Jennifer Harlow's Blog

May 18, 2014

Hello, and welcome to the darkside...
As I wrote in an earlier post, the blogging platform I use here is being discontinued. So I've had to move it. The blog is still called TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, but has moved to blogger. From here on all posts will be 

HERE
The URL is jenniferharlowbooks.blogspot.com
Sorry for any confusion.
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Published on May 18, 2014 11:38 • 93 views

May 5, 2014

Hello, and welcome to the darkside...

I have never won anything in my life. I grew up just before the time when kids get trophies just for participating. Not that I participated that much, mostly because I was in my room alone creating stories with my dolls then pen and paper. So when I was told Friday morning I'd just become an AWARD WINNING MYSTERY AUTHOR my first thought was, "They must have got me confused with that other Jennifer Harlow. Now to clean up the dog diarrhea." But then I got an e-mail from my publisher explaining I'd won the Gold Medal in Mystery/Noir/Cozy in the IPPY awards for WHAT'S A WITCH TO DO?, I opened a bottle of wine. (If winning an international award isn't a good excuse for day drinking, I don't know what is.) 
I'd heard of the IPPYs like I'd heard of the Edgar and Agatha awards. It stands for "Independent Publishers Book Award" meaning any publisher not in the Big Five (or it could be the Big Four now Harper Collins gobbled up Harlequin.) is eligible to submit. It is the world's largest book awards competition. It's like the Independent Spirit Awards of the book world. But I wouldn't care if I'd just won something from my local library, I am just so happy to know that, well, I don't suck. Any artist will tell you doubts come with the vocation. And writing is such a solitary job with really only yourself and your judgement to rely on, it can be hard to gage your skill and talent. So something like this, or when you e-mail me or send me cool jewelry (Thanks Krista!) because my silly stories touched you, I means A LOT. Like more than you will ever know. Now I can just add a Gold Medal to my treasure trove. 
And for those of you following Verity Hart's adventure, Part Four is out now. The last part will be released May 20th if you're waiting for the complete set before buying. At least I can now say it's written by an AWARD Winning author. 


Until next time, this is Jennifer Harlow signing out from the darkside...
Song of the Week: Glitter and Gold by Rebecca FergusonI'm reading: Burn by Maya Banks  *** 
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Published on May 05, 2014 10:36 • 87 views

April 28, 2014

Hello, and welcome to the darkside...
We'll start with the good news first! I am ten pages into Fall of Heroes in just three days! The words flow so freely so if I keep up this pace I may actually get it done by the end of the year. Probably not, but it could happen. More good news, I started editing High Moon, aka F.R.E.A.K.S. 4 at night so it will definitely come out this year. I've even been playing around with possible covers for it. When I have one locked in I'll post it. Until then, Verity Hart Part Three is out! Here's the cover:


I still haven't decided whether or not to do an omnibus but am leaning toward yes. It won't be until later this year if I do decide to do one. You can buy all parts at Amazon/Nook/Kobo.
Now for the bad news. I received word from GoDaddy that they're discontinuing their blog service. Which means on June 25 it will be as if this blog never existed. Which sucks the big one. I'll either have to go to another site like Blogger or WordPress or I may just stop blogging save for blog tours. I haven't gotten a Temp placement yet so I don't know which way the wind will blow. I have until June to decide. If I do decide to discontinue the blog the website itself will remain so when I have news like new books or whatever I'll post it on there under Harlow Gazette. And you can always sign up for my newsletter under the "Get In Touch if You Dare" section of the website. As of right now I'm looking into keeping Tales going but no promises. 
So, until next time, this is Jennifer Harlow signing out from the darkside...
Song of the Week" Bad Blood by BastilleI'm reading: The Martian by Andy Weir  **** 
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Published on April 28, 2014 09:31 • 102 views

April 14, 2014

Hello, and welcome to the darkside...
Sorry about no post last week, real life seems to get in the way, now more than ever. I...got a job. Sort of. I am now with a temp agency! I don't have a posting yet but it's coming. I will be re-joining the normal people working world with the watercoolers, the office politics, and maybe even a cubicle! What does this mean besides I need to get some heels and a suit? Well, it means that I spent all of last week locked in my room trying to finish the 4th FREAKS. Mission accomplished this morning. That's the good news. I just have to type and edit it but it should be available by the end of summer as planned. I have to edit/format/cover it along with doing two more edits on the next Midnight Magic. The bad news is that I'm a month behind schedule on the third Justice and with the new job thing 9hrs a day it will be a miracle if I can find the time and energy to write/edit/edit/etc by the end of the year. It's possible, but not probable. Also, my blogging might be far more sporadic. You will get tons of awesome office stories hopefully.
I will end with good news, though. The second Verity Hart installment is out tomorrow. This change of status won't effect their release.                

