Planting Seeds and Watering Your Audience

Planting Seeds and Watering Your Audience
by: Jaymie Wagner


When I started writing what would become the Sing For Me stories, I had plans on where to start, a synopsis of events that should happen along the way, and a rough idea of the end. 

Of course, anyone who has ever written a story knows it’s never that easy!

I found myself needing to sew plot holes closed, finding that my characters often had their own plans for what they wanted to do. And there were a thousand little details that had to come together to form one story, let alone three books’ worth!

Oh, and while I was doing all that, I had to find the places where I could plant the seeds from which the over-arching plot events would grow.

It’s easy to say that the first book was Leah Corbyn’s story, that the second belonged to Amélie Orne, and that the third is Amy Oakley’s, but the truth is that so many of the events that come to a head in Herald’s Call have been building from the very first pages of Orphan’s Cry, gently nourished and encouraged to develop on the way.

I cannot wait to see readers going back now that they can read the completed trilogy and (hopefully!) enjoying how many times I put a casual remark, a bit of education, or a worldbuilding detail in place that would eventually pay off.

In real life, I’m a terrible gardener, but I think I manage to do pretty well at planting ideas!

On the other hand, I also had to balance that “gardening” with a larger need – making sure that each book, in and of itself, was a satisfying experience for the reader!

It’s easy, I think, to grab a reader’s attention when they first pick up a book. If you’ll forgive me for tooting my own horn a bit, let’s take a look at how this whole series starts:

Leah Corbyn couldn’t stop fidgeting, unable to relax. Her spiky brown bangs kept wanting to fall into her eyes, and one bare foot tapped urgently against the other. Normally she’d have been thrilled by her current circumstances. Weekend trip to a quiet cabin out in the woods of Chiltern Hills, alone with a gorgeous redhead? Perfect. Absolute heaven.

Now, though, she felt utterly terrified as she looked at the clock on the wall again.

I have to get out of here.


We give the reader a quick look into where, who, and what is going on – and we hopefully have them wondering Why. 


What’s so dangerous about being in the cabin? What’s about to happen? Why is she so scared?


The need to learn the answers will hopefully keep the reader turning the next few pages to learn more, but if I took the better part of 200,000 words to answer them, nobody’s going to stick around!


Instead, I find myself answering a few questions at a time, every so often, but making sure that those answers are going to lead to asking new questions. 


Within the first three chapters the audience learns that Leah’s a werewolf, that she’s scared of accidentally harming a human, and that despite what she believed, she’s hardly the only werewolf in town.  


But acquiring that knowledge has also brought up the question of who turned her into a werewolf (which happens to be a mystery we don’t reveal for quite some time!), if she can successfully learn how to become a part of werewolf society, and what this means for her relationship to Amy.


Keeping events moving and giving the audience a few new questions every so often keeps them engaging with the story, and even when we answer some of the bigger questions at the end of one book, I always make sure the reader will have some things to wonder about until they can read the next.


(Does that mean I’ve left a few things to ponder at the end of Herald’s Call? Oh, it just might.)


If we’ve done it right, we get someone who wants to know more, who comes to love our characters, who will be looking forward to the next story – and all the questions answered and asked by it! 


It’s a lot of work to do, and we don’t get to know if we have succeeded until long after we’ve finished writing and editing – but the fruits of that garden are well worth it in the end.

Herald's Call - Jaymie Wagner

Jaymie Wagner has a new FFF urban fantasy out, Sing For Me book 3: Herald’s Call. And there’s a giveaway.

Woe to the wolf who dares to call

With unworthy hearts lest darkness fall

Dour note this horn will play

The hounds shall rise and wolves shall bay

Through the horn Herne shall command

By blood of the Hunt and a worthy hand!

It is said that long ago Herne, the god of the Hunt, could use his Horn to make wolves obey his commands. A legend that Amy Oakley, Alpha of the Howlers pack, learned as a child and stopped believing in long before her first change beneath the full moon.

After spending three years fighting for her lovers and packmates’ right to live among the werewolves of Londinium, all she wants is a chance to breathe, go back to running her pub, and never see the manipulative Marcel Charron again.

