Friday, December 7, 2012

National Finals Rodeo and Character Names

Who out there loves a good rodeo? Well, last night I got to to the biggest one out there:

That's right, the National Finals Rodeo here in Las Vegas. It was awesome! As I sat there soaking up the excitement, the patriotism, the energy of the sold out crowd, I couldn't help but be inspired.

The lights go out, the lasers shoot across the fireworks and smoke, Taylor Hicks comes out to sing the National Anthem, hats go over racing hearts. Then the lights come back on the horses and cowboys come busting out of the shoots full speed with their State's flags whipping above them. They are introduced to roaring applause. And without a moment's interruption the games begin with the saddle broncs. Oh man, it was exciting!

The more I sat there, I thought about creating some majorly fascinating characters. These guys (and a few girls) are interesting folk (that's my country-speak). When the contestants are about to ride, the announcers tell a snippet or two about their lives. Like this one steer wrestling dude was a Nose Guard for Montana State for four years before he started competing in rodeos. He was huge. And this other cute little roper guy is about to have his first baby any day now. The part I loved the most was when they put their names on the megatrons with their headshots and hometowns. Freaking awesome cowboy names like:
  • Cody Ohl
  • Winn Ratliff
  • Buster Record Jr.
  • Rhen Richard
  • Ace Slone
  • Stetson Vest
  • Friday Wright II
  • Bobby Baize
  • Beau Brooks
  • Twister Cain
  • Hunter Cure
  • Bucky Campbell
  • Bo Casper; and my fave:
  • Ty Herd
If you think I am making any of these names up, please visit Defendant's Exhibit A for proof.

Happy Friday y'all!

Monday, December 3, 2012

And You Are...?

It's time for Emily and Tammy's, "And You Are...?" Bloghop!


Let's do it.

1. How many speeding tickets have you gotten?
Too many to count. But since I'm an attorney, I can sort of get them "taken care of."


2. Can you pitch a tent?

Yes, and I can pitch my husband's tent too. (Sorry that's a bit dirty, but that is totally something David Spade <--- right="right" say="say" span="span" would="would">

3. What was your worst vacation ever?

The time that me and two friends decided to go camping on a State beach in Southern California. We "pitched our tents" (haha) and then went to see the movie, "What Lies Beneath." It was this creepy movie about the husband (Harrison Ford) drowns his wife or lover or something in a lake and she comes back to life and is haunting the new wife (Michelle Pfeiffer). Or something like that. The problem was that out tent was right next to very large body of water and we were three stupid and unarmed teenagers all alone in the dark. Stupidest idea ever! 


4. What was the last thing you bought over $100?


A Kindle Fire HD. Sup' now!

5. We're handing you the keys to what?

A 2015 Hubber Craft Denali. What? You don't think they'll be invented yet? Well according to Back to the Future...

6. What was the last meal you cooked that made even you sick?

Almost everything I make is disgusting. We eat out a lot!

7. Fill in the blank: Oh my gosh! Becky, look at her butt! It is so big. She looks like a 

me after NaNoReviMo! Haha, but seriously.

8. What was your first car?

A red GMC Jimmy. And boy, did I have some serious make out sessions in that car. It would have been more awesome if I didn't have to share it with my mom.
(Who luckily wasn't there for any of the make out sessions).

9. Your best friend falls and gets hurt. Do you ask if he/she's okay or laugh first?

Laugh. I can't help myself. There's nothing like good ol' fashion slapstick comedy. One time in college I took too much NyQuil and then went out to the vending machine with my sister to get a soda. A scary dude came out of nowhere and I straight-up ran directly into the wall at full speed. I nearly dislocated my shoulder, scratched my face up pretty good, and parts of my thick pajamas were ripped and bloody. I lay in a pool of pathetic fear, blood and soda pop on the ground. All my sister could do was laugh until she peed her pants! And I couldn't blame her, I peed my pants too.

10. What's the worst song ever?

There are too many to list, but I'm going to go with Ice, Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice. Which is unfortunate since Erin Summerill made it my ringtone and I am too lazy to change it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Back to Work


I don't know about all you guys and gals, but I had myself one merry little Thanksgiving. I gabbed with friends and family, ate as much food as an NFL lineman, played Bingo, ran around with the kids, did some Christmas shopping, read books, and oh yeah, I revised a little bit.

But back to work for me...just after I get back from the freaking gym!

How was your Thanksgiving week? Did you get much revising/writing done?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Miss You Baby

Today I'm participating in the Oh How I Miss You Blogfest, hosted by AlexMatt, and Andrew.
This blogfest is meant to show some love  for the bloggers we miss or would miss should they stop, slow down, silently throw in the blogging towel, whatever.

Do you have a couple blogger buddies who aren’t posting as often? Those who’ve pulled back and seem absent from the blogging world? Do you have blogger buddies you are grateful they are still around and would miss if they vanished? Now is your chance to show your appreciation and spotlight them!


I feel like a bit of a "pot calling the kettle black" since I am sadly one of those bloggers who aren't posting as often as I used to/would like to/should do. But I am participating anyway, because I'm straight "pot" like that! ;)

I MISS: Katie Dodge. That's right, Katie! I am calling you out girl! I miss you. I love you. I want you back in my life, like a bad 90's long song! I want to hear your sweet nothings over the blogosphere. Come back, baby. Okay, is this getting creepy to you? Sorry 'bout that. I meant I'd like to read your super intellectual, educational and inspirational posts once more ;). 

