Today I'm tackling my new and soon-to-appear Website. I bought www.jessicaburkhart.com last week and am hard at work getting a new Website uploaded and ready for browsing. My old Website served its purpose as a launching pad for getting my name and work more visible, but now it's time to move on to a bigger, better site with an easy to remember URL! :)
Once the site is up and running, I'll post an announcement. It could take anywhere from several weeks to a couple of months, but I'm working on getting at least a basic Website running soon.
Do you have a Website? If so, did you design it yourself or did you hire someone?
Today it's back to the work week and more waiting will commence. I still have submissions (on my YA novel) out and around NYC, so I must find devices to keep myself amused while I bite my nails. :)
I typed a lot over Sunday and Monday after not typing much for a couple of days. I managed to pull out 2600 words yesterday and am hoping to get close to that today. Instead of staring at my phone (at least it's pink and cute!), I'm attempting to channel that nervous energy into my new book.
I've also been reading up a storm. Seriously. My book list for May is insane. I'm reading More Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet right now because I adored Lola Douglas' first novel.
It's a holiday and I'm working! I'm about 75 pages into my new book (young adult novel #2) and am going to write until lunch. My family is grilling today and there's no way I'm staying indoors when it's going to be so nice outside. Eighty-nine degrees is pretty nice, huh?
I worried about a sophomore slump with the second book and was nervous that writing a second would be harder than writing the first, but that's really not true for me. I've found this book to flow easier and I needed a distraction while I waited for news on my submissions. :)
I'm on assignment for Listen Magazine this week, so when I get updates on the assignment I'll post them here.
Thank you all for your congratulations and support! :) I'm going to take the weekend off to relax and do a little writing. I'll have more details to share after next Tuesday and I'll be sure to keep everyone posted. The second I make a decision, you'll find it here!
My lovely and fabulous agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media Group has given me the go ahead to share some super-exciting news that we have been working on over the past week.
My first young adult novel has been shopped to publishers and has received immediate and outstanding interest from a couple of major publishing houses! I will be weighing offers over the next week and will certainly keep you all updated when I make a decision for the right publisher for my book.
I am incredibly grateful to Alyssa for making this happen and I couldn't have done it without her!! :) She is the dream agent and has been an outstanding partner through all of this.
This is an absolute dream and I cannot believe I will see my book in print! I've been itching to share this news with my blogging family and I hope you're as excited as I am.
I look foward to keeping you all updated with details as they come in and I wish everyone a lovely holiday weekend!
This has been an incredibly slow month for freelancing. Normally, I'm popping out articles each week to different magazines and have at least 25 queries floating around, but this month, I'm down to 10 queries and no immediate desire to send more at the moment. Why? Fiction has taken over! I used to switch back and forth daily, but now I'm finding myself ready for a short break from freelancing and have decided to devote my writing time to fiction. For now. :)
Anyone swap between fiction and non-fiction? Do you find yourself strugging with the "rules" for each or is it an effortless switch?
I used yesterday as a day of mourning for Miss Snark. :)
Actually, I've been hard at work on my second young adult novel and am about 55 pages into the first draft. I'm a little behind where I'd like to be, but it's a decent start.
My dad brought home an Indiana newspaper yesterday from a trip he took and the paper had an interview with Meg Cabot. She wrote that she based all of her books on experiences that happened to her. She saved all of her childhood diaries and got ideas from rereading those. She told an interesting story about how she was once accused of spray painting a wall at school and she used that idea in one of her books. It was a very interesting interview and I had never heard those things about her before.
Question: Did anyone keep diaries/journals as a kid and if so, do you still have them?
My answer: Yes and yes! I have all of them and when I go back and look at issues that were so 'big' to me as a kid, I shake my head. Ah, youth. :)
Today, it's all about, for lack of a better phrase, book pimping. :) Recently, I've read (and heard about) some stellar YA novels and I wanted to point them out and see if anyone else had suggestions.
