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! :)
Thursday, January 31, 2008
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.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
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! :)
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
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. :)
Monday, January 28, 2008
Today's worthy of a double post because... I just got my March copy of The Writer and it has my Breakthrough column on page fourteen!!! Yay!! :) I've been trying to break into The Writer for five years and I'm beyond thrilled to see an article of mine in that mag.
I hope you guys check it out. :)
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! :)
Friday, January 25, 2008
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 always thought the experience would make a great book, filled with interesting characters and bizarre situations. And since I read so much YA, and so much of it is dark and depressing, I thought it would be nice to write a funny book about a not so funny topic.
Tell us about your main character. Are you like him or her?
I am definitely like her, although I’m not as sarcastic. And since I’m older and have had many more life experiences than Anna, I think I’m a lot more confident. But her experience was very close to my own experience in the hospital, with a few fictional details thrown in.
What is your writing process? Are you an outliner or not?
I don’t really outline. Sometimes I make a list of things I want to include in the story. Get Well Soon had a lot of events that had to happen in a very specific amount of time (three weeks), so I wrote out sort of a day planner, where I plugged in big events on specific days. I hand write the first draft of my novels because I write much faster than I type, and I like to flip back, scratch out, etc. Then I have to type up the whole thing, which is my least favorite part, and I revise as I go. Then I print it up, revise it again, and then it’s ready for someone else’s eyes.
What’s your favorite time of the day to write?
In high school, I loved to write at night because no one else was awake. But now I fall asleep around 9:30 every night, so that’s out of the question. I can pretty much write at any time of day, as long as I just sit myself down and make myself do it.
What do you hope readers will gain from reading Get Well Soon?
I’d like readers who have their own battles with depression to gain some sort of happiness from the book because it’s funny and because it lets them know they’re not alone. And I hope that people will look at depression and hospitalization a little differently, like maybe it’s more normal than they think. I have heard from quite a few people that have been or know someone who has been hospitalized, teens dealing with depression, as well as teens just looking for a funny book. I love hearing from the readers because it makes me feel like I did something right.
Writing can be filled with rejection. How do you handle that?
Not too well, although luckily I have a day job that I love and don’t have time to write millions of novels and wait for millions of rejections. Get Well Soon only went through a couple of rejections, and I just knew when I found my editor that we were meant to work together. She is now helping me revise my newest novel.
What characters do you most admire in your book and why?
I admire Matt O. because he’s been through some tragic stuff but still continues to be human and funny. And I completely admire Justin for seeing past unrealistic beauty standards for women and liking Anna the way she is.
What’s your next project?
My next book was originally called Roll for Initiative (a Dungeons and Dragons reference), but my editor and I are working on a new title (although I have some students who are fighting to keep the title). It’s a teen novel about how best friends aren’t always the best people for you and how nerds can be cool. Or something like that. I’m waiting for my editor’s first big round of notes. Always a little scary, but she did say she loved it and she swears she doesn’t say that to everyone. I asked.
Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Well-Soon-Julie-Halpern/dp/0312367953/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200429268&sr=8-1
**Julie's giving away one signed copy of Get Well Soon and a frowny face button! To enter, leave a comment here, on LJ or both places by 9pm on Sunday night.**
Thursday, January 24, 2008
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.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
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 picket line. I wouldn't. Ever.
Do you think the strike will end soon?
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
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 will be like?
**Forgot to mention that I blogged about the importance of adopting a shelter pet over at TFC yesterday. Check it out.**
Monday, January 21, 2008
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... :)
Friday, January 18, 2008
Please welcome Linda Collison, author of Star-Crossed!
Star-Crossed is the story of an 18th-century orphaned British teen who stows away on a ship bound for
Linda 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 Workshop. In 1996 she was awarded the Grand Prize from the Maui Writers Conference for her fiction. Star-Crossed, her first novel, published by Knopf, was chosen by the New York Public Library to be among the BOOKS FOR THE TEEN AGE -- 2007. How did you get the idea for Star-Crossed?
How did you get the idea for Star-Crossed?
The idea came from my love of adventure, of sailing, and my fascination with history.
It was at night, in the middle of the
Standing a night watch, steering that remarkable ship, I realized I wanted to explore what it might have been like for a young woman to be part of such a floating world, back in the 18th century…
How long did it take you to write it?
Star-Crossed was seven years in the making; from conception to publication. Obviously, there was a lot of research involved. Also, I’m the kind of writer who writes, writes, and rewrites. My first drafts are all ugly ducklings. But in the first draft I capture the heart and soul of the story. The next 12 or 15 drafts are where I slowly and painstakingly try to sculpt the body of the story. Hard work!
Did you outline Star-Crossed or just let things happen while writing it?
