The Jewel

Saphire

Mug of Cider - Set Up Adventure StoryA common idealized picture of a writer might have a desk, a cozy study, and a warm cup of coffee, or hot chocolate, or maybe a glass of scotch. It’s a solitary picture where the writer’s wrestling away at crafting beautiful sentences that build into captivating stories.

It’s a picturesque idea that makes my heart ache for such focused time. But realistically, our day and age does not allow for such time unless we wrest it, kicking and screaming, from our electronic devices, our bloated schedules, and our own over-zealous expectations.

And if you’re a self-published writer, that time is all the more precious. I knew, vaguely, how much went into producing and promoting a book, but the hats of editing, designing, marketing-the list could be endless-can be as heavy and demanding as a hat made of lead.

It would be easy under that weight to forget the joy of simply creating the story, to forget why all those hats are worth it when the day’s finished.

The joy of writing is a precious jewel. We’ll call it a sapphire. And the setting that holds it is the time we carve out for it. Writing and time. Jewel and golden setting. I plan to cradle those things in my hands and remember why I love this business.

Usually every year December is my month for family. I take a break from everything else. This year, I’m starting a smidgeon early and am going to take the time to cradle that precious jewel and remember why it’s worth the other hats.

Thank you, Dear Readers, for an amazing year. You make this journey truly worth every minute. I hope your holidays are blessed and filled with lots of chocolate, beautiful music, special people, and whatever else makes this season extraordinary for you. I’ll see you in the New Year, perhaps with something newly crafted and captivating.

Until next time, blessings,

Jennifer

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The Pika’s Day

Pika

A tiny, fuzzy creature peeks out of the entrance of its burrow. It’s small, whiskered nose twitches, scenting the air, searching for the tell tale odor of the predator.

The scent is there but, for once, it’s faint like a wisp of smoke on the wind. The pika steps further out, confirming with its eyes what its nose has already said. The puma’s no where in sight.

An excited chirp escapes the pika. It freezes, its survival instincts kicking in despite the fact the puma’s not around. Nothing moves. No giant cat stalks from the nearby trees.

In a flurry of flying legs, the pika scampers atop the rock that sits just above its burrow. The sun-warmed rock lends its heat to the pika’s small feet and it hums in satisfaction.

Then it lets out a series of high-pitched, excited chirps. “Squeak, squeak, squeak!”

Translation. “IT’S TIME! IT’S TIME! IT’S TIME!”

Then it scurries to the far side of the rock and chirps another series of squeaks.

Translation. “Book Signing Time!”

***

When: This Saturday the 13th

Where: Spokane Valley Barnes and Noble

Market Pointe I Shopping Center
15310 E. Indiana Ave.
Spokane, WA 99216
509-922-4104

Time: 11am-3pm

Join in the Adventure and come get your own personalized, signed copy of The Adventure!

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S. If this post made no sense to you, check out this post here. It’ll clear things up about the Pika and the Puma =)

Updating the Face…

I’ve a confession. Sometimes I’m lazy.

I started this blog in 2012 after listening to one of Michael Hyatt’s lessons on writing and self publishing. He advised putting a picture of myself on every platform I used. That way, no matter if it’s WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, or some other platform, readers could recognize each site as mine by my picture.

2012 HeadshotSeemed logical, so I pulled up my pictures, selected one, and posted it on all my online sites. Never thought about it again.

I missed the part about updating that photo periodically. Some say you should update it every six months. This seems excessive to me, but after six years with the same photo, I’ll admit, it’s horribly out of date.

When I called one of the book stores in town concerning a book signing, they asked about a current, high quality photo of the author. Ummm. I don’t have that.

So, as with everything involving The Adventure, a photographer friend stepped forward and offered to help me out.

As a self proclaimed introvert, I’m not big on having my photo taken, so I was extremely nervous about this whole deal.

2018 HeadshotHowever, I couldn’t be happier with how the pictures turned out.

So, for those trying to build a platform, update your photo once in a while. (I’ll make this note to myself too =).

And here’s a great big thank you to Dan. You can check out more of his photography here on instagram.

Goodbye to my old photo.

And hello to my new photo. Me, six years older and maybe, hopefully, a tiny bit wiser.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Z Publishing

z publishing logo

Very, very, and I mean very rarely will a publication seek out writers for their book or magazine.

Most of the time, a writer must submit to a publication and hope their writing is accepted. As any writer knows, this is a trial in patience and waiting.

So when I received an email from Z Publishing House, I first thought it was spam or a scam…but, it was asking me to submit to one of its Anthologies and, as a writer, it’s good form to check it out.

Thank God I did. Z Publishing House features up-and-coming writers from the various states. That’s why they search out and email writers, because they are specifically looking for those who are not as well known.

So I’m thrilled to announce one of my short stories, Wizard’s Coffee, will appear in Z Publishing’s Colorado’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction.

It’s up for pre-order right now and will be published this month. Eeeek!

Wine

Colorado wine for Colorado Writers!

Thank you for letting me share my excitement =) Every publication, big or small, equals a celebratory glass in this house. So cheers!

Until next time, blessings,

Jennifer

Rare Creature Sighting

2nd Look Books logo

Within the burrows of my heart hides this tiny creature. It’s fuzzy with rounded ears and a small nose, much like a pika. It’s about the same size too.

