Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Okay, kiddies! We are in for such a treat today.

One of the funniest and most original writers I know is here. She's such a well-behaved lass that she neglected to mention her recent (Mira 5/07) and upcoming (Mira 12/08) books! Plus she's got an entire world of kick-ass heroines and yummy heros. Here a SEAL; there a SEAL, everywhere a SEAL. What's not to like?

So, she's here for one day only to entertain and answer our questions about suspense.

I thought I would relate about my writing process.

Mine is like getting a massage. And I don't mean just a plain old ordinary massage because suspense is all about plunging into a series of action-packed scenes, with dangerous things happening to the hero/heroine, and of course, letting things slide out of control. And while all this is happening, the writer (me) has to keep saying, "Well, it can't get worse than this," and of course, I make it so.

I can hear you now. Come on, Gennita, massages are lovely and relaxing experiences, meant to make the mind zone out, and put you in the zen state. There is no such thing as a suspenseful massage.

Well, you're so wrong. Let me tell you about the Korean Super Special Spa Pack.

One day, my sister booked me for a spa appointment in Fairfax, VA. It was a holiday weekend, and everything was either closed or booked, but she finally found an opening in a Korean spa. Okay, I've never been to one before, but I'm no stranger to the exotic and odd since I've been to a unisex Finnish spa before (another adventure for another time), so I just shrugged and told her, "Sure, sis, book me. It's in Fairfax. How foreign can it be?" She booked me for the Korean Super Special Spa Pack.

1) First step in suspense. Something odd happens.

I knew something was up when the Korean lady (who spoke no English) handed me a toothbrush. I took it from her and stared at it. Why would she want me to brush my teeth before a massage?

There was an open shower area and I guess I was expected to shower too. Okay. Did both.

2) Second step in suspense. Strange things begin to happen.

It didn't take long before I found out that the Special Pack was a total NEKKID facial and body scrub massage punching bag elbow rubbing head to toe humiliation process.

A half-nekkid lady appeared. I blinked. That was the last time I blinked because, the Special Pack also included a facial. If you're the claustrophobic type, this one ain't for you. I was wrapped in this seaweedy mummy gauzy padding and could barely see through the slits.

Remember, I was nekkid. And I thought (yes, you got it right), "How much worse can this get?"

3) Third step in suspense. It gets worse.

My masseuse (whom I couldn't see) started working on my body like it was a piece of meat. I kept thinking, in a oddly calm hysterical way, “A NEKKID woman is soaping me!” I have never had a nekkid woman soap me. The fun really began when she started to deep massage me and SMACK me. Not hard, just like: Smack, Smack! Massage, massage...Smack! Smack! Massage. I was having visions of being in a Bertrice Small novel and I started to crack up, except that I dare not laugh because seaweed would fall into my mouth...

And I thought (go on, repeat after me), "How much worse can this get?"

I was turned over. Whew, at least my boobs weren't staring up in embarrassed surprise any more. My masseuse started elbowing all the knots in my muscles. Then she SPANKED ME. SPANK! SPANK! I think I swallowed some seaweed. I was still cracking up when she started to punch my legs. PUNCH PUNCH! Massage, massage. Then she punched the BOTTOM of my feet. PUNCH! PUNCH! Massage, massage.

My arms and legs were moved in all sorts of positions that would rival the Karma Sutra. Trust me, some of these positions would make your face red.

Through it all, I thought, "It can't possibly get worse than that."


4) Fourth step in suspense. Prove yourself wrong.

THEN to TOP IT ALL, she CLIMBED ON TOP of me and started sliding her knees up and down behind my oiled thighs and calves. It felt great BUT A NEKKID WOMAN WAS SLIDING UP AND DOWN ME. ARgggghhhhh.

There was nothing I could say or do. I had seaweed in my eyes, on my face, in my mouth. I was supposed to be relaxed and feeling at one with the universe. I wasn't. And I couldn't run away. A naked, hysterical woman with weird stuff pasted on her face running down the street in Fairfax just wasn't me. So I lay there. And hoped there was no camera taping this adventure for some Internet Weird Site.

