Posted in Special Announcement

Tonight is the night! GENRE WARS: Romance vs. Erotica!

Tonight is the night you’ve all been waiting for, GENRE WARS: Romance vs. Erotica! This workshop will be co-hosted by yours truly J. Jobe and Kassandra Klay and you won’t want to miss a moment of it!

Here’s a snippet from the press release:
logoRomance vs. Erotica Writing Workshop
CALS Main Library, 100 Rock St., Little Rock
Thursday, September 28, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Instructors J. Jobe and Kassandra Klay lead this conversation on how the genres differ, surprising traits they have in common, and offer tips on how to construct scenes that will thrill.

And here’s a snippet from the website:
Romance vs. Erotica Writing Workshoplogo
Thursday, September 28 • 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. • Main Library
Find out how the genres differ, what surprising traits they have in common, and how to construct scenes that thrill. Instructors Jobe and Kassandra Klay tell us what’s hot and what’s not. Audience: Adults Only!

Posted in Reviews

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero


You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

It’s especially interesting to go back over my journal from a year ago regarding the lessons in this book and really see a kind of “before” and “after” scenario. Allow me to set the scene for you.

Sincero talks about self-sabotaging stories, the things that you hear yourself thinking and saying over and over.  One of mine was this idea that I wouldn’t be able to find writer friends. I had just graduated from my writing program and it felt scary not to have that safety net, that built-in team of classmates.

Sincero then asks you to look at your self-sabotaging stories and analyze them to figure out what you gain from telling yourself those things.  So, for example, if I tell myself that I’m bad at keeping a daily routine, what I gain from that is the alleviation of the pressure of expectation, responsibility.  If I tell myself (and others) that I’m bad at saving money, then I can keep indulging in the immediate gratification of spending right away, and I don’t have to hold myself to a higher standard.

I decided that the main reason I had a hangup about finding writer friends was not necessarily the fear of rejection of myself (I’m an extrovert and I’ve never had trouble making friends) but the fear of rejection of my work. What if no one understood or valued what I was trying to do with my writing? And I feared being unevenly yoked—I didn’t want to be the best writer in a circle of beginners and feel like the teacher instead of a peer, and I didn’t want to be the worst writer in a circle of really talented, amazing writers and feel like a hack. If I told myself I wouldn’t be able to find the right group then I absolved myself having to try, to risk, looking for them.

Having a clear understanding of what you need and having dismantled the lie you’ve allowed to limit you from getting it, Sincero encourages you to state your wish as fact, and express your gratitude now for these future blessings. In my notebook I wrote, “I believe I will meet the right writer friend or friends for me… who will love and understand my writing and help me make it the best it can be. Thank you, Mother Universe, for providing this abundant gift which I need.”

Now fast forward. Jacob, Karen, and I are all coworkers on the library campus, and we decide to start a writing group. We exchange writing by email and get together to discuss on hour lunch breaks at the library every couple Saturday afternoons, often while one or more of us is working. We successfully meet regularly for several months, then decide to take a summer break and do the July Camp Nano. Meanwhile, Doug and I go out to dinner with a large group of interconnected friends and end up seated next to Remy, who we soon discover is a writer. Doug and I attend a book club and end up seated next to Julie, who we soon discover is a writer. I lead a writing workshop at the art store and soon start chatting with Kim, who is, of course, a writer! The group size has doubled! Julie asks if she can invite her friend Sheryl. Another coworker Shelle says she’d love to jump in once things settle down. Now we’re setting up new schedules based on more people, more writing, more reading, more discussion.

In short, a year ago I was afraid I’d fail to find writing friends and fail to have a writing circle. Just a year later and we have an incredible group of sensitive, enthusiastic, dedicated writers. We care about the work and we care about each other, and I could not be more happy with this amazing writerly family.



Posted in Reading Challenge, Reviews

Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

Now that the secret is out of the bag and you all know I’ve committed to yet another reading challenge, I feel comfortable telling you I’ve just finished book 2 of the Anne series, Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The Anne Read Along challenge is one that I heard about it from The Book Date, who heard about it from co-hosts Jackie at Death by Tsundoku and Jane at Greenish Bookshelf, the latter being its progenitor. The challenge suggests a book a month from May through December, so naturally I’m hopelessly behind and will likely experience some miraculous (read: obsessive) catch up toward the end.

If you’ve never read Anne of Green Gables you really ought to. It is an absolute classic, beautifully written, and a piece of history. Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in 1874 and published the first Anne book in 1908; this second volume was published in 1909. So if you’re looking for “a book 100 years or older,” these count, and since they’re public domain, you can also read them free via Project Gutenberg. If you’re around my age, you probably grew up on the Megan Follows movies. #meganfollowsismyanneshirley ❤

Anne of Green Gables is about a precocious orphan girl who gets adopted and learns what it is to have a home. Anne of Avonlea picks up the story as Anne has completed a teaching program and is now teaching the elementary school she once attended. She started the first book at age 11; this one opens with her at age 16. Her students, and readers, naturally, adore her. She and Marilla adopt a pair of twins, Davy and Dora. And Anne also makes friends with Miss Lavendar, Charlotta the Fourth, and little Stephen Irving. Anne’s life continues to be surrounded by the beautiful, provincial life of rural Prince Edward Island. And Anne continues to get into and out of several scrapes, though it’s clear that she has done and continues to do a lot of growing up.

