Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jenni James

I don't know why I have to say her full name. Probably because she has such a cool sounding full name. You can't just say Jenni. You have to say Jenni James. Kind of like Denny Crane (okay for those of you who have never seen Boston Legal that makes no sense). Anyway, back to Jenni James. This girl has more energy and passion for life than anyone I know. She has 6 kids and also finds the time to write like a mad woman. She had the awesome/brilliant idea to re-write all the Jane Austen books for teens. And let me tell you, she's done a great job of it. I've had the opportunity to read all of her books (wow, I really get around, don't I?) and they are so wonderful. In fact, if you want to read one of her books, go to (it's free) and you can read her hilariously funny Northanger Affect. It's her modernized, teenified version of Northanger Abbey. Authonomy is a pretty cool site for authors actually. Look around while you're there.

She's also co-authored a fun middle grade book with me (yes, that was a genius idea too) and written a beautifully touching middle grade book about a girl's search for God.

Jenni James is also an amazing artist. She paints beautiful portraits. And in case you are wondering, yes, I am extremely jealous of all these people who have so many talents.

This girl is like her own party. Whenever she's around there is so much energy. And not only that, she is extremely giving. She likes to share her zest for life with everyone around her. She truly wants to see others succeed.

A few tidbits about Jenni James: *Her calves are amazingly muscular. Strongest calves I've ever seen. *She has super cavity fighting saliva and has no problem sharing it. *She can sing like nobody's business (that's a good thing) *She used to direct children's plays and it shows in her writing (I can always visualize her scenes). *She is one of the most observant people I know.

You're awesome Jenni James and I'm glad we're friends. :)

Jenn Johansson, you're next. This is very fun for me.

Friday, July 24, 2009


You know how people say that there are only like twenty ideas in the world and writers are just regurgitating the same ideas in new ways? (I know, gross imagery there) I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but I want you to meet the girl who has no need for regurgitation. Natalie. She constantly amazes me with the unique and different ideas that come out of her brain. I’m seriously jealous.

She is a Young Adult Fantasy writer who not only comes up with interesting ideas, but usually writes them into full length novels in about a month. She’s my never-ending source of entertainment. Yes, you should be upset if you don’t get to beta for her and I am laughing smugly that I do.

So we’ve already established she’s a genius, but she is also an amazing artist. I even got the privilege of having her draw one of my main characters. She generally does a sketch a week and posts them every Saturday on her site. They’re awesome.

She is one of the hardest working writers I know. She has been working with a certain agent (who has obviously seen her genius) for a while now and everything he throws at her she handles with grace and determination.

I love this girl. She is sweet, fun, smart, knows what she wants, and I’m glad I’ve gotten to know her over the past nine months. We are very similar in a lot of ways. We're both insanely obsessive about pretty much everything we do. When I talk to her I feel I'm talking to someone who understands me in a way not a lot of people do.

Just a few tidbits about Natalie: *she loves dance dance revolution (and it shows, she’s a hottie) *she drives a car she’s named Red Velvet *she loves the color orange *she’s going to send me the rest of her book immediately *she not only writes about ninjas, but cyborgs too *she’s just plain awesome

Now, to continue on with my posts of embarrassment, Jenni James is on for Monday. Oh, and for those of you who don't know what I'm doing, I'm writing a little bit about what I know or learned about each of the girls I got to spend the weekend with at a retreat.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Candi is my best friend and as promised here is my summary of what I know about her from the retreat (and beyond). First of all, she is in the midst of writing two awesome books right now. She writes YA fantasy and to learn more about her books, visit her site. They are amazing. She writes like she does everything else in her life--with deep thought and purpose. She is very good at balancing all aspects of her life. I admire her for this. She knows how to limit herself so she can enjoy everything she does to the fullest.

Candi is my example. I know if she's doing it then it must be okay because she never wavers from that which she believes is right. Everybody that meets and knows Candi loves her because she is accepting and non-judgmental of everyone.

She is my biggest supporter. When I first started writing, Candi was one of the first people I told. Ever since then, she has never failed in encouragement and support for whatever I'm working on. When I've felt ridiculous for making up stories, she's convinced me that I'm not. When I felt like I wasn't as good as other writers and had no business writing, she's told me not to compare myself to others.

Candi makes me laugh. Sometimes too much and at inappropriate times (like in the middle of church). But I always leave a get together with Candi feeling happier than when I arrived.

I could write pages on Candi, really. I could probably write a whole book. :) But I'll end with: Candi is one of the most giving, selfless people I know. And the fact that she puts up with me should say a whole lot about her. :)

Oh, a few tidbits: *she makes a hot old woman *she rocks out on guitar hero (I will beat her one day) *she burns herself more than anyone I know *she is the best amateur editor ever

You should now all proceed to be appropriately jealous if you don't know this girl.

Tomorrow, watch out Natalie, because you are next.

(Remember when Tuesday I said these girls should all be scared? What's worse than having to read shameless praise about yourself? It's so embarrassing.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Writer's Retreat

Pics courtesy of the talented Michelle

I just got back from the most amazing retreat ever. And if the above picture (the view from the front porch of the cabin we stayed in) doesn't prove it then maybe the one below will.

These are some of the awesome writer's that I have been blogging with and now had the opportunity to meet. From left to right: Michelle, Candi, Jenni, me, Natalie, and Jenn. Aren't they gorgeous? They're amazingly nice and talented as well.

I'm still trying to catch up on my sleep (we stayed up past 3:00 every night) but tomorrow I'm going to go in order from who I met first, and highlight each of them--one a day (yes, they should all be very scared). If you want to see the daily happenings while we were there, head over to Natalie's blog because she's doing such a good job of summarizing that I don't think I need to do it again.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Surprise Endings

I whole heartedly support surprise endings. In fact, if an author can catch me off guard at the end of a book, I am very pleased. What I do not like is "surprise" endings that don't make sense. I recently read a book and when it was over, I was angry. I tried to evaluate why I was angry. I thought, am I angry because my prediction of how it was going to end was wrong? I really didn't think I was that shallow (at least not this time anyway). I came to this conclusion:

Surprise endings where you can say, "OH. That makes total sense" and then you can look back through the book and see everything you missed the first time and feel like you're discovering a whole new plot = good surprise ending.

Surprise endings where you think to yourself, 'Uh, did the author just throw that in so that nobody would be able to guess how her book ended because it makes absolutely no sense and, in fact, is the exact opposite of what the book was building up to and purporting itself to be.' = bad surprise ending.

I won't say the name of the book because I don't want to ruin it for anyone else. But I'm still mad. (oh, in case you read my last last post, it's not Cindy's book.)