25 May 2016

Some Days, I Just Don't Get It

You know, I had a fellow author once tell me that I should avoid the hot button topics of the world. She said, "It'll just lose you readers and get you in trouble."

I'm really not in it to try and convince anyone. A lot of what I believe, I believe based on what I feel, not on "fact" of any kind. Over the coming days, I will be in here commenting on things. Mostly because I don't understand them. You're free to comment your feelings. I invite open discussion. I will do my damnedest to be polite about it, remember that everyone has an opinion and all opinions are just as valid as mine. Even when we don't agree.

I will ask you to do the same.

You'll forgive me if a lot of this is stream of consciousness stuff. In and around the "how to--" on writing. I'll try to remember to label the personal essays as such. But a lot of this will be rather hot button. Just warning you in advance.

I bid you peace.

29 April 2016

My Name is Mine Again

Finally! I got my domain back. In case you hadn't noticed, look up at that URL bar and you'll see it -- http://www.jessevcoffey.com. Mine again. I had to let it go for a while but I got it back. I'm the only me there is. Happy day!

That's really all I have right now. I will be back later to start back up with my blog subjects and such. I've compartmentalized my life in such a way that my Geminian, fractured life has a blog for each purpose.

This one is my writing and my explorations into the vocation I have chosen. I use my words to talk about my words. The professional me.

I have a more personal blog that relates my day to day life, my struggles with my weight and self esteem, the world I live in and what affects me by it, my thoughts on it. That one might lose me a lot of readers, but it also might gain me more insight. Discussions are always welcome there. The link for that one is http://jvrcsobserves.blogspot.com/.

The one I blog the least in is my Dear Tom blog. I've eased back into the theater for a while. My struggles with regaining my footing as an actor and stories of the process. Not sure how much longer I'm going to keep that one. But we'll see. For now, there it is.

And on that note...

Make it a great day.

04 January 2016

A Rose By Any Other Name...

The pen name. Le nom de plume. Il nome della penna. El nombre de la pluma. And the question -- should I have one or not?

There is only one quick and easy answer, and even then, it's not that easy. Answer? It depends on what you want out of your writing.

Do you want complete anonymity? To protect your private life from the outside word? Then, yes, you'll want a pen name. But I guarantee you, at some point, someone will find out the truth. Ask Stephen King about that one; when no one knew who the hell Richard Bachman was and then got outed as a pen name of Steve! But still, separating your professional life from your personal life is a good plan -- especially when it comes time to brand that name (which is another discussion and that will come later).

Do you plan on writing in several genres? Then, you definitely need to have a pen name -- or several. A different name for each genre. That branding thing again. I think pretty much everyone knows by now that I write under my own name of Jesse V Coffey, but I also write under the pen name of Siobhan MacKenzie. The reason being, Jesse V Coffey writes paranormal, historical, and speculative fiction. But Siobhan MacKenzie writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense/thriller, and erotica. One day, I want to write a series of thrillers and I'll have another name for those. I keep them separate because Jesse's readers are not that interested in Siobhan's writing. And vice versa. So, cross-genre writing will be best served with pen names.

Maybe you don't want your family to know you're writing erotica, erotic romance, or porn. Pen name. I know a couple of authors of BDSM novels that have pen names.Why? Because they keep their writing life away from family life -- to keep them from reading something that might distress them.

Or, maybe you just want a pen name because you want one. Okay. Again, your choice. But the point it, it depends on you. There is no right or wrong answer. Just what your comfort level is and what you hope to get out of your writing. Once you make that decision, then go for it.

Are you an author? Do you have a pen name? Why did you choose it? Tell us about your experiences and help fellow authors with that decision.

Write on,


29 December 2015

Put Those Fingers On the Keys and Commence!

I have been threatening to do this for a while. It's about time I got started. I mean, I asked everyone in Jesse's Coffeyhouse (on Facebook) -- if I started up my blog again, what would you like me to write about. I got a list as long as my arm. And I have long arms. So, here's the first of that list.