PikaThis is the creature that jumps for glee at being invited to a friend’s event or that scrambles with purpose when hosting a game night.

This is also the creature that excitedly rolls out ideas for marketing or squeals when I book a book signing.

But this small, fuzzy bundle of joy lives in the silent puma’s territory.

The Puma does not jump for glee at the idea of a party. It would much rather climb a tree or find a quiet place for a sun drenched nap.

It doesn’t scramble in excitement over a friendly get together but bares its teeth and wanders away on silent paws, choosing to hide in its den over rubbing shoulders with other cats.

If annoyed too much, the puma might just eat the round eared pika out of spite and so, the pika hides the majority of the time in its burrow.

And there the pika stays, quiet and cautious, while the puma handles the day-to-day details of life.

Puma

There are, however, a few, rare instances when the pika gets to climb onto a rock and sing its existence. Perhaps the puma’s deep asleep, or perhaps it’s too focused on hunting and doesn’t hear the pika’s chirping. For whatever reason, it’s distracted enough that the pika gets its way.

This Saturday, come glimpse this seldom seen creature.

2nd Look Books logo

From 11am to 1pm, I’ll be sitting out front 2nd Look Books in Spokane, Washington in hopes of encouraging passersby and book shoppers to purchase a book and get a signing. (There’ll be free, homemade cookies too! Definitely the pika’s idea.)

I’m terrified and excited, but for two hours the pika gets its rock from which it can sing to the world. Then, after 1pm rolls around, he’ll scamper back into the burrow within my heart and wait patiently for the next time the puma’s distracted.

Hope to see you there.

Blessings,

Jennifer

The Little Things

Zeiger Business Cards

I had a post planned for today.

For various reasons, I don’t have all the elements I need to actually run that post.

Grrrr….

My brain grasps ahold of that one hiccup and gnaws away at it. Frustrated, stressed that I need a new post, hoping, although it’s not going to happen, that the original post will work in time.

I spiral down the pit, letting one thing ruin my day.

This happens too often.

I too often forget to relax, forget to enjoy the process of making something special, forget the passion that fuels my actions. Writing easily becomes a stress because I focus on the thorns and not the flowers. I stress about stuff that I’ve no control over and, in the end, really doesn’t matter.

But I truly believe we can intentionally control our train of thought. We choose what we focus on. It’s pure laziness on my part that a disrupted post can ruin a day.

So, I’m going to flip that on its head. Here are three things, simple things, that make me slow down, relax and enjoy each day.

A goofy breakfast set out by my husband.Smile breakfast

The Writing Sidekick reminding me to take a nap.
Writing Sidekick

Getting my business cards in the mail in time for my first book signing, and being super happy with how they turned out.
Zeiger Business Cards

It’s the little things that make life great if we choose to notice them. Let’s take a moment to appreciate them.

What little thing today put a smile on your face?

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

What’s in a Name?

The Adventure Book by Jennifer M Zeiger

Last week I reminisced about the color of The Adventure’s cover and the balance between loving the cover as it is and trying to use it for marketing. In other words, trying to make it visible on a book shelf or a screen.

This week, please bear with me while I share the learning curve on names.

One, in the book’s title and two, in my author name.

Book Titles

Like book covers, in traditional publishing, the publisher tends to have more control over the title than the author. For instance, Twilight started out as simply Forks (named after the town the story is placed in).

However, that wasn’t interesting or unique enough, so it was changed to Twilight. A publisher, without a doubt, would have changed The Adventure to something else. And in hind sight, I should have too.

Here’s why…

Let’s have a little field trip. Go to Amazon and pick books. Then type in The Adventure.

Can you find the book?

I’d be seriously impressed if you could. It’s lost in pages and pages of other books, and maps, and piano book lessons, and Pathfinder game guides, and… I could go on for 100 pages worth of titles. (literally).

I liked the simplicity of The Adventure. I still do. But for marketing purposes, I should have picked something not only simple, but more unique.

Author Name

An author’s name is an author’s name. A traditional publisher doesn’t get to control that. However, they might suggest something different if it’s hard to find or your name matches someone else’s.

Let’s try another field trip. Go to Amazon and type in Jennifer Zeiger.

What do you get?

You get Jennifer Zeiger, but it’s not me until the second page. Now, if you type in my full author name with the middle M, you will find me, but this is such a subtle difference that it’s often overlooked.

On a side note, the other Jennifer is related to me by marriage. She writes for Scholastic and has often answered my random questions when she can.

Now, I knew there was another Jennifer out there who wrote books. When I decided to use my name for writing, I figured I’d have my full length novels published traditionally if anything, and they’re in the fantasy genre (YA and Epic). I figured these were different enough from what the other Jennifer wrote that it wouldn’t be a problem.

However, add that to the fact that The Adventure itself is difficult to find and everyone gets confused. (Including family. I’ve had aunts contacting me thinking I’m the other Jennifer.)

The takeaway from all of this:

Find a distinct title. And be choosy about the name you write under. These are the two gateways people will use to find your writing online. It’s worth taking the time to pick well.

What catches your eye in a title? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time, Blessings,

Jennifer