The Marathon of Novel-Writing

I’m guest-posting on A Writer’s Path today, sharing my experiences as a novelist.

Come on over for a visit and check it out!

The Marathon of Novel-Writing

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Reflections on a Good Week

As anyone who follows me regularly can attest, I don’t use this blog too often for shameless self-promotion of my novels.

Please allow me to make an exception for today.

I am on Cloud Nine since Wednesday, when my debut book Calmer Girls peaked at Number One on the Amazon Canada Bestseller list for Teen Fiction, specifically in the Kindle Store categories of Teen Pregnancy, as well as a peak at Number Two for Dating & Intimacy.

Yay! 😀

What a nice feeling to hit those numbers.
Thank you, Canada.

Calmer Girls Series

***end of self-promo***

I now return you to regularly scheduled programming.
See you on Sunday!

Hello, August. Here So Soon?

July is over! Whaaa?
Can you believe how quickly it whizzed by?

This month is shaping up to be
another busy one for yours truly.
First, there’s this:

I am honoured to be making three appearances during this Author Tour.

Getting to rub shoulders with the literary talent in our fair province is a huge part of the fun. Do drop by our libraries if you’re in Gander or Clarenville on these above dates, or if you’re in St. John’s for the Grand Finale. (More about the finale later)

I will also be busy with my two grandkids + one little friend, who are coming tomorrow for a week-long stay here on Perry’s Point.

And then there’s work on the new novel in between all of this, not to mention all those chances to soak up more summer.

FYI:
I’m running an Amazon Countdown Deal
for 
Calmer Secrets from
August 2nd to August 9th.
Score a Kindle copy
of this sequel to Calmer Girls
at a discount on Amazon.com
and Amazon.co.uk.

What are your plans for August?
Do tell!

Completing My First Draft: Three Things I’ve Learned*

Besides being featured on Jill Weatherholt’s blog yesterday, I also guest posted on The Writer’s Path to share one of my articles on writing fiction.

It was interesting to look back on this post because I wrote it before either of my books were published. Still, I believe the concepts hold true and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Completing My First Draft: Three Things I’ve Learned

*Originally posted on Sept. 6, 2013 on jenniferkellandperry.com

Author Blog Hop: Twenty-Four Days

Fellow blogger, author, and e-friend Jacqui Murray has a new book out:
Twenty-Four Days.

It’s the exciting sequel to her first novel, To Hunt a Sub.
Here’s the scoop on it, as well as my review.

Short Synopsis of Twenty-four Days:

A former SEAL, a brilliant scientist, a love-besotted nerd, and a quirky AI have twenty-four days to stop a terrorist attack. The problems: They don’t know what it is, where it is, or who’s involved.

Long Synopsis of Twenty-four Days:

What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the sentient artificial intelligence who thinks he’s human:

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

World-renowned paleoanthropologist, Dr. Zeke Rowe is surprised when a friend from his SEAL past shows up in his Columbia lab and asks for help: Two submarines have been hijacked and Rowe might be the only man who can find them.

At first he refuses, fearing a return to his former life will end a sputtering romance with fellow scientist and love of his life, Kali Delamagente, but when one of his closest friends is killed by the hijackers, he changes his mind. He asks Delamagente for the use of her one-of-a-kind AI Otto who possesses the unique skill of being able to follow anything with a digital trail.

In a matter of hours, Otto finds one of the subs and it is neutralized.
But the second, Otto can’t locate.

Piece by piece, Rowe uncovers a bizarre nexus between Salah Al-Zahrawi–the world’s most dangerous terrorist and a man Rowe thought he had killed a year ago, a North Korean communications satellite America believes is a nuclear-tipped weapon, an ideologue that cares only about revenge, and the USS Bunker Hill (a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser) tasked with supervising the satellite launch.

And a deadline that expires in twenty-four days.

As America teeters on the brink of destruction, Zeke finally realizes that Al-Zahrawi’s goal isn’t nuclear war, but payback against the country that cost him so much.

My Review:

5 out of 5 stars: Fast-paced suspense in this page-turning sequel
Format: Kindle Edition
What a wild ride! This was an enthralling followup to To Hunt a Sub, which I also read; I loved the characters, including Otto the AI (I actually would have liked to read more about him), and the edge-of-your-seat suspense as the book built to a riveting climax. I also appreciated how strong and capable the female characters in the story were drawn, especially LT Paloma Chacone. Refreshing to read of this brand of heroism from both genders.
It boggles my mind to think of the research it must have required to tell this tale. I’m sure fans of the thriller and military genres would enjoy it.

Kirkus Review:

A blistering pace is set from the beginning: dates open each new chapter/section, generating a countdown that intensifies the title’s time limit. Murray skillfully bounces from scene to scene, handling numerous characters, from hijackers to MI6 special agent Haster.
… A steady tempo and indelible menace form a stirring nautical tale.

