Jenna Black's Blog Experiment

Wherein romance author Jenna Black plunges into the terrifying new territory of blogging . . .


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Piatkus Cover Art

One of the commenters in my last post on MySpace asked about when The Devil Inside would come out in Australia. This reminded me that I hadn't made a general announcement (except to my newsletter subscribers) that Piatkus, which serves the UK and the Commonwealth, has picked up my Morgan Kingsley series. The Devil Inside will be a January 2008 release, and The Devil You Know will be released as close to the US release date as possible. I thought I'd share the Piatkus cover art with my readers. It seems the cover gods are still smiling on me!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What if you became a superhero?

After my Father's Day post about the "what if" questions I used to help bridge the gap between my father and myself, I got to thinking that those questions could turn out to be fun blog fodder. So I've decided to share these questions with my readers. I'll post a new question every week until 1) I run out, 2) I decide I'm not getting enough participation, or 3) I become so overwhelmed with work I can't handle the blog.

I'll share the answers I gave my dad to these questions (where those answers are appropriate for the general public), and I'd love to see my readers' responses as well. In fact, each week I'll pick a winner out of everyone who posts a response, and that winner will receive a set of autographed cover flats of my Guardians of the Night series. (The winner will be either my favorite response, or, if there are multiple responses I like, a random choice between those favorite responses.) I will be running this contest simultaneously on Blogger and MySpace. Please comment only on one site.

So, without further ado: What if you became a superhero? What would your special power be, and how would you use it?


If I were to become a superhero, my special power would be to be a shapeshifter. I'd want to be able to instantly take the form of any creature, real or imaginary. (Kind of like the Greek myth of Proteus.)

I imagine the first thing I would do with that power is take the form of a hawk and fly. I'd particularly like to travel to somewhere like the Grand Canyon and take wing there. I'd soar over the middle of the canyon, getting the proverbial bird's eye view. When I got tired, I'd alight on a ledge somewhere that no human being could get to. Then, I'd turn back to a human being and sit there with my legs dangling over the edge, gazing at the awesome beauty around me and feeling like the only human being on earth. Maybe I'd even fly down to the bottom of the canyon, secretly laughing at those silly people clinging to their mules!

Next, I'd like to take a trip out to a coral reef somewhere--maybe Bermuda, whose reefs I'm familiar with, or maybe somewhere new and exciting, like the Great Barrier Reef. There, I'd turn into a fish--maybe a lion fish, with all those deadly poisonous spikes to deter predators. I'd explore the reef, swimming slowly along. Being another fish, I probably wouldn't scare the wildlife, so I'd be able to get a really close look. Maybe I'd find an interesting wreck to explore, swimming inside the ancient ruins of a ship. I might even turn myself into some exotic deep-water fish and swim down to the deepest depths where life exists. I'd get to see things human beings can only see by remote camera. So little is known about the deepest ocean that it is almost like another planet.

Of course, shapeshifting would also have its advantages in more mundane situations. For instance, I could literally become a fly on the wall and listen to some private meetings at work. There are times that I really do wonder how some of the crazy decisions get made, and I would finally get to hear the twisted logic that leads us to them. It would also be a nice form of self-defense: if someone attacked me, I could turn into a lion and scare them off. (Or, if I were afraid they might shoot the lion, I could become a fire-breathing dragon, or a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I bet that would do the trick!)


You have until Sunday, July 1st to post a response if you'd like to be eligible for the weekly prize.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thoughts on Father's Day

Next month, it will be three years since I lost my father. Every father's day is a little poignant for me, and the release of Secrets in the Shadows, which is dedicated to him, was another bittersweet moment in my life.

My dad and I didn't have an easy relationship. He and my mom divorced when I was three, and I lived with my mom thereafter. My mom and I both had artistic temperaments, but my dad was very, very different. He lived the American dream.

The son of poor Russian immigrants, he was the first in his family to go to college. He went on to get a PhD in psychology, and then got a job with a small management consultant business. Over the thirty or more years (I don't remember the exact number) he worked for them, that business grew and grew, becoming a large multi-national firm. And my father was a dedicated partner in the business.

He was a total workaholic, his entire life devoted to his job and his success--and he loved his job. For many, many years, he and I had terrible trouble relating to one another. His dream-child would have been as career-minded as he was, a suit-clad, aggressive, live-for-the-job businessperson. Not an artistic writer-type who couldn't care less if she got the big promotion at work.

Now, don't get me wrong--he was very supportive of my writing. He just didn't "get" it. Didn't understand my drive or my dedication. (Just as I didn't get how he could love corporate America as much as he did.) Conversations between us were often awkward and uncomfortable--we just didn't share enough common ground.

Then about seven years ago, he was diagnosed with Leukemia. And we both knew our time together was limited. For years, we'd tried--and failed--to find some common ground between us, a way to communicate with each other. But we were both deaf and blind to each other. Conversations tended to devolve into old arguments, old resentments stirred, and it was often easier just not to talk.

In a desperate bid to find that elusive common ground, I decided to try something different. I brainstormed a list of questions, all based on "what if " scenarios--based, in a way, on the science fiction and fantasy I was writing at the time. I proposed to my dad that each week, we could take turns picking one of those questions, and we could each write an email essay answering the question. After we'd both sent the emails, we could talk to each other on the phone about what we'd written.

It was a way for us to communicate with each other without devolving into the old arguments, and without talking about real life--in which we had so many disagreements.

Of all the things I've done in my life of which I'm proud, that idea takes top prize. It worked better than I could ever have hoped. We wrote to each other, and for the first time in our lives, we actually listened (figuratively speaking) to what the other had to say. Through that exercise, my dad finally understood my creative drive, finally understood why I didn't want to be a cog in the corporate wheel. And I finally understood the emotional human being behind the rational, logical facade he always presented to the world.

I still have the letters we wrote to one another. I can't read them without crying, but they're the good kind of tears. Words can't describe how grateful I am that my father and I finally came to knew each other in the last years of his life.



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