Jerks & Irks LXIII: A Bittersweet Return

The weekend before last, I went to Rehoboth Beach for a weekend writing retreat, as many of you may know. This past weekend, Hubby-pants and I went down near Atlanta, GA for our friends’ wedding. We returned late last night and, just as it was when I returned home from the retreat, home can be bittersweet.

Of course, coming home from the retreat was much less bitter and way more sweet because that was a Hubby-pants-less excursion and I missed him terribly. But today, after being in beautiful Georgia from Thursday to Sunday, I feel like I’m coming down with a case of the Mondays.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate our home, but hotels and lodges are so neat and clean (I think I mentioned that in my post about the retreat) and crisp-smelling. The beds are more comfortable, the pillows more decadent, and, for us, the temperature is easier to control. We arrived home late last night and we hadn’t had time to do the dishes before we left and we had also forgotten to take out the trash. I can’t describe the lovely aroma that permeated throughout our home after four stuffy days, during which Spring had finally decided to show itself and there was exceptionally warm weather. I think our bed is pretty comfortable, but the pillows leave something to be desired, for sure. (I’m in love with the down pillows the Hilton and the Hampton Inns use, but they’re like $80. Each.) And did I mention the house was stuffy and the weather had been warm? Our ancient thermostat dial read 80 degrees (F)! We don’t have central air, so we had to open the windows, turn on the ceiling fans, and suffer in silence until the place aired out and cooled down.

All in all, I’m missing digital thermostats and turn down service and squishily-fluffy down pillows, but I guess I’m a little glad to be home. If for no other reason than I get to start really promoting Blood in the Paint’s release, expediting the paperback release, and working on the next novel in the series, Blood in the Paper.

How was everyone else’s weekend?

What I Learned On Vacation


As many of you know, Hubby-pants and I enjoyed a brief vacation in the mountains of Pennsylvania for our two-year anniversary. I had a few um, observations.


This is referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.”

  • Cell phones become paper weights in rural communities. On our way up to our Inn, our internet signal cut out and we lost our GPS instructions. We would have called the Inn, as we were close, but without an internet signal, we couldn’t look up the number. Hell, even if we had the number, we didn’t have a cellular signal to make a phone call. Useless. We stopped somewhere and while Hubby went in to ask for directions the old-fashioned way, I quickly realized that everything I do on my phone for entertainment requires an internet connection. Very frustrating. The Inn we eventually checked into had WiFi, but that’s using the term generously. It was spotty at best.
  • We always look into moving wherever we vacation. When we honeymooned in Tahiti, Moorea, & Bora Bora, Hubby and I asked one of the tour guides how much it would be to build a house by the beach. ($400K, in case you’re curious. The USD is much stronger than theirs. So, if I ever get famous off this writing thing, that’s where we’re heading.) Last year, we vacationed in the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We fancied some of the houses for sale, but good heavens, it’d be cheaper to live in Tahiti. And less hurricanes. Then there was this year. The beautiful Allegheny Mountains, just starting to turn with the colors of autumn. The air was so crisp. The coffee shop was so quaint. We looked up a simple rancher accompanied by almost 100 acres of land, just out of curiosity. It was $300K. Mostly because of the land. But the most jarring part was that the online listing included three pictures of the house and about 45 pictures of slain deer the sellers had hunted on the property. Hubby-pants and I aren’t hunters. Perhaps we wouldn’t fit in? Though he said he’d be willing to give it a try. But me? Not so much…
  • I feel really bad for blind people. There was one point when we driving through the country to one of the state parks. There were rolling corn fields on either side, the stalks just barely turning yellow. The sky was a perfect periwinkle. And even the double yellow lines in the center of the road complimented the scenery. It was absolutely breathtaking, and it was so simple. And it really made me thankful for the gift of sight and I don’t care if that’s cheesy. (Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of that particular scene. It was gun country and we were scared to get out of the car without good reason.)


And now I’m home. Back to revising Blood in the Paint, the first full-length novel in the Blood for Blood Series. It goes to the beta readers next week and I’m terrified. Perhaps I should have scheduled the beta readers before the vacation, huh?

Does Your Significant Other Read Your Stuff?

That’s right, folks! I’m back from my mini-vacay and already it’s back to business as usual! Fresh in my inbox this morning was this interview with me by the lovely Elena Dillon. She is one of my peeps on Triberr and I contacted her for a review of Blood in the Past a while back. She happily obliged, and enjoyed my novella so much, she offered to interview me! Well, isn’t that sweet!

