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Things I Really Like Writing

How Big is Your Brave?

December 2, 2013

Because Sara Bareilles says it so musically:

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Minnesota Things I Really Like Writing

Get Your Free Copy of Bombshell by Mike Faricy!

May 27, 2013

You heard me, I said you can get your very own free copy of Bombshell by my friend Mike Faricy.

Dysfunctional. bumbling, crazy babe-magnet Dev Haskell, P.I., becomes the envy of every guy with a heartbeat when he’s hired to watch over a team of gorgeous English roller derby stars. Though he’d rather be standing guard in the shower room, he suddenly finds himself under arrest and found guilty before he’s even charged. He’s got an attorney who drinks too much, a beautiful woman with a bad attitude, a feisty team of females ready to kill him – and no answers. Bombshell is another fast-paced, engrossing suspense thriller from Minnesota’s master of the bizarre, Mike Faricy.

Bombshell is the 4th installment of the Dev Haskell series by Mike Faricy, my favorite St. Paul writer.

Mike Faricy is the award wining author of mystery suspense thrillers woven together with a rich strain of humor and romance. He and his wife live in St. Paul, Minnesota and Dublin, Ireland. His entertaining tales are populated with the sort of quirky, oddball characters we’d all like to know more about, but wisely prefer to keep at a distance. They serve not so much as examples but more often as warnings to the rest of us. None of Mike’s characters will be saving the world from terrorism, international banking conspiracies or coups to topple the government. Rather, they’re individuals inhabiting a world just below the surface of polite society. The difficulties they find themselves in are usually due to their own bad decisions, but then bad decisions make for interesting tales.

From now through Tuesday, May 28th you can get your very own free eBook of Bombshell by Mike Faricy.


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My Next Big Thing

December 17, 2012
Minnesota Nice by Jennifer Brown, Minnesota Nice independent best selling book by Jennifer Brown, best sellers by bloggers, bloggers with best sellers

I’m happy to be participating in a blog hop called, “My Next Big Thing.” I was tagged by fellow blogger and writer, June O’Hara of the Nuerosis Files, and asked to answer ten questions about my most recent writing project. Here are my responses:     

Where did the idea for your book or project come from?

From my family. My book is a humorous and heartbreaking memoir about growing up with a closeted gay dad, a physically and mentally handicapped mom and a Republican brother.

What is the working title of your book?

Minnesota Nice

What genre does it fall under?

It’s a memoir.

If applicable, who would you choose to play the characters in a movie?

Emma Stone would be my choice for the older years. The story takes place between the ages of 9 – 22. As for the younger years I have no idea. If you have any ideas please let me know.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript or project?

MINNESOTA NICE is a humorous and heartbreaking memoir set in the 1970s and 80s about Jennifer Brown’s struggle to grow up in Crocus Hill while trying to fit in. While caring for her disabled mom she learns her dad is gay. Enter the 800-pound gorilla, stage left. (Wearing a pair of jeans from the Husky section at Sears, no less.)

Sorry, that was three sentences.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m leaning toward self publishing but am also in talks with a couple of agents and publishers. I want to retain control and self publishing seems like the best way to do that. I could write a whole post on this subject, lots to think about.

How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?

5 years.

What other book would you compare this story to within the genre?

Running with Scissors by Augustan Burroughs.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Laura Ingalls Wilder. Since I read her book in third grade I have been writing my book in my head. I didn’t have a story back then but given a little time and a lot of crazy the story wrote itself. Everyone I have ever met has suggested I tell my story.

What else about the book or story might pique the reader’s interest?

Everyone has a story and a lot of people have a crazy story. This is one of those unbelievable stories that just had to be written. Just when you think the characters have seen it all something else happens to up the ante of bizarre and unbelievable. So far most people who have read it can’t understand how I am still mostly sane.

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Creating a Bestseller

October 22, 2012

I’m glad I didn’t see this infographic on successful books before I started writing. It’s nice to see the stats of what sells when it comes to books but I don’t think a book should be written because it will sell. A book should be written because it needs to be written. The story needs to be told. If it’s a good story the audience will find it even if they didn’t know they wanted to read about it.

I used to own a bookstore during the rise of the big box bookstores. Ironically the same big box stores that are struggling to stay relevant in the age of Kindle, iPad and Nook. Back then, when the big box stores were putting shops like me out of business they ruled the shelves. As a small store owner I couldn’t take a chance on an independent or new author. I had to stock Grisham and Patterson and all the guys who had no trouble selling a book. With digital publishing widely available and easy to use more and more indie authors have a chance to be read.

