Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On little break!

Will be taking a short break for the next couple of weeks since my husband just got home to Arizona! I will post again when the second book in the "Jordan Series" is available (THE TEMPTATION OF A GENTLEMAN, 2.99, October 1).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Everlasting by Kimberly Dean

So many years ago that I hesitate to say how long, I met an awesome writer named Kimberly Dean. We were both in SECRETS, Volume 11. She had a very sexy, extremely well-done erotic romantic suspense, I had written (of course) an erotic historical. We've been friends ever since (we'll always have Canada... or at least Disneyworld's version of it, Kim) and now she's entering the ever-whacky and wonderful world of independent publishing. Her new book, EVERLASTING is available for Kindle/Nook right now for only 2.99. If you like the sexy... Kimberly Dean is your girl:

When Chevon takes an impulsive road trip, she doesn’t expect to stumble across her distant past. Lost in a thick, unpredictable fog, she finds the Everlasting Inn. The remote house on the cliffs is a haven, yet it evokes erotic thoughts and haunting memories. They consume her until she realizes that she’s been to this house before… in another life! When the inn’s new owner shows up, she realizes that time is repeating itself. It’s up to Trey to break the cycle for these star-crossed lovers, but he’ll have to fight to prove that their love is truly everlasting.

You can buy it here for Kindle and here for Nook! Seriously, Kim is awesome (as a writer and a person) and I highly recommend anything you can find by her!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Living Without Regret

Over the years I've learned something about myself. I regret what I don't do more than what I do. Even if things don't work out, at least I tried and lots of times supposed "failure" turns into a great lesson or opens the door to greater success. That's how I ended up pursuing writing in the first place. It's definitely how I ended up writing a zombie comedy ( and now it's why I've broken away from traditional publishing and am writing and publishing independently.

My life is changing a lot right now. We're moving to Tucson (I'm already here and loving it) and my independent work is supporting us, as well as some very exciting new ventures for my husband. We are breaking free, rethinking how we want to live, where we want to live and what we want to do.

I think that translates to my work, too. Right now I'm writing heroines who are spies and maybe killed someone (THE SECRETS OF A LADY and the upcoming THE DESIRES OF A COUNTESS, November 2011). My heroes are struggling with where they belong and who they are (THE TEMPTATION OF A GENTLEMAN, October 2011). I like writing characters in transition, on the cusp of changing their lives and terrified of it.

I guess it's called writing what you know.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Like Stars and Smiley Faces

There's an episode of The Simpsons when the elementary school is shut down. Lisa, working from home, tells her mother, "grade me!" and begs for stars for her paper. I admit, this episode (along with many other Lisa moments) hits pretty close to home for me. I've always liked to see my advancement, to get little sparkly stars next to my name.

In short... grade me!!!

In school, it was easy. Grades, check marks, honor society pins... all these things marked my progress and said, "You are good. You are special. You are smart." But as an adult, it gets a little more complicated. No more teachers look over my shoulder and tell me that I'm cool.

So I have to feed this need myself. First, I make to do lists. When I do things, I cross them off my list. It's a small thing, but I get a thrill of acheivement when I do it. So much so that I sometimes add things to the list that I did... just to cross them off.

There are no more stickers in my life... but I guess there are stars. Amazon and Goodreads reviews come with them and I admit that it makes me pretty happy when more of them pop up by my name (hint, hint). I like the idea that strangers have looked at something I've done and put a lot of heart into and say, "Yeah. You did a good job. A+"

I'm okay with my need for stars and smiley faces. In the scheme of things, I guess I'd rather be a Lisa Simpson than say... a Bart. Or a Homer. Now grade me!!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beware of the Cat

As you know if you've visited my website, blog, twitter, facebook... etc, I have two cats. Harley and Quinn, both rescues who have traveled along with us through two moves and snuggled with us through ups and downs. My babies.

Also, my guard dogs. Well, one of them is. Harley.

Oh she looks very innocent there in the picture to the left. Like a snuggly little ball of fur who might lick you to death, but never attack. And to be honest, that is usually true. This is a cat who purrs while she's being groomed, only hides when my three and a half year old nephew tries to be her best friend and is genuinely the loveliest animal I've ever had the pleasure of loving.

Until the UPS man comes. When someone rings the doorbell, she becomes attack cat. She sits down, staring at the door and growls beneath her breath. There's no bite to the bark. The second the door opens, she's smoke. But for a minute... just a minute, she is Kujo. And you better watch out if you want to deliver a package to this house.

Anyone else have an attack cat?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's up, doc?

Hey all!

