Friday, June 29, 2012

Celebrating Shark Bait's 2 Week Birthday with a GIVEAWAY!

Update Sept. 6:

We Have a WINNER!!
Congratulations to commenter #16, Elizabeth (Liz G.), on winning Shark Bait's Birthday Giveaway!!
Notification has been sent out and must be responded to within 48 hours or I'll pick another winner.

Many thanks to all who participated! For those who didn't win, keep your eyes peeled for future giveaways—especially in the month of September when I have lots going on here and throughout the blogosphere!!

Shark Bait is 2 Weeks Old!!

Two weeks ago Friday, Shark Bait was released into the homes and hearts of readers all over the world via Amazon's Kindle Store. Since then it's been released onto the Barnes & Noble NOOK and in July 2012, the print edition will join its e-book siblings. 
This first installment of the Grab Your Pole series (GYP) has thus far been receiving rave reviews—most of them incredible 5-star, Must Reads!
In celebration, I'm doing my first ever giveaway!
The prizes? Two e-book copies of Shark Bait (in either e-pub or .mobi format-winner's choice) and one SIGNED print copy of Shark Bait when it becomes available!

This is a two-part giveaway—one for the e-books and one for the autographed print edition. The e-book giveaway will begin today—June 29th—and end on Shark Bait's 1 month birthday—July 15th.  The giveaway for the print edition will begin today as well, but won't end until Shark Bait's sales reach 100 copies (all editions inclusive) so make sure you come back and check in!!

Congrats to the winners of the 1st half of Shark Bait's Birthday Giveaway!!

Now we move on to part 2!! The signed copy! Entry details are the same as for part 1, and when sales reach 100, I'll use to pick 1 lucky winner of an autographed copy of Shark Bait!! Good luck and don't forget to tell you friends!!

Rules and How to Enter

(Please Read These CAREFULLY)

There are 7 ways to win—you can do any of these, and some of them more than once (*,**), but please leave a SEPARATE comment for each one here on this post. Your individual comments are your entries and without commenting, I have no way to know who has entered or how many times. For example: If you tweet more than once, you need to leave a comment for each time you tweet! Also, please make sure you comment with a name so that when winners are chosen, I can list you! If you comment under "Anonymous" and five other people do the same thing, I'll have no way of knowing which anonymous you are. ;-)
1) Become a member of my pathetic blog. Once you join, come back to this post and leave me a comment. If you are already a member (thank you!), just leave me a comment and let me know so your membership can be counted as an entry.
2) Follow me on Twitter. My Twitter address is @Jenn_Cooksey Once you follow me, come back and leave a comment telling me.
3) Like my Facebook Fan Page—Jenn Cooksey Novels. Again, once you do that, come back here and leave a comment. (Are you sensing a theme here?)
4) Refer any friend to "Like" Jenn Cooksey Novels on Facebook and/or become a member of my pathetic blog, and/or follow me on Twitter. Once your referral does any of the above options, they need to come back to the blog and comment with your name. *This is important so that YOU get your rightful entry!! And remember, each comment counts as one entry so if your referral does all three, they need to comment SIX times—three for them, three for you. ;-)
5) *Share a Facebook Post. Share any my Shark Bait related FB posts via Jenn Cooksey Novels on your Facebook wall—NOT from my personal page. And of course, come back here and say you did it! (And I'll know if you're faking—I watch Facebook like a hawk even though I should be doing laundry ;-p)
6) *Tweet about the giveaway. Here's what to say: I'm chumming the water to win a copy of #SharkBait by @Jenn_Cooksey #giveaway — It's important you tag me in the tweet so that I can make sure your tweet counts. ;-)
*Please don't spam your Twitter and Facebook feeds, though. Yes, we want to get the word of Shark Bait's awesomeness out to everyone and their 17th cousin twice removed on their mother's side, but there's nothing people hate more than overly enthusiastic people who clog up everyone's news feeds, so be respectful and keep others in mind when you're pimpin'. ;-) 
7) Write a review of Shark Bait on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or Barnes & Noble. When you finish your review, copy the link for your review and paste it into the comments here. If you have already done this (thank you!), again just copy the link and paste it into the comments below.     **Please, please, please do NOT write a review if you haven't read the book! And tossing up a review like "This is a great book! I loved it!" won't fly either... The general public and the review community will see that as inherently false and it will reflect extremely poorly on me and my work, so much so that the repercussions could be devastating. So again I ask that if you choose to enter this way, for the love of all that is holy, please read the book and write an actual review!!
REMEMBER that you need to leave a SEPARATE comment below for each entry! And that this is a two-part giveaway so be sure to come back and check in!! If you have questions or need to contact me you may do so on Facebook, Twitter, or via email at (Do not post your questions to me in the comments! I will not respond and they will be deleted, both actions are simply in the interest of keeping the entries legit. ;-) Also, comment moderation is ON and entires will not be published until they have been verified as legitimate entires by the giveaway team, so if you come back and don't see your comment/entry, it's either because it wasn't a bonafide entry or it hasn't been verified yet. Again, if you have any questions, please direct them to the email address above. Thanks and good luck!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why I'm a Cat Person—A Pictorial Explanation

