Jennifer Geoghan Novels

25 Dec 2015: … End of Year Status Report

I started this blog to keep folks up to date on what’s happening with Jennifer Geoghan Novels and to share what I’m learning on my long and winding path to the Nobel Prize for Literature. So with that in mind, today I thought I’d give a status report on where things stand today.

After self publishing six ebooks, I’m finally venturing into the world of paperbacks.  It was an arduous task to format my book from ebook format to an acceptable print format, but it’s finally done! The things I learned doing that gargantuan task better serve me well in life! Adapting the cover gave me a few headaches, mostly because CreateSpace, who I’m doing the paper version with, had a hard time with the concept of a letter being cut off in the title of the book.  Here’s what I mean:

The Purity of BloodThe end of the “d” in blood is off frame.  Duh .. It’s called artistic, it’s supposed to be.  I finally got them to approve the cover and received the hard copy proof in the mail yesterday. It looked pretty good but I found two things I wanted to adjust.  I’ve now re-uploaded and am waiting for CreateSpace to approve.  So with any luck, I’ll have the paperback out for sale in a few days.

Createspace

Lesson Learned: My book is too long to be of any good for sale as a paperback 😦

At 454 pages, a 5.5 by 8.5 page size and charging what I consider the max I can logically charge of $12.99 a copy, my royalties will be only $1.50 a book.  Not only that, if I were to jump onto CreateSpace’s expanded distribution (where it becomes available to retailers) my royalties would be that I owe CreateSpace $1.10 per book.  Yeah, you read that right, I OWE THEM MONEY!?!?! To not owe them money, I’d have to charge $15.75 a copy which let’s face it, what retailer would pay that much for a book?  In the end although Expanded Distribution sounds good … it didn’t make any sense for this book.

On the flip side … at $12.99 a book, if my book was only 360 pages (not 454) I could do the expanded distribution and get a profit of 2 cents a book.  Again … what’s the point if I’m only making 2 cents? Andy again, who’d pay $12.99 for a book that was only 360 pages?

Anyway … My goal was to have it out in paperback before the end of the year so it looks like I’ll be meeting that goal. I’ve also started formatting If Love is a Lie so that I can get that one out as well.  I don’t expect to sell a whole bunch of books in paperback, but want to be able to have them to sell myself at book fairs this spring.

Along with that, I’m also in the market for a printer to print up promotional bookmarks to have as giveaways at my table at book fairs and also some sort of a banner or sign for my table. Still working on that one.

While doing all of the above, I’ve still been writing my next novel too! No rest for the weary here.  I’m about 60-70% of the way done on it.  I’m heading up to St. Augustine this Saturday to do some location scouting.  I’m thinking of having the big ending there.  We’ll see what I find location wise, if anything strikes me enough to write it in the book.

This book I’m working on now I’m not planning on publishing right away.  I’m going to use it as my book to send out to agents to see if I can snag me an agent with it.  I’ll give it six months. If I haven’t had any interest in that time period, I’ll go ahead and self pub it and move on.

I’ve also written a short story I’d like to submit to literary magazines and contests.  I just need to polish it up a little.

So all in all 2015 was a good year.  Despite some hardships, I’ve prevailed and am still working on furthering my career in proactive and purposeful ways.

Goals

What’s next for 2016? I’d like to get all my books formatted for paperback.  I’d like to have signed with a literary agent and be on the way to traditionally publishing my current novel project. I’d like to have been published in a Lit Magazine and have another book self published in my already published series.  Will all this happen? Here’s hoping so!

So how was your 2105?  Did you accomplish all you set out to?

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

22 Dec 2015: ..The Quilt Test … Do your characters stand up?

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but among my many hobbies, I’m also a quilter. Well, quilter might not be the correct term, I’m more of a fabric artist.  I make wall hangings and tablecloths mostly.  I’m currently collecting fabrics to make a wall hanging piece about my The Purity of Blood novel series.

So what does this have to do with writing?

Well … Each of my main characters in the books is going to have their own block in the quilt. The fabrics in the blocks will somehow be descriptive of the characters personality, likes, dislikes, major events, etc.  I started to make a list of what fabrics I already had and what I could look for and in doing this I realized some characters were easier to make a list for than others. I kind of got to think that this has something to do with the depth of the characters themselves.  The better written ones had easier lists to write.

