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March 14, 2010 / theoldsilly

ATTMP Feature Post – Jen Knox and Musical Chairs

In addition to being a writer and author, I am also an editor. I do freelance, and am also on staff with All Things That Matter Press (ATTMP), where I published my last book, Between the Storm and the Rainbow, and where I will soon be publishing more books.

ATTMP is a group of great people, from the co-owners and founders, multi-published author Phil Harris and his wife, ATTMP’s Editor in Chief Deb Harris, to the growing collection of up and coming new and talented authors. It’s a team/family atmosphere, and we do what we can to help each other out, promoting the publishing house and our fellow authors within the group.

Today I’m putting up this feature on Jen Knox and her book, Musical Chairs. If you click on the book cover below you will be able to read some excerpts.

Here’s the short blurb synopsis-

Musical Chairs explores one family’s history of mental health diagnoses and searches to define the cusp between a ’90s working-class childhood and the trouble of adapting to a comfortable life in the suburbs. In order to understand her restlessness, Jennifer reflects on years of strip-dancing, alcoholism, and estrangement. Inspired by the least likely source, the family she left behind, Jennifer struggles towards reconciliation. This story is about identity, class, family ties, and the elusive nature of mental illness.


And here is an excerpt from the book’s prologue-

Throughout the summer of 2003 I repeatedly underwent what psychologists have since diagnosed as post-traumatic stress and panic disorder.  A spiritually-inclined friend refers to the same summer as my rebirthing period.  Still others, who claim to have had similar experiences, tell me that such episodes were probably a warning, my body’s way of telling me to adopt healthier eating habits, exercise more or quit smoking.  At the time, all I knew was that the onset was swift.


Now check out this trailer-

Sound good so far? I thought so. And apparently so did Alvah, of Alvah’s Book Reviews, who read the book and wrote this…

“Musical Chairs is well-written, which means Jen Knox knows how to string words together into comprehensible sentences.  And her ‘voice’ is honest, unapologetic and – vital! – likeable.  In other words, she’s like the Apostle Peter in the Bible.  She’s a weak, frail, vulnerable human being, who makes lots of mistakes.  Which means – thank God – that she is human.  Which means that despite all her flaws and failures, she is not a fraud or a charlatan.  She’s not pretending to be someone who has their ‘shit’ together.

Jen and most of her family are gloriously dysfunctional – just like most families.  And they have a tendency toward mental illness.  And – shockingly – she talks about it.  Which is what makes her story and her book so wonderful.  It’s downright refreshing to read a book that acknowledges what most people know is true, but are afraid to confess:  Most people are one brick short of a load.  Which is what makes them and life so interesting.”

For more information about Jen, go to or

To purchase Musical Chairs, go to Amazon, ATTM Press, or Barnes & Noble.

And for more information about ATTMP, go to or

Let’s show Jen some love in the comments, peeps, she’ll be checking in to interact with you all, and hey – check out ATTMP and buy some good books from a rising star pub house in our industry.

Chow gang, blog back in tomorrow for another of your daily doses of Free Spirit.


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  1. quirkyloon / Mar 14 2010 9:27 am

    “Most people are one brick short of a load.”

    This fits me to a t!

    The book sounds really great and intrigues me since my father was an alchie and I have never been able to feel that I have “my shit” together.

    I’m always relieved when I find others out there like me! *sad chuckle* Makes me feel less alone.

    • theoldsilly / Mar 14 2010 11:00 am

      I loved that line too, Quirks. And you are definitely NOT alone, lol 😉

  2. John Standish / Mar 14 2010 9:59 am

    Great sounding book with a lot of grit and courage it must have taken to write it. I applaud you, Jen, for publishing this, and wish you well with it and your writing career. Marv, ATTMP seems to be a fine new pub house – I checked out the site. Nice feature post all around!

  3. Cactus Annie / Mar 14 2010 10:27 am

    Enjoyed the whole feature post, the blurb, the trailer, read a couple excerpts, this book sounds like the “real thing.” And this part in the review – “she is not a fraud or a charlatan. She’s not pretending to be someone who has their ‘shit’ together.”

    Right on, GF … tell it like it is!

