CHANGING THINGS UP

I’ve always built my “VERY OFFICIAL AUTHOR SITE” on iWeb, which meant it was on my computer and the interface for blogger and iWeb isn’t spectacular, so my website and my blog have always been separate.

And then my parents’ server went down, and it seemed easier to re-build their website and buy server space from wordpress.

And since I was also using their server, my site went down as well.

So. I thought – I rebuilt THEIRS on wordpress, surely I can rebuild MINE there as well!!

So I did!! YAY ME!!

And then I realized there was really ZERO point in keeping this blog here even though I LOVE my rotating headers and I LOVE my layout (not a cheap one either BTW). I was building pages for my books here and then building them there, and then I was like. Wait. This is not smart. At all.

SO.

It’s still “under construction” but you will now find me at

www.jolenebperry.com

😀

And now I’m going to eat cookies instead of weeping over all the lost hours building up two sites😉

 

Jolene

 

What’s Up Wednesday!

Ok. I haven’t played in a loooong time😉

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SUPAH fun meme started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. Drop by their place to see the full list of people participating and/or to jump in yourself 😉

WHAT I’M READING:

Just finished the second Archived book – the Unbound. Schwab ALMOST lost me when I felt the MC was putting herself in the SAME kind of situation by making the SAME kind of mistakes as in book #1, but the twists saved it😉 I LOVE this world. LOVE.

Finally read Willow. I know. I’m late to that party. I get why it was such a big deal when it came out. I’m sad she doesn’t have any more YA.

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WHAT I’M WRITING:

My “AJ BROOKS” partner, Allie, and I have been plowing through our first Fairwoods Academy book. A little hint of re-telling, a smattering of horror, and some crazy cool mysteries and twists throughout. We have been plotting this series and this world for… I don’t know a LONG time. Months. Hours on the phone between the US and Canada… So many emails back and forth it’s staggering.  I’m editing my MIA JOSEPHS books, in the hopes to get them out SOON.

 

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO:

I go on sub w/ an AJ BROOKS novel as well as a JOLENE PERRY novel next week. *takes deep breath*

Got sunburned by driving my parents’ 16×16 raft around their lake over the 4th of July weekend. SO. MUCH. FUN.

Trying to survive summer.

FINALLY got my author site back up. I cheated and used a wordpress site for it instead of the one I built from scratch, but jolenebperry.com (that is in the back of ALL of my books) has been down for far too long.

 

WHAT INSPIRES ME:

What’s inspiring me right now? Um… The desire to move forward. The characters rattling around in my head. My husband’s cases from his work as a prosecutor. And Pinterest. Always Pinterest…

OH! And in another bit of random news –  my publisher is doing a sale on THE SUMMER I FOUND YOU – 1.99 down from 7.99…

What are you up to??

 

~ Jo

Life is Kickin’ My Trash

(I’ve hovered over publish about a million times, unsure if I want this out there)

I’m very much an optimistic person.

Always have been.

Always will be.

And we all ride roller coasters in our writing lives and in our home lives, and generally on a downswing, I can be like – Meh, I’ll be laughing about this time in my life at some point and I’ll be slipping back up the other side any moment now and life will look great again.

And I keep waiting for my part of the roller-coaster ride to hit that upswing, and it hasn’t. I’m still climbing down.

I think last week I realized, You know? I’m probably not going to laugh about this in a few years. I’m going to learn from it. But I’m not going to laugh.

Days later and a few more shots of bad news later, I realize that we’re still on the downswing.

And then I have to stop and look around and think – My husband is healthy. My son is healthy. My daughter isn’t dying. We’re not going to lose our house and my husband has his job. We’re okay. And we’ve sort of closed into our little family cocoon to weather the storm.

I’m not wholly sure what my post is about today. I think I’ve been quiet online because I haven’t had much to say that won’t sound whiny. Or maybe it appears I’m out and about as much as I always am, when really I’m just trying to put on my smiley face in hopes in bleeds into my life a little more. And yes, a few big things have happened, and I feel like I’m in a good place to deal with those big things when the small things aren’t stacking up as well. But they are. And have been. And will continue to – at least for a while.

So. For now, and maybe for a while, I’m going to bury myself in a writing cave, and when I’m out I’m going to be playing with my kiddos. Or sewing. Or getting ready for #SCBWI because I need that break so very much.

And because even when I hate my optimism, it creeps in – here are a few happy things:

Daughter came out of her surgery this morning and I’m already trying to keep her on the couch. WIN.

Nearly done w/ my first round of notes for my Mia Josephs book, Blurring the Lines. WIN.

Husband comes home on Sunday. WIN.

