Jenn Gott

Word Wrangler and Professional Daydreamer

Monthly Author Check-In: July 2017

What I’m Writing: Everything! And nothing. (Honestly, it’s been more nothing than everything, and it is lovely.)
What I’m Reading: Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life, edited by Liesa Mignogna / The Last of August, by Brittany Cavallaro
What I’m Loving: Catastrophe, which is the perfect blend of funny and weird and tragic and funny, and exactly what this writer needs when she’s on break between major projects.

WIP Excerpt

Uh… Here, have a random snippet from a random side project:

She blows in by a tempest.

It was the usual way, back when such things happened. Back when the island was bright, and laughter rang freely through the house. Gods and heroes riding high on the backs of angry storm clouds, thundering through the heavens like a pack of wild dogs. Or floating by on gentle breezes, whispering sweet nothings to the mortals down below. Slipping through the crack of a door, a snowdrift spread across the packed dirt. Sola remembers when the island was awash in shifting weather patterns, as her aunts and uncles and half-cousins ran free through the doorways. Roving bands of bastard children flitted in and out of sight, flashes of their naked backsides dipping into the waves like seals.

But the weather has been stable for so long now. A flat gray sea, a paler gray sky. Once or twice a year, perhaps, a ripple will grace the sands of the island. Sola runs down to the beach, gray water against gray sand. She stands tall along the shore, waiting to see if something will happen, but it never does.

They’re here!

First off: THANK YOU to everyone who’s bought the new book so far!! This has been my strongest launch yet, and it’s super exciting!

As you might have guessed, I’ve been on a temporary vacation from writing to rest and recharge after my latest book release. Don’t worry—I’m back at it in August, which is disturbingly close as far as I’m concerned. I’ve spent my time reading and watching TV and swimming (seriously, just so much swimming), and focusing on getting sufficiently mellowed out so that when I dive back into work full-time again, I can make some hardcore progress. First up: finishing book four of The Beacon Campaigns (Whispers of the Ice). It’s already halfway there, so I’m good shape to start, but the complication is going to be that now I need to nail down exactly how the second half of the series plays out. These books are so big and interwoven that I really need to know where I am going with all of the books that follow, so I don’t inadvertently write myself into a corner in the future.

Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to it. It’s just… been nice, to take it easy. I’m going to miss it.

Meanwhile, a couple of fun things have been keeping me busy:

  • I cut my hair! Which, if you know me in person, you understand that this is a serious bit of news, but for those of you who are staring at your screen going, yeah, AND?, let me explain: When I was in my early twenties, I decided to grow my hair out, on a lark. And I spent the next decade+ not cutting it, and eventually it got down to my ankles, and then I hacked it way back, and then it grew down to my knees again while I was deciding what I wanted to do with it next. And when I say that I cut it, I mean that I seriously cut it all off. As in, the breeze blows across the back of my neck now. To say that I love it is kind of an understatement.
  • I am finally getting official Author Photos! This had to wait until after the big chop, because the last thing I wanted was to end up with a photo that would represent me for all of two months or whatever. So this afternoon I met up with a friend who is a fantastic photographer, and we had a blast snapping pictures. I’ll be getting those in a few days, probably, and then the only difficulty will be choosing between them.
  • I may be doing my first author event sometime in the next few months. Probably (almost certainly). Details are still being determined, but eeeeee!

Seriously, did I say how excited I am about the response this book has gotten? Because holy Batman, this is amazing!

New Release! The Private Life of Jane Maxwell

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here! Without further ado, Jane Maxwell is making her debut in the world!

As the creator of a popular new comics franchise, Jane Maxwell knows a thing or two about heroes, but has no illusions of being one herself. All of that is shattered, however, when she finds herself swept into a parallel world—one where her characters are real, and her parallel self is their leader.

There’s just one problem: that Jane is missing.

Under the growing danger of a deadly new villain named UltraViolet, the team has no choice but to ask Jane to do the impossible: step into the suit left behind by her double, become the hero that they need her to be. But with budding powers that threaten to overwhelm her, a family she only half-recognizes, and the parallel version of her dead wife staring her in the face, navigating her alternate life proves harder than she ever imagined…

Available now in ebook format for the introductory price of only $0.99! (Paperbacks will come over the next few days/weeks, as the approval process filters through the systems.)

Read the first chapter here, or head straight to your favorite retailer to nab your copy today:

Enjoy! And, as always, don’t forget to leave a review once you’re finished reading. 🙂

Sale Alert: Smashword’s Summer/Winter Sale, July 2017

Heads up, folks!

This month, my Beacon Campaigns books are going to be part of Smashword’s 9th annual Summer/Winter sale! For the entire month of July, at Smashwords, you can get The Lady of Souls for free, and both Fixing Fate and Heart’s Blood at half-off each. That’s three books for the price of one, so really, how can you say no? Simply click the links below, and enter the appropriate promo codes. Then download, and enjoy!

The Lady of Souls — Promo Code SW100

Fixing Fate — Promo Code SSW50

Heart’s Blood — Promo Code SSW50

P.S. If you buy the books this month (or even if you’ve already read them!), please consider taking the time to leave a review on your favorite retailer—not just Smashwords, whatever you like! Reviews are super-important for getting visibility on a book, and the more people see my books, the more I can afford to write for you all. Reviews don’t have to be long, even a single line saying whether or not you enjoyed it is a big help. Thanks!