    Best wishes, Jen, and thanks Old Silly for this feature and heads-up. Got the book on my TBR list now. 🙂

  4. Helen Ginger / Mar 14 2010 10:32 am

    Love this line: “Most people are one brick short of a load.”

    This sounds like a story we could all relate to, whether you or your family are dysfunctional. We all, at some time, have been one brick short of a load.

    Straight From Hel

  5. philipfharris / Mar 14 2010 10:37 am

    Great job, Marvin!

    • theoldsilly / Mar 14 2010 11:01 am

      Thanks, Phil, appreciate it – had plenty of very good stuff to put this together nicely.

  6. Barbra Kelser / Mar 14 2010 10:44 am

    Jen, you not only have talent, you’ve got what it takes to overcome challenges life throws at you and turn them into postiive things – like this book. Enjoyed the feature, Old Silly, thanks – and I hope you sell a ton of these books, Jen, that sounds like it will be not only entertaining, but beneficial to many to read. It’s on my list, now. 😉

  7. Jen Knox / Mar 14 2010 11:11 am

    Old Silly,

    You, my friend, are awesome.

    Thank you all! As long as I’ve loved to read, I’ve always love reading (well-written) memoirs because I find others’ stories (and we ALL have them) incredibly encouraging.

    My memoir gets gritty at times, but as for the writing itself, overall it was healing. It was real life stuff–and I wanted to keep it that way.
    It’s funny, the more I focused on craft, the less I focused on content, and before I knew it, the content had resolved itself. It’s been a beautiful, but incredibly difficult and at times painful, experience, one that I’ll never do again (I’m sticking to fiction!!!), but I’ll always value the experience. In the end, I’m happy with the book, and I’m blessed by a great audience of readers.

    Cheers! Jen

  8. Elizabeth Spann Craig / Mar 14 2010 12:41 pm

    I love it when the narrator, protagonist, etc. is *human*–and makes mistakes and actually admits to and works on them. Sounds like a great book–thanks for the introduction to Jen.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  9. Terri / Mar 14 2010 1:23 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful book. I know I’m also not the brightest crayon in the box but we do what we can!

    I hope I will be a “family member with ATTMP” soon as well.
    Great job once again Marvin.
    Love ya!

  10. ReformingGeek / Mar 14 2010 2:01 pm

    Dysfunctional is the new normal. NO! NO!

    My father was a couple of bricks short quite often.

    The book sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  11. L. Diane Wolfe / Mar 14 2010 2:10 pm

    Took a lot of strength to write something like this!

  12. Thelma Banks / Mar 14 2010 2:15 pm

    This is a great sounding memoir – very for real and poignant. Thanks for sharing, Jen, and nice job, Marv!

  13. Stanley Berber / Mar 14 2010 2:16 pm

    I too loved the “one brick short of a load” line, lol. Gutsy going, Jen, and it sounds like you’ve got a real winner on your hands for your first book — keep it up and best wishes for your writing career. 🙂

  14. Katie Hines / Mar 14 2010 2:39 pm

    I loved the whole article, and liked the “one brick short of a load” line, too.

  15. Dallas Woodburn / Mar 14 2010 3:38 pm

    I love this! Thank you Marv and Jen for brightening my day!

  16. yvonne lewis / Mar 14 2010 3:53 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me what talented authors you yourself is and many more you know of,
    this is an excellent book from what I have read of it. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    Happy Sunday.


  17. Mason Canyon / Mar 14 2010 7:33 pm

    Enjoyed the post. Sounds like a good book we all could relate to on some level. Wish Jen much success with the book.

  18. Enid Wilson / Mar 15 2010 1:18 am

    Very interesting topic! Thanks Marvin for the review. Jen, best of luck.

    Steamy Darcy

  19. Julie / Mar 15 2010 12:10 pm

    Thank you, Jen, for having the courage to write your story. I also suffer from anxiety disorder, and can deeply relate to what you have to share. It couldn’t have been easy to lay yourself bare for all the world to see. I, for one, appreciate it very much. I wish you much luck with future efforts in fiction.

  20. Salvatore Buttaci / Mar 18 2010 12:35 pm

    With the thousands of books being published and released each year, it would be helpful to know which one is a must read, that particular book no one should miss out on reading. The book? Musical Chairs by Jen Knox!

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