Here is her review:

“The author keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat. No slowing down for this story. I was interested in the character motivation. I found them complex and thought provoking. I immediately wanted to know what made them tick. I don’t want to give too much away but I’m looking forward to the next installment of the story so I can find out what happens next!”

And here is an excerpt from our interview:

Does your significant other read your stuff? He absolutely does! Which is amazing to me because he hates reading. I know, an author married to someone who hates to read. But yes, it’s true. He usually reads my WIP’s as I’m writing them, chapter by chapter. And he’s very astute and tells me when I miss something, which is often helpful. Although I released Blood in the Past, a prequel, first, I wrote it second. Therefore, Hubby-pants was able to read Blood in the Paint, the first full-length follow-up, first, then Blood in the Past. It was great to see his reaction at having read them in reverse, his appreciation of the way I had tied certain things together and left other things hidden. My favorite moment though, had to be when he read the cliffhanger ending to Blood in the Paint. He just stuttered for about five minutes. “Wait, but, I mean, what? Shouldn’t? Wouldn’t? Who? Wait! WHAT?” Hahahaha! Priceless. What do you do to unwind and relax? Writers unwind and relax? I can’t seem to get characters and plot twists out of my head. I must be doing something wrong…

Okay, so maybe I was able to relax a little bit the last few days while Hubby-pants and I were away for our anniversary mini-vacay. That’s not the point, but more on that tomorrow, with pictures and observations. Anyway, if you’d like to read more of my interview with Elena Dillon, please visit her blog.

Also, as of this writing, Blood in the Past is currently #5310 in all of the Kindle Paid store, #6 in Serial Killers, #63 in Psychological Fiction, and #86 in Psychological Thrillers. That’s not really related to anything, I just felt like bragging thanking all of you awesome, loyal fans. And if you haven’t read it yet, maybe you should. 🙂

It’s My Anniversary! #FREE E-book!

I’m not exactly what you’d call an attention whore, but today is mine and Hubby-pants’ two-year anniversary! We’re away in the Pennsylvania mountains and I hope to have some breathtaking pictures to share upon our return (check Instagram in the meantime). But here’s one picture to tide you over…


Altogether now…AWWW!!!

Okay, maybe I’m a little bit of an attention whore. Which is why I’m going to paste an excerpt of Blood in the Past below. Don’t roll your eyes! I reeled you in with that amazingly beautiful vineyard wedding photo, now I have to use it to my advantage! So, as I was saying, below is the scene where Anthony proposes to Lyla. It’s a gorgeous scene. I had a lot of fun writing it, even though I’m not a romance writer (and this scene is one of the reasons why I tell romance lovers that my book has “romantic elements,” haha).

Read on and enjoy.

Night fell and CJ insisted on escorting Lyla home, even though it required two trains and a bus. They spent the end of the journey on a double-bus: two regular-sized buses joined in the center by a section resembling an accordion. Lyla jumped at the chance to drag CJ to the seats in the swiveling center, giggling as though they were riding a carnival Tilt-a-Whirl. With every rolling shift, her troubles felt further away. No dead parents. No near-fatal mistake in the operating room. No apprehensions about life or marriage for a solid thirty minutes.

When the bus screeched to a standstill at their stop, Lyla and CJ spilled out from the rear doors, dizzy from their trip and drunk from laughter. They tumbled along the sidewalk for several blocks, their arms intertwined like a pretzel. The headlights of passing cars streaked their faces and lit their way.

What little survived of Lyla’s home lay a block ahead on their right, just peeking into view. The house had been reduced to a pile of blackened rubble with charred beams jutting about in every direction—an enormous, sooty bird’s nest. As they approached the scorched and shriveled remains, a thin gasp escaped CJ’s lips. Lyla knew he had tried to restrain it and failed.

“That’s right, you haven’t seen it since the fire,” Lyla said softly.

“No. Lyla, I’m so sorry.” He grabbed her hand and squeezed it as they drew closer.

“It’s okay. I mean, it’s been tough, don’t get me wrong, but I think I made the right decision to stay at my neighbors’ house while they’re in Florida. They’ve been really generous, and it allows me to stay close to things.” This way I can keep tabs on the investigation.

