First, I need to round up a few links!
A review of Take the Reins from Mara at Whitebrook Farm. Thanks, Mara! :)
An interview up at Harmony Book Reviews. Thanks again, Harmony!!
A guest blog at Presenting Lenore. I did a Letterman-style "Top 10 Things I've Learned About Writing" list. Thanks for letting me stop by, Lenore!
And now, back to my little writing corner. I'm *almost* finished with TRIPLE FAULT.
Probably a week or so until it's done. Then it gets sent off to Editor K. But my OMG-I-so-suck cycle begins just before I email the draft. :) Hitting the send button to email my book off to EK or Agent A is still sooo hard! I pull up Hotmail, attach the file, sit, stare and then close out the window. I open the Word doc, scan a few pages and then convince myself it's really time to let it go. So, Hotmail comes up again and I reattach the file. There's pacing, glossing of lips, eye rolling at myself and then I finally press send.
Nooooo! Why did I press the button?! It wasn't ready! Take it back!
But, of course, I can't take it back. I force myself to close the laptop and walk away. I remind myself that EK and AA haven't said, "JB, you just emailed us a hot mess. You're fired." before, so the draft might be okay.
Yes, that's my process. :)
Friday, January 30, 2009
First, I need to round up a few links!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Take the Reins was reviewed in the February/March 2009 issue of Discovery Girls! Thanks so much to Jan Fields! :) Ahhh! So exciting! It makes the perfect birthday gift!!
Yep, I'm 22 today! Woo! Birthday and book launch in one week = crazy fun.
Last night, I did a drive-by signing at my local Books-a-Million. Yep! I signed the four-copies they had on shelves and it was so fun!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The Tallahassee Democrat ran an article in yesterday's paper. Want to see it online? View it here! I love the title, too, "Rider-turned-writer is in winner's circle." Very sweet.
Thanks so much to Kathleen Laufenberg. She wrote an article about me when I got the book deal back in 2007 and I'm glad she was able to write this new article. Thanks also to the Democrat for being supportive of a new author. I so appreciate it!
Thank YOU all for your congratulations yesterday!! It was a special day and I'll never forget it! :)
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
La, la, la! It's finally here!!!!!
I've been waiting for this day since early spring 2007 when TAKE THE REINS sold. I've gone through a lot in two years--personally and professionally--and those experiences only make me appreciate this moment even more. It's surreal to think that my book is out there. Wow. Just wow.
I can't say enough that I'm surrounded by the best people in the business--my Trident Media Group and Simon & Schuster families. I wouldn't have made it here without them--thank you! :)
Last night, I read though my 2006 posts documenting the writing of TAKE THE REINS. They're funny and often embarrassing--like an old journal--but I'm glad they're still there. They remind me that I've grown as a writer, but I still have a loooong way to go. Cheers to that!
To kick off the official release day festivities, Dover Saddlery has ponied up a $25 gift certificate for me to give away. I'll also include a personalized postcard to you or the person of your choice.
You don't need to own a horse to shop at Dover. They've got tons of horse-themed gifts such as books, DVDs and more.
Ready for the rules? Yes, there must be rules!
1. The giveaway will run for a week starting today! It will end on Tuesday, February 3 at midnight.
2. For an easy chance to win, leave a comment here (Blogger) and/or on this same entry cross posted to my LiveJournal.
3. Want more chances to win? Leave another comment on this post (or on the LiveJournal one) with a link to your mention that TAKE THE REINS releases on January 27. You can make it a Facebook note, MySpace bulletin, vlog, blog post--whatever you like! The more mentions of TtR you make, the more entries you get in the contest. Keep coming back with the new link every time you mention TtR. If you've already done it, remind me in the comments and you'll have an extra entry.
4. Or, snap a pic of you with TtR or of TtR at a bookstore. Send me your pic (and whether or not I can share it on my blog--I'd love to post it!) for an extra entry.
5. Steal this banner! Click on it and it'll take you to Photobucket where you can nab the code of your choice. Put it up and let me know! By the way, there are other banners (smaller ones) to grab, too.
6. Review (love it or hate it--be honest!) TAKE THE REINS on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Millon or any other book site. Put the review link in the comments.
7. You decide! Get creative! :)
Now, the fine print...
The prize will only be mailed to a US address. Sorry, everyone else!
I'll draw the winner on Wednesday, February 4. Check back then for the name. You'll have one week to email me (jessica [at] jessicaburkhart [dot] com) with your name and address.
