Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Let's Catch Up...

Since I last posted anything on my blog, a whole crapload of changes have happened here.

First,  I got a year older. Yup, that's right. I'm still in my blissfully false twenties but another year older in them. Of course if you ask one of my kids, they will tell you my actual age which makes me cringe a bit. Although for superstitious reasons I'm glad to no longer be at an age that ends in the number 3.

Second, I made a mean Turkey-day dinner and no one got food poisoning. This shouldn't be a hallmark achievement, but I feel with how crazy things have been it really is.

Third, I didn't complete NaNoWriMo. And I'm okay with it even though I didn't think I would be. Instead, I spent my days basking in time with my mom while she felt well.

For those of you who might be new, my mom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in mid-2011 and was re-diagnosed with it late 2012. She had 4 months in remission before learning she was terminal.

Fourth, I managed not to forget anything on my holiday shopping list. This was a miracle of epic proportions this year because mom started feeling bad and I did most of her shopping for her this year.

Fifth, I pulled off a nice birthday/Christmas Eve celebration for my mom even though I wasn't getting much sleep because she wasn't feeling well. She spent a good chunk of the day up and smiling with all 6 of her grandkids and the rest of us.

This is where it gets a little sad... Those of you not ready to read something sad this early in the year can feel free to stop now... I'll see you in a week with a big announcement. Those of you in for the whole pound, let's get on with it.

On Christmas Day, mom was admitted to the hospital for what we thought might be an upper respiratory infection or pneumonia. Turns out it was her cancer taking over her left lung. She had been undergoing a new treatment that was in the phase 1/2 stage. Unfortunately, in her case, the medicine wasn't working. The day after Christmas, her oncologist, our much loved Dr. C, came in to see her in the hospital while on vacation to review her options. It was then she announced with certainty that she was done. She was discharged the following day under the care of the great people of my local branch of Hospice.

Less than a week later, I had the honor of being by her side as she passed from this world to the next.  She was surrounded by people who loved her in her last hours and for that I will always be grateful. Because she died as she lived, being surrounded by love.

In the almost two weeks since her passing, I've managed to get most of her affairs settled, but there is still much to do. Last weekend, surrounded by family, she was laid to rest. But, it was the hours after that will stay with me forever. Instead of a traditional funeral, my mom had asked that we throw some life celebrations. So, I was able to see friends and family I rarely get to see and celebrate her life. It was an amazing experience to see and hear so many wonderful people and listen to their tales of how she touched their lives...

And I get to do it again this coming weekend because she had two places where she lived over her short 56 years on this planet. But as the RSVP's come in I am touched by how many people she has touched over the years. That, and how many wonderful friends I have that have made her passing so much easier to bare.

So, to all of you who have sent me a text, email, or called over the last 4 weeks while I've been going through what I can honestly say has been the hardest moments of my life, THANK YOU! Without each and every one of you I'm not sure I would've made it through this with my sanity in tact.

Oh, and to the friends who send me pictures of hunky guys, coffee, and dirty jokes; I  LOVE YOU!!!  You guys have the best remedies for the blues. Thank you!!!

So, I leave you all with this picture from last winter of mom and I prior to the pink hair...

Rest well tonight and know that another angel is keeping watch over you... 
I do.

Hugs and happiness in the New Year ~ Jeni

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 3

It's Day 3 of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I am slightly over 6,000 words at this point. Yesterday was my CRW (Carolina Romance Writers) meeting and I regret to say I didn't get much actual writing done afterward. However, the pantser in me took a quick breather and let the plotter that I have locked away in the deep, deep recesses of my brain out for a minute to grab a breath of fresh air and check plot points.

Then the pantser roared back to life, locked the plotter in a closet, and drank a cup 'o decaf. Actually, it was more like, she called on one of her writing buddies and said, "Help! My plotter got loose again! Bring some rope!"

Naturally N. R. Ratcliffe came to the rescue and reminded the pantser that plotters never prosper when pantsing. (I swear these are all real things... I haven't lost my mind... yet.)

Anyway, today I meet the day renewed and ready to write as soon as I get a few things taken care of family-wise. Then I am off to the land of Elemental strife that exists only in my head and on my computer. ;-)

I hope that those of you taking on the NaNo challenge are having as much fun as I am!

~Jeni Bee

Friday, November 1, 2013

50K or Bust

It's November 1st. This same time last year it was just the day before my hubby's b'day; just another Thursday.

But this year is different. This year is the first day of Na No Wri Mo (National Novel Writing Month). So, for those of you as unknowing as I was this time last year, it's a 30 day challenge to write 50,000 words. Essentially the rough draft of a novel as I see it.

Thanks to other great writer friends like VJ Burke, Natalie Ratcliffe, Denise Leton, and so many more I decided to take the plunge and sign up. It's no secret that my writing time has been less than usual in the last months, but I need to get back in the game and I've set myself up to have November (my birthday month also, send gifts in the form of decaf coffee, please) as my comeback month.

So once I click publish here, I will officially open and start my first-ever Na No Wri Mo document.

Once I have some words down on the page, I will add a word count widget here so we can all keep track of my progress together. If you are also participating in Na No Wri Mo, feel free to comment here and we can "talk shop"as the month moves along!

Best of luck to those writing. May your words be thoughtful and your fingers be swift!

~Jeni Bee

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Holy Big Voice Batman! (and I'm back...)

So today I went to my first CRW (Carolina Romance Writer's) meeting in a few months hoping to get the much-needed kick in the pants to get back to my writing. It worked. But maybe a little too well, because here I sit (immediately following the meeting) at a Starbucks in Charlotte working on a "I'm Back!" blog post.

