A Few Good Men’s Reaction to Because of You


I’ve had some truly awesome reader emails since Because of You released. I had one from a group of nurses that said they laughed so hard at the catheter scene, they had to be told to pipe down. That made my day to think that someone got that much enjoyment out of my book.

Now, I’m online (a lot but who’s counting) and I talk about politics and foreign policy and life as a company commander, so I interact with a lot of guys. Typical for my daily life, too, as the Army is, well, male dominated. Suffice it to say, there are a vast number of men who do not peruse the romance aisle of the local Barnes and Noble.

All that said, there have been several guys who have read my fun little romance novel involving catheters, scars and well, a few dick jokes thrown in for good measure.  These brave men have risked their man cards by reading a book with a naked man on the cover and yet, they have not only read it, they’ve shared their reactions for our viewing pleasure.

And some of the reactions had me falling out of my chair laughing so without further adieu,

A Few Men’s Reactions to A Romance Novel.

From an LT who shall not be named:

“you apparently can’t write a romance novel without swearing and dick jokes, either”


From a Special Ops CSM who shall not have his man card revoked:

“very much enjoyed my first romance novel. Not my normal reading experience but my new favorite genre…now back to reality. I did like it. Characters were well developed and I found myself rooting for the good guys and jeering for the bad guys. But WOW was it racy. Completely not prepared for that.”


And my new favs, from an email conversation that started over Navy SEALs and political affiliation, the crème de la crème of email conversations:

I would read your book myself but I don’t want to lose my man card.”

Me: “ Psht! If a special ops CSM can read it AND like it AND still retain his man card, I think you’re ok:) besides, I won’t tell if you won’t:)”

Him: “Yeah, but he’s special ops which means he has a very BIG man card. My man card is not so big and I can’t afford to lose any.”

The Next Day:OK, I swallowed what little pride I have, risked my mediocre man card and read your book with a naked man on the cover. It’s a very good book Jessica, congratulations. But I feel duped. I had no idea that romance novels don’t have an ending. So, in light of the fact that I risked so much and shelled out $2.99 I believe you owe me an answer to one question: Why the fuck was Trent court martialed? 

Me: “That’s has to be the best response ever! Can I please post it anonymously?”

Him: “Yes, you can post it. Just don’t mention my mediocre man card. Enough women already know about that. I don’t want the entire female population to know. I’m kidding, you can post the whole email if you want. So we don’t find out what happens? I thought your 2nd book came out in May or something. What happens to Laura? Do Shane and Jen live happily ever after? I can’t believe I am asking these questions. I feel so feminine. ..Why was Trent sexually harassing women? How the hell am I suppose to wait till Christmas?”

Later that day:I just had a thought. I don’t mean to be critical but during the hospital scene Shane had an erection that lasted 5 hours. According to the commercials he should have seeked immediate medical attention for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. You could have permanently damaged his penis. “

And finally: “Last thought, still not being critical. But Jen has orgasms incredibly fast. I mean Shane just touched her down there and she exploded. Now, maybe it is my mediocre man card but my experience says this is not realistic. I mean, fuck me runnin’, it takes me an hour, a bottle of baby oil, three dildos and a circus {clown} to get my wife off.”

Folks, this stuff has had me laughing for hours! I love love love that people are reading my book but I love even more that they’re sending  emails like these gems. As one of my LTs pointed out, getting me to laugh is the fastest way out of an ass chewing.

Being a romance writer rocks.

Oh and one final thought from the above conversation: when I mentioned that one of my reasons for writing with a pen name was to keep some sweaty bald major from asking me where I got my ideas, he gave me the perfect come back: “your wife

I love my job.



The Year End Wrap Up + Giveaway!


So this year has been somewhat amazing, all things considered. Starting with the coolest news first, my husband came home from Iraq on Christmas Eve and was interviewed by Angela Brown from the Associated Press. You can read the variations of the article on




Washington Post

And others. Angela was great to talk with and it was super cool for our families to be able to see us all together again on the news.

A chapter in my Army career came to a close as I passed the guidon to my replacement as the company commander. While it was incredibly sad for me to say goodbye to my soldiers, so many of them have kept in touch, sometimes it feels like I’m still part of the Viper family. And they’re in excellent hands across the board. I’ve been selected for a second command and will be taking that guidon some time in February 2012 where the fun of company command will continue.

