April 25, 2018

Just Wait

I can't believe it's been two years since I've posted. Well, yes I can. A lot has happened since then, sadly not much of it has been writing. I've battled multiple surgeries (me:4, husband:1, daughter:2) and chronic illness, among other things. The toll on my writing groove was high. I say "was" because I'm climbing out of it and will have my groove back in full swing. It feels great. Super great. But it's been a very long time.

I was able to do a few things while in battle. I taught at Storymakers and was asked back again this year. I wrote my first historical romance when I was invited to contribute to this lovely anthology:

Isn't it beautiful? My story is Christmas at Canterwood. All the stories are a treasure.

I truly enjoyed writing this story and have been asked to write another Regency due this summer. More research!

I rewrote and finished a contemporary romance I had shelved (Hold On Forever), and just submitted it to my publisher two weeks ago. I'll learn within a couple of months if they like it or not. Guys, this was HUGE. I honestly questioned whether or not I had it in me anymore. I guess I do. Watch for more news on that.

AND my friend, Suzanne Gale, urged me with all the urging of an accountability partner bestie who thinks she knows what's best for me (and she usually does) to apply for the Writing Excuses Writing Retreat CRUISE scholarship. Putting the packet together alone was good for me. I almost didn't do it. So much bad was happening in life, on top of the physical pain. Nonetheless, Suzy persisted. Writing the personal essay was healing. Gathering the letters of recommendation from friends was assuring. Choosing my writing samples was hard, but it forced me to take a look at words I'd written and remember that I'd done this before, this writing thing, and I was pretty good at it.

If you follow me on IG (kristalynnej), you know the basic, miraculous, I'm-still-in-shock outcome of that application. Here are the mini-story graphics I made to share it.

Hello?! I'm going on a WRITING CRUISE. I'll be saying that a lot between now and September.

I also thought I'd post my Personal Essay here. I'm a little scared to do that, because, hey, it's personal, heh. But it's also my writing. And apparently it's good writing. And this is my writing blog.
So here. With love.

I drowned once. At least, I should have. I was almost three years old and remember it like looking through dimpled glass. Or maybe water.
Our apartment complex had a swimming pool. In Renton, Washington where it rained and rained, we had a swimming pool. The sun did come out, though, and the pool filled with tenants, noisy, joyful. My mom found an open lounge chair and settled herself with a towel and a magazine. I had a cup.
I don’t know if the cup was mine or if I’d found it lying somewhere and had claimed it, but I crouched at the edge of the pool, surrounded by splashing and shouts and laughter, and gripped it with both hands, dipped it in the water, poured it out, dipped it again. Watching water fill and pour in the sunlight.
At the deep end.
A boy came, not much older than I was, ripped the cup from my hands and pushed me in.
I remember the small gasp of air and surprise I took before hitting tepid water and slipping beneath. I remember not struggling. Surely someone saw me. Surely my mom, or the legs kicking around me attached to people, surely someone saw. The boy would tell someone.
But I floated midway between top and bottom, looking. Hoping. Sinking in muted sound and blue.
Fear blossomed—a feeling, a knowledge that being invisible here meant danger, and no one saw me.
A kick. A panic.
Wait, I heard. Just wait.
My eyes were drawn to the shallow end across the pool. A splash of bubbles exploded beneath the surface and emerging from them, a woman with long, dark hair trailing behind her like a mermaid swimming toward me.
I recognized her. She lived on my floor. Her waist-long brown hair was always worn down and shiny, and she smiled at me whenever she saw me in the hall as I hid behind my mom’s legs.
She swam straight for me. Between half-submerged bodies and surface-swimmers across the length of the pool. Straight for me.
Wait. Just wait.
As she neared, I reached my arms out to her. She reached back, folding her own around my body and pushing me up, up, out of the water and to the ledge where hands grabbed me and pulled me and placed me with my mom who squeezed and squeezed and squeezed me.
I don’t remember coughing or choking or crying. Just blinking water from my eyes. The story is I fell asleep within minutes.
I’m asking myself why I’ve shared this memory as part of my essay. It came to mind when you asked, “What makes you unique?” I’ve had other brushes with death. But this memory—this is my first memory. Of life.
Over the past five years my family and I have been hit by wave after wave, breakers of trial pushing us under, and as we swim up, reach the surface, think we can grab a breath, another crashing blow hits and under we go again. And through all of this, I nearly lost my writing. I could not escape physical pain far enough into my imagination, could not write romance when pummeled by pornography and infidelity, could not face making up conflict when so much already filled my reality, could not write happy endings when I wasn’t sure they existed. Injury. Illness. Addiction. Loss. Death. I would stare at my laptop screen. After four published novels, three published novellas, and five more unpublished novels in nine years, my passion was drowning in fear. My words.
Wait, I kept hearing. Just wait.
And one morning only a few weeks ago I woke up, ideas like bubbles rising around me in water. Words came like arms around me, pushing me up and I don’t know what will happen and I still fear the next wave, and I’m still in pain, but my words are coming.
And in considering this memory and what it means to me, and what it means to this essay and this entry and the writing still inside me, maybe it is this:

