Monday, October 29, 2012

The Day After Today

Better known as tomorrow there sure will be things going on that are causing me a bit of panic. First and biggest news to talk about is the storm, Sandy, that’s currently only a couple hundred miles off the shore of the northeast United States. She’s huge, evil looking and apparently going to bring so much surge with her as she makes landfall that the southern coast of Connecticut and north shore of Long Island could see eleven foot swells.

For places that are already at sea level (or below like marshes) an eleven foot sea is going to be like a nor’eastern tsunami. To all my friends and family up and down the coast, but especially those in the northeast which looks to be the hardest hit, please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Get to higher ground if you’re right on the water. And for those who do flood it will suck but its only stuff. The most important thing is that you are safe.

For those who do stay home but experience a healthy storm with all the fixin’s there’s a few things you can do:

1. Pull out the board games (Remember those? Some of us do.)
2. Charge your electronic devices & only use when necessary (This does not include playing Angry Birds all day because some Governors declared your day off before the storm even approached your area, be smart!)
3. Cook some meals in advance (Especially if you’re Ann.)
4. Fill your bathtub - in case of water issues you can use it to flush toilets or boil to drink if things get really bad (this one is serious)
6. Pull out extra blankets in case the power goes out & it gets dark/cold (Which is totally different than it is most of the time in mid-fall in the northeast of course.)
7. Stay the heck off the roads, crews already have enough going on, they don't need to deal with stupid motorists (another serious request)
8. Change your name if it’s Sandy (Who wants to be called a bitch for the next few days, weeks, months?)
9. Build an ark and get the hell out of there (But watch out for those tall waves, we all know what happened to Marky Mark and Clooney. That was a disaster!)

I joke but this shit is serious people! The most serious of all of course is #2 above. I mean, if your device isn’t charged how on earth are you going to be able to download and read my brand spanking new novella, Reckless Abandon, when it comes out tomorrow?

(Nice segue huh? Like I’ve said a million times, I’m a shameless self-promoter. This means that, yes, I will use a hurricane to promote my work. Good thing you all love me.)

Reckless Abandon, my Romantic Suspense novella, is on my website for preview. I’ve posted a synopsis and a short excerpt. What do you think? I’m so very proud of this book and I’m panicking a teensy bit over it being released (all joking aside, the hurricane has nothing to do with it other than I feel Sandy took up residence in my head and is swirling around non-stop leading up to this release!). This is my first attempt self-publishing a suspense genre of any sort. The book is short, only 30,000 words, so you can read it in a couple hours.

Or during one day curled under a blanket on your sofa by the light of your fully charged electronic device while you ride out a hurricane. Just sayin’.

I’ll be posting the link to purchase over on my Writesy Blog as well as my website tomorrow once it goes live on Amazon for Kindle. My first eBook!

For those who pre-ordered my first title, Ripple the Twine, when I released it this past April be on the lookout for an email to arrive a little later today or first thing tomorrow morning. I have a surprise for all of you!

And in all seriousness, please family and friends, if you live in the northeast stay safe and check in somewhere as soon as this thing passes by – blog, FB, twitter, email, text, phone – because we’re all crossing our fingers that you stay warm and dry and that you kick Sandy’s ass!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Insert Sound of Chirping Crickets Here, Again

It’s the obvious question, ‘where the hell have you been?’ I’ve been working like a little maniac that’s where! Yesterday I uploaded my deposit, as it’s called, to the copyright.gov website so my novella, Reckless Abandon, is officially on its way to completion. And I’m thoroughly exhausted mentally and physically after getting this thing ready for release.

Driving back from a hike with a friend yesterday I told her that I’d been working on this since August 1, that it’s been slow and steady, and she said no way, rather that I pulled it together really fast. I started wondering – was it fast? Sure didn’t seem like it on this side of the fence.

Admittedly there were days tucked in there when I felt like a slacker who did a whole bunch of nothing but sit on my lazy ass and watch cheezy cable television. But for the most part I’ve been putting in ten hour days, on average six days a week, for the past twelve weeks to get this thing hammered out.

That’s a sixty hour work week for three months straight. 720 hours of needing to become multiple other personalities as I tell their story. A distinct lack of anything on my calendar other than ‘write & edit MS’. With the obvious exception of promoting my Blog Tour for Ripple the Twine back in August, a couple critique meetings editing 10 pages for 3 people, a few Writer’s meetings, my ten year anniversary, some happy hours with friends, trips (though not many) to Tucson to visit family, and starting up a workout program again. I’d say on average I write about 25-30,000 words a week between all of the above plus blogs & emails, etc. Um, uh-huh.

