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The Whisper that Began the Eva Series

For me, every book idea begins with one tiny whisper.

It may be so quiet at first that I don’t hear it, but then it works it’s way deep down inside until I can’t stop thinking about it. This is what happened with the Eva Series.

The story of Eva began as the whisper about a little girl who was abandoned and completely alone. Frightened and afraid, I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I thought about her incessantly until I had no choice but to write her story. When it was all finally there on the page, for the first time in my entire life, there was a part of me that was free. The story of Eva was born … and in many ways, her story was my own. Like Eva, I was also abandoned at around the age of two. While I don’t remember any of it, and the circumstances were completely different, the little girl left in a puddle lost and alone made me believe that I had to feel the same. As heartbreaking as her story is, there’s always been that part of me that kept it buried deep down, telling myself that it didn’t matter and it didn’t hurt anymore.

The truth is, it didn’t hurt at all until I had children of my own and I finally knew what true, honest, pure, undeniable love felt like. The pain I had been carrying around inside suddenly exploded without warning until I couldn’t imagine anything worse.

Writing Eva’s story was a way to exorcise my own demons and heal my own deepest wounds. I wrote it at a time in my life when I was the most alone and lost. While writing Leaving Eva helped to heal the past, it was also a distraction from the present because I had been deeply struggling with life on many levels. The only time I could find any normalcy was when I was writing because I was able to focus on the story instead of on my life, which was a train wreck. Throughout the years, getting married, having children, and building a career, I had forgotten how much writing had meant to me. It had been my own form of therapy when I was younger, and I had needed it.

Once I began writing,  it was impossible to stop, and though Eva’s story took many twists and turns that were not autobiographical, there are many elements that are. While I know that leaves much untold, the moments that are true are recognizable for those who can see it, and it’s best that way.

Eventually the series took on a life of its own and with healing, also came a renewed vision and creativity. What began as the story of a girl abandoned and alone became the story of a woman who was far stronger and more resilient than she ever imagined she could be. Her life and circumstances veered far from my own, and while Eva’s story will always be close to my heart, the story that remains the closest to my own, is only the first one.

I’m happy that I wrote it because it became far more than I ever imagined it to be, opening doors to friendships and people that I never realized would mean so much. What began as a whisper, became an orchestra of beautiful music and a world that has brought me more joy and happiness that I ever knew could be possible.

For that one tiny whisper and for Eva, I will forever be grateful.

 

 

 

The Eva Series, the Whoa-Giveaway, and other Things

On February 17th, the Eva Series was finished with the release of Saving Eva. It took almost four years, but Eva’s story is finally complete.

While I thought that writing the first book, Leaving Eva, was the most difficult, this one was certainly the hardest to write for a number of reasons. The main character, Brynn’s, life has been heartbreaking and cruel but with every tortuous moment, also came hope. I was unsure how to leave the final book in the series, afraid that I would let the readers down and taint the beautiful stories and characters they had come to love. But early feedback and reviews of Saving Eva are good … even better than good, and some of my most beloved readers are happy with the ending, which makes me incredibly happy.

With the completion of the series, I also wanted to make it available as a collection so that you could cry your eyes out with all three of them, at once. (Major tissue alert here!) If you love ugly cry books, believe me, you’ll want to read these. I’ve had readers message me about support groups for this series, as well as how much these books made them laugh and cry. If you want books that will rip your heart out, the collection is available on Amazon and is free on Kindle Unlimited. Don’t get mad at me if your eyes are too puffy to leave the house for a week. You’ve been warned!

Since the release of Leaving Eva, much like Eva’s story, my author life has taken numerous twists and turns.  Though certainly not as violent or uncertain as Brynn’s, nonetheless it has been rocky and surprising. I began as an Indie Author in 2013, admittedly naive and totally clueless. I then joined two separate publishers and subsequently lost them. While both experiences were vastly different, one lost by choice and one not, I learned a great deal about who I wanted to be and what I wanted my writing journey to look like.

As a result, I started my own imprint, Soul Sister Press, LLC. and while I am certainly not an expert in this  creative life, I continue to learn every day. The name Soul Sister Press made sense to me because I truly believe that soul mates come to us in many forms. I’ve been fortunate to have found many of mine in the form of sisters; other professionals and creatives who understand me and share my vision and passion. I love that we get to choose one another to bring our love of books to a beautiful completion. It’s the part of this journey that I love so much.

