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Showing posts from February, 2008

Author Visit: Mitali Perkins

Please welcome author Mitali Perkins! We're going red, white and blue and taking about the First Daughter books.

What was your writing background prior to writing your first novel?
I’ve always written, scribbling in diaries and journals from when I was about nine years old. Poetry, fiction, confessions about my crushes, prayers … you name it, I wrote it.How did you get the idea for First Daughter?Dutton wanted me to write a book about a president’s daughter, so it was their idea, but I added my own signature twist by making her adopted from Pakistan.Why did you decide to make Sparrow’s family Republican?I hunted around, and discovered that every other story for kids about a likeable president’s daughter, including books, movies, and television, was about a Democrat. I’ve gotten so used to being different, I can’t swim with the tide.What would you say to a Democrat teen deciding whether or not to read First Daughter or First Daughter 2?The book’s more about the process of a campaign,…

A weekend of horse movies

Ahhh, Viggo.

Never a better chick flick than something from Hallmark Entertainment.

And Zac Efron with a horse.
Over the weekend, I felt like I needed horsey inspiration before I dive into my next book in my series for Aladdin MIX. So, I got three horse movies, two of which I’ve never seen before. The first, The Derby Stallion, came out in 2005 and stars Zac Efron. The film won several indie awards, but honestly, I just didn’t get it. The story was decent, but the odd camera angles and the fact that Zac couldn’t ride well, made for lots of cut away shots and not much horse action.Next, I watched The Long Shot, from Hallmark Entertainment. It’s a made for TV movie and really, really good! There were lots of correctly done dressage scenes, which was perfect since dressage is my weakest area. Plus, I really liked Julie Benz and I don’t think I’ve seen her in anything else. Finally, I watched Hidalgo(Viggo Mortensen, yum!) and loved it. It’s the second time I’ve seen it and I liked it more …

I've got a podcast

So, I've decided to start a weekly or bi-weekly podcast in July or August.

No, I'm not going to be like the above Shock Jock. :)

It'll be a simple podcast about freelance writing, querying, agents, editors, books and other things in the middle grade and YA writing world. I've been thinking about doing it for a long time, but I finally took the plunge yesterday and set up my show site. The show can also be used for LIVE radio and I've been given a NYC number and up to 5 people at once can call in and chat. That sounds so fun! I'm tossing around the idea of having a couple of authors call in for a LIVE chat, but we'll see how it goes. I've got a book on podcasting and I'm trying to learn everything I need to before it gets started so the podcast is as professional as possible.

So, you'll "hear" from me this summer! Here:

A Raisin in the Sun with Sean Combs

Okay, so I'd heard lots of buzz for A Raisin in the Sun on ABC and I watched it last night. Sean Combs took the role of Walter Younger, Audra McDonald was Ruth and Phylicia Rashad played Lena. Sean talked up the film on Oprah a few days ago and it sounded like a good film.

I'd read the play a couple of times before and was excited to see the movie, even though three hours sounded like a looong running time.

That said, I loved it. Phylicia and Audra were brilliant although that seemed to be a bit of trouble for Sean. I kept watching and thinking, okay, Sean can't act well enough to make me feel the sympathy I had for Walter when I read the play. But in the movie, I didn't feel sorry for Sean's version of Walter until almost the end. It had to be daunting to be opposite Phylicia and Audra, but Sean's acting got in the way of me fully enjoying every aspect of the movie. (Sorry, Diddy!)

Anyone else see it? Or, if you've read the book, does it make you want to see …

Prize Winner and Oscar chatter

The winner in the drawing for the QUAKING prize pack is…Elainareads! Congrats! Please e-mail me your name and mailing address to: jessica [at] jessicaburkhart [dot] com and I’ll send your info to Kathryn.We’ve got a new interview coming on Friday, so come back then for a new Q&A. Hint: we’ll even get a little political! Anyone watch the Oscars last night? I thought Jon Stewart was a good host. he made several fantastic jokes and kept the show moving.

The dresses were elegant and gorgeous! My favs in Cojo style:

Helen Mirren. Very red and in your face.
Marion Cotillard. Gorgeous back in that dress.
Jennifer Garner. Does she ever look bad?
Nicole Kidman. She wears pregnancy so well.
Saoirse Ronan. Her dress was one of the few that wasn't black or pastel. Lovely!

The men looked dashing, too. McDreamy in particular...

My question throughout the show--why didn't anyone fix that obviously slippery area by the mic when women in six inch heels were walking across the spot?

Show highlight…

Author Visit: Kathryn Erskine

Please welcome the author of Quaking, Kathryn Erskine!

