Saturday, February 28, 2009

Book signing at BAM with lots of pics! :)

A future reader!

People enjoying Mary Lackey's mini horses

My new friend Tommy who brought the hay.

Mary Lackey--the awesome woman who loaded up her mini horses!

Jason, my "little" brother, who came to check out the event.

My friend Greg who came and made me promise to remember him when I become famous. ;) It was great to see you, Greg!

One of the nicest guys I've ever met. He's a retired colonel and he was so sweet. He even took video as I signed the book.

Crowd control! ;)

Mandy M, can you see my awesome boots?

Lewis--a local author.

My new friend, M! I even signed her copy of Young Rider. So sweet.

I'm visiting her school soon.

Minutes before the event began. Trying not to freak out.

The set up outside the doors. I just sat down inside and hoped that someone would actually show up. I was going through JA Konrath's signing advice in my head. It really helped, Joe. Thanks!

Bill Bothwell, the community ambassador at BAM. He coordinated this entire event. Thank you, thank you, Bill.

*Soooo, my first signing at Books-A-Million was AMAZING! We were under the threat of a tornado watch, yet people still came. I got started at 11am and by 2pm, it started to look scary outside. We closed up shop with zero books left. I met so many great people and had a blast.

The girls that I met were so sweet and smart. I'll be visiting some of their schools soon and they promised to come up and say hi again.

It was fun to meet readers and almost every girl had a horse story to tell me. Either they ride at summer camp, or rode a friend's pony last summer or even just petted a horse once. I loved talking to all of you and thank you for coming to see me!

The entire signing was great and it was a wonderful first experience. :) I was super nervous last night! I think I was Twittering at midnight about how freaked out I was and I had to force myself not to call/text everyone in my phone for advice.

Thank you so much to the follow people/businesses:

Bill Bothwell
Mary Lackey and family
Weekend Furniture Bargains for providing my gorgeous desk
Fresh Market for the lovely orchid
Books-A-Million for hosting me
Tommy for bringing the hay
Happy Trails Ranch for providing the hay
The Books-A-Million employees for talking up Take the Reins

(*I'm using "so," TM, so ha!) ;)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Photo shoot on Monday--eep!

Yesterday, I got a call that Tallahassee Magazine wants to take pics for the article they're running soon. Exciting. They asked where I do most of my writing and said they'd like to take pics of me at my workspace.

Mad. Cleaning. And stuff shuffling.

Like crazy. For some reason, whenever I think of photos of authors in their workspace, I always think of Meg Cabot in a tiara. Or her new author pics.

At least I've got the signing on Saturday, so I can't stay home and clean/rearrange things. Anyway, they'll be here at 9am on Monday. Sunday will be spent choosing The Outfit. Yes. (And Mandy Morgan, I WILL be wearing the killer boots!) ;) Mandy told me to definitely wear them to an interview and they seemed to be lucky. So I'll keep wearing 'em.

Now, I'm off to a meeting to talk last minute details for the Books-A-Million signing. It's almost here!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Plot hole = evil

I've been project juggling lately. That's unusual for me because I usually start an idea and stick with it till it's finished. But not now. A month or so ago, I started Dark YA and got 5k in before chatting with People and deciding to drop it. For now.

Then, I shifted over to Secret Sparkly Tween Book (thinking of it as one of three) and have wiped out the 10 page outline five times. Five. Of course, that then makes the outlines for Two and Three useless.

Grrr. *headdesk*

I have all of the plot lines for One, Two and Three, but One is missing something pretty big. What? The reason WHY my characters do what they do that kicks off One, Two and Three. Very vague, I know. Been pondering this for weeks and have no answer.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Seriously? Chasing Blue is a month away?!

Chasing Blue
(Canterwood Crest #2) comes out in a month. One. Month. And if I learned anything from Take the Reins' release, it means that CB could start popping up in stores in 3 weeks or so. Eeek. I'm excited to see them side by side on shelves. That just seems cool.

