Ask Doctor Jo + #writemotivation

#writemotivationWith only a week left in September, how am I doing with my #writemotivation goals? Making progress on most, really terrible on the most important one. Here’s the rundown:

1. Revise at least three pages a day in my WIP.
Yeah… still sitting at an astoundingly impressive zip, nada, zero for the month.
2. Post two blog posts a week.
My one shining beacon of hope this #writemotivation cycle, since I’ve met this goal every week. It’s probably pathetic how happy that makes me.
3. Spruce up at least one of my short stories and submit it for publication.
I decided which story I want to revise and researched potential publishers before narrowing it down to three magazines – this way I can tailor the revision to their guidelines.
4. Finish reviewing critique partner’s novel.
I finished reading it, and now I need to organize my notes into something resembling the English language. 
So I think I’m on track to actually meet three of my four goals by the end of the month. Maybe I should change that first goal to revise three pages in my WIP, period. Hey, any forward progress at this point would be a cause for celebration.
Feeling Achy?
With so many writers bent over their computers feverishly working on their goals this month, I thought now would be the perfect time to introduce you to Doctor Jo. I regularly talk about my younger brother Brian on this blog because we worked together to make two short films, but I also have a younger sister – Joanna. She’s a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy (yes, it kinda kills me that my baby sis is a DOCTOR!), and she and Brian teamed up to make some shorts, too. But instead of death-predicting cats and hoodoo practitioners, these shorts feature my sister doing what she does best: helping people and acting silly.
Joanna wanted to help more people than just the patients she could fit in during the day, so she started a website called, where people can find exercises to relieve their aches and pains. She walks you through the exercises with clear, easy-to-follow instructions and adds humor to keep them entertaining. And if you can’t find what you need, send her a question and she’ll answer it for you.
I asked her to recommend videos for the ailments most likely to plague a writer, and she said these are the ones most helpful to people hunched over a computer all day.
The one for carpal tunnel syndrome features Joanna in all her goofy glory, so I’ll embed that one here:

The others are more straightforward, where you can see that, yes, she is a professional . . . at least some of the time:
In addition to her website (where she has lots of other vidoes), Joanna also has a facebook page and a twitter account @AskDoctorJo where you can ask questions and get the latest updates, so go check her out!
I’m so proud of what my sister has accomplished in following her dream to become a physical therapist, and I think it’s awesome how she’s sharing her knowledge to help people. I hope these exercises help my fellow writers feel better as you create your brilliant stories.
How are you doing with your #writemotivation goals? Have you ever had to visit a “physical terrorist” (as Joanna calls herself)? Do you have writerly aches and pains that might be eased by these exercises?
#writemotivation photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 36

15 Minute Tweet TalesSince yesterday’s post was so jam packed, I’ll keep today’s short and sweet with “Just the tweets, ma’am.”  Here are the 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week: 

9/12 - He wiped out his savings trying to reify his love for her. He wept when she moved on to another sucker willing to buy her affection.
9/13 - She wrestles through the skimble-skamble novel her son spent 4 yrs writing.
Hope shines from his eyes. "Well?"
"I loved it," she lies.
9/14 - He only feels alive during Thursday karaoke, so when that tramp usurps the mic with gyrating renditions of Madonna? Accidents happen.
9/15 - She smiled as he gave his boilerplate excuse for being late. She didn't care - it gave her more time to "get to know" their neighbor.
9/16 – Cy acts contrite as his mom warns him of the danger of drugs, but the fact that he swiped his weed from her room vitiates her lecture.
9/17 – The minuscule text at the bottom of the contract sealed her doom. The devil knew her secrets, including the fact she was farsighted.
9/18 – Her shame turns to rage when she sees the red majuscules painted on her car. He rapes her, then labels her a slut? He’ll wish he hadn’t.
Also, there’s a free copy of my movie Saying Goodbye up for grabs, so visit Nerdy Chicks Rule to enter the drawing.
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? 

Just Another Manic Monday

This Monday is actually more manic than usual, since there's a lot to report in this post, so pull up a Barcalounger and get comfy.

First of all, I’m honored to be interviewed today over at Nerdy Chicks Rule. I met head nerdy chick Kami Kinard a few years ago at a SCBWI writers conference, and I love that she’s celebrating the characteristics that made us nerdy gals feel different and awkward while growing up. The Nerdy Chicks are giving away a DVD copy of my short film Saying Goodbye, so click here for a chance to win.

Second, we’ve finally got the post up about the Rish sibling adventures at the DC Shorts Film Festival last weekend, so pop over to our High Heels & Hoodoo website for the scoop, including pictures of us with our bright pink high heel.  



