Friday, September 30, 2016

Of Hope, Stubbornness, and Creative Burnout

(Before I kick this off, anyone who wants to skip the detailed explanation of what's been going on and get to the more important bits regarding book four's release date, just scroll down and look for the bolded sentences.)

Wow. Five months, huh? 

I seem to remember saying something in earlier posts about being more regular with these updates… and I can assure you, I never intended to go this long without posting. After a while, though, I began putting off this update because I wasn’t sure how to explain everything that’s been going on. 

And more than that, I didn’t want to attempt a post until I had actual news to share with you. Preferably happy news, which I'm still waiting on.

My radio silence had a lot of different causes.

So many, in fact, that I’m now wondering how I’ll write this post without sounding like I’m just making excuses… Or worse, seeking sympathy. 

Rule number one in this world of ours? Pretty much everyone is struggling with something. 

That said, I do feel as though I owe you guys an explanation. And seeing as it’s far and away the most popular question in my inbox and on social media these days, I really need to address the topic of book four’s release date.

Back in April I mentioned I’d be relocating to Asheville, NC and that my work on the fourth Variant Series novel would temporarily grind to a halt.

And oh, man, did it ever.

I’ve experienced at least one bout of writer’s block with every novel I’ve ever written. For me, at least, writing a book never gets any easier. And in those reoccurring creative droughts, the typing fingers are often willing—but the muse is typically MIA any time I sit down to work.

Generally speaking, I work my way through it in the end. Whether it takes a couple weeks or a couple months, I always find myself getting back into (and staying in) a productive groove until I complete the project.

Once I finally found myself settled in North Carolina and ready to work again, something a little different happened—I experienced creative burnout for the first time ever.

At first I though it was just another round of writer’s block and that I’d eventually muscle my way through it, same as always.

And believe you me, I tried to.

I did what I always do when insecurities and the dreaded block arrive.

I forced the words onto the page.

At times, I forced entire chapters onto the page.

…But from the beginning, I could tell that there was something very different about this block.

For the first time in my life, writing—the activity that had always been my refuge and my favorite escape—was making me downright miserable. And heaven help me, it showed in the story. 

Since starting work on this novel a year ago, I have scrapped major chunks of it no less than three times and started over from scratch twice.

As of this entry, the word count in my cut file (where I move any and all of the text deleted from my WIP) is just over 47,000 words. 

So… yeah.

I’ve been struggling.

After a few months of battling the writer’s block to no avail, I realized I needed to take a step back and finally put my finger on what was causing the problem. The first step was to accept the fact that it wasn’t just a block this time. 

I was officially burnt out. 

Many of the reasons for the burnout were deeply personal… but the bottom line? I was tired. And that exhaustion caused me to question whether or not continuing on as a professional author was the right choice for me at this point in my life. 

My writing wasn’t for me anymore. It was for the world.

The thing that had always been my go-to method for dealing with (and escaping from) my daily struggles was no longer a pleasant distraction.

It was a job.

Now, don’t get me wrong here…  It’s an amazing job to have. In fact, it’s been my own idea of a dream job ever since I was old enough to answer the all important question of what I wanted to “be” when I grew up.

On top of that, I love my readers! And the thought that I might be able to provide even one person out there with a way to temporarily escape from their own troubles, makes me indescribably happy. 

But when you find yourself dealing with a list of personal struggles that would leave even the strongest individuals craving a way to escape—well, losing the one thing in the world that’s always been capable of providing you with one…. 

It sucks.

A lot.

I’ve spent the last couple of months trying to decide what to do about it.

The conclusion I’ve come to is this: I want to keep going. More than anything, I want to finish the Variant Series. And I’d really like to keep sharing my stories with the world.

So nothing’s going to change. For now, at least, I’l keep writing.

But here’s the thing, guys—there’s absolutely no way I can attempt to give a timeline for when book four (or, for that matter, the currently hypothetical fifth book) will be published.

I just can’t.

I’d love to. But I can’t.

Anything I say… any estimated completion date… runs the risk of being blown out of the water, yet again.

Book four will be completed. That much I know for certain. My stubborn pride, the obligation I feel to the readers who have stuck with the story this far, and my love for these characters, all ensures that one day it will be finished. 

But I can’t tell you how long it will take, because I simply don’t know. Three months? Possibly. Another year? Yeah. I can’t lie—that’s a possibility, too. Until I work my way past the burnout, I just don’t know what will happen.

One thing I do know? I refuse to write the wrong book, simply because I’m desperate to publish something. If I’d stuck to my past deadlines, book four would probably be ready to release by now… but trust me when I say that it wouldn’t have been a book that anybody would want to read. 

So right now, that’s where things stand. I’m struggling, but hopeful, and way too stubborn to give up.

