Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Inkblot Test

What do you see?

I see the Eiffel Tower with crabs and sea horses. Like Paris is underwater, being pulled down by gigantic, colorful sea creatures.

Yes, that probably means I am a psycho. Suspicions confirmed!

Well, for us writers I think our manuscripts can be a inkblot test. We see what we want to see. We see what we are looking for. We see what reflects our state of mind.

At the moment, I feel like my manuscript is a hideous monster.

What does yours look like?

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Lesson of the Punchbowl Pub

Two weeks ago when I was in London, my best friend took us to one of her favorite pubs in London: The Punchbowl. It's owned by Guy Ritchie and in one of the trendier parts of town.

Never mind the fact that a Diet Coke costs $10.00 there.  But, it was the experience that was so enchanting. On every table a real candle was burning, leaving strands of wax all over the place. The wooden floor creaked with every jostle of a stool. The smell of old ale and cigars wafted through the narrow halls and low hanging ceilings. The sound of belly laughs and pint glasses sliding around the bar cutting into conversations. The taste Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes with gravy comforting the soul. And then there was the company:

Sitting at the table next to us was none other than the Saturday Night Live Comedienne, and Bridesmaids front lady, Kristen Wiig. It seriously took me like an hour to confirm her identity because in real life she is so tiny and discreet.  We formulated that she was with her "lover" and really didn't want to be noticed. But I couldn't help myself and totally asked her for a picture. She very politely said she'd prefer not to since she had just downed like 10 shots of whiskey. I looked down at the table and lo and behold, there were the glasses to prove it. I blushed a little for being so thoughtless, but she wouldn't let me feel bad. She preferred just to talk to me.

So the moral of the story is that graciousness and generosity matters. No matter where you are, who you are, or who you are with, you can show grace and kindness to those you come in contact with in life. I shall call this "The Lesson of the Punchbowl." :)

Anybody else think Kristen Wiig is way rad? She almost won an Oscar last night!

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Foxy" Trolls and Amanda Hocking

I am not quite sure why I resisted reading an Amanda Hocking book until now. I actually picked up a hard copy of her biggest seller SWITCHED, at the airport in London last week. Ironic that she is known for selling ebooks and I didn't buy one? Uh, oui.

Anyway, I am not sure how to feel about the whole thing. On the one hand I am totally amazed and impressed at her success. She wrote 17 novels, got rejected over and over again, and found a way to succeed on her own terms. On the other hand, I can't help but read with a critical eye and feel somewhat underwhelmed.

Yet, the fact remains that she is a millionaire and she did something very, very right. I have done a little research on Miss Hocking, and I can't help like who she is. She seems very genuine and sweet. So despite any criticisms I may have about the actual writing in her books, I support her. I am a fan of her, even if I am not a huge fan of the books.

Have you read her books? How do you feel about them/her?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Never Mind the Gap

Well, that was the longest "gap" in blog posts since I started blogging. I hope you don't mind:). I was too busy popping in and out of West End Theater and pubs in London, saying hello to the Queen (from outside her heavily guarded gates, of course), watching English Premier League Footall (soccer) from our box seats at the Tottenham vs. Newcastle game, and stuffing my face full of chocolate, Korma, and other very English pleasures. (That sounded dirty!)

Unfortunately, my big dream of making it to Paris sort of...well, fell right into the gap, so to speak. But no, don't worry, don't cry for me Argentina. I'm good with it. I won't go into the whole sordid story, which is actually not sordid at all, but rather lame. We missed the kids. That's it. Plain and simple. We were in London for 8 days and were going to take the Eurostar to Paris for the rest of the trip, but we were too kid-sick. I am so ashamed to admit it. I'm a total dud, I know. But Paris isn't going anywhere, and London was too fabulous to leave early. So there you have it.

But I did make it to the Harry Potter King Cross Station's Platform!

Now get back to work Jessie!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The B-Word Says Au Revoir (Goodbye in French)

The dream is coming true! Mr. Humphries is taking me to Paris!

No! I am not talking about the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas...just down the street from me! I am talking about the real one. The one in France!

Have you noticed the superfulous amount of exlamation marks in this post so far?!? I can't help it. My fingers keep finding that key on my keyboard. And my heart keeps fluttering everytime I think of being there. And my mind gets dizzy with anxious anticipation. Especially at the thought of sitting at a sidewalk cafe with my laptop for hours on end, writing my little heart out, like all of the famous writers have done before me.

