Friday Funny with Brrrr, Reading, and a Writing Workshop

Brrrrr! Denver is freezing this week, everyone. Like, crank up the heaters, open the bathroom and kitchen cabinets, and constantly run the faucets–freezing.

For those of you who don’t know, Colorado’s weather tends to go like this:

Mother Nature:

Five minutes later…

No joke! The weather here is a tumultuous roller coaster. Sunny one minute, a blizzard the next. Within 24-hours, the temperatures can plummet 60+ degrees. That’s what happened this week. Last Sunday, it was a sunny and beautiful 75 degrees. By Monday evening, it was a snowy and freezing 15–and dropping. By midweek, Denver had nosedived below zero, with a windchill of negative 35 degrees.



I actually took Wednesday off of work because of the frigid temperatures and icy roads. The only problem was my car. If it sits too long in the cold without moving, the battery dies. So, I was forced to leave the warmth of my house multiple times to warm up the engine…and I’m positive every time I did this, my neighbors snickered, frowned, and laughed at what I was wearing:

Honestly, I looked like a walking, talking, shivering marshmallow as I executed Operation Save Car Battery on Wednesday. The repeated process went something like this: Step outside. Waddle, waddle, waddle. Unlock car. Fall inside. Flip ignition. Sit, wait, freeze. Turn off engine. Heave self out of car. Slip. Gain balance. Lock car. Waddle, waddle, waddle back into house.

Oh, I love this time of the year. 😉

Anyway, besides freezing my booty off and looking like a puffed up moron, I spent the week rereading the second draft of my manuscript and making edit notes for a third draft. Upon finishing it, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the first half of the story. The second half…

Well, I won’t say it’s bad, but it definitely needs a lot of work. My characters lost their edge, the dialogue wasn’t as snappy, the plot got foggy, the actual writing sloppy…Ugh. I think part of the problem is I began working faster and less diligently as I moved along. I wasn’t perfecting my later chapters like I did my earlier ones.

The good news is there is a story there, and I know what needs to be done to get it where I want it to go. So now I just need to roll up my sleeves, take a deep breath, and dig into a third draft.

I probably won’t be starting my third draft for a couple of days since I’m attending my first writing workshop tomorrow: the 2014 Colorado Writing Workshop with presenter and instructor Chuck SambuchinoEeks! I’m really nervous, but also really excited about this event. Not only am I going to get the chance to learn a ton about the publishing world, but I’ll be able to meet a ton of other writers from the Denver region.

I’ll be sure to fill you in about my experience at the workshop next week!

 Okay, enough chitchat. Here are some Friday Funnies to brighten your day. Sort of random this week, but I laughed so maybe you will too? Enjoy!

8db5ec3e22e8839ce5ac9c3929116f3e 80a75624d4450211905882e66c05ccc7How was your week? How’s NaNoWriMo going for those of you participating?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Defying Gravity – Kerry Ellis

Make Your Opening Pop!

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Friday Funny with a Random Road Trip and Book Research

Sheesh, I don’t know about you, but this week flew by fast…Of course, that might be because I played hookie from work on Monday.

It’s my Mom’s fault! Blame her. She convinced me to skip work to go on a random road trip to the mountains. (Yeah, my mom told me to ditch…She’s such a positive influence 😉 Kidding!)

“Come on, Jenna,” she implored on Sunday. “Take tomorrow off. We can go eat lunch in Vail, and then drive up to Leadville, and then maybe stop in–”

“Idaho Springs?”


“I’ll go if we can stop in Idaho Springs.”

“Um…Okay?” She looked less than thrilled by the request. Idaho Springs isn’t the coolest, hottest, most exotic town in Colorado. Plus, we pass by it all the time to get to the higher elevated mountain resorts

“I need to do some book research for a scene that takes place there,” I explained to her. “If we can stop in Idaho Springs, then I’ll go.”


So, I sent an email to my boss and hopped in the car.

We windy-weaved through the Rocky Mountains all day long, making stops in Vail, Avon, Edwards, Minturn, Leadville, and lastly–and most importantly–Idaho Springs. Now, I’ve been to Idaho Springs plenty of times, but I’ve never really explored it. And I needed to if I was going to use it as a location in my story.

So, with my notebook and camera ready, we pulled off the highway and drove around town. We took it nice and slow so I could jot things down and snap pictures (both with my camera and my imagination).

IMG_3461 IMG_3467 unnamedWe even decided to eat at the restaurant I’d picked for my characters to dine at, and ordered the same dish as them. It was fun. And exciting. It’s always fun and exciting for me to walk along the same path as my characters. It brings them to life in a whole new way. It helps me “see” them better. I can look out and “watch” them strolling down the sidewalk, or laughing inside the coffee shop, or staring up into the sky and reciting the words I’ve written for them…

Yes, maybe all of that sounds weird–maybe even a little crazy–to some of you, but oh well. I can’t help it. I love traveling to the locations I use for my stories. It always makes me feel closer to my characters and the lives they lead.

