Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Why am I Here?

No, I'm not going to get all existential on you. I suppose I need to decide the purpose of this blog. I mean, as fun as it is to post my embarrassing stories and twisted world view for the whole planet to see, that kind of navel-gazing can get old pretty fast. And who wants to read all that? So when I formulate my blog mission statement, I'm hoping it isn't this: "Me, me, me!" But it might be, because I may be helpless to stop myself.

I could write about the road from first publishing contract to bookstore and beyond, but so many other writers have already done this, and much better than I could. J.A. Konrath has a fantastic blog about the trials and tribulations of getting published and, once you are published, selling your books. M.J. Rose also has a great blog about hyping your book. So does Shanna Swendson. And Karin Gillespie, and many other faboo writers. These are fantastic resources for newbies to the publishing game, and I'm going to take copious notes on how to prevent my book from fading into obscurity once it hits the shelves. (Speaking of J.A. Konrath, I adore his resolutions for unpublished and published writers!) But this kind of angle is already taken. (Also, did you know J.A. and his family are sending 6,000 letters to libraries across the nation to ask them to buy and stock his books?!?!?! Libraries don't just buy your book automatically. Nor do bookstores. You gotta really hustle and pimp yourself out to make it, y'all. So who's up for a fun-filled afternoon stuffing and addressing envelopes with me?)

But back to the focus of the blog. I've already put the ixnay on the olitics-pay (and eligion-ray), so that leaves writing about writing. Well, maybe I could write about my daily adventures. But then we're back to Me, me, me! (Leave it to me to get all neurotic about this.) Ah hell. Might as well go with it. So I present to you, 3 friends/family members who may be reading this, the author autobiography I've been asked by my publisher to write. This could end up on my future website and other book-related materials. You know me best, so what do you think? (To my family: you can forget about the raspberry patch story, because it's not going in.)

The First Draft of the Obligatory Biography. *clears throat*

"Wisconsin native Jess Riley spent much her childhood sitting at her desk during lunch hour for lying and/or passing notes during class, both of which qualified her for a possible future as a novelist. Instead, because berets were big in the eighties, she usually showed up at Career Day dressed as a film director. But the siren song of writing was too strong to deny, and in between bad haircuts, she continued to write poetry and fiction in middle school, adding crude cartoons to her repetoire as well. She was nominated by a high school English teacher to attend a summer camp for budding artists and writers, where she realized she needed a whole new wardrobe. Also, she needed to work on her creative writing skills. She won her first short story contest a year later for a story told through the point of view of a seven year-old black boy living in Cabrini Green because as a middle-class white teenager, she knew a lot about that kind of life. Jess served as class president three years running and was voted one of the two "funniest girls" in her graduating class, but she stresses that looks aren't everything. She graduated from Campbellsport High School in 1993, and because she received a partial scholarship to UW-Oshkosh, decided to go there to study pre-dentistry and make poor dating decisions. Jess has been a cocktail and banquet waitress, a blue cheese packager, and currently, a grant writer for local school districts. Surprisingly, she still likes cheese. The funkier, the better. She worked at a mall-based toy store during the Tickle Me Elmo craze of 1995 and lived to tell about it. She has also worked as a teaching assistant at a medium-security men's prison, which was much less stressful. Jess graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 1998 with dual degrees in English and history, which means she narrowly avoided a career selling burial plots through cold calls. She now lives in a drafty old house in Wisconsin with her husband and an extremely neurotic dog that despises the theme music for "Calling All Pets." She will never be a dentist, but that's fine with her."

At this point, I'm still open to suggestion. A little. My basic goal is to not make too huge an ass of myself, although that may be too late.

PS: did I tell you that my future website is There's a cute picture of my dog Daisy there now, but not much else. I originally wanted my full name for my domain, but guess what? It's already in use by a hooker in Las Vegas. Figures.


  1. Anonymous8:20 AM

    I knew girls like you in school. I hung out with them. I think your cool. :)


  2. Anonymous7:16 PM

    I say leave it as-is :)

    I remember we used to play Campbellsport in regionals or sectionals or something in school... I think it's about as urban as Hilbert. :P

  3. Yes, good old C-sport. Don't blink or you'll miss it! :-)