I’m fucking exhausted!

Can you blame me?

But two people have now told me how fast I pulled this novella together and it got me thinking. If I need 720 hours to complete a 30,000 word novella and worked like a normal person of 45 hours, 5 days a week, it would have taken me a full month more to complete the manuscript. And if I had an Agent/Publisher that’s about right for getting the book pulled together enough to send out (and have it ripped to shreds by their editor then sent back to be re-worked for production within the following two months).

The thing is, this is my job. I write full time. I don’t go leave my house to do other things during the day and I generally don’t fuck around. There’s a laptop or keyboard attached to my person all 720 of those hours. I have a career and this is it. So I dedicate myself to it all the way.

To do this job full time without making more than $4 a month in royalties is a mental siege, believe me. I struggle every day with wondering if I’m doing the right thing. If I should be out there in the trenches. Workin’ for the weekend. Workin’ for the piece of paper everyone else gets on a Friday afternoon that says here’s what you’re worth for the hours you put in. The validation that what you’re doing is worth something through financial gain. I admit, there are times I miss that.

But does it make me more valid to have a job that has a guaranteed number of hours with a guaranteed commute and a guaranteed paycheck? Does it matter that people don’t understand that I do work? That I work hard. Every day. Because see the real trick is dedicating myself to doing it. That’s where the real work comes in.

Most people would have trouble working the way I do - from home with no boss, no schedule, no set plan of what they’re supposed to do every day. Most people need the routine. And don’t get me wrong, “some money would be nice” but above and beyond that, this job feeds my soul. And not too many people can say that. I hate even admitting it out loud but I know for a fact my husband can’t say it about what he does for a living. But he has graciously given me the flexibility to do this job full time by going to a job he’s flipping amazing at but has no personal connection to doing other than the number of years he’s been doing it. And he does it partly to allow me to work my career with no promise, no guarantee that it will ever produce financial gain. And I couldn’t begin to thank him enough for that gift.

But of course we’re both secretly (okay, not so secretly) hoping that I will become the bread and butter maker in this household. I’d love to make more money than he does. He’d also love me to make more money than he does. And it isn’t exactly like we’re rolling in the dough over here. Quite to the contrary there are more times than not when our budget doesn’t allow for us to do the things we want to do.

Knowing that if I was making a paycheck we’d be able to do them, but that if I was making a paycheck I wouldn’t be writing books, is a constant battle I have to rise above in my mind. Because if I let that spin I’d go insane. Not to say it hasn’t happened. At least twice a year I have a nervous breakdown over what I’m doing. That conversation tends to go like this:

“At least when I was running Chucka Stone I was making some semi steady income.”
“Yeah and your writing took a back seat.”
“I know but…”
“But nothing. Shut your pie hole and keep writing damn it.”

And that’s not the conversation I have with Matt (though those usually end in a similar fashion) this is the one I have with myself. Yeah writers do tend to not only talk to but answer themselves. We have too many characters floating around in that brain of ours not to.

Anyway.

One of my very favorite Authors, Jen Lancaster, came to read in Phoenix recently and announced that she’s on a two book per year schedule. It isn’t unheard of in the industry these days. In fact I imagine the ability and dedication to pumping out two books a year keeps you pretty active on the internet. And we all know the internet is the way to market these days right? Wait, it is, isn’t it? Because I keep hearing these rumors…

I’m doing NaNo in November so this week I’m using to my advantage in catching up with some people, blogs, guest posts and completing the formatting of Reckless Abandon for Amazon. It probably sounds like a lot but to me, well let’s just say I’m looking forward to what will surely be a slow week in comparison to the usual.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Tornado of Life, a Week in Briefs

I finished writing Reckless Abandon this past Friday. It felt good to be done. Matt read it yesterday and offered feedback. I’ll edit it and get it to my mom for cover art. Almost there!

Hockey is still locked out. Looking like this season is going to be another faded memory. Sucks. So what to do when its winter in the desert and I can’t get my NHL fix?

Exercise, that’s what. Started up with P90X again and feeling sore but amazing! Week one just ended and unlike the last time we tried doing this I’m looking forward to starting week two. After I get to relish in the fact that I have today off, that is. I need it. This old lady don’t move like she used to. Guess that’s the point of why I’m doing it huh?

Signed up for my first Writers conference. It’s in about three weeks and I can’t wait to check out how they work. There will be writers, editors, agents, publishers and all kinds of other industry pros there. And I’ll be one of them. Holy crap this thing is real!