And since it’s Monday, that means it’s time for a #writemotivation update. I did manage two posts for the week *yay*, I made solid progress reviewing my critique partner’s novel *whoo hoo*, but as for my own WIP . . . *hangs head in shame*. At least I still have two more weeks to make some significant headway before September comes to an all-to-quick end.  


Genre Favorites BlogfestFinally, I signed up for Alex Cavanaugh’s Genre Favorites Blogfest where we’re supposed to list of our favorite genre of Movie, Music, Books, and a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories, so here we go:

Favorite movie genre – Horror  This is the easiest of the bunch. I’ve loved horror movies since I was too young to be watching horror movies. It's a total rush to feel scared - adrenaline flowing, heart pumping, stomach churning - while sitting perfectly safe and sound on the couch. I especially love the horror flicks that skillfully create tension and suspense, while also providing a few laughs. Luckily my brother has been my partner in horror – we’ve watched a (probably alarming) number of really terrible horror movies to find the hidden gems. We’re now working on several feature-length scripts so we can make our own horror movie. High Heels & Hoodoo was our attempt to explore filming at night and creating a spooky atmosphere in short form.

Favorite music genre – Varies  I listen to and enjoy so many different genres of music: pop, rock, soul, country, 80s, 50s, classical, showtunes, etc. It really just depends on my mood and what I'm doing. Right now I’m listening to my Pandora station of angsty British chicks – Adele, Florence + The Machine, Duffy, etc.

Favorite book genre – YA Thriller  I know YA is sometimes considered to be a genre of its own, but I think it’s more like a category that then has all the same genres as “big people books.”  So I’m a fan of thrillers in general, but especially YA thrillers. Emotions are already so heightened in teens and putting them in dangerous situations sends the vicarious thrills through the roof.

Guilty pleasure genre – Urban Fantasy books  Vampires, werewolves, fairies, and other supernatural creatures wielding magic in a world that appears to be like ours? Awesome! And even better if there are sexy times. Lots and lots of sexy times.

Whew, I think that’s enough random information from me for one day. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking with me. And extra special thanks to Alex for the fun blogfest!

How are you doing with your #writemotivation goals? Are you participating in Alex’s Genre Favorites Blogfest?  If yes, I’ll be visiting your blog soon to see your picks; and if not, feel free to share your favorite genres in the comments.

#writemotivation photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

A Doggie Kind of Day

Because I was out of town for the DC Shorts Film Fest, I was away from my dog Freya for five days. It was rough y’all. I went into serious doggie withdrawal - so much so that I turned into a squee-ing crazy woman every time we passed a dog on the streets of DC.

On the flip side, I don’t think my girl missed me one bit. Since our parents are awesome, they drove up to my brother’s house where we siblings were meeting for our trip and collected all three of their granddogs to spoil rotten while we were gone. When I was reunited with Freya, she was all, “Now, who are you again?” So this week I’ve been especially susceptible to adorable dog videos. I thought I’d share my two favorites for a laugh heading into the weekend.

The first is a new commercial from Volkswagen. I only saw it for the first time a few days ago, but it’s been airing pretty steadily. Cracks me up every time.

The second is a video a friend of mine posted on Facebook (thanks, Dora!) and it actually makes me giggle-snort.

Freya sometimes has problems with her dew claws, and I’ve had to tape socks on her legs to keep her from chewing them, and she does this same kind of crazy walk. Now I wish I had recorded her doing her funky dance moves.

What did you think of the two videos? Have you ever put boots or socks on your dogs? How did they react? Should I feel bad for laughing at the dogs’ reactions?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 35 + #writemotivation

#writemotivationAs I suspected, I didn’t make much progress on my #writemotivation goals last week because of my trip to DC. I did manage two blog posts, which was a nice improvement; but no progress on the WIP, which is a bummer. The good news is I had a fabulous time on the trip with my siblings, the DC Shorts Film Festival was a wonderful experience, and we had a great reception to our film at its screening (I’ll be posting pictures and more details about that at the High Heels & Hoodoo blog later this week).

Since I wasn’t sure what my internet access was going to be while I was gone, I scheduled all the 15 Minute Tweet Tales words and my tales for last week in advance. I was a little nervous about it, but the scheduler worked, and the rest of the #15tt crew carried on without me, creating some fantastic tales. Even though mine were technically all written in one night, here they are for the week:

9/5 - How was she going to explain the grass stains from the links to her mom? As his lips touched hers under the stars, she didn't care.
9/6 - Annie was bursting with patriotic pride when she joined the CIA, but the drudgery of questionable assignments has case-hardened her.
9/7 - A mermaid explores the flotsam of a naval battle. A sailor calls for help. Instantly smitten, she drags him down in a watery embrace.