On The Writing Front

My young adult novel took 3rd in the 80th Annual Writer’s Digest Comptetition, which was pretty cool all the way around.

I signed my first book contract and released my debut novel, all within a span of 6 months.

Because of You launched a couple of things, the least of which was my novelist career (hopefully). You can read the press release from Ballantine Bantam Dell here announcing the first Loveswept ebook original release. Because of You not only launched the return of Loveswept original ebooks, it was my first book. During the first two weeks of its release, it crept as high as #27 on the Barnes and Noble ebook Top 100. Not for romance. For ALL Ebooks. That was pretty freaking awesome in my world.

I gave away 3 Kindles and 3 Nooks this year as promo for BECAUSE OF YOU. I hope the winners have truly enjoyed them and if I haven’t heard from you, please email me so I can get your prize in the mail!

By the numbers, Because of You has been added to 258 lists on Goodreads and has 4.5 stars from 22 reviews. 14 reviews on Amazon 4.5 stars.  Thank you so so much for everyone who has read Because of You, told a friend or left a review. None of this would have happened without readers and friends pulling for the little book that could.

Because of You also received an amazing outpouring of support from superstars in the romance world and you can read all of the amazing quotes here. I can only hope that in some way, I can ever repay the support I received.

The best book I read all year (other than the Hunger Games series) was Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Blade. Dmitri and Honor’s was an absolutely incredible story that moved me and ultimately sticks with me months after I read it. You don’t have to read the series in order to read this book: READ IT!

Looking Forward

2012 is going to be another crazy year. I’ve got two books due to my editor, who has the patience of a saint with my busy army life. As I mentioned above, I’m taking command again in February and learning how to be a wife again to a husband who is not immediately heading back out the door for deployment (we hope).

Sadly, 2012 may also be our last year at Fort Hood as my prospects for broadening assignments are being looked at by echelons above reality. The thoughts of leaving the home I’ve shared with my husband, that has seen major changes, two kids, multiple pets…it’s sad. But I’m going to enjoy 2012 and every thing that it brings and not dwell on the far out future that I can’t actually control.

I’m going to attempt to go to RT and RWA conferences but probably will have to choose between one or the other. I’ve entered the RITA, so wish me luck on that front. I’m competing in the single title category so I probably don’t have a snowball’s chance in, well, you know. But hey, a girl’s got to have a dream.

BACK TO YOU will release in September, followed by Until There Was You around Christmas. There were some changes made based on characterization and market timing so for those who are anxiously awaiting Trent’s story, you’ll have to wait a little longer for his Christmas novella. And BACK TO YOU will now feature Claire Montoya and Evan Loehr dealing with a

There will be more publicity for Because of You in the coming months. Thanks to everyone who has votes, shared and supported BECAUSE OF YOU in 2011!


That’s the year end wrap up! Tell me, what are you looking forward to in 2012? I’ll give away at $25 gift card to one lucky commenter.

Guest Author: Gretchen Rix’s A NEWBIE SELF-PUBLISHES

Please welcome back fellow Austin RWA author Gretchen Rix, here to talk about life since she published her first novel The Cowboy’s Baby and her second book Arroyo!


Last July when Jessica invited me to share my Kindle publishing experiences I was full of great expectations and concentrating on getting The Cowboy’s Baby out. Just learning how to do it and do it right took up a lot of my time. I was self-publishing. I’m still self-publishing (although now everyone wants to call it indie publishing).


Maybe the great expectations weren’t realized, but the good expectations came through. That e-book has sold more than 2,500 copies at last count. But a lot has changed in that year and a bit. And almost all of it grew out of the self-publishing experience.


I’ve got Twitter to keep up. I write a blog. There is Facebook. There are the Austin RWA meetings each month. I judge a couple of romance writing contests. And now I’ve just put my second novel out, Arroyo, a paranormal western.


But the same week I did that I also wrote a Q&A on my blog with a couple of very successful thriller writers. My paperback POD of The Cowboy’s Baby went up on the whale table at Book People (a famous bookstore in Austin) giving it more than a fighting chance at sales. And I was preparing to sell The Cowboy’s Baby in a booth at Lockhart’s Evening With Dickens festival the first weekend in December (plus promoting some other writers as well).


