Friday, February 28, 2014

Finally Friday: Exciting Things

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Friday, February 28, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (neighbors who let me scrounge off them for dinner, a clean house, sleeping with the window open--nobody come break in and pull an Edward Cullen on me while I'm sleeping please)
  • _2__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (huzzah! and one of them was an electrolyte orange smoothie with a little oomph)
  • __0 hrs_ Spent Writing (but 5 hours of long-overdue house cleaning which was the suckiest of all suck-A uses of time ever...but yes necessary so I don't get put on an episode of Hoarders)
  • _1__ Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (Micky Mouse chicken nuggets might not be a culinary masterpiece but the kids sure delight in them)
According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2014 is the:

And guess who happens to be a horse? This gal! (Picture me with thumbs extended pointing at my horse-face). This only happens once every 12 years, so you better believe that I am going to be soaking up all the zodiac-induced-excitement.

So here are some exciting things to report:

  • My step-daughter Kenzie is coming into town today and I absolutely love spending time with her. We binge-watch Doctor Who and Sherlock, we drink root beer, and we hang out more like sisters than the whole overplayed evil stepmother/red headed stepdaughter thing. 
  • I hired an amazing photographer/filmmaker out of L.A. to create a trailer for KILLING RUBY ROSE: J.J. Huckin. You MUST check out this link to see a sample of his work. He is so unbelievably talented.
  • I have a cover for my book! (This probably should have come first). I've officially received the real-life, shockingly beautiful cover art for KRR. It's dark, edgy, sexy...well, maybe not sexy. There's no heaving bosoms or shredded abs, but there's some sass fo' sho'. I'll be doing a special reveal and giveaway next week.
  • I've acquired a "Creative Director" to help me with all the activities connected with my book launch and coordinate with Downtown Projects: Meleah Anderson Smith--the most artistically creative and imaginative person I've ever met. She's a Las Vegas Academy graduate (the only high school in Vegas that focuses on the arts), she's a school teacher and sign language interpreter, and has more hipster street cred than I could possibly hope for. 
  • I've reached out to an awesome Las Vegas-based band called A Crowd of Small Adventures and asked them to write an original KRR song and to play it at my book launch extravaganza, and guess what they said? They said, "Horse-face, it looks like it's your year...yes." (That might not be a direct quote). I can't even wrap my brain around the awesomeness of this situation. Here's one of their videos:

There's seriously so much more to be excited about, but I'll stop there for now. 

What's exciting in your world? And where did this month go?

Jessie With A Shot At The Night

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (pizookies, busy days, warm beds)
  • 1950     Calories Consumed Yesterday (at least 1,000 pizookie calories)
  • __3__ Units of Caffeinated (spread out over much-needed intervals--it's what I like to call "interval training")
  • __0 min  Spent Writing (unless you count beautifully drafted emails)
  • _0___  Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (you know it's an epic mother Fail when the kids eat at Chuck E. Cheese with grandma)
Today, I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday- a weekly writing meme to stay in touch.

WHAT I'M READING-I don't think that I've picked up a book this week. Gah! That's sad :(

WHAT I'M WRITING- Proposals, business plans, lists, lists, and more lists. 

  • Creative-types. I want to be around them all the time right now. They see things that I don't. They dream bigger than I do. They are vibrant and dynamic and beautiful people. Thank you to all my creatives that are rocking my world.
  • Last night I went to Barnes & Noble for an author event wherein Lindsey Leavitt, Tera Lynn Childs, Brodi Ashton, and Robin Mellom charmed the pants off everyone. Well, not literally. Afterward we went to BJ's and had ourselves some of the aforementioned pizookies. Good times.
  • Today I am being interviewed by blog genius David Powers King and officially becoming a Knight of the Cosmic Table. Check it out. If you don't know DPK, you should! 

What's up with you?

Jessie With A (Very Close) Shot At The Night

Monday, February 24, 2014

LDStorymakers Writer's Conference Fashion Guide 2014

There are several ways to make your mark at big writing conference like Storymakers, such as the have-something-valuable-to-contribute approach, the ridiculously-good-looking approach, the cool-facial-hair approach. And then of course, there's always the "traditional" literary approach, wherein you set out to accomplish the long, arduous, and unrealistic tasks of:
  • writing an amazing book
  • landing a super-agent
  • selling said book to a big-time publisher for a ton of $$$
  • racking up the starred reviews
  • hitting all the best sellers lists
  • selling the film rights and making appearances on set to meet the actors
  • teaching a class about how you managed to do all this at a conference
  • gathering your fans round about you and bask in the glow of adoration and success
 #JamesDashner #MazeRunner

OR, you can skip all that nonsense and make your mark with FASHION!

