Don't worry! Canterwood Crest is FAR from over!
E-novellas to come with stories from Sasha & LT!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

TMG's Jan/Feb 09 releases

Oooh, cool!

My agency put up a list of January/February 2009 releases! So. Cool. :)

See it here!

They list TAKE THE REINS and fellow Aladdin MIXer Julia DeVillers and her sis, Jennifer Roy, have their book, TRADING FACES, on the list, too.

It's starting to feel official now!

By the way, FAR FROM YOU author Lisa Schroeder did a wonderful post on her LiveJournal called "supporting authors when your heart is bigger than your wallet." It's a must read!


~*~TRIPLE FAULT progress~*~

Yesterday:

14 first draft pages down (oh, the horror of the first draft!) ;) (Really shouldn't be winking...)
2 1/2 cups of green tea consumed
1 cup of coffee (refilled at least twice)
0 instances of hair pulling


And, finally, I can't believe it's the last day of 2008. I'm sooo ready for 2009 to start and I'm ready to kick if off tonight!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And so it begins...


I'm starting the first draft of TRIPLE FAULT this morning. Like, now. Right now. OMG. There's always that moment (okay, more like day) of panicked "I can't do this! I forgot how to write a book! I'm supposed to do what?!"

Happens every time I start a book. But it's okay. It keeps things interesting and I'd rather be freaked out instead of all "Whatever. I can so do this because I'm the best writer ever." That would be boring!

Lucky for me, I had my Writer Freakout yesterday in anticipation of starting TF today. So, I'm ready. I've got my trusty outline, a sparkly pink pen for notes, cinnamon bun flavored coffee and fuzzy purple socks. You know, all things a writer needs.

Wish me luck! *

Cover Copyright © 2009 Simon & Schuster. Photo © Monica Stevenson.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Blogging at Teen Fiction Cafe!

I blogged about upcoming books to movies over at Teen Fiction Cafe! :) Totally check it out to see a hot pic of Brendan Fraser. :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

*I'm* on Wikipedia? Really?

So, I looked at my SiteMeter and saw I was getting a lot of traffic from Wikipedia. Hmmm! Wikipedia? I clicked over and someone made me a page. But who?! If you did, I've love to know! Thank you! :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My 2009 writer resolutions

JA Konrath did an excellent post about "Resolutions for Writers 2009."

I love making goals for the year and last night I looked at my list for 2008. Some things I achieved, some I didn't. Here's last year's list!

If you don't want to click:

(from December 31, 2007)

* Finish two more books in the Canterwood Crest series

(Close! I finished one more CC book.)


* Get an ending on my first YA and start subbing it

(Finished YA! Decided to hold onto it and not sub yet.)


* Start a brand new MG project


(Check!)


* Break into my two dream markets--Seventeen and Teen Vogue

(Nope. Utter failure. ;) Try again this year!)

* Learn more about marketing and start promoting Take the Reins in the fall


(Definitely accomplished. I might open my own marketing firm for authors, LOL.)

*Increase blog and Website traffic


(Yes!)


* Read even more than I did in 2007

(Yep. I didn't count the books, but I'm sure I did.)


Now, for the 2009 writer resolutions:

* Learn more about book promotion
* Take a writing risk
* Write the essay I've been thinking about for seven years
* Keep blog updated
* Double blog and Website traffic
* Become a better writer
* Don't become one of THOSE writers that
Agent A and Editor K roll their eyes when talking about
* Read more in 2009
* Write more
* Do not obsess over what people will think of my books
* Break into Teen Vogue and Seventeen
* Promote Canterwood Crest to the best of my ability, but...
* ...don't become a PR wh*re. Tacky!
* Meet all of my deadlines. Early.
* Expand my writer network

There we go! It's a start, right? Share some of your goals.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Problems with my essay

If it's not already obvious, I changed the blog template! Yay! I was tired of the black, blue and other colors the day after I put it up. Really. I love this one. Thanks to Suck My Lolly for providing cool templates.

