Category Archives: Auth: Jessie Smith
Attendees at the recent Historical Romance Retreat felt like they stepped back in time, thanks to efforts by amazing Historical Romance Authors. They brought their A Game with their attention to detail and creativity. Here are some of my favorite items to inspire other authors to do more than just bookmarks to attract readers.
Delilah and Renee were the hosts and they set the tone with amazing swag throughout the entire event but their best items were distributed at the Low Tea. Delilah gifted everyone with antique green brooches while Renee created Victorian stretches and turned them into a coloring book. They were unique gifts that perfectly reflected their author branding.
Elizabeth Essex and Erica Monroe gave a presentation called “Revisiting the Lost Art of the Billet-Doux” where attendees got the opportunity to write with a quill and ink. Now every time I see Elizabeth’s matchbox, it will bring back happy memories from my first experience with a quill.
Fans dream of being able to share a moment with one of their favorite authors. I couldn’t believe that it happened to me at HRR with the amazing Jade Lee. She is a triple winner: her books are great, her personality sparkles and I will never toss away her swag item, the Jade necklace.
Victoria Vane is just as talented as a dressmaker as she is an author. Many attendees had an original Victoria Vane outfit and many others are saving their pennies to get one of her outfits. She was able to market both of her careers with her hair pins.
Even the male attendees received their own special bag of goodies. I especially loved the boxing note card and aspirin to promote Tim Ruzicki’s Pugilism course.
I loved it all. Everything was different and highlighted each author’s brand. Virginia Heath came from England and brought us some jam. Gina Danna has a history degree and provided everyone with the unique item of a sewing wax. I’m keeping it all.
What was the result of all this great swag and positive interactions with Historical Romance authors? I bought as many books as my luggage could carry back home!
Stay is marketed as a cozy love story and a cute dog. Don’t fall for it.
Reading this story almost gave my mother a PTSD episode as it reminded her of all the craziness of our first few months together. She was able to bury these memories because everything eventually worked out and now I’m just a grumpy old man who doesn’t even bother to bark at the mailman anymore. So I loved this book because it reminded me of my first few months here when I became King of the Castle after defeating the Night’s Watch and overthrowing her two cats. Unlike Joe, my mother was completely sober when she adopted me from a group that they told her that I was housebroken and got along with cats. They lied.
But they aren’t the only liars around here. See that cute dog on the cover? When the dog, Joe, is introduced in the story, they say he’s about 90 pounds. Does that dog on the cover look 90 pounds? This is such false advertisement. My mother tried to explain that authors don’t have much say over the book covers and it’s all about marketing. I must not be the only one who complained because later versions of the book cover have a size appropriate dog.
That’s not my only complaint. Joe cost $6,000. Was his collar made out of gold? With $6,000 you could sponsor the adoption fees for every single dog at the Wigglin’ Home Boxer Rescue and still have enough money left over for a lifetime of greenies. Buy rescues. We are worth it.
If Stay is the one word that sums up Savannah and Joe’s life together, then the word for my mother and I is Go. As in go away, go get me another greenie, and go get me another dog book to review.
For bringing back such happy memories of when I first moved in and took over my mother’s life, this book earns the full 5 greenies:
I’m Riley. In pleasant company, my mother refers to me as feisty and independent. In closer circles, there is talk about a Napoleon complex. A select few have called me by my spirit animal, Cujo. But at the end of all her stories, she concludes that she loves her grumpy old man, which is me. I’m a mix of many magnificent species includes Tibetan Spaniel, Corgi and Pomeranian. My mom says that I’m about 11 years old, which is an ironic lie. She has created this space to celebrate her actual 40th birthday but she refuses to admit that I’m probably about 13 years old. I recently had a horrible eye injury which reminded her that I’m the greatest thing that has ever happened to her and she rewarded me with 24/7 greenies. Thus, we have decided to celebrate me (and her 40th birthday) but creating a month long blog series, called Riley’s Reviews as a fundraiser to help my fellow creatures while they are waiting for their personal staff (aka forever homes). But we all know in our hearts that we are doing this so I can get a stage to become a very big deal within a small group of people.
