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COVER REVEAL: Angry Macey

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This is kind of a spontaneous cover reveal. I am headed to Utopia in just over a day and I am feeling very energized. I am very excited about this upcoming project that I have been working on for months. It is the work closest to my heart. (Hey, I see you there, judging me. Stop that!) It should be out this fall. No presale yet, but I am getting very close to that and will be sure to let you know.

Without further ado, here is the cover for Angry Macey:

The forthcoming Angry Macey by Jennifer Friess

Everyone feels like they are guided at some point in their lives. But what if you were guided to do something terrible? What if you were too angry to even care about the carnage you were about to inflict?

Meet Macey.

Mid-life crisis. Mental breakdown. Payback. Revenge.

This book has an edgier cover, which is in part due to the subject matter, but also I used a new cover designer. She is Creative Paramita and her website is www.creativeparamita.com. Check her out for all your cover needs!

Oh, and I have another surprise for you. This is what I spent today working on instead of writing. I think it was well worth it ;-D

NOTE: None of these three colors is natural.

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

Excerpt: Winter Holiday Scene of Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

Normally I would start by sharing the first chapter of the book with ya’ll, but since I know we are all in the Christmas spirit right now, I have decided to share this chapter with you first. This is about halfway through the book. Ginny has moved into the castle with the prince, who has ascended to the throne of king by this point in time. The curse is ravaging the land. They are celebrating Winter Holiday, which is pretty much a solstice celebration.

Enjoy!

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Ginny tried to ignore what Jeremie had said about the holiday approaching. They had never done much to celebrate at the orphanage. The girls had usually given each other gifts that they had handmade from whatever had been lying around. Knitted scarves or socks were popular. Ginny never received anything, subsequently it wasn’t a big deal to her. Sure, she felt a pang of emptiness in her heart as the other girls exchanged presents and hugged each other, excluding her. But she was actually grateful; it was the one day annually that they never were outright cruel to her. If that was their gift to her, she would take it in a heartbeat. Would’ve been nice if it could last two days, or three, or a week though.

But apparently Winter Holiday was a much bigger affair at the castle. Jeremie kept assuring her that this year would be a small celebration, nothing like when he was a boy and his father had still been alive. He told her of how there had been visitors from foreign lands, including singers and dancers. They would perform at the great dances that were held in the castle’s main ballroom. Ginny had accidentally walked into the empty space once when she had gotten lost upon first arriving at the castle. The room was ginormous. It was bigger than Miss Peters’s cottage, the bed house, and the barn—combined. Jeremie assured her that it used to be filled to the brim with tables jam-packed with every delectable food you could think of (which Ginny could only think of two) and guests suited in their most elegant attire. She could not imagine it. And being an avid reader, she was usually good at utilizing her imagination.

Ginny was in awe of all the decorations that adorned the castle. Green boughs hung in the main hallways, the ones to and from the dining hall and the royal chambers. She had lost count of the number of pine trees that had been chopped down, brought inside, and decorated. The baubles and tinsel were so plentiful as to conceal any branch imperfections brought about by the plague. One ornament on any given tree looked like it was worth more than the orphanage had taken in in any single year. Ginny couldn’t help but imagine if the girls from the orphanage ever got in here. They would be picking the trees bare of all their trinkets, not really caring about them, only what value they would have for resale.

On the last night of the Winter Holiday celebration, local musicians were brought into the castle to perform. There was a modest buffet of food for the intimate collection of guests. Ginny was curious, but she knew her place, knew that she did not fit in with that crowd. But she desperately wanted to listen to the music, and maybe a little of the voices of everyone else’s merry-making. Accordingly, she hid in the library, with the door slightly ajar. She had a book in her lap, but found that her attention was not in it. She had been on the same page for over an hour, her eyes trailing over the same words but not comprehending them. Her concentration was with all the festivities nearby.

She jumped when the heavy wooden door groaned with movement.

“So this is where you are hiding yourself. You know, I almost had to send Luke out in the snow to search for you.”

“You know I get cold easily. It is unlikely I would run off out in the weather.”

“It wouldn’t be the first time.”

“That’s true,” she bowed her head, pretending to study her book.

“Why aren’t you attending the party?”

“It would make me uncomfortable.” It was the truth, and with a nod of his head Jeremie seemed to accept her answer. “I am enjoying the music though. I have heard so little in my lifetime. This is a rare pleasure.”

“Well, we will have to see about getting more of it into your life.”

They were both quiet for a moment. Jeremie moved to take a seat in the chair next to the settee Ginny was stretched out on. He leaned his head way back and exhaled, as if entertaining guests was an effort for him. Then he sat back up and met her eyes.

“I was hoping I could catch up with you before you turned in for the night.”

“Why?”

“I have a present for you.”

“Why? No, I don’t need it. Your taking me into the castle is gift enough.”

“You make it sound like the castle is another orphanage. From the few stories you have told me, I think I am insulted by that.”

“Well, I didn’t have anywhere else to go.”