First, how wonderful that QUAKING was chosen as a 2008 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers! That’s fantastic! How did you get the news? What was your reaction?
A good friend of mine called me early that morning as I was heading out of town to a critique group meeting. I was SO excited because encouraging reading is one of my goals as a writer. Writing a "Top Ten" book for reluctant readers, those who would rather do something other than read, hopefully means that my writing is compelling enough to make people WANT to read. How did you come up with the plot for QUAKING?I was concerned about why we were in Iraq and how people respond to war and violence in general. That's why I didn't make it Iraq-specific but it obviously speaks to our current situation. I also wanted to relate the issue of violence in war to a more personal level. Matt is going through her own post-traumatic stress syndrome. War or violence …

Tomorrow's guest: Kathryn Erskine

Tomorrow's guest is Kathryn Erskine! Kathy's giving ONE lucky comment a signed copy of Quaking, temporary tattoos of the book jacket and peace stickers. Check back tomorrow for the Q&A and enter to win.

And I'm going to actually take the day off! I've got a hair appointment and am coming home to watch a movie, slather on a face mask and paint my nails a cheerful spring color. I felt like I needed a day after finishing my new YA before I jump into something new. Know the feeling? It's cold and rainy outside so it's the perfect day. :)

Tagged for 5 random things

I was tagged by Jan for five random things, so here goes!

1. I'm really short. Barely 5 foot 2, to be exact. My younger brother (16) is almost 6 foot 5. Who looks like the baby sister? Yeah, me. Everywhere we go. Argh.

2. I love pens. Seriously. I have zillions of them, some I use and some I save. My favorite colors to write with are dark green, dark purple and pink.

3. I'm addicted to tea. Green, white, herbal and red are my favs. Not a huge drinker of black tea, but I love iced black tea in the summer. I also keep a log off all of the teas I've tried and rate them based on whether I liked the taste, brand, etc.

4. I want a squirrel. Yep, in my house. Think Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when she says, "Daddy, buy me a squirrel." :)

5. I don't like monkeys. At all. Never have for some reason. Sorry Diana and Jen!

If you want to play, consider yourself tagged!

Edits are complete!

Whew. I just finished my fourth round of edits on my new YA. That's finished! After one more round of reading and checking for silly grammar mistakes, off it goes! I'm so, so excited to have that *this close* to being finished. Getting the draft down was exciting, but I'm ready to have someone else read it and give me feedback.

I sent a two magazine queries out this weekend because it felt, well, weird not to have any queries out there. I've just been accepting assignments as they come and not querying, but I'm trying to break into bigger, glossier mags this year and I've got to at least send a couple queries.

Before I started writing fiction, at my peak of magazine querying, I had 30 queries out at once. So you see how zero feels odd. But I do think taking a short break from magazines and writing only fiction has helped, but I'm at the point where I can slowly start working on breaking into different magazines while keeping my focus on books.

Books to Movies in 2009 and beyond

So, The Spiderwick Chronicles released yesterday. Did anyone see it yet? I haven't, but I'm excited to go.

TSC got me thinking about other children's books that could be coming to the big screen in 2009 and beyond. I did some digging and here are a few of the possibilities:

Life of Pi (book by Yann Martel)
Girl of the Moment (book by Lizabeth Zindel)
Beastly (book by Alex Flinn)
Ramona (We're probably all familiar with Ramona Quimby!)
Almost Home (book by Jessica Blank)
The Alchemyst (book by Michael Scott)
The Lightning Thief (book by Rick Riordan)

Pretty exciting, huh? I adored Beastly and it would make a fantastic movie for sure.

Know of any others that I didn't mention? When I was searching, I noticed that a lot of upcoming kids movies had one glaring theme--girl power. Yep, girls are taking bigger, stronger roles and being adventurers, princesses and cowgirls. Yay for girls doing it all!

Also, I wanted to thank everyone who e-mailed me or found me through my contact page…

Happy Valentine's Day!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!! I made those cookies yesterday and yep, some are a little misshapen, but that's okay. My favorite part is dying the frosting to the ideal pink. :)

Tomorrow, I'm chatting about The Spiderwick Chronicles and other books to films that are going to pop up in 2009 and beyond.

Anyone have V-Day plans? <3

Writers' Strike Ends

One word: YAHOO!!!

After three months of striking, the writers have finally reached a deal with studios. I'm so thrilled everyone will be back to work soon. Anyone else ready to have annoying reality TV like "The Moment of Truth" disappear?

What favorite show of yours was hit by the strike? I miss Pushing Daisies, Housewives and Grey's.

Winners and NaNoEdMo

We have winners in Beckie Weinheimer's contest!

Will.... Miss Information and Britlitfantwin email your addresses to me ASAP? Send those to jessica [at] jessicaburkhart [dot] com. Congratulations!

Thank you for stopping by, Beckie. Your interview was so much fun! :)

Onto other things, March is the start of...NaNoEdMo! I signed up over at the site to pledge to spend 50 hours in March editing a novel. Want to join me? Em promised to sign up and I'm looking for more to join in. The group is a LOT smaller than NaNoWriMo, but it's growing.

Okay, I'm off to research. Anyone going to NaNoEdMo with me?

