Monday, May 30, 2011

Howdy ... it's MONDAY and it ain't rainin'...

SO... Had a lovely review post on May 27 on a blog called, and it cross-posted to the Twilight Saga Facebook page. If you are visiting me from there, HELLO, and welcome to Planet Jenn! It's fun here. You should totally stick around and tell me about yourself.

There are lots of different ways to get your hands on Sleight. For KINDLE, NOOK, in PDF, in PAPERBACK, and SIGNED PAPERBACK! Short of having me come to your house and read it to you, I've done my best to feed your reading stomach.

Check the sidebar for purchase details. If you get stuck, can't find it in paperback, or want more info, leave me a comment or find me on Facebook at Jennifer Sommersby. Come on over and say hi. If you stand on a rooftop and wave wildly and shout my name, face north and westerly. I'll be waiting and listening patiently. And if you hear barking, don't worry. That's just the Fat Beagle, and she's harmless, especially if you have anything left over from your lunch.

Friday, May 27, 2011

On catching up, Sleight in paperback, and The Mood Ring

Hello, my people. I'm not going to apologize for not posting since the 11th as I know you know that Life and Such gets in the way. And the last couple weeks have certainly done that, so let's get on with the news, shall we?

First, a shout-out to all those poor souls who have suffered so greatly from these crazy tornadoes and storms ravaging the US, as well as the monumental floods and fires in different regions of Canada. I've become friends with so many of you on Twitter and Facebook, and all I can say is, we're thinking about you. I know that amounts to a hill of beans when your houses and even family members have been destroyed, but, yeah...we're pulling for you in that cosmic sense. Mother Nature needs a spanking, and not the fun kind but the kind that leaves welts and will send her to her room for a little while to think about what she's done.

I mentioned in my last post that I'd been "rearranging furniture," and I left that big announcement to my blogging buddies, aka, the world's kindest supporters ever (book bloggers are way better than even the most expensive Cross-Your-Heart bras, man. They support, cushion, and uplift, with no uncomfortable underwires! Not that my barely A cup models require underwires, but you catch my drift). Thanks to Danny at Bewitched Bookworms for planting the seed that led me to change my cover for Sleight. She provided the creative impetus, held my hand through the process of revamping, and we set to finding new images that would better represent the innards of my book. With the expert search-and-destroy skills of Angeline Kace, I was able to put together a fantastic new cover (it's splattered all over the place now, so lax am I in my blog posting duties) with a few stock images, and I do believe that the girl on the cover really speaks to the character I'd always envisioned as being my Gemma. For the next cover, I want to do the photography myself (I've been known to make that photography thing a habit), maybe this summer in California with a lanky, red-haired friend of my little sister's and a desolate desert landscape to best hint at what's coming in Stratagem: Book Two. (Ashleigh, if you don't have a lanky, red-haired friend, find one and lock her in your studio until I arrive. Just feed her Oreos and Red Vines.) Stay tuned. I'll try to be more organized with my announcement next time. Promise.

I will be organizing a GoodReads giveaway next week, for the paperback, as--guess what--wait for it--the Paperback Saga of 2011 might be over! THANK YOU to all the folks on Twitter and to all the reviewers who have been endlessly patient with me while I boxed my way through this debacle. I won't go into the details, but I will tell you that I have four proofs here, all of which had their own errors (including proof #2 that was missing Chapter 9!) and precluded me from approving the book weeks ago. This should have been taken care of by the end of March. It is now the end of May and only now are we seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I will admit: that light is not perfect. Already I know that the finalized version has a blank page in it (p. 151) due to an extra hard return I didn't catch. But, fingers crossed, all will be well, and the story itself will be free of errors and full of imaginative pleasure for my awesome, awesome readers.

As such, the paperback is now available via CreateSpace and Amazon (links in the margin). I also will take orders for signed copies, although because shipping from Canada is $12.41 per book (!!!), I will be heading to Point Roberts once every few weeks for order fulfillment. Point Roberts is a teeny American town that is landlocked by Canadian soil. I called the posties there today, and my new buddy Scott said we could get the media mail rate and save up to 75 percent in costs, PLUS the books will arrive to US recipients way, way faster. I'll keep you up to speed with that progress, as well. Like I said, there is light, friends! LIGHT, I say!

Jenny over at Into the Morning Reads had a clever idea. She "interviewed" Gemma, from Sleight, and Autumn, the main character of Angela Carlie's Dream Smashers, and it is up on her blog. Pop in and share the love. Jenny is an incredible supporter of indie writers. Thanks, babealicious! We HEART you!

I will also have news about a few other paperback giveaways with other fantastic blogger folks, but as you probably know by now, I'm a little slow to get things moving. I'll blab about it here as soon as I have stuff to blab about.

