Wednesday, April 02, 2008
We're Moving...Again!
The new site is up (mostly)!!
So now you have one stop shopping--you can see the site AND the blog all at one place. It's like Wal-Mart!

So for the latest blog, please visit:

  posted at 7:29 PM  

Saturday, March 29, 2008
Airport Woes and Books To Give Away!

It's 8 a.m.
And I've been up since 6:30.
I am soo ticked! This was one of those weeks where all that gets you through is the knowledge that you can sleep in on Saturday. So obviously there is some law of science or nature that says a Worn Out Body With the Opportunity to Sleep Until Nine Will Wake Up Before Roosters and Howling Neighbor Dogs. (AND it's even raining--PERFECT sleeping weather! AUGHHHHHHHH!)

Anyway, hope you had a good week.
Not only did I have a hard time adjusting to the time change between Hawaii and Arkansas (six hours), but it's like I was not only on Hawaii time this week, but also mentally in their climate. Sunday for Easter (did the church thing on Sat), I put on my capris, my short sleeve shirt, my flip flops. I go directly to my garage, get in car, and drive to my mom's. I get out...and freeze my BUNS OFF!! It was like 40 degrees! So wrong.

So my airport experience was interesting last week. I went with two good friends. Friends who know that I will always bring my pillow (my sister in law calls is my "woobie." My friends call it my "baby." They place more significance on it than I do. I call it something to drool on when you have a 6 hour flight.) Also these are friends who know that I don't pack until the last possible second, and I will overpack. I'm also so boastfully proud of my ability to pack a bag right up to 49.5 lbs. Well...I must confess to you that I failed this time. It was 52 pounds. I seriously needed a moment to collect myself after that. How could I have messed up? How could I have let two extra pounds get away from me? Did I even deserve to go to Hawaii? And if they asked for a human sacrifice for their volcano,should I just go ahead and volunteer? So yeah, that really weighed heavily on me.

I would also like to say (and sorry if this offends anyone) that if you travel you need to do everything in your power to avoid the LAX International airport. You think, "Oh, I'm going to Los Angeles. I will see famous people in the airport--they're always there." NO, not if you're going to the hole known as their International terminal. Not only will you not see famous people, but you will see every day Joes--about five thousand of them--and you will all be headed for the same place--one of their TWO restaurants--a Burger King (wait--I'm gagging just thinking about it. Gimme a second to recover....Okay, I think I'm....nope, still gagging...) and a Chilis Too. (How about a Chilis Too Yucky? A Chilis Too Bad We Ran Out of Everything on the Menu? A Chilis Too Run Down To Take Anything But Cash. GOOD TIMES!!! So we waited an HOUR in line to eat at Booger King (going to my happy place, going to my happy place...). And then we had flight delays, so we went and ate AGAIN at Chilis (wanted to spread the love) and sat at the table for as long as we could stretch it out because there was absolutely NOTHING else to do.

At one point, after reading all the magazines in a store, we got so bored we started sniffing these horrible candles (on PURPOSE!) and it was like:
"Oh, sick. Smell this. This is the worst."
"No! Try this one. It will make you want to totally yack up your Flame Broiler."
"Yeah, well, this candle will make your stomach churn, your guts clench, and your head throb."
"Ew, seriously? Lemme sniff."
Sheer boredom...

Okay, enough about my trip.
Until Monday. case you missed book two, ON THE LOOSE, in the Katie Parker series or in case you want to get some extra copies for early Christmas presents, to hand out to a friend, or to stick in your 2050 time capsule, I'm giving away FIVE copies of ON THE LOOSE. Book III, THE BIG PICTURE, will be out in a matter of weeks (I just got my copy last night!!), and maybe somebody needs a refresher.

So if you'd like to win a FREE copy of ON THE LOOSE, just email me (jen at your name and addy, and you'll be thrown in the drawing. Well, not you. Your name.

Okay, so have a great weekend. Can't wait to show you my luau pictures. Ladies, did I find some hot men for you...

  posted at 8:09 AM  

Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Hawaii, Squash, and Roosters
Happy Wednesday. It's been a rough week coming back after Spring Break. I was born to be a lady of leisure. I do "nothing" really well.