For the Love of Words

 Actually more for the love of the story. Since I was a child, I was writing something. Mostly stories though. And reading. You didn't see me without a book in my hands. My Mom's side of the family were voracious readers. And they would read to me at night before bed. It was just natural to me that I would become a devout bookworm. And go from reading to writing.

I was reading Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen by the time I was ten. Shakespeare when I was eleven. Sidney Sheldon, Erica Jong, and Jacqueline Susan by the time I was 14. I started writing when I was twelve -- because I got a cassette recorder for Christmas and decided to write my own plays. My brothers and I would record them, playing the parts. The first one was some sort of western as I recall. I thought it was hysterically funny at the time. I doubt anyone else did. I wrote my own first story when I was in ninth grade -- for an English Class and we had to write a fairy tale. It was a bit of a contest. I won. But that's neither here nor there. It was the encouragement I needed.

I got the itch to write my first novel in 1997 but I didn't actually start writing it until about 2002 while I was laid off and in between jobs. My dearest friend was the one to talked me into trying the publishing thing with it. I was scared that I didn't have what it took. I was scared that I had only one book in me. How wrong I was on both scores.

A half dozen books later,  I feel like I'm still learning. Still following that dream. What motivates me is the love of the story. The love of words. Learning new words, using them in my stories. Taking the pictures and plots out of my head and putting them on the page to share. If I make money at it, great. If not, I'm good with that too. But I'd surely love to make money at it one day. In the meantime, I can write about it here. Share what I know here.

That's fair, right? I'll share with you, you share with me? After all, it's all about the story, all about the words.

Write on,

02 October 2015

And so it begins... The Second Contest begins...

October is here. A Wager of Blood is up everywhere. $.99 for the month of October. I thought it was a good price. I mean just for the month. See if that gets any movement before I move it permanently to $4.99.

I am giving away free copies of the ebook of A Wager of Blood to celebrate the re-release everywhere. A contest a day, a free book a day. My first contest was a Facebook only. Probably still should have posted but to be honest, it was a busy day yesterday and I forgot to post it here. I'll probably do that particular one again.

So, today's however is a blog only contest. A simple one really. Find me a haunted inn. The story of A Wager of Blood takes place in a haunted New Hampshire inn. Find me one. In your state, town, wherever you find one. Find me a haunted inn and then tell me about the haunting in the comments. Once again, all who enter will get your names tossed in the hat and I'll choose a winner from there. And share this with your friends, everyone you know who loves a good paranormal thriller.

Winner will be posted tonight around 10:00 PM Eastern. Good luck!

30 September 2015

October News -- New Blog, New Attitude, New Release, New Giveaways

Hmmm, do I start with the good stuff? Or make you wait and read all the way through. I'm evil that way. I know...Follow the KISS rule -- Keep It Short & Sweet!

I have been passive for far too long when it comes to my writing "career". I've always had this attitude that "I have a day job, the acting and the writing are for my soul." Except, I want to make this a career. Which means, if I want it, I have to be far more active. So...time to be active. Time to pursue it. Time to make it happen. The world isn't beating down my door, wearing a path in the earth to my cottage. Like the man said in the movie, "If you build it, he will come." Well, so will they.

So that's my new attitude. To blog daily, make you all wear down that path to my door. And it starts today.

A Wager of Blood isn't a "new" release so much as it's releasing it in new venues. The story is set in a small New Hampshire town. The inn there has a...well, let's just say it has a past. Frankie and Meg, two good friends, get stuck in the loop of solving that past, along with their husbands Sean and Zach. But Zach seems to be the one with the most to lose in this -- it's his legacy and his blood that's being called into the wager of a life time. Or death time.

One of those spooky stories that fit in well with Halloween month. Which leads me to the last point. A giveaway.

More like 31 days of giveaway. I've decided to give away 31 copies of the ebook version of A Wager of Blood. One a day for the entire month of October. Little contests. Excerpts from the book. Trivia. Fun times. And for the entire month of October, the price of the book will be $.99--in case you just want to buy it. $.99 for my Paranormal Thriller. After that, the cost rises to it's full cost of $4.99. So October is your only time to get your copy at the introductory price.