5) The Suspense Ends. Your Heroine and Hero Survive.

The last part of the Super Pack involved the Mummy Experience. My masseuse scalded me with the HOTTEST towels I ever had and deep massaged me. Then she cooled me off with cold towels. Repeat with Hot Towels.

I was finally unmasked...and had to hide my maniacal trying-not-to-scream smile. She cleaned me off, picking seaweed crumbs off my face, MY ARMPITS, even washed my hair and massaged the top of my head. I prayed that this part would NOT include smacking the top of my head. No thumping on the head, whew.

She poured milky stuff all over me and did a slow rub down. I almost slid off the table, the stuff was so slick. Finally, she matter-of-factly tapped my shoulder and pointed to the nearby spa pool to wash off. I crawled away in relief.

I will tell you girls, just like finishing a suspense novel, I couldn't walk properly the next morning. I still couldn't feel my body parts. I felt like I'd been in a Korean SPAR.

And *that* is my writing process.


Debra Dixon said...

Jenn-- We're so glad you're here. You have such a unique voice as a writer and isn't that what we all crave as readers?!

Thanks for hangin' with us in the convertible.

Kimberly Van Meter said...

Holy moly! That was one intense rub-down! Thanks for the education. I will not EVER ask for the Korean special.

But I loved the parallel to the writing process. Very visual. :-)


WK said...

Okay note to self, do not go to a spa with Jenn. Got that part.LOL

thanks for the quick story. I needed the laugh.

BTW Hi, Jenn I had to stop over since you were here and say Hi.

I loved your post, as you might can tell.

Now tell me this, are you going to use this in a book say give Jed a spa treatment he'll never forget?


Helen Brenna said...

Hey, Jenn or is it Genn? Welcome, welcome!

Great analogies. After this post and Cindy's the other day, I keep wondering why the hell we do this?

Oh, and I think I've been to that spa!

Gennita said...

Hi everyone, thanks for the welcome!

Debra, thanks for inviting me. I'm not sure about the unique voice, but I know for sure I seem to get into trouble a lot ;-).

Kimberly, but come on, it really helps one to write suspense better. Really.

Wendy (waving), Hi girl! I'm sure Jed wouldn't have let this happen to him unless, of course, it was his Elena doing the massaging and smacking. He might enjoy it too much!

Helen, Either way is fine. I have so many nicknames, I answer to all of them. I was the original J Low, you know. Now it's Glow. When it comes to Gerard Butler and other handsome male pics, you can call me Shal Low. ;-)

Anonymous said...

This story gets better every time I hear/see it, Jenn!! It could only happen to you.

Handy Jenny Low Tip #243 - Never EVER fly with this woman. The Travel gods just hate her!!


Playground Monitor said...

Note to self: avoid Korean Super Special Spa Pack. I like a deep massage where they really work out the knots but the KSSSP sounds more like torture than therapy.

The analogy to writing suspense is great though. I guess you can take that massage off as a business expense? *g* Suffering for your craft and all that.

Do we want to ask about the travel gods?


Betina Krahn said...

Jenn, welcome to the convertible and thank you, thank you for giving me a great laugh this morning! What an experience! I once went to a spa where they did the entire Swedish massage thing. I had always thought of massage as soothing and restorative. Swedes apparently like it a little rough. Who knew?

Salt rubs, some sweating that felt like suffocating, more rubs and pushing and thumping. . . then a shower that felt like a thousand hypodermic needles slamming into you. Arghh. And yeah, I was jelly for a day afterward, too. This experience in torture was a gift also.

Lesson: Beware snarky relatives and neighbors bearing gift certificates!

:) Betina

Christie Ridgway said...

Gennita! So glad you're here. Everyone, she is the only author of kick-ass heroines who really strikes me as a totally kick-ass heroine.

And now I'm afraid of massages.