I know it's been a while since I blogged (almost exactly a month). Personal life is starting to settle, so I'm actually writing again (YAY) and have a lot of fun stuff coming up that I thought I'd share to start with:

August: A SCOUNDREL'S SURRENDER is still available! The last book in The Billingham Bastards series should be in stores near you everywhere and it features Caleb and Marah from my July 2008 release, LESSONS FROM A COURTESAN

September: The beginning of a new series for me that I'm publishing independently! The series is The Jordans, the book is THE SECRETS OF A LADY!

The book features Audrey and Griffin, who have known each other since childhood, share a history and are now forced to work together to find a traitor.

October: The Jordans, Book 2. THE TEMPTATION OF A GENTLEMAN

Audrey's brother, Noah and the woman he meets during one last case, Marion.

November: The Jordans, Book 3. THE DESIRES OF A COUNTESS. Audrey and Noah's sister, Ginny, a widow with a son and a secret she must keep from Simon, the man sent to "protect" her.

So there's lots of great stuff coming up! All the Jordans will be available via Kindle/Nook and will be only 2.99 for each full novel!!

Enjoy and look for more blog posts coming up again!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How many Shops would a Workshop Shop...

Recently I've seen a lot of calls for workshops from various chapters. It's been a long time since I did any writing workshops and I sort of miss it. So... what topics would the writers in the house like to see my cover if I were to do some new workshops? Is there anything you're dying to hear my thoughts on? Post in comments!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday the 13th

I so wish I could be more interesting today but I am tired. Between a whirlwind of a vacation to Tucson last week, a bunch of house-related issues this week and trying to finish up with some bookish stuff... my brain is more befitting of one of my Jesse Petersen zombie books than a Jenna Petersen romance.

So you fill in the blank. What's up?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Undeniable by Jenna Petersen (or was it Jess Michaels)

Last week my July book, UNDENIABLE was released. Actually re-released. This book was originally a Jess Michaels release from a small press in... I think it was 2003? 2004? Anyway, it all blends together. Even all these years later, I still get lots of questions about the story, so I decided to re-release it for just .99 and under the Jenna Petersen name.

Why Jenna Petersen? It's really just a streamlining thing. It's historical and it's very sexy and it just makes it easier to promote with one name. So, yes, this was originally a Jess release, but it's now under the Jenna name. Still the same story, though! And I hope you'll love it if you pick it up from Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

And thank you to all our military members, past and present, who protect our freedoms!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Obsessed With Paper

There are a lot of things I miss with so much of our lives packed up and ready to move across the country. Movies, pictures, books, being able to leave my laptop out when I leave the house... But one thing I miss a lot and didn't expect to miss so much is paper.

I love paper. I am obsessed with notecards, notebooks, steno-pads, calendars, anything that is paper-related. I want the paper to be pretty or professional or interesting or have my name on it. Seriously, if it's paper, I love it.

I could spend a week in Target or Office Depot, just roaming around through the paper/cards/invitation/office supply area.

But right now they are all packed up, waiting for us to get to a new house. And I can't buy more, either since they would also have to be packed up so that my office wouldn't be cluttered for house showing. Still, I look forward to the day when I can open up a box (or two) filled with all my various papers. I think it will be like seeing old friends. Hello bird notecards. Hello "From the Desk of..." paper. How I missed you...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Five Books I've Read This Year

I'm forever complaining about how I have no time to read, and it's true. Between writing, writing, writing and all the stuff we're involved with in selling our house and moving across country, by the time I'm done with my day, I fear I'm more in the mental state to watch some TV rather than focus my eyes on more words. So I don't read as much in the evening as I once did. I do tend to read on planes and since I have the Kindle app on my phone, I often read while waiting for... well, everything. This means that in the past year I have actually, SHOCKER, read some books! And here are some of them:

1. The 19th Wife: A Novel by David Ebershoff -- This one is an interesting one, recommended to me by my sister-in-law who read it for her book club. It's a story of a woman who is the 19th wife of a polygamist who is accused of killing her husband and her son who tries to help her, even though he's run away from that life. It also tells the story of Brigham Young's own 19th wife. The dueling stories and historical story really drive it.

2. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler -- Read this one on a plane the way to Seattle. Raymond Chandler wrote all the Sam Spade stories. They were made into movies starring Humphrey Bogart. Well paced, interesting characters and since there's no real CSI, the investigating techniques from the world's most famous P.I. is fascinating!

3. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin -- A wonderful memoir of a smart, interesting comic who I've always loved. He comes across as kind, fascinating and unexpected. I enjoyed this one a lot.