15 Minute Tweet Tales

9/8 - When she asks what he wants to eat, he always says: I don't care. She soon realizes it's tantamount to saying: I don't care about you.

9/9 - Frank was obtuse about most things, but he knew when a woman liked him; so he'd keep her chained in the basement 'til she admitted it.
9/10 - Bob the bluebird did not let his severe alopecia stop him from happily singing, though the other birds tittered at his naked wings.
9/11 - Kim's crush got on the elevator, 5 seconds later it got stuck. She sang a mental paean to the goddess of love for her perfect timing. 
How did you do with your #writemotivation goals this week? 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? 
Photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 34

15 Minute Tweet TalesWow, two posts in one week – it’s been a while since that’s happened, so hooray for #writemotivation! If I weren’t so busy getting ready for my trip to DC, I might really try to shake things up by going for three posts. Maybe next week. And now here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week:

8/29 – Kim’s fulsome praise of my fashion sense before the board meeting should’ve alerted me to the toilet paper bumming a ride on my shoe.
8/30 – He bled every word, but critics labeled his novel a potboiler; he leapt off a cliff knowing a dramatic death elevates an artist’s work.
8/31 - He thought his air of ennui made him seem sophisticated; everyone else thought he was an ungrateful jerk who needed a dose of reality.
9/1 – Like kudzu smothering the autochthonous flora, hiring dour Jim overwhelms the upbeat office turning it into a pessimistic wasteland.
9/2 – Her husband thinks she’s doing eleemosynary work: technically true since she bestows lush food, clothing, & “life lessons” on the lad.
9/3 – The city slicker thought it macho to rowel his mount into a gallop with his spurs. The horse thought it funny to screech to a halt.
9/4 – Nana’s reaching stick helps with the prehension of items from her chair, though she prefers using it to pinch the doctor’s posterior.
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? 

Monday Movie Madness and #writemotivation

Since the months continue to whip by at a most alarming rate, it means it’s already time for another #writemotivation goal check month. I’m starting to feel a little bit like this:

… except it's more like: Gee, Jocelyn, what are your goals for this goal check month? The same thing I do every month, Muse, try to finish rewriting my WIP! At this point I’m starting to fear I’m much closer to Pinkie’s insanity that Brain’s genius, but like Brain, I won’t let that stop me from trying again and again and again.
This time I’ve added a few other goals to the list, so I’ll have the satisfaction of crossing something off the to-do list:
1. Revise at least three pages a day in my WIP.
2. Post two blog posts a week.
3. Spruce up at least one of my short stories and submit it for publication.
4. Finish reviewing critique partner’s novel.
I already know I’m going to fall way behind this week revising three pages a day because I’m leaving on Wednesday to go to Washington, D.C. And why am I taking this trip to the nation’s capitol? Because my second short film High Heels & Hoodoo is having its World Premiere this weekend at the DC Shorts Film Festival – whoo hoo! It’s a really great fest, and my brother and I are super excited to be part of it. My sister is even joining us to make it sibling road trip. Parties and workshops and movies, oh my! If any of you live in the DC area, come out and see the film – I’d love to meet you in person! Click here for details about the screening.
In other movie news, it’s now been two weeks since we made our first short film Saying Goodbye available for public viewing. The response has been so amazing! We’ve received emails from people, many of them strangers, sharing stories about how the film reminded them of their last moments with loved ones – I even had to break out the Kleenex while reading some of them. Here is a sample of some of the kind words:
“A story simply and beautifully told about a subject that's hard to face, but is so important to face.”
“I watched as the tears ran down my cheek in memory of those I have loved and who have earned their wings.”
“This film made me cry, sad and happy all at the same time.”
“…it’s a reminder of why we love film so much. Sometimes movies tap into our emotions in an important way.”
I share these not (just) to toot my own horn (although it’s fun to have a reason to!), but because this whole movie-making adventure has been a path on my writing journey that I never expected. I write horror and thriller stories for young adults. That’s what I love to do, and I never planned to write anything else. But this story came to me out of the blue, and even more unexpectedly came the opportunity to turn it into a movie (if you want the longer story about those events, click here). To now hear about the ways the story is touching people is truly rewarding. The entire experience has taught me to stretch my writing in ways I never dreamed, and I hope it encourages you to try new forms, styles, and genres of writing, too.
If you’re interested in watching Saying Goodbye, it’s only sixteen minutes long and available for free at:  If you enjoy it, please share the link with family and friends – thank you!!
Are you participating in #writemotivation this time? Are you expecting obstacles in meeting your goals? Have you experimented with writing beyond your usual style and genre? Have you watched Saying Goodbye yet, and if not, why the heck not?!?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 33

