Saturday, July 19, 2014

Of Giveaways and Happy Hearts


Hey guys! In a recent post I mentioned that the Jena Leigh page on Facebook was still slowly gaining likes, and that I hoped to do a giveaway once we hit 500. And we will! As soon as that 500th fan clicks "like," I'll put together something special for my Facebook followers...

In the meantime (to help us get a little closer to that goal of 500 likes), I'll be running a giveaway here on the blog! (And sorry international folks, but this time around it's just for residents of the US and Canada... One day, I'll be able to afford to ship these prizes anywhere in the world! Until then, I just can't swing it. Not to fret, though—I'll be doing another giveaway soon that will be open worldwide! So stay tuned!)

The prize up for grabs this time is a signed paperback copy of Resistance (The Variant Series, #2), along with two Variant Series bookmarks, and a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card!

Yep. On August 11th, I'll be giving away a whole bunch of goodies to one lucky reader who enters the Rafflecopter giveaway below! So be sure to enter for your chance to win!

I made sure there are plenty of ways for you to rack up points—and let's face it, since the giveaway will be exclusive to the Jena Leigh blog, in all likelihood there will be roughly five entries all together. Like, total. So if you do enter, the odds will definitely be in your favor. Just sayin'... :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I've written and rewritten this part of the post roughly four times, now.

It's not that I don't have anything to say. I can think of plenty. It's just that all the things I'm inclined to tell you about are coming across as either whiny or depressing. Or both. And that's not the sort of post I wanted to make today. So instead, let's just summarize the bad as quickly as possible so we can move on to some more enjoyable stuff, shall we?

The situation in a nutshell is this: For the next month or so, I haven't a snowflake's hope in Hades of meeting my current writing goals without subjecting myself to a mind-numbing stretch of extreme stress and sleep-deprivation. One that will likely result in my health taking another nosedive.... and/or a full-on nervous breakdown. Whichever comes first.

There are only so many hours in the day and—sadly—I haven't yet figured out how to clone myself.

As soon as we get this store up and running (and have hired enough help), I'll be settling back into my normal writing routine and that shiny purple progress bar for Book 3 will be back on the blog!

Until then, for the sake of my sanity, I'll be writing what I can, when I can, and trying very hard not to feel guilty about it.*

Pins and Posts

So, in case you hadn't noticed, half of my tweets lately have consisted of pins that caught my eye on Pinterest.... The other half, of course, are the exceedingly random posts I found amusing on Tumblr.

Lately the Internet has surpassed both books and TV as my chosen method of work-related detox.  I've noticed that when I finally make it home in the evenings I'm too tired to even watch a 30-minute-long television show, much less compose a pithy collection of words in 140 characters or less. So recently my online presence has taken on a less direct form... Reblogs.

Cause, y'see, making an intelligent comment when you're half dead and longing for sleep is hard. Scrolling through a mind-boggling number of pins and posts, however, is as easy as dragging your thumb across a cell phone. And that, I can totally handle.


Out of all my pins and posts this week I stumbled across a couple of favorites I thought I'd share with you here on the blog.

First up is this little gem Wil Wheaton reblogged on Tumblr...

(It's sadly lacking a source, though the name at the bottom reads "Sweatpants & Coffee". If you know its origin, please send me a link!)

There has been so much talk online and in the news lately about whether or not we should be embarrassed by the genres and age classifications of the books we choose to read. About whether or not adults should be ashamed to read YA fiction.

You know what I say to that? You should feel absolutely no shame at all in reading whatever you like—whatever makes you happy. And if other people don't like it, they can stuff it.**

I can't tell you how many times I've had adults (most of whom are aged mid-40s and above) approach me and tell me how surprised they were that they enjoyed my book.

"I saw the Young Adult label and just assumed it was for kids," they'll say. "I wasn't expecting to enjoy it so much, at my age!"

But that's the thing. 

YA, middle grade, children's stories... It doesn't matter what the age classification is—a good story is a good story.  If the story is enjoyable, meaningful, relatable, or clever, it can easily transcend the limitations of its assigned age level.

So should I, as an almost-30-year-old, be embarrassed to wander the YA aisles at my local bookstore? Should I be ashamed to be seen reading a Harry Potter novel or Maggie Stiefvater's latest book in public?

Of course not. If someone has a problem with it, then that's their problem, not mine.

I appreciate a well-told story. Full stop.

An age classification is a suggestion, not a rule. And thank God for that. I shudder to think what amazing adventures I might never have experienced, and all the extraordinary characters I might never have met, had I followed those so-called "rules."

Anyway. That's my two cents' worth.

...I've shared a Tumblr reblog, so let's wrap this section up with my favorite pin from last week:

 (Love this. Surreal and brimming with possibilities... Oh, the stories I could write...)

Stuck in My Head

Two songs this week, the first is a song from Swedish DJ Avicii, with vocals provided by my favorite voice in bluegrass music today—Dan Tyminski. (You might recognize his voice from the song "Man of Constant Sorrow" off the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.) The song's called "Hey Brother" and is from the Avicii album True.

Avicii - Hey Brother

Next up, it's absolutely the most oddball song I've heard in ages. Over the course of the last few days, it's inspired some glorious off-key shower vocals, as well as some horrendously awkward dancing in my car... And all I can say is, thanks, Pandora. Thank you for always playing the weirdest songs imaginable in my QuickMix. You provide me with so much awesome $#!@.

