Author Dayna Leigh Cheser
As a writer, I don’t see the logic in listing my credits. I’m not a place, like a hotel with a great view and a fantastic restaurant. I’m a person, like any other – a lot like you. And, I’m a writer, so I’m going to tell you a story.
Meet: Julie Jordan a.k.a. Dayna Leigh Cheser
My father was a school teacher/reading specialist when I was little who started teaching me to read at about four years old. Thus began a life-long love affair between me and books – for that, I am grateful.
In junior high, I wrote stories to entertain my peers, and the occasional teacher who intercepted the stories. In high school, an English assignment was to write my autobiography. My mother (who is also still going strong at age 91, a registered genealogist, provided me with my family tree. In the chapter entitled ‘Future Plans,’ the top of my list was being a published writer.
I hail from a writer family. My mother has, over the years authored or co-authored several non-fiction books, including one that documents the then-current whereabouts of every surviving B-29 (WWII bomber) and many stray parts, thereof. My father was a B-29 pilot, based in Guam, in WWII who flew 25 missions over Japan.
My brother, John, has worked for the local newspaper (in CT) since his graduation from college in the 1970s. He started as a stringer-reporter and eventually became Assistant City Editor. He’s now a semi-retired Editorial Page Editor.
My brother, Charlie, made a living as a copywriter in south Florida for many years. And, my sister in the editor of her church newsletter.
Personally, aside from my writing, there isn’t much to tell. I’m like a lot of writers – quiet, reclusive, an introvert and OK with being alone much of the time. I have many interests, but reading and writing have always been very high on my list. Aside from the Twitter account, @Writers_Cafe, I’m also active on Facebook, my Facebook Fan Page – Author Dayna Leigh Cheser, and my LinkedIn account, also under Dayna Leigh Cheser. I also have other accounts in the social media realm, and in the author’s media realm. Because my ‘real name’ is that of a character in the Broadway play ‘Carousel’ (Julie Jordan), I have decided on a pen name – Dayna Leigh Cheser, but I’m know online by both names.
In 1967, I met and, a year later, married my husband, Pete via ‘ham radio.’ While I grew up in Connecticut, he was from Massachusetts, so I moved there. From there, we moved to New Hampshire for eleven years, then moved to Naples, FL in 1992. In 2004, we moved to Sebring. Then, in June of 2011, we moved back to Naples.
In the late 1970s, I volunteered to write an article for “World Radio News” (San Diego, CA) per their request. “Walk-A’Thons: How Amateur Radio Can Help” was an article to encourage amateur radio clubs across the country to do as our club had done. The ‘WRN’ editor used my article exactly as written, and used 7 of Pete’s photos.
About 20 years ago, I wrote a mystery short story, ‘The Legend of Corkscrew Swamp.’ In 2012, it was published in the premier edition of the EFD1: Starship Goodwords anthology from Carrick Publishing, available on Amazon.
In early 2002, between jobs, I set out to create some time to write. I earned my security officer’s license and went to work, third shift, as a gate guard at high-end residential communities. During that time, I wrote an adult historical romance novel with a little time travel that became ‘Janelle’s Time.’ When it was complete, I shelved it.
In 2009, I started @Writers_Cafe, a Twitter account. Since then, I’ve learned so much! There is so much one can learn from almost 23,000 followers! ‘Janelle’s Time’ came off the shelf and my new Twitter friends helped me get it ready for publication.
On New Year’s Day, 2010, I went ‘live’ with my original blog, ‘A Place for Writers.’ It has evolved into a combination of chronicling my writers journey and posts that offer help to other writers. My most popular post to date is ‘Passive Voice – Show, Don’t Tell’ (which I later re-posted as an ‘Encore’), followed by ‘Writing Sex Scenes’
In October of 2011, I added ‘DIY Interviews’ to my blog. See the information on my website on how you can do your own interview. The submission form comes to me via email. I process it and it becomes a blog post. After it’s appeared as a post, I then add that author’s name and shortlink to the DIY Interviews Archive page for anyone to see at any time.
Til next time, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Writers who have influenced me:
Bertrice Small (Queen of Erotic Romance)
Diana Gabaldon (epic stories)
Karen Marie Moning and Lynn Kurland (time travel)
Jean Auel (the ‘alpha-female’ concept)
John Jakes, Victoria Holt, and many others.
