Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Come FALL in love with Holly Jacobs Books!

Come FALL in love with Holly Jacobs Books...


It's FALL!!  This is my favorite time of year. It's the time of year that Erie, PA truly shines! If you drive through North East, you can smell grapes ripening on the vine.  Enjoy the fall foliage—deep reds, vibrant oranges and cheery yellows—as you drive a little west along the lake into Erie proper. 

Yes, the kids are back to school...oh, and there's a bit of news...so am I!!  I'm a college freshman.  My first class?  Ceramics.  Oh, I'm having more fun at school than anyone should.  Don't tell my class, but I just finished my presentation...uh, it's not due until November.  Yeah, I know, it's a sickness.  But seriously, I'm enjoying every part of this class.  I'm blogging about my "Novel" Freshman Experience on this blog. It's amazing how much pottery relates to my writing!

And I'm going to segue from school to...uh, school.  It didn't take much talent, did it? LOL  I'm talking about my PTA Mom trilogy.  The first book, Once Upon a Thanksgiving, is out today as an ebook, and the paperback will be out in a couple days!

The PTA Mom series is filled with heart, holidays and three PTA Moms who find their own happily-ever-afters!

The first in the series, Once Upon A Thanksgiving is about when Harry Met…Samantha.

Single mom, Samantha Williams is too busy for love. She’s already juggling work, four kids, a one-eyed cat and now the PTA’s Social Planning Committee. But when Samantha meets Harry Remington, she finds herself drawn to the kids’ principal. But not only is Harry recovering from a bad break-up, he’ll only be around until December. Maybe they can date knowing there’s an expiration date on their time together. But sometimes the heart has its own mind. By Thanksgiving, neither are ready to let go of what they've discovered together, but both are afraid to hold on. Will their love be enough to overcome their pasts as they look beyond their present to a future…together?


"If you're looking for a comfort book as the season gets busier and busier, you can't go wrong with Once Upon a Thanksgiving.... And, for those of us who are fans of Jacobs, it's wonderful to discover this is the first in her new holiday series." ~Lesa Holstine in USA Today

"Beyond delivering a compelling read, or the first in an inventive series about parenting, Holly Jacobs earns her kudos by seriously dealing with the difficulties of divorce on children and parents." ~ RT Bookclub

The second book, Once Upon a Christmas is out in November, and the third book, Once Upon a Valentine's will be out in January! 

I'm so glad all the winners loved their Weary Creek Bathworks boxes of soap earlier this year!  It was so much fun, I've decided to do it again for the PTA Moms trilogy.  The boxes will go out in December, so you have time to enter.  And here's how we're going to do this one...

Take a picture of yourself reading any of my books, post it on social media and tag me...and you're in.
OR write an honest review of one of my books for your favorite online site (Amazon, Goodreads, etc...) and tag me, or email it to me and you're entered.
OR take a picture of a Holly Jacobs' book on your bookshelf, in a pile of leaves, and post it on social media....
Well, here's the thing...do something to tell friends about my books, tell me or tag me, and you're entered.  I'll draw names in December, so you've got two months to enter.

Why?  Word of mouth is always the best promotion a writer can get.  I have Weary Creek working on PTA Mom boxes!  You can just link me on social media, or send them to me at HollyJacobs1@gmail.com.
That's it this time!  I'm working like crazy on the new Quincy book (yes, she's back again for a 5th book and oh, there's a bunch of news!!) that will be out next year!  Thanks everyone for asking for more Quincy!!

Wishing you all an amazing fall!  I'll be back in a couple months to tell you about Michelle's book, and then again to tell you about Carly, our accidental arsonist! (Don't you want to know how that happened??)

As always, thank you, thank you, thank you for all your support!!


