What Are You Writing About?

Rare sighting of the species Writer

Rare sighting of the species Writer

So Kait Nolan tagged me to do a blog update on my current work in progress. My first thought, cool! My second thought, that means I have tell people what I’m working on – SCARY!

However, this summer I’ve been challenging myself to get outside my comfort zone. A few examples of progress so far:

-I quit my job of 6 years to save my soul without any back up plan financially.

-I am currently preparing for an upcoming trip with my parents wherein I play tour guide – Bring. It. On.

-Spend more time writing and researching writing things. I am immersing myself in satirical writing, stalking people for writing sprints at the hashtag #wordmongering, I pitched to an agent for the first time, joined up with a local writers group, and now have a writing partner to check in with – or as I call him the Ledge Whisperer. *waves hi to Gene*

Here goes:

1. What is the name of your current WIP?

Oops Baby

2. Ready to do a cover reveal?

Not at all.

3. How many words are you into it?

A little over 33,000.

4. Goal word count by the end of the week?


5. Goal word count for the entire manuscript?

I’m thinking 50-60k would be normal for my genre.

6. What genre does your work in progress fall within?

Non-fiction: A collection of satirical essays.

7. When would you *like* to publish this project?

Before I Die.

8. Go to page 5 of your manuscript and pick a sentence at random to share with us!

My parents picked two days before Thanksgiving as the perfect time for me to get braces, and you can imagine how grateful I felt eating mashed potatoes and jello while everyone else went up for turkey dinner seconds.

9. Will this WIP turn into a series book? 

Um, no. But I have a second and third book planned that do include me and reoccurring characters, so sort of yes.

10. What has been the hardest challenge in working on this WIP?

Knowing some days I only write crap. That, and the fact my family all wants pseudonyms.

11. What has been your favorite part of working on this WIP?

The fact that my family all wants pseudonyms. They’re so funny.

Also, my word sprint crew is amazing! Shout outs to Diana Beebe, Debra Kristi, Tameri Etherton, Laura Irrgang, and Ryan King!

12. Any special treat planned for when you finish the final draft of your WIP?

 Dinner out with my honey sounds nice.

Instead of tagging just three people, I’d love for all of you to share what your WIP status is. Tell me about the book you’re writing or reading! If you’re published, share a link to your book page so we can find you! Let’s make the comments a get to know each other/build that ‘to read pile’ frenzy!

Happy writing and reading, Friends!

51 responses

  1. I feel like I’m holding my lunch tray and walking over to the cool kids table, with no hope of being asked to join them. I have no book, and not even a book idea. I’m in that place where I know I want to write, but know I don’t have a novel in me. It’s a difficult place to be in. But I am greatly looking forward to reading your eventual best seller! 🙂

    1. No worries, Misty. You’re always welcome at my table (which coincidentally was never the cool kids table, but I’m flattered that you think so). I know a fabulous book idea will come to you! With your wit and writing skills, watchout World!

      So tell me what you’re reading right now! And it can’t be the back of a wine bottle! … Ok it can, but put a book next to that too! 😉

  2. My debut dystopian thriller, FIRELANDS, was released last week. It’s at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and iPad. Here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Firelands-ebook/dp/B00D71YOEW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1370869352&sr=8-2&keywords=firelands

    The first Bayard & Holmes spy thriller, Apex Predator: The Leopard of Cairo, will be finished today to be sent to our publisher, Stonehouse Ink. Hoping it will be available in the fall. 🙂

    Thank you for the opportunity to pimp my book. Good luck on Oops Baby. And as far as the days where we feel like we’re writing crap . . . Bob Mayer says just keep writing. When you look back at the finished product, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the stuff you wrote on those days and the stuff you wrote when you felt like you were “on.” I have found this to be true. 🙂

    1. I’m waving pom poms for your book, Piper! So excited to read it! Everyone must go get this book!

      And if Bob’s advice is true, I’m scared. Lol

  3. Which WIP? I just returned from Port Aransas researching one I started during NaNoWriMo, just for the fun of it. It’s another murder mystery called Suffer The Little Children.

