Monday, December 31, 2007
I've noticed that lots of kid lit (and other genres, too) authors are touring lately on several popular blogs. Since 2008 is about trying new things, I'm going to open the floor to the first four authors who contact me if they'd like to pop in on my blog for a visit in January or February. I'll post a picture of your book, we can have a Q&A session and a brief summary of your novel. Oh, and if you want to give away a prize, you can do that, too! The blog is averaging a very healthy amount of weekly hits, so I'm looking forward to upping that and keeping things going.
As always, e-mail me at jessica [at] jessicaburkhart [dot] com
Yay for 2008!
* Finish two more books in the Canterwood Crest series
* Get an ending on my first YA and start subbing it
* Start a brand new MG project
* Break into my two dream markets--Seventeen and Teen Vogue
* Learn more about marketing and start promoting Take the Reins in the fall
* Increase blog and Website traffic
* Read even more than I did in 2007
Share some of your writing (or non-writing) goals. :)
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I found this 1993 book on guerrilla marketing and thought I'd give a quick review since so many people seem interested in PR.
This isn't a book just for authors, though book PR is mentioned a couple of times. It's a book for small businesses or people who are self-employed. While the book is a bit old, it does offer something I haven't come across in other books--it teaches you HOW to think like a PR person.
The book walks you through what's worth making noise about, how to write a press release, when/if you need to hire a publicist (still my biggest question!) and how to save money while doing all of the above.
My favorite section gives examples of crazy things people did to get attention for themselves or their product. Did you know Washington Irving staged his own kidnapping when he released a new book?
This book challenges you to think about how to best market yourself and makes it clear that you don't have to have big $$ to promote well. Professionalism is key above all.
The best thing I learned was to start making a contact roster. Immediately. Now. Of newspapers, TV, radio, magazines, etc that I feel comfortable contacting about my book or my story.
So, yes, I'd definitely recommend this book!
Okay, would you like me to review any other PR books that I read? If so, I'll keep posting them here.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Here they are in order:
Is your city on the list? I was a bit surprised by a couple of these, but some like San Fran and Boston were obvious to me. I read an article a few weeks ago that said San Fran was one of the fastest growing literary cities.
TGIF! What are your weekend plans? I'm revising CB and reading a new book that I got yesterday--Guerrilla PR. Next week, I'm going to review Donald Maass' The Breakout Novel, so stay tuned for that.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Yesterday, just as my mom was taking the roast beast out of the oven, I typed the final words on Chasing Blue. It took about 7 weeks to finish and I'm thrilled to have the draft down. Sure, there are lots of revisions to be done, but that feeling of elation of having 200+ pages down on paper is AMAZING.
When I first started writing this book, I was a wreck. I've never written a sequel before, had no idea how much to reference the first book and worried I'd screw it up. But when I got started, things felt natural. I somehow knew how much to reference Take the Reins, my characters were more familiar than before and the luxury of not having to create an entirely new world (aside from a road trip the girls take) was nice.
My holiday break was fantastic! I spent lots of time reading (the Mob Princess series by Todd Strasser), writing (obviously) and watching movies (Wild Hogs and Order of the Phoenix).
Today, I'm printing and rereading CB and writing thank you notes for holiday gifts. (I'm waving at you, Aunt G, in case you read this!) :)
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Their Website will be fully functional soon, so be sure you check it out here! I'm so proud of these guys. They've got a fantastic group, exciting books and they're going to take 2008 by storm.
Happy holidays to all, whatever you choose to celebrate.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
So, is anyone writing through the holidays? Going to be scribbling in a notebook while sipping Aunt Lena's eggnog? :) I'll be working because... I'm just over 10k words away from finishing my second book in the Canterwood Crest series! Yahoo! It's all downhill from here, baby. I want to have it all bright and shiny when I present it to Agent A next month. The lack of good TV has kept me writing much later into the evening than usual.
Also, I rearranged the blog a little and put 2007's read books at the very bottom of the page. The new titles for 2008 will fill their old position in the sidebar. I really wanted to create one link that would take you to all of those titles, but I haven't figured out how to do so yet.
So, I'll ask. What's your favorite book that you read in 2007? It doesn't have to have been pubbed in 2007, if you wish.
Note: from now on I'm going to keep cross-posting here and on LJ. There's such a great LJ crowd (waves!) that I was leaving them out by only posting here.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
What's your take? Do you have a MySpace page? Facebook? Do you use them to market or just to make friends in the hopes those friends will purchase your novel?
This summer, I finally hopped on the MySpace train and got a page. I've been on Facebook for much longer. A while ago, I created a MySpace page for my main character of Canterwood Crest and while I'm working on it now, I'm keeping the page private until next year.
I'm interested in hearing your take on online social networks!
**In other veeerrry unrelated news** Jamie Lynn Spears (yes, Brit's sis) is pregnant. She's sixteen. Sigh.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Since I'll be doing a little shopping on Amazon soon, does anyone have any marketing books to recommend? I've gotten a couple of recommendations and if anyone has another to offer, I'd love to hear it. I've been combing through a couple of books at Books a Million, but haven't found one with fresh marketing ideas that would be do able. So far, I've been filing all of my marketing ideas into a folder and using a huge desk calendar to plot out when I need to do things in 2008 and 2009. Who knew that marketing was such a big part of an author's job! I do love it though, and am learning a lot about the business side of things instead of only the creative side.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Still, don't you think it's just proper etiquette not to ask? After all, it's really your own business. :) What would you say?