Shall we play a game? Come back tomorrow and we start.

Write On,

27 September 2015

Redefining who I am

I do this on occasion. Take a long hard look at myself and say, "Hmm, I've changed. I'm not the same any longer. So, who am I?"

So, I am sitting here, trying to come up with the answer. Who am I? I'm a woman. I'm human. I work for an online bookseller, buying books. I'm a writer, a novelist to be precise. An author. I am a part time actor. I am a fun and funny person, learning to find her way in a modern world.

I think it's time to do a little personal and internal exploration. I think it's time to explore what I love the most. I think it's just time to explore.

And blog about it.

What do YOU think?

Welcome back, Jess. I think you might have been missed.

07 September 2015

I Don't Always Have Something To Say

But when I do...

I come back with a vengeance... It's nice to have my lover back. My stories. My words. All things writing. I lost it for a while. Too much going on and I just couldn't do it. You know how life gets in the way. But the moment I made this my home page/web site, I knew I had to do something. So...time to keep things up again. Time to put me back out there.

If  you're in the tri-state area (KY, IN, OH),
please come join me. I would love to meet
you. Find more information here.
Yes, I am working on a new book. That's for later. My writing, my life, all of that. Begins with one simple announcement...and a bit of promotion. Please read on.

I am going to be at this year's Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY. This weekend, September 11 - 13.

I'm quite psyched up for this. I was there last year for the first Inaginarium Convention and had the absolutely best time ever. I was on several panels, got to see several more. Participated all over the place. Before I had even walked out the door to come home, I went to the co-ordinator and said, "Please! I gotta come back next year. I loved this!"

I was invited. I was back. I am back!

Imaginarium is for all of you who want to write, want to learn more about your craft, want to lead those who are just coming into their own talent. All genres, all types -- screenplays, fiction, nonfiction. Romance, Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy. You name it, we'll be talking about it. Workshops too. And a gaming room. This year, we have concerts, film marathons, and there's always the gaming room. Not to mention the vendor room where you can buy the books those authors have written. A lot to do.

And if you're looking for me, I'll be on no fewer than seven panels this year. And I'm actually moderating three of them -- look for the (M) next to the room name:

FRI 6P - Ask an Author: Romance -- Shelby
FRI 9P - A Polished Novel is a Beautiful Thing -- Madison (M)
SAT 2P - LGBT Themes in Popular Fiction -- Shelby
SAT 4P - Mental Health & The Literary World -- Shelby
SAT 5P - The Rise of Gay Romance -- Hancock
SAT 9P - Erotic Romance vs. Erotica -- Hancock(M)
SUN 12P - Romance for Boys? -- Hancock (M)

I'm taking the laptop to keep notes and report from the convention. We'll see if I can actually remember to do it. Last year, I got one picture in and got so busy that I forgot. This year -- more pictures, more sharing of things. I hope.

Please come. I would love to see you there.

Write on!

25 March 2014

From my new Broadway Musical, _My Fair Hiddles_

Because Chris Jones dared me. And, well, I hope #TomHiddleston has a sense of humor. Or I'm seriously done for. But, hey, if you can't tweak a favorite actor, who can you tweak...

Sung to the tune of "Just You Wait" from My Fair Lady (book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe), I give you....

Just you wait, 'Enry 'Iddles, just you wait
You'll be sorry but your love will be too late
I'll be Cumberbitching harder
And go off to raid the larder
Just you wait, 'Enry 'Iddles, just you wait!!

Just you wait, 'Enry 'Iddles, til I'm gone
And there's no one there to mow your bloody lawn
You'll be wounded and so manic
Off you'll go into a panic
Just you wait, 'Enry 'Iddles, just you wait!