    1. Whoops! Didn’t finish! Other WIP, By Her Daughter’s Hands, at 71k+ clings to my leg like a desperate lover. Gotta finish and move on.

      1. Hahaha sounds like a very “gripping” novel, Kim.


        Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Thanks for sharing your writing! Keep at it!

  4. “Before I die.” Hahahahahaha! I think that’s where I am right now. At least you’re writing! 😉

    In case anyone is interested, I have a giveaway at my place today. If you have kids (or you just like applesauce), you might want to come see: http://rasjacobson.com/2013/06/10/what-snacks-can-my-kid-take-to-overnight-camp/

    That’s what I’m writing about these days! 🙂

    1. Woot woot! Free applesauce at Renee’s place! Save some for me when I sneak into your blog on Friday.

  5. Valerie Johnson | Reply

    Can totally relate to “which WIP?” and “Before I die.”
    I have a middle-grade adventure set in the Amazon in its first round of queries with agents and publishers. (Two requests for the full manuscript so far — fingers crossed.) My YA novel (Celtic legend-pagan tribe-meets modern girl) is receiving a deep edit in preparation for indie publication later this year. Nearly time for cover art. I have too many new ideas for my next project — and partial first chapters– to decide what’s next. Maybe I’ll take a break and read FIRELANDS, a new dystopian thriller I heard about.

    1. Valerie that’s awesome! You’re a writing machine! Did you meet the agents you’re submitting to at the Madison conference? I’m crossing my fingers for you!

      And definitely pick up Piper’s book!

  6. Wow, good for you! You go, girl! I had a WIP last summer. Wrote 10,000 words of fiction, then started over and wrote another 10,000 memoir….then started college in the fall and somehow that WIP is now WTWNBF (work that will never be finished). BUT I plan on writing my first screenplay this summer. Maybe I can squeeze in a few words at 5 am most days before the kids wake up?

    1. Ohmygod Darla do I know how that goes! I started 2 other projects before this one. One that I rewrote at least 10x! The second one had 35,000 words before life just got in the way and the story no longer interested me. Good luck on your screenplay! Third times the charm, right? … Yah neither of us are going to count all those rewrites. 😉

      1. Yeah! I do believe this screenplay is going to be the key to endless amounts of money and happiness for me. I just have to start writing it.

        1. I always find delusions of grandeur excellent motivators!

          You’re probably going to win an Oscar with that screenplay. Just promise me you’ll take me as your date. I’ll totally freak if you do, you’ve no idea. I’m a teensy bit obsessed with the Academy Awards. I may go Kathy Griffin at the awards – I will seat hop just to get close to George Clooney. Or Adrien Brody. Or Bradley Cooper. Or Jennifer Lawrence.

  7. Keep it up, Jess! I am currently not writing anything but really should, however, be writing in my journal in order to describe this flooding experience we’re dealing with!! Take care and just keep writing! I recall vividly when I was working on my disssertation my advisor telling me to just write even 15 minutes every day….. 🙂

    1. Dorie you should be writing! An intelligent woman such as yourself with your life experience – you’ve got a story in you!

      Hope you’re getting to relax some at the cabin despite the mess. Wish we were there with you!

      1. Wish you were here, too. We will reshedule for Fall for sure!!

  8. PS – I am anxious to hear your take on Full Moon…..

  9. My new release is Collateral Casualties, and I just now discovered its got another great review. Yay!! http://www.amazon.com/COLLATERAL-CASUALTIES-Huntington-mystery-ebook/dp/B00D3AMM3W/ Not that I’m trying to brag. I’m just excited that it’s doing so well. (Reduced intro price thru Weds., in case you’re interested.)

    But I’m even more excited about my current WIP. I am this close to having the first draft done.

    I agree with the just keep writing. Sometimes what I thought was brilliant is crap and what I thought was crap is brilliant. We need some distance from our own work before we can begin to see it clearly.

