The Shifter’s Choice and
Praise for THE SHIFTER’S CHOICE:
Shifter’s Choice and Sentinels: Alpha Rising (Harlequin Nocturne) Mass Market Paperback – February 17, 2015
A werewolf and an alpha wolf are powerless against the charms of these very special women
THE SHIFTER’S CHOICE Private Sofia Touma never risks distraction from her duty—until she’s assigned to help disabled veteran Johnny Lam. More than a war hero, he’s also a werewolf. Sofia is inexplicably drawn to him. Unlike Sofia, Johnny knows the dangers of loving a monster. And as they grow closer, Johnny isn’t sure he can keep doing the honorable thing…
SENTINELS: ALPHA RISING Holly Faulkes has spent her life hiding from the Sentinels—now she’s their prisoner. Sexy alpha wolf Lannie Stewart wants to initiate her into their world. The full-blooded Sentinel senses Holly’s untapped power—a power he’s deeply drawn to and desperately needs. A new enemy has risen and only Holly can reveal this danger, if Lannie convinces her to embrace what she really is.
I love a clean welcoming workspace as much as the next gal. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’m busy and so my desk is often a dumping ground for everything paper and a very odd assortment of miscellaneous stuff. I admit this never happens all at once but one random object at a time. This latest hoe-out included ear buds, a contract revision and some work related Christmas gifts. Here is the thing, if my space is cluttered, I’m not happy because energy, creative or otherwise, is not flowing.
But I’ve got deadlines to meet, books to complete and words to write before I sleep. Still, I can’t stand it anymore. So here are three tips I use to unclutter and boost creative energy.
Get It Clean
Keep It Clean
Good luck with your own desk decluttering. I hope the process proves rewarding and an energy booster to your creative endeavors.
In the past few years I have grown weary of New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps that is because they so often focus on what I lack or what I am not. No matter what I do or don’t do there will always be someone younger, richer and better looking. Dissatisfaction can make one unhappy, but, that said, I am also mindful of complacency. You know, Newtons’ Law about a body at rest…
So if no resolutions, then what?
I prefer goals. But the goals I used to set tended to more like a ‘to do’ list to be checked off one by one. My list looked like this:
I have simplified my goals and in so doing opened up a world of possibilities. This broadening of goals allows a certain amount of room for the unexpected while still keeping me focused.
Here’s my Goals from 2014:
My writing fit well under Create but so did the jewelry I made in a beading class I took and the baby quilt. As for the unexpected, I could not have guessed that my Connect goal would lead from a cup of coffee with a colleague at a conference to organizing a three-day writers retreat. But it did. Explore could include my online course work, but also the unexpected opportunity to mine fossilized seashells.So this year I’m keeping it broad and open again.
Here’s my 2015 Goals
I’m thinking the play goal can include experimentation in my writing as well as exercise and travel. Simplify can mean anything from weeding out that upstairs closet to reducing my sugar intake to limiting my commitments. Create will include my writing, of course. But what else, I wonder? I keep these goals in a picture frame on my desk. I check often to see if I’m including them in my world. And I’m much happier since I broadened my goals.
So… Are you ready to ditch the resolutions?
LITERATURE Window at Bergdorff Goodman
Each year I try to make it in to NYC to stroll past the holiday windows. This year I’m super happy about the holidays as I have a Christmas release to help make the season even more jolly. WILD WEST CHRISTMAS is a beautiful Western anthology collection that I hope you’ll add to your wish list.
My usual route begins at the toy train sets in Grand Central at the MTA museum tucked behind the grand stairs on the west side of the station. They include a tiny Santa hailing a cab and a stuffed King Kong on the Empire State Building. Then I visit Lord & Taylor on 5th Avenue. Continuing north, I stop at the NY Public Library for their tree and free museum exhibits. Then it’s up to Rockefeller Center, Saks and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I always peek at the gems in Henry Winston’s windows and Tiffany’s is right across 5th Ave.
Near the park are my favorite holiday windows, Bergdoff Goodman. After that, I visit the Plaza Hotel (a wonderful place for high tea) and then head east to Barney’s of New York and finally, Bloomingdales. Then it’s back to Grand Central for their holiday gift fair in Vanderbilt Hall.
