Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Jennifer K. Ensley to the blog. She is the author of Cursed by Diamonds and is here to share some information about her book. If this sounds like something that you would be interested in reading, please find buy links at the bottom of the post and pick up a copy or two.
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IBP: Tell us about your new release?
Jennifer: Cursed by Diamonds is a twisting, turning thrill ride that keeps your mind busy until the last page. Friendships are tested, love is put on trial, and every decision can have irrecoverable consequences. Jenevier (Ghen-ah-veer), the main character, is hopelessly oblivious to the very real dark parts of our universe. When she is forced to deal with a life altering curse, placed upon her by an extremely handsome yet wickedly twisted man, remaining innocent is no longer an option. Freedom is never free and great sacrifices must be made to procure a heart’s deepest desire. Sometimes, one must become darker than the darkness, if they wish to defeat it. It comes down to…What are you willing to forfeit, to obtain the goal you seek? We have all heard it said…Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. Jenevier learns this lesson all too well.
IBP: When did you begin writing?
Jennifer: I have been an avid reader since birth, well, since I first learned to read. I was one of those kids that when Mom said, “Go clean your room.” I would end up finding a book under the bed and sitting there for hours thinking “Okay, just one more chapter.” Never did get the room cleaned, at least, that’s Mom’s version. As for writing, it was either a freak accident or divine intervention, not real sure which. In August 2004, I bought a new journal, just a plain empty journal from the local book store. When I opened it, scenes started playing out in my head. Like a sketchy movie. I was looking into a snow globe and, well, the characters in this book just came to life inside it. I watched their lives and became their scribe, I suppose. It started with Jenevier, but very soon, the others simply walked onto “the set”, ya might say. I wrote the first 15 chapters before life just got in the way. In January 2006 we got snowed in for a few days. I picked the journal back up, read what I had written, and the next 6 chapters came to me. Alas, the snow melted. Once again, life grabbed hold of me. Work, marriage, kids, family, baby, and divorce all flowed through the hourglass. When next I raised my head, it was December 2009. Christmas break that year only yielded 3 more chapters. Life, once again, wrapped me in its arms and twirled me around until school let out in July 2010. Nearly six full years since the first word was laid to paper, I picked up my pen, wrote down Chapter 25 at the top of the page, and never looked back. On September 28, 2010 @ 11:29pm, I wrote the last word of the first book. Then, October 13, 2010, the second book started playing in my mind and has blessedly never stopped. Christmas break 2010, I was just messing around on twitter and came across an editor, Toni Rakestraw. We struck up a conversation, I sent her my first draft, she edited it, and I waited a whole year to even look at what she had to say about it. I had never quit writing, I just had not really thought about publishing it. I guess writing this particular series has been my outlet, my therapy, so to speak. Christmas break 2011, I’m not real sure what happened, I just got serious about the publishing aspect. And, here we are Christmas break 2012 the first book is in print, the second is in editing, the third is just hanging around in queue, I’m typing up the forth while writing the fifth. Never have I been so happy. Writing is better than chocolate or wine or new shoes. Well, maybe not shoes, but it ranks right up there!! I accomplished something for myself, no matter what, I am very proud and content with that.
IBP: Do you write at a laptop/desktop or do you write freehand?
Jennifer: I have tried to write at a laptop, which would make things a whole heck of a lot easier. Alas, the words won’t come. It’s like the story only flows when the ink touches the paper, the words flow out of the pen. I bought one of those popular ‘speak-to-type’ software programs, yeah. It refuses to recognize my accent, no matter how many times I train it. It’s kind of funny, actually. I can read to that thing and then go back to see what it typed, hysterical. I’m thinking…“Do I really sound like that to other people?” Meh, reckon so. A friend of mine is begging me to do my own audio version. Her reasoning? She wants all her friends up north to see if they can understand what I’m saying. That just ain’t even funny.
IBP: Do you have a day job?
Jennifer: Yes, I am the Nutrition Director for our county’s school system. Basically, this means lots of paperwork and tons of USDA regulations. Not a fairytale land, to be sure. But, I love interacting with the kids and doing my wee bit to keep/make them healthy. It’s a lifestyle decision. But, it’s kind of hard to explain that to a 7 year old. Have you ever gotten through to one? #yeahmeneither
IBP: What do you love about writing?
Jennifer: Everything. I cannot remember what my life was like before these characters started living in my head. It must have been horribly boring. The stories drive themselves, they make me feel alive. I know the beginning and the end, but I am constantly amazed by the middle part. I won’t even know it’s in my head, then, it just spills out on paper. Sometimes I’m like, “Whoa, where did that come from? Hmm, I like it.”
IBP: Who is your favorite character in your new release?
