Author Spotlight: Jennifer L. Armentrout

♪♪It’s just another Manic Monday♪♪

Good God, I love the Bangles. 

It’s an unseasonably cold and rainy day in New York City, but hopefully, I can offer those of you who are also experiencing crappy weather a little dose of sunshine with my Author Spotlight. 

Today, you’ll learn a little about Jennifer L. Armentrout. After she signed my copy of her novella Dream of You, we indulged in some unfiltered conversation, and I had a blast! Most folks might’ve gone for the hard-hitting questions, LOL I fall somewhere in between. Can’t ever take yourself too seriously, ya know? 

Soooo without further ado… heeeere’s Jennifer!

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable? 

Well, my evil doppelganger would probably tell me that I have a tendency to laugh at the worse things. You know, the kind of things when you laugh and immediately think “I’m going to hell for this.” 

We met for the first time at Liberty States Create Something Magical Conference. You were a keynote speaker. Do you ever get stage fright when it comes to speaking to crowds? Especially if the group is filled with your peers?

I get a little nervous and probably had a bit of stage fright in the beginning, but now I’m kind of used to talking in front of crowds. If I can get people to laugh, then I know I’m going to do okay. If everyone just stares at me, then I’m in trouble.

Think of all the musicians you love and adore. If you could have two people collaborate and make the perfect song together, who would you choose and why?

Hmm. Maybe The Chainsmokers and Rag’n’Bone Man. I think that would be interesting. 

How old were you when you went on your first date? Do you remember the guy? Did he make a good impression? Did you give him a date number 2? 

Oh man, maybe 15? I can’t remember his name. We dated for a little while though.   

Favorite food?

Meat

You’re stranded on a deserted island. Somehow in order to make it off this island, you have to play a game of marry, kiss, kill. Your choices are Henry Cavill, Franggy Yanez, and Idris Elba. Who are you marrying? Who are you killing? And who are you kissing? **Bonus** You have to tell us in what manner you’re doing all of the above. Be descriptive and flex those writer muscles! 

Well, this just got awkward because I know Franggy. Marry Franggy, kiss Idris, and kill Henry (kill him after I kiss him… and stuff) 

You’re married. Tell us about your meet-cute with your husband. 

He was friends with the husband of one of my friends. I refused to date cops, because I saw first-hand w/ my friend how hard it is. But he was persistent, and I ended going out with him. 

Your write in a variety of subgenres. What’s your favorite and why? 

Paranormal will always be my favorite. Creating different worlds and beings is just so much fun. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received since being in this business?

 Keep your head down and write. 

 Finish this sentence: If I could rule the world I would _____. 

 Clean House. 

 **Bonus Question** 

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

Not exactly, but I would.

(I swear I wanted to ask a follow-up question here but I LET IT GO. Folks, it was hard not to say, “OH? REEEEALLY? DO TELL!” LOL!)

Bio:

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was a Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award nominee. 

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Website:

https://jenniferlarmentrout.com

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/JLArmentrout

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/JenniferLArmentrout

Books:

Activate your one-click finger and pick up The Struggle, A Titan Novel! 


Author Spotlight: Bey Deckard

Happy Monday Folks!

If my life had taken a different path, I have no doubt I would have been an entertainment correspondent or an MTV VJ. I’d pop up on your television screen during red carpet events with a microphone shoved in some celebrities face hell bent on getting them to spill semi-exclusive dirt. I WAS MADE FOR THAT LIFE. Hey, if things ever take off with this writing gig, TMZ, call me!

Since it’s highly likely my dream has been deferred, I’ve decided to carve out my own space. Today, I’m introducing a new segment that casts a spotlight on individuals in the romance industry. The spotlights will feature authors, bloggers, PA’s, reviewers, editors, etc. 

Kicking off the inaugural spotlight is Bey Deckard. I couldn’t have chosen a better person to start this thing off. Get to know Bey; he’s a fun guy! 

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

do have a doppelganger but he’s nice. He buys me cool t-shirts and DVDs and recently signed me up for classes at a film school. But there was that time he booked a trip to Cuba that I had to cancel because… what the hell, dude?

An evil doppelganger would have a lot of material to work with, I’m afraid. Hm… how about this? I was a thief and a total juvenile delinquent. 