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Getting "the call" from one's agent that there has been an offer on a manuscript is one of those moments I'll never forgot. I remember exactly where I was, where my family was and my jaw dropping.
So, it's May 2007 and my book has been on submission for a few days. I spend all day at my desk writing and check my phone at least every hour to be sure it is on (it is) and that Agent A hadn't called (she hasn't). Tired from typing on a new manuscript, I leave the table and head to wash my face. My dad is working in his office in our house and my mom and brother are at the dentist. It is just about 6pm. So, I get into the bathroom and have a face full of soap when I hear a sound. Not just any sound, mind you, but the ring. This fabulous NYC-ish ringtone that I have set for Agent A. Oh. My.
I tear out of the bathroom, covered in Loreal face wash and without my glasses. Therefore, I'm blind. I grab my phone with soapy hands that are shaking like crazy and put it to my ear. Then, I hear the sweetest words known to an author. "We have an offer!" Dripping wet, unable to see and trying not to pass out and/or vomit, I grab a pen and start to scribble every word Agent A says so I never forget that moment. I'm doing all of this on the back of a recliner because I was in too much shock to make it to the kitchen table.
My dad emerges from his office, sees me soapy and scribbling, and I try to motion to him to stay there while barely saying two words on the phone. When I hang up with Agent A, I turn to my dad and tell him what the offer was. He staggers backwards and then I start shrieking that I have to call my mom. She's in the waiting room while my brother is getting his teeth cleaned.
She says "wait a minute" and leaves the waiting room. Once she's outside, I tell her and she cries. Then, apparently she hangs up and goes to tell everyone in the dentist's office. More crying ensues.
And those were the minutes surrounding "the call." If you've had one, you know the feeling. If you haven't, when you reach that moment, you'll realize it's the most indescribable feeling ever. And you can't wait for it to happen again and again. :)
Onto other things: The Golden Compass did $26.1 million at the box office which was disappointing to most. Sigh. I really thought it would do better, but it did outstanding overseas. Better than LOTR, apparently.
Later, I'll post a 2k9 announcement.
Lately, I've been scanning the papers to see what books to movies are in the works. Atonement (open now) seems to have Oscar buzz already for its actors, so I'm going to read the novel. The Reader by Bernard Schlink is due out in 2008 (with Nicole Kidman) and I've heard of it before, but never read it.
So, over the holidays, I'm trying to read two books at once. While I read YA or MG, I'm trying to get through the adult novels that have been sitting in my TBR pile forever.
Remember, check back tomorrow for an announcement! :) And coming later this week, someone asked me if I ever blogged about where I was and what I was doing when I got "the call" that my manuscript had an offer. I'll share that, too.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
And, the reviews for The Golden Compass are in. The reviews averaged out to be a B-, but I'm not too concerned. Tons of Hollywood movies go so-so reviews (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End) and were boxoffice blockbusters. We'll see. If you go, come tell us what you thought!
On Monday, I'll post an update on the class of 2k9. Plus, some very exciting news!
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Two Men I’d Love to Date if I Were Single (and they were single):
Johnny Depp and Will Smith (seriously, boys, call me.) ;)
I Am Wearing Right Now:
Two Things I Would Want in a Relationship:
Intelligence and humor
Two of My Favorite Things to do:
read and coo over puppies in the park
Two Things I Want Very Badly At the Moment:
To finish my second book and get started on the third
Two things I did recently:
Put up my Christmas tree and mail a package
Two things I ate today:
Cheerios and peppermint tea
Two people I most recently talked to:
BFF1 and BFF2
Two things I’m doing tomorrow:
Writing and watching Hairspray
2 longest car rides:
Florida to Texas and Florida to Boston
Two Favorite Holidays:
Halloween and New Years
Two Favorite Beverages:
Diet Pepsi and any kind of tea
Two Things about me, things you may not have known about me:
During the holidays, I paint my toenails in corresponding colors. Right now, they're red and green. I'm almost a foot shorter than my younger brother.
Two places I have lived:
Nashville and Ocala
Two of my Favorite Foods:
Chicken and butterscotch cookies
Two Places I’d rather be right now:
In a snowy cabin in the wilderness or on a very hot beach.
Tagged: Emily Marshall and Emily Hendricks
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I'm off to finish an article about teen driving (scary stats!) and keep typing away on book 2.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I'm on assignment for a national magazine and am writing an article about teen driving. If you're a teen who has: not taken a driver's education course, or has taken one and has been involved in a car accident, or knows another teen who has been in an accident, please e-mail me ASAP. Don't worry, your quotes will be on a first name basis only.
The library is one that I friended through MySpace and they asked for my information. So, on my Website, I now have a shiny, new "schools and libraries" page that I'll be discussing tomorrow at Teen Fiction Cafe. (Yes, I thought I was blogging there yesterday and got confused.)
When I firm up the details, I'll share them, but for now I'm expecting things to slow down for the holidays.
Has anyone been to an author visit at a library? What did you think?
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Last night, my family and I went to downtown's winter festival. It was a "frigid" 65 degrees and we watched the Jingle Bell run and the parade. This year, we stood at the start of the parade and ended up right where the police horses gathered. I was in heaven! I took a dozen pictures of the horses and loved being close to them.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Anyone else have this or heard about it?