Jennifer: Aye, that would be Vittorio. I love his accent, well, how he sounds in my head. It’s sort of Scottish and amazingly playful. He is the most caring character in the whole series. Always conscious of others, always giving til it hurts, never selfish with his heart. Oh, and super sexy don’t hurt either. What sane woman doesn’t love a man in a kilt? As for that, who am I to judge sanity? Okay, I just made myself laugh. Perhaps this is why my kids won’t hang out with me in public…hmm.
IBP: Where do you get your inspiration?
Jennifer: I’m not sure, honestly. It doesn’t come from just one place, it’s everything, everywhere. I have read so many books in my lifetime, seen so many movies, talked to so many people; they inspire me, always. I, as with all people, am a plethora of my past. Who we are (whether you realize it or not) are unique creatures, coherent beings, formed distinctively by all the things that touch us. Every book I’ve read, every movie I’ve seen, every ancient story I have listened to, each one touched me. Some of them grabbed me by my soul, others only brushed up against my sleeve. But all of them, combined, are a very real part of me. So, basically, life has inspired me and continues to do so. The many authors, directors, actors, characters, friends, family members, and every-day people who have strolled through my life, in one form or another, have molded me into the me I am, the only me I know how to be. Is just being normal an inspiration? I don’t know, perhaps it depends on what you label as normal.
IBP: Which genres do you prefer to read?
Jennifer: I love to read anything that is fantastical. Reality? I live with that every day. When I read, I want to be swept off to a magical world filled with exquisite people and marvelous places. I want to spend a few hours living in a delightful realm that couldn’t possibly exist, but wishing every second that it did. Cassandra Clare makes that happen for me, as does P.C. Cast, Tolkien, Martin, King, James Reese, Charlaine Harris, Lovecraft, Clive Barker, “Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.” (quote from Yul Brynner, The King and I…loved that movie). Oh, and Cornelia Funke. Wow, reading her stuff? It’s like I was there, right there in her world. I never wanted it to end. Then, there are amazing people like Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle). I would love to crawl inside that man’s mind and just sit back and watch the show. Wait…perhaps this all should have been under the inspiration question. See? Thousands of things influence me. I can’t pick just one. They have all become an effortless part of my normal.
IBP: How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?
Jennifer: I love nothing more than sitting around talking about the many layers of my universe. When you can talk to someone who understands what you’re saying (because they’ve read the book) it makes it all the more real. I always try my best to respond to and acknowledge each question. I hate to finish a book and walk away going…”Wait a minute, why did this happen, or, what happen because of that, or, they never answered the question about…” I don’t want anyone to feel like I left them, or one of my characters, hanging.
IBP: Morning person or night owl?
Jennifer: Total night owl. My juices start flowing right before dinner time and run straight through til dawn. Which is not very conducive to having a day job, but, it is what it is. I just drink lots of coffee and tea.
IBP: How many more books can we expect in this series?
Jennifer: Well, at least five. I just finished the fourth one and the first three chapters of the fifth one spilled right on out with it. Also, I want to do a pronunciation guide type thingy. I hate when one person says, for instance (Jaqen H’ghar, Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin) Jake-in Huh-Gal, and another one pronounces it Jack-n Hag-ul. Does that make any sense? That’s one of those fingernails-on-the-chalkboard kind of things for me. But hey, I’m weird like that. Ya know what? This interview has inspired me. I’m heading on over to my website right now and adding a ‘work-in-progress’ type pronunciation page. No…I don’t suffer from any type of attention prob…oh, rabbit…no, squirrel…ermahgerd…
There was something he found intuitively arousing about this particular maiden. Strangely, the prince found himself desperately wanting her to want to stay with him, to choose to be his forever. It was not so much that her beauty surpassed all other women. She was quite lovely, but she was not the fairest maiden he had ever seen. There was something else about her. Yes, her innocence was enchanting to him; but he had stolen innocence before. Yes, her smile put him in mind of the dawn of creation; but he had seen many beautiful smiles during his adventurous games. Yes, he was definitely turned on by her complete lack of interest in him, but he had taken women kicking and screaming many times before. It was not just one thing about this particular maiden, it was everything
Merodach could literally feel a different person lurking inside her. He imagined a wicked little demon hid just below her angelic façade, simply waiting for him to release her. This earth changing awakening would alter the course of the world and leave her begging for him, as he already begged for her. She became to him as mystery incarnate and his cruel black heart ached with insatiable desire for her.
A thought crept into his mind that maybe, just maybe, his infatuation for her was simply formed from his own vanity. She had no interest in him. She made that obvious at the celebration. Merodach crushed the vile diffidence instantaneously. From whatever beginning and to whatever end there was to be, this young maiden’s destiny was now and forever, changed.