I just finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the second time and this time, as a writer, I paid much more attention. It's amazing that for 870 some pages, Rowling keeps the plot moving and weaves effortlessly through several stories all without allowing the story to drag. That's worth notice for sure. I read it in 3 days, so that says something about keeping a person hooked!
Now, I'm reading That Girl by Sarah Dessen. It's my second Dessen as I read Just Listen a few months ago. I love her realistic voice and it's the kind of writing I'd love to emulate.
I tried to stick to my "one YA and then one adult book" plan, but that hasn't worked so far.
I'm feeling a little under the weather today (just a cold and sore throat) and I'm probably going to take a break from the book and cuddle up on the couch and read today. If I'm feeling better by the weekend, I may hit the beach but we'll see.
On a non-writing note, this morning I "found" one of my best friends that I lost touch with about 5 or 6 years ago on MySpace. We're in contact again and what an amazing feeling! Usually, I don't use MySpace to look up old friends, but this was something special. We spent hours together every day and when I moved, we promised to stay in touch but life got in the way. I'm thrilled to have you back in my life, Amy!
Yesterday, I took a break on my novel and did a few things I've been putting off including housework and getting 200 pages into HP 5. Ah, nice! :) For most of the day, I felt guilty that I wasn't working on my book and it kept nagging away at me. Of course, by day's end, I was able to realize the value of a break and I feel refreshed and ready to get back to work today.
What's your favorite thing to do when you're taking a break from writing? The Grey's Anatomy season finale tonight perhaps? ;)
First: Lipstick Jungle is coming to NBC this fall. Excited anyone? I can't wait!
Second, I looked over my list of books I want to read (it's over 1000 books now!) and decided to start whittling down that pile today. I've been off of the computer most of the day and spent time browing my local library. I came home with Born Confused, a Pretty Little Liars novel (I've never read one) and That Summer. Unintentionally, I also brought home Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix just because I felt the "need" (read: serious want!) to refresh myself on the book's plot before I see the movie this summer. A woman behind me said, "Oh dear, that'll take you all summer to read" and in my head I'm going "I'll have this read over the weekend." That's what happens when I read Harry. I simply can't put it down and stay up way too late reading it. To me, that's the highest compliment to pay an author. Can you imagine how that …
* I found my 15 year old cat, Jazz, sleeping like this on her heating pad the other day. I whispered, "modesty, woman!" in her ear. :)
Today's topic: research! How much research (if any) do you put into your novel? For my first YA, I didn't do any heavy research, just looked up a couple of things I didn't know that people would come screaming at me if I got wrong. I felt comfortable enough with my setting (New England) not do do extensive research about the location, seasons, etc.
For novel numero dos, I'm doing much more research on setting (out West), characters and animals that would be natural to that area. I guess I'm going for the realistic fiction aspect. I started checking facts closely after a reader posted a note on Amazon about a YA book I just read and complained that the author wrote about a two-lane highway that was supposed to be three-lanes. That sounds like a small thing to be upset about, but nevertheless--best to avoid things like that! …
Soon, one of my favorite sources of procrastination, the TV, will end sweeps month and resume summer reruns. That is going to free up lots of writing time! I feel as if I'll be watching season finales on every network for the next two weeks and then boom--back into reruns for the summer. I am, however, looking forward to a couple of shows such as Big Brother 8, So You Think You Can Dance? and Kyle XY.
I'm blogging about TV today because a writers' strike is looming in Hollywood. Writers are complaining that they are not being paid enough and that Hollywood is treating them unfairly. What does that mean for TV viewers? It means a lot, actually. Fewer scripted shows may pop up on fall and spring schedules. NBC has already announced that it will add no new comedies to its fall line up and if the strike happens, reality TV may dominate.
It's an interesting situation and as a writer, I am of course pulling for the TV writers of Hollywood.
