The internet is a wonderful and marvelous place and I have found so many amazing people because of my blogging career. Yes, it is a career. Even if it is not a huge money maker for me it is what I love doing and what I spend a great deal of time developing so I claim it as a career.
Recently I “met” a lovely author who has graciously turned my interview with her into a fun piece of writing. Please meet my lovely new friend, Jena C. Henry.
Jena C. Henry is an active, high energy gal who is a wife, mother, non-profit volunteer and bon vivant. She created the book series, The Golden Age of Charli, to encourage, entertain and share her joy of living and laughing.
Jena C. Henry holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Akron School of Law. Now retired, she and her husband, Alan, live in tropical Ohio where they enjoy their two adult children and extended family, friends and darling dog.
Jena presents writing workshops to help creatives achieve their dreams of writing a book and publishing it.
When she is finished tidying her house, Jena likes to relax on her front porch and read and write. She enjoys fine dining, traveling to visit family, and lounging by lovely bodies…of water.
Please enjoy a little piece that the amazing Jena wrote just for It’s Just Life and make sure you check out all her contact info after her piece. Plus—-a GIVEAWAY!
Beth Ann, thank you for inviting me to share about my writing life with you and your readers. We met on the internet this summer and then we discovered that we had a real life connection, too!
Readers and friends, here’s what happened. Beth Ann won my books in a giveaway on another friend’s blog and she emailed me her address. When I replied to tell her that I had mailed the books, I added, “Hope you are enjoying nice weather in North Carolina! We are warm in Ohio- but no one is complaining!”
Beth Ann emailed, “Where in Ohio are you? I am from Ohio originally, New Concord.”
“I was born and raised in Akron. Go Cavs! (The Cavs had recently won the 2016 NBA Finals; I was still celebrating.)
In her next email, she wrote, “I was just in Ohio a few weeks ago at Lakeside, Ohio.”
And at that point we had bridged the six degrees of separation. I have spent each summer at Lakeside since I was a baby. Yes, it’s a small world. Lakeside Sisters!!
So, Beth Ann, since you have shared our dear Lakeside in your lovely posts, let’s pretend that you and I are walking together on the Beautiful Mile and you can interview me. I’ll meet you at the corner of Oak Avenue and the lakefront walk in ten minutes!
When I arrived at the meeting place, near Lake Erie, I found Beth Ann admiring a wildflower garden. We hugged and then we gazed at the simple beauty of the dark-blue lake, decorated with the bobbing of cheerfully-colored small Sunfish sailboats, and a few brave stand up paddlers. Further off shore, the larger white power boats paraded through the waves. The pale blue sky was so clear you could see Perry’s Victory and International Peace Monument on Put-In-Bay, several miles north.
We started walking on the path, and soon we stopped to pet a cute dog and we waved at a toddler holding an ice cream cone. “I love to see all the families having fun,” said Beth Ann. She smiled and turned to me. “So, Jena, what made you decide to be an author? Was it always part of your dream?”
“Yes, I always wanted to be a writer,” I said. I explained that as a young child, I had read all the time and from this love of books, I had yearned to write my own. But, that’s all I did- dream about it. For years, I would tell people at parties, church, the grocery store that I wanted to write a novel. One day my husband said, “Jena, you’ve been saying that for years. When are you going to get started?” That did it. Well, first I procrastinated and spent several weeks setting up my writing space, but then I buckled down and began to write 1,000 words a day.
When I finished my first manuscript, my husband said, “Why didn’t you do this years ago?” I thought a minute and realized that years ago would have meant writing on a typewriter, not a computer, and searching for an agent and an editor, instead of self-publishing. The explosion of eBooks today showed me that lots of regular people were writing books.
Beth Ann listened thoughtfully. We decide to walk on the 700-foot dock. We saw swimmers splashing in the shallows and sunbathers relaxing on the dock and savoring the hot sun. We appreciated the light breeze as we strolled. We chatted with a young lad who had a hot dog hat on his head. He was taking food orders for the dock café. “You mentioned a work space, Jena. Do you ever write at Lakeside?”