Call it boredom, poverty, or overly strict parents, but I was constantly getting up to no good. From around the age of thirteen I began stealing things. Shoplifting, breaking into rich peoples’ houses to steal stuff—I can pick locks with ease and I have a nose for finding valuables—but sometimes just to use their pool or simply snoop around. I broke into a lot of places: a church, an old theatre, a few um… tourist buildings here in Montreal, some neighbourhood civic centres and swimming pools… my high school on the weekends. I made amazing fake IDs that I sold… plus, I did all the shitty little things juvenile delinquents do: property damage, like graffiti and lighting fires, but once I also dumped half a carton of raw eggs into some dude’s Beemer because he left the sunroof open. Oy and not to mention all the copious underage drinking and drugs and the partying with nefarious people and members of a certain organized crime syndicate. And this was all before the age of sixteen and I was never caught (welll… I was suspended a few times for minor things, like for smoking in the locker room at school… Hey, it was raining out.) 

It was mostly petty stuff, and running away from the cops was funny, and I felt like I wasn’t actually hurting anyone. But… two things happened. The first, and most important, was that my kid brother was caught shoplifting. Now, I love my brother. He was my best friend in the whole world back then and I protected the shit out of the kid… and here he was, doing the kind of stupid crap I was doing? That really shook me up. The second thing was that I had a few very wise teachers who were tired of my bullshit (because despite all the above and only showing up a few days a week, I was still in the top 5% of my classes) who worked together to find things for me to focus all this unrestrained criminal mania into. Mainly, art.

So, I was a bad kid. I’m still not very good with rules, but I have changed a lot since then. Heh… I still own a very nice lock-pick set, but these days I just pick my own locks and leave everyone else’s alone :)

What’s the most outrageous job you’ve ever held?

Outrageous? I don’t think I’ve had an outrageous job… except maybe “writer”. I’ve worked at, in chron order: a die-cutting plant, a local newspaper, a home renovation store, a luggage import place, an alternative/punk clothing and boots shop, a web hosting company, an Apple retailer, and a big software company. And I’ve been doing freelance graphic and UI design throughout most of that… since ‘97-98.

If you could co-write with any author (living or deceased) who would you choose and why?

Hmm… co-writing is hard. I don’t always play nice with others. But, I do have something lined up in the future with another author, if I ever get my act together, but there’s no way to tell if it’s going to work until we give it a go. Let’s see… I’d love to co-write something with Donatien Alphonse François aka the Marquis de Sade just because I think we’d pull off something so completely offensive together. Maybe Poppy Z Brite (Billy Martin)? I think our styles might mesh?

But, I don’t know… see, if I really admire an author’s work, my very last instinct would be to say “let’s write together” because why would I want to change what I enjoy about their writing by muxing styles in collaboration? And, if I don’t admire an author’s work… why would I want to write with them? Know what I mean? 


Do you sing in the shower?

Yes! All the time. My repertoire includes Jeremy by Pearl Jam, Reveille by Zachary Richard, Red Right Hand - the Arctic Monkeys version, Bank Robber by the Clash, and Glory and Gore by Lorde.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship at the moment. This question falls under the umbrella of “make believe/what if.” If you could go on a date with one celebrity, who would you choose and why?

Um. Hm. I don’t really want to go on a date with any celebrity in particular. Hell, I don’t really like dates in general. But, maybe I’d go have a beer with Mads Mikkelsen and practice my Danish. Does that work? I’m much more interested in the characters they play or the music they make than the actual people themselves. Sorry that’s a bit of a boring answer.

What’s one thing you do to get over writer’s block?

Usually I get blocked when I can’t decide which story to work on. Other times, I have too much on my mind to write so I wait for my mind to clear a bit and then I’m fine. Also, there is something that happens to me when I’m close to finishing a book… it’s like I don’t want it to end. I’ll procrastinate and do everything I can to avoid writing and when I am writing it’s like pulling teeth. I know what’s going to happen and I don’t want to make it real, because once I’ve made it real, it means it’s the end and I no longer get to live in their world. In all cases, it just takes time and acceptance that I can’t force a process. Normally I play video games or binge-watch a show to get over it. 

Peanut butter: Crunchy or smooth?

Haitian mamba… crunchy and hot or medium-hot. :)

What song best describes your personality?

You ask hard questions. I like it. After much contemplation I’m going to have to go with these three: I Can’t Give Everything Away by David Bowie, Black Leaf by The Cave Singers, and Gimme Danger by Iggy Pop & The Stooges. 

