Pet Peeves by Jane Toombs

Please help me welcome Jane Toombs to my blog today.  Jane will be giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter, so be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win.


By Jane Toombs


Authors are readers, too.  I don’t ask that an author give me the read of a century, all I’m looking for is to lose myself in a book for as long as it takes me to  read it, plus not be jarred out of the story by too many typos or too much of any one thing–sex, meals, description, explanations that go on and on, obvious errors of time and place, animals talking, and the like.  As far as animals go, if I know the animals are going to be thinking and talking before I open the book–fine.  Otherwise it‘s jarring. .

I hate to be jarred out of a story. Enough so that I may not ever try another book by that author.  So as an author myself, I do try to do my best when writing to not be guilty of this. And that’s why I  don’t self-publish, instead using a publisher who edits my rights-back books and also offers fabulous covers.

Those who want to self-publish really need to have a free-lance editor look over their story first. Authors often cannot “see” their own mistakes. But the readers will. I was lucky enough to find someone I knew and trusted  when she started this company–Books We Love, Ltd.  I’ve been very happy with the results.

My first project  with them was a  rights-back historical gothic suspense romance called Hallow House that was just too long.  They suggested splitting into two parts as two separate ebooks, using the same cover for both and  calling it Part One and Part Two.

When this proved to be successful I discussed with them dividing an even longer California historical saga called Golden Chances into parts.  As it turned out I found seven places where the story segued naturally into the next hero/heroine’s story, so we wound up with seven novella ebooks, each with its own title, instead of an impossibly long book.  I even got to name the first novella The Bastard, a title I’d always wanted to use. In this case he actually is one.

So  now they’ve just put Thirteen West up on Amazon,  I couldn’t find any genre that fit this story within a story novel though it has suspense and a kind of romance, but is far from being romantic suspense. I wound up calling it mainstream fiction.  Which I guess it is.  As an author I’ve became so accustomed to writing paranormal suspense romance, my favorite to read and write, that I was surprised to find I’d actually written a mainstream book, a gritty one at that.

You see, I’m an RN, though I haven’t worked as one for years.  But way back when I was young and impressionable, I did work in a state psychiatric hospital and the experience made an indelible impression on me.  Not that the incidents in Thirteen West did happen in the one I worked in–they did not. But they could have.    

Maybe all authors have a book they have to write at some time in their life.  If so, I guess Thirteen West must be mine.

My Website:



Thirteen West Blurb: To her adult daughter’s horror, her mother insists on picking a drunken derelict off the streets of San Diego to try to rehabilitate him. When the daughter protests, her mother hails a cab, shoves the man into it and rides away . What the daughter doesn’t know is that her mother and this man share a dark history from the past, from the time her mother was a student nurse taking her psychiatric affiliation at the state hospital where this man was once an RN Supervisor. She also doesn’t know her mother has no idea why she’s doing this…



“Mother, will you please stop staring at that crazy!”

Sarah Goodrow Fenz ignored her daughter’s plea as well as Linda’s frantic tug at her arm. Her feet firmly planted on the southwest corner of Horton Square in revivified downtown San Diego, she peered at the stumbling, mumbling derelict weaving his way toward them.

He was no novelty–all cities had their quota of drunks, druggies and dippity-dos–but something about him triggered a warning flare of memory. She shook her head, but the long-ago and unwelcome memory persisted from a time she didn’t care to dwell on.

“Moth-er!” Linda cried, giving her arm a hard yank. “Let’s go!”

As Sarah freed herself, the man’s blurry gaze met hers and she noticed the wedge of yellow in the brown iris of his right eye. The bottom fell out of her world. Frank. Almost unrecognizable but Frank, all the same. The one man she’d thought she’d left forever back in the past.

After a moment she recovered enough to realize there’d been no flare of recognition in his expression. He obviously hadn’t a clue who she was. Thank heaven. She’d simply walk on by and that would be the end of it. But her feet wouldn’t move.

“Frank Kent,” she said when he drew even with her.

He blinked, stumbling to a stop, looking around, apparently unable to believe she was the one who’d spoken to him.

“Frank,” she repeated, understanding with dismay that whether she wanted to or not, she’d made up her mind what must be done. Reaching out, she grasped his hand. “Come with me.”

“Are you out of your mind?” Linda protested. “You can’t do this. These people are dangerous.”

“Not Frank,” Sarah said. “Not any more.”

Linda stared at her. “You can’t be serious. Even if you know him, just what do you intend to do? Remember, you’re staying with us and Darrin will have a fit if you try to bring him to the house.” She gave Frank a shuddering glance. “I don’t even want him in my car. I’d never get the smell out.”

Head down, looking at no one, Frank left his hand in Sarah’s, apparently oblivious to what Linda was saying.

Sarah eyed her daughter. “Don’t worry, I’ll take a taxi to a motel. And I won’t bother Darrin about this unless I need a medical opinion.”

Linda’s expression changed from worried to horrified. “You don’t mean to stay with this–this street bum in a motel!”

“You know as well as I do that no hospital will admit him. Where can he go to be taken care of? There is no place for street bums, as you call them. I have no choice but to try to take care of him myself. After all, I’m a nurse.”

“Be reasonable, mother. You haven’t done any nursing in years. He’s filthy. He probably has lice and God only knows what awful diseases. AIDS, for one.”

Sarah shot her daughter an exasperated look. “Either help me or leave me alone. I’m doing what I have to do.” She waved her hand at an oncoming taxi and it pulled to the curb. “I’ll call you from wherever I go and you can bring me my things.” Leaving her still protesting daughter, Sarah loaded a passive Frank into the cab and climbed in after him, wrinkling her nose at the stink of dirty clothes, unwashed male, old vomit and second-hand wine fumes.

“Take me to a motel where they’ll accept this man, but make sure it’s one where I won’t be in any danger,” she told the cabbie.

His over-the-shoulder glance was dubious, but he nodded. Frank hadn’t looked at her except for the one time on the street. He not only had no idea who she was but no concept of where he was headed or what she intended to do with him. He was as helpless in her hands as she’d once been in his.

10 thoughts on “Pet Peeves by Jane Toombs

  1. Hi, Jane. The excerpt is very intriguing. To be able to incorporate your experiences in your work is so totally valuable. Congratulations on your book.

  2. I am interested in reading more on this story! Great excerpt. I also agree with your thoughts on self publishing. As a self publisher, beta readers and editors are very important for the author because, like you said, we think the story is great until the flaws are point it out.

  3. I am interested in reading more on this story! Great excerpt. I also agree with your thoughts on self publishing. As a self publisher, beta readers and editors are very important for the author because, like you said, we think the story is great until the flaws are pointed it out.

  4. Great subject. I find many of the same issues in books from major publishers. These problems can also bring down scores when I judge a contest. Granted most authors are paid even less than teachers but we should still be trying to turn out the best product possible.

  5. Cindy, Thanks for sharing this excerpt with us. This sounds like a Good Book that I would like to read some more of. I agree about self publishing because we are all human and can make mistakes. Hopefully they are caught before publication.

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