While I sit here with the wheels turning in my head trying to divine the perfect words to say, "Hey World! I'm BACK!" The only thing I can think of is the words spilling from a perfect stranger's mouth. Why? Frankly because the man won't. stop. talking.

Now, for those of you who know me, I'm a chatter. I will sit and bend your ear for an entire day if you let me, but there are some things best left unsaid in a public forum or say outside a Starbucks on a nice Carolina Blue day. Like that your now-spouse turned you down for years because she had it in her mind that you were only in the "friend zone" and she wanted someone more "exotic." The fact that you now landed her and have kept her for 7 years shouldn't be something worthy of applause. Yet somehow you did receive just that. Applause. Huh?

Maybe it's just me but, if you were my character and I was creating you, at this point from all that you've told to some long-lost friends and a whole-slew of perfect strangers, your wife settled. Yeah, I said it. She settled. Why? I sure as hell don't know, but maybe it was because she was getting old or she got tired of watching you hit on inappropriate women or maybe she finally got tired of listening to you beg for her to see you as something other than her buddy. And not even a best buddy from the story you just told... Just a plain old buddy who used to ask her out relentlessly. Oh and who oftentimes over the years had to reassure her that you weren't interested in guys.

See, in the world where I live and play, if you were my hero, the two of you would've been best friends. There would be a slew of bad relationships spanning years of friendship. Oooo, and let's not forget the underlying sexual attraction between you both. You wouldn't be the only one thinking she's hot. Not in my world. She would never mention wanting someone more exotic, because in my world, you would be exactly what she wanted, but here's the kicker... you would be the one person she really wanted but just couldn't have. "Why not?" you ask. and the easy answer is "who cares?". What matters is that in my world you would be the guy she compared everyone else to. The one she dreamed about when she closed her eyes at night. The voice she longed to hear on the phone after she got some bad news. You, loud-talking stranger, would be that guy if you were living in my world. Which for you would end pretty darn well.

In the real world, I'm glad she finally decided to give you the chance you always wanted and it sounds like so far, so good, but I hope for everyone's sake that she doesn't finally meet that exotic guy she'd been holding out for for so long. Because in the real world that could spell disaster. Of course in my world, the tall exotic guy wouldn't be an issue, because he would've broken her heart into a million pieces when she caught him in the midst of a three-way with his sister's best friend and her roommate when all the characters were in college. She would've called you in tears and you would've done what any good best guy friend would've offered to do; bring over a half gallon of chunky monkey ice cream, a copy of Ever After, Pretty Woman, or worst-case a romantic comedy with her favorite hunky actor in it, and then dried her tears and offered her a back rub. (Read that again guys looking for tips... BACK rub!)

By the time the credits rolled, she would've been asking you (instead of running a mental dialog with herself ) why she didn't date a guy as wonderful as you. That would've been your prefect opening. Your opportunity to blow as it was. And in my world, sir, you would have said something like, "Yeah, why aren't you dating me?" Then the words would start a fire on pages that turned faster than the blink of an eye and you would have the happy-ever-after story that was worth telling.

But, I am glad you have had 7 happy years together and I wish you 7 more and then 7 more after that (and so on), but next time you feel the need to talk about your story out loud in a public place at a volume that rivals a jet-engines, make sure no writers are nearby or you may wind up with a much sadder story that you think you have because they will have rewritten yours in a way that reminds you some stories (like how you had to beg for her years to consider dating you) aren't really worth telling.

Thanks though for the inspiration for my "I'm back!" blog post because I wasn't sure what to write about until your story got me thinking.

Readers, I am so glad to be back on the blog. I've missed you all dearly and I can't wait to get back to regular postings!


Friday, July 19, 2013


This year has been a huge batch of firsts for me when it comes to my writing career:

I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America).
I joined my local RWA chapter CRW (Carolina Romance Writers).
I finished writing my first book.
I did my first pitch for an agent.
I did my first pitch for an editor.
I did my first writing retreat.
And now I'm at my first National RWA Conference.

In fact this is my first conference ever really. My jobs prior to my writing weren't the kind where conferences were something that I participated in.  I have been to events for Ron's work, but nothing like this.

I kid you not when I say that for the last 2 days, I have filled my head with more info than I am sure to retain. I have heard amazingly talented authors speak so eloquently that a room of people were brought to tears. I have made new friends, new contacts, and had the opportunity to meet some of the writers who I greatly admire. 

So far, it's been amazing. Overwhelming. But amazing.

I came to RWA not sure what to expect. My suitcases were packed to the point of no return and I hoped that I wouldn't stumble over my words too much when I met someone new. After two full days of lectures, I'm getting to the point of my brain exploding with new ideas, exciting new techniques, and inspiration to spare. And I want more. But there is only one day remaining and then it's back to the grind stone aka kids. 

I'm trying my best to find a way to bottle up the experience so I can carry it with me until next year as I get ready to submit to both the agent and the editor that requested a look at The Wind's Solace. Before I know it, tomorrow will come and go and my first RWA will be over. I'll take everything I've learned and carry it home with me as a more confident writer.

Oh and I'm pretty sure some attendees of another conference happening locally will take some things of their very own home. Yup, a big name tech company was sharing our hotel and I'm pretty sure some of those reserved guys got more than an earful from some of us more brazen romance writers while in the elevators at any given time. ;-)  You're welcome Mrs. Techie. You're welcome!

Thanks to all of you for being patient here while I worked overtime on edits to prepare for this conference. I hope to see you all again here next week!