I’ve Missed My Voice

Why begin blogging again? Why talk now?

It’s selfish really.

I’ve felt increasingly disconnected from women, and myself. I’ve become silent in the wrong ways, contained when I’d benefit from sharing, shut down when what I crave most is community.

It’s hurt me emotionally, and it’s hurt me spiritually, and this isolation has spilled into my work making writing harder and harder because I can’t find words anymore. I’ve spent so much of the past 7 years buttoning myself down, gritting my teeth, holding tightly to faith and sheer will power that I feel as if I’m slowly turning to stone. My silence has created more silence, and the silence and grinding of teeth, and clamping of jaw, and holding all those feelings—shame, pain, loneliness, guilt, and yet more shame–in, to the point that when I sit to write, there is just silence inside of me. A hollow emptiness like white noise.

I’ve lost the comfort of words. I’ve lost language and accessible emotion, which makes writing brutal. Lately I stare at my computer screen, fingers hovering over keyboard, and wonder where I’ve gone. Wonder what’s happened to me. In my desire to ‘be strong’, I’ve calcified. Flesh to stone. Heart to hard. Even trying to write 1st person romance, or women’s fiction, is a battle. Nothing is natural anymore; everything feels forced. I try to write and am left with yet more shame and a pervasive sense of failure.

I see other writers writing….and some of them are writing a lot. I see debut authors with new books, and pretty covers being shared all over social media. It’s not that I don’t write at all, but I don’t write enough for my head, and the stories I still want to tell. I don’t write with enough ease to feel, well, legitimate. Thus, the sense of failure. Maybe I’m not a writer anymore.

How many books are required to be a real writer?

What is real anyway?

I know my family is real. I know my house and my 4 boys, and our 3 dogs, and rabbit, and gecko and pond of koi fish….that’s all real. So are the raccoons eating our grapes every night, and the skunks wandering through, wondering why the raccoons have moved into our yard.

The skateboards and surfboards leaning against walls are real.

The beach towels, and endless laundry—real.

The meals cooked, and the boys to be hugged, real.

Maybe it’s just me, and the career, that no longer feels real. But my voice isn’t gone, not completely.

And the people that matter, they are still here. Not just my boys, and my friends and family, but you. You’re still here with me on this crazy demanding unpredictable thing called life. And maybe that’s the most important thing—not the awards, or the sales– but the connection. The community. The sense of belonging. I need connection….to myself, and to you. I need to be honest and say that since moving to So Cal from Bellevue, I’ve spent a lot of years trying to come to terms with age, and change. Life can be disappointing. Things happen. Plans derail. Families can hurt. We lose people we love. It’s not easy being resilient. It’s not easy being human.

Maybe the best way to move forward is to be open. And maybe the best way to find my voice, is to use it. Maybe through talking to you, and sharing all the things I’ve bottled up will ease some of the fear and shame, and create change.

I’d like to be more hopeful.

I’d like to be more creative.

I’d like to believe anything is possible again…and not just for others, but for me. I believe so much in my people, other people, but I’ve lost faith in me, and that’s the thing I need to work on.

So, love to you. Thank you for being in my world. In case you didn’t catch it—I need you. I value you. Let’s get through this life by being open, and hopeful, together.

xo

Mom Confession

I really thought parenting would get easier as the boys got older. I figured they’d need me less, and I’d be glad to see them out in the world, doing their thing.

And some of that is true, but there is a whole lot of gray area in there where its just murky, and confusing, and as both Jake and Ty head to new colleges next Thursday (Jake to Chapman as a junior and a history major, and Ty to Occidental as a sophomore and music production major) I am struggling with the reality of….me.

I like having them home. I like feeding them (okay, being a short order cook every morning can get old, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t get something out of it). I like having a sense of purpose. I simply like them.

Helping them ‘launch’ has been bumpy and fraught with error. We’ve had numerous shifts and adjustments, and there have been a few more college transitions than I expected. I’ve doubted myself more times than I care to admit, but I never doubt them because it’s my job to keep the faith…for them, and myself. Faith is sometimes all I’ve had when we’re in the middle of another shoots and ladders moment that sends you sliding all the way back to start.

