Muse-Sings December 2012 Special Double-Feature
Jenny Keller Ford & Jennifer Eaton
Make Believe Anthology
On December 3, 2012, J. Taylor Publishing will release Make Believe, an anthology of six short stories, ranging from contemporary romance to fantasy, written based on a photo prompt with a wintery setting and a woman in red.
Two lovely ladies whose blogs I follow, and who follow my blog – and perhaps yours – each have a short story included in the anthology: Jenny Keller Ford, and Jennifer Eaton. They both graciously agreed to be interviewed before the actual blog tour for the book kicks off on December 3rd.
Congratulations, Jenny and Jennifer – I’m delighted to have you as special guests of my blog today!
Random commenters during the tour will receive ebook copies of either “For the Love of Christmas” or “Make Believe” so make sure you leave a comment and show Jenny and Jennifer some love!
Don’t forget to fill out the Rafflecopter at the end of the interview as well
for extra chances to win!
Jenny Keller Ford & Jennifer Eaton
About the Authors
Jennifer Eaton lives on the East Coast USA with her husband, three boys, and a pepped up poodle. She hosts an interactive website www.jennifermeaton.com aimed at making all writers the best they can be.
Her Dystopian novelette “Last Winter Red” is available as part of the “Make Believe” Anthology from J.Taylor Publishing. Her Christmas Romance “Connect the Dots” is available as part of Still Moments publishing’s “For the Love of Christmas” Anthology. Both are available in ebook format from Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and Smashwords.
Last Winter Red: In search of a husband, Emily leaves the safety of the city and risks her life stepping into the outside world. What she finds there will question the foundations of everything she believes in.
Connect the Dots: Jill has no idea what she wants for Christmas, but when it looks like her best friend Jack is going to get exactly what he asks for, Jill makes a Christmas wish that will change both of their lives forever.
Jenny (J. Keller Ford) She’s Jenny Michaud to her friends and family, but to the writing world, she’s Jenny (“J.”) Keller Ford. It’s her maiden name and the name she’s always dreamed of using when she became a published author.
Jenny loves to write Young Adult fiction, primarily fantasy, but tends to write whatever when the mood moves her. It could be poetry, something horrible, something paranormal, it doesn’t matter, as long as she writes. She has written non-fiction short stories that have won online awards and they are posted on her blog. Jenny is currently writing a trilogy: The Chronicles of Fallhollow. Her first novel in the series, In the Dragon King, is undergoing a re-write for a publisher. She has also started on the second and third books in the series. Jenny is always writing short stories and submitting them for publication.
Jenny has been married for 21 years, has four children ranging in age from 17 to 27, and one grand-daughter. She has two silly cats, one solid white, the other a precocious orange tabby, an Australian shepherd, an Aussie mix and a spotted heinz 57 ‘gypsy’ dog.
Jenny’s life before she became a full-time writer was as an administrative / executive / legal assistant and paralegal for 20 years. Before then, she worked as a retail and data entry clerk. Her hobbies include: reading, writing, collecting seashells, walks on the beach, riding roller coasters, traveling, hanging with friends, being outside on a beautiful day doing anything other than staying inside.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how long you’ve been writing?
Jennifer: Well, if you were able to ask my Mom, she’d probably giggle like a goose and tell you a story about a box of crayons and a freshly painted white wall. But I think it seriously began for me when my father made a HUGE investment and purchased one of those new-fangled home computers when I was in high school. “You mean, I can type without white out?” A writer was born.
Jenny: Hmm, let me see. I was born in Neü Ulm, Germany. I twirled a baton in high school. I’m an army brat, a mom, a wife and a hopeless romantic with an insatiable appetite for fairytales. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t weaving tales. My teachers always encouraged me to write, but life sort of got in the way until recently when a door opened and was able to devote my time to writing full-time.
Where do you get your inspiration for writing?
Jennifer: God slaps me on the head and says, “write this you idiot! I gave you talent. Use it!” Sometimes I am surprised by the ideas that pop into my head and try to ignore them. If the Big Guy is really in-to a particular idea, he taunts me with it until it drives me NUTS and I have to write it down just to save the old sanity.
Jenny: OMGosh, where do I NOT get inspiration! It’s everywhere. It could be in an overheard conversation, the tinkling of silverware and glasses at a party, the forlorn horn of a tugboat, a baby’s laugh. A toddler crying. All we have to do is stop, look and listen.
Was it always your goal to be a writer, or did you have other career ideas when you were growing up?
Jennifer: Didn’t every kid want to be a vet when they grew up? I know I did. Somewhere along the line though, I probably figured out that I’d have to do surgery too, and there’s no way I’m cutting anyone up. Nope, sorry, not gonna do it!
