About Me

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J is an unpublished author, represented by Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency. J's first novel is a YA fantasy horror, regarding a siren who must choose between the haunting life and humanity. J draws on occasion, reads quite often, and is a founding member of the critique group 'Thoughtical Verbosity.'

Friday, December 11, 2009

Short Stories and Aging

Ha-HA! It has been almost a month since my last post. Almost! But I beat the clock.

My apologies; preparations for holidays, health nastiness and the various incarnations of what I consider to be my 'work' have kept me from having anything cool to say that you, my two readers, might notice.

Christmas is coming up fast. Granted, there's only one day of the year when Christmas isn't coming up, but ah well.

I love Christmas.

I think it's a delightful holiday; if you know how to release the things in life that cause unnecessary stress, it can be absolutely magical.

Seriously, I wonder every year after the sorts of people you see stomping down the aisles of the mall, snarling at small children and screeching about how long it takes the cashier to check them out. The sort of people who spend Christmas dinner preparations glowering into the soup like it's just been revealed as the one who stole their first crush back in middle school.

There are tasks that are inherently stressful in the holiday bag; that is simply never going to change. So, if you find your eye twitching every time you hear someone humming 'Jingle Bells,' perhaps it would be wise to simply let go of the more unnecessary things.

As for me, my massive family and handful of friends can be at ease. My Christmas shopping is done :)

And in the time that I'm not going to spend zooming around to nab at good sales, I have decided that I'm going to embark on a series of short stories. They will take place during the 1930's, and star the private detective from my murder mystery party, 'Murder in the Gardens.' I plan on selling them on Lulu for a few bucks a pop. It should be fun.

I'm also still working on my novel, and my goal is to have a complete rough draft done before I go on my British Literary Tour (squee!) in late April.

Also; my birthday is next Monday, the 14th. I have survived almost another full year. Yay!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Synopsis and Excerpt

Well, as promised, here you go! Follow that link to read the synopsis of my NaNo novel and an excerpt (the prologue).

You may notice, in reading, that the excerpt contains a good deal of slang from the good old days when problems were supposedly solved with guns, cash or bronze knuckles. You may also notice that it the synopsis contains a character not present in the prologue.

Good eyes, slick.

Anyhow, I'm off to get my nose back firmly against the grindstone so I can wrap this puppy up before the end of the month. It's times like these that I wish I had one of those weird little Japanese toys that bob their heads in the light...sort of like a creepy, always watching fan urging me to finish. Or hypnotizing me so it can feast upon my liver once I finally give in to the rhythmic motion and fall into a stupor.

Is anyone else looking forward to the movie 'Pirate Radio?'

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And they're off!

If you've managed to stick with me for a full month with only two updates, then congratulations! You win this third update!

A good deal has occurred in my family since the last time I posted about something or other. Here's the skinny:

Familial Health Crisis (handled)
Currently visiting with Family in Idaho (baby sister is adorable)
Acceptance to the British Literary Tour as provided by BYU-Idaho (elated)
Beginning work on NaNoWriMo (in progress)
Baby Sister Turns 1 (Happy Birthday, Rudi!)

And there you have it. What I've been up to for the last couple of weeks.

Since I promised more information about it in my last post, let's talk about NaNoWriMo!

National Novel Writing Month is this ingenious device thought up by a guy named Chris and some other masochists, who decided that it would be a great idea to try and write a fifty thousand word novel in a month (namely, Turkey Month, also known in latter days as 'November'). Misery loves company, and so like a berserk snowball wheeling its way down Mount Everest towards an unsuspecting camp, NaNoWriMo has grown to a massive, cold ball of doom.

Writers everywhere rejoice!

Last year was my first year 'competing,' and I managed (barely) to make it. The story I was writing then was about three siblings (The Whipsnappers); one of them is kidnapped by goblins, the other one goes to get him back, and the third one stays to take care of their village. Exciting stuff. Unfortunately, I was as poorly organized as a clan of dust bunnies trying to wage war on a tribe of vacuums. I have a good deal written in that book, but it has remained exactly as it is for...well, the last year.

THIS year, however, I started out with an entirely different tactic. I wrote up a disturbingly brief outline, with a vague subject for each of the planned thirty chapters. A chapter a day, and I'll find myself with a complete (albeit rougher than a blind date with a yeti) novel. Which I will then smother in spit and polish until I feel it's decent enough to have someone read...and then attempt to get it published.

In my next post (it will be much sooner, I promise!) I'll put up the synopsis and a brief excerpt from this year's attempt.

The title: Lady Luck: First Time's a Charm

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Once a week indeed!

Ahoy there, readers! (Really, both of you, I'm so glad you could make it.)

My, my, my. If my lack of activity on this new-born blog is any indication, then...ah, I forgot what I was going to say. Something about decaying apples. But I apologize for the exceedingly slow follow-up to the introduction post. Due to various familial and work-related duties, I have found my free time sliced and diced into not but the most minute of slivers. In short: I have been busy.

But I have also been writing. Or, at least, preparing to. Has anyone ever heard of a phenomenon called 'NaNoWriMo?' National Novel Writing Month? In November? It's a sort of contest...a challenge, if you will...where thousands of individuals down millions of gallons of caffeinated beverages to crank out a 50,000 word novel, each.

Well, it is coming up here soon. I participated last year, and somehow managed to succeed. I plan on repeating the performance this year as well. HOO-ah!

More on this later.