Speaking of nothing, that's exactly what I'm eating. Remember the strict diet? Well, seems I fell off the wagon (more like jumped with all my might), and my doctor was not impressed. So I have to start all over again. Some of it's only for about six weeks, but noooo....I had to eat whatever I want. Well, now that six weeks starts over. No bread, no wheat, no chocolate, no processed foods. No fun. Is it any wonder I'm cranky? (Students, you have been warned. Keep your distance.)

Last night I ate marinara over spaghetti squash. Have you ever had that? You have to try it, even if you hate squash like I do. It's cool just to look at. You buy this big yellow squash, cut it in half, microwave it in a little bit of water, and seven minutes later noodles appear out of the squash! And they almost taste good!

But enough about my dietary woes and bad relationship with garden vegetables. Let me tell you more about Hawaii.

So we go to this one tourist place with lush gardens, tall, green trees, a waterfall...and these for guards.
I'm thinking about getting some myself. Guard Roosters. Who needs a security system?

Then we have this. Do you know what this is?
It's the flag to warn surfers that three single ladies are on the loose in Oahu, that's what. Who cares about the tall waves. Look...there's one running away from us now.

You know, "LOST PET" signs always make me sad. I always try to keep an eye out. But when I saw this...
I can't say I tried too hard to find the bird. We just don't see "LOST PARROT" notices in Arkansas much. Lost pigs, yes. But parrots, nah.

And how do you know if the restaurant you've chosen is any good? It has one of these signs.

But if you need to drop anchor, here's a sign you DON'T want to see.

Okay, more on Friday. Unless I keel over from a lack of caffeine and candy bars.

  posted at 6:11 PM  

Monday, March 24, 2008
Spring Break is Over
It's back to work, back to school, back to the real world.
So sad.
Maybe our presidential candidates should focus on some real issues--like making spring break two weeks. Or adding another day to the weekend. A movement like that could really unite a country.

Had a great time in Hawaii. White pasty girls are definitely the minority. But short people were plentiful, so I enjoyed hanging out with some fellow shorties.

I took a ton of pictures. Hundreds. Looking through my photos, I think I occasionally got a little shutter happy. I mean what is this picture?

Or this one.
I dunno either. Maybe I thought I would later go back to my hotel and write some deep poetry about storm clouds. All the Twix I kept in the room surely distracted me.

But here's one I took while eating in a McDonald's.
You don't see that around here at Mickie D's, but yeah, there were pigeons flying around and stalking the ground for crumbs of fries. They knew better to lurk around my table. If I were to drop a precious French fry and I had to dive into a swarm of pigeons, I would totally do it.

That's a picture of a pineapple, which was the appetizer at a luau we went to. The Hawaiians call their appetizers pupus (poo-poos). And if you think I'm mature enough not to work that word into any conversation possible, you are mistaken.

Have a great Monday. More super artsy, life-changing pictures to come.

  posted at 7:49 AM  

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The Big Picture Preview II

It's me again.
Just sunning myself on the beach of Oahu. A cabana boy is fanning me and I'm sipping ice tea and reading The Wall Street Journal.

Okay, as I write this I'm still at home, I leave in eighteen hours, and I have not packed a thing. And I keep eating my snacks for the plane. And more than likely by this time on Wednesday, I'm a nice shade of pink, I have a collection of bugs stuck in my sunscreen, and I'm reading a copy of People.

I seriously have packing anxiety. I dread it! I HATE it! Why isn't this a service someone provides? Like you can pay people to clean your house, pick up your dry cleaning, wash your car, babysit your dog. WHY ARE THERE NOT PERSONAL PACKERS???? I don't CARE if it would mean strangers are handling my undies. As long as I don't have to think about portion control, jacket/no jacket, and coordinating shoes to outfits, I'm fine!

Anyway, here is the second half of chapter one of The Big Picture, coming soon to a movie theater near you. Just kidding. It's not. And if it was, it would be in the movies that cost $3.00 to get into. Or the straight to video kind like Jessica Simpson's. Me and Jess just don't get no respect.

This is the second part, so don't read it before you read the first half, which was posted on Monday (wink, wink). Again, sorry for the messed up format. Blame blogger. I know I do.

The Big Picture
Chapter Uno (Part Dos)

“Charlie, I think we should talk.” I look behind us and make sure Frances and Nash aren’t listening in. “I was wondering if you and I—”

The trill of my phone cuts off my big moment.

I hold up a finger, silently telling Charlie to wait. I’m not through with you.