My first signing is on Saturday and I'm hopelessly failing at not freaking out. I intend to vlog before, during and after the signing, so you'll get the full "OMG! I'm sooo nervous!" effect in the early minutes of the vlog. Lucky you! :D

Also, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Tallahassee schools. You all have been so receptive and thanks for asking me to come visit. My March calendar is filling fast and I so appreciate it! Special thanks to Bill Bothwell for coordinating every visit.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Addicted to Twitter

In case you didn't catch the video on Tara Lazar's blog, I wanted to repost it here. Tara and Roshni did such a great job. Thank you, girls! :)

And, um, I am seriously addicted to Twitter. Almost like Facebook. I even got twhirl. That's bad, isn't it? I already have phantom vibrations from my phone when I swear I'm getting a text and I'm not. If I start to hear the twhirl ping when my computer isn't on...

Friday, February 20, 2009

New vlog with guests!

The Frenetic Reader posted a sweet review of Take the Reins! Thank you, Khy! :)

And there's a new video up at Tara Lazar's blog! A TTR reader interviews me via video. So. Fun.

Also, I did a podcast interview at Book Bites for Kids yesterday. Listen to the podcast here.

Happy Saturday! :)

Tallahassee Eastside Chronicle article and links

I've got a few links to share on this Friday morning! :)

Author Kristin Tubb posted an interview with me. Thank you, Kristin!

Today, Linda Gerber is running a TAKE THE REINS giveaway (it just might be a signed TTR copy) so go enter to win.

Also, Tallahassee's Eastside Chronicle ran an article about Canterwood Crest. Thank you, Jessi! :)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Math + Jess = ??

On Saturday, awesome blogger Tara Lazar is posting a super special Canterwood Crest video! There are three people in the vid and it's so fun! I filmed my bit on Wednesday and am sooo excited to see it spliced together. I'll put a reminder here on Sat, so definitely check that out.

Big thanks in advance to Tara and Roshni! You both rock.

I took a bit of a writing break this week and have been in cleaning out mode. Yeah. First tackled the closet. Boxes of clothes and shoes went to charity. Next? Books. Ah, but don't sob yet. They were textbooks that I couldn't sell back to FSU 'cause they were too old and/or worn. Seriously. I kept my math textbooks (Why?! Wasn't I tortured enough?), my G-I-A-N-T humanities book, a Spanish textbook that had notes in it and a falling apart communications book. Goodbye!

In the back of my math book, I found a piece of paper that I used to average my grade after every quiz or homework assignment. And, um, that grade kept going doooowwwwn with every quiz. *blush* And the SUPER sad part? I had a freaking calculator, but I *still* messed up numbers when averaging my OWN grade. Nooo! But it's true. I must be smarter now (ha!) and I noticed a few mistakes when I looked at the paper yesterday. I actually made my grade higher than it was. But even my poor averaging skills didn't raise the grade enough to keep it from being embarrassing. :)

The worst thing was that I was sixteen when I took that math class and I spent 3 hours a day in class, five days a week during the summer. It was one of those six week classes so the schedule was super condensed. I came home and did 3+ hours of homework to keep up and still didn't get the material. The poor math teacher tried to help me, but it just didn't work. I failed for weeks even after extra credit.

Near the end of the class, my prof handed me back a math quiz with a C+ on it. OMG! Yes! I grabbed the paper and said, "Thanks, man!"

Thanks, man. To a professor. Niiice. :D But, hey. I was excited.

And, when going through my boxes of books, I discovered a few things:

* I read a lot in college. A. Lot. And yet, I don't remember plots for several of the books. Hmm.

* I have an abundance of Shakespeare volumes. Seriously. And he's not even my fave guy.

* The gorgeous Norton anthologies (I have, like, 4.) deserve their own shelf. They're pretty.

* Ditto the essay anthologies.

* And, no matter how many times I had to read it in college (twice, I believe), I will never like Beloved. I know, I know. Toni Morrison. Oprah. But it's not for me.

