Why hello!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2050

So now that I have published a book, I feel like I am trying to merge two identities, and things might get a little confusing. So I want to have this post explain a little bit about what is going on for any new travelers to the squeaky world of Jess and Paula.

My name is Jessica Smith. I publish under a pen name of Paula Jean Ferri. The two names are interchangeable in my mind though. While I was born as Jessica, around the age of 17, I developed a new lifelong friend, who I affectionately call Paula. Her name is a little more searchable than mine is. Besides, I probably wouldn't have had anything to write about without her, so she became the author.

Feel free to wander the blog and discover a little more about Paula's antics. I am also on Medium writing as often as I can between my three outlets (books, blog and Medium). I would LOVE to hear more about you and any questions you may have. Please send an email to Paulajeanferri@gmail.com.

Last, but CERTAINLY not least... I can't thank you enough for visiting!! I LOVE that you are here and hope to see more of you! Be sure to keep up to date on my website:


Why I Love Writing

Thursday, September 28, 2023

 You know what I love most of all about writing?

The fact that I can edit.

Since I've been married, in conversations with my husband, I've learned something about myself. I speak in a manner that can often and easily be found offensive.

I don't mean to be, ever. I simply don't think through the things I'm going to say, and my rash and impulsive manner can be considered thoughtless and rude.

It's funny, I have in the past been so OVERLY cautious about the things I want to say that I was considered a very shy, quiet kid.

Around the time Paula popped up, I started actually speaking up and became more and more talkative. I realized that I was essentially becoming a "bull in a china shop" and fully leaned into that persona. 

And for years, I have gone completely unchecked in that regard.

But here is the thing, while I don't love hearing that I need correction, and really don't love seeing how I have hurt people, it makes me all the more grateful for writing. Even more grateful that it can be changed and corrected.

I am human and I make mistakes.

As a recovering perfectionist, that still gets to me. 

Communication is a funny thing. I studied it in college and I still struggle with it, often.

But I love the discussion that follows where I can really look and see what I did wrong and how I can correct it. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to simply apologize just because someone is upset about something that I've said. 

It is a chance for me to really look more closely at what I'm saying and how I'm saying it. 

Words have power.

Use them wisely.

Just another update

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

 Whoops! This is probably my longest lapse in writing/posting since I got back on the wagon in May!

So thanks for sticking around.

I'm home and safe after my excursion to my latest Reader's Escape. It was amazing, as usual. I've been home a few days, but I'm still unpacking and in denial that it will be another year before there is another one. 

At least now I can focus on my new job as a dental assistant and my novel. It has been a minute since I've dedicated time to actually writing and editing. 

I have still made progress in the fact that I have joined a writer's circle and we have been meeting weekly to discuss the parts of Madamn that I have shared. I have gotten some REALLY great feedback, met new friends, and learned a TON.

I'm really excited to start applying it to Madamn. 

I think the best part is seeing how excited people get about Ernestine's story. They get invested and want more, meaning the momentum around the book release continues to grow.

Pretty sure this book has already changed my life and it continues to do so!

People Skills

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Hey there friend! I have had a couple of crazy weeks and I'm so grateful for all the love and support I've been shown!

It made me stop and take a step back, and I've noticed two things.

1. I am seeing a huge trend where people are becoming more and more isolated. Sometimes because of our own choices. ie: "I hate people." "I don't want to deal with people." "I'll just stay in and binge this awesome show and get my food delivered." "People stress me out."

Other times it is because of things like the recent worldwide events of 2020 and how some policies and practices have never fully disappeared.

With the current rise in AI, it makes it seem like we just don't need people anymore.

Which leads me to the next thing I learned.

2. We need people. 

We need social interaction. 

We need friends and love and support. 

I am always amazed by many benefits of simply talking to people. Don't get me wrong, it's not always an easy thing to do. Sociality takes a lot of work. Fun fact, if you had met me in high school, I was so shy that if you asked me a direct question, I still wouldn't talk to you. I would nod or shake my head. And lots and lots of blushing. From embarrassment, from fear, from shame of not knowing what to say.