I ALSO MISS: Ruth Josse. This girl is my hero in more ways than one ;). Seriously, don't let her sweet face fool you. She's a tiger, and her new query rocks, and she is going to quietly rule the world. 

***Quick aside: When I first got to know Katie and Ruth through their blogs last year, I seriously had a hard time telling them apart. I would get their names interchanged and get super confused who was who. They are both beautiful girls with very sweet dispositions. But most of you probably already know this because you love and miss them too. 

I ALSO, ALSO MISS: Leigh Covington. I think we all miss this girl and her fun/sassy energy! What the H Leigh/Abby?! Not cool to abandon ship like this. Get back on board. NOW! That's an order. :)

Do you miss these girls too? Can we shame them back to us? 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Half-Way Through NaNo...How You Doin'?



How am I doin'? I'll tell ya how I'm doin'...



I feel awesome (in a very 80's rock kind of way) because I absolutely love the camaraderie of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Or in my case, National Novel Revising Month (NaNoReviMo).

To be specific, this is how I have done:

  • I have kept my daily writing/revising goals 12 out of the 14 days I've been at this thing. In fact, I turned it up a notch and doubled my daily goals. I went from committing to two hours per day, to four hours a day. And I've even been knocking that out of the park!  
  • I have worked my way through 83,000 of 96,000 words. That's a lot of freaking words. That's 280 of 330 pages, which is well past my 75 pages per week goal. 
  • Because I have moved so fast (and also because my agent told me to), I am going to throw another goal in there. Schedule some beta-readers to double-check my work. And then revise again. 
So...how you doin'?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoReviMo 2012


It's November 1, 2012...and I have a candy hangover! But regardless of the almost-illegal amounts of sugar I consumed yesterday, its time to get to work!

And just like last year during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I am revising. The crazy part is that I am revising the same mother-lovin' book! Oh well, another year of NaNoReviMo for me. Which is cool because last year was so fun. And this year is going to be even better.

So if you are revising instead of drafting a brand new novel, and you want to get involved, let me know. Here are the super chic buttons for our group:


Created by Mara Rutherford:

Created by Tara Tyler:

Created by Carrie Butler:

Okay, now to get down to the nitty gritty, here are my NaNoReviMo 2012 Goals:
  • Revise my 300+ page manuscript by November 30.
  • Tackle 75 pages of revisions per week
  • Revise at least 2 hours per day
I think my goals will get more specific as I dig in. But for now, that's all I got. 

What are your November goals? Are you going to write or revise your guts out?


Monday, October 29, 2012

It Sucks. Fix It.


Ha ha, what a title for a blog post! It came to me yesterday when one of my favorite writing friends (who we shall call "Four" for convenience) sent me her query with that title as her email subject line.

But I think that "Four's" blunt call for help has a much deeper and symbolic meaning. I think quite often we create sucky stuff. I know I do. We can't always write lyrical, poetic, amazing literary brilliance. Sometimes we just suck! Plain and simple. And we need help fixing it. And that's okay!

That's why it's so important to have great writing friends. Who can help you turn your crap into something decent, something polished. So let's give ourselves permission to write terrible junk! In fact, I promise that today I will only write truly hellish, awful, pathetic garbage. I'll fix it tomorrow!

You with me?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Two Totally Interesting Things...


I've got two totally interesting things to say today. Yep, just the two!


  1. Agent Michelle Wolfson has posted about me on her blog again. You can read it here. Yes, this is THE Michelle Wolfson, the agent who yelled at me publicly at the Storymakers Conference earlier this year, and then went on to publicly "shame" me thereafter on her blog. I didn't know this until Michelle emailed me a few days ago, but apparently the search terms "poor Jessie," "sad tale of Jessie," and "silly Jessie," are some of the highest used keywords directing traffic to her blog. Her two blog posts concerning me, which you can find here and here, sort of went viral. It was a bit of a whirlwind of misunderstanding and humiliation for a time, but one that ended quite happily. Poor, sad, silly, and even "stupid, stupid Jessie" now has an agent! And not just any agent. One of the best there is in the industry, Sarah Davies! That's why Michelle has now changed my story from "The Sad Tale of Jessie" to "The Awesome Tale of Jessie!" Thanks, Michelle for the shout out! 
  2. I am off to a retreat this weekend in Park City, Utah. I'm going to eat candy, drink Diet Coke, frolic in the snow, and write my butt off! Or revise. Or just think really hard about stuff!
Anything interesting, silly, or awesome going in with you this weekend?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Inspiration: Why I Write


I firmly believe we all need a creative outlet in life. Some people are lucky and find themselves in a career that is naturally creative: designers, performers, artists, etc. Everyday, they get to dig in to that place where there is passion, energy, and inspiration.

I chose to be an attorney. Not. Very. Creative.

Of course, it really depends on what kind of attorney you are. Entertainment law might have more opportunities for imagination. Or even criminal law may require bouts of thinking outside the box and performing in front of a jury. Well, I don’t practice in these areas. I do Wills, Trusts, Probate, Divorces, Child Custody and Adoption. And while I feel that my "day job" can be very “rewarding,” I would never call it “creative” per se.

