Friday, October 30, 2015

"Which of Your Books Is Your Favorite?" -- Part II

In my last post to you, I talked a little bit about how Jodie Pierce got me thinking about which of my books is my favorite. I told you why Fat Chance and Prescription For Love and Wrestling Harmony are all my favorites of my books. I even hinted that More Than Friends (Kingsley Series #4, coming November 12, 2016) might be my favorite too!

What I didn't mention specifically in my last post (because I've mentioned it before) was that my Amazon exclusivity is almost over! During the month of October, Fat Chance and Prescription For Love went live on extended markets, and now all of my books are available on Amazon's Kindle, Apple's iBooks, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Kobo, and Inktera/Page Foundry! Except for one ... Wrestling Harmony. But that's changing, too, and today, Wrestling Harmony is going live on the same extended markets as the rest of my books! (You can find the most up-to-date purchase links for the Kingsley books here.)

And now that you know how much I love the Kingsleys, and how much I want you to love them (insert completely tactless self-promotional winking here), let me get on to Part II of "Which of Your Books Is Your Favorite?"

I've told you about Fat Chance, Prescription For Love, and Wrestling Harmony. Now, let me tell you why Selkie is my favorite of my books. In Selkie, I got to play with an old legend, I got to make up a world and set the stage for a culture. The Selkie Trilogy is a romantic fantasy, increasingly heavy on the fantasy as the series goes on. In Selkie I, you get to know Annie and Malik, and you'll love them as they take you on an adventure into a whole new world, a whole new way of life. Selkie I is my favorite of my books because it was so much fun to write, because it was the place I went to hide while my mother was going through a cancer scare, because it connected me with a legend/myth that I've been fascinated with for many years.

We've all heard of werewolves, and with the current craze for all things were-animal, lovers of werewolves, weretigers, were-etc. will love getting to know a creature informally known as a wereseal ... the Selkie of old Celtic lore. In the legends, A selkie was usually a woman, a siren of the deep who could walk out of the sea on seal flippers, shed the sealskin, and transform into an irresistible woman. Legends said that if a man could find a selkie pelt and hide it, he could stop the selkie woman from being able to re-enter the sea, thereby trapping her as his mate. Legend spoke of the Selkie female as an amazing wife, and a wonderful mother. But in all the stories, the human knew what they were doing. The man would trap a Selkie woman purposely, wishing to keep her for her favorable qualities as a wife and mother. But what if the sexes were reversed? And what if the human knew nothing of the legends? And what if ... what if we could follow a Selkie back into the water? What if we could learn their ways, their culture? What if?

You can see where I'm going with this. Selkie is like my other books in that there is a strong romance with beautiful characters that you can relate to and feel for. It's like my other books in that there are sweet moments and hot sex. There's fun banter. But it's something totally different, too, in that there is much more external conflict, much more adventure, and even a little bit of suspense. It's my favorite because it's so novel (to me), so different from what I usually read, and from what I usually write.

I can't help but love it ... and that's why it's my favorite. Want to introduce yourself to Annie and Malik, too? I bet you'll love their story just as much as I do. Check them out here.

Want to know why Fighting For Freedom and Courageous are my favorite books, too? Stay tuned for the next post, where I'll tell you all about why I love Christine and Aiden, and why I might even revist Allie and Jason for a full length novel ...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Which of Your Books Is Your Favorite?" -- Part I

Usually, I answer reader questions directly, but since the answer to this one is pretty long (and I actually get asked this pretty regularly), I thought it would be fun to answer it this way. Most recently, I was talking to Jodie Pierce; we were chatting about writing life, my upcoming street team launch, and publishing/marketing/etc, and she asked me which of my books was my favorite. My answer? All of them, for various reasons.

I'm a romance writer because I love romance stories. I love watching two people overcome something that stands between them, whether it's a jealous ex, a misunderstanding (or series of them), or just one person's hangups keeping them from accepting love from other people. I love reading a romance novel and watching someone's journey as a person, watching the journey of a couple as they learn to make life together a workable concept. I love feeling good at the end because it worked out. And when the sex is sweet and not raunchy, I love that, too. After all, I'm in it for the romance, not the sex ... if I wanted the sex (which, truth be told, now and then I do), then I'd head over to erotica. But that's another post.