With Eva series complete, I’ll continue to work on more beautifully broken stories throughout the remainder of the year, as well as search for ways to thank everyone who has helped me along the way. With the help of Brenda Gonet of Starbound books, who is coordinating a WHOA-Sized giveaway, we’ll be gifting signed paperbacks, ebooks, and swag to lucky winners just for being amazing! I have the most wonderful readers that I could ever imagine and I am so thankful for them every day. This WHOA-sized giveaway will give points for everything below and at the end of the month (March), Brenda will tally them up and the WINNERS will get some very nice prizes! If you want to get in on the fun, just message  Brenda Gonet on Facebook with your entries!

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I’m also anticipating the release of my first audio book for I Run to You, which is set for release on my birthday, March 15th! Christine Rauch has a wonderful voice and I think she has the perfect voice to tell the story of Alyssa Bennet.

There are so many exciting things happening in 2017 and I can only look ahead to an even more incredible year! If you’re reading this, you’ll also notice that my blog and website got a new makeover, thanks to the wonderful Brenda!

Honestly … I just don’t know what I would do without my soul sisters!

Jen Loves Authors-JA Hensley

As I continue introducing you to my favorite creatives, I definitely wanted to make sure you got to meet this one!

The first time I ever met JA Hensley, I felt like I had known her all my life. She’s a wife, mother, professional, as well as an author and a owner/blogger at Babu’s Bookshelf. She’s funny, smart, and kind, and even though I don’t get to see her very often, she’s someone I’ve grown to admire and respect quite a bit!

JA answered my questions like a champ and I’m so happy to introduce her to you, in case you haven’t met her already.

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1. Dog or cat person?

I’m a cat person but I own a dog right now. My family is allergic to cats and that makes me really sad.

2. What are three interesting/unique/fun truths about you?

  1. I went to boarding school for my last 2 years of high school.
  2. I make all my own swag and some for other authors as well.
  3. I teach at a community college and my most popular class is Human Sexuality.

3. What is the single most guiding principle in your, life and how does that impact your role in the publishing world?

I want to always be true to myself and do what I feel is right. As far as the publishing world, I write what I want and try not to let trends or others sway what I publish or promote.

4. What is one big thing about yourself that you would change and what have you done about it?

One thing that I’ve been working hard on is to be less shy around new people.

5. What do you do in the publishing world? 
I started out as a blogger and then, with the help of my BFF, I started writing. Now I’ve published 4 Contemporary Romance novels and I’m working on something new.

6. What is one thing you want people to know about you?

I love to read and discover new books and authors. I hope people find me approachable and likable. I love talking about books too!

 

Go and check JA out at any of her links and make sure you add her to your TBR list! She’s wonderful, amazing, and you won’t regret reading and following this wonderful author!

With the holidays coming up, I’m going to skip a couple of weeks but will resume after the New Year! Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year to all of my Loves. I wish you all the best!

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Jen’s Loves-JC Wing

In my last post, I featured the beautiful and amazing CD Bradley, and in this one I want to introduce to you to JC Wing.  JC is a wife, mother, author, and editor, and an overall incredible person. She’s my editor and has become a good friend and someone I consider a soul sister!  She has an amazing work ethic, is incredibly positive, is a talented storyteller, and I absolutely adore her.

I’m sure you’ll love her as much as I do!!

  1. Dog or cat person? I’m both. I have a seventeen-pound cat named Mouse. He acts as the logo for my imprint, Black Cat Press. I also have two chocolate lab puppies named Phoebe and Ursula. They make sure I step away from the computer and get a little bit of exercise throughout the day.

 

  1. What are three interesting/unique/fun truths about you? Many (oh so many) years ago, I was a competitive ice skater. I got to live in Germany for two years – and absolutely loved it. I also collect baseball caps. It’s more fun to wear caps from places I’ve visited, but some of my favorites have come from places I’ve never been.

 

  1. What is the single most guiding principle in your life, and how does that impact your role in the publishing world? I try to show my family and my friends that I’m honest, and that if I say I’ll do something, I will follow through. I work hard to be dependable. I believe in showing respect for people, to try to find out who they are, what’s important to them and to act accordingly. I think these things impact my role in the publishing world a lot. I’m an author myself, so when I edit for someone, I’m only interested in making changes that will make their work grammatically sound. Every writer has their own style, their own voice, and keeping that intact is very important to me.

