Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (nicer weather, getting back on schedule, kids going to school)
  • __2__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (Sleepytime Tea is my friend)
  • __0 hrs  Spent Writing (boo)
  • _1__  Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (school lunches aren't so fancy, but the kids seem to like them)

Today, I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday- a weekly writing meme to stay in touch.



WHAT I'M READING- 
  • PitchWars contest submissions. I can't believe how much Fantasy that I've received as a Mentor. Is Fantasy the biggest thing in the pub world right now?! I know that the agents participating in this particular contest haven't indicated their looking for a lot of Fantasy, but it sure seems like that's what people want to write! Which is so interesting to me. I suppose it ALWAYS comes down to good writing and a stand-out story...and I've got a ton of that in my PitchWars inbox. :)

WHAT I'M WRITING- 
  • Not much lately. School started for the childrens this week and it's been a bit crazy. With a pre-k, kindergarten and third grader to carpool, buying supplies, attending back to school events, etc., I haven't made much time to write. I keep telling myself that things will settle down in a week or two and I'll get some "me time" back.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW-
  • Listening to the audio book THE ALCHEMYST: THE SECRETS OF THE IMMORTAL NICHOLAS FLAMEL. It's such a well-told story. It feels like a classic so often that when the narrator refers to modern things like football or email, it seems so out of place. Also, I really love the actor who narrates the audio version, Denis O'Hare, who plays the part of a very bad dude in HBO's TRUE BLOOD. Some books are just so much better in audio version, and I would dare say this is one of them. 


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO-
  • Just trying to keep up...

What's up with you?

Love,
Jessie 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Killer Monday: PitchWars Writing Contest

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Monday, August 18, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (new vacuums with extra sucking power, tepanyaki, kids going back to school in 1 week)
  • __2__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (anything with ice and fresh lime in it is my favorite)
  • __0 hrs  Spent Writing (I'm beta reading my butt off)
  • _1__  Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (Famous Retreat Dip: tomato + green onion + feta + olive oil + Greek seasoning=happiness.)

So there's this really amazing opportunity for you writers out there. So listen up cuz' here's the down-low:

It's called PitchWars, hosted by the amazing Brenda Drake. It’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine. The mentor also critiques his/her writer’s pitch to get it ready for the agent round. To do this, the mentors read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for two months to get them ready for the agent round. Writers can pick up to four mentors to submit to. I participated as a mentor last year, and guess what? 

That's right: my mentee landed an agent with the manuscript we worked on together!

For a list of the amazing mentors and submission guidelines go here. For a list of the stellar agents this year, go here.
And guess what again? I'm a:



What I’m looking for in the contest…

Young Adult. I've only had to endure about one million revisions on RUBY ROSE (from critique partners, to beta readers, to agents, to acquiring editors, to developmental editors, etc.) so I'm a bit of an expert on which kinds of critiques help and which kinds help not-so-much. I've always believed that in order to deserve the help of others, I must be generous in giving back whatever help I have to offer. I will take my job as a mentor seriously and make sure to include helpful advice--not just tell you what I think you want to hear. Perhaps the number one thing that helps me in critiques is when the critiquer not only points out a problem, but offers solutions and examples as to how to solve the problem.

I love protagonists with sass, cleverness, and an ability to make me smile with their ingenuity. I like surprises, twists, high-stakes, and above all...kissing! Or the almost-kiss, which can sometimes be way better. I dig contemporary, fantasy, historical (if there's kissing), thrillers, maybe a dash of horror, post-apocalyptic, and anything with a beach scene (even if it's sci-fi). I sort of love the dark stuff, but not too dark--I already have issues, I don't need any more. A few zombie slayings are however welcome.

So check it all out and submit your pitch here HERE. THE DEADLINE IS TONIGHT (August 18th at 11:59 EST).

Love,
Jessie

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (long vacations, generous family, and lots of sunshine)
  • __2__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (smoothies that have tons of sugar are still super healthy, right?)
  • __0 hrs  Spent Writing (reading is taking precedence at the moment)
  • _1__  Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (summer coconut curry. Even the neighbors found it "delightful!")

Today, I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday- a weekly writing meme to stay in touch.



WHAT I'M READING- 
  • Beta-reading for two more friends. I'm earning my trade with the new French bookt. Gotta have a ton of eyes before I send it off to my agent.

WHAT I'M WRITING- 
  • Trying to write a title to the French book. It's not just coming to me...

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW-
  • Post SCBWI notes: How to Find A Title Presentation by my agent Sarah Davies. And because I'm in the need of much karmic blessings, I shall share the simple five step approach Sarah shared during her speech:
  1. Sit down and relax with your favorite drink. This should be relaxing...not stressful. And it should be an easy choice. (Cokie, check). Maybe for you this is tea, wine, whiskey infused with unicorn dreams. Whatever. Just drink your magic potion.
  2. Get a pencil and paper (no laptop) and begin writing down all the brainstorming words that you can think that have anything to do with your story. Nouns, adjectives, verbs, write them all down. Don't discriminate, just let your mind unleash its chunky, crazy-glory all over the page. Do this as long as your brain allows. 
  3. Take a break. Wipe away all your sweat, tears, and other bodily fluids. Then come back and begin circling all the words that jump off the page to you. Active words, meaningful words, delicious words. 
  4. Lastly, try to string together some of the words to make a phrase, a sentence, a title full of synergistic beauty. 
  5. Sit back and admire your award-winning result (and hide the rest because if someone found it then they might have reasonable cause to commit you to the mental hospital). 
***Obviously, I have added my two cents to this process. My agent is British and would never compare the product of the creative mind to vomit. 


