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Writing  Journey

Hi there! I'm J.J. (a.k.a. Jessica). Thank you for stopping by my little website. FYI, I'm using a pen name for fiction novels to keep my non-fiction and fiction works separate. So let's dive into it, shall we...?

Hi there! I'm J.J. (a.k.a. Jessica). Thank you for stopping by my little website. FYI, I'm using a pen name for fiction novels to keep my non-fiction and fiction works separate. So let's dive into it, shall we...?

       I've wanted to be a writer since I was about twelve years old. I began by writing short stories, plays, and a few poems. At the age of fourteen, I was chosen to be part of Young Author's day at a local community college. I didn't win anything for my short story, but it was a fun day of hearing authors of children's books speak and more.


       At age sixteen I met a family who was affected by the same genetic eye condition I was born with, Aniridia Syndrome. When they arrived, there were many tears of sadness and uncertainty, but when they left our house, I could see we'd given them hope just by sitting down and talking with them. At that moment, I knew the topic of my first book. I wanted to help those with affected by Aniridia Syndrome. I didn't want other families feeling lost and heartbroken like my parents and me. My dream came true in April 2010 when Aniridia & WAGR Syndrome: A Guide for Patients & Families was published by Oxford University Press.

Pictured: Jessica J. Otis & Jill A. Nerby

The book is a collaboration, so Jill A. Nerby and I (Jessica J. Otis) are listed as the Editors of it. However, I did write some of the chapters in it. It is still available on You can find more info on Aniridia and WAGR Syndrome: A Guide for Patients and Families here.

Behind the scenes

recording "Not Over You"

        Moving on to 2011, a song called Not Over You (written by Dave Harris and Rob Thomas) inspired me, and I began working on The Destined Divines. Joe McIntyre (a member of NKOTB) and Ashlynn Huff recorded the song for charity. Yes, I'm a Blockhead. :)  Joe, Donnie, Jon, Jordan and Danny will always have a very special place in my heart because they have inspired and encouraged me so much throughout my life. The first video shows part of the process of Joe and Ashlynn recording the song, and the second video you can listen to the song or read the lyrics; however, the singers are different in it. 

"Not Over You"

Katie Stevens & Michael J. Willet

     In the beginning, the story was a mystery with a romance as the sub-plot. I wrote the first draft in two months. When I finished, I felt like something was missing. In all honesty, I refused to admit what it needed for a long time. Deep down I knew magic was the missing component, but I wasn't sure about doing a book with a magic system in it.

     My busy mom life took over, and I walked away from my novel for almost two years. The characters wouldn't leave my head though so I knew I needed to finish. A few years ago, inspiration struck again, and I went back to work on it full-time. Some friends and family read the first few horrible drafts, and I'm very grateful to them. I hired a freelance editor, and she gave me some advice on changing the point of view (POV), which I didn't want to change because that meant rewriting the entire novel. Eventually, I wrote a couple of different versions in a new POV, and then I scraped them all. :( At this point, I felt like I'd never finish it. But in December 2017, I had a conversation with my husband, and it sparked an idea. I spent hours ... days...weeks doing research and created the magic system.


Gemstones & crystals are important to the magic system in Divine Witches duology. My husband and this ring inspired the magic system.

     After a round of beta readers, I did some revisions. In the spring of 2018, I began working with an amazing critique partner to rework and polish it. In 2019 and part of 2020 I queried it, but nothing came of it. So I decided to change courses and to self-publish it.

     The story has changed A LOT since the first draft, but I truly love the characters and story even more. It's now a YA Paranormal Fantasy with witches, mystery, suspense, magic, a touch of romance, and a friend group. On October 12, 2021, I released The Destined Divines! I've worked so long and hard on this book I'm thrilled it's finally out in the world so readers may escape into the world of Divine Witches.

     Writing is my escape, and I love doing it. I hope my books will bring joy, a little magic, and inspiration to readers.


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