Anyways, that was the main highlight of my week. As for my manuscript, I’ve just hit the halfway mark, and once I finish the current chapter I’m working on, I will be embarking upon that “bang” I mentioned last week.

So. Excited!!!

So, in honor of tracing the steps of my characters this week, and bringing them to life in a new–and much realer–way, here is today’s Friday Funny! 10551108_659258480809071_5577094688058604998_nHow was your week? Anyone else play hookie from school/work? Or was I the only rebel out there? 😉

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Once Upon a Dream – Lana Del Rey

How To Write A Novel: 7 Tips Everyone Can Use

Photo Credits:

Happy Book Anniversary: Progeny by Patrick C. Greene

One year ago, Patrick C. Greene released Progeny, a shivery, nail biting tale that keeps readers on the edge of their seats with their doors locked and their blinds shut.

-12As many of you know I live in Colorado. Which means I’ve heard plenty of tales about Bigfoot. Or Sasquatch, or Harry, or whatever you’d like to call the towering half-man, half ape creature. Yet, before reading Progeny, I was never truly scared of the mythical being.
Now, I am.

Another wild scream assailed them, urging them on even faster till muscles and lungs burned, fueled only by terror.”



“Owen Sterling is a reclusive author living in a secluded house deep in the woods. When he welcomes his son Chuck for a summer visit, the eleven-year-old suspects something is not right at his father’s home. His worries mount when he witnesses a confrontation between his father and some local hunters. Zane Carver is the local gun-shop owner who confronts the author over Owen’s refusal to let anyone on his land for hunting or camping. He defies the recluse, taking a hunting party onto Owen’s property. Soon, Zane and his buddies discover the writer’s secret . . . a deadly secret; a creature whose infinite rage they have unwittingly ignited . . . that is now hunting them.”

Jen’s Review

Progeny is a rip-roaring quick read that’s told so vividly, you’ll feel like you’re watching a movie. It’s one of those stories that builds its premise slowly but surely, enticing the reader to turn the pages faster and faster as the terror heats up. In fact, I’d say for the last third of the book, I was curled in a fetal position, afraid to even look out my own window lest I see a giant monster staring in at me.

Deanna reflexively turned toward Chuck–but her eyes were drawn to the window of the door behind him. A massive dark form was there, filling the window frame, peering in at them with huge eyes that eerily reflected the firelight.

For me, Progeny was all the scarier because of my fear of the woods (don’t you dare laugh!). I don’t know how many times I’ve walked through the forest and heard a twig snap or seen a footprint that was way too large to be a deer or rabbit. Furthermore, I don’t know how many stories I’ve heard from friends who’ve come upon a mountain lion or bear while hiking. The woods are teeming with life, and in Progeny, they’re teeming with a life that’s far more alarming than any mountain lion or bear.

Lightening flashed in an extended strobing burst, silencing Zane–and giving all of them a brief glimpse of the massive hairy beast standing less than ten yards behind them…Then it was dark again.”

Yet, despite its many terrifying moments, Progeny had its touching moments, too. Bigger than the battle between man and Bigfoot is the battle between man and son. The word “progeny” means offspring, descendent, or son. In this book there are three distinctive father/son relationships, and each one has their own complexities and dramas and heartaches. Yet, although these three father/son pairings are different from each other, they also share a painful similarity: loss. Loss of respect. Loss of innocence. Loss of control. Loss of love. Loss of life! Patrick C. Greene does a terrific job of telling a horror story that goes beyond monsters lurking in a forest. He tells a story of monsters lurking within living beings. Of anger and sorrow and regret. Of broken relationships and misunderstandings that wreak more havoc than Bigfoot himself.

If you’re looking for a heartfelt yet suspenseful read, this is it! And what better time to read such a scary story than right now, on the eve of Halloween?

Jen’s Rating:

4 Star

Read more about Progeny here!

About Patrick C. Greene


Some dark serendipity plopped a young Patrick Greene in front of a series of ever stranger films-and experiences-in his formative years, leading to a unique viewpoint. His odd interests have led to pursuits in film acting, paranormal investigation, martial arts, quantum physics, bizarre folklore and eastern philosophy. These elements flavor his screenplays and fiction works, often leading to strange and unexpected detours designed to keep viewers and readers on their toes.

Literary influences range from Poe to Clive Barker to John Keel to a certain best selling Bangorian. Suspense, irony, and outrageously surreal circumstances test the characters who populate his work, taking them and the reader on a grandly bizarre journey into the furthest realms of darkness. The uneasy notion that reality itself is not only relative but indeed elastic- is the hallmark of Greene’s writing.

Living in the rural periphery of Asheville North Carolina with his wife, youngest son and an ever-growing army of cats, Greene still trains in martial arts when he’s not giving birth to demons via his pen and keyboard. Visit the website :

In addition to his novel Progeny, and the short story collection Dark DestiniesGreene has several film projects in the works, and just finished writing his second novel, The Crimson Calling-the first in the action-adventure vampire trilogy, The Sanguinarian Council.