 Milky Chance - Stolen Dance

What's not to love?

Okay, guys. Time to wrap up this monster of a post!

I'm working on another post about my writing process that I hope to publish here on the blog in the next week or two, but either way, you'll hear from me again next weekend. Hope you all have a fantastic week! :)

*I haven't stopped writing. Far from it. I wrote another 800 words, just this morning. I merely need to give myself some room to breathe and take a break when I require it. The "accountability" method is wonderful and effective, and I'll be returning to it ASAP... Just as soon as my other responsibilities calm down a bit. In the meantime, I'll continue trudging along, even if I'm not talking much about my progress. :)

** Yeeeahhh. What I really wanted to say to that included a lot more cursing and a few obscene gestures. None of which translate well on a blog where the appropriateness rating is traditionally kept at PG-13 or below. But you get the picture.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Quick Update and Some Magic

The Variant Series: Book 3 Progress Bar


I picked a terrible week to be held accountable for my writing progress. Really. Epic miscalculation on my part.

This is the first day off I've had since last Saturday, and I still spent a few hours at work this morning, getting a whole host of things finished so that I could take a day off without worrying too much about being gone. Definitely looking forward to some down time! (And, fingers crossed, some uninterrupted writing time, as well.)

In the end, I hit my goal of 30,000 words, but only barely—and only because I gave myself a few extra days to hit the mark.

New goal for next week: 35,000 words.

If I don't update this progress bar next Friday with a number over 35K, I'll... I'll... I don't know. Subject myself to some form of punishment, I suppose. Going to have to think on that one. Suggestions?

On a completely random note, I'm beginning to think my laptop wants me to finish Book Three as much as you guys do. My desktop image is programmed to change every minute, shuffling through roughly a thousand images that I have saved in my desktops folder... and yet, for some unknown reason, this guy has been popping up every time I minimize Scrivener.

I have to admit. He's flippin' adorable. And a delightful motivator.*

With a tiny potato cheering me on, how could I possibly fail?

Also, it looks like the Jena Leigh page on Facebook is still gaining likes, slowly but surely. I'm thinking about doing some sort of giveaway once we hit 500 (and perhaps a second giveaway, if we ever reach 2,000 followers on Twitter.) Going to have to come up with something fun for a prize!

And stuck in my head this weekend, is the band Magic!—a band that you've almost definitely heard, if you've turned your radio to an alt-rock or pop station at all in the last few months. Their hit song Rude sucked me in, and now their album Don't Kill the Magic is my new obsession. Catchy, beachy and fantastic. The healthy dose of reggae in their songs makes Don't Kill the Magic the perfect summer album. I kind of adore these guys. They're like... like the Police meets Sublime, mixed with a little bit of Bruno Mars and some Bob Marley thrown in for good measure.

Anyway. Enough fangirling. Have a couple songs and a wonderful weekend, my loves! See you next week!

Magic! - Rude (Acoustic)

 Magic! - No Evil

*If you know who created this image, please let me know so I can add the source info! Thanks!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Of Accountability and Ninjas

Writing is hard at the best of times.

At the worst? It's Mission: Impossible, complete with an exploding tape deck and suspenseful theme music. And ninjas.

Flippin' ninjas whose sole intention is to distract you from your WIPs by assaulting you with the time-consuming distractions of everyday life.

I could explain my own personal ninjas in some detail, but that's a whole 'nother blog post. Suffice it to say that helping your family open up a new gift shop/boutique when your health isn't exactly at 100% can really put a hitch in your writing schedule.

But I fully intend to remedy that.

In spite of all the distractions, there is still one thing that is absolutely guaranteed to keep me writing, even when the ninjas are kicking my butt... Accountability.

Be it writing sprints on Twitter or the updates expected of me by my alpha readers, I write more when someone's holding me accountable for my efforts. So from now until book three in the Variant Series is finished, I'll be posting my progress each week here on the blog as a part of my posts. It will keep me working on book three, and should finally get me blogging again. Win-win!

Also, for the record, I'll be starting this accountability thing off at 26,279 words.*

The Variant Series: Book 3 Progress Bar


If I don't update next week at a number that's over 30,000, feel free to give me grief. I'll totally deserve it.

A couple things to note here... That 75K goal is a guesstimate. More than likely, if I keep heading on this same track, book three ought to come in at something closer to 90K. Also, when I reach the last 1/4 of the book, I tend to write upwards of 5,000 words a day, so don't be discouraged by that low number you see in the bar! I'm still struggling to get into the groove of writing regularly again, but if this accountability thing goes as planned, I should be making steady progress on the draft again soon!

Okay, y'all. My infusion is almost over, so I need to wrap this up before the nurse returns to unchain me from this IV and I head home for a much needed nap.**

I think this week I'll leave you with a few of the tunes that have been stuck in my head lately. Hope you find something here to enjoy!

Have a great rest of the week, guys! :)


*That number could be a bit higher, but I'm not including the scenes I've written that are out of sequence and haven't been added in yet. Just in case they don't get used.

**This has to do with that whole my health is not 100% thing I mentioned earlier. The good thing about being chained to an IV for four and a half hours (besides the six weeks of good health it offers me) is that it forces me to work. Hence this blog post. So freaking yay for that.