Can I make a recommendation?

I've discovered something very important over the past decade—my opinion doesn't matter.

Let me rephrase, my opinion shouldn't matter. Yet, here I am, sharing my opinion on books. Let's just get this out in the open—I'm a terrible book reviewer. I can craft some pretty magical characters who speak words of wisdom and even the occasional profound phrase that may leave readers pondering the meaning for days. **Just kidding. I'm full of shit. 

I digress ... but when it comes to reading other books, I'm terrible. Just rubbish, to use a Scarlet Stone term, at formulating a helpful opinion. <—Or crafting a complete sentence. 

My taste is diverse and ever-changing. I love alpha males one day and hate them the next. I like dark but not too dark, funny but not stupid, angst until it hurts, unsolvable mysteries, and screwed-up characters. 

I used to say my only requirement for a good story was impeccable writing. That's not the case anymore. There are amazing writers—award-winning wordsmiths who make every sentence sound  gleefully poetic. They bring settings to life with magical technicolor. But ... the story gets overshadowed by paragraphs of adjective vomit. 

Don't get me wrong, I will always hold a certain amount of envy toward these magical scriveners. But I get bored with description and oftentimes I feel like the setting drowns the plot or the story  moves at a snail's pace because the characters' thoughts are delivered in long, unbroken paragraphs of internal monologue. After pages and pages of no white space, I long for a quote. PLEASE, let them speak!

To quote every editor's favorite line, "Show, don't tell." 

Then we have the next category of writers—the one to which I belong. They (we) are the storytellers. Fuck the description, if you've seen one beach, you've seen them all. If you've never seen the beach, Google it and save us both paragraphs of pain. We are the dialogue junkies. Our stage comes with very few props, but we hope you focus on the meaning behind the words to the point that you don't care what color the character's shoes are, or the style of the chandelier in the foyer. 

We count on your brain to fill in the blanks. Your beach might not be our beach, but if it's not important to the story, then who cares? 

Finally, we have the elite writers who manage to strike a balance. They are concise with their words, painting magical pictures with one or two sentences and returning to witty dialogue before the reader gets bored. These are the unicorn writers. BUT—are you ready? My unicorn writer may not be your unicorn writer. You may need a three hundred word description of a beach, where all I need is one word—beach. 

So basically, all of the above is nothing more than a disclaimer before I share some books that I have enjoyed for many reasons. This is not a complete list. It is a growing list. If you like recommendations, I encourage you to check back as I comb through my digital bookshelves and jog my old lady memory in search of the books that have made me smile or scream or simply kept me up past midnight searching for answers. 

Peace to all, 

Jewel

**Disclaimer - 11th hour blog post without editing. 

Rhythm is The Heartbeat of Your Soul

I'm pooped. There, I said it. 

 

The triathlon of self-publishing:  

1st Leg - Writing writing writing writing ... 

2nd Leg - Edit Edit Edit Edit ... 

3rd Leg - Publish and promote promote promote promote ... 

DEAD 

^^^^That's me now. An overachiever because I'm publishing TWO more books by the first week in April. 

 

stupid stupid stupid stupid 

 "Mmm, my landlord likes to role play. Me too."&nbsp;

"Mmm, my landlord likes to role play. Me too." 

 

So no Vlog for you. Sorry. If you follow me on Facebook, then you know I've already posted a live video to my page—nothing short of an awkward mess. AND ... if you're a hardcore stalker, then you know I have a Look the Part Spoiler Group where I did a live Q&A, unknowingly with hearts around my head the whole damn time! ::Facepalm::

 

So here's what I have for you: MUSIC!!!! My playlist for Look the Part. And because I feel so bad about the missing Vlog, (Actually, I don't) I've made some special notes for the songs. 

 

Enjoy! I'll see you in March with a birthday celebration and another book! (Transcend. Be ready. I'm going to break you.) ::insert evil laugh::

Look The Part Playlist

"Why" by Skinny Living - 100% Flint's song. If this were made into a movie, this would be the theme song. 

"Lights Down Low" by MAX - For sex scenes, the tender ones. ;) 

"Mended" Acoustic by Vera Blue - The last scene of the book before the epilogue. 

"Say You Won't Let Go" by James Arthur - Cape Cod, when "the doctor" arrives. 