So, darksiders, until next time, this is the gainfully employed Jennifer Harlow signing out from the darkside...
Song of the Week: Dust to Dust by The Civil WarsI'm reading: Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella


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Published on April 14, 2014 10:21 • 67 views

March 31, 2014

Hello, and welcome to the darkside... No, I'm not getting married (I wish) or pregnant (*shudder*) as some have speculated. No, the surprise is...new book! Well, new serialized book. May I present...drum roll please...VERITY HART VS THE VAMPYRES: A HART/MCQUEEN STEAMPUNK ADVENTURE! 
 
                  

KEEP CALM AND STEAMPUNK ON!  
The whole of Victorian London knows there is something not quite right about the Lady Verity Hart. She may be the daughter of an MP and the sister of famed inventor Lord David Hart, but she is a spinster whose own father threatens to send her to the madhouse every fortnight. Because Society is correct-Verity Hart is no lady. If they suspected how quick with a quip she is, let alone the majority of her brother's ingenious machines were her design, the sale of fainting couches would double. 
Verity requires one herself when her beloved brother is kidnapped by vampyres in the dead of night. With the aid of an aggravating, rude American bounty hunter with a secret of his own, Verity takes to land, sea, and even air to rescue the only person who could ever love and truly accept her. Or is he?
As you may have noticed, it is a serial. Each part is about 50-75 pages long and will be $.99 each. The first is out now (at least on Amazon but will be out at the other vendors by the end of this week) and each subsequent installment will be released every other week. Here's the schedule:
Part One-April 1Part Two-April 15Part Three-April 29Part Four-May 6Part Five-May 20
(Sorry, but it won't be out in book book form unless I do an Omnibus, but that depends on how well these sell.) 
So, that's the surprise! Hope it's a pleasant one. Now, back to the F.R.E.A.K.S.
Until next time, this is Jennifer Harlow signing out from the darkside...
Song of the Week: Steam by Peter GabrielI'm reading: Veronica Mars: Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas  ****
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Published on March 31, 2014 08:33 • 132 views

March 25, 2014

Hello, and welcome to the darkside...

Last week I went back to VA on vacation and while there I had a multiple hours long conversation with my teenage brother about gender roles and expectations, as one does with a teenage boy. Anyway, this hours long debate began when Trevor mentioned he heard something on NPR (we are a weird family) about "strong women" due to the recent release of Divergent. I was surprised when he said he hated the term. Having me as a sister, the poor boy has heard many feminist diatribes about inequality growing up and often agreed with my arguments. It turned out the reason he hated the term was because in the context of our media a "strong woman" was one who knew how to shoot, how to fight, how to hide her emotions, how to basically act like a man. All the female characters that were discussed were only in action films: Katniss, Tris, Black Widow, Lara Croft. And when I asked my other brothers who they thought were strong women in the media, they listed the same characters. THAT was why my brother hated the term, and in that context I have to agree.
The majority of my characters are strong women, and that was by design. In both fiction and reality I cannot stand people, men and women both, who are not well rounded. Who cannot stand on their own two feet and rely on others to take care of them. I cannot stand romantic comedies because the majority of the characters have no real 3-D life outside the love story. This is why I loathed Twilight, Bella all but tried to kill herself after Edward left. This is not what I want the female youth of the world to think they should aspire to. But on the flip-side I also don't want them to think they have to deny their emotions, that they have to fight and take on everything just to be considered "strong." They are girls and later women. Men and women are different. Our brains work differently, our bodies are different, but the problem becomes when one is considered better than the other. By making the only way to be a strong woman to take on male characteristics, it's insidious misogyny because we cannot meet those expectations either. 
So what really is a strong woman? To me it has nothing to do with emotional coldness or physical prowess. To me, it all comes down to character. Joanna Fallon isn't a strong woman to me because she's good with a gun and can take a punch. What makes her a strong woman is when she does take that punch, she gets up and continues on knowing full well the consequences of this action. Katniss Everdeen isn't strong because she's excellent with a bow it's because she stood up for her baby sister and took care of people who needed help even to the detriment of herself. And in actuality I find Ree, the character Jennifer Lawrence played in Winter's Bone far stronger than Katniss, yet this character is never mentioned. Why? Because it was in a drama. She didn't take on a nation or kill people with a bow, she just kept her family afloat. To me strength is akin to bravery. Bravery isn't being fearless, it's overcoming your fear and keep on keeping on. THIS is what we should be teaching the young, girls and boys alike. I hope I've done my part one brother at a time. 
What about you? Do you agree with my assessment? Who are some non-action female characters who deserve some applause? How awesome is my little brother? (He takes after his sister )
Until next time, this is Jennifer Harlow signing out from the darkside...
Song of the Week: I'd Like To Go Back There Someday by Paul Williams
I'm reading: Lost Girls-An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker  *** 
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Published on March 25, 2014 10:20 • 131 views