4. Sex With the Queen by Eleanor Herman -- There's another book called Sex With the King that is on the same subject, people who had affairs and relationships with Kings and Queens over the decades. Spoiler Alert: it rarely goes well to be the lover of royalty. People end up dead more often than not.

5. The Shining by Stephen King -- I got on a Stephen King kick late in 2010 again and read The Shining. Ten times better than the movie (still need to watch the 90s miniseries, which is supposed to be closer to the book). Really compelling and scary, scary, scary.

I don't like reading the same genre I'm writing in (it just gets in my head too much) and I've been writing a LOT of romance, so you'll see my list doesn't have much of it right now (any of it) and I miss it. I have a few books in my kindle in the romance genre and I'm hoping to read them during my upcoming trip in July. I've got some Lisa Kleypas, Laura Lee Guhrke and a sexy Blaze. So maybe the next time I do this, I'll actually have some romance to report on!

What are you reading?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My 3 Worst Writing Habits

All writers have them. I swear, ask the best bestselling author and if they say they don't they are a liar, liar pants on fire. They are bad writing habits. Here are three of mine:

1. Writing until I hurt myself. - I do have a set number of words/pages I sit down and do each day. After of years of trial and error, I figured out the number that allowed me to write quickly but also not burn out. But sometimes, especially when I'm have multiple projects due in a short amount of time or when I'm at the end of a book and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I ignore my goal and just... go crazy. This is good in that I finish a book ahead of schedule. This is bad in that my wrists hurt, my head hurts, my back hurts and I'm tired for three days after. And yet I still do it. I get that it is part of my process now... but man I wish I could adjust that process.

2. Getting ahead of myself and starting before I should. - I'm a big plotter. I do character sheets and synopses and pages and pages of detailed scene sketches. I always have every intention to get to a certain point and then start writing. And I always start before I reach that intended part. I think this one is related to one. I'm willing to just WRITE when I'm excited. Which is not a bad thing but I do sometimes put the cart before the horse and have to rethink mid-book.

3. Love-Hate, Love-Hate, Love-Hate -- My husband can attest to this one, but I know it isn't just me who experiences it as a writer. I start my book, I love it. I hit about 100 pages, I hate it. I hit 200 and I love it. Get the picture? Back and forth from soaring excitement to crushing defeat. It is exhausting.

Everyone has weakness as a writer. What are yours?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Old Books Are Like Old Friends

Because of my entrance into the independent publishing world (which I wrote about last week), I've had the pleasure of going through my backlist and evaluating which books would be appropriate for publication. There are lots of reasons why a book doesn't fit for the traditionally published world. As an unpublished author, publishers need a book that will fit their list and have a certain amount of universal appeal. That's why it's so hard for a new author to break in to the New York publishing world. A tiny issue, a close-but-not-close enough moment.... and a book won't sell.

Does that mean these books aren't good? Nope! Just look at some of the breakout stars of indie publishing and you'll see books which didn't make that first blush cut for traditional and yet sold like crazy and had readers fall in love with them when they went the indie route.

But many of these books I wrote years ago. In a different time of my life, in a different place physically for some of them. I wondered, would ANY of them be appropriate for publication? And then I started reading them. And I felt like I was meeting up with old friends and catching up. I still loved these stories and these characters and I really wanted to share them.

Were they perfect? NO!! NO NO NO NO. I actually dove into editing and matching them to my writing sometimes ten years later (has it been that long???). It has been challenging and exciting and I hope eventually readers will see that and fall in love, too. Still, old friendships don't have to be perfect. With work, they can be strong.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Indie Publishing: A Brave New World

If you're on my Twitter or Facebook accounts (@jennaromance and then you've probably heard me talking lately about the fact that I've been independently publishing books for the last few months and am planning even more in the future.

When I talk about indie pubbing (or self-publishing), lots of people ask me why I would do that? Well, there are many reasons and I wanted to share mine.

First off, traditional publishing is getting much more cautious about what they publish and that has translated in many authors losing their contracts. I still have many, many, many historical romances to write and share. And I don't want to wait for a publisher to decide that the math is perfectly right for them to take a chance to publish them. Financially and creatively, it just doesn't work for me.

Secondly, there is the freedom of scheduling that indie publishing affords me. I'm a quick writer, but my historical romances were always scheduled 9-12 months apart. Trust me, this was never my choice or because of my writing speed. But with independent publishing I can publish a book a month for the rest of the year (which is my plan) and 4-5 books a year on a regular basis.