So I chose to WRITE in the wee morning hours. I could have chosen to PAINT, to learn the GUITAR, dive into SCRAP BOOKING, or try some COOKING. But I didn’t. I chose to create other worlds, new characters, and extraordinary conflicts. And I found my passion, my energy, my inspiration.

Through the solitude, rejection, frustration, and self-doubt associated with writing, the excitement of “what could be” has never left me. I feel like with writing, the sky is the limit! I can go anywhere or do anything in my fiction. And maybe, just maybe, someone will like what I’ve written. And maybe, just maybe I could get paid for what I’ve invested and bless my family's lives. And maybe, just maybe, I will have left a mark on this world for good.

Kind of like this song, "I Was Here," by Lady Antebellum:


Why do you write? And if you don’t write, what do you do to find your passion for life?

Friday, October 19, 2012

My First School Visit

This week I was asked to speak at a High School Creative Writing class. Uh yeah, that's right. It happened. And yes, I realize it sounds crazy that a girl with a blog called the B-Word, and who also writes books about a high school junior who kills people, would be asked to mentor our youth. But really, it happened.

It went something like this:

Me: Writing is hard! If you want to do something easy, be a dentist!

Student: But isn't dental school hard too?

Me: Yes, but only for four years and then it's all gravy. With writing, it may take a lot longer, and there is no guarantee that it will ever get any easier or that all your hard work will pay off.

Student: Oh. *hangs head as if all dreams are officially crushed*

Me: BUT, if it's your passion, it doesn't matter. And you never, ever give up on your dreams! Write because you love it. Work hard at it because you love it. And never let the rejection, the difficult moments, or learning curve stop you.

I spoke for about thirty minutes about the process of publication. I answered questions about my "day job" (Family Law/Estate Planning Attorney), about what I studied in college (theater), about what helps me write (Diet Coke), and if I've read Fifty Shades of Gray (NO!!! And you shouldn't have either silly child!). Then I bought some fundraising chocolate from a really cute kid who loves to write--I could tell by the way his eyes lit up when he talked about it.

It was a great first school visit. I can't wait to do it again.

Any good/funny/ridiculous school visiting stories out there?





Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Inspiration: 11

Not so long ago, I wrote a blog post about a little problem I was having with the number 11. You can read about it here. Basically, I was weirded out by the fact that everywhere I looked was the number 11. I didn't know what it meant...and I worried it meant something bad! To recap, I was born on 9/11, my sister was born on 3/11 (the day of the deadliest Japanese tsunami), and I've never won at bingo, keno, or the lottery with the dang number either!!! I was hatin' on the 11's.

Granted, I had just begun my querying journey, and found the guts to send out my manuscript to a few agents who had requested, and therefore already felt SUPA' CRAZY--but all the 1's were seriously creeping me out!

After that post, it only got worse. The elevens were stalking me! A few of my friends tried to convince me that:

  • it meant nothing; or
  • the 1's were actually good (due to various reasons); or
  • I needed chill out or get some good pills!
I overheard my daughter one day telling her cousin, "Guess what? My mom's afraid of the number 11! Isn't that totally weird!" I looked down at the clock and guess what time it was? 

Freakin' 11:11! She started noticing it too!  

Okay, long story short. I FOUND OUT WHAT IT MEANS!!! (or at least what it means to me:)

"Your intuition is at an all time high! You are being inspired with creative ideas. Share your vision with others through teaching, speaking or writing. Shine your light and you will inspire others."source here

Last week there was an awesome rain storm in Vegas, which almost never happens. My sister sent me this picture:

This is the number 11 painted in the sky with a double rainbow! And this was just after I took my kids to lunch and the total came to:


So it's time I embrace this powerful message. I am no longer afraid of numbers. I no longer think they want to kill me! :) They have been my friendly reminder to stop stressing and start believing in myself, and in my writing journey. 

So the next time you see a number 11, I hope you think of me (standing under a double rainbow with a really expensive $11.11 cheese steak sandwich) saying to you, "Believe in yourself too!"


Monday, October 8, 2012

Inspiration Monday: I Got An Agent!!!

I have been dreaming of writing this post for nearly four years! And the day has come. Glory, glory, hallelujah!

I am officially represented by the fabulous Sarah Davies of the Greehouse Literary Agency. It's true! I may be a no-good, lying/lawyering B-Word, but I'm not even lying about this one!

Thrilled doesn't begin to describe how I feel about this turn of events in my life. And though I am filled with excitement and enthusiasm, I am equally consumed with gratitude.

I won't bore you with my whole sordid story of how I kidnapped Sarah and held her at gunpoint until she offered representation, but I would like to share the more inspirational parts of the journey of how I got here.

Back in May I went to the Storymakers Conference. In some ways, the conference was awesome. After all, I got a couple of full requests from agents. Yet in other ways, it felt like a disaster, partly one of my own making. Basically I had a misunderstanding with an agent, and 1) it blew up at the conference, and then 2) went viral thereafter. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was cut out for writing.

But then...I got over it. Just like all us writers--we have to get over stuff. Over rejection, disappointment, occasional humiliation, whatever. It makes us stronger. Opens up doors and all that B-crap!

