Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hasta La Vista Real Life!! I'll Be Back... (Very Terminator-esque of me, huh?)

Okay folks, here's your advanced notice:

I'm going to wholeheartedly attempt to retreat into MY world and leave ours behind until I finish writing a large handfull of scenes in book 4 of the Grab Your Pole series which absolutely MUST be done before I can edit and publish book 2, The Other Fish in the Sea. For those who knew me pre-publishing, you all know what this means. For those who don't, well...it means I have to go off the grid and fully submerge myself in my stories and the characters to get any kind of decent
 writing done. So, if you need to reach me, phone and email is your best bet—in that order.

Also, like several other people, I haven't been getting all of my FB notifications or all of my PMs so if you've messaged me something and haven't heard back, that's why. Not only that, but my mobile Twitter notifications have been for the most part completely absent and I don't have the wherewithal at the moment to try to figure out what the issue is there. Basically, if you've tweeted or messaged me and/or need to get in touch with me, try calling/texting or emailing me instead.

Additionally, I have a horrifically bad memory and I'm easily shiny objected so if I've committed something to you, please feel free to pester me incessantly because if you don't remind me, chances are I'll completely forget. True story.

Email: contactjenncooksey@gmail.com and if you don't already have my cell and need it, email me at the above address!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Drumroll, please......



And The WINNERS Are....


The Bookish Brunette — emanuela — claimed!

I Love YA Fiction — Lisa Whitney McMullen — claimed!

Little Read Ridinghood  — Heather King — claimed!

Literary Exploration — Tee — claimed!

Sliced Open Reviews — Kristie Donelson — claimed!

Forget the Housework, I'm Reading — Dana Mason — claimed!

Insightful Minds Reviews — Crystal Craig — claimed!

Just a Girl Geek — Maria Malaveci — claimed!

For Love & Books — Tara Overby — claimed!

The Autumn Review  — Ellen Gault — claimed!

The Indie Bookshelf — Jean Martinez — claimed!

TotallyBooked — Janet W. — claimed!

I'm a Book Shark — Fiery Na — claimed!

And finally, the Grand Prize winner in the Finale & Scavenger Hunt for the Ultimate Shark Bait Swag Bag


Jessica Synarski


Oh, and in case you missed out on the scavenger hunt or simply didn't partake, the Senior Standout I was awarded was indeed, Least Likely To Be Seen In Class. Like I said before, my mom was so proud of me...

Congratulations to all the winners and to every single one of you who participated, THANK YOU!!! I hope you all had as much fun as I did and for those of you who didn't win this time, keep your ears open and your eyes peeled next month for another chance to win all kinds of prizes in an event that is no doubt going to be AMAZING!!

Now for the fine print... Winners have been announced and notification emails have been sent alerting all winners that they need to respond within 24 hours to claim the prizes won. SO, if your name is on the above list, check your email and and reply back today or another winner will be chosen!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Shark Bait Back to School Blog Hop FINALE


WHEW! We made it!!
Welcome to the final stop and finale of my first-ever blog hop and online book tour!

I can't tell you all how much I've appreciated you joining me on this crazy journey of mine and to all the bloggers who've been on the tour, seriously you guys, I don't have the words. This experience has been like none other and not only have I conquered some personal fears (Video interviewing? Like you really have no idea how bat-shit crazy scared I was to do that...), but I've also met some of the most KICKASS people along the way! In addition to that, some of the feedback I've directly heard and *ahem* indirectly heard (yeah, I'll admit I occasionally eavesdrop on Twitter and Goodreads if time permits) has absolutely FLOORED me. For instance, one reader actually put Shark Bait in the same company as Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. And to prove I'm not making this shit up, here's a screenshot:


Seriously, OMG. I'm freaking FLOORED. I'm incredibly humbled as well...I mean I honestly don't know that I deserve such high praise, but just to even be mentioned in the same breath—er...sentence—as those stellar works is nothing short of jaw dropping and of course induces my eyes to leak. 