 

  1. What is one big thing about yourself that you would change and what have you done about it? I think I probably try to take on too much. Sometimes I think I should change this, but ultimately, I don’t think I ever will. I love being asked to do things. I’m a pro at multi-tasking, and I usually have ten different projects going on at once. I’ve heard many times that I should try to do less, but I’m very happy being busy, so I doubt I’ll try very hard to be different.

 

  1. What do you do in the publishing world? I’m an author. I’ve written and self-published four novels: The Color of Thunder, Alabama Skye, A Skye Full of Stars and Dead Beat Dates & Deities. I also own an editing company called Wing Family Editing. I work primarily with indie authors, but I’ve had the opportunity to edit content for some websites as well. I’m a blogger, and I run a writing group on Facebook called Writing Challenge Warriors.

 

  1. What is one thing you want people to know about you? I’m probably the biggest dork you’ll ever meet. I’m annoyingly optimistic and I smile and laugh a lot, but I’m serious about the things that matter.

 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.-C.-Wing/e/B00AZXVS1W

Wing Family Editing website: http://jcwing.wixsite.com/wingfamilyediting

Author Blog: http://jcwingandthegoddess.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jcwing.novelist

Writing Challenge Warriors: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1638083136502522/

If you haven’t already, read one of JC’s books. You’ll be so happy that you did.

 

Jen’s Loves

As an author, I’m so fortunate to get to met so many unbelievably amazing people: artists, designers, editors, readers, and of course, other authors! I want to share some of these people with you because it truly feels selfish to keep them to myself!!

The first person I want to  introduce you to is Author C.D. Bradley. I had the pleasure of being her table-mate that the wonderful Rebels & Readers Author Event hosted by Amy McGlone and Tonya Nagle. I LOVED this event and meeting C.D. She was fun, kind, and during in between meeting fantastic readers, we had fun getting to know one another. She is the author of the Stark Trilogy, which features Author BT Urruela on the covers.

I asked C.D. six questions and I absolutely loved her answers. I’m sure you will too.

Q.  Dog or cat person?
A. All animal person. I live on a farm with 2 dogs ( one Australian Shepherd named Jack and an Old English Sheep Dog named Lollie. We have a rescue cat named Little John, 42 chickens, and 2 ducks. A very large bear named Samson a host of turkeys and deer and one very annoying bobcat.

Q. What are three interesting/unique/fun truths about you?
A. Eeep um well I am a terrible farmer but I am learning. Every day is an adventure here and I just laugh at my self and go on. We have recently learned that I am unable to kill anything. This does not go well if you raise livestock. We had to “cull” roosters the other day and I literally cried.
I am very ADD and usually have three or four projects going at once.. Currently I work, homeschool, write books, bake wedding cakes and love my animals ( farm creatures)

Q. What is the single most guiding principle in your, life and how does that impact your role in the publishing world?
A. Guiding principle has always been pursue your dreams as if limits to your abilities do not exist…. just go for it with out trepidation. Don’t hold back in anyway. If you think of a long jumper or a pole vaulter if they hold back in any way they will fail before they even leave the ground. Put your whole self in to what you want to achieve.

Q. What is one big thing about yourself that you would change and what have you done about it?
A. Biggest thing that I would change is that I need to be more organized. I am working now to declutter and get rid of excess so that life with five kiddos is more manageable.

Q. What do you do in the publishing world?
A. I am a writer. So far I have written two books in the Stark Trilogy and I am working on the third and final which will release New Years Eve at midnight. This series is about a military doctor who is fresh out of school and a special forces sergeant. Their journey will entrance you, and then take you places you never imagined. I have really enjoyed writing this series. This final book is bitter sweet because I have spent so much time with Stark and Kira, writing that final The End may kill me.

Q. What is one thing you want people to know about you?
A.  Something to know about me …Hmmm I really enjoy meeting all the fans at each author event.  Though I am shy so its hard for me to engage people I don’t know, I love hearing about you and your lives and what you are excited about or frustrated by.

 

 

You can click on C.D.’s picture to follow her on Facebook! You’re not going to want to miss out on this wonderful author. Click on her book images to catch her books on Amazon!

Busy Little Author

I’ve been a busy little bee lately  in my personal life, professional life, and author life. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been crazy busy, but it’s how I like it.

It drives my husband nuts because I can’t even sit still to watch television which has been that way most of my adult life. My mind is always racing with a thousand things to do, which makes it increasingly difficult to settle down. I usually move from one thing to the next, until I fall into bed exhausted.

