Monday, October 31, 2016

Top Nine “Who Knew” Moments Since Becoming a Writer

with guest Jen Turano.


In the spirit of Seekerville celebrating their ninth birthday, I thought it might be fun to do nine of my favorite “Who Knew?” publishing moments.  Having originally been in a completely different industry, that being fashion, I must admit that my first few years dipping my toes into the publishing world were somewhat interesting.  It’s my hope that if you’re an aspiring writer, you’ll take comfort in the idea you’re not alone in this weird world, and if you’re a reader, you’ll get some insight into why a few authors seem to be slightly…neurotic.  So, on that note – here goes.

1. Who knew writing that very first book was going to be the easiest thing I did on my publishing journey?  There I was, blithely typing away, completely unconcerned about pesky little things like POV (Point of View) and distraction from plot.  I didn’t blink an eye over the idea I had more than one character in my first book with names that began with M, such as Monroe, Montrose, Mary and Martin.  It also didn’t concern me that I would go down numerous rabbit holes, wanting to get into side plots because they struck my fancy, no matter that they really didn’t add anything to the storyline.  It was utterly delightful putting all those words on a page in a completely willy-nilly fashion.  Unfortunately, it would soon be brought to my attention that I had much to learn regarding the whole craft of writing, but before I grasped that idea, I made one of my first mistakes – that being giving my manuscript to people who knew me, which led me to my second epiphany, which was…


2. Who knew that seeking out the opinions of those nearest and dearest to me was not the best decision an aspiring author could make?  Giving that manuscript to people I was acquainted with, most of those people employed at the local elementary school where I was head of the PTA, had me, in all honesty, coming to the misguided belief that I was soon to find myself on Oprah’s couch.  She would be smiling and nodding her head at me, perhaps even reaching over to pat my knee, while she declared my book the most amusing book she’d ever read and believed it deserved to be made into a movie.  Those notions were rapidly proven to be a pie in the sky idea because, not only was it highly unlikely I’d ever sit on Oprah’s couch, that first manuscript of mine was never going to see the light of day. (See above for the whole POV and distraction from plot problems that lurked on practically every page.)  How did I learn I was not nearly as accomplished at writing as I believed at that time?  It all came down to literary agents, those mysterious beings I decided I might need to sign with, but…

  
3. Who knew that agents, those guardians of the traditional publishing houses, were just so difficult to retain?  Being relatively clueless about the industry, I had no grasp of what the competition was, nor did I understand that literary agencies often receive 30,000 or more query letters a year.  Add in the idea that agents also meet with hundreds of authors at various conferences, and the odds were definitely not in my favor to secure representation.  Strange as this may seem, the very idea that it was so difficult to break into the industry actually helped me strengthen my resolve to press forward, if only to see if I could experience some measure of success.  I crafted one query letter after another, tightened up my proposal, and dove into researching agents who represented the genre I was writing.  As an aside, “Guide to Literary Agents” by Chuck Sambuchino is a wonderful resource to use when looking for an agent.  He also has a blog with a great many useful tips - http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents.  I then personalized each query, making certain to address the letters to the proper agent (you’d be surprised by how many agents tell me they get letters sent to them with their names misspelled) and then waited for the real fun to begin, which didn’t take nearly as long as I’d expected because…


4. Who knew that a person is making strides when they receive personalized responses from agents, even if those agents aren’t offering representation?  After I got the hang of sending out query letters – and writing numerous books, trying to find my groove, I began getting feedback from these agents.  Now, I have to admit that the feedback wasn’t always what anyone might consider pleasant.  In fact, there were a few letters from agents that almost scorched my eyeballs straight from their sockets.  One agent was nice enough to write that I had sent her a most impressive query letter, and then went on to tell me in explicit detail how disappointed she was by the manuscript I sent her, having been expecting something different.  That was one of those “Ouch” moments for sure.  But, once I got over the idea that it seemed to me as if I was the girl everyone wanted to be friends with but no one wanted to take to the prom, I realized that if I took the advice that was so readily coming my way, I might be able to produce a work that might be worthy of publication.  So, gathering all of the many, many suggestions I’d been given together, I sat down at my computer again, really concentrated on POV and not going down every rabbit hole that sprang up in front of me, and wrote yet another book.  To my delight, after finally improving my writing craft, I secured a contract with a literary agent who wanted to represent a Regency romance I’d written, titled “A Marriage of Inconvenience.” However, there was still much for me to learn since…
   
5. Who knew that just because you’ve finally secured an agent’s representation, that disappointment may very well still be lying in wait for you on the horizon?  When I signed with my first agent, I thought for certain I’d have a contract within a month, and one for multiple books of course.  Sadly, that’s not what happened.  The novel I had turned in did garner some interest, but it seemed as if there was still work to be done on it.  After rewriting it per an editor’s suggestion, without the benefit of a contract I might add, I was taken aback when that editor didn’t buy the book, having changed her mind about it.  At that point, I decided enough was enough.  I was obviously too much of an idiot to figure out the publishing business, as well as being a complete hack when it came to writing, so decided I was going to go back to my old career in the fashion industry.  Interestingly enough, I never got the opportunity to reenter my old career because…   

6. Who knew that God can use a can of Scrubbing Bubbles to get a person back on track?  After reaching out to some of my old contacts in the fashion industry, I was cleaning the house since I certainly was no longer writing and had nothing better to do with my time.  Plus, the house needed a good cleaning.  As I waited for the Scrubbing Bubbles to do their thing, always hopeful that I won’t have to apply that elbow grease, an idea struck from out of nowhere.  It wasn’t a vague idea, but a full story, complete with quirky characters, an unusual storyline, and I had no choice but to write it.  Since I’m a little OCD when it comes
to cleaning, I couldn’t actually stop cleaning the house.  Instead, I armed myself with a pad of post-its, and went about my business, jotting down an outline on pastel colored pieces of paper as I cleaned.  I then collected all the post-its scattered around the house, even finding some on the vacuum, put them in order, and began to write.  My agent sold that book within a month and a half of me turning it in, and that book was none other than “A Change of Fortune.”  Now, one would think that was the end of my “Who knew” moments, but nope, I still have more to tell, and the next one is…


7. Who knew that the theme song from Star Wars, the one heralding the arrival of Darth Vader, would spring to mind every time I get an email from one of my editors?  Don’t get me wrong, I love my editors, it’s just that they are so annoyingly right all the time, and that annoying business is normally accompanied by pages of suggestions regarding how I can make my story stronger.  I have been known to leave the room while my printer is spitting out all these amazing suggestions - making some toast, putting in a load of laundry, doing whatever it takes to distract me from the idea that when my printer is done regurgitating the lovely suggestions my editors have sent me, I’m going to have some very intense thinking days ahead as I rewrite a good portion of my story.  As the years go by, my printer doesn’t spit out quite as many pages, but it’s just a thing with me now, the Darth Vader tune, and makes me smile whenever it springs to mind.  In all honesty, I can’t imagine not having a team of editors to work with on my stories, because they rein me in when I get a little too wacky, and they’ve made me a stronger writer.  For that, I cannot thank them enough.  It is because of them that I don’t get slammed with too many horrible reviews, which leads me to my next “Who knew” moment, that being…  


8. Who knew that perusing reviews on Goodreads are not for the faint of heart?  I’d never taken much notice of book reviews before I became published, but wow –that was a bit of an eye-opener.  I had no idea there were so many people seemingly quite comfortable writing snarky pieces that tore my work to shreds, one of those pieces beginning with “Oy.”  Nothing good has ever followed in a sentence beginning with the word Oy.  But, oddly enough, I’ve gleaned important insight by reading reviews and have adjusted my writing because of them.  I now have a better grasp of my target audience, what they enjoy and what they definitely do not. I’ve also learned not to dwell on any of the reviews – good or bad.  If I believe the good ones, well, I’ve been known to freak out while writing my next first draft, convincing myself that since readers found my last book amusing, I’m all out of witty ideas, which means I’m washed up and have nothing left to write.  During those times, I spend hours stretched out on my office floor, gazing up at a rather dull white ceiling, wondering why in the world I ever thought I could pursue a career in writing.  On the other hand, dwelling on bad reviews can certainly convince me I’m nothing more than a pretender and should immediately cease all future attempts of writing another book.  According to my husband, the man responsible for plucking me off my office floor and convincing me wallowing is not exactly a productive use of my time, it’s best if I avoid lingering on a site that posts reviews.   And finally, one of my very favorite “Who knew” moments is…


9. Who knew I’d be given the opportunity to meet so many readers and writers, all of whom share a great love of books with me?  It never occurred to me that the best part of becoming involved in the writing community was the idea I was going to make so many new and delightful friends.  I’ve been given the extraordinary gift of getting acquainted with a variety of different people from all over the world, and that right there has been my greatest blessing of all.  Those interactions nourish my soul and provide me with friendships I’ll always enjoy, no matter the state of my writing career.  