Ahem ... back to the question at hand.

As I mentioned above, I don't really read romance for the overabundance of drama; I like the story to be about the personal journey of each person in the story, and I don't always like it to be triggered externally. Sometimes, like in real life, it isn't a jealous ex or a nosy parent or some other external burden that keeps lovers apart. Sometimes it's the demons in our own heads that force us to endure loneliness for long periods of time. And that's why The Kingsley Series books are my favorites of my books.

Fat Chance is my favorite of my books. In Fat Chance, there is a little bit of external drama, but the story itself is about Cass's journey as a woman without confidence. She doesn't love herself, she doesn't show herself compassion. She doesn't feel worthy of those things, because she's gotten caught up in what the world thinks is okay or normal or beautiful. She's sad and she's bitter, and I've had people tell me that the first half of that book made them feel a little depressed -- and that makes me happy. Why? Because it means I've done my job. I've taken you inside her world, inside her sadness, inside the feelings of hopelessness and depression. But there is hope, and the second half of that novel is all about what it feels like to learn to love yourself, and how important it is to love yourself before you can ever expect to receive love from anyone else. The thing is, no matter how much someone loves you for the good things they see in you ... you can't actually receive that love until you believe the good things are there. Fat Chance is Cass's journey to believing. And it goes without saying (even though I've said it many times in various interviews and posts on my blog) that Cass is very personal for me. I've dealt with a lot of what she feels, a lot of what she's been through. In some ways, she's me. In other ways, she's other women I've learned from or felt empathy for. But in all ways, she's every woman's journey, fat or thin, short or tall, regardless of race, color, or religion. Or at least, that's what the readers tell me. (Want to read her story for yourself? Purchase for KindleiBooksNook, or Kobo. Also available on Inktera/Page Foundry.)

But then there's Prescription For Love, and that's my favorite of my books. In that book, the worst of the external drama is behind us, but we can still watch Cameron struggle to let go of the past. And haven't we all struggled with that? Many of us still remember school bullies, or childhood abuse, or that first bad relationship, or the way we struggled with our own self images. Sometimes it's something deeper though. Sometimes it's something that scars you forever, like witnessing a crime, or being robbed, or being assaulted. Sometimes it's grief over losing a loved one. And letting go of the past is not always easy ... that's why bookstores and libraries almost always have a self-help section. It's why counseling and mental health are such huge topics in societal conversation. Because it's not always about what happened to you; sometimes, it's about how you let whatever happened affect you afterward. Cameron and Mac? They're heroes. They're inspiration, they're the desire and urge to move on, they're the wish for companionship that we all walk around with. They're the need for support and comfort that we all feel. And for each other? They're the satisfaction of those desires, the meeting of those needs. They're the example of basic human compassion. They're the example of what happens when you let go of the past and find the courage to move on. And Cameron? She's the reason every woman must first learn to be her own hero. (Check out Cameron's story, and see if she's as inspiring to you as she has been to me. Purchase for KindleiBooksNook, or Kobo. Also available on Inktera/Page Foundry.)

I love those two stories, and I'm so proud to have written them. They're my favorites of my books! But then there's Cameron's little sister Harmony, as she wrestles with herself and who she wants to be in Wrestling Harmony, that book becomes my favorite, too. Harmony's a spunky young woman facing some tough choices at a really vulnerable time in her life. She's facing the existential questions we all face: Who am I? Where am I going in life? Who do I want to be? What am I going to do? What are my dreams? And how can I bring them to fruition? And on top of everything ... what about love? Is it worth it? What if I get hurt? What if something bad happens? What if it doesn't? She, like every other woman, is on a journey of self, and though she doesn't suffer from Cass's lack of confidence, she has her own personal barriers that keep her alone and afraid to taste the joy of romantic love. It's amazing what fear can hold us back from, even if we know in our heads that the fear is irrational. And it's so much more amazing when there are people to push you beyond that fear, people who are willing to hold you hand and pull you into the water so that you can learn to swim. Harmony's willingness to get outside of her comfort zone, and Xander's undeniably sweet persistence, are why these two make Wrestling Harmony my favorite of all of my books. (Want to meet this spunky sweetheart and the man who coaxes her out of her comfort zone? Purchase for Kindle, or find this book on October 30, 2015 on iBooks, Nook, Kobo or Inktera/Page Foundry.)

