Google story grannies

Granny Jo

About Me 


"mostly official bio"

Granny Jo AKA Jodi Henley, is a craft of writing geek. Back in the early days, she was a firm believer in talking heads, passive voice, and lots of sex. After a writer's intervention during which she was pointed to RWA, the PRO loops, and handed a ten pound wad of paper with descriptive words, she was even more confused. These days, she believes in the power of story structure, the transformational character arc, emotional under-structures and focal points--and has finally owned up to liking sex.

When she's not sleeping, Granny Jo likes to spend time trying out her workshops to make sure they're pragmatic, easy to use, and simple to understand. She firmly believes that if you're going to set yourself up as a craft teacher, what you say needs to be workable. She also believes in paying it forward. If she's helped you over the years, the next time there's an opportunity--light a candle in someone's life and be a force for good. There are a lot of writers out there who give up, and we can "fix" that, you know?

 *unofficial bio*

I grew up in Hawaii, and if you've seen "Wonder Years"--yeah, that was my life. Doing the early mall-rat, hanging out and exploring old Hawaiian temples and fish-ponds. I never liked the beach, but maybe it's because Hawaii has mountains like Chinese picture scrolls, tall and knife-edged with staircases carved into the rock face. I remember climbing the Haiku Staircase up to the top, pushing through the scrub and wild thimbleberries. The air smelled like forever, and hell--I wanted to stay up there forever, letting the wind blow away my thoughts while I soaked up the sun like a lizard.

Around the time my kids grew up, I started writing seriously and finished a book loosely based on a subject that had always fascinated me, the Hawaiian Inter-Island Geothermal linkage. The reviews were good, but I wasn't happy. I wanted more. I began studying, and somewhere between the transformational character arc and Poetics Today discovered a calling.

I am a firm believer in organic writing and characterization. Some people call that pantsing, I call it using your subconscious writing processes in an intuitive way. It's my platform, my baby--and so help me, when I die, I hope it's my legacy.

If you like my stuff, tell a friend. If you believe in the journey, come join me.

Thanks for checking me out.

Books and stuff

Writing reference
Slides for the book, in case you downloaded it and want better pictures

Has an agent or editor said you lack "spark"? Do people have a hard time connecting with your characters? Your people are isolated, disenfranchised, inwardly full of emotion, fabulously supportive and wounded--why don't people get that? If you have a hard time getting your showing words to mean something and don't like black and white rules, turbocharge your story with Practical Emotional Structure. A simple, plain-English guide to connecting with your readers using emotional theory and the transformational character arc.
Writing reference

Your character-driven short stories don't work--what's wrong with them? If you're a character-driven writer trying to stuff a full-length novel into a 10-20k short story, or a flash fiction writer trying to increase your word count, if your story is over-developed, under-developed, you have too much conflict, you don't have any conflict, you can't figure out where to start or end, or how to trim down the fatty bits, try Writing Character-driven Short Stories: an easy to understand, plain-English guide to story structure, focus and the transformational character arc. With pertinent, easy-to-do short exercises and thinking points, Writing Character-driven Short Stories is a short, practical guide to help you get exactly what you mean to say to your reader across in a way that works with your skill level and knowledge base.

Includes a useful blurb writing template for both character and plot-driven stories, and easy tools to get your story back on track.
  • Finding Your Reader and Their Emotional Triggers
  • Focus
  • Story Focus
  • Fitting a BIG Idea into a Little Story
  • Good Blurb, Fabulous Plot, Bad Execution
  • Bad Blurb, Great Execution: or how to use invisible words and thought strings
  • The Action Line
  • Backstory is Motivation
  • Getting it Written
  • Trouble-shooting and Revisions
  • Tags, Keywords, Blurbs, Excerpts and Covers

Romantic suspense

When Jen Stalling, chief geologist on a new magma-based power plant known as the Pele Project witnesses the murder of a fellow scientist, Project officials don't want the negative publicity of a murder investigation. "An accident," they say. Jen knows better. So does her father, billionaire Art Stalling. But having pushed Jen away years ago, he can't now reveal his interest without exposing her to danger. He hires DalCon, a Seattle-based security group to protect her and negate the threat.

Keegan Dalfrey has his own problems. Three days ago, during a routine mission gone wrong, his brother was captured by South Pacific extremists. They want two million in eleven days. Keegan can make that in nine by neutralizing the threat to Jen. It's an all or nothing gamble with his brother's life in the balance. He never expected to fall in love.


   “Touch me,” he said, walking right up against her, chest pressed to her palms.
   Her fingers curled into the supple material of his shirt. The thin cotton clung to her fingers, still damp from where he’d rinsed out the blood. He pulled the t-shirt up, over his head. If he’d been aware of her in the car this was worse, because the way he was standing put him right up against her.
   “Go on,” he said. “See what you do to me.”
   “I do?” she whispered.
   She looked into his eyes and he looked right back, letting her see the heat behind his cool gray gaze.
   “What’s wrong with you?” she cried. “Can’t you see I’m fat?”
   Keegan pulled at the sheet. “Somebody did a head-job on you, honey. But it wasn’t me.”
   “There is nothing wrong with my self-image,” she said, jerking the fabric back over her shoulders. “I know what I look like.”
   “Then drop the sheet.”
   “Why? I’m ugly. It’s a fact. I’m overweight and out of proportion because my top parts are bigger than my bottom parts.”
   His mouth quirked.
   Jen eyed him suspiciously. “Are you laughing at me?”
   “It’s just the way you put it. Your top parts.”
   “Laughing,” she said, hugging her sheet tight.
   “Dying,” said Keegan.
   He pulled her sheet-wrapped body into the circle of his arms and touched his mouth to hers. The sheet drifted down around her feet. They were skin on skin and mouth to mouth. The thin satin of her panties caught on his zipper and tore.
   “Take it off,” whispered Keegan.
   “I am not getting naked with you.”
   “You won’t be naked with me. I’ll have my pants on.”
   “Not for much longer.”
   “No,” he said. “Not for much longer.”

