Tag Archives: Mark My Words

The Writers’ Bandwagon, RSVP Regrets Only

It’s time for the ultimate mash-up, in the truest sense of the word.  I’ve met so many wonderful writers and bloggers on my Happiness Project journey and I wanted to show my vast love and appreciation for each of you.  They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so in the following post, might I recommend how we can each collaborate together to create a superpower of literary merit.  Let the mash-ups begin!

Example of a literary mash-up.

This whole blogging/writing quest I’m on began with the simple click to a Freshly Pressed blog by Kristen Lamb.  Kristen blogs about social media, author platforms, writing tips, procrastination pixies, and twitter.  Her best selling book, We Are Not Alone, is essentially her years of hard work and love of writing all combined to help make YOU a better writer, and maybe a PUBLISHED writer!  I do not claim to have the writing chops that Kristen does, so my mash-up suggestion to her is that she re-publish her book and call it We Are Not Alone:  Kristen’s Watching; she could add in hundreds, probably thousands of quotes and comments by her readers on how they’re progressing in their writing and editing endeavors only to feel her experienced eyes drawing flies on their pages and pulling that lever on their office chair to make them bump way down and have to start over.  Sounds like a great boot camp right?  And then when you complete her book and your own writing piece, she will appear before you in a sparkly pink dress and tell you that you’ve earned the right to now call your blog Fairy Rainbow Glitter Dreams if you really want to.

Margaret Reyes Dempsey is another published author I know.  Her book, The Benefector, is already quite a suspenseful read, but I know she too has toyed with the idea of a re-write/re-publish version in which The Benefactor is actually a champion wrestler.  Since I’m convinced that Madge (my nickname for her) and I are roommates in a parallel world, I too needed a wrestling name.  I decided on Pain Austen (instead of “Jane” Austen, get it?)  I would like to go on the record as saying The Benefactor vs. Pain Austen would be a gripping read.  Chapter after chapter of roommate wrestlers arguing over the proper way to brew tea, the exact amount of days one may go before changing into clean pajamas, and how much meat (or meat product in theory) is too much for a toddler going on twenty-something?

Writing from Portland, Oregon, my friend Mark details life as a freelance writer.  Always keeping me up to date on Portland quirks and never failing to bring a laugh, I think we have a lot in common.  My suggestion for a mash-up would be Tales from the Pacific Midwest:  From Farmland to Freelance.  It’s the story of two struggling writers who have to overcome regional obstacles like cheese factories at every off road stop and hippy bicyclists demanding strangers to recycle.  Upon completion of the book, you get a mail in rebate for one Voodoo Donut and one glass of milk from a happy Wisconsin cow!

Shhh!  Be quiet, we’re about to intrude on my pal, Hack, from over at The Hack Novelist.  He’s editing.  He needs to focus.  My simple mash-up would be The Happiness Hack Novel Project where two writers ignore everyone and drink their usual coffees (Eh-hem, Hack will have a regular black coffee with dash of cinnamon/world peace in it, and I’d like a green tea latte).  Page after page of fantastic, caffeinated ideas will emit themselves in this book, which may never get finished, but when we die, we’ll have a whole folder of material you can read at our funerals, and subsequent memorials, scholarship fund banquets, and inaugural addresses because we’re kind of a big deal, duh!

My final mash-up for today would be to work with Charles from Mostly Bright Ideas.  I’m incessantly envious over his ability to tell stories.  I would want a job as his assistant or a mini byline in one of his books:  Jess Witkins, Extraordinary Reader.  We could potentially co-author a book called Double Stuff Oreos for the Author’s Soul, in which we each chronicle the sometimes absurd, sometimes genuine moments of our family histories.  He could write about the time he begged to help his dad hose off the driveway and ended up spraying water all over his father, and I could write about the time my dad left me for dead in a snowbank.  Happy times, you know?  Good ol’ published nostalgia!

So that concludes this week’s Writer Wannabe Mash-up!  Send all query letters to Jess Witkins, 1111 Daydreamer Drive, Wishful Thinking, WI. I’ll have to limit my projects to five a week, but sit tight, there’s more to come!

Who are the authors/bloggers you are inspired by?  I’m sure I’ve missed many and I always love a new read!  Happy writing!

Style Tips from the Happiness Project

Surely this day would never come.  Me, get a stylish blogger award?  And it happened without me having to bargain for it!  I mean no one was trapped under something heavy, or starving, or having an allergic reaction, or unable to zip their pants on their own!  It just happened!  Woohoo!  I always new I was stylish!

My Mrs. Peacock costume on Halloween. We dressed up as characters from the boardgame Clue.

So how did this eighth wonder of the world occur?  It’s all thanks to Mckenzie at the Unabridged Girl.  Always so supportive and genuine, her blog is like checking in with your bff to see what’s up.  She shares her struggles, so you ask if you can buy her some chocolate, when she is consumed with sweets, she writes flash fiction, shares writing quirks, and tales of friendship.  Thanks Mckenzie, it’s always fun to read your blog!

If I am understanding this blogger award thing correctly, it’s the new century’s popular way of sending a chain letter, right?  Only I don’t have to pay any money to a cause that helps gorillas in a zoo or buy girl scout cookies.  I can handle that.  I do have to share with you some tidbits you might not know about me though.  I’ll try to make them interesting.

