Blog – Jenny O'Connell https://jennyoconnell.com Author Thu, 08 Nov 2018 18:28:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Clocks are turned back, now time to look ahead! https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/11/08/clocks-are-turned-back-now-time-to-look-ahead/ https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/11/08/clocks-are-turned-back-now-time-to-look-ahead/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 15:41:59 +0000 https://jennyoconnell.com/?p=4937 I watched my first Christmas movie on TV last night (I am something of a Christmas junkie). Now I can't wait to put up the tree and decorate! I'm even looking forward to snow. And I already started my holiday shopping. But I'm sad to put the past year behind me because it was SO [...]

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I watched my first Christmas movie on TV last night (I am something of a Christmas junkie). Now I can’t wait to put up the tree and decorate! I’m even looking forward to snow. And I already started my holiday shopping. But I’m sad to put the past year behind me because it was SO much fun. I turned 50 this year. And my husband called it “the year of Jennifer.” So, who wouldn’t be bummed to have an entire birthday year come to an end? Thanks to amazing people (like my husband, kids and best friends), this year I:

  • Celebrated turning 50 with a surprise trip to the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland, where I skied in the most amazing conditions ever and even skied from Switzerland to Italy for a pizza lunch one afternoon
  • Visited Downton Abbey and the set of Call The Midwife (two of my most favorite TV shows ever) in England
  • Experienced driving on the other side of the road (and dodged more sheep than I ever knew existed) on a trip through Ireland
  • Went from an ancient city to the bluest of blue lagoons in Malta
  • Renewed my wedding vows in Sicily perched on a cliff overlooking the Ionian sea, and spent the evening strolling around a small Italian town where people yelled “tanti auguri” to us (had to look that up, as I don’t speak Italian yet, it means best wishes)
  • Enjoyed the beauty and mind-altering vibe of Sedona, AZ

There still one more surprise trip before I close the books on 2018, but then it’s over. Did a bunch of crappy things happen, too? Of course. Was every minute perfect? Not even close.

But when looking back over the past year I’m choosing to remember the amazing moments, to be grateful for all the times with my husband and kids and friends. It’s one of the reasons I decided to write letters to all of the important people in my life expressing how awesome they are, how much they’re appreciated, and how they amaze me. Because every memorable moment of 2018 was shared with someone I love, and that’s what made it so special.

So, in 2019 I may not go to as many incredible places, but I still look forward to spending time with the wonderful people who make me laugh and smile.

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Figuring out what’s next https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/09/19/figuring-out-whats-next/ https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/09/19/figuring-out-whats-next/#respond Wed, 19 Sep 2018 11:03:45 +0000 https://jennyoconnell.com/?p=4928 Now that The Next Chapter of Luke is out I've been thinking about what's next. There is a book that is 90% finished but needs some serious revising. It's been sitting on my computer for a few years and it may be time to take a new look at it with fresh eyes. Then there's [...]

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Image result for what's nextNow that The Next Chapter of Luke is out I’ve been thinking about what’s next. There is a book that is 90% finished but needs some serious revising. It’s been sitting on my computer for a few years and it may be time to take a new look at it with fresh eyes.

Then there’s another idea I have. It’s darker than anything I’ve written before. I already know how it ends (I usually know how all my stories end before I write them). But I’ve never written anything like it before so I’m not exactly sure how to do it. I go back and forth between having it written by three different characters or by a single character. There’s a violent event in it, and I’m not sure how to deal with that as well, since I want it to be accurate but I’ve never personally experienced the event. And many other things.

And then there’s another story that I’ve written three chapters for, but that one I really have no idea where to take it.

So, I’m considering revisiting the first one, trying to start the second one, and seeing if I can write chapter four of the third one. Hopefully, like Goldilocks, I’ll find the one that’s just right.

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Fiction or reality? https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/09/07/fiction-or-reality/ https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/09/07/fiction-or-reality/#comments Fri, 07 Sep 2018 11:52:45 +0000 https://jennyoconnell.com/?p=4921 Readers often ask, "How much of your books is real, and how much is made up?" In the sequel to The Book of Luke, The Next Chapter of Luke, much is made up, but there is also lots of real life on the pages. This is the inspiration for the marina that Emily works at [...]