Soo...I haven't posted about actual writing in a while. Funny, you'd think it would be all I posted about. But no. Posts have been book-oriented instead of craft related. That's changing for today.

Right now, I'm NOT working on book stuff. Gasp! Instead, I'm writing an essay and am lining up interviews for an assignment. The essay is making me angry/confused/angsty/think I need to go back to school. I've been attempting to write it since...(checks date on Word doc) August 11. 8-11! How sad.

I've started it multiple times and scrapped the entire thing at least twice. It has to be under 1000 words, which isn't the problem. What IS my/the essay's prob?

Past and current problems include:

* A wide scope (C'mon. I *know* to focus on one issue in such a short piece. But no! I ran off in 3 directions within two paragraphs. Madness.)

* Too much time passes (Again, I got lost in my jumbled timeline and skipped back and forth through too many years of my life. It gave ME a headache.)

* Writing what I think the mag wants (Dangerous. I thought I'd stopped doing that years ago. Apparently not.)

* Not writing what I want (Related to note above.)

* Having a jumbled essay where I try to say what I really feel without hurting anyone's feelings (No need to be mean, and I'm not, but I want the essay to be honest.)

* Worrying about putting something too personal "out there" and not being able to take it back later (What's "too personal" anymore, anyway?)

* Making too many general statements (I need to be specific and make the essay mine.)

At least I know what some of the problems are, right? :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Where's Sasha?


It's a gift from Santa! Or, technically, Editor K.



Look! Sasha and Charm are chilling in the living room.



Gasp! My books on an actual shelf!



TTR found its way into my purse.



The copies are tired. Where will they go next? Hmm...

Happy holidays, friends! :)

Lisa Schroeder talks to Edward Cullen!



I am SO jealous! Lisa Schroeder, author of FAR FROM YOU (releasing today) and I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, talked to THE Edward Cullen on the phone!

*sobs*

But Edward did seem incredibly self-centered. Not that I'm surprised...

Happy release day, Lisa!

PS- You have waaaay more than eleven or twelve fans! ;)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Take the Reins copies! :)

I got something AMAZING in the mail this morning.

Finished copies of TAKE THE REINS!!

OMG. The book that I've obsessed over, cried about, loved writing and enjoyed plotting is in my hands.

TAKE THE REINS started as a "I don't know if I can do this, but I'll try" NaNoWriMo 2006 project.

Wait, wait. How about a little time line instead? 'Kay. Here goes.

Oct. 2006--I want to switch from magazine writing to novel writing. Can I do this?

Nov. 1, 2006--Yes, I can! Let's write this book!

Nov. 15, 2006--Um, wait. Does this thing totally suck?

Nov. 17, 2006--Yes, this might really suck. But I'll keep going.

December 1, 2006--*tired* Wow. I have a reallly bad finished draft. But it's a draft!

December 2006--Revises.

January 2007--Agent A emails.

January 2007--OMG. An agent? Emailing me? Really? *Emails Diana Peterfreund for advice*

January 2007--Diana tells me to chill and not faint when I talk to Agent A for the first time.

January 2007--Talk with Agent A. We click and I don't faint. Sign with Agent A.

February-May 2007--Revise, worry that I completely suck, revise, ooh! TTR is getting better, revise, graduate.

Late May 2007--TTR goes on sub. No time to obsess--gotta start next project

Late May 2007--Offer from S&S. I cry, scream and go through every possible emotion in all of five minutes.

And that's how it happened! Of course, there were lots of revisions after that and all of the superfun stuff like the photo shoot, galleys, copy edits and finalizing titles happened between June 2007 and now.

But wow. The experience of holding your first book in your hands is a fantastic one that I'll never forget.