We are also going to be spending some time in London, visiting my best friend from college.

She is letting us stay at her sister's "Estate House" ten minutes north of Kings Cross Station (where the famous Harry Potter Hogwarts Platform is located). London pubs here we come!

So please forgive me if I am not regular with my Mon, Wed, Fri posts for the next little while. I might have too many baguettes in my hands, or too much chocolat in my system to get a proper post out.

So I am off on my mid-life crisis adventure! A bientot (French for see you soon)!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Writing + Politics = Possible Disaster

At the risk of exposing my personal political views and alienating many of my dearly loved followers, I can't help but express my excitement. As some of you might heard, there's a little election going on these United States of A. This last weekend, my home state of Nevada received most of the focus for the Republican nomination for President. It just so happened that last Friday night Mitt Romney had a rally one block behind my house--at my local pizza joint.

I couldn't help myself, I had to go. My mom and I scooted ourselves up the street to see what all the hoopla was about. Let's just say there was a lot of passion, fervor, and enthusiasm--both for and against Mr. Romney. The part I loved about the experience was the energy. I felt inspired by the sheer buzz in the air. My creative mind was all aflutter, generating idea after idea for enriching and layering conflict in my manuscript.

But of course politics can be very divisive, and I believe it is generally not wise to interject personal political views in a work of fiction. However, like Suzanne Collins did so well in the Hunger Games, it is totally worthwile to look at it objectively as a source of conflict. In that case, it can be thought provoking and provide a powerful connection to the readers.

So what do you think? Is the discussion of politics okay in fiction?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Are you &$#@! Me?

Last night was my writing night. Mr. Humphries lets me take one night a week, and every other morning to write. No kids. No stress. Just me and my laptop at the bookstore or Starbucks. So last night, whilst typing my little heart out, my friend called to remind me it was Book Club Night. I thought, "Are you &(*&%! me?"

Then I remembered that I actually wanted to go. It was DIVERGENT night. She swung by and picked me up from Starbucks and off we went to our cute little church book club. The discussion was getting a little too existential for me, so I piped in with, "So what did you girls think about the sexual tension?" Let's just say a few people looked at me with the "Are you &*$#@! me?" look on their face.

We moved past that, had lovely desserts, and headed home (having our private conversation about sexual tension...and more). My friend pulls into my driveway, and I realize I forgot to get my car from Starbucks. We looked at each other and said, "Are you *%$#%! me?" Her husband was going to be late for his night shift and she couldn't take me back. My kids were asleep so my husband couldn't take me back either. So I jumped on my pink beach cruiser and pedaled my big A back up to Starbucks to get my car.

It got me thinking about writing. Have you ever got so busy writing out an exciting idea that you totally forgot about something rather important? Something essential? Which leaves you having to get on your bike at 10:00 at night, braving the wind, and sexual predators to pedal your big A uphill to correct it? Well, I have. And it makes you say, "Are you *&%$#! me?"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Unanswered Prayers

You know that old Garth Brooks song called "Unanswered Prayers?"

(I like this picture because it was on a billboard by my house not long ago--Vegas thing:)

I was thinking about this song the other day as I reflected on my first manuscript. When I first started writing I had all sorts of stars in my eyes. I figured I could jam out a pretty decent story, what with my education as an attorney. If I could pass the bar, then I could write a novel! Right? I wrote a paranormal romance set in France. I was way into it. It consumed me. I spent days and nights in the magical forests of Bretagne on the west coast of France. I had two betas read it and one or two critique partners. All in all, I think I spent nine months on the thing. I queried. I got requests. I got a very exciting full request from a dream agent. I thought my prayers had been answered. A few weeks later....rejection.

So I went back to the drawing board. I went to a few conferences, got some more critique partners, re-wrote. Then tackled a new idea and wrote that. I went to a few more conferences. That's when I met Sara Crowe at the Storymakers Conference last year. She sparked an idea that has pumped me up like nothing before. Which got me thinking...thank heavens I didn't succeed with that first manuscript. It might have been sort of good (according to some people at least), but it wasn't good enough. I wasn't ready.

I don't want to publish some book that is "sort of good," or allright. I want to lead with my best foot forward. So I love the idea of unanswered prayers. I love how we get better with time. Even though it is sometimes rough to be in those pleadings stages, it will make those future "aha" moments even greater.

Have you had those stars in your eyes? Have you had unanswered prayers?