If you could choose to live your life in between the pages of a book, what book would you insert yourself into?

Is it okay if I pick my own Baal’s Heart series? Otherwise… I have no idea. A lot of my favourite books aren’t exactly cheerful or comfortable to live in. Take a gander of my “favourites” shelf on Goodreads (not complete): https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/28754029-bey-deckard?shelf=favourites

Favorite TV show?

If I had to pick one, just one… I think Taboo (FX) is it. At least right at this moment. I have about thirty favourite shows, but right now, right at the zenith of that list, is Taboo and I hate that it’ll be a while before season 2. 

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you? 


I would say that BDSM has been my default since my teens, but I’ll accommodate partners who aren’t into it. :) I’m into varying degrees of D/s from “sort of silly” all the way to TPE. I like stuff like breath control, rape fantasy, edgeplay… impact, knife, electro… it’s all good, but I’m super low protocol and I chafe at overly-strict structure. I just like everyone to have a good time and feel like it’s a-ok to like what we like.

Bio:

Canadian indie author Bey Deckard wanted to be many things when he grew up: veterinarian, vampire, paleontologist, crane operator, sniper, ophthalmologist, brain surgeon, marine biologist, lawyer, forensic anthropologist, set designer, underwater archaeologist, mortician, rock star, philanthropist… but writer was not on the list. Artist wasn’t there either because he’d been drawing and paintings since he was a tot and figured that made him one already. 

Freelance graphic design paid the bills while Bey levelled up with a BFA in Art History (minor in Anthro). However, he landed in the tech world where the degree was worth FA, and stayed there for over a decade before leaving, thoroughly sick of working for The Man. That’s when the writing started, and Bey still can’t believe it wasn’t on that list above because he absolutely loves doing it and can’t really imagine doing anything else. 

Bey’s books aren’t quite romance and aren’t quite erotica, and they jump from genre to genre, but they’re all character driven and he likes to think they’re interesting. 

These days, if Bey’s not writing or working on graphics, you’ll find him posting pics of his best buddy and constant canine companion Murphy, cooking up some tasty vegetarian eats, hanging out on facebook, or sitting back to watch a movie with a drink (or many). 

As a reader, Bey’s usual staples are biographical works, medical research papers, all sorts of history books (nautical, medieval, and medical being his favourites), science fiction, fantasy, horror, KGB/CIA thrillers, and graphic novels. 

Website: 

Artist, Writer, Dog Lover - http://www.beydeckard.com

Books:

Exposed is Bey’s most recent release. Activate your one-click finger!


Conference Aftermath

Before I segue into the topic of this post, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who purchased, shared buy links, and reviewed our anthology, The Resistance: United in Love. I get that people are filled with political fatigue because POLITICAL DISCOURSE IS EVERYWHERE. But we appreciate you supporting the ACLU

We were also mentioned in the Huffington Post! Sooooo rad! 

The weekend of March 18th, I attended my first conference of 2017, Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference aka Create Something Magical. This was my second year attending, and it was also my second year being on a panel. On Sunday I sat alongside Damon Suede, La Quette, and Taria Reed while we moderated a discussion titled, “In Loving Color: Diversity in Romance.” The setting tends to be informal, and we leave all the Judgey McJudgeyness outside. We want people to feel comfortable enough to ask questions they may not typically ask because they don’t know who to ask or how to ask what it is they wish to know. Basically, we allow people to be un-PC (uh, with limitations of course). 

We started the panel off with a few questions about reading habits and whether those who read romance tend to flock to their usual faves, or do they actively seek out books written by someone who is of a different race, religion, sexual orientation, than them. We also discussed their thoughts about publishing and how the book world incorporates diversity. 

Diversity. It’s the buzzword we can’t get enough of lately. *buzz buzz buzz*

But that’s not what this post is about; this post is about how networking can help you reach your goals. Didn’t see that coming did ya? 

You see in my profesh life; my current full-time gig is the first job I’ve ever attained on my own. What do I mean by this? No networking! I saw a position that looked appealing, and I applied. In the past, every job I have ever held was because someone saw a listing and thought I’d be a perfect fit for it. Or… someone I previously worked with had a colleague who was looking for someone to fill a gap in their roster, they thought of me, and passed along my resume. I knew someone who knew someone etc. These scenarios are what led to new ventures in my professional life. Because of the opportunities, my jobs have presented me, I’ve learned to use that to my advantage. 