Friday, November 30, 2007
I'm looking for more holiday fiction. Any recommendations?
Tonight, I'll wave goodbye to November! :) I think The Polar Express is on ABC, so I might give that a shot. Or curl up with a new book-- The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. If the book is as good as the cover, it's sure to be fantastic!
PS- I got a very cool e-mail yesterday that I'll share with you guys next week.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Here are some pics I took of our Christmas decorations. I was quite proud of how our tree turned out this year! What do you think?
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
So far, my list looks something like this:
* Finish writing book two
* Send out at least 10 magazine queries (2 at least to new magazines I've never queried or haven't broken into)
* Organize my mountain of papers on book publicity
* Watch season 7 of Gilmore Girls on DVD
* Read! Lots!
That's what I've got so far. I might be traveling a bit, but I'll still be able to write in the car and get those queries out. I won't send them over Christmas break, though. Just prep them and have a batch ready to go next year. I've been having more time to do that recently since I've been foregoing regularly scheduled TV to watch the Christmas specials. Last night it was Charlie Brown and tonight it's Shrek the Halls and the Grinch--my favorite.
And did anyone see Dancing with the Stars last night? I love Helio, but I was SO sad about Mel B! I voted for her all season. It's only the second time I've voted during a Dancing season. In season one, I backed Kelly Monaco since I'm a big General Hospital fan. I was completely addicted to the Spice Girls when I was a kid, so it felt very nostalgic to see Mel B on TV. (PS- could Maks be any more adorable?!) :)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Nicole Kidman, a Goodwill Ambassador for the cause, has several messages on the Website and adds nice celebrity strength to the cause. I signed the petition last night at number 99 and now there are over 2000 signatures.
Here's the link if you'd like to take a look: http://www.saynotoviolence.org/.
This is an important cause! If you saw Sunday's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the family EMHE helped was of a woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. First she was stalked, he threatened her with knives, she filed a restraining order and then the man killed the woman and her boyfriend. This is still an active problem and I hope you'll take a couple of minutes to look at the link.
Muchas gracias. :)
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Did anyone else see this http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071123/ap_en_mo/people_entertainers_of_year? Entertainment Weekly named JK Rowling as entertainer of the year. Wow! Congratulations to her! Very well deserved.
Also, if you're looking for a cool, new anthology, check out The World of the Golden Compass. It's edited by Scott Westerfield and has essays by several amazing YA authors including Diana Peterfruend.
Remember to watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on Sunday! :)
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving! I have a lot to be thankful for this year.
Parents: My parents have been amazing throughout this entire ordeal. When I told them in April that I was going to put off grad school to seriously pursue writing they were right behind me.
Friends: I've lost and gained friends this year. I've let go of friends who dragged me down. I lost touch with a few friends and reconnected with others. MySpace connected me to a friend I hadn't talked to in 5+ years and it's wonderful to have her back in my life. I've also made many new friends and I'm glad to have you all in my life!
Health: I went through rough patches years ago, as did others in my family, and I'm glad everyone is doing well this year.
Direction & drive: I'm not afraid to stand up and say, "yes, I'm a writer!" Before, it felt like a cartoon I saw in The Writer. The person tells a stranger he's a writer and the stranger says, "Okay, but what do you do for money." No, the starving artist philosophy is gone. I'm happily working my a** off and can't wait to make writing goals for next year.
Happiness: Confession: I never wanted to work in an office. Ever. I love making my own schedules, being my own boss and making decisions for myself. Being a freelancer and an author gives me the room to do all of that. I'm grateful.
Supporters: Past professors, local librarians, my agent and editor have been all amazing sources of knowledge and support.
Knowledge: I've dubbed this year "Novel Writing Bootcamp" because I've learned more this year about writing, publishing and editing than I ever thought I could learn. And there's still so much more!
"Ugly Betty." With lines such as, "Oh my God, it's Perfect Spice!" It doesn't get much better than that.
Craig Wilson's column in The USA Today. Funny, heartfelt and always entertaining.
The movie Mean Girls which I've watched at least a dozen times to channel my inner brat when writing evil girl scenes.
My cat, Jazz, for serving as a lap warmer when I'm typing away at 6am.
Coffee Mate. Seriously, yum.
My pink Motorola. When I didn't have a case for it, I kept it in a sock. Don't laugh--it's too cute to get scratched.
Meg Cabot's Diary. For making me laugh and inspire me to keep working hard.
IncrediMail notifiers. I get waaay too excited when I see a kangaroo with mail bouncing onto my screen.
So, what are you thankful for?
PS- This Sunday, November 25, is Extreme Home Makeover's 100th makeover in MN. The company my dad works for participated and it should be a fantastic show! Look for people in Eniva gear. I'll be posting pics of my family and me in our EMHE get up either tomorrow or Friday.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
We've got some very talented past winners of last year's HarperTeen contest that are regular bloggers and readers of this blog. So give the contest a try.
I'm back to editing and writing an entry for a new Chicken Soup book. Happy Tuesday!
Monday, November 19, 2007
A thread somewhere got my attention when a poster said something like, "Oh, some parents think if their kid loves the movie, he/she will want to read the book and then will become an atheist." Really? From a children's novel? Huh. And I was under the impression that reading expanded kids' minds and don't we think they're strong enough not to be influenced by everything they read, watch or hear?
