Monday, October 31, 2011

So Many Books So Little Time

I recently stole a bunch of books off my sister-in-law's bookshelf while staying at her place in Huntington Beach. I guess its not stealing when she sees you put them in your bag and watches you walk away with them, right?

I have four of them high on my list, but I cant decide which one I want to dive into first. Quick vote:

1)
2)

3)

or 4)
*** I actually won this one off of Ally Condie's blog, signed and everything! :)

So what do you think?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Hangover

When did Halloween become a week-long festivity? Seriously, every night this week we have either gone to a Trunk-or-Treat, a Halloween Bash, or hosted our own party. It isn't even Halloween yet, and I am wasted! In fact, Halloween isn't here for THREE more days!!! Are you scared of passing out and dying of sugar poisoning and pumpkin- pureé-based baked goods?

I am.

So last night, my sister, mom and I, hosted our own Haunted Mansion Party. Other than the being wasted-the-morning-after part, it was totally killer. We killed it with the following activities and crafty foods:
Mummy Dogs

Mud Cups

Hot Cider

Thriller Dance


DJ
Our DJ was very much more alive than this, but I didn't get her picture.

We played musical chairs, did limbo, had a cake walk, ate near illegal amounts of sugar, and in all other respects partied our A's off. Dang, I deserved to sleep in after that one! But I am working on my final scene this morning. Mwah..hahahahaha! And that got me out of bed. 

What about you? Got any big Halloween plans? Are you overdoing Halloween a bit like me? Are epilogues still cool--or are they like prologues and should be buried in the graveyards of literature (according to some agents and editors)?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Killer Character Blogfest


I have been totally looking forward to E.R. King and Deana Barnhart’s Killer Characters Blogfest. I sort of forgot on Monday (oopsies), but I figure better late than never, eh?

I was about to publish this post this morning (that I wrote yesterday) when I looked on my sidebar and noticed everyone else that I knew participating in this blogfest also chose the same exact protag! Seriously? I am so not original? Oh well. There is a reason why we all chose her. She is so effin' awesome.

 Katniss Everdeen

Katniss is totally killer. Not only because she literally kills, but also because she is kick A. No matter what life or the Capital throws at her, she has to fight to survive, to protect those she loves, and make a difference in her world. She is not above deceit, murder, or duplicity in order to adapt. Yet, all of it is done in a moral way. We are always rooting for her because even when she is acting so “killer,” her heart is always in the right place. She is an anti-hero because she kills other children, but a dynamic hero because in the end she outsmarts the one responsible for all those deaths. She is vicious and fierce, but clever and sympathetic.  

In fact, I sort of used her for a model of my current WIP. I hope I do her justice. 

What about you? Are you doing the Killer Characters Blogfest? Anybody choose anyone other than Katniss?

Monday, October 24, 2011

NaNoReviMo

Yep, I stole it. My girl Peggy coined the clever phrase for those of who desperately need to REVISE this coming month instead of draft. So instead of writing for "National Novel Writing Month" (NaNoWriMo) where people set ridiculously high word count goals...a few of us are going to change it up and set ridiculously high revising goals. Sound good?

Peggy has already received a ton of comments and emails from people who want to participate. So I guess that makes Peggy the sort of moderator/leader for our little venture, but I promise to help. So leave a comment here or at Peggy's blog with your email address and we will get organized for next week. November is right around the corner!

Let's do this.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Huntington Beach

Today, this is what I woke up to. A Huntington Beach sunrise off our balcony. Not bad, eh?


Mr. Humphries and I are extending the celebration of our 7th Anniversary. Our parents are watching the kids, and we are spending the entire weekend together, alone. As in, "not with the kids." Ahhh...just typing it makes me happy. Don't misunderstand--I love the kids. Adore them, serve them, dress them, feed them, wipe their...you get the picture. But we have never done this before. In seven years, we have never gone away together alone. We go separately all the time--I go to writing conferences, and he goes to College Football games. But never together. So it was long over due, dontcha think? I do.

Here's the plan for the weekend:
Golf

Surf

Eat Sushi at the beach
and of course...

