Tag Archives: fun

Bringing the joy back into writing

I am an author. I create stories. It is part of who I am. Sometimes I think there is nothing that gives me more joy than sculpting words into a work of art.

But over the past few years, some of that joy has been missing. Did I not want to write books?

No. Of course not.

The problem was, the pressure of writing under a contract.

Don’t get me wrong … having a publisher contract two additional novels from you sight unseen is an amazing feeling. But actually making good on those contracts was a little harder than I thought it would be.

Whereas the characters and the story were mine, and I loved them, knowing that I NEEDED to write those stories, and they had to be written at break-neck speed (at least for me) — I don’t know … for some reason that ruined the “experience” for me. I sat down each day thinking “I need to write 1000 words or I’ll fall behind.” Or “I can’t summarize this scene and come back to it later. I have to write it out now to avoid editing time on the back end.”


It felt more like a race than an enjoyable walk in the park. More like a job than something that has always given me the ultimate joy.

This week, I handed in edits for the third book in my series. I have 30 days until they come back to me. A big part of me wanted to pick up my WIP and get back to it. Problem was that I would need to re-read the 80,000 words I’d already written to get back into this world, and get back into those character’s heads. By the time I’d have that done, my edits would be back again and I’d have to switch focus.

So instead of grabbing my WIP I opened up the file of a novel that I’d completed June second of 2014 (just a few weeks before getting the contract for FIRE IN THE WOODS.)

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. It was 56,000 words I’d written and edited in only a two month time period. Imagine my surprise when I was instantly transported into a world and into the minds of characters that I’d almost forgotten about.

I finished reading (with light edits) in two days (unheard of for me) I couldn’t put it down!

But I knew there were a few things wrong.

Instinctively, I felt like the story moved too quickly. (But I wasn’t sure where. I just knew something wasn’t right) I also felt like I had missed an opportunity by not including more side characters. But the story, in itself. Seemed solid. REALLY solid.

Rather than wasting too much time “thinking” about what was wrong, I decided to throw it out to the “wolves” (As in my most trusted pool of beta readers) Imagine my excitement when seven of them waved their hands in welcome.

I jumped up and down with glee, seeing their reactions to the first 50 pages. Apparently I had something really special! But, they told me, I needed side characters, and the story moved too fast in the beginning. (And I’m sure they will tell me it is moving too fast later as well.)

The funny thing is, I KNEW this, but there is something about listening to beta comments that jack-hammers my brain into overdrive. Yes! Of course they are right. And now I know how to fix it!

I delved into the manuscript with reckless abandon, all the while smiling.


Because I had the time to do so. There was no deadline looming over my head. I didn’t need to worry about there being flaws, because I had the time to fix them. The flaws are exciting. They are an opportunity to make a good story great.

It is really hard to explain this, but I am actually ENJOYING this edit. It is fun! I sit down every day excited for this world I created. I add a scene, and I sit back with a smile, subliminally high-fiving myself.

Yup. I still enjoy writing. Creating a world is still the greatest thing EVER. I can’t imagine NOT doing this.

Alien invasion? Bring it.

It’s so great to be having fun again!


Fire in the Woods CoverFind Fire in the Woods at your favorite Bookseller

Amazon | BookDepositoy.com | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks

85424-ashesinthesky-v6-book2-final-v3Find Ashes in the Sky at your favorite Bookseller

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Alien Lineup

Catch up with me on social media!

Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture
Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture

Did anyone save Jennifer? Who will take home a free copy of the Make Believe Anthology?

Oh, Okay.  I will let you go.

Whew!  Thanks.  That gag was really starting to hurt!

I’m sad

Hey!  I’m the one who’s been tied to a chair for three days.  What’s your problem?

They like you.


They like you.  Did you see?  All those people came to beg and plead… and now I can’t explode anything.

Awe, it’s okay Little Blue Lady.

No it’s not!  No one likes me!

Umm, well, maybe if you didn’t always try to blow everything up…

No one likes me.

Okay, well, whatever… so I guess I need to send someone a copy of the make Believe Anthology, huh?  So, who was it?  Who pleaded the best to set me free?

They all did.

All?  Umm, I don’t think that will make my publisher very happy.  You need to pick just one.

That’s my problem.  I liked a lot of them.  I liked them enough to let you go.

Awe!  Super thanks to everyone who helped set me free!

Okay, let’s take a look at this.  Who was the most creative?