WOW, have I got a little updating to do here!
Today is 12/13/2013. That’s right … it’s Friday the thirteenth. It’s a good thing I’m not superstitious. I’ve had enough quirky stuff happen to me recently without adding superstition to the mix.
In early August, 2011, I submitted my debut novel to a publisher. He offered me a contract, which I signed on October 1, 2011. Long story short, ‘Janelle’s Time’ (book 1 of my TIME Series) was published in July of 2012. (Editor’s note: Janelle’s Time is currently not available as I’m rewriting it. It will be released as a 2nd Edition soon – 11-18-2016.)
November 2011 found me glued to my computer as I ‘competed’ in my first NaNoWriMo, writing the first 50,000 words of what became ‘Moria’s Time.’ I worked on that book, on a time available basis, through 2012 and into 2013. It was published in August of 2013, by a different publisher.
After 2 years with ‘A Place for Writers’ (my blog), I decided to grow a little. APW was a WordPress.com creation and I found it more and more restricting compared to what I wanted to do. So, in late September of 2012, after a series of start-up problems (including corrupt virus-laden themes), I went live with a WordPress.org version, hosted by GoDaddy – ‘Author Dayna Leigh Cheser.’ This site has allowed me to expand, organize, and grow significantly. After about 15 months, with no serious efforts to drive traffic, the site is averaging around 1,000 visitors per day, a fact that truly amazes me.
Immediately after going live, I initiated a contest as a ‘Grand Opening.’ After that, I went back to ‘Moria’s Time’ (book 2), hoping to finish it before NaNo 2012, but didn’t make it.
NaNo 2012 was devoted to starting book 3 of my series, ‘Adelle’s Time.’ When I finished the 50,000 words, I’d planned to jump right back onto ‘Moria’s Time,’ but my old bones had other ideas … it decided it was time to rest for a few days. I did eventually get back to ‘Moria’s Time,’ finished it, and sent it to my editor.
In the spring of 2013, I started researching my options as I wasn’t happy with the publisher of ‘Janelle’s Time.’ I found an excellent alternative. “Moria’s Time’ was published there in August of 2013, and ‘Adelle’s Time’ will be published there in the summer of 2014.
In October of 2013, I had some medical issues (nothing serious, it’s just the timing was bad) that spilled over into November – NaNo 2013 – during which I added yet another medical issue. But, I managed to get ‘Adelle’s Time’ to my editor before the beginning of NaNo, although it was without the last chapter, which I finished after NaNo. In addition to the last chapter, I also added a new first chapter, as well as removing a chapter.
In NaNo 2013, I managed to get the first 50,000 words of ‘Clarissa’s Time,’ book 5 (the final book of my series), completed. After that, I took about 10 days off, doing very little of anything while recovering from an especially rough October-November.
With NaNo complete, and ‘Adelle’s Time’ at the editors, I returned to my ‘To Do List’ of things that I hadn’t had the time to do in ages. I like ‘To Do Lists’ – they’re organized, they keep me busy and active, and I think it’s such fun – and so satisfying – to cross off one task after another. I feel really good after working a ‘To Do List’ for a couple of weeks. Going back to writing and/or editing and/or whatever other writing-related task I have is so much easier after working a ‘To Do List.’
Oh, I’ve mentioned all but book 4 of my series. If you’re wondering about that, it’s ‘Logan’s Time,’ which I started (then, as book 2) right after I submitted ‘Janelle’s Time’ (book 1) for publication, and have worked on it off and on since then. As soon as ‘Adelle’s Time’ is on its way, I’ll be getting serious about ‘Logan’s Time.’
This is a departure from the first 3 books which are sequels. ‘Logan’s Time’ is a spinoff – different family and different timeline – it actually starts 30 years BEFORE ‘Janelle’s Time’ (book 1), when Logan is just 7 years old. It takes place largely in Scotland, and is all about Logan Conor, the Duke of Muileach (pronounced ‘mule-ECK). You’ll find Muileach Castle and community in the western islands of the Scots Highlands . Right from the start, I’ve felt ‘Logan’s Time’ will be the best book of the series so I’m eager to get back to it – the sooner the better. Logan, by the way, is a minor character from ‘Janelle’s Time’ (he crashes the wedding) who decided he wanted his own book – and got it. He’s quite a character!
