The Path

Aspen Path

Have you ever been on a hike, enjoying the sun shining through the foliage overhead, the smell of pine and spruce on the wind, and then seen something off the path that you had to investigate? A lean-to someone left behind, a meadow filled with spring flowers, a mountain peak that begged for a picture. But when you looked back, things didn’t look the same and the path was no longer visible.

The day’s still beautiful, the sun still shining, but there’s that moment of sharp panic, the thought that you might be lost.

You’re still out in nature, technically where you wanted to be for the day, but the thrill, the enjoyment, is overshadowed, and only when you find the path again does the brightness of the day bring you joy again.

This is self-publishing. It’s a hike—work—but greatly enjoyable. The writing, the editing, the formatting, and even the marketing are all part of it. But once the book’s created, once I’m working on sharing it with others, that’s where I tend to leave the path. I follow a flower here, a mountain lake there and even enter a long-abandoned cabin to see where others have gone before me.

But when I look back, I’ve lost the path, my enjoyment of writing has been deeply shadowed because I’ve lost the thing that leads me forward.

AspensThat path, that clear, meandering trail, is hidden. I’m still out, technically where I want to be, exploring the world of being an author, but without the trail, I’m wandering aimlessly, especially if I go too far.

The passion to write, the clear, if meandering, trail that creates new worlds and fills a story with magic, is my path. Some people are gifted musicians, some speakers, some organizers. For me, I was created a writer. And getting back to the seed of that is where I find renewed joy.

The Adventure has been my start. It was my trailhead and I will continue to reference it as such. (Marketing is never done=)).

Now it’s time to return to the path and continue on, to turn and head up the mountain. Several novels, not adventure stories, lie dormant in my archives. One, in particular, has received great feedback from beta readers.

Let me introduce Quaking Soul, an urban fantasy story about a dryad. After all my rambling, I’ll cut to the chase. My goal is to publish Quaking Soul (QS) next. I originally thought to have it ready by the end of this year, but as I’ve revisited the writing, I’m finding my timeline was super ambitious. QS was written back in 2014. As any long time writer can tell you, the writing ability grows and matures the longer one consistently works at it, much like learning to climb. You start out by powering up the wall on puny strength alone. It’s exhausting and, to anyone watching, it lacks any finesse. Over time, the climber learns technique that allows for more difficult climbs that, to a bystander, look more like a dance than a climb. I need to take QS from a strength-alone climb to something that flows with finesse.

Right now QS is in my personal edits stage. I’ll update as things progress, but in the meantime, I’ll keep the adventure stories rolling, they might just be a little more sporadic =) Thank you for sharing in this journey with me!

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

One Story at a Time

Z Publishing House - Colorado's 2018 Emerging Writers

I must confess, I’ve not been good about submitting my short stories for publication lately. There’s a catch-22 usually with publishing. You have to be published to get published. It’s frustrating but really all this means is, like in most any job, you start at the bottom and work your way up. Not everyone succeeds this way, but it’s the most common way of getting your name into the publishing world.

Usually, when I get a short story written, I’m not self controlled enough to keep it to myself, I like to share with you all the story I managed to get out of my head onto paper, but if I post the story on the blog, most publications consider it already published and don’t want it. So the majority of my short stories aren’t submittable.

There are some publications, however, that don’t care if the story has already been ‘published’ as long as the author still owns all the rights. Since mine have been posted here, I still control all the rights.

z publishing logoZ Publishing House, thankfully, is this way. They like to highlight up-and-coming writers in different genres and different locations. (Yes, this is the publication that accepted Wizard’s Coffee from me last year.)

This year they decided to expand their story selection by allowing stories up to 5,000 words. This opened a world of choices for me since I tend to be long winded.

All this to say, they’ve accepted a story of mine called The Eye for their 2019 Up and Coming Writers! EEEEK!

I don’t yet have a publication date for this, but I believe it’ll be later this year. I’ll update you as soon as I know more.

Just sharing my excitement for now! Good luck in your own endeavors =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

Too Peopley Out There!

The world inside my head is vibrant. It teams with life, conversation, characters…everything you’d expect from someone who enjoys writing as much as I do. The puma, as it were, loves the quiet because what’s inside the head is anything but quiet.

Thus, 98% of the time, this is me:

Peanuts

But there is that 2% that’s not puma but pika. This furry little creature loves getting out on a sun-warmed rock and squeaking its existence to the world.

Its view is something like this:

Peanuts

The pika squeaks its little heart out, living life to the fullest it possibly can. And it’s been getting some exercise of late.

If you hadn’t guessed where I was going with this yet, a new Barnes and Noble location has agreed to let me host a book signing. The puma sighs in resignation and pulls the covers back over its head. The pika quivers in glee and prepares to announce itself to a new crowd.

Wish the poor creature luck.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Where: 4750 N Division St. Spokane, WA 99207

When: Saturday the 16th from 11am-3pm

January Whizzed Right Past

The Adventure Literacy and Creative Writing Workshop

Hello Dear Readers!

I have been away longer than I intended. As always, I appreciate how understanding and supportive every single one of you are.

Let me share why I’ve been absent for January.

Way back when I ran the Kickstarter for The Adventure, a friend suggested it would be a great book for a 4th-5thgrade teaching curriculum. You all know my own struggles to read as a child. (If you don’t, check it out here.) One of the things that truly got me into reading was the Choose Your Own Adventure style books.

Choose Your Own Adventure BookI wanted so badly to find the different endings! These books intrigued me enough that I tortured myself trying to read them even though I was only a 3rdgrade reading level. I still have a few copies with curled pages from me sticking my fingers into all the areas that had choices. I wanted to go back and explore every option.

So, when someone suggested The Adventure might help teach reading, you can understand how my heart latched onto the idea.

Admittedly, I have little teaching experience. My Bachelors is in English, which helps, and I’ve taught some Creative Writing to the Nieces and Nephew, but actually creating a full curriculum for Literacy and Creative Writing was a bit daunting.

As with so many things regarding The Adventure, I found a friend who was willing and beyond excited to help. I am incredibly blessed by the people God’s placed in my life.

Anyway, Kaydee is one of my dearest friends, and she also happens to be a teacher with her Masters in Literacy.  Kaydee easily filled in the gaps in my knowledge in regards to creating these teaching materials.

My absence in January has been because Kaydee and I have been finishing The Adventure Literacy and Creative Writing Workshop. (Ohhh, sounds official!) I could go into all sorts of details about it but I’ll refrain from that here. If you’re interested in checking it out, here are the links:

The Adventure Literacy and Creative Writing Workshop ($14.99)

The Adventure (Moonrise Mountain) Literacy Workshop (FREE SAMPLE)

The Adventure on Amazon (Paperback $12.95)

(Also, if you know of anyone who might find this sort of curriculum fun and helpful, please share!)

Otherwise, hello everyone! I’m excited to be back for 2019 and I’ll have a new adventure story starting soon.

Until then, blessings,

Jennifer

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

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