A Love Affair with Words*

All around the world, people are playing Wordle. The popular daily word game has become a must for me (at least until a paywall presents itself), as it has for many of my friends, relatives and acquaintances.

Thinking about word games reminded me of a post I wrote ten years ago this month, not long after I started this blog. I spruced it up a little and added a couple of photos:

As far back as I can remember, I have had a penchant for words, especially the written word.  Whether that love was instilled in me by a father who himself had a strong interest in language and books, or because I genetically inherited from him, I do believe he deserves most of the credit.

A familiar scene from my childhood was seeing Dad enjoy a little “light reading” before bed—devouring such tomes as War and Peace and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. On more than one occasion he was known to take an atlas to bed, to study up on the world geographically in relation to the news of the day.

Remembering my father that way always makes me smile. If only I could talk to him more about the books we’ve read. If only we could watch one more episode of Jeopardy together or play one more game of Trivial Pursuit as a family. He would have been eight-eight years old tomorrow (March 21), but we lost him nearly twenty years ago at sixty-nine. I’ve missed him every day of my life since.

I usually read about a book a week, but my passion for words doesn’t stop there. When I think of games, word games have always been my favourite.  Give me a competitive game of Scrabble any day over other board games.  I also delight in solving a difficult crossword puzzle, anagram, cryptogram, or jumble.  And if playing Jeopardy, what is my favourite category?  You guessed it:  Word Origins!

When I think of word origins, one particular book comes fondly to mind, recommended and owned by our father, and now in my possession.  Our Marvelous Native Tongue – The Life and Times of the English Language by Robert Claiborne, is probably the best book ever written about the origins of our language.  Thorough in its examination and encompassing the first intonations of our caveman ancestors to the many dialects of today, I found it hard to put down, even on a second reading.  Particularly notable are the many words we ‘borrowed’, and then kept from other languages, making English a true amalgam, and the rich, colourful and ever-evolving tapestry of words and speech we know today.

“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.”  ~ Truman Capote

Readers and writers:
Do you play Wordle?

What—or who—instilled in you your love of words?
Do tell!

*Most of the above is from an Evergreen Post written in March 2012.

Ten Years Blogging!

Hey everyone, look what WordPress told me today:

Jennifer’s Journal all started with a little procrastination on my part because I couldn’t pull myself away from my best-loved musical / fantasy / children’s movie, The Wizard of Oz. Check it out!

Follow the Yellow Brick Road…

PUBLISHED ON 

Hello, and welcome to my Journal! This is my first foray into the world of blogging, so being a total newbie at this, I am not even sure where my words will take us. The one thing I can tell you, Dear Reader, is that Jennifer’s Journal will be a sharing of my thoughts in the forms of prose, poetry and musings. As well, I plan to include selections of photography that I think you will like.

New Year’s Eve 2011 is upon us, and 2012 beckons with promise. I should be getting gussied up for the Ball at the Barbour site here in Newtown in a few hours, the first one in several years for us. I should be primping and preening, painting my nails, curling my locks and donning a frock to ring in the new year in style with the local revelers. Instead, I’ve happened upon The (wonderful) Wizard of Oz, a movie that has hijacked my attention for the hundredth time.

And once again, I ask myself, What is it about the Scarecrow (always my favorite), that makes my silly heart melt? Is it the way he falls about in his straw-filled pants, like he hasn’t a bone in his body, or is it the way he talks so kindly to Dorothy, making me wish I was her? Yes, I smile at the Tin Man, and I laugh at the Cowardly Lion, but it is the Scarecrow that makes me PVR the rest of the movie before I am reluctantly pulled away.

And I know it is the last day of the year, but I didn’t want to wait for January One, which would have been the expected start date of a blog. I had to ask that very important question today.

Perhaps, Dorothy has the answer?

Originally posted here.

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Heartfelt thanks to everyone who visited, commented, and continue to follow my blog.
You’re the best!

Wishing you all
a happy & healthy 2022
and beyond!

Calmer Girls: a Book Review by Luanne Castle

Happy Monday, everyone!

I’m thrilled to see that my debut novel, Calmer Girls, has been reviewed by American writer and poet, Luanne Castle, on Goodreads and Amazon. This is something that never gets old for an author, and is especially appreciated when such a sparkling review is from an esteemed writer like Luanne. Have a look below! You can also check out Luanne’s website and blog here.