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Readers often ask, “How much of your books is real, and how much is made up?” In the sequel to The Book of Luke, The Next Chapter of Luke, much is made up, but there is also lots of real life on the pages.

This is the inspiration for the marina that Emily works at for the summer. The inside of this marina office is exactly where I pictured Emily working – the same wood paneled walls, the simple desk and freezer of bait. Even the refrigerator with bottled water and drinks. It’s located on the South Shore of MA.

And this is the whale tail sculpture that Emily and Luke are sitting in front of when Josie takes their picture. It’s in Edgartown, on Martha’s Vineyard, right where Emily, Josie and Lucy get off the ferry from Falmouth. The pepper farm that Emily visits with Nolan? Also real. It’s based on Nobska Farm in Woods Hole. Like Emily, though, I have zero tolerance for spicy things, so I’ve never actually tasted any of their crazy pepper products.

What isn’t real? The Scoop Shack where Josie and Lucy work. The Edgewater Marina where Emily works (although it was also inspired by a real place in Falmouth). Josie’s house in Falmouth is also a figment of my imagination.

Now that I think about it, most of the time I’m actually thinking of real places and things when I write. I do a lot of research to make sure details are accurate and plausible (which means I spent a lot of time reading ferry schedules to make sure the length of time the ferry from Woods Hole or Falmouth took was correct, etc.).

So lots of places are real and exist. The characters? Are they based on real people? I’ll leave that answer to the reader’s imagination.

 

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Big week… new book and a medal https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/07/27/big-week-new-book-and-a-medal/ https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/07/27/big-week-new-book-and-a-medal/#respond Fri, 27 Jul 2018 16:11:11 +0000 https://jennyoconnell.com/?p=4906 So, in my dreams I'm an Olympic figure skater. I've loved skating since I was young but gave up regular lessons in second grade (total bummer). Last Fall I decided it was time to strap on my skates and take ice dancing lessons (I haven't done ice dancing since figure skating camp in sixth grade). A few [...]

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So, in my dreams I’m an Olympic figure skater. I’ve loved skating since I was young but gave up regular lessons in second grade (total bummer). Last Fall I decided it was time to strap on my skates and take ice dancing lessons (I haven’t done ice dancing since figure skating camp in sixth grade).

A few months ago I passed my tests, which meant I could compete at World’s (at the second lowest level for ice dancing). This morning I had my 3 minute dance and came away with a silver medal. It was awesome. Quick, but awesome.

It’s a little late for me to get to the Olympics, but now it’s on to the next level dance and I can’t wait!

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It’s here…. The sequel is out! https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/07/22/its-here-the-sequel-is-out/ https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/07/22/its-here-the-sequel-is-out/#comments Mon, 23 Jul 2018 00:16:03 +0000 http://jennyoconnell.com/?p=4893 Yes, it's taken a while. Why? Well, it's long. And it has some chapters from Luke's perspective. And it just... I don't know, it took longer! In any case, it's out today!!! It's an Amazon digital exclusive for one week before the paperback is available, and if you're interested, you can check it out here! [...]

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Yes, it’s taken a while. Why? Well, it’s long. And it has some chapters from Luke’s perspective. And it just… I don’t know, it took longer!

In any case, it’s out today!!! It’s an Amazon digital exclusive for one week before the paperback is available, and if you’re interested, you can check it out here!

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Latest YA Outside the Lines Blog Post https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/04/09/latest-ya-outside-the-lines-blog-post/ https://jennyoconnell.com/2018/04/09/latest-ya-outside-the-lines-blog-post/#comments Mon, 09 Apr 2018 15:02:17 +0000 http://jennyoconnell.com/?p=4853 Here you go, enjoy! YA Outside the Lines There are people who are energized by rejection, the ones who look rejection in the face and become even more determined to succeed and prove people wrong. Rejection  becomes the fuel that keeps them moving forward, the catalyst needed to be even more determined to succeed and [...]