A week after the conference, I sucked it up and sent out my full manuscript to the requesting agents. At the same time, I sent some queries to my dream agents. I heard back from a few of them fairly quickly, but not all with the news I wanted. Several of them asked me to "Revise & Resubmit" with varying degrees of revisions. One of them actually offered lengthy feedback on what she would like to see me work on. That particular agent happened to be Miss Sarah Davies. But the problem was: the revisions were going to be HARD! Again, (for the thousandth time) I wondered if I was cut out for the writing gig.

It literally took me over three months, an ENTIRE summer of slaving over my manuscript and begging critique partners/beta readers to help me on short notice, to accomplish a decent re-write. If it wasn't for the pool, beach, or mountains with friends and family (and copious amounts of Diet Coke), I would've been severely depressed. So then, I sent it back out. When the agents received it after all that time, they replied with surprise! Pleasant surprise. Maybe they figured I'd given up. Maybe they were shocked that I hadn't stepped into moving traffic over the rewrite! Who knows. As I waited for them to read it, I queried some more. Actually, I queried my guts out!

I was sweating the wait. I think I might have become so stiff that I actually popped one of my own ribs out of place! Seriously. Chiropractic visits and Pilates sessions have been scheduled. (Maybe even some psychotherapy appointments should be made too).

But then, one shining morning, an offer of representation came. And then multiple offers of representation came. One of those offers came from Sarah Davies (the one agent I had worked so hard to please)! But this is the thing: I had to work really hard to get her. She didn't just snap me up an hour after she read my full. She worked with me patiently until she felt like it was the right time to offer.

I'm pretty sure I still have my work cut out for me, and that my writing journey will still be a long and winding path, but I have never felt so thrilled to be here. Glory, glory, hallelujah!

I celebrated by signing my Author Agreement in the sand.

Photo credit Erin Summerill

Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Bomb Day

My good friend Kim Krey is book bombin' it today! (Which means the more people who buy her book today, the higher the Amazon rankings). And I wanted to be a part of it. So first thing this morning, I bought her book EVIE'S KNIGHT. And you should too. Here's the deets:


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0099THKBK

 IN EVIE'S KNIGHT, LOVE DOESN'T SIMPLY HURT...

IT KILLS.



EVIE always thought college life would be magical, but so far it's not what she hoped for. Her best friend has gone wild, her love life is void, and she misses her mom more than ever. But life for Evie is about to change. CALVIN KNIGHT, the very object of her fascination, is about to fall madly in love with her. Just one problem: Their love conjures a murderous woman from beyond the grave who wants Evie dead. The same demon who has haunted the Knight men for over four generations.

Soon Calvin is forced to choose: Set Evie free and hope to evade the wrath of The Raven-haired Ghost, or use his newly gifted strengths to fight against her. If he chooses to fight and wins, Calvin will free the Knight men of this demonic witch. If he loses, Evie will become her next victim.

Amazon: $2.99 for ebook
              $10.99 for paperback

Don't you love the idea of a 'book bomb day?" Supporting writers is a great thing to do!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Writing Comfort Zones

The universe doesn't want me to blog! Seriously. I wrote a post last week to have it disappear at the moment I pushed "publish." And my internet went out yesterday and I couldn't post what I patiently prepared...AGAIN. Oh well. Let's see if this one will post:

Normally, I shy away from memes and contests. It really requires some good ol' "putting yourself out there." But I am no wallflower in real life, so I shouldn't be in the blog/writing world either. 

Right? Right. 

So today I am doing both. I am going WAY out of my writing comfort zone! 

I entered the Gearing Up to Get An Agent (GUTGAA) Pitch contest last week. Deana Barnhart has really put on a great month of interaction with writers, bloggers, agents, small publishers, etc. It has been really fun to participate. This week is the agent round and I am lucky enough to have made it through. Then Tara Tyler tagged me on a fun writing meme (thanks Tara)...and I thought, "why not press the boundaries of my writing comfort zone again?" So here we go. 

What is the working title of your book?
A.K.A. KILLER

Where did the idea come from?
The idea came from a couple of different places, but the one I will talk about this time is when I re-read the Jaycee Dugard story in a magazine. This was the real life case where a low-life scumbag kidnapped 11 year old Jaycee as she walked to her school bus, and put her through unimaginable torture for 18 years. The story made me sick and I wished I could have been there to save her. I wished that the justice system would have worked for her, as time and time again this particular scumbag slipped through the gaps of justice and parole systems. I thought about vigilanteism and what I would do to that guy if he ever did that to my daughter. I think we've all have those scary thoughts. My scary thoughts  turned into a book.

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary Young Adult Thriller. I compare it to DEXTER meets VERONICA MARS or HEIST SOCIETY. 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
I don't know...this is tough. I think someone like Jennifer Lawrence for my MC Ruby Rose. Liam Hemsworth for Liam Slater (who is a mix of Liam Hemsworth and Kelly Slater the championship surfer). I wish we could post pictures here!!!! But I don't want to get sued ;(

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? 
In sunny Southern California, seventeen-year-old Ruby Rose is known for her killer looks, her killer SAT scores, and even her killer taste in shoes—but only her victims will know how killer she really is.    


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 
Hoping for an agent.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 
About five months.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? 
Agent Sara Crowe talked about an exciting thriller she was in the process of pitching to publishers. I immediately abandoned the paranormal romance I was working on and started writing my thriller. I was excited to write about something I know: the law. Although I don't currently practice criminal law as an attorney, I hope to do so one day when my babies are grown.

