Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pitch Wars 2015 Bio

Pitch Wars 2015

Today the mentors for Pitch Wars are posting something about themselves and what they’d like to critique for the writing contest. (What is Pitch Wars? Basically, if you are a writer and you want an agent, this contest is an opportunity like no other.) This year I will be co-mentoring with my rock star mentee from last year, Mara Rae, who FYI landed an agent via this very 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;
  • Coach Tennis; 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, released October 28, 2014. And also became an Amazon bestseller, blah, blah, blah...

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.

And for some stuff about Mara:

Hey all! I'm so excited to be assisting Jessie, my kick-ass mentor who helped me land my agent, John Cusick of Folio Literary Management, last year. Team B-Words racked up a ton of requests: 12 for me, and 8 for our alternate, Jocelyn. I tied for second place behind my dear friend Elly, but this year I want to win! 

A little about me: I'm a triplet born on Leap Day, currently living in Lima, Peru, with my diplomat husband and our two sons. I grew up in Southern California but have since lived all over the place, including six states, England, and Russia. I have a rather narrow comfort zone and I'm constantly living outside of it, and I wouldn't have it any other way. You can read a little more about me and my novel, WINTERSOUL, at to get an idea of what I'm all about.

Now down to business: I've worked as a copyeditor so I have excellent editing skills, and I like to think I'm a good mix of critic and cheerleader. I definitely prefer Fantasy (Contemporary, High, Urban, you name it) though I do read a little of everything. I skew toward Upper YA and I like things a little dark and creepy-in-a-good-way, like Neil Gaiman. Some of my favorite books are Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Scorpio Races, and A Darker Shade of Magic. Most importantly, I've been in YOUR shoes, and I know how exciting and stressful Pitch Wars can be. I'll be here to answer questions, give you pep talks, and help you make the most of this amazing opportunity.

Go Check It All Out Here:

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Some News

So I haven't been around the blogosphere much lately. There are a few bullet point reasons for this:
  • 2014 my debut year as an author and it was a doozie! A whirlwind of awesomeness and dreams coming true and whatnot.
  • 2015 began with a new set of challenges that sidetracked me for a bit.
  • I regained a love of reading, and immersed myself in books (as opposed to so much focus on writing/editing/promoting).
  • Some ying-yang, ebb-flow, type of stuff kicked in. Lawyerly stuff. Personal fitness stuff. Kid stuff.
But one of the most recent, high powered bullets for my online absence is:
  • I became a Tennis Pro.
Yeah, you read that right.
A. Tennis. Pro.
Here's my new tennis-y headshot...

One thing I'm big on in life is taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves. Many moons ago, tennis was the biggest part of my life. From training everyday for hours after school to playing in college at Weber State University and San Diego State University, and then from coaching to playing professionally overseas, tennis was my "thing" for a long time. Since hanging up the racket, I've had some other "things" to focus on. Becoming a mother of four, a lawyer, a published author...yeah, a few other things took my focus.

A few months ago, a really cool tennis opportunity presented itself. So I went and got certified by the USPTA, and now I'm the newest member of the Dragon Ridge Tennis Staff. It's a beautiful place full of amazing people.

It's going to be a great new adventure for me. I'll still be writing and lawyering and mothering, but also now tennis-ing.
So there's that. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

DPK and the Woven Book Tour

Hey y'all!

I'm bloggin'! So there must be a good reason, right?

The answer is yes. Yes, a very good reason, indeed.

And the reason is this:

"What is DPK?" you ask. "Is it a secret anagram? Or acronym? Does it stand for Dr. Pepper King? or Delicate Platypus Kingdom?"

"No, no, no, dear friend," I reply. "These are the initials of dear friend, David Powers King. The man. The myth. The legend. See."

"What a nice looking young man with an epic nickname," you say. "Tell me more about the legend of DPK."

"Where do I start? How about with bullet points?!"

