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.

Cover Reveal: Tragic Tales of Strange Girls by Suzy G

So, my lovely friend Suzy G writes these terrifically creepy short stories and she’s putting some of them together into a book called Tragic Tales of Strange Girls. (<—If you click that link you can go add it to your Goodreads right now. It’s okay, go ahead. I’ll wait.)

Her debut horror collection is set to release in January 2014 and I’m SO EXCITED ABOUT IT because she can WRITE. I adore her work. I’ve read her short stories and a young adult novel she’s written (but has yet to publish–nudge, nudge, Suz). Her writing is seriously gorgeous, she’s an incredible story teller, and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that she’s one of my favorite writers. I can’t wait for you all to read her stuff!

And since it’s Friday the 13th, she’s revealing the cover! It’s creepy and cool. Creepy-cool. (That’s TOTALLY a thing, right?)

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And creepy-cool blurb:

Trapped and snowbound, a young girl and her sister sustain themselves on the one warm, vile thing available to them…

Her whole world is restricted to an underground bunker– a place she now shares with the corpse of her mother…

Stuck in a utility closet with a boyfriend and a bite wound, a teenage girl fights to stay alive–while a horde of zombies do their best to claw their way in…

Tragic Tales of Strange Girls is a collection of seven horror short stories. Each girl is a bit strange, each story a bit creepy, and each ending–almost assuredly–a bit tragic.

Now you totally want to read it, don’t you? That’s entirely normal. But since it’s not out yet, head on over to Goodreads to add it to your TBR list. And I promise to let you know as soon as it’s out.

Deal? Deal.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

 

Meet (the many faces of) Jolene Perry

Do you guys know Jolene Perry? I know I’ve mentioned her before because I raved about her book Falling (which is on sale right now for only 99c, so if you haven’t read it you should totally pick it up).

She’s this ridiculously prolific writer (like my head spins at how many books she writes each year as well as how many she works on at one time) of YA (as Jolene Perry), NA (as Mia Josephs), and sweet LDS romance (as Jolene Betty Perry).

We were introduced on Twitter a few months back and I’m going to be honest here and say that I fell a little bit in love. Jolene is smart, funny, silly, and a little bit crazy (in the BEST possible way). She’s also one of the nicest people I’ve met.

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And she can write. I’m picky about books—very quick to toss one aside if I don’t like the writing or if something bugs me about the story, I just don’t have time to waste on books that aren’t doing it for me. But I LOVE Jolene’s writing.

Last week I sent her an email with a few questions, and even though she was on vacation, lounging on a huge sailboat, swimming in tropical waters near the setting and inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, she was sweet enough to answer them. (See? How could I not love her?)

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 Which books of yours are closest to your heart and why?
Knee Deep because I had a boyfriend not too dissimilar from Shawn, only I didn’t have a Luke and I think no girl should be in that position. Also Stronger Than You Think, but my sweet Joy’s story won’t arrive in stores until September 2014…

How do you manage having multiple online personalities? (I have trouble just keeping up with my one and you juggle THREE. It’s because you’re MAGICAL, right?)
Uh…I do a terrible job of managing Mia and Jolene Betty and Jolene, lol. I’ll have ONE week where I feel like I manage and then… Blah… Also, (as happens to us all) I’ve been in a funk over publishing so my posts keep turning negative and I don’t want that. I’ve tried to be honest about pros and cons but when all I can think about is to write cons…it goes back to that idea of “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” The 3 personalities is still a work in progress. I’m moving forward though, and that feels great.