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: Calmer Girls and its sequel Calmer Secrets are on sale for 99 cents each on Kindle until January. Here are the links to Amazon:
Calmer Girls
Calmer Secrets

5 out of 5 stars – “Exciting, gritty coming-of-age story”

“Samantha is the introverted, artistic, good girl sister of beautiful party girl Veronica. Veronica is very self-absorbed and can be cruel to her little sister. Their parents have separated and their mother has moved the girls across the island, away from their father. Their mother, Darlene, upset over the separation and her husband’s responses (including not always sending money for the girls) finds it hard to keep a job and begins to drink far too much. Samantha feels so alone. She falls for a handsome boy, Ben, but what will happen? Every boy is always attracted to Veronica at Samantha’s expense. The book explores these events and lead to a dramatic climax.
The characterization of Samantha is so well done. She is a good girl, but when she goes a bit “bad,” we can understand why. She’s only human, after all. Perry uses quotes from the Bronte books to begin every chapter, and they relate very well to what is going on. When Samantha begins to “act out,” the very next chapter begins with a quote that made me nod my head in agreement. The quotes add to the story being told, and they are meant to show what Samantha herself is reading (Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights). Veronica is less carefully drawn, but that is because the reader is really seeing her through Samantha’s eyes. Samantha has every reason to despise her sister. The question is, does her view change by the end of the book? Read it and find out! You won’t be disappointed!”

Thank you so much, Luanne!

Sunday Snap: Sunrise

Sunrise over Bennett Island

Happy December, everyone!

Wait—what?? How can this be? I had thought my November would have dragged by much more slowly, after I signed up for NaNoWriMo and sequestered myself to my writing cave for thirty days. Most of those days started early too—pitch-black early before the clocks rolled back on the 7th—and yet the month flew by anyway.

It was pleasant rising with the sun on those mornings. Most of this blog’s “sun photography” has been of the sunset variety like the one on my header, but there is something special about the quality of the sun at dawn. The stillness, the quietude, the fresh hope that gives birth to each new day is perfect inspiration for writing a new chapter in a novel or starting a new chapter in your life.

“I write for the same reason I watch the sun rise every morning. Not to express some great truth, but because it makes me feel wildly, gloriously alive.” ~ Marty Rubin

A Photo a Week Challenge: Sunrise

The Marathon of Novel-Writing

Another 1700+ words added to my NaNoWriMo work-in-progress today. So far so good. To stay on the topic of writing, I’m sharing a guest post I wrote for The Writer’s Path a few years ago, where I blog about my experiences as a novelist. The book idea I decided to set aside back then is the trilogy I’m working on now. Have a look!

Sunday Snaps: Beach Birds

Even though it’s November, we are still seeing shorebirds around Perry’s Point. Sandpipers, plovers, whatever the species, I like them all.

And I love that they make their home here in late spring, summer and fall. With the cold temperatures increasing, I predict our feathered friends will be winging their way south very soon. Here are three of my favourite shots of them from my files.

This one seems to have something to say!

So imagine my delight when I scored these lovelies at HomeSense recently:

Now I can enjoy beach birds all year round. 🙂

Bloggers and e-friends: My apologies for not visiting your blogs as much this month, due to my participation in NaNoWriMo. By the time I finish writing each day, I need to take a break from constant screens. But I shall return!

Have a wonderful week, everyone.

National Novel Writing Month Author Interview – Jennifer Kelland Perry

Check out my new interview for National Novel Writing Month!

Stay Connected with Chescolibraries

Dreaming about writing a novel? NaNoWriMo is a great chance to get your book idea going. During the month of November, aspiring and published authors from around the world have committed to writing 50,000 words in thirty days.

Jennifer Kelland Perry

Today we welcome NaNoWriMo published author Jennifer Kelland Perry, whose book Calmer Girls was part of a NaNoWriMo challenge.

Thank you for joining us, Jennifer!

How many years have you participated in NaNoWriMo? First of all, thank you for inviting me for this interview. I’m truly honored to be here. I have taken part in NaNoWriMo three times since 2013. The first two times, I worked on the Calmer Girls series, a duology. I successfully reached the word count of 50,000 words with both. The third and most recent time I participated was in 2016, where I didn’t reach the goal – life and a bad flu bug got…

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A Seasonal Love Note and an Update*

Happy September, all!

I’m sharing one of my Evergreen Posts today, because much of its content still applies to my life right now. Between berry-picking, bread-making, and gearing up for more writing this fall with a plan to take part in November’s NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—I expect to be busy. If all goes well, I will complete the first rough draft of my fifth novel (I have two published, two un-published) by November’s end. Thanks for reading!

I know our Atlantic Canadian summers are short and I treasure the warmer days while they’re here, but there is something about this season of change I truly love as well.