“Yeah, it was lucky for you they were heading down for the winter right when you needed a place to crash.”

She stared at him until he realized his gaffe: Lyla was in no way lucky. He lowered his eyes and squeezed her hand again, an apology she accepted.

“So, the insurance is covering everything?” CJ asked awkwardly, stumbling to change the subject.

“Yeah, the insurance plus both life-insurance policies. I’m sure I could have bought a house and lived off the rest for quite a while, but it was more important for me to rebuild this house. I’m told the fire investigation could take several more months though.”


They both came to a dead stop, not at the full sight of the burnt-down home—they had managed not to gawk as they passed it in silence—but at the neighbor’s house. The back porch, and most of the yard, glowed. They were illuminated by candles, string lights, and white paper bag luminaries—brilliant, twinkling white stars, brought down from the Cosmos to the Earth.

It was so beautiful, Lyla felt herself crying in a way she hadn’t in a long time: tears of joy. Despite the blur of her moist eyes, she saw Anthony kneeling in the center of it all. Tall, broad shoulders without being stocky. Same dark hair as Lyla. The green in his eyes sparkled almost as brightly as the decor. He caught Lyla’s gaze. The shadows sculpted both of their faces, making them appear like a matching pair of figurines atop their own wedding cake.

Anthony, either oblivious or apathetic to CJ’s presence, shouted, “Lyla Kyle, will you marry me?” He beamed almost as brightly as the yard. Almost as brightly as the diamond in his hand.

Lyla shook her head slowly in disbelief. But disbelief soon turned to freedom. With each subtle, side-to-side movement, her mind broke free of the shackles of the past few days. It broke free from the grief, the uncertainty, and the death. She chose love and a leap of faith. She chose life.

Lyla ran to him, her long legs eating up the distance in a handful of strides. With her fears abated by her talk with CJ, she fell to her knees in front of Anthony with tears streaming down her cheeks. She grasped his face and kissed him. Hard. Heavily. When she pulled back, her voice cracked as she said, “I choose you.” Lyla breathed in a gulp of crisp air, as though she could inhale the twinkling lights and capture them within her heart. “I choose a life with you, Anthony.”

“Is that a yes?”

Without waiting for confirmation, perhaps not needing it, Anthony put the ring on Lyla’s trembling left hand and they embraced. He kissed her neck, and the tickling sensation that followed left them falling to the ground, rolling around in laughter and tears. Their joy rang louder still when they bumped into a luminary, almost setting a fire in their excitement.

Neither noticed as CJ sank back into the shadows, beyond the glowing lights and joy, to wait for the bus that would bring him back to the other side of Philadelphia.

I’m sorry to say, Lyla Kyle takes “Til Death do us part” a little serious in the end, but you’ll have to read Blood in the Past to learn more. By the way, if you’d like to do that, the e-book is FREE today!

You’re welcome! 😉

Jerks & Irks LII: Scumbag WordPress

Many of you may have received an email yesterday, notifying you of my Wedding Anniversary blog post. You got to see the awww-inducing picture, read the excerpt from Blood in the Past, and learn about the e-book version of my book being free in honor of me and my husband’s special day. Then you either clicked on the post’s title and found it was a broken link or you clicked on the Amazon link to my book and found it to be regularly priced. How embarrassing.

All because WordPress is a jerk-face.

I was crafting that lovely post, scheduling it for TUESDAY, our actual anniversary, and the first three times I previewed it, the picture wasn’t there. Then, the fourth time, the picture posted, but I didn’t like the size. So I went to edit it, and then, somehow, WordPress posted it immediately. WTF? I hit update! I never hit the EDIT button to change the scheduled date and time! Ugh!

Anyway, I hope everyone can overlook yesterday’s snafu and enjoy tomorrow’s post. Enjoy the picture (I don’t share a lot of myself, so savor the moment), enjoy the excerpt from Blood in the Past (it’s a proposal scene, so it’s related to the occasion), and, of course, enjoy the day of FREE downloads.

Jordanna East, out.

Jerks & Irks L (50): A Day at the Beach?

Faithful blog followers may have noticed an absence last week. Probably not though. I don’t adhere to a rigid schedule. I don’t force a blog post if there isn’t anything pressing to write about, especially when I’m in the throes of being up against a deadline.

