In Which I Finally Publish a Book, and Other News…

File_000 (1)Blogging about being a writer is much, much easier than actually doing the WRITING part of being a writer.

At least, it has been in my experience. As a digital marketing specialist for my day job, I have this social media thing down pretty well. Facebook, Twitter, blog, rinse, repeat. I’m a decent socializer (I know that’s an awkward word, but I tried to correct it, and almost typed the word “socialist” and proceeded to have a good laugh for a few seconds, and then went with socializer. I loathe the phrase “social butterfly.” I massively digress.)…

So I’m a decent socializer. I’ve made some great connections on Twitter. I participate in online writers’ forums. I’ve had a grand old time creating concept cover art for various projects I’m working on. I’ve gotten my website looking pretty much the way I’d envisioned it.

What I haven’t done is finish writing a damn book.

Jen Book Cover2I’m happy to report that, by the end of April, the above statement should no longer be accurate. I’m almost done with a rewrite of my lonnnnnnng-overdue memoir of Tanzania, which has morphed into a commentary on a few topics I think are truly important, above all the inspirational social change happening in Tanzania, fostered by Tanzanians. Below is an excerpt of the book description on my Kickstarter page:

In July 2010, I spent 28 days in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. I arrived in the country thinking (somewhat naively) that I was there to facilitate positive social change and help to change a community for the better. Little did I know that I would be the one whose worldview was fundamentally changed. More specifically, what changed over the course of those 28 days were my preconceived views on international volunteering, culture sharing, and what the concepts of “home” and “community” mean to people the world over. And more than anything, what I came away with was a fierce respect for the people of Tanzania – and was left with a deep desire, when I came back to the States, to share what I had learned from Tanzanians themselves, those on the front lines who had been working for decades to grow and foster social change within their own communities.

To view more, you can visit the Kickstarter page, where all donations are going toward the physical printing and distribution costs associated with publishing this book. Or you can check out the book description page on my website by clicking here. This project is a labor of love and has been in progress for six years. I am thrilled that the day is finally here.


In other news:

I continue work on my NaNoWriMo 2015 novel project, The Bearers. I’m about 1/3 done with a first draft since November, but as I’ve mentioned before, when you fall in love with a story you’ll find a way to finish it. As of right now, I’m not sure if it’s going to end up an adult or YA novel… I’m trying to listen to the voices of my characters and see where the plot goes. It started very YA, but has since taken on some darker themes (although a lot of the YA dystopian fiction I’ve read can get pretty dark). It may come down to too many F-bombs… my heroine doesn’t mince her words. I hope the actual genre-selection process is not that trivial. I know a lot of writers advise finding and deciding on the genre before you get into the nitty-gritty writing of the book, but I’m decidedly having trouble with that, with this story. Check out the description page by following the link above and take a look at the synopsis and excerpt… I would welcome any feedback.

Since I can’t ever seem to finish a project before I dream up ideas for the next one, I have two new stories in the works. One is a retelling of a classic opera, reset in another planet’s post-apocalyptic dystopia. The other is set in a post-apocalyptic future-Earth, and has pirates. I don’t know… I think perhaps I am defining a genre niche for myself. I don’t have much online yet, but I will post synopses soon. Please feel free to visit my In the Works page for updates, if you’re interested.

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