What else about your book would pique the reader's interest? 
For me, the ultimate piquing of interest is steam! Romantic steam. Sexual tension. A good breath taking kiss. Romance has to be in there for sure! Let's just say there is a nice helping of that. :). I have a particular affinity for the "David V"...does anyone know what I'm talking about?

I hereby pass this on to these extraordinary people to tell us about their WIPs!


Tasha Seegmiller

Leigh Covington

Taffy Lovell

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wicked

I have a bunch of totally wicked things to do this weekend! I'm going to bullet point this one out:

  • My writing bestie, favorite brown Hawaiian girl, and personal photographer, Erin Summerill has come to Sin City to visit me for my birthday.

  • We are going to party wicked-crazy like its 1996! (The year both of us graduated from high school ;). Hey! We're not THAT old!
  • We are going to write our wicked brains out. 
  • We are going to gorge on wicked amounts of Coke Zero and candy.
  • And last but not least, we are going to go see the musical Wicked!!!



How about you? Got any wicked-awesome plans this weekend? Like entering Deana Barnhart's Gearing Up To Get An Agent Pitch Contest??? 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Sucketh...But This Doesn't...

Yesterday was the day that I was supposed to get on the Cover Reveal bandwagon for my dear friend Carrie Butler. But I'm a flake sometimes (and  B-Word as well) and I failed miserably.

But better late than never!

Carrie's debut STRENGTH comes out March 7, 2013, and I wanted to be part of the fun. So without further ado, here's the super sexy cover:


Short Synopsis:
When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, she’s stunned. Wallace Blake is everything she’s ever wanted in a man—except he can’t touch her. His uncontrollable strength, a so-called gift from his bloodline, makes every interaction dangerous. And with a secret, supernatural war brewing among his kind, there’s no time to work it out. To keep Wallace in her life, Rena will have to risk a whole lot more than her heart.

I'm sorry, but that cover does it for me! Don't you love it?

Here's some other ways to catch Carrie: (she's sort of an online social media genius)


---

Monday, September 3, 2012

GUTGAA: Meet and Greet


What's up my fellow GUTGAAS! I am super stoked to be participating in this whammer-jammer of a blogfest. So without further ado:

Questions for the Meet and Greet

  • Where do you write?
OUT OF THE HOUSE. With three little ones running around, asking for everything from snacks to butt whipping...er, I mean butt wiping ;) I have to escape. I like Barnes & Noble Cafe and the Starbucks by my house. I really enjoy writing on their patios when its nice outside.

  • Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
An old man with a dog and an ipad. He's wearing a jacket--doesn't he know its 90 degrees outside? And then there's the two girls studying next to him who look like they're from dental  or medical school down the street. The old man keeps stealing glances at the one with the huge boobies! Man, I love people watching! :)

  • Favorite time to write?
7:00 a.m. when its fresh outside.

  • Drink of choice while writing?
Diet Cokey. 
  • When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
I need silence or white noise.
  • What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
I heard agent Sara Crowe speak at a conference about a manuscript she was excited about. It was a contemporary thriller with some pretty dark themes. I am an attorney and so I thought, "Why not write something I know and care about?"  So my current manuscript is a dark YA thriller with legal themes: A 17 year old girl serial killer who knows the law.
  • What's your most valuable writing tip?
Technical--use Blake Snyder's SAVE THE CAT "beat system." No matter if your plotting or revising, it will come in handy.
General--get some good writing friends. I would say this thing is near impossible without them.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Inspiration Monday: Writing Friends

I'm not much of an "internet-oversharer" when it comes to my writing successes or failures. I like to keep the details close the vest.

But this past week has been especially grueling in terms of my writing.  I have received some "Revise & Resend" requests from different agents with very specific advice. I have been seriously agonizing over the different suggestions. Oh yeah, I've gone through the cycle:

  1. denial- "pfshhh...I don't need to do that!"
  2. anger- "what can I punch without breaking it or my hand?"
  3. bargaining- "what if I just do this?"
  4. depression- "I can't do this anymore..."
  5. acceptance- "Okay, I need to get started...again." 

Actually, I've gone through that cycle more than once. Maybe even once a day, I don't know. Now I'm oversharing! Great.

Okay, what I am trying to say is that just when I was writing my "I QUIT" emails to my writing partners, things really took a turn for the best. They were there to pick me up, give me solutions to my plot problems, and give me the kick in the pants I needed. 

So thank you Emily King, you are a freakin' genius!

And thank you Peggy Eddleman, you are always there! 

And thank you Erin Summerill for saying you'd quit with me! Haha, we could become professional paparazzi together and make way more money! :)

Have you ever wanted to quit this writing game only to have your friends come to your rescue? 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Is It Wrong?

Quick question:

Is it wrong to watch The Hunger Games movie back to back? To back?


If I make the poster image this small, and use it as an advertising tool--I won't get sued right? :).


See, I have this "friend" who can't stop watching it. Uh-hum, yeah, my "friend"...she uses excuses like its great to study the beat/plot structure, the character development, the world building, etc. (She's a writer too:)

"Get a life!" I told her.

So, what do you think?