I’ll keep writing in the hopes that one day soon I’ll sit down to write and rediscover that sense of joy that used to go hand in hand with creating. I’m going to finish book four and I’m going to make it the best that I can. And as soon as it’s ready for release, you guys will absolutely be the first to hear about it! 

P.S. And as always, thank you all so stinkin’ much for the kind words and understanding messages you’ve been sending my way these last few months!  Your support and love for the Variant Series novels means so much more to me than you could ever know! <3

Monday, April 4, 2016

Of Author Invasions, Updates, and Way Too Many Adjectives

Hey, guys!

Wanted to write up a quick blog post since I'm spending the day relaxing at my parent's home in Virginia, trying to rest up before tomorrow's 12 hour drive back to Florida. This past weekend was equal parts amazing and exhausting and I am so glad I decided to accept the invitation to participate in this year's Roanoke Author Invasion in Roanoke, Virginia!

It was one of the most amazing things I've ever done and I still can't get over how much fun it was! Meeting so many awesome readers and wonderful authors I admire was a dream come true for me and I'm already counting down the days till RAI 2017!

(Obligatory photo of me at my booth, taken a few moments before the doors opened. If you look closely, you should be able to see at least a smidgen of sheer terror in my expression. I shouldn't have worried so much—everyone in attendance was AWESOME and kind and lovely to meet!)

(A post-signing photo of the attending authors, courtesy of Brittney Cole—I'm kneeling on the far right of the front row, next to the always lovely S.T. Bende and just in front of total sweethearts Karen Lynch, Desni Dantone, and Ashley Stoyanoff! I'm all about the adjectives in this post. It's probably because everyone was SO AMAZING that I can't seem to say anyone's name without adding some sort of kindly descriptor.)

The signing itself went by so quickly that I didn't manage to capture any photos while it was taking place, but there seem to be a bunch of pics floating around Facebook and on attendee's blogs. The few that I did manage to take over the weekend didn't turn out so great. (Further reminding me that I really need to invest in a cell phone that has a decent camera...) But I do have a couple more to share from the after-party!

(I was also lucky enough to meet the delightful {...extraordinary? Incredible? Fantastic? Dangit, I'm running out of worthy adjectives here, people.} authors Maryann Jordan, Kimberly Knight, and Maryann's spectacular PA Barbara Martoncik. Naturally, we had to make use of the after-party's photo booth. In related news, I can straight up rock a straw fedora and a hand fan. Who knew?)

(The official after-party photo! I'm in there somewhere... Think of it like a Where's Waldo image.)

Truthfully? I was so, so nervous in the days leading up to the signing. 

I'm an introvert by nature and anxiety-ridden on the best of days, so taking part in an event like this was sort of a Big Deal. In the end, I am so very happy that I was able to take a step outside my comfort zone and be a part of such an amazing event. Everyone—readers, authors, and event staff alike—were kind and welcoming and they immediately put me at ease. 

All that to say... if you ever get the chance to attend the Roanoke Author Invasion in the coming years, take it! I promise you won't regret it! I had an absolute blast and made more new friends in a single weekend than I have in all of the last five years combined. No joke. 

So... yes. RAI is worthy of every awesome adjective in the book, most of which I've probably used twice over in this blog post. 

In other news, my life has been temporarily turned upside-down... and it isn't likely to right itself any time before mid–May. 

In a little less than two weeks, I'll be starting my move from Florida back to North Carolina. There are still a thousand-and-one logistical nightmares to be sorted and dozens of boxes yet to be packed, so any and all writing is likely to ground to a halt for the foreseeable future. 

Also, I'm still a little under the weather where my health is concerned thanks to a mistake made by my former infusion center regarding my treatment dosage. (They, um... Well, they accidentally cut it by more than half... For six months straight.) The mistake was corrected in February, but I've been slow to get back on my feet. 

With all that's been going on with my health, with my upcoming move, and with a few other issues I'd rather not get into here on the blog, it's been difficult—if not impossible—to give my writing the attention it deserves. 

I'm looking toward May like it's the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. With any luck, once I'm settled in Asheville and have had a chance to rest, I'll be in a much better position to focus on finishing up book four in the Variant series!! I'd give anything to provide you with an official release date, but all I can say for now is that it should be ready for publication by early Fall of this year.

Fingers crossed things get back to normal soon! It's been eight months of absolute chaos and I'm looking forward to finding a little bit of peace once I'm settled in NC again. (And for that matter, so is my muse!) :-)

That's all for now... I'll try to check in again after the dust settles and book four is once again back on track for a fall release! Take care, everyone!!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Of Giveaways and Signing Events

Hey, guys!