Here are some ideas on how:
  • Go big or go home. Fire is very hot right now. Literally.
  • Fantasy fan? Show it! Got a pair of furry Hobbit feet? Wear 'em! Chicks dig it.
  • Sequins. Yessssss....
  • Matching couples ensembles are always a ahit. Find a friend and make sure to coordinate. Add a fun dance to really attract attention.
  • Two Words: Lady Gaga.

  • Personalized Tees (a la Price Is Right). What do smart people do to get noticed on the best morning game show in U.S. history? They make brightly colored tee-shirts meant to express their enthusiasm for the show:

Bonus Tip: If you're pitching to an agent, (Josh Adams perhaps?) consider re-creating the below graphic. But bedazzle it up with neon, puff paint, and embroidered sequins around the caption, "JOSH ADAMS IS MY HOMEBOY"--  in all CAPS!

Of course these are only a few of my most awesome ideas, but please, feel free to let your creativity and brilliance in fashion shine. You will be the talk of the conference.

You're welcome.

P.S. For further conference advice, check out the following links:

How To Choose Classes:
How To Pitch to Agents/Editors:

Jessie With A Shot At The Night

Friday, February 21, 2014

Finally Friday: Getting Giffy

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Friday, February 14, 2014
  • __2__ Gratitudes (local writing friends, catching up on DVR'd TV shows) and   1  Grumble (USA Women's Hockey Team came sooo close to Gold)
  • 1250     Calories Consumed Yesterday (watched part of an episode of the Doctors and got excited about Greek yogurt...if "excited" is the right word)
  • _3__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (drank some raw barley today--tasted like horse throw-up--but got a burst of energy)
  • __1 hrs_ Spent Writing (and another hour learning craft from screenwriting legend Michael Hauge at the Las Vegas Writer's Group)
  • _1__ Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (I bought some hella good oranges from Costco and made some delicious fresh squeezed OJ for the kids)
As a debut author, I feel immense pressure to master social media. But its so hard to keep up with them all:

  • Blogging
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • Goodreads 
There's just so much to do and so little time to do it--those children don't feed and clothe themselves! Yet.

But here's the thing: Each of these different social media platforms appeal to a slightly different audience. 
  • Bloggers be all:

  • Facebookers be all:

  • Tweeters be all:

  • Tumblers be all:

  • Instagrammers be all:

  • Pinterestwhores be all:

  • Snapchatters be all:

  • Goodreaders be all:

  • Eatcrapanddiers be all:

Every single one of these platforms has a slightly different audience and purpose. I still have no idea who my audience is or what my purpose is. So I'm all:

#whatevs ;)

What's your favorite social media platform?

Jessie With A Shot At The Night

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday Quickie: Be Mindless

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014
  • __3 Gratitudes (people from Brooklyn, hot baths, and sleeping children)
  • 1350 Calories Consumed Yesterday (bought a shrimp cocktail platter from Costco and ate it for every meal except for breakfast...yikes, just the thought of shrimp for breakfast, gah!)
  • __5__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (it was one of them days)
  • _ 1.5 hrs Spent Writing (does commenting on other people's blogs with witty comments count towards "writing?")
  • _1__   Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (left over sweet potatoes and broccoli does not a delight make, nor do the children enjoy shrimp cocktail like mommy does ;)
Thursday Quickie

This is where I  post a QUICK WRITING (or otherwise publication related) TIP. Whether it be technical or creative, useful or not, I'm gonna give it to you! You're gonna be daydreaming of Keith (Keith Sweat or Toby Kieth--whatever works for you):

Or not.

Today's tip: Brainstorm during mindless tasks. 

For example, I think best when I'm:
  • driving across town or long road trips
  • taking hot showers
  • doing the dishes
  • vacuuming
  • jogging
  • meditating (i.e. staring off into space)
  • preparing dinner
  • making love to the music of Keith Sweat (bahaha, just kidding! Just seeing if you're paying attention or if you're reading this post mindlessly ;)
We all get into ruts, funks, blocks, etc. How do we get out of them? How do we move forward with fresh, inventive ways? Usually during mindless tasks. 

So I say: Do more mindless things! It's good for your creativity.

Which mindless tasks help you think better?

Jessie With A (so close and yet so far away) Shot At The Night

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (running into friends at random places--Costco and Barnes&Noble, winter Olympic fever, and The Killers playlist I listen to so much that my I hear my kids singing the lyrics throughout the day)
  • 900     Calories Consumed Yesterday (I was too laser-focused on tasks today to bother with basic human nourishment)
  • __3__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (a 5-hour Energy drink might have been experimented with...)
  • __30 min  Spent Writing (with my debut book launch looming, it feels like there's endless amounts of non-writing work to do!)
  • _1__Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (yes, I had time to whip up a chicken, sweet potatoes, and broccoli dinner for the family before I flew out the door to go have my writing night that turned into a reading night)
Today, I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday- a weekly writing meme to stay in touch.