In short, all of you...family, friends, bloggers, readers...simply ALL of you have rocked my face off these past few weeks with your interest, kind words, support, invaluable help, and belief in my work and I cannot thank you enough for participating, spreading the word, and making the Shark Bait Back to School Blog Hop the success that it's been!!

As the theme of this blog hop is "Back to School" and since I include the actual high school I went to in Shark Bait, I thought it would be fun for you guys to get a little insight on why Grossmont is flippin' awesome as well as giving you all more of a mental image of the school and where some of the scenes in the GYP series actually take place.

So come on, come back to school with me...

Yeah, that's me; front and center amongst some friends senior year.

So every time I'm sitting in a school booster meeting, I find myself reminiscing and lamenting the fact that we no longer live in San Diego and thus my girls don't go to Grossmont. 

Why? Because Grossmont has unparalled school spirit and not only do the students know the meaning of fun, but the staff and administration does as well. I mean how many high schools have YOU ever heard of that hold an annual Donkey Basketball game?! Yeah. Donkey-freaking-Basketball. And it's not like it was played outside or anything either. Oh no...GHS doesn't screw around when it comes to sports, no matter how inane the event might be. They brought the damned donkeys into the flippin' Old Gym (where assemblies have been held ever since the "New Gym" was built)!  


Speaking of sports, Grossmont's sports program has 27 athletic teams that participate in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) every single year. TWENTY-SEVEN, folks! And that doesn't even encapsulate all the other sporting teams, clubs, or the myriad extracurricular opportunities that Grossmont offers to its students. 

And not only do the students of GHS play hard for their school, they shred off campus as well... Granted, this picture is actually of a classmate of mine from 1989, but it's not like Grossmont's students stopped surfing just because I left the state and I'm not around to take a current picture, you know what I mean?

And now after seeing an albeit aged picture of the kind of guys I went to school with, can you understand why I chose to write about surfers/swimmers/water polo players? No? Well here's another example... Now he wasn't my favorite person in the world; in fact he and I had an understanding. 
I thought he was an arrogant son of a bitch and he agreed with that character evaluation. So, we just stayed clear of each other, which made the
Team Sports class we had together tricky, but whatever, the guy was a freaking All American athlete in water sports which sort of gives him the right to be arrogant and if not that, it certainly demands due respect. Not to mention LOOK at his arms!! *SWOON*

Okay, so now that you've heard a little bit about the fantabulous school most of the main characters in the GYP series go to, how about a little tour of the campus? If you're the kind of reader who prefers to let your imagination take over, feel free to skip this video, but if you'd like to actually see Grossmont and some of the real places on campus where some of the events in Shark Bait took place, join me on a virtual tour and read some excerpts from the book!





Mmhmm... You'll have to forgive all the ruffles. I mean it was the '80s. 
So, as much as I love my high school, I really wasn't the best student and wasn't all that fond of going to school... I mean I had great friends, I was somewhat involved, I went to all the formal dances (I even had a date to each one!) and my senior prom (I had um...more than 1 date for that, but that's a long story...), and I did manage to graduate, but honestly, matriculation wasn't always at the top of my priority list, if you know what I mean. In fact, I received an award in chemistry my junior year... "Most Likely to Know LESS About Chemistry at the End of the Year than at the Beginning" Yeah, my mom was so proud...
I know it's a lousy picture, but my yearbook is too big to actually scan for a decent shot.
Anyhow, this was my senior class... I'm right in front in the 2nd row on the right hand side,
right behind the sign that says "Have A Day" and I'm wearing a green and black shirt.
                                                                              But, I did eventually graduate and this is what I looked like when I did. You know how people sometimes look like animals? Well I think I look like a lop-eared bunny in my senior picture... I guess it kind of fits, though, seeing as how I drove a convertible VW Rabbit that had a personalized plate that read: IMABUNY. Don't ask...I don't know what I was thinking either...  *sigh*

As I said, I wasn't the best student and I even won some awards for my tremendous lack of scholastic achievement, but I was damned proud to have been nominated by my classmates at the end of our senior year for something called a Senior Standout—it's a prestigious award and mighty high honor as the recipients are voted for by their peers. Senior Standouts included things like Best Dressed, Most Talented, Prettiest Eyes, Class Clown and so on...

