when I fell in love with literature and the written word.

This is so fascinating. I’m so glad you found it! 

Having studied writing in college, what top 3-5 things did you learn about the craft?

The biggest lesson I learned in college was how to write. I first learned the rules of writing. I learned the technical skills, like spotting dangling modifiers and proper placement of punctuation. And then I learned how to break the rules to discover my own style.

I long for the day when I  discover my own style. Guess you have to learn the box first before you can think outside it right?

What writing books do you highly recommend?

I have never come across a writing book that I wouldn’t recommend. I believe writers should read as many as they can get their hands on. I collect books on writing and reread when I have time. Some of the books sitting on my shelves are Stephen King’s On Writing, Carol Fisher Saller’s The Subversive Copyeditor, Caroline Taggart and J.A. Wines’ My Grammar and I… Or Should That Be Me?, and William Zinsser’s On Writing Well.

I have a couple that you mentioned here. The others I’ll have to look into!  Thanks for the pic.


13219926_10153705096847857_234162316_n (1)


If permissible, can you tell us about some of your clients you helped at Narrative Ink?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with immensely talented authors, who continue to surprise me with their stories. I’ve recently edited manuscripts by Rachel Amphlett, Jackie Parry, and Liam Saville. I’ve also worked with Andrea Cefalo, Taylor Lavati, Margaret Bucklew, and Matt Jordan.


Thanks so much Danielle for joining us! Please come again, and if you’ll recommend anyone for an interview let me know.


This is the Writing Train signing off. Happy reading and writing everyone! 

~A writer is a world trapped in a person~

-Victor Hugo









Benjamin Thomas




Wretched Dirge



DSC_2229 (1)


His eyes uttered ardent desires

Her countenance replied in like kind

His heart fluttered in boiled frenzy

Her thoughts happily screamed he’s mine

His lips quivered a weighty “I do”

Her ring glimmered wet with shine

His hands were faithful and steady too

Her affection kept him in line

In time their love played a different tune

His eyes betrayed him for her friend

She sang a broken wretched dirge

with unknown words stark and grim

Her squelched love well spent sang

What the hell is wrong with men?





Passion of the Black Hole

black hole


Nothing could escape…

No particle, matter

light, or shape.

Her gravitation field

was far too great;

subduing all resistance.

All I could do was wait,

until I was fully taken

by her attraction.

Benjamin Thomas



Her eyes
The very fabric
Of the mind
Our eyes

Her soul
Into mine
Let them





Her countenance was sweet

and her lure was pure magic.

Unflickering eyes of pearl held steady,

streaming love in steady gaze,

spread wild like rolling spring blossom.

Its leaves giddily unfurled, elegantly creased

thoroughly unbound  and happily released.


Then fear  viciously flooded

chambers in the heart,

draining down to the veins.

The lines were drawn, but the facts still remained.

All vicious schemes were irrelevant 

for the attraction was extreme.

All barriers disintegrated

in the reality of their dream.

Written for the Sunday Whirl

Benjamin Thomas