  • Once upon a time DPK wrote a fantasy book with a friend Michael Jensen.
  • They sold the book to a small publisher who turned out to be unprofessional (i.e. unfairly discriminatory since they  wouldn't publish Michael's biography to include his husband).
  • There was public outcry.
  • A huge literary agent heard the cry all the way from Utah to NYC and offered to represent DPK and Michael, and obtain a much, much, much better deal with the national and highly respected publisher Scholastic.
  • The book, WOVEN, released last month and is receiving all kinds of amazing reviews like this one: "It’s not often that you read a fantasy that feels as epic and original as Woven by King and Jensen. Clever, well-paced, and full of intrigue, it’s a superb read. Highly recommended."

    —James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner

  • Behold... 

Buy the book HERE.
Or enter to win a signed copy of the book HERE.

You're welcome.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Finally Friday: Upcoming Event in SLC

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Friday, February 6, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (two uninterrupted hours per day while the kids are at school so I can work and pretend to be a hipster, watching New Girl on DVR while I walk fast on my treadmill, these amazingly low gas prices!!! *amiright*)
  • __4__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (though I have started to drink 20 oz of water between each better-tasting-beverage)
  • __1 hrs  Spent Writing (working on an outline for a new story)
  • _1__  Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (Left over Stoffers lasagna...not my finest moment.)

So...I'm doing an awesome author event in Salt Lake City this coming Tuesday night (February 10th)!

It's at Weller Book Works at Trolley Square (607 Trolley Square, SLC) at 7:00 pm and it's going to be fabulous, for too many reasons to count, but I'll give you some:

  • Courtney Alameda's debut YA horror, SHUTTER just came out this week! It's getting awesome buzz and tons of great reviews. Courtney is not only the hottest librarian Provo has ever had, but she's a brilliant writer and loyal friend. Come buy her amazing book!
  • J. Scott Savage is basically the most prolific, generous, and most beloved middle grade author I've ever met. He's written the Farworld Series for Shadow Mountain/Deseret Book and the Case File 13 Series for Harper Collins, among others. Come buy his amazing books!
  • The Wells Brothers. Dan Wells is the author of the John Cleaver Series (I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER books) and THE PARTIALS Series, which I studied like text books when I was writing my books. And Robison Wells is the author of the critically acclaimed YA thriller VARIANT (among other books), as well as an out-spoken and powerful voice for those with mental illness. Check out this honest and sincere article he wrote about understanding mental disorders. Come buy their amazing books!
  •  Jenn Johansson will also be there. She's the author of the Nightwalker Series, including INSOMNIA and PARANOIA, and her brand-spanking-new release CUT ME FREE which is all kinds of Stephen King-esque. Come buy her amazing books!
  • Everyone who comes will receive a raffle ticket with the chance to win a $20 bookstore gift card and lots of other fun prizes. 
Basically, all these awesome people (who also tend to write frightening stories) will be there, being completely non-frightening. I PROMISE: Everyone is totally normal* in real life, even though we write some scary shiz. (*normal is overrated.)


Friday, January 30, 2015

Finally Friday: What's Going On

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Friday, January 30, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (rainy days, busy days, productive days)
  • __3__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (I'm having a Starbucks addiction lately)
  • __0 hrs  Spent Writing (I haven't been writing much lately...:/)
  • _1__  Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (sweet potato hash with sautéed veggies and poached new fave.)
Lots going on:

  • Killing Ruby Rose (The Ruby Rose Series Book 1) and Resisting Ruby Rose (The Ruby Rose Series Book 2) was included in a special 50 Kindle Book Deals for ONLY $2 Each in the US Kindle Store for the month of January. I probably should have pointed this out sooner, but if you haven't bought one or both of the books, now would be a good time to do so: HERE Two days left to buy at only two bucks.

  • I'm running the Surf City Half Marathon this Super Bowl Sunday in Huntington Beach. Training has been a bit rocky so please send me all the positive vibes you can that I don't get tired, lose my mind, collapse in a pile of sweat and tears, and pick a fight with a little old lady who scoffs at me as she runs by. 