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO-


  • School shopping for all my little minions. 
  • Deep cleaning my house after all the post-vacation shoving of items in corners.
  • PARTICIPATING AS A MENTOR IN PITCH WARS!!!! You guys the writing contest officially opened yesterday. You don't want to miss out on this opportunity to work with amazing authors and get unprecedented exposure to some of the most awesome agents in the biz. Check it out here: PitchWars by Brenda Drake.

What's up with you?

Love,
Jessie 


Friday, August 8, 2014

Finally Friday: Lip Sync Battle

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

***This post was originally supposed to post three weeks ago when I was in the Idaho mountains, but because I was in the Idaho mountains, uploading YouTube videos wasn't working. So even though I'm now on the beaches of southern California, it's time to post it***

Friday, August 8, 2014 
  • __3__ Gratitudes (hikes through the Tetons, Bar J Wranglers Chuckwagon, and sudden rainstorms)
  • _5__ Units of Caffeinated or otherwise non-water Beverages (Huckleberry Shakes from the Emporium are my weakness)
  • __4 hours_ Spent Writing (woot...woot!)
  • _0__ Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (sandwiches are as good as it gets at the Ranch house)
For many moons, my BFF (best freaking friend) and CP (critique partner), Erin Summerill, have been talking smack about having a Lip Sync Battle--inspired by our favorite movie, "Pitch Perfect" and Jimmy Fallon's epic battles on the Tonight Show. Well, we're done smack talking...and ready to start lip slapping. This is week #6! And I'm mixing it up and going Country!

Here's my entry for this week:


Love,
Jessie the Cowgirl

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (California humidity, Starbucks cake pops, sleeping in)
  • __1__ Units of Caffeinated Beverages (hmmm, how did that happen?!)
  • __0__ Hours of Writing (shopping for back to school takes precedence)
  • __1  Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (steak, brats, corn on cob on the grill, fresh green beans...all warmed up from the night before. Haha, I didn't actually make any of it, but I warmed it up pretty good :)
Today, I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday- a weekly writing meme to stay in touch.



WHAT I'M READING- 
  • Beta-reading for a friend. 
  • But I just bought my girl, Lori Lee's new book that just came out: GATES OF THREAD AND STONE. You should all go buy it right. this. second!


WHAT I'M WRITING- 
  • Since I'm waiting to hear back from beta readers, I'm not really writing. I'm thinking though. And learning--lots of that. 

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW-
  • Writers! I went to SCBWI in L.A. this last weekend and had an experience much like Baby from Dirty Dancing: I had the time of my life. Here are some fairly terrible pictures with poor lighting and even worse focus:

SCBWI Pool Party Dance floor selfie

 The well-thought-out, super-Pinteresty, awesome party invitations from
 Jessica Love and Dana Elmendorf

 The hot-bodied Morgan Shamy

 Allie Brennan, Melanie Jacobsen, and Jolen Perry on the dance floor

The Gorgeous Sophia Chang (though you can't see her gorgeous face very well)



WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO-

Other than:
  • taking classes about characterization from Maggie Stievater, 
  • hanging out with my agent (Sarah Davies) and agency sisters (Lindsey Leavitt, Kat Yeh, Catherine Linka, Jennie Moyer, and the oh-so-fabulous Martha Brockenborough)
  • getting all kinds of inspired from Judy Blume and Tomie dePaola
  • getting so crazy on the dance floor that I freaked at least six female colleages and accidentally hit Jay Asher in the junk
I also:
  • Beach time
  • Shopping time
  • Sleepy time
  • 31 Flavors time
That is all.

What's up with you?

Love,
Jessie 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pitch Wars 2014



Today the mentors for Pitch Wars are posting something about themselves and what they’d like to critique for the writing contest. So for the something about myself…here's some stuff:

Stuff I used to do:
  • Play tennis at San Diego State University;
  • Live in Paris and speak fluent French; and
  • Act like someone else on stage and camera for my Theater undergrad degree.
Stuff I currently do:
  • Practice law part-time;
  • Mother handfuls of children full-time; and
  • Write Young Adult novels.
Also, I like bullet points:
  • Some people like to call me a B-Word...for all sorts of different reasons! But for this contest, I'm going to say it stands for Best Choice of Mentor Ever!
  • I’m represented by Sarah Davies of the Greenhouse Literary Agency. 
  • My young adult contemporary thriller novel, KILLING RUBY ROSE, (Amazon Children's Publishing/Skyscape) was released as a Kindle First pick in April 2014 and quickly became an Amazon #1 Bestseller in Teen/Young Adult Books and #4 Overall in the Kindle Store. Traditional release in paperback and all other formats was on May 1, 2014.
  • Book 2 in the RUBY ROSE series, RESISTING RUBY ROSE, releases October 28, 2014.

What I’m coaching for the contest…
For this contest I’m coaching Young Adult manuscripts. I've only had to endure about one million revisions on RUBY ROSE (from critique partners, to beta readers, to agents, to acquiring editors, to developmental editors, etc.) so I'm a bit of an expert on which kinds of critiques help and which kinds help not-so-much. I've always believed that in order to deserve the help of others, I must be generous in giving back whatever help I have to offer. I will take my job as a mentor seriously and make sure to include helpful advice--not just tell you what I think you want to hear. Perhaps the number one thing that helps me in critiques is when the critiquer not only points out a problem, but offers solutions and examples as to how to solve the problem.

Stuff I like to read: protagonists with sass, cleverness, and an ability to make me smile with their ingenuity. I like surprises, twists, high-stakes, and above all...kissing! Or the almost-kiss, which can sometimes be way better! I dig contemporary, fantasy, historical (if there's kissing), thrillers, maybe a dash of horror, post-apocalyptic, and anything with a beach scene (even if it's sci-fi). I sort of love the dark stuff, but not too dark--I already have issues, I don't need any more. A few zombie slayings are however welcome.