Just a quick post to remind everyone that I'll be taking part in the Roanoke Author Invasion this year! The event will take place on April 2nd at the Holiday Inn - Tanglewood in Roanoke, Virginia.

In addition to the signing event, all attendees are invited back to the Holiday Inn for a fundraising afterparty from 7-10PM. The party will be hosted by Forget the Housework, I’m ReadingCity and Book and Brains, Beauty, BOOKS! Tickets will be $20 sent to via Paypal. Price includes light appetizers, goodie bag and dancing. Proceeds benefit United Through Reading.

If you plan on attending the event and would like to pre-order Variant Series books to ensure that they'll be waiting for you at the booth, please click here. (Keep in mind that I'll only have a limited number of each book with me—and once they're gone, they're gone!)

I'm looking forward to the event and hope to see some of you there! :-)

*   *   *   *   *

Now—on to the giveaways!

Up first is a giveaway where one lucky reader will win signed paperback copies of the first three Variant Series novels and a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card! This giveaway will run from February 11 through March 11, 2016, and will only be open to residents of the US and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But not to fret, international readers! I'm also running a second giveaway for 3 eBook copies of the Variant series novels and a $10 Amazon gift card during the same dates that is open to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*   *   *   *   *

Take care and happy reading, everyone!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Of Updates and Giveaways

Hey, guys!

Just a quick post to check in and assure you that yes, I am still hard at work on Book 4 in the Variant Series! :)

In fact, I've hidden myself away at my parent's mountain cabin in Virginia for a couple weeks in an attempt to get a few more words on the page. The weather's surprisingly warm and absolutely beautiful and I'm enjoying this getaway more than I can say. Looking forward to next April when I can move back to the mountains for good!

Also, I'm excited to announce that there's a Goodreads giveaway going on right now where you can enter to win one of two signed paperback copies of Revival (The Variant Series, #1)!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Revival by Jena Leigh


by Jena Leigh

Giveaway ends December 31, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

The giveaway will run through the end of the year, so be sure to check it out.

And while the free e-book promotion for Revival has sadly come to an end, it's still available for only $0.99 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and iTunes! If you read and enjoyed the novel, please share it with a friend who might enjoy it!

Also, writing reviews of any of the Variant series novels on the aforementioned sites will earn you my undying gratitude and endless adoration! It's one of the best ways you can support an author (both traditionally published and indie) so be sure to show your love for your favorite books whenever you can!

</ end shameless self promo >

I'll leave you with the song I listened to on repeat for most of the morning while I wrote...

"Way Down We Go" by Kaleo

If you love a bluesy, classic-rock sound in your modern rock music, this is totally the band for you. Their songs on YouTube have made up roughly 90% of my writing soundtrack as of late (and it doesn't hurt that their lead singer, JJ Juliusson, looks a bit like a slightly older version of the Declan-in-my-head). At this rate, I'm really going to need to thank Kaleo in Book 4's Acknowledgments for all the inspiration. Love their sound!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Of Author Signings, Free Books, and Sequels

Hey, guys! Long time, no post again. Sorry about that. One of these days I'll try to get back onto a regular schedule for updating this blog.

So much has happened in the last few months that I hardly know where to begin! First up, I want to thank each and every one of you for helping to make the release of Redux a success! I was absolutely blown away by the support and interest you all showed for the third book in the Variant Series! Thank you!!! Y'all totally rock.

Next up, two big announcements!

First - I'm excited to announce that I'll be taking part in the 2016 Roanoke Author Invasion in Roanoke, Virginia!! The event is set to take place on April 2, 2016 at the Holiday Inn - Tanglewood. You can find out more about the event—and also take a peek at a list of the 60+ amazing authors that will be in attendance—by clicking the image below!

Roanoke Author Invasion

(Clicking the image will open up the event website in a new window.)

I'll be talking more about the signing as the event gets a little closer. So excited (and honored!) to have been invited to take part next year!

Second - Revival, the first novel in the Variant Series, is now perma-free and will be available for FREE download from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Smashwords for the foreseeable future. Check it out if you haven't already—and if you have, then be sure to tell a friend who might enjoy it!

Download Revival for free on Amazon!

That's really all for the announcements right now, other than to say that, "Yes! I am most definitely working on a fourth book in the Variant Series!!!" It's been the most popular question in my inbox since the release of Redux, so I wanted to go ahead and address it here on the blog.

The fourth book is still a work in progress, but it has a tentative release date of Spring, 2016. The goal is to have it ready for release around the same time as the Roanoke event! Fingers crossed the muse is willing and that the coffee keeps flowing...

There's also a new, official, Jena Leigh website up and running, in addition to my home here on Blogger! To visit, all you need to do is click the "Home" tab on the far left side of the menu bar at the top of the Jena Leigh Blogger page, or click here.