Do you think you were supposed to really brush your teeth with that brush? I keep thinking it was supposed to be used in some other odd way. Oh, well, maybe that says a little too much about me and my imagination.

vince said...

A great story! Betina, good advice, although I worry more when the gift certificates are made with the best of intentions by those who feel "this would really be good for you." Hah!

Me, I prefer nice, steamy saunas with NO running into icy cold lakes afterwards.

I think that makes me a wimpy Minnesotan.

mec said...


After reading your experience, I have to wonder about a friend who has invited me to visit her with the lure of going to a spa.

Love reading your books and blogs.

Monique said...

Oh God, Jenn... I'd have been on the floor howling if I hadn't been reading this at work!! Only you! I'll certainly vouch for the "Oh wait; it can get worse" in your books. ROFL But then, I've been reading them A LOT lately. Eventually, even I am going to wonder if it can get worse. Oh, wait... I know these guys. Yeah... it can. ;)

LadyZannah said...

Jenn, you rock!

Debra Dixon said...

I knew everyone would think this blog was a scream! And the parallel to writing suspense was so true to the roller-coaster nature (mostly going downhill!) of the best suspenses.

I have a friend that does some deep tissue massage and she kindly! offered to work out some knots for me. Never again thank you very much!

Gennita said...

Come on, Mirmie, don't scare them away!

Marilyn, Really, the travel gods are fine with me. It's the ATL HUB demons who hate me. I have horror stories on it all the time, as my blog readers will tell you. One time, I lost my ID...and yes, it's a suspense story ;-).

I look at my sister suspiciously every time she wants to give me a spa certificate now.

Jessica said...

I'm wondering why the masseuse had to be nude, too. Were you really in a house of ill repute by mistake? Hmm?

I think you should internalize this experience and somehow incorporate it in the next ComCen book. Although I can't really see Hell or any of the guys in that predicament. Maybe Dr. K?

Gennita said...

Wow, thank you for your compliment! I have a lot of fun writing my heroines.

And no, DON'T SCARE ME about the possibilities of that toothbrush! It was new but I did put it in my mouth!!!

Poor you--Minnesota is always cold. When I was in Finland, the thing to do was to cut a hole in the ice and jump in for a wake-me-up. Those people are nuts.

Beware of spas. Not all spas are about relaxation!

Gennita said...

Yes, go on, laugh at me. I was suffering.

As for my characters and their predicaments, yes, like all my fellow authors, I love to torture them!


LOL. If you think this one is bad, don't ever let them get you to do shiatsu. Because that one ia ALL about PAIN.


There was a lot of liquid, soap, and splashy stuff involved so, I guess it's to save them from changing their clothes after every session. But who knows? I didn't speak Korean and they might have been waiting for me to ask for other massages. Argh. That would have been another "what can be worse than that" moment.

Anonymous said...

Wow Jenn. Lol. I had a whole movie rolling in my head. Thanks cause that was entertaining. :P

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenn. I was just wondering what you were planning after Virtually Ours?


Amie Stuart said...

I agree w/deb...the parallels were hysterical and spot on. I'll stick to my local Texas spa where they don't crawl on you and stuff LOL

SuzeLady said...

Hi Jenn, whew, I started to hurt after hearing all you went thru in that spa! OW!

I took out The Protector last night and started re-reading it. Meanwhile,I have a lot of new books in my TBR pile. But I needed a dose of Jazz and Vivi. Next is The Hunter and of course I am saving the best for last Facing Fear! Oh it's been too long since I've re-read that. About a couple of months! I have just re-read VHis about a month ago. I am really starting to love his Jedness! Though Rick will always be my love. There is something very deep about Jed. But I wont allow myself to ever be happy unless I have Alex & Tess's story!! To have Grace's would be the cherry on top!

It's so true. Your books have a depth & unique feel to them. The characters just come to life for Me and I don't get that with any other authors. From your experiences that I've read, I find you just as unique & special as your stories!

