10 Writing Tips I Wish I Would Have Known: Volume 2

So I said I was going to re-cap what I’ve learned this year in my little writing world. I have done that and listed is as a Volume 2 for my 10 Writing Tips I Wish I Would Have Known. (If you’re looking for Volume 1, I have it right here!)

1. End a writing session and KNOW what is going to happen next.


I used to wrap up my writing sessions by ending a scene. I would then be stuck on where the story was going next so what did I do? I stopped writing. Ugh, do you know how hard it is to go back into your next writing session without knowing where the story is going? Try stopping in the middle of a scene where you know what will be happening next. It makes starting up again easier. Continue reading

Top 10 Reads of 2013

So I know I’ve been absent from posting on my blog. I admit it and I accept the punishment of barely any traffic. I’m on the cusp of finishing up my FIRST DRAFT of my FIRST full length novel EVER. So yeah, I’ve been busy doing other things. You know, the things I TALK about doing on my blog posts.

Anyway, I promise January will be more active. If you missed it, I will be reading the Harry Potter series for the FIRST TIME starting in January. I’ll be posting my thoughts and reactions to one book in the series per month, so if you haven’t read them either or are up for a re-read, join me! I also will be posting about my final drafting and querying journey here and at YAStands for my bi-weekly post there, so if you are in the same boat or interested in seeing how I take this rough first draft to the finish line and (maybe, hopefully, possibly??) snag an agent, then stay tuned for those!

To get back into my blog skills, I wanted to cover my top reads of 2013. This doesn’t mean the books were all published in 2013, only that I read them during this time.  Also, they are in no particular order. Without further ado, here we go! Continue reading

An Open Letter to Vicki Leigh: A Great Critique Partner and Dear Friend

Dear Vicki,

I’m so happy for your success in finding others who love your stories as much as I do. Signing with an agent is only the beginning of your writing journey and I’m ecstatic to come along with you for the ride.

When I first started to really get serious about writing, I didn’t know what a critique partner was or the difference between a pantser vs plotter or what plot points even were. All I knew was I had these fake people running around in my head that wouldn’t shut up until I started telling their stories. As naive as I was, I caught onto the importance of having these so-called CPs, so I went on a hunt for them via Google search. You were one of the first people I timidly emailed asking if you might want to exchange some writing and give feedback. I was beyond excited when you replied and said you’d love to.

I had written a lot of “beginnings” of novels before meeting you but I was in awe of working with someone who had actually completed a WHOLE book. I know you have since shelved the idea for the time being, but it was encouraging to see another writer with a completed manuscript who just moved onto the next idea, never looking back, always looking out to the future and the other stories you had to tell.

As you know, I am still struggling through completing my first manuscript and some days, I just want to give up. I think of all the thousands of writers out there, many who are better than me, many who have more time than me, many who have more experiences than me…and I wonder if I’m wasting my time. But it is friends like you who continually encourage me that keep my faith and hope going that one day I can share my stories with others and that they might love them too.

It’s a crazy thing we do as writers…pouring out our hopes and fears and beliefs into stories and characters and issues that take us months, sometimes years, to complete. Most days are a struggle, we get little recognition, and rejection is more common than success. But having a CP – and a friend – like you makes the struggle worthwhile. To know that someone else believes in your work as much (maybe sometimes even more) than you do makes it kind of impossible to quit.

So I raise my virtual glass of champagne to you today. May you never lose sight of the amazing writer you are and the great friend you have become to me. Congratulations!!!

With love (and lots of happy flailing),

– Jessica


Late to the Game: A Confession You Will Not Believe Is True

it seems I’m usually out of the loop when it comes to big series that everyone’s always talking about. Well, let me take that back. I’m not out of the loop per say, I just haven’t read them yet. Here’s my problem. If I start a book knowing it’s a series and then finish it and think it’s the most fan-freaking-tastic book ever …and then I have to wait a YEAR for the next installment? That’s a recipe for a major book hangover. So here we are with the LAST book of the DIVERGENT series being release (ALLEGIANT), and I haven’t read one word in the series yet. BUT, I have purchased the first book on my Kindle and if it turns out to rock my world, I can gobble up the next two with no hesitation! See how nice that is? But still, I do feel like I’m sitting all alone in the lunchroom while everyone else SQUEES over ALLEGIANT being out.

But now for my real confession …where I talk about series that I haven’t read yet that pretty much everyone and their mother (and their grandmother) has read but me, only one makes me cringe at my own delay.