I cannot wait to see the movie. I love Nicole Kidman, love the book and think the trailer looks amazing!
If that felt like a rant, well, it was. It seems that some people go waaaay too far and I'm sure the backlash against the movie will only get stronger.
So, what's your take on the situation?
Sunday, November 18, 2007
There are already lots of great (and soon to be great!) authors on board and thank you Teri for thinking of this. :)
Saturday, November 17, 2007
I'm going to be editing this weekend and probably doing little, if any, typing.
I'm also looking around at new laptops. I'm in need of an upgrade. Any recommendations?
Friday, November 16, 2007
I don't know about you guys, but I haven't NaNoed in 2 days. Two days is a long time in NaNo world! But I've been editing lots and feel good about that. :) I'm sooo ready for the weekend and I've got a couple of movies I've been dying to see.
A big, big congrats to Jackson Pearce on the sale of her novel to HarperCollins!! She's another young writer, so go visit her blog and congratulate her. :)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Do you research any parts of your fiction? How do you decide how technical to get?
And the countdown to Thanksgiving is on. :) What're you doing for the holiday?
Also, I wanted to share that on Saturday, I visited a lovely upscale tackshop downtown. I struck up a conversation with the store owner she excitedly offered to host a book signing in her shop next fall. :) I was thrilled about that and wrote her a thank you note as a follow up.
Chasing Blue, my NaNoNovel, sits at 21k and I hope to get at least 1500 words down today. Except, well, it's sweeps month and every afternoon at 3 I must break for General Hospital. Lots of drama this month! :)
How's everyone else doing with the NaNoNovel? Are you going to type during the Thanksgiving holiday or are you building in some extra words now?
PS- Anyone else dying to see Beowulf and The Golden Compass? Both look fantastic, especially GC. Hopefully, it will turn into a Lord of the Rings type of series.
PPS- Thanks to Em for you-know-what yesterday. :)
Monday, November 12, 2007
I feel like a real author now. Okay, back to work...if I can stop looking at Amazon...
Saturday, November 10, 2007
How's everyone's typing coming? I managed to get in 1900 words yesterday and I'm hoping for the same or more today. I love seeing my little pie graph fill in the more I type and chart on the NaNo progress report. :)
I'm also making a small announcement today. Starting next year, I'm going to be doing video podcasts (when the situation arises) with quick segments of what it's like to be a debut author. From calls with agents, to stacks of paper drafts I've amassed, to visiting the local bookstores (chains and indies), to getting ARCs, deciding on giveaways, going to book fairs, etc. I want to take you all with me on this insane, exciting journey! I'm going to tape the most important moments and start a new section of the blog on the sidebar. So, in January of 2008, look for DIARY OF A DEBUT AUTHOR videos.
Friday, November 9, 2007
WGA STRIKE UPDATE:
If you want up to the second coverage, I highly suggest Deadline Hollywood Daily by Nikki Finke. She's really got an insider's view since I can only report what I've been reading or seeing on TV.
Actors are turning the heat on studios and showing great support for writers. Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Nicollette Sheridan and Julianne Moore are the lastest stars to join the strike.
Also, I was sad to see that Ellen got blasted for continuing to tape shows. As she (and other actors) have pointed out--actors have contracts, too. They MUST work and Ellen has voiced support for the writers, but she is under contract to tape shows. You can't get upset with her for that. I'd hate to see writers turning on actors and vice versa. Everyone in NYC and Hollywood needs to work together to end this. People are out of work--both actors and writers--and with our economy already precarious, I'd love to see a quick resolution to this.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Has anyone gone to a sponsored write in yet? Or have you had your own write in? I think I'll have my own private write in party on Sunday and set myself up for four hours of typing. No TV or distractions. Just writing. See, I'm trying to talk myself into it... :)
By the way, has anyone been watching GOSSIP GIRL? I keep meaning to ask. I haven't seen an episode yet, but I plan to start watching them online. I'm curious if people who've read the books like the TV show.
WGA STRIKE UPDATE:
Felicity Huffman and Bill Macy joined strikers in LA. Patrick Dempsey, Katherine Heigl, Sandra Oh, Sally Fields, Ellen Pompeo, Sara Ramirez, John Stamos and Jimmy Kimmel also joined the WGA strikers. It's so nice to see actors supporting writers. I believe it was Sara who summed it up perfectly and said without the writers, she and the other actors would not have the characters we all know and love.
News reports say no new talks are scheduled.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I've been thinking a lot about my target word count for this MG novel. It's going to be 58-60k, so there will be much more typing after NaNo, but at least I've got the bulk of it down on paper. Anyone else have a target word count?
Oooh, I forgot to mention that HBO invaded my town this week to make a movie about Florida's election (how seriously embarrassing) in 2000. Kevin Spacey, the guy who played Doyle on Gilmore Girls and a couple of other stars are filming downtown. If I could actually get around the barricades downtown, I'd definitely check it out, but everything is roped off. Humpf. :)
Eva Longoria Parker handed out pizza to writers on strike as Desperate Housewives shut down production. No new talks are scheduled for writers and studios. I wish I was in NYC or LA to join them!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I ended yesterday at 12,000 and am going to get started in a while. I've got a bit of reading to do on some sections I edited in book one and then it's back to book two.