“I do if I need to finish something, but I prefer to have this lovely place be my relaxing and recharging zone. At home, I write every morning. Here’s the drill: coffee, look at the news on my tablet, another mug of coffee, go to my office, review my social media accounts and write my 1,000 words. Then I take a break and walk the dog and tend to life, and in the afternoon I write blogs or reviews. And then it’s happy hour!”
We stopped at the end of the dock and watched men, women and kids as they fished. A kindergarten-age girl with a pink polka dot swimsuit was reeling her pink fishing rod as fast as she could. She was excited and we watched to see what would appear at the end of her line. She had caught seaweed, but her Dad helped her cast her rod again. We strolled back to the walking path and heard the chimes ring the hour.
Just past the miniature golf in the park, there was a grouping of comfy Adirondack chairs on a paved patio, facing the water and Kelly’s Island. Lakeside called it a conversation area. We sat and Beth Ann said, “Are you Charli?”
I laughed, “No, I am not as nice and understanding as she is.” In my book series The Golden Age of Charli, my book character Charli tells her story of looking for the gold in the golden ages of retirement. After over thirty years in harness with her husband Stewart, Charli yearns for those matching hot tubs and romantic times with her husband. He has a different idea of how he plans to spend his leisure time. Charli and I do share some traits and experiences, but she is also based on many of my wonderful friends, or people I have observed, or even I how wish people would be! I wanted her to be positive, funny and approachable.
“What surprised Charli and what astounds me, too, is how fast time goes by. When you are young, you think you will never get old,” I said,
“That is so true,” said Beth Ann. “If you could give one piece of advice to the teenage you, what would it be?”
“That is a good question, Beth Ann. Do you want to start walking; I need a minute to think about that.” As I turned to get back on the path I almost collided with a group of young teenagers, laughing and enjoying their rainbow-colored shaved ice treats. “You know, Beth Ann, I would give the teenage me a hug and tell her I loved her. Then I would turn it around and ask her, “What advice would you like to send to the future you in 2016?”
“What do you think she would tell you?”
“It’s the dawning of the Age of Aquarius- have fun, peace!”
We wandered back to the little business area of shops and fun eating places. Beth Ann asked me what else I liked to do at Lakeside. I told her that I enjoyed taking classes at the Rhein Center and I loved teaching a writing seminar there. She asked me more about the Center.
I could go on and on about this special arts place, but I tried to keep it short. I told her that every week, artists and creatives come and share their talents in classes at the Center. A wonderful pot pourri of experiences for vacationing children and adults is featured- classes in stained glass, beaded jewelry, sign language, water colors, rock painting, knitting, photography, and many others!
“And what do you teach about writing?”
Again, I could talk forever about my lovely experiences each week with adults who want to learn and share about the writing journey, from the first spark of a book idea to writing, editing, designing and publishing, and on to marketing and promoting. “I have been blessed to have learned so much from the other people. Everyone who came was so positive and energized and they radiated warmth and love, true Lakesiders. One older woman shared how her grandfather and father had served as medical missionaries in India; she had lived in India until she was eighteen. She wondered if anyone would want to read about her life and experiences. Yes, we all told her! Please write your story!
Beth Ann had to head back to her cottage to meet up with her family. “Thank you so much for chatting with me,” she said. “Any parting words or advice?”
“Thank you, it was a pleasure to spend time with you. First, I will share a little info about my books. Two have been published, the third one in the series is being edited and I have written the first draft of the fourth book. In each book, Charli looks for ways to stay positive and enjoy her family, even when problems arise. My favorite part of my books is the blend of positive thinking and humor. And for my parting words- as Charli would say, ‘Press on!’”
Jena C. Henry
August 29, 2016
To connect with Jena and learn more about her books please check out the following links. To win copies of both current Golden Age of Charli books simply leave a comment in the comment section of this blog post and you will be entered. Last day to enter the drawing will be September 9, 2016.