Anyone care to share their own "Who knew" moments?


Thank you so much, everyone, for stopping in to visit with me.  Thank you also to the wonderful ladies of Seekerville.  Congratulations on your nine fabulous years, and I hope you have many, many more.



Jen is generously offering a wonderful giveaway for one commenter. The three books in her last series - "A Class of Their Own."  That includes "After a Fashion," "In Good Company," and "Playing the Part."  Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.




And here's a great offer: "At Your Request," is currently available for pre-order as a free e-book and is the prequel novella to her next series "Apart from the Crowd," releasing in 2017 and 2018.  




A USA Today Best-Selling Author, Jen Turano has written the critically acclaimed Ladies of Distinction series, and A Class of Their Own series, published through Bethany House Publishers.  Her novel, After a Fashion, was chosen as a top pick from Romantic Times, as well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist.  It was also a nominee for Romantic Times 2015 Reviewers’ Choice Award.  Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013. When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver. She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com. She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency. 


Leave a comment today for a chance to win an iPad mini! Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

For those of you who are "caked" out, after thirty-one days, we brought an elegant treat, to go with Jen's lovely covers. Macarons. Help yourself!

215 comments :

  1. JEN....here's my "who knew" moment--Who knew reading your post today could bring me the gift of laughter?? Not at your less than stellar first attempts at writing, but at the humor & wit infused in your post! How, even in the midst of those awful rejections and reviews...you could see the funny side of life? Well, maybe not at that particular moment, but as you look back at it. Two examples: "I spend hours stretched out on my office floor, gazing up at a rather dull white ceiling..." and "According to my husband, the man responsible for plucking me off my office floor and convincing me wallowing is not exactly a productive use of my time..." Those struck my funny bone as I imagined you doing just that, haha!! Now I know why your books are so popular, if you use humor and wit like you did here...I know I'd be in for a treat as a reader (I LOVE witty and humorous writing). Sorry to say, but I've not had the chance to read any of your books yet :-( *SIGH*

    So thanks for the chance to win THREE books in your 'A Class of Their Own' series! I can laugh out loud while reading.....I do tend to get funny looks from those around me :-)

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    1. Trixi - Delighted you enjoyed the post - and here's hoping you get to read some of my books - And speaking of that - if you have an e-reader, I have a prequel novella to my very first series out there - "Gentleman of Her Dreams." It's short, but a complete story, and...you may download it for FREE. It's available at most e-sites. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. Ohhh, JEN. Your wit and "Who knew?" moments moved me to tears. (And...alas. I, too, am a sticky note fan.)LOVED this post and the encouragement in your life points along the writing path.

    I think my fave "Who Knew?" moment would have to be this. Who knew when I jumped back into writing after a lengthy hiatus (to care for our ill son) that the journey would be more daunting than I imagined? Who knew there'd be many highs and lows and in-betweens--some great, some not so great, but always with a plan in mind? Who knew that God's ways were higher than my ways, that divine appointments and timing are best left in His hands rather than our own? Who knew when I was at my most discouraged, God would pick me up, recenter me, and allow me to double-final in this past year's Genesis contest (something I'd always thought/dreamed about, but kind of hard to imagine when you're living life in hospitals and ERs thinking Is this all there is, God?)?

    I didn't win, but that moment provided clarity and affirmation that I'm indeed on the right track, and that God's still molding my career even as I keep on keepin' on.

    Thanks for shedding wonderful perspective on your own writing journey and for breathing fresh air into our week.

    Congratulations on your continued and well-deserved success, JEN! Many blessings!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Cynthia. I do hope your son is making improvements. My son ended up in the hospital when he was an infant with no white blood cells and really wonky things going on. Luckily, he had what the doctor called her bread and butter disease ITP, and although he had to get blood drawn for years, something he still shudders at the thought of to this day, and he's twenty, he had no long-lasting symptoms.

      Congratulations on finaling in the Genesis this year. One of the things I've really realized over the years was that all of the roadblocks I experienced were simply God's way of directing me exactly where I needed to be directed. I didn't know that at the time, but when I started getting letters from terminally ill readers, telling me how my books provided them with an amusing escape, that's when I began to grasp the idea that I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing, it just took me a really long time to figure that out.

      Good luck to you with your writing - I'm sure you'll find amazed at the journey ahead of you.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  3. As a reader no 'Who knew' moments for me. Most informative though. "Scrubbing Bubbles"?

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    1. Mary - hahaha - to add on to Tina's reply - this particular product is supposed to bubble up and clean the shower for you without a person having to exert much effort. Sadly, that isn't exactly the case, although it has a lovely scent so the bathroom smells wonderful when I'm done. I still have to do quite a bit of scrubbing, but I'm always hopeful that I'll spray that stuff on and...sparklles will be the end result.

      Thanks for visiting!

      ~ Jen ~

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  4. Oh, Mary Preston...no Scrubbing Bubbles in Australia? They come in a can and you spray them in your bathroom for cleaning purposes.

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  5. Thank you for sharing about your journey and how you persevered in your writing. I only hope that I have such perseverance when I am able to pick up with my writing.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cynthia!

      I think a good sense of stubborness is what pushed me at times. Once I understood how hard the journey was going to be, it turned into a weird type of game for me.

      Good luck and keep writing!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. I once used this miracle bathroom cleaning formula that just make the sink, tub and toilet turn miraculously brilliant white. INSTANTLY CLEAN.
      I used it for a while until I realized it wasn't CLEANING anything. It was BLEACH. It was turning everything white and making it hard to see...but it was still there.
      Which really gave me the super creeps when I figured it out. Yikes.

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  6. Welcome, Jen! What a treat for me to have you here with us today. I am amazed at how gorgeous your covers are and have to admit that the first book is still my favorite cover. She just comes alive.

    My favorite "Who Knew" moments?

    Who knew that the checkout girl would not get it when I told her that the book in my hand was written by me? Thus deflating my first book on the shelf moment.

    Who knew that readers would actually write to me and tell me they loved my books?? Take that, uninformed check-out girl.

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    1. Thank you so much for inviting me, Tina. I love the Seekerville blog and am so honored you asked me to join in for your birthday celebration.

      That's hilarious about the checkout girl. I once walked up to a woman perusing my books at the library. Scared her half to death. I think she was of the belief I was about to mug her. The moment of me telling her I was the author of the book she was holding was pretty much lost since she was watching me as if she expected me to whip out a chainsaw and run after her.

      I don't think I'll ever be getting a letter from her, telling me how much she loved my books...

      Thanks again for having me!

      ~ Jen ~

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  7. Thank you for the fabulous post, Jen! It seems that we can all have "who knew" moments and God delights in surprising us and teaching us when our jaws are scraping the ground sometimes ;) Hooray for your perseverance and looking forward to picking up your writing! I do so enjoy adding a new-to-me author to my TBR!

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    1. Hi Fedora,

      Thanks for adding me to your TBR pile - those are words to warm an author's heart:)

      Good luck with the giveaway and I hope you have just a fabulous week!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  8. Thank you for sharing this great post with us. I must say I giggled a little about the post-it notes everywhere, especially on the vacuum.