Pictures to come! :D

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chasing Blue ARC pics




As promised...ARC pics of CHASING BLUE! On the front, we've got Sasha Silver and her rival Heather Fox. Julia Myer, Heather's BFF, is on the back. There's also a tiny pic of Heather on the spine. (Yes, I had the pic of the back loaded and then I took it off. It kinda gives away a bit of the plot of TAKE THE REINS.)

Yay! I was such a dork about this ARC. I held it on my lap for most of the trip home and have it by my laptop so I can see it today. Soon, it will be sent Out There for someone else to read. Eeep.

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NJ trip pics


This evil bridge in...MD (?) made me nervous. But I made it! Whew. ;)



Snow!!! OMG! Real snow!


Sunset over above mentioned evil bridge.



Since I've not had the pleasure of making a snow man in 5ish years, this was the best that could be made under the circumstances. He's about 5 inches tall and without a face or arms. :)



Cocoa Ave in Hershey, PA! Isn't it beyond cool that the streetlamps are shaped like Kisses?! Love that.

So, those are a few of the pics from the NJ trip. I was sooo annoyed this morning when I was leaving NJ that it was supposed to snow later in the day and I'd miss it by hours. Five freaking minutes before I left the hotel, I looked out the window. A snowflake. And then another. It started to snow and I didn't want to miss it. I ran out of the hotel (without a coat--brr!!) and stood in the parking lot to see it. Ahh. I <3 snow and have sooo missed Illinois winters.

I couldn't believe it that it snowed just minutes before I left NJ. Thought that would be it for the snow, but no! It snowed for over an hour while in PA and some of VA. Awesome! I got out of the car twice just to walk around.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Canterwood Crest photo shoot :)

*happy sigh*

The second Canterwood Crest photo shoot #2 is a wrap! We had the best time and got soooo lucky with the weather! It threatened to rain at any second, but we made it through the entire day with only a few sprinkles here and there.

It was fantastic to see everyone and it was super-fun to see my "characters" again. The overall experience was just...surreal. This time, however, I DID make it through the day without being in total shock at what was going on around me, LOL.

A big, sparkly thank you to everyone involved. It was another unforgettable experience and I'm so grateful. We should totally do that every day. :)

I can't wait to reveal the covers over the coming months. Wait till you all see them!

Oooh, and if that wasn't enough, I now hold in my hands a CHASING BLUE ARC. I'll take a pic of it when I get home. The wrap around cover is beautiful.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Super sekrit revealed! :)


Okay, I've been teasing for long enough! Harmony called me out and reminded me that it IS Sunday--the day I promised to post details. Well...here you go!


I’m in a hotel room in NJ. So far from FL, I know!


Tomorrow…I get to hang out with Editor K and the Photo Shoot People! (Yes, they deserve caps ‘cause they’re awesome.) We’ll be meeting at the super-secret location south of NYC to shoot the new Canterwood Crest covers. I can’t wait to see everyone since it has been since late April. I almost can’t believe we’re doing this again. I feel so lucky! (Posts about photo shoot #1 are here.)


Last time, the day was a total blur because I was in such shock that it was actually happening. Models. Horses. People. All for Canterwood. It was the most surreal experience to meet actual girls who got to portray my characters. It’ll be fun to see them again! Plus, in April, it was the first time I met EK and AA and that alone was enough to make a girl nervous.


I’m sooo excited!!!


I typed the entire way up and will do so on the trip home because I’m a girl on a deadline. The TRIPLE FAULT outline is in desperate need of, um, words. Yeah. *considers erasing that sentence so EK and AA don’t get nervous*


But YAY! It might actually be unseasonably warm tomorrow, which would rock. Fingers crossed.


Happy Sunday!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I've been teasing...

Okay, so I've been teasing on Twitter and Facebook that I've got super-fun news to share!! I've been getting the "tell us already!" comments. :)

Ready?

Okay!

....

I'm not sharing yet! (And I just noticed how the above sounds like a cheer, lol.) I will, however, reveal the previously mentioned cool news on Sunday. Yep, Sunday. Maybe via a vlog...I haven't decided.

