So…I Have Publishing News

thurston-hotel-imageLast December, under a veil of secrecy, I got together with ten other women in a Calgary restaurant to talk about a group writing project. Our fearless leader was one Brenda Sinclair. And her proposal? That we would write a series of standalone sweet-to-warm romance novels set in the fictional town of Harmony, Alberta.

We would share certain stock characters and settings—in particular the 100-year-old Thurston Hotel, its staff, and permanent guests. We would work to plant foreshadowing and clues within each others’ novels. We would each “own” one month of the year, and tell a key part of another couple’s romance. So in addition to our own novel, there would be a series arc. (Though as I said, these books can be read as standalones.)

We ended up with eleven novelists and twelve months. I guess Brenda had too much time on her hands, because she book-ended the series AND served as continuity editor AND general project coordinator, etc.

I tell you this all because the first Thurston Thursday happened six days ago, when Brenda’s January book was published. (A Thurston Promise—for her blurb and more details, you can go to

The February book is mine. And I’m launching it tomorrow. (Meep.)

When my book actually goes up, I’d appreciate your help spreading the word to the people in your life who you think might enjoy it. Essentially, my promo efforts suck, because personal circumstances meant a choice between writing this novel or yapping about it. I believe I made the right choice.

That said, I’m proud of this book and would like it to find the kind of readers who enjoy contemporary romance, with a generous dollop of comedy and adventure. Actually, the book is a lot like my tagline for this blog (Art. Attitude. Vitamin C.), in that it’s a wee bit literary, a little cheeky, and involves themes around health. Weird how that works out, huh?

I’ll share the actual blurb and cover art tomorrow, but for today, a few quick notes on background.

I’m someone who has to write to discover the story. When I started this novel, I knew I was dealing with a town set in the Canadian Rockies, in the depths of winter. My mind started playing with threats emanating from the weather.

Around the same time, I was providing a lot of eldercare, and my mind was still preoccupied with a post I wrote for Writer Unboxed called A Call to Pens—Writer as Social Activist. If you can bear the self-reference, here’s a snippet which explains its essence:

Instead, cast the elderly in the role of (reluctant) hero. Position their health troubles as a call to adventure. Weave narratives in which they gather mentors and allies. Have them engage the enemy and fight their way to solutions which are respectful, holistic, empowering, and which won’t create more problems than they solve. (Or not. Show us how the system must be changed to make these solutions possible.)

So guess what ended up happening?

Somehow, the book coalesced around a hero and heroine who meet in a mountain town, and who are pushed together repeatedly by a group of boisterous seniors.

More tomorrow!

In the meantime, I have an actual Author Page on Facebook now. If you haven’t already “liked” me, please feel free! At some point, it’ll become a probable portal for contests and giveaways, etc. (If you’d like to also join the Thurston Facebook page, that’s here.)

PS: Boy, I’ve missed you.

14 Replies to “So…I Have Publishing News”

  1. Congratulations! Way to go, Boss! Looking forward to the read, and ready to pass the word.

    Been missing you, too, Jan! (But we’re only a month away from UnCon – can you believe it?)

    1. But how am I going to lose all this weight in one month, V? (Sitting on my behind has not been good for me. At all.) 😉

      Can’t wait to see you!

      And I hope you enjoy it–no expectations for you to read it though, dude. I know romance isn’t really your thing.

      1. Maybe the genre’s not exactly my thing, but anything written by Jan O’Hara is my thing, so wouldn’t miss it.

        I’m going to be providing “more to love” this time around, as well. I’m positive the smiles and laughs will be bigger this time, too. 🙂

  2. Oh congratulations Jan!!!! How thrilling and I’m so happy for you. What a great approach to writing a series. Each individual writes a story but there is also the added fillip of an overall series arc encompassing all the stories written.

    I’ll check it out.


    1. Yes, that’s it exactly, Sia. It’s been a fascinating experience to figure out how to write one’s own story within a world everyone uses. I’ve really enjoyed it.

      And thank you, kindly. It’s been a long journey but I’ve enjoyed it.

  3. Congratulations, Jan! Finally, I can buy a book you’ve written. 🙂 It is already on my Goodreads list and I am so looking forward to reading it!

    1. I have to admit I’m a little overwhelmed and intimidated by the response. It’s a whackadoodle book in place. Hope you enjoy it.

      But thank you so much for your confidence and encouragement, Deborah. Like you said, eight years’ worth. 🙂 “Thank you” isn’t sufficient.

Leave a Reply