Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 245

15 Minute Tweet TalesI had my nose to the grindstone this week because I was working on three different grant applications for various projects. As per usual, I was working on them until the very last minute. I know it’s not the best way to function, but I work so much better under pressure, so there ya go. I’m excited about all three of the projects, so fingers crossed at least one of them gets funded! And now that all three of the applications are turned in, I have no more excuses for not starting my latest revision of my MG WIP. Oops, better get to work!
But first, here’s this week’s 15 Minute Tweet Tales word:
aphthong - silent letters; letter(s) employed in spelling a word but not pronounced, like the 'k' in 'know' and the ‘p’ in ‘psychology.’ 
OK, before my tweet tale – how weird is this word?!? That’s a lot of consonants shoved together. I looked up how to pronounce it, and I’m still not sure I’d be able to drop it into conversation without embarrassing myself. And now for the tweet tale:
1/17 - She wonders why people giggle when she says she has pneumonia until sister snaps: the 'p' is an aphthong, you don't have poo-neumonia!
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 244

Last week when the meteorologists started talking about snow in South Carolina, my ears perked up. While I HATE the cold, I do love to play in the snow. But of course, as usual, the snow was only going to be in the Upstate, not here in the Lowcountry. So I was a sad panda. 
Then I found out my brother was going up to visit my sister to film some of their Ask Doctor Jo videos. Hmmm, I thought, my brother’s house is about halfway between me and potential snow country … and a plan was formed. I packed the warmest clothes I owned, jumped in the car, and drove to my brother’s where I hitched a ride as he drove us the rest of the way to my sister’s. 
We had a great weekend of sibling bonding – we ate yummy food, we watched silly movies (of course the dog-loving siblings watched The Secret Life of Pets), and we played in the snow. 
They were originally calling for 4-6 inches, but I think it was only about an inch, maybe two. And it wasn’t the sticky kind, so we couldn’t make even a baby snowman, but we still had fun romping in the snow with the dogs. 
Rish siblings in the snow
Joanna with dogs
Brian with the pups in the snow
Jocelyn in the snow
15 Minute Tweet TalesAnd now for this week’s 15 Minute Tweet Tales word:
aglet - a metal or plastic tag or sheath at the end of a lace used for tying, like a shoelace.
1/10 - When she comes home, all his stuff is gone. Was he ever really there? An aglet from his sneaker is the only proof she didn't imagine him.
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 243 + Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Freya and I both hope your 2017 is off to a wonderful start!
Happy New Year Freya
I know, I know, it’s been too long since I posted. Over three months in fact. Yikes! And my tweet tales have mysteriously disappeared from Twitter. Oops! It’s funny, when I was doing a tweet tale every day, I never missed a day in four years, but when I shifted to once a week, I was often a day or two late until I just … stopped. I guess it’s easier to maintain a habit when it’s an everyday thing.
Anyway, I didn’t intend to stop blogging or posting tweet tales. But my September got crazy (all good things - a writing retreat, travelling to visit family, various projects) so I ended up missing a week. And then another week. And then I decided I needed an extra awesome post to make up for those missing posts but didn’t have time to do an extra awesome post. And then as the weeks passed, I thought I needed to do tweet tales for all the missing weeks in one post to break even but that seemed so daunting that I never sat down to do it. Next thing I knew, it was Thanksgiving and all the holiday chaos started. So at that point I decided to quit stressing about it and start with a clean slate in 2017. So here I am! 
I got a book from my parents for my birthday called THE WEIRD WORLD OF WORDS (by Mitchell Symons), so I’m pulling words from there for this year’s 15 Minute Tweet Tales. Let’s start off the New Year with:
15 Minute Tweet Talesadelaster - meaning ‘unknown star’ in Greek, this is the name given to newly discovered plants awaiting classification by botanists. 
1/3 - She clutches the adelaster she found to her chest, certain it'll bring her acclaim. Just funny-looking poison ivy, only brings a rash. 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Cover Reveal for Hollywood Homicide

