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Newsletter

Happy Dog Days!

How did August get here so fast? And what’s with insulting dogs by suggesting the hot, uncomfortable waning days of summer have something to do with them? Though truthfully, July was much worse around here—I guess it was good I had book deadlines because I barely moved from the sofa and the comfort of air conditioning, desperate to avoid the near 100° temperatures and oppressive humidity. Today it’s raining and 78° and I’m not complaining!

I have been crazy busy writing this summer. I don’t know what I was thinking when I asked my editor if she had time for one more book from me this year. That was when I thought I had time to write it—turns out that was slightly delusional on my part. But…with a bit of luck, I’ll finish another book today and will get past that deadline hump for a little while.

(here’s what I was working on! It’s a new series! The Royal Romeos, and book one is Red Hot Romeo):

So what do I do when I’m crunching on deadlines? Well…I procrastinate, of course! Facebook is the curse of my existence. As a “pantser”—a writer who writes by the seat of her pants—I do not approach my books with organized outlines and spreadsheets and huge wipeboards covered with diagrams. Alas, it’s me, my (occasionally stagnant) imagination, and my laptop. And sometimes when I set my fingers to that keyboard, well, all I hear are crickets. Which then leads me to Facebook, where I’ll go while away five minutes here, ten minutes there, to stimulate my temporarily constipated imagination. Translation: where I waste time, to my great chagrin. It’s where I find amusing things like this (link: http://bit.ly/2azNjWj)

Or this: (http://bit.ly/2b83MDv)

To add to it, my adventuresome son took the summer off after grad school and before the real job to wander off-the-grid in South America, including several weeks along the Amazon River. Incommunicado offspring in strange lands can leave an imaginative mom a little anxiety-ridden, so on those occasions when we would get a notification from his Spot GPS locator, telling us his exact location in the remote wilds of Brazil, I would slightly fixate on wondering what it’s like there. And with the GPS link, I can zoom in on the satellite view to the point that I can see treetops in the Amazon jungle as if they are broccoli! And the squiggly tributaries to the Amazon River that look like tapeworms working their way through a body. I’m a bit obsessed. Here’s a cool link to one (http://bit.ly/2aUzcgZ) : click on “satellite” on the top left box in the map, then zoom in with the + symbol on the bottom right, you can get close enough to see the shadows cast by the clouds on the river. Technology can be amazing.

So another distraction when I’m writing is research. I can go down a serious research rabbit hole and not surface for hours. It’s why I can’t “do” Pinterest—if I start on that place I’ll never be found again. A funny downside to researching things like crown jewels, elite ski resorts, fancy sports cars or designer ball gowns, is that the internet thinks I’m actually in the market for a $500,000 Lamborghini, and so ads for that, along with ones for $50,000 ruby rings and the like appear everywhere in my internet trail. One look at the ads that show up everywhere I go online and you would wonder seriously about my deluded world. I can only imagine the ads that will start showing up today, as I spent an hour last night learning how to trap venomous snakes and researching the correct tools to use. I expect targeted promos for my very own snake tongs—and not the “cheap Asian imitations,” according to one vendor ;-). Perhaps I should get on Pinterest and show you all the amazing things and places that actually exist for those who can afford such luxuries…

So whatcha reading? I have a recommendation for you but it’s kind of an odd one for me, as I tend toward escapist reading. But I heard this author named Sarah Hepola on NPR recently discussing her memoir, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, and she was quite amusing, and I then realized it was an editor I’d almost worked with last year, so I was curious enough to buy her book. It’s actually quite funny, and trust me, the only way I’d want to read about alcoholism is if it made me laugh. Great read and exceptionally gifted writer. (http://amzn.to/2aVBZ7V). Meanwhile, I’m vacation-bound soon and need beach read suggestions so send them on!

Today I’m releasing A COURT GESTURE, book 8 from the It’s Reigning Men series—hope you can check it out! There’s a sample chapter or two from Red Hot Romeo, book one in a new series I’ve just started, a spinoff from IRM called The Royal Romeos, set in Tuscany, which is my happy place!

