Jenn McKinlay's News #50
December 15, 2022
Season's Greetings, Readers!
Book News: My e-novella IT HAPPENED ONE CHRISTMAS EVE is out! Readers have described it as "laugh out loud funny from start to finish" with a "swoon worthy romance". I'm delighted that it has been recieved so well. I mean, who doesn't need some laughs around the holidays?
For audio book lovers, Chirp Books is offering the novella for 50% off if you use the coupon code MCKINLAY50 (I've never had my own coupon code before). Very Exciting! Click here for the offer: chirpbooks.com/mckinlay
And for readers who prefer a hardcover, this novella will be included in a print omnibus entitled BOOKED with the other two Museum of Literature romcoms. It's a triple shot of love, laughs, and adventure coming out on Jan 17, 2023!
A runaway fiance, an undercover Santa, and a hijacked sleigh. And so the shenanigans begin...
For my mystery readers, we are sooooo close to the release of another London hat shop mystery. It is just mere weeks until FATAL FASCINATOR is available. I can't wait to be back with Scarlett and the crew as they go to a wedding at a castle and the groom gets murdered! Now they have to discover the real killer before a hapless bridesmaid gets clipped for a crime she didn't commit.
What's On My Mind? Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."
I recently traveled to Ireland for research for my current work in progress, a women's fiction romcom entitled TO BE READ. It was grand, as they say. The country is beautiful, the people are funny and kind, and the food was amazing. Truly, a most excellent trip.
I also rented a car while there with the intention of driving around the Ring of Kerry where the book is loosely set. Yes, you read that right. I. RENTED. A. CAR. IN. IRELAND. For those who are unaware, they drive on the left side of the road in Ireland and the driver sits on the right side of the car and frequently, out in the country, the road is really only wide enough to accommodate one vehicle and sheep frequently pop up in the road for no apparent reason – to get to the other side, I presume. For some reason, none of this daunted me until the night before we had to pick up the rental car.
My traveling companions were my mom, my college roommate, and her daughter -- Sue, Annette, and Alyssa – troopers one and all. The four of us spent several days in Dublin, getting acclimated and seeing the sights. For my mom and me this meant meeting up with our cousins, Joan and Catherine, Sisters of the Holy Rosary, and Anna and Suin, a delightful mother and daughter pair from the midlands. When we mentioned we would be driving, they were all very encouraging about our chances, as the Irish are.
Still, the night before we were to collect our vehicle, I had a moment of sheer panic. As my companions slept, I stared at the ceiling thinking, "What are you doing? You're going to get everyone killed! Ack!" Needless to say, sleep was elusive. At breakfast, I thought I should cancel the car but then I reminded myself that I'm double nickels in age and my life has become quite comfortable, meaning I haven't really challenged myself much over the past several years. I gave myself a stern "Don't be a coward, get it together, you can do this!" pep talk.
This worked pretty well, until the cab driver taking us to the rental car agency said, "Oh, so you're off to rent a car? Excellent. Just give me thirty minutes to get off the road, would you?"
The Irish are hilarious! Don't go there if you can't laugh at yourself.
When he found out I was the driver, he gave me some excellent advice, "Here's how you drive in Ireland," he said. "Always keep your passenger safe. How do you do that? You keep them on the curbside of the road. If you think like that, every time you make a turn, you'll always be in the correct lane."
I nodded. This seemed logical. "Keep the passenger safe," I repeated.
"Ay." He nodded. "Or as we like to remember it here, keep the bitch in the ditch."
"Um, that'd be my mom," I said.
Much laughter ensued because as I mentioned the Irish excel at fun, or craic, as they like to call it. And so, we picked up the car. It was a mad adventure with hedges and brick walls, right on the edge of the road, a dizzying number of roundabouts and lanes so narrow my core got an excellent work out because my entire body was clenched while driving. Seriously, I have six pack abs now!
After a couple of days, the driving became more natural, but that was only because I had the best team. Alyssa, or as we came to call her Nav One (navigator one), made all the difference in the trip. Whenever we would approach a roundabout or some other oddity (random pedestrians, winding roads, or tour buses) she would talk me through step by step. Something like this… "Okay, Jenn, in one kilometer, there's a roundabout. You're going to enter at six and exit at noon. The cars are coming from the right and you have to yield or stop if someone is coming. Okay, it's clear, go ahead. Good job. Stay to the outside. Excellent. You're doing great. There's your exit. See that little blue car? He's exiting there, too. Follow little blue, he's your friend. There you go. Good job." And then she'd lead the team in clapping for me. LOL!
Full disclosure, I only made my companions scream in terror once…maybe twice…over the course of the road trip. Not bad, right?
I have to admit, I rather miss having Nav One guide me now that I'm home. The trips to the grocery store are just meh without my cheering section.
So, what's the takeaway on this grand adventure? I'm glad I was terrified. And I'm even more glad that I forced myself to do it anyway. I drove over 1500 kilometers in five days, saw ruins and rainbows everywhere, slept in a castle, made friends with an Irish wolfhound, drank my weight in Guinness, met some of the friendliest and funniest people ever, and fell in love with a country that I could easily call home.
I suppose I could have done all of that without driving, but I felt like I got to go deeper into the country because I drove. Yes, this is a euphemism for we were lost a few times. LOL. But what fun would it have been if we'd never been lost? Also, as my friend Annette joked, "Jenn, you're a badass. I've never found you more attractive." LOL. Same, girl, same!
So, get out there and do the thing that terrifies you!!! It'll be worth it, I promise.
Happy New Year to the BEST READERS EVER! Wishing you all good things in 2023.