On the news last night, I saw Jay Leno handing out snacks to the writers on strike. Tina Fey picked up a sign in NYC and Julia Louis Dreyfuss did so in LA. Regis Philbin's daughter, J.J., a writer for Heroes and for The OC is striking as well.
I got my December issue of The Writer yesterday. Only two more issues before my March breakthrough column appears! I'm so excited! :)
Share your word counts and give us a one to two sentence description of your plot. (Hard, isn't it?) I'll post mine later.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Back to NaNo- it's day 5! I'm around 10,500 words and going strong. The forums are working sooo much better over at NaNo and the site is much faster.
Share your word counts, if you dare. :)
Sunday, November 4, 2007
And, has anyone else been keeping tabs on the Hollywood strike? If this happens, we'll be watching reality TV for months. Soaps, primetime and late-night shows will all be impacted by this very possible strike. Here's an updated article below:
Writer strike looms in Hollywood after talks break off
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Anyone have a favorite NaNo soundtrack? Share 'em! I use Disney soundtracks, like Fantastia, and Harry Potter soundtracks. Ooh, and Pirates. (Thinking of Captain Jack keeps me typing...ahem...)
Check in today, even though it's Saturday, and let's keep going! I sit at...7587. I'll check in tonight.
PS- The handy word meter has been disabled (!) on the creator's site. Apparently, the NaNoers crash the server so you have to manually update the percentage and WC yourself. And no, the little bar doesn't slide. :(
Friday, November 2, 2007
Anyone going to a local write in? My area is having one tomorrow at my favorite branch of the library, so I may go. I've always wanted to try one.
So, I'll share my word count first. As I mentioned, I'm writing the second book in my Canterwood Crest series (you all like the new title?!) and I sit at: 7000 words. Today, I may not get any typing done since I have edits, so that's why I did such a big WC yesterday.
Share your totals, if you like, and if not push ahead on day two. :)
Thursday, November 1, 2007
If you're doing NaNo, check in here and let's get the support started. I'm opening my blank document right... now.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Happy Halloween!! This morning, I watched the Monster Mash on Today, Martha's Halloween with Rosie (did you see her Broadway kids perform? Fantastic!) and The View's Halloween party. So much fun! Here are two pictures. That's my brother Jason and we're dressed in our Regis and Kelly 3-D glasses. Yup, today's show was in 3-D and so great! One of my favorite costumes on the show--Regis and Kelly dressed as Harry and Hermione. Excellent!
Monday, October 29, 2007
1. I don't have cable. Nope, if I did, I'd watch waaaay too much TV. :)
2. So, based on #1, I've never seen an episode of The Hills or any of those crazy MTV reality shows.
3. Every December, I walk around my neighborhood almost every night just to look at the Christmas lights. I love how pretty, sparkly and warm the neighborhood feels.
4. I switched college minors three times and majors never. My minors went from film, to women's studies to humanities.
5. I can' t cook. Well...can't or won't? Difference? :)
6. I HATE scary movies. I can't handle anything even remotely scary or I won't sleep for days.
7. I despise the taste of milk--except for in cereal.
8. I own (and love) all of Britney's CDs. And, have you read this? Yes, Blackout is a hit with critics!
PS- I found this cool article! Check out the sidebar on the right...http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Entertainment/Headlines/entBOOK01102507.htm
Friday, October 26, 2007
Did you know that there are over 600 United States Pony Clubs in the US? These clubs have over 12,000 riders up to the age of 21. I did a search and found a complete list of all of the Pony Clubs in the Deep South and will definitely start contacting them next year. I only thought about this when I read that Bonnie Bryant, the Saddle Club author, does signings at these events.
An interesting event to attend would be the USPC Championships on July 24-27 in Lexington, VA. I used to live in VA and it would be fun to go back. :)
Anyone ever been part of a Pony Club? I didn't when I rode horses, but I wish there had been one in my area. I rode at a nice-sized stable, Triple Springs, in Greenbrier, TN. Most of the riders there were adults and there was a great mix of riders. Some had wild Mustangs, some had Arabians for breeding and a few barrel raced Quarter Horses. I was the girl who rode bareback (not even a bridle) and made everyone nervous when I zoomed over creeks and fences. :)
Thursday, October 25, 2007
If you would like to be a part of the show, please call Mia Davis at 212.973.7940 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're under 18, please get your parents' permission before you call or e-mail.
I'm going to be part of the show, so I hope you call or e-mail and weigh in on the topic of teen gossip! If you have questions, either e-mail Mia or post them here. We need responses ASAP. :)
Monday, October 22, 2007
Second, thank you to those at NaNoWriMo for adding my name to your published NaNo authors list! (Yes, they mixed up the pub date, but I'll contact them about that once I get my new book title.) That was so nice of them! Thanks, guys!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Now, here's an initial list of conferences I'm thinking about attending.
Miami International Book Fair
Sarasota Reading Fest
SCBWI FL Orlando
Decatur (GA) Book Fest
Voices in Children's Lit
Has anyone been to any of these? Heard of them? Going to any in '08? I've got sooo many conferences to choose from and I'm trying to pick the "right" ones. They don't necessarily have to be in the South, but I'm trying to pick that location until I get a feel for how conferences are supposed to go. I'm a complete newbie, since I've never been to any. Yeah, very bad of me, I know. :)
If you've got suggestions, I'd love to hear them!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Did you guys see this article? Wow, I never guessed! Apparently, there has been speculation for a long time, but I never read a word about it. How interesting!
