My Heroine Teeters on a Ledge – in her Nighty #IWSG

Today’s IWSG question:

What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

shutterstock_105440606(1)The Stolen Rembrandt and the Teetering Heroine

To start my writing career with a bang, I decided to write a romantic suspense series about a family of international, art-theft investigators, based in Amsterdam, who travel the world looking for lost and stolen art. I called the first book, The Stolen Rembrandt and the second, The Lost Vermeer. Both books won several awards in contests, but I haven’t published them.

The problem is they start out strong (which is why they did well in contests), dwindle in the middle and then end. Not the perfect book recipe.

Click for link

The third book evolved into a series of its own, because the heroine took over the plot. It became Covert Danger the story of a sexy,  CIA operative posing as an international model who takes on an Egyptian arms dealer. Tag line: A single woman – a double life. It was the first book I published (independently).

But back to my first piece, The Lost Rembrandt, which I originally called, The Dutch Kiss. I wrote it after spending a month in Amsterdam and falling in love with the city and Dutch culture. The story opens with a single woman waking up to the sound of footsteps in her hallway coming towards her. She escapes out her third-story bedroom window, and as she teeters on a thin piece of rotting wood that runs along the side of her building, she hears two men going through her things. They’re looking for something.

Of course she’s afraid of heights and the wooden ledge keeps breaking. Her nails dig into the brick wall. Adrenalin courses through her system making her leg muscles cramp…

Meanwhile … the hero, a handsome investigator who is shadowing her in the hopes of finding the stolen Rembrandt, is watching her from his car parked below. He gets a good look at her legs.

Long story short: the heroine’s father stole the Rembrandt and everyone thinks she has it. To save her own skin she teams up with the guy who likes her legs to find it. They discover the etching and love.

There are things I like about this story, especially the parts set in Amsterdam, but I resist going back to it. It’s easier and way more fun to write something fresh. But I will always remember the woman teetering on the ledge.

The first contest I entered it in was the Daphne du Maurier. I got the call that I had been shortlisted, six months after I started writingdbyc seriously. I was excited beyond words. I even wrote a blog post about it. That summer I went to the RWA National Conference in Anaheim, attended the fancy, Death by Chocolate event and was awarded third place. It was a wonderful beginning for my writing life and a memory I treasure.

And that’s my story about my first writing piece. Since then my writing life has been a roller-coaster.

What is the IWSG?

It’s the Insecure Writers Support Group.

What the heck is that?

“A database resource site and support group for writers and authors. Featuring weekly guests and tips, a monthly blogfest gathering [like today], two Facebook groups, and thousands of links – all to benefit writers!” (from the IWSG website)

This post is my entry into the blog hop for this month. Now I’ve published it, I will read what other authors have written on the same subject. Writers love reading about stories about other writer’s journeys.

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeBlog Hop Link

Facebook Page for IWSG

Photo credits: Puzzle is from Pixabay, Amsterdam is from Shutterstock, my photo is by Judith Hudson


Author: Jo-Ann Carson

About Jo-Ann Carson Where magic happens … Reports of Jo-Ann Carson’s death on a Gulf Island are greatly exaggerated or, at the very least, premature. The eclectic crew of ghosts that haunt her head spill onto the page in two series: The Gambling Ghosts and The Ghost & Abby Mysteries. A Viking with existential issues, a broken hearted Highlander, a Casanova man-witch and a Pirate with a secret are just a few of the males her strong heroines encounter in tales of fantasy, adventure and romance. A firm believer in the magic of our everyday lives, Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, walking beaches near her home in the Pacific Northwest and reading by the fire. You can visit her on social media: Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

24 thoughts on “My Heroine Teeters on a Ledge – in her Nighty #IWSG”

  1. Sounds like that first novel might be worth a revisit. When I was debating going back to the book that became “Death By Ice Cream,” which I’d shopped to agents without success, my editor told me that if there was something I loved about the story, it was probably worth the effort to rewrite. She was totally right!

    Thanks for coming around to my blog.
    My IWSG Post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jemi,
      You know, I thought I had closed that door, but the comments have been so encouraging I may take another look. Right now I’m totally immersed int he world of the poc adventure I’m working on.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best Wishes,


    1. Hi Julie,
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Yeah, it was great fun winning in contests, but what followed was a whole lot of work and the heartache of trying to get published. The writing road is bumpy, but I love it anyway.
      I’m enjoying the IWSG. I’ll hop over and check your blog out.


  2. I do hope you revisit ‘Dutch Kiss’ someday but I understand that you are focused on other worlds right now. I must check out the IWSG group
    sometime as well. What writer isn’t insecure, in their heart of hearts? [with the exception of Michael Hauge] 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hah… love your humor Helena,
      so true. We are all, except some um-exceptional few, insecure in this business. It’s fun reading what people write about this topic. You can check it out through my blog hop link at the bottom of my post.
      One of the many problems I have as a writer is that I have so many story ideas. But yes, I my go back to the Dutch Kiss. Maybe I need to back to Amsterdam?
      Anyway, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I always like chatting with you.
      Best Wishes,


  3. Well. My first attempt at writing a novel was actually a romance. Oh yes it was! I wrote it when I was sixteen. And it was about a gorgeous ski instructor who falls in love with one of his students. This was a thinly veiled attempt to have that happen in my own life, as I’d discovered a stunning ski instructor. I have no idea where that work went. I wrote it long hand and thought that would be my entrance into the literary world. Sigh! What an innocent!
    Fast forward many decades and here I am – writing a romance. Somehow the circle is almost complete. Hopefully this novel will incorporate all of the tips and strategies that I’ve learned on my writing journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jodie,
      I love the romance to romance circle. Love and happy endings rule! That’s so you. I can’t wait to read your book.
      I can relate to your loss of innocent. It hurts when the road keeps twisting, but every time we write we learn more.
      And I am most grateful to have friends like you to share the journey with.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding to the conversation.
      Best Wishes,


  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Jo-Ann! The opening of Dutch Kiss sounds great. Hope you have the chance to go back to it (and Amsterdam) someday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sandra,
      I loved your blog and learned so much from it.
      Ahh Amsterdam. It would be so nice to go back. Someday, hopefully.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  5. I loved my visits to the Netherlands, especially windy Zandvoort–hope I spelled that correctly. That cheese soup will live on in my memory…
    Anyway, what a striking image! A woman teeters on a crumbling ledge while bad guys toss her room and her future partner ogles her legs. Very nice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      I didn’t make it there, but every spot I did make it to I loved, from the charm of the small towns like Edam, to the history in the towns like Delph and Bosch and then the slick international feel tempered with the Dutch spirit I found in Amsterdam.
      Thanks for stopping by and thank you for your kind words.
      I’ll head over to your blog now.
      Best Wishes,


    1. Hi Sophie,
      Ahh, yes traveling in Europe used to be so much fun. To be honest, I’m reluctant to go there now. I’m hoping for safer times. Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by.
      Best Wishes,


  6. Wow! You sure started your career with a bang. That is awesome, and called “talent”. I, too, think you should revisit that book (and Amsterdam :-)). It sounds like you have collected a lot of wisdom and experience since then, which will only benefit the novel’s end result!

    Liesbet @ Roaming About

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Jo-Ann. What a wonderful way to start your writing career! Like others have said, I hope you do go back to your first novel. Your love for Amsterdam clearly came through in this post, I can only imagine what it would be like in a book. Thanks for visiting my blog – it’s great to meet you through the IWSG.

    Liked by 1 person

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