A ROWdate: What Exactly Have I Accomplished?

Hello ROWers!  Can it be another week has flown by already?!

Well, my ROW goals are as always, ongoing.  But after returning from vacation, I had one busy week to dive back into.  Sadly, no writing got done.  That’s the big focus for this week and I have the next two days off to get crackin’!

Here’s what I have accomplished!

I’m on track with my reading, completing 2 books so far this month!  Hope to get a third, maybe fourth as well. 

I recently finished reading NYTBS author Karen Abbott’s newest book, American Rose:  A Nation Laid Bare, The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee.  Some of you remember that Karen did an interview with me, and I must say, this book is just as great as the last one!  WOW!  I had no idea Gypsy’s story was so sordid and full of survival at the same time.

I also finished Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close, a debut novel for the author.  This book was my “I’m in a lot of weddings this summer, someone please commiserate with me!” pick.  Interestingly written.  Not how I expected it to be, but still kept my attention.  It’s as much dating sagas of the girls as it is the weddings they attend.

I did support my fellow ROWers and writers all around!

Tried to catch up on many of the blogs I missed while on vacation.  Cheered some of you on!  But also came across this post by Jenny Hansen of More Cowbell.  Jenny admitted that she, and her writing, were suffering from grief.  While she’s working on her memoir, many emotions surrounding her difficult pregnancy came flooding back.  Her post was one of great vulnerability and honesty, and I truly appreciate her sharing with us so that so many other writers had a place to speak their feelings and know we’re not alone.  She gave that gift to me in this post.  Jenny, thank you.

There is lots of love to go around, check it out!

Drumroll Please:  I successfully officiated the wedding of my best friend!

Photo courtesy Kelly Ottesen Photography

Well, she came out crying, so she totally set me off right at the beginning!  Dang you, Catherine!  But, I regained composure and it was a beautiful ceremony that demonstrated their love for one another the whole day through.  Both Cat and Aaron’s family invited me in as one of them and it was a full day’s celebration with delectable food, games, and even horseback rides!

Congrats to my best friend and her new husband!  So happy for you guys!

Other News and Announcements!

I’m so excited to share with you all now the two new adventures I’ll be taking on!  Many of you know and read about the end of The Life List Club, co-founded by myself and the talented Marcia Richards.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to maintain enough contributing writers with everyone’s crazy schedules, so for now we put that blog to rest.  But Marcia and I are busy bodies to the core and couldn’t dream of not hanging out together!  Seriously, we’d be heartbroken.

Sooo, after some fun brainstorming sessions, I’m pleased to announce that Marcia and I will be starting up a monthly column, so to speak, called The Redhots!  It’ll be news, reviews, and interviews coming at you live from two of your favorite redheads! 😉  You can see Marcia’s intro to it here, and I promise to get mine up and running tomorrow!  We’ll be kicking off our column on August 31st with a review of Fifty Shades of Grey!

And that’s not all…

While on vacation, I was contacted by the lovely Jennifer Lyn King and Nina Badzin to be a contributing writer for a hot new blog called Great New Books.  We’re actually starting up an online book club!  We’re discussing one book – which you the readers vote for – for a whole month!  We’ll have discussion questions, interviews, and giveaways and are always looking for your recommendations.  All the books we read will be published within the last year, so we’re going to give you the scoop on what’s new that you just have to get!

Ok, that’s all folks!  How is your week going?  Hope you got more writing done than I!  Have a fabulous weekend!

23 responses

  1. Wow, Jess! An online book club, that’s awesome! I can’t wait to go there and read the recommendations! So, looking forward to our RedHots – News, Reviews and Interviews, too! Happy writing over the next couple of days!

    1. Don’t forget, Miss Marcia, you can read along with us too!

      Hey, tomorrow I’m off and will be sending you some ideas for our future reviews. Feel free to the same if you’ve thought of some! And I’ll get my Redhots pages up and be available to chat if you need me.

      My promise: My butt. In the coffee shop. Writing.

      1. Awesome, Jess! I have a busy few days the rest of this week, but I’ll squeak in time to chat with you. 🙂

  2. Hello Jess!

    First, I must tell you that you’re totally precious! I so enjoy reading your writings. Your youth and drive and spirit are a breath of fresh air and I do so love reading about your adventures and about your ideas and what you are doing. Your experiences remind me of some of the things I did as a younger woman and it is fun to relive them through you. It is also a joy to watch your creative process as it differs from mine, which is half the fun right there.