Late summer and early fall has a uniquely different quality, where on a sunny day the air lends a crisper, more metallic edge to the natural world. (This love affair hinges on one important caveat: that the northeast wind doesn’t blow too much and turn our world chilly and wet for days on end.)

The outlines of clouds against the steel-blue sky look sharper, heralding the approach of what is to come. Most foliage and grasses are still summery green. I relish them all the more, knowing the colours will soon transition into vibrant shades of red and gold before finally fading to the cool grey and white hues of late autumn and winter.

It is a season of harvest and renewal, a time of new beginnings and the dawning of fresh ideas. The kiddies are back in their classes. Though my own school days and child rearing years are well behind me, I still feel that push of motivation into new plans and goals, to make the transition into a stricter work schedule, to get back to writing more in the coming months. November and NaNoWriMo are still a ways off, but I strive to clear up all loose ends in preparation for – dare I say it without jinxing myself – a 50 thousand-word first draft of a brand-spanking new novel. But hey, I did it before, so why not?

Then there are the berries. Where would this season be without the berries?

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fruits of the first trip

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…and fruits of the second

In two afternoon jaunts, the blueberries are now picked, and it won’t be long before we are in on the barrens again to pick partridgeberries. (In other parts of the world, these lovely bitter, relatives of the cranberry are called lingonberries or cowberries.) I make plenty of the jam for my other half since he likes it on his morning toast all year round, not to mention in the occasional pastry tart with a generous dollop of thick cream.

Especially anticipated, besides an excursion on the barrens, is picking the plump, juicy partridgeberries that grow right here on our land. I checked all around the Point last week and it looks like a bumper crop this year, probably a sign of how plentiful their growth is everywhere else.

My boy and me back in the day

Coinciding with the cool-down in temperature is a return to more bread-baking. There’s nothing like the smell of a fresh batch from the oven to take the chill out of your day.

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

What do you like the most about this time of year?
Relief from the heat? A return to a more orderly schedule?
Getting the children out from underfoot and back in school?
Or are you sad because the summer is nearly spent?
Do tell!

This post was inspired by Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Seasonal.*

Summer E-book Sale

Hey, Book Lovers!

It’s the perfect time to add to your summer reading list. This week only, both Calmer Girls and Calmer Secrets Kindle editions are on sale for 99¢ each on Amazon.com and £0.99 on Amazon.co.uk. Check out the latest five-star review of Book 1 below the book graphics and grab one or both before July 5th.

5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and complicated teen/family relationships (Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2021):

“I usually don’t read much YA relationship-based drama, but this book has been on my radar for a few years, and I decided to dive in. I’m glad I did. The writing is polished, the story had me hooked, and these aren’t teenage characters with frivolous problems. Samantha, her sister, and her mom are all flawed, as is Ben, the love interest of the two sisters.

The story unfolds in Samantha’s point of view. Her family is falling apart. Her father has moved away, and her mother is drinking too much. Money is tight. Samantha has a crush on Ben, but he falls for her sister, Veronica. Samantha takes a hit to her self esteem, but when the relationship fails, Samantha and Ben get a chance at love.

But it’s not that easy. Resentment drives a wedge between the sisters, and mistakes aren’t going to simply disappear. Ben has some problems of his own that the author waits to reveal. The mystery around his character and issues was intriguing, and I didn’t fully trust him. I had no idea how the story was going to resolve, and that question made me read well into the night.

Ultimately the story is about a family growing up, about dealing with love, disappointment, and wounded hearts. I could relate to how painful that process was for every character in the book. Wonderful writing and highly relatable characters. Definitely recommended for readers of YA drama and family sagas.”
— D. Wallace Peach
dwallacepeachbooks.com

A cup of tea and a Calmer Girls book on a chair in the sun

Jennifer Kelland Perry: Calmer Secrets

Canadian author, fellow blogger and e-friend Carol Balawyder recently read and reviewed my New Adult novel, Calmer Secrets, on her blog. I would love for you to check it out.

Carol Balawyder

“Calmer Secrets is a novel about good people making bad choices. . . about an affectionate family sticking together through thick and thin. It’s a heartwarming book, filled with love and tenderness and suspense.”

Read the rest here: https://carolbalawyder.com/2021/05/24/jennifer-kelland-perry-calmer-secrets/

Thanks for this, Carol, and for your lovely review of Calmer Girls as well. All of my writer friends and book-blogging buddies rock!

I can hardly believe it’s been four years since my last book was released. Although I have a finished novel and an outline for its sequel, I’m still patiently waiting for follow-up from four publishers who have requested the full manuscript. Time will tell! Have a great week, everyone.