Tag Archives: phoenix

The absent writer

Have you ever read Breakfast at Tiffany’s? I would love to have a calling card that says: Jennifer Mason-Black, Traveling. However, it would not be useful to me, as I am never traveling.

Except now.

More precisely, I will be away in the woods in a tent, completely unplugged from the world, except when I check back with home periodically. When I am not hiking, or examining moon snails, or wandering much larger shores than I normally do, I will be rediscovering the thrill of writing in a notebook. By hand. With a pen. That is what one does when camping.

Were I the sort of person who thinks ahead, there might be blog posts to come while I am away. I am not that kind of person. This is not that kind of blog. This is the kind of blog that will be completely silent for days, at which point everyone will have given up all hope that there will ever be posts again.

But there will. I’ll be back with stories about camping. I promise.

In the meantime, a few notes. I’ve updated my list of forthcoming publications. There are a few new things. I apparently have something coming out every month between July and October, and likely two things one of those months. That is both exciting and odd.

Also, Phoenix is now available everywhere. By that, I mean also at Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Rainbow eBooks, along with Musa and Amazon. I think that’s the full list.

I should be back to posting around June 22. It will be summer here.

Until then, live boldly and dream of wild things.


And the winner is…

Hey! It makes it really hard to wait in line at the Registry when the Registry’s not in the place it’s supposed to be! Totally great that the nice man wearing this tee shirt was able to take my check eventually, but it would have been even more awesome had I been able to find his office where the website said it would be.

But that’s all water under the bridge. You don’t want to hear about that. You want to hear about winners. The answer? Everyone wins! That’s how I play this game. At least that’s how I play it when I have three awesome contestants. Mary and Julia, if you’d like a copy of Phoenix, please email me with your preference as to file type. I can send you either a PDF or something suitable for a Kindle or a Nook. Are there more types? I think they’re all available. Just let me know. My email is on the About Me page.

What about Nancy? Nancy is the sort of person who is unfailingly supportive. Nancy is the kind of woman who will listen to a garbled message on an answering machine and manage to pluck out the essential “please enter a contest on my blog so I’m not lonely” bit and go right out and do it. In short, Nancy is the kind of friend every writer needs.

So she doesn’t get a copy of Phoenix. Instead, she gets a hard copy of Wren, hopefully in another week or so. Prize or punishment? It remains to be seen.

Thanks for playing!

Smooch smooch

A confession. I like writing first kisses.

I’d make a horrible erotica writer. I’d make a horrible romance writer (in the commercial publishing sense of the word). I’m not very interested in the follow-through, just in those few moments of discovery. So much can be contained in a kiss. There are times when I think the entire story of The Lost can be boiled down to three very different kisses.

Phoenix also has just three–two magical, one, well, that one’s magic is of a different sort. At least it is for Tucker, experiencing his first kiss: The space between us vanished, his hand traveling along my cheek, my neck, before he pulled me into a kiss. A regular kiss, but I believed it could turn my hair white, leave moonlight on my lips. I think I made a little squeak of some sort, his shirt rough as I gripped it.

Wren makes me suffer a bit. Wren has the kiss that doesn’t happen. Thwarted energy is a good thing for a novel, but it can be hell on the writer. At least it is when you know you’re setting up something that plays out over four books. All those turns, all those possibilities lost with each simple action taken.

In another book, the unwritten one, the kiss happens, and another path is taken, and the series becomes a single book whose ending comes with a white picket fence and a garden with roses in front. It would make for a wonderful life, but perhaps a boring story.

No kiss.

The contest contest

I’ve been absent here due to general hectic life stuff. I’ve been revising Wren in depressing little stretches, and it’s been making me a little blue. I’m looking forward to things evening out so that I spend less time in the car and more time being productive in concrete ways.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to come up with a contest. I have a secret dislike of contests, mostly because I’m the least winning person in the history of the world. Give me a contest in which 99% of contestants win, and I’ll be the one getting the pat on the back as someone whispers “not sure how she could have lost that one.”

But I have a copy or two of Phoenix available, and I’d like to figure out how to offer them up. Perhaps the answer is this: the contest should be coming up with a suitable contest. Give me a contest designed to highlight skills that are under-appreciated or all but unknown, or that involves clowns and monkeys. Give me a contest that allows those who never win to win.

And give it to me at some point in the next week. I’ll leave this post open to comments about contests, either a design or your least/most winning moment, until next Thursday evening (May 31). After that, I’ll invite my kids to help pick a winning entry in some random way, one most likely involving blindfolds. The winner(s) will get a copy of Phoenix in their format of choice. (If the number of entrants is higher than I suspect, there will be two winners.)

Odds and ends

Yesterday I came across this exhibit while driving to an appointment. It’s currently one of my favorite things. Those pictures don’t do it justice, both in terms of scale and setting. The design forces you to explore the words in a different way, and the houses drift across the lawns like giant sheep, and the whole thing just feels joyful to me. I think I’d like to live in one.

A quick note for those people buying “Phoenix.” If you buy from Musa you will be able to choose from any of the e-reader formats. You may also a choose a PDF. If you do not have an e-reader, buy the PDF file. If you’re anything like the low-tech crowd I run with, you’ll then print out your PDF and pretend it’s a paperback.

Phoenix continued

“Phoenix” is an odd story. Odd in the sense that it came from more than one place, unlike most of my short stories. It started several years ago, when I wrote a story about a teenage hustler named Gabriel. Gabriel came from the Aware novels, and that story was my way of understanding his history. Unlike “Sea Glass,” the story wasn’t one that worked well on its own, so I set it aside.

Then, last year, I spent a lot of time thinking about hope. There were all sorts of reasons for that, ranging from the state of the world to my own history of depression to the sorts of stories I kept writing. Somewhere along the way, one line got stuck in my head: The thing about stories is they’ve got to have hope.

So I had that line, and Gabriel, and that first story, and then Tucker came along. Convention with young adult fiction says it doesn’t include a middle-aged narrator, but that’s where things went with Tucker. For “Phoenix” to have hope, there needed to be the understanding that Tucker survived everything, and thrived.

Still, it wasn’t yet a story. Not until Kelsey happened by. I can’t tell you where she came from, because I don’t know. Some characters just drift into your head and take root there like dandelions. Kelsey’s one of them.

So “Phoenix” rose from the bones of an old story and the meeting of three characters.

Phoenix Day

“Phoenix” is out today! I’m going to do a separate post about the story, but I wanted to run through a few quick notes first.

The design team at Musa did a beautiful job. Editors Kayla Watson and Kathy Teel were wonderful to work with. I truly appreciate the work everyone at Musa and Euterpe put in to get “Phoenix” to this point.

You can buy it through Musa and Amazon. Keep in mind that this is a novelette–essentially a long short story–so it’s the sort of thing you can read in one sitting. The links to where to buy it will be permanent fixtures on the blog, once I do a little more widget work.