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ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE: TY’s to Readers and Writers

November 15, 2021 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , , ,

I received my first fan letter 36 years ago from a lady named Bev. I wrote back a thank you note. She wrote back. I wrote back. Bev was the first, but she wasn’t the last to write to me. I have met the most wonderful, interesting, smart, and kind people all because we share a love for a good story. Some of these fan-friends even show up in my books (with their permission of course). New friendships are the priceless benefits of writing and the bottom line is that those friendships start because one person reached out to say thank you. This seems the perfect time to offer a few suggestions for readers who want to thank their favorite author for the hours of entertainment, and authors who want to send the love back.

READERS

A follow on Twitter or Facebook is great, but interacting with your favorite author on those platforms is truly special. One of my favorite followers is a truck driver who posts pictures from the road. I love getting a shout out while she is on her travels.

Every author has a contact form on their website. Send your favorite storyteller an email or, better yet, snail-mail. A quick note about how much you enjoyed a specific book and ‘keep writing’ encouragement is priceless.

Reviews on Amazon, Goodreads or any other review platform is the best way to show your gratitude for the months – sometimes years – an author has spent writing a book.

Finally, if the spirit moves you, share your art or passion. I have been honored to receive a crocheted blanket from a reader, another sent needles from her mother’s sewing kit because she knew I sewed and her mother had enjoyed my books. One reader – a woman in the U.S. Army – sent me a pair of combat boots!

AUTHORS

When you get a fan letter, write back. Auto responses or an assistant written messages are no-nos. It’s so easy to discover the person behind the letter, so take a little time to look at Twitter and Facebook profiles. Maybe you’ve been to her* hometown. Perhaps she just got married or has sent her kids back to school. Do her posts show pets or hobbies that you share? Personalize your letter if you can. Always let her know you are thankful that she wrote, and for the time she spent reading your work. Remember your readers are a family of fans, so showing genuine gratitude should be second nature.

Every once in a while, when the situation calls for it, I send a gift to someone special like a homebound reader, or a young writer who has asked for advice. This is usually a book, but I’ve also sent a little glass jar filled with sand from Hermosa Beach where Josie Bates plays volleyball. Of course, we can’t do this for everyone, but sometimes a special situation calls for it.

Finally, if a reader asks you to speak to a local (and I stress local)group or book club, do it. In person interaction is energizing and your fan will love you for it.

So, Happy Thanksgiving all. I appreciate everyone who has spent the time reading this post, who has ever read one of my books, the person who is thinking about reading one of my books, and all those wonderful readers who follow me on my social platforms. And now, since I’m a reader too, I think I’m going to go write a note to my favorite author…just to say thanks.

*PS Men write fan letters too, and being contacted by a fiction-reading guy is really a great feeling! And yes, click Hostile Witness. It’s free. My way of saying thank you.

The Witness Series

HOSTILE WITNESS

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HOSTILE WITNESS

SILENT WITNESS

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SILENT WITNESS

PRIVILEGED WITNESS

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PRIVILEGED WITNESS

EXPERT WITNESS

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EXPERT WITNESS

EYEWITNESS

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EYEWITNESS

FORGOTTEN WITNESS

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FORGOTTEN WITNESS

DARK WITNESS

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DARK WITNESS
LOST WITNESS: A Josie Bates Thriller
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My Book Friends

June 15, 2021 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

This week I had lunch with two of my oldest writing buddies – the ever fabulous Mindy Neff and equally fabulous Sandy Chvostal. I met them soon after publishing my first book. Over the years I have truly come to treasure my book friends.  In fact,  I think the world should be run by book friends and here is why:

1) Book friends are inclusive. I have never been asked how old I am, what my heritage is, what my political party is, what my religion is. What I have been asked is,’what have you read/written lately?’ Instant friends!

2) Book friends are creative. We share not only a love of reading, but a love of creating. I’ve met sewers, quilter, carpenters, crafters, and chefs. I wonder if we love creating things because we need to move around after spending so much time reading, or do we read because we’re exhausted from our hobbies?

3) Book friends are endlessly curious. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t read, or review, ask questions about what they’ve read, or waxed poetic about it. I love being asked, “have you read (fill in the blank)” because I know the conversation is going to be interesting.

4) Book friends are generous. Time with a book is time we treasure, but reader friends will put down their book to come to another friend’s aid. Period. No questions asked.

5) Book friends are open. All of us have preferred genres, but we like to  try something new. I’m a thriller lover yet there are historical fiction books I’ll never forget, nonfiction works I love, even action/adventure novels that have kept me up late into the night.

So it was no surprise that when I received an invitation from a group of authors to join their Facebook reader’s group, My Book Friends, I did.  The authors are fun, smart, and generous. They primarily write women’s fiction and romance, but welcome my gritty thrillers. The members of My Book Friends are creative, curious, and inclusive.

The bottom line is this: no one can have too many books or too many book friends. That’s something we can all count on.

