Monday, October 24, 2016

Five Things to Keep in Mind if You Are a Writer

WHAT'S JEN WORKING ON? Plotting a new series for Entangled Bliss and plotting a contemporary single title romance. Yikes!

Hi, all!

A few weekends ago, I attended the NJRW Conference and thought that one of the keynote speakers was excellent. Very inspiring. I kept laughing and nodding my head the whole time. I could have been this author's Ed McMahon. I had a really great time there. You know, conferences are funny beasts...
Oops. Maybe I'll save that for another blog post. :)

Where was I? Oh, yeah. The keynote speaker.

Her name was HelenKay Dimon and she was fantastic. Mainly because what she spoke about was 100% relatable as a fellow writer. She gave us a list of things to remember as we're all going through this writing journey together, and I thought I'd share.
(Footnote: I'm paraphrasing and probably interpreted my own ideas into a good chunk of what she said. So blame me and not her)

1) This writing business isn't fair
  • guess what? She's right! Ever read a NY Times Best-selling book and think..."???????????" Maybe your book IS better. Maybe your friend just signed a $20 million dollar contract and you're only making $12 thousand a year. Deal with it and don't try to figure it out. Just remember it's not meant to be fair.

2) Writing doesn't get any easier
  • Ms Dimon is a writer of over 40 novels an novellas (award-winning and best-selling) to NUMEROUS publishers and she admits it is a STRUGGLE to sit in that writing chair everyday.
  • I find the same and more. Every time I begin a new book, I think, "How did I do this again?"
3) There is no such thing as a muse
  • I agree again. If I waited until my "muse" showed up, I would NEVER make my editor's deadline or probably ever finish a book. Truth.

4) The idea that pops in your head for a new book is ALWAYS going to be more interesting than the book you are currently working on
  • Why? Because that idea hasn't become "work" yet. And let's face it writing a book is WORK.
5) You should be learning your craft and getting better with every book
  • Another reason to go to conferences, read writing books and blogs, and always be writing

All these things hit home for me. And if you are a writer, I hope it does the same for you!

Big thanks to the NJ Romance Writers Put our Heart in a Book Conference volunteers. I really enjoyed and am looking forward to next year's conference!

Have a great week and see you next month!


My next Entangled Bliss Christmas release:
WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH will be released December 5th!

Don't forget to add it to your Goodreads list!

Are you on Netgalley? Good news then. It's up for review now!

Interested in helping out with my release day blast? Sign up HERE and we'll send you what you need to post.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Hello, fall

WHAT IS JEN WORKING ON: A new Bliss category sweet romance!

Hi, all!

I hope you had a lovely summer. I sure did. Actually, summer is still going on just a bit around my area. When you live in a beach resort, it's kind of hard to let summer go.

And actually, September is one of the BEST months in Ocean City. The crowds are gone, everything is still open, you have the beach to yourself, plenty of parking, and the weather is absolutely perfect. *sigh*

In other news, my book WEDDING DATE FOR HIRE is a finalist in the 2016 New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf contest for best short contemporary romance!

I know! I was shocked too.

Well, if you've read it, you'll be familiar with the character Kennedy, who owns a matchmaking company.
Her book called WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH (formerly called Perfect on Paper) will be out December 5, 2016! YAY!! Just in time for Christmas...

In the meantime, besides working on my book, I'm teaching myself French through a language app and continuing with my running. I'm also working on a kick butt apple pie oatmeal recipe that I hope to share soon!

See you in October!


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Summer Sale

WHAT IS JEN WORKING ON: Edits for Perfect on Paper and plotting a longer contemporary romance and another series for Entangled's bliss line.
Hi, all!

Hope your summer is going great. I know it's only August, but I'm hearing people talk about fall already.

Uh, no. NO!

I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to give up on summer. So please. No talk of pumpkin ANYTHING. Yet. :-)

Anyway, as I left off in my July post, we had an exchange student from France staying with us. Well, she is gone now. Boo-hiss! We miss her terribly already. She really was like a part of our family and fit into it like a glove. We had a lot of fun showing her Philadelphia, NYC, and even Boston.

Now, we are thinking of traveling to Paris quite soon and visiting with her and her family! I've never been to Paris so I'm quite excited and even downloaded a language app so I can brush up on my French. (Je parle un peu francais.)

What else is going on?

Entangled Publishing is hosting a Summer Carnival right now!
Today, there is a Pie Bake-Off with us Bliss authors.
Come out and vote for my Berry Berry Pie (or at least get the recipe)
Chance to win prizes!