Today, I was supposed to go to a mustang adoption event for research for my current book. Unfortunately, the wildfires are burning intently through a town I had to travel through to get there and central Florida is quite a mess. So, I decided not to go and will try to catch the next adoption event in Georgia in July. It's going to be near Atlanta, so hopefully I'll be able to make that one.
On the news today, (world news!) my old town of Lake City was evacuated today due to wild fires. That was odd to see a tiny town of 10,000 people making world news. I moved from there only two years ago and I hope the town doesn't sustain any damage.
Instead of taking a trip today, I'll be writing on book 2 and heading to the library. I currently have 26 books, DVDs and CDs checked out on the family library cards, so it's time to return some items! The librarians groan when they see me come in. They know me so well by now that they know I never leave with less than 10 items. :)
Check out this petition to stop the ban of Maureen Johnson's The Bermudez Triange in an Oklahoma library.
Thoughts anyone? I think it's a disgrace to ban books in 2007 and am in fully support of people who are writing letters to help Maureen's book stay in the library. Jen Lyn Barns wrote a letter and if you have time, at least sign the petition. _______________________ Hi,
I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I recently signed:
Florida is under seige this week. The Sunshine State has made world news for the past couple days due to the fact we have our 200 wildfires burning right now. Last week, my town was covered with a layer of smoke. Headache causing, nausea inducing smoke. We're on a ration as to how often we can water lawns and wash cars because we're in such a drought.
No, this doesn't have anything to do with writing, but it certainly affects writers. I've been doing lots of writing this week in front of the TV and staying tuned to the news. With subtropical storm Andrea churning a few hours away it seems like it's going to be a busy hurricane season, too.
Now, I'm wishing for snow. :) Does weather affect your writing? Do you write better in a particular weather pattern?
Since I don't have an official deadline on book 2, I decided to make one for myself. I want to write at least 5 pages a day for 5-6 days a week. Hopefully, with a target in mind of 200 pages, that's a decent goal. I like to give myself deadlines and I think that keeps things moving.
Five pages seems to be a reasonable goal. Nothing too outrageous, but it's still enough of a push that it should accumulate rather fast. I'm starting that goal today because I didn't type enough yesterday. Before I knew it, it was 8pm and time for American Idol!Yep, I got sucked in this year. I haven't watched the show since Kelly Clarkson won and then I started watching the hilarious auditions at the beginning of the season and have continued to watch. Jordin all the way! :)
What goals do you set for yourself, if any? Or do you write in mad spurts, never sure what will come out?
Tomorrow's topic: controversy over YA book banning and the uproar over Maureen Johnson's The Bermud…
I'm finally, officially finished with my first young adult manuscript and am cleared to move on to book two. I'm about 1800 words into the new book and it's feeling great. New characters, new setting, new issues and different goals. At first I felt feelings of "Oh no! I don't want to leave my old characters behind yet. I'm not ready!" and then those feelings slowly morphed into "Ah, but I like meeting new characters" and now I'm completely invested in my new YA mss.
Over the car ride to the beach on Sunday, I wrote a synopsis of my first screenplay and am giving it a deeper outline on note cards today. There's serious debate (already!) going on in the Script Frenzy forums as to how many times one should revise a screenplay if it's not agented. Everyone has some interesting arguments.
Script Frenzy has a writer's profile like NaNoWriMo and it asks you to answer "my film is X meets Y." I'm still struggling with that one…
It's Monday again. It seems like it's always Monday sometimes! I've got a lot of new projects for this week. The first thing I have to do this morning is send off my article to Romance Writers Report that's due July 5. I kept putting it off until I was finished with school and I finally got it finished yesterday.
Next, I'm going to finish watching DVDs on Yellowstone National Park and on the Western wildlife and setting. Since my next YA book is going to be set out West, I needed more information and visuals on the Western states.
