Hi! Welcome to my website. My name is Jess, Jessy, Jessica and I’m a co-owner/co-editor of Swamp Lily Review, A Journal of Louisiana Literature & Arts. I’m also a staff writer for Southern Writers Magazine. I do author interviews. Back in 1996 I sold a novel to Silhouette Romance. It was about an Elvis look-alike who tangles with the daughter of an Elvis fanatic. The Groom Wore Blue Suede Shoes was originally called Love You Tender. My pen name Jessica Travis was originally Jessica Chaney. Oh yeah, publishing was a learning experience. Silhouette turned down my option book so what did I do? I became a realtor! Selling houses is a lot like selling books.
One of the best times I’ve had as a writer is when I worked as assistant editor/writer/photographer for The Times of Southwest Louisiana. It was fun and I learned a lot. If you ever have the opportunity to write for a magazine or newspaper in your city, do it. You’ll see your town and the people around you in a whole new way.
My work has appeared in magazines and newspapers in Louisiana and Texas. One of my writing assignments earned me a position with Lamar University’s Continuing Education Department, coordinating writing classes and teaching my own class, Nonfiction Boot Camp. Budget cuts did away with the CE department so I tried my hand at teaching an on-campus course for McNeese University’s Leisure Learning. There’s a huge difference in teaching online classes and standing before a classroom of live people–talking, talking, talking. I’m a much better typist!
I really enjoy encouraging other writers and judging writing contests for ACFW, RWA, as well as their chapters. I’m the founder of the East Texas Writers Association in my hometown of Longview, Texas, and a past president of Bayou Writers’ Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I enjoyed starting a members-only contest for the Bayou Writers group and creating their annual Gator Bites publication, showcasing their work.
Helping others find their passion, get published, complete a novel, sell a short story or just solve a writing problem — well, I guess for me, that’s the thrill of being in this business.