Tag Archives: Writing

#PitchWars Mentee Bio – #NA

Um, hi. I’m Esher.

<Insert awkward wave here.>

This is me:


And this is my official unofficial bio for #PitchWars. Stumbling across my blog and don’t know what #PitchWars is? Visit here.

I’m not going to pitch you my novel. Pretty sure we’re not supposed to do that here. But I will say that it’s a NA contemporary romance I call Walking After Midnight and point you to my inspiration board.

Having spent crap-tons (it’s a technical term) of time on this baby since the beginning of February, I’m in the position now where I’ve taken my novel as far as I can alone (with the help of CPs and beta readers). And that’s where you come in, trusty #PitchWars mentors. Though I have created 69,000 some-odd words that I’m proud of, I’m willing to rip it apart and put it all back together with your help. You were chosen as mentors for a reason, and I’m willing to let you go all Mr. Miyagi on my manuscript if that’s what’s needed to get me representation and get you a shiny reputation as a Twitter-famous contest mentor.

So this is the part where I attempt to make myself sound interesting. To help belabor my points, I’m going to use memes and gifs (because, you know, all the cool kids are using ’em).

Ahem. Moving along.


During the day I work in cubicle. It’s a soul-less job but someone’s gotta do it. But working a corporate job has taught me one thing: people love bullet points. So here are some useless and yet hopefully relevant facts about me in bullet point form.

Here we go. I…

  • Have a degree in journalism and a minor in English. I spent a year as a full-time journalist for a daily newspaper (writing about spelling bees and dogs wearing Mardi Gras costumes) and then four as a features writer for an alternative weekly (writing about bars and theater). It’s also afforded me the opportunity to interview interesting actors/musicians/comedians, such as Fall Out Boy, Margaret Cho, Henry Rollins, Steven Wright, and Tom Arnold. I still freelance on occasion.
  • Was once contacted randomly by an editor at Esquire Magazine and asked to contriesquirebute to a feature on the nation’s best bars. After I hung up the phone, I immediately Googled the editor’s name and figured out that it was, indeed, a real editor from Esquire and not some random person playing an unforgivable joke on me. I said yes. Jeremy Piven was on the cover. This is as-of-yet my proudest achievement in writing, though I hope to eclipse that – and soon.


  • Prefer my Coke in a can and my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to be egg-shaped. You’ll never be able to convince me that all iterations of these snacks are created equal. They’re not.
  • Will watch any movie that includes Bill Murray (except Garfield, because WTF), Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Paul Giamatti. They can do no wrong.
  • Never get enough of the following films: (500) Days of Summer, Amelie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Garden State, Ghost World, Lost in Translation, and any film by Wes Anderson (but mostly The Royal Tenenbaums). Yes, I realize saying this makes me look like a hipster. No, I don’t care.
  • Will laugh at all your intentional or unintentional “that’s what she said” jokes. Every. Single. One.


  • Made items out of scratched-up vinyl records and sold them on Etsy, including cuff bracelets, guitar picks, spiral notebooks, bowls, necklaces, clocks, and coasters. Time constraints mean I don’t do much of this anymore, but I have plenty of notebooks left over. Want a notebook? I’m not above bribery.
  • Love tattoos (though I only have one). My second is a half-sleeve I have scheduled in October that’s based on the movie Joe Versus the Volcano.
  • Once dressed as a Ninja Turtle and danced to Vanilla Ice’s Ninja Rap for an auditorium of movie executives. Can’t make this stuff up, folks.
  • Love live music. Well, music of any kind, really. (Well not any kind. Sorry, Country fans.) But if you hang out with me long enough, I will attempt to make you listen to a song or ten. I’m one of those people who believes the right band (or song) at the right time can change your life.changeyourlife
  • Am married to a barber. A hot, bearded, tattooed barber who provides cuts and straight-razor shaves in a traditional barber shop we bought and renovated more than a year ago.
  • Have spent thirty two of my thirty three years living in Iowa, which I happen to love. Flyover country is more than a sum of its stereotypes. I can prove it. Bet you didn’t know Des Moines was this beautiful:

des moines

And because this contest is all about writing, and I wouldn’t be much of writer without first being a reader, here are a few books that I have loved the crap out of over the past few years:

So that’s me in a nutshell. (Help, I’m in a great big nutshell!)


Thanks for reading!





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Excuses are like…

Writing is hard, y’all. I didn’t used to think that, but then I didn’t used to write 70,000-word novels comprised of entirely fictional characters, events, and storylines.

I’ve been a journalist now for more than ten years, having spent time both as a full-time and now as a freelance journalist, primarily writing human interest articles and arts/entertainment features and reviews. And having now finished a draft of a manuscript that’s more than 69,000 words, I can tell you that journalism is easy. Writing a novel is hard.

So when I tell friends and family that I’m writing a novel with the goal of becoming a published author and they tell me they’ve always wanted to write a book, I tell them the truth: writing a novel is hard. But I also tell them that they should absolutely, without a doubt, write the book that’s in their heads anyway.

There’s always inevitably an excuse, some reason they haven’t put their fingers to their computer keys and clacked away in an attempt to push the story from their head to the page. For me it was doubt. Friends and family – mostly my husband – who encouraged me to branch out and write a book. There was this thought in their heads that because I was a journalist I could write a book. That the skills somehow translated. In my mind they didn’t. Not in a way that mattered. Sure, human interest articles often employ voice. And sure, human interest features have quotes and sometimes even dialogue. But the quotes in articles are someone’s actual words. Not something I made up.

To me, I was a journalist. I didn’t have a story to tell. I didn’t have the skills or the know-how to write a novel. And all of that may be true – even still – but it didn’t stop me from eventually trying. Because ultimately, there was no way for me to know whether I could write a book until I’d tried. And, ultimately, any excuse I had was born out of laziness. Don’t know how to plot? Don’t know how to structure a story? Don’t know how to build three-dimensional fictional characters? Pick up a book. Scour the internet. Discover the amazing author community on Twitter and mine their brains (and then take note of the fact that even some of the most accomplished writers still have doubts about their own work and own abilities; it’s a natural part of the creative process). There are many resources out there that can help aspiring novelists, even those without an English degree or a writing-based career.

I never (and I mean never) thought I would glean a message from Jim Carrey motivational, but he recently gave a commencement speech at the Maharishi school located southeast of me in Fairfield, Iowa, and the results was surprisingly deep and motivational for a man who’s built a career on over-the-top physical comedy.

“My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice,” Carrey said. “Instead he got a safe job as an accountant.”

His dad lost his job and the family fell on hard times. So much for safe…

“I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which, was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love,” he said.

Jim Carrey’s advice was not the push that led me to write my manuscript. But it is a reminder to keep going, to persevere through the inevitable rejection of the query trenches. I love writing. And now that I’ve dipped my toe in the fiction writing pool, I want to continue. Writing is what I love.

Toss out the excuses and write the book. No matter how long it takes. No matter how frustrating it gets. And no matter how unqualified you feel. Write because it’s what you love and because you have a story to tell.

Excuses Are Like…

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