Friday, October 19, 2007
It's definitely a different feeling to write a sequel. There's no figuring out who my characters are or determining a location. Sure, I've got to find ways to put fresh spins on those things, but I also know my characters well and that will come in handy during the writing of this next book. It's an odd feeling for a first time sequel writer to start a book already knowing my cast. Know what I mean?
What method do you use when you write? The outline method or go without anything method? Anyone written a sequel before?
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I have a non-puncture resistant ball that I've had for 5 years and I use it all of the time. I deflated it last night and tossed it. I never thought about it popping-and I should have since I have titanium rods in my spine.
Anyone else heard about this?
Sunday, October 14, 2007
On of my supporting characters in my MG book is a baker. She wants to be the next Rachael Ray or Martha Stewart. Now, I'm no domestic goddess but in the spirit of embracing my character, I decided to make Halloween cookies. Not many, but a few. What do you think? If you look closely, you'll see that the pumpkins' eyes are either baby chicks (Easter sprinkles) or tiny bats. The thing I do best? Make colored frosting. That I can do. :)
To the NaNo people, the forums are finally fixed! Yay!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
So, I went to the store with my mom this morning and I was in the Halloween aisle. One of those bowls for candy with the hand inside that screams and says something like "want some candy?" yelled at me when I walked by. I jumped a bit, but I was expecting it. If I'm caught off guard, I'll scream like a, well, girl. Yeah, I've got pretty bad nerves, I guess. I left the Halloween aisle and headed around a corner when a woman came around the same corner Not expecting to see anyone, I jerked back like I'd seen a ghost and went "ahh!" What was that?! Some kind of delayed reaction from the candy bowl? She looked at me like what a freak and walked away. I blushed and slunk off. Now, I'm laughing about it. :) And I'll be staying home for the rest of the day....
Friday, October 12, 2007
What movies make the list? Adaptation, Capote and The Hours among several others. I loved this list because it's not completely a list of the most award winning films, but a list of films for and about writers. Stranger Than Fiction makes the list and while that's not an Oscar worthy movie, it was truly delightful! :)
What movies do you think are good for writers? I saw Miss Potter a few weeks ago and loved it. It's not on the list, but it might have made a good honorable mention, perhaps.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
What are some of your favorite book covers? What draws your eye to them? Does a good cover aid in choosing a book? I'd love your thoughts! :)
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I've only read the first Spiderwick book, but I want to read more. I can't wait for the movie in February.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
My mom got that "zombie" out of a Halloween craft book. She made it this weekend and it's super spooky! There are Christmas tree lights stuffed inside the head and when you plug it in at night, it look so cool!
I edited most of the weekend and am doing so now. Anyone do anything exciting this weekend? What are you currently working on?
Saturday, October 6, 2007
However, I'm inside doing edits and watching American Idol: Rewind. Why? Because football is on every other channel. AI is much better than that.
I've been doing lots of creative work this weekend. Editing, working on outlines for the next HJ books (yay!) and working on 2k8 work. By the way, the class of 2k8's Website launches in mid-November. Plan to come check out the 28 freshest voices in children's lit for 2008. :)
November's going to be busy, that's for sure. Lots of stuff happening with 2k8, HJ and NaNoWriMo. Anyone participating? If so, share your buddy name. :)
How's everyone's weekend so far?
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
And Tango Makes Three, Gossip Girls and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things.
Seriously?! Check out the rest of the top ten here. This is such an important issue and we MUST, as readers, writers and lovers of books, stand up and say we're not going to support censorship. Readers lose. Authors lose. It's loss all around.
Just a few months ago, you probably remember that the lovely Maureen Johnson's The Bermudez Triangle went through a fight to stay in an OK library. Petitions were circulated and strong feelings were heard on each side. Anyone read the book? I did. And it's incredibly sad that such a beautiful, realistic book would face such opposition.
Another book on the ALA list of frequently challenged? Beloved. I've read it for two different classes at Florida State University. Was anyone in my classes offended? I think not.
Join the American Library Association's fight to keep censorship out of our libraries, schools and bookstores.
Who's with me? :)
Monday, October 1, 2007
Cross your fingers that Dracula doesn't scare me too much....
Got any fav Halloween movies? My top favorite is... It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Love it. :)
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Every year, we buy one new item for our holiday decorations. This year, I found the most adorable (you'll see a pic) wreath at Wal-Mart. I had to by pass the Christmas section (talk about way too early!), but I found it.
I'm taking pictures tonight of everything and will post the best ones next week.
Anyone else decorate for Halloween?
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Now I want one. :)
Pictures will be up tomorrow. Check back. :)
Monday, September 24, 2007
Off to celebrate! :)
Then, I tackled two books from Aladdin MIX (*cough* my line). ;) I read Tricia Rayburn's THE MELTING OF MAGGIE BEAN (see sidebar for link to Amazon) and Lauren Barnholdt's THE SECRET IDENTITY OF DEVON DELANEY. Both are amazing books and MIX has the coolest, cutest covers ever! Next on my list is I am Rembrandt's Daughter. It's a historical YA that came out this year.
What books did you read over the weekend? Or what are you reading now?