    1. Congrats on the release Kassandra! And again to being almost done with your next draft. You’ve been busy!

      And I totally agree about needing space from our writing. It gives much more perspective.

  10. Yay, you! Sharing about your work can be scary! I know it has been for me. It’s funny, just the other day my editor/friend said “I think it’s hilarious that you’re such a self possessed person about everything but your writing.” Thankfully she also told me that I have talent and great instincts…LOLOL!

    My current works in progress are shorts. The first one is entitled “Three For All” and the second’s working title is “Four One Night”… Yes, it’s definitely in the ménage/erotic romance family. 🙂

    The first one should be out in the very near future.

    1. Believe your friend!

      And keep writing! Looking forward to the announcement your shorts are out! *he he* That sounds funny.

  11. I’m most impressed that you quit your job in order to follow your dream and concentrate on what’s truly important…without having a safety net. No wonder you want to dress up like Alice and be my maid! Hey, bring it on. I’ll make sure you have plenty of spare time to write. The house is pretty clean most of the time anyway.


    As for my work in progress, I’m barely into chapter two. It’s going to take a while for this book to come together.

    Right now, yeah.

    Over me.

    Oops…got carried away there….

    1. That is a particularly excellent Beatles song. I’ll allow your singing.

  12. Go you! I love your “Before I die” goal. It’s very reasonable. 🙂

    My current (and only) novel out is The Ruth Valley Missing – which is a RONE award finalist. (huzzah!)

    Currently, I’m working on a follow up to that book at the behest of the readers, as well as a YA book and a Women’s Fic. (About 25k, 30k, and 50k into them respectively)


    (And good luck playing tour guide! If your funny family is anything like mine, I have a feeling you’ll have plenty of story fodder when you return.)

    1. Oh yes, there will be stories galore, I’m sure! Amber, your book is in the top “pile” of my kindle to get to! I’m so excited for you and Diana Murdock for your success! Holla! That’s gotta feel so good! You deserve it!

  13. Before I die. That’s my favorite answer. Awesome. 🙂
    My debut is a YA novel, Come Back to Me. I’m in the middle of a round of edits for my next book–also YA. Just got a first glimpse of my cover today–so excited!
    Happy writing, Jess!

    1. Having only daydreamed about my book cover, I’m excited FOR you, Coleen! And your book is already in my queue. So many good books, Not. Enough. Time.

  14. I cannot wait to read this! Thanks for the shout out–I love doing writing sprints with you when my schedule allows it. We have pounded out some huge numbers lately–editing later is going to be fun. 😉

    1. But you know I’ll sing you off the ledge. 😀

      You’re a fabulous #wordmongering partner! Thanks for letting me join you guys at dinner that day. I had a blast!

      1. Dinner was a blast–I’m glad you came with us. That meal was probably one of the highlights of the weekend for me.

        I can’t wait to see what song you come up with next for me. After the week I’m having, I’m going to need lots of encouragement from that ledge. 😉 Also, you only have to mention, “Hee hee!” and I’m good. LOL

  15. Jess, I’m excited you are writing and I’m glad you took that big step into the let’s-see-what-happens-next-and-then-I’ll-deal-with-it side of life. It sounds like you are doing just fine. Where are you going with your parents? You know how I love to hear travel plans and I can just imagine the mountains of new material you will get out of the trip, wherever it is! I’m about two weeks behind in blog reading so I may have missed that info somewhere! My new release, The Promise of Provence, is moving along fine and I’ve begun the follow-up novel … that was totally unexpected by moi, but my readers had news for me!!!

    1. Patricia that’s awesome! My trip is to Boston. Going to take my mom to Plymouth and tour the historic pilgrim sites including our ancestor’s house! I went 2 years ago but mom’s never been. Should be memory making.

  16. Jess, so happy to hear about your book! It’s sounds hilarious and can’t wait to read it! It is scary to reveal what you’re working on. You’re lucky to have Gene in your corner. He’s amazing at being insightful about another persons work. The trip to Boston sound like fun and great material for your book! Wish you could stop here to see me on the way but we will meet one day! Keep your humor fueled with wine and time with family!