Let’s all congratulate Patrick C. Greene on this one year anniversary of Progeny. And let’s all thank him for writing such a gripping story and sharing it with us!

The leaves are a changin’ in Colorado

This weekend my sister took her DECA students to a competition in Glenwood Springs and she sent me some beautiful photos during the drive. I thought I’d share them with you on this crazy Monday morning. I wish I could’ve hopped in the car myself and gone up the hill to see these golden aspens, but I decided to be a good, focused girl and stayed home to write instead.

Both photos below were taken in Vail, CO. Vail is by far my favorite mountain getaway. My family used to own a duplex there, so it’s always been a home away from home for me. If you’re ever planning a trip there, let me know! I’ll give you the scoop ;-).


2013100695090523Have a good Monday! I’m  hoping to get a book review posted later, but it’s looking a bit grim at this point. Tomorrow for sure!

Blue Skies and Writing Contests

Good Tuesday morning, everyone! I woke up to crisp, blue, sunny skies! Thank you, Mother Nature! Now let’s stay this way for a few months, okay? Colorado needs a break.

0917030651In other news, I officially entered the Flash Fiction Challenge 2013. Eeks!! I’m nervous, but also really excited. I’ve only composed a couple of short stories in my life, so obviously my experience in this particular writing department is minimal. However, that’s my main motivation for entering–to gain experience and to improve my writing/story telling skills. If you’re interested in entering too, the registration deadline is this Thursday (September 19th).

I’ll be sure to post my stories here once they’re finished. Wish me luck–and send lots of prayers and lots of positive vibes, too. I’ll need them!


Colorado, my beloved state, floods

I have lived in the great state of Colorado my entire life. And I love it with my whole heart. I love waking up to the sight of “my” Rocky Mountains, breathing in the thin Mile High air, and basking in the average 300 sunny days/year. And I love how the mountains are an official direction on our compass–north, south, away from the mountains, towards the mountains.

Colorado is home. And it always will be.


As many of you have seen or heard by now, my beloved state has been ravaged by Mother Nature. For a week, we’ve been drenched with so much rain, that many communities are now underwater. As of yesterday afternoon, there were 17,494 homes damaged, 1,502 homes destroyed, 11,700 people evacuated, 5 people dead, 1,253 people unaccounted for, and 26 shelters. According to the news, the air evacuations for this storm are the second largest to Katrina.


Let me emphasize how UNUSUAL this storm has been for Colorado. Simply put, we don’t get days upon days of rain. It’s weird, the epitome of strange. Far, far, far stranger than having a sunny day interrupted by a raging blizzard that’s melted within an hour by the sun’s warm return. Freaky weather is the norm here (probably why most of us have sunblock, an umbrella, a jacket and mittens stored in our car year-round.) But endless rain? NOT normal. At all.

On Saturday, a miracle happened. I awoke to blue skies! I can’t even describe how happy I was. I cheerfully sat down at my desk and began working on my manuscript, all the while grinning at the sun rays streaming in through my windows.

A few hours later I left to go get some lunch and this is what I saw creeping towards me from the south:

1184810_10101180968371903_147437080_nI wanted to cry. I never thought I would hate the rain. Rain has always been a friend–a blessing. It’s Colorado’s savior when the wildfires are out of control and the smoke is so thick, we have to close our windows to keep the ash from entering our homes. This time, it’s been our enemy–a never ending nightmare.

The local weather described this historical storm as a wet towel being wrung out over our state. The clouds crawled over the mountains, spread out across the metro area, and then swooped back to the mountains, only to get stuck at their base, dumping billions upon billions of gallons of water on us. We’ve been told if this rain had been snow, we would’ve received at least 7 to 10 feet. 7 to 10 FEET! Do you have any idea how much snow that is? Last year, we had a blizzard that dropped 2-feet on us, and I was literally stuck in my house for two days.


Personally, I have been blessed. I live south of Denver where the storm didn’t strike quite as hard. But it did strike, and everyday I left for work, I prayed I’d return to a dry, intact house. I did.

Unfortunately, the communities north of Denver (less than an hour away from where I live) did not experience the same relief as me. Communities like Boulder, Fort Collins, Evans and Greeley have been devastated by this unprecedented storm. Schools and universities have been shut down, homes have been evacuated, and many people have been stranded because no help can reach them. Some towns can’t even drink their water because it’s been contaminated, and others aren’t allowed to shower, flush their toilets or do the dishes for fear of contamination. It’s a disaster, one I never, ever, ever thought I’d see in Colorado. We experience deadly lightening, freezing blizzards and burning forest fires. Not hurricane-like floods.


According to the news, we’re in for another day of rain. They predict that some of these storms could produce up to an inch of water in less than 30 minutes. Sigh…

However, it appears there IS a light at the end of this dark, gloomy tunnel. After today, the sun is supposed to come out and the temperatures are supposed to rise. I’m praying that’s true. And I’m praying for all those who’ve been so tragically affected by this unthinkable storm.

If you’re looking to help in any way, click here!