Archive | May, 2014

Linky Time

27 May



Hello lovelies

I’m still in the throes of editing THIS IS SARAH so I haven’t done much in the way of new writing but I have managed to get a few things out there.

So real quick:

1. I have a new piece on the Forked Road – under the Quills and Frills section. In this, we post new stuff and once a month Aleathia gives us a prompt.

This was the prompt for Saturday: “Through a freak illness, you lose one of your senses.  Which sense is it, what happens to you, and how do you deal with it?”

Nice, right? Initially I wrote a piece on losing the sense of hearing. It was alright but nothing that I loved. On my walk to work I started thinking about how truly terrible it would be to never enjoy another slice of pizza. So instead I wrote this, about losing the sense of taste. Yup, that’s me. Always thinking with my stomach.

2. I’ve got some poems up at the new Zygote in my Coffee. It’s another batch from the How to Be An American series which I have to admit has petered a bit in recent months. I’m hoping it’s just all the fiction writing but to be honest, back when I started this in October I hoped to have a complete MS by now – approximately 100 poems. I’m stuck at number 53. But thanks to Brian for taking these.

3. I also got a few poems into ppigpenn with the always hilarious Catfish McDaris. Oddly enough all of these poems in some way involve my husband which is a total coincidence.

4. And finally a piece on the Forked Road about my trip to Italy – it involves me hiding out in an Irish pub and breaking an air conditioner. What? It was really hot.

Okay back to work.

Peace, love and starbursts,



Monday Morning Poems, an Excerpt link, and A Small Ranty Thing About This Country

19 May

Good morning, lovelies…

I am exhausted this morning from a fantastic family weekend so I’ll keep try to keep this short.

The very cool Jonathan Penton at Unlikely Stories was kind enough to accept this How To Be An American poem to add to what is a great collection for the May issue of Unlikely Stories. Please be sure to check out the rest of the issue. It’s chock full of goodness.

And I would also like to say thanks to Stephen Williams at Dead Snakes for taking these poems.

I’m a lucky girl.

Also the Forked Road has another THIS IS SARAH excerpt. The book is written in alternating viewpoints from Claire (Sarah’s little sister) and Colin’s (Sarah’s boyfriend).

You can read Colin’s piece here and you can the Claire one here if excerpts are your kind of thing.

And finally I know I said that this is going to a short post but I’ve got this thing nagging at me. I’ve received some rejections for poems lately for the How To Be An American series and both times I was called Anti-American. Before we go into this I feel the need to say the following:


That part is really important to understand. I get that if you put stuff out there you’ll inevitably get most of it rejected. That’s fine. My thick skin is fully insulated. So it’s not about being rejected, okay? Understand? Good.

It’s about the notion that these poems are Anti-American or more so that to criticize our country = Anti-Americanism. I’m just curious when that happened? When did observing our failures (because we do have them) become akin to ignoring our successes? When did my acknowledging that there are places where we have seriously dropped the ball suddenly mean that I’m a communist (which I was called)?

This all seems particularly short-sighted.

This Sunday the New York Times had an article on adding trigger warnings to texts so that college kids can be prepared to deal with thing that make them uncomfortable.

At Oberlin College, a draft petition asked teachers to flag anything that might disrupt a students learning. This is from the NY Times article:

“Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression,” the guide said. “Realize that all forms of violence are traumatic, and that your students have lives before and outside your classroom, experiences you may not expect or understand.” For example, it said, while “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe — a novel set in colonial-era Nigeria — is a “triumph of literature that everyone in the world should read,” it could “trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide and more.”

Where do we go from here?

How do we possibly grew and fix society if we don’t face the ugly upsetting things head on? Isn’t the point of art and college to challenge us? To make us think?

Now, please don’t for a second thing that I think that just because I wrote a poem that might cast America in a poor light that I should automatically have it published because that would be nonsense. Editors have the right to publish whatever they want. I’m just curious about this notion that to criticize a nation is akin to being its enemy.

Did we really all take Bush’s “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists” thing to heart?

Or as we so isolated, constantly hearing opinions that mirror our own that something outside of our experience shatters our delusions about the world we live in?

I write about this country because I want it to be better.

I want the kids that go to school to not worry about dying when they refuse a prom date.

I want parents to trust that when the drop off their kindergarten those babies will come home at the end of the day – alive and well and not in body bags.

In what universe is that wrong???

I want us to be better. And to be better we need to talk about where we fail. And isn’t that the purpose of art? Not to pad down all the ugly parts but to hold them up so that we can see the cracks in the glass. So that we can figure out how to seal them over again?

So that we can actually strive to be the country we’re currently pretending we are?

Sigh….Anyway….that’s enough out of me.

Happy Monday.

Be nice to each other, okay?

Peace, Love and Starbursts


The Forked Road

13 May

Hi All

So I was invited to join The Forked Road by a friend of mine, Aleathia Drehmer.

Aleathia’s a major player in the writing scene so I jumped at the chance to participate.

It’s a very relaxed premise – each day has a different theme and you post when you want to. Got something to say – write it and post it. In Aleathia’s words – the week runs down like this:

Monday-Music Monday—this can be your current favorite song, a write up about your favorite band, a recent concert you have seen, “mixed tapes” you have made, or a great video.  If it involves music, put it here.  Add photos, links, whatever.


Tuesday-Let’s Go Somewhere—this the travel portion of the blog.  Write about local places, faraway places, museums, tourist attractions, festivals.  It is anything you can leave your house to do!


