Jessica Yinka Thomas's Blog

January 31, 2013

Now thru February 10, enter to win an autographed copy of How Not to Save the World right here on Goodreads! Share with your friends!

And even if you don't win the paperback, the Kindle of How Not to Save the World is discounted at $4.99 through the end of February!

More about How Not to Save the World

“How far would you go to advance your career? To save a country? These are the questions posed in this ... smart, sexy, first novel.” – John Manuel, author of THE CANOEIST

“Remi Austin is one of the most exciting and cosmopolitan action figures in contemporary American fiction.” – John L. Jackson Jr., author of RACIAL PARANOIA

“A futuristic, fast-paced thriller with lots of action and some truly James Bondian technology. Fun to read." – Joyce Clark Allen, author of HANNAH’S HOUSE

Remi Austin is a fundraiser for the African Peace Collaborative (APC), a conflict resolution nonprofit founded by her late mother. Frustrated by her inability to raise funds and faced with the imminent closure of the APC, Remi turns to a life of crime to keep her nonprofit afloat.

From Sydney, to Tokyo, Geneva and Cape Town, Remi transforms from a fundraiser too shy to speak during staff meetings into a daring international art thief who must stop a war from breaking out and figure out how to save herself from a life behind bars.

With the help of her best friend, a designer and inventor who creates gadget-packed gowns, Remi eludes a dashing insurance agent and a terrifying stalker, all while redistributing the wealth of the world, one work of art at a time.
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on January 31, 2013 17:38 • 44 views • Tags: amazon, discounted, fiction, free, giveaway, goodreads, kindle, novel

December 19, 2012

I'm very excited to be able to support the DC nonprofit, It's Time, by donating 50% of all holiday book profits from sales of my novel How Not to Save the World! It's Time is committed to helping youth excel academically, socially and professionally. You can find out more from my new YouTube video and on my website!
 •  flag
0 comments
1 like · like  • 
Published on December 19, 2012 19:03 • 114 views • Tags: gift, holiday, nonprofit, novel, youtube

October 11, 2012

Over the last 14 years, during my transformation from engineer to published novelist, I’ve learned a lot along the way, mostly about how not to write and publish a novel. Here I share my top 10 dos and don’ts. Feel free to add your own to the list.

1) Don’t go backpacking in Australia while reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and decide in a sun-drunken stupor to write a novel, particularly if you’re an engineer with a background in toy design. Just don’t.

2) Do start small, with short stories or a blog. But be as consistent as you can possibly manage. 750words.com is a great website and practice that can get you writing 750 words on a daily basis. That’s 100 days to a complete first draft. It may be a crappy first draft, as was my experience. But that still counts as a draft!

3) Don’t let yourself get distracted from your writing practice by the Housewives of Beverly Hills or any other metropolitan area, even if Shoshonarama is about to get divorced, again. She’ll be fine and might even get her own show. Sure, it might give your brain a well-needed break from thinking and can even provide inspiration, but only for a tea party or a shopping spree. Then, it’s back to the page.

4) Do explore creative ways to increase your writing productivity. I recently discovered a fantastic app called Dragon Dictation. It’s a voice recognition application that translates your speech into text. I get my 750 words in on the drive to and from work every day, but only at red lights.

5) Do write anywhere and everywhere. Much my writing practice involves idea generation and so I’ll make notes about dialogue, character development, and settings just about anywhere. The woman who runs my fitness class is probably frustrated that I will often type on my phone in between sets. She probably thinks I’m texting my friends, but it keeps me distracted during the bicep curls and keeps me writing!

6) Don’t be shy. Publishing a novel requires many, many hours of aggressive marketing and shameless self-promotion. An ability to connect your novel to any topic of conversation and to instantaneously produce your business card is very handy too.

7) Do plan for a long road. But it doesn’t have to take 10 years of writing and 25 drafts like it did for me. Walter Mosley’s This Year You Write Your Novel is a fantastic short book about how to complete a novel in 12 months.

8) Don’t try to publish your first novel two weeks after you first child is born, just because you have “time off” from work. Don’t even try it right after your second or third child is born. Just don’t.

9) Do write what you love. I wove the things that I love into the novel, my travel experiences, my passion for technological innovation and my personal vision for creating large scale social change. That kept me going for a decade.

10) Finally, don’t give up! And stop watching so much reality TV :)
 •  flag
0 comments
1 like · like  • 
Published on October 11, 2012 14:36 • 258 views • Tags: novel, publishing, travel, writing

September 6, 2012

Growing up, I wanted to be Wonder Woman, deflecting bullets with my wristbands, fighting the bad guys and saving the world. When I was eight years old, for Halloween, my mother tied a red tablecloth around my shoulders and sent me out the door in my Wonder Woman Underoos, “the underwear that’s fun to wear.” The outfit was made complete with a homemade paper headband, wristbands, and lasso. I wore that costume for days until my paper accessories fell off.

As an adult, I lead the double life of a world-saving super hero. By day, I work with students, executives and entrepreneurs to use business as an engine for global social and environmental change. By night, I’m a novelist, writing social justice novels like How Not to Save the World. You too can be a super hero every day, saving the world through your purchase decisions and lifestyle choices, without having to go outside in your underwear. Here are 10 practices you can incorporate into your everyday life that can have a significant impact on the world.

1) Buy better stuff. Fair Trade? Local? Organic? Who knows what to look for on labels to decide what will really make an impact on our global community and environment? Make you shopping simple and impactful by using GoodGuide to find safe, healthy, green and ethical products based on scientific ratings and your personal criteria. They even have a handy iPhone app that you can use while shopping.