March 19, 2014

Hello, and welcome to the darkside...
I am sitting here, typing this from dark, dismal Virginia on my birthday. I flew in during the last snowstorm (a damn foot of snow) and am in the bosom on my family. What a vacation. Anyway, this week Pinterest will do my heavy lifting. Enjoy!
Oh my God
Just sayin'
Westboro Baptist Deadpool Does anyone else find this as hysterical as I do? Seriously, I look at this and laugh and wonder why all of our problems can't be solved with a little Deadpool.i hate getting asked this! probably more than my bf hates it. Team NO MARRIAGE until at least 30!Eddie Izzard meets Game of Thrones -- I can't decide if this is perfectly hilarious or perfectly horrible because I absolutely abhor Joffrey and what he did in this scene.
BYEMother-In-Law Who Hates Her Son's Future Wife, Writes The Wedding InvitationUntil next time, this is the older Jennifer Harlow signing out from the darkside...
Song of the Week: Just Another Day by Oingo BoingoI'm reading: Last Writes by Laura Levine  ****
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Published on March 19, 2014 07:50 • 58 views

March 12, 2014

Hello, and welcome to the darkside...

I have an addictive personality. I recognized it early on and was smart enough to recognize I would need to take steps so I didn't end up on an episode of Intervention. I have never taken hard drugs, or any drugs really, I have a drink maybe once a month, and run the other way when people are gambling. But sometimes I find myself in addiction's clutches. My crack is video games, and I just had a relapse. Damn you Skyrim.
I'd avoided this game for years, actively avoided it because I knew this very thing would happen. My brothers played it when it first came out and I don't think they left the TV for two weeks. Everyone who has ever played the game warned me that even the strongest would be sucked into its awesomeness for a bare minimum of a week. We're talking no eating, sleeping about three hours a night, just living this game. And I heeded their warnings...until now. 
For those who don't know of it, Skyrim is an open world game where you are the Dragonborn. You speak dragon and spend much of the game killing rogue dragons. And vampires. And trolls. And cannibals all with magic, swords, and arrows. It's like Game of Thrones but you get to vie for the Iron Throne (God, could I be more of a geek?) But what really sucks the player in beyond DRAGONS!!! is there are a million quests to do. You can't walk down the village street without getting three quests to complete. Plus you can get married and adopt children in the game. Beyond The Sims, another addiction of mine, I've never seen that in a game. I've heard people have played this game for months and never "beat" it. I'm someone who has to finish what she starts, and that coupled with said addictive personality, proved a huge problem. But I needed to unwind, and one night after working I decided to try it, just for an hour or so before I'd make dinner. Yeah...
For an entire week I woke at eight AM, threw on clothes from the floor, and got to playing until about 2 AM. I barely ate, I may have ruined my bladder, and there was a literal pile of dishes in the sink I didn't notice until too late (fairly sure that was the cause of my stomach flu that cropped up a week later.) It wasn't until my grandmother came over and literally grimaced at the sight of my greasy hair and messy house I realized I had a problem. I'd finished the two main story lines the day before but had two dozen side quests in my queue but I ejected the disk and told my brother to hide the game. I am not allowed to even go near the PS3 for a month. But those side quests call to me at night. There are tombs to raid and my children need more sweets. I'm jonesing but so far so good.
So my name is Jennifer Harlow and I am a video game addict. And a television addict. And I go on Pinterest way too much. I'm working on it. 
Until next time, this is Jennifer Harlow signing out from the darkside...
Song of the Week: Compass by Lady AntebellumI'm reading: Nothing
    
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Published on March 12, 2014 10:20 • 85 views

March 3, 2014

Hello, and welcome to the darkside...
Since I've been laid up with the stomach flu since Wednesday my friend and e-book guru Emily Kimmelman has agreed to take over the blog this week. She's the best-selling author of the Sydney Rye series and is here to talk about her cool contest. Take it away, Em.