I just finished selling fifteen copies as one of the featured authors at this year’s Evening With The Authors in my own hometown. I just prepared a book review of Stirred by J.A. Konrath and Blake Crouch, and one for Deb Sanders’ debut romance novel Stone Cold Justice, and just did one more promised for another best selling author’s first space western Guns of Seneca 6.


And then finally, with my sister, I am finishing up the third year of the Scare The Dickens Out of Us ghost story contest.


It’s not like marketing Arroyo, or continuing to market The Cowboy’s Baby is not on my mind. There’s just so much else to do. The new book to start, for one. And that novelette I’ve already got the cover for.


I’ve read time and time again that the best marketing you can do for your e-books is just to write the next one, and make it the very best you can. Then go on to the next.


We’ll see. It took The Cowboy’s Baby more than a year to take off. That might very well be the fate of Arroyo as well. But they’re published, they’re available for any e-book device or app, and I’m damned proud of them. Have a look.


Link for B&N is http://barnesandnoble.com/c/gretchen-rix

Link for Smashwords is http://smashwords.com/books/view/79235 and http://smashwords.com/books/view/105559

Amazon.com links are http://amzn.com/B0067NCEJ4 and http://amzn.com/B003UYUVZC

Thoughts on Loyalty


The Army has these things called Army Values. They make up the acronum LDRSHIP and stand for Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. In our society, we pay a lot of lip service to these things but at the end of the day, how many of us really ever think about these values or any other values in our day to day lives.


When I was in New York this summer for RWA Nationals, I was at the Random House party and talking with a thriller author and his wife and his editor. We were just making conversation and it came up that he’d been with the same editor for over 10 years. I remarked that I thought that was pretty odd and they both agreed that it was but that hey, it worked for them, right? They were a good team and the author was pretty stuck on being with the team.


Now this post is NOT about staying with a publisher or with anyone out of loyalty, so don’t misconstrue that. But, in the publishing world and in the business world in general, how much does loyalty matter? I’ll tell you the first thing that comes to mind: brand loyalty. Companies want you to become loyal to this thing called a brand. Ok, whatever. That’s not a value, that’s a psychological reaction but anyway.


Do you make decisions at all based on any type of values system? Do you make a decision based on what’s right or what the ethical thing is to do? How many times do we as a society consider what the right thing to do even is?


And on a personal level, who are you loyal to? I’ll tell you in my Army life, there are a handful of people I am loyal to. That could pick up the phone today and call me and I would bend over backwards to do whatever it was they needed. A handful. Not everyone I ever served with. Not every old boss. Maybe dozen people tops that I would say I have loyalty to.

The same thing goes in the writing world. There have been a whole lot of people who have helped me, listened to me, supported me over the years. I have loyalty to them. I would drop everything to read for them or publish a blog or do anything I could to help support whatever they’re doing because they were there for me.

Loyalty is not given freely. Loyalty is not something everyone earns or even deserves. If I have no loyalty to you, does that make me a bad person? A bad writer? No, I don’t think it does unless my lack of loyalty to you means that I would in turn to unethical things to you.


I guess the whole point of this post is to ask the question: who are you loyal to? What would you do for that loyalty? What does that loyalty keep you from doing and is that a good or a bad thing?

The Official Blog Tour for Because of You

So remember a few weeks ago when I was wondering how one coordinated a blog tour for a book launch? I was somewhat confused about where the process began, what I should be doing to promote my book and what I was going to screw up.

Twitter came to the rescue once again and a few folks who you’ll see below came to the rescue and offered up some spots to help promo my debut novel Because of You.

Not only do I have those amazing blogs lined up, I’ve got a blog post just about every day for a month, starting the week after next. And I’m triple booked for release day, which it just dawned on me was Veterans Day this year, which is somewhat appropriate, I guess, because Shane and Carponti and all the guys in Because of You are inspired by the guys around me that I serve with every single day.

So if you’re interested in checking out where I’ll be through the month of October and November, here’s the list so far. I’m trying to figure out how to put the links up on the sidebar of my blog, so I’ll get to that one of these days (probably after I fail the GRE but I digress).

I’m really, really excited about this. I love reading author blogs especially when they’re talking about something different. So luckily, some of these dates are interviews and other dates are me rambling on about various and sundry topics (seriously, give me some ideas about what you’re curious about, otherwise, you’re going to hear about my cats).