As an ancient prophecy begins to unfold, can Amy and the Howlers find the Horn of Herne and keep it out of Marcel’s hands, or will his web of schemes and plots spell doom for their pack and the rest of London’s werewolves?

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About the Series:

When Leah Corbyn was bitten on her mail route by a dog, she expected to go to the hospital for some stitches, a few days of medical leave, and for life to go on.

She had no idea that two weeks later she would become a werewolf under the full moon, or spend the next year trying to hide her ‘condition’, but after meeting and dating fellow werewolf Amy Oakley, it wasn’t long before she started to find an entire community in the shadows of London.

Surrounded by unexpected friends and dangerous enemies, Amy, Leah, and their packmate Amélie must fight to make a place for themselves, unaware that the conditions of an ancient prophecy are being met…


Jaymie is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Leah swallowed hard, and her voice was a hushed, raspy whisper. “Do you think…I mean…if my mum was a werewolf and she knew I wasn’t going to be. Could that be why she got rid of me?”

“Oh,” Amy breathed as she pulled Leah into a hug. “Oh, pup.”

“I mean…” Leah shook her head, tears starting to well in her eyes. “I never really knew anything. Where I came from. Why I was abandoned. Nobody even knows who gave me up. They just found me like a lost wallet!” She shuddered in Amy’s arms, tears running down her face.

“I finally learned something about where I came from and suddenly I wish I hadn’t!”

Abigail sat down slowly. “Leah,” she said in her most kind but firm doctor’s voice. “I can’t speak to why your parents made that decision. I wish I could. What I can tell you is that mitochondrial DNA takes a very long time to change from generation to generation, and the fact that you did not possess the full were sequences until you were turned suggests that it was a fairly distant ancestor. Five or six generations, easily.”

She waited for Leah to meet her eyes before she concluded: “Whatever their reasons, this was not one of them.”

Leah gave a sniff and dried her eyes with the back of her hand as she sat up. “That’s…that helps. Thanks, Abby.”

“Of course.” Abigail smiled at all of them before going back to the papers. “So – as I said, we don’t know as much, medically, as we would like about Turning. But this does suggest a few things to me. For one – it may explain part of why you survived the process, particularly with a diet that was…not terribly conducive to your new existence.”

That got a weak laugh out of Leah, and Amélie smiled with relief. If she could laugh…it was a good sign. “So – you think that explains my eyes, too?”

“It would seem so,” Abigail agreed with a nod. “I am not certain why it took so long to express, but my theory is that some of the latent werewolf traits you carry finally began to show through.”

Leah’s lips pulled into a slight frown. “Could that be part of why I’m a different sort of wolf than whoever turned me?”

Abigail nodded again. “Likely, yes.”

Amy reached up to lightly scratch at Leah’s scalp as she examined the different sets of results. “Does that explain Leah’s ear, too?”

Abigail shook her head and went back to the first chart. “The trait that affects the development of cartilage in the ear is an autosomal one. It most likely came from the were who bit you.”

Amélie looked down at the results again, and suddenly felt like she’d been given the last piece of a puzzle.

No one has been able to find the wolf who bit Leah…but they were assuming it was a were who lived in England.

Leah said the ‘dog’ who attacked her had a blonde and pale grey coat.

Marcel knew Leah was Turned.

Marcel knew Leah had no family.

Marcel knew where the Howl was.

Leah never spoke to Marcel at the trial, and Amy would not have told him anything about Leah or herself. If the records from Leah’s trial were sealed, there is no way he should have known any of the things he tried to use against us.

Marcel always said his ears drooped because of an old injury from a fight…but Marcel lied about almost everything.

Her chest felt tight as the facts began to add up.


Marcel is a liar.

Her mouth felt dry as she looked up. “Abigail?”

Everyone turned to look at her, and Amélie didn’t try to hide the dread and shock she felt.

“I know who Turned Leah.”

Author Bio

Herald's Call - Jaymie Wagner<\center>

Jaymie Wagner is a queer, trans, polyamorous author who lives in the Twin Cities with her cats and an alarming collection of tiny giant robots.

She has been published in several anthologies, short story collections, and posts her “Fractured Fantasies” twitter micro-stories where she explores different ideas and kinks.

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