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:



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!