Wednesday-Lit Bits—this is where you showcase favorite books from established writers.  You can do critique, put quotes, review a favorite author.  You can write about literary events as well.


Thursday-Foodies—if you are a great cook you can list favorite recipes.  Restaurant reviews, great food carts, trends in cuisine that you enjoy or review good cook books.  You can share grannies best cookie recipe!


Friday-Art Bomb—post about artists that you like, local gallery showings, interview an artist, speak about documentaries of great artists.


Saturday-Quills and Frills—this is for sharing our own writing or the writing of other small press writers.  Once a month there will be a writing prompt in which we will each write something and post our interpretations.  I will be sure to share that with you at the beginning of the month so there is time to write it to post at the end of the month.


Sunday-OM—this is a section on spirituality.  I am a Buddhist but you can share whatever faith you have.  I’m not saying we are getting all holy roller up in here, but if you have credos you live by that you want to share, feel free.


Great concept, huh?

So yesterday, I managed to get over my crippling self-doubt and finish THIS IS SARAH and send it off to my editor. Achievement: Unlocked.

This morning I read through a story I had started last week and realized with absolute certainty that it’s a total piece of crap.

So instead I decided to write my first piece for The Forked Road.

It’s about my recent trip to Liverpool where I got to see John Lennon’s House. Afterwards Aleathia talks about her trip to Bristol.

I think this is going to be loads of fun.

Peace, love and Starbursts


Her Secret Inheritance by Jen McConnel Cover Reveal

12 May

What would you risk for a second chance?

Five years after the trip to Scotland that changed her life, Lou is back in the misty, magical country. But this time, she’s not on vacation.

When Brian, her old Highland fling, turns up at the scene of some depressing family business, tension mounts between the former lovers. But dealing with Brian is only part of the problem; something wicked is stirring in Scotland. Lou must use all her strength to handle the increasingly desperate situation, but will she be strong enough to battle both a vengeful ghost and her heart?

Lou may have thought that she was finished with the witch Isobel Key, but some secrets can’t stay buried forever. Coming June 12, 2014, HER SECRET INHERITANCE is a story of risk, second chances, and magic.

Visit Bloomsbury Spark for more information.

Want to find out where it all began? Check out THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY now! The Secret of Isobel Key Comps_FINAL_RBG

Learn More

Bloomsbury | Website| Goodreads | Bloomsbury Spark |


Amazon | B&N | Google | iTunes | Kobo | Audible |

About Jen McConnel Jen McConnel-0034

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she also holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Her debut NA novel, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY, is out now from Bloomsbury Spark, and the sequel is coming in June. She also writes YA and nonfiction. Visit to learn more.

Connect With Jen

| Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Facebook | Blog | Website |


To celebrate the cover reveal, Jen’s got three fabulous giveaway prize packs up for grabs. US only, please. Each prize pack includes an eARC of HER SECRET INHERITANCE, and you might also win the “Naughty Celt” candle, graciously donated by BookScents Candles. Check out the other awesome book-inspired candles from BookScents:
Etsy Store:


What are you waiting for? Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway now for your chance to win!

I am Ross’ Nervous Apology

10 May

This is me.


The weird thing about finishing a book is that you would THINK that the moment when the book is available for other people to read would be the best part right?

I mean here you are – having spent all this time living with this story and these people in your mind and now they’re finally going to be shared with the rest of the world. YAY, right? Right?

So why am I filled with so much dread?

Monday is my deadline for any more changes to THIS IS SARAH before BookFish sends it to my line editor who will scowl over my inability to place a comma where it belongs. (Poor line editor.)

Therefore, this is it. Last chance. Last chance to change a line, to make a joke, to have Colin get one more punch in during the fist fight(s). Last chance for Claire to swallow her fear and fake her bravery, something she has become quite apt at doing.

Last chance.

But at the same time, I’m so also weirdly excited to send Colin and Claire off into the world to go live for a brief while in someone else’s mind.

Dichotomy, thy name is Ally.

Anyway, that is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to apologize to anyone who follows me on twitter or facebook or now, tumblr. (hey, I made a tumblr. I’m still learning the ropes if anyone wants to come play that’d be cool.)

I know I’ve been really annoying this week because we’ve been doing the cover reveal for THIS IS SARAH so all my tweets and posts and tumblr-thingies have been about that. And I know that’s really annoying.

So I’m sorry.

The cover reveal will end on Monday. Then I promise to go back to my less annoying (but probably still a bit annoying) self where all I’ll talk about is enchilada casserole and the Replacements. Then it will get bad again in June when the book comes out.

In June.

Which is soon.

But not as soon as Monday.

Last licks, kids. Cross your fingers I don’t screw it up.

Peace, love and starburts,




I Screwed Up

2 May

So I screwed up. Shocking, I know.

I forgot to thank one of my absolute favorite presses out there because these poems went up on Blue Hour when I was away and it just sort of slipped through the cracks.

So my sincere apologies to Blue Hour Press who are wonderful and who took these poems, one of which is called After Silsbe and it was written after reading this fantastic little book

SilsbeLGCoverwhich was published by LowGhost Press.

I highly recommend Scott’s collection, the rest of LowGhost’s catalog and the books put out by Blue Hour which you can get here.

Many many many thanks. I’m a lucky girl to be surrounded by so much good writing juju.

Peace Love and Starbursts,



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