Jenny: I always wanted to be a writer when I was growing up. Of course, I always wanted to be a veterinarian, too. College chemistry sort of shot that dream down (I always seemed to want to burn down the lab) I then changed my major to journalism but I didn’t like the regimented style of factual writing. My mind always wanted to stray to the land of make-believe. I eventually married, raised a family, got a degree in Paralegal Studies, and joined the corporate world, but the desire to write remained as important as breathing.
Who are your favourite fiction writers?
Jennifer: My all time favorite was Robert Jordan. Especially in the earlier years of the Wheel of Time novels. I love big and Epic pieces. Right now I have my eye on a few newcomers, Julie Reece, and Claire Gillian. I’ve really enjoyed their novels, and have high hopes for any new stuff they come out with.
Jenny: C.S. Lewis, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Cassandra Clare, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemmingway, Robert Ludlum, Raymond Feist, John Green, Ayn Rand, Sara Gruen, J. K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Anne McCaffrey, and the list goes on.
Can you please tell us about your current work(s) in process?
Jennifer: Oh! Which one? How much time do ya have? Ha! I have two babies that I’m nurturing at the moment. The first is called Fire in the Woods, and it’s a YA Urban fantasy high-explosive chase book. **sigh** I’m having so much fun with it. The other is one of those weird things that niggled in to my brain and won’t stop. It’s called Une Variante, and it’s an Adult Paranormal Romance/Mystery/Something or other. I’m not sure where the Big Cheese is going with this one, but He sure has turned up the fire on it. Not sure why, but it’s there, and I gotta go with it.
Jenny: I have multiple works in progress. My baby is a YA fantasy Trilogy, THE CHRONICLES OF FALLHOLLOW. It follows the adventures of seventeen-year old David Heiland as he attempts to save two worlds from complete annihilation while dodging a sorcerer and a dragon determined to kill him. He might have had a better chance at succeeding had he not started the war he was supposed to prevent.
What kind of research is involved in your WIP?
Jennifer: I’ve actually done a lot of research for Fire in the Woods. It takes place in New Jersey (in the USA) so I visited all of the stops that the characters hide in along the way. I actually got permission from the farm to use their name in the book, which is exciting. I spent an afternoon with my son scoping out and taking pictures of the location where the climax happens. It was pretty informative. I also visited an Air Force base, and interviewed people who live there. I had to make some changes in my story after speaking to someone who works with military dogs. I was bumbed that I had gotten some things wrong initially, but I was able to work around the problems.
Jenny: As the stories take place both in our world and in a parallel medieval-esque world, I had to do a lot of research on castles, as well as fabrics, apparel, materials and job titles. I also researched dragon and fae myth, magic and sailing terminology. Oh yeah! I also got to work with a ‘knight’ from our local Renaissance Festival to learn how to wield a sword. Let me say that was most stellar! I still need to do some research on F-18’s and F-22’s so if anyone out there reading this has any information on how to fly these things, how to bank, fire weapons, etc., I would love to hear from you.
Make Believe Anthology
Of the short stories included in the anthology, Jenny and Jennifer, each of you had contributions accepted. Huge congratulations to you both – that’s totally awesome and must be a real morale-booster!
I’m really curious – how did this come about, and did you two know each other before finding out that your stories had been accepted for the book?
Jenny: Yeah, we met a couple of years ago through Nathan Bradford’s forum while looking for critique partners. We hit it off and now we communicate on a daily basis.
Jennifer: Yeah, we give each other oxygen when due dates approach, and we kick each other when we procrastinate. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
Jenny: As for the Make Believe anthology…while researching publishers, I came across their open call for anthology submissions. The stories had to be written based on a picture prompt, which happens to be the cover for the Make Believe anthology. I sent an e-mail to Jen and asked her if she would like to take a swing at it. The rest is history.
Jennifer: Not so much history for me. I couldn’t figure out what the heck to write about, but J.K. kept my mind whirling. In a nutshell, I guess you could say this was all her fault.
Jenny: I’ll gladly accept the blame.
Jenny, your story is The Amulet of Ormisez. Can you tell us a little about your story?
There is only one way to save Elton Fletcher’s brother from an insanity-ridden death.
After years away from home, fighting for his people, Elton returns to discover his only sibling, Cayden, possessed by greed and malice, and responsible for malicious, unthinkable deeds. Cayden, though, isn’t the only one afflicted by the Amulet of Ormisez, and Elton finds himself in yet another battle, where the price of failure could be his own life.
Last Winter Red is your story, Jennifer – what’s that about?
It is based in a Dystopian setting, which means it is in the future after some sort of disaster has re-set the world and mankind has to start over. Emily lives in a city built to protect the people from the diseases in “the outside” … but she risks leaving in hopes coercing a renegade doctor to come back and be her husband. When she leaves the city, she discovers that everything she believes she knows is a lie.