What makes you laugh?
Calvin and Hobbes. New Girl. My kids. My husband. Though, the order changes often…

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
I think I have lots of perfect days and that’s a brilliant thing. The perfect day would be a day with my family and some sort of cookie as I’ll take cookies over almost any form of dessert. I like some time alone, some time with my whole family, some time with each of them. Something active, something that requires stillness and a bit of time for a good book. Today was that day only I also got to sail in the British Virgin Islands and snorkel in a cave where Robert Louis Stevenson got some ideas and where real life pirates found gold. The brilliant thing is that I’m alive and have many chances to make many regular days, incredibly perfect ones. I don’t have to be somewhere nearly this amazing to have a great day. Maybe I waxed a little too philosophical there…

If you could have three wishes granted, what would they be?
The thought of having wishes scares me. I know. So weird. I’d be afraid of the consequences. I’m actually just finishing up a re-write based on this premise with a friend of mine right now… So yes. I’ve given this too much thought. ;-)

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 See what I mean? Did I mention that she collaborates on books all the time and has a long list of books she’s authored or co-authored? So much to choose from. (And once you start, you probably won’t want to stop. Just saying.)

You should totally check out her blog where her honest, witty, and warm sides shine equally bright. (She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.) I’m pretty sure you’ll fall in love too. :-)

 

Have a great week, everyone!

 

 

Why Parents are MIA in YA

anywhere BN KoboI’m working on the outline for my next book, figuring out the backstory for my main characters as I create the present-time story, trying to decide what happened to their parents…who are absent.

No big surprise there, right? Parents are almost always absent (in some way) in YA books. (And MG, too, for that matter.)

And this got me thinking, in part because I’ve seen reviewers lament the lack of good, responsible parents in YA literature. And I totally understand this, from a parenting point of view. Yes, I’d like my kids to read stories about characters who go to their parents for advice, who confide in their parents, who have a close bond because I want that with my kids.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make for good entertainment, does it? It’s not interesting.

I have fabulous parents and had a great childhood. The story of my coming-of-age would be One Giant Snore Fest because there was nothing to overcome. Yes, I’ve had tragedy very recently in my life which makes my story more interesting from a plot point of view (though I could have totally done without the “interesting” twist, you know, Universe?), but there will be no movie-of-the week made of my childhood, I can guarantee.

You know what does make a good story? Strife, struggle, growth. Characters figuring things out for themselves, finding their own voices, their own power…finding themselves.

You know what doesn’t make a good story? Loving parents guiding their kids’ fairly seamlessly through life.

Think about this for a moment: What if Lily and James Potter had lived? Or what if the Dursley’s had been lovely, warm people caring for Harry as if he were their own son? There’s a very good reason Harry was the main character of the series rather than Ron or Hermione.

Even Disney knows this. Disney films are rife with kids who’ve been abandoned by their parents in some way—ignored (Cinderella), orphaned (Aladdin; sometimes the parent is even killed right in front of the child’s eyes, hello Lion King and Bambi) (also, can you BELIEVE these movies were made for young children?), or on their own for some other reason, often of their own doing (The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Mulan, Peter Pan).

It’s no different for adult books—there’s no benevolent mentor guiding characters through their lives to keep them from making mistakes or out of harm’s way. And why should there be? Great stories for every age have this in common–they’re about characters who go beyond what they think they can do, who take chances, who are stronger/smarter/more capable than they believed themselves to be, who make mistakes and learn from them. And this can only happen if characters are doing things on their own, not with the warm and supportive advice/help of  parents (or parent-like figures).

So this absence of parents is necessary in the make-believe world. It allows young protagonists to truly be the heroes of their own stories, letting them rise to the occasion as we hoped/knew they would (even if we didn’t know how). Which is what all good stories are made of, right?

 

 

Winners of ANYWHERE

anywhere BN KoboWe have winners of the signed paperbacks of Anywhere:

Victoria Green and Christy Coleman!

Congrats! Please email me your address and I’ll get the book out to you this week. :-) Send your emails to j@jmeyersbooks.com.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated and helped spread the word. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the help. Really and truly.

I’ve got some serious blogging set up for this week (don’t get used to it—I’m just saying). Strangely, over the weekend I was hit with blogging-inspiration and it’s all coming at you this week. (And then I’m sure I’ll be back to my normal erratic posting…especially with the approaching holidays.) So come back for more tomorrow. :-)

Happy Monday, everyone!