The DNA of a Successful Book

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Dancing Skeletons Writing

Minnesota Nice

October 19, 2012
Minnesota Nice by Jennifer Brown, Minnesota Nice independent best selling book by Jennifer Brown, best sellers by bloggers, bloggers with best sellers

After at least 15 bazillion titles I have finally settled on Minnesota Nice as the title of my memoir. According to Wikipedia Minnesota Nice is:

the stereotypical behavior of people born and raised in Minnesota, to be courteous, reserved, and mild-mannered. The cultural characteristics of Minnesota nice include a polite friendliness, an aversion to confrontation, a tendency toward understatement, a disinclination to make a fuss or stand out, emotional restraint, and self-deprecation. It can also refer to traffic behavior, such as slowing down to allow another driver to enter a lane in front of the other person. Critics have pointed out negative qualities, such as passive aggressiveness and resistance to change.

Although the term is generally considered to be Americentric in nature, some traits typical of this stereotype are also generally applied to neighboring Canadians.

I’ve been told they are going to change the title. They being the publishers that will eventually publish my book.

Originally I was going to self publish, and I’m still leaning that way. I like having the control over the title, cover, and most importantly the money. On the other hand having my book published traditionally puts it in front of people it might never have been. I have a large reach. I’ve been blogging forever in internet years and know how to get the word out. But, I know that a traditional publisher, and their marketing department, can do so much more than I could on my own.

Still, I like having the control.

So here’s where things stand. The manuscript is currently in the hands of one publisher and five agents.

Which means I wait.

In the mean time I’ve set up a Facebook page for the book and would love it if you could like it. I will be posting the publishing experience over there as well as adding resources for other people who are writing their book.

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Writing WTF?

What Makes a Bestseller?

September 25, 2012

As some of you know I’ve been working on a book for the past forever. I’m nearly finished. I know, I keep saying that but that’s only because my editor keeps telling me that. In reality she is in the pool teaching me how to swim and she is standing their with her arms outstretched saying “just a little bit more, just a little bit more” all the while backing up so that even though I have gone a little bit more she is still just as far away as when I started. Thanks, Kelly.

I’ve got a list of tasks, from said editor, the length of my arm that I need to tackle but I got to thinking, after a discussion about Moby Dick and what a long boring book that was, what makes a best seller?

Moby Dick is certainly a best seller and some people might even think it’s great but I bet if it was published today it wouldn’t make a dent on the best seller list.

Why is that?

I was browsing for books the other day and stumbled across Shades of Gray. I can’t bring myself to buy it because I have no desire to read it. It’s fan fiction about the characters from Twilight, another book I couldn’t bring myself to read. Both of these series of books are best sellers. Huge best sellers. And yet no one is calling them classics like Moby Dick.

At least I don’t think they are.

Remember Flowers in the Attic? Remember when everyone was reading it and you couldn’t wait to get your hands on it? The story was silly and ghastly and so wrong. The writing was ok, I think, but it was word of mouth about the story that sold the book. It helped that if your parents knew what it was about they would have taken it away. Remember when you found out that the later books in the series weren’t actually written by Ms. Andrews? For me it was no different than learning that Carolyn Keene was really just a bunch of people, possibly those famous monkeys at typewriters, banging out mystery after mystery.

I loved the books but once I knew the secret I couldn’t read them again. They hired a ghostwriter because the books were such a success and they didn’t want that money train to end.

My daughter is reading To Kill A Mockingbird right now. She is probably too young for it but she picked it out of the book case when she needed something to read and got hooked. That, to me, is a best seller and a classic.

It’s better than Captain Underpants, another best seller.

So, what do you  think makes a best seller? Is it readability, flat out numbers of copies sold or it’s effect on society? What best sellers do you recommend and which ones do you refuse purchase?


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People Pets Writing

Writing is Hard

July 30, 2012
Ruby the puppy, black lab puppy, black lab boxer mix puppy, rescue puppy

So how has your summer been going?

I haven’t been around much these past few months. Some of you may know I am writing a book, a memoir, about growing up in a pretty strange environment. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, a long while since it seems I never update anymore and therefore you wouldn’t have a clue what I am talking about if you just stumbled here and never checked out my archives and why would you because you don’t know what this blog is about because it’s more like a ghost town than an active blog.

I need to catch my breath.