What has the publishing process been like for each of you?
Jenny: Exciting and scary. The waiting and wondering if my story would be accepted was torture. When I got my congratulations letter, I squealed. Afterwards, the editing process was fairly straight-forward, and overall, I’m pleased with the end result.
Jennifer: What a crazy whacky world this is! Really, there is just so much to do. Your job isn’t over just because you’ve finished writing a story, let me tell you!
Have either of you had contact with any of the other four writers from the anthology?
Jenny: Yes. We’ve all become great champions for each other and I am inspired by their abilities as authors, as well as their warmth, sincerity and camaraderie.
Jennifer: Well, I don’t know about being a champion, but we do keep in touch. Terri Rochenski has actually become a pretty good friend, and JA Belfield has been such a help in guiding us “newbies” through the publishing/marketing process. Kelly Said and Lynda R. Young are really nice too. I personally couldn’t have asked to work with a nicer group of people.
How important do you think self-promotion is offline and online? What kind of promotion do you have planned for “Make Believe”?
Jennifer: Self promotion is incredibly important from all angles. You need to get your name out there so it can be recognized.
Jenny: The publishing world is shifting and authors, whether picked up by one of the big houses or self-published, need to do much of the ground work and marketing themselves. That’s why social media and blogs are so vital to an author’s future. What is the secret to a loyal following? Ask not what others can do for you; ask what you can do for others.
Jennifer: Can I wash your car for you J.K.?
Jenny: That’s not really what I meant.
Jennifer: Oh, Sorry.
Jenny: As to promotions, there is the official J. Taylor blog tour taking place from Dec. 3 2012 – January 3, 2013. All 6 authors have scheduled their own appearances on individual blogs featuring giveaways, interviews, blog takeovers, book reviews. It’s a lot of work but tons of fun.
Jennifer: Yeppers! This blog tour is probably the biggest promotion we will do. Offline promotions will be a little hard since Make Believe will only be in digital format, but I plan to let people know it is “out there” when I make my public appearances to promote different works in early 2013.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Jenny: I know it sounds cliché, but don’t ever give up. It’s easy to fall into and believe the “my writing is garbage” sound bite, but you have to somehow believe in yourself and push that aside and take the chance. If you don’t, you’ll never get published. Sure it’s scary. Sure you may get rejected, but every rejection brings you one step closer to getting published. Sometimes you just have to gulp and hit that ‘submit’ button. The result could surprise you.
Jennifer: I totally agree. Never give up, never surrender. Don’t overlook anything that might be an opportunity. You have just as good a chance as everyone else. Once you know you have honed your craft WORK WORK WORK to get your name and your writings out there.
Any words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?
Jennifer: See above. Make sure that you really work at being the best you can be… and if your work has not been critiqued by someone who does not know you, then it is not the best it can be. You need an unbiased opinion to make yourself better.
Jenny: Write your heart out and don’t stop. Write anything and everything that moves you. Don’t worry if your friends or family like or don’t like it. If it comes from your heart, you’re on the right track. Then, when the time is right, take the leap of faith, send it out, and start work on your next project. Always move forward, never look back. And when the rejections come, which they will, take a moment to wallow (because we have to do that), then find your strength, toughen your skin, and go at it again. There are a lot of fish out there in the ocean of agents and publishers. If you cast the bait enough times, one of those fish will bite, and you may end up with the catch of your dreams.
Where can people read your work online? Do you have a blog and/or website?
Connect with Jenny / J Keller Ford:
Connect with Jennifer:
Read about the authors who contributed their stories at: http://www.jtaylorpublishing.com/books/17
Is there anything else either of you would like to add?
Jenny: Only to say Thank You, Julie Catherine, for having us on your blog today. It means more to me than I can say. I also want to take a moment to congratulate Jennifer. She said at the beginning of the year she would be a published author by the end of 2012. She not only reached her goal, but exceeded it by having another short story appearing simultaneously in another anthology. *throws confetti*. I bow to your greatness, Jen. *smile*
Jennifer: Awe you’re so sweet!
Jenny: Nah, you’re the sweet one.
Jennifer: No you are.
Jenny: No you are!
Jennifer: No. No. No. You are — infinity times ten. Ha! I win!
Jennifer and Jenny: Thanks Julie!
Jenny and Jennifer, thank you both so much for sharing yourselves here on my blog today – it’s been fascinating, and I know many of my readers also follow you both, so this has been a real treat for us all. Best of luck to both of you, and congratulations on the launch of your book!
Jennifer: Yay! Thanks for having us. It’s been a hoot!
Don’t forget that random commenters during the tour will receive ebook copies of either
“For the Love of Christmas” or “Make Believe“
Click on the Rafflecopter link below for extra chances to win!