2) Eat kangaroo burgers. Researchers have estimated that, if every American reduced meat consumption by 20%, the greenhouse gas savings would be the same as if we all switched from a normal sedan to a hybrid Prius. Another solution is to switch from beef to kangaroo meat because kangaroos produce significantly less methane than cows (yes, because they fart less). But if you don’t live in Australia and your local Whole Foods doesn’t carry kangaroo, try reducing your meat consumption by having Meatless Monday.

3) Be un-American. The Secret Service just created a file on me when I first typed those words but yes, be un-American and buy less stuff. Check out the negative social and environmental impact of our culture of disposable clothing in Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. Consider buying fewer clothes, less furniture, fewer toys. You might just notice that you need a smaller house, which consumes less energy and on and on. And, yes, this is the beginning of the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle section.

4) Beg, borrow and steal. Be creative and reuse stuff instead of throwing it out. Consider having your clothes altered before buying new clothes. Think about whether so-called disposable items like sandwich bags, and plastic containers can be reused. Check out websites like Thredup and Rent the Runway, where you can exchange quality used kids clothes or rent high fashion for that one time event.

5) Go dumpster diving. Every year, over 11 billion dollars worth of steel, plastics, glass, paper, and other material that could be recycled are tossed in the trash. Learn about what you can recycle in your bin from Waste Management, check out Search Earth 911 to find a place to recycle all those things you can't put in your bin, and you might even be able to get paid for recycling by Recycle Bank!

6) Play video games. Three billion hours a week are spent on gaming, many of those shooting people and birds. But game designers like Games for Change are now creating social impact games that allow players to learn about and find solutions to issues like global food security and human rights. In one case, it took gamers just 10 days to solve an HIV-related science challenge that had stumped computers for a decade.

7) Make your giving count. Before you give money to a charity consider using Charity Navigator, a free charity rating systems that allows you to see just how much of your gift is going to fulfill the charity’s mission. Better yet, make your money work for you and others by making a contribution through a peer-to-peer lending platform like Kiva.

8) Educate yourself. Read about how to change the world. There are some great blogs and newsletters that can give you regular suggestions on how to incorporate being a super hero into your everyday life. Follow me, on Facebook, to get regular links to great articles and tips on how to make small changes in your life that can have a large impact on our society and our environment.

9) Form your own Justice League. Recruit your family and friends by sharing this blog post. If you can save the world every day through your actions, just imagine what a whole team of family and friends can accomplish. And feel free to make them wristbands and headbands from recycled materials.

10) Read How Not to Save the World. Finally, to bring a little balance back into the world, consider reading my debut novel, How Not to Save the World, about a fundraiser who becomes an international art thief to save her nonprofit.

The products we buy, the way we spend our time and other choices have a significant social and environmental impact. Of course government has an important role in the form of supportive regulations and business will play a critical role in developing the products, services and processes that make all of this possible. But today, and every day from here on out, consider taking one or more of these steps, and collectively we really can make progress towards saving the world. Super hero cape optional.
 •  flag
1 comment
3 likes · like  • 
Published on September 06, 2012 19:59 • 265 views • Tags: environment, recycling, save-the-world, social-entrepreneurship, super-hero, sustainability

April 11, 2012

Many thanks to Jimelle for the fantastic review of How Not To Save The World on her blog Kindle Kandy!

Read the full review on Kindle Kandy.

And here's an excerpt!

"This story works because:Remi is a wonderfully likable character. She reacts in exactly the right ways to the events that are careening out of control around her.The author does a wonderful job of helping us feel Remi's emotions throughout the story. Her fear, confusion, and determination shine through brilliantly.This is a story about a very serious situation, but still remains a light and funny read. It does, as one review stated, remind me of a Stephanie Plum novel, although it has it's own distinct flavor."
 •  flag
1 comment
1 like · like  • 
Published on April 11, 2012 08:02 • 162 views • Tags: blog, how-not-to-save-the-world, review

March 9, 2012

I recently had the pleasure of kicking off my virtual blog tour with an author spotlight on the Literary Legs blog!

Read the full interview here.

And here's an excerpt from the spotlight:

"Today, I am very excited to introduce you to an ambitious and multi-talented new author! Meet Jessica Yinka Thomas, author of the daring new novel, How Not to Save the World. I had the opportunity to interview Jessica for Lit Legs recently. In this interview, Jessica dishes on how she broke into the writing scene as a new author and what her background in social entrepreneurship has brought to the table!"

Many thanks to blogger and book lover Laura Page for the fantastic profile!
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on March 09, 2012 18:13 • 75 views

February 20, 2012

I was delighted to have my very first author interview with Michele Tracy Berger of The Practice of Creativity!

Read the full interview on Tracy's blog The Practice of Creativity

Excerpt of "Interview with Author Jessica Yinka Thomas: Writer, Social Entrepreneur and World Traveler" posted on: November 22, 2011

"I think Jessica has single-handedly invented a new genre—the social justice thriller.

I came to know Jessica through The Creative Tickle, my coaching practice. She was finishing her novel when we worked together. She focused on time management issues and juggling her many commitments including job responsibilities, creative writing and new motherhood. I’m thrilled to see her work in print and that she is making her writing dreams come true."
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on February 20, 2012 18:39 • 73 views • Tags: author-interview, creative-writing, creativity, women-of-color