Book information:

Title and author: Twenty-four Days by J. Murray
Genre: Thriller, military thriller
Cover by: Paper and Sage Design
Available at: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular
Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and  Twenty-four Days. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.
You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

Social Media contacts:

http://twitter.com/worddreams
http://facebook.com/kali.delamagente
http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher
http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray
https://plus.google.com/u/0/102387213454808379775/posts

Author Event This Saturday

For more information, visit:
Author Reading
Jennifer’s Amazon
Author Website

Calmer Secrets Setting in Pictures

This is Part Two of the Calmer Girls series setting in pictures.

Calmer Secrets takes place in Newfoundland in 1997-98, four years later than the first book. (The Calmer Girls Book One setting pictorial can be seen here.)

First, let’s take a look at Samantha’s school in Corner Brook, Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus on the west coast of the province. Samantha is enrolled in the Visual Arts program there.

Art Studio

Photography Lab
When Samantha returns to St. John’s during a school break, she goes downtown with Veronica and her friends. In one of the George Street clubs, she sees cover band, Cold Plate, and is reunited with her high school friend Kalen there.

George Street, lined with pubs, in downtown St. John’s

George Street x 2

x 3: The annual George Street Festival entertainment always draws huge crowds.

Later in the story, tragedy strikes.
The youngest character in the book is brought to the Janeway Children’s Hospital,
the one that existed at that time.
A new facility was built a couple of years later.

The Old Janeway Hospital

The New Janeway, built in 2001
The following photos depict Samantha and Ben’s boat tour experience out of St. John’s Harbour.

The Battery at the foot of Signal Hill

Samantha takes pictures of an iceberg like this…

…and puffins!
Check out this real boat tour short video:

Photo sources: Grenfell College, NL Tourism, Eastern Health, Pinterest, Google (public domain)

Thanks for coming along!

Calmer Girls Setting in Pictures

Although Calmer Girls is a fictional tale, its Canadian setting certainly isn’t.

It was fun writing a pair of novels set in my birthplace of St. John’s, Newfoundland, and perhaps the following pictorial will better explain why it had inspired me. After all, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

All of these locations are featured in scenes throughout the first novel. Calmer Cove is not included as it is semi-fictional.

St. John’s Harbour
66 Thunderbird Convertible

Samantha and her sister took their first ride in Ben Swift’s T-bird to Signal Hill and along the harbourfront. Later, Samantha took pictures of a cruise ship in the Narrows.

View of Harbour from Signal Hill
Cabot Tower on Signal Hill – National Historic site
Where Ben Swift lives: Gower Street, in all its vibrant colours
x 2
Where Samantha, Veronica and their mother live: Military Road
x 2
Cape Spear.  Sam, Ben and Kalen visit here. This is the oldest original lighthouse structure in the province.
x 2: Aerial view of Cape Spear – the most easterly point in all of North America
x 3: Cape Spear National Historic Site – new lighthouse
Newfoundland, Canada
House similar to rich girl Crystal’s. She has a party one night where Ben loses his temper. (Canada House on Circular Road, Heritage Property)
St. John’s Regatta at Quidi Vidi Lake, where Samantha and Ben share their first kiss.
Bannerman Park, where Samantha and Ben get busted while kissing. Also where Ben loses it – again! – and punches his buddy Kalen in the face.
The War Memorial, where Ben finally confesses his depression to Samantha. 
Planned Parenthood – NL Sexual Health Centre, where Veronica visits!

Thanks for visiting my hometown, which is, in my opinion,
one of the most vibrant and colourful places on earth.

Photo sources: NL Tourism, Government sites, Wikipedia, Google (public domain)

Come back next time for Part 2: Calmer Secrets Setting

Unsettled: a Calmer Girls Excerpt*

 ~ A brief look back at Book One before the release of Book Two ~

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Invitation to Lewisporte

Along with another local author, I was invited to do a reading at the Memorial Public Library in Lewisporte Wednesday night. It was my first time in this Newfoundland community and I had hoped to take some scenery pics there, but the weather was dull, grey and snowy so I didn’t get the opportunity.

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Snow-covered road to Lewisporte after we left Gander
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Introduction before Reading

Introduction before Reading

Answering questions and sharing a laugh
Answering questions and sharing a laugh
YA Fantasy author Kate Sparkes
YA Fantasy author Kate Sparkes
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Buddy!

I have fellow WordPress blogger, Brenda, to thank for the invitation. Brenda lives in Lewisporte, and we connected a while back through her cat blog featuring Buddy. After she read Calmer Girls, she suggested the reading idea to her library, and voila!

I am so grateful for the many likeminded connections and new friends I’ve made through blogging and writing. Brenda also invited Paul and me to dinner and an overnight stay in her home. Aren’t people wonderful?

Something that struck me recently is how many wonderful women are behind the promotion of libraries, book clubs, and our community of writers and readers. Making connections with these women have enriched my life, which is another reason I’m glad I got involved in writing – and blogging too!

Does your local library host author events?
What does your community do to promote all things literary?

FYI:

  1. This is the last day to enter the Goodreads Giveaway of 5 signed paperbacks of Calmer Girls. Click here to enter.
  2. If you sign up to my email list before the February newsletter is issued, you will receive a 4-page sneak peek of the Calmer Girls sequel, Calmer Secrets, being released March 21. Add yourself here.

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