For example, let’s take Sara, my protagonist. Her fabric list goes something like this:

  • Apple Fabric (she loves anything with apples in it.)
  • Guns/Weapons fabric (represents her extensive weapons training)
  • Sweet Pea fabric (her pet name from Daniel)
  • Sail Boat Fabric (she loves sailing and goes sail on her honeymoon)
  • DNA helix fabric (Because it’s her DNA that sets her apart from other humans)

Sara was pretty easy, but some other characters not so much.  I was working on this so much of the past weekend that I kind of got to thinking about my current book project.  If I was going to do a quilt block say about my new hero, Travis, what would it include?  Do I have enough depth to his character that I’d be able to come up with a quick list of his traits, likes, dislikes, hobbies? It’s something to think about, a litmus test of sorts to see how well you’ve written a character.  I’m going to call this the “Quilt Test” from now on.

So how do your characters stand up to the Quilt Test?

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

15 Nov 2015: The Ups and Downs of Formatting

Since I started working on formatting my first novel from an ebook format to a format that I can upload to createspace for a paperback edition, I’ve been a little obsessed with looking at how every book I come across is formatted.  I’ve seen some books that have given me ideas … as well as a few books that simply amaze me in how anyone could think they look pleasing to the eye.

Example:  My day job that pays the bills is at a hotel.  This book was given to me by a housekeeper who found it.  Yes, I’m the girl everyone gives books to.  Some I read, the others I put in hotel library.  This book (see below) looked like a really interesting story, but the formatting is really weird.  By weird, I mean there is a LOT of formatting.  There’s that big black bar where the chapter number is.  It’s okay, but there are like a hundred chapters.  That’s a LOT of black bars!  Then you add in the super large letter for the first word (Which is in the center of the page?!?!) Personally I’d have gone with either the back bar or the large letter.  Both is a bit much.  Now let’s add in that the first letter of the first word of EVERY PARAGRAPH in the ENTIRE BOOK is drop case letter.  You can see it on the chapter header page as well as three more times a few pages later.  Those letters are on almost ever page.  In my opinion, this is formatting over kill.

Formatting 1Formatting 2

It’s not only paper books I’ve been looking at.  I got an ebook on my kindle last week that wasn’t even formatted to be an ebook.  Take a look:

P1040842

This ebook was uploaded in what I suspect was the standard manuscript format, double spaced.  Sadly because it was double spaced, I didn’t read it.  I would have had to have made the font so small to get enough words on a single page that it would have been really hard for me to read.  Let’s not even talk about my mother!  Oh, you want to talk about her?  Okay, well Mom likes big print books.  Let’s see this book through her eyes:

P1040846

Yeah, Mom’s lucky if she get’s two sentences per page!  This is why you don’t double space ebooks. If you’re not an ebook reader, here’s the first page of one of my ebooks for comparison:

P1040848The double spaced book also has the word CHAPTER in a blue font which looks odd and it’s not even centered properly at the top of the page.  I can look the other way on the mis-centering (I actually see that one in a lot of ebooks) but the double spacing would give my hand a work out with it having to swipe to a new page every 15 seconds.   I’ll also add that I was a little pissed about this book for another reason.  I don’t buy ebooks that are listed on Amazon as less that 150 pages.  If a book is any shorter than that, they didn’t have enough time to develop decent characters or plot so why waste my time.  By double spacing the book, it doubled the page count thereby misleading me to think it was a book of decent length.

Here’s another book someone at the hotel gave me.

P1040845The formatting is nice, even though the book was a bit much for me to read.  Any book that has so many made up words that you feel the need to put a glossary of them at the back of the book … well, that’s a bit too much for me to bother to keep straight while I’m trying to read it.  Notice they put a little curly cue design with the chapter number.  It’s nice.  Not so sure I’d put it on my book, but it’s something different.  This book is what I’d call a romantic fantasy so maybe it fits.

Anyway, just thought I’d share some of my observations.  Have you seen any books/ebooks with unusual formatting?  If so, let’s hear about them!

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

14 Nov 2015: More things I’ve probably done wrong. Have you?

No one is perfect.

At one point or another we’ve all made mistakes.  Below are a few things I’ve probably spelled wrong or misused in my haste to extricate my novels from my head.

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I’ve messed this first one up a few times. Stupid spell check won’t catch it. Had to wait until my kindle read it back to me to hear the error of my ways.

