Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Jennifer Y. Johnson-Garcia is just "write"...plus a book giveaway

We're thankful to have Jennifer Y. Johnson-Garcia here with us today. Melissa A heard about her memoir, Growing Up Between Stops on the A-train, from a friend and was immediately intrigued. Being the experienced writer that she is, Jennifer has written a letter to herself from 10 years ago. She also has FIVE copies of her book for some lucky readers! (E-books, but print copies are available for US readers.)

Writer Jennifer Y. Johnson-Garcia is the author of Growing Up Between Stops on the A-train, her debut memoir. After narrowly surviving a type 1 diabetes diagnosis as a child, Jennifer left her home in Fort Collins, Colorado at seventeen years old and moved herself to New York City to pursue a career as a singer. After years of hustling, she was discovered by Grammy-nominated producers, Full Force, who signed her. Jennifer went on to write songs for stars such as Brandy, Usher, and Nick Cannon; co-write an album with the legendary Carole King (whose story the Broadway hit "Beautiful" is based on); and was the songwriter behind several songs on the radio, including Japanese superstar Namie Amuro’s hit single “So Crazy,” which hit #3 on the Oricon Daily Singles chart in Japan. In addition to songwriting, Jennifer edited and wrote articles as a contributor to The Orator newspaper; has written op-eds that have appeared in The New York Daily News, amNew York, and The Fort Collins Coloradoan; has written or ghostwritten several books, and most recently, wrote and directed a short film based on her new memoir. Jennifer holds a BA in English from Thomas Edison State University and currently resides with her husband and two children near New York City.

Visit Jennifer online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram


Synopsis:
A spellbinding memoir about a disadvantaged teenage girl who takes matters into her own hands, leaving her small town in Colorado and becoming a hit songwriter in New York City.

Jennifer Johnson is blessed with a beautiful singing voice but cursed with type 1 diabetes and stepparents who are dead-set on making her life miserable. By seventeen, Jennifer leaves home and supports herself through her senior year of high school, graduating on-time with her class. But she has much more to prove. Determined, Jennifer kisses Colorado goodbye and sets off on a one-way trip to New York City.

In the city, Jennifer hits the ground hustling, securing a job selling beepers on the street and singing for strangers every chance she gets. Not long after, she is discovered by a music producer on the A-train, records a demo, and signs her first record deal. However, Jennifer's budding career is interrupted by serious life obstacles, destroying her odds in a male-dominated and cutthroat music industry. Unyielding, Jennifer persists for several years before landing a chance audition.

In the blink of an eye, Jennifer skyrockets from starving artist to New York City's best kept secret, songwriting for superstars and all but sealing her fate as a future household name. However, just as she is on the brink of fame to go with the small fortune she earns from publishing deals, an unexpected turn of events sets her on the rockiest road to dreams come true.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)


Dear younger self,

You have lived quite a life so far. At 33, you’re a force to be reckoned with. But you still have much to learn.

As time goes on, once you are far removed from the trials you’ve encountered in life (which are a mixture of tough odds, big gambles, questionable life decisions, outright mistakes, and naïve stupidity), you will discover that there is no one on earth more equipped to succeed than a person who has failed. The best thing about tough times is they force one to develop character traits necessary for triumph. Thus, you are on your way.

Please always remember where you came from and how hard you’ve fought to be where and who you are today. Remember that, as a small child when you were diagnosed with and nearly died from type 1 diabetes, you rebounded and adapted. Recall your time as a youth, when your single father twirled strange women in and out of your life, and you rolled with the tides. Don’t forget how, as a troubled teen when you bounced between homes with stepparents who were dead-set on making your life difficult, you tolerated dysfunction. Recollect how, when you couldn’t take another second of it, you left home at 17 with only the clothes on your back, a vial of insulin, and a few syringes. Look back at how you found a room to rent, worked full time during your senior year of high school, and still graduated on time despite it all. And cement in your soul how, just months later, you took the biggest risk of your life with a one-way trip from your small town in Colorado to New York City.

You were born to sing but you learned quickly in the city that talent isn’t nearly as important as hustle. So you worked tirelessly for years on end, hustling in the music industry until you made it. You signed record deals, and publishing deals, and rubbed elbows with superstars, and wrote songs that hit radio and TV including a hit song in Japan. After that success, you fell in love, got married, bought a home, adopted two children, earned your first college degree as an adult student, and far more that you will expound upon in a memoir you write one day. For now, one thing is certain: you’ve made it. However, please allow me to remind you that, for every instance of success you’ve enjoyed, you’ve encountered trials many time more. So please, as you carry on in this world that rarely recognizes the beauty buried deep within struggle (and instead applauds fame, and fortune, and influence, and a gamut of things that have very little to do with one’s purpose), never minimize your accomplishments.

I’ve always known you were an underdog but you have displayed over time many instincts of a warrior—courage, long-suffering, strength, loyalty, hope, and an essential streak of irrationality. After overcoming so much and accomplishing much more than you originally set out to, it may be hard to imagine that anything could contend with the determination, heart, or survivor spirit you’ve developed. However, I would be remiss as your older, omniscient self if I didn’t warn you that your greatest life challenge yet is just around the corner.

You will be shocked. You will fall to your knees in despair (and prayer). You will desperately grasp for answers. You will retrace your steps and obsessively try to piece back together what is irreparably shattered. You will hit rock-bottom. You will question everything. And then, just as defeat begins to seep into your spirit, you will remember who you are. You will refuse to give up. And you will prevail.

After your wounds heal, you are bound to accomplish even more. You will be an example of strength and stability to your cherished children. You will be a beacon of hope to anyone in need of a testament of moxie. Most importantly, you will become a better version of you.

Among other things, in the future you will learn to not mistake other people’s behavior for your own weakness. You will learn to not care so much about what other people think of you or fuss about who knows your side of the story. You will learn to slow down and focus on what is important. You will learn to be careful to not waste precious time on things that won’t matter in the end. You will learn to say no to things that drain you at your family’s expense. You will learn to prioritize taking care of yourself. You will finally learn how to trust others and be a friend. You will learn to listen. And in many ways, you will not learn a thing and you will continue to expect different results from the same behavior until something “breaks.” But you know where the perfect people are. (And if you don’t, you can find them in the last chapter of the memoir you will write.)

Until then, keep taking risks. More than any failure, you would regret not having tried.

With love,
Jenn

PS You’re still standing!

Thanks to Jennifer for inspiring us and for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway ends March 9th at midnight EST.

9 comments:

rhonda said...

Born In The Usa

traveler said...

Any song which Leonard Cohen sings is wonderful and unique especially Hallelujah.

JeanneK said...

Sounds so intriguing and I’d really like to read it.

rubynreba said...

Not a new song but, I Cross My Heart by George Strait.

diannekc said...

Not new, but one of my favorites is Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers.

Nancy P said...

No specific favorite songs. Like some I hear on the radio at times but don't usually know the artist.

bn100 said...

no fav

Donamae Kutska said...

Happy the song

Tracy Wirick said...

I love many songs so it’s too hard to pick a fav 🤔 love Adele, The Cars, Eagles