WHAT I'M READING-GILDED, by Christina Farley (or re-reading parts of it because I am so excited about her free excerpt and trailer that premiered yesterday). Check out the trailer here. Fun fact: If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can get this book for free here! (As a Prime Member, you are allowed one free download choice from a set of four carefully selected books per month--the other three are discounted).

Another (and hopefully final) round of copyedits for KILLING RUBY ROSE. 

  • Creative energy. The more you search for it, desire after it, indulge in it...the more it comes to you. Seriously, there is nearly unlimited potential to our creativity if we allow it into our hearts and minds. I know, I know, this sounds very gooey, but it's true!
  • Great writing. Having just finished The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine, Gilded by Christina Farley, and other recent reads...gosh, I realize I still have much to aspire to. So much talent amongst us!
  • Things are really starting to come together for my grandiose book launch plans. If you didn't catch my blog post on Monday (read all about it here), things are looking good for Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers, to perform/appear at my book launch festivities. Another FUN FACT: I am obsessed with the number 11. I see it everywhere and attribute it to some gooey-positive-luck-thing. Just realized TODAY that The Killers sent out a Morse Code tweet on September 11, 2013 (my birthday and another reason I'm superstitious about the number 11) announcing their new song "Shot At The Night," which has been my personal theme since January 1st!!!!! Cray-cray?????!!!!!
  • I've got some really great partnership plans in the works with my local school district to create a fund to bring more national authors to Vegas for school visits. 
  • An hour after my carpool round this morning I realized that I had my shirt on inside-out. Klassicly Klassy!

What's up with you?

Jessie With A (Pretty Good) Shot At The Night

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Critique Tuesday: National Book Review Day

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (Winter Olympics at night, "twizzling" during ice skating--which sadly does not include licorice, road trip conversations getting all kinds of deep)
  •  1850     Calories Consumed Yesterday (Chick-fil-A is such a treat for us Nevadans--apparently our State is too wicked for the family-owned company with traditional values so we have to go out of state to have a delicious fried chicken sandwich!)
  • __3__ Units of Caffeinated (snuck in a diet Dr. Pepper into the Lego movie today...naughty.)
  • __0   Minutes Spent Writing (day with family + traveling = nada)
  • _0___  Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (double nada)
Critique Tuesday: 

Today I am declaring a "National Book Review Day." (I've Googled the term and so far as I can tell, nothing exists quite like this).

What this means is that I am going to urge, persuade, virtually hypnotize, blackmail, and guilt-trip you into going to Goodreads or Amazon right now and writing a review for the book(s) that you most recently read and loved. You should do this now because:

  • It's the right thing to do (this is me urging you).
  • All your dreams will come true if you do this (persuasion).
  • Look into my virtual eyes and in you will click on the hyperlinks above, search for your favorite books(s), and write a pithy review (hypnotization). 
  • If you don't, I will tell the world the one secret you've been holding onto for years--you know what I'm referring to, don't you? (blackmail)
  • Should you be too lazy to click a few links and tap a few keys, you won't be able to live with yourself (guilt-trip).

It's not necessary to "critique" on these reviews, though if that's what you want to do in order to be "true to yourself" or whatever crap you tell yourself to sleep at night (people can be so mean when it comes to book reviews), it's only necessary that you do it. You don't know how much these reviews help an author in terms of algorithms and rankings and whatnot.

Today, I am going to set some time aside to write a review for Elana Johnson's new book pubbing today called ELEVATED.

What book(s) are you going to write a review for today? Huh, huh, huh?

Jessie With A Shot At The Night

Monday, February 17, 2014

Killer Monday: Catching A Killer

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Monday, February 17, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (warm sand, happy kids, and good books-The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine was a great long-weekend read)
  • 1460    Calories Consumed Yesterday (including three bites of a fancy restaurant-prepared S'more--except this version had chocolate ice cream, a thick graham cracker cookie, and a broiled-to-perfection marshmallow)
  • __1__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (WIN)
  • __1 hrs  Spent Writing (too busy reading to write :)
  • _0__  Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (FAIL)

You may or may not have noticed that the title of this post has changed ever so slightly. For the last six weeks, the title of my Monday posts has been: "Catching The Killers"--my catchy title for my crazy-stupid campaign to catch the rock band The Killers for my book's launch party. Well today, for the first time, the title has changed to: "Catching A Killer."

Dun. Dun. Dun...

"So....what does that mean?"you ask as your hands cover your mouth in alarm.

