Kelly Jensen on Characters, Animals Comparisons and her new release ‘Chasing Forever (guest blog and giveaway)

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Chasing Forever (This Time Forever #3) by Kelly Jensen
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Natasha Snow

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kelly Jensen on tour with her latest novel, Chasing Forever.  Welcome, Kelly.

✒︎

If You Could Be Any Animal by Kelly Jensen

This post is another in a series I’ve written for all three books of the This Time Forever trilogy. To recap, in Building Forever, I decided that Charlie was most like a golden retriever and Simon wouldn’t mind being associated with a rare leopard. For Renewing Forever, Frank still hasn’t forgiven me for comparing him to an otter, but Tom said it first. For his part, Tom’s quite pleased with the choice of coyote. So what about Brian and Mal?

Mal’s actually pretty easy. I had his animal pinned down month ago. Easily, he’s a St. Bernard. To begin with, it was a bit of a whimsical choice. I sort of pictured Mal (in St. Bernard form) racing to the rescue of someone (probably Brian), barreling over a mountain landscape, never flagging, tongue lolling, handy little keg of something warm bouncing from his collar.

What? I’m a writer. I have a very active imagination. Also, I might have been drinking whiskey at the time and it’s definitely whiskey in that little keg. Tell me you don’t immediately picture the little barrel hanging from its neck when you think of a St. Bernard.

What really drew me to this particular breed, though, was their temperament. The St. Bernard epitomizes the phrase “gentle giant.” They’re large, loving, puppy dogs. They’re patient and sweet. They’re notably good with children. Like all large breeds, they do need proper exercise and socialization, and that could be why Mal is such a grump at the beginning of the book. Active people don’t do well with broken limbs.

Mal has a twin, Donny. They’re fraternal twins, alike enough in appearance to be brothers, but in no way identical. Physically, they’re similar, though, and Donny is as much a St. Bernard as Mal. Donny is the one who’ll grab you by the scruff of your neck when you’re lying half dead in the snow and drag you back down the mountain to a cozy little village so you can be fussed over. (I feel another book idea coming on…)

Donny is also the one who’ll drool all over you as he enthusiastically licks you clean. Or just says hello. Thankfully, Mal is a little bit more restrained. Or just shy.

So what about Brian? I had to think long and hard about Brian because he holds so much of his self close. He’s very guarded, which is odd when you consider how social he is. My first idea for him was a cat, but that felt too easy. Also, Simon was a cat and I didn’t want to give them the same animal. I started thinking about more secretive, furtive animals, but they didn’t feel right, either. Brian isn’t small and he’s not shy. He just has secrets.

I briefly considered giving him my own avatar, the mythical creature I most closely identify with: the phoenix. He does transform during this story and in a way, he does pass through a veil to return from the ashes of his past. But it felt a little unfair to give Brian something so magnificent when everyone else got regular creatures.

Brian, by the way, thinks it’s very fair. But he’s not writing this post.

But he is a bird. A golden eagle. I did hesitate to use an eagle, because they’re notably monogamous, or mostly so. But Brian is human, first of all, and not solely driven by the imperative to mate (not for the purpose of offspring, anyway). Secondly, he does desire just one partner. He’s not polyamorous, he’s just… not settled. His domestication starts the very minute he finds his nephew on his couch, though. Suddenly, Brian’s home is no longer just a house. It becomes a nest, and he begins the process of making it a safe place for Josh. He’d already set his sights on Mal, and Mal is just the sort of partner he’s always needed.

By the end of the book, Brian is very much an eagle. He has soared—and he knows exactly where his home and family is, meaning he will always return to his nest.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of posts. It’s fun to be whimsical with my characters, and so often after I finish a book and particularly a series, I miss hanging out with my guys. These posts have been an opportunity to revisit them for a while, as well as introduce them to you.

 

Chasing Forever is the final book in the series This Time Forever. Brian and Mal’s story is special in all sorts of ways. Even though these books all standalone, Brian has been there since the beginning–as the character everyone loved to hate in the first book, and the character who seemed to have more to him in book two. In this final story, I share who Brian really is, and hope you’ll all come to love him as much as I do. Then there’s Mal, his other half, my serious soldier who has been waiting all his life for a challenge like Brian. Sometimes we have to be knocked lower than ever before in order to reach that high, and Mal’s journey is one I treasure. I hope you enjoy reading this story of redemption and learning to live out loud.

