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Showing posts from January, 2008

Tomorrow's guest: Keri Mikulski

That purse post was really fun! I noticed something missing after I looked at the photo. I've got paper, but no pen. Smart. Now I've got two.

Tomorrow, author of SCREWBALL Keri Mikulski stops by with a Q&A and a giveaway to a lucky blog commenter. Stop back tomorrow and try to win a prize!

I'm off to give the final pages of my manuscript one more read. What're you writing plans today?

And thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! It was great and I love 21! :)

What's in your wallet? Er...purse?

I was tagged by the lovely Robyn to post a pic of my purse and what's currently inside. So, let's see...

Like the purse? I love the metallic color and the rings screamed "buy me!"

Inside, we've got:

* My adorable pink cell phone. (So cute!)
* Wallet (It's new. My old one used to have a butterfly on it.)
* Clinique brush. You know, in case I get the urge to brush my hair in public. Right.
* 3 lipglosses because I'm obsessed with them.
* A digital voice recorder for notes, article ideas, etc. because my handwriting is horrible.
* Hand sanitizer spray. Apparently, there are lots of germs out there!
* Pepper spray. So don't try to take my purse.
* 3 packs of gum because I'm an addict.
* Tic Tacs. Aren't those in everyone's purses?!
* Tulip notepad. In case digital voice recorder fails.
* Handy mirror.
* Oversized sunglasses.
* My adorable new gloves. And yes, you need gloves in Florida!

So there we go! I tag any blog readers who want to participate! :)

21 today! Yay!

At midnight, I turned 21. Twenty-one. OMG, 21. Does anyone else feel as if they went from sixteen and getting a driver's license to 21 overnight?

I'm working this morning and taking tonight off to party. Woo hoo!

I share this birthday with Lady O, Heather Graham and Tom Selleck. :)

Get Well Soon Winner

We have a winner!

The Book Muncher

Please email me at jessica [@] jessicaburkhart [dot] com with your address. Thank you, Julie, for stopping by! You were a fantastic guest and please consider coming back when you have a new book.

There's no author Q&A and giveaway this Friday, instead, on Monday (2/1) Keri Mikulski is visiting and she'll have great prizes.

Is everyone enjoying the author Q&As? If so, I'll consider scheduling more through the spring. I'm learning a lot and am archiving the visits on Blogger's sidebar.

Tomorrow, I turn the big 2-1 so I'll be blogging about a look back before I turn legal! :)

Author Visit: Julie Halpern

Please welcome author Julie Halpern! Julie's YA novel, Get Well Soon, was nominated for a 2008 ALA Quick Pick. Congratulations, Julie! :)

A native to the Chicago suburbs, I have been a school librarian for the past seven years. I live with my sweetheart husband, illustrator Matthew Cordell, and our gloriously large Siamese cat, Tobin. In my spare time I like to read, watch TV, play Sims 2, and travel.

Anna Bloom doesn't know what happened, but somehow she ended hospitalized at Lakeland for depression. Through laugh out loud funny letters home to her best friend, Anna describes her experiences in a mental hospital, complete with kooky friends, oblivious adults, and even a little romance, and ends up learning more about herself than she ever expected.

What inspired you to write Get Well Soon?
The book is based on my own hospitalization for depression in high school, although throughout the editing process a lot of the details have become fictionalized. I a…

Tomorrow's guest: Julie Halpern

Tomorrow, we have author Julie Halpern (Get Well Soon) stopping by. Julie's book is a nomination for ALA's 2008 Quick Picks. Congratulations, Julie! :)

Julie is giving away one signed copy of Get Well Soon and a frowny face button. So, leave a comment on tomorrow's post if you want to be entered.

And where have all the Blogger people gone? It's been quiet here for a few days. LJ is becoming the hot-spot now! Come check out our conversations there, if you haven't already.

RIP Heath Ledger and the strike goes on

What a rollercoaster for Hollywood this week. Yesterday, I was shocked and saddened to hear about the death of Heath Ledger. He was only 28 and died in his NYC apartment. So sad. My younger brother liked him in A Knight's Tale and I loved him in Brokeback Mountain. I've heard he was fantastic in I'm Not There, but I haven't seen it yet.

Then, it was announced that Hollywood writers and producers are meeting for "informal" talks to hopefully bring an end to the strike. Producers MUST be getting nervous. If this isn't resolved, they'll soon have to give back money to advertisers and TV viewers will probably turn against them when we get nothing but reality TV on every channel. I've got my fingers crossed for a resolution before the Oscars. Can you imagine being nominated for the first time (hello, Ellen Page!) and then not being able to go because of a strike? Awful, but there's no way even if the show went on that many stars would cross the pick…

Signed with Agent A almost a year ago today

I'm feeling nostalgic today and have been thinking about what had been going on in my life exactly a year ago. I was just about to turn twenty (on Jan. 29), was a senior in college at FSU and had Agent A reading my manuscript. I was a wreck with questions. Will she like it? Will she like me? What happens when we talk on the phone? What if I babble like the dork I am and she hangs up on me? OMG, I'm really talking to an agent!

