Monday, December 3, 2012

Jessica Bell in a Nutshell

(It rhymes!)

So I said I was going to do this once a month, and here I go doing it twice in a row. Today, I'm interviewing one of my very first bloggy friends, Jessica Bell (link).

Jessica (she sings)
I met Jessica in 2010 after she sent me an email that said, "Hey. I've been seeing you everywhere. We should be friends."

True confession: I respond well to blunt people. I'd much rather someone who just flat out tells me what they think to polite folks who make me guess what's up. I'm not a good guesser.

Jessica is just such a person, and we've been tight ever since. She's got a fantastic new writer's resource out, Show & Tell in a Nutshell (link). 

If you're a writer, you've been told at least once, "Show don't Tell." But how do you know if you're showing and not telling? It can be really hard sometimes!

Never fear, Jessica is here. And she doesn't just tell, she shows with fantastic examples of "This is telling" turned into "This is showing."

It's amazing.

And trust me, she's the organizer of the annual Homeric Writer's Retreat (link), a published author, an award-winning poet, a professional editor, and a second-generation rock star. Jessica knows what she's talking about.

Here's the poop her new book, and after that, my interview.

Get me... I'll make
 you better.
Have you been told there's a little too much telling in your novel? Want to remedy it? Then this is the book for you!

In Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing you will find sixteen real scenes depicting a variety of situations, emotions, and characteristics which clearly demonstrate how to turn telling into showing. Dispersed throughout, and at the back of the book, are blank pages to take notes as you read. A few short writing prompts are also provided.

The author, Jessica Bell, also welcomes questions via email, concerning the content of this book, or about showing vs. telling in general, at

“Jessica Bell addresses one of the most common yet elusive pieces of writing advice—show, don't tell—in a uniquely user-friendly and effective way: by example. By studying the sixteen scenes she converts from “telling” into “showing,” not only will you clearly understand the difference; you will be inspired by her vivid imagery and dialogue to pour through your drafts and do the same.” ~Jenny Baranick, College English Teacher, Author of Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares
“A practical, no-nonsense resource that will help new and experienced writers alike deal with that dreaded piece of advice: show, don’t tell. I wish Bell’s book had been around when I started writing!” ~Talli Roland, bestselling author
Purchase the paperback:
$4.40 on Amazon US * £3.99 on Amazon UK

Purchase the e-book:
$1.99 on Amazon US * £1.99 on Amazon UK * $1.99 on Kobo

And now for our interview! Buckle up...

LTM: So, Jessica, You're from Australia. David Letterman once referred to Australia as "the United States on Spring Break." Just how long is spring break in Oz, a.k.a., the Land Down Under?

JB: Um ... probably as long as  Emer O'Toole's armpit hair?

(LTM Note: OK, I had to Google that, and ... OMG--LOL! You have to see this--link. This is why I love Jess.)

LTM: Speaking of the Land Down Under, since all Australians know each other AND since your parents were in a 1990s alt-rock band, what do the Men At Work like to do on Spring Break?

JB: I think they're still traveling in a fried-out combie, on a hippie trail, head full of zombie. Pretty sure the strange lady they met still makes them nervous and cooks them breakfast. And I'm positive that when Aussies listen to that song it makes them want to throw up every breakfast from the last decade. This song makes me want to break spring. Shame it's already broken.

(LTM Note: I get this. As a so-La. native, I have problems with The Princess and the Frog... OK, except for Ray.)

LTM: We've known each other a few years now, so I happen to know you were a goth in school. I've seen pictures. Just how hard is it to keep that corpse skin tone while you're on spring break for so long?

Goth Jess (link).
I'm diggin that red wig...
JB: Have you experienced Melbourne weather? Gotta carry your entire wardrobe in the boot. Nature doesn't make it difficult.

(LTM note: First time I read that, I thought, "Your whole wardrobe fits in your boot?" For like five secs.)

LTM: You're a musician and a poet—your poetry book Fabric (link) was up for a Goodreads Choice Award this year (squee!). I also love your debut novel String Bridge. If that weren't enough, you're the voice of Miffy (the cute little bunny, link). Is it hard for you to keep all these alter-egos straight?

JB: Honey, you should take a look in my drawers.

(LTM note: This feels like that time you called me a "dag." Does drawers mean the same thing in Oz as in the U.S.?)

LTM: If I say to you that you were a cute little goth, will you strap on your combat boots and kick my tushie to a bloody pulp? (Are you going to do it now because I said "tushie"?)
Miffy, the cute little bunny
has Jessica's voice.

JB: I'd probably just give you Twisted Velvet Chains (link), and say, "Read it and weep."

(LTM Note: Done...)

LTM: Finally, have I ever told you my father's younger sister married a Bell? Their oldest daughter is named Jessica. Are we secretly related? (And does that further mean I'm a goth?)

JB: Ha! No, you never told me that! I'm really put out that there are so many Jessica Bells out there. I've got a lot of competition. Wanna be my hit man? If you'll be my hit man, I'll let you look in my drawers.

(LTM note: Not sure I'm scary enough to be a hit man. I'd better stick to carrying your pink poodle. Not a euphemism.)

LTM: I said "finally" up there, but one more. You live in Greece now. Feta is not as good as Greek yogurt, which is less good than hummus. Discuss.

JB: My sweet chick pea I think you need some Greek wine.

(LTM note: Yessss... I hoped you'd say that. Let's geaux.)

Whee! Thanks, Jessica! And there you have it, reader-friends our great writer-friend Jessica. Now you know her even better--and don't forget to grab your copy of Show & Tell in a Nutshell (link)!

Get me and snuggle...
* * *
One last thing: another bloggy friend (and fellow Aussie) Lynda Young (link) has her short story "Birthright" in a special holiday anthology collection Make Believe (link).