About Chasing Forever

Old wounds, new directions, and a forever worth chasing.

Malcolm Montgomery was a history teacher and track coach until an accident left him with two broken legs. He’ll recover, but life has knocked his feet out twice now. He’s not sure if he’s ready to try again, especially when it comes to love—and slick guys like Brian Kenway. Still, he needs help mentoring the school’s LGBTQ society, so he asks Brian to take some responsibility.

Brian has been hiding behind his reputation as a liar and a cheat for so long that he actually believes he’s that guy—until his nephew, Josh, turns up on his couch, tossed out for being gay. Brian has never considered being a father, but he knows all about being rejected by loved ones. Now Brian wants to be more: a partner for Mal and a role model for Josh.

But when Mal’s recovery is set back and the sad truth of Brian’s past is revealed, the forever they’ve been chasing seems even further from their grasps. It’ll take a rescue effort to revive their sense of worth and make Brian, Mal, and Josh into a family of their own.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

About the This Time Forever Series

Small towns and second chances.

Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.

This time it’s forever.

This series includes:

  1. Building Forever — released October 15
  2. Renewing Forever — released November 12
  3. Chasing Forever — released December 10

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:

 


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Chasing Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 15, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

Kelly Jensen on Behind the Story and her new release ‘Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2)’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2) by Kelly Jensen

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Natasha Snow

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kelly Jensen here today talking about the inspiration behind her new release, Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2). Welcome, Kelly.

✒︎

Behind the Book by Kelly Jensen

I’m known in author circles for being super organized. I have templates for my outlines, I spreadsheet my revisions, and often write 6000 word character histories. The support documents for every book are indexed and hyperlinked. The bulleting in my outlines often goes four levels deep.

And yet…

My big book of ideas is spread over several notebooks that live in different places throughout my house. That way, if inspiration strikes, I have paper close at hand—which sounds a lot better than I just have notebooks everywhere, in no particular order! The notebooks have snippets of dialogues, entire scenes, outlines, character notes, and plot ideas. And they’re all mixed in together without any sort of indexing.

I usually know which book to reach for (or go hunting for) when I want to look something up, though, and I never mind having to flip through the notes for other projects along the way. Sometimes another idea will catch me, and I can make more notes, or sometimes one of my ideas leaps off the page and says, “Write me!”

The ideas for Renewing Forever came from two different notebooks. One had a few notes about Frank, jotted down after a beta reader for Building Forever asked if Frank’s book would be next. I had no plans to write a series, but I wrote the idea down, anyway, and tucked it away.

In another notebook, I had a brief outline for a story about a guy who was “camping out” in a dilapidated resort. About five years ago, we took a road trip to New Orleans and stayed at a quaint family resort in Tennessee. The guy manning the desk had the most amazing accent—and he was very cute! I immediately got an idea for a story involving someone trying to revitalize a rundown family resort, and maybe facing challenges from a local developer who wanted the land.

I’m not quite sure how these two ideas got combined? I think it was mostly a matter of me hunting through my notebooks for a story idea that would suit Frank. I like using and combining ideas I already have—it gives me a sense of accomplishment to cross something off what is probably a never ending list.

I quickly decided to switch up the imagined roles: Frank would be the one to inherit the resort and he’d return “home” to find someone living in one of the guest cottages. Then I decided to complicate everything by giving Frankie and Tommy a shared history—one where they’d been each other’s best friend and first love.

What I didn’t realize while plotting was quite how emotional this book would be to write. I’m reasonably emotional anyway—for me, watching the television show “This Is Us” is like combining a wedding, a funeral, and the birth of a new baby every week. I’m always completely drained afterward! So I often get a little weepy (sometimes a little sobby) while writing my guys. This book wrecked me in a lot of ways. Tom’s self-sabotaging self-reliance (or hubris), and Frank’s longing. Oh my goodness, the longing. He never got over Tom and likely never would have.

What I also wanted to do with this book was write a character (Tom) whose bisexuality was integral and almost never discussed. I didn’t want this story to be about sexuality. I wanted it to be about rekindling lost love—and holding on to something you never really let go of.