We are not meant to be invisible here.

October 15, 2016

Oh Yeah, I Do Have Something!

This sweet little anthology of true Christmas stories is coming out soon! In all the "busy" of my life (my friend Annette Lyon would call it resistance) I sort of forgot that this was something to look forward to. That's pretty sad. But these stories are not sad! They are full of hope and love and everything that reminds us to look up, to look forward, and to remember why we are here. To have joy.

This publication is a little nostalgic for me for a couple of reasons. One is that five years ago my very first published story came out as a true story in Covenant's "A Christmas to Remember" anthology. My first novel, "Of Grace and Chocolate," came out the following year. So this is where it started. I'm so grateful.

I'm so pleased to have been asked to be a part of this collection again. I know some of these authors and they are the best sort of people. And I know my gift-giving just got a little bit easier this year. What will you be giving? I hope it's a little joy.

Coming October 2016. Find it here. I'll add more links as they show up.


April 14, 2016


The new novel is progressing and I'm getting that familiar feeling of excitement and anticipation as the story starts to come together and take off. The hope is to have it ready by the end of May, so I'm really going to have to make the most of my writing time. So, to cut this short, I'm giving you a fun little snippet of HOLD ON FOREVER.

To set up the scene, Mark has accidentally broken Riley's front door knob and is going to get a new one. Riley is concerned that the new knob matches the style of the home. Enjoy!

Without batting an eyelash, she asked, “Who is the designer credited for Americanizing the Craftsman style?”
He blinked.
She took advantage of his silence. “Gustav Stickley. 1856 to 1942. Furniture designer and architect. See that rocking chair over there?”
He glanced at an old square rocker in the corner next to the fireplace. Oak.
“It’s a Stickley,” she said. “Someone was throwing it out! You don’t throw out an old Stickley just because it’s a little beat up. You bring it home and polish it up and put it in a Craftsman style home that maybe you’re only renting but would someday like to buy if you finally decide to stay in one place longer than twelve months, that’s what you do.”
He blinked again. “Would you . . . like to come help pick it out?” She was out of her freaking mind.
She marched over to the front door and swung it shut. It bounced, shuddered, and slowly swung open again. “Somebody broke my front door. I have to stay and protect the Stickley, among other things.”
He rubbed his face. This was not the morning he had planned. He glanced around the room. “With your baseball bat?”
She gave him a hard look, but only said, “Send me a pic from the store.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“I’m not your mother.”
He covered a smile. “No, ma’am.”
She growled and put her hands on her hips. “You’ll need my number.”
“Yes I will. Riley.”
She paused, looking up at him. In that brief moment, with the banter stopped, he found it hard to breathe. Then just like that, Riley Madigan was standing close to him, her hair threatening to poke him in the eye, putting her phone number into his phone.
She gave it back to him, and he detected a little shake in her hand. “There. I didn’t mean to be so bossy. I tend to go a little nuts over old things.” She looked up at him, her freckles clear now in the light streaming through the window. “I’m sorry.”
“Your eyes are the color of moss you see in the woods,” he said. “It’s a cool, soothing color.”
She blinked and looked away, now her cheeks blushing pink.
“It’s deceiving,” he said. “You’re not very soothing at all.”
He watched her eyes open wide.
“You . . .”
He chuckled and made for the door.
“You . . .” she repeated.
He waved goodbye and made it off the porch.