Monday, August 20, 2012

Inspiration Monday: Colbie Caillat

This past weekend, Mr. Humphries and I went to the Colbie Caillat & Gavin DeGraw concert at the Mandalay Bay Beach in Las Vegas.


Not only was it an awesome night away from the kids, but the music was amazing, the sand felt good on the toes, and the refreshing waves washed all my stresses away. Just what I needed.



After the concert, I started researching Colbie Caillat a little more. Turns out that the girl auditioned for American Idol twice and didn't even make it to the judge part of the process. Hello! This is the amazingly talented, completely gorgeous Colbie Caillat! How did the preliminary judges overlook her talent?

To her credit, she is grateful for being rejected from American Idol. She admitted she wasn't ready for it. That she needed more time to develop her voice, her look, her stage presence, and her confidence in who she wanted to be. Not long after, she found herself on tour with John Mayer, The Goo Goo Dolls, and Lifehouse. She won a Grammy for her duet "Lucky" with Jason Mraz. Then she was also part of the Taylor Swift team who won another Grammy for her song writing and back up vocals for the "Fearless" record.

As a writer, this story got me all sorts of inspired. It's okay to not be ready. It's okay to keep developing our voice, our knowledge, our confidence. Good things come to those who work hard and don't give up.

Just sayin'.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Writing and the Olympics

I don't know about you guys, but the start of the Olympics has been totally inspiring to me! The patriotism, the competition, even the commercials have given me goose bumps.

Every day,  I look forward to events that normally I'd never really care about. Like Synchronized Diving or Shooting Skeet. But because of the coverage and the back-stories NBC does on these athletes, every event is fascinating to me. Each athlete's road to the Olympics has been different, but in every case, it's involved tireless hard work, sacrifice and resolve.

And it made me think...how hard am I working toward achieving my dream of publication gold? Are my writing muscles as strong as those 1% body-fat gymnasts' muscles?

Let's just say I am inspired to do better. How about you? What's been your favorite Olympic story or event?


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blogiversary and Winner...

Today is the day! That is, the day I started my blog exactly one year ago. Let's see if I can make it another year ;) Thank you to all of you who participated in the One Year, One Month, One Day, One Incredible Giveaway Blogiversary! Without further ado, the winner is:





Congrats Faith! I believe Peggy is way ahead of the game and already sent you your $75 Amazon gift card.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One Year, One Month, One Day, One Incredible Giveaway

1 Year, 1 Month, and 1 Day ago, my dear friend and writing partner Peggy Eddleman started her delectable blog Will Write For Cookies. 1 week later, I followed her and re-started mine. What can I say? I'm a follower.

So since we started this blogging journey together, it only seemed appropriate to celebrate it together. And we want to give stuff away! Sure it's a bit like buying everyone dinner at your own birthday party, but whatev. We want to say gracias, merci, and THANK YOU to all of you for being our friends, supporting and teaching us so much in just one year. If I could, I'd spoon every single one of you! Or at least some of you ;). I wouldn't want to get a reputation for being a spooning slut. In any case, we want this giveaway to be totally awesome. And how do you go totally awesome? Well, you give away this:



That’s right! Always wanted an e-reader? Here’s your chance to win! Already have one? You can get your choice of a gift certificate to Amazon, your choice of books from The Book Depository, or if you’re in the U.S., books from your favorite indie bookstore! This giveaway is even open internationally! (Where you live might affect the prize available to you. You’d have a choice of Amazon if it’s available in your country, or books from The Book Depository anywhere in the world.)

All you have to do to enter is:
  • Make sure you are following both Peggy and I
  • Comment on both of our blogoversary posts
  • Tell us how much you love us
  • Promise to give us a kidney if we should ever be in need of one.
(Just kidding on those last two!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


So if you haven't already, head on over to Peggy's at Will Write For Cookies, for more chances to win. We will choose ONE winner next Monday, July 23rd--my actual blogoversary.

And one last thing, I have to give Peggy the Biggest thanks for Being the Best Blogging Bff a girl could ask for. Peggy, you are such a B-Word! You have definitely earned your spooning session!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Excuses Excuses

We all have 'em. We all use 'em. They range from wildly absurd to totally legitimate. I have to admit mine is most definitely on the wildly absurd side:


I should be writing more, revising more, editing more, reading more, blogging more, etc. But I'd rather be watching VD!

What's your current excuse?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Never Surrender Blogfest



















Oh heck yes! I'm totally a never surrender kind of girl for sure. You tell me I can't do something...just makes me want to do it more. That's why I know I am screwed with my daughters...Karma is a B-Word!

Anyway, in honor of Elana Johnson's release of her new book Surrender, (sequel novel to Posession), I am participating in the Never Surrender Blogfest. It is going to be epic.

All I have to do is blog about a time in my life when I didn't surrender. Easy peasy right?

Somewhere along the way in my youth, I developed a fascination with France. I took French in high school, I put a French flag sticker on my snowboard, I watched French movies, ate French food...you get the gist.

In college my obsession didn't falter. In fact, it got worse when my best friend was also equally determined to go there one day. We planned and we schemed, we saved money and looked at flights. We were both on the tennis team at our University, and so we decided we would go play some professional tennis tournaments in France. Not only would it help fund the trip, but it would take us all around the country. It was the best idea ever!