That concludes this super-weird ramble about math and old books. Carry on.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Canterwood Crest #5 title reveal!

Best Enemies (Canterwood Crest #5) is now up on Amazon. Cool! It's scheduled to release on October 20, 2009. I really love the title, too. Editor K came up with that and when I heard it, I was like, "Yep! Love it! Don't change it!" :)

The cover isn't ready for showing yet, but it's gorgeous. Trust me. It's so good that it's sick, actually. :)

And, seriously, thanks again to everyone emailing me about Take the Reins and Young Rider! You guys are so sweet! :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Book store signing poster!

Poster document

Actual poster

Okay, so my camera decided to be grainy and weird, but you can at least see the poster! I designed that on Fireworks and took the file to my local Kinkos. I can use this poster at any event, so that's why I left off the date and store name. I'm thrilled with how it turned out! It's laminated on a foam core and it's 12 x 18.

I also posted the file that I sent Kinkos, since that doc looks much more like the actual poster than the pic I just took!

You guys like it? :)

Hanging out at Author2Author

I'm chatting with the girls of Author2Author! C'mon over and check it out.

Thanks so much to Em, Lisa, Kate, Kristina and Deena for letting me stop by. :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The PR Ninja obsesses

I've been thinking a lot over the weekend about book promo. A lot. Kind of obsessing about it, actually. Take the Reins has been out (officially) for a couple of weeks and I'm fixated on the ancient argument--the people who say, "Do publicity until you drop!" and the others who think, "Just write!"

I think I've done a decent amount of press work for Take the Reins. But the nagging feeling of, "Dude, you're not doing enough! C'mon!" keeps coming back. Like, I had an actual nightmare about being a publicity slacker, LOL. :) I was in a boardroom and people were shaking their heads with disapproving glares...scary! I half-expected Donald Trump to show up and fire me. I definitely have an intense fear of not doing enough.

Half of my writer friends say, "Yes! It's enough publicity unless someone comes to you. Keep writing the books and put your focus there." Others say, "Well, that's great, but more publicity would be even better. Focus on publicity and writing."

Personally, I'm on the side of doing publicity and writing, but keeping the main focus on writing. It's tricky, as a new author, to figure out how to handle everything. Maybe it just comes with time and more books. Until then, I'm still trying to find a balance. :)

Any debut authors want to chime in?

ETA: We're having a great discussion about this over at Lisa Schroeder's!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Author Sarah MacLean talks writing and THE SEASON

It's Sarah MacLean!

Lucky me! Sarah MacLean, author of THE SEASON (out now), stopped by!

Here's a bit about THE SEASON:

Seventeen-year-old Lady Alexandra Stafford doesn't fit into the world of Regency London — she's strong-willed, sharp-tongued, and she absolutely loathes dress fittings. Unfortunately, her mother has been waiting for years for Alex to be old enough to take part in the social whirlwind of a London Season so she can be married off to someone safe, respectable, wealthy, and almost certainly boring. But Alex is much more interested in adventure than romance.

Between sumptuous balls, lavish dinner parties and country weekends, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get entangled in her biggest scrape yet. When the Earl of Blackmoor is killed in a puzzling accident, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. It's a mystery brimming with espionage, murder, and suspicion. As she and Gavin grow closer, will Alex's heart be stolen in the process?

Romance and danger fill the air, as this year's Season begins!

I asked and Sarah answered...

Did you ever have one of those, "OMG, I just can't do this!" moments while writing THE SEASON?

Wait. Are there authors who DON'T have that moment? Because I had it over and over and over and over again...and, if I were perfectly honest, I STILL have it. But...I'm very lucky to have an editor who was super encouraging, a husband who was more patient than one person should be, and a dog who was a thoroughly loyal companion.

That said, I don't believe writers who say they don't doubt themselves. Red Smith, one of the most widely-read sportswriters in American journalism, once said, "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." I had read that quote long before I started working on The Season, and always thought it was funny...but now I understand him. It's an immensely personal process...and then, when you're done, you can't help but feel that you're thoroughly exposed, and that's when the doubt sets in. What ifs? abound...what if they don't like it, what if it's not good, what if I can't do it again.