Because my mouth hurts so bad, I’ve eaten more waffles than anyone should get to eat over the past week. WIN.

So. There you have it. This is what’s up w/ me right now.

You can leave me pictures of puppies or abs or pictures of puppies and abs OR – (even better) give me a few FANTASTIC movies I should watch. Or just tell me what you’ve been up to lately, because I find other people’s lives endlessly entertaining. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be making up lives and then writing about them.

You guys rock.

~ Jo

 

How I Began Plotting. (I blame Allie Brennan)

I’m not sure I’ve ever loved a project this much, this early in the writing process.

Now.

Technically, Allie and me have been working on this book for several months. I think last fall or last winter I told her I wanted to do a twisted, wicked, version of Little Red Riding Hood, and we chatted about a few different ways that could be done.

And then, back in January, she sent me this amazing idea for Fairwoods Academy.

I may have squealed a little. Or a lot.

(We write under the name AJ Brooks – you can find that site here)

Since that time we’ve talked about:

– Which tense would suit the style of the story best.

– Whose POV should we be in? Which two? More? One?

– How does our world work?

– What’s the backstory of both the characters and the setting/world?

– What kind of twist do we want in book #1, #2, #3?

– What information comes out about each character in book #1, #2, #3…

– What information do we need right away? What can wait? What do we want to hold onto until the very end…?

– How many pretties will Allie send me before we’re done? (hopefully LOTS)

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I have never done so much world building before, and not because I’ve never built a world this complicated (though, that may be part of it) but we both feel like this story is big. The idea is big. We want to do our characters justice. We want to do the story justice. And by doing this, I’ve fallen in love with the people. I ache for them over things I know we’re going to do to them in book #1, and in book #2, and in book #3… Because as authors, we create people we love, and then we torture them.

I guess I just wanted to share a new experience for me. I’ve gone from being a die-hard pantser, to someone who now writes pages and pages of character study, plot points and twists – even though I don’t always follow them. And not just in this project as AJ Brooks, but I’ve started this process for my next two solo projects as well.

Before I write more than a thousand words, I’ve ached with my character(s), I’ve been excited with them, I’ve let them take over my thoughts while I drive and run and bike and fold laundry…

So.

This is something new I’ve tried, and I have to say I’m hooked.

What have you tried lately?

or what do you like to do before you start writing?

~ Jolene

 

 

Right Place, Right Time, Right Decision

The older I get the less I believe in correct and incorrect decisions.

I’m not saying I don’t look back at my “regular life” and my “writing life” and go – WHAT THE VERY HELL WAS I THINKING??? But I will say that most often, I remember WHY I made a given decision at a given time. (like the tattoo on my leg that I wish was something different, lol)

Despite many authors’ warnings about CFI, when I got my FIRST ACCEPTANCE FOR PUBLICATION I jumped on it. Of COURSE I did!! lol. Someone said they believed in my story enough to want to put it in print. WOW.

Now that I’m four years after that moment, there are a lot of things I would have done differently, but I learned SO SO SO MUCH. And all the things I learned from that experience, are things that helped me later on.

I can say this same thing about my first agent. I remembered why I chose who I did. And now that I can stand here, three years away from the decision to walk away from that situation, I think – yep, in a strange sort of way, that helped me.

A few friends of mine have had setbacks this week, and it brought this same thought to me again. Yes, but these people did the right thing for them at that time, and who knows what would have been different, or what different challenges would have been faced if they chose differently AT THAT TIME.

There’s an old saying or an old story or proverb or whatever you want to call it that goes something like this:

Villagers in the small town continued to go to their leaders complaining about aspects of their lives. Wrongs that had been laid against them, burdens they carried. So the town decided to get together and put all their problems and offenses and burdens in a pot, and they could trade one with another. As they reached in to trade, each person chose the burden they had put in the pot over the trials of their friends.

There’s a lot to be learned from this, I think. We’re more equipped to handle what’s thrown at us than we realize. Our hardships are our hardships. We learn. We grow. And with luck (and using the people we surround ourselves with) we come out better than we went in.

I know almost no one who has had a smooth road to publication (even when it seems that way from the outside). But still we press on, a little smarter than before, a little more experienced than before, and a little more ready to face what’s coming.

Now I feel like I should end with something cheesy like – FLY LIKE AN EAGLE!!! THE WORLD IS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!!

But instead, I will just say – If you’re writing in hopes of starting a career, think of the long-game. So many of our challenges (but not all) can be lessened with a little perspective.