In the meantime, I’m taking part in The Strong Women Giveaway with 150 authors, which goes to the end of August—there are weekly prizes and two lucky readers will win $1000! Go here for details: www.bit.ly/StrongReaders

And check out my Goodreads giveaway contest for readers in the US/Great Britain/Canada for a paperback copy of Something in the Heir (http://bit.ly/2b87nl3)

So I’m going to see my daughter in Australia, mate, and I cannot wait! I wanted to share some pictures, plus a super cool video her sailor boyfriend posted on Facebook from one of his fellow sailors. You might remember I have a thing for whales and all…check this out! (http://bit.ly/2beoUas). And this is near where my daughter lives—sort of like someone in Philly would road trip to the Jersey Shore for the weekend, well when she has a chance to get on a boat for a couple of hours getaway, this is where she goes—pretty spectacular, isn’t it?! (add pictures here)

Last thing: I’ve been dreadfully sedentary this year with many book deadlines—a perfect excuse for me to not budge my butt, and I’m pathetically out of shape. I want to get back to taking better care of myself and I’m much better when I have peeps who are doing it with me. Anyone interested in joining me in trying to get in shape? If so message me and maybe we’ll start a Facebook group or post about it on my Facebook author page to motivate each other!

Thanks so much for reading my books, and also I’m so grateful if you get a chance to post reviews on Amazon and other book sites. Looking forward to some great beach read suggestions from you! Have a great rest of the summer!

 

 

 

Categories: News

Nothing Like a Little Added Deadline Pressure!

I don’t know what I was thinking when I emailed my editor and told her I’d love to do one additional book with her this year. 

I adore this editor and we work really well together, but as is the case with indie editors, you need to plan well in advance to line them up. I’d already done two books with her this year, and had long ago scheduled another terrific editor for three more books. But when she offered to squeeze in one more with me, well, I couldn’t help but give it some thought. Of course this happened just as I was brainstorming some new series ideas, and then I thought, well, if I start another series I’d better get three books ready to launch at once, and well, that would mean it would be just perfect to have that extra edit lined up!

At the time I’d just finished a book and had what I madly viewed as idle time in front of me for a few weeks. Sure, I had a crazy May lined up: my youngest graduating from UVA undergrad, my oldest graduating from UVA with 2 Masters degrees, and my middle coming home from halfway around the world in Australia for a very infrequent visit to coincide with graduations. Throw in some 18 people staying at my house for graduation (I think I was in deep denial about that). 

Oh and did I mention our house is on the market and there’s all sorts of extra work involved with keeping a house clean and organized for any sudden showings? No worries…All under control…

But 5 weeks ago, this was hardly on the horizon! I had time on my hands, baby! I was going to crank out that additional book in no time flat and be in bed by midnight! Not only that, I’m going to confide in you my little secret: I was also planning to resurrect my all-but-dead daily mindfulness-based stress reduction meditation practice and also get my fat ass off the couch (where it’s been parked writing books) and resume my anaerobic interval spin workout so I could try to get back in shape. And maybe get back to regular yoga classes. Let me tell you, people, I was going to be Wonder Woman (minus the metal breast plates)!

Um, er, well…Graduation is this weekend. I’m too stressed without free time to do any stress reduction (I had been doing it! I swear it!). Finding a daily hour for the bike workout? Are you kidding me? I have been running around like a crazy person preparing for the onslaught of houseguests and graduation and graduation breakfasts for 20 people both mornings before the ceremonies and then the combined graduation party mid-day Saturday for some 50 people as well as lunch mid-day Sunday for another 30 and, yeah, very little writing has happened. 

Plus, I am releasing a book in less than a week and kind of need to figure out my marketing strategy for that, eh? 

So just now, instead of writing? I gave my dog a bath. In my defense, with all of these houseguests showing up, we don’t want the poor thing to be shunned because she smelled like, well, dirty dog.

Ah, well…the good news is I was the girl who pulled all-nighters studying for exams in college and self-conditioned to crank out papers one after the other shortly before their due dates. It must be the former journalist in me, but I definitely thrive under time constraints, so…the good news, is I just sort of lit a fire under my butt, which isn’t such a bad thing after all. Now if I could figure out how to burn the fat in that butt with the fire now scorching it, I’d be good to go!

Hope you can check out my upcoming release: It’s Getting Hot in Heirbook 7 in my It’s Reigning Men series! 

