Kicking it to the Curb: Deb Joanne Style

This week’s theme is ‘Leaving it—when it’s time to move on’.  This should come as no surprise, but SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE, though my first published novel, is not the first I ever wrote. Nor the second, or the fifth…er…or even the tenth. I think it was like the twelfth and the fifteenth (it started as a YA novel and then got completely written as a MG and since pretty much the only things that remained were the character’s names, I count it as a total new book written). So I thought it might be fun to take you through the books I’ve loved and left behind. Because I did love them all. Every single one was my BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN, until I moved on to the next for various reasons. And now looking back, some were really full of suckage* but I enjoyed writing each and every one of them.

These may not be in order, but, uh, there have been a lot of them (and this doesn’t include current projects and stuff that I’m hoping not to leave behind, so it’s not an exhaustive list of all my works), so you’ll have to forgive me for that. First, the finished books that will not/have not yet been published, that I’ve had to let go.

  1. HERO’S WELCOME – the story of a young woman and her quest for independence. My very first book written, told in alternating POVs between the main character and her cat, named, appropriately, Hero. (I’m cringing as I write this, you know I am). Status—firmly under my bed.
  2. AND THEN THERE WAS DARKNESS – A young man and an abused married woman end up on a road trip together where they find themselves (and drugs and booze). There is a very cliffhangery ending, hence the title.  I wrote this as an entry for the 3 Day Novel Contest and haven’t read it since. I’m afraid to. You would be, too.
  3. DEPART THIS DROWNING – A woman survives a car crash, but as she lays in the hospital, comatose, she re-examines her life.  This may be my first book written as a serious writer—I had enrolled in a writing class at my local college. I’m sure it still sucks, though.
  4. SWAYING WILLOW-A young woman’s family is torn apart when her cousin goes missing, a suspected kidnapping victim of a serial killer. Turns out the cousin is the serial killer. DON’T ANYONE STEAL THIS IDEA, PLEASE – though the book surely sucks, I’d still like to re-write it someday because I think the premise is kickass. So hands off. Please.
  5. WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS (name changed to UNMATCHED PAIRS after that Ashton Kutcher movie came out, but I still like the first title best)- A one-armed recluse wins the lottery and runs to Vegas with her identical twin sister, dragging her away from her abusive husband. Much hilarity ensues. I still love this book, but apparently no-one else did. It sits under my bed.
  6. DATING KOSHER – a Jewish American Princess needs a date for her father’s wedding. Desperate, she enlists a non-Jewish blue-collar HVAC technician to be her date, passing him off as a very eligible white-collar Jewish professional. Much hilarity ensues.  This book is fun and I think would have sold in a different time – it got pitched right as Chick Lit was taking its last, desperate gasp.  Note: this was the book that landed me my first agent.
  7. LOW FAT SCHMALTZ – a big girl goes on a diet and finds love, despite her crazy Jewish family and their constant meddling. Another Chick Lit casualty. Note: no one in this book bears any resemblance to anyone in my Jewish family. I’m fairly sure. (Anyone know a good lawyer?)
  8. THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS– A woman drowns accidentally in her bathtub (while wearing her wedding gown) and Heaven mistakes it as a suicide -she has to prove to the Dilbert-like administrators in Heaven that she didn’t kill herself on purpose.  Much hilarity ensues. Poor, dead Chick Lit. Status: this one never even got shopped.
  9. ONE GOOD REASON – A woman leaves her husband because she realizes she doesn’t want kids and he does. She goes on a bender and lo-gets knocked up! Hilarity ensues, as does a pregnancy. I still like this book—it’s kind of my childless-by-choice opus. Never got shopped.
  10. CLOSETS ARE FOR CLOTHES (was ARE YOU THERE, GOD-IT’S ME, MORON) – this was my first YA and it was a coming out story. Funny and full of heart, but it seemed coming out stories were done and this one didn’t stand out enough.
  11. SHIKSAPPEAL (re-titled as MISMATCHED, but I still like SHIKSAPPEAL) – another YA about a girl adopted from China as an baby into a Jewish family. Her family moves to a new town when she’s in high school, where she needs to work out her identity between her Jewish upbringing and how she looks to others. This book never got shopped—it’s a bit darker than my agent at the time wanted and we sort of hit an impasse with it.
  13. LEGS/FLUKE (I’m not really sure which title I like better-depends on if it’s a standalone or first in a series). A nerdy and bullied teen boy’s life is saved by a mermaid when he’s scuba diving. She seeks him out on land and yadda, yadda, yadda, they fall in love.  I still love this book, too, but it was written as the first in a series and it has a kind of a cliffhangery ending. I might someday make it into a stand-alone, but I’d have to add a bunch of stuff to it and I haven’t really had the time to look at it again**.
  14. RULE OF NINES – A boring, nerdy girl and her best friend decide to act out each Word of the Day to add some fun and spontaneity to their lives. Their game brings them to a misanthropic recluse who had been badly burned in a house fire that rumors say he started. Yadda, yadda, yadda, they fall in love. This book got shopped, but no takers. I still love it and would love to see it published someday***.