“You . . . are no Gustav Stickley!” she called from the open door.

December 10, 2015

Pain, Writing, and Fun Stuff Like That

Dear readers and friends, 
In the craziness that is my life, I've been pretty neglectful of this blog. I think about it and my following here (thank YOU) a lot, and I think about what I could share, but the fact is, my author hat has had to hang on its peg (I really don't have a peg for my hats; it's a metaphor) these last several months. I may or may not have a new book coming out next year, and the idea of that makes me pretty sad and frustrated. But things here at home are demanding and some things have to give.
I'm not referring so much to our new little boy and the adoption, though that is a huge, incredible portion of my life right now. He does take nice long naps most days and I have lots of helpers after school. Will is transitioning really well and thought it's a ton of work, it's worth it. I've raised four of my bio toddlers into nice, somewhat functional grown-up toddlers. I've got this.
No, I'm referring to the demands, the selfish, relentless tyranny of physical pain (dramatic, huh?). Some of you know I fight chronic back pain and have done so for most of my life since a car going 65 mph slammed into my car while it was stopped. I was 22 years old. I missed death by feet. Since then I've ridden a roller coaster of rising and ebbing pain, I've had years of different treatments (please don't suggest any, really, I've had them all), and various diagnosis, and because of the instability in my lower back, have suffered through several disc issues, including bulging, rupture, and now a protrusion in a precarious position. In summary, it hurts.
As I recently told my editor, it's hard to focus on romance when you feel like you're being ripped in half.

And now, after so many years of hearing, "We want to save surgery as a last resort," it's time for a last resort. I meet with the neurosurgeon next week. I'm frightened, but also fine. I don't hope to be cured, but a little relief would be nice. Just enough so I can start writing again. So I can lose myself in a story and a struggle and a happy ending. 
Yes, I've heard lots and lots of back surgery stories, horrific to miraculous. I know. A few weeks ago I made the comparison of what to expect in the outcome of back surgery to playing roulette. I'll be peeking through my fingers and praying. Feel free to join me.
I do have 30,000 words into a new romance. But I already know I have to rewrite it. When I'm in pain my writing dives into a darker place and that's not what I had in mind for this story. I had to let my wonderful editor know I couldn't make my deadline. I'll still be working on the story. I like it and I think it needs a place outside of my head. I'd also like to be working on my fantasy stories. I can dive a little darker in those, and escape a little further. But until I get this newer injury taken care of, it's a struggle to even focus on my own world. That's a pretty important place, too.
I hope you'll stick with me as I crash through this particular hurdle with my usual tenacity and grace. I'd like so much to share my stories. I'd like so much to try to put a little more hope and triumph into the world.
Thank you,

June 20, 2015

Rain is Good: A Photo Tour

I promised readers that at the end of the blog tour for Kisses in the Rain I would post a photo tour of some of the settings in the story. I love the Pacific Northwest. I know it rains a lot, but look at what rain does? And really, that's what the story offers:
Rain is good.

We'll begin our tour at Deception Pass. This image doesn't quite capture the height you feel as you walk on that bridge. Isn't it gorgeous, though?

This is Jace's view from his duplex. Pretty sweet. It's about the only thing he loves about his living arrangements.

