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Jealous Hater Book Club: The Mister chapter thirty or “To the rescue! I swear! Any time now!”

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I’m going to take a moment here to recognize my Patreon patrons for the month of July. Usually, I do this in a video but due to my phone being a super asshole, the video I filmed went away into the ether, never to return. So, allow me to force your eyeballs onto this list of people who donated $5 and up in the month of July:

  • Adriane
  • Amy B
  • Anastasia
  • Barbara W
  • Breanne B
  • Casey C
  • Christie E
  • Christina G
  • Debbie M
  • Emily B
  • Erin R
  • Jenny D
  • Kari
  • Katharine W
  • Kathryn G
  • Kira P
  • Kirsten W
  • Lauren B
  • Lindsey L
  • Linsel
  • Lucy G
  • Miriam W
  • Miss Kitty Fantastico
  • Nicola H
  • Olivia B
  • Rebecca P
  • Roma
  • Ryan F
  • Sandy B
  • Sarah R
  • Sarah A
  • Shanti M
  • Smelter P
  • Stormy K
  • TeJay the Mad
  • Teresa D
  • Vallie M
  • Veerle VV
  • Victoria M
  • Ximena D

Thank you so much for your patronage and you’ll be named in the combo July/August video. If you’re not a Patron, you can see past videos and the weird shit I did for them on my YouTube channel. Everybody, let’s give them a big hand because without their support, this place wouldn’t run as smoothly. And I mean. This place doesn’t run smoothly. So just imagine how bad it could be.

And remember, even if you can’t support my efforts monetarily, you being here and reading these words is always support enough. I’m so pleased to have such a cool bunch of people who come read my silly stuff and then say really smart and awesome things in the comments.

So, now it’s onto the bad part of this recap. Ha ha, just kidding, it’s ALL bad. But here’s the part where I have to give a CONTENT WARNING: Not only is there a violent attempted rape (which I don’t excerpt), there’s also suicidal ideation and more discussion of intimate partner violence.

We’re almost done. Let’s do this.

Author Your Life summit!

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Recently, I got invited to do a really cool thing and now it’s coming up and I’m so excited to share my involvement in this:

TEXT: Author Your Life Summit How to use the power of writing to kick fear in the teeth, send obstacles packing, and create the life you want. Featuring Jenny Trout hosted by Lara Zielin [images of both authors] FREE online event August 15-26 Authoryourlifenow.live

One of my very most favorite author people, Lara Zielin, had an ah-ha moment after a personal and professional crisis that sent her reeling. She realized she could use writing to help her find her way again. Within a year of that realization, her life and heart had been transformed, all because she put pen to paper. Now, Lara firmly believes that writing can completely change your life. As in help you build healthy relationships, open the door to your dream job, maybe even help you finish that project you started way back when.

Now, she’s bringing everything she’s learned to a FREE online summit called Author Your Life: How to Use Writing to Kick Fear in the Teeth, Send Obstacles Packing, and Create the Life You Want.

Lara invited me and, in her words, “20 other experts” (which sounds like she was suggesting that I am an expert which is flattering but inaccurate), to discuss the power of writing to change everything. My area of expertise, of course, is what happens when you start being your authentic self. Also, how to not throw in the towel when you’re receiving nonstop internet hate.

Sign up to hear other actual experts weigh in about writing to unleash change as well as practical how-to advice so you can put this into practice yourself. This includes how to use writing to:

• Silence your inner critic
• Face fear and get un-stuck
• Connect to your community
• Embrace and high-five your authentic self
• Change the story you tell yourself about work

And much more!

This is completely free, so go, sign up, you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose. www.authoryourlifenow.live

Because, here’s the thing. We might not have the money for therapy or the time to do an hour of yoga every day, but we all have access to a piece of paper and a pen (metaphorically speaking). We can all write something. And that? Can change everything.

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister, chapter twenty-nine or “To The Rescue, Eventually!”

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Quick update on stuff on my end! Mr.Jen’s injury that I’ve mentioned before is healing through the miracle of physical therapy several times a week. And I’m getting un-depressed. After a wild week, I decided to get out and go. I attended a cast party, a film audition, did some grown-up things that needed doing and now I’m back and ready to roll.

For like a week before I go away to my family’s cabin. I know. I know. But I promise I’m trying to bust through the end of this recap as fast as I can, so we can all get back to our regularly scheduled programing here and I can start writing The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp for your…I don’t know. I feel like “enjoyment” might be tossing the word around loosely. I don’t want you all coming in with heightened expectations.