“You are not free-loading. You are here because you are contributing to the Curse Task Force. And you are doing an excellent job. And—and that is why I want to give you this,” he stuttered thoughtfully.

He reached into an inner pocket of his coat and pulled out a small leather sheath. When he held it out to her, the light from the fireplace caught the silver in the handle and she had a loud intake of breath. She found herself reaching for it even as she said, “But I couldn’t…”

“My father gave this to me when I was a boy. I mostly used it to whittle wood and stab scarecrows. But I’ve had it cleaned and sharpened, therefore it should be in excellent condition for you to take with you on the road.”

“You mean I will be traveling with the company?” Ginny was dumbfounded. She had never expected this.

“Of course. I need my number one girl with me.”

Her heart fluttered, although she knew he didn’t mean it. Not in the way she wanted. Even then, even if someday he grew to like her as she did him, it was all for naught. Ginny knew she could never even allow herself to dream of one day marrying a king. The people of the kingdom would never allow it. Not that there was likely to be any kingdom left whatsoever.

“But you will need it for protection,” she argued.

“I will have my sword, and several knights protecting me. But on the occasion you may get separated, it would be wise for you to have your own weapon.”

Ginny relented and slid the knife from the sheath to examine it. She tried it out, stabbing the air in front of her. It was the perfect size for her chubby, female hands. “Alright. But when the mission is done, you must let me return it.”

“I would never think of letting you do any such thing,” he snickered.

Ginny smiled wide in spite of herself. But her head was bowed, so he couldn’t tell, she didn’t think.

She reached into a fold of her dress and pulled out a small book, handing it to Jeremie.

“What is this?” he asked, studying the plain brown leather cover.

“A gift. I uncovered it in the library.”

“If it came from the library, then it is already sort of mine, isn’t it?” he chuckled, looking at her sideways.

“But you would never think to go in there and poke around yourself. You needed me to find it for you,” she smirked, knowing she had him. “Plus, what do you get the king who already has everything?”

“OK, I give. What is this?”

“It appears to be a history of the kingdom that Merrick kept on his own. I found it in a bureau drawer, almost as if someone was trying to hide it.”

“Weird. So, it mentions my father a lot?”

“I only peeked, but it has your grandfather too.”

He shifted it from one palm to the other, as if weighing the information contained within.

“Thank you for this. And for your friendship.”

“Thank you. Blessed solstice to you.”

“The same to you.”

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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NEW RELEASE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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Troll Gurl is my attempt at writing a fairy tale. I don’t know if it was too much of ABC’s Once Upon a Time or reading Gabaldon’s Outlander, but this is just how Ginny and Jeremie’s story presented itself to me. I’m calling it new adult, but really it is the story of her entire life, from birth to age twenty. It could almost be young adult, except for the gratuitous sex scene (as is the case with all my books).

I had some issues I wanted to explore in this book, and I guess it was easier for me to do if a fantastical element was involved, where they all lived in a time so far removed from my own. But human nature is the same, no matter time or place.

I wanted to do something close to traditional romance writing with The Riley Sisters, to see if I could do it. And I think I, more or less, accomplished that, adding my own flair. But it left all the heroines feeling whole AFTER or BECAUSE they found their man. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read that kind of story. But in Troll Gurl, I made a conscious effort to make Ginny grow to be a full, satisfied person before she finds love in her life. Was I successful? Well, only you can be the judge of that! While the prince does save Ginny’s life in this book, she reciprocates by saving his as well.

This is my fourth book published in just under two years. I often regret not publishing sooner in my life. I always took writing seriously, but for personal pursuits such as a dream journal, amusing myself & my friends, and keeping my sanity. But really, in those years I was accumulating the experiences I write about now. So, if I am honest with myself, I never really lost anything. It was all a gain. But knowing how much those experiences hurt at the time, it is hard to look back on them with a positive light. They still try to dim the brightness.

There are five poems in the book that separate it into five sections. They were not written specifically for this book, but they fit so well you will think that they were. I pulled them from my archives, with dates ranging from 1994-2013.

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From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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Another Country Song: DENTS

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Yes, I have attempted to write another bad country song. I don’t know anything about reading or composing music, so maybe that just makes it a poem. I was kind of inspired by the three books I am working on lately. Hope you likey…

Dents: Full of 'em

Dents: Full of ’em

DENTS
Cars and trucks are an extension
Of our body and personality
That’s why when someone gets
too close on the freeway
We extend them a profanity
Some people baby their cars
Keep them locked away from the elements
But what makes a car special is not
How pristine you keep it
It is the experience

It is not the outside that counts
But the memories within
These dents are displayed
Like badges of honor
From the battles fought
It may look worn and used up
But at the same time it is stronger
From all those miles and those loads
Don’t count me out
Because I will be there with you
Until the end of the road.