Which means I should probably order my business cards like two weeks ago. Especially now that I have a snazzy new Jenn Flynn-Shon Author Website to direct people to. Have you seen it?

Tell your friends!

Someone I’ve never met cleaned out the contents of my Etsy shop. Seriously? I hadn’t sold anything there since May, announced I’d likely be shutting it down (not out loud/in a blog or anything, just to my mom on the phone) and a week later I was selling my merch again. Maybe I should announce closing it daily? Become a best-selling zine-ster? I don’t plan to renew anything but there’s still two items over there. They’ll probably sit dormant until February when the above cycle begins again. I just don’t get it but I MORE than appreciate the sale and support!

I registered to vote in the November elections. We’ll see if I got my application in on time to actually go and do it. If I did, fine. If I didn’t? Well as far as I’m concerned that’s okay too. Because here’s my issue – I kind of just don’t care. Sounds terrible, yeah I know it does, but I’ve never been into popularity contests, broken promises or being told what I’m supposed to do. Sadly government is all three of those things no matter who you vote for. Twice in my life now I’ve gotten all jacked up about elections – the one when I could first vote and four years ago when I started pulling myself back out of 9/11 PTSD and found myself hopeful for the future again. Through the history of time no President has ever managed to keep every promise he made while campaigning. The U.S. citizens are just in a highly dysfunctional relationship with their top hierarchy of government – they beat us (proverbially) then buy us flowers and tell us how sorry they are and we believe they’ll change every time. Ugh, I’m not trying to get on a soapbox here but turns out I did. Suffice to say, I will probably go and vote but there isn’t a single candidate (for the big job) that I actually believe in anymore. It’s all a bunch of malarkey.

Yeah, my Grampa used to use that word. Actually, my whole family did. We’re Irish, it’s just a part of the lexicon.

Goals set this week:
  • Quit smoking
  • Lose enough weight that I go back down at least one full cup size (PLEASE dear lord of the workout, make it so because I can NOT carry these things around anymore, seriously)
  • Release my novella by the end of October
  • Learn how to format an eBook for Amazon sale
  • Leave the house to write at least once a week – library, coffee shop, I don’t care but get out and work on something fresh even if it’s only random babble about the smell inside a bakery.
  • Find a bakery in Phoenix that sells traditional Italian almond cookies (new goal recently added, yup)
  • Figure out a way to get back to Boston twice in 2013
  • Write a memoir and two McLeary series novellas in 2013 and release them (not necessarily in that order & not necessarily all have to be released in 2013, just written by the end of next year)
  • Add these goals to a tabbed button at the top of this blog and use it as a way of holding myself accountable to work towards each of them

I’ve run out of stuff to say, this is far too disjointed and boring already, and I’m in need of going and having breakfast so bye for now.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Unveiling of My Long Awaited (?) Novella Title

At about age 11 I wanted to be called J. J. Flynn. But sadly that wasn’t going to happen. Yeah my real first name is Jennifer but I have no middle name. There was this alleged fight between my parents over it being either Dorothy or Joy. You can guess by the initials I chose which I would’ve preferred but because they couldn’t agree I got a whole lotta’ nothin’.

Gipped!

Then this novella I’m working on started taking shape and so did my main male character (MMC). His name is JJ Anderson and no matter how much I’ve tried to convince myself I could take J. J. Flynn as my penname and change the first name of my character there’s just no chance that’s going to happen. He is a JJ. Not that I know any…well other than him.

And I guess he only partially counts since I brought him to life.

Anyway, I’m sticking with Jenn Flynn-Shon for this one. And probably the rest because I’m intending to turn not only JJ but also my MFC, Shaw McLeary, into a series-worthy couple of characters. Who knows how many I’ll write. I guess I’ll find out if I can be a “pantser” and come up with at least one full novel next month.

Because I’m planning to do NaNo. Yup that’s right. With little regard for my own mental health or the apparent safety of others (read: Matt) I’ve decided to live inside the mind of this character for another month straight. And write 50,000 more words of her story in 30 days. Of course in the end I’ll be with all these characters for a lot longer than a month. And longer than just one novel.

And that’s fine. Shaw is a pretty cool chick and I think her Nancy Drew-esque curiosity for solving mysteries or puzzles is directly tied to her being a YA fiction novelist. Write what you know right? So yeah we’re both Writers and we both live in Phoenix. Of course Shaw and I have plenty of stuff in common but there are also WIDE differences in the overall make up of who we are.

Which is good because, you know, this is fiction and writing myself exactly who I really am into a fiction story is just kind of creepy.