How this will work: My mom is a sucker for stories with animals on the covers so I will post reviews about some of her favorite books by sharing some doggie perspectives to enlighten readers. You are welcome to just visit this blog to adore me and enjoy my canine commentary. Or if you are so inclined, you can celebrate Jessie’s 40th Birthday, by making a donation to one of these wonderful organizations:
- Oregon Humane Society
- Wigglin’ Home Boxer Rescue (Please mention that this is a birthday gift to me so I can send you a thank you. This rescue is run by my friend and I follow each dog’s journey on their facebook page.)
Please come back during the month of September to find out what other books I have strong opinions about because I am strong and I am opinionated.
All the Janes from See Jane Publish recently attended Rose City Romance Writer’s annual Writing Conference. This year the presenters were Allyson Longueria, Farrah Rochon, Amy Liz Talley, and Cecilia Tan and we decided that each of us would write about our lessons learned from each class. It’s my privilege to share with you my admiration for Farrah Rochon and our mutual love for Sticky Notes.
Farrah’s presentation was called “For Serious Plotters Only: How to go from an idea to a fully-developed plot before you ever type Chapter One”. As a reminder, there are generally three types of writers:
Pantsers: People who write by “the seat of their pants”. They don’t outline their stories. They feel like if they know where the story is going, it’s not fun to write it.
Plotters: People who like to plot out their story before they begin to write their story. They enjoy the security of knowing exactly where their story is headed on the pages.
Both: People who do a little of both methods. They do some plotting to jumpstart their stories but leave gaps for creative inspiration.
The way people write their stories is part of their own personal process and there isn’t a specific method that works for all types of writers but there are some universal tips to help train your brain to bring out your best story. In Farrah’s presentation, we learned about the power of post-it notes. With my Type A personality, I was immediately drawn to the idea of color coding my thoughts to double check that my storyline and character arcs were fully developed and left nothing unresolved for the readers.
Farrah walked everyone through her process of taking an science project tri-fold heavy-duty poster board, which would naturally break-up the white space into 3 sections and create chapters with two different color notes, one for the heroine and one for the hero. This gave her an overall view of her story and allowed her to make sure both characters were active participants in their happily ever after. I had seen this process before and it was within my writing comfort zone.
My ah-ha moment was her other example. When she was under a tight deadline, she did the opposite process. After she wrote the story, she used the post-it process to make sure she covered all her bases. She went beyond a two color system and even used different shapes to cover certain subplots and additional characters.
The post-it note plotting process can be used to create your story and then validate that authors included all the necessary elements. I love plotting stories and the fact that I can do it twice made my heart happy. Of course, there is a danger is that I will spend too much time plotting and not enough time actual writing but for now, I am having the time of my life covering my wall like a television detective trying to solve a homicide.
Now for those who are still following me down the rabbit hole, there is a whole new level of plotting for the extremists. Did you know that there is actual dry erase paint? You can paint an entire wall with a material that will allow you to write from base to ceiling with dry erase markers. I feel like I have found my summer home improvement project. If you have already done this to a wall, please share your experiences with us.
Breaking News: We interrupt your day with a very special announcement from Monster Girl and Sammy…
The 2016 RWA Rita and Golden Heart nominations have just been announced and it’s with great pleasure that Jamie Brazil and I announce that our fellow Janes, Jessa Slade and Asa Maria Bradley are RITA Finalists!
Asa’s book, Viking Warrior Rising, has been nominated for best Paranormal Romance AND Best First Book!
Must Love Chainmail by Angela Quarles has been nominated for best Paranomal Romance with Jessa recognized as the book’s editor.
The RITA is the highest award of distinction in romance fiction. It’s the equivalent of the Oscars for romance authors. Winners will be announced at the 2016 RWA convention in San Diego on July 16th during the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony. I’m going to to be in the audience during the awards ceremony, cheering for these two amazingly talented women that I am lucky to call my friends.
Please join Sammy and Monster Girl in celebrating their mothers’ professional writing achievement!