Then, there will be a crazy-early Monday morning post as I...erm...hmm. That would give it away.

*zips lips*

Details on Sunday! :D

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles rap video book trailer

Wanna see something SERIOUSLY awesome? Check out Simone Elkeles' rap video book trailer for her upcoming YA release. You MUST watch the unrated version! It's soooo freaking good!

I've never seen anything like this and I'm SO ordering PERFECT CHEMISTRY.

Yay, Simone! :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Settling into outline mode

The blog might (or, you know, might not) get a little quiet over the next couple of days while I attempt to avoid the Internet and work on the TRIPLE FAULT outline. Plus, I reaaalllly need to do more work and less Internet because of...well...something awesome that I'll share quite soon! *excited dance*

:)

Thanks to everyone who commented on the TAKE THE REINS video. Glad you all like it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Take the Reins book video!

I was going to wait until tomorrow to post this, but I'm going to be super-busy for the rest of the week, so....here's the book video for TAKE THE REINS! :)



The amazing Jo at Glass Slipper Webdesign created it and I absolutely love it!

Hope you like it!

Holiday pics


The tree!!



The mantle




Back of house




First batch of cookies
(Note: I did NOT bake these. No one would want that.)

I'm likin' the holiday cheer! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Edgier than I thought! ;)

Okay, I'm attempting to put my blog bio on my Amazon.com profile page. Simple, right?

Nope.

Apparently, according to Amazon, my bio contains profanity and will not be published. Profanity? Really? Where?

Jessica Burkhart, 21, started freelancing at 14 to feed her lip gloss addiction. Her forthcoming debut middle grade novel TAKE THE REINS (CANTERWOOD CREST), hits shelves in January 2009 and is available for pre-order now! This is the first book in her series for Aladdin MIX. Jess blogs for Teen Fiction Cafe. Visit her Website for more! She cross posts to LiveJournal. Visit the all new Canterwood Crest series Website here!

That's what I submitted and one word must be setting it off. Guesses? I'm going to take out a few words and try to figure it out, LOL.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sarah Haskins' take on Twilight....too funny!



OMG, I found this on Big A little a.

Too. Awesome. Sarah, you rock!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanks, everyone! :)

Thank you ALL so much for your comments about my new deal! I'm still replying to e-mails, MySpace messages and Facebook notes. It means so much that I have friends who are excited about Canterwood Crest. :) Yay!


One of the most...erm..."interesting" comments I got about my deal was, "Yeah, but more horse books? There are just horses? And girls? Do the girls ever have any life changing experiences?"

Well, um, I guess you'll find out when you read them!

Aside from that, I'm so excited and am working through the weekend to stay on schedule. People seemed to enjoy my PR Ninja post, so I'll try to do another one next week.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A new four-book deal!!! Yay! :D

Children's:
Middle grade Jessica Burkhart's CANTERWOOD CREST series books 5-8, billed as The Clique meets The Saddle Club, to Kate Angelella at Aladdin, in a four-book deal, by Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media Group (NA)


I am sooo thrilled to announce that I’ve signed a new four-book deal with Simon & Schuster’s Aladdin MIX for books five through eight in the Canterwood Crest series!! This has been in the works for weeks and I'm so happy that I can talk about it!! I’ll be working with the lovely and talented Kate Angelella who makes every outline, revision and chat session an absolute joy.


Big thank you to my agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin, for working out the deal and for being superexcited about Canterwood. Yay!


Thanks to everyone I’ve worked with so far at S&S.


Woo hoo! It feels amazing to be able to announce it and share the news with everyone!


It’s an incredible feeling that’s quite unlike the first book deal. With the first deal, I thought “Are they sure they want me? Really? Is this, like, a fluke where I’ll be a one-deal author and then I’ll disappear forever without another deal?”