It’s available for pre-order, coming out May 24! You can get it here: iBooksKindleKoboGooglePlay

JennyGardiner_ItsGettingHotinHeir_200px

And I tell you I really am writing book 8! Just not as fast as I’d planned to. Here’s the cover–what do you think? It’s available for pre-order here:   iBooks      

 

Oh and for a limited time I’ve got an awesome free book for you if you sign up for my newsletter: Something in the Heir, book 1 of the It’s Reigning Men series! Sign up here  and you’ll be first to hear about deals and giveaways.

 

    

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Categories: News

K is for Kick-ass...welcome to the Chick Lit A to Z scavenger hunt!

K is for KICKASS…I love a good kickass heroine, and I think you find them a lot in chick lit novels, which is likely why I was drawn to chick lit so many years ago.

Over the years the genre has evolved considerably: no longer is it the exclusive domain of the lonely-young-woman-in-the-city-with-shite-boyfriend-and-crap-job-and-expensive-shoe-habit-and-trusty-gay-male-best-friend-who-helps-her-get-her-act-together. Instead chick lit offers protagonists of all ages and stripes, and sure, they’re flawed–though often they’re funny and strong and determined and maybe a little misguided–but that’s why we love them, right? 

I’m one of millions who fell in love with the chick lit voice with books like Bridget Jones’s Diary. And while Bridget was indeed extremely imperfect, she was also hilarious and honest and charmingly self-deprecating and totally kick-ass because she didn’t let those flaws get in her way when she wanted what it was she wanted (and who wouldn’t, if the prize was Mark Darcy?). 

I read a lot of British chick lit books in the early days of the genre, and that funny, smart aleck-y, strong, kick-ass voice totally spoke to me, and it’s what drew me into writing my first novel, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, a coming-of-middle-aged novel about a woman who married Mr. Right only to wake up years later to realize he’d become Mr. Always Right. My heroine in that novel, Claire, had to totally kick some ass (including her own, sort of) as she reconciled herself with where things had gone completely wrong in her world, but she does it, and does so with aplomb. 

Nowadays whatever genre I’m writing in, I migrate to that same type of protagonist in my novels, because I love a little bit damaged women who are not afraid to take names and kick some ass. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! Oh, and before you move onto the next site in the scavenger hunt, don’t forget to sign up here for my newsletter and you get a great prize: a digital copy of Something in the Heir, book 1 of my It’s Reigning Men series!  

GRAND PRIZE – Want to win a Kindle Paperwhite + a $100 Amazon gift card? Visit each of the 26 stops on the #ChickLitMay A to Z Scavenger Hunt and collect the alphabet word at each stop (A, B, C, D, etc.), then submit the A-Z list of words via e-mail to traciebanister@gmail.com with the subject line “A to Z Scavenger Hunt Entry.” Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 22nd at midnight E.D.T. A winner will be chosen on Monday, May 23rd. Good luck!

The next stop on the Scavenger Hunt (the letter L) is here.

If you’d like to start back at the beginning of the Scavenger Hunt (the letter A), go here

Oh and I’ve got a book coming out May 24! It’s It’s Getting Hot in Heir, book 7 in my It’s Reigning Men series! I hope you’ll check it out as it’s available for pre-order:

iBooks                  Kindle                     Nook                       Kobo                Google Play

  

Sometimes falling in love can be a royal pain…

Gabriella Puccini, Contessa of Castiglione Girasole, is tired of having to sacrifice everything for the men in her life. So when she finally realizes that her fiancé would rather be married to his career than to her, she decides to go back to where it all began to figure out why she keeps settling for the wrong men, only to encounter her childhood crush, who couldn’t be more wrong for her…

Edouardo Squires-Thornton has been decidedly down on his luck. Unceremoniously sidestepped for the family inheritance upon his beloved father’s death, Edouardo has spent months adrift, feeling lost and confused, barely mustering the energy to do much but watch bad reality TV in his boxers. But when he’s tricked into an unexpected meeting with childhood sweetheart Gabriella, will Edouardo decide it’s time to pull on his big boy pants and figure out his life?

 

Categories: Bridget Jones's Diary, Chick Lit, contemporary romance, Jenny Gardiner, writing