As the boys get ready to go back to school, the shopping is done, and the summer is winding down, I am excited to get to focus on some of the author life things that have been neglected. Summers are an impossible time to finish and edit books, work on projects, and even focus on any marketing. I’ve decided that I’ll try and take at least one weekday this year, to try and focus on my author life because the buzz of too many unfinished things is enough to make feel stabby.

I also find that not having time to write also makes me extremely cranky, as well. When I’m writing, I am at peace and I need the time in my head to cope with the outside world, at times.

I have been able to finish a couple of things recently. I rewrote and added some chapters to The Forgotten, my fantasy series about how the selfish actions of one creature creates a world where the children have been abandoned and forgotten. It’s the first book in The Lost Children series. I loved the story about Jakob and Kell, but felt that it needed to be more robust and added some backstory to make it more interesting. This story is near and dear to my hear because the main characters were inspired by my boys and many of the children bear names of children I know. The next step for the Lost Children is to publish it in paperback.

I’m also in process of editing the third book in my women’s fiction series, Saving Eva. I’ve been hesitant as I finish it, afraid of disappointing fans of the series, but early beta readers love it. I do know that I’ll be adding a surprise ending to it, so you’ll have to stay tuned for that. (Sorry Elizabeth and Heather)

The first book in the series, Leaving Eva, has been reworked and is ready to be rerelease with Evatopia with a beautiful new cover. Eva’s powerful and emotional story will be available to new readers and will have the potential to reach a broad new audience, which is incredibly exciting!

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I’m also working on a super-secret project that I’ll reveal soon. It’s something that I’m terrified of writing, but I’m doing it for that very reason.

 

I’ll be sending out more information about my super-secret project in my newsletter, so if you’d like to know about it, sign up here! I’m only revealing the secret in my newsletter, so you’re not going to want to miss out!

 

30 Day Writing Challenge-Five Fears

This challenge freaks me out because it’s personal. Five fears … the challenge is about your greatest fears but I don’t know if I can dig quite that deep. We’ll see how far I can go. 

  1. I’m with AK Lawrence on two of hers. The first one is snakes. Snakes, rats, mice; basically anything creepy crawly. Even though I live a little rural, I’m a city girl at heart!
  2. The second one is the fear that nobody will ever read my books, which is silly because I have wonderful readers. I think this is every author’s fear and that I would’ve be a normal writer if I wasn’t plagued by self-doubt. 
  3. My children will hate me. They love me now, but I haven’t made any major mistakes yet. I know that as they get older, I’ll have more opportunities to really mess up and it scares the crap out of me. The what-ifs plague me every day and I worry that one day they won’t let me know them anymore. I remind myself to do my best, love them with my whole heart, and not allow my fear to paralyze me.
  4.  Heights. I’m afraid of climbing up and down tall ladders. I don’t mind airplanes or elevators or looking out of windows from tall buildings, but you’ll never catch me sky diving or standing untethered from great heights. 
  5. Vulnerability. This is the only deep fear I’ll share here. My writing makes me vulnerable which can be terrifying, but I share it because it’s good for me. I write because it’s healthy, less expensive than therapy, and more effective. I know that sharing my words opens me up and pushed me outside of my comfort zone, but I know that I need to.

I have many other things I’m afraid of but can’t bring myself to share for fear that they’ll come true. This is about as deep as I can get … the question is, what are you afraid of? 

30 Day Writing Challenge-Someone Who Fascinates Me…

Today’s challenge is to write about someone who facscinates me and why… which I’ve been wracking my brain about for days.

I wasn’t sure if I should choose a public figure or someone closer to me, and for days I’ve tried to figure it out. Ultimately, I’ve decided to write about my children because they fascinate me so much more than anyone I can ever imagine. For starters, I can’t believe that I actually made them. I actually had the capability to make little tiny people! It boggles my mind even now!

When they were small, I could stare at them for hours. There were days I did nothing but watch them sleep or watch their tiny chests while they breathed.  I truly felt like the most amazing person of all time because, did I mention this before, but I made them! Never mind that women have been having babies for centuries .😆 I can still remember how soft their skin was and how their tiny bodies fit right in my arms, reminding me that I was put on this earth just so that I could be their mom. I still remember their tiny cries, and how my youngest son’s cry was husky, just like his voice is now. 