But that’s not the confession.

The confession is that I struggle in the letting go. I struggle as they leave, and I worry that my love for them, and my bond, is what has made it hard for them to go. I worry that my (over?) attachment hinders their emotional and psychological independence. I worry that I am simply too dependent on them for love, and friendship, and conversation.

Clearly I need to do more with women my age.

And possibly get some helpful therapy.

So this is where I am, and what I think about, when I’m supposed to be writing and accomplishing things. I don’t really accomplish as much as I used to…or do I, but its just a different kind of accomplishment?

So now you’re all caught up. Well, maybe not completely, because I’m going to start blogging again and just chat with you about real stuff and I hope you’ll feel like chatting back.

xo

Jane

New Release: Not Christmas Without You

If you’ve been one of my readers for awhile, you know I love the holidays so it’s no wonder I’ve written my sixth Christmas romance for Tule Publishing, with Not Christmas Without You out today! Not Christmas Without you is book four in my Love on Chance Avenue series. featuring Charity Wright (you may remember Charity from Amanda and Tyler’s story in Take a Chance On Me) and I hope you enjoy watching Charity fall in love with Quinn Douglas!

This is a sweet, small town romance set in Marietta, Montana, and it brings together two families you’ve been reading about in quite a few of my books. You can purchase Not Christmas Without You at any of these vendors:

Tule Bookstore | Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | B&N | Kobo | GooglePlay

I love connecting with my readers all year round, and one of my favorite places to chat is my Facebook Group Author Jane Porter’s Friends and Fans. If you aren’t already a member, please join us as we talk about books and holidays and just keeping each other company. (Plus I always have fun giveaways every month just for my friends in this group so it’s a great way to win books and reader treats too!)

And speaking of talking books, I’ll have a new Harlequin Presents out mid-January. If my sensual, emotional Harlequins are your thing, keep an eye out for The Prince’s Scandalous Wedding Vow where you’ll meet a deliciously passionate prince, heir to the throne of Aargau and his sweet scientist, Josephine who is utterly captivated by his devastating good looks and charm. I’ll be sharing more about them later on my website so stay tuned.

I’m so excited about my new story, and you can buy it now in both ebook form, and print (head to Amazon for the print edition!), and to celebrate the new release, I have a wonderful holiday giveaway for one lucky winner. For a chance to win, please leave a comment below and tell me what’s your favorite part about the holidays and you’ll be entered a box packed with these fun Christmas reads and treats!

 

My New Harlequin Presents!

My new Harlequin Presents, Kidnapped For His Royal Duty, holds a special place in my heart because it’s the first book in a duet written with my close friend, Megan Crane, (writing as Caitlin Crews).  Megan and I decided wanted to attend Sharon Kendrick’s 100th Book Party in London late November 2016, and so we headed to England just after Thanksgiving for a week of travel and adventure.

Look for Kidnapped For His Royal Duty at these online retailers:
AMAZON | iBOOKS | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY | BARNES & NOBLE

While in England we met up with Harlequin Presents author friends like Sharon Kendrick, Kate Hewitt, Maya Blake, and Heidi Rice, as well as explore Bath and Winchester, and visit the Mills & Boon office.  Mills & Boon editorial welcomed us to the office with some champagne and then Presents Senior Editor, Flo Nichols, and our editor, Megan Haslam, took us to the most amazing afternoon holiday tea at Claridges.

The tea was incredible.  The atmosphere elegant and festive.  And the company?  Well, that was perfect.  During the tea someone suggested Megan and I write something together.  I’m not sure if it was Flo or Megan, but it sounded fun, and when Megan Crane and I returned to our hotel room, we began discussing what we’d write, and how we’d each write what we did best, and our duet was born.

It’s been 18 months since that delightful, unforgettable tea and now we have the release of my book, Kidnapped For His Royal Duty, as proof that Megan and I really do work when we’re traveling and ‘playing’.  Now I’m just trying to convince her that another trip is in order for more brainstorming and more delicious Harlequin Presents!