But then a great line pops into your head. Or you see a character in a new and different setting. And you think, "here we go again..." and you have no choice but to sit down and write. It's a crazy job, really. I'm not sure why we do it!

You live in Brooklyn with your husband. Does living in NYC inspire your writing? If so, how?

Here is the city that called to Walt Whitman and Edith Wharton and Willa Cather and Henry Miller and Jonathan Franzen...not to mention Andy Warhol and Keith Haring and Paul Simon and Spike Lee and countless other artists, musicians and writers. Every street corner has a story...this is where Paul Auster wrote Smoke. That's where Jungle Fever was filmed. Here's where Jerry Seinfeld got his start. There's where Libba Bray gets her morning coffee. I mean, it's enough to cause some serious performance anxiety.

I've always wanted to live in New York. ALWAYS. For as long as I can remember. And that's because there's such a rich community of artists and art lovers here...every person you meet has a story inside them. And you meet new people every time you leave the house. Love it or hate it, it's a city that is so very ALIVE...that has such a powerful artistic and literary's hard not to be inspired.

Recently, you signed a deal to write three adult romances for Avon. Is writing for adults different than writing for teens?

At first, it seems pretty daunting to start a book for adults after being so steeped in writing for teens. You dwell on word choice way too much, you think about your characters and their motivation and question whether they seem too young. Or too old. But, about 25 pages in, you realize that young or old, teen or thirty-something, all readers come to books for the love of a good story. So you task yourself with that. Tell a good story. Keep them turning the pages.

I read that you're a huge fan of Jane Austen. What work of Jane's most encouraged you to write THE SEASON?

Wow. That's a great question. And a scary one, because I would NEVER DREAM of comparing The Season to one of Austen's books. She is the maestro...I, the lowly apprentice. That said, there are definitely moments that are homages to scenes of Aunt Jane's, and those who know Pride & Prejudice and Emma will recognize them.

Alex, Ella and Vivi are all enormous Austen fans...all three of them have strong opinions about Pride & Prejudice, ie, that there's never been a book quite as amazing as that one. Far be it from me to disagree with ladies of such discerning taste.

What's your writing process? Outline? No outline? Fast drafter?

I'm a ridiculously heavy outliner. They run 40-50 pages and, while my characters tend to lead me down the garden path now and then, I always know where I should return. I'm amazed by people who can sit down at a blank screen and just write...I think I'm too much of a control freak to allow my characters that much freedom.

Once everything is outlined, I start from the beginning and write until the end. I don't skip around...the very idea gives me hives. I do write longhand mostly...I'll write in a notebook for an entire week and then transcribe/edit onto the computer on the weekends, so my first electronic draft is really more like a second draft than a first. I'm a pretty fast writer (though nothing like you!!) and I can knock out a manuscript in 4-6 months if I really work at it.

Finally, THE most important question! Your bio says that you don't leave the house without lip balm. From one lip gloss addict to another, what's your favorite kind?

Fresh SUGAR lip-balm. Oh so amazing, if slightly extravagant. If you've never tried so. Now.

SO FUN, Jess! Thank you!!!

All right! Run out and get your copy of THE SEASON! Find it at Amazon or IndieBound. Also, check out Sarah's blog for more. :)

Thank you, Sarah!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

rambling thoughts on marketing a series

Megfuzzle on LiveJournal was cool enough to review Take the Reins AND post a pic! That's Mac, her horse, and he's reading TTR too. :) Love, love this pic.

Yesterday, I traded my ancient, falling apart Gateway laptop for a pink (!) Sony. OMG. I'm in love with it. Have I mentioned that it's pink? Uh-huh. :) It's pink. I've been playing with it and transferring all of my stuff from one comp to the next.