"Do you want the good news or the bad news first?" I ask, an unreadable expression masks my face.

"The bad news, girl," you say. "Give it to me."

"Oh I'll give it to you," I say, and draw a deep breath before releasing it in an unbearably long fashion. "Looks like my dream of having The Killers play at my launch party is a no-go. I've talked to the band's manager, who's an incredibly nice dude, and it's just not a possibility at this current juncture."

"Oh, Jessie," you say, reaching out to comfort me with your strong and capable hands. "I'm so sorry."

"You want the good news now?" I say, patting your hand and casually moving away--I am happily married to Mr. Humphries after all.

"Ayite, girl," you say. "Please tell me some good news before I go binge-watch three seasons of DEXTER while binge-eating four gallons of ice cream to make myself feel better."

I nearly throw up in my mouth at the thought, before refocusing back to how spectacular the news actually is! "The good news is that even if the whole band The Killers can't make it, one particular Killer might be available for a solo gig--the lead singer Brandon Flowers."

You start screeching, and screaming, and flailing about. "Ohmygosh, ohmygawsh, ohmyfreakinggawwwwsh, Jessie!" you holler, and whoop, and make strange dance-like moves that might be considered twerking.

"Relax," I beg. "You're making a scene!"

"I'm just so happy," you say through tears of joy and sniffles of snot, melting into a puddle of your own bodily fluids. At which point I start walking away (from my strangely sensitive androgynous imaginary friend that represents my own internal thoughts and feelings).

So yes, while nothing is set in stone, no official legal documents have been signed, wherein Brandon Flowers is betrothed to my book launch festivities, it's looking good! Of course dates, venue, logistics, and a lot of other fun stuff still need to be discussed, but I'm taking this good news as a WIN.

(I feel like Lloyd from DUMB & DUMBER when he asks the hot chick what his chances are with her and she says, "one in a million." And he's over the moon when he replies, "So you're telling me there's a chance!")

Jessie With (an improving) Shot At The Night

Friday, February 14, 2014

Finally Friday: Mr. Humphries for the Valentine's Day Win

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Friday, February 14, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (clean laundry, soft beds, four day weekends that involve the beach)
  • 1050      Calories Consumed Yesterday (after indulging in some pre-Valentines candy the day before, I stayed strong and ate Greek yogurt instead)
  • _3__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (watched Downton Abbey on DVR and had to have kettle of tea)
  • __0 hrs_ Spent Writing (tomorrow, tomorrow, there's always tomorrow...)
  • _0__ Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (FAIL)
It's hard to pull off a Valentine's Day win. There are so many ways to get it wrong:

  • receiving a huge bouquet of flowers that last two days max, and then reviewing the credit card bill a week later and discovering the HUGE cost...NOT my fave.
  • going out for dinner only to wait for a table for over an hour and then wait even longer for the food because the restaurant is slammed...NOT my fave.
  • getting a "coupon book" for massages (that really means touching = expectations = guilt = ultimately his present in disguise)...NOT my fave.
  • gross apple cider champagne...NOT my fave.
  • him forgetting to do anything, and last minute grabbing a 99 cent card from CVS with a cheesy old couple making sex jokes because the inventory is gone...NOT my fave.
I could go on and on--not that any of these things have ever happened to me. ;) BUT yesterday, Mr. Humphries pulled off a Valentines win: 

I had an appointment with the Children and Teen's Programming Director for Downtown Projects to talk about my book launch. We were meeting at the chic, hipster coffeehouse called The Beat at 9:00 am after my carpool round. Mr. Humphries knew how excited I was about this meeting and gave me a good luck kiss (and good luck slap on the butt) before I left--which was nice considering most mornings he steers clear of me because I'm a total B-word in the a.m.. 

When I get to The Beat I go to order a drink and the barista asks, "Are you Jessie?" 

"Uh...maybe," I say, not wanting to claim any responsibility for any faux-pas I may have committed--like driving a minivan Downtown where people ride bicycles and drive les Prius.  Meanwhile a pack of other baristas have accumulated behind her and are staring at me expectantly. 

"Well," the barista says, "if you are, then these are for you." She hands me a small bouquet of flowers. "And order anything you's been taken care of."

My jaw drops and I melt. There are oohing and awing noises made by others in the cafe who have witnessed the event. Bravo, Mr. Humphries, bravo. 

And that is how it's done. 

Got any Valentines wins or losses?