Anyway, for those of you who don’t know, I am writing a memoir about growing up with a gay, closeted dad, a mentally and physically handicapped mom and a Republican brother. Talk about shit that will mess you up!

Did I mention it was a humorous memoir? I do a lot of name dropping because I know people. Garrison Keillor is in my book as is Nick Swardson. Just think, you don’t even need Kevin Bacon to tie those two together if you know me.

Other than that it’s been a typical summer. Kids are driving me C.R.A.Z.Y!!!

Oh, and we got a puppy.

Because, you know, it’s not chaotic enough around here.



Send Jen on a Vacation Writing

Biting The Hand That Feeds Me

June 6, 2012

I’ve been blogging for almost five years. When I first started blogging I spent all day reading other blogs, clicking on little yellow boxes and even writing a post here and there. I met a great group of people and really enjoyed reading what they had to say. Commenting was the best part of blogging in the early days because it was a way to connect with people. The comments were often the best part of the blog posts.

For the last year or so I haven’t blogged (personally) with the same gusto I did in those first couple of years. I suppose like anything the novelty wears off and what was once fun, bordering on obsessive turns into a bit of a chore.

Life takes over.

Part of my problem is that writing is what I do to pay the bills. It’s my 9-5 job and while I do love it and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, I don’t want to do it on my off time. Besides, there are other things to do besides write. I have to go out into the real world and buy groceries, pick up kids from school and even see a movie sometimes.

While I write fun stuff on this blog in my other writing I write stuff that isn’t so much fun. Finding a way to work the word reputation into a blog post isn’t the hardest work but it isn’t always the easiest thing to do either. Sometimes I do it better than others. This isn’t one of them.

Facebook ruined blogging for me. Maybe not entirely but I have to admit I would like to unplug for a couple of weeks but fear I can’t. The world we live in moves at the speed of the internet and what has take five years to build could be gone in those two weeks. Adding Facebook to the mix knocked me over the edge. I love reading blogs and connecting with people I will never meet in real life but I don’t care what they ate for lunch. Don’t even get me started on Twitter.

So how do you feel about blogging after all these years? Do you love Facebook and other social networks or would you prefer to going back to talking to your neighbor over the fence?


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Dumb Shit I Do Writing

Just Phoning it in

April 24, 2012

phones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does it seem as if I have been just phoning it in lately? It does to me. If I haven’t had a guest post or a sponsored post I don’t think I would have time to write at all.

I haven’t lost my writing mojo, I’ve just been using it elsewhere so by the time it comes around to this old blog I don’t have much left to give. Reminds me of some bad relationships.

I’m not going away but I am finishing a project that will keep me from writing here for just a bit longer. I hope you can bear with me or hang in there with me for a while longer.

I do have things I want to write about:

  • That chick from Shake It Up who really needs to eat
  • Walmart and Mexico
  • The 2012 Campaign (I have so much to say about that)
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits (it sucked but my daughter loved it)

and all kinds of other important topics that I just don’t have the time to delve into right now.

But I will, soon, I promise.

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Events Things I Really Like Writing

Free Kindle Book by Minnesota Mystery Writer Mike Faricy: Chow for Now

February 17, 2012

Chow for Now by Mike Faricy, newest mystery by Mike Faricy, Minnesota Mystery writerWant to discover a great new mystery writer from MN? Then be sure to download Chow For Now Free Kindle Book: Chow for Now by Mike Faricy by Mike Faricy. Not only is the book an incredibly fun read but it’s free this weekend only.

Mike is a local Minnesota author. Minnesota is home to many varied writers, some of the more notable writers from Minnesota who have had success are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Garrison Keillor and John Sandford (John Camp). While I have met all of these writers, except for F. Scott (though I have met his dead wife Zelda who haunted the house across from mine…go ahead and ask me about that), I actually know Mike and we are planning coffee when he returns from Ireland. TMI? Probably. Mike writes these quirky mysteries set in the neighborhood I grew up in, not unlike John Sandford Free Kindle Book: Chow for Now by Mike Faricy. Mike’s books are more fun to read because he captures the absurd aspect of Minnesota characters and he doesn’t dress as well as Mr. Sandford’s characters. Mike has probably been served lutefisk at a family gathering, though I doubt he would have actually eaten it. Eww.

Mike is only offering his latest book (and he has many) for free this weekend so be sure to visit Amazon to get your copy. You can also purchase it from the app. If you don’t have a Kindle you can still read the book on your computer or on your mobile device, all you need to do is download the Kindle app.


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