Write
In fact, I am hoping to finish my first draft this weekend. I have about 10,000 words left. And this is the kicker, my story is set in Huntington Beach, and the final scene that I am writing right now is down the street. It feels so cool to be here.

Do you have any awesome plans this weekend? Have you ever written a scene from the real life setting? Did you love it?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pinterest...Say What?

For the last several months I've heard this weird word going around: Pinterest. Pinterest this...and Pinterest that. What the H is Pinterest????

So I finally googled it. Therefore, the official "Pinterest" definition:

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

Okay, after spending some time on the sucker, I still don't get it. You have to be "invited?" By who? How long is the "waiting list?" All I know is I'm still waiting. In the mean time, I am following in the footsteps of my totally Pinteresting friend Erin, and pinning up my dream cast here. I think its a great tool to get a better feel for supporting cast. For me, I already know my protag so well that its actually hard to put a face on her. But the rest is totally fun:

Ruby Rose- My Beautiful but Deadly Protag (Alpha Heroine)

Jane Rose- Ruby's mom and hard as nails L.A. County District Attorney

Jack Rose- Ruby's dad and fallen Swat Sergeant 

John Faché- the villainous Mastermind 

Luke Slater- Ruby's love interest and sexual tension creator (Beta Hero)

Why do I feel so creepy putting this picture up? Did you catch that I changed brothers on this one? This is Chris Hemsworth (pre-Thor/pre-steroids)...not little bro Liam.  Lets just keep it in the family.

And with that...peace out. This actually took a ton of time!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Writing and Spouses

Saturday was the Lucky 7 Anniversary with Mr. Humphries. He took me out in style:
Bellagio Hotel and Casino

We ate our faces off! (Does that saying actually make any sense?) This is a picture of my delicious jumbo shrimp cocktail and the view while I ate it:

Our table overlooked the dancing fountain show and the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. It was a fabulous night. And guess what we talked about???? Yep, you writer friends guessed it: my manuscript. I totally talked his ear off, course after course, for nearly two hours! A few times I got so excited about things he had to tell me to keep my voice down about a killing scene near the end. One time he actually told me to put the steak knife down during another violent description. His actual words were, "You are starting to scare me." 

So my question is: How involved is your spouse in your writing? Do they beta read, brainstorm, ferociously edit? My guy is an avid Sports Page reader. Even the occasional Sports Illustrated article. Novels are not his thing. He often scratches his head at me and says, "How do you do it?" For him, writing = torture. But he supports me in other ways. He lets me have my writing time early every other morning. He lets me go to writing conferences with my friends. And he believes in me. I love him for that. 
Mr. Humphries & the B-Word in the Famous Bellagio Flower Garden

So how about your spouses/significant other: supporter, stimulator, saboteur?

P.S. I had a nice piece of chocolate cake in celebration of my writing Bestie Peggy landing "our" dream agent Sara Crowe last week!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Riding the Coattails

The expression "Riding Coattails" is often used as a generic phrase for anyone that hangs onto another person as they forge ahead.

That's me. I'm a Coattailer. I'm out of the closet. I'm out of denial and into acceptance. I'm...actually proud of it.

You see, I have some amazing coattails to hang on to. My writing friends are so fabulous and talented that I'd be a fool not to learn from them. They all teach me different things: how to blog, how to plot, how to query, how to schmooze at conferences, how to promote, how to pitch, how to write witty dialogue, and the list goes on.

So to all my lovely coattail wearing writing friends, I say:


Are any of you ready to "come out" and admit you are Coattailers too?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

B is for Boys...as in THE NEXT DOOR BOYS by Jolene Perry

The day has come! It's official. Today is my day to host the Blog Tour of THE NEXT DOOR BOYS by Jolene Perry. I feel so special.

Ahem. **checks microphone to see if its on** Without further ado, I present to you the official blurb:

Leigh Tressman has been known as a lot of things – the girl who sings, the girl who sews, Jaron’s little sister, and last year, the girl with cancer. With her body still recovering from the cancer treatments, she’s determined to be independent and convinces her parents to let her follow her overprotective brother, Jaron, to BYU.