But last week, Hubby-pants and I headed to his family’s shore house for a couple of days, one last time before his family sells it (for reasons I won’t get into). The place is obviously special to him, but it also holds its own place in my heart. You see, when Hubby-pants and I were first dating, he brought me there and we stayed the weekend alone. It was the fist time I had stayed anywhere vacation-ish with a boyfriend before and I was pleasantly surprised to find that he didn’t get on my nerves. That, my friends, is the true meaning of love.

IMG_0354Beach Bums, 2010.

Last week’s stay was mostly a relaxing couple of a days, even the humid day where we sat inside and watched reruns of The Sopranos on HBO-Go all day. The second day, the day after our Sopranos marathon, we decided to actually head to the beach. The previous day, as I mentioned, was humid. But the second day was pleasant. Perfect beach weather. We had breakfast at the table like we’ve always done. I stuffed myself into a bathing suit like I’ve always done. We sprayed each other with sunscreen on the porch, the cool aerosol tickling our skin like it’s always done. We walked up to the beach, set up our stuff, sat in our chairs, and inhaled that sweet salty air.

Then I screamed in pain as a fly bit my ankle.

I looked down and several flies were feasting on my feet and shins. Hubby-pants shooed them away and we both realized at the same time that the wind was coming off the land. At the Jersey shore, a land breeze means one thing: greenheads, biting flies. They have serious choppers. I don’t know the exact PSI of their jaws, but I’m pretty sure they’re the pit bulls of the fly world. They bite you, latch on, and hold on as you swing your limb wildly and desperately from side to side, looking like a crazy person to those who can’t see the tiny pit bull of an insect clamped onto your flesh. And sometimes it feels like they even have a supplementary set of a jaws, like something out of the movie Alien, that bites you a second freaking time. Ouchieee!!!

We were going home later that night and this was our final trip to the shore house. We had to salvage this trip to the beach. So, we had only one choice: We abandoned our tent and chairs and drove to the drugstore for some bug spray and one of those little clip-on fan deals that supposedly disperses bug repellent. When we returned ten minutes later, freshly sprayed, clip in place, chests puffed, full of bravado…the wind had changed to an ocean breeze. All of that and the biting flies were gone. Son of a beach…


Hubby-pants woke me for my first ever sunrise. 2010.

But I like to think that the universe didn’t want us to have just another day at the beach. It gave us a day to remember. It gave us a story. Albeit an annoying story, because the universe can be a real jerk sometimes, but still. I’ll never forget the years Hubby-pants and I got to spend there, and if you guys could buy more of my books and make me famous, maybe I could buy us our own shore house? No? It was worth a shot. 🙂

High Five for Top Fives

Up top, guys! This year is freaking over! Whoo hooo! Let the champagne flow! Pass the jello shots! Because nothing says classy like champagne and jello shots!

And no end-of-the-year blog post is complete without the requisite Top Blah Blah Blah List. Here are several of mine:

Top Five JJE Posts (based on Views, Comments, & Likes)

  1. Getting Arrested for the Greater Good
  2. Murder & Mother-In-Laws
  3. What Not to Do on the Train…
  4. The Typos Aren’t Your Fault?
  5. Location, Location, Location

Top Five JJE Posts I Liked But No One Saw

  1. Research or Get Besmirched
  2. Like Reading a Schizophrenic’s Notes
  3. This “Sux!”
  4. Who Wears Short Shorts?
  5. The Next Big Thing (Ok, this one’s a shameless plug. Don’t judge me, my books come out in 2013. TeeHee)

Top Five Weird-A$$ Search Terms That Brought People Here

  1. “baster brain” & “bald slavegirl fantasy” (That’s a tie, sorry)
  2. “fiction stories don’t beat me”
  3. “wave bum”
  4. “you’re welcome, it was a pleasure, hope you didn’t destroy your keyboard”
  5. “I’m not the same person please go away”
  6. BONUS *anytime someone searched for “jordanna east” or any derivative thereof* (That happened ELEVEN times!)

Top Five Books I Read This Year

  1. The Hunger Games Trilogy (Duh)
  2. The Pine Deep Trilogy by Jonathan Maberry
  3. The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch
  4. The King’s X by Stephen T. Harper
  5. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

Top Five Things I Look Forward to in 2013

  1. Typing up my Prequel, Blood in the Past, and submitting it to beta readers, editor, etc. Publishing it via Blood Read Press
  2. Getting my finished book covers from the amazingly talented Kit Foster
  3. Revising my full-length novel, Blood in the Paint, and submitting it to beta readers, editor, etc. Publishing it via Blood Read Press
  4. Starting the second full-length novel in the series (and the research for it!)
  5. A much deserved SPA DAY and a VACATION!