In case you can't read the caption on the yearbook, it says: Senior Senate Presents Senior Standouts
And now for the moment you've all been waiting for! It's GIVEAWAY time!! For the past two weeks, you all have been hopping from blog to AMAZING blog collecting letters on a scavenger hunt in order to enter for a shot at winning "The Ultimate Shark Bait Swag Bag," and now, the time has come for you to put them all together to answer this question: 

What Senior Standout was I awarded?

You should have a total of 26 letters, which will make 7 words and the title of my Senior Standout, which you will input into the Rafflecopter widget below. DO NOT put your answer in the comments section as they will be deleted posthaste and you will not be properly entered in the giveaway!! If you're a latecomer or missed a stop or two, you'll find the complete, linked schedule of the hop right under the Rafflecopter widget. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or email me, but please, for the love of dear Jesus up in heaven, DON'T spoil the fun and put the scavenger hunt answer in a comment!!

Grand prize includes an autographed copy of Shark Bait, a Shark Bait acrylic tumbler, a refrigerator whiteboard, a bookmark, a bookish rubber ducky, a shark paddleball game, and it all comes to you in a Shark Bait drawstring backpack!
*Backpack may vary by color and rubber ducky may vary by "genre"*

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Hop Schedule


The Bookish Brunette — Stop #1 — 2 Letters

I Love YA Fiction — Stop #2 — 2 Letters

Little Read Ridinghood  — Stop #3 — 1 Letter

Literary Exploration — Stop #4 — 1 Letter

Sliced Open Reviews — Stop #5 — 2 Letters

Forget the Housework, I'm Reading — Stop #6 — 1 Letter

Insightful Minds Reviews — Stop #7 — 2 Letters

Just a Girl Geek — Stop #8 — 1 Letter

For Love & Books — Stop #9 — 2 Letters

The Autumn Review  — Stop #10 — 2 Letters

Hackaroo's Reviews — Stop #11 — 2 Letters

The Indie Bookshelf — Stop #12 — 2 Letters

TotallyBooked — Stop #13 — 2 Letters

I'm a Book Shark — Stop #14 — 2 Letters

Right Here! — 15th & Final Stop — 1 Letter

——Note about the highlighted letters for the scavenger hunt——
Depending how the blogger does it, you'll be looking for something like this: or z, not to mention that I think TotallyBooked might've highlighted two entire words, so if you're stumped on that, use the first letter of each highlighted word. Also, the highlighting color may vary from blog to blog so just a heads up. ;-)



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Shark Bait Back to School Blog Hop — Schedule & Grand Prize Details


From September 10th thru the 21st, 14 kickass book blogs will be participating in my Shark Bait Back to School Blog Hop. Each stop will be hosting an individual giveaway of an e-book copy of Shark Bait in the winner's preferred format as well a little piece of Shark Bait swag. However, on the last day of the hop—September 21st—I will be hosting my own stop on the hop and there will you be able to enter for a shot at one GRAND PRIZE—The Ultimate Shark Bait Swag Bag!!