After today's phone interview, I think I've tapped all of the local press. I'm kind of glad to take a step back from that now and get back to my REAL job--writing. It had to go on the back burner while I did PR. Then again, going out on interviews broke up my crazy writing schedule and I've met a lot of cool people. I do think I got better (well, at least I hope so!) as the interviews went on. I felt less grilled and more as if I was talking to friends by the end.

But things are settling down now and I'm trying to get back on track for book five. I won't have enough time to really figure out what "worked" PR-wise for TTR that I can shift over to CHASING BLUE, but I hope to be much better at PR when BEHIND THE BIT releases.

I wonder how marketing will be different for CB. It comes out on March 24--just 8 weeks after TTR. So, obviously, I can't get the same newspapers and magazines to cover me so soon after January. I'm guessing I should start looking for different markets. Maybe let the bigger, statewide magazines know that local mags and newspapers have covered me and use those clips to get their attention. Hmmm. Seems like a phone call to Publicist Nicole will be necessary. :) She will have Answers.

Tomorrow is my last day at Girls Horse Club! We've having so much fun over there and I love all of the girls! They're so smart and funny. If you're a young writer looking for writing advice, definitely check out the thread.

And thank you to everyone who has emailed me about the YOUNG RIDER article. You guys are the best! You're so sweet to take time to write me and I'm emailing each of you back, I promise. :) I don't think it says so in the article, but YOUNG RIDER was one of the first places I queried. Poor Lesley Ward got an awful query from me and she sent a polite rejection back. That was in 2003. And guess what? I still have her rejection letter! :)

And, if you haven't heard by now, Alyson Noel's EVERMORE is on the NYT Best Seller list and the USA Today Best Seller list. Seriously awesome, Alyson!! :)

Tomorrow, Sarah MacLean is here and she's answering questions about THE SEASON. Sarah's super awesome, so def check back for that.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Canterwood Crest in Young Rider Magazine

I finally found the March/April issue of YOUNG RIDER at my local Books-a-Million. See that “true story” bit at the bottom left corner? That’s the article about Canterwood Crest. If you see the issue, check it out. There’s a Canterwood giveaway inside, tons of pics and a fun Q&A. A few girls have already emailed me about the issue--thanks for saying hi! :)

Big thanks to Lesley and Allison for running the article!

Yesterday, I met Jennifer from Tallahassee Magazine. We had a great chat at Starbucks and talked about Canterwood, mean girls and more. Thanks for interviewing me, Jennifer!

I've got a phone interview with the Lake City Reporter on Thursday. That means I don't have to get dressed in my fancy interview clothes. Or, maybe I still will...I kind of like the idea of getting out of my usual writer clothes even for a phone thing. :)

I just finished the outline for Canterwood Crest #5 and feel that relief of, "Oh, good. I didn't forget how to outline or come up with ideas." :) I *always* have that fear when I open a blank Word doc to start an outline. I'm convinced of the following:

1) I'll have zero ideas.


2) My ideas will be super awful.


3) Agent A and Editor K will be like, "Um. What is this?"

But I made it through the outline. Whew.

And, finally, big congrats to agent sis Lauren Barnholdt! She posted a bunch of great news yesterday, including a new YA sale. Yay, L!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Scrap driftwood horses

My aunt Lola sent me these pics in an email. Aren't these AMAZING? These women (I don't know who they are--I wish I did!) create these horses out of scrap driftwood. So. Cool. I think they're gorgeous. I want one. :)

Today, I've got my interview for Tallahassee Magazine at Starbucks. Yay! I don't want to scare the woman, so I *won't* have an espresso before she arrives. 'Cause I'm nice like that. ;) But when I email people later, they'll be like, "Uh-oh. You're hyper. Coffee. I can tell."

Monday, February 9, 2009

Book signing at Tallahassee Books-a-Million

On Saturday, I visited my local shops and handed out flyers for my first signing! So. Exciting. The details:

When: Saturday, February 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Tallahassee's Books-a-Million (3521 Thomasville Road)

I'll be signing copies of Take the Reins and...special guests are coming! Two miniature horses just like the one in this pic! Mary Lackey of Sundance Oaks Miniature Horse Farm will be bringing two of her mini horses to the BAM parking lot. They'll be available for everyone to pet and enjoy.