Jessie With A Shot At The Night

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday Quickie: Putting Yourself Out There

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014
  • __3 Gratitudes (friends that have fun birthday lunches, people who answer emails promptly, Valentine's Day candy)
  • 1700 Calories Consumed Yesterday (sadly, most of these calories were consumed late at night while I tried to catch up and got snacky)
  • __4__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (favorite was a blended herbal tea that had peppermint, lemon, and raspberry that's supposedly good for my girl parts)
  • _ 3 hrs Spent Writing (too bad they were all carefully drafted emails...)
  • _1__   Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (fresh homemade bread french toast. No, I didn't bake the bread. Yes, I did fry the french toast.)
Thursday Quickie

This is where I  post a QUICK WRITING (or otherwise publication related) TIP. Whether it be technical or creative, useful or not, I'm gonna give it to you! You're gonna be singing, "Shawty wanna hump. You know I like to touch your lovely lady lumps"--um yeah, that's Lil John for ya:

Today's quickie: Make efforts to meet and befriend other writers.

I know it's a risk to put yourself out there. Believe me, I've been burned more than once by getting involved with writers who turned out to be crazy-pants. From early beta readers to roommates at conferences, there is always the possibility that you will want to kick each other in the crotch before you part ways. And yet, this is how we can grow the most in our pursuits as writers. Friendship and feedback are so necessary to our success, we just can't do it alone. So the next time someone asks you to meet up at a bookstore to write together, or attend a book event, or otherwise get together...say YES! What's the worst that can happen? (They can stalk you and go around telling everyone how YOU are the crazy one--yes that has happened to me). But then, what's the best? (You end up being life long friends and they help you get the book deals you've always dreamed of--yes that's happened to me too). 

And if I hadn't decided to go to my agency's retreat this last weekend, I would have missed out on the opportunity to meet and befriend nearly 60 influential authors who I adore. Talk about a chance of a lifetime. 

Have you had any scary writer-stalker stories? Or happily-ever-after writer-friend stories?

Jessie With A Shot At The Night

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (sunshine, stretchy pants, and chocolate covered cinnamon bears)
  • 1450     Calories Consumed Yesterday (starting the day off with 1.5 Kristy Kreme donuts is not the right way to start the day, but coming back from out of town to an avalanche of mail, responsibilities, and an empty fridge syndrome is also not the right way to start the week)
  • __3__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (Mommy needs a Big Gulp)
  • __1.5 hrs   Spent Writing (this was a miracle considering the avalanche mentioned above )
  • _1__Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (I felt like Jack Black in Nacho Libre making soup for all the orphans with "no fresh ingredients" wherein they whine about having "diarrhea since Easters")
Today, I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday- a weekly writing meme to stay in touch.

WHAT I'M READING- An ARC of THE PROMISE OF AMAZING by Robin Constantine. It's living up to the promise :) 

After a much needed kick-in-the-pants, provided by John Cusicks’ inspiring speech at the Greenhouse Literary Agency Writers Retreat this last weekend (read all about it here), wherein he stressed the schedule of writing and making it a priority, I’ve started writing again. For many weeks I’ve been focusing so much on revisions, cover art, marketing, book launch promo, critiquing for friends, building my social media platform, blogging, travel plans, and other totally legit writerly things that I fully stopped writing new words. My NaNo project has been lingering in 80% finished mode since November, begging me to come back. Well, I’m back. I’ve returned to my French contemporary world and I’m tres contente for that.

  • Other authors. Whether old or new, jaded or bright-eyed, there’s some gem to glean from each one. In the last week, I’ve met nearly 60! Most from my agency’s retreat, but I also got to meet up with a bunch of authors from the debut group that I am a part of called The One Fours.
Just got back from Orlando on Monday and will be leaving for Utah tomorrow for another author event: The LTUE Writers Conference (Life, The Universe, and Everything) which is a fabulous conference full panels, classes, and general schmoozinness. It’s inexpensive, educational, and fun! And maybe a bit stinky because of narrow hallways and a large  population sword-yielding fantasy warriors…but whatev. There will be no laying out pool-side in Provo, but maybe some fireplace writing time.

What's up with you?

Jessie With A Shot At The Night

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Greenhouse Literary Agency Writers Retreat Recap 2014

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
  • __3__Gratitudes (home sweet home, cuddly kids, not being on an airplane again for awhile)
  •  1350     Calories Consumed Yesterday) (airplanes make me sick and I happened to be on one for seven hours yesterday)
  • __4__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (Diet Coke is free on airplanes!)
  • __4hrs     Spent Writing (again seven boring hours on a plane helped)
  • _0__Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (haven't been excelling in this category lately. I prefer hotel pastries delivered to my morning activities ;)
Greenhouse Literary Writer’s Retreat 2014

Consider the flowers watered!

The leaves have been energized by the Orlando sunshine. The soil has been enriched with inspiring words. The stems have been strengthened by the surrounding flowers. The roots are ready to grow.