"Here Comes The Sun" by The Beatles - Epilogue 

"Something" by The Beatles - Bedroom dancing

"Suit And Jacket" by Judah & the Lion - Harrison's song (Live, dear child. Live YOUR life) 

"Poison & Wine" by The Civil Wars - "I kiss him and I cry. I kiss him and I break. I kiss him and I pretend that it matters. But ... it doesn't, so I just kiss him." 

"Nocturnes, Op. 9: No. 2 in E-Flat Major" by Frédéric Chopin - The private plane. 

"Sorry" by Halsey - Just because. 

"Pillowtalk, the living room" by ZAYN - Office stairs - oh my my my ::fans self::

"Feelin' Love" by Paula Cole - Ellen in the bath tub. 

"Make You Feel My Love" by Adele - "I'm going to love you so hard, time won't matter ... distance won't matter ... all you'll feel when you take each breath ... is my love." 

"Collide - Acoustic Version" by Howie Day - "You should leave ..." "Why?" "Because if you don't, I'm going to fall in love with you." 

"Benjamin and Daisy" by Alexandre Desplat - My favorite instrumental music to get into Ellen's head. 

Check it out on Spotify. 

Have a great weekend! 

 

Love, Jewel 

I Made the Naughty List

I don’t want to record a vlog. 

I don’t want to record a vlog.

I don’t want to record a vlog. 

 

I didn’t record a video this month. Instead … 

 

I messaged my son’s science teacher and vented about how the lack of physical text books and clear objectives has led to said son’s poor science grade. Then I demanded Mr. Science Teacher send me everything so I can be young spawn’s study buddy in my free time. **Not happy with my son either. 

 

THEN … I messaged same son’s basketball coach because Mr. I Don’t Value Parents’ Time kept me waiting again for more than 30 minutes in my idling minivan with younger spawn getting impatient, and groceries melting 

 

BECAUSE … Mr. Basketball Coach decided to make all the kids do extra running drills at the end of practice since a few were goofing off. 

Fine. Run their little video-gaming asses off, but do it at the beginning of the next practice so you don’t keep parents waiting for f**king ever!!!!!

 

SO … I’m struggling to channel holiday cheer, which is crazy because I’m not a victim of the deadly weather that’s plagued the earth this year. 

 

I have shelter, clothing, food, family, and my health. I have friends and this bizarre life as Jewel E. Ann where I get to be a storyteller. I get paid to share the thoughts in my head. 

 

THEREFORE … I’m selfishly writing this blog for me, myself, and I because I need a reminder of all the reasons I have to be grateful. And while most of the time I am a very zen person, today I feel every ounce of my imperfect humanity. I feel the pain around me. I feel the deep division of my country. I hurt for those who are victims. I fear for the future of my children. 

 

I. Am. Human.

 

If you’re human too, know that it’s okay to have a moment of pity—a less than zen moment. You don’t have to take it out on science teachers and coaches (but seriously, my time matters too, Mr. Basketball Coach) ::deep breath:: 

 

Find joy. It really is right in front of you. Embrace happiness. Spread love. Give gratitude.  

 

And … if you don’t want to record a vlog this month, then don’t record a vlog. 

 

Peace, 

 

Jewel 

 

P.S. After typing this up, I feel instant regret. I didn’t intend to vent, but I did. It’s 10:30 on Thursday night. I need to post something in my newsletter tomorrow, but I’m out of time. I’m leaving town in the morning, and I still haven’t packed. So this is it. This has to be the jolly blog for December. I’m going out of 2017 with a real doozy. Yay me! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where's Jewel?

There was a video mishap on Friday. YouTube rejected every attempt I made all day Thursday to upload my video blog. So I eventually gave up. In the bigger picture of nuclear bomb threats and white supremacy, I didn’t think my video blog about social media robbing my autonomy really should matter to anyone. 

Honestly, I don’t know what to blog about. I have a million thoughts in my mind, but life feels volatile right now, so I’m not going to say anything because it would probably be misconstrued. 

So here’s what we’re going to do instead … read fiction!!!!! 

Speaking of volatile … months ago I started writing Flint’s story. If you haven’t read One then this means nothing. You can still get excited because Flint’s story (clearly I haven’t titled it) will be a standalone. 100%. I wanted it to be a darker story. Flint has a traumatic past. 

But … I changed my mind. My love for the heroine in the story has changed my mind. So when I return to this book in October, I’m going to start over and make it a rom-com. 

I know. I know. I call all of my books rom-coms, but I’m really really REALLY going to try and follow through on this one. Perhaps I won’t kill anyone. That makes it a rom-com. Right? 

