Jessica Shook

Turning Coffee into Words

I needed to make contact with a girl I don’t know well (and maybe am a little intimidated by) to ask for her help with a project.

What if she thought my project was stupid or beneath her? What if she thought I was stupid or beneath her?

I started with an email that I deliberated over for hours, edited, bit my nails, then finally pushed send with my eyes closed tight. But she didn’t respond, for days. “Call her,” someone said, but I cringed inside. I sent a follow up email (in one sitting!). When I didn’t get a quick response, I finally approached her in person.

Each time I faced the uncomfortable situation, it got easier to contact her and the intimidation melted away.

The point is, fear holds us back for silly reasons. My fear might seem ridiculous to you, and your biggest fear might not effect me. But they are real to us. And once we take the first step, the next one gets easier and easier until we can run, full force toward them and not even flinch.

Step today, friend. Take a step today, even if it freaks you out beyond belief! Even if it makes you cringe inside. Even if it’s as little as a phone call or an email, or as big as signing up for the course or applying for the job.

Have the courage. Take a step. And laugh in the face of your fear.

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Shrapnel Playlist: My Answer to Writer’s Block

What do I do when I get writer’s block? As a writer, that question comes up a lot. Well, I listen to music. Does anyone else get creative when listening to great music? I feel like creativity inspires creativity. At different times, different styles inspire me. But music with beautiful lyrics seep into my creative lobe and draw out some of my best work. Music emotionally charges me. It picks me up and set me right in the middle of a scene, a world yet to be created, a conversation spoken in my imagination only to be transferred to the page.

If you are currently reading Shrapnel, or are already re-reading it (some of you are!), or are just about to start, maybe you’ll connect with it all the more if you listen to the music that inspired it. 

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Available Today: Shrapnel

Today, y’all!! Today is THE day Shrapnel is available for you to purchase!

Shrapnel hits all of our lives. What the wounds teach us make the scars worthwhile.

Two women form an unlikely bond through the parallels they face: the cold beds they no longer share with their husbands, the facades they construct, and the tragedies rising around them.

Elle Holloway’s husband has walked out on her and left her to divvy up emotions like property in a divorce. Jocelyn Turner is an army wife and mother, barely surviving when she receives tragic news that her husband has been injured. The two women, who have never met, are thrown together through a misunderstood gift and an insomnia-induced cyber friendship.

Touching and captivating, Shrapnel is a tale of family, friendship, and the courage that comes from both.

Order now to start the journey with Elle and Jocelyn in finding honesty and support within friendships they didn’t expect.

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GIVEAWAY TIME!! My new book + Custom Locket by Berlin Boutique

****This Giveaway is closed. Winner has been selected. Congratulations Anna!****

Click Now to enter for your chance to win a SIGNED copy of my new book, Shrapnel, out February 28th, PLUS a custom locket featured on the cover and in the book! Don’t miss out!
By sharing, you can be entered for even more chances to win!

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That Time I Almost Failed English


Crumpled papers scattered my kitchen table while I helped my fourth grader work on his homework. He had come home with two of the worst grades he’d ever received, plus a notice that he had only turned in a partial assignment for two weeks. It’s a good thing I’ve watched a lot of cop shows on TV, because one lesser known job of a mother is investigator. Trying to get answers out of my fourth grader about what his teacher taught him instantly transforms my kitchen into a poorly lit, dingy, interrogation room. Not my favorite part of parenthood.

He was frustrated. I was frustrated. But we worked through it without the torture devices common in an interrogation room. (Okay, so that only happens in movies. Whatever.)

When I was laying him down for bed, I told him how proud I was of him for working so hard even through the frustration. Snuggled under his plush blanket, he dropped the bomb. Some questions are not ones that a parent really wants to answer. He asked, “What was your worst grade?”

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Write List. Check Off. Repeat. (Or Not)

Hi. My name is Jessica. I’m a procrastinator. Phew. Now that that’s out of the way…

This month, I’ve been in a challenge against procrastination…which happens to be one of my mountains. In fact, when the challenge to write down and complete 10 procrastinated items was presented to me in a women’s group that I’m a part of, I groaned. Audibly groaned.

I like the idea of getting a lot done, and wouldn’t you know that I finished four of the ten items within the first week. But let’s be honest, I didn’t complete any more for TWO weeks.

Yep. I procrastinated. Like I said, my mountain.

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Coffee. She is my long time friend who comes to visit me each morning and delivers a smile with every visit. She is the friend that I welcome when I’m without makeup and she is without creamer. And if you, like my husband, don’t know and love her as I do, it’s okay. It’s okay if you don’t get our inside jokes. Or don’t appreciate the trill of her percolating laughter. It’s okay that you don’t warm at the very smell of her and rush to be embraced by her hug every chance you get. It’s okay. Just don’t get between me and my dear sweet friend.


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Be You

I am not a food blogger. In fact, those who know me well would laugh in the face at that statement. Maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh. I am the antithesis of that title. I cook what I must to feed my ravenous family and myself. I wouldn’t even consider myself a blogger. I’m a novel writer who purges my thoughts on the page every once and again when I think someone else might nod along with them.

There are friends of mine who are food bloggers and foodies and all around amazing chefs who could have their own cooking shows or publish cookbooks. I like to go to their homes, sit at their tables and eat their food, then I’ll sweep up the crumbs of the homemade meal that I devoured or wash the dishes after I lick my plate.

But I’ve often felt that I should be a five-star short order cook. That I should innately understand what spices meld together to make that mouthwatering aroma. I want to be able to make those picture-perfect chocolate chip cookies and set them out on a platter for children with grubby hands to pick up as they whisk by to play.

Except that’s not me.

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Who were you in 2016?

About this time every year, there are a slew of social media posts and advertisements for making goals and New Year’s resolutions. Right? I’m sure you’ve seen them, maybe even clicked on them. But as much as I like to look forward to the new year and all the possibilities in it, I also like to look back over the year that’s passed. Every year gives us little gifts that we can learn from. Sometimes it’s a hard thing to look at. But here are a few things I learned about myself this year.

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Pep Talk

When something scary happens in your family, you are suddenly grateful for all of the people around you to support and pray. That’s where my husband and I found ourselves several years ago at the sonogram of our third child. But God came through for us. Not only did He give us grace for the situation and the months that followed, not only did He give us creative miracle after miracle, He also brought us through with a testimony for our son.

So when I was asked by a friend and mentor I’ve known my entire life to write our testimony for her latest book, saying I was honored is an understatement.

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