Meet Biscuit. She's a Boxer and she's a puppy. She's very sweet and cute. She's also lucky to be alive. And not just because my husband rescued her from running around on a busy street in the middle of a day that saw a high of 109 degrees and on asphalt that was hotter than the flaming charcoal briquets Satan uses to bbq his wieners (I said wiener. *giggle*).

For the most part, we are animal lovers in my house and with Biscuit, we now have a total of four dogs, four cats (five if you count my sweet Boo Boy buried in the side yard), and 2 humongous gold fish. The accumulation of pets has been a source of stress and aggravation for my husband who for several years has threatened to go find himself a nice, animal-free double-wide if another living creature is brought into our home, however, that didn't stop him from rescuing Noodle, a starving and aged Chihuahua he and the girls found one day roaming the parking lot of a .99 cent store, Goodwill, Ophthalmologist office, golf cart dealership, and a Peter Piper Pizza (strip malls have something for everyone these days). I am primarily a cat person, but whatever, he likes dogs and Noodle is cool. She's unobtrusive, doesn't eat much, and F adores her and vice versa.

When he came home from work and told me about the dog he saw running around, I took one look at his face and knew. I mean I'm okay with rescuing animals and everything, but the dude owes me like 17 cats now. And let me point something out; we do make every effort to find the owners of the lost animals we bring into our home. The thing is...people suck. Now I'm not going to delve into the ridiculousness of ignorant/lazy people choosing to bring an animal into their home and then opting to set the poor thing loose when it becomes clear that pets equal responsibility. But, I have to tell you, to this day I'm still dumbfounded about why someone would turn Biscuit out. She's not a cheap breed of dog and she was spayed before we added her to the Cooksey Clan. She was very skinny, but she was clean and appeared to have recently had her nails trimmed. All I can think is that her previous owner(s) suck and did exactly what so many irresponsible pet owners do when the eventuality of puppyhood rears its ugly head.

For us that happened gradually. It started small with the chewing of a picnic basket early one morning after my husband left for work before God was even awake. We don't crate our dogs and the last time we had a puppy in our house was over five years ago when, again, my husband opted to adpot A's dog, Ellie, then only 5 weeks old, when our neighbors discovered their older dog wasn't happy about the addition of a puppy. But no biggie, she's a puppy and she needs to learn, right? I mean it's only a decorative wicker basket and the damage wasn't even enough for me to throw it out.

