5 Kickass YA Heroines

Just spent some time yesterday and today with the powerful women. I LOVE THEM.


Liesel Meminger of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Liesel can hold her own against her best friend Rudy– in soccer, races, thievery, anything. She knows the power of words and wields it wisely. She didn’t hesitate to pulverize Ludwig Schmeikl for bullying her around– but she also graciously apologizes and helps him out later in the book. Liesel loves deeply, grieves intensely, and perseveres through tremendous loss.

Hermione Granger of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Are you kidding me? She’s the smartest wizard not only of her class but of her generation! Her quick wits and incredible intellect save Harry and Ron time and time again. She’s brave. She never gave up on Harry for one second. She has a strong sense of justice, incredible loyalty, and a beautiful, courageous heart.

Isaboe of The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
Fearsome. Unwavering. Isaboe’s resolution and leadership are a thing to…

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Tonight’s Therapy Takeaway

Had a good session with my beloved therapist tonight, and she encouraged me to go home and journal about what stood out to me.

I said, “I’ll write a blog post … since I apparently like to publicize my breakdowns.” 🙂

Had a couple this holiday weekend. Talked with my editor last Wednesday and Thursday and was overwhelmed by that. My editor is amazing, brilliant, compassionate, and full of great instincts– but I maintain that critique is hard no matter what! I had given myself 2-3 weeks after the original feedback to prepare myself for revisions, but those weeks were up and now I didn’t have the luxury of letting everything marinate awhile.

So I started revisions on Thursday night.

It did not go well.

I sent my editor a spastic email.

The next day did not go well either.

I sent another spastic email– well, actually two.

Each time my editor responded (yes, even on the Fourth of July; she’s a gem) to calm me down.

I still was freaking out.

Then I crashed. TOTAL CRASH. To a dark, hopeless place where I couldn’t generate any excitement or energy. This part is often way scarier to me than the manic alive-ness of panic … the dull, quiet deadness of depression.

Time in scripture and in prayer pulled me back out of it– in a major, visible, crazy way. It was almost like a hand reached down and pulled me out of the sinkhole and set me on solid ground.

Tonight, in recounting those four days to my therapist, she reminded me that the body can only function in such intense high-alert panicky for so long before it needs to go into survival mode– which, in this case, is to essentially shut down. It’s doldrums as a rescue method (my words, not hers), and it makes a lot of sense to me.

Next time I have a high-alert buzzing go-go-go huge anxiety panic mode and then an immediate crash, I will recognize it (I think) for what it is and give myself some intense self-care.

TL;DR: body can only function in high-alert panic mode for so long before it has to crash to take care of itself. Next time I’ll be ready.

8 Weeks Till Truest: A Truest Playlist


Eight weeks to go! Fill your summer with the sounds of Truest!

And don’t miss below the playlist, where I share about a few of these songs and their influence on my story!


“Anchor of My Soul” by Josh Garrels | One night, on his roof, Silas plays a hymn on his guitar. I imagine that song is “The Old Rugged Cross” or else this gem by Josh Garrels (which I suppose can be a modern hymn).

“Carmina Burana: O Fortuna” played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra | I played this song in my high school band, and the melody– soft and haunting at first, then demanding and desperate later– made my blood pound. I loved that I got to work it into Truest when Silas, West, Laurel, and Whit go to see a dance performance in the Twin Cities.

“Mexico” by Vocal Few | This song inspired me to write a fun, fluffy scene that I didn’t imagine would be included in the story. I wrote it just for fun! But later, my editor asked for a sweet, everything’s-okay-now scene, and I immediately knew I’d found a home for that scene I’d written. When you read the book, you’ll absolutely know what scene this song inspired.

“Janie” by Further Seems Forever | I imagine this song playing as the summer ends in Green Lake. It’s so sad.

“Try Again” by Keane | No other song (except maybe “Find You” by Zedd) epitomizes Truest to me. If my book were a movie, this song would play as the credits started to roll.

Find out more about Truest and pre-order your copy at jackieleasommers.com/truest!

alacrity truest

7 Things Writers Should Stop Wasting Their Time On

Really good stuff here!

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

IS09AL15JWe all know what a demon procrastination is. But what about the other things that get in the way of actual writing? I have a list of things that (some, not all) writers have a tendency to waste their time with. Whether it’s old habits that need shaking, or creative crutches that lead to excuses, the only way you’re going to write your book is when you sit down and do the work.

My goal, with this post and all of my blogs, is to help writers recognize their personal limitations and push through them for higher productivity and success!

So see if these apply to you, and decide if it’s time to let it go…

  1. Writing with one eye over your shoulder – So many writers hold back, especially when they’re writing their first novel. Whether it’s because it’s painful to go too deep, or they’re afraid what others will…

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Second Draft Manifesto

Reminder to self on my roughest days of 2015. Show up, work hard, respect the mystery, season with salt, listen for laughter.


second draft manifestoJackie, be kind to yourself. Writing is a long, arduous, difficult, but rewarding process, and almost nothing comes to you easily. You have to fight for it all, and you do that by showing up, day after day, sitting down, and doing hard work. You eat an elephant one bite at a time, and to be honest, it’s probably irrelevant where you start: toes, ears, tail. Bring salt.

But really, salt is prayer, friends, and courage that looks an awful lot like fear. It’s easy to confuse the two, but courage is fear that keeps showing up to work.

You can do that. It will look different on different days, and that is perfectly fine.

Please remember that you love this. The writing life is a mysterious amalgam of your choosing it and its choosing you. That feels almost holy.

This process necessitates many steps backward. It’s an inherent part of…

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Self-Directed ERP Therapy

The frontline, evidence-based treatment for OCD is exposure and response prevention therapy. Even if you’re not in a position where you can afford to meet with a specialist, you can still track down a book written by a specialist and do ERP on your own. Either way is going to require great courage, perseverance, and discomfort– but you can do it. Do it to get your freedom and life back.


???????????????????????????????????????If you’ve spent any time hanging around this blog, you know that I’m a huge proponent of treating OCD with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, which is the best treatment available. It’s the first and only* treatment I recommend.

People often balk at it, which I understand: it’s difficult. Very difficult. People want an easier option. But I wouldn’t recommend a bandaid for a cancerous tumor, and I won’t suggest anything else.

But I’m too embarrassed …

But I can’t afford it …

But there are no ERP specialists in my area …

Those are all very valid reasons for seeking another treatment option, but the GOOD NEWS is that you can do ERP on your own, if you are committed to it, and if you’re willing to work hard.

It’s still important to have an expert guiding you, so please track down one of the following books:

Stop Obsessing by…

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Why I am a Feminist (and I Bet You are, Too)

Yes. This.

Here my friend Anna articulates her thoughts … and mine!

Living the Story

For a long time, it was a bad word. It meant angry–radical–abortion supporter–man-hating–and, perhaps worst of all, dark business suits with big shoulder pads. It was the woman I never wanted to be, the promiscuous party girl and corporate high-flyer who disdained motherhood, or shipped her kids off to a nanny.

Yet today, I will tell you boldly (with humility and grace, I hope) that yes – I am a feminist.

And you are, too.


While I did (and probably do) have some anger, I arrived here without becoming any of the things I feared and disdained. I still love pink and decorating and babies and fashion. My relationship with my husband looks quite traditional, in many ways (I hate driving. He likes driving. Guess who drives most of the time?) Often, I’m the traditional feminine “feeler” and he’s the traditional masculine “thinker.” So what does…

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