You’re Invited June 16, 4-5PM Pacific: Cocktails, Cops & Conversation . Help me celebrate my birthday and Detective Finn O’Brien’s fourth birthday as we talk about my latest release INTIMATE RELATIONS.

Join My Book Friends.

Read INTIMATE RELATIONS  FREE at KindleUnlimited; 99¢ to buy

 

The Finn O’Brien Thriller Series

(Click on the cover for more information. Hover over the cover for buy links.)

SEVERED RELATIONS

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SEVERED RELATIONS

FOREIGN RELATIONS

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FOREIGN RELATIONS

SECRET RELATIONS

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SECRET RELATIONS
INTIMATE RELATIONS

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In Praise of . . .by Jenny Jensen

April 19, 2021 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , , ,
In Praise of . . . | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

A simple Internet search can become a journey down the rabbit hole. A phrase or a word catches my eye, I click and find myself wondering down a path light years from the original intent. I was looking for info on clay pot cooking and got entranced by all the entries about things people are in praise of. Not sure how I got there, it’s a Google thing, but I couldn’t look away; all those heart felt testimonials extolling an incredible array of individual passions.

I was delighted by a man’s elegant praise of Velcro (who could argue with that?), an oratory on the simplicity of the ten penny nail (it really is an elegant and useful item), a poetic discourse on the play of sunlight on soap bubbles in the kitchen sink (I’ll take her word for it). The essays in praise of the rubber band, the sound of a child’s heartbeat in a quiet moment, the meditative smell of a crackling fire on a cold night all touched a universal human note—and I asked what I am in praise of.

Answer: writers. I write in praise of writers. I work with authors. I know something of the blood, sweat and tears invested in the books that are my passion to read. Writers are people with such a strong drive to tell stories they dive into unchartered waters and do it—despite the requirements of life. Writing is a full time occupation for a rare few. For most, the act of putting pen to paper is precious time carved out between client conferences, parenting, shift schedules, basic survival—the business of life. Amazing, praiseworthy.

Every book began as a spark in the mind of a writer. Might be an event, or a word overheard or grandmother’s lace collar that ignited the spark. With trial and error that spark becomes a premise to be populated with characters and action and goals. With more trial and error a burgeoning universe grows into a draft. More trial and error—okay, call it what it is—revisions and rewrites. Then more of same. Finally, a deep breath and first cautious preview. Writers group, spouse, beta reader, editor; it doesn’t matter who, the writer bears their soul. Feedback is absorbed (emotionally, technically, inspirationally), and it’s back to revise and rewrite, until the whole tough process results in the best effort of the writer.

That journey from idea to finished book is praiseworthy enough. That it’s just the beginning of a new sweaty effort is a fact. A book isn’t alive without readers. Reaching those readers is the next act. Even with a traditional publisher every writer has to promote their work — a fact even more vital for Indie authors. How else can the reader find your book among the 1100 new postings per day? Nothing makes me sadder than to have a client hang up their keyboard after publishing because sales are few to none. These are wonderful books, I know they are, but the author made no effort to promote. No one found the work. That wonderful book never stood a chance.

The investment of writing a book is a labor of love. Promoting and selling the book is just hard work. The effort begins with well-chosen genre categories and killer key words. An educated approach to pricing techniques, a website, blog and social media are promotional gold. Reviews are essential; consistency is key. Every author must invest the sweat equity needed to allow people to find their book. Fortunately, hundreds of Indie pros share promotional know-how, experiences and techniques on line, a lot of it free.

When I have found that ‘just right’ book I can snug up the Velcro on my slippers, hang my troubles on the ten penny nail, drain the supper dish soap and with the kid sit before the fire and travel wherever those pages take me. I am in praise of writers.


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Something to Think About

May 15, 2020 by in category Writing tagged as , , , , , , , ,

 Last night all I could think about was the deadline for this blog post. I had put it off all month. At the last minute I was hoping to write something inspirational for both readers and writers. While hope springs eternal,  I found myself pondering – and pondering – what that perfect message should be.

If I’m going to be honest, I knew I wouldn’t come up with anything substantial because I have been distracted. When I’m distracted I usually sit down with a friend at a coffee shop and hash out whatever is on my mind until I’m back on track. Since I can’t do that you’re ‘it’, my friends in a virtual coffee shop. I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing while I’ve been locked down and pondering this post. We’ll start with the garden and move on from there.

Tomato plants. I haven’t actually thought about the tomatoes as much as I have been checking on them. Going outside every fifteen minutes is a nice break from staring at my blank computer screen or at my husband napping on the couch. No matter how often I check, though, the tomatoes still have not turned red and my husband still has not gone back to work.

