Blunt Talk: Late Night Pondering

There is something very sexy and alluring about a smiling man wearing a suit in a black and white photo. Not a color photo, that’s just nice, maybe even a bit boring. Black and white, and suddenly you have a breath taking battle. Dramatic slices of light battling against the forever strong shadow. Perhaps it’s the contrast. The blatant truth of light and dark. It’s intriguing, it’s alluring, and hot damn it’s sexy!

Red Sparrow: An Upfront Book Review

I don’t often review or give my opinion on books that I am reading, or poems I find moving but I do feel that I read enough to start doing this for you…my lovely readers ­čÖé Not so much to rant about my opinion, though I might if something really pinches a nerve in my system. More because I want to share when I find things that move me, when I find amazing artwork in the manipulation of words that I can’t help but share them.

Right now I am listening to (because I live in Los Angeles and listening to books is the only way I can “read” when trying to manage the traffic and the hum of city life) Red Sparrow because I’m one of those people that detest seeing a movie before I read the book. I feel as though there are few…and I mean very few….movies that outshine the book. I can discuss that another day.

I am listening to Red Sparrow, written by Jason Matthews read by Jeremy Bobb. I have to say, Jeremy’s voice leaves a lot to be desired in terms of engagement, but the more I listen to him the more his tone matches the mood of the story. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, his voice succinctly matches the stark straight line of the implication of danger within this book. It reminds me of the serious moments in The Iron Druid Chronicles (another book series I am in love with). Luke Daniels’s (I have such a crush on his voice!) voice would hit this lower octave that just screamed danger and intrigue. Red Sparrow has danger and intrigue in spades.

I’m not sure how Jennifer Lawrence will play out this role, or if she will fill the shoes of the character┬áDominika Egorova, but I am excited to see how she pulls it off. I am a lover of Jennifer Lawrence ever since Winter’s Bone. Yes, I do believe she was a little flat and uninteresting in The Hunger Games but let’s be honest, so was Katniss in the book. If you have little to work with (Bella Swan….amirite?!) then I would say there is little to do to make it a moving work of art.

Red Sparrow has my ear, and I won’t lie, it’s quite dense and yet easy to listen to. I was in the store listening to Chapter three while I was in the self check out line and I caught myself standing there like an idiot as Matthews wove an intricate ladder of importance within the Russian intelligence agency. Names and positions flew like crazy and then I realized I had been standing there for three minutes without moving and the woman in line behind me buying shampoo was shooting sparks of annoyance in my direction. The story and the set up of Red Sparrow is great, but wait until you get into the meat of the story.

This is a good one, and I’m not even done with the book yet! If you had any questions on if you should read this, the best note is that I am 7 chapters in and needing to tell you that this is MOST DEFINITELY a book to read before you see the movie. I have a sneaking suspicion that like most dense novels, a lot of the opening and elegance of creation of the characters will be obliterated in the movie to get to good stuff. I don’t really care, I want to see this on the big screen to see the beautiful execution of this intense mystery thriller.

I have to say also, that this isn’t my typical go to genre for a good read, but I couldn’t help myself. I did fall in love with the Jason Bourne series and ever since then I have found a good spy mystery thriller to be the type of adventure that is right up my ally.


This book is indeed quite dense and incredibly described. There are so many details about the CIA, the Russian secret service, all linked and tied together in a jumbled mess of who knows what and who will be caught. It’s a slow burn, but a good one. I highly recommend this book when you have serious attention to give. It’s not a great one for random reading. I found I’d forget where I was at times and had to reread if I was slightly distracted. Also the Russian names are a bit hard to follow (then again I am listening to this audio book, so that makes a difference). Overall this is a great spy thriller, and the end is a great wrap up of the details.

I Need More Time

I have to say that if there is one thing I am struggling with the most right now is finding enough time. I have a very intense schedule, though I am sure it could get worse, I am absolutely struggling with it right now. Here are the things I am TRYING to complete within my week:

  • Meal prep for the week
  • Working out 5 days a week
  • Work – about 50 hours per week on average
  • Dinner prep at night with my husband
  • 1 night / week with my girl to get her caught up on West World and Game of thrones
  • Writing book 2 of my book series
  • Sending a query to literary agents 3x per week
  • sleep
  • quality time with my husband
  • quality time with my kids
  • quality time with my dog
  • cleaning the house
  • every day hygiene
  • friends time to ensure I maintain good friendships

That is a good amount to fit into a week. And I manage to for the most part but there are times that I feel absolutely exhausted by the end of the week. There are additional things that shove into my time and demand my attention. It feels impossible at times.