  1. I think croutons are a perfectly acceptable snack.
  2. The sun hates me.  I literally break out into hives if I don’t wear SPF 80.  Although once, it happened in my childhood bedroom, and the only light on was a nightlight.  Nature vs. Jess vs. Nurture?
  3. I loved the french film, Amelie, so much when I saw it, I rewound it (dvds weren’t out yet), and watched it all over again immediately.
  4. I love graveyards and walk through them as much as possible.  On occasion, I’ve been known to tamper with some graves, but I swear it’s always respectfully.  I think graveyards are full of stories.

Last summer in the cemetery attached to Boston Common. I can't help myself, I love creepin' in the crypts!

5.  I’m more beatnik than hippy someone told me.  I’m quite liberal, I believe in being environmentally friendly, I am pro-diversity, I like to write and listen to music.  But, I’m more content with a cup of coffee in my hand than a joint.  🙂

6.  In high school, my favorite musician was Tori Amos and I have all her albums!  One year for my birthday, my best friends decorated my locker with the lyrics from Raspberry Swirl.  They rock!  If interested, my new favorite singer is Serena Ryder, she’s pretty rocker!

7.  Audio books have become my new favorite way to multi-task.  I listen to them while I get ready in the morning or drive home sometimes.  I find them especially wonderful when reading a book centered around a different culture or country.  I like hearing a native speaker read it aloud, I can appreciate the voice of the characters more this way.

And now, to award the Stylish Blogger Award to some of my favorite bloggers:

Stylish Blogger Award

Mark My Words: Mark is my go to guy for a laugh and a Portland, OR fix.  If you love to laugh or love Portland and miss it like I do, you will get along well with Mark.

Mostly Bright Ideas: Charles is my role model wannabee.  He writes eloquent, succinct prose and makes it look so easy I want to slap him, but I won’t because his writing is too damn good.  Suck it, Charles!  You’re amazing!

Conjuring My Muse: Margaret Reyes Dempsey is my roommate in a parallel life.  So Madge, (I’m nicknaming you), it’s your turn to buy the TP!

Whenquiet’s Blog: Living my dream life in France and writing beautiful, moving poetry, she knows how to instill peace in her readers.  I always find beauty in her blog.

Happy reading and writing!

And the Oscar for Best Writer Goes to…

Welcome to the 83rd Academy Awards!  If you missed the second most watched television event of the year, here are the highlights!

The hosts, James Franco, staring off into space, and Anne Hathaway, giggling so much and trying to be slapstick though no one appreciated it.

Melissa Leo wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in "The Fighter" and curses on stage in her enthusiasm!

Presenter Kirk Douglas takes his sweet time on stage hitting on Anne Hathaway and Melissa Leo, who coincidentally walked off stage with his cane, while he walked with his hand holding her very "tightly".

Colin Firth made every woman's dream come true by winning the Best Actor role in the same film that took Best Picture, The King's Speech!

The food I made for my Oscar Party! Cucumber stuffed cherry tomatoes, bacon wrapped apricots with smoky honey barbecue, and a wine marinated antipasto platter!

I wish you could read this napkin better. It says, "Dinner is Poured."

The day went by very quickly, as did my whole weekend.  Amidst the rushed grocery shopping, dish cleaning, counter wiping, gift assembling, and cooking *whew* I was able to completely restart my story, beginning the book in a totally different place and adding more dialogue.  Woohoo!  I read the first page to my mom and best friend and asked for feedback on whether or not it hooked them.  Generally, they both really liked it, but did give me one place I could embellish the relationship between characters more intensely and that was appreciated.  So that gives me exactly one hour after work tonight to madly edit the first page, print it out, and mail it in to the writing contest at the Writers Institute conference I’ll be attending in April.  Nothing like a little deadline madness to tell your procrastination pixies to buzz off!  If they’re flying around your work space, please take time to check out Kristen Lamb’s Blog, she has helped me immensely with realistic goal setting, hooking your reader, and gives FREE advice on what to watch for in your story that may make an editor pass on your project.

Since I’m still in a celebrating mood from my Oscar party, “Cheers to Writing Weekends!” that also involve your BFF making asparagus soup, squash risotto with gorgonzola, and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and your BF helping chop blocks of cheese and doing the dishes!  Yay!

Monday  Mash-up:

I actually had some time to get back into reading blogs by you wonderful fellow writers!  Here are my favorites from the past week!

Jillian sparked up a great debate on the mash-up of classic literature with sci-fi themes.  What do you think about this new wave of publications?  Check out her post, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer Seriously?

Discovered through Freshly Pressed, C C Lester, had a great post on the times she argued over whether she was a writer, or an author, or neither at all.  In the end, it was having a loyal reader that meant the most to her, but she’s certainly struck a chord with many of us so check out her post, So am I an Author Yet?

Wendy Matheson just kicked off Women’s History Month for me in her entertaining post, Strength, Thy Name is Woman! It details many inventions that are often accredited to men, but were actually made by women.

For your laughing pleasure, The Hack Novelist writes a letter to the guy holding a conference call in a crowded Starbucks cafe’.  I think he eloquently pens what we would all be thinking.  8 Pages and the Conference Call

I’ve also been following the very funny Mark, from Mark My Words as he battles the unemployment offices, takes on the world of freelance writing, and has to fire his maid and buy clothes at a second hand store.  Well… you’ll see.  Champagne Wishes on a Sparkling Water Budget

Happy writing and reading, friends!  Tell me about your weekends!  What writing goals did you accomplish?  If you found some great blogs this week, what are they?  I’d love to cheer you on and check out the posts you love!

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