PS- I've got awesome news to share, but it'll have to wait a bit. Stay tuned! :)
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Today, I wanted to talk about series. I love a good series, especially those by Libba Bray, Stephenie Meyer and (from my childhood) the Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell.
Series give such a rare chance to follow and bond with a character instead of leaving him/her behind after one book. For some, one book is all that's needed to tell a compelling story. There are several books that I've read recently where I loved the ending so much, I was glad there wasn't a sequel. Others seemed to leave me hanging and begged for a follow up. Imagine if JK Rowling stopped with the first HP! Okay, that's not even imaginable.
What are some of your favorite series? Why? Did a sequel ever let you down? Or has a sequel ever been better than the first book?
Friday, September 14, 2007
Are you in the middle of edits? If so, how're they going? Do you have any Emmy favs? I'm pulling for Grey's, Desperate and Ugly Betty.
* Happy Birthday, Em and Samah!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Check out No thanks, Mr. Nabokov from the NYT.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
What's your take on audio books? Have you listened to any? Which ones? If not, why not?
And....today is release day for PLATINUM by Jennifer Lynn Barnes! Yay, Jen!! :)
Monday, September 10, 2007
I'm trying to decide if for my first 4 books, I should make the site as an upper-classy looking equestrian boarding school feel or if I should make it non-specific to my High Jumps books since I *hopefully* will see more books in the future.
What do you think?
Friday, September 7, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
What's keeping you busy right now?
On a freelance note, I got my September 2007 issue of Listen Magazine with my profile of singer Whitney Wolanin. Check it out if you see the mag. :)
Side note: There has also been so much celeb and lifestyle news/gossip recently that I need someone to dish with me! ;) What do you think about the new iPod? Or Halle Berry's pregnancy? Or Britney's rumored performance at the VMA's? I'm writing so much that I'm relishing a little Hollywood chatter.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I'm blogging for Lamar today so come check us out.
Did everyone have a good holiday? What did you do? My parents, brother and I grilled and we watched movies over the weekend. I've never seen Miss Potter, so I watched that and my fifth (maybe more) viewing of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The cast was so young and tiny! Aw. Renee Zellweger and my fav Ewan McGregor (gorgeous!) were brilliant in Miss Potter, so if you haven't seen it--get it.
Lots of reading was also done over the extended holiday. I finished several books and am now reading So Totally Emily Ebers by Lisa Yee. The book has one of the most adorable covers I've ever seen.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Small world. Seriously. Ever have one of those moments? I can't believe that "Evil" Dr. Will grew up in Tally. Funny. :)
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Perhaps the coolest part is the archives. They're chock full of special reports on kid magazines and full of "editors speak." Reading what an editor wants in his/her own words is a huge advantage!
If you're not a freelancer, Kid Mag Writers offers plenty for you, too! The site offers tips on getting organized, success stories of first publications and more. The site is also helpful to authors because there are plenty of magazine for teen/tween/children readers and staying in the know about what kids are reading, listening to and talking about has always been helpful to me when writing books.
Check it out and happy holiday weekend!
Friday, August 31, 2007
Blogs from Little Willow and YA Fresh have offered news about the huge event, so stay tuned to their blogs for the latest.
Are you going to check out the event?
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I was this close to flying to Minnesota to help rebuild and sneak a glance at the photo shoot with Ty Pennington and the gang, but my dad had to fly somewhere else for the week, so it was a no go.
I'm working on edits today and am getting ready for the holiday weekend. Anyone have any plans? I'll be writing, sifting through my pile of YA and MG must reads and grilling.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I've been taking a break from freelancing for a while and have been allowing editors to contact me when they need something, instead of sending queries. I do an occasional query when I can't pass up a story idea, but I turned to focus fully on fiction for right now.
Today, however, no writing has occured since we've been dealing with storms and it would be my luck for my surge protector to get hit. So, I've been watching movies (Spiderman, Ella Enchanted) with my brother and reading. Lots of reading. The local librarians gave me the evil eye on Friday because I practically cleaned out their teen/tween section and have an insanely large load of books. I'll take a pic sometime. Plus, the more I check out the more I struggle over what to read first! Pretty Little Liars, Shug or Girls on Film? Choices, choices.
Since I'm a little out of the loop on the magazine biz, what are your fav magazines? Teen or adult. Share them here!
Oh, and anyone else watching the Teen Choice Awards tonight? C'mon, you know you want to see Avril perform. ;)
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I've been editing like crazy today--focusing on my first young adult novel, Blackheart Mountain. It's the first round of line edits and there's still the ending to write although I have it fully outlined. It's a fun book to write and how different it is writing for a sixteen-year-old than writing for Sasha, my thirteen-year-old in High Jumps.
I've also been getting caught up on my blog reading and wow, lots has been happening in the lit world especially with lots of new deals over at Verla Kay. Way to go, guys! :)
So, I thought I'd share a page from the August/September Tallahassee Woman. I didn't post the last one here and figured it was a nice way to help promote the mag, too.
If you're interested in talks about plots, head over to Diana's blog and get in on the conversation.
Tomorrow, I'll be blogging for the Lamar Write Site, so come join me there!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
watching summer reality TV (except for Big Brother) and get back to scripted shows. In addition to shows already on air, there are several new shows that caught my eye. Here’s the list of shows I can’t wait to see:
The title alone makes me want to try it.
Any book to TV is a must see.
Kids with their own mini-city—how cool is that?!