  • Vicious: She’s spreading vicious lies about you.
  • Viscous: Viscous oil doesn’t drain well from my car.
  • Underway: This is a nautical term for a ship that is not tethered to anything.
  • Under way: meaning in motion. The project, which had been underway for a few months, was anticipated to end soon.
  • Waive: Like an idiot, he waived his right to a jury trial.
  • Wave: She waved her hand good-bye.

waive wave

  • Troop: A group of people, animals or things. A troop of girls scouts hounded me for hours to buy their cookies.
  • Troupe: This is a cast of touring performers. The dance troupe was horrible and I was amazed anyone came to see them.
  • Throes: They were lost in the throes of passion.
  • Throws: Donald throws the ball at Goofy with malice.
  • There’re!  Ok, when I saw this, maybe my education was REALLY bad, but I don’t think I’ve ever used this variation of there. But apparently you can contract here are. There’re two reasons why I should kill you right now.
  • Tact: It’s a sensitivity to what is appropriate when dealing with others. She fired him with tact.
  • Tack: Another nautical term meaning a course. The best tact was to wait until sundown to kill him. It’s also like a thumb tack.
  • T-Shirt: Seems you’re always supposed to spell it out this way “T-Shirt” with a capital T because when lain flat it looks like a capital T.
  • Stationary: When she broke his heart, he stood stationary.
  • Stationery: Staple sells stationery for writing letters to your mother.

Have any of these ever messed you up?

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

The Blood that Binds Cover Art 7-30-2015

11 Nov 2015 … Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up

As I said yesterday, I had jury duty on Monday.  While there I was reminded of that old adage that truth indeed is stranger than fiction, and sometimes you hear things come out of people’s mouths that if a character in a book had said them … well, no one would believe it.

  • Case in point.

When they first started to eliminate folks from our jury pool, the first round of questions they asked us was only two questions.  Is English your native language, and is there anyone here that it would be a hardship for to be a juror on this trial since it’s going to last over a week.  Some of the excuses I heard were so funny that I literally had to cover my mouth with my hand to keep from laughing out loud.  The defendant and one of his lawyers caught me like this on several occasions throughout the day which was a bit embarrassing as it was a serious proceeding, but read below and try to imagine if you could keep a straight face.

Excuse #1:  Juror:  “I have a dentist appointment.”

Judge: “Did you say you have an appointment with a dentist?  Isn’t that something you could reschedule?”

Juror: “No ma’am.  Breathing the air in this courtroom hurts. I can’t be here.”

howdini-teeth-bleach-products-video-free-life-like-instructions-whitening-6549

Always happy to help you get out of jury duty if I can!

Excuse #2: Little old Hispanic man Juror: “I gotta pee all the time, like every twenty minutes!”

Judge: “Do you have to go now?”

Juror: “YES!”

Judge: “Okay, well we’ll be taking a break in a few minutes.”untitledExcuse #3: Juror: “I have an MRI appointment.”

Judge: “What day is it?”

Juror: “Oh, I haven’t scheduled it yet.”

soul-eater-5000-aka-mri

Seriously?  And they said all this completely deadpan, not a smile was cracked.  If I wrote these lines into a book no one would believe them!  They’d say it was too unbelievable, but God as my witness I heard all three of these.  Now do you understand why my crazy psycho killer kept catching me trying not to laugh???

It really makes me wonder why some folks like to get so picky about saying things in books aren’t believable, because I’ve seen and heard things in my life that are so much stranger than any fiction written.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you!

Click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

10 Nov 2015: So Close … and yet so Far … My day with a Psycho Killer

Psycho Killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est
Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far better
Run run run run run run run away

No one says it like the Talking Heads.  I remember dancing around and singing that song at the top of my lungs with my friend Christy in her bedroom back in the 80’s with hair brushes as microphones.  Who would have thought back then that yesterday I would have spent the day in the same room as a real life ‘Psycho Killer.’

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Yesterday I had jury duty.  I was at the Orange County Courthouse in downtown Orlando in the Jury waiting room at 8 a.m. and ended up getting called for the first jury pool to be sent up stairs.  I spent all day with 50 other perspective jurors being questioned by the lawyers for the state and the defense as well as the judge.  By the end of the day they’d widdled it down to about 35 of us to choose their 14 person jury from.

So from about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., I sat right across from the defendant.  Since I wasn’t picked for the jury, I’m now free to tell you that it was Elmer Banner of Lake Nona, FL.  What is Mr. Banner accused of?  I’ll let a local news website give you the details:

As Elmer Banner sits in the Orange County Jail, charged with murdering his wife and mother-in-law, newly-released police interviews detail bizarre activities in the family’s Lake Nona home days before the alleged attack.

“He began to preach to the family, yelling and screaming Bible stories,” Banner’s 14-year-old son told detectives. Banner had never been openly religious, according to the teen.

But on Feb. 18(2012), the day before the shootings, the son said Banner began talking about a “family curse,” according to police reports.

Another family member told detectives Banner bought white T-shirts for himself, his wife Debra, his two teenage sons and his in-laws, who were also living at the house. That night, Banner gathered the family together in the living room to hold hands while he told Bible stories for more than five hours, according to reports.

