Jennifer's Journal


Friday, April 01, 2011

The Jennifer Blake Newsletter-April 2011


How many times have I told you spring is my favorite time of year? I’m always struck by that realization as the world turns green again and flowers begin to bloom—and in spite of the thunderstorms and tornado warnings that go with the warmer weather. Recently, I signed up for the Code Red Alert system, a service of the local sheriff’s office. With this you get a phone call whenever bad weather approaches, not only tornados but thunderstorms that might have damaging winds or hail. One night this past week, I woke to an automated phone call at 11:00 p.m. and then another one at 2:00 a.m., though the most we got from either line of thunderstorms was a few flashes of lightning and a sprinkling of rain. But that’s okay. Next time, it could be the kind of disaster that shows up too often on TV news. Hopefully, I’ll be downstairs in an enclosed hallway if it happens.

The last book of my medieval Three Graces trilogy is done and off my desk. SEDUCED BY GRACE was corrected its final time in mid-March, then zapped to my editor as an email attachment in MS Word. Big sigh of relief! As this is the last book in my current contract, I’m now without a deadline. Well, okay, I still have to answer copy editor’s queries and read the page proofs for Books 2 & 3 (BY GRACE POSSESSED due out in September and the book just sent in that will be published in October) before I’m totally done. Also, my editor has asked me to be thinking about more medieval books. But that’s for the future. Right now, I’m taking a break and planning a Caribbean cruise as reward for completing this contract.

In other news about the trilogy, my web mistress will soon have covers for the three books on the home page of my web site, along with the back cover blurbs and an excerpt from Book 1, BY HIS MAJESTY’S GRACE. This advance material should be available on Monday, April 4. Look for it at:

Also, I had a request from the agent who handles my international sales for a copy of the manuscript for the first book of the Three Graces trilogy, in addition to cover art and blurbs for all three. He wanted to take these things with him to the huge London book fair. It should be interesting to see what kind of foreign sales come of that.

The Masters at Arms books, about the sword masters of old New Orleans, continue to be released around the globe. I received copies of the Australian edition of ROGUE’S SALUTE, Book 3 of the series, out this past month. I’ve had several reader queries about these swordsmen lately, as well. It seems people want to be sure they’ve collected all six books now that the series has been completed. I understand the impulse since I prefer to read a series in sequence and all at once myself, without having to wait between books. That can be a little scary for an author, however. The Masters at Arms series was written over a six-year period, so there could easily be things that slipped my mind between books one and six. These bits should be much more obvious to readers plowing straight through all of the books in a matter of days. No one has mentioned anything so far, but you never know!

I continue to contribute posts, or short essays, to the Mira Author blog. Up this month is one titled “In Search of the True Hero.” It’s about the problem with heroes who are too domineering, and how to fix it. I’ll be posting that on Monday or Tuesday of next week. Up last month was a list of “10 Tips for Productive Writing” that’s still available if you scroll down the page. Look for these at:

Romance authors have complained for decades about the lack of respect shown the genre. Maybe it’s a function of living in the Deep South, where there’s less elitism over literary versus commercial writing, but I’ve had little experience with that attitude. I was invited to be writer-in-residence at ULM some years back based solely on my writing career, and have had requests from two different universities for donation of the manuscripts, letters and other papers comprising my “literary legacy.” In addition, my local library has long had a special display of my books. This past month the library staff, headed by Angela Holder, moved the collection to a larger glassed-in and sealed bookcase near the entrance. She also included a decorative background and a few personal items pertaining to my writing. I’ve always been grateful to the Jackson Parish Library for its support over my long career, but this is an especially heartwarming gesture. If you’re in the area, check out the new display at 614 South Polk, Jonesboro, Louisiana.

That’s it for this month—except to wish you all the lovely green promise of the season and a quick end to its unsettled weather!

Jennifer Blake

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