A few mornings later, I'm in bed sleeping, because you know, it's five-freaking-o'clock in the morning, when I hear the pounding of paws throughout the house and barking which sounded alarmingly close to my bedroom which is located beyond the gates we have attached to the kitchen and family room so as to keep all the dogs on tile in case there's an accident as is often the case with the Best. Dog. Ever. who is, sadly, so old she's most likely not going to be celebrating Christmas with us this year. But I digress... My bedroom also happens to be upstairs and is so well insulated, I can't hear someone calling my name from the loft or hallway outside my door—even with the double doors wide open. So hearing the barking, I knew it wasn't gonna be pretty.

I got out of bed and opened my bedroom door to see Ellie and Biscuit romping and racing through the second level of the house, having themselves a grand ol' time. I wasn't enjoying myself...not being a fan of single-digit mornings and all. Apparently my husband hadn't quite latched one of the gates before he left for work, but still, not a huge deal. Then I went downstairs and realized that our fish would probably beg to differ on that opinion if they could speak, because I'm sure they were watching this beast devour their food; all the while knowing they were going to be next if the guy who feeds them's wife doesn't get her lazy ass out of bed soon to prevent their untimely demise. And I have to wonder if one of the cats was sitting on the pool table gleefully watching the whole thing and cheering Biscuit on...well, I'm sure the cheering came to a sudden halt when the dog started in on their toys.

But here again, it's just a little fish food that costs like three bucks to replace—maybe—and a few cat toys that won't ever be touched by a self-respecting feline ever again because they've been tainted by dog saliva. Seriously, it's not like we don't have gobs of cat toys because I'm species biased and the family member who primarily does the shopping (this being typed while my husband is at Wal-Mart buying paper towels and stuff for dinner). I just told myself that she's a puppy and while we're waiting for Biscuit's true owner to call about the flyers we put up in the neighborhood, that maybe it's time we look into getting a crate for her to spend the night in.

Then, the destructive behavior escalated to shoes and swim goggles...

In the almost month that Biscuit has been living with us, I've lost three pairs of flip-flops, F has lost two, and we've found the carcasses of four-ish pairs of swim goggles. Now I take full responsibility for the loss of my footwear, I do. I hadn't ever seen her chew shoes, but I knew she liked to pick them up and carry them around, so I shouldn't have left them where she could get to them. Same thing with F, so it's our fault. The goggles are trickier because I think Biscuit probably enjoys a good goggle hunt similar to Ellie's favorite pastime of playing Seek & Destroy with the many lizards in and around our yard. However, we just need to find a place to store our crap where she can't get to it. The plants...? Well, our shrubbery and landscaping poses an issue because you can't exactly put flowers inside a deck box.

<----- This was a Hybiscus and used to look like this. ----->

Now I think I've done an excellent job of maintaining my cool and taking responsibility for my lack of proper puppy training up to this point, and let's not forget that I'm not even a dog person and didn't want the damned puppy in the first place. But with Perris (the aforementioned Best. Dog. Ever.) being so close to the gates of Doggy Heaven and knowing the heartbreak my husband is going to go through, I really want him to be able to keep this dog, because when she gets all growed up, she's gonna be a kickass dog. Truly. And she's not really even all that bad of a puppy either. At least that was my stance until she chewed the crap out of my beloved patio furniture...

We've had this four-piece set for nine years after buying it new for $40 and it's survived a lot. I absolutely love it and know I'll never find a comparable replacement...especially for the price we paid. 

And I can handle a lot...I really can. I understand this is a phase and it'll pass—in like three or four years. Not only that, but this dog is so enthusiastic about life, she wags her painfully whip-like tail so hard and profusely that she makes the end bleed. No, I'm not even kidding. Her freaking tail bleeds daily and the bandages that we put on her don't stay on and the walls and doors of my house continually look like a crime scene any blood spatter analyst would swoon over the opportunity to examine. If it has to happen, I would of course prefer Dexter to come knocking on my door, but I'm not gonna kid myself—I don't have that kind of luck. And for sparing you the pictures of that grossness, you're welcome. But I swear to God, I almost committed puppycide this morning after returning from picking up A from cheer practice this morning. I was gone for 15 minutes at the most and this is what I came home to find....