    My biggest "who knew" moment in my life is, who knew the boy I had a crush on in my Junior year of high school would end up being my husband 32 years later.

    Happy Birthday Seekerville! It has been an awesome celebration all month. Thank you all.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Thank you for sharing, Cindy, and I think you're "Who Knew" moment tops all of mine. Congratulations on celebrating 32 years with your 'crush.' How fun.

      Have a great week!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  9. Welcome, Jen! I loved your "who knew" moments. Being a little OCD when it comes to cleaning and obsessed with post-it's, I can related to number six.
    My "who knew" moment was writing a blurb for a last minute contest entry and having it turn into a book contract.
    Thanks for stopping by today. Your covers are gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you, Jill!

      Wow - that's a great story about your blurb turning into a book contract. That's not a story you hear often, or...at all:) Congratulations!

      Have a wonderful Monday.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  10. Jen, welcome to the party!!! And I'm all over the thought of macarons! :) It took me a while a few years ago to realize there was a difference.... but I learned!

    Jen, this is wonderful information, and touches on so many facets of this business... the knowledge side and the emotional side.

    So much of this business is also personal... from reader reviews to revision letters to rejections and acceptances... Who doesn't want to be accepted? We wants to find a rejection e-mail or phone call?

    No one.

    But they're also part of the reality, so we trudge, walk or gallop on from project to project, and that's never a bad thing... it's not about the speed, it's about getting up, dusting ourselves off, and moving forward.

    Thank you for this!!!! And those covers are to die for... So beautiful!

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    1. Thank you so much Ruth!

      I've enjoyed your books, simply delightful.

      As for my covers, I know, they're wonderful, aren't they? I always thought I wanted a cover that didn't show a model's face, but then my editor sent me the cover for "A Change of Fortune" and at that point, I decided they evidently knew far more than I did about covers, so I've just stepped back from offering up many ideas. That seems to work out for the best.

      Good luck with your future projects - keep galloping forward.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  11. Okay, a "who knew?" moment....

    Who knew that dust bunnies form a league of their own when abandoned for months at a time? I'm pretty sure they've joined ranks with the spider webs to launch an all-out attack!

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    1. Ruthy, we've put our house up for sale and now I'm attacking the dust bunnies on a daily basis. I hope my husband doesn't get used to this.

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  12. Welcome to Seekerville, Jen!

    30,000 queries a year? Wow!

    I understand Goodreads is designed to help readers pick good books. But when posting reviews, I stick with if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything.

    Your books look beautiful! Thanks for sharing your nine "who knews."

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    1. Thank you, Jackie!

      I like your take on leaving reviews - which is why I never ask anyone if they enjoyed reading one of my books - that allows me to avoid those pesky moments of uncomfortable silence:)

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  13. What a helpful post. Thanks for the Guide to Literary Agents reference. Your story about the inspiration for A Change of Fortune is awesome -- and might just provide a bit of motivation for cleaning the bathroom!

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    1. Great to see you here, Susan. Thank you!

      Glad to provide you with a bit of motivation for cleaning the bathroom. I just had to powerwash the deck this weekend because I'm stuck on a chapter - pretty sure I now know how to get poor Temperance Flowerdew out of Chicago and...I have a clean deck.

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Susan S! Welcome to Seekerville!

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  14. Who knew how much the romance community would change with social media and ebooks. Now it is not a picture on the back of a book and hopefully maybe attend a book signing someday. It is on Facebook "Hi, loved/hated your book." I have seen both. And people can be amazing or incredibly cruel with computers between them

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    1. Thank you for stopping in, Hilleary!

      And I agree, social media has certainly shaken things up a bit. I've had some very interesting comments sent my way, but it has allowed me to meet simply wonderful people over the years.

      Good luck with all the giveaways!

      Best wishes,

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Hilleary Peterson welcome back to Seekerville!

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    3. Hilleary isn't it amazing how that keyboard connection has dropped boundaries? I'm occasionally stunned by what I see posted on people's sites... and wonder when the Thumper Rule went out of style! I don't mind people reviewing, but insulting folks is a whole other thing.... A good lesson learned about those strong shoulders in this biz!

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  15. A fun look into the writing-as-a-career world. Thank you, Jen! Ignorance is bliss of course, and the more I learn about the publishing world and the craft, the more daunting it all seems. But, God has placed this dream on my heart and while I don't know how or when it'll realize, I believe it will because God wouldn't put the burning desire there if he wasn't going to see it through.

    So, I'll keep learning and trying and writing. BTW, macarons are MY FAVORITE. Especially almond and raspberry.

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    1. Hi Josee, thank you for stopping in today.

      And yes, it is a very daunting world, but honestly, if I can get published with my oddball stories that should give all writers a great deal of hope. Just keep writing and submitting your work. You never know when your story will land on the right desk at exactly the right time.

      Good luck!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. I'll let Josee have the almond and raspberry macarons. Save the vanilla for me.

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  16. I LOVE Jen's books. They are some of my favorite historical novels. Thank you for the interesting post. I really enjoyed reading this. Makes me feel more normal. God bless.

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! I'm delighted you enjoy my novels. That just made my Monday.

      And of course you're normal - in an odd, writerly way. :)

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  17. Welcome to Seekerville, JEN! Your books look like so much fun. And I can definitely relate to your "who knew?" line-up! God always has a "best plan," doesn't he? :)

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    1. Indeed He does, Glynna.

      Thanks so much for stopping by this morning!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  18. Who knew reading one of your books would be the most intimidating thing I ever did as an aspiring writer. They were so good that I didn't think I could ever start out as well.

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    1. That just made me laugh, Brandi! Thank you!

      Good luck on your own writing journey and there's absolutely no reason to feel intimidated by my books or any other books out there. Your writing voice is unique to you, and that right there is what you need to remember!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Brandi! Welcome to Seekerville!!

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    3. Brandi, we've all felt that way at one time or another... you are not alone!

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  19. Hi JEN! Who knew when I meet you the very first time, I froze and became a giddy little girl?! Who knew your "A Change of Fortune" had me searching high and low for the next one and realized authors need TIME to write the next one. And it would take much longer for it to grace my library's door. This of course was before I knew anything about the publishing world or the blogger world. Now, I still wait patiently for every one of your books to be released. Speaking of which, I do have EVERY one of your books. So no need to enter me in the A Class of Their Own giveaway.

    So happy seeing you here. I promise next time I see you, I won't freeze, and I'll talk to you like a normal person. 😉❤

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    1. Oh, Annie, you do make me smile. Meeting you at the ACFW conference was one of the highlights for me, and you really weren't mute for long:)

      Looking forward to meeting up with you again!

      ~ Jen ~

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  20. I'm a technical editor by day, and now, thanks to this post, I really, really want the Darth Vader music to play when I meet with my engineers about their documents. Seriously, though, I love your books and enjoyed this amusing glimpse into your process.

    Blessings!

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    1. I bet your engineers hear the Darth Vader music whenever they hear from you, they just haven't told you yet since editors can be rather scary.

      Thanks for stopping in, and carry on...cue dark music...

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. And CandidCorinthian, welcome to Seekerville!!!

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    3. Thanks! I'm enjoying the interaction.

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  21. Jen, this is a good post and once again hammers home the fact that nothing in writing is cast in granite -- but everything is possible. I agree with you about the agents. I don't have one yet, but both of my crit partners had agents that didn't work out for them, so they gently parted ways. We never "have it made" in this business/ministry. But we don't go it alone, either. Please put me in the drawing, I've never read one of your books but now I am intrigued.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. Hi Kathy!

      Thank you so much for joining us today.

      Good luck with your writing career. Don't give up and make sure you ask a lot of questions. I was always pleasantly surprised by the amount of time industry professionals were willing to give me, espeically the agents and published authors.

      Have a great week!

      Best wishes,

      ~ Jen ~

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  22. Hi Jen, I was thoroughly entertained and enjoying your "Who Knew" column so much...I didn't want it to end. Smile. Good job. You captured lots of thoughts that most of us here have experienced at one time or another. Thanks for sharing.