Last year when I signed with my dream agent, Sarah Davies, I remember her telling me to prepare myself for revisions, submissions, and the rest of the journey I was about to embark upon. I could not imagine a more fitting place to do so than at the retreat this last weekend.

Approximately 50 Greenhouse authors from all over the world gathered at the Hilton near Downtown Disney in Florida for three days of jam-packed awesome. We ate, we learned, we socialized, we hot-tubbed, we ate again, we wrote, we shared our work, we absorbed words of wisdom from our agents and representatives, we stayed up to the wee hours, and we were even entertained by a talent show in which my agent sang and played the ukulele!

I am completely overwhelmed with appreciation for Sarah and her team for putting this event together. Here are but a few highlights:
  • Sarah Davies singing “Some of My Favorite Things” from Sound of Music—lyrics modified to reflect the publishing industry J
  • John Cusick playing piano and singing “The Piano Has Been Drinking” while sipping from a beautiful martini glass
  • Tommy Wallach singing an original song called “Madeline” wherein I fell in love with him. Afterward, I might have propositioned him in the lobby for offspring, but he politely declined. However, he did accept to write an original song for my book KILLING RUBY ROSE.
  • Hot-tubbing with my foreign rights agent, Allison Hellegers from Rights People. Not only is she now my favorite New York City mover-and-shaker, she is so kind and lovely.
  • Sitting next to Jill Hathaway, Kate Bassett, Allison DeCamp, Jeyn Roberts, and Rahul Kanakia at Bongo’s Cuban restaurant at Downtown Disney (those fried plantains were pretty good too)
  • Shooting the shiz until nearly 3 am almost every night in the hotel room with Lindsey Leavitt, Christian Heidicker, Valynne Maetani, and Erin Summerill.
  • Hanging out of couches, barstools, and other comfy chairs with Megan Miranda, Elle Cosimano, Ashley Elston, Natalie Parker, Brenna Yovanoff, Tessa Sharpe, Donna Cooner, Romily Bernard, Kat Yeh and Caroline Carlson.
  • Standing next to Courtney Alameda, because I look like a troll next to her Victoria Secret body. Yeah, loved that. ;) But fore realz, she is not only gorgeous, she is so sweet and kind. New bff’s?
I also had one of those aha moments that I just might get tattooed somewhere on my body. A quote from Sarah:

Live Life In Bright Colors
(this I love it all more than I can express. We are all capable of doing big, bright things. Especially with the care and nurturing provided by our caretakers at the Greenhouse.
Thank you, Sarah, John, Jan, Polly, and Allison for one of the best professional moments of my life.

Jessie With A Shot At The Night

Monday, February 10, 2014

Killer Monday: Catching The Killers--By Knowing The Secret Doors

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Monday, February 10, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (I've changed this section to reflect evolving goals): Sarah Davies for hosting the best literary agency retreat ever, meeting so many writer friends, and visiting Orlando for first time ever.
  • 2,100    Calories Consumed Yesterday (took a whole week off since half-marathon and might be overdoing it ;)
  • __5__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (I shouldn't even need to count on vacation)
  • __1 hrs  Spent Writing (shopping Downtown Disney and hot tubbing took precedence)
  • _0_Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (but that Ghiradelli Square brownie fudge sundae can't be replicated at home)

Not so long ago I discovered some interesting things about my hometown, Las Vegas. And when I say, "interesting" I mean fascinatingly, amazingly, awesome things--like the SECRET DOOR located in Downtown Vegas. I've alluded to having found this door a couple of times online, but like all good things, it's taken time. Today is your lucky day!

But not too lucky, because I'm not at liberty to discuss the precise location, descriptive names, or otherwise distinguishing features of the secret location housing the secret door. Otherwise it would cease to be...y'know, a secret.