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Here you go, enjoy! YA Outside the Lines

There are people who are energized by rejection, the ones who look rejection in the face and become even more determined to succeed and prove people wrong. Rejection  becomes the fuel that keeps them moving forward, the catalyst needed to be even more determined to succeed and flip naysayers the bird.

Yeah, I’m not one of those people. I’m more like the other type of person. The one who avoids rejection (and the unsettling doubt and confirmation of fear of failure that accompanies it). It’s a fear of rejection that has made my latest project a loooooooonnnnnnggggg time coming. Because I’m writing a sequel, and that means that it will no doubt be compared to the book that came before it. Why is that so bad? Well, let’s look at some of the blog comments I’ve received from readers in the past (gulp) three years since announcing that there would be a sequel:

  • Please upload another excerpt…you’ve kept fans waiting for ages for this book that i think one is LONG OVERDUE!
  • It’s 2017 and once again no update and no book, #hopeless #reallyannoyed #dissapointed
  • So, when the date of launch this book? Please let me know.

And those are the kind ones (not the ones that pretty much say “WTF! Where’s the sequel, you lazy, untalented, useless writer who can’t even finish a freaking book!” – at least that’s what I hear).

I’ve been so afraid of disappointing readers who enjoyed the first book, the ones who want to know what happens next to the characters, that it paralyzed me. I couldn’t type a word without questioning if it was good or not. Because the thing is, rejection happens every day in life. There are the BIG rejections (not being admitted to a college, for example) and the not so big (you think someone is going to let you merge into their lane and they nudge you out without so much as an apologetic wave). But as writers who publish books, our rejections are BIG and PUBLIC and THERE FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE FOREVER! For the elation of every 5 star reader review on Amazon there’s the self doubt and mortification that comes from a 3 star “meh” from a reader. And it never goes away! Years later everyone can still see how you failed just by googling your name.

The thing is, I know that not everyone loves every book, and that doesn’t mean the book sucks. I have read books that are best sellers, critical darlings, favorites of my best friends, and I couldn’t make it past chapter three. To each his own, I always tell myself – except when it hits too close to home. Then it’s personal. It’s one of the reasons I don’t review books on public sites anymore unless I love them. I just don’t think the world needs more critics, and writers who put their heart and soul into pouring words on a page certainly don’t need my two cents. I have my opinion and I’ll share it if asked, but I don’t need to have my indelible words out there to make a writer feel bad about their effort. I’m just one person.

So, back to rejection. I’ve pushed through and the sequel to The Book of Luke will be out in May. I’m still fearful of disappointing readers, of having them feel like the sequel doesn’t do the first book justice and it is a waste of their reading time. I’m even afraid it will taint their positive experience of the first book. But I wrote it anyway. And I hope that the experience has taught me that rejection will be a part of life, and if people don’t like it, there’s always another book to write and another opportunity to get it right. I’ll always wonder if I could have done it better if I spent more time on it, but I think three years is my limit. Time to get it out there and move on. Time to reject my fear of rejection.

The sequel to The Book of LukeThe Next Chapter of Luke, will be available in May. Please be nice 🙂

 

 

 

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The Luke Sequel https://jennyoconnell.com/2017/12/21/the-luke-sequel/ https://jennyoconnell.com/2017/12/21/the-luke-sequel/#comments Thu, 21 Dec 2017 15:15:54 +0000 http://jennyoconnell.com/?p=4818 So when is it coming out? (that seems to be the big question I'm always asked) The answer is May 2018. That said, I have to admit, I'm completely nervous that after all the waiting and build up, it will be a disappointment. So I'm hoping it meets expectatations, fingers crossed.

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So when is it coming out? (that seems to be the big question I’m always asked) The answer is May 2018.

That said, I have to admit, I’m completely nervous that after all the waiting and build up, it will be a disappointment. So I’m hoping it meets expectatations, fingers crossed.