After all of this, I devised relatively simple plot: should they or shouldn’t they renovate the resort? Really, the plot is just a reflection of the bigger question in this novel: should they or shouldn’t they repair their friendship and love? The obstacles to both are Tom’s inability to ask for help—and the fact he’s not so slowly sliding down the financial gurgler—and Frank’s dissatisfaction with his current career, and to a smaller extent, his feelings regarding his best friend, Simon, having found The One. Frank thinks he’s getting over a crush on Simon, and he is… sort of. What he’s really doing is mourning The One who got away. The one he let go.

So there is a lot of introspection and reevaluation going on, and in keeping with the themes of this series, scenes that highlight the importance of family (blood and found), friendships, and lots of more lighthearted moments where Frank and Tom explore small town happenings and decide whether or not they’re going to renew their forever.

I hope you enjoy Frank and Tom’s story. It’s not quite as upbeat as the one I wrote for Simon and Charlie, but all of my characters are different, and therefore they require different stories. I love the one I wrote for Frank and Tom. It’s one to cherish, and one that still makes me misty eyed, all these months later.

 

Renewing Forever is the second of a series of standalone novels focused on older characters who think love has passed them by. Frank and Tom’s story is a true second chance romance, reuniting childhood friends and first loves separated by an argument and thirty years of misunderstanding. I hope you enjoy reading about their renewed friendship and their plans for forever.

 

About Renewing Forever

A neglected resort, a lost chance at love, and one last chance to renew forever.

Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.

Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.

But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

 

About the This Time Forever Series

Small towns and second chances.

Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.

This time it’s forever.

This series includes:

  1. Building Forever — releasing October 15, available now!
  2. Renewing Forever — releasing November 12, available for preorder!
  3. Chasing Forever — releasing December 10, available soon!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:

 


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Renewing Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 17, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Kelly Jensen’s Counting On You Tour (guest posts, excerpt and giveaway)

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Counting on You (Counting #3) by Kelly Jensen
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art: Bree Archer

Available for Purchase at: Dreamspinner Press |

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks |

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kelly Jensen here today on her Counting on You tour.  Welcome, Kelly.

 

 

On Dates and Henry and Marc by Kelly Jensen

Disastrous dates have been the hallmark of Henry and Marc’s relationship up to this point. First, they got stuck on the side of the road in upstate New York during a blizzard. On Christmas Eve. Though this wasn’t a date, being trapped together in a rental car gave them the opportunity to finally put some misconceptions aside and actually get to know each other.

Their second date was set for New Year’s Eve and instead of attending the party of a co-worker, they got trapped in the basement of the building. While no one would count that as a good date, Henry and Marc actually had a pretty good time (when they weren’t crawling through duct work).

When it came to writing Counting on You, I really wanted the guys to have an actual, not get trapped anywhere, do relatively normal things and have a good time, date. And they do—or they plan to until Marc takes Henry’s surprise and turns it back around.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt! And if you haven’t met Henry and Marc yet, the first two novellas of the Counting series are discounted through the end of November at all retailers.

Thanks for following my tour! At the end of every post, I’ll be asking a question. Leave a comment with your answer (and your email address), and complete the Rafflecopter to enter! There are two prizes, both available internationally. One winner will receive $15 (US or equivalent) to spend at the Dreamspinner Press store. A second winner will receive the entire Counting series in ebook format, gifted through the Dreamspinner Press store.

Q. Suggest a karaoke song for Henry and Marc!

Counting on You

Henry and Marc can’t seem to catch a break. They’ve had two disastrous dates—the first trapped in a car during a blizzard and the second locked in a basement—followed by nearly two months apart. Even though they work for the same firm, their relationship is held together by flying visits, phone calls, and text messages. A joint assignment in Washington D.C. might be more togetherness than they can handle, however.

Henry is still battling insecurity, and this assignment is too important to his career to mess up. Marc is committed. He’s falling for Henry and looks forward to having him permanently on his team and at his side. But the real test isn’t the assignment. When Marc finally lays his heart on the line, can he count on Henry to be there for him, in every way that matters? And can he do the same for Henry when Henry needs it the most?

Excerpt

Marc moved into the crowded bar. The place smelled like wet wool and desperation. A damp coat hung over the back of every chair, and everywhere he looked, ties were loosened and buttons were undone as men and women laughed together, eager to put the workweek behind them. After finding them somewhere to lean, Henry melted into the throng. He reappeared moments later holding two tall glasses of effervescent amber liquid.

Marc nearly snatched his. “God, I have never been so happy to see a glass of beer in all my life.”

Henry grinned. “I figured.” He lifted his glass. “Cheers.”