Good luck, everyone! :)
Monday, January 26, 2009
Even though many people have spotted TAKE THE REINS in stores, tomorrow is its official release day! Woo!
I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to stay focused on the TRIPLE FAULT draft. But really? I want to be out there looking for my book and, you know, shoving it into people's hands. :)
My local paper, The Tallahassee Democrat, is running an article tomorrow. I'm excited to see it and will post the link.
If you e-mailed me and I haven't responded, I will! Promise! Your email is flagged for a response and you'll get one. Before spring. Kidding.
How do you stay focused when you're waiting for something? Share!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Two quick things...
I talked horse books and TAKE THE REINS over at Whitebrook Farm. Thanks so much to Mara for interviewing me.
I also stopped at Bri Meets Books for an interview. I spilled the truth about how Editor K makes me cry when we talk ideas. *sniff* Go read it and you'll see what I mean! ;) Thanks so much, Bri!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Yay! The Effingham Daily News posted their article about Canterwood Crest! You can read the online version here. I used to live in Dieterich, IL, which was about 10 minutes from Effingham. But I went to school in Effingham and spent a lot of time there.
Thanks so much to Bill Grimes for writing the piece! :)
Friday, January 23, 2009
Book Chic posted a review of Take the Reins on MySpace! BC is also holding a contest to win a copy of TTR. Details are below the review! :) Thanks, BC!
Friend and writer Kelly Krysten of First Edition: A Place for Originals stalked Take the Reins and found it at Books-a-Million. Check out her adventure here!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Look what I just got! Gorgeous flowers. Thank you so, so much Aunt Lorrie, Uncle Speedy, Kayla, Aunt Gerri and Uncle Bob. The pink and purple flowers are so lovely! Thanks for being exciting about TAKE THE REINS. :)
The awesome Tina Ferraro and Kelly Parra invited me to stop by YA Fresh. They asked me a few questions and I shared my daily writing schedule. Yep. I did. It's not what you think...
Check it out here.
Thanks, T and K!! :)
Thanks so much to everyone for putting up with me and my, ahem, three posts yesterday. :)
I've got an interview up at Book Chic- In My Mailbox and More! Thanks, again, BC for all of the support!
Today, I'll be staying home to start editing the TRIPLE FAULT draft. I've yet to open the Word doc because that moment of "What was I thinking when I wrote that?!" will hit. And I need soda and/or coffee before I start to angst over the draft. :)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
There they are! The customer service rep, Kate, had the fourth copy at the desk with a sticky note on it. It said author is coming in tonight to sign copies.
Barnes & Noble in Tallahassee
Thanks so much, B&N Tallahassee, for supporting Canterwood Crest!!
Another pic to share! Emily Hendricks sent me this from her store, The Book Rack, in Cape Girardeau, MO. Those copies have signed postcards inside, too. Fun!
Also, the Book Chic posted my guest blog today. I talked about how not even electric shocks could keep me away from horses when I was a kid. :)
I spoke with the manager at my local Barnes & Noble and she told me to feel free to come in and sign stock. Yay! I'm going tonight. Very excited.
That's my new friend, Julia. I about died when I saw this pic. So. Sweet. Thank you for reading, J!! :) I'm feeling all special because someone other than friends or family like my book. Woo!
Want more pics? I posted some of my visit to Simon & Schuster. They're on yesterday's post.
Also...this is a new non-fiction horse book from Aladdin. It's called YOU AND YOUR HORSE: HOW TO WHISPER YOUR WAY INTO YOUR HORSE'S LIFE and it's by Dandi Daley Mackall. It's packed with great tips on riding, horse care and everything a young rider needs to know. Plus? It has TAKE THE REINS on the back, which is super cool.
And!! Twilight has a DVD release date! March 21! Woo! E! is predicting midnight madness.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Handing a signed book to Venessa Williams from marketing. (Unfortunately for Venessa, she's a Gator (University of Florida) and I'm a Seminole (Florida State University.) We had to go to separate corners for fear of a fight.) ;)
Chating with the famous Jessica Handelman. She designs all of the Canterwood Crest covers and I adore her!
Going to S&S was one of the most surreal experiences I've ever had. I was such a dork that I was even excited to see EK's desk! That's where the magic happens, you know.