    I am truly proud to have made your acquaintance and look forward to following and vicariously participating in your adventures. I had to laugh about the reading the books. I’m reading a John Grisham thing called “The Summons,” which is actually quite good. I read more for style these days, I guess. I read everything in sight as a kid. Everything from Harlan Ellison to (don’t laugh) Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, James Thurber, Peter Blatty before age 15; not exactly age-appropriate and with parental blessings, if you can believe that. Egad. Imagine that happening now. The dear ‘rents would go to prison for child abuse. Just kidding.

    Anyway, take care, dear Jess on your ramblings and I’ll be around in the cyber-hood.

    Yours always,


    1. What a lovely comment! You’ve made my morning, Mary! Thank you.

      I didn’t even blush at the books you read. In middle school I had a wonderful english teacher who pushed us to read difficult literature and I read many of those titles too. I still remember doing a book report on Double Indemnity…at Catholic school! 😉

      Pleasure to meet you!

  3. SO sad to hear about the end of the Life List Club…I just loved it. I know the RedHots will be fabulous and I can’t wait.

    I LOVE that wedding photo. All of it – you…the layout…the joy shining from their faces. It’s wonderful, Jess. I’m so glad you posted it.

    And thank you so much for the shout out to my grief blog. I’ve been bowled over by the comments to that post – I’m still answering them! The entire process has comforted me immensely. 🙂

    1. You and so many others, Jenny. Thank you again for your courage in posting it. I know it’s not easy to throw yourself out there, but because of it, you’ve made a difference in my life and in so many others. We know we’re not alone! Thank you!

      And yes, that photo is gorgeous. The groom’s amazing sister, Kelly, is a photographer. Her work is awesome!

  4. Excited about all of your new ventures–especially our joint one! 😉

    1. I love your new blog look! Planning on inspecting it further when I’m done with work!

  5. It’s great that you read a book about Gypsy Rose Lee. I actually referenced her in the book I just wrote. Hope you can get in a lot of writing soon!

    1. You did? I’m assuming this is in your historical mystery and not the YA book! lol

      You’d love this one. She led a fascinating life!

  6. Wow, came here via ROW80, and found some truly red hot news. Can’t wait to stalk you around the web.

    1. LOL. Should I be worried your name is Hunter?

      Look forward to chatting with you all over the web!

  7. wow so much great stuff going on! I need to get back into ROW 80- I’ve been loafing about for a while now, time to get back to work.

    1. The more the merrier, Alica! Hope we see you soon!

  8. How amazing that you got to officiate at your best friend’s wedding. Such a wonderful memory to have. Great reading achievements and the writing will come.
    Have a good week. x

    1. It was a spectacular honor and a gorgeous day! Thanks Laura!

  9. Karen McFarland | Reply

    That’s all Jess? Well, I think you’ve been pretty busy.
    I took a look at some of your previous posts, that I missed, sorry. 😦 But what a wonderful trip you had through the Dakotas. Thanks for sharing those beautiful pics. And what a touching photograph of you and the happy couple. Weddings are so amazing. It sounds like you have a lot of irons in the fire Jess. You’re a busy girl. So glad I could finally pop in here and say hello. I wish you success with your future endeavors! See you soon! 🙂

    1. Karen, thank you for the lovely thoughts and well wishes! You don’t have to tell me that are too many WANAs and ROWers and not enough time! I appreciate your visit and kind words. I had a wonderful time away and delightful celebration with my best friend. Her new sister in law is a fabulous photographer! And Cat never takes a bad picture anyway – she’s awful like that! 😉

  10. I love your enthusiasm for all these different blog projects. Keep the momentum going! And congrats on a successful officiation.

    Oh, cool…”officiation” is a word!

    1. Like I said, if you and Tara need a minister…

  11. Love the wedding photo! It’s a wonderful candid shot so full of joy and love that the feelings simply spring from the picture.
    I am SO looking forward to you and Marcia delivering your redhot thoughts and your online book club is a super idea.

    1. Both projects came about as something I’d love to do anyway. Marcia and I wanted to keep working together and right before Jennifer contacted me I spent the day thinking I should read more current releases. Great New Books is all new releases! I really am excited about these projects.

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