With an ever expanding line of young men ready to be in love with her – not to mention physical frustrations, and spiritual dilemmas – Leigh almost misses the opportunity to be with the man who has been quietly falling in love with her since they met. The Next Door Boys proves that even with (or maybe in spite of) independence, love can be found in comfortable, but delightful places.


The first nice thing that I would like to say about this book is that I read it in basically two sittings. In my crazy world, that's a compliment. The rest of the nice things that I would like to say will be Broken down (like Backstreet Boys) into Bullet points (didn't see that comin' right?):
  • As a contemporary book, its totally relate-able. I heard once that sometimes its easier to convince readers that vampires and werewolves exist than convince readers that your human character does. The trick is to make us believe in the characters, make us sympathize for them, and ultimately root for them. I felt this way about Leigh. I wanted her to find the independence and the love she deserved. Which I hear is a Houdini trick at a place like BYU! Sorry BYU fans:).
  • Swoon worthy love interests. Jolene and I must have similar taste in men or something, because she wrote guys that did "it" for me. I don't know exactly what "it" means, but you know what I mean. For a previous blog discussion on "it" click HERE.
  • SHOCKING CONFESSION: I've never read an LDS novel before. Is it too racy to call myself a LDS novel-virgin? Yes? Oh sorry. Anywayz, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. In fact, I had my concerns as I entered the honeymoon suite of Mormon literature. Too much again? Da*# it! Sorry...again. Anyway, I think Jolene did such a fabulous job of creating a coming of age love story that any "churchy" or "religious stuff" felt seamless. I cared about the characters, I found myself neck-deep in their world, enjoying my time in "Happy Valley"--is that still what they call Provo?
You can find Jolene's awesome Blog HERE
You can find Jolene's awesome Group Blog HERE
You can buy Jolene's awesome Book HERE

Monday, October 10, 2011

RWA Conference Wrap Up and Break Down

Baby let me break it down...(sung with Usher's beat)...there's so many ways to love ya'.

Yes, I am speaking (singing) about RWA Heart of the West Conference. 

It was rad for so many reasons. I'm actually having a bit of a conference hangover because my brain is so jam-packed full of awesomeness. But I feel the need to bullet point this one out. So, here's what I learned in Park City this weekend:
  • Pitch sessions. I wasn't 100% ready to pitch this weekend, but I did it anyway, and it was so worth it. Not only was I given the opportunity to discuss my project, but ask the agents other questions about the market and where I would fit in it. I couldn't be any more stoked about my chat with the agents.
  • Social Networking. I hung out with a bunch of my closest writing friends. We ate M&M's together, brainstormed with each other, embarrassed ourselves ad nauseum, and of course...hot tubbed it out. Not only that, but the actual class entitled "Building Your Social Platform" was also helpful. Tips like 1) make your name your brand; 2) use a current professional headshot for your profile; 3) use the same professional name for all social forums (if I am Jessie Humphries on my blog, I better not be Jessie Coon-Humphries on Facebook). 
  • Craft classes. Not scrapbooking or quilts! I mean the craft of writing. My favorite class was Rachelle J. Christensen's on Suspense. Oh man, was this good. If I had to pick out one thing that seemed the most valuable to me was that suspense is what keeps the readers turning pages. It has to exist on some level in every single scene in your book. Every single scene! 
  • Great speakers. One of the most interesting speakers was Lani Diane Rich from Storywonk.com. My favorite part was when she talked about different kinds of heroes and heroines. There's the Alpha Hero (tough, smart, take charge), Beta Hero (sensitive, emotional, cerebral), Alpha Heroine (strong, capable, dominant), and Beta Heroine (reliable, loyal, sweet). You can't have two Alphas or two Betas, otherwise they wont seem like a compatible, believable pair. Both have to possess vulnerabilities and strengths that compliment one another. I guess I knew that, but not so clearly. Not so charted out.
I could go on and on with those bullet points, but I'll spare you (and myself). I still have the hangover.