There’s more to follow but here’s the list so far!
10/24 – Pink Heart Society
11/2 – Riding With The Top Down
11/4 – The Book Pushers Debut Author Feature
11/5 – Shiloh Walker’s Blog
11/7- Kate Davies
11/9 – RT – Morgan Doremus
11/13 – Interview on Romance At Random
11/14- USA Today’s-Happily Ever After Blog
11/14 – Fresh Fiction
11/14 – Plot Monkeys
11/15 – Mindy Klasky’s Blog
11/16 – The Bookpushers
11/17 – Vauxhall Vixens
11/20 – Read React Review
11/22 – Murder She Writes
11/25 – Ex Libiris

Guest Author Laura Griffin + Giveaway!

Today it’s my great pleasure to welcome back a good friend of mine who also happens to be one of my favorite authors. Laura Griffin is back, celebrating the release of her latest suspense novel SNAPPED. Laura’s giving away an autographed copy of SNAPPED today along with a 20$ gift card to B&N to one lucky winner. To add to the fun, I’m going to throw in Laura’s entire backlist, just because I love her books!

The other day I was chatting with Jess about the writer’s life and how it can change, seemingly overnight. I remember attending my first RWA conference in Dallas and meeting many authors I admire, and feeling a bit star-struck (not to mention intimidated!) by it all.

Fast-forward seven years, and so many things have changed. Writing fiction has gone from being my dream job to a very real occupation. I count myself lucky that I’m writing full time, unlike so many other authors I know who are juggling other demanding professions as well (Jess, I’m talking to you! No idea how you do it, but I’m in awe!)

Some things are harder now–such as tighter deadlines, higher editorial expectations, carving out time to participate in social media when what I’d really like to be doing is watching re-runs of “Man vs. Wild” or “Top Chef.” But there are a few things that are easier now, and one of those is research.

When I sit down to write, I love to have sharp, vivid details at my fingertips to make the story come to life. Where do I get these? Oftentimes, from research. If I’m writing about a place I’ve never been or about a character whose job is unfamiliar to me, I like to interview someone who can give me a behind-the-scenes glimpse of that aspect of my story.

With SNAPPED, for example, I interviewed a long list of people. The book opens with a sniper scene on a college campus and my hero is a member of the SWAT team called in to confront the shooter. Having never stormed a building and taken down an armed assailant, I decided to talk to a SWAT team member to understand what this is like. Let me tell you, those guys have a stressful job!

To get details about my heroine, who gets caught in the crossfire of this terrifying event, I needed to look no further than my mother. She was an eye-witness to Charles Whitman’s deadly rampage on the University of Texas campus back in 1966. Growing up, I heard about this event often. When we’d visit UT for football weekends, my mom would show me where she was standing when the shooting broke out. The day I began the book, SNAPPED, I trekked around the campus and tried to get myself in the mindset of the characters. Then I went to the student union with my laptop and sat down to write chapter one.

I feel a very personal connection to this story, and I hope readers will enjoy it.

Thanks for inviting me on the blog today, Jess. Happy reading, everyone!

Blog Tour? Where Do I Even Start?

Okay, need some advice for a newbie author. I suppose at some point I need to start a blog tour schedule. The problem is, how do I even begin? Is it something I just go around to my favorite blogs and ask someone if I can have a date on the calendar? Or is this something my publisher starts?

I honestly have no idea how to do this but I do know that I’m probably already behind the power curve if I’m less than 90 days until my book comes out and I don’t have anything scheduled yet, right?

What does a blog tour look like? How do you schedule it? And who do you contact?

Anyone with information, I’d appreciate advice, guidance and direction!

BECAUSE OF YOU Back Cover Copy

So this post was going to be very exciting for me because I have the back cover copy of Because of You. But this gets even better because now Because of You is available for preorder!!

This is kind of big for me. This feels like a moment where I feel like, yes, this has really, really happened. I am so freaking excited right now!!

buy from: B & N | Borders | Indiebound | Amazon | Powell’s

From the war-torn streets of Baghdad to the bittersweet comforts of the home front, two wounded hearts navigate the battlefield of coming home from war in this explosive eBook original from newcomer Jessica Scott.

Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there’s more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he’ll never see again—until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care.

Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there’s a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels—for the first time in a long time—like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty—it’s a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected—her deepest desire.

Author Pics: The Final 2

Ok gang, I’m down to the final 2 pics to choose from. I’ve used a bunch of the other pics in various locations but for the pic at the back of the book, I’m between these two.

So what do you think?