When we did our call, I had a stack of notes in front of me with my resume (in case I forgot where I went to school, LOL), my writing credits ('cause you know how important those are) and a brand new notebook so I could scribble down every word she said in case that became important later. Okay, I guess I was taking notes. :)

The actual talk was fantastic and I knew that was it. How amazing to find someone else besides you who's interested in your book.

Anyone else remember your first agent call? If you haven't had one, what do you hope yours wil…

Winners of Star-Crossed

We have winners! Drum roll...

Chelsea (The Page Flipper)



Yay! Please e-mail me your addresses ASAP and I'll pass them on to Ms. Collison. I'm so glad she stopped by and I hope you all enjoyed her interview! We have more fantastic guests coming up with even more prizes, so stay tuned.

I've got lots of editing to do and a magazine article assignment to finish. Off to work... :)

Author Visit: Linda Collison and Star-Crossed

Please welcome Linda Collison, author of Star-Crossed!

is the story of an 18th-century orphaned British teen who stows away on a ship bound for Barbados in a brash attempt to claim her father’s estate.An illegitimate orphan, and a female at that, Patricia Kelley finds she has lost her place in the world, now that her father is dead.Throughout the story she struggles to survive, ultimately cross-dressing and assuming a dead man’s identity.As she comes of age in the 18th century, Patricia (a.k.a. Patrick) finds adventure, love, and loss. Grappling with the complexities and injustices of her 18th century world, she begins to discover her true self, and her true love.BioLinda Collison has worked as a registered nurse, a skydiving instructor, a volunteer firefighter, a freelance writer, a wife and a mother. With husband Bob Russell she co-authored two guidebooks:Rocky Mountain Wineries and Colorado Kids.Linda has received awards from Honolulu Magazine and Southwest Writers Wor…

ALA's 2008 picks and Tomorrow's Author Visit

I've been spending lots of time reading ALA's 2008 award and wow, the lists are fantastic! Among books that I've read and loved, Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Weiss and Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr are all 2008 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. Also on that list is upcoming guest Julie Halpern and Get Well Soon.

In the 2008 Best Book for Young Adults category, I've loved Robin Brande's Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Converting Kate by Beckie Weinheimer and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin.

Congratulations to all of the deserving winners! :)

Tomorrow, author Linda Collison is stopping by and she's giving away two signed copies of Star-Crossed.

Articles, Interviews and Sick

Thanks so much to everyone who e-mailed me about my mag article. I've got the quotes I need and really appreciate it! :)

Yesterday, I did a fantastic interview with a teen champion barrel racer. It was the perfect interview for a horse crazy writer and since I usually ride English, it was fun to talk to someone who only rides Western.

I've got to write up the above article today and keep working on edits. Oh, and I'm sick. Yeah. :( Apparently, the sore throat/headache/other cold symptoms are floating around. Can't remember the last time I was sick!

How's everyone's week so far? Anyone watch Idol and laugh hysterically last night?

Call for Quotes!

I'm on assignment for a national magazine and am doing an article on a sensitive topic. If you're 12-19 and would like to learn more about the article and possibly be quoted (names can be changed for privacy) e-mail me (jessica [AT] jessicaburkhart [DOT] com) for more details ASAP. Thanks! :)

We have winners!

We have two winners! Yay! My brother picked two random numbers from Blogger and LJ, so...would...

Stephanie Janulis and Emily Marshall please e-mail me your addresses and I'll pass them on to Ms. Alexander. You'll both receive a signed copy of Death at Deacon Pond.

Thank you again to E.M. Alexander for stopping by. It has a been a pleasure and much success to you with this book and any future projects.

Check back on Friday for a new contest with new prizes!

Author Visit: E.M. Alexander

It's my great pleasure to welcome author E.M. Alexander!


E. M. Alexander began working at the age of six, delivering newspapers up a steep, and decidedly creepy, hill called Robert's Rd. She has worked as a student library aid, a pizza maker, a tee-shirt maker, as well as a receptionist and bill-collector. A freelance writer for a local newspaper and one of the 2006 recipients for the Barbara Karlin Grant, E. M. Alexander resides in Connecticut with her husband, Phillip, and her son, Ethan. "Death at Deacon Pond" is her first novel.

Death at Deacon Pond Summary:

Ever since her father's suicide, Kerri Langston has been tortured by visions of his violent death, leading her to believe that he was murdered. With no way to prove her theory, her psychic visions only serve to upset her mother and give her the reputation of being a "freak." When Kerri stumbles upon a body in the woods near Deacon Pond she realizes her visions are not limited to her father's dea…

Tomorrow's visitor: EM Alexander

Since I'm currently engaged in edits, this post is just a reminder that tomorrow, author E.M. Alexander is stopping by. She'll answer a Q&A and offer writing tips to aspiring authors. Also, leave a comment here (or on LJ) tomorrow to be entered in a drawing for one of two signed copies of E.M.'s book, Death at Deacon Pond. Yay for prizes! I'll count the number of entries and will have my brother pick a number to determine the winners.