Right now I think that there is a limit for balance. I am trying to balance sleep/ working out and meal prep/ quality people time/ work. Which makes me frustrated when I want to work on my book or engage readers on my blog.┬á I am trying to just make more time….which for the most part means less sleep. And I LOVE sleep.

I am in a tunnel and there is no extra space to push more into my day. Does anyone else have this problem? I feel like I am absolutely struggling with everything.

Outside of the sad face moment here, St. Patrick’s Day yesterday was AMAZING! And I think I might have had more food last night that the last two thanksgivings. I am so not joking. This was just the beginning to the evening. Yes that is Lucky Charm pie, and yes it was so worth the 2 hours it took me to make. YUMMY!

Did anyone else have an incredible St Patrick’s Day?!


How the heck do I write a synopsis!?

Last night I spent pretty much….all night working on my synopsis. It was one of those nights where I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it perfect but I needed to get it done. This is a great exercise even if it doesn’t get me the agent.

I started with a 1,300 word synopsis and wanted to cry thinking, “How am I going to get this down to 700 words?!” It was 10pm, I had to wake up at 7am. I had 10 hours to complete this. Ha! That’s hilarious, because I am one of those that needs SLEEP!

sleeping anna

By 1 am I was at 698 words. I couldn’t believe it. I have a synopsis. Is this the final synopsis, no probably not. But I am making progress and that is what counts right now. Tomorrow I am going to be sending my manuscript and synopsis to the agent and will cross my fingers that I will hear back from her.

Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Either way, this has been a very exciting moment in my my writing life. One I will never forget, one that will keep me going!

Now….perhaps I should stop making changes to the edit. Hehehe….

A Positive Query AND Pie…how did I get so lucky!?

I’m going to start this post with a happy dance and a major high five.



Peeps of the blogging world, I FINALLY HAD AN AGENT ASK TO READ MY MANUSCRIPT! None of that: thanks but no thanks. And not a single word of: I’m just not looking for your content at this time. I got a LEGIT positive request to read my manuscript.

I can’t believe it!!! Now there is no saying she will like it, I mean she could get halfway through it and think, “well crap, this is not at all what I want to work on right now.” But you know what, I don’t even care. I am so over the moon that I have a solid query and someone responded to it.

I do have to send a shout out to John Fox for posting the list of literary agents looking for new work, and my friend Shirley for forwarding me his blog with this list of names.

I won’t stop here though, I have 9 other agents to query. I won’t stop until I land an agent. I won’t stop until I succeed!

And now pie……


I Just Can’t Stop Adding To It!

I realize the saying “An artists work is never done, the project is only every abandoned,” because in truth I feel that my first manuscript isn’t completed. Not that it isn’t polished, and in my personal opinion, damn close to being done. It’s more that I keep thinking, “But I could add this, and it would make it better!”

After re-listening to Game of Thrones on audio book, and having just finished reading The Gender Games, I am realizing that I do indeed have more to say in my first book. I have more world to build and more details to impart to the readers. I have heard several times from several different people, “Stop it Jess, you have written a good book. You need to move on to book 2!” And I have, so I can officially tell those people to shut it. Ha!

But….I am still tweaking and working on adding more into book 1. I can’t help it! There is just…more to say.

Having said all of this, I will admit that I have started writing a new chapter. And as much as it’s a bit difficult to work in I do really believe that it will be worth the effort to add in some additional “world building” scenes.

Now, all of THAT being said I also just submitted my work to 5 more agents. I feel like I am playing a game of time. I will keep writing, tinkering, and reworking until an agent says, “Yes, I want it!” And then…and only then, will I hand over book 1 and truly start this whole process over again on book 2.

Dear lord above, the old gods and the new….please let book 2 be easier than book 1.

In the mean time, I have realized that I do indeed have a grumpy puppy. Look at this face!