Five Things

1. I’ve been taking a break from writing, and it’s been wonderful to reconnect with people I haven’t seen for too long. I get so focused on work, I forget to make time to see friends. So last week we met up with some at a nature center for a picnic and some play…and then took an impromptu visit to the ER after my 8yo’s head hit a wooden post.

Ten stitches. In his forehead.

I wasn’t right there to see it happen, but while the 5yo ran to get me, the 10yo whipped off his t-shirt and pressed it to his head. My heart swells at that. The 10yo said he did that because he read about it in The Ranger’s Apprentice, his favorite new series. <3

Books save lives, y’all. Just saying.

2. My knitting is calling to me—well, it IS fall AND soccer season, which is when the urge to knit always hits me hard—and I’m SO close to finishing a sweater I designed myself, and I can’t tell you how ridiculously excited I am about that. I’ve based it on a couple of patterns that I liked but didn’t love, and I’m loving the way it’s coming out. It’s cotton, really long, and in two tones of blue. This pic is just a tease, but I’m in the middle of the collar and button band, so you’ll just have to imagine what it really looks like until I post pics when it’s done.

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3. Of course I have at least seven different knitting projects going at once (that’s totally normal, right?), and the most pressing is a cotton rainbow-striped hat for the newly banged-up 8yo to protect his wound/future scar from the sun (which apparently can worsen scarring). He requested the rainbow stripes and has even knit part of the hat himself.

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4. In fact, he’s inspired a whole flurry of knitting here amongst his siblings. The 5yo is knitting herself a pink and purple striped hat (though she’s said she’ll let me work on it, too), and the 12yo is knitting himself a black and green vertical striped hat, his soccer team’s colors. And the 10yo picked up his knitting from last year—the first in a pair of fingerless gloves in grey and purple stripes. (We definitely got a stripe thing going on right now.)

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5. And lastly, I was going to give you a list of good books I’ve read and loved lately, but then I came across this video of Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers getting down to “Can’t Touch This”…TOTALLY made my whole day. :-) So I had to share. I’ll tell you about the books next time. (Thanks to Kara for the link!)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

On Coming Back

Hi. I’ve missed you. :-) It’s been a while. I’m coming back to this space, trying to slow my life down a bit, make time to do the things I like doing. Like sharing things with you here.

I think my brother’s death last September affected me in ways I hadn’t realized. It was really hard to come back here and be all “life’s great!” and business-as-usual. It didn’t feel right, in part because, while most of my life was great and business-as-usual (life has this really weird way of continuing after someone dies, that feels simultaneously right AND wrong), my heart was broken.

It still is.

Forget-me-nots

I forget-him-not

As we get closer to the anniversary of his death, I’m still just as stunned that he’s gone. Still trying to adjust to his absence in the world. I still can’t look at pictures of him—or really even think about him—without tearing up. Like right now.

Deep breaths.

So I’ve been keeping busy. Way too busy, actually. :-) Right now, I’m just finishing a whirlwind ride co-writing hot and steamy romance as Jinsey Reese with Victoria Green. Tors and I are writing and editing the fifth and final episode in the Untamed Series (of which the first book, Untamed, is FREE everywhere), which we are wickedly proud of. We’ve been working so hard—plotting, writing, polishing, and publishing over 200,000 words in only 5 months. (I’m slightly incredulous at that number, honestly.) We’re both exhausted and a bit burned out, so we’re taking a little break before starting another serial story this fall.

Anywhere_JR_smallAnd that means I’m going to pick up my sweet and steamy romances again, get going on the companion books to Anywhere. I’m already plotting out a prequel novella to Anywhere that will tell some of Paige’s story, and that I’ll be making free everywhere (in September/October, I think), and then I’ll pick up the companion novel I started in January and finish up that story. I can’t wait to get it done because I love it so much, and I’ve really missed writing low-drama, heart-swelling love stories. They’re my favorite, and I’m excited to get back to it in the coming weeks.

intangible1_smI’m also planning to finish the Intangible series next year. It’s been too long, I know, since I wrote in that world, and I’m really looking forward to discovering the rest of Sera, Luke, Fey, and Jonas’ story. I have ideas, of course, but I won’t know exactly everything that’s going to happen until I sit down and plot it all out chapter by chapter. Just thinking about it right now gets me all excited. :-)

So, this is all just to say that I’m going to be posting here again, about writing and life, and I hope you’ll come around to see what I’m doing and tell me what you’ve been up to lately, too.