Everyone gathered in the boardroom (sounds like an episode of The Apprentice!) and we got to chat before Kate introduced me. I knew most everyone from phone calls or emails, but it was so wonderful to meet them in person. After my introduction, I had the chance to thank everyone for supporting Canterwood Crest. Yay, S&S team! :) They make my job easy as an author and when you know people are supporting you and your work, it elevates your drive to work even harder.
As if that wasn't enough, I also got to have lunch with Agent Alyssa and we had a blast! I hadn't seen her since the first Canterwood Crest photo shoot, so it had been a while.
I had a wonderful time and can't wait to go back. They'll probably be like, "Jessica Burkhart? She's here? Again? Call security..."
All photos were taken by Editor Kate. Not one blurry shot. ;)
Omigosh! :) The awesome Book Chic reads from TAKE THE REINS! Thank you, BC! Read his post and see him read from Eileen Cook's book here.
(Everyone's support for TTR means SO much. You all have no idea!)
The super cool Little Willow asked me to participate in her fun "Looking Forward" blog post. See it here. Thank you, LW! :)
Also, I answered five questions at Keri Mikulski's blog. Thanks for letting me stop by, Keri!
I'm waiting on a couple of big things to go live or go into print before I can share, but the waiting is SO hard!! Argh.
Cannot wait for noon. So. Excited.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I wanted to give a shout out to Tammy Robbins at Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis. Tammy helped get this story posted on Shriners' Website. Thank you, Tammy! :)
Things are SO busy! I just got off the phone with a newspaper reporter and, for once, I didn't say anything dumb! :) That's been my trademark in many interviews, but I made it through this one without a problem. Maybe working with the media really is something that takes practice.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
The super sweet Amanda Ashby interviewed me on her blog. We traded embarrassing moments, so it's definitely worth checking out. :)
Also, thank you Book Chic for showing off TAKE THE REINS on your very first vlog! So. Cool. :)
Simon & Schuster's SimonSaysTeach.com is holding a Take the Reins contest. They're giving away a copy of TTR to the first 50 educators who respond. Find all of the details here. :)
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Just a quick note! An announcement went up at Girls Horse Club about my visit. I'm so, so excited! On February 7-14, I'll be answering questions from horse crazy girls. It'll be so much fun and I'm honored that I was asked to visit. Terri Farley was a previous guest, so I'm kind of nervous. :)
I'm also just starting to organize trip pix and will get them up soon. Likely on Monday or Tuesday. Woo!
I'm in super draft mode at the moment and am doing the I-can-barely-pull-myself-away-from-the-laptop sort of thing. I just broke 30k. Yep. More coffee.
Friday, January 16, 2009
OMG, so when a book comes out early, guess what happens?
The author freaks out. :)
I kicked my PR plan into overdrive and have been mailing books, making endless phone calls, scheduling interviews, writing a zillion guest blogs, etc.
I have sooo much news to share and some fab pics from my NYC trip. I just have absolutely no time to give everything the proper posting it deserves. Not yet, anyway. I'm working on it! As soon as I get a bigger chunk of the Triple Fault draft written, I'll start the giveaways and will blog about all of my news.
But thank you sooo much to everyone who has emailed, IMed, Facebooked and every other mode of communication to say you've ordered TAKE THE REINS. Yay! :)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Friend, horse fan and author of UNDONE Brooke Taylor is hosting a wonderful contest on her blog! I'm reposting all of the details right here:
For everyone who comments (tell me if you've had a memorable horse experience or other animal if you've never been around a horse OR OR OR purge your soul and tell me something you've totally flaked on)) I will donate $1 to the Flake Sale (so 100 comments = $100) PLUS you will get entered to win 1 of 3 Take the Reins (Canterwood Crest) books +Plus a super cute plush horse. Can't beat that! (Deadline midnight Sunday January 18, 2009)
When Sasha Silver and her horse, Charm, arrive on the campus of the elite Canterwood Crest Academy, Sasha knows that she's in trouble. She's not exactly welcomed with open arms. One group of girls in particular is used to being the best, the brightest, and the prettiest on the team, and when Sasha shows her skills in the arena, the girls' claws come out.
Sasha is determined to prove that she belongs at Canterwood. Will she rise to the occasion and make the advanced riding team by the end of her first semester? Or will the pressure send Sasha packing?
