Tag Archives | Joshilyn Jackson

A Room Of Her Own: The Writing Space of Joshilyn Jackson

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Joshilyn Jackson | @JoshilynJackson

20130816_165005

My office is a converted sun porch off the back of our painted brick 50’s bungalow. It is all windows on two sides. We live right by a bird sanctuary; the yard is rife with the feathery little boogers. I put a feeder on the window just above Mango—my main personal assistant, mostly in charge of yacking hairballs directly into my printer—and all day long I have wrens and finches and even a few cardinals pertly sitting just above his cat basket.

mango at the bird box

I like to work with animals around me. My husband says the number of animals I need to be happy is best represented by X + 1, where X is the number of animals I have now. Currently X is three, and I am in the market for a tuxedo kitten. If we don’t find the right kitten, my back up plan to is to agitate for a Ball Python, a breed of snake known for being docile and amenable to being handled. If I get one, I am going to name him Sippy Cups.

The truth is, I need a bunch of little heartbeats in the house or I get very low, very fast. I am more an extrovert than most writers, and my job means a lot of alone time.

room of her own books

On the floor, you can see my secondary assistant, Ansley. She’s in charge of making pig noises and being anxious. Behind me is a futon, where Bagel-Dog, my tertiary assistant in charge of snoozing does his work, and floor to ceiling bookshelves holding the books I love enough to keep. I took a picture of one random section piece of my shelves because I love peeping other people’s book shelves and figured you might, too.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

read more

Book Club Recipe: Someone Else’s Love Story

Today’s post by chef Ingrid of Edible Tapestry | @EdibleTapestry

OrangeCreamWtrmk

Not that there was anything wrong with Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson, or her writing, but I did stamp my foot a little when I didn’t get the ending I was hoping for. My first thought was that somebody should have given that girl, Shandi, something more stimulating to tempt “Thor” with than a pot of potato soup. Yes, he was a simple, down-to-earth guy who would appreciate such a basic, home-cooked meal, but I thought we were on a mission, here! Weren’t we? Was I the only one who was rooting for her? Surely, I thought, Mimmy had some fabulous concoction from her time as owner of the Olde Timey Fudge Shoppe that would work wonderfully to entice a potential lover. But considering the fact that she had spent years loving just one man, and from a distance, I guess seduction, and teaching her daughter the art of, had been the last thing on Mimmy’s mind.

If characters were real and we could jump into books to help them out, I’d pop into this one and sneak my recipe for Orange Creamsicle Fudge into Mimmy’s recipe file so it would be on hand for Shandi when she needed it. I know that the outcome would have been the same. It would have to be, it’s too beautiful and perfect, but at least Shandi could always have known that she gave it her best shot.

Ingredients:

3/4 stick butter

Dash of salt

1/2 to 1 T heavy cream

1 tsp. orange extract

1 tsp vanilla

3 c. confectioner’s sugar

Food color to make orange fudge

Method:

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low, just until it is melted.

100_6849

Remove from the heat. Whisk in the salt and extracts. Using a heavy spoon, stir in the sugar, adding cream as needed until a workable confection is made.

Divide the fudge in half.

100_8809

Add just enough food color to make one half a bright orange. I used just a smidge of peach paste color and a couple of drops of liquid yellow.

051

Knead in the color, then very lightly mix the orange colored fudge into the remaining white fudge to swirl and marbleize it. Press it into a plastic or parchment lined 9X9″ square pan, or something similar, and chill.

When it’s solid, cut it into squares.

TryMeFudgeWtrmk

Yield: approximately 1 lb.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

read more

Tell Me Something True: A Visit With Joshilyn Jackson

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Joshilyn Jackson | @JoshilynJackson

Joshilyn JacksonSOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY features two sets of male/female best friends: Walcott and Shandi, William and Paula. Shandi falls for William in chapter one, when they are caught together in a robbery gone bad and William steps between the gun and Shandi’s little son.