So without further ado, because I’m looking at the clock and realizing I need to get my ass in gear here and start editing today, the title!

Reckless Abandon

I’ve registered the domain at http://reckless-abandon.com but there’s nothing over there right now. Once I have cover art and all that hooptie-ha I’ll get something simple up over there.

What do you think? Based on the synopsis and everything else do you like the title? I’m really enjoying it and think it’s pretty fitting for many plot/sub-plot lines in the novella. So far it’s shaping up to be around 32,000 words. But that means I have to finish and release it. Something I hope to accomplish by the end of the month. And then NaNo.

Someone take my temperature, something tells me I’ve gone crazy.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pennames and Websites

Lately I’ve been wondering if I should be using a penname to publish my books. Perhaps I could go with J. S. Flynn, J. F. Shon, or maybe even some variation of initials-last name that just sounds cool. Because there’s a trend among Authors where the initials don’t match their name – J. K. Rowling, E. L. James, V. C. Andrews. Rowling doesn’t have a K in her real name. James’ last name isn’t even James. Andrews’ first name, not the middle, begins with the C.

I could have the name I’ve always wanted! Or at least something more obscure. Call me J. X. Flynn. People will ask ‘ooh, what does the X stand for?’ I suppose there’s something to be said for being mysterious right from the start. That start being the front cover in this case. Especially if I have a hint of mystery in my books it would be a nice compliment.

And that’s a thought I haven’t completely discounted as I wrap up edits on my latest MS. It’s a Romantic Suspense novel that I’m really trying to push to release as an eBook within the next handful of weeks. How does this sound?

Young Adult fiction Author, Shaw McLeary, returns from Whole Foods to discover her husband, Danny, is gone. So is their stash of cash, his clothes, passport, and her wedding rings. He took off in a hurry and left her behind. While trying to piece it all together Shaw witnesses a cop’s murder in her home. Determined not to become the next victim, she flees. She fears dirty cops are involved in Danny’s disappearance. There's only one person she can trust to help her - JJ Anderson, Private Investigator. Also, her ex-fiancé.

A retired Phoenix cop turned PI, Shaw hopes JJ will be inclined to take her case. Despite his resentment for how their relationship ended, he agrees to help her track down leads on Danny. They chase the clues from Phoenix to Manhattan to upstate New York. In such close quarters Shaw finds it difficult to maintain a professional distance from her first real love. Then what happens if she finds Danny? Can she still love a man who abandoned her or is she too drawn to fixing her past mistake to let go of JJ again?

“Catchy Title” is the fast-paced Romantic Suspense novella by J. F. Shon slated for release in the fall of 2012.

J. F. Shon, Romantic Suspense Author (who also writes characters with only initials as their first and middle names, you’ll notice). It sounds pretty cool.

But then what would I do about this…


Yes friends I finally have an Author website! Yippie! Woo hoo! Hooray! And all those other exclamations professing how ecstatic I am to not have to worry about this anymore. Oh but I didn’t do it myself. Well, I designed the graphic part myself & got it looking all pretty but the domain connection – the part I had no idea how to make work - was handled by the wonderful and talented Judi FitzPatrick. Yea Mom!

Here’s a little bit about how it all came together…

Once upon a time, in a mystical land known as Phoenix, there lived an Indie Author who had nary a clue what a DNS Server was. She longed for the day when the www that held her name could be released; set free unto the world. Many frogs appeared that claimed they would help her with her conundrum but when she told them she was just a poor peasant girl they all hopped away, laughing as they went. Little Miss Indie thought she might never find anyone to help her create her website. Until one day when her mother came to visit and little Miss Indie explained her strife. Suddenly the room filled with smoke and mom Indie waved her magic mouse until, voila! In an instant a website was born! And they all lived happily ever after. The End. (As posted on Goodreads forums the other day)

So what do you think of the site? Obviously it will be edited or overhauled here and there but I think everything important is included for now. Because it’s based on a Blogger template I’m also well versed in how to make edits/changes and add stuff to make it snazzy. The one drawback is that Blogger doesn’t allow the tabbed pages to be opened in a new window like they do with links. If that’s the only drawback then how can I complain right?

Come on over! Subscribe to updates! Tell your friends! All that happy crap!

I know I warned everyone that all I’d be blogging about was my writing life. That warning came weeks ago and nothing having to do with my writing seemed to show up since. Guess you’re getting it all now.

Anyway, I’d be super grateful if you could spread the word about my site as well as the upcoming novella and let me know what you think!