Indie Author Jennifer Jensen Joins Us Today!

Happy last week of August folks–uh…isn’t that an oxy-moron? And who coined the term oxy-moron anyway?

Welcome, indie author Jennifer Jensen!

Jennifer Jensen photo

Congrats to you on your latest release, THROUGH A SHIMMER OF TIME! What do you love best about writing?

When I speak in casual conversation, I mix words or syllables up rather frequently – I like to say I have dyslexia of the mouth. The advantage of writing is that I get to think about what I’m saying and re-write it until it’s exactly what I want. I love playing around with the way sentences flow.

Along with re-writing, I love the occasional times I get “in the zone” and lose track of time because the scene is flowing. I love the sense of accomplishment when I finish a scene/chapter/story and know it’s the best I can do. And I absolutely love when someone reads it and chuckles or gasps at just the right spots, or says they couldn’t stop thinking about the characters.

I love rewriting too, Jennifer. I love tilling groundwork that’s already been laid. And I totally get what you mean about a reader’s reaction when they ‘get it’ the way I intended. My favorite compliment is, “I was there!”

What do you like least?

Taking the full-blown scene in my head and somehow getting it down on paper so someone else sees what I see.  It’s gut-wrenching work for me and makes me wonder why I choose to do this, but it helps immensely to know that I’m not alone–countless writers out there go through the same thing. It’s a relief when my rough draft is done and I can start playing with it.

What got you started?

Besides the snake/cake/rake book of poems I wrote at age 6?  Mostly it was being a reader. I loved escaping into other worlds through the books I read.  Like binge-watching a TV series today, I would immerse myself in one time period or with one author.  I devoured every Walter Farley book about the Island Stallion, and remember spending a lot of time in a wagon train, living in colonial America, or watching Henry the Eighth’s wives try to survive.  he escapism is just as strong today, but I really don’t think you can be a writer without also being a reader.

Agreed.

I also answered one of those ads in magazines that said “We’re looking for people to write children’s books.”  Thank goodness the Institute of Children’s Literature wasn’t a scam!  I sold my first short story for Lesson #6. I wasn’t off and running, but I kept heading in the right direction.

Where do you get story and character ideas?

Most of my stories come from the great “What If.”  What if two sisters were jealous of each other?  What if the culprit in a crime was a horse?  And right now, what if a kid got zapped back in time and didn’t know how to get home?

My characters are usually created along with the plot.  I have a basic idea in my head- age, sex, and a bit of attitude. When I stick him/her in a situation, the personality and talents begin to grow to either fit or complicate the problem.  That adds plot possibilities, which further add to the character. It’s a nice spiral of building the two together.

Talk about current, past and future projects, upcoming releases, maybe your ‘dream novel’?

I’ve published a number of children’s magazine stories and done a chunk of journalism in the past. The big project right now is releasing my children’s novel, Through the Shimmer of Time.  My main characters are complete opposites:  Jim is a modern 12-year-old, bored out of his mind at a living history park. He goes in search of a haunted cabin he’s heard about.  What else would any adventurous, impetuous kid do, right?  But he ends up in 1838 and meets Hannah, an 11-year-old who is helpful, respectful and a bit timid–until she gets wrapped up in Jim’s problems.  There are mysterious thefts, angry townspeople, and a ghost who needs her name cleared, and the kids are the ones to put it all right again.  Read an excerpt here.

Final cover

Future projects?  Oh, the possibilities!  Something set in Ireland, where we lived for a few years.  Some horse-oriented stories, drawing on a lifetime of experience. More middle grade and some women’s fiction with mother/daughter/sister relationships. More time travel too! Hmm . . . what would happen if I put all of those into one book?

Try putting it all into one book and see. Keep me posted, too. I love time travel stories!

The next project is already started, though – Jim and Hannah have more adventures planned.  THROUGH THE SHIMMER OF TIME is the first of several, with #2 coming out in 2015.

Through the Shimmer of Time is available now in both print and e-book at Amazon.  Contact Jennifer directly for an autographed print copy.

Connect with Jennifer via one or all of the following:

Thanks, Jennifer, for sharing your author origins with me and the wonderful folks who make themselves regulars here. I wish you all the very best with your current release and upcoming projects! I have tremendous respect for all authors, but I find the indie-crowd to be particularly special,  taking on a world of behind-the-scenes work one might not realize until one ventures into that place–and making themselves available to each other to offer invaluable assistance whenever needed. You awesome folks rock!