I wanted the romantic focus to stay on William and Shandi, and yet they each had a best friend of the opposite sex. There was too much possibility! Love is powerful, and sex is sneaky. They can sprout between the most unlikely people.

Here’s the short (very expurgated) version of my own love story: I met Scott when I was a 19 and he was 20. We were both theatre majors. He was a long, gangly fellow, very quiet, very introspective. His silence set him apart from the flamboyant gaggle of wild actors I ran with. I gravitated to it.

I learned he was a shameless geek with a thousand comic books kept mint in special plastic sleeves and a secret dream to one day ride the space shuttle. He reminded me of a German shepherd puppy, a little goofy, with skinny legs and feet way too big for his body.

He quickly became my best friend. Back then, if you had asked me if men and women could be just friends, I would have jerked my thumb at Scott and said, “Obviously. ”

Scott and JoshilynBut as the years passed, the German Shepherd puppy grew into his giant feet. Love and Sex twined around us and ate us up, whole, so fast and sly I didn’t notice —until I did. Then I married him and had his charming babies, and I still like him best. The end.

When I wanted to write about male/female best friend sets in SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY, I had to find a way to take possibility out of the equation. Granted, not every man and woman who become friends end up in bed—but as long as they stay out of bed, the possibility remains. Turns out, possibility is harder to remove than sex itself.

I couldn’t make the dynamics work until I took away the speculation; I made both pairs of friends have sex with each other before the novel begins. It was the only thing that worked! I found no way to get my characters around possibility, so I moved them through it. Through it, and into something else.

* * *

SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORYSomeone Else’s Love Story  is beloved and highly acclaimed  New York Times  bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson’s funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be.

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn’t define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

read more

My Own Miraculous: a love story

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Joshilyn Jackson | @JoshilynJackson

My Own MiraculousMY OWN MIRACULOUS is a long short story (or short novella) about all the ways motherhood changes us, and about how we change into mothers.

In a perfect world, these transformations would happen simultaneously. Our baby would be placed in our arms, and boom! All at once, we would understand exactly how to love, care for, feed, nurture, discipline without stifling, indulge without spoiling, hope for without burying in expectations, and rock to sleep our mysterious, terrifying, beautiful baby.

It’s not a perfect world.

I’ll tell you what I do know: Love fills the gaps as we are learning.

Oddly enough this truth was recently reinforced by our daughter’s silly little dog, Ansley. The very day we brought Ansley home from our local Pet Rescue, she adopted our son’s hound, Bagel. Never mind that Bagel was older and three times her size. Bagel is so genuinely dim-witted and good natured that he was happy to be a surrogate puppy. Or a throw pillow. Whatever.

We watched her herding him, the way she rested her chin on his butt as he slept, keeping her own eyes open and alert. It was clear she had been a mother at least once before she was spayed. Her own body confirmed it a little later, when she trusted us enough to roll over for a good tummy scratch.

“Why are her, um, her dog bosoms all floppy? ” Maisy demanded. “Bagel isn’t like that. ”

“Ansley has had puppies, ” I explained to my then third grader. “They stretched her nipples out like that when they were nursing. ”

“Ew, ” Maisy said. “I’m glad that doesn’t happen to HUMAN mommies. ”

I held my tongue. No need to explain to a nine year old ALL the way motherhood changes us. (What? I want grandchildren one day. )

Three years later, Ansley still mommies giant Bagel, coddling him, watching over him, and prancing with pride when he does something wonderful. Well, dog-wonderful, so this usually means something awful for us. I remember once Ansley came tearing up to the house, clearly thrilled out of her tiny mind, doing a joyful version of the Timmy-is-in-the-well, back-and-forth dash to entice us to follow her. We did, and she took us behind the garden shed, where her most marvelous Bagel had unearthed the very, very deadest squirrel in all of Georgia. He was rolling in it. Repulsive! But she was proud enough to bust.