Then I told my dad about my plan. And guess what his response was?

"Over my dead body."

Needless to say, I didn't get to go. My best friend sent me postcards from every little town in France along the way. Instead I spent the summer teaching tennis to kids in 100 degree Las Vegas weather. I was pissed. But I never let go of my desire to go. It was still burning inside me (or melting from the Vegas heat).

Fast forward a few years later, I was still working on my dad to let me go. It was my biggest dream--and you don't let go of your biggest dreams.

Then I decided to go on a mission for my church. They could send me anywhere in the world, and I would blindly go. Siberia, South America, who knew?

Imagine the smug look on my face when I opened my mission call in front of my dad and it read France! He had to let me go now :)

I never surrendered! Vive La France! It was one of the best 18 months of my life!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I Have Been Exposed

No, I don't mean a flasher kind of way. No nudity here. I have been interviewed by Emily R. King. Go on. Go check it out. You know that you want to! ;)

Friday, June 8, 2012

What Color of Blogger Are You?

Years ago I read this book called THE COLOR CODE by Taylor Hartman Ph.D.

It's a non-fiction classic. And I am not much of a non-fiction kind of girl. I love talking about this book. Many of you have probably read about it, or at least heard about it. I'll try to bullet point out the gist of this book:
  • If you are a RED personality: you primarily value POWER
  • If you are a WHITE personality: you primarily value PEACE
  • If you are BLUE personality: you primarily value RELATIONSHIPS
  • If you are YELLOW personality: you primarily value FUN
Guess which one I am? I am a total YELLOW!

The fact that I value fun above all else is an attribute that spills over into every aspect of my life. What kind of wife, mother, friend, lawyer, writer, and blogger that I am. But specifically in terms of blogging, I think my yellow personality displays itself in the following ways:
  • I have this little irresponsible streak where I sometimes fail to post every day of my Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. (An organized RED personality is less likely to miss schedule)
  • I write impulsive, snarky, irreverent  things which might offend from time to time. (A sweet WHITE personality would think twice about saying provocative things that could cause conflict).
  • I don't often participate in blog hops, memes or awards like a good blogger should. (A loyal BLUE loves the interaction provided by these kinds of sharing devices).
  • I post pictures of men with shirts off on a regular basis, because it entertains me. ( A true YELLOW).
So what color of blogger are you? (If you comment, I might just reply with my perspective is on what color you are...just for FUN :).

Happy Friday!!!


Monday, June 4, 2012

What Does Your Blog Design Say About You?

There are certain bloggers out there who happen to be a whiz at the tech aspect of blogging. They have a background in web design, computer programming, marketing, visual arts, or whatever. These skills give them a leg-up on building a successful blog.

What do I have? What does my blog design say about me? Well, I am a work in progress. For example, it was only two weeks ago that my fabulous blogging friend Carrie Butler (who happens to be one of those aforementioned whizzes) bestowed upon me a new blog header.

Don't you love it?

I do. It fits me perfectly because:

  • I love Huntington Beach and spend a lot of time there.
  • It is where my current manuscript is set.
  • The restaurant out on the Pier is named Ruby's--which is the name of the main character in my book.
  • I love the idea that those surfers in the water are paddling out and waiting their turn for the next big wave. I feel like I am out there as a writer. I'm still paddling, and I'm still waiting for my perfect wave.
  • It's beautiful...and I love beautiful.
But it's taken me a while to figure out how to build a visually dynamic and professional blog...and I'm still working on it. The two main ways I've learned is by 1) attending blog classes at writing conferences over the last several years; and 2) studying what other successful bloggers do. I'm coming up on one year of committed blogging, and if I had to bullet point the most important aspects of blog design knowledge I've attained, it'd be this:
  • Make your design YOU. We all have a style, a personality, a voice. Let your design reflect that. 
  • Make your design easy on the eyes. One of my biggest pet peeves is when blogs have backgrounds and font colors that are similar. I can't read white off-white words on a white page! And speaking of backgrounds, I tend to like the ones best that don't distract from the words on the page or sting my eyes. 
  • Make your design simple. When there is too much business and buttons and awards and gadgets strewn across the top and sides of the page, I don't even know where to start reading. I greatly appreciate when bloggers put the followers button near the top so I don't have to go searching for it. 
  • Make it easy for people to comment. Word verification and putting the comment button somewhere other than the end of the post, makes it difficult for me to do so. 
  • Make it professional. Always keep in mind that agents, editors, potential readers of your book are gaining an opinion of you through your blog. If you come across as organized, committed, and capable in design, you might just be the same kind of writer. 
So many of you have such fabulous blogs! Thanks for teaching me along the way. 

So what does your blog design say about you?

Monday, May 21, 2012

How Do You Write Popular Blog Posts?

Let's be honest folks, we all want to write consistently popular (or at least well-liked) blog posts. Dozens of comments, hundreds of hits, thousands of followers. Right?