Susan. (a wanna be writer but scared if the massage is similar to Jenn's writing process). Yikes.

Kathleen Eagle said...


I just canceled the next massage appointment. I'm staying home to write! Welcome to the convertible.

I loved your blog a few weeks back on the latest writerly scandal. Sent the link to friends far and wide. Really funny stuff. You got game, girl!

vanessa jaye said...

OMGoodness, that's one of the funniest things I've read. lol. But I totally see the parallel. lol.

Jane said...

Hi Gennita,
I've never had a massage like that before. No happy endings for me. I'm waiting patiently for "Virtually Hers" to come out. I'm suffering from withdrawal. When will the COS Commando ebook be out? Can you give us some info about it?

Gennita said...

Glad to have entertained ;-). One day, I'll write about the Finnish massage with the nekkid SEALs and Navy boys. Oho! I knew that'd perk your ears up.

Do you mean Virtually Hers? After that will be Virtually One. Then I'm going to try to sell Grace's story. And T and Alex's. If not, then I'll continue with the Virtual series, looking at the rest of the commandos.

Oh, I'm sure there are some wild spas in Texas. When I'm there, I'll bring you along to research!

Thank you so much for saying that. It's always brings me such giddy pleasure to know my books connected. You aren't the only one in love with Rick. For some reason, he resonates the most with many readers. As for His Jedness, Virtually Hers will give you a lot more background about him and hopefully, you'll grow to love just as much too! Thanks again for making my day. Mwah.

Thank you, Kathleen E.! That one play generated more attention than I thought, LOL. I'm still surprised.

It's how I see it. You have to get naked and uncomfortable as an author. You have expose yourself. Sometimes the experience can be quite numbing. Ultimately, you are the writing itself and each massage is unique.

LadyZannah said...

Sign me up for Number Eight's story. It could be titled Virtually Hot or Virtual Dom??? rawr

Gennita said...

The e-book is my first manuscript that finaled in RWA's Golden Heart contest a number of years ago. I've been TRYING to get eHarlequin (my publisher is MIRA) to give it away for me as a "gift" to my readers because of Virtually Hers being delayed.

However, so far, I haven't been able to get a yes or a no for an answer from the PowersThatBe. I've finally decided that I'll withdraw the manuscript offer and give the story away on my own through either my blog or website.

The thing is, I wanted to do this through my publisher as a promotional tool--new readers might want to try out a new book, that sort of thing. This manuscript, being my first, is not as sophisticated as my later books because my initial vision of the COS world was planned for a Silhouette Intimate Moments (pre-2000) format.

However, with some tweaking and some revising, I know it'll entertain you guys because the silly story is all about a roofer girl who met a spy who's hiding out as a...roofer. LOL.

Sorry for the long post. Oh, the hero is His Jedness' cousin, Killian Langley, so yes, you'll get a dose of His Jedness in this story too. For background info of all this stuff, please visit

Lauren Dane said...

Your writing process makes me scared. I need some milk and cookies now.

Only you , Jenn, only you could have that experience and then make me actually guffaw.

Gennita said...


Laughing is my only medicine to all the weird painful adventures I get into!


Thank you, Debra and everyone here, for letting ride with my top down with y'all. I hope you had as much fun as I did!

Hugs to all of you for inviting me.

Cindy Gerard said...

Gennita I'm so sorry I'm chiming in late today. Spent the day at an allergist trying to figure out why I have burning, watering eyes all the time. thank GOD it wasn't my kitties or dog :o) Now learning all about heppa filters for dust and dust mites. Urg.
Anyway, so glad you joined us today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update! Virtually Ours, Virtually One, I can't keep anything straight these days! Can't wait to read about Grace!


Virginia Lady said...

Since I live near Fairfax, VA, you have me doubting the wisdom of ever getting a massage again. :-) I am claustrophobic so I might just run screaming into the street, nekkid or not. :-)

Thanks for blogging here, it's always great to hear from authors I haven't seen, I need to find those books. I'm intrigued.