My CREEP cover art ROCKS!

But no, I can't show it to you just yet.  (Yes, I'm a tease.)  I'm still waiting on word as to whether the cover is 100% official, and I definitely don't want to jinx it, or scare it away, because I'm so in love with it already.  It really is perfect.  It's like the graphic designer/book cover designer/Genius Artist Person reached into my head and pulled out all the elements I've been dreaming about, but that I never in a million years would have known how to articulate into a graphic image.

Genius Artist Person, whoever you are, wherever you are:  THANK YOU.  You nailed it.  I hope I get to keep it.

In other exciting news, my typeset pages arrived earlier this week from Simon & Schuster in a huge padded envelope.  They're very pretty, and very... thick.  I have to read the whole manuscript over again and this time around, make corrections by hand in some kind of colored ink (as per the instructions).  I have till February 2nd to complete this.

I've lost count of how many times I've read my own book. Yes, it's exciting, but sometimes I forget that it's also work.  (Very, very fulfilling work!)

Speaking of which, how many times have you read your book?

Coffee is the devil

I just had my first cup of coffee in almost two months.  OHMYGOD was it ever good.

I've been trying really hard to cut the crap from my diet.  It really isn't a New Year's Resolution, since I started doing this in November, and for the most part I've managed to eliminate all forms of junk food (chocolate is NOT a junk food, by the way).  In between my vacation to Mexico and my Christmas holidays in Toronto last month, I went on a very strict detox, and while it was hell (a two-week hell that I would never wish on anyone), I came out with a much clearer head, softer skin, and a few less pounds.  Best part of all, my cravings – even for chocolate, which (did I already mention this?) is NOT a junk food – were eliminated.

BUT!  And there is a but.  I miss coffee.  I don't crave coffee, but I miss the taste and I miss the warmth and I miss all the creamery goodness (I don't drink it black) because I used to always drink it WHILE WRITING.  And now that I'm back to work on my book, it's hard to be tapping away at the keyboard only to reach for the mug of coffee that no longer sits on my desk.

I switched to green tea.  But it's So Not The Same Thing.  And the writing has pretty much been a struggle since the new year.

So today, I indulged and had a cup of coffee.  And had the BEST writing session I've had in a long time.  *sigh*  Knew that would happen.

What about you?  What do you need to fuel your writing?

It's been an award-winning weekend!

And not just because of the Golden Globes last night!  (Did you watch?  I was thrilled to see The Social Network win for Best Picture (Drama).  I love that movie.)

Big thanks to Kelly Dexter at Nerdville Rhapsody for awarding me the Stylish Blogger Award.  Thanks, Kelly!


And also a big thanks to Jennie Bailey at Garden Full of Lily for the Making Smiles on Faces Award!  Can you see me smiling?  Cuz I'm smiling!

Part of the criteria for accepting the Stylish Blogger Award is that I have to tell you seven things about myself.  Gee, what do you guys NOT already know about me?  I'm not that good at keeping things to myself.  Anyway, here goes:

1.  I've been dyeing my hair since I was 15.  I've been a redhead, a caramel blonde, and every shade of brunette.

2.  I'm allergic to peanuts.

3.  I can't write unless my office is neat and organized.

4.  I like it quiet in the mornings.  That means no TV, no music, and God forbid, no talk radio.

5.  I have three nephews, four nieces, and three godchildren.

6.  I love horror movies, but I can't watch them without cringing behind a pillow or a blanket (or somebody's arm).

7.   I believe it's totally possible to reinvent oneself (I pretty much did, when I think about the kind of life I had four years ago compared to now).

I'd like to pass on the Stylish Blogger Award to:
Marsha Sigman at Marsha's Musings
JB Lynn at Confessions of a Crime Writer
Joann Swanson at It's Dark, Dark in Here
Adam Purple at Writer, Not
Milo James Fowler at in media res
Julie Geistfeld at GeistWrite

As for the Making Smiles on Faces Award, I give that to everyone reading this blog right now.  You guys rock, which is why I refuse to quit stalking you guys.  Seriously, you guys are what makes this journey so worthwhile.

How did you get here?