Anyway, according to Publisher’s Weekly, as of three weeks ago, The Mister had sold a whopping 220,300 copies.

Fifty Shades of Grey has sold over 100,000,000.

That’s a bit of a drop. And yes, the books are almost ten years apart but call me a pessimist…I just don’t think the same hype is there this time, guys.

Content Warning: There are explicit depictions of abuse in this chapter (again) and basically from here on out there’s going to be nonstop rape threats.

Ten Things I Like About Myself

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I had a weird, humiliating day yesterday, everyone. My mental health, which was really up and positive on Monday, took a dive. And you know, that happens; I’m really bad at lulling myself into a false sense of security on stuff. So, I’m trying to drag myself up and out of the quagmire by focusing on things I like about myself. Here are some I came up with.

  1. What you see is what you get. There isn’t really a public/private persona to me. Sure, there are insecurities and hardships and inner problems that I don’t wear on my sleeve, but that’s true of everyone. What I mean is, when you meet me in person, you’re meeting the person you got to know here. A person who might not recognize your face from your social media photos but who will be thrilled once they realize who you are.
  2. I’m silly. I can usually find something to be silly about in any situation. Maybe that’s not the best quality for a person to have (especially since it sometimes leads to giggling under inappropriate circumstances). But I like that I’m able to laugh about stuff, usually.
  3. I can usually figure out how to do stuff. You know that phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” that people throw around? It has made me feel bad for years. Why? Because I love to learn to do things–playing guitar, making soap, hand-lettering signs, light demonology, you know, normal stuff–but I rarely devote myself to mastering things with any skill. I usually just want to know how things work. Once I figure that out, I move on. Imagine how pleased I was to learn that “Jack of all trades, master of none,” is not the complete saying. It’s actually, “Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than master of one.”
  4. I say “Bless you,” when people sneeze. Even if it was a person on television. Even if it was a scripted moment on television. I am compelled.
  5. Dogs like me. I think that’s possibly the greatest indicator that a person is good. When I doubt myself, I remember that dogs like me, which is way more important than people liking me.
  6. I genuinely enjoy spicy food, but I’m not a dick about it. It’s weird when people like spicy food but they make it into a competition with other people. I like spicy food, the spicier the better (as long as the food actually has flavor and doesn’t just taste like capsaicin and nothing else because that tastes like cigarette butts) but I don’t run around calling people pussies for not consuming something they find unpleasant.
  7. I tried avocado once. It was out of my comfort zone, but I did it. I didn’t like it but I got the courage.
  8. I’m a good singer. Am I the best singer ever? Obviously not, or I wouldn’t be a blogger. I’d have millions of dollars and live in a house on the side of a cliff overlooking the sea somewhere. But I actually am pretty good! Good enough to secure some community theater roles, anyway, and that’s good enough for me.
  9. I’m honest with my kids about my mental and physical health. I’m always open with them about my messed up brain chemistry. It affects their lives, too, and it’s important for me that they know that they’re loved even if mom snaps at them during a particularly anxious day or she can’t get out of bed or needs extra help.
  10. I’m a loyal friend. I wouldn’t say I’m a “good” friend. I’m bad at keeping in touch. I’m terrible at visiting. I probably won’t wish you a happy birthday without you reminding me or I’ll do it on the wrong date. But you know what? I’ll go to bat for you every single time.

These are things I like about myself. Give me ten things you like about yourself in the comments. No self-deprecating stuff, no, “I only suck a little of the time.” No, “There aren’t ten things about me to like.” Even if you have to pick one like, “I can walk on stilts,” I’ll take it.

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister chapter twenty-eight or “The Slowest Kidnapping”

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No news (as this book has pretty much dropped off the edge of the planet despite staying on the bestseller lists), but a content warning for more domestic violence than usual for an E.L. James book.

Pardon the slowing of the pace with these posts, by the way. I’m still performing in The Wizard of Oz and trying to meet some other deadlines.

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister, chapter twenty-seven or “THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING”

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Last week, the Toronto Star ran an interview with E.L. James. There are the usual claims of people not liking her because she’s a woman and that she went above and beyond the call of duty to research Albania but it also included a brief, interesting look into which fandoms she‘ll be stealing from next enjoys:

She recently rewatched the first Harry Potter movie, which prompted her to buy the rest of the films, and now wants to read J.K. Rowling’s series again.