Author Visit: Christine Norris

Please welcome author Christine Norris!
What made you sit up and say, "I have to tell this story?"Wow, that's right to the point, isn't it? Let me see. I had the idea for this book, this series, way back in...2004, maybe? I think I wanted to write a bunch of shorter stories about a magical library. Because to me, magic IS in the words, always has been. There's something so...mystical, I guess, about writing. The process still amazes me, how our human brains can pull a story together. When I sat down to write it, it developed into something so much more than that. I've kind of mapped out the rest of the series in my head, and it's going somewhere I never imagined when I first had the idea. It's so much bigger now. I was talking about it to another writer, and she said to me, "This could be your signature work." Which is really, just, a mind-boggling idea to me.

Did you do any research for your novel?This novel and the next one are heavily rese…

Just a note....

Just a quick announcement that if you need future information for the Class of 2k9, please send an e-mail to theclassof2k9 [@] hotmail [dot] com. I had to withdraw due to the time constraints I realized I'd have in 2009, but for the lowdown on the class and how to apply, check here:

Comments have been disabled for this post.

Check back tomorrow for my special Monday Q&A with author Christine Norris!

Author Visit: Beckie Weinheimer

Please welcome author Beckie Weinheimer!

First, congratulations on having Converting Kate being chosen as one of ALA’s 2008 Best Books for Young Adults. That’s fantastic! How did you react when you heard the news?I was busy writing something else and noticed a congratulations email from a friend in Virginia in my email in box when I took a break. I could not believe it. I clicked on the link she provided three times and then printed it out to make sure I was really on the list!Then my editor emailed to congratulate me and I guess then I started to believe it really had happened.In Converting Kate, I noticed that you seem to use the setting of Maine in two ways. First, it’s a little dark and gloomy, but this is where Kate finds a lightness and happiness with her journey of discovery. Does setting play an important role in the novel?That is such a good question. Since finishing Kate, and working on three other novels right now, I have realized that setting to me is almost as important a…

Tomorrow's guest: Beckie Weinheimer

Finally, back to blogging after being away from the computer most of the day yesterday due to excruciating back/neck pain. Even though I had back surgery for scoliosis just over seven years ago, the back still acts up every once in a while. But it's better now.

Tomorrow (very exciting!) we've got award-winning author Beckie Weinheimer. Beckie has 2 signed copies of Converting Kate to giveaway. Look for her Q&A and giveaway details posted here tomorrow morning.

And coming from a Nashville native, was anyone in Tennessee affected by the storms? Or any other blog readers from the South? I've got to make phone calls to check on a few people.

Super Tuesday

Anyone NOT love Super Tuesday? I'm a political junky and will be watching the news tonight with coverage on elections. We (I think you all can figure out which party I'm speaking of) did nothave our votes counted this year because of another Florida snafu. Sigh. Anyone voting today or already voted?

In the spirit of embracing today, in a sort of weird way, I'm changing my hair color. Yep. Might go a bit lighter or a bit darker. Not sure. I've been my natural color (see sidebar photo) for 3 years. But before that I was platinum blond (that didn't last six months), red (fun!), orange (due to an unfortunate Sun In incident) and light brown. I'm prepping for my new author photo that I'm having taken with a horse. :)

Anyone else a big chameleon? Or do you stay au natural?

My favorite Super Tuesday site? Rock the Vote.

Winners, Red Hills Horse Trials and more

While the rest of the country is watching the Super Bowl (major yawn!) I thought I'd post tonight instead of tomorrow. This week is going to be crazy.

Keri's contest is now closed and we have winners. Keri generously decided to give away TWO copies of SCREWBALL and two softball charms. Thank you, Keri!
Drum roll, please….
Nicole B and Emma
Congratulations! Please email me jessica [@] jessicaburkhart [dot] com with your names and mailing addresses. Keri, you’ve been a fantastic guest and please stop by for your next book!Onto other things…The Class of 2k9 is officially taking applications. If you’d like one, send an email to theclassof2k9 [@] hotmail [dot] com. We’ll get you one ASAP. If you’re not sure what the Class is, check out and for the details. Also, the guest this week is author of CONVERTING KATE, Beckie Weinheimer. Beckie will be here on Friday with a Q&A and a giveaway. The schedule’s changing next week, as noted in the sideba…

Author Visit: Keri Mikulski

Please welcome author Keri Mikulski!

Summary of SCREWBALL:

Things have been sweet for fourteen-year old freshman fastpitch fanatic Ashley Clarke. She’s happy and content as the starting pitcher for her stress-free fourteen and under ASA team. During her time away from the diamond, she’s either sprinting down the soccer field, bouncing a basketball, or hanging at the beach with her BFF, Lizzy.

But one sizzling summer day, hottie junior jock Andrew spots her at a pizza shop and Ashley’s life changes forever. Meanwhile, her friend, Kate, talks her into joining the Crush, an elite sixteen and under team loaded with tough competition. Shortly after playing in her first game, Ashley finds out new Crush teammate Christy not only hates her guts, but is determined to ruin Ashley’s future for good.

Join Ashley as she struggles juggling sports, school, and a social life. Will Christy and her cronies force Ashley to quit the Crush? Or will she give it all up to spend more time with Andr…