As the first show to have such access to filming a reality show in China, I’m curious to see how this season unfolds.
Dirty Sexy Money
Uber-talented Donald Sutherland and the return of Portia De Rossi in this ABC show has me hooked for the pilot.
This one received some of the best early reviews and the previews are gorgeous.
Shonda Rimes, I am not worthy. :)
Loved the book and we’ll see about Brooke.
New or old, what are you looking forward to this season?
*Finally, something off topic.*
Major congratulations to Florida State University’s own WILL BIGHAM who won last night’s On the Lot. Will won a million dollar contract with Dreamworks and is now working for Mr. Steven Spielberg. Yay, Will and congrats to you and your lovely family!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
The camaraderie and sense of unity in the book made me want a book club of my own! The characters found such interesting ways to connect their lives to the lives of Austen's characters and I learned more about Austen from the eyes of Fowler's characters than I did in school.
So, does anyone belong to a book club? Or ever belonged to one? If not, what kind of book club would you join?
Sunday, August 19, 2007
The list is now made up of:
* 2 MGs
* 7 YAs
* 1 non-fiction for teens.
Seeing "the list" in print helps me visualize my goals much more clearly and I've gotten back to working on other pieces besides HJ. At first, I thought I should only work on HJ until the edits were done, but that actually doesn't have to happen. I can happily switch between two projects and that keeps things fresh and interesting. So, now I'm going back and forth between Blackheart Mountain (my tenatively titled YA) and HJ. Nice. Both are completely different in tone, voice, style and my writing zest has been renewed! :)
This weekend, during editing, I found something new, too.... watching sports while editing is actually FUN. Coming from someone who only watches horse racing, I never thought I'd say that. Yesterday, I watched the ah-dorable (Sorry, too many Clique novels) Little Leaguers and oh, my, were they playing like the men! Wow! Last night, I watched the 2007 Visa Championships in women's gymnastics and I cannot wait to see the rest tonight.
Ahem, sorry. Back from the side rant about sports.
Share your current WIP. What's it about? Are you switching around with multiple projects or focusing on one?
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
With a poverty rate of 27% and Virginia's highest illiteracy rate, this library needs an extreme makeover. This tiny, struggling library is in the city where one of the most famous ponies, Misty, came to life through Marguerite Henry's series. I've been passionate about horses and reading since I was little and I feel an even tighter connection to this cause since Aladdin published the Misty series and they are also publishing my forthcoming horse series.
I've been thinking about Anne Marie's post for a few days and am trying to think of something we all can do to help.
If you'd like to donate to the library, they are accepting donations to rebuild and expand. I plan to contact them to ask if they accept book donations, too. I'm racking my brain to see if there's a way to help next year if I'm able to take a trip to VA.
If you want to visit the library's Website, visit http://chincoteagueislandlibrary.org/.
Monday, August 13, 2007
I'm excited to finally join a group blog. I feel like the kid who got picked for the cool kids' soccer team. :)
Off to edit.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Along with the class of 2k8, we're doing book trailers and I think it's a great idea! I started jotting down ideas and thinking about what I'd like to see in my trailer. We've found an amazing selection of book trailer creators and I'm thrilled to have any one of them work on the HJ trailer this winter.
I'm looking through photos, free online art and then there will be images that the designer also presents. But I still wanted newer pictures of horses that matched the tone of my book.
The timing with this turned out to be perfect because yesterday a local horse farm owner called me up after reading my article in the paper and asked if I wanted to come visit her farm. I haven't been around horses in so long and I jumped at the chance! I also explained to her about my need for new horse pics and perhaps video and she graciously told me to bring my camera and shoot away. Hopefully, I'll have good shots to share of the horses and moi when I get back from visiting sometime next week.
Okay, back to the music issue. Someone pointed out that if we used songs from our own CDs that it's illegal. Yup, after doing research that turns out to be true unless you want to pay thousands for the song rights. Yeah, I was sadly mistaken when I thought I could use Fergie's "Glamorous" in my movie. :)
I've been doing a little digging online and am compiling a list of Websites that have royalty free music available legally for a moderate fee. Some of the sites charge insane fees for music that's, well, not quite right for a tween trailer.
Have you done a book trailer? If so, what did you do about the music? If not, are you aware of any legal royalty free music sites?
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
The fans were crazy! They filled the studio and were outside the windows with "I Love Edward Cullen!" t-shirts and posters. Imgine how it would feel to get teens fired up enough about your books to entice them into making t-shirts. That's a high level of stardom in the publishing biz, that's for sure.
I've only read Twilight, but I have the next two novels on order and can't wait to read them. If you've read Meyer, what's your take on the novels? Or the characters?
**PS** Thanks SO much to everyone who commented in my mean girls post! You all had fantastic ideas! :) I selected one and if it makes the final edits, I'll post the name and the person who suggested it!
Sunday, August 5, 2007
I'm seriously stumped. I tried to think back on the books I've read recently, but can't think of any standout female who tortures the good girls.
Any suggestions? They could end up in print! :)
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Books to movies seems to be a growing trend in Hollywood. It does make sense, if you think about it. There is more potential box office bucks for a movie that has been a beloved book than perhaps a brand new film with no built in fan base.
On Yahoo!, a new trailer for Beowulf with Angelina Jolie is playing. Would you watch the Beowulf film?
What are some of your favorite books to movies?
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