Grand prize includes an autographed copy of Shark Bait, a Shark Bait acrylic tumbler, a refrigerator whiteboard, a bookmark, a bookish rubber ducky, a shark paddleball game, and it all comes to you in a Shark Bait drawstring backpack!
*Backpack may vary by color and rubber ducky may vary by "genre"*
To enter the grand prize drawing, you will be completing a SCAVENGER HUNT!! You MUST travel to each stop on the blog hop in order of posting date to collect highlighted letters that will eventually spell out the answer to the question I will be asking on the final day of the hop. So! Make a note of the schedule below and be sure to travel to every blog and jot down the highlighted letters you find! On September 21st, I will post what is sure to be a very entertaining and informative (shhh...quit your sarcastic snickering and scoffing now—I'm trying to delude myself) blogpost that will include how many letters you should have, how many words, and the question that the phrase will answer. You will write your answer in the Rafflecopter widget that will be on the post as well. DO NOT put your answer in the comments section!! That will ruin everyone else's fun and you won't be properly entered in the giveaway. Please note that if you win, I will need your email address to notify you, so you should probably include that in your answer as well—just to be safe. I promise I won't spam you with any of my crap or anyone else's. ;-)

So that's it! The schedule is below, * indicates double duty dates—2 blogs to travel to on the same day—and because I love you guys and want you all to have fun without working too hard, the schedule is linked so all you have to do is click on the name of the blog and voila! You're there!! And as always, if you have any questions, please comment away!!

  Sept. 10th - The Bookish Brunette
  Sept. 11th - I Love YA Fiction
 *Sept. 12th - Little Read Ridinghood   
                  - Literary Exploration
  Sept. 13th - Sliced Open Reviews
  Sept. 15th - Insightful Minds Reviews
 *Sept. 16th - Just a Girl Geek
                  -  For Love & Books
 *Sept. 17th - The Autumn Review 
                  - Hackaroo's Reviews
  Sept. 18th - The Indie Bookshelf
  Sept. 19th - TotallyBooked
  Sept. 20th - I'm a Book Shark
  Sept. 21st - Right Here!

——Note about the highlighted letters for the scavenger hunt;
Depending how the blogger does it, you'll be looking for something like this: or z also, the highlighting color may vary from blog to blog so just a heads up. ;-)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

It's Almost Time!


WooHoo! September has finally arrived and that means it's almost time!! 

September 10th marks the beginning of my first ever Blog Hop!! 
The Shark bait Back to School Blog Hop will run from September 10th until September 21st with 14 amazing and kickass blogs participating as stops! 

Each blog participating will feature either a review of Shark Bait and/or some kind of Shark Bait bloggy fun, as well as a giveaway and pieces for everyone to collect in the scavenger hunt that will be featured here on my blog on the final day of the hop! Make sure you travel to each stop in order and then come back here on the 21st to put the pieces of the puzzle together for a chance at the grand prize—The Ultimate Shark Bait Swag Bag!

Grand prize includes an autographed copy of Shark Bait, a Shark Bait acrylic tumbler, a refrigerator whiteboard, a bookmark, a bookish rubber ducky, a shark paddleball game, and it all comes to you in a Shark Bait drawstring backpack!
*Backpack may vary by color*
Want a sneak peek at the calendar? Well, here ya go!

Sept. 10th - The Bookish Brunette
Sept. 11th - I Love YA Fiction
Sept. 13th - Sliced Open Reviews
Sept. 18th - The Indie Bookshelf
Sept. 19th - TotallyBooked
Sept. 20th - I'm a Book Shark
Sept. 21st - Right Here!

A HUGE early-bird thanks to the completely badass and fabulous bloggers who've agreed to help me pop my blog hop cherry and for all the support and advice they've given me and the work they've done to help make this a success!! I truly couldn't do any of this without you ladies, so from the bottom of my inept heart, I thank you. xoxo

Now, are you already a diehard Shark Bait fan who would just LOVE to participate in this but don't run a blog? Well never fear! I can always use help (i.e., someone to make decisions for me), so, here's your chance: Some of the bloggers on the hop will be featuring "Excerpt Posts" and they're being stinkers by making ME choose the excerpt! Well, I'm Queen Poll Taker and true to form, I've decided to give all of you who are interested a chance to pick for me!! Simply email me at contactjenncooksey@gmail.com with your fave non-spoilery excerpts or scenes in Shark Bait (page number would be helpful but not necessary). If your entry is chosen, you'll get a byline credit and possibly even some kind of Shark Bait goody for your effort! But hurry, I will have to stop taking entries on or around this coming Wednesday the 5th as I need to submit all bloggy bits to the blog owners SOON!!

