In November, I had the opportunity to take a bucket-list dream vacation revolving around my favorite sport: SWIMMING! A company in England, SwimTrek, hosts swimming vacations all around the world, and we decided on Baja, Mexico. My college swimming teammates and I glamped on Isla de Espiritu Santo while swimming 2-4 miles a day in the crystal-blue waters of the Sea of Cortez.
The island had no electricity or wi-fi, adding to the spirituality of the experience. We were lucky to have a talented chef who prepared ceviche, fish tacos, and even a birthday cake! There were seven swimmers from my alma mater, and fun new friends from California, Canada, Germany, and Italy.
A highlight was swimming with sea lions.
What a memorable experience! A swimming vacation just *might* be the setting for my next novel.
Whoops, I almost forgot about IWSG again! Too many summer days at the swimming pool. Ahhhhh.
Instead of answering this month’s question, I have a question for you. Have you ever asked for your rights back from your publisher in order to self-publish past novels? I’m considering doing so (now that the contracts have elapsed), taking time to update, and I’m looking for tips and pros/cons.
This month’s question: What’s harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?
Eek, I’m getting the shakes from this question. I thought Halloween was over? Both tasks can bring a writer to her knees, but I have to choose creating titles as more difficult.
Blurbs kick my butt at first, but after scuffling with the sentences, my critique partner and editor always help turn the blurbs into something coherent and catchy. (Whether or not the blurbs are appealing enough to make readers want to buy my books is another matter.)
Titles, though? I’ve ridden the struggle bus drumming up titles for at least four of my nine novels.
The toughest title was for my swimming military murder mystery romance published in 2012. (Maybe covering 11 genres in one novel was the start of the problem?) The initial title was Swimming Against the Tide, then Against the Tide. However, when it came time to publish, both titles seemed cheesy.
My hero faced countless obstacles, including an abusive father, and he had a talent for exploding off the walls on his flip turns. I suggested the swimming term, Streamline, to signify a tight body position allowing him to slice through even the roughest waters.
My publisher thought “streamline” evoked a corporate takeover more than a new adult sports romance. She was probably right. But, I couldn’t think of another damn title! So we went with it.
In addition to blurbs and titles, I want to add another TOUGH task of publishing: creating a book cover. I’ve had countless back-and-forth convos with book designers over the years. My publisher grappled with the cover concept for Streamline, but I love the design they landed on, representing an underwater kiss scene from the book. Still, I wanted the image of the characters to be bigger.
How about you? Which writing task gives you the willies the most?
Have you been watching the Olympics? I’ve binged on coverage of my two favorite sports: swimming and volleyball. American swimmer Caleb Dressel was electrifying!
I’ve also felt inspired by stories of resilience in multiple sports, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Athletes like the brave and lovely Simone Biles have strived to handle challenges such as mental blocks.
We’re all familiar with writer’s block, but what about mental blocks? Overcoming them in sports like gymnastics, diving, and equestrian is one such opportunity for resilience. Mental blocks, also known as balking or the yips, occur when athletes struggle to complete skills they’ve done hundreds of times before. They try to force themselves, but they just can’t go. Every gymnast has experienced mental blocks. But how difficult to face one on the world stage at the Olympics!
Sport psychologist Alan Goldberg frames mental blocks as a trauma response. The traumas can be a serious injury, scary fall, or even witnessing another athlete survive a near miss. If I made a mistake in swimming, I swam slower. When gymnasts make mistakes, they might sustain horrific injuries. And their bodies remember the past fear, creating the fight, flight, or freeze response. No matter how hard athletes try to throw the skill, their bodies freeze. It’s so frustrating for them.
Traumas can also be personal, like a severe car accident or sexual assault. For an athlete who has experienced multiple traumas, their bodies may lock up. It’s not a lack of effort. It’s a survival mechanism. I applaud any athlete experiencing this struggle who takes care of herself and puts her health first. These superstar athletes are human, with needs for safety and respect just like all of us.
This month’s question: What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique.
I’m so excited to release my first psychological thriller today. Early reviews have been wonderful and I hope you find this twin story to be a page turner.
by Jennifer Lane
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Release Date: February 28, 2018
My twin brother is determined to kill himself, but I won’t let him. I just discovered the sacrifice he made for me when we were young. Now it’s time I return the favor. This time I’ll be the one with the secret. Psychologist Matthew Durante’s twin brother, Justin, has struggled with mental illness since their parents died in a house fire. After Justin is accused of setting off a bomb that killed an innocent woman, he lands in a maximum-security psychiatric hospital. In the face of Justin’s unrelenting suicide attempts, Matthew grows frantic to keep him alive. And as the pieces of their past fall into place, Matthew decides bold action is his only choice, no matter the cost. Set against the backdrop of weapons manufacturing, terrorism, and a dark family secret, Matthew and Justin fight for survival, redemption, and most of all, for each other.
Psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane invites you to her world of romance, sports, and suspense! By day she’s a therapist, and by night she’s a writer. She can’t decide which is more fun. Jen’s first psychological thriller launches in 2018: Twin Sacrifice. Psychologist Matthew Durante risks his own life to save his twin brother’s as their foster father tries to take them down. Jen loves to create sporty heroines and hot heroes in her college sport romances. Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez finds her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in the Blocked series, it’s her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love. Spiked (Blocked #3) completes the series and features Lucia’s younger brother Mateo. A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen writes swimming-based romances as well: Streamline, a military mystery, and the free New Adult novella Swim Recruit. Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic-suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior. Whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and visiting her sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.
To celebrate my sports romances BLOCKED, ACED (Blocked #2), SPIKED (Blocked #3), and STREAMLINE, I’m joining the March Madness Giveaway! Score Big during the $250 March Madness Cash giveaway where you have the option of choosing between $250 PayPal Cash OR an Amazon E-Gift Card! This event was organized by The Kids Did It & The Mommy Island and sponsored by the awesome bloggers, authors, and Etsy shop owners listed below!
Give some love to the March Madness sponsors and follow them on social media:
ONE entrant will be selected by the entry form to win $250 PayPal cash OR $250 Amazon e-gift card. Open for entry WW, 18 years and older from 03/14/17 thru 04/03/17 at 11:59pm ET. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to notification email to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected. See Rafflecopter for official rules. The Kids Did It & The Mommy Island are responsible for sending the winner their prize via PayPal or Amazon. The winner has the option of choosing between PayPal and an Amazon gift card. Please contact Amanda (email@example.com) if you have questions or you’d like an event organized. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Welcome to the Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop! Thanks to Mary from Book Hounds for hosting. I for one am excited the days will get longer after Winter Solstice. The short daylight is my least favorite part of winter. But I love cozying up in fleece and sipping hot drinks. I’m giving away a $10 gift card and a Jennifer Lane ebook of the winner’s choice. I write sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist. Check out college volleyball romance BLOCKED for only $.99. Enter on the Rafflecopter. a Rafflecopter giveaway Hop over to these blogs to win stuff!
Spiked has been out in the world for a week, generating wonderful reviews! “Starting from the moving dedication to victims of trauma, to the very satisfying ending, this was not only a very engaging book, but also thought-provoking and inspirational.” ~Teresa from Goodreads
“I FLOVE MATEO AND JESSICA.
FLOVE, FLOVE, FLOVE.
I mean, come on, who wouldn’t like this broken guy who ends up being perfectly imperfect with a girl he never thought he would chance to meet. She is beautiful, smart, and yet utterly broken as well.
They build each other up as much as they break each other’s walls down.”
~Amy’s Review Obsession (this one made me laugh!)
The hero Mateo Ramirez is a singer/songwriter, so music is quite important to the story.
Which songs inspired SPIKED?
1) Lay it All on Me by Rudimental featuring Ed Sheeran
Let my love in, let my love in
Lay your heart on me
If you’re hurting, if you’re hurting
Lay it all on me
2) Make You Feel My Love by Bob Dylan
When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love.
3) Yesterday’s Songs by Neil Diamond
Baby, yesterday’s blues
May be yesterday’s news
But the truth always stays the same
And the good things will never change
Like sayin’ “I love you”
Just sayin’ “I love you”
Check out Nicki Elson’s post about another pivotal song on my Spiked playlist HERE. What songs inspire you as a writer or reader? Don’t forget to enter the $25 gift card giveaway HERE. It ends 10/15.
After watching his older siblings find their love matches at Highbanks University, Mateo Ramirez feels unlikely to follow in their footsteps. What girl would want him? Unlike his brother and sister, he battles diabetes and chooses music over sports. But at least he can write songs about his life—and the girl who caught his eye when their parents ran against each other for US President.
Hey, chica! Come conmigo
And baby, why don’t we go
Down under the bridge to the water
With you it can only get hotter
Jessica Monroe is a talented swimmer who dreams of representing Team USA at the Olympics. When she earns an athletic scholarship to Highbanks, she’s excited to attend the same school as the cute boy she met two years ago: Mateo. Too bad he’s not around when a teammate spikes her drink. Jessica may never trust men again.
Is a hard-to-earn thing
Try to keep listening
Down all of the unjust
My chest, my heart will bust
College years are the time to shake off the past and find your future. But will that future find Mateo and Jessica together? Dive in and immerse yourself in the eagerly anticipated conclusion to Jennifer Lane’s Blocked trilogy.
Meet the Men of the Blocked Series Blocked: Dane Monroe, 6’8″ blond gigante, volleyball setter Aced: Alejandro Ramirez, med student, baseball player Spiked: Mateo Ramirez, soulful singer / songwriter Check out the Blocked series FREE with Kindle Unlimited