Yesterday, my family and I went to Bald State Park's beach. The park was amazing and people can spot bob cats, bears, bald eagles, sea turtles and a dozen other wonderful creatures. I spotted dozens of horseshoe crabs, blue crabs and fish, but none of the other creatures I listed above. The beach had a great sandbar and you could walk at least 1/2 a mile into less than knee high water out into the ocean. Brilliant. :)
I've been tagged by Jess to give 8 random facts about myself. Okay, here goes...
1. I started riding horses when I was five and when I was around ten, I'd sneak out of the house and ride boarders' horses at the stable behind my house (none of them were mine!) around the pasture bareback and without a bridle. I was never injured, surprisingly.
2. I'm terrified of spiders and wasps. And ants.
3. I do not eat condiments of any sort except for salt and pepper.
4. I love kiddy shows on Disney and ABC Family. Hannah Montana is particularly cute as is Raven.
5. I've only been in love once and I'm proudly S-I-N-G-L-E!
6. I've never been to a football game. I know, shocking huh?! :)
7. When I get angry or super-excited, my voice gets an incredibly high pitch that my family refers to as "the screech monkey voice."
Yesterday, I realized with a start that Script Frenzy starts June 1! I headed over to the Website, logged in and checked out the forums. It's pretty quiet there right now, but since it's Script Frenzy's first year, it may take a couple times to become as big as NaNoWriMo. The goal of Script Frenzy is different, too. The object is to write a 20,000 word screenplay. Most screenplays top out at 120 pages, which equals an hour and a half of screentime.
I don't have an outline yet, but I chose family/teen drama as my category. It looks like I'll be writing a new novel and a screenplay next month! Wish me luck!
For my next young adult novel, I'm incorporating the theme of wild mustang horses. So, I jogged over to the BLM (Bureau of Land Management's) Website to get some info. I have some experience with mustangs, but it's from years ago. When I was a kid, a stable where I rode horses in Tennessee had a boarder who adopted a wild mustang. Now, he was a big, tough "I can handle any horse" type of guy and he got his a** kicked several times by his adopted horse. After at least a year of working with the horse, he finally was able to groom the horse without it spooking and it was an interesting process to see the horse grow and change. To adopt a mustang, by the way, only costs $125. Yes, $125! Obviously, there is a lot of work involved, but way too many of my horsey friends used to drop ten grand on a horse and not think a thing of it. If I'm in the position to have horses again, I'll definitely look at adoption. If you visit the BLM's Website this is a real is…
Today's project: outlining my second YA novel. I have 6 stacks of colored sticky notes, at least a hundred index cards and a bulletin board begging to be used. For my first YA that I wrote last November, I lightly plotted the story but this time around I want to be clear of plot holes and I don't want to forget the name of my character's parents half way through the manuscript. Character sheets will definitely come in handy!
Do you throw away all of your old plotting material once you've actually written the novel? I saved all of my used index cards and such from my first YA simply to remind myself how much the story changed.
When I get my board started, I'll post a picture of how it's coming along.
In the mean time, here's a pic of my "loot" from my beach trip last weekend! :) The shells on the table are from my most recent trip and the shells in the basket are from a trip last year. And yes, all shells were empty when I picked them up.
I've got a question for you all: do you think location matters in your career as a writer?
I've been so conflicted about that answer. Does it help if you're a novelist to live in or near New York City? I'm sure it would help with networking, meeting editors and meeting your agent (if necessary), but I'm not sure what the other benefits are.
I'm trying to decide where to go to grad school and if I *need* to be in/near NYC.
Of course, the other side of the dilemma is that I want to do screen and TV writing and for that, LA is the coast of choice. To get staffed on a TV show, you've obviously got to live in LA and go to work every day. I've heard of freelance TV and screenwriters, but I believe it takes a person higher up in his/her career to do that kind of work.
It seems like many writers don't live in NYC and are doing quite well. I'm just very unsure as to what to do and where it would be most beneficial to live.