In celebration of my new book, I have a fun Harlequin Presents giveaway for one lucky reader! For a chance to win, leave a comment below, tell me if you’ve got a good friend you plan fun projects or travel with or just tell me what’s happening with you this month! Winner announced on Saturday!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I have enjoyed spending time with my boys this past month, and I feel very lucky to have three amazing sons and a loving husband who is the very definition of alpha, but also ‘fun’.

To celebrate all women, from our mothers to our sisters and friends, please tell me something about one of the special women in your life and you’ll automatically be entered to win this Mothers Day giveaway!

The winner will be chosen Wednesday morning. (fingers crossed it will be you!)

Have a fantastic Mother’s Day weekend, and lots of love from me to you!
Jane

RITA Nominations!

I was so thrilled last month to get the call that the second book in my Love On Chance Avenue series, Miracle On Chance Avenue has been nominated for a RITA Award. I’m honored to be in the incredible company of eight talented authors. I’m aiming to read them all before I attend conference this summer!

To celebrate my nomination, I’ve got a fun giveaway for you. Five winners will each receive two books from one of these RITA finalists! For a chance to win, leave a comment below and let me know if you’ve read any of these titles/authors! Contest ends Thursday.

Author Spotlight: Audrey Wick

I’m on a research trip in Texas at the moment but so excited about some of the new books Tule Publishing has been releasing, I thought it would be fun to shine a spotlight on the authors.

Please join me in welcoming my first guest, Audrey Wick! Audrey’s book, Finding True North, book one in the Texas Sisters series, is available this week at your favorite online retailer.

So happy to have you with us, Audrey!

Hi, Jane! It’s a pleasure to chat with you this week, especially while you’re on the road researching sites in Texas for Tule Publishing. Your destination is not far from where my characters are in book one of Tule’s new Texas Sisters series.

Finding True North takes readers into the heart of the state, and I’m excited to share not only my debut with readers but also share a little behind-the-scenes peek regarding me as a writer.

So let’s start with some questions!

How do you select names for your characters?

Name selection is a lot of fun, but my general rule is to make the heroine and hero have names that sound different. In the first full-length manuscript I wrote, both originally had two-syllable “H” names. A literary agent told me this bothered her and asked if I would be willing to change them. Now, I typically write heroine and hero names that start with different letters but which also have a different number of syllables for variety’s sake.

What do you think about when you’re alone in the car?

I have a small commute into work (I teach English classes at a local college), so I sometimes plan a lecture I’ll be giving that day. Outside of the work week, I’ll use time in the car to visualize characters or develop plot points in a novel. However, other times I just turn up the clearest radio station signal and hum along.

What was the last gift you gave someone?

I was visiting a college friend out of state who works in an accounting department. I wanted to bring her a fun surprise and found scented sticky notes shaped like cookies at a T.J. Maxx. No kidding! My friend adored them and says she can’t help but smile every time she sees—and smells!—them.

You’re a new addition to a crayon box. What color would you be and why?

I remember with such clarity that my two favorite colors from my box of 64 Crayolas as a kid were midnight blue and goldenrod. (Funny how that’s an actual memory for me . . . ) So could a new addition be midnight goldenrod? I’d like to see that hue!

What’s the last thing you watched on TV, and why did you choose to watch it?

Comedy Central has been airing The Office in syndication, so it’s easy to catch a 30-minute episode late in the evening or on the weekend. The antics at Dunder Mifflin never fail to make me laugh. Sometimes, a quick escape like this can be just what I need.

Thank you, Jane, for the chat. As always, it’s a pleasure to do so!

**********************

Audrey Wick is a full-time English professor at Blinn College in Texas. Her writing has appeared in college textbooks published by Cengage Learning and W. W. Norton as well as in The Houston ChronicleThe Chicago TribuneThe Orlando Sentinel, and various literary journals. Audrey believes the secret to happiness includes lifelong learning and good stories. But travel and coffee help. She has journeyed to over twenty countries—and sipped coffee at every one.

Look for Finding True North here :
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Thank you, Audrey, for your time and for sharing with us! Readers, I hope you’ll look for Audrey’s book online and give her a shout-out on social media! To wrap up, I have a fun mystery prize for one of you. For a chance to win some goodies, leave a comment below and tell me what you’re reading this weekend – or plan to read soon. Contest ends Monday.