Also. I love you guys😉

~ Jo

P.S. Here’s your awesome Friend/Pitch Perfect moment made possible by the lovely (and wildly sexy) Cassie Mae. And also remember to not only surround yourself with awesome people, but lean on them😉 (Now that song will be stuck in my head for the rest of the evening… Lean on me…When you’re not strong….And I’ll be your friend…) Also. We did not plan these t-shirts. At all.

 

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Language vs Story and Some Rambles

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So. I saw this the other day and may have snorted in a very non-cute way because I totally disagree. And what’s funny, is that I used to totally agree. I used to burn through books in an evening. OFTEN. Now, I only want to read books that are good enough that I WANT to slow down and enjoy the words the author wrote.

Of COURSE this is my right, and OF COURSE a lot of people would disagree, but it’s gotten me thinking about a lot of things.

My writing has changed drastically from my first published book. Drastically.

The other day I sat in front of “my” bookshelf (the one with all the good stuff on it) and opened a few of my favorites from years ago. And a few more. And… I realized that if I started reading those books now, I probably wouldn’t have made it past page three. Because without strong language and good writing, only a handful of people are going to continue reading and enjoy the story. Or maybe a LOT of people will still enjoy the story.

I’m just not one of them.

I would rather read a book that 90% character study than BIG IDEA if the writing is good.

And sometimes the BIG story and the GORGEOUS writing come together and make something amazing. I just finished The Archived by Victoria Schwab, and the writing was just amazing. The story was amazing. I’m in the middle of Just One Day by Gayle Forman, and WOW. Writing meets great story. My list of books where fantastic writing meets great story is pretty long. My list of great writing and pretty good story is even longer.

I guess what it comes down to is that I’ve been spending more time on craft than I ever have before. Is it slowing me down while I write? Yep. Is it making writing a bit more difficult? Yep. Is it worth it? HOLY CRAP YES. I want people to read my books and think – Jolene’s books just keep getting better.

BUT, of course that won’t happen for everyone.

This is just been on my mind a lot lately b/c I used to burn through a first draft in 2-6 weeks, and I think the time of me speed-writing is over, and right now, I’m just trying to be okay with that😉

What’s been on your mind lately?

~ Jolene

 

P.S. I’M PART OF AN AUTHOR TAKEOVER ON THIS LOVELY BLOG!!!

Wazzup Wednesdaaaaay!

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SUPAH fun meme started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. Drop by their place to see the full list of people participating and/or to jump in yourself 😉

 

 What I’m Reading  – For fun I jumped into Cassie Mae’s How to Seduce a Band Geek, which I’ll probably finish today😀 And then last night I couldn’t sleep and opened like five different books on my kindle because I didn’t want to turn on my light to read Band Geek (hubs was sleeping) and started The Archived. HOLY AMAZINGNESS. Will probably read everything Victoria Schwab writes. Ever.

What I’m Writing – EDITS!!! I want to pull my hair out. I’m not sure if writing is harder for me or if I’m just a better writer so I’m pickier. I’d like to hope the second. BUT – I’m just about ready to send my MS to my editor (of total awesomeness) at Albert Whitman Teen – THE BOOK THEY BOUGHT LAST WEEK ON A PARTIAL!! Woot!! In Pieces should come out in hardback fall 2015 :-D I’m in SHOCK that my third hardback is on the books. Just…wow…

What Else I’m Up To – Enjoying summer. Enjoying my kiddos being home (for the most part). Working out hard, playing hard, not sleeping as much as I’d like b/c the sun is still up at like 11, and it’s light all night now.

Mike and me overdose on one TV show at a time. We finished Fringe a couple months ago, and Luther last month. FLEW through the first season of Elementary while mourning the distance between Sherlock seasons. And then Mike jumped into Eureka, which is slowly growing on me. A little cutesy for my taste, but good, and I don’t care about it so much that I can’t write while hubs watches. Psych is next, except for the fact that I might need to start watching Elementary again. Also. I want Lucy Liu’s wardrobe for that show.

What’s Inspiring Me Now – I have a few ideas I’m DYING to write and not just because I want out of edit hell😉 Actually worked longhand and mapped out the next book. I have like two chapters written just to see if I could get the voice right. Longhand is ONLY for book plotting/mapping😉 BUT it definitely helped me get excited about writing the story.

The other thing that’s inspiring me are my FRIENDS. Seriously. I have the best writer friends. In just the last week – Steph Campbell, Nyrae Dawn, Cassie Mae, Christa Desir, Jenny Proctor, Melanie Jacobson, Morgan Shamy, Kaylee Baldwin and Allie Brennan have all done something awesome – maybe without even realizing it.