If you’d like to see all the photos of my annual trip to see the holiday windows in New York City please visit my facebook page. For this post I’m only showing my photos of one stop on my walk.
The windows at Bergdoff Goodman are always my favorites because of their visual interest and the complexity of theme. This year their theme was THE ARTS. This one is called Literature and it is packed with wonderful quotes and images of famous authors all in bright shades of pink. I was in heaven!
One of the embroidered pillows had a quote from French poet, Stephane Mallarme reading, “Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book.”
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
My newest release, THE SHIFTER’S CHOICE, is out this week! My hero is a shapeshifting Marine who cannot return to his human form. His supervisors want him to learn sign-language to help him communicate but Johnny sees that as an admission that he will never be human again.
Now what you don’t know, can’t know from the story, is that I once learned sign language in order to communicate with deaf athletes competing in the World Games for the Deaf. At first I was pretty bad, but the athletes and supervisors were very patient. Each night I went to bed with a headache from trying so hard to understand what was said. I was in another world. The dorms had fire alarms that both sounded and had flashing lights. I watched the deaf hold conversations through car windows while riding in separate vehicles traveling at 60 miles an hour. “They’re stopping for food at the next exit.” I knew I was starting to ‘get it’ when I had my first dream completely in sign language. My crowning moment was toward the end of our competition when the director brought two hearing people over to me and asked me to translate what he signed–and I did! Unfortunately I no longer dream in sign and I’ve lost most of what I learned. But I’ll never forget my month among the deaf community.
WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS WHEN YOU STARTED WRITING? My original goal was very simple. My aim was to complete a 100,000 word historical romance. Unfortunately, due to a woeful lack of understanding of the market, this story was sent in Colonial Spain. It will never see the light of day, which is a very good thing, because it was also poorly written, like many first novels, but I DID finish! My second goal was to get a rejection letter that did not begin, Dear Author. With that achievement, I aimed for a ‘good’ rejection letter, which is one in which an editor or agent either asks for you to re-write and resubmit, asks you to submit something else or offers a suggestion or encouragement in their rejection. With seventy rejection letters to my credit, I achieved this lofty, near impossible mark of progress with a request to submit something else (but I had to write it first). The next logical step, was to get a request for a partial, which is (for those of you writing about Colonial Spain) when an agent or editor asks to see your first three chapters and a synopsis. Once I had leaped this hurdle, my objective was not to die of old age before I heard back from them. I didn’t and they did finally write back. This is bad, of course, though I didn’t know it at the time. Bad news comes in the inbox. Good news comes via the phone. With a new series of rejections of partials in hand and only nine years of continuous work on my craft, I aimed to receive an offer on a story. And after a mere ten years from when I began this marathon, I got the call. Harlequin offered for a Western Historical titled, WINTER WOMAN. One year later I obtained my next goal, to hold a book which I had written in my hand. With my second offer, a multi-book contract, my goal became finding an agent.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS NOW? I’m working on switching subgenres from Historical and Paranormal to Romantic Suspense. I’m also working toward moving from series romance to single title, expanding my reader base and connecting to new readers on social media. I do this by keeping a Facebook page, hosting GoodReads giveaways, tweet @jennakernan and Pinterest. My webpage, www.jennakernan.com contains first chapter excerpts, video book trailers, giveaway information, news and a place to join my newsletter.
WHAT PAYS THE BILLS? I work a day job and write in the evenings and weekends. I always thought that when I made the same amount writing as I did at my job, that I’d quit. I guess I better add that to my above goals.
ASSUMING WRITING DOESN’T PAY THE BILLS WHAT MOTIVATES YOU NOW? I write because it is a pleasure, a struggle, a puzzle and a joy. When I write, time can cease. as I slip into the ‘zone‘. This is the most important reason to write–because I love it. Additionally, the supplemental income is helpful. The satisfaction of seeing my stories in print motivates me. I’m also motivated by my readers, who let me know that my stories are important to them. Life is difficult and we all face many challenges, but a book can help folks escape their problems for a while. That’s reason enough to do what I do.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUNG AUTHORS HOPING TO MAKE A CAREER OUT OF WRITING?