I just want to get all sappy for a moment and thank everyone for following me here, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. For being interested in me and my silly dream. For asking about my books. For laughing at my bookstore horror stories. I value your encouragement in same way I value cute kittens, funny-looking chickens, and anything made of chocolate. Happy New Year!

A Bit of Naughty Marketing, Anyone?

No, I don’t mean “naughty” like I went to a nude beach and read from my WIP with a bull horn. But on the morning we left the vacation house (this is the absolute last time I’m going to mention my vacation, promise), we scoured each room on each floor for our belongings and a lightbulb went off in my head. Keep reading.

When we first arrived, we investigated all the nooks and crannies. Drawers, closets, cabinets, etc. Other renter-people will probably go through the same rigmarole. Add to this the fact that I have to get rid of my current stock of business cards (so I can order new and improved ones) and VOILA! Instant Hide-a-Card game. I pulled the stack of cards from my purse and proceeded to put one in each of the previously mentioned drawers, closets, and cabinets. I put one between the plates in the kitchen. One on the glasses rack of the wet bar. One in the DVD player. Yep, right in the drawer. One in the tissue box in the bathroom. And one in a framed picture of a starfish that had the same color scheme as my business card, allowing it to blend in, but not really. Subliminal marketing. That’s right. Be impressed.

The experience has left my mind overwhelmed with possibilities! I work in a bookstore. I can stick my business cards in all the books within my genre! I can stick my cards in Snooki’s book because obviously the reader doesn’t know what she’s doing when it comes to choosing decent reading material! Oh my stars, there’s even an email list on the counter next to the register that just screams to be a part of my planned press release! The sky’s the limit!

Speaking of the sky, would it be too much to hire a sky-writer who also rains my business cards down on the world from above?

This obviously has nothing to do with my novel, but I figure it’ll grab people’s attention. (image courtesy of

Anyway, anyone else have any naughty marketing ideas, regardless of how inappropriate?

Jerks & Irks XXII:: I Just Suck. Plain & Simple

About eight of you know that I was on vacation last week. At least that’s how many people seemed to care enough to read my blog posts. I’m not bitter or anything, I actually expected it. This is a writing blog. No one really wants to hear about my incessant search for wild horses or my mad, crazy sport fishing skills. What you do want to hear about, er, read about, is my writing. My journey, if you will, to self-publishing my first novel.

Did I adhere to the spirit of my journey while on vacation, you ask?

<Cue the long pause>

<Cue the crickets>

<Cue me pretending my phone is ringing in the other room>

Okay, I admittedly did not adhere to the spirit of my journey while on vacation.

When I packed, the spirit was definitely there. I brought the laptop, both notebooks, two writing books to hone my craft while on the beach, and one of my five thesauruses. See? Oodles of spirit. But I just didn’t do anything with it. I barely even checked my emails for heaven’s sake! I didn’t really tweet or post to Facebook. For the love of Pete all I did was blog about wild horses, lighthouses, and fishing. I’m such a jerk.

The only thing I managed to do was finish reading the book an author asked me to review. That’s it. I suck. Irksome, to say the least.  Therefore, the Jerks & Irks crown shall sit prominently upon my head like a dunce cap until next Monday.


Vacay Day 7


”If you give your wife a fish, she’ll eat for a day. If you teach your wife to fish, she’ll utterly demolish you in number of fish caught for the day.” And so went our last day of vacation in the lovely Outer Banks of North Carolina. We rented equipment and Hubby-pants taught me to fish off of Avon Pier. I caught a fish with my first cast-out. A few minutes later I caught two on the same line. All said and done I reeled in THIRTEEN FISH!! And I hooked two others that flopped off the line before I could fully reel them up. C’est la vie, haha. (Hubby-pants did catch some, six I think. I was too busy counting my own, tee hee.) As for writing, epic fail as the oft-overused saying goes. Tomorrow will resume our regularly scheduled blog programming. Thank you to everyone who hung in there for seven days of non-writing/reading-related posts. 🙂