Has anyone caught where I’m going with this post? I’m going to share some of Flint’s book in its original, unedited, darker version. 

Here you go! 

 

Heidi gave me a son and then I killed her. Lucky were the bastards who learned life lessons from close calls. I envied those lucky bastards. 

 

“Don’t drink tonight. I want you to put another baby inside of me,” my wife whispered as her hand slid up my leg under the table surrounded by twelve of our closest family and friends. Heidi picked my favorite steak house in Omaha and reserved the party room for my day. I had no idea until everyone yelled surprise. 

I loved her beyond words. 

“And for the birthday boy?” The brunette waitress winked at me, readying her pen against the pad of paper in her hand. 

“Whisky neat.” 

Heidi frowned. 

I grabbed her hand and pressed it to my erection. “I’m not going to have any issues granting your request.” 

“We’ll see.” Her curt response held little confidence. 

My parents had driven in from Denver to surprise me, but my two-year-old son, Harrison stole the show. They took turns gushing over him with Heidi’s mom. I didn’t anticipate being a father before I graduated college; I also didn’t anticipate meeting the woman I couldn’t live without at the exact moment I needed her the most. 

She was a nursing student at the hospital they sent me to the day an ACL injury shattered my football career. I called her an angel. Heidi insisted it was the drugs they gave me for the pain. 

“Monaghan said you’re going to be his agent when he goes Pro.” My dad gave me a curious look. 

“Monaghan is full of shit. No team in their right mind will draft Pretty Boy. He’s going to be a teacher. That right there shows you he’s too much of a pussy to have a serious chance in the NFL.” 

The Cornhusker’s young quarterback shot me a smirk from the other end of the table. We both knew he’d go Pro, but I wasn’t going to inflate his ego on my birthday.

“Language, Hopkins,” Heidi warned. 

When she called me by my last name, I squirmed in my chair. It always meant a punishment would follow, and all of her punishments were doled out in the bedroom. 

I loved her beyond words. 

The night marched on without missing one perfect beat. 

Dinner. Friends. Family. Food. Drinks. 

My wife outdid herself. She excelled in making every day perfect. She also excelled in making me feel irresponsible for drinking. Every time the waitress placed another drink in front of me, Heidi’s lips pursed into a disapproving frown. 

I let it slide without argument. Before he died, her father was abusive and he drank a lot of alcohol. When we met, she thought I didn’t drink. At the time, it was true. Football was my life. I treated my body like a temple. But after my injury, I settled into a life where my body was no longer a temple and the occasional drink was exactly what I needed to ease the pain of lost dreams. 

Heidi thought every guy who drank was an abusive alcoholic. I made it my mission to prove her wrong so maybe someday she too would relax a little and have a drink on special occasions. 

“Happy Birthday, Flint. Take care of my babies.” Heidi’s mom, Sandy, hugged me as everyone said their final birthday wishes and goodnights. 

“That’s code for hand the keys to your wife.” Heidi nudged me with a playful smile that I knew was not at all meant to be playful. 

Sandy squeezed my cheeks and looked into my eyes. “I think he’s fine, sweetie. Nothing like your father was, so give him some slack.” 

I shot Heidi an I-told-you-so look. Her mother loved me. I was everything her father hadn’t been. Heidi hated that I could do no wrong in Sandy’s eyes, but I loved it. A dangerous pride came with so much confidence. 

After she fastened Harrison into his carseat, Heidi held out her hand. 

“I’m fine.” I opened the driver’s door. 

“You’re not. You drank a lot tonight.” 

“I weigh a lot.” 

“Flint.” 

I slipped into the driver’s seat. “Call me Hopkins, baby. I like where that leads.” 

“Flint, I’m serious. Our child is in the backseat.” She stood between me and the door so I couldn’t shut it.

“I want to be in my birthday suit with you. Get in so we can get Harrison to bed.” 

She crossed her arms over her chest, raven hair flowing in all directions, blue eyes piercing mine. 

“I’m. Fine.” 

Heidi shrugged. “Great. Then don’t be a chauvinistic pig. Just let me drive.” 

Thunder rumbled in the distance as a few drops of rain fell from the night sky. 

“You’re going to get wet.” 

She huffed and stomped to the other side of the car. “Stubborn ass,” she mumbled as she buckled up.

“Language, Mommy.” I chuckled as I started the car. 

“There will be a special place in Hell for you, Flint Hopkins, if you kill us or anyone else with your drunk driving.” 