Authors: I am re-hanging the shingle for copy editing/proofreading services. Click the link in the bar above if you're interested.
Jovie, fueled & ready to edit.

And on with the show. IN OTHER NEWS... My nine-year-old son participated in his school's Heritage Fair event this year, where each of the grade 4 and 5 students were expected to choose a topic relating to some aspect of Canadian history and put together a thorough presentation, subject to judging by a panel of teachers and community members at a school-wide event. Brennan's project, on John A. MacDonald (Canada's first prime minister, for my fellow Americans who are as clueless as I was about this fellow's identity), was selected to advance onto the next level, which required his attendance for the two-day Regional Fair at the Burnaby Village Museum. Yay! A day off school! So what if it was two days of history stuff. A Friday off from school is a bonus for most school-age kids I know.

The Friday morning of day one, Brennan left the house, a $10 bill tucked in his pocket, with express instructions to use it for drinks and snacks to supplement his brown-bag lunch. He was nervous and excited, ready to wow the new panel of judges with his barrage of facts about a man who led a surprisingly sad life, despite his success in the political arena and his subsequent assignment to the face of certain Canadian paper notes. (Hey, Canadians--is MacDonald on all the money? Canadian money is pretty. I'd like to have more of it. I'd keep it in a jar on top of my fridge...)

When Bren arrived home that Friday afternoon, his excitement fueled not by the goodie bag of Canadiana gifted by the Heritage Fair Council but rather by the very cool acquisition he'd made while on the museum grounds: his very own mood ring. A mood ring!

He feverishly set to explaining the significance of the ring's color (er, colour) spectrum to me and his six-year-old brother, and tried to ignore Kendon's insistence that one of us get stressed out to see if the ring would indeed turn black. (Side note: Kendon's favorite color is black. This started after their older sister went through a black-nail-polish phase when little Kendon was three. If she painted her nails, she had to do his, too. He was the only preschooler, a boy, no less, who went to play group with black fingernails. Who was I to censor him? At the time, I was in the early stages of a premature midlife crisis and had convinced my hairdresser to add blue stripes to my then-blond hair. It was a hit with the under-six crowd. "Kendon's mommy has blue hair!" -- an announcement met with uneasy smiles and weary glances by more conservative parents at the preschool. Like Kendon's predilection for black nails, the blue hair faded, though not before turning this weird greenish color, and we went reverted to our colorless, conformist selves. *Sigh.*)

Back to the ring: Brennan wore it to school, with a pride only Gollum could truly appreciate, and passed about the tiny, poorly translated color chart amongst his friends while they tried their best to manipulate the ring into its corresponding shades representing happiness, relaxation, or anger. After that first week, the novelty waned, as often is the case with nine-year-olds, and the ring was left alone on the top of the dresser. It clearly was not the One Ring to Rule Them All.

Until this morning.

Brennan, sweet child that he is, presented unto me his precious ring. "Put it on, Mom. It will tell us what kind of mood you're in." I obliged, and the ring immediately adopted a dark blue hue.

"That means you're relaxed." Funny, considering I hadn't yet had coffee and Kendon was refusing to put his pants on, instead running through the house in his birthday suit yelling, "Who wants to see my penis?" Yeah, he does that. He's six. I hope he grows out of it, sooner rather than later. Could be awkward when he and his older brother start dating.

I patted Brennan on the cheek and shooed him off to brush his teeth and feed the fat beagle while I chased Kendon down and wrestled him into his pants while he chirped at me, "Don't look at my junk!" After I dropped them off at school, I found myself staring at the ring, hoping it would turn the color that showed I was indeed relaxed and happy and satisfied. Blue it stayed.

And it got me to thinking. Wouldn't it be nice if mood rings really did work? If people could just look at our hands and see how, or if, they should approach us for conversation? I'm a mood swinger. Some days I'm up and I smile and hold doors for people and pinch babies' cheeks and let dumber drives cut me off without cursing at them from behind the wheel; other days, I live in what I call the Pit, clawing at the muddied walls through which effluence is seeping, dirtying my cuticles and tearing my nails to shreds. Tell me you're like that, too. You are, right? 

My days--at least the time not absorbed by the other creatures in my household--have begun to revolve around checking sales numbers and rankings, writing articles and blog posts, searching for reviewers, stressing about paperback issues, editing photos for last weekend's clients, and/or scratching a few words down on the WIP, if I'm lucky. I try not to worry about the host of things I have every right to be concerned with: my son in a freaking war zone, my husband's totally unglamorous, on-again/off-again Hollywood job, my daughter's health issues, and then there was that whole End of Days thing that didn't pan out. Reason told me it was ridiculous; caution told me anything's possible. Let's ask the folks suffering through tornadoes and floods and tsunamis and earthquakes if it feels like End of Days. Their answers might surprise us all.

