Category Archives: Bedroom Short Stories For Discerning Adults

Five months after

It seems like a lifetime since I last wrote a blog post, five months ago. A lot has happened since then and I’m going to save you the intricate details that probably don’t mean anything to you, but I surely need to put some of it out there.

calendar
Calendar by Andreanna Moya, available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/andreanna/2837855969.
Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

A day job can be hard slog: certainly I can’t complain about my “day job”, but it takes up a considerable amount of “neural real estate”. Being a university teacher who’s also a postgrad student uses up a lot of my mental resources and more often than not I need my free time just to “switch myself off”. Tied to this is financial worry. Part of me yearns for a steady income stream to replace casual teaching contracts. But casual teaching contracts is all there is—at least for the moment.

Sadly tragedy stroke once: my best friend Kev had rapid onset depression and ended up taking his own life in the middle of June. I lost one of my pillars of support, someone who’s protective wings were readily available for nearly ten years. Grief is so weird that I felt I was in the clutches of depression myself, for a good couple of weeks after Kev’s passing. In a conversation with my psychiatrist, I was able to finally frame those dark feelings as grief. I knew that life went on and found a way to honour my friend’s memory by joining his “tribe” of friends and adding my bit to help Kev’s favourite organisation, Petrea King’s Quest for Life Foundation.

The “Bedroom Short Stories…” lay idle in the hard disk of my laptop. I finally contacted Paul Mattingly—my editor—and started working on the final manuscript, which as you know has been published recently.  You can find it on Amazon, Smashwords and Google Play.  A few months after the intended publication date, my second book reared its head in the e-booksphere.

Where does inspiration come from? I wish I knew … One thing I do know is that it doesn’t come from outer space, or from the fringes of wishful thinking, or from writer’s blah blah. But I didn’t know I was in for a nice surprise that really galvanised me into going ahead: on August 14 I received the unexpected good news that “Bittersweet Symphony” had won the Bronze Medal in the Global Ebook Awards in the New Adult Fiction category. In the same way as I have always reacted slowly to very bad news, this supa good piece of good news took a few days to sink in. I need to organise serious PR work, but I’ve decided to try my luck again at another award. Stay tuned!

Writing assignments is taking up most of my time these days, but I’ve decided to restart blogging with a vengeance. I also have written some 3,000 words that could well become my second novel. I know what it is I want to write about. It all seems to indicate that the main character will be another female, this time a young woman who could actually be Lena Foch’s daughter. Somehow I see myself as a feminist writer … but I’m also a a fringe critic of some of its radical forms. Honouring this view, I’ve decided that my “gals” will be intelligent, honest, strong, independent, sexual and with “dark pasts”, whatever that means. Women of action and substance.

A few days ago I participated in an unusual experience: a casting for a modelling job. Luckily I didn’t get it because the clothes I had to wear made me look like a matron. They’re good pics, but they’ll never find their way into cyberspace. Had I been selected to participate in the project, my image would’ve been splashed all over Australia, wearing clothes that aren’t my style at all and putting on a persona that is as far away from the real “me” as being a creature from outer space.

Well, I’m back. Something has shifted and I’m not quite sure of what it is, but it feels good. Catcha later 🙂

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‘In The Hot Seat With FF Jensen’: main highlights

G’day to all of youse there,

It’s a shit of a day: my car needs some repairs and that costs $$$ that I didn’t quite like to spend. I’ll probably have to walk to the gym later, rather than drive, if the car isn’t fixed today. Grrrrr!!

In any case, good stuff does happen: Jenny Mosher from IndieMosh, my publishing facilitator, has transcribed the most interesting bits of the ‘In The Hot Seat With FF Jensen’ interview in a blog post on Online Village Blue Mountains.

For those of you who don’t like watching videos on YouTube, I can say that Jenny’s blog post is a pretty good (and quick) read. You can also appreciate how to-the-point her questions are.

Back to my car headache. Talk to you soon, FFJ

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In The Hot Seat With FF Jensen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHhTacgSSb4

Finally, after an impeccable post-production, here’s the 30 minute interview: Jenny Mosher, in The Hot Seat With FF Jensen.

(imagine a drum roll here :-))

I would wish to thank Jenny, Ally, Sarah and Josh for the opportunity ‘to burn my arse off’ in The Hot Seat. Mind you, I’d do that again any day!

Get yourselves a glass of red or white, or any other drink of your preference and enjoy. Catcha later, FF 🙂

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What’s in a pseudonym? And what’s behind it? Part II

A couple of days ago, I had a great convo with a former Rugby Union legend, Enrique ‘Topo’ Rodríguez, which in itself deserves at least three blog posts. We discussed how a persona can preserve the person, in other words, how a pseudonym—my pseudonym, FF Jensen—allows a human being—in this case, the ‘real’ me—to strike out into a new arena—creative writing—keeping all other aspects of my private life away from intruding eyes—in other words, still private.

There’s also a very pressing reality: I need to pay my bills and I can’t make a living out of my creative writing just yet. My current supervisor-coordinator, or whatever you want to call them, has given me enough proof of narrow-mindedness and judgmentalism (Yuppy! I have invented a great word) and I never know what may come in my direction. Someone said, ‘Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to getcha.’ Problem is that in this case I’ve got more than enough evidence to mistrust this person.