As they’ve grown, I’ve often found myself thoroughly captivated by them through every stage. Every gurgle, noise, coo, and giggle, I’ve been completely mesmerized by all of it. Whether it was age two , five, or seven, remembering the softness of their hair every time I’ve kissed the top of their head or their tiny hands clutching tightly to my own, I’ve photographed every bit of it in my mind. Listening to their minds develop and grow, and seeing their emerging personalities has been an utter joy. Even their stubbornness, their tantrums, and the moments when they’ve been the most difficult have been interesting. I’ve watched them both work through diversity; the bully in first grade, the broken nose, the racial slur, the lost toy, the loss of a grandparent, the brotherly squabble, and through it all I’ve been able to catch a glimpse of the men they will one day be. Watching my youngest hold the door open for an elderly couple at a restaurant without being prompted and listening to my oldest remind his brother to say his good-night prayers, are moments that give me much hope for a bright and beautiful future for both of them. 

They’ve become two very strong-willed individuals who are discovering the world and themselves, and it’s a tremendous thing to watch and be a part of. They are feisty, grateful, and amaze me every day with a new revelation or observation. I never anticipated such joy from watching two people grow.

When I look at them, I often feel like a scientist who has discovered a miracle and I want to shout it to the world. I’m fortunate to have a husband who gets it and understands why I sometimes cry when a moment with one of them catches my heart in just the right way. He understands how perfectly beautiful and unbelievable they are, because he sees it too.

I never imagined being fascinated by two people who haven’t yet reached the potential of who they will be. I can only imagine how fascinated by them I’ll be when they’re adults and I get to see what they will become. If I never know anything else in this world, I know that I was put here in this place, at this time, just so that I could be with them.

 Nothing will ever be more amazing to me that that. 

30 Day Writing Challenge-A Place I would live…

I live in Ohio.

The weather is weird, it’s often gray, but it’s where the people I love are.

If I could live anywhere, in a place I’ve never visited, I would live here…

Or more specifically, here: 
An ocean, an infinity pool, and blue sky…
If I had my family, my laptop, books, and sunscreen, I would be one happy girl. 😃

It doesn’t take much, right?

30 Day Writing Challenge-Ten Things

Today’s challenge is to share TEN interesting things about myself. I’ll give it a go, but I can’t promise how interesting they’ll be. 😳😳

  1. I’m short but I always think that I’m bigger than what I am. I’m always surprised when I realize how short  I really am, compared to others.
  2. What you see is what you get. I’m honest, open, and truthful, sometimes to a fault. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a filter but it does mean that you always know where you stand with me.
  3. I wanted to be a teacher when I was younger. I love watching people grasp new ideas and concepts, as well as doing so myself. I love to learn and think that constantly challenging your mind is so important. A big part of my job now is teaching others and its extremely rewarding. I don’t think that you’re ever too old to learn something new! 
  4. I’ve worked for the same company for almost seventeen years. I love my job and the people I get to work with. It’s challenging and interesting and every day there is something new. The people I work with are talented, fun, and passionate and I’m very thankful for them and the opportunities I’ve been given.
  5. Music and writing are my therapy. Listening to music and writing keeps me sane and my preference of each depend on how I’m feeling at the moment.
  6. I swear … a lot. I’m a lover of words, even the profane ones. But I do have an excellent filter so it’s okay to leave your little ones near me! 
  7. I LOOOOOVE babies and dogs and they usually love me. Babies turn me into a puddle of mush and sunshine and even though I don’t want anymore of my own, if there was a job holding babies I’d be first in line to apply. 👶🏼☀️
  8. I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl but I’m also a realistic. I expect, anticipate, and hope for the best but I also know when it isn’t going to happen, and then adjust accordingly. People who are negative because they make me stabby because life is too short to always dwell on the bad.
  9. I’ve lost a lot of people in my life at a young age. Two friends gone far too young in car accidents, my grandparents, a life-long friend and family member, and  then my father.  Those losses have bruised me and taught me not to sweat the small stuff. They’ve taught me to enjoy what I have and be happy with the life I’ve been given. Life is too short to expect that it will be anything less than spectacular. 
  10. My worst trait is that I’m impatient but my children have taught me how to be much more patient over the years. They’ve made me a better person in every way and especially in this one.

Despite everything on this list, I’m not Mary Sunshine. I write to keep the demons at bay and I work very hard to not let life consume me. I can be angry, difficult, petulant, and petty. I can be ugly, inside and out, but I know that’s just part of being human. There are times when I just myself go because I know that I’m far from perfect and will try harder the next day. I don’t know how interesting this, was but if you made it to the end, then you know a little more about me! 😊😊😊