But how do you do it? Sure, we can all come up with gimmicks or teaser blog titles to get some more traffic. But how do you do it consistently? Here are some ideas I've come up with (through personal experience and watching others):
  • Give stuff away. Everyone likes free stuff. It can be something so simple, and you will almost definitely get more traffic. Books, gift cards, beta reads, query critiques, you name it...they will come. :)
  • Display hot bodies. I don't know if many of you look at your stats, but all of my posts with bare chested men get blown up!
  • Announce big news. I have no special experiences with this (yet:). but I've watched friends announce agent representation, book deals, and even amazon rankings, and the amount of comments they get are through the roof.
  • Say or participate in something controversial. For this one I actually do have a "special" experience. If you don't know what I am talking about, here's the elevator pitch: After thirty-something aspiring novelist cancels a pitch session with high-powered New York agent, all hell breaks loose online as feelings are hurt, miscommunications abound, and souls are lost forever. (Just kidding on the souls part. It just sounded more dramatic).
  • Participate in blog hops. Again, I have almost no experience with this one. I rarely participate in the hops, memes, and award pass-alongs, even though I know that they are great marketing tools. I should really change that soon.
  • Write excellent writing-craft or publishing-insight posts. I know several of my closest blogging friends that do really well offering exceptional advice on writing and the industry. Those are the ones I bookmark and revisit.
So today, I am not giving anything away, putting pictures up of Gale or Peeta with shirts off, announcing agent representation, saying anything B-Wordy, participating in a hop, or giving any kind of helpful advice. And yet, I expect to get some hits? (not across the face)

Oh hell, here ya go:

Any other ideas on creating popular blog posts? What was your most popular blog post?

Friday, May 18, 2012

B is for Bizarre

For the last several months I have been experiencing a strange phenomenon. It could be in my head, it could be an actual "thing," but it's most definitely bizarre.

It's the number 11.


I'm not kidding people. I'll be sitting in bed late at night and glance at my nightstand: 11:11. I'll wake up in the night to grab a drink of water: 1:11. I'll be driving in my car and turn the station: 1:11.

Now it doesn't happen exactly like this everyday. Most days the number 11 is just mixed in with other numbers, and not just on clocks. Like a few weeks ago, the mileage of my car was on 111,150. And then the balance on my Target gift card was $11.12. When the gas stops pumping, the amount owed ends with 11 cents. Creepy right?

I always thought that my lucky number was 11. I was born on September 11 (not so lucky anymore), and my only sister was born on March 11 (the day the tsunami hit in Japan last year, again not so lucky).

So I did some research. Apparently, in numerology (which I know nothing about), the number 11 is a "master number" and perhaps the most powerful number. People seeing it regularly is not rare. This is one theory of what it means:

The visual design of the 11 is symbolic of a heaven to earth conduit, receiving inspiration from a higher source. It could be possible that the 11 is a reminder that you're on the right path or maybe it's warning you to get back on the right path.

Ohh....kay!

Let's bring this bizare-ness full circle in regards to writing. I am in the throes of the submission process with my YA manuscript. I have queries, partials and fulls out with agents as I speak (or write). And it's making me a little crazy!!!

So the moral to the 11 story is: Jessie is a new B-Word: Bizarre. Breaking news, right?

Do you see any repetitive numbers in your life? Are you feeling crazy in the throes of submission too?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

B is for Barter

Barter: a method of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money.



"Okay Jessie, you big ol' bullet using B-Word, what does this have to do with writing?" you ask.

Well, let's just imagine the "bread" girl A is giving to girl B is her manuscript. And the flower that girl B is giving to girl A is her query letter. Starting to make sense now?

Don't we all do this in the writing community? We barter with our friends not only to get what we need from them, but also to return the favor. Here are some more examples:
  • beta read for a synopsis critique
  • three chapter review for new blog header
  • sidebar button for a free spooning :)
  • whatever
It can be all sorts of things. Heck, when we leave a comment on each other's blogs, it's a roundabout barter because we expect the return of services, right?

In my life I've bartered a lot. I give away free legal work regularly for the most prized service I can imagine: BABYSITTING :).

So what have you bartered for?

And btw, anyone want to barter with me for a new blog header?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ!



A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. 


Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community


Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.


So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.

Kindness ROCKS!


To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!


I have decided to BLITZ someone so EPIC that I am putting myself at risk of becoming redundant, since this person has touched the lives of so many in our writing community. But let's make this interesting. Let's see if you can guess who my BLITZee is by the following bullet point descriptors:
(Try really hard not to scroll down...I am watching you!) 

  • She's honest, candid, and generous to her thousands of followers
  • She loves bacon
  • She's tenacious, and driven- nothing can stop this chick
  • She's a debut author (sort of...since she also has an e-book that EVERY aspiring writer should read)
  • She's been on the scene for years at writing conferences--as an attendee, a presenter, a volunteer, and co-organizer of one super rad on-line conference.
  • She's fiercely loyal and protective of her friends and colleagues
  • She's got a softer heart than the rebel blue streak in her hair makes her look
  • She must be working on 4 hours of a sleep a night because she has some serious balls in the air (like a juggler, but not a male juggler ;). Get your head out the gutter people!
  • She is my hero. Or heroine, I should say.
Drum roll, please.......




I know that I am not alone in my adoration of Elana, but I wanted to very specifically thank her for all her hard work at the Storymakers conference last week. She went out of her way to help and support me in what I am now calling, "The Agent-Pitch Debacle of 2012." :). Thanks Elana! 


So in appreciation of all Elana does, I hereby bestow upon her a Fandango (movie) gift card. (Which will be emailed shortly). 


Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge? Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)
Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.


Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness?  Let me know in the comments!