My fabric stash. Over the last eight weeks I have knocked it down some. Here’s the count: five blouses, a quilt top, a fully-lined summer suit (1 dress that would have fit 15 years ago when I was 25 pounds lighter), and ten face masks. Here’s my question: is sewing my stash like a tree falling in the forest or is it like ‘build it and they will come’? I think it’s the latter. When the day comes to have dinner in a restaurant I will have lots to wear.

Cover with woman sleeping and man looking over a cliff
Book Cover

Work. Honestly, my brain has been mush when it comes to writing a new book. I have an idea but I couldn’t get it to gel, so I looked through my files and reread some of my early work. I had so much fun that I edited and published five novels from the 90s. I also published The Death of Me, a novella I wrote that morphed into a novel (Before Her Eyes). These two works are as different as they are similar. Some times pondering one thing will lead to another. The trick is not to ignore the ‘other’. Productivity: mission accomplished.

Finally, I’ve been pondering important things: the individual versus the greater good, the constitution and ‘guidelines’ as our lockdown stretches into yet another week, another month, another century. My heart is sad for those who are sick and who have died; my heart is breaking for my relatives and friends who are losing their livelihood, home and, well, everything they have worked hard for. I won’t tell you which side I’m on when it comes to hunkering down or opening up. I will only say that I realize that what I have been pondering all along is something readers and writers have always been inspired by: story. No matter what road we choose there will be stories at the end of it. We are writing them now.

These will be tales of tragedy and triumph; there will be something to laugh at and something to cry over.  We will all see these events – and each other – differently. Eventually there will come a time when we put pondering aside so that we can sit with friends at a coffee shop, tell our stories, and hug each other when all is said and done.


SEASONS: The 90s Collection

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SEASONS: The 90s Collection

DREAMS: The 90s Collection

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DREAMS: The 90s Collection
THE RECKLESS ONES: The 90s Collection

VANITIES: The 90s Collection

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VANITIES: The 90s Collection

VOWS: The 90s Collection

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VOWS: The 90s Collection

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In Praise of . . .by Jenny Jensen

February 19, 2019 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , , ,
In Praise of . . . | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

A simple Internet search can become a journey down the rabbit hole. A phrase or a word catches my eye, I click and find myself wondering down a path light years from the original intent. I was looking for info on clay pot cooking and got entranced by all the entries about things people are in praise of. Not sure how I got there, it’s a Google thing, but I couldn’t look away; all those heart felt testimonials extolling an incredible array of individual passions.

I was delighted by a man’s elegant praise of Velcro (who could argue with that?), an oratory on the simplicity of the ten penny nail (it really is an elegant and useful item), a poetic discourse on the play of sunlight on soap bubbles in the kitchen sink (I’ll take her word for it). The essays in praise of the rubber band, the sound of a child’s heartbeat in a quiet moment, the meditative smell of a crackling fire on a cold night all touched a universal human note—and I asked what I am in praise of.

Answer: writers. I write in praise of writers. I work with authors. I know something of the blood, sweat and tears invested in the books that are my passion to read. Writers are people with such a strong drive to tell stories they dive into unchartered waters and do it—despite the requirements of life. Writing is a full time occupation for a rare few. For most, the act of putting pen to paper is precious time carved out between client conferences, parenting, shift schedules, basic survival—the business of life. Amazing, praiseworthy.

Every book began as a spark in the mind of a writer. Might be an event, or a word overheard or grandmother’s lace collar that ignited the spark. With trial and error that spark becomes a premise to be populated with characters and action and goals. With more trial and error a burgeoning universe grows into a draft. More trial and error—okay, call it what it is—revisions and rewrites. Then more of same. Finally, a deep breath and first cautious preview. Writers group, spouse, beta reader, editor; it doesn’t matter who, the writer bears their soul. Feedback is absorbed (emotionally, technically, inspirationally), and it’s back to revise and rewrite, until the whole tough process results in the best effort of the writer.

That journey from idea to finished book is praiseworthy enough. That it’s just the beginning of a new sweaty effort is a fact. A book isn’t alive without readers. Reaching those readers is the next act. Even with a traditional publisher every writer has to promote their work — a fact even more vital for Indie authors. How else can the reader find your book among the 1100 new postings per day? Nothing makes me sadder than to have a client hang up their keyboard after publishing because sales are few to none. These are wonderful books, I know they are, but the author made no effort to promote. No one found the work. That wonderful book never stood a chance.

The investment of writing a book is a labor of love. Promoting and selling the book is just hard work. The effort begins with well-chosen genre categories and killer key words. An educated approach to pricing techniques, a website, blog and social media are promotional gold. Reviews are essential; consistency is key. Every author must invest the sweat equity needed to allow people to find their book. Fortunately, hundreds of Indie pros share promotional know-how, experiences and techniques on line, a lot of it free.

When I have found that ‘just right’ book I can snug up the Velcro on my slippers, hang my troubles on the ten penny nail, drain the supper dish soap and with the kid sit before the fire and travel wherever those pages take me. I am in praise of writers.


1 0 Read more
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