Saturday, July 28, 2012

Unwritten Celebrates...Jenny Twist

Today's very special post honors the life and work of Jenny Twist!

Bio: Jenny Twist left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and an escapologist's assistant, she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.

In 2001 she and her husband moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat.
 If any of you have visited Unwritten, it's highly likely that you've run across the name Jenny Twist at least once. Jenny has appeared numerous times on this blog, either in interviews, guest posts, contest entries, or in my reviews of the books and anthologies she's written and/or contributed to. Like Spellbound 2011, that included eight spooktacular stories and I reviewed it HERE:

http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2012/05/a-review-of-spellbound-2011-by-jenny.html




 Let us not forget the infamous "Curious Hearts" anthology. Without the fine work of Jenny Twist and five of the other authors, it could not have earned a four-star rating from me:

http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2011/09/review-of-curious-hearts-by-various.html

Ms. Twist also gave me the idea for my first-ever collaborative interview with each of the authors of this anthology, and I've since conducted two more after that! Here's that milestone on Unwritten: http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2011/10/interview-with-curious-hearts-authors.html 






 This particular anthology, "Take One at Bedtime" was the first work of Jenny's that I had the privilege to review. Within these pages, I fell in love with her vivid language and mixture of Spanish and British settings. I knew right away she'd gained a new fan in me and countless others with her first published work.

http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2011/05/review-of-take-one-at-bedtime-by-jenny.html


I haven't gotten the chance to read this Christmas anthology yet, but I DID interview all the authors together, including, of course, the star of our show, Jenny Twist here:

http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2011/12/interview-with-authors-of-warm.html







Last but not least, I have to sing the highest praises for what I consider to be Jenny's magnum opus (at least, so far), "Domingo's Angel", which was undoubtedly one of the best books I read in 2011. This story, set in a small Spanish village during the aftermath of Spain's Civil War, deserves a medal or at least a slot on the NYT Bestsellers list. It's one of those books that you cannot forget once you've devoured it. You can see my five-star review HERE:

http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2012/02/review-of-domingos-angel-by-jenny-twist.html


As you can see, Jenny has been a huge influence, not only on this blog, but in my own writing life. She's by far been one of the most encouraging women I've had the pleasure of knowing (if only online). Anytime I've corresponded with her over doubts or concerns, she's never hesitated to lift me up and tell me to hang in there. Without her encouragement and lovely ideas, I'd have likely thrown in the towel long ago.

Read this wonderful message from Chris Gardner, mother of author Tara Fox Hall, who has teamed up with Jenny in various anthologies, including the soon-to-be released Bedtime Shadows.

I'm so fortunate that my daughter Tara decided to try her hand at writing and luckily became affiliated with Melange Books. This association caused her to meet and befriend Jenny Twist, a fellow author. Subsequently, this enabled me to "meet" Jenny through her literary works.
The first story I read was in the anthology, Spellbound 2011. It was entitled "Uncle Vernon.” It's a horror story about a seemingly harmless old man looking for his soul which was lost at sea, but he's looking in the cemetery and the cellar. It's told from the point of view of a young girl spending the night at her lover's home. It was pretty creepy. I wasn't sure this was my kind of story.
Then, as luck would have it, Tara asked me to read Domingo's Angel, also by Jenny Twist. She wanted my opinion. After "Uncle Vernon,” I wasn't sure…but it was a wonderful story…and I've read it twice since! It takes place in a remote "white village" in southern Spain. When an Englishwoman meets Domingo, a goat herder, she tells him she's "Soy Angela"- "I am an angel". Thus by trying to tell him her name, she becomes known as Domino's Angel. Beyond the sweetness of their romance the reader also gets a look in to the lives of the colorful village people, led by the indomitable Rosalba—shopkeeper, doctor, midwife, and wise woman—, a thoroughly formidable, yet loveable character. Their struggles through years of war and under the oppression of Franco's rule gave me new lessons in Spanish history. I repeat myself, but it's a great book.
Next I bought Take One at Bedtime, a Jenny Twist anthology. The stories are a mixture of romance, horror, and science fiction. I especially liked, "String Theory", about alternate universes and an unhappy couple that stumble into another dimension. Made me curious about the science behind string theory, reminded me of Twilight zone. "Antonio's Grandmother" is filled with humor and will bring a smile to your face. “The Worm That Turned" is a righteous tale concerning an abusive husband who ends up getting the "kicks" he deserves. The last story is "Waiting for Daddy,” a slightly gruesome, not for me tale of horror.
"A Victorian Dollhouse" —a new story in the upcoming Bedtime Shadows anthology authored by my daughter Tara and Jenny—put a supernatural twist into  the story about a woman's obsession with a dollhouse she sees in a shop. It's an intriguing tale of how a woman's life is changed by the purchase of a child's toy.
"Jamie and the Alien" is another heartwarming story about a man with a brain tumor or "chew mer" as his son Jamie calls it. Jamie and his uncle Rolf work together to enlist Santa's aid in helping his dad fight the alien "chew mer". There is much interesting background on English Christmas celebrations. It was an enjoyable read. "Uncle Albert's Christmas" is also in Warm Christmas Wishes. It's a humorous, sweet, wonderfully English story about Uncle Albert, recently widowed and like so many of us older folks wanting to retain our independence. It tells how he is able to escape being managed by a well-meaning (read bossy) relative.
 The short story “Doppleganger's” main character Christine is also involved with string theory as she finds herself in two different realities. In one she attempts suicide  
and in another she finds herself to be beautiful, wealthy, and with the man of her dreams. Which one is real? We know which one we'd want. This great story is found in "Curious Hearts"— also published by Melange—and will also be included in the upcoming Bedtime Shadows.
 "Mantequero,” found in Winter Wonders 2011 takes place first in England, then in Spain. the main character, June, is a 32 year old teacher who hasn't had much of a life of her own. She's always caring for others. She decides to take a trip by herself to Spain and encounters the Mantequero. I won't tell you what that is, so you'll have to read this suspenseful story and find out for yourself.
"All in the Mind" has yet to be published and it's another great story (coming in October, 2012 from Melange Books). It's about Tilly, a woman with Alzheimer's and the treatment she receives. It takes place in England in the 1940's up to present-day. It's romantic, historical, suspenseful, and of course heartwarming. You'll love the realistic, loveable —and not so loveable— characters and the surprising developments. It is a really different story which I'm sure that you'll enjoy, as I did. 