More info about the Flake Sale:
"In early January 2009, Western Washington experienced torrential rains resulting in devastating flooding in many areas. Over 18 counties declared a state of emergency, as a combination of heavy rain and previous snowfall caused a number of rivers to break their banks. 40,000 residents had to evacuate their homes, many with their pets and livestock. Over 300 horses are being temporarily housed at area fairgrounds.
As the waters recede, residents are returning to find that their winter’s supply of hay and grain has been destroyed by the rushing water. With hay prices at an all-time high, the flood damage has created a severe crisis for area horse owners.
To help the horses and owners affected by the floods, Second Chance Ranch, in partnership with HorseReunions.com, has established a Flood Relief Fund. This fund will provide emergency feeding grants to help Washington horse owners meet their horses’ immediate needs as they begin flood recovery efforts.
What is the Flake Sale?To fund this effort, we are holding a virtual “Flake Sale”. Just click to buy a virtual flake of hay for a horse in need via PayPal with your credit card, debit card or checking account. You can buy as many flakes as you like – just $5 will buy a virtual flake (in real life, it pays for enough hay to feed one horse for one day!) :
So...head over to Brooke's blog to enter! Thank you, B!! :)
Okay....see those two magic green words?! IN STOCK.
Take the Reins is now available from Amazon!!!
*faints* (Quiet Maggie!) ;)
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Since I missed blogging for a while, I thought I'd double post today.
I felt like sharing pics! I hope you can ignore my annoying look-at-me attitude and enjoy the pretty horses. ;)
The pic above is Sallie and her foal, Misty. I was sooo shocked when I got a white (technically gray) foal! Aren't her eyelashes super adorable?
This pic is from 1993 when I lived in Greenbrier, TN. I always talk about the stable behind my house and that was it. See that fence? It's electric. I shocked myself on it the FIRST day I moved in. Ow.
This gorgeous guy is an Arabian named Blue. He had a mysterious blue dot on his nose and no one knew how he got it. He was huge--over 16 hands high--but he was the sweetest horse at Triple Springs. I adored him.
The appaloosa is AJ! He was the first lesson horse that I rode. He knew I was green and pulled every trick he could to keep me off guard. But I loved him. Notice how my feet aren't even in stirrups? We'd run out of room to punch holes, so I had to ride like that for a few months.
If my brother sees this, he'll murder me. Ignore the cute blond boy and take a look at the bookshelf. Thoroughbred, Black Stallion and more! Plus, check out my collection of Grand Champion model horses. Jealous? ;)
Normal people don't put horses in front of their Christmas trees. My grandma got me that little tree and she was horrified to discover that I arranged my horses around it. I even put out their trophies. :)
Those are some of my favorite horse pictures! I have zillions more, but I think that gets my horse craziness across. That's why I'm rediculously excited that I have a horse book coming out! Soon! Yay!
So, a girl goes away to NYC for a few days (details to come) and comes back to lots of link love! :) My poor blog has never felt so abandoned, but that'll change...
Harmony at Harmony Book Reviews posted a review for Take the Reins! Thank you sooo much, girl! :) Read it here.
Agent Sistah Sarah MacLean interviewed me on her blog. Check it out! Thank you, Sarah! :)
Arya on LiveJournal also interviewed me. It was so much fun and thanks for hosting me, Arya.
Simon & Schuster revamped their Website. It's sooo awesome. Authors have their own portals with special S&S blog entries, exclusive Q&As, my life in eight words, videos and more. One of my fave questions--"Who is your favorite fictional villian?" My answer will probably surprise you. My page is up and you can see it here.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Yesterday, I started mailing my "Hi! I'm a local author!" packets to local elementary and middle schools. Who knew there were so many in my area?! Awesome. So, I included a postcard and letter. (Yes, I blurred stuff.) But all of the letters will go to the school librarians. It's not a hard sell type of pitch, but rather a way to let them know my book is coming out and that I'm available for talks.
Also, there's a B-I-G article about Canterwood Crest coming out in March/April (that means it'll be out in Feb) and I'm keeping it a secret for now (just want to make sure it's not yanked at the last second for whatever reason), but it's soooo exciting. I can't wait!