I put the car in drive and cupped the back of her head, pulling her forehead to mine before letting up on the brake. “You’re my world. I would never hurt you. I love you beyond words.” 

“Jesus, Flint …” she whispered. “Your breath reeks of whiskey, I’m begging you … let me drive.” 

I released her and let up on the brake. As much as I loved my wife, I also loved being a man. And a strong man knew his limits and didn’t have to be told when he was or wasn’t capable of doing something. 

 

***

 

Three days later I buried my wife in a cemetery two blocks from our house. 

 

Peace, 

 

Jewel 

 

 

 

Are you a freak in the bedroom?

No. I'm not. But thanks for asking. 

As promised on my Facebook page a few weeks ago, here are the answers to some of your burning questions for me. 

Q: Will we be getting anymore books from the Knight and Day group?

A. No. Not likely. I love their story just the way I wrote it. Unless ... Netflix calls and wants to make Jack and Jill a series. Then I will kill another charcter or two and stir up trouble. 

Q. Are you going to be at any events on the west coast this year? I'd love to meet you!

A. Sorry, not this year. Here is my schedule of signings for the rest of 2017. 

http://www.jeweleann.com/signingsevents/

Q. When did you know you wanted to be a writer, and how did you know?

A. Some days I still don’t know if I want to be a writer. The business part of publishing is exhausting, and it’s hard on my self-esteem to be constantly judged/critiqued. Yet, I still do it because the honor of sharing my art with the people who do love it still outweighs the bad days.

Q. Can I come to your house to learn how to make juice? 

A. Yes! I love to play in the kitchen. Friends are always welcome. 

Q. Which of your books was the hardest to write and which was the easiest to write?

A. Jack & Jill Series was hardest to write because it’s so complex, and I had to go to some really dark places to “get into character.” When Life Happened  has been the easiest to write. The story was in my head and the words flew onto the screen so fast my fingers had trouble keeping up.

Q. What will your next book be about? 

A. When Life Happened: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34607921-when-life-happened

Q. I was wondering if you considered narrating your books yourself?

A. Nope. I don’t like my voice that well.

Q. What is your favorite type of character personality to write? Funny, quirky, alpha, underdog etc.

A. Funny and imperfect. 

Q. How do you come up with characters' names?

A. I used to pull them out of my ass (according to a friend) and now that friend names my characters. 

Q.  From the books you have written, which is your favorite? (if you have one)

A. Jack & Jill Series

Q. If you weren't a writer what would you be doing?

A.  Reading more and wondering why someone hasn’t written one of the stories in my head. I run my husband’s business and homeschool our youngest child. If I weren’t writing, I wouldn’t need anything else to do. 

Q. Would you like to write in any other genre?

A. Not right now. I love romance.

Q. What is your favorite book turned movie?

A. Eat, Pray, Love - Truthfully, I don't have a lot of "favorites." 

Q. What kind of books do you like to read? 

A. Good books. Genre doesn't matter, just take me on an addictive ride and make me feel things. 

List of books I recommend:

http://www.jeweleann.com/recommendations/

Q. Who is your favorite author?

A. I don't have one. 

Q. What is your favorite book? 

A. I don't have one. See the trend? No favorites. I hope it doesn't make me boring. I just love life, and favorites change with each breath. Lots of breaths, lots of favorites! 

Q. Is your name really, Julianne?

A. I'm Jule, pronounced Julie, and my middle name is Ann. 

 

Thanks for the questions! 

Jewel E. Ann (Jule Ann) 

Instant Gratification - What happened to Foreplay?

Guess who’s working her ass off for you this year? Me! That’s right. I’ve just announced my next book, When Life Happened, will release in June. It’s a romantic comedy with so much heart; I think this will make a lot of Re-read lists. SO MANY FEELS! 

 

I’m also working on Sleight of Hand, a collaboration with Kate Stewart. It’s an incredibly fun rom-com about an arranged marriage between a street performer and a Harvard student/erotic dancer. I have high hopes for this, but since I’m a bit OCD about … everything… we have not set a release date. I encourage everyone to send their condolences to Kate. I’m not the easiest person to work with!

 

Finally, we’re just two weeks away from the Chapter Premier of Transcend—a newsletter exclusive. I hope instant gratification hasn’t ruined all of my readers. Can you follow this story a little at a time? Or have you turned into a severe binger, incapable of waiting for anything? Throwing tantrums at the thought of commercials, and having complete meltdowns should you have to wait longer than 24 hours for your next fix?