    You gave me the swallow hard strength to continue plugging along. I will do this. Think positive, right. Get thyself into the chair is my motto. I totally relate to the sticky and napkin notes when something hits me or I get an idea how to fix a chapter. Husbands don't understand and mine shakes his head at me. Bless you for taking the time to write this column.

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    1. Thank you so much, Suzanne.

      It is an interesting industry - this publishing world, but it's been very rewarding most of the time -

      My poor husband, bless his heart, has put up with a lot as I've negotiated my way through one book after another. Good thing he has a healthy sense of humor.

      Best wishes for your writing!

      ~ Jen ~

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  23. JEN, welcome to Seekerville. Thanks for your amusing, savvy post. I've experienced all of your Who Knew moments. WHO KNEW sounds like a book Dr. Seuss could've or should've written. :-) Like you, I'm grateful for all the wonderful people writing has brought into my life.

    Congratulations on your success. Your covers are gorgeous!

    Janet

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    1. Thank you, Janet!

      I've enjoyed many of your books over the years, so thank you for those wonderful reads. I'm sure I'll enjoy many more of your books in the future.

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. JEN, I am always surprised to hear someone I didn't know personally has read my books. LOL Thank you so much for your sweet words. You made my day!

      Janet

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  24. Happy Ninth Birthday to Seekerville on this very last day of October the 31st. I love the macaroons too. Make mine coconut. Thanks for the greatest inspiration I ever got in thirty-one days. What a nice ending column to leave you pondering, identifying and sitting in your chair. Keep writing everybody. It's Monday and a good time to set your goals and start. Thanks Seekerville for the best birthday time ever.

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  25. I enjoyed learning about your writing journey. My favorite was when you were told that you had a wonderful letter, but the manuscript was not what the editor expected. Thank you for sharing your journey. Becky B.

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    1. I'm not exactly certain I enjoyed that particular moment in my writing journey, Becky, but it does make for a good story. I actually contacted that agent again, if you can believe it, and she and I ended up having a wonderful chat - when she stopped laughing after I told her that her rejection letter almost burned my eyeballs out of my head:)

      Wishing you all the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  26. Hello JEN!!!! It's wonderful "seeing" you here. Thank you for sharing your writing journey.

    SEEKERVILLE, it has been such fun celebrating your 9th birthday! Thank you for ALL you do to encourage and support writers in their journey to becoming published.

    Have a wonderful day.
    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Hey Caryl!!! It's wonderful "seeing" you here as well. Thanks for joining me:)

      Have a wonderful Monday!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  27. I always love when writers share a bit about themselves. I have really enjoyed reading your books!

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    1. Thank you, Katharine. I always adore learning a reader actually enjoys reading my books - what a wonderful way to begin my week!

      Good luck with all the giveaways!

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Katharine Baird, welcome to Seekerville!

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  28. Who knew that reading Seekerville posts would totally make my day?
    Who know that I would gain so many friends on Seekerville? Yes, I may not have met you personally but I love LOVE the novels and feel each one is a part of you that you are giving me.
    Jen, welcome. The humor and wit that come out in the blog are part of your books. I'm off now to find GENTLEMAN OF HER DREAMS.

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    1. Hi Marianne! Thank you so much for your kind words and thank you for checking out "Gentleman of Her Dreams." That is the one and only book of mine where I was responsible for the title. All of the other titles are due to the efforts of my fabulous editor!

      Have a great Monday!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  29. Hi Jen, I'm delighted to meet you!
    As a reader I'm turning the tables with my own list of nine who knew moments:

    1)Who knew when I picked up a used copy of a Ruthy book 3 years ago it'd mention Seekerville and I'd start following my very first blog.

    2)Who knew I'd find a whole new world of wonderful authors I'd never read before.

    3)Who knew they LIKED readers to follow along as much as other writers.

    4)Who knew I'd form friendships with Seekers and Villagers because of our common bond of book love.

    5)Who knew in addition to enjoying being a part of Seekerville, they'd give away prizes too?! (Wow, I'm slightly embarrassed by all their generosity to me)

    6)Who knew I'd start reviewing books and how much I'd enjoy it.

    7)Who knew I'd hear all the latest buzz about terrific, not to be missed authors, like Jen Turano!

    8)Who knew reading your post could have me starting my Monday off with a smile, I love your wit and humor, and words like willy-nilly ;)

    9)Who knew at the age of 60 I could still get a little envious of the pretty girl, Jen with THE BEST HAIR!

    I'd love to experience "a change of fortune" myself, so please enter me in your book drawing. Thanks for the chance and for all the smiles!

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    1. That was the best list, Tracey!!!!

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    2. What a wonderful list, Tracey! And yes, the best part of my job is connecting with readers and I love the idea that they walk with me as I journey through this perilous publishing business.

      It's encouraging for me to hear that readers have formed such wonderful connections because of books, and how fun that you've taken to reviewing. I, as well as all of my author friends, appreciate the support!

      As for the hair - I have to say that I'm always envious of people who don't have quite as much of it. It can be unruly at times, and don't even get me started on what happened when I went to Nashville for a conference in the humidity. There were times I was suprised my hair actually fit through the doorways:)

      Thanks for sharing your list and good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  30. Who knew that the book that was on my end table that I was putting off reading would be so funny (A Change of Fortune)? Who knew that it would make me rapidly read all of the authors other books and become one of my favorite authors?

    Who knew that my first grade teacher would become a missionary and one of my best friends for the rest of her life? Who knew that she would get that 1.5 year teaching job out a pool of 200+ applicants. The exact time needed before they were scheduled to leave to be missionaries. Who knew that she would later develop and pass away from ALS? Who knew that I would learn more from her than just first grade stuff and have a book of our correspondence several inches thick? Who knew that I would have a daughter who would be named after her?

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    1. Oh, my goodness, Rochelle, what a legacy she left you. Perhaps you should consider a book, a memoir about your friend.

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    2. What a wonderful story, Rochelle. Your friend sounds amazing and how lovely that you named your daughter after her.

      Thank you for sharing, as well as enjoying my books!

      Best wishes,

      ~ Jen ~

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  31. Thank you for sharing your experience with us this morning. It's refreshing to hear that I'm not the only one who's found themselves starring at the ceiling in my office, lol. I guess that means I'm on the same trajectory and that's encouraging. I just need to add Star Wars music.

    Tina, the macaroons are lovely today.

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    1. Aren't they, Renee. I love tea and macarons. It's so...civilized. And macarons seemed to dovetail so nicely with those lovely Jen Turano covers. Her books are so gorgeous they almost make me want to shower and dress properly. (Almost)

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    2. Hi Renee,

      Nice to know there are others out there who stare at the ceiling. I've been thinking about putting some of those glow in the dark stars up there so I can turn out the lights and really enjoy the wallowing.

      Good luck with your writing, and yes, Star Wars music can really set the mood.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  32. Great post! And here I thought, once I wrote a book all the fuss would be over except deciding whether to spend my royalties on a Tesla or on a round-the-world cruise.

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    1. I'm still waiting to order that Tesla, Evelyn - although I did buy a Jeep this year - not quite the same thing, and I did buy it slightly used.

      My mom's name is Evelyn, and I had to smile when I saw your post. She's been gone for over ten years now, so I always enjoy meeting someone who shares her name.

      Thank you for visiting with me today!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  33. Oh, I am definitely watching Star Wars with the kids today!

    I love Who Knew #1... I have a few of my own blissfully typed out rabbit-trail stories darkening the corners of desk drawers, boxes, and filing cabinets collecting dust in the basement. Who knew writing was actually a skill that had to be developed? Haha.

    I'd also add: Who knew that the writing life could be so emotional? Ups and downs! Highs and lows! I'm writing the next great American novel and I'll never be a writer so I should burn it all, take up knitting, and go eat some chocolate!