Want to know more about my favorites of my books? Stay tuned for Part II of this post, where I'll tell you why Selkie, Fighting For Freedom, and Courageous are all my favorites of my books. Maybe I'll even give you a sneak peek into why I loved Michael Kingsley enough to struggle for almost two years to bring you a Kingsley book from a male perspective (More Than Friends, coming November 10, 2015) ...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Top Ten Things That Are Happening Right Now!

  1.) Prescription For Love is releasing to an extended market today! Cameron Kingsley is ending her exclusive Amazon relationship, and now you can purchase her story on all of the popular e-book markets. You can find an updated list of purchase links here.

The Kingsley Series is a series of stand-alone contemporary women’s fiction romance novels, each connected to the next by the bonds of family. Each book in this series follows the personal journey of one of the Kingsley couples – however, each story is continued and updated in the following book. These books can be read in any order, but are best enjoyed in order of publication. This series contains mild sexual content.

Prescription For Love is the second book in the series:

Cameron Kingsley is jaded; a traumatic event from her past is still haunting her, and even running her own wedding planning business isn’t enough to make her believe in love that lasts. She spends her days choosing flowers and china settings with serial brides who marry serial grooms, and she spends her evenings locked in a cycle of flashbacks and panic attacks.

But a family wedding changes everything; a request from her brother’s fiancĂ© sends Cameron to the office of sexy Mackenzie Caswell, who might be just the man to help her see things in a new light.

Mac is a widower and a single dad who still treasures the memory of his deceased wife and loves nothing more than his young son. A man with heavy baggage, he’s been walked away from more times than he cares to count, and he’s ready to try one more time. But who is the one with the heavier burden – Cameron, or Mac? And will they be able to help each other shoulder the weight of moving on?

  2.) Harmony Kingsley will be ending her exclusive Amazon relationship too (on October 30), and then you'll be able purchase her story on all of the popular e-book markets as well. As it happens, I'll be updating those purchase links too ... you can find them on the Kingsley Series page on my website at authorbrandikennedy.blogspot.com

For those who may not know, Wrestling Harmony is the third book in the Kingsley Series:

Harmony Kingsley is a failure. All her life, she has worked toward one goal – to compete on the Olympic gymnastics team. But she didn’t make it in time, and now younger competitors are edging her out of the sport. Now she’s just a trainer, and to add insult to injury, she’s not training competitors – she’s training kids. And even though she loves the kids, she hates the loss of her dream.

A misunderstanding sets her at odds with the uncle of one of her students, but under the angry tension is a tension of another kind.

Xander has been on his own for a while, and he’s built a good life for himself. He’s got a nice house, a good job, everything a young man could want … except love. But when Harmony’s best friend can see what Harmony and Xander can’t, and she contrives to push them together, what kind of sparks will fly? Will Harmony and Xander find something deeper than the fires of passion, or will her trust issues cause them to crash and burn?

  3.) This month, I'm going to start giving my newsletter subscribers a monthly thank you gift! At the end of this month and every month from now on, I'll be using random.org to choose a random subscriber to win a $5 Amazon giftcard! The monthly winner will have 48 hours to open the newsletter, find out they won, and claim their prize -- otherwise, they'll miss out, so make sure you're receiving and opening my newsletter regularly. The winner will not be announced here on the blog -- the new winner and list of previous winners will only be found in the left column of the newsletter.

(If you're seeing this on the blog, you can subscribe to my newsletter by filling out the form at the top of the right sidebar.)

  4.) I'm also going to be sending out Christmas cards for the first time this year, but the mailing list will close on November 1st so that I can order and send the cards before Christmas. If you'd like to receive a Christmas card from me but haven't signed up yet, you can find that sign-up form here.

  5.) November 10th is coming, and that means release day is coming! More Than Friends (the fourth book in the Kingsley Series) is now well into the editing process, and is on track for a great release day! I'm so excited!

More Than Friends is the fourth book in the Kingsley Series:

Michael Kingsley is a broken man. How could he not be, when the wife he thought he’d love forever, the one he thought would love him forever, just picked up and left him with no explanation? It took him a while, but he’s finally putting his life back together. He’s doing his job, he’s paying his bills – he’s even getting back into his old hobbies.