“He’s never done that before,” said the son in the police report.

Northlake-Parkway-domestic-dispute-0219

Banner also discussed his desire to visit a nearby body of water, said the teen.

“He talked about Lake Nona being the fountain of youth,” his son said.

Around 7 p.m. the next evening, after returning home from a movie, Banner called his 14-year-old son into the garage.

“He opens the breaker box and flips every switch off,” according to the report, so the house was dark. Banner then ordered everyone to go to bed, according to the son. “He says, ‘No one pee, no one do anything, just go to bed.'”

A short time later, the teen said his father entered his bedroom and handed him an antique 9mm Luger as Banner held a .45-caliber handgun.

“He was talking about judgment,” said the teen. “He’s like, ‘It’s time, it’s time,'” as the two walked downstairs.

“He told me, ‘Stay behind me. I’m your protector. I’m going to protect you. You’re the Chosen One,'” said the teen.

As Banner and his son approached the garage, they were confronted by Banner’s mother-in-law, Carol Minich.

The teen said his dad shot the 70-year-old woman in the head without warning, and then called to his wife.
According to witnesses, Debra Banner ran downstairs screaming, “You killed my mom!” Banner then pointed his gun at his wife and fired into her chest several times, said the son in the report.

“He knelt down with the bodies,” said the teen, describing how his dad appeared to be performing some sort of religious ritual. “I know he did something with her blood.”

The 14-year-old said he and his dad stepped over the bodies and walked back upstairs into the bathroom, where Banner filled the bathtub with water until it overflowed. The father and son then got into the water to undergo what a detective described in a report as a “ceremonial cleansing.”

As the two bathed, Banner’s father-in-law, who also witnessed the shootings, ran outside in his underwear and told a neighbor to call 911. The couple’s other son, age 13, remained in his bedroom, where he had been hiding since he first heard gunshots.

When Orlando police arrived, Banner walked outside, according to the report. According to investigators, Banner ignored their commands to put down his weapon, so police shot and wounded the gunman. As Banner lied on the ground near the back door, his 14-year-old son approached.

“He just said, ‘I love you. I love you, son. I love you a lot.’ And I said, ‘I love you too, daddy.'”

Mr. Banner didn’t say a word the whole day he sat in the courtroom right across from me.  Our eyes met several times.  At the time I didn’t know the details of the crimes he’s accused of, only the charges.  Did he look like a psycho killer? No, but he did look off.  I suppose anyone would given the circumstances.  He didn’t say anything because it would seem he’s not going to be testifying in his own defense and instead invoking his right to remain silent. I will say that of all the lawyers in the room, he had the best tie.  The two lawyers for the state of Florida had very boring, conservative ties.  The lawyers for the defense were a bit better, but I really liked Elmer’s tie.  Why am I talking about ties?  Because I was sitting in the courtroom for close to eight hours with little to do but watch these guys.

So why wasn’t I picked for the Jury?

I’m pretty sure it’s because when asked if I would be able to find someone guilty by reason of temporary insanity, I replied that wasn’t likely.  I have a hard time believing that someone can be sane one moment, be insane the next, and then be sane again.  Add on to that that the only person who can truly give evidence as to the state of mind of the defendant at the time the crime was committed (aka the defendant himself) is opting not to testify … well, odds were I’d have a really hard time letting him off on an insanity defense.  I had to explain all this to the two defense lawyers, two lawyers for the state, the judge and Elmer himself as I was called in for a private questioning while they were in their final jury selection deliberations at the end of the day.  I can only guess that the reason I was called in along with about 2 or 3 other folks is because they were on the fence about us.

So I’m kinda bummed.  Yes, the trial is supposed to start today and last about 2 weeks and I’d miss work, but my company pays for jury duty and what great material for my next novel!  SO close … and yet so far … From a psycho killer … and a good book I’ll never write.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series, and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

7 Nov 2015: Just when you thought you had it right … You take some Flak!

Yep.  Some days, despite my years of working at this writing thing, some days I feel like I’m back in high school English class.  If I were magically transported back to Mrs. Emmenhiser’s class, I’d certainly give her a piece of my mind!

I recently bought a book that has lots of little things we commonly write wrong in it.  It’s a wonderful book … and also a torture device straight from the devil himself. I thought I’d share some of the items I’ve already found useful:

  • Blonde with the e at the end refers to a woman with Blonde hair.
  • Blond with no e refers to a man with blond hair.
  • Confidante with the e at the end refers to a female confidante.
  • Confidant with no e refers to a male confidant.
  • Back yard as one word means the yard at the back of the house. “Let’s go out into the backyard.”
  • Backyard as two words refers to something in the backyard, like “a backyard swimming pool.”