I got this wonderful idea from Colene Murphy's post last Friday.  I've always wondered how new people find my blog.  And what d'ya know, Google Analytics (which I set up on my account ages ago) can tell me exactly what people typed into their search engines to get to me.  (I forgot I could do this.  I never check my stats.)

It seems most of my random traffic comes from people Googling my name (there are several Jennifer Hilliers I know of), or Googling Simon & Schuster (but interestingly, not my imprint, Gallery Books), or Googling my agent's name.

But mixed in with the obvious is the unexpected, so without further ado, may I present a list of The Most Interesting Keywords/Phrases That Might Have Led You To My Blog:

10.  "top ten biggest fears" 
Yikes.  Do I talk about fear a lot? 

9.  "just kill me"
I feel you, buddy.  You must be a writer in Query Hell or on submission, or just totally hating your WIP.

8.  "leather pants"
Whatever you were searching for, I'm sure it wasn't my discovery that cameltoe is one word.

7.  "pet peeves"
Um, so, yeah.  Guess I do have a lot of pet peeves.  Listed here, here, and here

6.  "the monster you should smell like"
You would have found this post where Grover mimics the Old Spice Guy. I heart Grover!  And I heart the Old Spice Guy!

5.  "things that bug me about bloggers"
Dude.  That's mean.  Bloggers are lovely people.  Usually.

4.  "how about a little nookie?"
So?  How about it?
Kidding.  Though I'm sure you were disappointed when you clicked on this really old post only to find me pondering a purchase of a Barnes & Noble Nook.  BORING.

3.  "art of compartmentalizing"
Ah, this post.  Can't remember what I was bitching about, but I'm still working on that whole compartmentalization thing.

2.  "porno jenny"
Um, nobody's supposed to know about my nickname.

1.  "what stage is after the first draft?"
I'm so glad you Googled this, because it's a little-known secret that what comes after the first draft is the FOURTH draft.  There is no second or third.  Yes, it's just as you suspected!

Do you know how people find you?

Yes, we have lift off.

The WIP is indeed Shitty, but at least I'm starting to figure out why (or should I say where) it's Shitty, so I can fix it.

I plan for it to be Not So Shitty by the end of March.

That's all I wanted to say.

How YOU doin'?

I'm not panicking. Really.

On my desk sits:

One printed 368-page manuscript.

One 17-page detailed outline.

One 2-page outline summary.

One 2-page list of possible revisions.

Oh, I was so wonderfully organized when I wrapped up the first draft a little over six weeks ago.  So detailed.  So thorough.

All the good it did me.  I don't remember a frigging thing!  It's like I'm reading somebody else's work entirely.  How is it possible that so much of the story could have fallen out of my head in a mere six weeks?

Which I suppose is the point of stepping away from it and coming back to it later with fresh eyes.  The problem is, my eyes are too fresh.  And all I can see is one Big Fat Ugly First Draft.  The fact that it's organized does not help one bit.  No sir.  Not one bit.

Don't panic.  Don't panic.  Don't panic.

Happy freaking new year

I survived the holidays.

I had a whirlwind trip home to Toronto, complete with three separate Christmas dinners, lots of gift exchanges, a fair amount of red wine consumption, a lot of driving (but not while the wine was being consumed) and a whole lot of laughing, teasing, nitpicking, and bitching.


But I also love coming back to the Northwest.  I love the quiet and the stillness after all that noise and commotion.  I can write here.  I can barely think there.

And speaking of writing, my six-week marinate for the new book officially ends today.  GAH.  Ask me if I'm ready to tackle revisions.  Go ahead, ask me.  I had such a hard time unwinding in December, but now, I'm so relaxed I'm a puddle.  It's going to be hell getting back into work mode.

I did, however, manage to get my first draft printed off at Kinko's.  Time to bust out the purple pen (draft #2 is always done on paper) and start restructuring!  In about a month, this draft won't even be recognizable.  Hopefully.  Because it really needs to go from Shitty to Not So Shitty.

Oh, and I did finally come up with a working title as I was finishing the draft back in November:  ANGEL FACE.  We'll see if it sticks.