Yes. That's my Kindle. was my Kindle. And get this?! The f-ing dog actually UNZIPPED it from its protective case to chew it all to hell!! And it wasn't like it was sitting on the floor or was on a table. And I'll tell you what, if that had been my Macbook Pro, the sweet, cute puppy I've been making excuses for would be dead. No doubt. And I'd do my time in prison for animal abuse and not care because puppy or not, you don't fuck with a writer's computer. Especially one that costs over $1300.

Biscuit has since been exiled and put in protective custody for both her safety and mine, where she'll remain for the next three to four years or until she outgrows her tendency to put her life in jeopardy. She will be spelled for bathroom breaks, meal times, periods of supervised playtime with the other members of our household, and...well, that's pretty much it.  And because I'm a cat person and all of this crap basically gives me just cause to be that way, I have one more picture to explain why I think cats are better than dogs...

My big, blue-eyed, beast of a cat knows how to drive.
'Nough said.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review Love

After Friday's release of Shark Bait, the reviews are starting to pour in—most of them incredible 5 stars reviews. The first bookblogger review from The Chick Lit Girls blew my socks off and they're not alone in their opinion.
Here's the latest review on Amazon from reader Ocean_Angel:

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this Book!June 21, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It took me a couple of days to finally decide to give this book a try. I was afraid it was going to be one of those icky cute teen romance books that are so stupid they make you want to throw your kindle down in disgust. Not this book - it is one of the best of this nature that I have ever read! It is an incredibly entertaining story and the author has an amazing handle on teen/young adult issues and is not afraid to openly explore them - the good, the bad and the insanely awkward. The characters are extremely well developed and the way they communicate with each other and the discussions they have are brilliantly written. The author has given them a maturity that they deserve without forgetting that they are still young and dealing with emotions and hormones that are all over the place.

I loved this book and I am really looking forward to reading the next one in the series. Very well done!

For me, reading review love and hearing from readers about how much they've enjoyed my work is an indescribable joy. Honestly, my whole purpose for publishing these stories was to share them so that the characters could live and breathe, and be enjoyed in the minds and hearts of others, so when a rave review comes in, it's validating to my purpose and keeps me going, which sometimes isn't always something I feel cut out for.

I don't know why, but writing is easy for me. Publishing and all that entails, is not. It's pull-your-hair-out-swear-like-a-sailor frustrating. And by default, it translates into ugly feelings of inadequacy, making me doubt myself and whether or not I should be doing any of this—writing included.

So what do these glowing reviews ultimately do for me as an author? Well, they help promote my book, sure, but really, they give me renewed self-confidence and re-energize my spirit, making me determined to see it through to the end (whenever that is), because I know that what my snarky and saucy brain has created is honestly and truly good—something that people want to read.

With that said, Ocean_Angel's review came in a rather timely manner, as I've been experiencing the crash from my enormous publishing high over the weekend. There's still so much to do with just Shark Bait, that I've been a little down and wondering if all of this insane publishing/marketing frustration and time away from my family is worth it, and you know what? It is. It really, really is.

So, for every one of my readers who have taken the time out of their busy lives to leave a review, I can't begin to thank you, because really, you guys are the ones capable of keeping me from tumbling headlong into the nasty pit of self-doubt when I find myself teetering on its brink. And on behalf of my characters and their stories, grateful doesn't even begin to cover it. You guys all rock and are appreciated beyond measure! <3

Friday, June 15, 2012


It's out, it's out, it's out!!
Shark Bait is now published and available for purchase!! As of right now, it is only available as a Kindle e-book, but just as soon as I'm done basking in this most beauteous of moments, I'll get to work on the print book! ;-)
You can order Shark Bait by clicking on the Amazon link in the top left corner of my blog.
I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!!
Next up, Book 2!!

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