Once Upon a Thanksgiving
Once Upon a Christmas
Once Upon a Valentine's

Saturday, September 23, 2017

My Novel Freshman Experience, Part Eleven—The Boot


The Boot

Just in case you're wondering, there is absolutely no one awake on a university campus at 7:30 am on a Saturday. (At least not my university...but I suspect I can make that a broad statement.)  I know, you're shocked.  LOL 

I love being in the studio when no one else is around!  I blared Hamilton (well, as blary as an iPhone can be) and worked on my boot.  That last project was done with coils.  This time, we're using soft slabs.  Now, making a boot wasn't a high priority for me, but these projects are valuable lessons.  They're giving me an opportunity to learn what the clay can do. And I'll confess, I'm enjoying the project more than I anticipated.  

I'm doing a workshop for a local senior group in November on Second Acts...talking about that idea of learning something new—finding something you enjoy.  I'll confess, I'm no clay prodigy, but I'm enjoying every moment of this class.  I'm hoping that I can impart some of that sense of wonder and enthusiasm to the workshop participants.  Maybe they'll be inspired to write a biography, something to introduce themselves to future generations.  Or maybe they'll take a pottery class.  Or maybe...  Maybe they'll realize the world is their oyster and pick something unexpected!

I think that's part of why I'm making My Novel Freshman Experience part of my writing blog...I hope it inspires you all to look around for something new to try.  Maybe you'll find yourself out and...wait for it...wait for it...ABOOT.  Out and aboot.  Aboot...Canadian for about.  (I felt I needed to explain, which probably means it's not as funny as I thought it was!  LOL  My kids say that's common!)

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who's started following my blog, or just checked it out!


Once Upon a Thanksgiving
If you've missed any Novel Experience posts, you can find them here... Part TenPart NinePart EightPart Seven, Part SixPart FivePart FourPart ThreePart TwoPart One

PPS The first book in my PTA Mom Trilogy is out on September 26th. You can preorder it now!!

Once Upon a Christmas
Once Upon a Valentine's

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Novel Freshman Experience: Part Ten...Raku


It was a lovely walk to school today.  Yes, I'm still FitBitting at least 10,000 steps every day, so that mile or so walk is helpful!  It's a bit warmer than I like, but not summer-hot, so it was a nice walk up. And look at that sunrise!

Now, on to school...I had so much fun
today!!  We talked about the next project (we're making a boot), got our artist for our reports approved (I'm doing Rob Barnard...love his pots and the fact he writes a lot about pottery)...and we made a Raku cup. I took pictures so you could come to class with me...

So that's the kiln in the back, and those two buckets?  They're filled with sawdust. 

The top of the kiln's been removed and the hot pots are put into the sawdust.  You can see how red-hot the pieces in the kiln are.

The pots actually flame when you put them in the sawdust.  The buckets go back on top and the pieces smoke for a bit.

 The second one down from the top of the picture is mine.  It's after they pots are removed from the sawdust and filled with water to rapidly cool them down.

And here's the finished piece.  This wouldn't be a great cup for drinking, since the flame doesn't get hot enough to really seal it, but it is lovely.  I purposefully left holes with no glaze that turned a lovely black, matte, smoky color.

I'm heading back later today to put some underglaze on my big sculpture (see the previous post).  And I'm starting on my boot later this week...we don't have class Thursday, but I'm thinking I might as well go up and work.  And even though the artist report isn't due for a while, by now you've probably figured out I'll be starting it this week.  LOL  I seriously can't help myself.  The family keeps giving me those, isn't-she-cute looks as I gleefully work on stuff here. But I've wanted to take a pottery class forever...and I'm enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

Hope you all have a good day and find something new to learn that gives you as much glee as this is giving me!


Once Upon a Thanksgiving
If you've missed any Novel Experience posts, you can find them here... Part NinePart EightPart Seven, Part SixPart FivePart FourPart ThreePart TwoPart One

PPS The first book in my PTA Mom Trilogy is out on September 26th. You can preorder it now!!

Once Upon a Christmas
Once Upon a Valentine's

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Novel Freshman Experience Part Nine...A New Assignment

A New Assigment

My idea for this coil pot took a turn, but a good one.  I was going to do another acorn imprint, but while I liked it on a small pot, it looked dump on a bigger object.  The project was something asymmetrical, big, different shapes, sizes and textures.  They need to be side by side, and while connected, two obvious different pieces. I tried this for an experiment...

