Quizzes and more

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Medical Bills/Help Jen Get Home Fund

This is something I've never done before--something my pride is heartily unhappy about, but I'm telling her to shut up for once and have faith in people.

Most folks who know me realize my whole life revolves around work. It has since I was a kid. I took care of and schooled siblings when I was just a kid myself and I've been a tough cookie for a long time, keeping busy with a traditional FT job while freelance editing, writing and gigging musically. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to get by, right? :) But I've got an auto-immune disease that's always made things a bit of a health struggle for me, and once in a while, life throws a curve ball. Okay, life IS a curveball...and that's good! Just means you're breathing. But this past year brought on a sudden and scary time of insufficient work and no health insurance to cover an illness that pretty much wiped out my savings and efforts. Normally I'd say, fine, I'll start again. But it's disabling my ability to do something I want very, very badly, namely to move back to the East Coast, close to the remaining people I love soon. After my little brother passed away last year, I realized that life is way too short to miss out and this is something I need to do. I don't want to waste any more time.

I have a goal of 12 months to move, but that takes savings, and as too many people well know, when you've got medical expenses sucking you dry, there's no timely way to recover from that. If you feel called to give to my "help Jen out so she can save enough to go home soon" fund, I'm pretty sure karma would thank you. I know I will. I'll keep working it out, either way. But maybe it doesn't have to be quite so hard and unreliable...with a little help.

As an incentive and a thank you in the best way I know how, everyone who donates, no matter how much, will have unlimited access to download MP3s of any music I've recorded on my reverbnation page for your personal or commercial use. Also, "Rockstar" donators will be characters in one of my next books. ;)

Just make sure you let me know who you are.

 Link to Fund

Love and humility,
Jen

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Debra Anastasia's Sequel is Out!!!!

My crazy hot author buddy, Debra Anastasia, has a highly anticipated sequel coming out today--the bound to be awesome, Return to Poughkeepsie. For those who have read book one, you know this is going to be good. See below for deets on how to join the rafflecopter goodness and learn how to get your hands on a copy!


Summary:
Beckett Taylor is a murderer. His calling, his craft are destruction and intimidation—whether he wants it that way now or not. He left Poughkeepsie to keep his brothers safe, to keep Eve safe. Set up with happy lives to live, they’re better off without him, right?

But all his willpower crumbles when he hears his brother Blake’s frantic voice on the phone. An unknown enemy has moved in on his old territory, and Livia’s been taken. In an instant, Beckett knows it will take an attack only he and Eve can execute to bring her back. All his self-imposed embargoes are torn to shreds, perhaps along with the new man he’s struggled to become.

“Brother, call Eve. I’ll be there soon.”
In this emotional and action-packed sequel to Poughkeepsie, Debra Anastasia conjures a tale of love at its most raw and ragged. With Beckett and Eve, how could we expect anything less? But even when it’s messy, not magical, true love perseveres. Real love finds a way—for better or for worse until death does part.

Social Media Links:
YouTube Trailer

Bio:
Debra Anastasia is busy, just like every other mom. There's dinner, the dogs, the two kids, the two kids, and her ongoing battle with...ahem... digestive issues, which combined with her adolescent boy sense of humor makes for colorful and sometimes cringe-worthy social media updates. Her first love and crowning achievement is her thriving career as the weirdest mom on the block.
Her writing started a decent handful of years ago when--along with the animals and humans in her house--the voices of characters started whispering stories in Debra's ear. Insomnia was the gateway to plots that wouldn't give up, wouldn't let go. Now they stalk her everywhere. Halfway through making lunches, a twist takes hold and--fingers full of peanut butter--she finds somewhere, anywhere to write it down.
She's eternally grateful to Omnific Publishing, which has now published four of her books: two in the Seraphim Series and two in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series, as well as her novella, Late Night with Andres. That one is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. (So go get it right now, please!) She also very much appreciates her open-minded readers, who embrace everything she has to offer, with a focus on anti-heroes and bathroom humor.
Debra lives in Maryland with her family. You can find her at DebraAnastasia.com and on Twitter @Debra_Anastasia. But be prepared.
Rafflecopter a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Riding the Wave