In any case, there’s a fun story behind my nom de plume that I’d love to share with you: As soon as I finished writing ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ and knew that publication under my real name was a no-no, I started ‘shopping around’ for a pen name. I whiled my time away on the Behind the Name website, marvelling at how all the different random combinations kept coming, but there was nothing there that truly tickled my fancy. No ‘Yes!’ or ‘Eureka!’ moment.

A rather unconnected event brought in exactly what I was after. My partner is a member of a specialist forum where his nickname was abbreviated to ‘FF’. On a couple of occasions, I posted messages under my partner’s username, and one of his mates suggested I get my own username for that forum. It was the first time in my life I posted online under someone else’s name, which isn’t like me at all. I’ve been online since 1995 and never used ‘proxies’ (I surely used proxy servers, though). I’ve always been me, never anybody else (Hehe, my ‘digital fingerprints’ are everywhere now … If I were a ‘person of interest’ for the NSA, they’d catch me at the drop of a hat).

Whatever, you must be thinking. Cut to the chase, FF! Where does your pen name come from?

Jensen FF I 119/007  by Nigel Honey, available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/azenis/. Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0
Jensen FF I 119/007 by Nigel Honey, available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/azenis/. Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

One of my partner’s friends posted a pic of a Jensen FF on that specialist forum. I can’t remember how it happened exactly, but the suggestion was that since I am Mr FF’s missus, I should join that forum as Jensen FF. The joke was over in less than ten minutes, but a ‘little seed’ was planted in my subconscious.

Back in January this year, I had a weird eureka moment. One morning, as soon as I woke up, I told my partner, ‘I think that my pseudonym should be FF Jensen.’ His reply was, ‘Honey, that might work.’ In a matter of days, I got the domain name for my website and started developing it. I even received an email from someone who wanted to buy spare parts for the Jensen FF! Hilarious …

Mind you, FF Jensen is pretty well established, but I sometimes find myself thinking whether I should publish my raunchy short stories under a different nom de plume. Or whether at some stage I’ll be happy to flaunt my real name. Who knows…? In any case, who cares? I don’t. The main thing is to keep on writing and enjoying it, all the while keeping the ‘head honcho’ in the dark.

Cheers, FFJ (from the Blue Mountains train)

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Indie-land, Chapter I: the self-publishing process

Interestingly, after writers finish writing a book, a few processes take place that we indiefolks  have to foot the bill for—literally.  Writers that go through traditional publishers (and don’t end up in the dreaded, so-called slush pile) don’t have to, because the publisher takes care of the editing, marketing, PR, social media, etc.

It isn’t my intention to get into the subject of royalties here, but I can roughly say that the difference between what indiefolks and traditionally published authors receive is considerable.  The big trade-off here is that indie = full control of everything, including royalties.

You can find plenty of great websites that explain the nuts and bolts of going it on your own, with bells and whistles. There are also excellent self-published manuals on the subject. In this case, I’ll just limit myself to writing about the steps I had to takeThe first one, the most important one, the unavoidable one:

WRITING A BOOK 🙂

Sorry about the all-caps, but you get my drift. Writing a book is no picnic. I know because I’ve done it myself. Don’t pay attention to those that tell you that so many people write and that your ‘baby’ will get lost in the Amazon jungle (hehe!) or that Your Words Will Be Smashed, or any other crap like that. You’ve done it and it takes gumption and guts. It takes massive doses of creativity, of course, but I know many creative people that start lots of different things at the same time and end up achieving nothing.

Once the book has been written, you’ll need an editor. My first choice of editor took me to a dead end. I suspect she probably didn’t want to edit an opera prima written by a nobody who hasn’t got a PhD in English or anything like that—and who writes explicit sex scenes to boot. In any case, I happened to be working on WordWatcher’s website and I wondered, Why not him? I’ve already discussed my very successful experience with him in a previous post.

I already knew about IndieMosh and their publishing packages. At the beginning I only considered e-publishing, but I wanted to make sure that I opened more markets for myself, and not everybody has an e-reader (or likes them, for that matter). So after doing my math, I decided to get a combo package (e-publishing and print on demand). 

Here comes a very interesting bit: I’m a trained graphic and web designer, so I designed my covers, did the layout and supplied all the finished artwork to publish ‘Bittersweet Symphony’. My partner is a professional pro and took a nice pic of me. At the same time, I wrote several blurbs for different purposes: the Amazon site, Smashwords, One Thousand Words Plus, etc. You need different numbers of words depending on the platform, so I wrote a basic blurb and ‘tweaked’ it to suit different platforms. After that…

IndieMosh's congratulations card
IndieMosh’s congratulations card

I started developing this website and set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account. FF Jensen became part of the social media jungle all right!

The next steps:

  • The launch (to take place on May 19).
  • A Google + page.
  • Facebook advertising ? We shall see…
  • Pinterest… I don’t think so. My craft is literature, so I’d probably pass that one up.
  • Press releases and press contacts: I will explore the chances of publishing articles in Australian magazines and websites.
  • Participating on a TV show? That could be a good one…
  • Serendipity…
  • All of this while I continue writing my short story collection, Bedroom Short Stories For Discerning Adults. Those over 18, stay tuned: there will be a ‘freebie’ coming your way soon!

As I write this post, I have come to the conclusion that creating the FF Jensen brand is as much fun as being a writer—and probably every bit as creative!

Once I finish this post, I’ll take a peep of the wonderful landscape rolling by, from the Blue Mountains train. Catcha later, FFJ

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