I was inspired from a pitcher I found at a house sale. 

They're from Pigeon Forge Pottery in Tennessee, which was started by Douglas James Ferguson.    The texture of the jugs is amazing.  My piece didn't turn out exactly the way I envisioned it, it's coming along.  I keep saying that in so many way pottery (art in general) is like writing.  I don't think I've ever written a book ended up where I thought it would.  LOL  And truly, that's okay.  That sense of discovery is part of what keeps me writing.  

I'll confess, I'm more of a symmetrical than asymmetrical gal, but  project was so much fun...a lot of work, but fun.  I learned to use different tools, learned more about how the clay feels and what it can do.

I can't wait until next week!



If you've missed any Novel Experience posts, you can find them here... Part EightPart Seven, Part SixPart FivePart FourPart ThreePart TwoPart One

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

My Novel Freshman Experience, Part Eight...Freedom

So it turns out I cared more about grades than I thought.  I got an A on my first test and I will confess, I felt a spurt of glee. So yes, I guess I care.  But I do hope that coming back to grades after a few decades means that while I might enjoy an A, I appreciate even more that I learned a lot.  Some of the clay brands I might need to look up in the future, but I understand the difference between slip, plastic clay, leather hard and bone dry clay.  It's all greenware, but it's very different.  And you know, I do love the idea different but the same.

So we're working on our coil pot.  My idea got approved, though I need to have more emphasis on different shapes, so one of my ovals became a rectangle.  We talked about underglazes and textures.  I already experimented with an acorn texture that gave me glee, and I have an idea for the other half I can't wait to try.

I talked in my last school blog about INTENT when I'm working on a book, or a pot.  Today, as we went through our project ideas in class, I thought about how there was more to writing/pottery than intent.  Both art and books require a sense of IMAGINATION.  And today's sketch was like a synopsis I might send to an editor.  It's the basic idea for what I want to do...the end product of my intent and imagination.  But I know as I begin to work I want the FREEDOM to change direction...to see that something's not working and try another path.  Or to see that something that does work, but is too predictable and change directions...choose the road less traveled.

I love that PH, my instructor, seems to honor that idea of freedom.  As he listened to people's project ideas, he made sure they stayed on point, and gave a ton of helpful suggestions, but also gave everyone a lot of freedom with what they wanted to do.

In both my writing and my pottery (or any of the crafts I pursue) I approach them with the knowledge that once I set it free, what a reader/viewer sees is totally independent of anything I've done.  And while I've just acknowledged that I'm hoping for a good grade, I'll also admit that I know that's not what matters the most.  What matters is following through on my vision.  

I'm a true novice with ceramics—in some ways I feel as if I'm back at the beginning of my writing career.  I know what I want to accomplish, but I may not have the experience and breadth of knowledge to carry it out flawlessly.  That won't stop me from trying.  And I hope that as I grow in the ceramic arts, people will see that growth in a tangible way.  Just as if you pick up one of my early books, like I Waxed My Legs for This? you'll see the humor and my joy at writing, but when you pick up a more recent book like Hold Her Heart, you'll see my skill at execution has grown.  I hope you enjoy both, but if you think my writing has never changed and grown...well, I'd be doing something wrong. LOL

Oh, and if you pick up Just One Thing, I hope you see both my growth as a writer, but also my love of crafts.  I've wanted to learn pottery for a very long time and that longing is very much present in the story (when a reader asked me if I was a potter...I felt so gleeful that I'd done those scenes alright).  That's the thing about writing, it allows me to live out my dreams and hopefully take the reader along for the journey.



If you've missed any Novel Experience posts, you can find them here...
Part Seven, Part SixPart Five
Part FourPart ThreePart TwoPart One

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Rocker...Perspective is Everything

My mom passed away in July.  Dad gave me her rocker.  Well, to me, it wasn't Mom's rocker.  It was my grandmother's rocker.  I remember it sitting in the corner of my grandmother's living room.  I remember her rocking my brothers in it, and I remember sitting on her lap in it as she read to me.