Thanks so much to Bill Bothwell and Books-a-Million for hosting me. I can't wait! :)

Also, I've heard from a couple of girls that they've received their March/April issue of YOUNG RIDER Magazine. Be on the lookout for it on newsstands because Canterwood is featured inside! I haven't seen the issue yet, so I need to get my hands on a copy. :) My local stores are still stocking the Jan/Feb issue. I'll post a pic of it, though, when I grab one. Thanks so, so much to Lesley Ward and Allison Griest!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hanging out at Girls Horse Club

Thanks so much to Michelle at Girls Horse Club for inviting me! I'm having a blast answering questions and I'll be online with GHC till February 13. Come on over and ask a question if you've got one. :) The girls are asking amazing questions and we're having fun!


Friday, February 6, 2009

Thanks, Tallahassee!

First, thanks to S&S for featuring me on the author page. How awesome! And I love my quote, LOL. Maybe I shouldn't have told people that I greet animals. :)

Yesterday, I meet the awesome Jessi for an interview for the NE Chronicle. That was so much fun. :) Thanks, Jessi!

Then, I drove around and visited Tallahassee's Borders, Books-a-Million and Barnes & Noble. Borders and BAM were sold out of TTR, but more are on order. B&N had two copies left, which are now signed. In purple. Just in case it matters. ;)

Thanks so much, Tally people! I'll keep visiting stores and signing stock as they come in. The local support has been amazing--thanks!

Next week, I meet with a writer for Tallahassee Magazine. It's a gorgeous local publication and I'm super excited to be included in an upcoming issue.

And, perhaps most exciting of all, I turned in Triple Fault (Canterwood Crest #4) to Agent A yesterday. Now I'm staying busy by plotting CC #5 (it has the coolest title!) and am not driving myself crazy with "she's going to hate it" thoughts. :) Not at all.

I also can't seem to ignore my new YA WIP. It keeps bugging me and I'm finally like, "Fine! Okay! Okay! I'll type just a little bit."

What's everyone working on?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pics of other people's books! :)

OMG! It's Wendy Toliver's MISS MATCH at Books-a-Million!

And! Sarah MacLean's THE SEASON! (Sarah, sorry! I didn't realize the pic was blurry till I left.)

Look! It's Alyson Noel's EVERMORE in an awesome spot at B&N!

I had fun taking those pics today. :)

Yay and thank you Jen!

Thank you, thank you to Jen (wldhrsjen3 on LJ) for her sweet review of Take the Reins. You rock, Jen! Thank you! :)

I was especially nervous to have Miss Jen read my book because she's a horse fanatic too. But she did ask me to name her new horse, if she gets another, so I think I passed.

Off to:

Meet an extern for my interview
(We're meeting at Starbucks and I'm going to get hyped on caffeine.) :)
Sign stock at Barnes & Noble
and Books-a-Million
and Borders

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Article in Tallahassee Woman and being brave

That article is out now in the Feb/March issue of Tallahassee Woman. Big thanks to Justin for interviewing me. I appreciate it!

I'd typed this light-hearted silly blog, but I deleted it. Instead, I've been thinking a lot about this post at Stephanie Kuehnert's blog. Steph, hope you don't mind that I'm linking to it. But I couldn't ignore it and not comment on it. Steph, my fellow Teen Fiction Cafe sister, is a brave, amazing woman. Just go read her post and you'll see. I'm just so impressed with Stephanie for going for it and blogging about something intensely personal that she'd been through. Her post will no doubt help girls and women going through similar situations.

And I because I'm not as brave as Steph, I'm moving the rest of this post over to LiveJournal and am locking it. I was squirming too much to write it here. Sorry! If you're on my super f-locked friends list, you'll be able to read it. I hope to unlock it later.