All right, friends, you’re all caught up as of this Friday the thirteenth in 2013.
Til next time …
It has been one thing after another.
In December, my husband lost his job. He was called into the office and told his position had been eliminated. This, just before Christmas, and about 8 months before he will be able to get full Social Security. Great timing, especially since he’d hoped to put in a couple of extra years, which would allow us to buy a nice motor home and see a bit of this country in our retirement.
He was in shock – he’d worked there for over 21 years – but has adjusted well to not having to go to work every day. His separation package will enable us, if we’re careful, to survive until he officially retires in August. And, they threw in his iPhone and laptop as an extra treat.
Shortly after that, we saw a ‘used’ motor home advertised for cheap money, bought it, and drove it home. It’s an old one – 1992 Coachmen Leprechaun, 25′ – and needs a lot of work. As he’s handy, and motivated, I thought it would be a good project for him as he adjusts to retired life.
So far, he’s rebuilt the cab-over bed and has worked a lot on making the coach watertight (it wasn’t, and, therefore, had a lot of water damage). The next major project is working on the rear of the coach – taking out the walls and rebuilding that area. We will only use this coach for short trips, not full-timing. Our hope is to use it as a trade-in on something newer and bigger come fall or early next year. If we can pull it off, we hope to full-time for a while.
My current WIP, ‘Adelle’s Time’ came back to me from the editor’s in mid-January, at which time I started working on it. Then, in early February, the call came – my father had passed away (not unexpectedly). My husband and I flew to Connecticut. Originally, we were to return home to Florida in 5 days, but our flight was canceled – twice! We didn’t get home until late on the 12th day, during which time I ended up in the ER with breathing problems (allergies to the flowers all around my mother’s house). By the time we finally got home, we had both come down with a New England ‘bug’ which laid us low for another 10 days. We pretty much lost the month of February. But, it was worth it as we met new family members (spouses and children) and had a little quality family time.
We’ve lived in Florida for over 21 years now, and have only been back to New England 3 times, always in the summer. This time, it was winter – and one of the worst ones in recent history. I was able to find, here in Florida, passable boots for us, but not winter coats. So, my husband had a windbreaker and I had a hoodie. It was 30 degrees – or less – the whole time we were there. The day we flew out for home, it was 19 degrees at the airport. When we landed in Ft. Myers, the temp there was 70 degrees (at 8 PM). Needless to say, we were VERY HAPPY to get home.
As soon as I was able, I worked on ‘Adelle’s Time’ and returned it to my editor for the second go-round. He’s promised it back to me by April 1st. Since that’s April Fool’s Day, I’m not sure if he’s serious, or if it’s a joke, so we’ll see.
Adelle’s Time was published on May 22, 2014.
Then get busy on ‘Logan’s Time. That’s next in line.
It’s been fun, friends. I’ll keep you posted.
November 18, 2016
This has been a rough year.
I finished the writing of Logan’s Time in late 2015, then got the news that I have cancer. I did 2 rounds of chemo, had surgery, and started radiation, only to be told the cancer is already back, so I’ve just started my 3rd round of cancer. At that point, I decided to take charge, and have research natural medicine. I have a regimen of over 20 supplements, plus several herbs from which I’ll drink lots of tea (and I’ve never been a tea drinker). I’m not giving up – I’m young yet (only 68) and aside from the cancer, I’m very healthy – and I’ve still got a lot of living yet to do.
In between everything else, I managed to get Logan’s Time published and out there in late August, but the timing against the cancer was horrible, so I was unable to do any marketing except online, and that was, unfortunately, sporadic, at best. I’d had such high hopes for Logan’s Time.
In the meantime, I’m working feverishly to get Janelle’s Time rewritten and released again as soon as possible. As soon as that’s done, I’ll finish Clarissa’s Time – it’s about half done now. I want so much to get this book out there as well. I’ll work it in between trips to the clinic where my doctors are.
Sorry this section isn’t the best news, but it is what it is – Into every life, a bit of rain must fall – this year has been kinda rainy.
Hope all is well with you. Have a good day.