Today I am so pleased to welcome Kelly Jensen to Joyfully Jay. Kelly has come to talk to us about her latest release, Building Forever. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

The Careers I Could Have Had

When I was in sixth grade, I wanted to be an architect. At the time, my want didn’t feel like a need. I didn’t need to be an architect in quite the same manner as I needed oxygen. Only six months before I’d wanted to be an astronaut. A handful of years later, I’d want to be a librarian, or maybe a teacher. But right then, having just returned from a road trip through Pennsylvania that included a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous house, Fallingwater, I wanted to be an architect.

When I expressed this interest to a teacher, I was told my math skills weren’t good enough, and that I should choose something else. I remember feeling quite crushed at that. I think it was the first time I’d had the thought that maybe I couldn’t be whatever I wanted to be. That my future might actually be limited. And maybe that’s why, some forty years later, I’m still interested in architecture.

I take a lot of pictures of buildings. I buy books of plans. Sometimes when I play The Sims, I’m more interested in designing neighborhoods and houses than I am in directing the lives of my Sims. I used to build whole towns with my Legos, and I watch architectural documentaries.

If I could do it all again, I’d absolutely be an architect—math skills be damned.

But life has taken me in other directions and I can’t say that I mind all that much. I’m the person at most parties who has the cool stories. I’ve been to amazing places and I’ve done amazing things. Now, I write, and as an author, I love giving the careers I could have had to my characters.

In Building Forever, Simon Lynley is an architect with a singular passion: he loves old buildings and houses. He’d rather restore something than tear it down, which puts him in interesting opposition to his former partner (and lover), Brian. From a business perspective, their differing views probably strengthened their partnership, with Brian being all about new construction and Simon being the one to add the elements that make a house a home. But after taking a hit in the housing market collapse and being left by his lover, Simon moves to Pennsylvania to start again.

I chose Bethlehem as the location for this book specifically for Simon. The mix of architecture down there is typical of the northeast, but Bethlehem as a township has a reputation for restoration rather than renovation. I could imagine Simon geeking out at all the old Moravian architecture—much as I do whenever I’m down there. Bethlehem also has a lovely “small town” feel, even though it’s actually quite a sizable city.

And there are farmhouses there, which is something of a lure for both Simon and me. So, of course, Charlie lives in the most gorgeous one. While the farmhouse on the cover of Building Forever is lovely, and captures the feel of the novel quite well, it’s not an accurate depiction of Charlie’s place. The inspiration for Charlie and Simon’s houses, both, are two that sit side by side on Center Ave in Bethlehem. I’d share a picture, but it would feel a bit creepy? Needless to say, every time I drive past, I imagine my guys living there and it makes me very happy.

On to Charlie’s career, which actually very closely follows my own—except he’s writing space opera rather than romance. A large part of Charlie’s backstory didn’t actually make it into the book, which is typical for me. My character histories can be quite dense, giving me a feel for who these guys are before I start writing them. But they’re mostly to inform me, and not the reader. So, anyway, Charlie’s dad worked for a textbook manufacturer and Charlie held a part time job there throughout high school, transitioning to full time shortly after graduation. When Charlie’s wife became sick (the second time, when her cancer returned), Charlie transitioned from book binding to technical writing, eventually taking freelance contracts so that he could work from home, and started writing science fiction on the side.

Science fiction was Charlie’s outlet, and soon became his passion, and his transition from one form of writing to another is something I took from my own career path. I started out as a finished artist and copywriter, moved into writing textbooks, from there to more journalistic articles (travel and reviews), and finally to fiction, which I’d always enjoyed, but had never written exclusively.

So while Simon’s career is one I might never have (realistically), Charlie’s is one I’m well into exploring! I hope you enjoy reading about both as you get to know both Simon and Charlie in Building Forever!


A new town, a new neighbor, and a new chance to build a forever.

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.


If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:


To celebrate the release of Building Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 20, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
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