Guest Post by Jackie Gamber author of the Leland Dragon Series

23 Apr

I’m very pleased to present a guest post by Jackie Gamber, author of a wonderful series about dragons (dragon stories have a special place in my heart – but that’s a post for another day).

Redheart, the first book in the series was one of my favorite summer reads last summer.  I recently added Sela to my iPad and can’t wait for school to be out so I can get started on it – maybe I won’t wait.  To celebrate Jackie’s guest appearance at Booklady’s Booknotes, I am giving away a copy of Redheart.  The contest is open to anyone who lives where Amazon ships.  Just leave a comment/question for Jackie by May 1st for a chance to win. (Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you are the winner.)

Now for the good stuff – Jackie’s post!



“Of Process and Influence” by Jackie Gamber, author of REDHEART and SELA, Books One and Two of the Leland Dragon Series

Some of the best advice I was given as a budding, struggling writer, was “finish it”. Whatever it is; poem, novel, short story, script; the writing advice works. No one, in all of history, as ever gotten an unfinished work published.

Well, except the occasional famous person who has had writing discovered after their death. But I’m not holding out for that, in my case.

I’ve taken this counsel to heart. I have shifted my entire process around it.

When I first began writing the Leland Dragon Series, with REDHEART, I dabbled at it. I’d pull out a chapter, move things around, maybe add a new scene. Then I’d rise from the chair, happy to announce I’d “written today”. Or I’d be struck with inspiration for a short story, and rise early in the morning to get the idea down, rough form. Call that my writing for the day.

What I was really doing was dancing with my fears. Sure, I was following all the steps, and I was even graceful, in my own way. But I wasn’t leading. That was Fear’s role.

Then I realized my stories were never going to be read by anyone else unless I took them, and myself, seriously. I set my mind to finish. Once and for all. Whatever it took.

Weak paragraph? Keep going. Blank transition? Write “something exciting happens here” and move on. I allowed my first drafts to be a bit clumsy.

And my productivity soared.

I even find the editing part enjoyable! That is when I dig deep; hovering on a scene or dialogue for days, just to get it right. I can afford the time, because the piece is already done! Editing isn’t procrastinating, it’s refining. Mark Twain said:

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say.

For me, words to live by. No matter the subject matter, whether I’m writing dark fiction, science fiction, or fantasy.

I’m often asked about my fantasy work, and about dragons, in particular. The honest answer to why the Leland Dragon Series is populated with characters as dragons is because that’s how they introduced themselves to me. Kallon Redheart, at first. Then others. And in my mind, the world filled in around them, and Leland began.

I’m not aware if I was pre-disposed to dragons in particular. I do love the idea of how they fly, how they can overpower, how something mythical has managed to capture our imagination for eons.

And I remember one of the first books to have influenced me at a young age: MY FATHER’S DRAGON by Ruth Stiles Gannett. I love that book, and I still have it on my bookshelf to this day. It’s crumbling along the spine and edges, but it’s as comfortable as an old blanket or a stuffed animal.

The books of my youth helped unlock my dreams; gave me picture language for the developing thoughts in my head. I cherish books for that reason, and, likely, the dragons of REDHEART and SELA came through a door in my mind left propped open enough to shine a light left glowing from my childhood imaginings.

Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of “Redheart” and “Sela”, Books One and Two of the Leland Dragon Series, now available! For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit

And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world wide web at:


Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


6 responses to “Guest Post by Jackie Gamber author of the Leland Dragon Series

  1. Joyce Kelly

    April 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    That’s interesting advice about writing – advice that teachers can use with students. I think my problem would be knowing when it was finished! But I’m neither an aspiring writer, or a teacher anymore (retired). But I also think this is advice is good about any projects one undertakes. The satisfaction (the satisfaction rather than money is now my reward) comes from seeing the finished product. And if it isn’t good enough to suit me, then it isn’t finished, and needs some editing.
    I love the Twain quote.

  2. Kathy Trautner

    April 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    I love your advice (and Mark Twain’s) to just finish it. I have so many books in my head and in my heart. But I will never finish them if I don’t start them. I think I feel like if I start writing them I will forget everything that I have stored in my head. But I am encouraged by your technique where you add notes to come back later and add more or edit. Thank you for your advice! I am now looking forward to reading your books!

    • bevarcher

      April 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Kathy: Having read Redheart, I do think you would enjoy this series. Maybe you will be the one to win the free copy. I’ve not read Sela yet, but I’m looking forward to reading it. Oh, if only I could just find more time for reading.

  3. jackiegamber

    April 26, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I’m so glad you guys are finding my words helpful! It really is so important to keep working, pushing through, even just a little every day. Good luck on all your projects, whatever they may be. 🙂

  4. Sheila Deeth

    April 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Your posts are all so great. I love this advice and it’s especially timely as I’m trying to finish writing something.

  5. Jolene

    May 1, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Interesting thought,,,finish it. How much can we apply that to many things in everyday life?


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