I’m thrilled to participate in a totally awesome cover reveal for a totally awesome person. I met Kellye Garrett during PitchWars ’14. There were only three of us in the contest with mysteries so we became the mystery sisters, and I’m so proud that both of my myst sisses have gotten book deals (shout out to our third sis Kelly DeVos).
Today is the big day to reveal Kellye’s cover to the world. Here it is!
Hollywood Homocide
Isn’t it gorgeous?!? That pink light reflecting off her main character is everything. 
Weird confession: Last night I dreamed I was in a world where the lighting was the same vivid pink lighting shining in from the same angle. And in the dream, I knew it was the lighting from Kellye’s cover, yet I didn’t think that was strange. 
Even weirder confession: Earlier in the night, I woke up snarling. Like jaw clenched, lips peeled back snarling. All I remember is that there were rabid dogs in the dream, but I have no idea if I was a rabid dog or if I was just foolishly trying to scare one away. 
My brain is whack. 
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. You know a cover is striking and memorable when you start dreaming about it. And knowing Kellye, I’m sure the book inside is just as striking and memorable.
Here are all the details: 
Hollywood Homicide
Book 1 in the Detective By Day Series
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.
But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her.
And there are no second takes in real life.
Kellye GarrettAbout Kellye Garrett
Kellye Garrett spent 8 years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama Cold Case. People were always surprised to learn what she did for a living—probably because she seemed way too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company—while still happily brainstorming ways to commit murder. Her first novel, Hollywood Homicide, will be released by Midnight Ink in August 2017. It’s the first book in the Detective by Day series.
Connect with Kellye
You can pre-order the e-book and print edition on Amazon.

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 242

15 Minute Tweet TalesLate again! I’m getting ready to go out of town for a writing retreat, so I forgot about my 15 Minutes Tweet Tales post. Oops! But if I haven’t gone to sleep yet, isn’t it still technically Tuesday? Anyway, here’s this week’s word:
sobremesa - time spent at the table after eating, talking and sharing stories.
9/13 - The meal was so incredible, the guests so delightful, that the sobremesa lasted for hours, creating two couples & a business partnership.
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 241

Oops! Because of the Labor Day weekend, I totally forgot today was Tuesday, so I’m super late with my 15 Minute Tweet Tales post. To make up for it, I’m including a bunch of pictures of the dogs from the family gathering at the lake this weekend.
This isn't a great pic, but it makes me laugh because it looks like Remy is getting sick. Turns out she loves the boat. 
Remy getting "sick"
But she hates the car (and often does get sick), so when my brother puts on her harness to leave, she looks miserable. Don't worry, that's lake water on the couch, not something gross.
Scared Remy
To get to the lake, my sister's dogs traveled in a taco. Kali was not amused. 
Bear and Kali taco
Kali was also not amused when I asked her for a kiss.
Give me a kiss
But then she changed her mind.
OK, I'll kiss you
Remy and Kali are happy to finally be swimming.
Happy pups
And Bear is happy to be jumping.
Bear jumping
I'm worn out, so I'm catching a ride.
Catching a ride
Time to dry off.
Drying Remy
Chloe, Remy, and Freya are super sleepy, and I love the doggie cuddles.
Pooped Pups
15 Minute Tweet TalesAnd now for the #15tt part of this post:
philocaly - love of beauty.
9/7 - Because of his philocaly, he tries to become a fashion photog but gets so nervous around the models he drops his camera. Repeatedly.
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 240

15 Minute Tweet TalesRunning late today, so I’m keeping it short and sweet with this week’s 15 Minute Tweet Tales post.
nubivagant - wandering in the clouds; moving through the air. 
8/24 - Hiking, I tumble off a cliff. Sprawled at bottom, unable to move. No help coming. Watch nubivagant birds, ready for my soul to join them.
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 239

15 Minute Tweet Tales

Y’all, I’m having Olympics withdrawal. Even though I might possibly be the most un-athletic person on the planet, I’m a total sucker for the Olympics. But in the lead up to Rio, I was pretty blah. Partly because of all the anticipated problems, and partly because I had a lot of writing stuff keeping me crazy busy. But on the night of the opening ceremony, as soon as NBC started playing Leo Arnaud "Bugler's Dream" I was ALL IN! For the next two weeks, my evenings were spent glued to the TV, watching the athletes do impossible things. 
So now that it’s over, I’m feeling a bit bereft. And as usual after an Olympics, I pondered finally getting in shape. And then I laughed so hard I sprained something. See! I’m REALLY out of shape. But thank you to all the athletes for inspiring me for the past two weeks. My passion is not sport, but their passion makes me want to be better at what I do, so it’s time to get back to writing, and first up on deck is this week’s 15 Minute Tweet Tales
froward - willfully contrary; not easily managed. 
8/23 - She gets so frustrated with her froward dog, but when he jumps the fence to save her from a coyote, she's glad he ignores boundaries.
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 237 AND 238

