The VRW Awards Luncheon

13437205_505607996290794_2014791379_n(1)Guys, I got invited to a tea party.

A real life tea party!

The Virginia Romance Writers throw a luncheon for the Finalists of the HOLT and the Fool For Love contest every year. My novel The Seductress made the finals! It’s the first event of this type  close enough for me to make, so  I was ecstatic.

 

13398640_1573136029656913_1584713122_nI got to dress up, eat amazing food, and listen to some really great advice from Cynthia Holt Johnson and Carolyn Greene.  I had the pleasure of sitting at their table during this event, and I am so glad I got to know them.

Cynthia is full of bubbly energy. She radiates an enigmatic aura, and has a style that simply defines her. Her impressive history with the RWA includes a seat on the national RWA board of Directors and several terms as the President of the Virginia Romance Writers . She is working on a book set in the same area of Florida I was born in. I am  looking forward to it’s release.

Carolyn is so kind and insightful. Conversation with her is a treat. She is a two time HOLT winner, a Rita finalist, and has published multiple romance novels with several publishers, including Harlequin.

These amazing women are best friends, the kind that makes other girls envious, and both of them gave me advice I hope to live by- Be Audacious!

Thank you ladies. I plan to be.

My first audacious move is to brag about myself. I know, I know, it sounds so bad doesn’t it? But I am going to be a go-getter, so here it goes.

The Seductress won the Fools For Love Paranormal Division!

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I am so grateful and flabbergasted my novel was awarded first place. Thank you to the VRW for putting on this event, and to the women who organize the contest. You are appreciated, and the party was excellent!

I was fortunate enough to receive a full manuscript request, which lit a fire under my little butt to get this novel polished up and completed. I can’t wait to see where The Seductress goes. No matter where it ends up I plan to make the ride quite enjoyable.

Congratulations to all the other winners of the 2016 Fools for Love Contest and Holt Medallion! You guys are incredible!

Until next time,

jessica grace kelleyt signature

 

Fool For Love Winner Logo

 

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The Publishing Industry is Subjective

If you are a writer who’s ever pitched a novel, or simply googled insight into the publishing industry, chances are you’ve heard this before.

I know I’ve heard it. I’ve experienced it. I’ve even accepted it. But it wasn’t until this past week I truly understood it. The following experience gave me a different view on those words.

About a month ago, I was given the opportunity to judge the first round of a writing contest. It was a simple “answer these questions, see if you qualify, and you can judge” sort of thing, but I was still looking forward to it. I couldn’t wait to see what the contest process was like from the other side! I opened the entries with excitement, read through them, made notes, and instantly attached to a certain story.  A week later I reread my samples, focusing on the technicalities and quality of writing. I carefully considered, tried to provide helpful feedback, and sent my judged files back to the contest coordinator with a sense of satisfaction. My judgments were fair. Every score I gave could be justified (at least by me!).

But here’s the crazy thing-

I didn’t give my favorite story the highest score.

Why? Because technically, it wasn’t the best. The highest scoring story flowed better. The sample was flawless. There were no mistakes, no awkward phrasing, and no grammatical errors (that I picked up on). It was simply  well written.

However, something about the second ranking sample spoke to me. The characters grabbed me, and the story drew me in. I wanted to read it.

What’s really puzzling is if I were to summarize the story lines, the highest ranking book had a better plot. More happened. It moved at a quick pace. But there was something about the second place book I loved. I don’t know what it was. I can’t explain it. It simply connected with me.

As I ponder this experience  I’m blasted with an understanding I thought I previously grasped, but obviously didn’t.

The love of a book is subjective.859697

My judging experience opened
my eyes to a new side of things. I’ll probably need to reread this post in the future to remind myself, but I finally understand. If  I were an agent, I wouldn’t have requested a full for an arguably well written book, simply because it didn’t speak to me.

This taught me how important it is to find people who connect with your work.  If my writing is good, and I constantly strive to improve my craft, eventually I will find the right people to help me get my book out there. A big part of success is commitment.

At least, that’s what I tell myself. jessica grace kelleyt signature

Until then, I’ll keep writing

 

 

 

Poetry and Lyrics, Loot


 

 

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If I was a little bit younger I’d know what to say.

Because children don’t know what they’re risking, they don’t know what’s brave.

They’ve never felt the blade, so they don’t know the knife.

But you taught me quick what a cut was. You taught me to hide.

 

I can’t believe I am letting this happen again.

You opened up hell’s doorway and I walked right in.

I’d like to say I was innocent, but that’s not the truth.

I knew exactly what I wanted, and I wanted you.

 

So why am I shocked to be standing here, covered in cuts?

Promises from your dirty mouth never really meant much.

Honestly, I wanted proof I could steal your loot back.

That innocent girl’s shiny heart  with no chips and no cracks.

 

This time, as  I watch you go, I don’t hit my knees.

I don’t beg to the sky. I stand up, and  I turn to leave.

Maybe I’ll never get back those young, innocent eyes,

But I’d rather be scarred as I am, than a child who’s blind.

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Copyright 2014 Jessica Kelley

Poetry and Lyrics, Grey Light

Take a shot of whiskey just to kiss your precious troubles behindshot of whiskey

Take a breath and count to death and last a little longer this time.

Oh, it’ll drain you of every drop you find.

Mercy is begging to the reaper to steal its time.

 

Take a crack and give it woman-1152610__180back and then pretend you’re falling in line.

Take the day and let if fade and kill that little piece of your mind

Oh, it will haunt you as you fake your sleep.

Darkness is friends with the lovers that you try to keep.

 

Silently darkness is chasing the daylght breaking

Ashes to ashes, the firelight falls to decay

Burgundy hands can’t wash all these remnants away

Grey light breaks through the black night and covers the pain.

I’ll Close My Eyes

Found a way around the Hanging Tree

Cover up your colors,the hanging tree poem

Cover up your past.

Leaving you behind was the hardest thing.

I’ll never tell you,

You’ll never ask.

Burn it down, that’s what was said to me,

But hope is a bird

So fragile she flies.

That’s the part of us escaping me.

A prayer for the better

Riding voices of lies.

But you’ve got a draw that always was a magnet

to this hard heart made of steel and stone.

I’m nothing more than broken little pieces

and needles can’t sew through these bones.

Footsteps echo as I walk along

Telling me you’re following,shadow hallway

Telling me you’re here.

Conscious thought says not to look behind,

Hearts are always traitors

Hearts are too sincere.

Sun is rising through these tattered halls

Throwing down your shadow

Whispering the truth.

Racing toward that next falling night.

I can outrun anything,

Anything but you.

I know the sun is safer for a reason,

But light still shines into your little cracks.

I see skin and I want to taste it,

So now I need my shadows back.

Lies can be stronger if you feed them

Hearts can be silenced if lies will eat them.closed eye

But I can’t hand over my tattered little ties

Locked onto parts of you that never died.

So I’ll close my eyes, I’ll shut my mouth,

and pretend this all away.