My book WEDDING DATE FOR HIRE is only 99 cents until August 13th for the celebration as well!
Grab me while you can!


Happy Reading!

Monday, June 27, 2016

A little culture shock

WHAT JEN IS WORKING ON: Nothing!! LOL Handed in a manuscript to my editor a few weeks ago and am taking a little well deserved vacation time while I wait for edits.

Bonjour! And I say bonjour because we are hosting a French exchange student for six weeks this summer!! She arrived last Monday.

We are very excited and happy to have her. What makes it extra nice is that she is the same age as our daughter and they get along--AND she has a great sense of humor, which fits into our family very well.

She is here in the US to better her English, so we've been introducing her to new slang everyday. You know like, "Yo yo whatsup" and..."lettuce".

Important stuff.

Anyway, lots of torture for her--I mean, laughs. As a result, I have downloaded the Mango language app (FREE from my public library) to my phone and have been studying French. One of my personal goals for this year was to learn a new language. So this is quite convenient.

We've introduced her to some new foods too:
1) cheese steaks (she liked very much)
2) fudge (yum)
3) scrapple (just okay)
4) American cheese (she likes very much)

She still wants to try a fluff and peanut butter sandwich. That will come this week. :-)

Anyway, we've been showing her some of the fun touristy things to do in our town and have been biking the boardwalk, hanging out at the beach, playing mini golf, and going on rides.

Oh, we also took her a Jason Mraz concert on our boardwalk too. And it's only been a week so far! LOL 

I know we need to dial it down soon. But it's been just as much fun for us too.

Have you ever hosted an exchange student or know someone who has? Would you want to do it yourself?

Monday, June 6, 2016

A little author publicity and a new release!

WHAT IS JEN WORKING ON? #3 in the "Anyone but You" Entangled Bliss series called Perfect on Paper.

Hi, all, and happy Monday!

So, if you follow me on Facebook, you probably already know that the Chamber of Commerce in my hometown honored me in April at their annual "Salute to Working Women" luncheon--or as I like to call it in front of my husband: Woman of the Year! LOL

I was really floored to be recognized for my writing as well as my volunteer work in the community. It was all so very humbling.

If you want to read the article, you'll find it HERE

With all this sudden"publicity" around town, it's given me an idea to set a new book series in the town of Ocean City, NJ--especially because it is such a nice town to live in.
After all, we are "America's Greatest Family Resort"!

In case you didn't know, Ocean City is actually a seven mile barrier island founded by four Methodist ministers. Part of the original four’s wish was that Ocean City remain a pure retreat that exemplified the Christian mindset, so it is a dry town (no public drinking anywhere on the island). We have a 2 1/2 mile long boardwalk with rides, food, and other attractions as well. We have beautiful beaches and surfing is very big here.

Honestly, I don't know why I never thought about basing a book here before. Although a good majority of my books are set in fake New Jersey shore towns. As a small-town sweet romance writer, I can't think of a more perfect backdrop for my books with the beach and boardwalk.

I'm excited to start!

Have you heard of Ocean City, New Jersey?
If you are a writer, do you prefer to make up your towns or use real ones?


In other news... today is release day for me! (of sorts)

I got the rights back to my very first book, The Role of a Lifetime, and decided to give it to the good people at Entangled Publishing and my very favorite editor (who helped me add to this book) and now we have a fresh book now called FROM FAKE TO FOREVER.


If you never had the chance to read it the first time around, I hope you check it out now!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

New Release!

Happy Hump Day!

Figured I'd pop in here to announce I have a new release out today! Say what?!

This is part of Lucy Kevin's Four Weddings and a Fiasco Kindle World series. My first time writing for a Kindle Worlds! Lucy Kevin (Bella Andre's sweet romance alter ego will be hosting some fabulous prizes all week, so be sure to check out her website for the fun!
Hope you can check it out!
Only $1.99
Ten years after a high school pregnancy left her abandoned by her family, single mother Brenna March is finally getting her life under control. In possession of her dream job as a florist at the Rose Chalet, one of the premier wedding spots in San Francisco, she’s about to prove her worth and take on her first wedding as head florist. Unfortunately, the best man is none other than Senator Ashton Mirenda—her old high school sweetheart and the father of the daughter he knows nothing about.

Ashton doesn't have time for marriage or a family. He has other aspirations and the first is winning the next senate seat election. Or so he believes until he meets a woman from his past. Seeing Brenna again stirs something inside him he'd thought long dead, and he knows that he wants her beside him all the way to the White House.