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Some changes… https://jennyoconnell.com/2017/01/25/some-changes/ https://jennyoconnell.com/2017/01/25/some-changes/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2017 01:17:21 +0000 http://jennyoconnell.com/?p=4702 So where are Luke and Emily? Well, there's a reason the book was delayed and it's because I didn't think something was working. I couldn't put my finger on it and I kept tinkering and tinkering. There are parts I loved and parts... well, that I didn't love so much. And then it hit me [...]

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So where are Luke and Emily? Well, there’s a reason the book was delayed and it’s because I didn’t think something was working. I couldn’t put my finger on it and I kept tinkering and tinkering. There are parts I loved and parts… well, that I didn’t love so much. And then it hit me – Luke. I felt like we needed to hear from him, that this time around we needed to know more about what he was thinking and going through. So that’s what’s happening. This time around, it’s not just Emily we’re hearing from, but Luke as well. Some chapters are told entirely from his point of view, and it’s been so much fun writing them! I’ve never written from a guy’s point of view before and I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I’m pretty happy with it!

So hang in there, a revamped Emily and Luke will be available soon!

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One more quick excerpt from the sequel to The Book of Luke https://jennyoconnell.com/2016/05/04/one-more-quick-excerpt-from-the-sequel-to-the-book-of-luke/ https://jennyoconnell.com/2016/05/04/one-more-quick-excerpt-from-the-sequel-to-the-book-of-luke/#comments Wed, 04 May 2016 14:32:02 +0000 http://jennyoconnell.com/?p=4646 After three weeks of playing where in the world is Emily Abbott, I’d become intimately familiar with the proper procedures for take-off and landing, read the seatback safety card enough times to identify the nearest exit within three seconds of entering an aircraft, and memorized the Sky Mall catalog from cover to cover. My personal [...]

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After three weeks of playing where in the world is Emily Abbott, I’d become intimately familiar with the proper procedures for take-off and landing, read the seatback safety card enough times to identify the nearest exit within three seconds of entering an aircraft, and memorized the Sky Mall catalog from cover to cover. My personal favorites among the infinitely useless, and sometimes downright disturbing, catalog items were, in no specific order: The Human Sling Shot, which involved four people slinging back and forth at one another inside a human-sized rubber band; decorative toilet flush handles for people who want to hold onto a whale’s as they wash away evidence; and a talking dog collar with remote control, because having a human voice emanate from Fido’s throat isn’t creepy, right?

But this was my last flight, the final plane ride home. As the Boston skyline came into view it was all I could do to keep from turning on my phone and calling Luke from the sky. But years of Polite Patty training had ingrained a certain adherence to rules that I couldn’t bring myself to disregard. Besides, I had visions of the bars on my phone going up just as the plane started going down, the little device in my hand wreaking havoc with the communications system designed to operate free and clear of mobile phone interruptions. I decided, in the interest of relying on the screens and buttons and satellite navigation systems in the cockpit to deliver me safely to earth, I’d wait until I heard the squeal of rubber on the runway.

I texted Luke as soon as the plane’s wheels touched down: Just landed, be over soon.

It took a few minutes for his reply to appear: Not home, call me.

I knew my mom would kill me if I actually dialed his number right then, with 200 anxious passengers ready to trample over me to get to carousel six and reclaim their luggage. Public mobile phone conversations were one of my mother’s pet peeves.

Instead, I texted: When will you be home?

And this time the reply was instantaneous…

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An Excerpt from the Sequel to The Book of Luke https://jennyoconnell.com/2016/04/28/an-excerpt-from-the-sequel-to-the-book-of-luke/ https://jennyoconnell.com/2016/04/28/an-excerpt-from-the-sequel-to-the-book-of-luke/#respond Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:51:31 +0000 http://jennyoconnell.com/?p=4642 OK. Here is more. Thanks for the emails and posts and comments asking for more. Hopefully this will tide you over a little bit longer, until the book is ready, which should be soon (I hope). Enjoy! You can read the excerpt here.  

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OK. Here is more. Thanks for the emails and posts and comments asking for more. Hopefully this will tide you over a little bit longer, until the book is ready, which should be soon (I hope). Enjoy!

You can read the excerpt here.

 

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