He’s finally doing alright again … mostly. And maybe he does drink too much, but at least he’s finally stopped sleeping around. Now he’s settled on one woman, a curvaceous and flirtatious bartender who never misses an opportunity to warm his bed.

But when Michael’s mother ends up in the hospital, it’s his best friend Renee who stays by his side, and he begins to see her in a whole new way. But when they take a step beyond the boundaries of friendship that cannot be undone, what will happen to their relationship? Will they find something more, something neither of them even realized was there? Or will the fear of changing – and maybe losing – their friendship, be the thing that ends it all?

  6.) With More Than Friends almost ready to go live, I've been thinking about my next major focus project. I'm currently working actively on several different projects, but I do usually have one major focus, so what's my next major focus? Well, I looked back on the feedback I'm getting from my readers, and it looks like my next most wanted project is ... *drum roll please * ... Selkie II!

  7.) I received an email recently from a reader asking if I have a public mailing address that readers can use to send things to me, and after sending that address back in a reply, I thought I'd go ahead and share it here, too. Readers can send letters, book art, etc., to me at P.O. Box 12035, Knoxville, TN 37912

You can also find my other contact information and social media links here.

  8.) I've designed a brand new banner to take with me to RTS16 in the spring! The signing will be held in Knoxville, TN on March 19, 2016, at the airport Hilton -- how's that for easy travel? Admission to the signing is free, but for just under $45, you can purchase tickets to a special VIP luncheon, too! And ... there is talk of a Carnival-style social event afterward, which is going to be so exciting!

  9.) I can't think of a number nine, so ...

10.) You guys, I am so addicted to McDonald's half-sweet-half-unsweet tea right now. Like seriously. I think I need a support group or something ... is that a thing?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

More Than Friends Is Finished! And A Cover Reveal For Lauren Dawes ...

You all know that I write romance. In fact, by the time you read this, I'll have finished the writing of More Than Friends (the fourth book in the Kingsley Series), and I'll have moved on to the editing process. And most of you, as you've gotten to know me a bit, know that even though I want to write in other genres, I will always write romance because I love love. There's just something about watching two people come together that just sets my heart to fluttering and if there's some romantic stuff getting said along the way, all the better. And of course, it helps if there's good steamy sex that warms me up without grossing me out. Mmmm, I just love love.

But I love lots of other stuff too. I love thrillers and horror novels and mysteries. I love fantasy books, and I love paranormal stories, too. And because I love books, and I know that you love books, I want to tell you about a book I think lots of people will love.

Back in 2013, I was a new baby writer. Well, not a new writer, really, but definitely a new author. And I met another author named Lauren Dawes, who became one of my besties that year. We'd chat daily, read each other's books, help each other proofread, etc. And through her, I fell in love with the dark urban fantasy genre, which I hadn't really read much of at that point. I read all of her Half Blood Series (which isn't finished yet, but I think four books are currently available), and I was amazed at how much I loved them -- then she wrote a book called Dark Deceit, and it was amazing. So when she wrote Dark Desire, I was all over that. And now? She's written Dark Devotion, and holy Moses, you guys, look at this cover reveal!
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 Book information Title: Dark Devotion Series: The Dark Series (book #3) Author: Lauren Dawes Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance Release Date: February 25th, 2016 Length: TBA Publisher: Momentum
Synopsis
Beneath Rhys’s skin lies a legendary and feared beast. Rhys is tormented by his daily struggle to contain the ruthless, cold-blooded creature sharing his body. But when his best friend Galen disappears, Rhys’s careful restraint and self-control are finally broken. Fueled with a desire to find Galen, Rhys strikes an unlikely alliance with the only god who knows the truth about his dark past.
Taer has found her revenge, yet she’s still not happy. There’s something missing from her life, but still she fights what her heart is telling her. It’s only when the incredibly infuriating and dangerously sexy Aubrey goes missing that she can admit her true feelings for him. Taer’s racing against time to rescue Aubrey, but when will she finally allow him into her heart?
Perfect for fans of Gina Showalter and Patricia Briggs.
Purchase links

Other titles in this series: Dark Deceit (book #1)  Dark Desire (book #2)
Giveaway
(open internationally) 


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In other news:

