Blog

Let’s work together! Apply by February 15, 2019 for spring coaching session.

2019 feels full of potential and unexpected surprises, just like that book you’ve been working on. Now’s the time to polish your manuscript and build your writing support system. You can do both in my spring coaching session. The session runs March 15th-July 15th and includes: One full developmental edit One query letter critique A one-on-one phone call Four months personalized coaching Weekly guidance Resources about the “nuts & bolts” of the industry Critique Partner Matching If you want help …

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I’m Going to Pavlov Dog the Crap Out of this Meditation Stuff

When I saw MEDITATION on the daily schedule at my writers’ retreat my first thought was: that hippy crap will never work for me. My brain runs one-million miles per hour with no exit ramps or stop signs. There is no way in hell I’d be able to sit and chant “ohm” for an hour a day without obsessing about how stupid ohm-ing was.  Luckily my judgy-brain continued down the one-billion mile per hour trail and flew by a reminder …

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100 Rejections. Let’s Celebrate.

I wrote this in 2016, when I was deep in the querying trenches trying to find the perfect agent. My work with YA4YA has me thinking a lot about that period of my life, because I’m trying to figure out the best way to mentor the authors I’ve decided to work with. I can’t say I’m nostalgic for querying.  I never want to have to go back to it, but there is something to be learned from all that rejection. …

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FREE writers conference Nov 1-4 at the Jo. Co. KS Library & I’m Presenting!

In October of 2015, I took the opening pages of The Color Eater to The Johnson County Library. The library was hosting an entirely free writers’ conference, and one of the sessions involved group critiques of your work. Those critiques helped me fine tune the opening scene, the scene I sent in to Kneerim & Williams, the scene which led my agent to request for the full Color Eater manuscript, the scene that made my agent fall in love with …

Read MoreFREE writers conference Nov 1-4 at the Jo. Co. KS Library & I’m Presenting!

I’m so excited to be a mentor for 2018’s YA4YA project!

Writing is hard. Publishing is a whole different kind of hard. Doing them both at the same time can feel pretty impossible, especially if you haven’t yet found your writer community. But, once you find your writer friends, writing and publishing feels a lot more possible, and sometimes exciting, and occasionally it will even be super fun. Kansas City has a crazy supportive writer scene, and I was lucky to fall into a pool of writers right at the start …

Read MoreI’m so excited to be a mentor for 2018’s YA4YA project!

A Jessica real-talk type interview on the Lit KC podcast with Jason Preu

Not going to lie, Jason Preu is one of my all time favorite writers. The fact he happens to live in my same town, and I’m lucky enough to call him a friend is mind blowing. He’s the only poet on earth that I religiously read. He also happens to be the host of the Lit KC podcast. He’s done interviews with loads of Kansas City talent including: Samantha Slupski, Jason Ryberg, Adam “Bucho” Rodenberger, Jeanette Powers, James P. McNamara, …

Read MoreA Jessica real-talk type interview on the Lit KC podcast with Jason Preu

Life on Deadline

For me, the key to quality work on deadline is remove all decisions except the one’s that pertain to my scenes and characters. No real life decisions. No phone calls. No appointments outside the house. All of these things improve the likelihood of a successful day. My ground rules: 1) Recognize and appreciate the time away from the keyboard is just as important as the time in front of it. Took me a long time to learn this one, and …

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LitUP

It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m volunteering at a teen literary conference. I’m sitting at the book sales table talking to my new BFF, who’s name I can’t remember. The night before, she had asked about my shoes, “Were they comfortable when you got them?” In the midst of the very classy mixer, surrounded by very important people of all types, I delivered one of the most emphatic, “No”s of my life. “Oh good. I just got a pair and…” …

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It’s Time for the LitUp Festival-Saturday 5/12/2018

Join me May 12th, 2018 at the Mid-Continent Public Library’s LitUp Festival. This all-day literary event was designed with teens in mind. I love when young fans get direct access to the creative minds that inspire them, and that’s exactly how MCPL set up the day. Teens are staffing the event and interviewing all of the panelists. MCPL’s done a phenomenal job putting together panels that include bestselling authors, screenwriters, poets, and illustrators. I’m fan-girling hard about the night’s keynote …

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The List

•    Narrate an audio book. •    Travel to a foreign country on book tour. •    Receive unsolicited fan art. In 5th grade Owen has already accomplished something I aspire to do in my career. He created something that positively impacted another human. He helped me achieve one of my life-long goals by sending me my first, completely unsolicited, piece of fan art.  Owen created something based on his personal experience of an author coming to talk to his class, he …

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