Mom and I talked about the rocker a few years back.  I said it must remind her of her mother, mainly because that's where my memory of the rocker came from.  She said no, it didn't remind her of her mom.  She remembered it as HER grandmother's rocker.  She remembered Myrtle (yes, I named a fairy godmother after my great-grandmother) rocking her in that rocker and reading to her in that rocker.

Perspective is everything.

I got it reupholstered and picked it up today.  I know I will sit in that rocker and remember my grandmother and my mother...and I'll even think about Myrtle, who I never met.  I will think about the three generations of women who came before me as I rock back and forth.

And maybe someday my kids will sit in the rocker and maybe think of me.

Perspective is everything.

I love that it's something tangible that connects me to those I love and to memories I treasure.


Thursday, September 07, 2017

My Novel Freshman Experience, Part Seven...Intent

Took my first test in—mumble, mumble, mumble—a lot of years.  I'll let you know how I did. I think I misread one question, but got the bonus question (clay is Hydrous Silicate of Alumina) so I think I'm good.  We're starting a new assignment and I've been thinking.  (Yes, that's as dangerous as you might imagine.)

When I write a book, I tend to have a purpose behind it...a story I want to tell.  There's an intent as I work to translate that idea into something tangible that I can share with readers.  There are themes I touch on over and over again.  Love, Family, Friendship.  More specifically the idea that families are made, not necessarily born.  That differences can make someone special.  

But here's the thing, after I finish a book—after I have taken my intent and idea and turned them into a story—my part's over.  I turn the book over to readers and they might not ever notice my intent.  They might see something totally different in it.  

And that's okay.

I had an English teacher back in the day who used to say things like, "The author intended..."  I call BS.  Seriously.  Unless the author left a detailed diary that outlined their purpose and intent in that book, then she couldn't honestly say what they wanted to say.  Only what she took from the book, what she heard, as she read it.  And her impression was totally legitimate, but maybe I took something categorically different from the story.  Each of our interpretations is as legitimate as the author's intention when they wrote the book.

As a writer, when I let a story go, I give it to you to do with as you please.  You might hear something totally different than I was trying to say...and that's okay.

I've been thinking about that idea of intent...and letting go.  Our next project in class is a coil pot.  It needs to be asymmetrical. We're told to think one form with two halves that are opposite, positive vs. negative, space and contrast.  That idea of women and nature brought me to the idea of yin and yang, and X and Y chromosomes, and...  Well, I've landed on an idea.  I don't know if I have the technical skill to bring what I envision to the clay and even if I do manage it, I don't know that you, as an observer, would see what my intent was.  Again that's okay.  

I think there's so much about pottery, and art in general, that relates to writing.  They all take an inner vision and turning into something tangible...they all are about finding someone finding their story and sharing it with intention.  Even the most simple ceramic forms can have a story to them.  A plate isn't just a disc to serve food on, though that's one definition.  It's something you serve a family with.  That plate can be a symbol of family—of home and hearth.  That's a message I enjoy.

I went down to the Erie Art Museum this week with all these thoughts buzzing through my head.  As I looked at the art, I tried to imagine what the artist's intent was, what story they were trying to tell...and then tried to decide what my view of each piece was, what I heard when I looked at it.  The glass exhibit is so cool...if you're nearby, go down and visit.  If you're not in the area,  a few of my favorites are here.  I bet what you take from each one is different than what I take...and that's okay! 

More on my project soon!


Laura Beth Konopinski

Elizabeth Fortunato

John Sharvin

And no trip to the museum is complete without a visit to Glass Growers.  Of course, I had to admire the pottery!

Speaking of art...I found an old book by a favorite author.  I'd never read it and got it home...well, you can read about it here.  I took all the pictures in the book and antiqued them.  I'm not sure they qualify as art, but I'm proud of them and the story that poor book inspired.

If you've missed any Novel Experience posts, you can find them here...
Part SixPart Five
Part FourPart ThreePart TwoPart One