  • Fat Chance is now available on all e-book markets! Fat Chance is the first book in the Kingsley Series, and in Fat Chance, you'll meet Cass Keaton, who struggles with the concepts of confidence and self-love. She's had a rough life, and her ability to see her own worth is damaged by the tests of time, the trials of being orphaned, and her harsh memories of bullying and rejection. Finally on the brink of doing the unthinkable, Cass seeks the help of a therapist, and this one choice changes her life in ways she wouldn't even have dared to dream. (Purchase for KindleiBooksNook, or Kobo. Also available on Inktera/Page Foundry.)
  • I'd really like to see some new reviews on my books! So if you've read any of my books and haven't reviewed, please take the time to leave your feedback in the reviews -- I don't even have words to tell you how meaningful your feedback is. In the meantime, if you leave a new, honest review on one of my books, please shoot me an email at authorbrandikennedy.blogspot.com; include the link to your review and your mailing address, and I'll send you a bookmark as a thank you! (Fine Print: This is not intended to be a prize or compensation, as those are against ethical review policies. It is meant only as a gesture of thanks for your feedback and the time it takes you to forward the information to me.)
  • I'm going to be sending out Christmas cards to my readers this year. Want one? Just sign up here.
  • I'll be signing books here in Knoxville on March 19, 2016 at Romancing The Smokies. For more information and to secure your tickets to the event, check out RomancingTheSmokies.com,

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Breaking Up With Amazon?

When I first published in December of 2012, I did it as an Amazon exclusive author, and I was pretty damned proud of myself. I published To Love A Selkie on December 18th, 2012, and I loved that Amazon's KDP made independent publishing so easy for me. I didn't want to give up the creative control of my writing, my characters, my titles, etc., to anyone. I didn't want to pay an agent to sell me to a publisher who wouldn't care about me as anything other than a dollar sign. I didn't want my work misrepresented by a publisher who didn't care about me as a new author because they could maybe make more on someone else. I didn't want book covers I didn't like. So I stepped out and did it myself. I wrote the story, I asked my cousin (who is a grammatical genius) to help me out with editing, and I talked to an old friend who was into graphic design about my book covers. I had a lot of help, but I loved being able to make all the final decisions about what did or didn't make it into the story, what the final length of the story was, and what the product looked like as it went out to you, my readers.

In the years since then, a lot of things have changed, and I've continued to embrace the independence offered to me as an independent author/publisher. With some informal training under my belt, I often design my own covers now - sometimes with input from other designers, and sometimes without. I write my own stories, sometimes with feedback from others, and sometimes without - but the stories with my name on them are mine, products of my own hard work and creative thinking. Once the project is done, it's not totally mine anymore - it goes to my editor and she helps me hunt down mistakes in the writing, missed words, sloppy errors, typos, and plot errors. When it comes back to me though, I'm glad to know that I decide what changes and what doesn't, what's good and what isn't, and which parts of the story I'm willing to stand with. Another thing that's changed is that I've grown comfortable trusting my own judgement.

One thing that hadn't changed in all this time though, was my relational loyalty to Amazon and it's KDP platform. I was proudly loyal to a company who made it so painless (relatively) for me to achieve my dream, and I remained loyal for some time even when I began to realize that my loyalty was hurting my ability to branch out.

However, by the end of 2013, I was already looking into non-exclusive options, by the end of 2014 I had two books on several different markets, and now I'm working on ending my exclusivity entirely. I'm not totally breaking up with Amazon though; they aren't perfect, but Amazon is home to me. Still, I want readers of all preferences to be able to access my books ... I don't want someone who is as loyal to Apple (or Kobo, etc.) as I am to Amazon missing out on my stories because my books aren't available to their market. Soon, my books will all be available everywhere. Well, almost everywhere (we'll talk about book rental services another time, maybe).

In the meantime ... beginning yesterday, Fat Chance ended its exclusive relationship with the Amazon market. While the book is still live on Amazon, it has also now made a successful Kobo debut. There's been a slight glitch with the Nook and iBooks uploads, but once that's settled, the first of the Kingsley Series books will be making a debut on those markets, too.

Throughout the month of October, I'll be uploading the second and third Kingsley Series books to the B&N, Kobo, and Apple book markets also, and then in November when More Than Friends releases, it'll be available to everyone.