Finally, there is the issue of price. One big advantage of indie publishing is that because the author gets a much larger percentage of royalties, I can charge way less for a book and actually make more per book sold. That seems like a win-win for everyone. Readers get a book for less, I can still pay my light bill. Hooray for all of us.

Of course there are disadvantages. If you don't like reading on a reader, phone or computer, then no, there won't be a paperback copy of the book available and I know that's disappointing to many readers. I love books, too, but I promise you I'm not making the decision lightly or while rubbing my hands together with an evil laugh as I picture readers who want a paperback suffering. I only hope that you'll want the book enough to overlook the disadvantage. If not, I do understand that, too.

We're entering a brave new world for readers and authors! I'm really enjoying it and I hope you will too.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Life is a Zoo (or at least, once a week it is)

Shocking, I know, but I actually have a life outside of writing. Sometimes it feels like I don't between writing, promoting, publishing and everything that goes along with those responsibilities. But I do try... try to do other things.

I love to watch UFC, I love my cats, I enjoy cycling, as well as playing video games. But one thing that I enjoy and get to do each week is volunteer at our local zoo. For a long time, I did work with the animals. This involved preparing diet for the rainforest animals and then... I got to feed out:

It has been a wonderful experience from top to bottom and I loved every moment. Now I don't do as much with the animals, but I do data entry about the daily animal reports from the zoo keepers. It's really interesting to follow the developments around the zoo with the animals and programs.

Each week it's a nice break from my routine, it gets me out of the house... and how many people can say they got to feed golden handed tamarins?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Writing Book

Recently I published a book for writers, The Romance Writing Industry: From Top to Bottom. This book is based on the day-long industry retreat I presented all over the country in 2009-2010. The chapters who had me come out charged their members between $50-150 per person to attend the retreat.

Since I'm not traveling at present, I decided the best option was to put the same info out in book format. I'm charging $9.99 for the book in Kindle and Nook format, mostly because of the time and effort it took to compile the info. But in this, you get all the information that was presented for much more.

If you get the book, you'll get information on Markets, Query Letters, Synopses, Literary Agents, Publishing Houses, The Journey of a Book and Promotion of a Book and get
resource guides and samples for writers. Here is the cover and a link to buy from Amazon (it's also available on Nook).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The No-Travel Blues

A lot of people have been asking me if I'm going to RWA (Romance Writers of America) National conference this year and then the questions always move to various local conferences and reader events. Here's my answer for everything: No.

Why? Well there are several reasons that I'm not traveling at all this year:

1. Last year I traveled too much. I was gone at least one weekend a month almost all year. When you add up the time for travel, the prep time and everything else, by the time the year ended, I was exhausted and burned out. I was sick of airports, sick of packing, and sick of losing three days before each trip and a week after to catch up, laundry and jetlag.

2. We're moving. By the end of the summer, we will be packing up and traveling across country to our new home in Arizona. All my time, energy and finances really have to go into making that move happen. What a lot of people don't realize is that 99% of the time, I have to pay for all of or at least part of my own travel expenses. Neither of my publishers pay for it, so if the organizers of an event don't cover my costs, I have to do it myself. That's airfare, hotel and most of the food I eat. A weekend could cost $1000 for me and a longer event like RWA usually puts me out of pocket for at last a couple grand. That's just not an expenditure I can make right now.

3. I'm no longer traditionally published. I have one final book coming out from Avon in August and one last book from Orbit in July and then I am no longer traditionally published. I love being self-published (independently published) but again, I have to weigh the benefits against the costs for traveling. With my independent books, which are my main focus at present, I can't "sign" them. And readers can't buy them at a conference the way they can buy a paperback. So in terms of promotion, which is a big reason why I travel, it just doesn't make sense. My time would probably better be spent here at home tweeting, posting and writing (and moving and freaking out about moving).

Does this mean I'll never travel again? Absolutely not. If an event makes sense in the future, or if an organization invites me and covers my costs for travel, then I'd absolutely go somewhere in the future. Also, if an event is close enough by me for it to be less of a chore to get there, I'll be participating. But for 2011, at least, you can find me here, online. Hopefully putting out stories you love instead of making packing lists and flying all around the country.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the awesome Moms out there!

Moms, you rock! Hope you all got Mom something awesome for Mother's Day this year (like a Kindle loaded with Jenna Petersen books). :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Back to the Blog Again

Hi everyone! Well, it's been a long time since I blogged. I have several other things going, so I can't promise I'll hit it here every day. I'm going to aim for once a week. I'll blog about romance, wrtiting and life in general and maybe even give away some prizes.

A lot is changing in my life at present, both personally and professionally and I want to take everyone along for the ride.

Hope you enjoy!