I know lots of folks in my current social realm have bigger brains than I do and they blog about super-interesting stuff. I wish I could promise that I will share the secrets of the universe, that I know the trick to writing and editing and publishing a book that the whole world will adore. Thing is, I don't know any secrets. I don't really even know what I'm doing. None of us do, but that's why we're doing it. We're trying, some succeeding better than others, and that's what I have to continually remind myself. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's a competition, and I'd be richer/more successful/more beautiful if I paid closer attention to the stuff that works for other folks. But I don't know from one day to the next what color the mood ring will be. Some days, I want to walk away from all this creative stuff and hide under my covers. Some days, I do do that, in a completely figurative way. But then, I yank myself up, throw on my mom jeans and my favorite "K is for Karate" T-shirt, and I sit my ass in the chair. 

Even if the mood ring is black. Those days are the hardest, but as my BFF Lauren often reminds me, "Patience, darling, patience."

Right now, the ring is a rainbow of colors. At this moment, I must be okay.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Under the Spotlight interview and a couple new reviews!

Because I'm supposed to be this marketing diva--and I'm failing miserably--thank heavens there are other folks who've got my back.

This piece just posted over at Baffled Books for her Under the Spotlight feature. Thanks, Lisa, for the opportunity to spout off some words for your devoted readers. Such a pleasure!

A review posted yesterday from Vickie at ComaCalm (great blog title, by the way!), through which she awarded Sleight 4/5 stars. Have a look-see.

And this 5/5 review just came in from, probably the most detailed review I've seen of Sleight thus far. Thank you, Rachel, so much, for taking the time to assess my work with such depth.

There are some more reviews coming from folks in the sphere, as well as my promise to show you that new "thing" I've been working on. Don't despair. I promise it won't disappoint.

Xs and Os...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Recipient of the Stylish Blogger Award: Your reward? Seven Random Facts You Could Probably Live the Rest of Your Life Without Knowing

(Font changed. The other one was bugging my eyeballs out of my head. Ah, hyperbole, thy name is Jenn...)

I suck at this blogging stuff. It's okay. You don't have to tell me, or hint that maybe I should write more often. I just can't think of stuff to blog about. I'm not like Keyboard Hussy, aka, Evelyn Lafont, who's all brave and smarty-pants and always has cool stuff to say. I'm not like Janice Hardy or even JA Konrath who write frequently with all sorts of helpful wisdom. I couldn't give advice to a troll, unless it was "use a condom." That about sums up a life's worth of experiences and missed opportunities. I could ramble on more about grammar but there are folks out there (GrammarGirl) who have WAY bigger brains, who offer WAY better advice than I do. What if I'm wrong? What if you use something incorrectly after listening to my words, and then your editor comes back and tells you you're a loser? Omigod, I don't think I could handle the guilt. (Although, I must say, I'm rarely wrong. Ever, in fact. FINE, okay, sometimes I'm wrong. Shut up.)

IMAGINE my surprise when blogger and friend Kara over at Great Imaginations nominated me for this:

 It means less about me being stylish (seriously, mom jeans and T-shirts? Someone get Par-eeee on the line!), and more about me being invited to play a game with some other interesting humans. Only thing is, I'm just not feeling clever. Maybe my hormones are out of whack. Maybe I need some chocolate. (Oh. Wait. I just had some. That's not it.) Maybe...omigod, maybe I'm running out of words. Does that happen? Does that happen? 

Regardless, here are the rules:

1. Thank and link the person who nominated you. THANK YOU, KARA! (Brat.) 
2. Share seven random facts about yourself. Below.
3. Pass the award on to five new-found blogging buddies. Not gonna do this one. Everyone I would've chosen already has done it or would be annoyed with me because they have Important Things to blog about. If YOU want to do it, then I nominate you. Leave a comment so I can see your answers.
4. Contact the winners to congratulate them. See #3 above. Congratulations, WINNERS! (Huh?)

Okay, on with the show -- seven (7) random facts about Jenn. Geeze, guys. Sorry in advance. 

1. When I was a kid, my mom used to call me Linus (from the Peanuts Gang, not like Linus Pauling because I was a genius or anything). She also used to call me Eeyore for reasons that should be obvious to you at this point, but we're not talking about that. She, and others in my life, have called me Linus for years because I...have a blanket. Yes. A blanket. A blankie, a wompy, and sleep-sleep, whatever the hell your kids/younger siblings have called it, I got one. I'm on maybe the 20th incarnation of my blanket habit, though I still have the very first one that was mine when I was a baby. What are the necessary requirements in order for a piece of cloth to be The Blanket? Must be that soft woven yarny fabric with SATIN AROUND THE EDGES. It's called "coldy," because when the satin gets cold, I fondle it in a way that has made many men jealous. I love satin. Especially when it's cold. I am often wrapped in said blanket, like a burqa of my own making, on any given weekend day and every weekday night. When it's cold outside, the satin is cold. Life complete. Turn the damn heat down, or the satin will be too warm. Now that you know this about me, I'll have to kill someone close to you with my bare, satiny hands.