<3
jen

 

 

Long time…

It’s been too long. I know. Ever since I decided to write romance as Jinsey Reese and jump into serial novellas, life has gotten crazy. My life is out of balance (AGAIN), and I’m trying to reel it in (AGAIN), find my center, be the person (mom/wife/friend) AND writer I want to be. I wish it wasn’t so hard…but then things worth having don’t usually come easily, I’ve found.

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But it’s all good. Life is GOOD. Spring is here. The natural world around me is exploding in pollen and color. (I like one of those a lot better than the other. ) I’m loving writing books with Victoria Green more than I ever thought possible—there’s a part of me that doesn’t ever want to write a book on my own again because it is SO much more fun writing with her.

But I will.

So much to write. So much to do. So much to live.

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I hope you are all having a wonderful spring, looking forward to the summer ahead. (Unless you’re in the southern hemisphere, that is. In that case I hope your fall is LOVELY—that’s my favorite season—and you’re anxiously awaiting the joys of winter.)

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What’s new with all of you? :-)

 

 

Retreat of Awesome

We’ve called it the Retreat of Awesome since we started planning it over a year ago, when it didn’t seem real and I wasn’t sure that we were going to actually pull it off. And even though the weather conspired against us (I went through Atlanta the day after the snow storm hit, and was lucky to make it to Florida, as was Suz), most of us made it. Two canceled flights and hurrying from the end of one concourse to the far end of another (*cough-wheeze*)…I hadn’t realized I needed to do a little marathon training to fly (note to self for next time). Between getting up early for my flight and then waiting up late for Suz’s plane to arrive (and then there was the hugging, rejoicing, and visiting because, though we’ve been friends via Twitter/email/google hangouts for over two years, it was the first time we’d met in person), I was up for 23+ hours that first day.

But even given the rocky/stressful/tiring start, it was an amazing trip. I met two of my favorite people on Twitter (and, incidentally, on Earth)—Kris Oliver and Suzy G (who, over time, had come to feel like good friends even though we’d yet to meet face-to-face…Twitter is great that way—you can get to know people in a very real way, and I’ve been thanking the Twitter gods that I have Suz and Kris in my life. I’d never have known them otherwise.)

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We did epic amounts of writing (I got 19K words on my new book, which I’m totally in love with and can’t wait to tell you about!).

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And in between all the writing, we went shelling on the beach…

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Kayaking at Robinson Preserve…

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Saw some seriously cool creatures…

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Had a private concert by Kris’ band Dirt Wolf (which was beyond Awesome)…

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And just hung out and talked writing and life. We bounced ideas off of each other, inspired new ideas, got excited about everything everyone was writing, and basically solved all the world’s problems (or, well, we solved book-world and story problems, at least).

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Writers of Awesome

And then I got to come home to the people I’d missed like crazy (even amidst all the awesome).

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Signs…they made me SIGNS. <3

 

It was an incredible week—my face literally hurt from smiling so much, I was exhausted and sunburned (turns out you really SHOULD put sunscreen on your legs when you go kayaking…who knew?), I’m inspired and excited about what I’m working on, and thrilled that I got 19K words in one week (which for me is really good…I’m not as fast a writer as I’d like to be, but I’m not going to complain).

And I got to spend the week with amazing people. <3 Retreat of Awesome, indeed.

 

 

The Book I’m Not Ready to Write

Anywhere_smallSo, I posted on Monday, but I’m pretty sure none of you saw it—it’s somehow disappeared into the nether. I’m guessing this happened because I switched hosting companies and it got lost in the transfer, but I’m also one of those people who tend to see meaning in what happens, and it actually seems really appropriate that the post is gone.

I’ll tell you why.

I’d announced that I was FINALLY starting the serious writing on my next book, had FINALLY completed the outline, and that I would be writing the first words and pages of my first draft that very day (which I did). (YAY! Happy dance!!) I wanted to tell you something about the book, because it means so SO much to me, but I hesitated—wrote a few lines describing it and then promptly deleted them. I thought it was because it was too personal, too close to my heart.