I know this post is a little more bookish and a little less personal than usual, but I'm wrapping up More Than Friends, working on the Apple issue, and setting up for the extended market release of Prescription For Love, so I am totally rushed these days, and while it's a lovely kind of stress, it's still stress. Don't worry though, I'll be back to something personal soon, and I can't wait to finally share the More Than Friends release-day celebration with all of you!

Oh, and just so you know ...
  • This year I'm going to be sending out Christmas cards for the first time! If you'd like to make sure you receive one, please add your mailing address to my mailing list. The list closes on November 1st though, so don't wait too long. You can find the form here.
  • I'm also going to start choosing a random newsletter subscriber each month to receive a $5 Amazon giftcard!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Review: 'Nobody' by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I've had several people lately contact me for various reasons and tell me through the course of our conversation that they love this blog or they love my newsletter. They love that I talk about my books and keep everyone updated, but they also love that they get to delve into my personality and who I am as a woman in addition to my standing as an author.

I put a lot of thought into all of my posts, wherever I am (except for maybe my personal Facebook page, where I'm a little less censored -- or maybe a lot less censored). On my "Fast Four" (Facebook author page, Instagram, Twitter, Google+), I post a little personal stuff, but mostly I keep things short, sweet, and about my books. That is, after all, why you're there, right?

But now and then, I just want to share something with you. A song I love, or a show I'm watching. A quick quote that touched me, or a moment with one of my loved ones. Sometimes, it's a book. Like this one ...

*About The Book*
The most dangerous people in the world ... are the ones you don't even see ...

Some people are Nobodies: ignored, unloved, practically invisible in every way. No one notices them. No one cares about them. They exist under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away. No one sees them coming. No one sees them leave.

That's why Nobodies make the perfect assassins.

Seventeen-year-old Nix is very good at his job. So when the organization he works for sends him after a teenage girl named Claire, he doesn't ask questions. He's a killer. She needs to die.

For sixteen years, Claire has led a normal life being overlooked. Her parents are absent. She doesn't have any friends. She has no idea what she is, or why anyone would want her dead. But she's about to find out, because from the moment Nix attempts to carry out his mission, the two are caught up in a conspiracy of murder, cover-ups, and betrayal.

Nix is a killer. Claire is his target. But when he sets eyes on her, everything changes, because only the two of them can truly see each other -- and two Nobodies are more than twice as dangerous as one.

*My Review*
Let me preface my review by saying that I do not like the blurb that's on Amazon. The blurb posted above is from the actual hard copy that I recently checked out from my local library, and is much better than the spoiler-filled one on Amazon. Just so you know. If my review makes you want to buy this book, avert your eyes from the Amazon blurb.

Let me just start by telling you that this book shredded me as soon as I opened it. I read that blurb about Nobodies, about invisible people, and I felt my heart wrench in my chest. Then I read about Claire, and I felt the corners of my mouth turn down with empathy. Not sympathy, not just sorrow for Claire, but empathy, the kind you feel when you actually know firsthand what someone is going through. Because I have been invisible. I have been unseen, unloved. Unchosen. And then. Then, I read about Nix. A boy who sets his eyes on a target and for the first time, he can't bring himself to complete his mission.

I read the story, and Claire ripped my heart completely out of my chest. Her angst began as typical teenaged self-pity, but it moved quickly into the deeper human longing to be loved and accepted, to be wanted and needed. And the wounds that gape open, bleeding and sore, in the soul of a person who feels invisible. Insignificant. Unimportant. This book shredded me, and it happened over and over again right from the beginning:
  •  on page five: "Claire Ryan was a ghost, a nothing, a nobody. Invisible would have been an upgrade. Oxygen was invisible, but it got breathed all the same. Sound waves were heard. Even clandestine farts had the distinction of being smelled."
  • on page nine: "She was going to be sweet. And sooner or later, she'd be sweet enough, independent enough, something enough that either someone else would notice, or she'd stop caring what other people thought (or, more accurately, didn't think) at all."
It happened as I got to know Nix, too:
  • on page eleven: "You're less than air. Less than shadow. [...] No matter what you do, no matter where you go, people will always look through you. They will affect you, but you will never affect them. [...] If you let yourself, you could love -- but no one will ever love you. Even if they wanted to, they couldn't. That thing, that intangible thing that other people have that lets them form connections, that lets them matter -- You don't have it. You are never going to have it."
And it just kept happening, little passages like this that spoke to the injured woman inside of me who has been lied to and cheated on and threatened and broken and broken and broken. Little passages that spoke to the woman inside me, the one who used to listen to Zac Brown Band's "Whatever It Is" and wonder what it must be like to have that, to have whatever it is.