2. I effing HATE broccoli. I hate it. HATE IT. My kids often try to talk me into eating tiny bunches of this treelike abomination. They will pose questions such as: "If someone had a gun to your head and said, 'Eat the broccoli or die,' what would you do?" My answer: "Pull the trigger now, bitch."

3. When I was in high school, I was a competitive ROLLER skater. Yes. Roller. We did all the same shit the ice skaters did -- jumps, spins, figures -- only with about 3 lb. of skate on each foot. I had killer legs when I was 15. My coach was Tonya Harding's uncle. Yes that Tonya Harding. But Bob was great. He never chased me down with a metal bar. The roller skaters were sort of the white trash of the skating community. Sure, there were a few skaters who came from wealthy families and were stupid-talented athletes and performers (including this one guy visiting our rink who pulled a quad before the ice skaters were doing it--a QUAD. That's FOUR revolutions in the air!). But I never quite got why they weren't ice skating instead. It was so much...cooler. Like Nordstrom vs. KMart. Roller rinks of the '80s still had that reputation. (You know the one I'm talking about.) Like ice, roller was an expensive sport, though roller didn't have near the prestige of its icey compatriot, probably because it lacks the grace and silence of ice. Wheels scraping and screeching on wood and/or blue plastic floors is annoying and breaks the moment. It's like watching hippos dance. Gassy hippos. Too clunky. Sorry if you were a roller skater, but that's how it looked to me. Anyway, I did okay during the short time I was training. I only competed in a single meet, for figures. (It's a lot harder than it looks.) Then my six-day-a week practice schedule became a burden for my family, so I had to quit. It sucked. I haven't really skated since, other than that time I took my little sister to the rink in Centralia, Washington, and she participated in one of those races they do during family skate sessions. Ash won her age group (in roller blades...ahhh, the times, they were a'changin'...) but then tripped at the finish line and broke her wrist. GREAT SISTER I am. I still have dreams about being on skates, ice or roller, and pulling off that perfect triple axel. (For the record, I never nailed the single. I'm ambitious in the Dream State.)

4. I love ducks. All ducks. I collect rubber ducks, and my favorite are two that were given to me at Christmas -- you've seen them before (Jovie and Zuzu). I'll include the photo here, in case you haven't seen it before on the blog or on Facebook. I am married to someone who builds miniatures and models for movies, and we are just dorky enough that we have been known to tear the house apart to build small-scale set-ups for whatever random idea we've had, so I can photograph our blaze of insanity genius. You should see the looks the neighbors give me when I am lying on the grass, taking photographs of a rubber duck wearing a red wig. (BTW, Build-A-Bear has great outfits for my ducks. Just sayin'...) If you're ever out shopping and you see an amazing rubber duck, think of me.

5. I am a terrible cook. And I'm lazy. Because of that, I put out minimum effort to keep my body nourished during the week when my husband/children aren't home to make sure I have food. I tend to follow lazy trends with vessels of nutrients, i.e., I get on a kick with something that takes the shakies away, and then I eat it at the same time everyday. Right now, it's those crunchy Nature Valley-only-generic-store-brand granola bars (the peanut butter ones). In the afternoon, I will have an open-faced peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don't want the two sides to touch. Oh, and I don't drink it much because it's bad for me, but I do love me some diet Coke, and sometimes I will sneak to the corner store and buy one and feel very guilty because I know it has that bad chemical that starts with a P and can cause Alzheimer's or impotence or gout or blindness or something bad in lab rats when given at 1,000 times the potency.

6. I love doughnuts. Well, and sugar. Anything with sugar, I will eat. Except broccoli. You can dip that shit in chocolate and gold, and I still will not eat it. Not in a house, not with a mouse, not in a boat, not with a goat...

7. I have an outy belly button after having an umbilical hernia repair surgery as an infant. The doctor allegedly came out mid-surgery to tell my mom I was fine, and asked if she wanted them to reattach my belly button. Thankfully, she said yes. But bikini beautiful, it ain't (except for that one summer in LA...hmmm...the only time have ever looked hot in a bikini...divorce diets are the BEST!). And no, I will not show you the belly button if you ask. I won't post a photo or flash it to you on Skype. The older I get, the more "inny" it gets, but that's because I eat too much of #6 above.

So there you have it. Kara, did I do it right? Thanks, babe. That was And now that the list is over and stunted at 7 items, a hundred other random things will come to me because that's how my brain works. Like molasses: slow to get started but then all thick and runny once it's warmed up.

Last but not least: I've rearranged some "furniture" this weekend. Watch for the reveal, with pictures, this week.

Xs and Os...