This weekend Bagel had to go to the vet for a tummy problem, and Scott leashed him up and walked him out of the house. Ansley was left at home. This is what she did, for the entire half hour Bagel was missing:

It was an endless, grieving ,restless terrified yammer of sound. THE MAN! HE TOOK BAGEL! WHAT WILL HAPPEN! HELP! Maisy and I coddled her and petted her and talked to her, but she was disconsolate. Nothing was right with the world. She wept and paced and whined and dug at the door.

If dogs can’t recover from becoming mommy-dogs, what chance do we people have, with our much larger imaginations, with our greater understanding of how dangerous the world is? We are very brave, all of us mothers. We have to be.

MY OWN MIRACULOUS  is the story of one girl who becomes a mother way too young, and how danger came, and what she does to earn the title. It’s exciting and love-affirming, but I don’t want to spoil the end. Instead, I’ll show you how Ansley’s story ended.

anlsey is happy

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

read more

Why Some Authors Come Alive On Audiobooks

Today’s post by She Reads co-founder, Marybeth Whalen | @marybethwhalen

Marybeth Whalen

My love for Joshilyn Jackson’s books was not instantaeous. I would hear how good they were, pick them up, page through them (because I still love a print book, yes I do) and put them down again. I had a hard time “getting” her books. The characters had strange names and talked funny. I am a southerner, to be sure, but I tend to shy away from deep southern accents. Suburban North Carolina and small town Alabama are two entirely different things. To be honest, I just thought that Joshilyn had something going on that was entirely apart from my literary tastes. And no matter how many rave reviews I heard or read, that wasn’t going to change.

Until.

My friend (and She Reads blog network member) Sandy Nawrot explained that the best way to grasp the greatness that is Joshilyn Jackson is to experience her books on audio. Because she reads them herself you get the full extent of what she was going for in her writing– pronunciation of those crazy names, inflections of those funny accents. You literally and figuratively hear her voice. So I decided to give the audio version of one of her books a try. I had a car trip coming up and my library had one on the shelf. I snatched it up and hoped for the best.

And the best is what I found. The best voice. The best characters. The best humor. The best weaving together of events and emotion, secrets and drama. One book and I was hooked. Since then I’ve worked my way through all of Joshilyn Jackson’s books, declaring each one of them “my favorite.” My friend Sandy was right, listening to her changed my opinion of her books and ushered me into what I’ve privately dubbed as my “year of JJ.” (Last year, incidentally, was my “year of Sarah Addison Allen.”) Of course very few writers actually read their books on audio but in this case it only magnifies the story. I highly recommend  reading Joshilyn Jackson. And if reading doesn’t work out, then give her a try on audio. Either way don’t miss her.

We’re giving you an opportunity to experience her latest book on audio. Leave a comment on this post to win a copy of A Grown-Up Kind Of Pretty.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

read more

Audiobooks — A Reader’s Best Friend

We asked Sandy Nawrot to share with you today about audiobooks and how they can be a busy reader’s absolute best friend. Sandy is an avid reader, a book blogger, and audiobook evangelist. She is also a member of the She Reads Blog Network. And to prove our point, we’re giving away the audio copy of Joshilyn Jackson’s latest novel, A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY, to one lucky reader today. Just leave a comment on this post.  

Sandy Nawrot

So tell me, does this sound familiar?  Get up around 5:30am, go for a walk, make breakfast for the kids, get the kids up and chauffeured to school, run an hour’s worth of errands, go home and clean the house and pull a few weeds, clean up some cat vomit, wait for electrician/plumber/cable guy to show up and fix something, eat a bite of lunch, take a quick shower, pick the kids up from school, drop one kid off at football practice, and the other to horseback riding lessons, sit and wait for said activities to finish up, bring the kids home, make dinner, feed the hungry natives, clean up, take a hot bath, and collapse into bed at 10:00pm.  Some of you might work outside the home full time, some might have more or less kids and different activities, but we are all singing the same anthem.  We are ALWAYS ON THE MOVE.  I like to think of us all as the Sisterhood of the Busy Pants.