But Brenna is holding a ten year old secret, one which could not only hurt his chance for re-election but also their chance to rekindle the love they once shared.
Happy reading!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Advantages & Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

Happy Monday!
I'm thrilled to have author Heather Blanton with me today with a special guest post.
also, Please don't forget to check out her book below: HEARTS IN DEFIANCE

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing,
(In My Humble Opinion) by Heather Blanton

Way back in February of 2012, I put my book, A Lady in Defiance, on Amazon to use as a fundraiser for an American Cancer Society event. I cleared this move with my lit agent first, as he was actively shopping the manuscript. We all thought that with nothing but word of mouth, I would struggle to meet my $200 goal.

By the end of 2012, A Lady had sold nearly 8000 copies! At first, I stood frozen like a deer in the headlights as the book climbed the charts. When a friend said to me, though, “Hey, you should save your money, quit your job, and write the sequel,” I knew immediately that was my path.

Since I was five years-old, I wanted nothing more than to be traditionally published. I thank God every day for the re-route. In the past few years, I have released two novels, two novellas, four audio books, and been included in two bestselling collections with other bestselling authors.

Naturally, I’ve weighed the pros and cons of indy vs. traditional publishing. Indy is working for me and here’s the way I see advantages and disadvantages.


1.      My deadlines are mine.

2.      I write what I want. I’m all about writing the story that’s haunting me.

3.      There is no pressure to impress the editor or agents, only my readers.

4.      The cover looks exactly like I want it to.

5.      Obviously, I make more money per book than traditional authors.

6.      There is no constant pressure to pitch a story to agents and editors

7.      I forge my own alliances, working with other authors that I want to work with.

8.      Success is all on me.

9.      I have the freedom to try new marketing tactics.

10.  I create and build the team I work with, from editors, to designers, to beta readers, etc.

11.  Self-publishing does not have the stigma it once had, therefore I am able to market my books in places that, early on, were closed to the Indies. For example, blogs that once featured only traditionally published authors.

12.  I don’t feel the need to enter contests. Being indy allows me to focus on my writing as a ministry, and I try not to “compete” with my fellow authors. I want this to be about God.

1.      Failure is a very real possibility and I can’t blame anyone else.

2.      I create and build the team I work with, from editors, to designers, to beta readers, etc. I’d better choose wisely.

3.      Marketing is hit and miss and, in the beginning, based on no experience.

4.      You foot the bill for everything.

5.      Being indy doesn’t do much for your ego, when compared to saying, “I’m published by X Publishing.”

6.      Standing out is difficult. There is a lot of competition today. A book is uploaded to Amazon every 4 minutes. (I think nearly all of them are Western Romance.)

7.      Networking with other authors is harder.

8.      I personally feel the pressure to deliver a top-quality read, and obsess over edits and typos.

Of course, some of these plusses and minuses are subjective. Depends on your work style, your personality, your level of passion, etc. I’m very motivated, self-directed, and I’d rather write than eat pizza (that’s saying something). But ask yourself, what have you got to lose by going indy? If the price is too high, then pursue a traditional publisher with every ounce of your being. It’ll pay off. Passion always does.

Hearts in Defiance
 photo hearts_ebook_zpsl3rhgybx.jpg
Charles McIntyre sat down at his desk in his saloon and stared at his Bible.
He almost laughed out loud but in the silence, the sound would have been deafening. He knew plenty of people who would laugh. A former pimp, saloon owner, and gunman reading the Bible.
       Do you really think you’re worthy to come before Him?
       The subtle rebuke pricked his soul. But he was determined and reached for the book. Naomi had said several times during his convalescence that all the answers to his questions would be found there. Rolling mental dice, since he didn’t know exactly how to start, he opened the book and read the first words his eyes fell upon:
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe;
let her breasts satisfy thee at all times.

      McIntyre’s eyebrows shot up. That wasn’t what he was expecting. Intrigued, he read on.
And be thou ravished always with her love.
And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?

      He sat back and pondered the Scripture, chastised by it. He had spent a shameful number of nights embracing the bosoms of strangers, and it had never led to anything like what he felt for Naomi. Perhaps this was what God was trying to tell him. There would never be anything as passionate and pure in a man’s life as loving and honoring the one woman whom God chooses for him.

Available at Amazon 
You can contact Heather several different ways. She always responds and is happy to answer questions:  FACEBOOK   TWITTER   INSTAGRAM 

Thanks so much, Heather!
Your perspective is really interesting!