Monday, July 22, 2013

Virginia Lori Jennings, The Alien Mind, plus #giveaway

AUTHOR: Virginia Lori Jennings 
BOOK TITLE: The Alien Mind 
PUBLISHER: Self Published  

GIVEAWAY?: Sure! I'll donate one e-book copy for a giveaway 

Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer. 
I have been writing since I was in 6th grade... oh about 14 years ago. I decided to become a writer because I had all these story ideas filling my head and characters that refused to stop pestering me until I wrote down their stories. 

Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time? 
I don't really know where I fit in with this. I am also an illustrator working for PDMI Publishing so I have been spending the majority of my sit down time working on a project I am working on for them currently. Otherwise, I tend to write in my head. Whether that be in the car, in the shower, washing dishes, or in bed my mind is always creating.  

What influences your writing? 
Watching other science fiction or action adventure movies and pondering how their scenes could be effectively described in print. I love watching re-runs of Star Trek and Eureka. 

Is this your first published work?  What other types of writing have you done? 
The Alien Mind is my first published work, though it is now in its second edition. My second book, Visionary From The Stars, is due out in the fall for its second edition release through Rara Avis Publishing, a science fiction and fantasy imprint of PDMI Publishing.  
I am currently working on another science fiction/fantasy novel that will be more geared toward young adults, as well as a series for young children. Interested readers can find more about these works in progress on my blog at under 'The Sword Of The White Knight', and 'Defenders Of Madesteroc'. 

Why did you choose to write a children's story? 
I chose to write a children's story because, as a child, I found the types of books that I liked to read very limited. I decided to write the kind of story that I would have wanted to read at that age. 

What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book? 
The Alien Mind was a process. I wanted to come up with something 'out of the box', something that had not been done before. I also wanted to try to develop a means of traveling through space that COULD be theoretically possible. So, I went to my local library and checked out a few quantum physics theory books to read up on the subject. I was inspired with a few interesting ideas after reading these books and the idea took off. I was under 18 when I finished this book so finding a publisher was very difficult, I had even been told by a few agents that they could not take me on because I was under age. This is how my journey into self publishing began. 
What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing? 
NEVER EVER EVER PAY to be self published. Just don't do it, I have done it. Believe me, it is not worth it. You won't make back your initial investment and most of the time you do not have control over the book's design which can leave you with poor formatting and so-so covers.  
For anyone who is interested in self publishing I ALWAYS suggest createspace as their printing costs are less than other places I have seen and they pay the author more royalties. If you do not have the skills for interior design, editing or to create a professional looking cover then please shop around for individuals who do. Don't waste your money on so called all in one 'packages'. Hire individuals who will listen to your vision and your voice. 
I was set to continue to publish with createspace until I was approached by PDMI Publishing (my first 'traditional' publisher!) who asked for the reprint rights for Visionary From The Stars. Thus far I have been impressed by their attention to detail, and their desire to help their authors reach for the stars! As they have also shown interest in my other works in progress I can see myself sticking with PDMI Publishing for the foreseeable future. 

What is your marketing strategy? 
Marketing Strategy? I'm not entirely sure I have one--though I seem to be really good at flying by the seat of my pants. This is what I have so far: 
For every cover release and book release I put together an online social media event, mostly centered around my blog now per google and facebook's policies. I host games on my blog posts which then result in a few giveaways in which I politely ask for reviews in return. These giveaways may be my own or donated.  
I stay active on social media and try my best to help other authors. I frequently host other authors in my genre for guest posts, interviews, or spotlights on my own blog and social media pages. 
This fall I also plan on approaching some schools and bookstores about doing author visits or book signings. 

What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one? 
Hmm, I've never really given this any thought as I have found agents even harder to find than traditional publishers. My best advice would be to network, reach out, help people, let people get a taste of your writing via a blog... you never know who might be watching. 

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? 

I am pretty much an open book, ask me anything--you can find me on my website (as well as links to all the other places I frequent) at: 

Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature? 

Try to put yourself in your age group's shoes. What did you like to read back then? What are they reading now? Spend some time with kids of that age group... Write the book you would have liked to read. 

Please give us a brief synopsis or excerpt from your current book and when and where it will be available. 
Available now in e-book wherever e-books are sold and paperback form on
Excerpt from The Alien Mind: 
Rivi woke up lying wrapped in a blanket in a hallway. She sat up, and Enuet immediately confronted her. 

Are you all right Rivi?” Enuet asked in concern. 

Rivi thought for a moment, accessing both her physical and mental condition while still noticing that the complex was apparently still under attack. The hallway shook and rumbled around her, and dust was raining down from the ceiling. 

I think so, Eni,” Rivi answered. 

Good,” Ankh interjected, as he, Anit, and the Administrator exited the computer room through the wall across from them. 

We’ve talked to an agency on Earth that has agreed to prepare accommodations for you,” the Administrator said. 

How long was I out?” Rivi asked. 

A few moments, perhaps. What you did was very brave, Rivi,” Enuet replied. 

Everything has been set. You should get going. It will not be long now before the Aruk break through our outer defenses,” the Administrator said, as another rather harsh blast rattled the complex. 

Here is your computer,” Anit said, handing Rivi her black triangular laptop. “I found its configuration quite interesting and complex; you did some fine work on it.” 

Thank you,” Rivi replied, then turned to look at Ankh. “But how am I supposed to get to Earth?” 

I’ll take you. We’ll use the tesser cubes,” Ankh said. 

Will the children join us now that Earth has responded?” Rivi asked. 

I’m afraid not. It is such a long way to Planet Earth; the only reasonable way is to travel hyper-dimensionally. Most of the other children are far too young intellectually and physically to make the journey,” the Administrator replied. 

Rivi nodded, and then, standing to her feet, she picked up the box she had packed from her room and gave Enuet a hug. Ankh said farewell and hugged his wife as well. 

Stay safe,” Ankh said. 

Always,” Enuet replied with a mischievous smile. 

Rivi took one last look around at what had been her home on Aun these past 9 years and then followed Ankh out to the launch crater. 


  1. I'd like to thank you Penny for the opportunity to be featured on your blog!

    For your readers... I'd like to apologize for not specifying. The giveaway will end on Friday Aug 2. (Because I guess I should set a date lol)

    Leave a comment here on this blog post to be entered ;)

  2. Snoopy Dance! I love Virginia Lori Jennings! What an awesome article!

  3. Thanks for letting people know they have all week to comment. It was great to have you as a guest.

  4. Hmm- Well the only commenter we have so far is Tc McKinney- my AMAZING Publisher for Visionary From The Stars! Since he has already read my book and loved it ;) And Penny automatically gets one-> Plus the weeks over... I think that equals...
    The FIRST commenter who comments next will get a copy! :) (Perhaps a week wasn't long enough lol)