A couple years ago, I moved my blog with my website at http://www.jolenebperry.com, but search engines still pull up this old thing, so I felt I needed an explanation:
I’m no longer here 😉
A couple years ago, I moved my blog with my website at http://www.jolenebperry.com, but search engines still pull up this old thing, so I felt I needed an explanation:
I’m no longer here 😉
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.
It’s still “under construction” but you will now find me at
And now I’m going to eat cookies instead of weeping over all the lost hours building up two sites 😉
Ok. I haven’t played in a loooong time 😉
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.
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??
(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.
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?
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 😀 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 –
What have you all been up to?
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.
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?
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.
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…
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.
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?
This is a hard lesson learned.
I look at the writing in my first book and cringe a little. I’m okay with this – or at least I’ve come to terms with it. The Next Door Boys is published proof of how far my writing has come. Don’t get me wrong, I still love that story, but yeah…the language could for sure be smoothed over and strengthened.
With how many writing books and articles I read – Litreactor, Bird by Bird, Save the Cat, Chuck Palahniuk – my writing gets better, stronger, crisper.
By the time I get copyedits on a book (usually 2 years after I wrote the book), I’m like – Well, DUH JO, you KNOW this… Only I didn’t know that when I wrote the book.
My paperback versions of Knee Deep and Night Sky are much tighter than my ebook versions because I edited those myself.
My AH-mazing friend, Christa Desir, pulled me in on a project she’d been trying to get right for ages, and we wrote about three versions of that book before we stepped back and said – we’re almost, but not quite, good enough writers to write this book.
Last night I pulled up a WWII story that I’d written YEARS ago. I think in 2010?
And while I love the story, the writing is…a MESS. Last year I pulled out that book and smoothed over the story. Made the flow a little cleaner and added some more tension, but I knew something still wasn’t quite right.
I finally figured it out when I looked over it again. The writing is…just okay. This story deserves SO much more than ok. SO MUCH MORE. (I’m still not decided if this book will be a Mia Josephs book – a little racier, or a Jolene Betty Perry book – a little cleaner)
The blurb for any interested…
Charlie’s losing Eva because he’s falling too fast.
Frank’s losing Eva because he’s not falling fast enough.
Eva’s losing herself in a desperate attempt to make her family proud.
After falling into the life Eva’s always wanted, it doesn’t hold the happiness she expected. Now she’s caught between a husband who gives her bruises, and a man fighting somewhere in the Pacific. Both her heart and her loyalties are tearing as she struggles to be the woman her father would have wanted, and the woman she wants to become.
Set in a small town just outside of Seattle during World War II, With Everything I Have is a novel about love, discovering the power within us, and learning that sometimes letting go of a life that was always imagined, frees us to live the dream we’re afraid to hope for.
The next three YA solo titles I want to write are a bit different for me (but still some of the signature Jolene things). They’re a bit darker, they’re a bit brutal, and they’re for sure suspense novels. I could have written these stories years ago (one of them I did) but I wasn’t a good enough writer to tackle those stories yet. Now… Well… I guess all I can do is jump in and see…
I know people who doggedly work on one book and make it perfect, throwing all their energy there, and I jumped in and wrote a ton of books, hoping to learn something along the way…
I’m not sure if it’s better to spend the time and the years to make one project great and learn what you need to learn, or if it’s better to just write new things until you find stories that stick…
I will say that a benefit to doing it the first way is lack of evidence of your beginner ineptness 😉
I love that by changing the punctuation, I’m asking Wednesday a question.
WHAT I’VE BEEN READING:
I’ve been beta reading!! I read a supah fun MG ghost story for Shelly Brown.
I’m in the middle of an AWESOME fantasy by Melodie Wright.
And just finished what’s going to be an INCREDIBLE read by Nyrae Dawn.
Up next? I think I’m going to re-read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone and then finish off that series. OR start reading some of the books written by all the lovely writerly people I’m going to see next week at the STORYMAKER’S CONFERENCE where I’ll be teaching a class w/ the awesome Cassie Mae – Writing Collaborations: How not to kill your partner, and other useful tips.
WHAT I’VE BEEN WRITING:
I’m doing my LAST (and therefore very slow) read of DEAL before turning it over to my agent of awesomeness, Jane Dystel.
I polished and shined my first 50 pages of an MS to hand off to my editor (which means the above book might go out later than I’d like…)
I started writing a book similar in feel to DEAL all because my cousin who I visited in Seattle said something about how she expected that with my husband’s job, I’d write more suspense. I figured she was probably right 😉
WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO:
My daughter of awesomeness let me sew her this dress that we designed together (it has a V in the back, which she is thrilled about). She wore it with combat boots. Almost 11 years old, chose her pixie cut, knows how to girl it up, and can rock a pair of boots. I’ve done well 😉
Getting ready for Utah and the Storymakers conference, which really means stressing over the million things I need to do to take care of my family and my kiddos, and figure out what I’m going to WEAR, lol. Every time I pack for a trip, I’m reminded of how much black and grey I have…
My granddad, who is maybe one of the coolest people on the planet is back in the hospital 😦 So, I’ll be spending a lot of time there over the next few days.
WHAT IS INSPIRING ME RIGHT NOW?
I’ve been SOAKING up articles and books on craft. I don’t care where you are in the game, the competition for spots on bookshelves is FIERCE. The articles and books motivate me to always be working on strengthening my story-telling through tighter plots or stronger language. I might do up a post on some of my favorite resources next week.
OH!! And another random tidbit.
I met with Steganie Tatalias, who is the regional rep for SCBWI up here because I said I wanted to help in some way.
AAaaand now I get to speak at our regional SCBWI Conference as well as possibly moderate a panel w/ some agents and editors that I’m looking forward to meeting. And we’ve started planning an afternoon workshop that I’d like to do. So. Wins all the way around 😉
What’s up with everyone else??