Release Day! Take A Chance On Me

It’s finally here! Release day for the third book in my Love On Chance Avenue series, Take A Chance on Me is Today and I couldn’t be more excited!

This is a very sweet story set right in downtown Marietta, Montana featuring one of my favorite secondary characters ever, eighty year old, Bette Justice, better known as “Gram”.  I adored her and hope you will love her, and Amanda Wright and Tyler Justice, too! The book is available now at all major online retailers in digital and soon, in print too so be sure to order your copy today!

Look for Take A Chance On Me here:
AMAZON | iBOOKS | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY | B&N NOOK

In one of the opening scenes of Take A Chance On Me, Bette brings salads to The Wright Salon for lunch with Amanda, and I love a great salad, too.  I’m sharing one of my favorites, Chicken & Apple Salad, that I found on The Recipe Critic’s website.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces lettuce mix (recipe called for Spring mix, but I like romaine and bibb or butter lettuce!)
  • 2-3 small apples sliced
  • ⅓ cup roasted pecans
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup crumbled bleu cheese (I use feta as I’m not a blue cheese fan)
  • Cooked and diced seasoned chicken (buy cooked Rotissiere if you don’t have team to cook your own)
  • 1 lemon

Dressing

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and roast or candy the pecans. Place lettuce in a large salad bowl, top with the pecans, cranberries, bleu cheese and chicken. Thinly slice apples,  toss with lemon juice and add to salad bowl. For the dressing, finely mince garlic and shallots and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Toss with salad just before serving and Enjoy!

To celebrate my new release, I’ve got a fun prize to giveaway! For a chance to win, share  the above book graphic on your social media page and then leave a comment below to let me know where/how you shared it. Alternatively, if you’re subscribed to my newsletter, you can share the newsletter on social media or forward it to a friend and that will get you entered to win too! Contest ends March 20th.

Thank you so much for helping me get the word out about Take A Chance On Me. I hope you enjoy Amanda and Tyler’s story and would love to hear your thoughts once you’ve had a chance to read it. Drop me a line by email or on Facebook – or just talk to me here on my blog. You know I love hearing from you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Next week is Valentine’s Day and my birthday and as soon as I get this book turned in, I’m going to dive in to the stack of books piled on the corner of my desk.  I think you know how much I love historical romances, and I’m trying to decide what to read first–Loretta Chase’s newest, A Duke in Shining Armor, or Laura Lee Guhrke’s The Trouble With True Love?  (And these are the best decisions to make!)

I have two new releases coming up: Take A Chance On Me, the third book in my Love on Chance Avenue series, and my late May Harlequin Presents, Kidnapped For His Royal Duty. They’re both up for pre-order, and Take A Chance On Me has a new excerpt if you want a sneak peek at the story.

In other news, I’ll be heading to Paris in May, Dallas in June, Denver in July, and Sydney in Australia. Details for the reader events are available on my Events page for May and June, and if you are in the Greater Dallas area, and think you can join the wonderful Boas & Tiara tea in June, I’d love to see you. I’ll have more details for the summer events up soon so do check back!

I hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with love and all things wonderful, and to share some Valentine love, I have a sweet treat for one of you! Leave a comment below, tell me if you have any fun plans for Valentine’s Day or just tell me what you’re planning to read next and you’ll be entered to win!

 

Take A Chance On Me – Excerpt!

Book three in my Love on Chance Avenue series, Take A Chance On Me is scheduled for release on March 15th and I’m so excited!

If you’re a long-time reader of my books, you know visual boards are key for any story I write and I’ve had so much fun putting together a board on Pinterest for this book.

 

If you like what you see, I hope you’ll drop by my pinterest page and check out the board for more fun photo inspirations I had! The excerpt for Take A Chance On Me is now live on my site so do take a peek at it and feel free to use the share buttons on the excerpt page to help me get the word out on social media.

I have a special Love on Chance Avenue giveaway that includes a signed copy of Take Me, Cowboy and Miracle on Chance Avenue, plus lots of JP reader treats! Looking forward to hearing what you think!