Somewhere, Cassandra Clare is already on the phone to her legal team.

Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister chapter twenty-five or “Accio, foreshadowing!”

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According to Cinema Blend, Book Club 2 is happening. If you missed what Book Club was about, it told the story of four upper-middle-class white senior citizens (played by Mary Steenburgen, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and fervent Woody Allen supporter Diane Keaton) who spice up their boring sex lives through the life-changing magic of the scandalously hot and sexy Fifty Shades of Grey series.

Yes. That’s a whole movie. A whole movie encapsulating the worst stereotypes that surrounded the book while it dominated the zeitgeist. And somehow, there’s material for another? As the article suggests, maybe this one will be about The Mister.

While I would love to see the sequel die a quiet death in development, I would also love to see Book Club 2: Step Up To The Sheets hit the big screen before The Mister. Or instead of.

Now, since I’ve had a few comments here and on social media regarding the horrible names of the characters, while they are indeed horrible, Moss and Demelssia are not their actual character names. They’re portmanteaus of Maxim and Ross and Alessia and Demelza. The latter of both pairs are characters from Poldark, which this novel…let’s just say it pays overt homage to it.

So, let’s get into the recap.

Business Centaur: A Long and Winding Tale of Friendship and the Horrors Which Will Befall You All

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To tell you the tale of John Gayhart Johnson: Business Centaur, I must first tell you the tale of a book.

Some years ago, while attending a conference in Chicago, I found myself very drunk in a hotel room with Bronwyn Green and Rebel Cowboy, which had been given away as a party favor at dinner. Also given away at dinner were small boxes of elegant chocolates. As I drunkenly tried to put one in my mouth, I dropped it. Despite Bronwyn’s shriek of horror, I picked the chocolate up from the hotel room carpet upon which countless loads have very likely been blown and in a moment I am not proud of…I ate the floor candy.

At some later point, Bronwyn’s gaze fell upon Rebel Cowboy and she noted that the woman on the front “looks like a motorcycle centaur.”

I must make it absolutely clear that no part of this story should be interpreted as mocking the text inside Rebel Cowboy. I really enjoyed this book, it’s a fantastic contemporary romance, and if you’re in the mood for a heroine with a complicated family situation and a hero who’s an ex-hockey player turned llama rancher, you will enjoy this book, as well. Here’s the Amazon link. Consider it my strongest possible recommendation. But the unfortunate angle of the model on the cover really does, in my opinion, and Bronwyn’s, look as though the heroine’s lower body is the motorcycle the hero is straddling:

The cover of Rebel Cowboy shows a muscular guy with his shirt open and a cowboy hat on straddling a motorcycle. A beautiful woman is standing on the other side of the motorcycle as he embraces her, and unfortunately you can't see her lower body at all.

Through non-stop tears of laughter, we created a ridiculous backstory. The unfortunate heroine had eaten a piece of floor candy and contracted a terrible disease. The only way to save her life was to amputate her lower body and fuse her torso to a motorcycle. About a month later, floor candy and motorcycle centaurs insinuated themselves into the language of our writing retreat.

And then, it happened.

He came into our lives on a majestic wave of inspiration. I was talking about my favorite topic: people whose names are repetitive. Donald Donaldson. Jeff Jefferson. Dick Richards. Names that these people’s parents should have fucking well known better about. And at that moment, one of my friends blurted:

“I know someone named John Gayhart Johnson!”

Time stopped and the room hung suspended in this glorious moment of creation. I don’t remember who said what. But I do know that someone said, “That sounds like a businessman,” and another person, whom I am almost certain was me, shouted, “John Gayhart Johnson: Business Centaur!”

John G. Johnson, Business Centaur, became an inside joke in our group. The next year at retreat, they presented me with this:

A small centaur toy with a black horse body, tan man body, goatee, and little painted-on crown. Bronwyn Green sewed him a tiny houndstooth business jacket and given him a briefcase.

 

Yes, that is a John Gayhart Johnson, Business Centaur action figure that Bronwyn Green lovingly created out of one of her kids’ old toys. We had a hearty laugh, especially after they reminded me that it was I who thought up the ridiculous idea of a business centaur, hence the gift. I’m still not sure that’s how that worked out but I guess I have to trust the memories of five other people.

Obviously, the joke had now run its course. After all, once you create an action figure of something, there’s really nowhere to go.