Networking helped me advance my professional career. Although I was hired for my current position without “direct” networking, my references still helped to seal the deal. And those awesome references? Aside from doing a great job, I made it a priority to introduce myself to people I admire. I aimed to make myself memorable. Well, I aim to always be personable in one on one interactions. I always aim to be funny and empathetic. These are traits needed for what I do Monday-Friday 9-5. It brings me so much joy to know my face comes to mind when people get a call about me and they’re thinking, “You should hire her! Boy is she memorable, personable, funny, and empathetic!” 

Since I make it a habit of getting to know people who are doing phenomenal things in my professional life, it makes sense that I would carry over the same mentality into my author life.

In the literary world, I want to know all the people! What makes my professional life different from my author life is social media. I don’t interact with people I work with on social media. People I’ve collaborated with in the past, sure. And that’s only a select few. Social media is a ruiner. You can hold someone to an extremely high standard, and all it takes is one social media post to essentially kill the perfection bubble that surrounded them. 

Networking means striking a balance. It’s not about what people can do for you (although the perks are nice when that works out to your advantage), but it’s about what you can learn from individuals who have been playing in the sandbox longer than you. Who has the success you hope to attain some day? Who is willing to be a mentor? Find yo people! Those authors who’ve reached the milestones you want to target in your career? BOND WITH THEM! Much like in the professional world, not everyone you look up to is going to want to play the role of mentor. Sometimes it’s a dog eat dog world. Sometimes people want to see you fail. Sometimes people are elated to see you sweat. Sometimes the person you held in high regard is an asshole. It happens. 

That’s life, though. An ongoing obstacle course of trying to avoid a shit-show and climbing over the wall to success. You hit a lot of ditches filled with mud along the way, but you jump over those suckers and move onto the next station. 

At Liberty States, I networked my ass off. Not literally. The bum is still there and looking mighty fine. Heyyyyy #teamswole #romancefit I see you! 

For two whole days, I was in a room with authors who have this game down to a science. They write full-time, they’ve been on The New York Times Bestseller list multiple times, they’ve hit the USA Today Bestseller list numerous times, they have movie deals in the works, screenplays are in development, they have advances I could only dream of, and lord knows what else they’ve got in the works. THESE PEOPLE ARE KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES! And I wanted to know them. I wanted them to tell me everything. I wanted them to hold me tightly in their bosoms and whisper the secrets to longevity in this business (aside from writing good books because we all know without a stellar product, no one gives a damn about you or what you’re trying to do) and you know what? I went up to everyone I recognized, or I’d seen online, or I wanted to have one on one time with, and I talked. Maybe I mumbled and said something incoherent a time or two, but I talked! I broke the ice and shot the shit with people. I was sociable and vulnerable, and it led to pretty cool things! I pitched a few ideas I had swirling around in my head to a few authors, and they were into it! 

You should also know I wear my heart on my sleeve. What people see is what they get. Harper Miller isn’t a facade. It’s a pen name. A name I use because I want to keep my professional life and my author life far far FAR away from each other, but networking is one thing I definitely want to overlap. When I fangirl over meeting people whose work I love, it’s not a gimmick. I am the person you see online. I do squee in person! I legit lost my cool a couple of times because HELLO, I HAVE THESE PEOPLE’S BOOKS ON MY KINDLE!

Believe me when I tell you there’s power in networking. Because I was sociable, because I was honest, because I speak from the heart, I was gifted with opportunities that will hopefully open new doors for me. My blessings are abundant, and I am grateful. 

So to the author’s reading this post who are apprehensive about attending conferences because you don’t know anyone, or you have social anxiety, or you’re not sure what the hell to do because speaking to strangers is scary, I suggest attending Liberty States. Plan to come next year. It’s a welcoming environment. If you have social anxiety, being at this con won’t send you into a tailspin. It’s full of people who are more than willing to share their knowledge, and outside of RWA, it’s a great conference to hone your networking skills. And the bonus? You get to play Mad Libs and destroy Jane Austen and Kathleen Woodiwiss. If that’s not your cup of tea, there’s Cards Against Humanity. Both panels are guaranteed to keep you in stitches. I pinky swear.   

Using Format