After draining nearly half his drink in one extended swallow, Marc found a smile. “Thank you. I needed that.”

“I know.”

“Three more and I might actually start to feel human again.”

“Go ahead, you earned it.”

“We’ve got a deal to construct.”

“Marc, you did more work this afternoon than we might have done together in two days. You were a machine. We’re good. We have enough information to start structuring a new deal, meaning we can take some downtime.”

Thinking about lunch tomorrow, Marc scowled. “That isn’t exactly good news.”

“I could break your leg for you.”

“You think a broken leg would excuse me?”

“Ah….”

Marc tried to drain the rest of his glass but swallowed awkwardly, catching a large bubble in his throat. Wincing, he forced it down. The tears at the corners of his eyes felt ironic.

“You could just not go,” Henry said. The words were barely audible over the buzz of conversation around the bar, but Marc caught them.

“Not how it works. He expects me not to show up.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Never mind.” Marc tipped his head toward the bar. “Get you another?”

“Sure.”

He elbowed his way through the crowd and ordered another round, this time choosing a darker ale. Henry had emptied his first by the time Marc got back and toasted him with the fresh glass. “We’ve got this, Winnamore.”

Smiling, Marc set about killing his second drink. Somewhere around the middle of the glass, he slowed down. The beer was tasty, and his anger had faded. The bar was cozy, the atmosphere more cheery and less desperate than a beer ago… and the afternoon had been too long. Add in the fact his ire had been replaced by a practiced burn, and he really couldn’t convince himself to spend any more of his free time on it.

When the after-work crowd thinned, they found a table and ordered burgers.

Henry made a game out of sorting the sugar packets by color, volume, and ingredients. “Did you know there are about eighteen thousand grains of sugar in a single packet?” he asked.

“I do now. Please tell me you haven’t counted them.”

“No. I tried once. I crapped out at about seven hundred.”

“Seriously?”

Henry chuckled. “No. I got to thirty before my mother swept the sugar off the table and told me to stop counting things.”

Marc laughed. “I can so picture it. Did you use to get up in the night and count the silverware?”

“Of course not. I always knew how many books and comics and Legos and things I had, though.”

“You’re certifiable.”

“All the best minds are.”

Their burgers arrived and the casual conversation continued, warmed by juicy sirloin and another round of beer.

“This is exactly what I needed,” Marc said, leaning back to pat his pleasantly full belly.

“No, what you need is still to come.”

He brightened. “Sex?”

Henry tipped his head back and laughed. “Okay, yeah. Sex is good. I was talking about this, though.” He tapped the upright placard at the end of the table.

Marc leaned forward to read it. “Kara—no.”

“Aw, c’mon. You know you want to. I’ve heard stories. You rock at karaoke.”

“I really, really don’t.”

“Everyone at B and M has heard you sing but me.”

“That’s because you don’t come to Mulligan’s on Thursdays.”

“Yeah, well, I would have if either of us had been in town at the same time, on a Thursday, over the past couple months.”

“Heh.”

“So tonight’s the night. I want to hear you sing.”

Marc cocked his head with a soft “Hmm,” letting beer-and-beef-softened thoughts slip slowly across his brain. “I’ll do it if you do.”

“What? No.”

“You know you want to.”

“That was my line.”

“It’s a good one. I’m borrowing it. You should be flattered. Now….” He held up a hand to ask for a second to make his case. “I’m going to offer a one-time deal.”

“Deal?”

“If you’re too chicken to stand up there on your own, we can pick a song to sing together.”

Henry’s mouth dropped open. Sound might have escaped, but Marc heard nothing but his own laughter.

Dreamspinner Press

About the Author

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Giveaway

Thanks for following my tour! At the end of every post, I’ll be asking a question. Leave a comment with your answer (and your email address), and complete the Rafflecopter to enter! There are two prizes, both available internationally. One winner will receive $15 (US or equivalent) to spend at the Dreamspinner Press store. A second winner will receive the entire Counting series in ebook format, gifted through the Dreamspinner Press store.

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Follow the Tour!

11/22 Dreamspinner Press Blog

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11/28 Love Bytes

11/28 TTC Books and More

11/29 The Novel Approach

11/29 Boy Meets Boy Reviews

11/29 Scattered Thoughts

11/30 Joyfully Jay

11/30 Bayou Book Junkie

12/1 Diverse Reader