I check the number as I flip the phone open. “Hi, Millie.”

“Hi, sweetie. Are you having a good time?”

Oh, yeah, sure. I was just about to break out into a Céline Dion song and declare my undying devotion to Charlie. Great timing.

“Hon, I know you’ve looked forward to tonight all week, but I’m going to need you to have Charlie bring you home.” My foster mother pauses. “Now.”

The heart I was about to hand over to Charlie triples in speed. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” My foster mom has been doing intense chemo treatments in the last month for breast cancer. It kinda freaks me out.

“Nothing’s wrong. No emergency. James and I just need you to come home. We’ll explain when you get here.”

I end the call and relay the message to my friends.

“Hop in the truck.” Charlie’s hand rubs my upper arm. “I’ll take you home. I’ll come back for Nash and Frances later.”

He opens my door as my best friend and her date set up their chairs on the ground. I wave good-bye and promise to call Frances later. Charlie pulls his Ford out of the drive-in lot and we head toward home.

“Sorry you’re having to miss the movie.” I tap my fingers on my knees. “You can just drop me off.”

Charlie pins me with an intense look. “Katie, I’m staying with you. I want to make sure everything’s all right.”

“Oh . . . um.” Now is so not a good time for this, but I blurt it out anyway. “Charlie, what are we?”

He frowns. “What do you mean?”

“I mean . . . are we friends?”

“Of course we’re friends. You’re a good friend.”

“No.” Boys are dumb. Boys are stupid. “I mean is that all we are? I don’t
know how to read you lately. Are we going out?” I feel my face flame.

He stares straight ahead at the road. Speechless. I feel my stomach sink to the floorboard.

“I think we’re probably heading in that direction,” he finally says. “What’s the problem?”

“The problem is at school you’ve been pretty distant lately. But then we’ll spend two hours on the phone and hang out on the weekends. Are you embarrassed by me at school?” It’s not like I wear blue eye shadow.

“No. Of course not.” His face clouds. “I like hanging out with you.”

And here’s where he sticks in the big but.

“But I just don’t want anybody hurt.”

“Who’s going to get hurt?”

He turns on his blinker and navigates a turn. “I don’t want to lose this—us.
But you probably need to know something.”

For the second time tonight, my body floods with panic. “Oh, my gosh, do you wear women’s underwear?”


“You like boys too?”


“You secretly listen to Clay Aiken and make up your own dance moves?”

“Katie, I’ve started spending time with Chelsea again.”

Like Voldemort to Harry Potter, I suck in my breath at the mere mention of this name. Chelsea Blake—his ex-girlfriend. A girl born with a silver spoon in her mouth and pompoms between her ears.

He reaches for my hand, but I move toward the door. “Why?”

“She’s going through some pretty tough times lately.”

“Who hasn’t?” Plus all she has to do is shop her troubles away. I feel blue! Come to me, oh, MasterCard and Visa! “Why does Chelsea need you?”

“I’m practically all she’s got. She doesn’t really have many friends.”

“Because she eats them for dinner,” I hiss.

“That’s not fair.”

“Need I remind you I was with you the day you saw Chelsea lip-locked with Trevor Jackson last month? She cheated on you. You don’t owe her anything. Let Trevor help her.”

“They were over before they started. She’s just so alone. You don’t know all the dysfunction she’s got going on.”

“Oh, what, did Mommy buy her a Dooney and Bourke instead of a Coach?”

“There’s more to Chelsea than that.”

Yeah, a couple hundred dollars worth of highlights. “What does she have to do with us anyway?”

“I need you to be okay with me hanging out with her. It’s the right thing to do.”

I study his face, honing in on his nose and consider tweaking it off his pretty face. “So we are just friends then. Because what you’re not saying is that you’re not sure your feelings for her are totally dead, am I right?”

I count the fence posts we pass until he answers.

“I’m not dating Chelsea.”

“But you’re also not dating me?”

“I do want to see where you and I—”

“You can’t have both of us. What’s wrong with Chelsea that she needs you so much?”

“I can’t tell you.”

I nod and process this. “Fine.”

“You know I can’t turn my back on Chelsea. That’s not the God thing to do.”

“And dating me is—while you sort out which one of us you like?”

“I said this wasn’t about liking Chelsea.”

The truck pulls into my driveway.

“And I don’t believe you.” I grab my purse.