I will however tell you about my experience in bullet point fashion:
  • Mr. Humphries took me on a date Downtown to see some of the new cool restaurants and hangouts recently built by Tony Hsieh and the Downtown Project. (As mentioned before, major efforts are being made to rejuvenate, reinvigorate, reinvent and perform other R-words to the area). 
  • Delicious food was consumed, live music was appreciated, one thing led to another and we found ourselves under the dim romantic light of antique chandeliers, amongst a group of well-dressed hipsters, sitting at the old mahogany bar of a watering hole which shall not be named.
  • The bartender took our order. "Two Cokes, with a twist of lemon on the rocks, thanks." With a raised eyebrow he delivered the sodas and got back to work at serving customers with normal orders at a bar.
  • I sip my $5 Coke and absorb the beauty of the room, the stunning art, the candlelit ambiance, until something catches my eye. Was that a door closing in the dark corridor? Had I just seen a rectangular passageway disappear into wallpaper? Or was the Coke going to my head?
  • "Bartender?" I called. "Was that a...?"
  • "Yes," he cuts me off. "Here, take this." He hands me an small item which (also) shall not be named, with a phone number on it. 
  • Mr. Humphries is now the one with raised eyebrows. Time to go. 
  • A week goes by, and I cannot get the hidden door out of my mind. Wild fantasies and absurd theories ruminated within me all day--in the shower, while doing the dishes, as I tried to fall asleep. I decided, I MUST GO BACK AND FIND OUT.
  • I called the number... no answer. I called it answer. Crestfallen, I wondered if it wasn't meant to be. Finally, I got a text back saying, "What time would you like your reservation?"
  • I made the reservation for the next night, put my go-to fancy pleather pants on, got a babysitter and dragged Mr. Humphries Downtown to solve the mystery. 
  • We arrived on scene and followed discreet instructions to position ourselves in the dark hallway by the door. Next to the large 1920's black and white portraits of scary looking men with beards hanging on the walls, I began to worry and sweat from unladylike areas. My wildest dreams were now turning into fears of a very naughty strip club, an awkward swingers situation, and even a London-style torture dungeon. 
  • Soon a beautiful girl came to dark hallway and with a sultry voice beckoned us to follow her through the door. Once inside we entered an even darker room, which I can only describe as an antichamber--whatever that is. We were given instructions, a handbook which contained even more instructions/information, and ushered into the main room. 
  • What happened next blew my mind, and was nothing like what I'd imagined. Of course I can't tell you what it was, but believe me, it was awesome. I guess you're just going to have to go Downtown Las Vegas to find out. Or pay me in cold hard cash, credit card, or French chocolate to find out.
Now, if you're wondering how this story connects to Catching The Killers, let me explain in brief bullet point detail:
  • Secret Door = The Killers
  • I must find a way to get in (their schedule...not their pants).
  • It's a risky venture to get out of the good ol' comfort zone and go looking for doors to walk through (after all there could have been a truly awful swingers club in there with a hairy Elvis impersonator assigned to me while that hot sultry girl took off with Mr. Humphries), but sometimes risks are worth taking. 
Jessie With A Shot At The Night 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
  • __***__ lbs. over/under Goal Weight (apparently inflammation and water retention after a big race can cause superficial weight gain. "apparently")
  • 1450     Calories Consumed Yesterday (met some friends at a Downtown restaurant called Le Thai, which was Le bomb!)
  • __5__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (what? I was thirsty)
  • __2 hrs   Spent Writing (and intermittently staring into space)
  • _1__Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (too busy for cookin'...or at least that's what I told the family as I went out to dinner with friends ;)
Today, I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday- a weekly writing meme to stay in touch.

WHAT I'M READING- A New Adult manuscript that is blowing my mind! When I read it, I find myself sweating from the pits. And other unmentionable areas.

WHAT I'M WRITING- Book launch proposals, "minutes" for my Amazon/Skyscape pub sisters' teleconference (haha, I guess that makes me the Secretary of our foursome), submission forms for conferences, and emails organizing events.

  • Hot tubs. Seriously, hot, hot, hot water makes me so happy when it's cold outside, and/or my body hurts from unnatural punishment such as running long distances.
  • I ran my half-marathon in Huntington Beach, CA on Sunday. I am a ridiculously slow runner (2:25) with a pathetically small bladder (had to take four potty breaks), but I finished and it felt great. There some hip cramps around mile 7, and a painful stitch around mile 10, but I finished strong, and there are no words to describe how amazing it felt to have all those people cheering for me on the last mile.
  • I bought myself some Happy Marathon shoes for a reward: Tom's Red and White Polka Dot Linen Woven Wedge Heels. (Not going to be running anywhere in these puppies)
  • I leave tomorrow for Orlando, where I will be attending my agency retreat (Greenhouse Literary Agency) and meeting my agent Sarah Davies. It is going to be uh.maze.balls. I get to meet dozens of awesome authors, mostly from my agency, but also other Florida-based authors I've met through the debut group the OneFours. I'm going to be singing the Dirty Dancing song, "Time of My Life" and then I'm going to run into the ocean where Patrick Schwayze's ghost will be waiting to lift me in the air and call me "Baby." Or not. We will probably just hang out, enjoy the awesomeness, and go to Disneyworld.
That is all. What's up with you?