And now the unfinished stuff.

  1. Untitled book about a very reluctant psychic. I wrote about 6000 words and realized the story just wasn’t fresh enough, so I dumped it. Although I really enjoyed writing parts of it about all the bad things about being a psychic. But since I’m writing with the goal of getting books published, I realized this one wasn’t going to work.
  2. Untitled YA Robin Hood like story. Well, it started out as a Robin Hood like story, but really it’s about a kickass but very mysterious young woman named Tatiana who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. She’s so mysterious, I got lost in the story and dumped it after 4000 words.  I might pick it up again someday if Tatiana starts poking at me that her story needs telling.
  3. Middle Grade book I started because I thought of a kickass title. No, I’m not going to tell you the title. This one’s at 5000 words, but I got really busy doing other stuff. And uh, forgot about it. Maybe I’ve figured out my next project!
  4. HIVE – a near future story that takes place after all the bees in the world have died off (a real fear) and humans have had to become pollinators to ensure the survival of our food supply. This is a thriller that I had to put down to work on other things, but I’ll get back to it as soon as I have time and figure out the rest of the story. I see this as a trilogy and need to sit down and work out all three books before I can finish this one. As someone who has trouble outlining, this is a VERY daunting task.

So there you go. My finished and unfinished projects that have yet to see the light of day. Thanks for reading through and making it this far—I know it’s been a longer post than what you’re used to!

Now you – what projects have you dumped or abandoned?


*Dear Editors who may read this—despite the varying degrees of suckage, all of these books, with the exception of #12, are available for your perusal, just give my agent a call.

**This book doesn’t suck.

***This book doesn’t suck, either.

15 Replies to “Kicking it to the Curb: Deb Joanne Style”

  1. Your project graveyard shows a lot more promise than mine! I love the premises of a lot of these. RULE OF NINES in particular is really standing out to me.

    1. Ha, thanks, Sarv. I still adore RULE OF NINES and my agent and I were baffled when it didn’t sell. We never got really consistent feedback on it, so maybe it was a timing thing. Who knows. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Wow! Now, that’s what I call prolific. And they all sound great to me, especially Rule of Nines. And Shiksappeal sounds like something I’d buy for the title alone, though I really like the premise, too.

    Keep writing! 😀

  3. Good Morning,
    Well I am back and guess what ALL OF THEM SHOULD HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED (yes I know this is your Mother speaking, not the Publisher)but still they all have appeal in one way or the other??????
    Therapy you say no way your as sane as your Mother (well I am you know).
    Okay, one day at a time J and yes last Tuesday was not one of our better outings for dinner, (we can blame your Dad for that one).
    So, how many of you Deb’s and writer’s have dust bunny books under your bed, if so get them out and keep pumping away one day at a time.
    See you all next week happy writing.

    1. Thanks for your always biased, but still very appreciated thoughts, Mom. Tomorrow’s outing will be much better-we need to plan that launch party.

  4. Wow, my dear–you have outdone yourself! I never considered listing mine like this (I have close to this number) but now I may have to…What an incredible collection. I’m REALLY wanting to get my hands on a copy of ONE GOOD REASON. Just saying.

    1. Thanks, Erika. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to do this, but I thought maybe people would see it as inspiring that someone with both crap and non-crap under the bed can still find their way to be published despite a lot of pitfalls and bumps in the road.

      1. Exactly! That was my hope for this week’s theme–that it would be a wonderful opportunity to show how long and how many words it can take to get your work to where it needs to be. I wouldn’t trade my catalog for anything. Even if some of them make me squirm to even THINK about looking at. (Then again, most are on floppies or 6-inch (is that right, the really early ones?) so I couldn’t even if I wanted to. Ohdarn.

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