Until their kids head off to college, many of my friends have abandoned all hope of ever reading anything but e-mails from the school, rules of conduct for sports activities, and maybe a Facebook post or two.  So how on earth do I manage to read 150 books a year?  I have always been a master at multi-tasking my day…we all are, because it is a matter of survival.  I just put those skills to use to enable my reading addiction, and the answer, my friends is THE AUDIOBOOK.  A busy woman’s BFF.

I am always plugged in.  For Christmas a number of years ago, my husband got me the biggest iPod he could find (160 gigs), and I loaded that puppy up and away I went.  I listen to books when I’m cleaning the house or the pool (take care not to fall in…I’ve done it).  When I’m doing yard work.  When I am exercising, when I’m driving, when I’m cooking, when I am doing my hair and putting on my makeup.  I’ve even gotten my kids into audios, so sometimes we listen when we are all in the car.  We spent one entire year once listening to all the Harry Potters.  Please know that if people are around me, I do take the headphones off…but often I’m on my own, so why not kill two birds with one stone?

Listening to audios is definitely a learned skill.  It is easy to get distracted and miss an important reveal or fact, but as you get used to this method of “reading” it becomes easier.  Your ears become more nimble!  You can become frustrated when there are numerous names and all kinds of complicated plots, but I have learned that if you just relax and let the story wash over you, the important names and events will float to the top and make themselves known.  In some cases, it is a huge advantage.  Take the Stieg Larssen series for example.  I would have driven myself crazy reading all those Norwegian names, but with Simon Vance purring them out and making them sound like a love song?  Painless.  As a blogger who reviews audios, I guess I do miss out on being able to easily capturing great quotes that I can use, but it is amazing how much you can find with Google.

I have two main sources for my audio needs.  First, my library has an absolutely AMAZING inventory of audios, and they get everything new that comes along as well.  They not only have the physical CDs, but MP3s, playaways (like a little box that you plug your earphones into), and downloadable content through a free app called Overdrive.  There is very little I cannot get from the library.  I also receive new audios from Hachette and Penguin for whom I write reviews in return, so if you are a blogger you might give this some thought.  But if you have a small library and aren’t in the business of audio reviews, one excellent place to turn is Audible.com, where you can pay a monthly prescription and receive credits towards downloads.

I maintain that an audio, in the hands of a seasoned narrator, can take a good book and convert it into a mind-blowing experience.  There are a number of narrators that are like Rock Gods to me, and there are some novels that I will adamantly REFUSE to read in print.  If you get the chance to listen to Cassandra Campbell, Simon Vance, Robin Sachs, Hope Davis, Lenny Henry, Jonathan Davis or Barbara Rosenblat, give them a shot and I’m pretty sure you will agree that they could read the phone book and make it sound good.  (And honestly, there are probably two dozen more I could give you.)

But one particular author, who has narrated all of her books except one, bears a special mention, and that is Joshilyn Jackson.  First of all, her books themselves are amazing…full of strong Southern women who laugh to keep from crying, who you will wish were in your lives.  But when Joshilyn, in her girlish little twang of a voice, brings them to life?  You’ll want to weep when its over.  And the best news yet?  She is now narrating OTHER authors’ books too!

So if you are a card-carrying member of the Sisterhood of the Busy Pants, and love to read and miss your beloved books, I’d give audio a try.  If you have an iPod but don’t know how to figure out the uploading thing, ask your kids to help.  Or if you don’t have an iPod or MP3, go out to the dollar store and buy a “Discman” (yes they still exist, I know because my mom got one for this very purpose).  Prepare to have more fun than you ever thought possible while waiting in a carline.

Sandy Nawrot (You’ve Gotta Read This)

Sandy is a stay-at-home mother of two teenagers, and has been blogging for four years.  She is obsessed with reading, half of which is done via audiobooks (it is all about multi-tasking).  She reads and reviews all genres.  When she isn’t doing bookish things, she is running, golfing, volunteering at the kids’ school, chauffeuring the little darlings to their activities, traveling, or partaking of a fine wine.

Twitter:  @youvegottaread

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

read more

Site by Author Media