Strengths and weaknesses in your writing

Over the past few weeks, I've been writing lots of new things, editing and thinking about how my writing has changed since I signed with Agent A almost one year ago. (Seriously! Wow!) We've all got our writing strengths and weaknesses. Mine? Okay. My strongest writing comes with my plots. When others read my MSS, their first comment is usually, "Wow, I didn't get bored for a second. You kept things moving." Then the next comment is, "But I didn't feel inside the character's head enough." So, strong at plotting and weak with internal emotion. Fixable, right? Sure, and once someone points out your weaknesses, it should only make you more aware of them so they can be addressed. When I first started writing book-length fiction in November 2006, I had no idea how dialogue tags worked. They were a MESS. Now, it's second nature. Don't even notice my tags. Practice definitely pays off.

So, what are the strongest and weakest parts of your writing?…

MySpace woes and new book releases

Right before the holidays, I changed my MySpace layout. Fine, right? Sure. It was pretty and girly and I loved it. Friend requests stopped coming in, but I didn't notice...until a few days ago when some nice person e-mailed me and said "hey, we can't friend you because you have no contact table!" Eek! The beautiful layout came without a contact table and I didn't even notice. Sigh.

So, I've got a new look and layout and the most important thing--that table! If we're not already MySpace friends, feel free to add me.

Today's a big day for Lauren Baratz-Logsted and Lisa Schroeder! Both of them have books releasing today. Lisa's debut YA novel, I Heart You, You Haunt Me is out TODAY from Simon Pulse. Lisa's also a member of the class of 2k8. :) Go check out both of those books today!

Freelancing to Fiction

I was on The Writer's Website yesterday and found this nice little link:

I absolutely cannot wait for the March issue of The Writer! It'll have my piece for the Breakthrough column where I wrote how writing articles led me to my book deal. In my case, it's completely true that freelancing for magazines taught me a lot about writing fiction from putting deadlines on myself, to editing to working with editors.

Have you freelanced? Did you find it helpful before you started writing a book? If you haven't, would you consider freelancing or are you sticking to fiction?

Finished Blackheart Mountain!

I'm sooo excited that I just finished the draft of my first ever YA novel, Blackheart Mountain!! Yay! I started it last May while Take the Reins was on submission and thought I'd work on it all summer while waiting for TTR news. Well, you guys know how that turned out so I had to shelve Blackheart while I did edits for TTR and wrote Chasing Blue. But since edits are mostly wrapped up on my end for CB and I felt like a change, I switched over to Blackheart and finally finished it.

It's really, REALLY different from the Canterwood series, I must say. The protags are both sixteen, instead of thirteen, so that alone is a huge shift. Plus, they're allowed to swear and engage in older teen behavior, so that's fun to write! :)

All right. I'm going to watch a movie and then start the editing on Blackheart. Starting edits at page one is always a little scary. You have those moments of "what was I thinking when I wrote this?!" and then those rare "wow, I lov…

Book Blog Tour Announcement: First Visitor

Friday came fast this week, didn't it? Maybe it's because all of this week still felt like a holiday. Thanks so much to everyone who offered up comments about adult novels! I'm looking forward to reading different things this year. Generally, as long as the adult novels aren't horror or sci fi, I'll try them.

Off to edit! Got any big weekend plans?

Book Blog Tour Announcement:

On Friday, January 11, author E.M. Alexander is stopping by to talk about her debut novel, Death at Deacon Pond. She's also generously giving away two signed copies of Death at Deacon Pond to two lucky people (one on Blogger and one on LiveJournal) who leave her a comment next Friday. Mark your calendars and I'll remind everyone again next week.

Where have all the adult books gone?

I was looking over my reading list for last year (see sidebar) and realized one thing. Lots of YA, but where are the adult books? Sure, February, March and April are full of them because I was in school, but after that...they sort of disappeared. Oops.

So, I started off this year by reading an adult novel--The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. It's an Oprah Book Club pick and though it's short, it's powerful. I think Barrie said she didn't like it, but I thought it told a great story.

Over the holiday break, I read dozens of small MG novels--too many to list on the blogger sidebar. Has anyone read anything from the Animal Ark series from Scholastic? Very cute and a great way to show kids how to care and love animals. I also reread several horsey MG novels that I loved when I was a kid (Pony Pals and Pony Tails) and found them still lovable and inspiring to horsey authors.

What are you reading now? I'm on the lookout for my next adult read. Suggestions?

Book Blog Tour Visitors

Blogger was being moody yesterday and said it was Monday when I posted when it was in fact Tuesday. Odd.

Anyway, thanks to all of the authors who emailed me about visiting the blog! If this round goes well, I'll probably do this again in the spring. I'll be posting a list of authors scheduled to visit by the weekend.

I'm off to edit! It got down to 17 degrees here last night. In Florida. It's supposed to be colder tonight. Anyone else having freezing weather?