    Thanks for your post today! It was a fun read and chock full of good information about the publishing world. And I can't wait to pick up one of your books and dive in. They look and sound wonderful :)

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    1. And who knew, Megan Brummer, that you are so talented that if you do quit writing, I'll be forced to drive to South Dakota and give you a lecture. On the plus side, I would get ice cream.

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    2. Well, there's no danger of me quitting today! Not with a compliment like that (Thank you!!) :) Haha... but you should still drive to South Dakota. I'd love to treat you to ice cream!

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    3. I'm still partial to rabbit-trails at times, Megan, although I have gotten somewhat better at catching them before I turn my books in to my editors - that saves me a ton of embarassment in the end.

      Good luck to you with your writing. It's a fun job, although you're exactly right - there are a lot of ups and downs. I just always hope for more ups than downs. (And I don't believe you'll have the opportunity to quit, not with Tina threatening to drive up there:))

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  34. Thank you for this post. It was so helpful. Who knew that writing that first novel would be so fun that I would keep writing. Now to learn all the other important things like polishing, editing and submitting for publishing and facing rejection.

    Thanks for the macaroons.

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    1. It's so great to hear from you Wilani! And yes, writing can be fun. I actually enjoy the polishing more than the first draft. As for rejections, just remember - it's gonna happen. Competetion is fierce, but that's what makes it fun - or sort of fun.

      Good luck to you!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  35. Hello Jen, I'm so excited you're visiting Seekerville today! I just finished reading "Gentleman of Her Dreams" (the first of yours that I've had a chance to read) on our vacation a couple weeks ago. LOVED IT! The characters were so well developed, and I was seriously suppressing laughter so I wouldn't wake the entire house as I read late at night. Can't wait to read A Change of Fortune soon. :D

    LOL, Darth Vader. I know what you mean. I love my editor, but I feel the same way. She's my partner in making my story the best, but she can say some pretty cutting things. Doesn't beat around the bush at all. I have wondered though if it was necissary for her to use four very's when she told me a section was badly told. I think one would have worked. ;)

    Would you care to tell us the story idea of the first one you never published? I always enjoy hearing about an author's first.

    Thanks for sharing your tips and experiences, the pre-order and the giveaway. AWESOME!

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    1. Hi Amber! Thanks for picking up "Gentleman of Her Dreams." Delighted you enjoyed it.

      I've had a few of those very, very, very instances - and I once had so many pages of suggestions that I was quite sure I was going to pack it in and call it a day.

      As for my first book - it revolved around these horrible smelling creatures called Fanglers. They lived in a world that was hidden from humans, until these two children stumbled into that world quite by accident. I don't remember much more than that, other than the idea I think these Fanglers always wanted to eat the children, but in a totally fun way. There also might have been an ogre dog by the name of Skippy - he usually looked like a beagle until it got mad and turned into an ogre.

      Hope you have a great week and happy writing!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  36. I'd like to know what you did in fashion, Jen. That's rather exciting.

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    1. Thanks for asking, Tina. I was a buyer for a department store for years and then I was given one of those department stores to manage - that's why you'll find a lot of scenes set in department stores in my books. I just love those old-fashion stores, which, sadly enough, have gotten few and far between these days.

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    2. That reminds me of the movie Brooklyn. And don't you love those small towns that still have those vacuum tubes????

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    3. I loved that movie, Tina! I used to work in a department store that had the old-fashioned elevators with the grate - and the elevator driver. They used to let me run it - although I was never very good at pulling the elevator to a smooth stop and I might have gotten it stuck between floors a time or two:)

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  37. And of course we always want to know the real story.

    Plotter? Pantser?

    Desk writer or laptop/tablet wanderer?

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    1. I'm a hybrid - I work with a rough outline, map out five chapters at a time, but I'm not married to my outline. Those pesky characters never seem to want to cooperate, which means I normally end up allowing them to do what they want to do. And I'm a desk writer unless I get stuck. That's when I'll grab a notebook, head outside, and write out a chapter by hand.

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  38. What a great post Jen! I love your writing style and your wonderful sense of humor.

    Who knew that I would learn sooo much about my writing and yet have so much more to learn?

    And, who knew that I would meet such wonderful writers that are in the same boat as me?

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    1. Hi Loraine!

      Isn't the writing world just so cool? Writers and readers are my kind of people, and I finally feel as if I've met my tribe.

      Good luck to you with your writing. I wish you much success!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  39. HI Jen, what a fun and encouraging post. "Who Knew" is a perfect title. There's so much to learn in this wonderful and terrifying writing world. I feel like I'm constantly riding the Learning Curve Roller Coaster. My Who Knew is how long it takes to get that finished product. I get stuck in Obsessive Compulsive Editing Mode. I never knew I could write, rewrite, rewrite again..and rewrite sections of my story so many times.

    As a fan of your books, I can tell you that you do a wonderful job! I'm grateful you gave into the Scrubbing Bubbles nudge.

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    1. Thank you for visiting with me, Sharee, and do know that the Learning Curve Roller Coaster is something all of us experience. You'll find your groove. For me, I pretty much just spit out that first draft because empty pages frighten me half to death. But it takes me a good five edits to turn even slightly amusing, and then I dwell over and over again on whether or not what I've written is really amusing, or simply ridiculous.

      Embrace the neurotic, that's my motto. It makes us interesting.

      Good luck to you and don't give up! It took me years to break in to the business, but I'm ever so glad I did.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  40. Hi Jen
    I love authors who can work humor into their stories and make me laugh out loud. That is a special talent. I enjoyed reading your who knew list. I cannot say I have any pithy or new who knews. The ones you listed along with the ones others in the commentary seem to have most of them covered. I would love to be in the draw for your books. Another author introduced to me by Seekerville (yay).

    On a side note, I don't think I've ever had a macaroon. I know... shocker.

    And a huge thank you to the ladies of Seekerville for a wonderful month of celebration. Y'all outdid yourselves. It is/was awesome!

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    1. Thank you, Deb! So glad you came by today. Seekerville is a great community, and I'm so impressed with how fun and engaged everyone is.

      Good luck with the giveaways - there sure do seem to be a ton of them:)

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. p.s. thanks for the novella freebie link. I pre-ordered that. THANKS!

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  41. Well, I am a reader not a writer, but who knew there are so many great Christian writers out there. Sad to say I have not read your series YET Jen but I am putting it in my TBR list today!!!

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    1. No need to be sad, Sharon, since...well, now you know all about me. Do be sure to download that free novella of mine if you have an e-reader - "Gentleman of Her Dreams." It'll allow you to read me for free and to see if you like my writing style before you invest in my other books. I've been told I'm a little...quirky.

      Good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  42. By the way, we invited Jen to Seekerville because of comments on our survey. So thank you, to those of you who suggested she visit. You are so smart! And of course, thank you to Jen for accepting. And she's a Coloradoan. WHO KNEW??

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    1. I have to say thank you to the readers who suggested me as well, Tina. How fun to be on your blog! So...THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

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  43. JENN!!! Sooooo great to have you on Seekerville, my friend, and what a GREAT post!!

    It particularly resonated with me on so many points, but especially on your point #1.

    WOW, how I wish I’d known what an emotional roller-coaster it was going to be AFTER I got published. Like a lot of unpublished writers, I thought all the anxiety and self-doubt would dissipate after I signed on the dotted line. I mean that would validate me, wouldn’t it? Give me confidence as a writer? But I discovered (AGAIN!) that true confidence is not in accolades from your editor or a really good review, but instead in where your heart is with God. As all of us soon discover, HE is our confidence when our sales rankings on Amazon.com are high or low, so I'm grateful for the spiritual boot camp I went through those first couple of years because it sure toughened me up for the rest of my spiritual service, thank God! ;)

    HUGS!
    Julie


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    1. Julie!!!! It's great to be on Seekerville and during your birthday celebration. Too wonderful!

      It has truly been an eye-opening experience, this whole publishing gig. However, you're exactly right, though. Once I finally figured out that it wasn't about me at all and that God had a very specific reason for guiding me to where I landed, well, everything got put in its proper perspective. I've been deeply humbled and touched by the people I've met, and my spiritual journey has taken turns I never would have imagined.

