Friday, September 10, 2010

Guest Blogger, Jeannie Lin

Please join me in welcoming author Jeannie Lin as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress as she makes a stop on her virtual blog tour.

Jeannie’s latest release is THE TAMING OF MEI LIN, which is a connected novella that takes place prior to BUTTERFLY SWORDS and provides an intriguing glimpse into the heroic warrior culture prevalent in the entire series.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the book: “Faced with a proposal from a man she despises, impetuous Mei Lin makes a daring declaration: she will only marry the man who can defeat her in a sword fight. She has bested everyone who has so far tried to teach her a lesson…until a handsome stranger comes to her village. In captivating swordsman Shen Leung , Mei Lin finally sees a man she wants to marry. A man she’s willing to surrender to in every way…..”

THE TAMING OF MEI LIN (ISBN-13: 9781426852923) is published by Harlequin Historical Undone and is available from eHarlequin, Amazon, B&

Jeannie has stopped by to talk about the family in THE TAMING OF MEI LIN and BUTTERFLY SWORDS.

THE TAMING OF MEI LIN is a historical romance short story which takes place in the Tang Dynasty. Writing a romance in so few words holds quite a bit of challenge. You need to get two people together convincingly with very little time. A historical short story has an additional challenge of that extra layer of historical detail.

Normally, I’d consider limiting secondary characters in a short story, but family is so important to the cultural backdrop of my stories. THE TAMING OF MEI LIN itself is tied to my debut novel, BUTTERFLY SWORDS, by the idea of family legacies which change and guide our lives for generations to come.

Since the short story was written as a link to an existing novel, I was constrained about the sort of characters the hero and heroine had to be.

Mei Lin is a very strong-willed and rebellious young woman.

Yet why couldn’t she simply be orphaned and accountable to no one?

First of all, a woman like that didn’t seem very sympathetic as a character. If she had been cut off from all family, she might have come off as too harsh or cold. Second, in this time period, if an unmarried woman had no family ties, she didn’t have many options. She’d most likely become a nun or a prostitute. She’d have to become a very hard, very shrewd woman to survive otherwise. Though I may indeed explore such a heroine in the future, it didn’t quite fit the love story I envisioned.

As a result, the story features several secondary characters who must, in very few words, establish Mei Lin’s place in the family and the small town where she’s been transplanted. Every action, no matter how subtle, was meant to establish the time, the place, and the character of Mei Lin. Fitting, when family is ever present in Chinese culture. The bonds of family are often subtle, yet no less significant. In a culture where speaking one’s mind publicly is frowned upon, the strongest of emotions must be communicated in so many tiny actions. 

Jeannie, thanks so much for guest blogging here today. It’s always interesting to find out background on a story. For more information on Jeannie, as well as an excerpt from THE TAMING OF MEI LIN, visit her website at


  1. Jeannie Lin, thank you so much for guest blogging here today. I wish you much success with your writing. This book sounds intriguing.

  2. I don't read romance but wanted to comment that she selected a great time period for her story.

  3. @Mason - Thank you for having me on your blog.

    @Alex - I do love the Tang Dynasty and hope others will find it as fascinating.

  4. Mason - Thanks for hosting Jeannie.

    Jeannie - What I find interesting about your novella is the look at culture that it gives the reader. It makes a story that much more interesting when the author weaves culture the story without distracting from the plot. I wish you much success with The Tamking of Mei Lin.

  5. It does seem like an interesting time period and I really enjoyed the info about family and how it helps place her spot in life.

  6. It's very interesting that Jeannie was so conscious of how every word must be important in moving the story. That's a good lesson for authors who write a 90,000 word novel.

  7. Love the premise. When I was skinny and single, I told my roommate I would marry the first man who ever gave me flowers. Turns out that man is now my husband.

  8. Thanks Mason... you always have such interesting interviews. Have a great weekend.

  9. @Margot - Thanks for the well wishes Margot. I love stories that give me a glimpse into an unfamiliar place, only to find it's not so unfamiliar after all.

    @holdenj - Thanks for the comment. It's always interesting to write the story, and then reflect back on the hows and whys. At least it is for me!

    @Helen - Great point! Writing this short story definitely made me think a lot more about what I'm doing in the full-length novels.

    @Carol - What a wonderful story! My husband had to "pursue" me for over 10 years. At least that's what he claims. We laugh about it now about how long it took me to come around.

    @Lou - Thanks for stopping by and reading.

  10. You certainly have a lot of wonderful guests here at your blog!

    Just hoppin' through....

  11. Definitely a challenge fitting in all that info in such a short word count! Thanks for the insights :)

  12. Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Sorry I've been away most of the day. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

    Jeannie, best of luck with your books.

  13. Hi Mason and Jeannie .. I love reading about history .. it opens our eyes to an era and places we perhaps have never visited ..

    So I hope to read these sometime .. great to hear about - have good weekends .. Hilary


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.