    1. I love that wine is involved!

      I miss you terribly and wish I could stop and see you and take you out for some fun!

  17. I love it that you are working so hard for this. Seeing other people excited about their work makes me happy!

    1. Hi Chris! I’ve missed you on twitter. Feel free to join in on any writing sprints with us if you want some cheerleaders. I love our group and you know some of em from DFWcon! I’ll give you a shout out!

  18. Hi Jess…Your answers made me smile 🙂 Lucky you, working with Gene. Although I imagine you’ll learn a lot from each other.

    There are some interesting projects going on in this list! I’m an author of Speculative Fiction & Urban Fantasy BOOK 1: Finding Esta – http://amzn.to/Y2pg4W. I’m presently writing BOOK 2: Finding Luna (details of which can be found here: http://bit.ly/13BdBPE)

    At my blog I feature authors & discuss publishing, books, and my writing so if anyone would like to get their projects highlighted or has something related to writing/publishing to post about, I have a special meme 😀


    1. Great projects Shah! And I love that you’re looking to promote others on your blog!

      I think Gene and I should record our phone calls cause he sounds like Barry White and I sound like an elf. Lol

  19. […] about hilarious things that happen in her life / gets other people to write about them too, and Jess Witkins who jams on culture and has some pretty thoughtful stuff. They’re both definitely IPAs, along […]

  20. I am not writing a book because I am a total, lazy coward. I so admire your determination. And yet, I kinda hate you. Yes I do.

    1. Well then I have the post to make you feel fantastic! Please direct yourself to my #SoWrong guest post for Renee! Maybe we can be friends afterward…


  21. Jess! That’s great you are focusing on writing. Never a better time than now. I think you’ll be pleased with the decision.

    My WIPs (there are 2) are on hold while I do the startup thing (very very long hours) but I’m sure I’ll be back to them at some point. In the mean time I’ve been focusing on blogging more often and quicker.

    I did just read this book about skateboarding legend Rodney Mullen and it was an easy and really interesting piece – http://www.amazon.com/The-Mutt-Skateboard-Kill-Yourself/dp/0060556196

    1. Yah, I’ve had 2 WIPs before this one, so this is round 3 of a new project that is going really well so far. Past the 40k mark and that feels good.

      Hope the start up project goes well and then calms for a bit so you can get back to writing. But blogging is a great way to stay active so I dig your plan.

      Question for you from your blog: Why do you think Millenials are misunderstood? I’m curious because I have a funny theory about it. Are you a millenial? I am but I don’t really fit. I’m an oops baby and that turned me into more of an X’er. *shrug*

      1. Yeah it sounds like you are really jamming it out. That’s great, momentum is huge.

        I’m curious about your theory…..I’m an ’84 so technically I am a millennial but I don’t really fit the model either. What bothers me is we are often portrayed as an entire group as vapid airheads, with no conscience. As if other generations didn’t have the same type of thing.

        1. Ok, I’m an ’85, but yah my parents are really old. I know about things I shouldn’t know about. And I love black and white movies.

          You wanna hear my theory? Ok, you asked. This came about my job one day when a bunch of us managers were talking about how we had the hardest time coaching our millenial team members, even though a lot of us were millenials ourselves. They just seemed to demand everything and want it NOW whether it was possible or not. I asked a question amongst the group and they all concurred. We’ll see what you say. We were spanked as kids. These newer millenials were not. You just can’t do it anymore. But we all got butts whacked by books, belts, and my mom’s fave – the wooden spoon. We knew what consequences were behind losing your cellphone for a day. LOL

          That’s just my theory. This is not a PSA for spanking or child abuse. Please save your hate mail for someone more important, like the Pope.

          1. I come from a similar place as you, making my dad angry was not a good idea. I’ll have to roll that around in my head and see what comes back, that’s an interesting theory.

            1. Well, if you start up a research group, I’ll gladly volunteer.

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