 

Let’s all take a step back and enjoy the journey again. Remember what that was like? Remember when you used to look forward to something? I think it was back when we had face-to-face conversations, communicated with full words, and refrained from telling the whole world our every move. 

    

“OMG!!! LMFAO! I just trimmed my fingernails and it took me ten minutes to get a new roll of toilet paper started! Lol.” #SittingOnThePot2Long #MajorHemorrhoids” 

 

::checks every ten seconds for Likes and Comments:: And Shares? Fucking gold!!! You are quotable. Famous. A total rockstar! 

 

Speaking of rockstars and fame, did you check out my video in last week’s newsletter? If not, don’t worry. I’ll hook you up with a link. See? Instant gratification. Except those stupid YouTube advertisements. The ones that let you click the SKIP button after a few seconds are bearable—just—but the ads that you have to watch in their entirety? Gah!!! Who has twenty extra seconds in their day to deal with that shit when all we want is to watch the latest episode of Carpool Karaoke? ::cue tantrum:: 

 

Be kind. 

 

Be thoughtful. 

 

Be patient. 

 

Peace! 

 

Jewel

VIDEO LINK

I Know About More Than Sex

Happy New Year! </p><p>

I get a lot of email with questions from readers, so I’ve randomly picked some to answer. 

 

Q: Are you going to post more videos on The Jonesies Facebook page showcasing your talents? 

**(Hooping and tramping in 2016, but not at the same time.)

A: Yes. I have many talents beyond writing. 2017 might include yoga poses, a tutorial on making nut milk, and a live video of parking in Costco’s cart return to prevent door dings. 

Q: What is your favorite wine? 

A: Beer

Q: Do you get nervous at book signings? 

A: No. I wear platform shoes to boost my confidence. **Fly London

Q: Will Flint get a book, and if so, when?

A: Yes. When I write it. 

Q: How do you come up with your story ideas? 

A: I’m a social recluse who daydreams instead of interacting with other humans. 

Q: Are vegans taking over the world, and if so, is that a good thing? 

A: Yes. And the animals think so. 

Q: Favorite social media platform? 

A: Instagram because ranters have to post a picture before they can have the mic. 

Q: Who do you predict will win the Super Bowl? 

A: The team who scores the most points. 

Q: What do you love most about writing? 

A: Making people laugh. 

Q: Were these actual questions from readers? 

A: No. But if you smiled even once, I don’t regret the lie. 

 

Make someone’s day—every day. 

I'm off to Arizona for some time with friends and lots of word weaving. My only writing goal this year is to make you laugh. 

 

Peace, 

Jewel E. Ann

Step Away From The Circle And Nobody Gets Hurt

My best friend brought canned tuna almost every day for lunch when we were in school. The mean kids made fun of her AND me just by association. At the time, I didn’t understand what was up with the tuna. Maybe they were upset about the dolphins dying after getting caught in the nets. Maybe their parents were too cheap to splurge on seafood for them, and they were jealous. 

Maybe they knew the vulgar meaning of Tuna Town long before we did. Yeah, that was it. 

I’ve always been a mile outside of the circle. The last to know. The least likely to fit in. Yet—the most likely to Not. Give. A. Shit. 

Until … I began my writing journey. Self-publishing has made the world my vagina-smelling oyster. All I have to do is BE POPULAR!

Social. 

Accessible. 

Responsive. 

Friendly. 

Likable. 

Engaged. 

Funny. 

RELATABLE. <— Oh. Fuck. I’m in trouble. 

I can suppress my un-relatable-ness (because that’s a real word) and write the same characters over and over because there’s a stereotype of the characters most readers love, OR I can write what’s inside me which is a cluster fuck of characters that are unique, daring, bold, crazy, and a mile outside of the circle. 

Image-1-1.jpg

 

Maybe they make you laugh at their ridiculousness. 

Maybe they make you scream because they are stubborn to their own demise. 

Maybe they make you think about something in a way you never imagined. And maybe, just maybe that makes them memorable, endearing, admirable, commendable, and … lovable. 

Scarlet Stone is coming on December 10th and she is UNFORGETTABLE. 

Peace, 

Jewel,  Warrior of the Earth, Defender of the Herbivores, Least Likely to Be Homecoming Queen

**This blog is dedicated to everyone who started their period before their friends, thought blow jobs were how you dried your hands in public restrooms, and at the tender age of eight, found a condom in a moving box marked “toiletries” and tried to blow it up like a balloon but wondered why it was so wet.