Friday, October 7, 2011

HOW to Hot Tub

Not How to Hot Tub. More like, HOW (Heart of the West RWA Conference) to the Hot Tub. Or maybe Hot Tub, then to the HOW, and then to the Hot Tub again. Like this:

Park City Hot Tub

 RWA with the girls

The Canyons Hot Tub

I will post more about what awesomeness occurred at the actual conference on Monday, but as for pre-conference awesomeness, me and couple of my writing friends (namely: Erin and Peggy) have been hanging tight (like New Kids on the Block). I flew up from Vegas and met them in a mansion/cabin in the Park City Hills and we totally bunked it out. Yes, we slept in bunk beds together like little kids. We stayed up to the wee hours of the night blogging, laughing, writing, and eating.

I don't know about you, but I don't often act so out of character. I am not in high school or college anymore. I don't have sleep overs. I have kids who have sleep overs. And babies that dont sleep! So what I'm saying is...it was nice to hang. It still is. I got a whole weekend to write, play, learn, and hang.

What are you doing this weekend? Any hot tub plans?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Blog Wednesday: Hollywood Spy

This is Dezzy! You might already know him. He gets around. In a good way.

I gotta be honest, when the Hollywood Spy first followed me, I was like, "Huh? What's Hollywood got to do with my little book blog?" Then I was like, "Cool photos Dez." And then I was all, "Cool news on the books to movies/tv shows kind of stuff." And now I'm like, "Why are you talking to yourself on a blog like your a tween Jessie?"

Anyway, the term "soft porn" is probably too strong for the pictures that line the sides of his site. And the term "eye candy" is definitely not strong enough. I don't know where he gets these pictures from, and I don't care. I just like to look at them. In fact, his site is where I found Monsieur Liam Hemsworth who inspired the love interest in my WIP (per last week's post).

Dez lives half way around the world so his posts usually come at times when no one else is posting, and I have found myself really looking forward to them. I like to stay in the loop. I like to look at pretty people. I like to think of the day when he breaks the news that Liam Hemsworth will be starring in the movie based on my best selling novel. What? It could happen! :)

So check him one time. He's a loyal friend.

Monday, October 3, 2011

B is for Bargaining...Pay Attention Ladies

My husband and I have struck a deal. A bargain. A trade. This past weekend he was allowed a golf weekend with his cousin. This is where he went:
C'est the Justin Timberlake Shriner's Open Golf Tournament at TPC in Summerlin, Las Vegas. He watched the pros play, he played himself at a course close by, and afterward played hookie from life and all his normal responsibilities. Left early, came home late, and I encouraged it. And oh yeah, he was also hangin' with JT:


AND NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the aforementioned (and my generosity and munificence) this is where I get to this coming weekend:
A few of my favorite writer friends have invited me up to Utah for the Romance Writer's of America Heart of the West Conference in Park City. I went to this conference last year, and it was a blast. Two of my friends ended up landing agents from attending this conference. Neither of them were extended actual offers of representation until many months after the conference, but the introduction was made, and they both have some amazing deals in the pipeline. 

I wasn't sure I wanted to go again this year because my life is super hectic these days, but I am going for the following reasons: (You feel the bullet points comin'?)
  • It's a pretty inexpensive conference considering others I've been to;
  • It's a smaller, more intimate setting, where there are plenty of opportunities to have real conversations with people in the industry;
  • The hotel is beautiful--more like a gigantic cabin-mansion on the mountain.
  • It's a great way to make connections with new critique partners, writing groups, blog friends, etc.;
  • It's an awesome get away. Plain, simple, adult time. For those of you with little ones, you feel me!
  • Workin' on the craft. I dont know about any of you guys, but I don't have any immediate plans to go back to school to get my MFA in writing. I am teaching myself, and conferences go a long way in that respect.
  • Tons of great guests, authors, and editors.
  • Three totally awesome agents: 
  1. Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency
  2. Anita Mumm, The Nelson Literary Agency
  3. Marlene Stringer, The Stringer Literary Agency
  *BTW--Each attendee gets a free pitch session

 I don't think its too late to register if anyone wants to meet me there. Go bargain with your significant other for a free weekend. 

You can find me in the hot tub!