Talking to people is hard and is a skill I have worked hard to learn over many, many years.

But just like any skill, I am reaping benefits for the investment. 

Not only do we have the obvious benefits of not feeling so alone in this crazy world, of feeling seen and understood, but I see myself moving more and more into the life I've always dreamed of- because of people.

If I hadn't been willing to talk to people, I would never have met some of my best friends, or mentors, or connections that have helped me develop additional skills, or people that I've been able to help or work for.

I love being able to collaborate with others, helping them achieve their dreams while also achieving mine. 

There has been a lot of that this last week. 

A lot of wonderful people doing great things and working together and everybody wins. It's a good feeling to be a part of it.

Consistency Update

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Remember how I had a goal to simply be more consistent with my blog? I got back into blogging around mid-March. I made a post about consistency back in May (you can find that post here).

Anyways, I'm in absolute awe of what is going on now. 

My views have completely skyrocketed and I'm in a bit of shock to be honest. I'm so excited about it. It doesn't mean much yet, but I'm working on that. 

The past few weeks have been a bit like running into a firehose, and I still have a few more things on my list to knock out. But the new job is going well, a few projects have been finished, and the Reader's Escape is next week. 

Maybe then I can get back to focused writing on Madamn. Life is quite the adventure. 

I don't have much to say today, I'm on my lunch break and have to get back to work, but really quickly, the point of all of this was to say thank you for being here and thank you for reading!

Life Updates!

Friday, September 8, 2023

 Hey there dear friend! 

So I started a new job this week. It's going to be part time, but for training purposes the first few weeks, they have me as many hours as I can stand. 

As much as I love writing, I can really only do it in short bursts, it works best for me. So I found another outlet for my energy, which allows more movement and more finances. Win-win, right?

I'm training to be a dental assistant. 

Crazy, huh? Feels quite out of the blue for me, too. 

But turns out, I quite like it. I like the people I work with, I love the constant movement and energy, and it's always great to learn a new skill. I'm excited for the opportunity and let's be honest, a bit more stability in my finances. 

I wasn't sure I was going to find a job in my community that I enjoyed doing, so I had started to build another facet of my business and started writing copy again. I found an awesome client that I love working for. I love her content, our voices are similar, which makes it easy, and I get to write. I love how words just flow out of my fingertips. 

On top of all the other things that I'm doing in my life already like cleaning and cooking, spending time with my husband, church responsibilities, working on Madamn, the Reader's Escape, and another business venture I'm working on and not ready to reveal... Life gets pretty full.

I'm still determined to keep writing here as much as possible. I've seen a spike in views (thank you for that, by the way!) and don't want to lose the momentum. 

Anyways, life is good and I'm excited about the direction I'm heading. What an adventure!

Madamn Research

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Sometimes I am amazed at what it looks like to research novels. I thought I knew the subject matter really well going into this.

There are so many details that pop up unexpectedly. Which turns into more research. Then a bit more. Then a lot more. And just when I think I know this stuff, there's a bit more research that I need to do. 

When I started writing Madamn, I felt so confident knowing what it was like to have Tourette syndrome and figured I would just need a few simple details about the time period and that would be it. 

Until one of those things I researched was medication and techniques they would have tried to cure this unknown disorder. Turns out laudanum back then was almost a catch-all for "nervous disorders" such as this.

Problem is, often alongside Tourette syndrome comes a propensity for addiction. And laudanum, containing alcohol and opium, was highly addictive even under normal circumstances. 

I'm dealing with an addict.

And it scares me senseless. Partially because I do have a small idea of what this means. I had a brother who was an addict. (Yes, he passed, no, it wasn't the drugs). 

But what a rabbit hole I've had to dive down. Not just about addiction in general, but time period specific laudanum effects and withdrawals. I'm not about to get any first hand accounts myself, or even second hand from someone in today's day. 

This was supposed to be a simple story!

I have found some great resources, but this is just one of many tangents that happen trying to bring you a great story. 

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