I hope you all are as excited as I am—this is gonna be a freaking blast!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Best Dog Ever

July 1998 - August 2012
Some of you know what occurred Sunday morning, and some of you do not, but for those who don't I just want to give you a heads up that this post might have you reaching for the Kleenex. If you choose to not read further, I won't hold it against you. I also won't have any way of knowing unless you were to tell me so, but in any event, I still won't hold it against you. This is being written primarily for my family and myself, and the myriad others whose lives have been touched by our beloved dog, Perris.

Perris came into our home and hearts on December 29th, 1998. She was 6 months old. At the time, the members of our family consisted of my self, my husband, our daughter, Alison who was just shy of being 2 years old, 2 cats—one named Bearcat who was simply the best cat to have ever walked the planet, and then Chloe, who has become known as the Queen Bitch of the living realm. Incidentally, Chloe joined us when I was pregnant with A, and once she was born, Chloe chose her as her human. In Chloe's cantankerous mind, A can do no wrong. Moving on in the roll-call, we also had 2 birds—a Nanday Conure named Carla, and a Citrine Cockatoo called Turtle.

We lived in a 2 bedroom/1 bath apartment in La Mesa, Ca. and so we of course felt we could cram a dog into the less than 800 sq.ft. living space 3 humans were already sharing with 4 other animals. For those who've read this post, you now see that the pet insanity started long ago...

In any event, my little family went to the San Diego Humane Society and walked the aisles of dogs up for adoption. None of them really jumped out at us and we needed to keep, size, breed and background in mind because of our toddler, so those concerns scratched several would-be Cookseys from the list right off the bat. About 2/3 down one row of the kennels, we came across a dog that was sharing the space with another who was understandably going berserk with the possibility of becoming cage-free. The dog that caught our eyes, though, was just sitting there, pleasantly and patiently wagging her tail. So, we took her out for a testdrive around the shelter's exercise yard.

The dog didn't pull on the leash as we walked her to the yard, but the second we let her off, she bolted, tearing ass around the exercise yard, doing circuits around us at full speed and all the while, making certain she never got too close to the little girl standing there laughing at the dog's enthusiasm. It was like the dog knew she had the potential to knock the girl flat and although she was showing her appreciation for being let out, she wasn't willing to risk the little girl's safety and the dog curbed her excitement until she was a safe distance away before she took off again at lightning speed. She got it all out of her system and came to sit at our feet and then proceeded to play fetch with the toys we threw for her.

Despite a fantastic trial and "interview," my husband wasn't sold. He liked her, but he said "she's too foofy." No lie, those were his exact words. I think he had a more "manly" and intimidating looking dog in mind because you know, a man's dog is a direct reflection of the man himself. (I now this is true for the men in his family because case in point, my BIL was beside himself when he was told his male German Shepard was, in fact, a girl. Of course that could've been because he didn't pick up on the fact that she didn't have a penis himself and had to be told by the vet, but whatever.) So, we left, not having found the right fit for everyone in our family.

A couple days later I was taking decorations off the Christmas tree while Alison and Chloe watched when the front door opened up and in bound a very happy, very foofy dog. If you've ever heard the saying "hit the roof," let me just say that what happened when Chloe saw that dog wasn't just an expression. She literally went from the carpet to the ceiling in one leap and then proceeded to ricochet off the Christmas tree, over to the corner of the far wall, back to the top of the drapes, and when she finally landed on the ground again, she streaked out of the room, not to be seen or heard from for a good 24 hours or so. Although Perris did not then or ever once in the future, chase a single one of our cats (I mean never.) Chloe's been an ΓΌber-bitch ever since.

