Little Gems 2012: Jenn J McLeod

The name of your short story in the 2012 Diamond Edition is:

About Midnight

What challenges you most in writing a short romance story?

Character arcs! In our novels we want readers to relate to and care about our characters. I want the same in my short stories. I want conflict and back-story and angst.  I also love dialogue (no laughing those who know me!) and smiley bits of banter. Dialogue quickly sucks away words. That is my challenge.

Do you have any tip/s for writing a short story.

I start with a title – always.

The other thing I discovered by comparing my many unsuccessful shorts with successful ones is that the ones that have made the anthology all started with dialogue that (hopefully) had the reader keen to know more. (three examples below). I tend to start my chapters the same way. Nothing says ‘action’ like dialogue.

‘Ben? What are you doing here?’ (About Midnight – Diamond)

‘This is Katie O’Neil, for Prime News, reporting to you from flood-ravaged…aaarrrggghhh!’ (Swept Away – Garnet)

‘Penelope wait. Please don’t slam the door in my face.’ (A Penny For Your Thoughts – Topaz)

Do you have a favourite line/short piece from your short?

A big, black burst of energy barrelled past Claudia, almost tripping her as it struggled to find purchase on the timber boards and coming to an unceremonious stop in the neat-as-a-pin living room. The dog sat up, shook, panted, a suspended string of slobber slowly stretching towards the floor.

What was your inspiration for the story?

A dog. Dogs inspire me. In fact they rule my life. They make me a better person, are great listeners, and help me stay fit. They even provide me with an income! I believe everyone should rescue a pound dog at least once in their lifetime. Just imagine!

What are you working on now? and/or what are your writing goals for the future?

I’m mid-way through that crazy first year of pre-publishing with my debut novel A House For All Seasons due out May next year (in time for Mothers’ Day – hint, hint!)

How can people find out more about you/your writing? Do you have a website or blog?

I am forever refining my website and also trying to get my head around the social media stuff with a Facebook Author page in its early days.

Will we be able to catch up with you in person at the RWA National Conference in August?

Yep! Can’t wait – ’til it’s over!  (Joking of course.)

Conference is going to be amazing. I am particularly looking forward to my First Sale Ribbon as I believe the presenter is the wonderful person who first made me believe in my publishing dream. That will be special.

As Conference Registrar, I will be the one with the glazed look on the Thursday and Friday. But by Sunday afternoon, however, I will be the one leading the charge to the bar.

I challenge anyone to beat me!

Anthology Orders Now Open

Would you like to order the anthology for yourself, as a special gift or a Christmas (yes I said Christmas) stocking filler?

Orders are now open and we are taking pre-release orders until the end of June, so plenty of time. Use the order form on our RWA website.

NOTE: Pre-release ordering means you are ordering and paying but the anthology will not be available until August (launched at the national conference).
Leave a comment


  1. You must know I love your work! Meet you at the conference!

  2. Hi Jenn
    I meet your post-conference Sunday arvo challenge! It’s a race 😀
    Can’t wait to read your entry and definitely looking forward to meeting you at conference,

  3. You aren’t going to the bar till Sunday?????
    Hmmm…we’ll see.
    Looking forward to reading another of your Little Gems!

  4. Jenn, can’t wait to read your story. I love that quirky voice of yours. Drinks on me Sunday afternoon!

  5. Never say ‘drinks on me’, Lou. You could end up wet !!!! LOL

  6. Cath Evans

     /  June 20, 2012

    Hi Jenn,
    Looking forward to your story again! I always enjoy them 🙂


  7. Carmen

     /  June 20, 2012

    Amusing lead-in to the dog, Jenn! And congratulations on your book deals.

  8. Hi Jenn, love your writing & looking forward to reading your short. And, Let the race begin. See u soon.

  9. Anna Simons

     /  June 20, 2012

    Jenn, challenge is on!! Can’t wait to read your story.

  10. Vanda Vadas

     /  June 22, 2012

    Hi Jenn
    Love the humour in your blog. Am so looking forward to reading your story. Like you, I’m a ‘titles’ person. If only I could find the time to write a story for each title!

  11. Jenn, can’t wait to read your story. Congrats.
    Love that two of my conference team mates are in this edition. Go you!!


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