He hops out to open my door, but I beat him to it, slamming it shut and stomping toward the front porch.

“Go home, Charlie. I’ll talk to you later.”

I hear him running to catch up with me. “I’ll walk you to the door.”

Yes, because that would be the polite thing to do after stomping on my heart. I speed up my pace, staying two steps ahead of him and race up the sidewalk.

“Katie, wait. Please, I want to talk to you.”

“Now is obviously not a good time. Go check on Chelsea and—” I halt in my tracks and Charlie smacks into the back of me, grabbing my waist with both arms to avoid a fall.

The front doors swings open and Millie files out. Followed by James. And the dog.

And one more person, who shoves past them all and holds her arms out wide.

“Hello, Katie.”

Bobbie Ann Parker.

“I’ve come to take you home.”

My mother.

Copied from The Big Picture, by Jenny B. Jones, copyright 2008, by permission of NavPress, All rights reserved.

  posted at 6:06 AM  

Monday, March 17, 2008
The Big Picture: Chapter One (part I)

Okay, so it's not really Monday as I send this.
Here's the first half of chapter one of The Big Picture, coming to a shelf near you in April. Mark your calendars. Call your friends. Take a sick day and camp out at the book store.

Before I post it, I would like to make a random comment and say that there is nothing like the grief of getting home with your Mexican takeout and finding your queso swimming in the bottom of the sack instead of the container it's supposed to be in.

Anyway, here is the first half of chapter one. Sorry for the cruddy format. It's the best blogger could do. Pop some Tylenol.
The second half will be posted on "Wednesday," so pace yourselves.

A quick blurb:
There's a fine line between a comedy and a tragedy. And Katie Parker is walking it.

Bobbie Ann Parker, released from prison, wants to start a new life with her daughter - in a new city. Katie is forced to walk away from In Between, leaving the family she loves, an endangered town drive-in, and a boyfriend who suddenly can’t take his eyes off his ex.

As events away from In Between spin out of control, Katie must rely on her faith to keep it together. Yet God seems to be nowhere around. Can she trust Him to see her through, and will her big picture ever include a happily ever after?

Chapter One

“If I eat anymore popcorn, I’m gonna hurl.”
I shove the bucket away, and Charlie Benson, my date for the evening, takes it and peers inside.

“In other words, you ate the top layer where the butter was and now you’re done?”

I lean back in my chair and smile up at him. Smart boy.

The town of In Between doesn’t have much to offer, but I will give it points for a cool hangout spot for Friday nights. The drive-in. There are very few left in the country but, much like the rusty water tower and home grown shops downtown, In Between hangs onto its classics, including Bubba’s Big Picture Cinema.

Slurping sounds come from Frances’s direction.

“Nash,” I call to her boyfriend. “Get her another root beer so I can hear the previews.”

Charlie’s fingers intertwine with mine and he whispers close to my ear. “The previews are twenty years old.”

And that’s what makes them perfect.

The four of us sit beneath a sky crowded with stars and watch the screen pop and crack to life. Bubba’s only shows old movies, and tonight is eighties night. And with our chairs arranged in the back of Charlie’s truck, we settle in for the first flick of the evening, Sixteen Candles.

Frances spouts off some useless facts about Molly Ringwald, and while my ears are trained on my best friend, my eyes are totally glued to Charlie.

Charlie Benson, Mr. Four-Point-Oh and quarterback for the In Between Chihuahuas, is some pretty fine stuff. He and I have been spending a lot of time together lately. And you’d think that would be great. I mean, he’s hot, he’s brilliant, and he has some well defined, ’roid-free muscles that make a girl want to just drool.

Sometimes I wonder if we’re just friends.

Who occasionally hold hands.

“Actually”—I bat my eyes at the boy beside me—“I could use another drink myself.”

Charlie steps toward the cab and digs into the cooler until he finds a Diet Dr. Pepper. He pops the top then places it in my waiting hand.

Awww, he’s sweet like that. All the time. Except when he avoids me at school. Like he has this past week.

Did I mention he’s not my boyfriend? But I want to rectify that tonight. You know, make him define what exactly we are. Maybe he thinks we’re exclusively dating, and assumes I think the same? Or what if he thinks we’re just really close friends and is under the impression that I know that’s all we are? But let me tell you, Frances and I are close friends, and she doesn’t open my cans and hold my hand.