I had a car, I called it an SUV
An SRV according to the manufacturers’ files.
I don’t care, it was special to me
Two-hundred and sixteen thousand miles
Drove that car north and south
And halfway west across this great county
Slept under the stars
And president’s heads
It bore the scars
Of two hail storms
And one hail mark slightly larger and deeper than the rest
Where I lost my temper
When a campfire wouldn’t catch.
I never felt bad about that blemish
Because it was part of the history

It is not the outside that counts
But the memories within
These dents are displayed
Like badges of honor
From the battles fought
It may look worn and used up
But at the same time it is stronger
From all those miles and those loads
Don’t count me out
Because I will be there with you
Until the end of the road.

I have fallen down
All on my own
I’ve also had a little push
A time or two
I never wanted to let this hate
Eat me alive
But I regret not standing up for myself sooner
For setting the record straight
That I am more than the names
You chose to call me.
I want you to know, at the end of the day…

It is not the outside that counts
But the memories within
These dents are displayed
Like badges of honor
From the battles I’ve fought
I may look worn and used up
But at the same time I am stronger
From all those miles and those loads
Don’t count me out
Because I will be there waiting for you
At the end of the road.
 

And I say DON’T COUNT ME OUT
Because I WILL be there waiting for you
At the end of this road…

 

For those of you who haven’t heard, I have an event this Saturday from 12pm-5pm at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Lansing. You can click on my Events page for more info. See you there!

 

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

Always Be Yourself

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TRUE SELF-hell

Yes, I am once again using my blog as a form of personal therapy.

One of my friends has a daughter who is only ten years old. She is a very normal, beautiful, smart, outgoing girl to look at her. But she is already beginning to struggle with feelings of not dressing cool enough or being cool enough. She is already starting to believe when she looks in the mirror that the person who looks back at her needs to be changed in some way. She thinks the person deep down inside of her isn’t “enough”.

That is how it all starts.

And if she lets it eat at her, then she will start to dislike herself. And once that stone of self identity is etched, it is very hard to grind it off again.

Then she will be 39 and having conversations like this:

M: Do you like me, mommy?
ME: Of course I like you. And I like Daddy, and Dave…Maybe someday I will even like myself.
M: Why you say that?

This seemed to confuse him. He isn’t ten yet.

The next few examples are GLBT related. I don’t have that experience, personally. But I still find it relatable. I only have personal experience knowing what a middle school girl with low-self esteem struggles with. Someone having to struggle with revealing a sexual preference must have the same anxiety x 1000.

I watched Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer a few weeks ago. I thought he did a really good job of conveying how hard it was for him all these years to hide something very basic about himself: he is actually a transgender woman. Over the years, family members found out about pieces of his struggle, but he still was not able to reveal the full picture until recently.

I watch the ABC drama Nashville. For three seasons, Chris Carmack has played the character of Will Lexington, a country singer trying to hide from everyone, including his wife, that he is actually gay. He finally announced that he was gay publicly to the press in the Season 3 finale. The writers did a good job; I could actually FEEL his relief of removing his hetero mask, even though it is going to create many more issues for him.

TRUE SELF-glad I dont

I realized after 39 years, that I should live my life by being “the real me”, and not a fake me.

I found myself in job interviews, telling the interviewer what they wanted to hear.

“What comes first, your job or your family?”

I gave them what I thought they would want to hear, not what was in my heart. If my sweet boy is sick, he needs me to stay home with him.

I don’t even feel like they should be allowed to ask that question.

I love Dolly. I hope I get to meey her someday.

I love Dolly. I hope I get to meet her someday.

In being exposed to the first four scenarios above recently, the Universe has been trying to remind me to be true to myself.

Who is the real me?

I am still working on that. I probably shouldn’t take life advice from Internet memes, but I do.

The real me wants to be positive. She doesn’t want to have to have a fake personality for the world. Other people let their true selves hang out, warts and all. I want to be that person. I want to stop worrying about if the guy behind me in traffic is mad that I am not breaking the basic speed law. I want to stop worrying if I am standing too close or too far away to someone else in the check out line at the grocery store. I want to realize that I take up a space in this world and deserve my square foot as much as the person standing next to me.

TRUE SELF-rules

I am trying to live this now. To everyone except my mother, that is.

Anytime in my life I have ever revealed my true self to her, she has reacted badly. Such as when I once put a knife to my wrist as a teenager or got my ear pierced a second time or colored my hair an unnatural color or told her I had gone to church with my friend or told her I was pregnant or that I was not planning on doing her laundry for her the week after getting out of the hospital from having a C-section.

So, it is just easier if I keep my blog and book and tattoos and my grandma’s gold cross that I wear around my neck (not because I am religious, but because it was hers) a secret from her.

It has seemed easier until recently. Now it weighs me down a little more everyday. And she wonders why I get mad when I am in her presence. Because I am so tired of the act. I want to just reveal it all to her. But then I have to hear her opinion of it, and I don’t want to.

Because the only opinion that should matter, in the end, is mine.

Always be yourself. Nothing good ever comes from denying it.

TRUE SELF-taken

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

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