      Hope to see you at another conference, maybe one where we can actually chat for a while.

      Hugs right back at ya!

      ~ Jen ~

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  44. Jen, how fun to read your "Who Knew?" moments! Still being on the journey to publication, I haven't experienced all your moments, but I so agree with your ninth point....the friends met along the way are priceless!

    My "Who Knew?" is that deadlines are a love/hate relationship. I didn't like the pressure of a hard deadline date....but I DID get the manuscript completed and submitted on time. So...who knew I'd learn to love deadlines.....a little bit?

    Thanks so much for pointing out the smiles along the way....I'll try the Post-Its on the vacuum! :)

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    1. There's nothing like popping a Post-It on a vacuum to make a girl's day, Sherida!

      Good luck to you on your publication journey. It can be trying at times, but you'll continue to meet great people along the way, which makes those trying times seem not nearly as trying.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  45. Jen, such a great blog. Thanks for being with us today!!!

    I'm with you on the first book. Loved writing it! Such freedom. I didn't know the rules. :)

    I could add, "Who knew when you meet your first agent at a writing conference that she might NOT be interested in your story even if she requests a full!!!"

    I had so much to learn. :)

    Hugs!

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    1. Thank you so much, Debby!

      Yeah, that's a tough one, getting asked for a full request and then not landing that agent. I don't even remember how many times that happened to me, but it was a lot. I even had a few instances where agents asked for a hard copy of the manuscript. I readily admit I was beyond annoyed when I'd get a postcard in the mail with a standard rejection after forking out the funds to copy and mail the manuscript.Thankfully, that didn't happen too often, what with the increased popularity of email submissions:)

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  46. Who knew that writing fiction is both way easier and way harder than academic research papers? I mean, you get to make the entire thing up. That's easy. But, if you want anyone to appreciate your work, you actually have to do a ton of research and get things right (not so easy). Granted, you have to do all that work for the research papers too (and CITE it all accurately, way hard), but then it's mostly regurgitating what you've learned and formatting it nicely, then drawing a few conclusions (pretty easy, really, just time-consuming). You don't have to make it all up so that it makes sense not only as a factually accurate but also captivating story (all much, much harder).

    That's what I've learned post-college.

    I LOVE your stories, Jen, and have successfully hooked my mom and aunt on them too. They make me laugh so much!

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    1. I don't think I would be very good with writing academic papers, Rachael. I've always had outlandish stories running around my head, so for me, fiction seems far easier than what you've been writing.

      Thank you for getting your mom and aunt hooked on my stories. Love that! And thank you for enjoying my stories as well.

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  47. This was sooo good! I always love hearing about others' journeys. They are always so motivational.

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    1. Thank you, Sherrinda! I always find comfort in knowing others are experiencing the same weird things:)

      Good luck with the giveaways and have a great week!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  48. Hi Jen! Thanks for the free novella download. I've met a 'new to me' writer I'll definitely be reading more :-)

    This 'who knew' had me laughing out loud: Who knew that God can use a can of Scrubbing Bubbles to get a person back on track?

    Your humor is much appreciated.

    Nancy C

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    1. Hi Nancy - it's great to meet you and thank you for the download. Hope you enjoy Miss Charlotte's story.

      Happy to amuse you with my Scrubbing Bubbles story. I'm still holding out hope that one day I'll spray it on and...no elbow grease will be needed.

      Good luck with the giveaway!

      ~ Jen ~

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  49. Welcome to Seekerville, Jen! Don't have a WHO KNEW....am an avid reader. I have not read any of your books so am excited about your giveaway and will definitely download that freebie.

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    1. Avid readers are my most favorite kind of people, Jackie!

      Thanks for the download, and I hope you have a wonderful week!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  50. Welcome, Jen! You really nailed it with this list. I identified with so many of your "who knew" moments! That could easily be me stretched out on the floor and staring at the ceiling while wondering why I ever thought I could do this--or if all my previously published books were only flukes.

    And that WAS me when the ms. that secured my agent's representation wasn't immediately snatched up by any of the editors she submitted it to. But it was definitely a learning experience.

    Actually, this entire writing/publishing journey is turning out to be one very, very looooooong learning experience! But I wouldn't trade it for anything!

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    1. Thank you for having me, Myra!

      Publishing was a really weird world for me at first, still is at times, but like you, I wouldn't trade it for anything!

      Have a great rest of your Monday!

      ~ Jen ~

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  51. I love nested/embedded comments. I'm just sayin'... :)

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    1. They're tricky to catch, Ruth - but I'm giving it a go - you ladies are keeping me on my toes today:)

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  52. Jen, welcome!! I just loved this post. What fun. :) I think your #1 was my biggest "who knew" moment! I had no idea how difficult it would be to sell the second book (and each subsequent book). Not to mention how difficult it was to write once I started learning more about good writing. :)

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    1. Thank you, Missy. I definitely agree with it becoming more and more difficult once you learn a thing or two (or ten.)

      Hope you have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  53. Loved this wonderful post, the true essence of Jen - I'm still smiling, LOL!! Just an example of why your books are so entertaining.

    A huge "who knew" moment for me was my first reading of a Christian Fiction novel - I had previously read only Christian non-fiction, bios and auto-bios. Little did I realize what a beautiful, amazing, entertaining, educational, inspiring world I was about to enter. So much so that God gave me a personal ministry in reading, reviewing, and promoting Christian Fiction and it's authors. I haven't words to adequately describe the blessing and joy Christian Fiction has been, and is to me!!

    So, thank you, Jen - and all other Christian Fiction authors whose work has given me joy and inspiration, and all those I'll read and enjoy in the future. And thank you for being so gracious, giving, and for sharing your time with me, as one of your readers, at ACFW this past August!!

    Blessings!!

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    1. What a lovely comment, BonTon (Bonnie). Thank you.

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    2. You are also so gracious toward me, Bonnie. It was such an honor to meet you at ACFW and then have all of you welcome me into your midst. It really was the highlight of my conference this year and I just adored talking with you.

      God bless you, and thank you for taking such an interest in Christian fiction. We couldn't do it without readers like you.

      Love,

      ~ Jen ~

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  54. Who knew...that you had a difficult start breaking into the publishing world. You are one of my absolute favorite authors and I would have thought they'd be lining up at your door begging for more books.

    For myself, who knew that my son being born with life-threatening critical heart defects (requiring five surgeries between 1 day and 13 years old) would be one of the greatest gifts God has given me. It has caused us to know the Lord and has proved His promises are true. It has caused us all to live in a different way. It has made me so grateful for life. My now 16 year old son has a very strong, special faith and I know it's been shaped by all that he's suffered. He has a longing for heaven that is precious and has a better perspective on this life and the life to come. What a gift. :)

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    1. What a beautiful testimony, Doreen. Your son sounds like an amazing young man and I would imagine he's wise well beyond his years.

      Prayers for his continued journey, and for yours as well.

      Thank you for sharing!

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Wow, Doreen, what a testimony. Thank you for stopping by Seekerville and sharing with us.

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  55. Jen. Who knew I would be telling people for the last few years Jane Author is my favorite classic author and Jen Turano is my favorite modern author. Who knew I would enjoy an online realtionship with said favorite author. Who knew I would be starting my next review of her new book with the phrase OY! I loved this book; because I simply must make OY! be a good thing now for her. Hahaha! I enjoyed your commentary above, and appreciate the opportunity. As mentioned on FB, if I win; books will go to Aunt Dixie to share in my delight of your writing. Enjoy your week my friend! :) Heather

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    1. Heather we are DELIGHTED to have you and your blue jeans and tea cups in Seekerville.

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    2. Hey Heather - great to find you here. Sorry there was a delay in my responses - had to help a neighbor muscle her leaves into a bin:) She's 89 and stubborn so it's tricky to help her.

      Thank you so much for all the support you've given me. It's been such a pleasure getting to know you and...I'll be looking forward to your OY review - that just cracks me up.