Choosing interview clothes? Argh!

On Thursday, I'm being interviewed by the NE Chronicle--a sister publication of the Tallahassee Democrat. The local press has been super receptive to running articles about Canterwood and I so appreciate it.

I'm excited and that means I've been spending too much time in my closet choosing clothes. Yeah, did I mention they're taking pics? Uh-huh. I won't be able to decide what to wear until about an hour before the interview.

But I think I've narrowed it down to:

black pants
the most awesome boots ever (I can't, like, walk in them. But they're pretty!)
a sweater of an undecided color

Or, if I'm feeling casual:

dressy black shirt
dark skinny jeans tucked into the most awesome boots ever

And really, they're not going to get my legs in the shot. Hmm.

After the interview, I'm going to visit Borders, Books-a-Million and Barnes and Noble. They restocked TTR, so it's off to sign those copies. Alyson Noel (author of EVERMORE) has been roadtripping around CA to sign stock too. It's soo fun! Alyson makes me feel like a slacker though 'cause she's doing a hundred mile radius. :)

There was something else...but I forgot. *grins*


The winner of the Dover giveaway is... Harnessphoto from LiveJournal. :) Yaaay! Harnessphoto, please email me (jessica [at] jessicaburkhart [dot] com) your address!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

25 random things

I did this on Facebook and thought it would be fun to share here! :)

25 random things

1. I failed math in middle school. Repeatedly.
2. By accident, I said to one of my college professors, “Thanks, man!”
3. In fifth grade, I had 3 boyfriends at the same time. They all bought me things, so what the heck? ;)
4. When I told my BFF (we were ten) that I kissed one of these boys, she cried. She thought I was too young to kiss anyone.
5. I heart pens. But only certain ones. I have way too many.
6. People always think I’m my seventeen-year old brother’s little sister. I hate that!
7. I’ve lived in Florida, Tennessee, Virginia and Illinois.
8. I’ve set the microwave on fire before. Never microwave an Arby’s in the foil. Never.
9. My lip gloss collection has expanded to 20+. And I’m still adding to it…
10. Something that makes me laugh whenever I think about it—I taught (via the phone) a city-girl friend how to catch and hold a rooster. For serious.
11. I love snow!
12. I can faint at the sight of blood, needles and people that I care about in pain. It’s really not like movie fainting.
13. I’ve had platinum blond and red hair. Red was more fun than blond!
14. I adore TV. Lots of TV.
15. Stupid people annoy me.
16. I did not die, get mugged or become lost when I went to NYC. Ha, people who said I would! :p
17. I just decided (last Saturday) to write a YA novel. In verse. Mmm hmm. It’s my first attempt at a verse novel.
18. The above mentioned YA book is dark and gritty. There may or may not be swearing. It’s not a MG.
19. Pink, sparkly things distract me.
20. I filmed a local restaurant commercial when I was six. It did air, which was pretty cool.
21. I anchored a TV news show for kids for a year when I lived in Nashville. Ask me what kind of news it was.
22. I’m attracted to older guys.
23. The only time I ever fell off a horse was when my brother spooked my horse by jumping out from behind a tree. I beat him up.
24. Ask me what college I attended. For some unknown reason, I say Tallahassee State. Almost every time. And it doesn’t even exist!!
25. When I went to Hawaii as a kid, I fell in love with a pineapple. I carried it everywhere and even slept beside it. Yeah, it “disappeared” when it started to rot. Sniff.

Monday, February 2, 2009


If you've read Take the Reins and have 2 minutes, I'd sooo appreciate it if you could review it on Amazon. Long. Short. Whatever you feel like. But honest reviews, of course! :)

If you review it, let me know and I'll send you a signed postcard if you'd like one.

Thank you, guys!!

Take the Reins at the Lip Smacker Lounge :)

Check it out! :)

I've been waiting a while to share this! I've teamed up with Lip Smacker and they've featured TTR as a PDF download, which is super cool. I'm pretty much obsessed with Lip Smacker products and so (surprise, surprise) is Sasha. I'm super excited!