15 Minute Tweet TalesSomehow another week has managed to fly by…. I’ve even noticed that the light outside is starting to get that ‘look’ it gets when fall arrives – although we’re still a long way from having fall-like temperatures here in South Carolina.  But enough about the weather, here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the week:  

8/22 - She dons glasses, hoping they'll transmogrify her into an asexual beast; but the boys' hands still grope, making her feel truly ugly.
8/23 - "The bucket shop guaranteed I'd double my money so I could buy my son's medicine," Jim cried as he pointed the gun at the pharmacist.
8/24 – He cheated untold innocents to acquire his misbegotten wealth. Now he gives to charity to ease his soul with a lie about his humanity.
8/25 – She got ready higgledy-piggledy, smearing on lipstick while searching for shoes. After 113 tries via eHarmony, 114 had to be the one.
8/26 – Salt & Pepper created a duopoly in the kitchen by locking up the cabinet. Rosemary feared they’d run out of thyme to spice things up.
8/27 – Bob felt completely sandbagged on their wedding night. Padded bra, corset, wig, an inch of makeup… who was this woman he’d married?
8/28 – The sun kisses the wahine’s skin with a burning passion Jon longs to emulate, but she walks away, hips swaying to the ocean’s song.
I have to say, we’ve had some really fun word-a-day words so far this year, but I think higgledy-piggledy might just be my favorite.  It’s so much fun to say and seems completely made up, yet it’s so perfect for its definition.
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?   

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 32 + Other Stuff

15 Minute Tweet TalesI hope everyone learned a ton at WriteOnCon and made new writer friends in the forums.  I absorbed so much information I feared my brain was going to melt out of my ears.  If you couldn’t attend “live,” everything will remain up on the site until the next conference, so be sure to check it out when you have a chance.  

In other news: while I’m going to do a longer post about it later, I did want to let everyone know there’s excitement happening at the website for my short film Saying Goodbye.  Click here to see the big announcement.

Meanwhile, here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week:
8/15 – A chittering obloquy rains from the trees as Ben puts the new anti-squirrel device on his bird feeder. They beat it within 10 minutes.
8/16 – Under the guise of visiting Nana, he searched her house until he found a Golconda - her jewelry. Turns out she’d hidden glass decoys.
8/17 - Using hypnotherapy, the alienist plants suggestions for patients to randomly bark to entertain him while they whine about their moms.
8/18 - Cheers erupt as the wood beneath the screaming woman deflagrates. If it doesn't rain tomorrow, another 'witch' will be burned.
8/19 – He felt Town Drunk was a misnomer: he viewed himself as the Town Wise Man, willing to share his sage advice in exchange for a drink.
8/20 – Playing the lickerish womanizer ate at Jim’s soul, but his mom would rather die than have anyone in the community suspect he was gay.
8/21 – He explained the garner of weapons in his basement was preparation for the zombie apocalypse. They laughed at him. They regretted it.
The word-a-day calendar only gave the definition for the noun version of garner, not the verb, so I linked to a different online dictionary to provide the noun definition.
Did you participate in WriteOnCon?  Play along with #15tt 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?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 31 + WriteOnCon

WriteOnConMy guess is that most people who visit my blog already know about WriteOnCon starting today, but just in case, consider yourself officially reminded about the awesome virtual writing conference that kicked off this morning at 6am. It lasts two days, is bursting with helpful information, and the best part is you can attend in your pajamas with your frizzy hair unbrushed (or maybe that’s just me).  Click here for the full schedule. 

And if that weren’t enough unbridled awesomeness for one blog post, here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week: 
8/8 - After his wife Sue died, he hired a maid to do her uxorial chores. Sadly for her, her thorough cleaning skills uncovered Sue's body.
8/9 - Jimmy hit the ball, then became chapfallen as it sailed over the fence. He'd finally hit a home run just weeks after his dad died.
8/10 - It took an hour to clean the flour from the kitchen, but her son's rationale for baking cookies for her was so sweet she didn't mind.
8/11 – The food? Awful. The conversation? Awkward. But the nadir of the 1st date? When she puked on him. Upshot? Great story 4 wedding toast.

15 Minute Tweet Tales8/12 – Every item her late husband had ever touched held special meaning for Ester. Her schwarmerei landed her on an episode of Hoarders.

8/13 - The fugleman of the effort to stop the lunch bandit suggests adding ex-lax. I nod, knowing to avoid chocolate desserts my next theft.
8/14 – When Tina caught the punk who’d cut off her dog’s tail, his pleas for mercy triggered her clement nature – she only cut off 3 fingers.
Are you participating in WriteOnCon?  Play along with #15tt 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?