Thanks to Jennifer for having me on her blog today to talk to you
about a contest I’m running in order to find a narrator for my Sydney Rye
series of audiobooks. When I was driving cross country last year I listened to
a lot of audiobooks. What I learned quickly is that the story didn’t matter as
much as the voice. As a writer I hate to admit it but the truth is that no matter
how compelling a tale if the voice doesn’t work then neither does the audiobook.

 

This realization was at the forefront of my mind when I decided to
turn my own series into audiobooks. So I’m asking for your help. After
narrowing the finalist down to four voice artist I’m going around the web
begging for you to tell me what you think.

 

If you Haven’t read Sydney Rye yet don’t worry. You can download
the first book, UNLEASHED, for free on Amazon,iTunesB&N, or Kobo and see how
she sounds in your head then vote for the best narrator.

 

Since I’m asking for your help I
figured I should give something back. Voting enters you to win all sorts of
great prizes including Amazon gift cards, signed books, and the finished Audio
book!

I hope you’ll take the time to help me
out by letting me know what you think. Thanks!

Here are your choices for narrator:

https://soundcloud.com/emily-kimelman-gilvey/tracks


Prize Details

Every vote, like, share, or sign up is an entry for the
"grand prizes" 

One person will win Signed copies
of all 5 books

One person will win a $30 Amazon or
B&N gift card

Four other winners will win paperback
copies of UNLEASHED

                       

Anyone who votes +  signs up for Emily’s email list + likes
Emily’s FaceBook page gets a copy of the audio book when it's completed!

Enter HERE for the Raffle Copter giveaway FIND THE
VOICE OF SYDNEY RYE AUDIO BOOK CONTEST LINKS


More about
UNLEASHED:

UNLEASHED is the first book in Emily Kimelman's best selling
Sydney Rye series of mysteries. 

When the series begins Sydney Rye is named Joy Humbolt. She does
not like people telling her what to do, so it comes as no surprise that she was
just fired from her last job. When she buys Charlene Miller's dog-walking
business on Manhattan's exclusive upper east side, it seems like the perfect
fit: Quiet environment, minimal contact with people.

But then one of her clients turns up dead, and Charlene
disappears. Rumors say Charlene was having an affair with the victim--and of
course, everyone assumes Joy must know where she is. Joy begins to look into
the crime, first out of curiosity then out of anger when there is another
murder and threats start to come her way.

When police detective Mulberry is assigned to the case, Joy finds
a kindred spirit--cynical and none-too-fond of the human race. As they dig deep
into the secrets of Manhattan's elite, they not only get closer to the killer
but also to a point of no return. One last murder sends Joy Humbolt hurtling
over the edge. Her only chance of survival is to become Sydney Rye.

 

 

The Rest of The Sydney Rye Series:

DEATH IN THE DARK (A Sydney Rye Novella, #2) 

INSATIABLE (A Sydney
Rye Novel, #3)

STRINGS OF GLASS (A Sydney Rye Novel, #4)

THE DEVIL’S BREATH (A
Sydney Rye Novel, #5) Coming April 2014

 

 

Emily Kimelman
Biography
 

Emily Kimelman is the author of the best selling “Sydney Rye”
series of mystery novels including UNLEASHED, DEATH IN THE DARK, INSATIABLE,
STRINGS OF GLASS and the forthcoming THE DEVIL’S BREATH. Emily lives with her
husband, Sean Gilvey, and their dog, Kinsey Millhone “Pup Detective”, on a
trawler docked in the Hudson Valley during the summer. She spends her winters
traveling to where ever the next Sydney Rye Novel takes place. Right now she is
in Costa Rica working on Sydney Rye #6.

If you’ve read Emily’s work and liked it please contact her. She
loves hearing from readers. You can reach Emily via email ejkimelman@gmail.com or on  twitter @ejkimelman. Follow her on Instagram to see
pictures from Emily’s latest adventures. Visit www.emilykimelman.com to learn more about Emily and the
Sydney Rye series.