Now, it’s an “OMG, they want me for more books. Maybe I have a real shot at doing this till I’m old!” ;)


I’m deeply grateful and humbled to be able to do what I love and thanks to everyone for supporting me—you know who you are. You do realize that by being my friends, you’ll eventually end up in a book, right? ;)


By the way, for a bit of weirdness, the offer was officially accepted eight years to the day of when I had my spinal fusion and stopped riding. How’s that for timing?

Books=Gifts video

I picked this up from GalleyCat. A handful of famous authors (Mary Higgins Clark, Dan Brown, Christopher Paolini) spoke about why books make great gifts.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Domestic horses being released into the wild

I read this article in the Las Vegas Review Journal about how the hard economic times are affecting some horse owners. Some people in Nevada are actually setting their domestic horses free in the wild. Maybe it's because they can no longer afford them, can't sell them or don't want them. Whatever the case, these are DOMESTIC horses. They're not equipped to survive on their own and the article says many of these horses will die from starvation or even be hit by cars.

Sad. It's just like people turning out cats, dogs, birds, etc. that they no longer want. That's why responsible pet ownership is sooo important.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hello, my name is PR Ninja

I worked through Thanksgiving, and man, did it feel good! I got a lot done on BEHIND THE BIT and it's looking pretty! :)

I think I blogged before (or maybe I Facebooked it) about how my room had become a post office with Canterwood Crest mail. Well, I couldn't take the clutter, so I moved it out to the table.

This is what it looks like:

(The newest postcard!)



That's minus a stack of envelopes that went out to indies that requested signed TAKE THE REINS postcards and offered to put them out in Jan. Thanks, guys! I really appreciate your interest. A few of the store owners said, "Oh, btw, we saw your book in the S&S catalog" or "I'm excited to recommend it." One Kentucky bookstore owner even told me she was sure my book would do well in their state. You know, cause of the giant horse-loving population. That's supercool!

Now, I have an excuse to buy the rainbow pack of Sharpies that I've been eyeing but previously had no use for. They're perfect for postcard signing!

<3


The postcards go fast. Really fast. 500 TTR postcards--spoken for and mostly gone. Less than 10 are left. 500 Chasing Blue postcards--already being sorted for stores/groups/stables/libraries, etc. 500 dual TTR/CB postcards--just arrived today. (If you own a bookstore/stable/whatever else and you'd like signed postcards, e-mail me.)

Yep, the TAKE THE REINS countdown is, well, going down! Less than 8 weeks. OMG. Bring it on! I am ready! My PR plan is begging to go into fullout action mode. I'm set to be a PR Ninja. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advice up at NaNoWriMo

Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, emailed me last week and asked me to give my advice for the "I Wrote a Novel, Now What?" section of the NaNoWriMo Website.

My advice is up!

Here's what I said:

Up next, Jessica Burkhart. Twenty-one year old Jessica Burkhart’s debut middle-grade novel, Take the Reins, her 2006 NaNoNovel, hits stores in January 2009 from Simon & Schuster’s Aladdin MIX. When asked the same time travel question as S.A. Boodeen, Jessica responded:

I’d advise myself not to panic on December first and think, “Oh, no! This is not a perfect draft that’s ready to be sent to an agent this instant! I’ve failed NaNo!” Umm, no. The goal of NaNoWriMo was NOT to write a perfectly polished in 30 days. The objective was to draft a novel in a month. I did that. I’ve got 50,000-words that might not be poetic or dazzling, but there is a draft that’s ready for editing.

I’d remind myself of one of my favorite sayings—“You can’t edit a blank page.” I’d tell myself to celebrate the fact that I have a draft and that it’s okay to take a few days off before plunging ahead to editing. Let the manuscript breathe. It'll still be there next week.

Finally, I’d encourage myself not to be disheartened by the people who would eventually tell me, “There’s no way a book written in 30 days will ever be published!” C’mon, we all know that’s not true. I’d tell myself to direct those people to the roster of published NaNo authors. It’s an encouraging list!

Thanks, Chris! See you all in November 2009!

 
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