Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving in Oklahoma

My aunt Shirley and I talking non-stop.
Just got back from a week in Norman, Oklahoma visiting family, and did not write or edit a single word in my work-in-progress (The Omaja Stone) while I was gone. But, I saw all my in-laws, my precious 92-year-old grandmother, and my aunt Shirley (basically my twin in terms of life outlook and interests) and uncle Gary (the sweetest, most calming man alive.)

Shirley and I spent hours talking about clothes, makeup, skin care, healthy dieting, home decorating, and the like. She showed me her Young Living oils collection and shared her latest YL oil recipe for a bath oil that smelled like heaven itself. (I'll write it up and share it on Pinterest soon.)

Some very interesting/weird things that happened to me during the trip:

1. I visited the Sooner Fashion Mall in Norman and was floored by the differences in how the Dillard's store was stocked there compared to here in Colorado Springs. (I haven't been to SF mall in over 12 years.) Their Dillard's was vibrant, filled to the brim with cute clothes, purses, and shoes; ours here at Chapel Hills Mall is kind of sterile and a little empty by comparison. My theory is simply that fashion and makeup are far more important in Norman, OK than here.
Endless purses at Dillard's.

2. I was solicited in the mall by a young French guy with dark hair and hazel eyes selling straightening irons for hair. His opening line as I walked by was, "Hello, ma'am, may I ask what you do to style your beautiful hair?" Next thing I knew, I was sitting at his kiosk while he freely played with my hair. I bought the straightener. :)

3. My flight home on Friday was delayed, then re-routed through DFW instead of Denver to Colorado Springs. We saw on the TV screen near our gate while at DFW that there was an active shooter at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, right in the middle of the snow storm that was going on here at the time.

4. If that weren't surreal enough, while en route to the Springs our plane was struck by lightning about 20 minutes into the two-hour flight. It was dark outside, and I was absorbed in reading With This Kiss by Victoria Lynne when there was a bright flash of light right outside the window and a hard jolt as if we had hit something. I can be a really nervous flier at times, and I really had a hard time controlling my anxiety for the rest of the flight. The captain explained that we'd been hit by a "static discharge" and that he would perform diagnostics to make sure everything was still functioning properly, but there were several minutes of racing pulse and sweating palms between each of his announcements describing his progress on checking the plane. When we finally landed and I had internet access again, I Googled "what happens when your plane gets struck by lightning" and the answer seems to be "basically nothing because of all the cool technology in airplanes these days." (And apparently it's a fairly common occurrence. Has it happened to any of you???) Wish I would have known that before I boarded that flight! I was absolutely terrified until we landed safely.

It was good to see family, but it's good to be home now too and to be able to get back to writing!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

New Novel in the Works, Believe it or Not

What's Jayla Jasso been up to?

Well, I'll tell you. I've been working on a long day-job-related writing project for the past 18 months while all my unfinished romance novels sat there in unopened files. (I don't dare open a novel I've started while I'm supposed to be working on something else, because I get sucked in and can't stop re-reading and working on it again.)

I finished the day-job-related writing project a few months ago and avoided working on novels or any other writing activity for a while, just to get a breather from the computer screen, and to collect my thoughts about my next steps in fiction writing. Writing technical matter is such a different world from writing fiction, and like I said, once I get sucked into working on my fiction projects, it's like a vortex that I can't pull my head out of very easily. Plot lines and characters and scenes start dominating my thoughts, and I have to be careful to stay grounded in the real world.

But when you are a writer at heart, you can't stay away for long. I said all my "unfinished" romance novels were sitting in unopened files...well, a finished one was as well. I didn't want to talk about it before because I knew I couldn't work on the final edits for it yet, and I didn't want to string people along who are waiting for my next book.

It's called The Omaja Stone, a fantasy-romance, medieval sword-and-sorcery tale that takes place in a wealthy country called Villeleia. I'm currently doing my final edits before sending it to my professional editor for her final polish. The cover has been ordered and will be revealed soon. I'll be running some specials on Caribbean Jewel as well as doing some discounted preorders for the new book in a few weeks.

And my head is completely in the vortex now, so I gotta get back to Villeleia. They need me there.

Update: The Omaja Stone got a makeover - new cover and title. It's now called Kiss of the Assassin and is available on Amazon!

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