Thanks
for visiting, Emily.

Until
next time, this is Jennifer Harlow signing out from the darkside…

Song
of the Week: Forever by Chris Brown





















































































































































































































I’m
reading: Nothing




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Published on March 03, 2014 08:54 • 69 views

February 24, 2014

Hello, and welcome to the darkside...

We've all heard the taunt, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Well, on this saying I call shennanigans. I've broken bones, live with a debilitating stomach condition, but those experiences haven't had the crippling effect on my life a few well placed words have. They don't keep me up at night cringing (okay, the stomach thing does on occasion). They didn't send me to therapy twice. Remarks about my weight, my work ethic, my character have. People can be cruel. Words hurt. Hell, words kill. They have unimaginable power, and lately I feel a lot of people have been using that power for evil. We now live in a world filled with trolls, some with the power to harm more than a few people. They have the power to influence impressionable young minds and keep people from reaching their full potential. 
I first got the idea for this post when I read about the Isabelle Allende controversy. For those who don't know, Allende is famous for her book House of the Spirits, a book I very much enjoyed. She is one of the few Hispanic female voices in the book world and has won multiple prestigious awards for her books. I have a feeling no awards will be coming her way for her latest work, Ripper. The controversy began when she went on NPR and said she wasn't a fan on the mystery genre (though her husband writes in it). That she read some of the top books in the genre for research and didn't find a thing to recommend them. That she purposely wrote Ripper to critique the mystery genre by going against the tropes she disliked. There were other digs to the genre about how formulaic, how badly written most are, etc. Well, the mystery community lost their shit. This isn't a new thing, attacks on genre books. Most "literary" writers often dis the same things Allende did, But they didn't then turn around, take I assume hundreds of thousands of dollars to write one, then attack both writers and fans alike. They may be a tad snooty but at least they have integrity. All the money Allende got both in an advance and marketing could have gone to several other writers (*ahem, me?*) who understand the genre, like writing in it which translates into the readers enjoying it, and won't call the people who read it dunderheads. (Also note, the critics have panned the book). Since the backlash Allende has backtracked, saying she was having a bad day or something, but the damage is done. Allende trolled the mystery genre on a very national platform and people are now trolling her back. 
The same week this story broke, another genre was tarnished by trolling. Last year several female sci-fi writers spoke out about how their male counterparts mistreated them through the years. It ran the gammat from lack of spots on panels for women to full on inappropriate sexual touching. The controversy died down in the Sci-Fi Writers Association, until some of the old guard went on a public forum and let their misogynistic freak flags fly once more. "How dare women think they're as good as we are? They write fluff." "How does this chick think we'll respect her if she wears an off the shoulder blouse? At least she's hot." (These are't exact quotes but that was the gist.) These are men high up in the hierarchy with influence not only on the SFWA, they approve membership, but in the major publishing houses. The authors have since apologized, and claim they didn't know it was a public forum, but the damage was done. Again. People are calling for a boycott on SFWA. I'm not a member of that organization but I am with Mystery Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. These organizations have helped me network, provided resources, and helped spread the word about my books. I assume the SFWA does the same but with these horrible words the whole organization suffers. A few bad apples do spoil the whole bunch.
Be it the internet or just people getting meaner and grumpier, it feels as if the world is getting crueler. I've known authors who have been threatened with rape for speaking out about things. People have been bullied online for posting a negative review of books. I've been called a "cunt" while playing a video game online. Maybe we should retire "sticks and stones" and drum into people's heads another saying: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." You are entitled to your opinion of course, but if it affects my day to day life you do not have the right to inflict your negativity on me. Just because you don't believe in gay marriage does not mean you have the right to ban it. It has no bearing on your life! Don't spoil it for other people. Don't belittle people then turn around and expect them to buy your affront to them. Don't let your misogynistic beliefs stop women from contributing to your genre. And for God's sake, think before you speak or you may find yourself on the other end, barraged by not only sticks and stones but some choice words lobbed like missles. Because there's something a hell of a lot worse than a broken bone: a broken spirit. 
Until next time, this is Jennifer Harlow signing out from the darkside...
Song of the Week" Ramblin Man by Allman Bros BandI'm reading: Not Isabelle Allende, that's for sure 

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Published on February 24, 2014 11:06 • 68 views