Ooooo, 'Enry 'Iddles,
Just you wait until we're swimming in the sea
Ooooo, 'Enry 'Iddles,
And you lose your shorts a little ways from me
When you yells, "I'm damned near nude"
I'll just laugh out "Really, dude?"
Ho ho ho, 'Enry 'Iddles
Off I go, 'Enry 'Iddles

One day, I'll be famous
I'll be proper and prim
Hang with James Hook so often
I shall call him 'My Jim"
One day the Hook shall say to me,
Dear Jesse, old thing
I want all my pirates your praises to sing
Next week on the 23rd of May
I proclaim Jesse Coffey Lovers Day

All the pirates shall glory
In the wonder of you
And whatever you wish and want
I gladly will do.
Fanks a lot, Jim, says I after swilling the rum
But all I want is 'Enry 'Iddles bum!!

DONE! says the Hook with a stroke
DONE! says the Hook, GO FETCH THE BLOKE!

Then, they'll march you, 'Enry 'Iddles, to the wall
And the Hook will say, Sweet Jesse, sound the call
As they raise their squirt guns higher,
I'll shout, HIT THE TEE SHIRT -- FIRE!!!
You'll be wet, 'Enry 'Iddles
It's all you'll get, 'Enry 'Iddles

This is me, grinning with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Still my favorite Shakespearean actor, you know.

17 February 2014

NT Live/Donmar Warehouse production of "Coriolanus" starring Tom Hiddleston

I managed to score tickets to see the rebroadcast of Shakespeare's Coriolanus from the stage of the Donmar Warehouse Theater in London England. I love modern technology -- transmitted worldwide and starring the amazing #Tom Hiddleston. I waited a month to see this production and the day finally arrived.

I have gone through so many emotions in the last 24 hours, after seeing the production. It took me some time to be able to sort through my feelings, find the words to describe what I saw. Bear with me while I share that with you....

I know what I expected. I know what I saw. And I know that I walked out of that theater feeling as if I'd been wrung out and hung up to dry. The energy on the screen was electric and intense. It didn't let go from the moment the play began until the moment it ended. It was as tightly wound as the high E string on a guitar and in places very disturbing -- especially that ending.

If you know nothing about the play other than it was written by William Shakespeare, then you need to go right now and read the synopsis on Wikipedia. Because a lot of this won't make much sense if you don't. Go on, I'll wait. I have to compose my thoughts anyway.

The most fascinating part of the entire production was the minimalist staging. The only props or set pieces were the chairs brought on and off or the pedestal, used to represent the various "places" within the play -- the Senate, his home, etc. Occasionally, cast members would paint squares or "boxes" for the staging area. The large red was where much of the main action took place (still working that one out, really) but at one point, a small black box was painted on the stage. That one was easier to understand -- the box in which Caus Martius had been painted against his will, by his own machinations or by those of others. Trapped and claustrophobic, it is his platform and his jail.

The brick wall behind the cast was painted with various graffiti that raised political issues and at the same time seemed to be the voice of the people in their fickle praise and then condemnation of Caius
Martius (Coriolanus).

The Donmar Warehouse Theater as we found out was once an actual banana ripening warehouse. The theater is very intimate -- 251 seats and done in what's called "three quarter thrust", which means that the audience surrounds the stage on three sides. Most theaters are done in what's called "proscenium staging", meaning that the stage is separated from the house and the seating is only on one side. And of course, there's also "theater in the round", where the audience is seated on all four sides. With three quarter thrust and in the round, there are no bad seats. Ever. Makes for a more realistic setting and acting style.

I'm going to start with the rest of the cast.They truly deserve their props for the support they gave the principals and their leading man.

Mark Gatiss (Mycroft in Sherlock) was the only other person I knew in that cast. But I promise you that every single one was brilliant. The small supplemental cast carried on all of the various supporting roles of senators and publicans alike. Their energy was unbelievable -- each played differing characters with differing personalities. But they kept the pace going, keeping that intensity level so high that it was palpable.

Gatiss plays the roll of Menenius -- a rather toadying sort but he is one of
Martius' closest friends. He is full of his own self-importance, thinking himself to be Martius' guiding light and voice of the people. He is one of those who push Martius into becoming a Consul -- a role that Martius is clearly not suited for. Why? I'll discuss that when I discuss Mr. Hiddleston. If all I knew of Mark Gatiss was the occasional episode of Doctor Who or his work on Sherlock, I'd still think he was a pretty good actor. But in this, he shines. He fills the character with pomposity and vulnerability.