Camano Island waterfront homes like Faye and Tru's. No wonder Georgie comes here to heal.

Pines, ferns, blackberry bushes on a Camano Island road. I can totally picture Jace on his motorcycle.

As we leave Camano we are greeted by snow geese on the fields. Thousands migrate through Skagit Valley every year.

Jace and Georgie visit the daffodil fields in the morning mist on their quest for good food.
Swinomish Channel-front dining in La Conner, Washington, and Rainbow Bridge, where Jace answers another one of Georgie's many questions.

Sunset over La Conner with Mt. Baker backdrop. Romantic.
Finally, we end our tour with the damp, ethereal tulip fields of Skagit Valley. *sigh*

I was told that a presenter at a recent writers conference was teaching that putting romance in a rainy setting was ridiculous, because it's cold and shivery and wet. But I would offer that if you can take such a setting and make it buzz, make it tense or breathless, despite the cold and wet, then you've done your job. 
Dave Farland teaches that you choose your setting, any setting, and make it sexy.
Look at this. I didn't have to try too hard. 

And I loved writing this story for you. Every raindrop.

I hope you've enjoyed our photo tour of Kisses in the Rain. Kind of makes you want to visit, huh? 
Thank you so much for coming!

June 17, 2015

Blog Tour and Giveaway for Kisses in the Rain

We are halfway through a blog tour for Kisses in the Rain, and I have to say, I'm feeling the love. I've never done this before so I was curious to see how it would work. My publisher organized the tour and found all of these book bloggers who were willing to read my story and tell the world how they feel about it. Which, you know, is somewhat terrifying but part of the biz.

Have a look, and while you're browsing, enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Kisses in the Rain! And stay tuned, because I'm following up the blog tour with a little tour of my own. I've been able to track down some perfect images of Camano and the surrounding areas from scenes in the book!

Thank you to all of the book bloggers for sharing your reviews!

Blog Tour Schedule
*June 15th:

*June 16th:

*June 17th: 

*June 18th: 

*June 19th: 

June 3, 2015

Release News for Kisses in the Rain

News! I have news news news all over the place.

"I'm just looking out for her," he said.
And fate laughed.
Georgie Tate is a survivor. She survived an abusive relationship. She survived the car accident that took the life of her controlling fiancĂ©. Now she just needs to survive the memories that haunt her. Escaping to her aunts’ cozy home on a tiny island outside of Seattle, Georgie finds just the change of pace she needs to pick up the pieces of her life. Taking a job at a local seafood restaurant is the first step in reclaiming her sense of self, but she is completely unprepared for the battle that awaits her there.
Jace Lowe has loved and lost, and he’s determined that it will never happen again. Hardened by heartbreak, he stays focused on his work as sous chef at one of the island’s top seafood restaurants. When beautiful Georgie takes her place on the restaurant’s staff, Jace is resolved to keep her at arm’s length, and his downright rudeness her first week goes a long way in achieving that goal. Georgie, on the other hand, doesn’t want anything to do with Jace anyway and prickles against his abrasive behavior. As the combative pair comes together on a joint project for the restaurant, they find their distaste for one another dwindling. The connection is undeniable— and it terrifies them both. Can two people jaded by the past be softened by the promise of once-in-a-lifetime love, or is this just another recipe for disaster?

1. Kisses in the Rain should be making appearances in bookstores this and next week! Orders have been sent, so shelves should be stocked with a few copies soon. I would love to see this for myself, so if you happen to snap a pic of you and my book on a bookshelf somewhere, send it to me on Facebook and you'll be put in a drawing for something fabulous of which I have not yet decided! Click on the links to learn more: Seagull Books, Deseret Books in store and online, and Amazon for paper and Kindle versions. Oh! Also, Barnes & Noble and Nook. Which I may or may not have known about until just now...