Now it's YOUR turn to sing Jenny's praises. If you know Jenny or have read any of her work, I invite you to leave a comment below, letting her know how much she and her writing is appreciated. 


**Also, I'd like to make Unwritten Celebrates...into a new series, so if you have anyone in mind you'd like to brag about, please message me through the link on the sidebar**

27 comments:

  1. Jenny is someone I look to for support and advice. She is my inspiration. She is a wondeful writer and a true person. I love you Jenny. T.D. Jones

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  2. After Jenny and I first 'met' in cyberland, we soon found out how much we seemed to have in common, not least our Northern England backgrounds. I know that if, (no, that should be when) we meet up in 'real life', it will be like meeting an old friend and not a stranger! Love ya, Jenny, and thanks a million for all your support!

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  3. Tara Fox Hall
    I met Jenny in fall of 2012, after just signing with Melange books for my first novella, Surrender To Me. Back then, the idea of promo was terrifying, especially blogging. (Why would I want to post online and talk to strangers? I was an unknown author, and they were sure not to like me.)
    Then I began learning the real truth of publishing…aka, your book will smother and die in the sheer multitude of info that is the Internet if you don’t work as hard to sell it as you did to create it. I had made a few halfhearted review submissions at the behest of my publisher, then settled down to wait and see what happened in the next month.
    Nothing was what happened.
    Panicked my career would be over before it began, I began looking around at what other authors were doing, to get some pointers on how to go about promotion. There was one author who caught my notice: Jenny Twist. She was organizing blogging for not only herself, but also for her coauthors in Spellbound 2011, which included me. I participated, but was unsure about my feelings toward Jenny. She seemed too good to be true, too effusive…too nice. Suspicious (by nature I’m afraid), I asked for pointers from her, and Jenny sent me a list of blog sites she had tried, and also other helpful info. In turn, I also shared with her and the other “Spellbounders” my efforts and progress to get Spellbound 2011 reviewed at various horror sites I had affiliations with. In working together over the next few months to promote the book, two things became obvious:
    1) Jenny really WAS that nice. Her very nature is to be pleasant, even when she is struggling with a difficult situation, or royally pissed off, or both.
    2) Jenny was not only an excellent author, but a wonderful friend. She listened to my family issues, gave sage advice when asked for on a multitude of topics, and was there each morning in my inbox to cheer me all winter long. Her wit was at times adorable, then cutting as a razor to the point I’d laugh out loud. Her inquiries into American ways were hysterical to me, as I’m sure my questions about European and English life were to her.  In short, what originally started as a friendship of shared goals became a solid emotional bond.
    But in truth, I owe Jenny more than gratefulness for her friendship. I owe her a good deal of my success as an author to her. You see, it was Jenny who saw the post for the new publisher, Bradley, and encouraged me to submit Lash there. It was Jenny who proofed the book, and encouraged me to submit it. I owe her a great debt, and I am proud to call her my friend.

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  4. As much as I have read about Jenny from your posts, Mysti, I believe she is an awesome person. And after reading this post, I WANT to go read her books. :) Thank you!

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  5. Jenny was the first writer at Melange Books to step up and cyber friend me. I don't know where she finds the time to check in on my blogs or FB comments which supports me immensely. I complain that I don't have enough time to get to my fellow writers' blogs or comment on the loops - all the things that Jenny does to support all of us. She's an inspiration.

