Pitch Wars #BoostMyBio

Posted by on Sep 2, 2019 in Books, Children's books, S'Wicked Blog

Just before she disappeared from view, she shouted, “Be careful of the monsters! There are mooonsters in the wooooods!”

So, What’s This “Boost My Bio” All About?

Some of you know I have a book I’m shopping around to agents. It’s an Upper-Middle-Grade Contemporary SciFi Horror—the type of book I would’ve firewalked for, when I was a kid.

It features four main kid characters trying to survive the long, hot boredom of summer in a shabby-around-the-edges small New England town. Strange things start happening, though, and their summer soon becomes more interesting—and terrifying—than they’d ever dreamed possible. The story is jam-packed with Popsicles, pizza, and pool parties; campouts, confessions, and creepy companies; movies, marching bands, and monsters (of all varieties). Good stuff, right?

Well, to get that good stuff out into the world, and increase the odds of getting it published, I’m participating in Pitch Wars, a seriously cool opportunity to build community, hone my manuscript to a bleeding edge with the help of a rock star mentor (or mentor team), and gain exposure for the book.

(Want more info on Pitch Wars and how it works? It’s all here. And, if you want to see this year’s crazy-cool list of mentors, click on the image, below.)

Pitch Wars 2019 Mentors image

One way to build community is via a “Boost-My-Bio” post, sharing info about both the book and myself. So here ya go…




Track lanes disappearing into mist

Sasha’s tough—the kind of kid who doesn’t take any crap from anyone, and knows how to take care of herself. Her home life is less than ideal, but she makes do. She’s a blur on the track, savors a good round of trash talk, and wants with every fiber of her being to escape the confines of her hometown.


Beakers with plants growing inside

Nova’s a formidable scientist who’s built her own biology lab in her basement. Her dream is to get a full ride to M.I.T., so she can study astronomical horticulture. Nova has the support of her mom, Dad, and Broadway-obsessed younger sister, Jazzy. Together, they make up the only African-American family in town.


Library stacks lit by Edison bulbs

If you’re in Rutfield and you see a tall, quiet kid with his nose in a book, it’s probably Devin. His idea of a dream life is eating meatball and mushroom pizza, and living in the stacks at the local library. In the meantime, though, he has to help take care of his younger siblings in a home that makes Sasha’s double-wide existence look like a Norman Rockwell painting.


Vintage movie theater seats in black and white

Jerry’s the new kid in town. He’s moved from the Boston suburbs to Rutfield with his mom, who’s in pursuit of some sort of bucolic fairyland lifestyle. Jerry’s small for his age, and on the scrawny end of things. He’s at his very happiest curled up in his beanbag chair, watching cheesy monster movies.


Welcome to Rutfield postcard

Rutfield is one of those drive-right-through towns in rural Massachusetts—the kind of place that was doing okay when farms and small mills could keep a community going. Now, it’s a patchwork of rundown houses and overgrown fields, gloomy woods, a shambling town green, a mysterious business lurking behind a tall fence, and the one jewel in its small-town crown—a heck of a good orchard.


This book will resonate with fans of Stranger Things, The Benefits of Being an Octopus, “The Body”/Stand By Me, and B-level scifi monster movies.

You may be asking, “So, what’s the title?” Well, the title is a dead-giveaway for the hook. And the hook is particularly juicy from a commercial perspective. So, that’s one card I’m holding close to the vest for the time being.


Jess self-portrait

I’m Jess. I write, of course (PB, MG, & YA), but I’m also a graphic designer, illustrator, and marketing/branding professional, and run my own business, Jesswick Creative Studio, LLC.

In my college years, I studied at The George Washington University, where I graduated from the English Department Honors Program, and then went on to get my MA in Communications Design (a program that combined creative writing and graphic design) at the University of Baltimore.

I have a few books out there—all pop-ups. (How cool is that?)

"Barnacle Carnival," "The Mitten," and "The Nutcracker" front covers

I’m a member of the SCBWI, was on the faculty of the NESCBWI 2019 Spring Conference, and was invited to repeat my workshop on branding at the NESCBWI’s Encore! for Writers program this month, where I shared the stage with four phenomenal KidLit presenters. (Am I flattered? You betcha!)

I live in Connecticut with my husband, small fry, and an arthritic cat who insists on chasing chipmunks all over the place, then limping back to the house in pain, afterward.

Fearsome kitty

I own a ridiculous number of books. Seriously. It’s reached absurdity. “How many?” you ask. Well, I haven’t done a count, but they number into the four digits at this point.

In addition to writing and illustration, I love art in general—both looking at it and making it. I have more art supplies than I could ever use (lucky me!), and am always trying some new medium. I have fun playing with everything from surface pattern design (the background seaweed pattern on this page is mine) to alcohol inks, hand lettering, watercolor, gouache, rug hooking, colored pencil, weaving, assemblage art, and more.

(You can check out a lot of my creations, the animal friends that wander by my studio, and proof of my art supply obsession in my Instagram feed.)

Art supplies

This is only the tip of my art supply iceberg.

My dearest dream is to live out a happy, healthy, long life, then abruptly kick the bucket either in a bookstore or an art supply store. Actually, that might be kind of horrific for those poor folks standing near me, so let me amend that statement: I would abruptly kick the bucket while curled up in a comfy chair, having just finished an excellent book, or while painting/making something that my family could then sell for a gajillion dollars as my “final piece.”

And, it would be the cherry on top if they titled that last work, “The Final Peace.”