In times of scarcity, it can feel like the end of the world.
It can seem like you’re walking on eggshells around life, terrified of any little unexpected thing, because your nerves and your bank account are not prepared.
These days, people want your money, maybe they’re even harassing you about it. Your job doesn’t care that you lose sleep at night, but they do expect you'll plow forward as if you didn’t, and if you don’t have access to relief via family or like support systems, these economic hard times can be a disaster, both physically and psychologically.
Like many of my peers, I’m in the middle of one of those difficult times. Everything has bottomed out and the abundance of the last few years has hidden from me. At 33 years old, I’m living paycheck to paycheck, single and barely scraping by, and looking at taking on a third job to ease the financial stress.  And I’m not alone. This is the state of affairs for so many in our country today.
And to think…things were going so well. ;)
As is often the case, when anything seemingly “bad” happens to me, I try and understand why. I try and figure out what lessons I haven’t learned properly that a hardship would need to return again to teach it to me.
Granted, I’ve been more budget obsessed now than I ever have in my life. I count every dollar, buy the least expensive of everything, live like a hermit, which I’d never done before—even when I should have. Of course, it's all on me now, so, a girl's gotta go what a girl's gotta do. I’m finessing my money managing abilities out of pure, brutal necessity, and what’s more, I’m becoming more aware of my credit history. In fact, I pulled up and reviewed my credit report (student loans *groan*) for the first time in my life the other day. (Okay, it was like 3 in the morning, but, if you’re going to lose sleep over finances, you might as well do something constructive.)
Aside from properly honing my master miser skills and mindfully monking away until my pocket book loosens up a little (you see what I did there? With the alliteration?), I’m discovering some other impacts of living a tight-budgeted life, as well.
For one thing, I’ve always been awfully afraid to ask for help, never really feeling safe to do so from anyone. But this whole period has taught me to swallow my pride. In fact, I’ve had to swallow it hard. And it still stings. But sometimes you just need to have faith that you won’t regret it. And if you do, well, you know who you can trust and who you can’t.
For another, I’d really like to know when the heck I lost appreciation for the small things. For instance, tea. A mug of tea is virtually free, but, it’s so comforting. It’s like a hug in a cup. And sometimes, just holding that warm teacup in your hands is the nicest feeling.  Of course there are always books, but I’ve never neglected those. Surprisingly, however, I’ve a new found appreciation for curling up in the corner of the sofa when no one else is home and watching—GASP--television. Yes, folks. The evil boob tube can be quite a nice distraction sometimes, one that I hadn’t paid attention to in ages, but, there’s some cool stuff on that there magic box. Especially travel shows. Those are terrific escapist methods, for sure.
This bleaker phase is also reminding me how much I need people—the ones who matter most to me—close by and in my life. I’d moved to the Pacific Northwest with the threefold intent of a.) Going on an adventure, b.) Proving to myself that I could survive as a single woman far away from any comfort zones and c.) Getting to know myself, aside from anyone else’s influence. Done, done, and done. But now that I’ve gone in the opposite extreme, I honor my need for beloved family and friends. I can be adventurous and have a home to return to. This is actually okay.
But back to simple things. An example: I was sitting at the kitchen table today, fresh from a highly strategic and justifiably obsessive-compulsive grocery run, enjoying a glass of Gatorade (by the way, powder mix is way cheaper than buying pre-made beverages…just sayin’), and I heard a bird singing. I was just sitting still, without a computer in front of my face, listening, sipping my broke-ass drink and listening to Tweety and I thought, right now, I’m okay. In this moment, I’m well. Which brings me to another point.
Living in the moment.
You don’t really have a choice but to live in the now during tough periods, otherwise you’re liable to lose your mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stop and remind myself that, no matter what happens, even the worst case scenarios, if I am breathing—I’m okay. I tell myself, “Right now, you’re fine. Just be here now.” It’s helped me a lot, I’ll tell you.
Paradoxically, this has also pushed me to plan my next steps and assess my goals. I figure, the last few years here in Seattle have been a breeze, but that’s changed now, and that means a call to really alter things. When it gets too hard, it’s a signal for change, I think, whether inner or outer (in this case both).
I couldn’t exactly tell you what the next year will bring, only to say I sense a full circle outcome on the horizon. It’s always some kind of grand surprise for me, this life. But whether I’m financially cushioned or counting my pennies, one thing is for certain—I won’t be taking anything for granted. I’ll be stronger, but humbler. And I’ll be able to milk two week’s worth of groceries for 50 bucks. I win.      
Xo
Jen

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Limited Time - PREQUEL SHORT STORY ON THE BLOG!

Sometimes, people need a little more valid convincing than just "VOTE FOR BLAH with BIG LETTERZZZZZ!" I get that. I respect it. And so, out of appreciation for those people who want to know WHY they ought to bother voting for William Maddox in this Smackdown thing I just keep yaaaammering oooon about, how about if I offer you something better than a plea? How 'bout some decide-for-yourself evidence? Some entertainment?

A very, VERY exclusive prequel told from the point-of-view of William was released just as my last book was coming out, and only to those who bought the book. But for a limited time only, you can all read it. That's right. ALL OF YOU. Because I so believe in my boys, in their unconventional world and stories, and in their power to make you love them and relate to them too, whether male or female.

So. Here you go. A special page on my blog just to share a taste. I hope you enjoy it. Then go and vote for William and Christian!!