2. A blog tour! My publisher has set up a blogger book tour with giveaways and excerpts and reviews of Kisses. I've never experienced one of these before, so I'm curious and excited. The blog tour happens June 15-19, with 18 participants. That's a lot of participants. Whew. Now I'm kind of nervous...

3. A Book Launch and Signing at Far West Books in my home town of Kennewick, Washington! This event takes place on Saturday, June 13th, 1:30-3:30. I'll be hoping most of the graduation festivities will be just about done by then. *crosses fingers* But I will be there with a smile and a pen and probably some sort of treat of which I have not yet decided.
8508 W Gage Blvd #C-103
Kennewick, WA 99336

Store Hours
Monday - Saturday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Closed Sunday

Keep up to date on all--well most--of my latest book news by following my Facebook author page here. I promise, I don't bite. But it's the easiest, fastest way to learn about things like the blog tour and contests.

On a more personal note, we'll be hearing any day now from our adoption agency about our travel date to go get our little boy from China. It's happening so quickly! I could have left a month ago. So lots of exciting events happening. Another crazy year for the Jensens.
This is Will. I need to go get him.

April 10, 2015

One. Year. Later.


I used to post on here fairly regularly and share all kinds of writerly stuff. The last time I posted I was sharing all the wonder of releasing  THREE books in one month! That was pretty sweet and I remember it fondly.

But life is funny and when lots of big things happen, priorities have a way of slamming themselves in order, and sadly, this little blog took bottom rung, patiently waiting for me to, well, remember it existed as we traversed life's wrecking balls and celebrations. Our family has been reminded that stumbling blocks can become stepping stones, and our journey here moves forward in surprising, exhausting, wondrous ways, whether we want it to or not.

That sounds way more cinematic than I intended. If you'd like to catch up with what we've been up to lately, visit the kickyloo&co blog. It's a little crazy over there.

And now, what do you know, I'm back here. Which has made me consider what I want to use this blog for. In the past, I've shared things I've learned about the writing process and industry. I've shared all of the news about my books and their releases, and I've conducted contests for those occasions. I've interviewed other authors and I've had regular post series (Tuesday Edit Crunch, anyone?).

But blogging has changed a bit in the last couple of years. I know I still visit blogs if I'm researching a specific topic or following an interesting link. But I remember the days of blog lists and weekly visits to my favorites. Ah, the sweet bygone days of where-did-I-find-the-time-to-do-that.

Honestly, my favorite posts were the shared writing tips, thoughts on writing, and the news about my own books. So maybe if I just focus on those things, I'll be more apt to hop over here and post. Simple. I'll still conduct giveaways and such for my book releases, etc, but I'll do that from Facebook. I've been posting from my FB Author page for most of that news. If you'd like to keep up-to-date on how things are going, like my page HERE. It's not too in-your-face, and pretty laid-back. Promise.


So go on over there and see what my next book, KISSES IN THE RAIN, looks like! There is also a sneak-peak at the back cover! And a contest! Yup, a chance to win a signed copy of KISSES. It comes out in JUNE. THAT'S CLOSE.

See? I may have been absent from this blog, but I was working hard. I love this job. And I hope you love this new book.

February 11, 2014

~FALLING FOR YOU~Triple the Romance Countdown Contest: 3

Happy Valentine's Day!
Falling for You is out!

It's here! What I've been waiting FIVE years for! That's right. I wrote Falling for You (aka The Inn) in 2009. I began writing this story one week after I finished The Orchard, the first novel I ever wrote. I wasn't sure I could write another novel, and I was still a bit bewildered that I'd completed one. But the story wouldn't leave me, and I had to give Elizabeth Embry her chance. I loved writing Elizabeth and Ryan. They were so different from Alisen and Derick. I loved putting them in Wyoming, where I lived for seven years. I also wasn't following an Austen storyline this time. In many ways, this was the book where I found my voice as a writer. It's fun and tough and cold and warm. Just like Wyoming.