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  6. Jenny is not only a great talent, but a genuinely sweet and wonderful lady. She is not only interested in her own success as an author, but also the success of others. Jenny is first in line to read and review her fellow authors books, and always has kind and encouraging words for everyone.
    She supports her author friends by making sure to comment on their interviews and blogs, and she if first to share Facebook posts and other news for them. I don't know where she finds the time. :)
    I love you Jenny. xxx

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  7. excellent tribute. it's always good to get to know more abt fellow authors. mentions of several books i hope to add to my tbr list.

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  8. What is left to say about Jenny? She's a great friend and support as well as a brilliant writer. I'm looking forward to her latest book launch. Knowing Jenny and having such a lovely fellow writer goes a long way to making life as an Indie author a joy. Thanks for everything, Jenny. You're great.

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  9. Jenny is incredibly kind, professional, supportive, and of course, talented. I've only known her since Spellbound 2011 was published, but already I feel like I've known her forever. Jenny is one of my gurus of writing: she is a powerhouse of promotion, frequently visible on Twitter and producing articles for blogs, an example for all of us to follow. I value her opinions on my work very highly. Thanks for being awesome, Jenny, and thanks so much for organizing this tribute, Mysti!

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  10. Uncle Vernon by Jenny Twist [Spellbound 2011 Anthology, story 4]:

    Language has power. It manipulates the mind of the reader. However, the truly amazing writer can take two or three deceptively simple words together in a way that forces you to stop reading a couple minutes until your chuckling passes. Twist exercises this hold over her readers, and be it dialogue or narration she can snap a linguistic rubber band straight at your funny-bone like a sneaky kid seated in the back of the class. That she can do the same thing to instill foreboding, edginess and dread is doubly stunning. It leaves me thinking I have something to learn from her in the genre of horror short stories.

    -John Steiner

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  11. I think the world of Jenny..She's warm, sweet & such a pleasure to work with. Her writing manages to draw me in even if it isn't something that typically appeals to me.

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  12. I also met Jenny 'online'. We've exchanged emails. I even submitted an article which she accepted and published on Book $ Trailer Showcase. All the people who commented here say she is a nice person and I have to agree. She is someone with a big heart and always willing to help a fellow author. I read and reviewed Bedtime Shadows and really enjoyed her stories (I also enjoyed Tara's ^-^). Jenny is a gifted writer and an inspiration to others. This special post about her is truly deserving.

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  13. Hi, Jenny!

    What a lovely lady you are. :) Your creative energy is infectious, always inspiring to others, and your books are quite memorable. So glad I made your acquaintance. I hope this wonderful tribute encourages people who love mystery, romance, and tales of the unexpected to check out your work. Hugs!

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  14. I don't know what to say. I am absolutely bowled over by this. I'm sure I don't deserve all the wonderful things you have said. This is a complete surprise to me. Yesterday Tara said she felt it in her bones that today would be the best day of 2012 for me. I now know she had inside knowledge.
    Mr T said I'd better look after myself. People don't usually get a eulogy like this until after they've died!
    Thank you so much, all you lovely people. And a special thankyou to you, Mysti, for doing this. I love you all.
    I love you a million bagsful.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  15. A beautiful tribute to a very worthy writer and a wonderful person. Love you loads, Jenny.
    Lynette xxx

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    1. Love you too, Lyn. Thank you so much xxx

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  16. Awesome! I'm glad to see this going down. And though I'm new to the Melnage family and don't know Jenny (except through Mysti's blog) I do want to give her praise and wish her the best!

    So, yes, I'm celebrating Jenny as well (even if a little late :p)

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  17. Hi Stefanie. I'm so pleased to meet you. Thank you so much. Still reeling a bit today. Wasn't it a lovely thing to do? I love Mysti
    xx

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    1. Luv Mysti, too!

      See, one thing we have in common ;)

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  18. I have the great pleasure of being part of Jenny's family and I love her so much! She has taught me more over the years than I could list here and you are all absolutely right about her temperament. Whenever I am feeling down or lost I know all I need to do is have a quick chat with Jenny and she will cheer me up in an instant!
    Love you more than you know, Jenny!

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  19. I have the great pleasure of being part of Jenny's family and I love her so much! She has taught me more over the years than I could list here and you are all absolutely right about her temperament. Whenever I am feeling down or lost I know all I need to do is have a quick chat with Jenny and she will cheer me up in an instant!
    Love you more than you know, Jenny!

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  20. I have the great pleasure of being part of Jenny's family and I love her so much! She has taught me more over the years than I could list here and you are all absolutely right about her temperament. Whenever I am feeling down or lost I know all I need to do is have a quick chat with Jenny and she will cheer me up in an instant!
    Love you more than you know, Jenny!

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  21. I think I DO know, Darling. And the feeling is mutual. Love you so much xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  22. What more can I say? Energetic, enthusiastic, warm and very supportive. xx

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    1. I could say all the same things about you, Gilli. Love you lots

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  23. What a great tribute!
    Thanks for introducing me to a great author.
    Neecy

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