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  • A job perq, or a benefit of the job, is spelled perq, not perk.
  • North, south, east and west as directions are generally not capitalized. If they refer to a specific place like North America, then they are capitalized.

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  • Faint means dim, dizzy or slight.
  • Feint means a deceptive action, like “the boxed feinted with a left fist.”
  • Further is used in abstract situations like “she couldn’t go any further.”
  • Father is used for measurable distances, like “the house is farther away than then barn.”
  • Flak is criticism or ground based antiaircraft fire. “I took a lot of flak for my suggestions.”
  • Flack is a press agent. “The flack sent out the press release.”

So did any of this surprise you?

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series, and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

31 Oct 2015: … Today I am Normal … Well, Sort of …

Today is Halloween, and on October 31st I almost feel normal.

Hello, my name is Jennifer, and I love headstones.

With that in mind, October 31st is about the only day of the year where my normal home decor look just that, normal.

Twitter EditI’ve been told I’m a quirky person, and one of my quirks is that I’m a rabid genealogist.  It was genealogy and the endless search for the graves of my ancestors that lead to my love of old headstones.

Palisado Cemetery, Windsor, CT as seen by Jennifer Geoghan

Palisado Cemetery, Windsor, CT as seen by Jennifer Geoghan

Look at the artistry, the story carved in stone.  Every era has a headstone style, every stone carver a style of their own.  Just wander through a cemetery that spans multiple generations and you’ll see.

Palisado Cemetery, Windsor, CT as photographed by Jennifer Geoghan

Palisado Cemetery, Windsor, CT as photographed by Jennifer Geoghan

Want to try something fun?  Go into your local cemetery, find one of these old headstone and write a short story about the name on it.  Try to imagine what that person’s life was like back when they lived on this Earth.  In a way I think it’s how we can keep the names of those lost with us.  I know I’d be thrilled if someone did this for me a couple hundred years from now.

But I warn you!

If you start hanging out in cemeteries, you may develop a deep love of headstones and start to collect them.  Once you start to collect them, you’ll like to display them all year round.  Once you start to display them all year round, the only day you’ll feel normal is today, October 31st.

Happy Halloween!

092 Jenn Halloween 1975

Me. Creepy even at age 5. I think I was destined to write vampire novels from a young age!

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series, and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story (and headstone enthusiast.)

28 Oct 2015: Sellin’ it with Book Promo Pictures

So this week, in honor of Halloween, I’m offering the first book in my series, The Purity of Blood, for 99 cents on Amazon.  It’s a vampire romance series so the holiday tie in seems logical.  But you know how it goes, the best way to say it is to say it with pictures!  Pictures are what catch our eye on Facebook and Twitter.  So to capitalize on that, whenever I want to promote a special, I troll the internet for pictures that I can manipulate to serve my purposes.  In most cases, I alter them on picmonkey.com which is s super cool photo editing website you should definitely check out.

I like to make many different images even for this one week sale.  Let’s face it, no one likes to see the same post over and over and over again.  Eventually, they’ll just tune it out.  So having multiple images to post make sense.  I also like to have different ones, like some are funny, some stress romance, some just fall or Halloween.  I try to make a picture that would appeal to someone specific in my target audience.

Here are the ones I made this past weekend for my current sale.  Oh, yeah, and don’t forget to check out my book while it’s on sale this week!

Celebrate Halloween Promo

Celebrating Halloween

DId you Hear Promo q

Final Sara Sale

Get in the Mood Promo

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Jennifer G Novels Cembrating

Now Through Halloween

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series, and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

25 Oct 2015: Her name could have been Silver Versa

So I was driving into work yesterday when I got stopped at light behind this car.

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And it got me to thinking I should change the name of my Female Lead in my new book project. Yes, I call them the Female and Male Leads instead of protagonists or main characters. Here’s the thing. So far her name has been Amanda “Mandy” Sutherland. I like Sutherland, but it’s a bit of a mouthful. So lo and behold I’m driving into work and see this Silver Versa with a plate on it from “Sutherlin.” I googled it and they’re a Nissan dealership here in Orlando.

Sutherlin

I’m liking Sutherlin better than Sutherland. It’s brighter and lighter than Sutherland which is a bit mouthier.

So now I can say I got a character name off the back of a car while stopped at the intersection of Conroy-Winderemere and Apopka-Vineland Roads. Talk about a mouthful!

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series, and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.