As Charlie sits down, my green eyes lock onto his gray peepers. My expression says, Thanks for the drink. You’re so thoughtful. By the way, do you plan on kissing me anytime this century?

Behind us Frances and Nash break out the cookies, as Frances continues her list of everything she knows about the movie. Which is too much.

“Did you know the cake at the end of this movie is actually made of cardboard? And it’s interesting to note that when the girls are in the lunch line . . .”

Charlie looks over at the two of them then leans closer to me. “Frances still gets a little nervous around Nash, doesn’t she?”

I inhale his light scent and smile. “At least she no longer requires her inhaler every time he’s around. I’d say that’s progress. We did pretty well hooking those two up.”

His brown hair blows in the evening breeze. “Yeah, we’re a good team.”

See? He’s always saying things like that. We’re a good team? What does that mean? A good team as in Bert and Ernie? Or as in Spider-Man and Mary Jane?

The last few weeks Charlie and I have been hanging out. A lot. We’re at that point where we call each other every night. And my foster mom told me if I didn’t cut down on the texting, I was going to have to sell an organ to pay for the next bill. I love a good text message—but maybe not enough to sacrifice a kidney.

But lately Charlie’s been acting strangely. I’ve barely seen him at all this week at school. A suspicious girl would wonder if he’s avoiding her. But then tonight . . . he acts like there’s no place he’d rather be than out here, with me, watching a girl from the eighties try to figure out her life while wearing hideous blue eye shadow.

“Um . . . Charlie?” That’s it. I’m just going to put it out there. Lay it on the line.

“Yeah?” His eyes never leave the screen.

"I was wondering if maybe—”

He shifts in his seat. “Are you hungry?”

Hungry for us to move onto the next level? Why yes! I am.

“I packed some sandwiches for us. Er, for all of us.”

I lay my hand on his arm and scoot closer. “I don’t want a sandwich.” I want you
telling the world I’m your girlfriend. I want to scribble your name on my notebook and have other girls look on with envy.

“I know we just had popcorn, but I thought maybe—”

“Charlie, I think we should talk.” I look behind us and make sure Frances and Nash aren’t listening in. “I was wondering if you and I—”

Copied from The Big Picture, by Jenny B. Jones, copyright 2008, by permission of NavPress, All rights reserved.

  posted at 5:33 AM  

Friday, March 14, 2008
Spring Break, Here I Come!
Well, it's that time of year again. Time when my school shuts down and gives me a whole week off. So you know what that means, right?
No, it doesn't mean I'll be painting. (I heard that.)
It does mean that I will be going on a little trip and more than likely not blogging. But when I return I will have lots of pictures of really, really important things. Like this memorable one from London.

Or this one from Buckingham Palace.

Or this one.
I like to call this "I Don't Eat Stinky Fish."

So for the sheer zany fun of it, I'm going to give you some clues to where I'm going. Won't that be fun?
1. There are only 12 letters in their alphabet.
2. They have their own time zone. (Which is going to be all kinds of crazy, sleep-depriving fun.)
3. According to some stats, there are no racial majorities. Every ethnic group there is a minority. Since I'm in the ethnic minority of "Super White, White Chick," that makes me feel better.
4. Technically this is the largest city in the world.
5. There was once a leper colony in this general region. There's probably a museum oozing with the details...
6. My name there is: Kini or Kinipela.
7. These people like them some Spam. (Total give away!)

So it should be easy to guess now. Anyway, I'll be gone for a week. In my absence, I'll be leaving my cat to write in my stead.
"While you're gone the kitty-sitter and I are totally gonna throw back some Dasanis, bat around the stuffed mouse, and debate the oil crisis. And hairballs...there will be hairballs involved."

Actually in my place I will be leaving a preview chapter of the last in the Katie Parker Production series, The Big Picture. The book comes out around April 15-ish. It's gonna be big stuff. Already Pulitzer has contacted me. Oprah, too. But I want to stay humble, so I've turned them all down. Just tryin' to keep it real.

Have a great week.

  posted at 8:11 AM  

About Me

Jenny B. Jones

Arkansas, US

I am a teacher in one of the largest high schools in the state. I'm also a writer of Young Adult novels and am currently working on a brand new series. Book three in the Katie Parker Production series, The Big Picture, will hit shelves in April 2008. Stay tuned!

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