And, Google-stalking produced a new find! I have an article in the Florida SCBWI Newsletter for fall 2008--"Vlogging: The New "It" Thing." You can read the article (in PDF form) on page 2. Then, on page 4, there's member news and a bit about TAKE THE REINS. Yay! The newsletter is even cooler because friends Danette Haworth, Mindy Alyse Weiss and Debbie Reed Fischer all got mentions or wrote articles.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Last night, I hit 50 pages on the Triple Fault draft. It's a start! :)
This week is just insane for me. I've been doing lots of blog interviews (thank you, all, for hosting me!) and have been lining up all of the publicity stuff that needs to be done over the next couple of weeks. Now is the time when I'm sooo glad I spent all of those hours months ago making my PR plan and compiling lists of what needed to be done in January. I think I'd be overwhelmed if I tried to start planning publicity at this late stage. And anyway, I'll learn what works and what doesn't for Take the Reins and can apply it to Chasing Blue. March 24 isn't that far away. :) I'll have to make a new countdown clock when TTR's expires. On January 27. :)
By the way, did I ever mention how much I LOVE that pub date? Two days before I turn twenty-two. That'll be quite a week! I'll be at the height of my book store stalking. You know, hanging out like a creepy person in the MG aisle and saying to anyone who walks by, "I wrote that!!" My local stores will probably take my picture and put up a poster warning the employees not to let me back inside.
Soon, I'll be annoucing the release week giveaways and details about how those will work. Yay! Fun!
Also, I'm starting to feel the need to vlog (read: gush) about my excitment over Take the Reins. But I'm afraid it might turn into a weepy Oscar-like thank you to everyone who helped with TTR. Sappy, right? Um, yeah.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Today, I went here! That's the Tallahassee Democrat. :)
Nice sign, huh?
I did a follow up interview with Kathleen Laufenberg, the writer who interviewed me when I got the book deal. I was excited about going and had so much fun!
Kathleen asked me to read the first chapter of Take the Reins and it will go up on the Democrat's Website as a podcast. Yay! :) I was such a dork while I was reading, LOL. I had to redo it at least 5 times because I got distracted and/or messed up simple words. But I think the final result turned out okay. I'll post a link when it goes live!
Thank you, Kathleen, for the interview.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Tomorrow, I'm off to my previously mentioned secret PR Ninja activity! :) I'm not complaining about spending a little time away from the computer. Yes, I'm drafting TRIPLE FAULT, but my attention span is awful this week! I get more distracted the closer I get to the TTR release. I feel like Will Ferrell in Elf. There's a scene in the movie when he's eating M&Ms with spaghetti and maple syrup. He might be drinking Coke or coffee, too, but I don't remember. Anyway, he's bouncing off the walls and I'm feeling like that!
Remember to leave a comment here if you want to be entered to win a signed copy of
TAKE THE REINS!
And yeah, I'm totally aware that my countdown clock has 22 days left. Twenty-two. Must. Ignore. :)
Friday, January 2, 2009
I'm sooo excited to announce that I'm the January Author of the Month (AOM) at Harmony Book Reviews! Yaaay! Thank you, Harmony, for choosing me. I'm honored and super-excited!
Want to read Harmony's announcement? Check it out here!
P.S. She said, and I quote, "the book is fab." OMG! :)
On Monday, I get to slip into my PR Ninja costume! (I really should find an avatar for this...) I'm going to meet someone downtown to do a PR-related thing. Could I be any more vague, LOL?
I'll spill when it goes online. :)
(Other 2009 debut authors, does it just freak your freak (thanks, Ellen!) to see your countdown clock go down?!) I get dizzy/tingly/crazy watching my Sprout countdown clock tick.
Yesterday: Um. *looks away* Well...okay. 4 pages. Distractions, distractions!
1 giant pumpkin spice-flavored coffee
20+ attempts to actually write
2:30pm was the time I gave up and vowed to start again the next day
P.S. My blog had its highest monthly hit total in December 2008 since I started blogging. Thanks so much, guys!
P.P.S. Want to win a signed copy of TAKE THE REINS? Check yesterday's post for details.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
My friend and fellow author Keri Mikulski is giving away a signed copy of Take the Reins on her blog! She's also giving away two other books--one of which is Lauren Barnholdt's Reality Chick.
Check here for rules and to enter! You have until 1/31 to leave a comment on the entry to win.
Thank you, Keri! :)
Happy 2009!! Woo! Last night, Kellie Pickler hosted the festivities on ABC with Ryan Seacrest.
Even NYE spirit couldn't make her any less annoying. Sorry, Kellie! But seriously.
2009 is finally here!! It's a fresh start and I'm sooo excited about this month.
1 leftover gingerbread man consumed
1 glass of sangria
4 different pens used for notes (pink, purple, blue and green)