Here is my list of 10 tips to writers.
1. WRITE: The best way to learn to write is to write. Not to read about it, or think about it or talk about it, but to do it–every day. Practice your craft and you will improve.
2. JOIN: Join a professional writing organization. There are many. Additionally, join a local chapter of that group.
3. LEARN: Take some writing classes, attend writing conferences and read about the craft of writing.
4. READ: Read everything you can in the genre you aim to write.
5. RESEARCH: Visit bookstores and online booksellers to see what kind of books are currently selling. Read the back covers. Look at the front covers. This is market research and it will help you spot what is selling.
6. VISIT: Join the mailing list of some of the authors who you would like to emulate. Visit their websites and see what kind of social presence they maintain. Consider joining Twitter and Facebook. Start writing copy for your website.
7. STUDY: Learn all you can about the business of publishing which is changing with astonishing speed.
8. FOLLOW: Read the websites of the publishers and agents you would like to approach and then FOLLOW THEIR GUIDELINES. Be sure to address the letter to a specific person and spell their name correctly. Consider attending a conference attended by the publishers and agents you wish to query and pitch to them in person.
9. MEET EXPECTATIONS: Keep query letters short and to the point. Editors are very busy and they don’t suffer fools well. It is a good idea to read as many examples of queries as you can before you submit so you come across as a professional.
10. PRACTICE: Synopsis writing is an art and it takes much practice. So practice. Read examples and figure out how to condense your story while having the kind of hook that will land you an offer.
Good Luck with your writing!
APPEARANCE : I’ll be joining a panel at the Danbury, CT library on October 26 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. This panel includes authors Mary Beth Bass, Erika Kelly, Bebbie Christiana, Renee Paley-Dain, Laura K. Curtis, Sharon Struth and yours truly. Topic: How Scary is Publishing, Really? We’ll be talking about our own journeys and giving some advice. There will be light refreshments and an author signing. Please stop by if you are in the area. Register by calling 203 797-4527 or by clicking on EVENTS on the webpage www.danburylibrary.org.
GIVEAWAY: I’m so thrilled whenever my cover gets featured by Harlequin. Above is the gorgeous cover of WILD WEST CHRISTMAS, a anthology collection out now. Harlequin is running a giveaway until October 19th including all the titles you see in the photo above. If you’d like to enter, click this link.
WRITING: My writing world is full of treats, instead of tricks. A box of my December release just arrived, so I’ll soon be posting a GoodReads contest for THE SHIFTER’S CHOICE, my next paranormal romance. Those of you who have enjoyed THE VAMPIRE’S WOLF (September) will be happy to hear that this is Johnny’s story. He’s my US Marine werewolf who can’t change back to human form. That posed a very interesting writing challenge for me. How do two people fall in love when one of them isn’t actually human? I really enjoyed writing this story and am thrilled to have my first Asian-American hero.
This month I’m celebrating Christmas early with my holiday novella in the anthology collection WILD WEST CHRISTMAS. RT Book Review gave this collection four stars and said about WILD WEST CHRISTMAS:
A triple play of heartwarming holiday stories from authors who know all about the reality of the Wild West as well as the beauty, strength, love and pure joy of the holiday season. These lovely stories will have readers sighing with contentment.
I’ve got two more Western historical romances in the works, so check back for release dates.
Enjoy the fall!
My September release, THE VAMPIRE’S WOLF, is out and getting good reviews. And my next release is only two weeks away. This is a Christmas novella in the Western Historical collection WILD WEST CHRISTMAS. I’m very proud to be listed as the lead author on this collection. That is a first for me. As part of the preparation for this release, I created a book trailer. It took me hours, though the trailer itself is only 38 seconds. Anyway, it is listed on the books page along with the excerpt. My story is called A FAMILY FOR THE RANCHER and there is an excerpt up on my books page at website.
I’m writing a first draft for a second Western Historical and have passed the 100 page mark, which is always a milestone for me.
In addition to all that writing business, I’m harvesting the last tomatoes from my garden and hope to be harvesting kale for some months to come.
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