My husband explained that he'd been thinking about her and when he went back on a whim, he could hear her barking and once he walked down her row, he saw that she was standing against the kennel fence on her hind legs and wagging her tail like she knew he'd come back for her and she was waiting for him. He took her back out to the exercise yard and the dog never once left his side. That was it, she'd fallen in love and, as fate would have it, so had my husband. 


We all had...



She was with us through everything... The birth of two of our children, the loss of human loved ones and others of the non-human variety—to this day, I'll never forget how she mourned with me when Bearcat left us far too young. She just sat silently next to me with her eyes closed as my husband buried my precious cat for me in my grandparents' backyard. She was fiercely protective of her family and no one ever dared to look at us crosswise when Perris was around, yet she was just like one of our children and celebrated holidays with us.



 

She went on vacations with us, endured moving to countless homes, and the addition of many upon many other animals to our family over the course of the 14 years we were blessed to have her in our lives. 

She never once complained when one of "her" babies or one belonging to friends wanted climb on her or play with her ears or tail. 


She loved getting in the driver's seat of her grandpa's truck, simply because she enjoyed spending time with him and knew he missed having his own faithful companion.

She never had to be held on a leash, rather, she preferred to keep her family in sight and she knew her boundaries, never straying from the driveway when at home and she always came when she was called.



We moved into our new home at the end of last October and watching Perris try to negotiate the tile downstairs, we started to truly comprehend her age. Perris was a Belgian Sheepdog, not a small breed of dog, but we'd been so very fortunate to not have had to deal with any of the ailments typical with large breeds or the ones prevalent in shepherds, like hip dysplasia, but she was almost 14. We knew the day was approaching that we would be either faced with having to make a decision or having it taken out of our hands. We prayed for the latter of course, but for months we watched and looked for signs. It was hard. We didn't want to be selfish, but at the same time, we didn't want to be premature either. She'd have good days and then she'd have bad days, and more than once we thought for sure the day had come, but those days came and went without incident. 






 See, despite the heartbreak we knew we'd face, we were prepared to make the decision for her if she needed us to be the strong ones... And aside from not having the best bladder control and having some difficulty on the tile, Perris was the same, sweet baby she'd always been, meeting my husband at the door when he came home and bounding about at dinnertime as best she could for a lady her age. She never let on that she was in any kind of pain or that she was suffering in the slightest. 


Early Sunday morning, Perris told me it was time and she needed us to be strong for her. I heard her make some sounds, not whimpering or crying, more that she was struggling with effort. I got out of bed and found that she'd tried to stand up and couldn't. She didn't have the strength to get her legs under her anymore. She wasn't in pain, but she was ready. I woke my husband up, our girls, and, as hard as it was for me to get the words out, I called the vet. My husband's parents came over and said their goodbyes, and the girls all gave her hugs and kisses and told her how much they loved her. The people working at the vet put on their wings and earned their halos; they had a room and bed ready, and allowed us to be with her the entire time. So, we got down on the bed with her and as I spooned her and my husband held her head in his lap, we pet her and whispered to her what a good girl she was, how blessed we were to have had her in our lives, and how very much we loved her. She didn't flinch, or make the slightest sound; she knew she was safe and surrounded by the family she loved her whole life, and she knew we were doing what she needed us to do.


The hardest part for me was watching my husband as his best friend took her last breaths and having to comfort our oldest daughter as she mourns the loss of an animal she felt was like a sister to her. But, with the grief and unrelenting sorrow we feel right now, there is a sense of relief that it's over and we can begin the long road to healing, and a knowledge that if she could've, Perris would've protected our hearts from feeling this, however, for that to be possible, we wouldn't have ever had the privilege and honor of having the best dog ever in our lives.


You were and will always be the best dog ever, and one day we'll see you in heaven, good girl.








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