With a Shot At The Night

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Critique Tuesday: Don't Be Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf During A Live Pitch

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
  • __***__ lbs. over/under Goal Weight (I'm on the verge of eliminating this bullet, because I should not be gaining weight from running my A off)
  •  1920     Calories Consumed Yesterday (don't ask me what I ate, just lots of it)
  • __2__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (including a very caloric smoothie from Jamba Juice--do you know how much sugar there is  in some of those?)
  • __0       Minutes Spent Writing (some serious shopping needed to take place on Main St. HB)
  • _0__Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (reheated left overs due to eating out 2 out of 3 meals/day for 4 days)
Critique Tuesday:  THE LIVE PITCH

Once upon a time, I girded my loins, gathered my brave, and signed up for a pitch session with mega-agent, Michelle Wolfson, at a writers conference. (Miss Wolf(son) is a gorgeous, no-nonsense, New Yorker with legs, shoes, and sales record to die for).

 This is what happened in brief bullet-point fashion:
  • The day before the pitch, I attended an agent  panel discussion, in which Miss Wolf said, "Agents are people too. Come talk to us. We won't bite your head off."
  • The night before the pitch, a few friends invited me to sit with them at dinner, at the same table as Miss Wolf. I was thrilled.
  • I asked her a question this question: "What are you excited about right now?" (meaning: did she have any clients writing exciting things right now)
  • This is what she thought I asked: "What is hot right now?" (meaning what should I write that would make it easier for you to sell my book right now?)
  • The rest of the dinner is a blur because I was too embarrassed by her pointing out to the table what a ridiculous question I dared ask--writing to trends is a terrible idea.
  • I didn't particularly love being publicly humiliated so I decided to ask the conference if I could pitch to someone else.
  • I did in fact pitch to someone else, it went great, and I got a full manuscript request.
  • Miss Wolf found out about me cancelling my pitch with her, found me in the hall, and yelled at me again. She called me ridiculous...again. And demanded that I send her my full manuscript.
  • Again, not loving the public humiliation, I nodded my head that I would send it, but had no intention of doing so.
  • A few days later, she blogs about me by name : "The Sad Tale Of Jessie"
  • Third time is a charm in terms of public humiliation, and this time hundreds (if not thousands) of people witnessed it with dozens of commenters joining in the public ridicule, calling me stupid, and crazy, and whatnot. However, plenty of awesome people came to my defense as well. I appreciated that.
  • Miss Wolf blogged about me again a few days later, and it turned into one of those viral things, where rubberneckers couldn't look away. More blogs posts, tweets, and online mentions abounded. There came a point where I stood up for myself, and so did Miss Wolf.
  • Somewhere in the process, Miss Wolf became one of my biggest advocates. I didn't end up signing with her, but we've kept in touch. And wanna know what the coolest part about the whole thing is: MY BOOK IS GOING TO BE PUBLISHED TWO YEARS TO THE DAY OF THAT MISSED PITCH SESSION! (and she's the one who pointed this out to me when I announced the date)
The moral to this story is: even if your worst nightmare comes true when you decide to gird your loins and pitch to a literary agent (and the wolf tries to rip out your loins), some really awesome things can happen too. Don't be afraid of failure, public humiliation, or mass ridicule. Don't stop dreaming Big. Don't miss an opportunity to be a big, fat B-Word: BRAVE.

Jessie With A Shot At The Night

Monday, February 3, 2014

Killer Monday: Catching The Killers and Paying It Forward

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Monday, January 27, 2014
  • __***__ lbs. over/under Goal Weight (ran marathon yesterday and "feel" lighter)
  • No freaking clue  Calories Consumed Yesterday (combo of running 13.1 miles and Super Bowl Sunday... No. Freaking. Clue.)
  • __3__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (I must've drank ten gallons of water however.)
  • __0 hrs  Spent Writing (ain't nobody got time for that when there are naps to be taken and prop bets to be made)
  • _1_Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (I lovingly created myself a "Happy Marathon Cake" and terribly enjoyed uncreating it in my mouth)

Remember that movie, Pay It Forward with Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt (and that kid from The Sixth Sense)?

It was filmed in Las Vegas, which makes it even awesome-er (except for the ending when something terrible happens that we won't talk about). But the concept is simple--if every person commits to three random acts of kindness, the "pay it forward" effect will multiply exponentially.

It's also like those really touching Liberty Mutual commercials where one person observes someone else doing something generous, helpful, or thoughtful, and decides to do something like that themselves. It can be something really simple, like picking up a stuffed animal off the ground that the little girl or mother didn't see was dropped. Or it can be pulling someone out of the road when a taxi speeds by.

I believe that the more we look for these opportunities to do good things, the more opportunities there will be to do so. Like yesterday when I was running somewhere around mile eight and feeling the burn, some random kids on the sidelines gave me high fives and cheered me on. It totally put a smile on my face and a burst of much needed energy.

So my sales pitch to The Killers today is: if you come appear/play at my launch party, I will pay it forward. Not just in ice cream or awkward hugging, but in helping support other members of the Las Vegas community who are striving to do something good and positive.

Jessie With A Shot At The Night