Reading Challenges
Here we go for reading challenge updates:

Hashtags for the challenges that had them:

So there’s book 2 of 8 completed for the Anne Read Along. How’s your reading going?

Posted in Reviews

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

A passage of Lamott’s made me pair two quite disparate characters, those being herself, a Christian dreadlock-haired old white writer lady, and Neil Gaiman‘s beloved Sandman character Delirium, because both follow goldfish. Lamott is talking about creativity in writing, and following it wherever it takes you. And Delirum happens to be a great representation of creativity, with her ever-changing hair, colorful spontanaiety, and her dedication to the strange. Lamott is often lauded for her ability to inspire and encourage, and Gaiman himself is also quite adept at such, as can be seen here. I think the overall message to receive from Bird by Bird is to be curious and fearless and honest in the pursuit of writing our best.




Posted in Cool Tools, Jobe Update

Journal Lost & Found, aka, the Commonplace Book


One of the staples of the writerly life is a penchant for blank books. A long, long time ago, I discovered this book at Wordsworth Books (whose old weblink no longer works because they’re under new ownership) and, though I was there to buy a gift for someone else, I couldn’t resist this purchase for myself. I wrote 3 pages, set it aside, and promptly forgot about it. I rediscovered it in August 2016 and wrote in it through April 2017, a solid 9 months. During that time I recorded quotes from the inspiring works I was reading, a practice which is in some circles referred to as keeping a commonplace book. [Reasons why you should keep a commonplace book of your own can be found at Thought Catalog and with Ryan Holiday, at Thought Co., with Aly Juma, at Self Made Scholar, and at Read Aloud Revival. And of course, Pinterest.] I also used this blank book as my monthly writing journal whenever I attended Scribble with Karen Hayes. Then I set it aside again and forgot about it for 4 months, during which time I established and began running a writing group, called Second Set (because everyone needs a second set of eyes on their work—more about that in an upcoming post). Now I’ve rediscovered my blank book once more, and content includes quotes from:

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

The Scribbles I wrote down the dates for include 10/18/16; 12/13/16; 1/10/17; 2/15/17; 4/27/17; (and most recently, my reason for seeking it out) 9/12/17. In any case, in the upcoming months I think I’d like to hit you guys with some of serious wisdom from these incredible women. And maybe I’ll even finish filling my first volume by the end of the year.


Posted in Jobe Update, Reading Challenge

Reading Challenges Progress Report


With August done our year is 2/3 finished with 1/3 to go. I’ve read 33 books so far.toptoptop

Challenge Completed Status
PopSugar 33 of 40 83% main
33 of 52 63% advanced
Audiobooks 1 100% bit level reached!
10 100% Byte level reached!
11 of 25 40% Megabyte
Pages 12,000 pages! 100% Bonsai level reached!
50% Shrub
Colors 9 of 9 colors! All 9 colors completed!
Reread 3 of 4 75% Déjà Vu
3 of 8 38% Feeling Nostalgic
Mount TBR 8 of 12 67% Pike’s Peak
8 of 24 33% Mount Blanc
Rock My TBR 8 of 12 67% completed
Diversity & Diversity 8 of 12 67% completed
Full House 23 of 25 92% completed
Books You Buy 12 of 41 29% Making Inroads
What’s in a Name  3 of 6 50% completed
Anne Read Along  1 of 8  13% completed

gayflagpennants#popsugarreadingchallenge #rockmytbr #diversereads2017
#whatsinaname2017 #AnneReadAlong2017


Non Fiction –> Free Space: Kindling by Angel Blackwood On TBR for 2+ years: Divergent by Veronica Roth More than 500 pages: Allegiant by Veronica Roth Page Turner: The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey Middle Grade book: Ash by Malinda Lo
2017 published: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan Published pre 2000: Autonomy and Rigid Character by David Shapiro UK/European author: Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker Back List book from fav author: White Night by Jim Butcher, book 9 Dresden Files Book from a list: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Award Winner: Abarat by Clive Barker Books about books: Lamb the Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore Size word in title: Small Favor by Jim Butcher, book 10 in the Dresden Files Two Word Title: Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher, book 8 Dresden Files Debut book: Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Food on cover or title: ????? Cozy Mystery: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, book 7 in the Dresden Files Book from childhood: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery Diversity book: Lost Girls by Alan Moore, illustrated by Melinda Gebbie Australian/NZ author: ?????
Western: The Dark Tower comic series by Stephen King USA/Canadian author: Insurgent by Veronica Roth Not really for you: The Destroyer #46 Next of Kin by Warren Murphy Attractive cover: Tithe by Holly Black Borrowed: The Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell


How’s your reading going???