  • I'm doing an awesome event in Salt Lake City on February 10th, at Weller Book Works at Trolley Square with some pretty awesome/famous/infamous authors, including Dan Wells, who wrote the I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER series, which was a huge influence on me when I was writing my Ruby Rose Series. This is going to be the coolest night ever. All my SLC family & friends, please come and I'll kiss all your faces! (Or just hug you, if you are opposed to your face being kissed).

  • Then I'm going on a writing retreat to Park City to sit in a hot tub, work on Ruby Rose 3, sit in a hot tub some more, and then work on some other projects. Followed by hot tubbing.

What's going on with you?


Monday, January 12, 2015

The Sky's The Limit Writing Contest Winners

First of all, a HUGE thanks to all the students, teachers, and schools who participated in this contest. It was an honor for us, SkYAuthors, to read the amazing work of the next generation's writers. You guys are so talented! Thank you for putting yourselves out there. 

From Christina Farley, Jessie Humphries, Lori M. Lee, Meredith McCardle, Rysa Walker, Chuck Wendig (and Ryan Gosling) here's a super sexy slow clap for all of you...

Now, as a refresher, here are the winning categories and prizes:

  • One winning school with the most entries (which will win a pack of thirty (30) Kindle Paperwhites). 
  • One winner for each grade 6-12, which makes 7 total grade winners (who will each receive: One (1) Kindle Paperwhite; One ($20 Amazon Gift Card); and all six (6) of the participating Skyscape’s authors books.
  • Two Overall runners up for all grades (who each win One (1) Kindle Paperwhite; One $20 Amazon Gift Card; and all six (6) of the participating Skyscape’s authors books).
  • One Overall First Place Winner (prizes listed below)

Without further ado, here are the winners:

School With The Most Entries: Northwest Technical And Career Academy
(Which is extra super exciting because a few of us SkYAuthors were able to visit this school!) Way to go, NWTCA students and teachers!

6th grade winnerMia Ottaviano
School: Woodstown Middle School
Teacher/Mentor: Mrs. Collins

7th grade winnerEmmeline Song

School: The Avery Coonley School
Teacher/Mentor: Michelle Schaub 
8th grade winnerJuliana Morell
School: Woodstown Middle School
Teacher/Mentor: Mrs. Jennifer Kelly

9th grade winnerKayla Stuhlmann
School: Basic High School
Teacher/Mentor: Mauseth

10th grade winnerMadison Matthews
School: Panther Creek High School
Teacher/Mentor: Daria Johnson

11th grade winnerKelly Litts
School: St Thomas Aquinas High School
Teacher/Mentor: Amy Schaak

12th grade winnerEmily Espanol
School: Northwest Career and Technical Academy
Teacher/Mentor: Debbie Olsen/Josh Symmonds

Overall Runners Up

Kai Garrison
School: Coronado High School
Teacher/Mentor: Mr. J. Watkins

Emilee Resop
School: Northwest Career and Technical Academy
Teacher/Mentor: Debra Olsen

And for the OVERALL FIRST PLACE WINNER ... drumroll please....

Juliana Gessner
School: Ronald Reagan IB High School
Teacher/Mentor: Ms. Weinfurter
Juliana, come on down...

You have won Two (2) Kindle Fires HDX 
(One for yourself and one for your nominated teacher-mentor, Ms. Weinfurter).  
Also if you choose to complete your story/short story, the SkYAuthors will assist in getting the story published. 

Congratulations, Juliana! Your entry totally blew us away. The odds of you winning this contest were less than .01%...and you did it! This is how...

There were four of us in that dank little cell: the doctor, the nurse, the dead man, and myself. The doctor was etching an escape plan in the dust while the nurse looked on with eyes full of practiced admiration. The dead man sat slumped in the corner, his chains rattling ominously. Beneath us the floor rocked and swayed with the swell of the waves, obeying the commands of the never-ending storm. It had been raining for days now. It was like the sky was trying to drown the ocean, and succeeding.