Birthright by Lynda R. Young
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible. 

She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her. 

Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead.

It sounds amazing, so do snag a copy (link)~

And have a super week, reader- and writer-friends! I'm headed back into the writing cave--woo hoo! and I am so excited. <3


Jessica Bell said...

Yay! Haha. Drawers. I mean those things you put clothes in ya dag! OMG, did you think I was talking about my panties? Hahahaha

Congrats on the antho Lynda!

Laura Pauling said...

Awesome! i've loved seeing Jessica and all my friends' careers develop!

Old Kitty said...

Jessica as gorgeous Goth is.. well.. gorgeous!!!


And big wave to Lynda too!! Take care

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Your first comment made me chuckle. :)

I'm totally loving Jess as a Goth girl. Whoot!!

Anonymous said...

Just in case you havent heard - it's now our National Anthem
Great interview by the way

ShaunaKelleyWrites said...

This had me giggling into my coffee. And I agree, Jessica, somehow Goth looks good on you!

Stina said...

Great interview. And the book's a great resource. :D

I love the over for Make Believe! :D

DEZMOND said...

so happy for our dear Lyndy and her book!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That was hilarious! And very excited for Lynda.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Leigh and Jess - can quite easily see why you get on so well - too much information here .. but such fun to read and click through..

Good luck to Jess and Lynda .. books et al to buy ... and that Goth look is great ... cheers Hilary

Pat Hatt said...

haha a fun interview and bah two times a month is not bad, enjoyed and of coure the title was great to the cat as you rhymed at your mat.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, what a fun innuendo-filled interview! We can all dig in each other's drawers a while, eh?

Deniz Bevan said...

Such a fun interview!

Anonymous said...

Lovely interview, Jessica and Leigh!

Congrats Lynda!

Unknown said...

So much great news. I hope everyone has success today!

Janet Johnson said...

I just love Jessica. I've been so in my own world I didn't even know about her latest book. How awesome! Congratulations, Jessica!

And wow. You're Miffy?! *spoken in hushed tones* :D

Cherie Reich said...

Great interview! Love the picture of Goth Jessica. It's so cool! Congrats for the newest release!

Congrats to Lynda too for her new release!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Fun interview. I could use some greek wine right now.

M Pax said...

I read Jessica's String Bridge and thought it was amazing. I find showing fun, once I figured it out. Great to see Lynda popping up everywhere today, too. :D

M Pax said...

PS, your header made me very hungry

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I just got back!!!
Thank you SO MUCH, Leigh, for posting about Make Believe. You are awesome!!!!

Oh, and while I was away I finished reading Rouge. Loved it!!! I'll write a review as soon as I can!

Ciara said...

Love Goth Jessica. :) I can't wait to read Make Believe!

KM Nalle said...

I picked up Jessica's book already. Looks like a great resource. Love the interview.

Congrats to Lynda and to you, Leigh.
I've been a bit out of it, but I picked up my copy of Rouge tonight. Can't wait to read it.

Kaylee Baldwin said...

Your interviews are hilarious! I love them. I seriously never read interviews because they are usually stale and boring and ask the same things over and over and yours are entertaining. Please do more...

Lydia Kang said...

That was an awesome interview!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Were you really involved with Miffy? I used to snuggle up with my daughters on the sofa and we'd watch Miffy. This show helped them learn to talk.

Now I'll have that themes song going through my head for days. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Oh, and I'll have a review for your book up on Amazon and Goodreads shortly!

Jessica Bell said...

Thanks so much for reading, everyone! Haha. It was the best interview ever. I agree they can get so boring, but Leigh knows what she's doin'. Just for the record, I'm not "really" miffy. It's just a little joke Leigh and I have going. BUT, I do do voiceovers for toys and stuff so it's not too far from the truth! :-)

Talli Roland said...

Love the interview, ladies! You both rock. :)

LTM said...

@MMShauna--Isn't she a cute little goth? (OK, that's a line from Miffy's theme song... except it's "a cute little bunny." ;o)

@Karen--Yay! Thanks, Karen!

@LBDee! Thanks for stopping by! Yep, Lyn's story/anthology will get you in the spirit!

@Clarissa--I agree a thousand percent! Here's to our writer-friends finding success~ :o) <3

@Cherie--Thanks, girl! Congrats all around--you, too! :o) <3

@Ciara--Agreed! :o)

@Kari--Jessica's a great editor, so I know it'll help other writers. Hey, THANKS! I'll be excited to see what you think of ROUGE~ <3

@Kaylee--Thanks, girl! I used to write for newspapers, so yanno. But it helps to know your subject well! And I'm planning to do at least one a month. Yay! :D <3

Ella said...

Fun post! I love learning more about Jessica~ I now want hummus and wine-lol. Your new book sounds fab-
Loved the interview <3 555

Glynis Peters said...

ROFL at drawers! My gran wore those! I was blushing, and wondered if you were into erotica now, Jess! Great interview ladies, and I love the little nutshell book, it sits inside my kindle case, perfect for travelling. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

So ... I know I'm super late to this, but this post has now derailed my entire day. I'm fascinated by this hairy woman.

Also, I love Jess! That old goth photo of her is the best ever.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Very cool! And what a great craft book. I know a lot of people that could help including yours truly!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Congrats to Jessica on her book! THAT is a great tool to have.

I had to Google Emer too. I didn't need THAT image...

DL Hammons said...

That was one of the most obtuse interviews I've ever read...AND I LOVED IT!! You and Jessica are a trip!!

Carolyn Abiad said...

You two are too much! <3

LTM said...

@Don--HEY, stranger! Thanks! Miss seeing you, but I know you're kickin it old school w/WRiTE CLUB! Awesome. :o) <3

@Carolyn--((hugs)) to you~ <3 :o)