Feb 3, 2016

Me Before You Trailer Released Today

I have been patiently awaiting this trailer for months.  Oh my gosh, it looks SO good!  I admit, I was a little hesitant about the casting choices (aren't I always?).  For some reason, I just pictured Will to be a little older, but whatever. In this trailer alone, I think Sam Claflin has me convinced.

And is that Brendan Doyle playing Louisa's dad?? Get out I love it.

Did you read this book? (Duh, everyone did)  Are you excited about this movie?? (Yes, you are.)

Which reminds me. I received the sequel After You for Christmas, and it may just be the thing to pull me out of my slump.  Thoughts?

Thanks for reading!

Feb 2, 2016

Reading Rut

I am embarrassed to admit how many books I read in 2015.  It's seriously appalling. I don't know what happened, but that well just ran dry.  I saw this tweet today, courtesy of @BuzzFeedBooks, and it made me feel not-so-alone.

Okay, I'm just going to come out with it and get the hard part over with.  Six. The number of books I read in the entire year of 2015 was SIX.  That's less than one a month.  In fact, most of those were books I couldn't put down and read within a week.  So it's safe to say that I spent the majority of the year NOT reading.

And you might be thinking, Jessica. Go easy on yourself. You've been busy writing books. You can't blame yourself for not having time to read them. And to that, I respond with yes, I do blame myself.  Therein the whole problem lies.  How can I can be so reliant on an industry that I don't even partake in?  It's like being a butcher who doesn't eat meat.

And the truth of the matter is that I miss reading.  I miss falling in love with a book so hard, it digs out a little forever home in my heart.  But I can't expect every book I read to do that. It would really take the fun out of it. So I think I've set my standards too high.  If it doesn't drag me through emotional mud, then I get bored with it and hesitate to pick it back up.  Sad but true.

It goes to say a lot about the six books I did read over the year.

The Foretelling by Amanda Richardson (loved)
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (meh)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (amazing)
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (still good)
And Then You by Amanda Richardson (skipped a night of sleep for)
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover (killed my Kindle's battery with this one)

If I listed the books that I started but didn't finish, it would twice as long.  And if you notice, I started the Throne of Glass series, and loved it, but apparently not enough to finish the trilogy.

Sorry if this blog post was too lament-y.  The truth is that this topic kinda bums me out.  I used to be a voracious reader. I never would admit to reading so few books over the course of a year, but I'm admitting to it now in hopes that it will change soon.  I remember when this slump started and I considered it a phase.  Please let this be over soon.

Have you experienced such a reading drought?
Can you recommend a good book to pull me out of my darkness?

Thanks for reading!

Feb 1, 2016


January was for hibernating. February is for goals.

1. Blog every day in February. Should be easy considering I've posted less than 30 posts in the past year.
2. Write a piece of flash fiction every day in February. Flex them writin' muscles.
3. Edit a chapter per day in the current W-I-P (work in progress).  Currently, that means Fiddler #1 which was last years NaNo project, and that sucker only gets dustier and dustier.
4. Be Baby-Ready by March 1st.  (Baby is due April 9)
5. 30 Query Letters in 30 Days. I'm not exactly query-ready, but I like the idea of melting this iceberg one day at a time.

I am so out of shape when it comes to blogging, tweeting, writing, you name it.  Someone asked me the other day if I was online, and I was just struck dumb.  An old version of myself still exists somewhere online.  But I cannot wholeheartedly answer that I am ON-LINE.  I'm mostly in my car, sitting at my kids' school, in the laundry room, or meandering the depths of Target.  But hopefully, with some serious February goal-getting, I can answer YES. I am ONLINE.

Any other good February challenges out there that I should engage in? 

We have a whole extra day this month. Let's use it wisely.

Dec 4, 2015

The Queen of Normandy - a glimpse

Well, it's official.  For the second year in a row, I won NaNoWriMo! I love that they call it winning, even though it's not competitive. The fact that I completed another novel within a month makes me feel like a winner, so I'm on board.

And since I'm celebrating, I figure it's time to share the project with the world.

The Queen of Normandy {working title} is set in 1955 in a re-imagined, prolonged World War II.  The story revolves around Iris, a seventeen-year-old girl in hiding on the coast of France. One day, Iris finds an injured, Russian soldier in the woods behind her estate and must decide if playing by the rules of war is worth sacrificing her morals to do so.  Before long, Iris discovers that there is more to this soldier than meets the eye, and together, they learn more about war and peace than they ever imagined.  

Want a visual peak at The Queen of Normandy?  Check out my Pinterest board for the project?  It's apocalypse meets WWII.  A touch of dark and light.  War and romance.  Young and old.

               Follow Jessica's board The Queen of Normandy on Pinterest.  

What do you think?

As for future plans on this project, let's just say "get in line."  I'm still working on getting The Hereafter on shelves in 2016 as well as getting The Fiddler ready for editors.  So, I'll keep you updated on the progress on any and all projects.

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

Nov 18, 2015

The Process

It's November, which means I'm writing a novel. Which makes Write or Die's blog prompt perfect this week. They asked: What is your writing process?

Honestly, I hadn't given it much thought. My writing process is a little bit of a mess. I'm not as self-driven as I'd like to be. I'm probably somewhere in the middle, like I'm not totally unmotivated, but I'm also not so disciplined as to write at the same time every day. I wish.

I find that I write best when someone is holding me accountable, ergo NaNoWriMo.  Everyday, I have to update that little word counter and every day it shows me with a little bar graph where my word count is and where it should be.  I do not like to see my bar fall below the line.  If only there were more bar graphs in life.

I also know that I work best in small increments of time. I'd say about 88% of my novel is written in word sprints.  I set little word count goals for each increment of time and I try to attain those goals. This week, my goal was 1k in 30 minutes. I did it no problem. So now, my goal is 1,500 in 30 minutes. Whether or not I reach that goal, I've written a good chunk of a scene. And another one bites the dust.

As for atmosphere, that's where I'm a little inconsistent right now. I have an office, which is also a nursery-in-the-making. The chair doesn't roll on the carpet. My laptop doesn't fit on my desk. The lighting just isn't quite right. All the chi is thrown off. I've tried more coffee shops in El Paso than I've ever thought possible. I haven't found the sweet spot just yet, but it's not like I exactly have the time right now to renovate.

And tunes. I'm one of those weirdos who can't write without tunes. Right now, it's anything circa 1940-1948. The Andrews Sisters, Dinah Shore, Louis Armstrong, Doris Day, you get the gist. That should give you some idea of what I'm working on. In fact, the entire setting of the novel was inspired by 40's Junction on SiriusXM. How weird is that?

And lastly, the writing itself. If I've noticed anything about my process in these last three years, it's that I have little Jessica'isms. Little metaphors, phrases and sayings that just want to pop up in every book I write, no matter how different they all are.  That and first drafts are for story-purging as I call it. There are no poetic prose or deep literary metaphors at this stage.  The writing is pretty stale at this point, and characters are a wee bit flat, but all of that will be ironed out later.  This month is for those foundation 50k that will be dressed up Cinderella-style come January to March.

So, that is my process. Basically.

Now, revision process. That is another topic for another day.

Link up for Write or Die Wednesday here!