Well, for the first time in the four and a half years I’ve been doing 15 Minute Tweet Tales, I missed posting a blog about it last week. There were a lot of things contributing to this guilt-inducing lapse, but the biggest was that I was out of town. But I was out of town for a super cool reason. 
Last Saturday (8/6), Greenville, SC, hosted its first ReadUp Festival, a fabulous event dedicated to YA/MG books and authors. Since my sister lives in Greenville, I had a place to stay, so I decided to drive up there to attend the festival and then spend a few days hanging out with her. So fun!
Book Dress
In my book-ish dress, ready for a book-ish day!
The festival was amazing! If I hadn’t known, I never would have guessed it was the first year. They had an incredible lineup of authors, with headliners like Jay Asher, Maggie Stiefvater, and Stephanie Perkins. There were lively panels on a variety of interesting topics, and everything seemed to run so, so smoothly. They even had free ice cream in all kinds of flavors when the day got especially hot and sticky!
Since it was the first year, the crowd was smaller than something like YALLFest (which I love!), but that actually made it feel more intimate. YALLFest is now like a rock concert in a sold out mega-stadium, whereas ReadUp felt more like a band playing at a coffee house. And guess how super-introverted me prefers to listen to live music? The vibe at the panels felt like you were hanging out with the authors, which I think was a cool experience for everyone in the audience. 
Maggie Stiefvater and Jocelyn Rish
Just "hanging out" with Maggie Stiefvater
The smaller feel also let me catch up with authors I’ve met over the years without feeling like too much of a stalker. Because of events through SCBWI-Carolinas, I’ve gotten to know Megan Miranda, Beth Revis, and Carrie Ryan, and I’m sure it makes me sound like a dork, but I totally feel like part of the cool-people writing club getting hugs from those immensely talented ladies. I also got to see and/or chat with a bunch of the awesome authors I interviewed at YALLFest for MTV, like Susane Colasanti, Brendan Reichs, Ryan Graudin, and Renee Ahdieh.
ReadUp Festival panel
ReadUp Festival panel
My two favorite panels at the ReadUp Festival
But as cool as all of that was, by far the coolest part of the day was meeting Facebook friend Emily Colin in person. We “met” a few months ago when Emily wrote a blog post about Rebecca Petruck forcing her critique group (i.e. ME!) to eat bugs, and like all people I meet via Rebecca, Emily is awesome. While we were chatting, we first discovered we both went to Duke. Then we discovered we graduated the same year. THEN we figured out we lived in the same freshman dorm. AND we had the same major!!! The similarities we kept uncovering almost became creepy. But with so many ways we should have run into each other, neither of us remembers ever seeing the other. It's almost like we went out of our way to never meet at Duke to then meet each other mumble-ty something years later at a YA book festival. Go Blue Devils!
Emily Colin and Jocelyn Rish
Emily and Jocelyn: Duke twins who never actually met
Kudos to everyone involved with bringing the ReadUp Festival to life! As a reader and a writer, I had a fantastic day immersing myself in the world of YA and MG books and chatting with old and new friends. 
And now it’s time for 15 Minute Tweet Tales. Since I was such a slacker last week, I’ll do two for this week to make up for it. 
Last week:
lethologica - the inability to remember a word or put your finger on the right word.
15 Minute Tweet Tales
8/9 - It started as forgetting a name now and then, but once lethologica dominated most conversations, her son sadly took her to the doctor. 
This week:
guttitim – drop by drop.
8/16 - The coffee falls guttitim,
but it's not enough to save him.
He demands his eggs sunny-side up;
she smashes his head w/ her empty cup.
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

#PimpMyBio Post for #PitchWars

I’m going to cheat a bit with my #PitchWars #PimpMyBio post. For part of it, I'm recycling my job application for MTV to write about YA books. 1. I’m still in frantic revision mode, but I want to play! 2. I spent a lot of time on it, so it might as well get a second life. 3. It’s GIF-tastic!

Here it is:

Dear Fabulous Folks at MTV News,

I was excited when I saw MTV News is looking for a Freelance Writer for YA Books. Very excited. And obviously the only way to deal with such excitement was to craft my application out of gifs from movies and TV shows based on YA novels.
The Lying Game
The Lying Game
My earliest memory of MTV is begging my mom to stay up until midnight for the historic premiere of the Michael Jackson Thriller video, and because my mom is awesome, she let me.  
Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars
From watching MJ’s thrilling masterpiece, to spending hours dancing and reenacting various videos with my friends, to getting sucked into reality TV with the groundbreaking launch of The Real World, to being ridiculously entertained by current scripted shows like Teen Wolf and Faking It, MTV has long been part of my television life. 
Having been around for the early MTV landmarks might make some of the current viewers think of me like this:
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
But when it comes to my passion for YA novels, I really look like this:
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
My love of YA started when I was an actual young adult reading Christopher Pike, L.J. Smith, Sweet Dreams, and Sweet Valley High. 
As I got older, I read adult books, but I returned again and again to the heart and emotional truth of YA. When I walk into the YA section of a bookstore and see the incredible variety of books available, I feel like this:
The Book Thief
The Book Thief
But just because I love YA novels doesn’t make me qualified for this position. So why do I think I’m a strong candidate? 
I worked at a software development company for ten years in the quality assurance department, where I tested the software, identified bugs, and wrote reports. I started as an entry-level tester and worked my way up to the manager of the team, and through the years learned many skills, especially how to meet insane deadlines.
While a lot of the time it was fun figuring out creative ways to break the software …
Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl
… after ten years in cubicle land, it began to feel more like this …
Warm Bodies
Warm Bodies
… so I decided it was time to run toward my real passion …
Eye Candy
Eye Candy
... writing for young adults!
The Vampire Diaries
The Vampire Diaries
I’ve taken classes through the Institute of Children’s Literature, participated in the Chautauqua Writers Workshop, and attended conferences through the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
I’ve been fortunate to have short stories published in Highlights magazine and the Post and Courier. I also won the 2008 South Carolina Fiction Project, the 2009 Highlights Fiction contest, and the 2013 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators novel work-in-progress grant. I even won two different grants to turn my short stories into short films: Saying Goodbye and High Heels & Hoodoo. All of these things made me feel like this:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
It also reassured my parents I hadn’t ruined my life by chucking my ‘real’ job to be a writer.
I'm also the Interview Coordinator for Adventures in YA Publishing, which has been a Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past three years. Every Saturday and Sunday I post interviews with YA authors who released books that week from the major publishers. 
With my passion for YA, awards for writing, and contacts in publishing, I believe I would make an excellent Freelance Writer for YA Books for MTV News. And if you were to hire me, I would definitely feel like this:
Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Jocelyn Rish
So there it was.
The good news? MTV contacted me to write a sample article, and then a few days later, they hired me! 
I'm so excited
And then my first article was published called 13 Reasons Nancy Drew is a kick-ass 85-year-old teen.
And I was feeling pretty kick-ass myself. 
Feeling kickass
And every time they published another of my articles, I felt like this:
If you’re interested in reading any of them, you can check them out here
The bad news? This dream job only lasted six months before new management came in, decided YA books didn’t need to be covered by MTV, and let my boss go along with all his freelancers. 
I may have cried a single manly tear.
Dean crying
Just kidding! This is actually what I felt like. 
Crying waterfalls
You can read the whole sad story here if you want some drama in your life. Just kidding! There was no drama just a reasonable amount of angst. 
So if you’ve made it this far, you might be thinking, “You’ve had your fingers in a lot of YA pies, but … didn’t you submit a middle grade novel?”
Record scratch
(Since I can’t do sound effects, just imagine a record scratch sound as the turtle goes round and round.
Why, yes, yes, I did. And that’s the main reason I’m entering PitchWars again. I was beyond fortunate to be picked as an alternate by the AMAZE-BALLS Fiona McLaren in PW 2013 and as an alternate by the FABULOUS Jessie Humphries in PW 2014 with my YA novel. As a bonus of 2014, I became part of an incredible support group with the other mentees/alternates (love y’all!), who I interact with every day. So I kind of felt like I’d had my turn with PitchWars and didn’t plan to enter again. 
Then along came this MG idea. Honestly, I thought it was YA. I started plotting it as YA. Then my critique group said, “Nope, it must be MG!” I pouted. I resisted. I stamped my feet. I’m a YA girl, I know nothing about MG! For an entire year I put off writing it because I didn’t want to write it as MG. But then last April, I decided what the heck, I’ll toss off a quick rough draft of the idea as MG for Camp NaNo. So I did. And of course my critique group was right. And I love it as MG and want to hug it and squeeze it and make it the absolute best book it can be.
But the fact remains that I don’t know much about MG. I haven’t read very many MG novels (though I’m currently trying to fix that), and I haven’t immersed myself in the MG community like I have with YA. I need a mentor to guide me through this scary new world of MG, and the best way to do that is to throw my hat into the PitchWars ring one more time. 
If you’ve made it this far, hat’s off to you. And don’t worry, it’s not my head-chopping hat. As a reward, here’s a picture of my dogs. They’re the best. Well, all dogs are the best. But mine are THE best. 
Freya and Chloe
*** 2018 Update ***

My brother and I each won grants for two new fun projects we've been working on all year. The first is a feature film called Grave Intentions - An Anthology of Chills, Thrills & Kills. We've collected a bunch of creepy short films, and we're in the process of creating a wraparound to introduce them, sort of like the Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt. We're so excited!
Our other new adventure is called Transmedia Mutts, where we want to help people unleash their creative bark. We'll be teaching writing, screenwriting, creating YouTube channels, marketing, and all kinds of fun stuff. It's still in the very early stages, but we have a Facebook group where writers are gathering to support each other and chat about writing. We spent June and July perfecting our Twitter pitches, and we're now focused on preparing for Pitch Wars. Come join us!
Continued love to Brenda Drake for the awesomeness that is Pitch Wars, and major THANK YOUs to the PW Committee members who have taken up the torch to keep this amazing program running. And also thanks to Auggie for hosting #BoostMyBio