      Good luck with the giveaway and tell your Aunt Dixie I said hello.

      Love,

      Jen

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  56. Jen, I love this list.

    I don't mind admitting the first book I ever wrote was awful, but was also the most fun. I had no idea what I was doing, and I got to write scenes just because they made me giggle.

    And I absolutely love your covers. I'd buy them just for that!

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    1. Isn't that the truth, Connie. They're like paintings for the wall.

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    2. Thank you, Connie. I've been completely spoiled with my covers - my favorites are my very first one "A Change of Fortune" and then I just love the one for the prequel novella coming out in Jan. "At Your Request." I swear I have the greatest urge to buy something in green velvet whenever I see that one.

      First books are the best to write, aren't they? We just have no idea what we're in for, but the adventure is well worth the agony of trying to get published.

      Have a great week!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  57. Jen, you are hilarious! I will definitely be reading your books and am excited to be entered in your drawing.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Thank you so much, Phyllis! Make sure to download "Gentleman of Your Dreams" if you have an e-reader. That way you can sample my writing before purchasing any of the books - and you'll get a few sample chapters for "A Change of Fortune" at the end of the novella - which will hopefully have you anxious to read more:)

      Thanks for visiting me today.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  58. Jen! I love this interview. It's written in exactly your style; a bit of humor, a bit of reality, a bit of exaggeration.

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    1. Welcome to Seekerville, Katherine!!

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Katherine! Always love hearing from you.

      Good luck with the giveaway, and I'm sure we'll chat soon!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  59. Who knew that your first draft won't just pop out perfect? When I wrote my first book it was pretty easy and took me only six months to complete. Afterwards I thought,hey, maybe writing won't be so hard... then I read back through my book and realized just what a rough first draft I had written. It was only after a year of intense rewriting was I able to salvage my story. By then I had thought I learned my lesson. When I wrote my second book I spent so much time making it perfect so that when I finished it, it would only take three months to proofread and fix up. This only ended up in me taking two years to write the book.

    I'm still trying to find that perfect area in between that won't take that long to write, but also won't take forever to fix up after I have written it.

    Who knew writing could be so hard?

    Thanks for this hilarious post, Jen, and can I just say that I am a HUGE fan? Because I am. I love all your books (Finding Margo just came in the mail today, can't wait to read it!) so I would love to have a chance to win your books.

    P.S I'm not entirely sure if it's even possible for a person to be caked out, but those Macarons do look good.

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    1. Nicky, you are amazing. How many teenagers are following their dream and writing. Good for you.

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    2. Hi Nicky! Thank you so much for stopping in today, and you'll find your comfort zone. It just takes a bit of time. I didn't even start writing until I was, well, way older than you are, so it's super cool that you've written so much. I have a feeling we'll be reading your books for years to come, so good luck and do keep me informed about your progress!

      Hope you enjoy "Finding Margo." I've been really nervous about the release of this particular book since no one has ever read one of my contempory stories before, except for my sister, and that really doesn't count because she loves everything I write:)

      Wishing you much success in your writing!

      ~ Jen ~

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  60. I love your books!! (Finding Margo arrived at my house today too) Have your e-books I'd love to have them on my book shelf too!
    Ready for one of those Macarons to go with my coffee :)
    Happy Birthday Seekerville!

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    1. Hi Deanna!

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. Great to hear you received a copy of "Finding Margo." Here's hoping you enjoy Margo's story. She was stuck in a flash drive for years, so I'm thrilled she finally made it on to the pages of a real book.

      Happy reading, and good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  61. Here is another Who knew story in my life. Who knew that when I was 9 years old (52 years ago) I would learn of the history behind my name. What I knew that time was that Wilani's husband Tsali would give his life so the Cherokee could continue to live in NC and not all have to move to Oklahoma. I always wanted to find out more about Wilani. After 52 years of searching I decided to write my own story and yet keep to the history and culture of the Cherokee as much as I can. I did find out today that they were 60 years old when they died. They had 4 children. This will help so much as I finally get to tell this story as my nano book. I am more excited about writing this book than I have any of the others. Although I am nervous about a historical book with people that are known.

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    1. I've always wondered about your name, Wilani. It's beautiful and I do think the history of your namesake would be perfect for you to put down on paper.

      Good luck with your nano goal and do let me know how your progress goes!

      Happy writing,

      ~ Jen ~

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  62. Welcome to Seekerville, Jen! Who knew????? ... that your journey to publication and mine (as well as a whole bunch of others) would be so similar??? :)

    And, yes, around #5, I think think I was ready to throw in the towel, but I'm just a little too stubborn for that.

    Now off to read some more of these great comments. :)

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    1. Thank you, Pam. It's great to be here today. It's also comforting to learn there are so many of us who share the same history as well as possess those stubborn natures!

      Have a great week!

      Jen

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  63. I have a "Who knew..." to share with you. When I was in 2nd and 3rd grade my teachers required a specific number of book reports to be turned in each month. I don't remember how many it was. But I do remember that I far exceeded the required number and even surpassed the number allowed for extra credit. I LOVED reading and didn't mind writing the book reports. Then over 50 years later that blossomed into being an online book reviewer with my own blog. Through that I have connected with many other reviewers, bookworms and wonderful authors. I count many of them as friends though I have only managed to meet one of them so far. I'm always looking for book signings close enough to home that I can get there.

    Jen, I love your books and have already pre-ordered "At Your Request" and am really looking forward to reading it.

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    1. You know I adore you, Debbie. It's been great fun connecting with you over the years, and I cannot tell you how much your support means to me.

      Cute story about your book reviews, although I'm sure the kids in your classes weren't thrilled with you doing so many of them - especially the ones who didn't like to read:)

      Have a great week - and I think you're going to enjoy "At Your Request." I've been wanting to do a wallflower series for years, and now...it's almost time for the wallflowers to break free of their walls.

      All the best,

      Jen

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  64. Who knew a blog could be so entertaining?

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    1. Thanks, Ola and welcome to Seekerville. I think Jen should come back. She's terrific and funny!

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    2. Thank you Ola! My work here is now done...

      Good luck with the giveaway and I hope you have a great week!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  65. I'd love to win the books. I don't have any of them, but I do have two others of yours.

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    1. Thank you, Michelle!

      Good luck with the giveaway and I hope you get a chance to read more of my books soon:)

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  66. Thank you for sharing your story. So fun and realistic. Congratulations on having your books published in spite of all the things you had to overcome. What a great story. Maybe you should write a novel about an author and the things they had to learn.

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    1. That's a great idea, Bettie - I do have a book releasing in April that has a lady who dabbles in writing, but I have yet to write a heroine who is a novelist - a hero, yes, I do have that - and he was a blast to write. He's in "Playing the Part." He also lives in a gothic-style castle and goes by the name of Bram - He might do a few of the things I do when I write, although I don't have a dungeon with antique torture devices in it. :)

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  67. My who knew story is similar to yours only I'm still in the process of finish that first MS. A couple of years ago I started my first novel and finished at 23 k. :) My sisters, mom and close friends love it and according to them, I too was destined to seat by Oprah. Only due to life circumstances I delayed the query part and while waiting to have a little more time to finish my revisions I started taking course after course on the craft, specially after realizing I knew nothing about writing. Now I'm working in revisions and I feel more confident , but still I'm no fool I'm preparing mentally and emotionally for what is to come in 2017. Thanks for sharing and congrats! on your success.

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    1. Yoxani, good to see you on the blog again. Glad to see you are continuing to pursue your dream.

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    2. Good for you, Yoxani, for finishing up that manuscript in the first place. Sending out queries can be daunting, but you're going about it the right way, especially since you're taking classes to perfect your craft.

      Good luck to you in the coming year, and I wish you much success with your writing career.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  68. Hi Jen! I'm so sorry to be poky about getting over here today.
    These are all such TRUTHS that we might as well carve them in stone. Great blog post.
    And yes, so often that CRUEL advice ... if we would just TAKE IT...is a huge compliment, because it means you caught their interest! And they took the time to respond

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    1. Hey Mary - I was wondering when you were going to come out and visit with me:)

      And sure, now I know that advice meant I caught their interest, but at the time, it was very peculiar:)

      Always great chatting with you and I'm sure I'll see you at one conference or another.