To my awesome, very kind and faithful readers and followers, I thank you, and ask you to SHARE via one of the buttons below on behalf of Jennifer! Thanx again and have a wonderful day and week!

Happy Labor Day weekend too!

Joanna

 

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Prolific Author Alert: Sarah McNeal is Here!

Good day, friends!

Hope all is well in everyone’s world today. Please extend a warm welcome to paranormal romance author Sarah J. McNeal! 

So glad to have you here, Sarah! Start us off:

What do love best about writing?

I love the creative process.  Hanging out at restaurants and the library listening to other people’s conversations and jotting down notes in my writer’s journal makes me feel like a mystery sloth.  I love when an epiphany presses the happy buzzer in my mind and helps me pull together the story I’m working on.  Shoot, I love everything about writing including the smell of pencils and the sight of stacks of notebook paper.  I love to settle down at my computer and transfer my handwritten text onto the screen.

What do you like least?

I almost hate to say it—promotion of my work.  I hate going around begging readers to check out my blogs and visit my website.  I feel like I’m on a street corner with a tin cup of pencils to sell.

What got you started?

March 18, 1947, I took a breath and, with it, came my imagination and the desire to share it.  I made up songs when I was three years old and told “adventure stories” by the time I was four.  I wrote my first story when I was nine.  The longing to share my stories has always been inside me.

What keeps you writing? 

It is my joy and aspiration to write—and then write even better.  It’s not something I control as much as it’s something that is basic element of myself.

How has your writing impacted –or significantly changed—other aspects of your life? 

After I published my first book, everything changed including my belief in myself.  Until then, I saw my career as nursing.  Nursing was the career my father chose for me.  Because he was a Great Depression survivor, he wanted me to choose a practical career that would not be dependant on the economy—and, believe me, it wasn’t.  I have never been without a job.  So, I have gratitude in that respect.  But the deep yearning to become a published writer had finally been fulfilled with the publication of my first book.  I planned to retire from nursing the first chance I got so that I could devote myself to my first love—writing.  After a few years of saving and planning, I took an early retirement. Even in the face of a declining economy, I have never regretted it, never looked back.

(Oh to retire early…what a joy…)

Where do you get story and character ideas?

Mostly from the world around me.  I keep a writer’s journal with me everywhere I go and jot down tidbits of things I see and hear.  I wrote Bitter Notes based on a real life event.  Someone threw their baby grand piano out in the front yard and let it rot in the elements. Every day I passed it as it fell into pieces of rotted wood and despaired over it.  Why?  Why would anyone do that?  I felt driven to write its story.

I was fooling around one day playing my harmonica with my feet propped up on my Grandfather McNeal’s trunk and it made me think about the things in that trunk and what they were like when they were new.  That’s how I found my inspiration for Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride.  All of my stories started with something that crossed my life’s path.  When all else fails, I play the “What If” game.

For those who write across cultural lines, how do you market or generate a mainstream, typical reader’s interest in your books?

Generating interest from any reader I believe begins with producing the best story I can write.  Good writing speaks to readers more than anything else.  I don’t write cross-culture stories unless you count fantasy cultures—not yet anyway but, if I did, I would give it my all.

Talk about current, past and future projects, upcoming releases, maybe your ‘dream novel’?

Bitter Notes is a novella published by Amira Press.  Logline: An abandoned piano heals a broken heart.

The Violin is a story about a member of my family that died too young.  I brought John back from the brink and gave him a life in this book from my heart.  Although currently in re-edits, it is contracted by Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery for its second edition. Logline: Timeless love brought together by a violin.

Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride is my latest release. (Logline: A haunted house, a trunk and a date with destiny. Below are the blurb and an excerpt.

I am presently working on the sequel based on a secondary character that I fell in love withBanjo (Logline: Deceit stands between a man’s love and his destiny.)

For those who don’t know me, they can get a couple of my free stories; download them at my website or from Amira Press.

*** For more of Sarah’s very intriguing titles click here.***

Please tell our readers how you juggle work (other than writing, assuming you work ‘outside the home,’ as a patient aptly asked me many years ago J), time to write and all that goes along with it, especially as a published author (i.e., promo, etc).