Deborah Findlay as Volumina, Marcius' mother, is put through the ringer and then some. You can't stand her in the beginning because she's more concerned that he's been wounded in service of his country than that he walked away alive. I think, in some small way, when the ending comes, she knows what her part in his downfall is.

Birgitte Hjort Sørensen played Virgilia, his wife -- she's little more than his chief mourner, but yet she also serves in a subtle way as his Greek Chorus. Shakespeare seems to have added the character to do nothing more than that and the character is difficult to flesh out.

And on to Tom Hiddleston.

I've seen The Hollow Crown now. And last night, saw Coriolanus. And I sincerely mean it when I say that maybe Will didn't know it at the time, but he was writing for Tom Hiddleston to be born one day and perform his plays. Hiddleston takes to Shakespeare in much the same way that a duck takes to water or a bird takes to flight. It comes with little effort, as if born to the manor. So to speak.

Hiddleston's Caius
Martius Coriolanus is a complicated man. A career soldier, he has the swagger and arrogance of a man of his convictions. Fighting a decisive battle, he comes home as a wounded war hero who is suddenly thrust into the world of political intrigue. It is a role that he is not suited to play because the newly named Coriolanus is a brutally honest man who knows all too well that some are born to rule and many are born to follow. He does not suffer fools, he does not sit well under the fawning and trappings of politics, and he does not speak in the politically correct way of the day. He makes enemies of the very people he has been forced to represent. And it quickly leads to his downfall -- his fall from grace, his subsequent need for vengeance, and his tragically violent death.

One of my friends made the comment last night of the similarities between
Martius and #Loki -- and in that paragraph, I see them now too. 

Hiddleston's performance gets intensely painful at times, specifically when he bathes at the end of the big battle and the pain of the water hitting his wounds is intense. He cries, he screams, he writhes in that pain as the blood pours from his body in the water. The ending, his own ending, watching him being hauled up by the feet and having his throat slit, listening to the dying man's gurgles, the blood pouring again on the ground and on the face of the man that was his enemy, then his friend, and then his enemy again. It was a visceral gut punch that laid me out, cut me to the quick.

It was nothing short of brilliant, the man the British press are calling "the new Lawrence Olivier". I foresee that man's career taking off in even bigger ways. And I think I would crawl across 50 miles of broken glass just to watch him do ANYTHING on the stage and screen.

Final thoughts on Coriolanus --

The death of the man still haunts me. I was home well before midnight and yet I couldn't fall asleep until 2 am. I lay down before that and saw that image of the dying Coriolanus and I would start crying. Then I woke up at somewhere around 4 am, sobbing my heart out. The picture in my dreams, the picture in my head. It hurts beyond all reasonable thought. In fact, I have no reason why. I just hurt and in the hurt, I weep. And in the weeping, I think something is making sense to me somewhere inside.

You see, Coriolanus is a play that transcends the time in which it's set. The story of one man who is far too honest to be a politician -- don't we all know one or two that have tried and failed in a bid for that power and for that reason? Their unflagging honesty and purity of soul? That we label arrogance and disdain?

In 400 years since this play was written, we seem to have learned nothing of the lessons of the past. We are still governed by mob rule. Those we praise today, we crucify tomorrow. Those we follow today, we vilify tomorrow -- for "taking our freedoms" that we willingly gave away to begin with. We follow the trends like the good little sheeple we are. We call ourselves sophisticated and evolved. And the truth is, we haven't evolved at all. We're still the good little barbarian horde.

I've now seen brilliance on the stage. Keep your MacBeth, your Romeo and Juliet. I will always love Hamlet because it was my first play, my first live action play, and my first Shakespeare play. But I think this just became my new favorite of the Shakespearean Canon. I have to see it again, whoever the cast. I think I will be haunted it by this production for some time to come. And I do mean "haunted".

Check your local movie theater listings -- you may be able to find a rebroadcast in your area. And if you do, go see it! Move heaven and earth to do so but go. If not, check out the movie version with Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler. It's so worth the watching.