Let me tell you, this book made me weep in the quiet dark of my bedroom, reading by the light of my cell phone held up to illuminate the pages of a book that I couldn't put down. I even related well to Claire's coping mechanism, the way she relied on imagination and her "Situations" and her love of books:
  • on page six: "Claire closed her eyes and ran her hand along the spines of the books on the outermost row of the top shelf. Like a man reading Braille, she let her fingertips explore the cracks and lines on the books' edges until she felt the zizzing zag she was looking for, the near-velvet texture of a tome read so often that the paper on the cover had been worn to soft, threadbare nubs."
This book, you guys. The characters, the concept. The Nulls. The Nobodies. You just gotta read it. It's five stars. Five solid stars. I think maybe I'd have given it seven, or eight. Or ten. Honestly, I'm still not sure I'm done emotionally processing everything there was in this story, all the impact it had to offer. I know this book is a keeper, it's one that I'm going to go out and buy for myself. It's one that I'll re-read, and re-read again. But not now ... I'm too wrecked right now. Just totally wrecked.

And I love it.


*More About Jennifer Lynn Barnes*
Amazon / Twitter / Website

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Upcoming Release

I've posted lots of different posts in the last few weeks, and I've talked about so many different things! But in the background, I've still been writing and arranging things. So here's a look at what's coming up on my schedule:


In October, I'm having a party on Facebook!
  • The party begins officially on October first, but I've already been posting there and I'm hoping to post at least once daily throughout the month of October. Posts will include trivia about the books and characters, games, photos, excerpts, etc. There will also be occasional giveaways included with the posts, so be sure to join the party as an attendee and check in to the party page often!
  • This party is to celebrate the end of my Amazon-exclusivity and the more widespread availability of the Kingsley in other markets. On October 10th, 20th, and 30th, the first three books (in series order) in the Kingsley Series will be released on iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc. This will culminate in the November 10th release of the fourth book in the series, More Than Friends.
I'll be signing at Romancing The Smokies on March 19, 2016.
  • This is looking to be an awesome event with lots of great writers, including Tonya Kappes, Destiny Blake, JK Ensley, Mallory Kane, Nancy Naigle, Leanne Tyler and more!
  • There will be a luncheon for VIPs too, and I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone there!
  • Entrance to the signing itself is free, but tickets to the meet-and-greet luncheon are available here.
I'm also already starting to plan my five-year author anniversary party!
  • My five year author anniversary will be December 18, 2017, so the party will likely be held on the Saturday prior, December 16th. If all goes well in the planning process, there will be a party with refreshments, music, and fun. I'll also be signing pre-ordered books toward the end of the party itself.
  • The planning process will involve a few different steps, beginning with this form, where YOU can suggest where I hold the party. The next step will involve a poll, where voters will help decide which city is chosen from the suggestion list. Subsequent forms or polls might help decide what refreshments are served, etc. This is not just a party for me, it's a party for you, so let's plan it together!

More Than Friends is in the home stretch!
I've been sick for nearly a week with something that behaved suspiciously like laryngitis. During that week I spent lots of time coughing, spent lots of time sleeping, and ate way more starlight mints than I would have wanted to. I tried several different remedies to hold off the cough, and even had to download a text-to-speech app so that I could talk to my kids (who thought it was hilarious, by the way)! What I didn't do much of was write, but now I'm back in the saddle.

At the moment, the writing aspect of More Than Friends is currently 74 percent finished, and is still on track to be finished on time, though I may have to add a few writing days to the end to make up for being sick. However, this does not hurt the editing process, and More Than Friends will still release on November 10, 2015 as planned! I can't wait for you all to meet and get to know Michael Kingsley! In the meantime, you can find an excerpt here.
REAL CHARACTERS. HONEST LOVE. BRANDI KENNEDY BOOKS.