And the THIRD thing that inspires me is that Amazon keeps sending me emails about these books🙂 I LOVE seeing my Kate and Aidan in such good company –

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What have you all been up to?

 

~ Jo

 

 

What’s UP WEDNESDAY!!!

So, I haven’t done this in a few weeks – but it’s a great meme started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. Drop by their place to see the full list of people participating and/or to jump in yourself😉

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SO!

First off –

WHAT I’M READING!

I just beta’d a great book by Steve Bohls, and another by Morgan Shamy.

I’m in the middle of beta’ing for Allie Brennan who shares my Spec Fic agent, Rachel Stout (love her). Only Allie’s book is in the same wheelhouse as what I’m working on (not spec fic like the other two), only GORGEOUS, so it might ruin my writing mojo ;-O

I’m also reading RUINS by Dan Wells, which is the final in that trilogy. I’m in no hurry to finish because it means that world will be over…

My TBR list for the summer is frightening, but at the same time, I can’t wait to REALLY jump in.

 

WHAT I’M WRITING

So. I sent a proposal (synopsis and 60 pages) to my editor at AW Teen, and so now I’m trying to clean up the full MS. I’m in that phase of LOVE IT! HATE THIS! LOVE THIS! HATE THIS! Which is a really weird place to be in, knowing I’ll probably be turning this over to my editor shortly, lol. Not sure that selling on proposal is for me… Fortunately, even in the I HATE THIS moments, I remember why I wanted to tell this story and I also try and cling to the idea that a few hours ago, or a day ago, I loved this story.

I also accidentally started writing a story that I have NO idea what I might want to do with, and there’s something very freeing about that. I got down about 6K two nights ago, and I know the second I skim over what I’ve written, my fingers will fly, so I’m waiting until I have actual TIME.

 

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO

Adoptions can be such roller-coasters, and that’s all I’m allowed to say about that.

My kids are officially out of school today! No more packing lunches unless it’s for a picnic!!

My server for my author site is broken, so now I’m switching to GoDaddy hosting, and while GoDaddy is ever helpful, I haven’t carved out time to get it DONE, and I really, really, really, need to get it done. I have no author site at the moment…

FINALLY gave my Instagram account some much needed attention, and I promise to hang out there more😉

My husband’s job as a prosecutor has been more stressful than normal, making me wonder often WHY DO I LIVE IN THIS PLACE WITH SUCH HORRIBLE PEOPLE. Though, no matter where we lived, with him in that line of work, those thoughts would cross my mind.

I’ve also been “building” paths through the acre of woods we own. Kiddos have put benches out there on the pathways and it’s been all kinds of fun. This is my new “running” place, which is good because now that kiddos are home from school, my range is greatly shortened.

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I LOVE SUMMER.

 

Oh! Almost forgot. Giving stuff away HERE.

 

WHAT’S INSPIRING ME?

Again. Working on craft.

Also – remembering to LOVE my characters. When I really know my characters, I have to tell their story.

And that’s. What’s. Up.

 

What are you all up to?

~ Jolene

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRIIIIIDAAAAAY 5

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ONE – (because it’s being THROWN in my face on Facebook😉 As excited as I am for all the lovelies at RT in NOLA this weekend, I’m also a little jealous. BEIGNETS WITH WRITERLY PEOPLE! Double Win.

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TWO – (Because YAY) Including today, my kids have three days left of school this year. I’m actually REALLY looking forward to their summer vacation. No more rushing kiddos through breakfast, packing lunches, doing homework… 

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THREE – (Edits…) Going over a book that I wasn’t quite sure about when I started (well, I knew I WANTED to write it, just wasn’t sure if I could), but that I love more with every pass of edits. THIS is why you take as much time as you need to get excited about edits, before jumping into edits. It’s how I trick myself into loving that tedious process. I think I finished the first draft of this book six months ago or more, but I’ve sat on it until I’m ready and excited to jump in again, and THAT’S when I send it to another reader. NOT before. Publishing takes forever anyway. Might as well take my time getting the book right😉 Also, I find that my best stuff usually comes after taking some time away.

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FOUR – (because I do read) I finally read XVI after having it on my kindle for like two years. About to jump into RUINS by Wells (final in a trilogy), doing a read of an AH-mazing book my Morgan Shamy, and next I’ll probably indulge and read Kiera Cass’s series. I’ve read book one, and plan on reading book two and three while in my bathing suit, in the backyard, working on my tan😉

FIVE – Our weather is perfect. Low seventies, breezy. I’m once again “stealing” my “husband’s” car just to DRIVE. When you own a convertible in Alaska, the top needs to be down EVERY POSSIBLE SECOND.

 

What’s up with you?

~ Jolene