On a slightly personal note, my health isn't the best right now, and it's getting a little difficult to keep up with my e-mail and social media correspondence. If you write me, but don't hear back right away, I apologize! I absolutely love hearing from you guys (it's one of my favorite things about being an author) and I promise that you'll hear back from me just as soon as I'm able to reply.

Hope you're all doing well and that you have an absolutely FANTASTIC weekend! I'll leave you this time with a song that's currently on repeat as I work on the opening chapters of Book Four! (And the lyrics should give you a tiny hint at what's to come for Alex and the gang...)

Take care, y'all! :)

Shinedown - State of My Head

...It’s time to get down, dirty up our knees in the battle
Come on, round up the boys, gonna make the walls rattle

Oh, our flag is tattered
And our bones are shattered
But it doesn’t matter
‘Cause we’re movin’ forward

Round ‘em up, round ‘em up, let’s go
Round ‘em up, let’s go

Oh, my eyes are seein’ red
Double vision from the blood we’ve shed
The only way I’m leavin’ is dead
That’s the state of my, state of my, state of my head...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Release Day!! - REDUX (The Variant Series, #3)

Hello, everyone!

It's here! It's here! Today's the day—Redux, the third novel in the Variant Series is now available in ebook form from Amazon, iTunes, Nook, and Smashwords for just $2.99!  For those of you looking for the paperback, it will be available on Amazon sometime next week.


Find Redux on Amazon!


Alex Parker sits at the crossroads, out of time and out of place. She went back to fix the past, not to imperil the future. Rescued from the icy waters of the Bering Sea by one familiar face, she's helpless to find another. Declan O'Connell jumped with her, but where did he go?

In the middle of her search, a new threat confronts Alex. A serial killer with a taste for Variants has Seattle on edge. When she crosses the path of this vicious murderer, the revelations Alex discovers could change everything. That outcome is an unknown, but there is a terrible certainty on the table — an impossible decision with irreversible consequences. But can Alex make that choice and commit herself and those she loves to a total

There will be plenty of giveaways over the next few weeks, so be sure to keep an eye on the Jena Leigh website, or follow me on Twitter (@jenaleighbooks) for more details!

Speaking of giveaways—right now, you can enter to win a paperback copy of the new book on Goodreads. While you're there, be sure to add Redux to your shelf!

Thank you all so very much for your support and I hope you enjoy this new installment in the Variant Series! Happy reading!!


P.S. If you're a blogger who is interested in reviewing Redux (or any of the other novels in the Variant Series) for your blog and would like a digital review copy, please send me an e-mail with your information!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cover Reveal: REDUX (The Variant Series, #3)

On July 22nd, less than one month from today, Redux (The Variant Series, #3) will be released!!

To celebrate the start of our countdown, today on the blog we're kicking things off with the official reveal of the cover and an amazing giveaway!

So here it is, guys, the brand new cover for Redux!



Alex Parker sits at the crossroads, out of time and out of place. She went back to fix the past, not to imperil the future. Rescued from the icy waters of the Bering Sea by one familiar face, she's helpless to find another. Declan O'Connell jumped with her, but where did he go?

In the middle of her search, a new threat confronts Alex. A serial killer with a taste for Variants has Seattle on edge. When she crosses the path of this vicious murderer, the revelations Alex discovers could change everything. That outcome is an unknown, but there is a terrible certainty on the table — an impossible decision with irreversible consequences. But can Alex make that choice and commit herself and those she loves to a total


So what do you think? Getting excited for book three yet? Don't forget to mark your calenders, Redux will be available in both paperback and e-book, beginning on July 22nd!

And to celebrate today's cover reveal, we're hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway of FIVE copies of the Redux e-book AND a $10 Amazon gift card!! To enter, check out the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ETA: And that's a wrap! Thanks for participating, everyone! Sierra G. was the lucky winner of the $10 Amazon Gift Card! Everyone else will be receiving an ebook copy of Redux! 

 If you were one of the winners, you'll be hearing from me via e-mail before the day is out! (Today, Wednesday, the 22nd.) Thanks!


Want to add Redux on Goodreads? Just click the button!


P.S. Time for the standard disclaimer—for those of you searching this post for the cover design credit... *nervously raises hand* Erm. It was me. I designed all of the covers in the Variant series myself. I realize this goes completely against the advice I always give about hiring someone to design your covers, but (in my meager defense) graphic design has been a hobby of mine for over ten years now. So I feel at least slightly qualified to do it myself... But still. This is most definitely a case of do as I say, not as I do! As an author, your book will always be better served by giving it the best cover possible—and if that means hiring a graphic designer instead of putting together a design of your own, then that's exactly what you should do. :)