Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fun Quotes

You know how I love quotes. Here are a few that make me think so I thought I'd share. These authors are alive and well, and selling books!

For me, television can be a big distraction, so I get out of the house to write. There's no tv at the coffee shop and I feel like, if I'm going to spend the $$ on something as frivolous as a Black Thai Latte Fusion, then I'd better have something productive to show for it. ~Erica Vetsch

Real voice should be like a road with some curves and potholes. ~Charles Gramlich

Never, ever, let someone outside of your world derail your dreams. ~J.T. Ellison

I advise all new authors to listen to their gut, and focus on their dreams. ~J.T. Ellison

I've been to college. I've worked in the cutthroat corporate world. I've been in a war. Nothing could have prepared me for the publishing business. ~D.B. Grady

Aspiring writers have got to go out there and meet people, because the personal connection trumps the cold query every single time. ~D.B. Grady

But if you notice something unusual that brings comfort or meaning to your life, why question it? ~Amy Yelin

And from my daughter who is faithfully doing the Insanity workout:

I exercise until I drip with sweat. That better be pounds I smell! ~Chaney Ferguson

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Progress--It Ain't All Good

The Internet is one of life’s most amazing perks. I can sit all day and browse newspapers from every state and country. For some odd reason, I’ve always loved reading obits. Really good ones are detailed tributes to the life of the deceased.  Did you know there’s even a club for obit writers? I used to be a member until they started charging dues.  And that brings me to this:

I just read in The New York Times that some of the independent bookstores are starting to charge to meet the author. They’re taking this approach because they’re being squeezed by the competition—Internet  retailers like Amazon. You can read the article HERE:  Be sure to read the comments too, and think about it. As an author, you might feel slapped in the face if no one paid to attend your signing. As a fan, you might get a little ticked if you shell out ten bucks to hear a reading, have to stand the entire hour and don’t even have a visual of the author. I can understand why independent stores feel the need to give this a try, but I don’t like it. At the same time, I feel a little guilty that I visit book stores and key titles into my phone. I want to get them for free from PaperBackSwap or cheaper from Amazon. Please tell me you’re as guilty as I am. Of course, I purchase new books too, and support brick and mortar stores--just not as much as in earlier years. These days, I’m a little more careful in how I spend hubby’s hard earned money.
On the other side of the country, visiting The Los Angeles Times, the following headline screamed at me: Spam is Clogging Amazon’s Kindle. Spam? How’s that happening. According to the article, thousands of e-books are being published and they just aren’t book worthy. The article is worth reading. Go HERE.

Progress is great. Progress is also a curse—in its own way. Sometimes I yearn to go back to the flashlight under the covers with my Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys books.  I hope I don’t read an obit telling me that free author readings and signings are dead. That would actually bring tears to my eyes.
How about you? Got any news to share?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I’ve been reflecting today. 
Today I remembered the woman who told me, “Out of all the writers I know, I thought you would be the one to make it.” A backhanded compliment or a blatant put-down? I guess whatever I want it to be.
I remembered the woman who looked at my Silhouette Romance and said, “You mean they have book signings for those kinds of books?” We romance writers put up with a lot.

I remembered the organization that turned me down for a volunteer position because they wanted someone who was more involved in mentoring and encouraging other writers. My writer friends and I had a good laugh. They know how busy I stay doing just that. I guess the lesson here is to loudly toot my own horn though I'd rather not. A nicer way of putting it is--have a platform. :-)

Many of my writer friends/critique partners have gone on to grab multi-book contracts. I’ve been thrilled for them. I’ve critiqued them, brainstormed and encouraged, and promoted them to the best of my ability. I’ve wanted them to succeed, prayed for them to make wise choices and achieve their dreams as if they were my own children. Today, after so many years of multi-book contracts, some of them are retiring from writing because they want to finally settle down to enjoy holidays with their families—with no deadlines.
Thinking back on the good, the bad and the inconsiderate, I’m amazed at how full and satisfying my writing life has been. And believe me, my writing life definitely spills over into my personal life. I told my husband the other day that I’m so content, I can hardly stand myself. I have everything I want. A good, supportive husband who encourages me in everything I choose to try—even though he discouraged my getting a private detective’s license! A beautiful creative daughter who is always laughing and happy. A handsome stepson who calls just to talk to me! How blessed can one gal be?

 Sure, there are a lot of things I still want to do: sell another book, continue to freelance and teach, go back to Boston and spend a month, become an agent, paint a picture, become an editor, own a publishing company, write and sell a bunch of ebooks, own a cabin on the beach, publish a chapbook of poems, find a lost child . . .  become a detective!
But even if I never do any of those things, I have to say: Any more good God chooses to give me will be akin to chocolate sprinkles in a cup of fat-free, cake-batter yogurt from Swirll.

Now share some things you'd like to do.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


My friend Sylvia over at Writing in Wonderland tagged me and because I have so much to do and need a break, I'm going to answer her questions. So ... procrastination time!
1)      Do you think you’re hot?

Do you mean do I think I’m HOT or do I think I’m a HOTTIE? Well, duh!
2)      Upload a pic or wallpaper you’re using at the time.

Here’s a pic of my beautiful daughter. She’s always been my inspiration. Along with her hero dad, of course.
3)      When was the last time you ate chicken meat?

Been quite a while. My daughter read the book Eating Animals by  Jonathan Safran Foer and shared info with us. For the past month we’ve all been vegetarians.

4)      The song you listened to recently?
Last night I listened to Gravity by John Mayer. Love it.

5)      What were you thinking as you were doing this task?

Thank God, A blog post!

6)      Do you have nicknames? What are they?

Jess or Jessy/Jessie.  Another day and time, friends called me John Boy because of my writing and love for The Waltons. A crazy guy used to call me Fresca but don’t ask me why. And a friend from high school called me Roachie; my maiden name is Roach. Oh, yeah, I loved that one.

7)      Tag 8 bloggers.

Well, I can't bring myself to do this. Kinda reminds me of those pass-along things that tell me I’m gonna get rich or have bad luck if I do or don’t.  Or pyramid schemes. Or chain letters. If anyone wants to be tagged, just feel free. Love you all!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Short Fiction

Go to THIS LINK and listen to Vonnegut and King discuss short fiction. Then take a look at the guidelines for submitting your own short fiction. Best Fiction: A Journal of Short Stories accepts stories from 1,500 to 7,500 words and pays a small honorarium. Best part--they nominate for the Pushcart Prize! In my mind, that beats an honorarium any day. So ... is your short fiction good enough? Submit and find out.

On another note: The winning blog, for the CFBA Blog Tour Spotlight last month, featuring a review of Over The Edge by Brandilyn Collilns:

Jess at Praise, Prayers and Observations

Yep, that would be me. I appreciate the promo. Click on the link above or scroll down to read my brief review.