Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guest Blogger Jennifer Willows

Title: Nothing to it, but to do it

My first book started one spring day when a friend of mine from work told me she had a published novel. My response was the stereotypical wow and smile, even as I said I would like to try that myself. That is the second most popular response when those around me find out about my new career.

But unlike the 99% of people who want to write, I started the book we’re talking about that same night. I love to read, but I haven’t completed college yet, or taken any classes to write creatively either. So with that said, I didn’t think I had snowball’s chance in Hades to publish it either.

I looked at the book for over two months, not sure what to do about it, or even if I wanted to do anything with the manuscript. My husband talked me into sending it somewhere and I did. The choice of Siren was easy, they write some of what I like to read, and had the bonus of some of the best turnaround time on inquiries.

One month later, my book was accepted, but I didn’t tell my family. Oh, my husband and friends at work knew about it, but not my parents or other close family members. The reason was my mother. She is deeply religious and I knew she wouldn’t like the subject matter one bit.

I regret the choice to keep it quiet, because once my sister knew, mom knew shortly thereafter. But dad never found out as he passed away less than a month later. I was elbow deep in edits when I found out about his death. I’m the executor of his estate and his family came with a passel full of drama.

They stole his car for heaven’s sake, not to mention his missing will and other personal effects. They even used his bank cards and wrote checks, the whole nine yards. While here I was left with funeral expenses and a rapidly closing deadline.

I’ve gotten a speeding ticket since then, two court dates and really tired fingers. Not to mention the hair-pulling stress, but I’ve made it. I work nine hour days at the day job, fifteen if you include my nightly writing spree and I’m still making it. That’s the point. Life is going to throw lots of curve balls at me, but I will make it, and use them as fodder for my grist mill. 

Read an excerpt from Jennifer Willows's book which will be here on Friday Freebies.  Check back and leave a post.  You just might win!

Five years ago, New York City

Makenzie Stafford-Johns was not having a good day. She looked at her haggard reflection along the mirrored gallery wall. Her face, while still the same, was pinched and flustered. On a good day, Makenzie was usually compared to Jill Scott, with her medium-brown skin, delicate features, wide eyes and mouth. She was built like Jill, too, on the thick side on a bad day at a size twelve. Her breasts were a full D cup, and she had just a little behind. Enough so she wasn’t entirely flat in back, although most men in her experience preferred more.
The reason she looked so haggard was bad news, although it had been awhile since she had any of the good variety either. Deciding she needed time to think, she left work at the gallery early and walked to the nearest entrance to the subway. Her mom had called her on her cell, just before her last break of the day. The news she gotten during the call made her scared, more than scared. Hell, terrified may be more appropriate. Her mom had cancer, and her insurance dropped her when she got laid off last month. The seemingly innocent conversation replayed in her head over and over again during her trip home.
“Makenzie, I need to talk to you. Do you have a minute?”
“I always have time for you, mom. What’s up?”
“I’m sick.”
“Do you need some money? I have some extra cash I can send if you need to pick up some TheraFlu or something.” She had said, even as the thought crossed her mind that it wasn’t really extra if she wanted to eat something aside from Ramen noodles this month.

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