As with The Orchard, there is an element of faith that runs throughout the story, as Elizabeth faces her demons. But, as with my other stories, I try to handle it gently. The characters did a really good job of guiding me along.  I can't wait to share them with you. While Alisen was very open, searching and trusting, her sister Elizabeth is . . . not. I just love this story!

Falling for you can be found in paperback and Kindle at Amazon, and Deseret Books and Seagull Books, online and in stores.

To celebrate, I'm giving away TWO copies of FALLING FOR YOU, and with each book I'm including a hand-crocheted scarf made by me!

So soft and warm...
Where do I get the time, you may ask? I don't know, I haven't figured that out yet. But rest-assured, when my books arrive, there will be scarves!

To enter please share this blog post on Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, your own blog, in emails. Be sure to let me know how you shared. You may "like", "share" or "retweet" my own posts. That counts! I'll be watching, too. And please, feel free to mention my upcoming book launch! What's a party without happy people? And treats? I would love to see you there!

Contest will close on Tuesday, February 18th. That will give you lots of time to enter. The more you share, the more entries you earn!

~Triple-the-Romance Book Launch~

DAY: Saturday, February 22
TIME: 11:00am-1:00pm
WHERE: Fort Union Deseret Books
Midvale, Utah

**I've also been invited to do an interview on The Good Word podcast on Thursday, February 20th. The podcast recording takes place at 10:45 am, and then it is immediately followed by a book signing at the downtown Eborn Bookstore at 254 S. Main Street, Salt Lake City.**

Stop by! It'll be fun!

February 5, 2014

With All My Heart is out! Triple the Romance Countdown Contest: 2

This one is SO FUN! Anita Stansfield. Sheryl C.S. Johnson. Me. Want a teaser? Okay, I'll give you a teaser. From HANGING BY A MOMENT, as Kendal returns from the ladies room:

      Lila turned, saw Kendal approaching, and smiled. Big. She thumbed toward a figure in a ball cap pulling a huge duffel off the conveyor. He reached again for some kind of bulky equipment wrapped in a tarp and duct tape. His T-shirt fit him well. Really well. Nice tan. Nice . . . but it wasn’t like Lila to check out guys at an airport.
      Kendal raised her eyebrows at Lila in question, but when the guy settled his luggage and tugged off his ball cap, revealing short, dark blond waves, Kendal knew why Lila was smiling like a kid in line at a carnival.
      Bret McCray had arrived in St. John’s. And he was looking right at Kendal.
      He grinned. He could still pull off that reddish scruff of facial hair. Dang. “Hello, Magic.”
      Oh, good. College nicknames. She smiled. “Hello, Bret.”

Yay! I love this one.

WITH ALL MY HEART: LOVE UNEXPECTED is available at the following websites, and at Deseret Books and Seagull Books stores. It's being pushed nationally (not LDS or inspirational themed) so I'll let you know where else it shows up.


Deseret Book

In the meantime, how about a contest? I'm making this one simple. Everyone worked so hard for that last one! All you have to do is share, tweet, retweet, blog, pin, just POST this book and either link above. I already have a post to share on FB at Krista Lynne Jensen, and watch for a post to retweet on Twitter. Easy peasy!

Authors love to give these books away, but the way these contests help us the most is by spreading the word. Even if you plan on purchasing the book (thank you so much) a share will still help more than you know. And you could win a second book to give away yourself! Win Win!
Congratulations to the winner, Nikki Lewis! Thanks for playing, everyone!

And some other fantastic news: THE ORCHARD is a Whitney Award finalist in the Romance category! Thank you to those who nominated and voted! That was a delightful surprise.

And don't forget! My book launch is Saturday, February 22!

~Triple-the-Romance Book Launch~

DAY: Saturday, February 22
TIME: 11:00am-1:00pm
WHERE: Fort Union Deseret Books
Midvale, Utah
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