READING GOODNESS

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Final Battle Cry: The Smackdown Cometh

Two days from now begins the most epic book boyfriend event ever. (Okay, I'm totally biased here, but don't give me flack. It's EPIC, damn it. Still, I digress.) We're talking awesome prizes and round for round, boxing ring action, people--action that will span more than one day and tons of blogs.  I already built up to this with a previous, more general info post, but this entry is specifically for my William Maddox and Christian Wright girls. This one is a call to action packed with deets!

 
So all three of us (and assorted awesome helpers) have been busy, busy, busy trying to get the word out to vote for the guys. I've been working hard for them, because, I honestly think they're kind of underdogs in the book boyfriend arena. I mean, both my guys are fully dressed, they're not quite so immortally ripped as some. Still, they're handsome sons o' bitches, anyway, and I was determined to give this all I had between writing my new books and editing countless others. Our guys didn't need to feel so neglected anymore. So I've spent a lot of quality time with them lately, and we've put together some cool campaign projects to rally our supporters. I can promise you, you probably haven't come across much of this before. So, where to begin?
 
How 'bout an interview? And no, no, no, I don't mean a written one. I mean a spoken one, as in a sort of author to book character podcast. Because that's exactly what the three of us got together to record for you, you know. And here, in their own words, is why William and Christian think you should vote for them!
 
 
  
 
Seriously, we figure, if they don't advance in rounds or win in a category, at least they went down fighting like the champions I've always known they were.
 
 
So why do I feel so strongly about these two, anyway? I mean, they're just book guys, right?
 
Frankly, I'm not sure. I think it's just because, when you put your whole heart and soul into a book and all its characters and the world it conceives, the whole thing just gets under your skin and into your heart and changes you. And these guys, in their own way, definitely helped change me. So I'm just doing my part to show them love. ;)
 
 
 
To make this as simple as possible for you, here's how to vote:
 
On Monday, September 30th, you can vote for Christian in the Alpha Protector category at the following host blog:
 
Then, to lend William your support in the Enigmatic Smartass category, hop on over to:
 
Easy peasy, right?
 
If you'd like to flirt with the guys, they've been kind of pimpin' it up a storm on Twitter, so go on and follow. They're super interactive and are soaking in all the love like sponges.
 
Before I say goodbye, I have two final presents to leave you with. (Didn't I tell you we've been busting our butts?) 
 
Christian's Smackdown Video
   

 
William's Smackdown Video
 

 
Aaaaaaaaand I'm out! PHEW!
 
Jen

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Men or Robots - Animated Thoughts on Eating Our Emotions

For a while now, I've busied my mind with the task of figuring out how to fix my particular brand of screwed up. We all have one. Some of us drink, some of us are bitchy, some of us binge on sports or gamble or smoke or what have you, but we all cope somehow. If we're lucky, we're taught healthy ways to accept our emotions early on, but let's face it--most of us are not.
 
You spend enough time pealing off layers and you start to see what's underneath. And if you dare to acknowledge your issues face-to-face, to call them out, you might (novel concept that it is) actually be able to deal with them. After all, who can fight an invisible foe? You need to be able to see what you're battling, or at the very least, sense it. 
 
For me, for the longest time (25 years), I thought I was fighting a battle with food.
 

 
I sort of was--on the surface, anyway. Poor food. It wasn't trying to sabotage my body, but, I had, from a tender age, decided that it would be my coping mechanism. Completely unintentionally, of course, as I was only a child, but still. To make matters worse, I was developing (unbeknownst to any of us) an autoimmune/metabolic disease that was taking hold of my little body and already wreaking its own havoc. I was the worst imaginable candidate for becoming an overeater. Talk about your perfect storm.
 
So, why did I turn to food in the first place? I mean, I sure as hell know why I stuck with it, but why did I begin overeating at all? After all these years, I finally figured out how in the world I'd come to view food, a benign entity, as such a nemesis in my life. As with all such struggles, it's complicated, but to make it brief, I think it was a combination of things, which I'll only mention here for the sake of being relatable. All behavior must be triggered at some point. For me, it was a series of things, starting with a parent who hitchhiked through my childhood, and whose occasional return meant an abundance of love-buying in the form of junk food. The consequent reactions to my weight gain from a thin, image conscious family only served to plant and replant new seeds of food-obsessive thoughts. I was on my first diet by age nine, but had experienced plenty of soul-stamping shame much younger than that. And all for something that ran much deeper than any diet could fix. Not sure why that isn't more obvious to people, but, we tend to miss the forest for the trees. Or we tend to ignore it.
 
 
 
Turns out I wasn't fighting a battle with food at all. I was fighting a battle with feeling
 
I have a theory that most of us either a.) are raised to stifle our feelings by our families and strive to keep that standard, or b.) learn by example that emotions can be scary. We're raised in chaos and we want to avoid that feeling as adults through whatever means possible. 
 