        “Those nasty brutes may look tough,” said the doctor, his voice hoarse and strained, “but they’re poorly organized, and the storm should’ve worn ‘em out by now. If we could just break that lock--” his plan was interrupted by a bone chilling scream from above deck. There was a frantic scramble of stomping boots, followed by shouts, screams, begs for mercy. The ship rocked back and forth with more force than ever before, throwing us around like rag dolls, until--

        Deathly silence.

        I opened my mouth to speak, but it like my words had been stolen. We waited for a sound, any sound to indicate the survival of the pirates who’d captured us.

        Tick... Tick... Tick... Tick...

        My eyes slid to the watch on the dead mans wrist. Its face was shattered and the minute hand was missing. It was the only clock in the room.

Again, thank you to all who participated and remember, 
The Sky's the Limit!
***All winners must contact Jessie Humphries at jessiehump(at)gmail(dot)com within thirty (30) days, to claim their prize and provide mailing information.***

Monday, January 5, 2015

Killer Monday: 2014, Please Don't Leave Me

Jessie’s Bullets: Cock It and Pull It.

Monday, January 5, 2014
  • __3__ Gratitudes (January sunshine, flip flops in the sand, friends who come to stay)
  • __2__ Units of Caffeinated (or otherwise non-water) Beverages (I love Pero! 5 points to anyone who knows what that is!)
  • __2 hrs  Spent Writing (revising doesn't ever feel as productive as drafting to me :/)
  • _3__  Culinary Delights/Disasters Created With Own Hands (German pancakes, BBQ chicken & steak, feta salad, and Nutella crepes for dessert...yes, it felt like I was in the kitchen most of the day.)
Bummer alert: So I'm actually really sad that 2014 is over. It was so awesome in so many ways that I am having a hard time letting go. 2014 was kind of like a beautiful relationship in high school for me:
  • Landed my first kiss (i.e. published my debut book)
  • Partied like freshman rockstar at Homecoming (i.e. threw a launch party)
  • Rounded to second base (i.e. published the sequel)
  • Partied like a sophomore rockstar at Prom (i.e. threw another launch party)
  • Had a whirlwind romance (i.e. travelled, attended writing conferences, book festivals/signings, etc.)
  • Fell desperately in love (i.e. basked in the glow when my books became Amazon Bestsellers)
And then it all ended before I was ready, before I wanted to let go, before I knew it... (because he ran off with another girl...thanks a lot Josh Hunter!) Anywayz, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, books and stuff...

So excuse me while I reminisce about how great a year 2014 was not only for me, but others around me. 
  • My writing partner Erin Summerill wrote a fabulous YA Fantasy which landed the literary agent of her dreams, Josh Adams of Adams Literary, in 2014. She waited long and worked hard for her moment in the sun and I'm so happy for her. If there's one nugget of gold to be learned from watching her journey to becoming agented, it's that it never hurts to be nice to agents you meet in person. Erin attended writing conferences for years and made friends with dozens of agents, all of whom remembered her. In the end, agents were fighting for the chance to work with her
  • My friend and Mentee from PitchWars, Mara Rutherford, also landed her dream agent, John Cusick of Greenhouse Literary, with her YA Russian Fairytale Retelling. The way this happened is actually miraculous. Through the online PitchWars contest opportunity, she garnered over ten requests and several offers from the participating agents. Although John Cusick wasn't participating in PitchWars this year, I wondered if he'd like to take a peek. (I know John because he is an agent at my literary agency). Here's the miracle part: John majored in Russian Literature in college! And he'd been looking for a Russian story like this for years! Just so freaking ridiculously awesome. 
I know that 2015 will be amazing. It will be full of adventure, fresh ideas, new experiences, and all that crap. But right now, please allow me this break up period with my first love, 2014, who touched me in all the right ways in all the right places. I will always love you 2014.