Now then, I had planned on doing a book review in this post. But that was a week ago, and my critical eye has blinked a few too many times for the review to be really fresh. So instead, I'll share with you a little something I wrote for a VERY short-story writing contest a couple of weeks ago. Which I didn't win. But still, I hope you enjoy:


Twelve Minutes


My eyes, young and flickering and impatient, glanced towards the fat glossy clock that hung mysteriously from the ceiling (yet somehow out of sight of every single customer that grumped in through the doors) and batted in frustration.


Time never went so slow as on the last six hour shift I worked on my first job. To protect the identity of the dirty chain upon which I so unhappily dangled, we shall call the place “JMart.” I was freshly turned sixteen. I had worked there, for four hundred and sixty five days, as a cashier. I had but another dozen minutes before I was free of the dimly lit prison, and I could break off my linty red vest and dance around its burning remains like a victorious Amazon relishing the smell of her fallen foes’ roasted flesh.

Or at least hand it back to my managers, to be respawned around the unwilling arms of some other desperate teenager.

I would have liked to think that my last day would be mercifully uneventful. No one walked into that store in a pleasant mood, almost as if they were as unwilling to be there as any of us working class were. And by the time they had tromped around for an hour, scouring the dingy, too-narrow-for-carts aisles for their overpriced Martha Stewart dish towels, and they managed to squeeze their growling tempers through the minute rows of registers…well, let’s just say that I rarely received a cheery “Hello, how are you?” at the start of a ring-up.

But despite my best efforts to shrink behind my clunky machine (I’m pretty sure it was older than I was, and I’m positive that it got a thicker paycheck) and disguise myself as a homeless person who had wandered in from the heat, I had been busy all day. Sneers and snuffles and snorts abound from my glorious customers, most of whom were drenched in the remnants of their own sweat from bygone years, their thin-cloth tank tops tye-dyed off-white in the most natural means possible. It was the perfect cap to a ‘career’ that had lasted far too long; just the kick in the pants I needed on my way out to keep me from missing the joint.

But just as the lazy minute hand had lurched its way across the finish line of the first minute in my twelve minute countdown, and I was about to sneak over to the dozy manager nestled in the customer service box to make an appeal for early release, my final customer in my JMart thudded into view.

I say “thudded,” but it should be noted that as far as JMart customers went, this fellow was actually quite chic. He was what the folks in the humble town of Missoula refer to as ‘granola.’ His beard existed, but it rested on his face the way a hippy’s tree-sap lipstick rests on her lips. His clothes were cleaner than they had been when he’d purchased them. His cart was full of the most necessary items one could possibly find in JMart (translation: it was almost empty). His feet, trim and clean enough to lick on a dare, were clad in those obscenely expensive sandal things that everyone seems to be wearing these days.

I felt somewhat like a taxi driver who picks up a bright-eyed politician with cash falling from his pockets. My last ring-up was going to be a pine-scented breeze.
The granola man reached into his cart. He pulled out a twelve pack of diet coke. He squeezed it about an inch out of the basket. And then he released his clipped grip, sending the whole case to the ground with an exclamation of certain words I hadn’t heard anywhere but basic cable.

The case burst in a splendid display of foaming coke and fizzling, carbonated uproar.
My granola man, the perfect last straw, the period at the end of my two week’s notice, vanished before the cans had even finished gurgling. Out of the stiff corner of my eye, I saw him retrieve a brand new case and go through the only other open line, leaving me stranded in a foaming sea of tasteless diet beverage.
I’m not sure who ended up mopping up his mess. I tromped on it a bit with massive amounts of paper towels. But I left that day, exactly ten minutes after Granola Man did.

I’ve been careful never to go back.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Introductions Abound

Hello, hello, hello.

Congratulations on stumbling through the twilight zone and managing to find yourself on my newly claimed plot of internet soil! Huzzah for superior link-clicking!

For those of you who are not related to me/knew me in highschool/were puppy-dog-eyed into checking in on me here, my name is Jenni. My surname is Brown. Why am I so eager to tell you both my first and surname? Well, let's take a moment here to consider it: 'Jennifer' is among the top-ten most popular names for females within ten years plus or minus my age. 'Brown' is one of the top five most common surnames in America. Chances are you already know at least a dozen Jenni Brown's already. Some of them are probably just as snark--er--witty as I am, too.

Besides, I aspire to one magical day become a world-famous author who belches out life-changing tales daily and showers in pixie dust. So someday you'll all be sighing my name with envy and admiration. Might as well give my early fans a leg-up on the competition, eh?

But enough about me, let's talk about you! Or, specifically, what you'll be doing on your visits to this site. It is my hope that while here, you will spend a few minutes getting a good chuckle out of my weekly...monthly...bi-annual-or-so ramblings about...well, whatever it is I feel like discussing at that moment. It might be a review of a movie or book I recently enjoyed (or deplored). It might be me gushing about how talented my sister is, or how adorable my niece and nephew are when they're pretending to be man-eating dinosaurs. It might be me trying to persuade you to purchase my latest attempt at literary greatness. Or it might just be me ranting about a customer that crammed their face full of muffing and then splattered me with it while ordering a scone at the bakery I try to support myself through.

Whatever it is, I pledge to you, dear reader, that there will always be some nugget of sarcasm and a wallop of forethought in said sarcasm so I don't...like...run up onto the stage while Taylor Swift is accepting her first major award and make a five-star wanker out of myself by elbowing in on the moment. Or something.

So until next time, reader!

Jenni out.