Oh look!  Vanessa Chapman wrote a poem.  That’s creative.

Yeah, it reminded me of a song.  Shall I hum it?

Ummm… No.    Hmmm.  You talked to Wendy Reid for a while.

AAAA!  Wendy Reid scared me!

Ha!  Really?  You should read her book if you want to see scary. [Jennifer Shivers]

I think she likes you



Ummm… okay, so… What’s this with Heylookawriterfellow?

Mike Allegra?  He’s an abomination!  He lured me to his website, and made me feel welcome… but it was all a distraction while he tried to set you free! And I was going to buy his book!  He’s a children’s author, you know… and he has this great post on…  Wait!  No!  Ban Mike Allegra for tricking me! Heylookawriterfellow is not my friend!

Well, I kind of liked Mike’s distraction… it stopped you from setting off firecrackers under my chair for a while.

And what’s with Widdershins?!

Oh!  Widdershins is a fellow alien.  I must make a note to friend Widdershins on Facebook.

Ha!  What else do we have here?

Richard Leonard tried to convince me that there was something wrong with Mars.  Pfft.  I checked.  Sandy and red as usual.  It’s fine.

And Jmmcdowell threatened to dump nuclear waste on Mars… Like it wouldn’t explode on the way… silly archaeologist.

Oh!  I have an idea!  To be totally fair, l let’s take our top picks of the most creative and let people vote, okay?

Oh!  Then can we vote on how I take over the world?

Umm, yeah, I guess, but for now let’s see who wins the contest, okay?

So, here we go!  The finalists are below.  Please vote for your favorite.  The highest number of votes gets a copy of the Make Believe Anthology and can do their very own review of my debut story “Last Winter Red”.  So let’s get voting for your favorite!

And then will you finally give me an interview?

Ugh… Here we go again.


Please vote for your favorite in the form below! You can see their full entry in the comments from October 3rd’s post

In review…

Vanessa Chapman – Poem “Ode to the Little Blue Lady”

Wendy Reid – Scared the pants off the Little Blue Lady (Maybe I should rephrase that)

Heylookawriterfellow (Mike Allegra) – Kept Blue Lady occupied on his own site to give Jennifer time to escape.

Widdershins – Fellow alien, keeps humans as pets

Richard Leonard – Planet Mars Is Dead.  There’s nothing to go back to.

JMMcdowell – Dump Earth’s garbage, politicians, has-been entertainers on Mars. Ticking time bomb.

(By the way, convincing all your followers to vote for you is completely and utterly not fair … but I have no possible way of proving you did it, so… umm… never mind… I shouldn’t have even said anything.)

Voting closes tonight (Saturday, October 6th around 10:00 PM Eastern Standard Time)

Good luck to the finalists, and thanks again everyone for convincing the Little Blue Lady to set me free!

Silly Things We Authors Do When We Get Punchy

I’m interrupting Flash Fiction Tuesday to share a very funny email conversation.

“Shelly” had contacted my through email to ask me a question about beta readers.  Of course, I helped her out.  Afterwards, until the wee hours of the night, we went back and forth in this silly fantasy conversation.

This is a prime example of the creativity of writers gone awry… and how silly you can get when you stay up to late.

Thank you, Shelly, for giving me permission to post this.

Now remember, this whole conversation happened through email.  After I helped Shelly, I mentioned I wished I had more time to do research.  Her answer was…

Shelly: May the Faeries of Figgy Newton grant that wish … (((((((poof)))))))))))

Jennifer: Wait! I just turned into a newt!  Very hard to type with these little fingers!

Shelly:  Oh my, that wasn’t supposed to happen! Let me find a transfiguration spell to fix it real quick …. now where did I put my damn spell book …

Jennifer:  Ribbit. Yikes. I’m in trouble.

Shelly:  Time to break out the big guns then. Prepare yourself, this ain’t going to be pretty …

Jennifer:  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Shelly:  The smoke clears, and I can see your startled face, eyes, and your hair is sticking straight out, but still there, just a tad burnt, and you are no longer green, which is good, but you are now purple.

Drat! Back to the drawing board.

Jennifer:  I feel like a grape. On that happy note, I’m going to bed.  Fix me in the morning?

The next morning: 

Shelly: Did you squeeze yourself and have Grape Juice this morning?

Jennifer:  That’s why I look so thin today. 🙂

Shelly:  Well, then my magic worked! Sort of 😛

Aren’t authors just great fun?  Thanks for the giggle, Shelly!