After I was sure I had enough enthusiasm and commitment to write a novel, and after I had written the beginning and the ending, I outlined, yes. It was a free-form outline, and VERY flexible, but I was glad I did! Writing a novel is a very messy process and you have to impose order somewhere along the line. Even then, it sometimes feels like herding cats.
Let’s talk about character names. Do you have a formula for choosing names for your main characters?
“Who needs surnames?” I said, still muddle-headed. “They’re never our own anyway.”
Rachel’s smile was rueful. “How true. First we’re given our father’s name, then we take our husband’s. Only our given name remains the same.” -- from Star-Crossed
I went through a lot of names actually, before deciding on Patricia. (Her last name changes through the story.) I liked the sound of it, and the way it seems to fit who she is. I wanted her to have an androgynous name, or one that could easily become androgynous when she becomes a man. Like Patricia/Patrick.
A writer can become obsessed with names, (I know; I did!) but don’t let it snag your story. I’ll bet most writers see deep symbolic meanings behind the names they give their characters, but in the end, it’s very subjective. Call her Jane Doe, whatever, and get on with the real work! Pretend you’re the main character in your book. In a few sentences, tell readers why they should choose this book.
Pretend you’re the main character in your book. In a few sentences, tell readers why they should choose this book.
“I was born to a wealthy, privileged man and raised in the best of English boarding schools. I thought my future was golden, that nothing seriously awful could happen to me. Then my father died, and I realized all I had was dependent on him. Without my father I had nothing, and in the world’s eyes, I was nothing. With a boat load of prostitutes, I slipped aboard a ship bound for
What are some of your favorite books?
When I was young, I loved King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry. And Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series. As a teen I devoured poetry and literary fiction, especially short stories. As an adult, I like biographies and historical studies. And I continue to love literary fiction. Such as Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovzky, which is a great book for deep-thinking teens, as well as adults.
Writing can be filled with rejection. How do you handle that?
I feel worthless, miserable, and fall into a profound depression -- for about six hours. Then I dust myself off and go back to the keyboard. I have grown a thick hide over the years. (It covers a tender heart.)
Lots of readers of this blog are aspiring young authors. What advice would you give them?
Don’t wait until you have your Masters in Fine Arts to begin submitting for publication. I got my first essay published before I entered college, and while I was a college student received my first check for an article for a trade magazine. (OK, it was a check for ten dollars, but so what? It’s not about the money!) Write, polish and submit your work! School literary magazines, special interest publications, teen magazines and e-zines are great markets for young people.
Enter writing contests. Contests are great motivators. A contest forces you to come up with an idea and see it through. It teaches you to take risks and meet deadlines. I entered (and won) my first writing contest in sixth grade. It gave me a big head which was later deflated many times. I’ve received enough rejection slips to wallpaper my office. But occasionally I have won the prize, gotten the essay published, been awarded the book contract. Practice makes almost-perfect, and persistence pays off.
Listen to criticism and continue to develop your craft. But never let anyone tell you, you can’t do it.
Whatever you can do or believe you can, begin it
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it! (Goethe – or some other optimistic soul) What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
Ooooh! Ooooh! I’m so excited about my current projects! I’ve got a couple of irons in the fire, including wrapping up the Star-Crossed Trilogy, and working on the second draft of a novel about three teens on a road trip. I am loving my characters and their settings, and having so much fun I can’t believe it!Star-Crossed (Knopf;2006) by Linda Collison
Available at fine bookstores, through Baker and Taylor, and online at Amazon
**Linda is generously giving away TWO signed copies of Star-Crossed to one Blogger and one LiveJournal reader. Leave a comment on either or both blogs by 9pm on Sunday night and winners will be announced on Monday. **
Thursday, January 17, 2008
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.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
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?
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
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! :)
Monday, January 14, 2008
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!
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thank you, E.M. for stopping by! I hope you all have enjoyed her Q&A. E.M. is giving away TWO signed copies of Death at Deacon Pond. To be entered, leave a comment here, at LiveJournal or in both places. Have your comments in by 9PM EST on Sunday and my brother will draw two winners--one from Blogger and one from LJ. Check back on Monday morning for the winners!
Find E.M. on the Web:
Link to Barnes and Noble:
Website is www.emalexander.com
Thursday, January 10, 2008
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.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
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? Have you mastered something you once struggled with?
P.S. Isn't the class of 2k8 widget (see right and scroll) adorable? It'll show a new book every time you refresh the page! Clever.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
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!
Monday, January 7, 2008
I was on The Writer's Website yesterday and found this nice little link: http://www.writermag.com/wrt/default.aspx?c=ni&id=56
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?
Saturday, January 5, 2008
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 love that line" thoughts.
Anyone else writing both YA and MG and feel a difference? What's your preference?
And go congratulate Lauren Barnholdt. Her new YA, Two-Way Street, is in its THIRD printing!
Friday, January 4, 2008
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.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
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?
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
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?