I continued this into adulthood because I'd wired myself that way. Food was the solution in times when life seemed miserable or out of control. When I felt vulnerable, depressed, happy, angry, when I felt, period, I turned to food. It never went away and it never let me down and it kept my emotions in check. 
 
That same seed I'd nurtured as a little girl, the method that had gotten me through my childhood and preserved my sanity, had turned into an overgrown weed as an adult and was strangling me from the inside out. At some point this emotional repression became the default setting for me. Instead of leaving that mechanism behind once it was no longer needed, I'd learned to be frightened by the depth of my own emotions. I fell into category B, viciously determined not to live the way I'd been raised. Desperate to be emotionally "calm" at all times, this was a big mistake for a person who feels things harder than your average Jane. A BIG one.
 
And I'm not alone.
 
The thing is, most of us think we need to be here, ________________________ or here --------------------------------- at all times. Either completely zen or always happy. But you know, there's another example of a straight line that resembles this way of living.
 
Exhibit A
 
 
 
Turns out, I don't want to live like I'm dead. I don't want to be emotionally flatlined, but that's how I was trying to be for a very long time.
 
A normal heart pattern looks like this:
 
 
Same goes for brainwaves, people. This? --------------------------------- is bad. It means you're a cadaver. It's funny. Every time I go home, my family says something about how calm I am, how I don't seem to have been born of the same genes. But the fact is, yes...yes I was. And just beneath that layer of "zen" that seems to be there, is someone so incredibly passionate, someone who feels things with tremendous strength, someone who lost her voice a long time ago and is just now starting to find it again. Starting to use it. And ZOMG, guys...it's the hardest thing I've ever done! But I have no choice. If this is how I was made, it must be right.And I don't want to be an emotional cadaver. Even if it means life is harder, scarier. Even if I feel things too strongly sometimes, if I'm a little more passionate than the people around me. And if I should find my zen again through some happy consequence, fine. Balance is good. Balance is great goal. But the human condition is meant to feel. It's okay to be like this!
 
Or this.

 
Or even this
 
 
Or all of the above. Life is hard sometimes, man! Give yourself a freakin' break. Who cares if some people are scared of your feels. And who cares if you're scared of them. As long as you're not hurting folks with the verbal (or physical) HULK SMASH all the time, then feelings are fine. Process them and let them out, then move on. That's what you're really striving for, here. Emotional authenticism. Not emotional zombification.
 
Got that? In other words, this...
 
 
Not this...
 
 
 
Now that old adage "one day at a time" means something to me. I've got this mantra: "There is only today. Tomorrow doesn't exist. Today's battle is enough." Because really, it is. This is how I have to deal. One day, one feeling at a time, and every instance I overcome the desire to numb things with food is a triumph I am tremendously proud of. Because I know the strength it took. I know how incredibly difficult it is, rewiring my own brain. It's a victory.
 
 
 
Enough small battles won mean a war overcome. And I'll take it. Today is enough.
 
Love,
Jen
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, September 9, 2013

SO Many Book Boyfriends - Delivering a Beat Down

I don't even know how to prepare you all for what's about to happen in the book bloggersphere this month. It's huge. It's epic. It's hard and sweaty and totally unpredictable -- So I have to ask you, what kind of a book boyfriend would you choose if given the personality of your liking? Because you're about to get the chance to decide just that, in a March madness style boxing ring, as nearly forty hot male book characters from the Omnific Publishing collection stand off, mano y mano, for the ultimate Book Boyfriend Smackdown. And what kinds of men are we talking about here?

-Enigmatic or smart assed
-Sweet and Swoony
-Alpha and Protective
-Brooding and Broken
-Dark and Dangerous
-Unspecified

It's kind of going crazy over on the Omnific Publishing Facebook Group. You've got men jumping in and out of the practice ring--blonde golden boys, tall dark and handsomes and everything in between. Some are Tweet sparring, like my guys William Maddox and Christian Wright, and some are just laying down the verbal servitude, if you get my drift.

So these authors are all women. That doesn't mean their inner chest-beating prize fighters haven't been channeled, and we'll see whose mouthpiece is still firmly in place by the end of this thing. Just keep your eyes on THESE FOLKS, the awesome bloggers at ReadLoveLust, starting 9/30/13, because they've recruited tons of fellow book bloggers to sponsor a man, and the sparks. will. fly! Prizes will be won. Antes will be upped. This is gonna get real... ;)

Time to start placing wagers, folks. In the coming week, I'll be releasing a few surprises from my men (they paid me a visit just for this event). But for now, enjoy these pictorial messages from the Enigmatic, Smartassed Half-Vamp, William Maddox, and the Alpha Protective Brit, Christian Wright. They may not be bare chested and oiled up--yet--but they're in it to win it. Looks can be deceiving. ;)


Love and war cries,
Jen