At Last…

Etta James, people, had one of the most soulful voices in the history of modern music. I remember hearing her song “At Last” used in a commercial several years ago, which brought it back onto my radar after first having heard it in my teens.

Now “At Last” is, of course, a love song, and I have loved it in this capacity since the first time I was fortunate enough to have heard it. But I also remember thinking, fairly early on in my relationship with Etta and her amazing song, was that it could apply to just about any situation which has involved a fair amount of waiting. Waiting sucks, universally.

Don’t listen to any of that crap about the “ability to delay gratification,” being an earmark of maturity. Because I’m about to lay some truth on you right now.

Truth #1: Maturity is a hoax. We get old, but we never grow up, and anyone that stamps their feet and insists that they have pretty much prove their own hypocrisy.

Truth #2: I am able to delay gratification like it was my freaking superpower. I’ve delayed a good chunk of it for-evah! That doesn’t mean I like it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.

So, Scott, you don’t like to wait, but when you have to, you can. Do you, in the words of the immortal Don Rickles, want a cookie? Well, yes. I mean, duh. Who doesn’t want a cookie? And if you’re going to knock the whole tray on the floor because you aren’t permitted, due to dietary restrictions, to partake, then I don’t even want to talk to you right now. I only included that entire section to bring us to this next point which is…

The Wait Is Over.

My novel Jelly Jars is now available from just about any bookselling entity on the interweb. I may have mentioned that already, as well as the fact that you can get it from your favorite retailer by clicking this very link! But that’s not what I’m talking about either. Well, a little. I’m talking about the book, but with great joy I’m telling you that the audiobook has been released!

Like the print versions, Northern Lake Audio has put the book in wide distribution so that it too will be available on a number of retailers. I have a bunch of links for you to get it from your favorite audiobook outlet, thanks to our awesome distributor, Audiobooks Unleashed. And I cannot talk about this audiobook without talking about the finest actor I have ever met, the unbelievable Aven Shore. I will say this right now: If you don’t like love stories, if you don’t really dig audiobooks, if you’ve hated my guts since 8th grade – none of that crap matters. You still need to listen to this. And I’ll provide you with not one but two reasons why I believe this to be true.

Reason #1 is easy. Aven. She has narrated over one hundred books, and that, my friends, is major. One book is major. Ask any narrator. Ask any author. Writing a book is hard. Reading someone else’s words and bringing that story to life, that is even tougher. If you’d like to hear what getting it right sounds like, you need to listen to my book! It’s as simple as that. Aven not just found the characters’ voices, she found their souls. She found their pain and their happiness and their growth and their latent fortitude and she captured it in little digital packets which are saved in a file which when played using the appropriate software will recreate her voice in your ears. (Welcome to the future.)

Reason #2 is slightly different. It’s a psychological disorder. One that is not officially recognized, as far as I know in the newest, or any of the previous version of the DSM. I call it Dissociative Author Disorder, or DAD. [Full Disclosure – Not thrilled with the acronym.]

I don’t know how many writers experience this. When I write I am very much aware of what I’m doing. I recall previous sections, often calling back to them later. I make conscious decisions about the direction the story is going to take.

But when the writing is done, and it’s time to read, I see things I don’t remember writing. When it was time to read Jelly Jars, first to elevate the overall quality, then one last time to make sure the story hasn’t developed any holes during the revisions, I found myself shaking my head more that once at phrases I had no memory of writing. The experience, from beginning to end, is like reading a book by someone else that I may have actually read when I was a kid or something, because it’s vaguely familiar.

I’m saying all that to tell you that as a reader, I really like this book.

And I guess I’m not the only one who feels thusly. Every writer who publishes a book is likely to get reviews. For the most part they tend to be positive, but of course there are always exceptions. Sometimes you get a real stinker.

But once in a very great while you get a review that makes you think maybe you’re on the right track. To wit:

The daily newsletter for a prominent east coast newspaper just requested nominations for its 2020 book list. They want only happy, life-affirming books that made you laugh and no tears and tragedy along the way, so I had to forego nominating this one, but in spite of a couple of the most heartrending backstories you could ever want to read, Jelly Jars is one of the happiest, most life affirming stories I have read in a very long time.

In its simplest form, this is a love story – college girl meets rich man, whirl-wind romance, happily ever after, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about loneliness and family and searching for a forever home. It’s also about America. From Berkley to Baltimore the story literally spans the continental United States.

It also runs the gamut of emotions. There were moments when I ugly cried along with the characters but, like I said, it’s one of the most life affirming stories I’ve seen in quite a while. I chuckled at the silliness and sometimes I laughed out loud. I fell in love with jazz music and Middle Eastern food in New Orleans and I celebrated redemption and life and hope for a brighter future with characters we all wish we could meet.

I loved Jelly Jars, and I think you will too.

Goodreads review.

That kind of reader connection is like a unicorn. You just don’t see very many. And so I’m very grateful to have received this praise. I am still in shock.

Now about that audiobook. What if I were to tell you that you can listen to the entire first chapter for no money whatsoever. I’m talking zero dollah bills. Nil. Not a single red cent. Okay you get the idea. Now listen.

Last bit of business. Now that the book is officially available, I want to take a minute to thank everyone involved in the production and release of this book, including the beta readers, the folks that have spread the word, written the reviews and said such glowing things. Y’all rock, and that’s all there is to it. Some specific people who deserve extra mention are Aven Shore, of course, as well as the other obvious, Craig A. Hart. During the home stretch of the manuscript preparation I got a lot of encouragement from Angelique L’Amour, and when I realized that my knowledge of Texas (especially in terms of climate and food), so I turned to my friend Brittany Ortega, who is an insanely gifted poet and a genuine Texan.

And if you’ve read and enjoyed, write a review, tell a friend, buy some Christmas presents!

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