Erotic historical regency (short story) approx. 12k sensuality level: blazing hot

Lady Honoria Cavanaugh is as tempestuous as she is beautiful. When her spoiled demand for a new gown brings her to the attention of her old childhood friend, Robbie Macgregor, an erotic passion ignites. But who is Danton, and what does the enigmatic lord want? Two lusty men, a devoted maid, and a Beauty of Immense Fortune. Who said, "There can be only one?"

She finally exited the servant's quarters and came out in the East wing behind a curtain. There were several curtained alcoves along the ornately decorated corridor. Her father was a stickler and refused to let servants ruin the perfect symmetry of the many statues he had lining the walls. Servants were expected to duck into an alcove and remain there until the family passed.
Not that Honoria had such alcoves in her wing.
She peeked out from behind the curtain and made sure no one was in sight before walking quickly to the next alcove. Sliding into the shadowed depths, she took a deep breath and shrieked into the hand abruptly clamped to her mouth.
"Mpmf!" she exploded, kicking and fighting.
"Much as I enjoy your thrashing," whispered Danton. "I'd advise you to be still. There are too many ears." His hand slid down her body and pushed at her skirts until he found the juncture of her thighs. "You are a hot little baggage and I dearly enjoyed watching you."
"You dare!" Honoria swung her fist up to box his ears.
He caught her fist easily. "Naughty little puss," he breathed. "That was a compliment. I saw you watch the stable-lad and I watched you in turn."
"How could you?" she sobbed.
His voice was lazy and amused, "How could you, my dear? It's not every woman that likes buggery."
The flush rising from her chest to her jaw scalded her. "I…"
"Don't apologize," whispered Danton. His lips brushed the side of her throat. "I quite enjoyed it."

Regency historical erotica (short story) approx: 11k 
Only a lady with Immense Fortune, Impeccable Hair and unfortunate bosom would follow her mysterious lover of less than two weeks to the glittering and dangerous world of Regency London. Unaware that Danton plays a deeper game than she knows, Honoria is caught up in the erotic currents that surround him as the darkly magnificent, Michel, Duc d’Ganelon uncovers her hidden desires. Drawn to his unholy yearnings, Honoria finds herself torn between two men--and quite a few servants--as Danton’s desperate secret threatens her very soul.
Can Danton stop her from becoming the woman Michel needs or will she take her place at the devastating Frenchman’s side--forever?


   Lady Honoria Cavanaugh saw her nemesis across the crowded ballroom and immediately pictured him naked. He turned to wave at her, the wretch—and made everyone in his vicinity stare.
   Honoria had all the usual accoutrements, birth, beauty and wealth. The one thing she didn’t have was the ability to stare down a crowd and Danton knew it. In less than a month, he'd ferreted out all her secrets. To give him credit, he didn't talk about their solitary assignation or her sexual peccadilloes, but if there was a phobia, weakness or quirk she'd kept hidden from the ravenous attention of the Ton, she had to assume he was holding it like a child contemplating a blueberry comfit. It wasn't a matter of if he'd use it, but rather when it would do the most damage.
   Gathering her composure, Honoria turned in the opposite direction. Away from the ballroom the crowds thinned leaving her aunt’s lavishly gilded corridors empty of prying eyes. Honoria's reflection frowned back at her from hundreds of shiny gold surfaces, reminding her that she'd been the one to follow Danton to London and if she couldn't deal with his unfortunate personality then it was better to know now, before their unorthodox relationship went any further. Drat the man for being such a stimulating companion. She couldn't remember actually talking to anyone before he'd come into her life.
   She pushed into a deserted drawing room and stood holding the latch, her gaze fixed on a tall armchair turned toward the fire. One elegantly shod foot dangled over the carved wooden armrest, kicking slowly.
   Both hands fisted at her sides while passion rose to a screaming pitch. She lurched forward, fingers curled into claws. “You told my father I was afraid of horses?”
   Danton unrolled from his lounging position and closed the distance between them. “If you're going to choke me,” he said, politely, “you might want to raise your hands.” He pulled her hands into place around his neck and fell to his knees, gurgling.
   Honoria dropped him. “You forgot to stick your tongue out.”
   “Did I?” He promptly stuck out his tongue.
   “Blast it all, Danton. Have you been avoiding me?”
   Danton rolled over and held out his hand. “We could have this conversation much more comfortably if you'd close the door.”
   He looked different in the shifting darkness, bigger and more dangerous, unlike the nondescript lord he presented to the rest of the Ton. His fingers were dry, welcome heat and when he pulled her down into his arms, she went willingly. Honoria could feel the rapid thump of his heart against her chest. He held her tightly, face buried in her hair and she held him back.
   “I missed you.”
   “It's very hard to stay mad at you when you—”
   “Have such a large cock?” he inserted brightly.
   “—are such an unrepentant wretch,” she told him.
   His lips touched hers very gently. “I am a smiling damned villain, Honoria. Never forget.”
   “I'm fully aware of your villainous nature,” Honoria said. She kept her eyes open as their lips shifted and watched the play of firelight across his face.
   “No,” he said bluntly. “You're not. But I feel you deserve fair warning since it seems I can't stay away from you.”
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