Monthly Author Check-In: June 2017

What I’m Writing: The Private Life of Jane Maxwell, OMG I SWEAR I AM ALMOST DONE.
What I’m Reading: The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters From Comic Book History by Hope Nicholson
What I’m Loving: Hidden Figures, a movie I FINALLY FINALLY got to see!

WIP Excerpt:

Cal’s heavy hand settled on Jane’s shoulder. “Hey. You doing all right?”

“No!” Jane didn’t mean to shout. It came out anyway, a single shrill word piercing the hallway.

And Cal just chuckled. Chuckled! Like Jane was being cute or something: oh look, precious little neophyte superhero, baby fresh in her ass-kicking boots.

The Private Life of Jane Maxwell, if she was produced by DC vs Marvel 😉

Let the record state that this month was awesome.

Seriously. Between seeing Wonder Woman and Hidden Figures (shut up, yes I know I’m way behind), between the gorgeous weather, between attending a discussion series on the women’s movement, between hearing Sarah Prager speak about her new book on LGBTQ+ history, between a really fun meeting of my local writers group, between a simply perfect day last Friday, between getting so much editing done… I don’t know if I could have crafted a more enjoyable month for myself if I had tried.

Still, I have reached the point where I am so ready for this book to be done. The last week(ish) have been nothing but pulling teeth, to get myself to sit down and tie off the last few things that need doing. Thankfully, the end is within reach. The Private Life of Jane Maxwell will be out in July, so make sure that you’re signed up for my mailing list to get the news as soon as it goes live!

Wonder Woman of My Heart

Turns out that I was not, in fact, prepared to watch a solid, female-led superhero movie as a woman.

When I was growing up, I didn’t give much (if any) thought to sexism.

This was my privilege, as a child of the 1980s. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the women who came before, all of the battles appeared to already be fought. Look: there was nothing, as a child, that my brother could do that I couldn’t. Look: my parents were both dual computer science/math majors in college. (Look: both of my parents had gone to college.) Look: I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and none of the answers felt like they were off-limits to me. Look: I played with both Legos and Barbies, and so did my brother. Look: I was not raised to feel like I had to be a baby-maker when I grew up.

What was this “sexism”, I wondered, from my idyllic life? What were people complaining about? Surely that was a thing of the past.

When I was growing up, I didn’t notice the lack of female representation in popular media.

Was it just the books and movies that I consumed as a child? I still haven’t figured it entirely out. I hear other women my age complaining about it bitterly, the deep lack of admirable women and girls in the media of our youth. They aren’t wrong, but this is only something that I notice in hindsight. At the time, I was too busy inventing my own girl characters, and putting them in my head-canons without stopping to think about why.

As a woman, and a nerd, I’m acclimated to movies where my gender is reduced. Though I notice it now, though it bothers me now, I still can’t let it bother me too much, if I have any hope of enjoying the kind of movies that I enjoy. I give rave reviews to blockbusters that have one female character, and her primary role is to inspire the male heroes. I deconstruct them later, I discuss their problems later, but I put all of that aside while I am watching it. I get swept up in the powerful storylines, the epic music, the explosive fight scenes. I leave the theater feeling pumped.

You have to. You don’t even think about it.

Enter Rey from Star Wars. Enter the female Ghostbusters. Enter Supergirl on the CW.

And I thought, okay, so I am finally getting some representation, and it’s (mostly) awesome. I’m used to this, by now, this is a good trend. My life is still privileged enough that everyday sexism doesn’t really do more than brush the edges. I was fully prepared to love a summer blockbuster about a female superhero, directed by a woman.

I did not know that I needed it.

And then I saw Wonder Woman.

And then I was sitting in the theater, and a young Diana was running through the sunny haven of Paradise Island, watching the grown-up Amazonians. And then I realized that this whole movie was made for me, that this larger-than-life hero was made for me, that I was not going to be asked to take a backseat in my enjoyment, and that’s when I started crying.

I cried my way through every important scene, and grinned through the rest. And when the movie was over and I stepped from the darkened theater into the bright light of day, I did not have the same giddy euphoria that superheroes usually give me. I was not pounding my fist in the air and skipping across the parking lot. I got into my car, and I fought not to cry some more.

I’m still crying, when I think about it too much.

A couple of weeks ago, I gave the name of my books to a man I know at work. The Private Life of Jane Maxwell, he read. He knew my newest was about superheroes. “So it’s about a woman?” “Yes.”

All of my books are about women. I’ve never considered anything else.

This is why.

I’m still too raw from the movie to fully process what I’ve watched. I do know that I love it beyond words, though I also know that I cannot, in good conscience, rave about it without also leveling one major criticism. Can we set aside the joy for just one moment, to discuss the horrible implications of having someone with a physical disfigurement represent all that is bad and unworthy about humanity? It’s a problematic theme throughout the whole movie, and it comes to a head in the climax with a truly unforgivable moment. I am not going to spoil it, but I will say this: Patty Jenkins, you made a better movie than this. Such a message has no place inside of an otherwise exceptional blockbuster. Especially for the story of a character like Wonder Woman, who is supposed to be about love and a better way of living.

I’m lucky, that I am able-bodied and have the privilege of setting that aside to enjoy the rest of the movie. Because I can only imagine a disabled woman, crying at the sight of young Diana on Paradise Island, only to be slapped in the face a handful of scenes later.

You can do better. We can do better.

Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta, would want us to do better.

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