“When my wraiths deliver her, she will still be frozen from their touch. Her skin will be icy and painful. I believe I shall draw a luxurious bath for my love. I will show my great concern for her comfort especially after those horribly nasty old witches had kidnapped her.” His smile was menacing as he spoke aloud the little games he would play with Jenevier. “No. Such amateur things will never work with her. I have already caused her great pain and worry. She may be innocent and childlike, but she is no fool. I will have to be much more cunning with this one.”
He heard the wraith’s howls drawing closer through the dark. “What are those vile witches doing? They will permanently deafen the girl, those fools.”
His anger was at full mast when he reached the window and strained his eyes to catch a glimpse of their ghostly forms. Their fear had caused their sickening cries to rise, until they saw their master from afar.
“The master waits anxiously for our return.”
“Yesss. We have taken too long and his wrath is growing. I can feel it from here.”
When Merodach was satisfied the wraiths had sensed his extreme displeasure, he retreated from the window and into his private quarters. He felt their presence enter the palace. He took a moment to compose himself; he did not want the girl to see how anxious he was for her. He must remain calm and distant, as always. When he was satisfied with his controlled demeanor, he swung both doors open wide and entered with such grace and poise his very essence filled the entire room.
It took a long moment for Prince Merodach’s mind to become adjusted to what he was seeing, and what he was not seeing. Only the two Shadow Wraiths knelt trembling before him in the middle of the room, no maiden. His eyes anxiously scanned the luxurious area.
She cannot be hiding…she should still be frozen in terror.
But for all of his searching and wanting, the maiden was not there.
He noticed his wraiths looking up at him in utter horror. They began spewing dreadfully hideous pleas for mercy. He paid no regard to their piteous cries as he strode between them and on to the distant window. He did not flinch nor turn his gaze from the empty night, as they shrieked and screamed out all that had happened. They told him of the three friends, the cauldron, the absence of a mark, and in detail about the boy and how the girls looked so very much alike. After their ramblings had finally ceased, he bade them leave him. He did not turn toward them; he simply waved his hand.
“Leave me now.”
They gratefully fled his presence and retreated back to the safe haven of their terrible Shadow Realm.
Merodach remained still. The disheartened prince reached up and touched a tear that had begun its lonely journey down his perfect cheek. He looked at the moistened fingertip with astonishment; as if the tear itself was something strange and foreign to him.
“What is this?”
Anger shook him and he spun around to face the empty room. But, as quickly as rage had overtaken him, it slipped away. He knew somewhere deep inside his demented heart…it was breaking.
He hated this strange feeling, but it was too powerful to be ignored, the feeling of loss.
“What a wretched thing this is.”
This new sensation was bizarre and intriguing to him. He gave in to it and let himself feel, just feel, for what was perhaps the first time since his youth. It was not a pleasant experience, but it was a new experience, and he so loved new experiences.
Merodach numbly walked into his room and fell across the bed. He lay on his back, starting at the intricate mural of the heavens painted upon the domed ceiling. More tears came, slowly but steadily, until his vision was blurred. These salty drops of pain disgusted him, and yet, comforted him at the same time. The vast range of emotions he was swimming through filled him with everything…doubt, anger, longing, fury, loneliness, deceit, jealousy, abandonment. For one tiny instant, he even felt empathy toward the women he had taken and toward the families he had destroyed. What he had put them through tore at his gut. The tears they must have shed, the pain their hearts must have endured.
Then, he dashed the thoughts of regret away. He would be consumed only by his own self-pity. All of these terrible emotions and feelings he would attribute to her and her spiteful deception. He was the only one hurting here. He was the one cheated and denied. He was the one who had been sorely wronged, no one else.
And she…had caused…it all.
He squeezed his eyelids closed, forbidding the despicable flow to continue.
“I will fix this. I will take care of this myself, on the morrow.”
Finally, the darkness of sleep came. But it was a justly restless slumber which fell upon him.
JK Ensley is a native Tennessean by way of Missouri, born there and quickly ushered down South. A product of public school and private college, she spent her early twenties bouncing across the country. Fascinated by rich culture, ancient customs, and thick accents, she is compelled to drink in the many exquisite differences humanity is gifted with. A self-described, happily divorced mother of three with a stressful day job and an uber common minivan, she does little to hide her wicked wit, advanced sarcasm, and extreme shoe addiction. “At the core of me, I’m one slightly twisted, pink haired, sword wielding, invisible ninja with a laptop, an imagination, and very little me time. That’s just who I am. I’m comfortable in my skin and I love my life. Totally not kidding about the hair, the swords, or the laptop, I might have stretched it just a little with the invisible part.”
Jennifer can be found on:
Cursed by Diamonds can be purchased on Amazon.