      ~ Jen ~

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  69. Jen, wonderful to read your "who knew" moments as a writer. Your difficult and long road to publication is inspiring. You've given me reason to persevere and to be hopeful. Thank you for being so honest. I can relate to much of your post, especially #5 on your list where you say you didn't realize there'd be disappointments looming on the horizon even after acquiring representation. Your covers are so lovely. God bless you.

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    1. Thank you so much, Pat. Publishing is a very weird business, quite unlike anything I'm used to, but it's one of the most interesting careers I've had, and that is saying something.

      I wish you much success on your writing career, and thank you for the kind words about my covers. I really don't have anything to do with the creating them except to send in a character and setting sheet - which is probably a good thing because I just don't have an eye for stuff like that.

      Wishing you all the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  70. I'm sure it's all been said, but here's one.

    Who knew that the thing inside me that made me finish that first book...however badly written it was....revealed a cornerstone of my personality.

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  71. Who knew that FINISHING a book put me way toward the top of the pile.

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  72. Who knew that the words, "I think I have a book in me..." mutter by people who'd yet to write a word...were so common and so meaningless.

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    1. Hahaha - I can't tell you how many times I've heard this - which is why I rarely tell people I'm a writer these days.

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  73. Who knew that so many people who had never written a book would feel compelled to tell me the story they might someday right. Mainly about how hilarious their dogs are.

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  74. Who knew that 48 books into this journey a poorly placed word could make me question whether I even knew how to write. :(

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  75. Who knew that the people who tell you 'a bad agent is worse than NO agent' ... had forgotten how hard it is to get ANY AGENT!

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  76. Who knew that when I got a sweet, blessed, nearly miraculous offer to publish a book...and then a sweet, blessed, nearly miraculous offer to get an agent...years later, when my success was fairly well established, people who think it was lame how little I agreed to take for that first book and...well, other things I guess I won't say.

    Uh, you weren't there. There was no line. Don't ever think I forget and admire and cherish the people who were part of the biggest thrill of my life.

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  77. I once owned a t-shirt (my daughter's debate team had them) that said, "I do for fun what most people fear more than death."

    That was based on some poll asking people their greatest fear.
    Public Speaking ranked above DEATH.

    Well, that was me--I'd have definitely ranked Public Speaking above death. And now I picked this strange, extremely solitary career where I mainly just talk to the voices in my head.
    WHO KNEW people would expect me to give SPEECHES ABOUT IT!

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    1. AND you rocked it! Who knew? I bet Ruthy did ;)

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  78. Jen, Love your books! I've read A Change of Fortune multiple times (and I'm not usually a rereader, my tbr is bigger than I am). Thanks for sharing your Who Knew moments! [side note: I just recieved Finding Margo in the mail today! I'm so excited about reading, reviewing, and spreading the word about your contemporary debut!!]
    Who knew authors love readers as much as readers love authors??? Meeting some of my favorite authors (online and especially in person) has been an enormous blessing!
    Since meeting authors, I enjoy reading even more and who knew that was even possible? Who knew my love of reading would give me the courage to face my fear of writing (not writing writing but book blogging aka author fangirling online)?
    Ruthy, I'm with you on the embedded commenting. Don't send me to another page, I feel safe here. Can we keep it?

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    1. I never knew I would completely adore sentences like "I've read A Change of Fortune multiple times." That's just fabulous. Thank you, Beth!

      And yes, authors love readers - it's my absolute favorite part of my job as well as being the only reason I actually have a job:)

      Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and keep on reading. Here's hoping you enjoy my first contemporary as much as you enjoyed my first historical!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  79. Haha, I'm a fan of scrubbing bubbles & post it notes too! :D. Great post!

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    1. We must be kindred spirits, Rachel! When I was in college, I actually cut out a bunch of little scrubbing bubble guys from a magazine and tacked them around my dorm room, mixed in with my posters of Marilyn Monroe and Madonna - back when Madonna was cool.

      Thanks for stopping in, and good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Rachel Stark, welcome to Seekerville. All these new faces today. Glad to have you. WHO KNEW JEN WOULD BRING HER OWN POSSE???

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  80. Jen thank you for making me laugh! I laughed my way through your nine "who knews", making a mental list with categories. I'm in my office looking at walls that are covered with post it notes! Blessings for continued success with your work

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    1. You're very welcome, Barbara, and thank you for making me laugh - I just adore a woman who gets the whole post-its covering the walls business. I even have some that are shaped like frogs - they don't stick as well, though, which can be a problem when they fall off the walls and disappear into the nightmare that is the back of my desk.

      Have a great rest of the week!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  81. This was so funny! Been there and done some of that. Thank you for the cute post! I have just preordered your book coming out this November for an online book club I'm in, and I'm looking forward to it even more now that I see how humorous you are!

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    1. Thank you so much, Janet! I do hope your bookclub will enjoy the book. It's a little quirky, and...there's a duck. Won't say more since I don't want to ruin the story for you.

      Have a great rest of the week, and again, thank you for wanting to read my latest. That just made my night!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  82. Jen, you have been a wonderful hostess, and if you must leave to HAVE A LIFE at this point in the evening we get it. Well, they do. I don't have a life. hahahaha. Thank you for being with us.

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    1. Oh, Tina, it's just been a blast! Thank you for inviting me to join in with your celebration. Congratulations on your nine years and I hope you have many, many more!

      ~ Jen ~

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  83. Who knew I'd be sitting at one of my son's baseball games, only to discover that another one of the dads was a hopeful writer, and then have to tell that person that a letter of suggestions from an editor was a request to resubmit. It had been a while. Don't know if the guy went back and tried it.

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    1. Your good deed for the day. Debby Giusti had to tell me. Send him to Seekerville. We'll straighten him out some.

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  84. Hi Seekerville.

    Who knew I'd cough away most of your birthday celebration month. But like a good guest, I kept my germs (really allergies) at home. Sorry I missed the party.

    Happy Birthday!

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  85. Love this post, Jen! Thank you so much for sharing your story! Happy Birthday, Seekerville!!

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  86. Jenn: I commented this morning, but I am admiring how you took the time and answered everyones post. You are amazing.

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  87. It's amazing the paths God sends you down! I've had many "who knew" moments one of them is my career ... Who knew I would be a librarian. I graduated college with the thought of being an assistant or secretary and now I'm working in a library and helping people find books! Amazing! Thanks for sharing your "who knew" moments. :)

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    1. Seekerville LOVES Librarians Miss Pippi. Welcome.

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  88. Super late stopping by (been handing out candy for trick-or-treaters - - they were all so cute and so polite!). :) But wanted to say I enjoyed reading Jen's post - - I'm sure lots of writers can relate to many of these.

    Cate Nolan, SO sorry you've been sick. :( Please get all well SOON!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEEKERVILLE!! You're the BEST!!

    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

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  89. Who knew, maybe ten years ago, that there are so many terrific Christian fiction authors in a wide variety of genres, who not only write fantastic books but take the time to interact with readers on blogs and Facebook? You are one of my favorite authors, Jen. I always feel happy when reading one of your books (I think I've read all of them and am looking forward to reading your new releases).

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  90. Who knew that I'd be nodding my head at all your "who knews", LOL! Oh my goodness, I even started humming the Star Wars tune and reliving the writing of a specific novel. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

    Jen, we're practically neighbors. I live north of Denver in Longmont. How cool to find a fellow Coloradan!! Thanks for joining us during our Birthday month :)

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  91. Happy birthday Seekerville! It was an amazing birthday bash.

    Jen - you were the perfect finish to the month!

    Please include me in the drawing.

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  92. I'm late to this party, but just wanted to say this sentence, "Nothing good has ever followed in a sentence beginning with the word Oy." Cracked me up.

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