Or so I thought, forgetting that I am friends with writers.

This year, when we all assembled at the cabin, Bronwyn Green, Jess Jarman, Kris Norris, and two other people whose identities I will protect, presented me with two small, wrapped boxes. In one was a John G. Johnson, Business Centaur action figure.

“Why would you make another one?” I asked Bronwyn.

She proudly declared, “I didn’t. That’s the one from your office.”

Bronwyn lives fifty miles from me, yet she waited until she knew I was going to be at a rehearsal, entered my home and took the Business Centaur from my bookshelf. I never noticed he was gone. They gave me another box, this one containing:

A small princess figure with red hair and a notepad with JGJ written across the top and a pen in her other hand.

“I don’t get it…” I said, before Norris brought this out from behind her back:

A shadow box containing a cover flat (described later) for The Business Centaur's Virgin Temp by Jenny Trout, the two action figures standing beneath it, and various charms hanging from push pins on a strip of studded leather across the lower quarter of the box.

 

Every Business Centaur, it seems, needs his Virgin Temp. Please note the attention to detail: those charms are clips containing the initials of both John Gayhart Johnson and Flicka Star, his love interest. My dastardly friends truly went the extra mile with this, going so far as to create a cover flat and a wildly elaborate corporate espionage centaur plot for the singular goal of using as many horse puns as they could think of.

 

A cover flat for a book titled "The Business Centaur's Virgin Temp," upon which a male model in a suit and tie has been expertly photoshopped into a centaur. The Virgin Temp is inexplicably wearing a tiara and holding stationary emblazoned with JGJ on it. Her hair is red and ridiculously long. The author name is "Jenny Trout," and there is back cover copy which I will post below.

I can have any filly in the stable…except the one I want.

John Gayhart Johnson: Business Centaur

My business rival has been trying to put me out to pasture for years. And now, he thinks he’s finally found the means to do it—by maneuvering his sister, Flicka, into position as my new temp and forcing her to steal company secrets. I know I should put on my blinders and hoof it away from her as fast as I can, but I can’t resist horsing around a bit first. I’m hungry—but not for oats.

Lady Flicka Star: Virgin Temp

I know my brother’s using me, but I don’t have a choice. He’s wanted revenge on that stud, John, for years, and I want my freedom. My brother has corralled me for far too long, and I’m a shoe-in for this temp position. So what if I have to pony up and seduce my boss to escape the family barn? It’s not as if I’m galloping headfirst into love—oh, neigh, neigh—never that. Besides, a little foalplay never hurt anyone.

You will note that this is indeed a full cover flat, as if for an actual, published book.

Because that is what they now expect it to be.

I, Jenny Trout, will somehow write The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp. I will have to figure out how to do this without it being about, you know. Getting deflowered by horsecock. That will not happen, this I vow. But since this is so thoroughly ridiculous, so beyond the realm of anything any sensible person would ever want to read, let alone pay to read, I won’t be slotting it into my release schedule.

I’ll be subjecting you to it, instead.

After our recaps of The Mister end, I will set out once again on a marvelous serialized adventure. Through weekly chapters, I will weave you a story of attraction. Of courage. Of love. Of other stuff.

Honestly, I don’t know what this fucking book will be about. But I’m going to write it with the same attention to detail and effort at actually good writing as I do all my other books. I’m going to try to make the absolutely balls-ass ridiculous premise that has been handed to me something that someone, somewhere, might actually enjoy. I will rise to the challenge as is expected of me and I will not let the anti-centaur lobby win. We need more centaurs, especially Business Centaurs. We need John Gayhart Johnson.

The world needs him.

You need him.

And I’m gonna give you all the Business Centaur you can handle.

Patron Appreciation Video!

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I’m back from my amazing writing retreat where I wrote so, so many of the words. It’s impossible to fully explain just what a huge difference this trip makes to my work year and how much I rely on it to get huge chunks of my Neil and Sophie and El-Mudad books written. This year, it for sure wouldn’t have been possible to buy my groceries for up there without the help of my super awesome Patreon patrons, so I made this month’s $5 and up Patron appreciation video while on the trip. It just seemed fitting. Thanks for helping me hit the 20k word mark on The Daughter!

 

Thank you to everyone who donates through Patreon or Kofi to keep this site, my books, and my general nonsense going. And thank you for those of you who visit here and spread the Gospel of Trout. Without you, I’d have no job.