I used to have a very difficult time dragging myself away from my writing to go to work in the ER and then I finally decided to take an early retirement after I sold my first novel.  No regrets.  I do however, make time for my family.  As much as I love writing, my friends and family do come first and I make time for them whenever I need to.  It’s easy to get so caught up in writing that it takes over my life so I do have to force myself to come out of my writer’s cave from time to time and become a social being.  My sister never gets this about me.  Traveling and enjoying theater and other people are her main enjoyments so it’s hard for her to understand that writers are accustomed to being alone.

Please share the three ways you find most effective to promote your work!

1.  The number one thing a writer needs for promotion is to produce the best story they are capable of writing.  Quality writing counts more than any other thing.

2.  I do not like to go into readers’ groups and post blurbs and excerpts then take off.  I like to interact with the readers and authors on the loops.  I have a banner that tells about my books and directs them to my website.  I don’t need to hammer it down their throats every single day.  I think authors who do that, risk losing the interest of readers.  They just grow numb to the constant barrage of “look at my books.”  I’m sure that some may disagree with that point of view but that has been my experience. I think interacting with readers and other authors and always remembering to be polite, answer questions and say thank you when someone compliments me.

3.  Blogging I find is a very effective way to present myself and my work to others.  When people read about the things that concern or interest me, I think they can often relate to me better.  It’s a way of getting readers to know me and where my heart lies.  I am a person first and then I’m a writer.

    (Love this cover! Gorgeous!) 

Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride

Blurb: Lola Barton discovers a warp in time in an old trunk when she falls into 1910. She finds herself married to Joseph Wilding, a stranger shadowed by secrets. Mistaken for Callie McGraw, a thief and a woman of ill repute, Lola finds her life is threatened by a scoundrel. Joe stands between her and certain death. With danger threatening all around and secrets keeping them apart, can Joe and Lola find their destiny together? Or will time and circumstance forever divide them?

Excerpt:  Harmonica music floated down from the attic—the last place in this tumble down wreck of a house Lola Barton wanted to go.  Had someone or something taken up residence there?  Lola made her way up the darkened attic stairs measuring each step as the ancient boards creaked in protest under her feet.  Her flashlight beamed a narrow circle of light illuminating the cobweb-covered door at the top of the landing.  Her heart raced and pulsed in her ears.  Hands trembled with the surge of adrenaline as she pressed forward.  She ignored her inner voice that warned, “Don’t go!”

Her cynical mind told her the rumors that Misty Oaks Plantation had ghosts weren’t true.  The tales of murder and betrayal had to be the overactive imagination of the local townspeople.  A homeless vagrant had to be the most logical explanation for the disturbance.

Once she gained the landing, she blew the cobwebs from the door and leaned her ear against it to listen for any movement on the other side.  Wisps of harmonica music lifted in the air.  Perhaps someone left a harmonica lying around and the wind blew hard enough through the cracks in the walls to make it sound as though someone played the instrument.  Just the wind.  No ghost.

With her courage bolstered by her logical conclusion, she grabbed the doorknob and turned it.

BUY LINKS:

Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride

By Sarah McNeal

ISBN: 978-1461087731 1461087732

Available at:

Western Trail Blazer Novels

Amazon.com

Lulu Book Store:

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Available in print, too!

Thanks so much, Sarah, for sharing your author’s journey with us! I’m always in awe of authors who can take ideas and see them to so many complete stories. Best wishes and may you continue to experience the joy of creating!

Have a wonderful day, folks!

Joanna

 

A Surprise, Even for Me

Happy Saturday, friends!

A last minute interview offer came up and I took it. Love the different questions that get posted: these gave me insight into No Matter Why’s characters, too!

Join me at the Roses of Prose! Looking forward to having you there–giving away a free pdf of No Matter Why to one lucky commenter. (Wait until you see the very creative version of a rose on their opening page!)

More fun news: I just got word from Clash of the Titles that I won their giveaway, a book entitled Valeria’s Cross, a book authored by Kathi Macias and Susan Wales. Looking forward to reading it!

Finally, friends, may I ask a favor? Even if you choose not to visit with me and the Roses of Prose would you kindly click one or more of the share buttons below and help me spread the word further on the incredible web? I do thank you!

Have a great weekend,

Joanna