But, really, I think it’s because I wasn’t ready to write that book yet.

And I realized THAT about 24 hours later, which promptly threw me into an enormous panic attack because I’m headed out for a week-long writer’s retreat in Florida at the end of the month and I HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING TO WRITE WHILE I’M THERE OR IT WILL ALL BE A COLOSSAL WASTE OF PRECIOUS WRITING TIME. Being the homeschooling mom of four young kids who rarely gets several uninterrupted hours to write, let alone a full day, I don’t have time to waste. (Add in the fact that I’ve never left my kids before and am so stressed about them missing me and how long that week will feel to them, as well as that my fantabulous husband has taken the week off from work so I can go…you can imagine the defcon level of my panic at realizing I needed to write some other un-outlined book.)

The book I’m not ready to write is NOT about my brother, but it’s inspired by him. And it’s just too soon for me to write something like that when I can’t even look at his picture or think about him without my throat closing and my eyes tearing up. My original feeling was that now would be the best time to write this story because I want to capture the rawness of losing a sibling to cancer (or for any reason, really). But I’m also realizing four months into life without my brother in it, that this feeling is going to feel fresh for a long time, and that I will fully remember this pain for the rest of my life.

And what I really want to do right now is write a happy book.

I haven’t written anything since John died…at least nothing beyond the 14 page outline of the book I’m not ready to write. ;-) With my heart still so heavy with his passing, I need to focus on happy for a while. And I know he’d fully support that decision—the last time I saw him in person, when I couldn’t bring myself to utter the word goodbye, I was trying to hide my tears from him as I was leaving his hospital room, but he saw them…and he called my name, told me to smile. (And now I’m crying…)

So this book of my heart is going to wait a while. I will write it. I love the story and characters, and I so want to honor my brother (and my undying love for him) with this book.

In the meantime, with less than two weeks to go until I leave for Florida, I’m madly fleshing out another book idea into a full outline. This is a story I’m really excited about, have been wanting to write for a while (so much so, that I already had a partial outline worked out with lots of great story details), and it has an incredibly cool aspect to it. It’s going to be the first in a series of companion contemporary romance novels (one of which will eventually be the book I’m not ready to write).

So, that disappearing blog post? A blessing in disguise.

Have a great weekend, everyone. <3

 

 

ANYWHERE sale and Barnes & Noble

Anywhere_smallHappy 2014!

To celebrate the start of a fantastic new year, Anywhere is an Amazon Countdown Deal this week. It’s 99c today and will be going up to $1.99 tomorrow morning for a few days. Price goes back up to its regular $2.99 Saturday night at 11pm PST. (At least, I’m pretty sure it’s PST.)

So if you haven’t picked it up yet, now’s the perfect time. And if you have read it and know anyone who’d enjoy the story, please let them know about the sale!

Also, I’ve had to take all of my books off sale at Barnes & Noble because of a business change I’m making. Apparently they are incapable of making changes to an existing account, so I’m being forced to start a new account, upload all my books anew, and start from scratch…because they are also incapable of transferring all of my reviews and ratings that I’ve built up over the past two years. I can’t tell you how ridiculous this is, in this day and age, and given the fact that I could EASILY make this change at every single other vendor I use. *frustrated SIGH*

So I’m trying to decide whether I’ll create the new account and start again. Not sure yet. So for the time being, my books are only available at Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, and here on my site. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause.

Have a great week, everyone! I hope that the start of your new year is stellar. <3

 

 

Cover Re-Reveal: New ANYWHERE cover

Anywhere is getting a new cover today! While the original is all kinds of beautiful and perfectly captures the feel of the story, I’ve realized it’s not a good reflection of the genre. So I’m going a different way to see if it will help more people discover the book. Only the ebook cover is changing. I may change the paperback cover to match in the future, but for now it’ll continue to have the original cover.

Here it is, my friends, the sparkling new cover. I hope you like it. :-)

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If I’m not back in this space before the holidays commence, I wish you all the warmest & brightest. :-) And I’ll see you back here in the New Year.