The Harry Potter series. *waits for you to spit out your tea onto your screen and then curse loudly while you clean it up and rant about how it’s impossible I haven’t read that series yet* Continue reading


Hello friends! I have a special cover reveal for you today! This is for book #2 in the Boring Life series by my very good friend and co-blogger at The Writer Diaries, Jen Naumann. It is a YA Paranormal (including zombies if you didn’t get the memo) due out November 2013!! Jen designs her book covers herself, and let me tell you it is gorgeously zombified!!! Plus, Jen is giving away FIVE copies of the first book in the series (THE DAY ZOMBIES RUINED MY PERFECTLY BORING LIFE) so you can get acquainted with the series if you haven’t heard of it! Before we get to that prettified cover and giveaway though, here is a sneak peak on what THE TIME ZOMBIES BECAME THE LEAST OF MY WORRIES is about!


Ever since the zombie virus hit Emma’s irritatingly boring Midwestern hometown, she’s been on the run with her old best friend-turned-boyfriend Finn. On their journey, they’ve witnessed some pretty disgusting deaths, narrowly escaped life-threatening escapades that sometimes included one of their own pulling a gun on them numerous times, and redefined the definition of what makes up a family (as it turns out, soldiers and geeks can be pretty decent). They’ve even learned the disturbing truth behind the mysterious virus. But after Emma was bit by one of the infected trying to save her neighbor boy, she was told she would not have long to live.

In the thrilling sequel to The Day Zombies Ruined My Perfectly Boring Life, Finn will help to tell the story as Emma and the gang are faced with the most crucial life-changing decisions yet. They’ll come across an unfortunate group of rednecks, discover the truth of what happened to Finn’s federal agent mother, and finally see a chance at truly being safe without having to run anymore. But in the middle of it all, Emma and Finn’s relationship will soar to completely uncomfortable levels when Finn takes things one step too far. And between being injected with an unknown liquid, taking on a completely unexpected (and really agitating alliance), and being left for dead by those she loves most, Emma will realize that zombies are the least of her worries.

Continue reading

Book Review: SHADOWLARK by Meagan Spooner

By Meagan Spooner
Published Oct. 1, 2013 by Carolrhoda Lab
336 Pages
I have been intrigued with the SKYLARK series for awhile now but, alas, never picked it up until recently. You know how it goes. You see a book that seems to have a sweet concept and the author sounds awesome and everything points to a great read but …life gets in the way or you want to read books more aligned with what you’re own writing or ….you get the picture. That’s what happened with this series. I have been wanting to read it for a long time but the stars never aligned…until I scored a Digital Reader’s Copy from NetGalley of SHADOWLARK, the second book in the series. Then I was like CRAP, I need to read the first one FIRST.So I read SKYLARK in, like, a day and was ready to GO. Continue reading

Emerging Strong From a Writing Hiatus

You don’t need to tell me that I’ve been pretty absent from writing on this blog. Trust me, I definitely know! Between keeping up with my writing group blogs The Writer Diaries and YA Stands, sometimes I don’t really have much else to say (or the time to say it).

But I want to get back into writing on this personal blog  because that’s what it is. It’s personal. I don’t have any specific “types” of post I have to put up here, I’m not required to do it because of a commitment I made to a group. It’s just me sharing my journey all alone here on my personal blog.

To catch you all up on what’s been going on in my writing, it might take a few posts of complaining and crying and shouting for joy and then crying again. It’s been kind of a roller-coaster over here. Basically, this: Continue reading

Celebrate the Small Things Hop

vik - small things 2I’m here and ready to Celebrate the Small Things! If you are new to this blog hop, all you have to do is sign up on the linky below if you want to join! If you already have, then go around to each blog that signed up and congratulate or just say YAY to everyone and their accomplishments for this week! (Full instructions at our host Vikki’s post here!)

Continue reading

Celebrate the Small Things Hop

vik - small things 2I’m here and ready to Celebrate the Small Things! If you are new to this blog hop, all you have to do is sign up on the linky below if you want to join! If you already have, then go around to each blog that signed up and congratulate or just say YAY to everyone and their accomplishments for this week! (Full instructions at our host Vikki’s post here!)

Continue reading

Cover Reveal for KINETIC by S.K. Anthony

Hello friends! I have a special cover reveal for you today! This is for the debut novel KINETIC by my very good friend S.K. Anthony. It is an NA Urban Fantasy and it is due to be released in September 2013!!! The awesome Mae I Design & Photography did the cover and let me tell you, it is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! Before we get to that prettified cover, here is a sneak peak on what KINETIC is about!


Being strong is one thing. Being an unlimited source of power is quite another.

 Genetically altered by the Organization, Annie Fox takes down criminals CIA-style with her luminary strength. With nothing to mend but her broken heart, she is relentlessly pursued by her boss Derek Lake. Just when Annie is about to give him a chance, her ex-husband unexpectedly comes out of hiding. 

A wanted man, Nick Logan is a cold-hearted murderer who is considered enemy number one, and orders are clear: kill on contact. He is more powerful than ever and threatens the lives of those she holds most dear. His plan? Get his hands on Annie and use her Kinetic energy to destroy them all. When Annie finds herself with an opportunity to end him, she pauses, horrified by the scars covering the face she once loved. A split second that will cost her everything… Continue reading