Plus, girls can leave comments about the book. Fun! :)

Thank you to everyone (LR, VW, KA, BB) who made this happen! Yay!

Also, If you're in Tallahassee and you're looking for a copy of Take the Reins, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and Borders are currently sold out. They're on reorder, though, so definitely check back. I'll be visiting the stores to sign the stock when they come in. :) Thanks so much to everyone who picked up a copy in Tally! You all rock.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Author interview: Saundra Mitchell

I'm sooo excited to share my interview with the super-hilarious, awesome and talented Saundra Mitchell!

Sell us on SHADOWED SUMMER. Why should we rush out to grab a copy right now?

Because it's February, it's 15 degrees outside, and you would love nothing better than to nap beneath the sweltering shade of an oak tree so exhausted, so old, that there's a good chance the S+W '28 carved into a heart on its trunk was left there by your great granddaddy when he was courting somebody besides your great granny. Forget about winter- it's time for summer to begin!

What’s your fave part about writing? Least fave?

I love the going-away time, when I actually leave my desk and slip into the world I'm writing. It feels like a physical leaving- but it also leads to my least favorite part, which is ending the book. That moment when I realize I can revisit the story, but I can never live *in* it again, that's really hard.

You’re also a screenwriter, which fascinates me. What was the transition like from screenwriter to novelist? What are the benefits of being a screenwriter when you write a book?

I haven't exactly transitioned; I'm doing them both! But the nice thing about switching between them is that they're such different forms.

Screenwriting has a lot of arcane and exacting rules to follow. Weird margins, weird capitalizations, blinders and limitations on what you can and cannot include- but it also has some pretty exciting features, like a


Which is where you're going along happily, setting the scene and then BAM, something really awesome happens. You get to capitalize it, and put it on its own line, and there's no mistaking just how wicked sweet that moment is. It's in a break out! POW!

And though I miss things like that when I'm working on a novel, novels let me talk about how people feel. I get to be the actors and decide how a scene plays out- whether this break up is furious, or rueful, or weary. I get to be the director- are we looking through a window, or looking at the main character's hands? I get to decide!

What's nice, though, is that even when I'm writing fiction, I can sometimes feel where the


Should be. I'm still learning the craft and reaching for the art of writing prose, but sometimes, the screenwriting tricks help me find the heart of a scene.

Explain your obsession with Chuck Bass ‘cause you seem to ignore the hotness that is Nate (<3)>

You know, Nate Archibald is cute. He's a pretty good guy with a functional moral compass... and that's why I'm obsessed with Chuck Bass. Chuck is every reprehensible lizard-brain impulse you could possibly have, walking around in mint-and-pink Bermuda shorts. He's *awful*, he's shameless, he's so badly behaved! And I love that- as long as he's safely contained on TV.

If they were real people, though, I'd spend my time with Nate, no question!

What are you reading now? Why did you choose it?

Right now I'm reading an advance copy of Deva Fagan's "Fortune's Folly"- I was super lucky, this book chose me! The author sent me my very own signed copy, and my daughter and I are enjoying it immensely.

I'm also reading Jonathan Carroll's "The Ghost in Love." I heard it was good, so I got it for my mother for Christmas. Unfortunately, something about it totally annoyed her, so now she's making me read it to guess what that was.

You work with many young writers. What’s the biggest misconception editors or agents might have about young writers subbing to them?

Every single teen I've worked with in my screenwriting program- wow, you know, they're talented just to be selected. But they're so serious about their careers- it's not playtime for them, they're completely professional. They take critique like pros, and their solutions are inspired and fresh and so exciting.

They surprise me again and again, so my advice would be- if you've got a submission from a teen that's so-so-so close and the only thing holding you back is their age- give them a chance. I think they'll surprise you, too!

What are you working on now? Give us the scoop!

I'd love to say, but I can't yet. Soon, I hope! Unless you meant extra-professionally, in which case, I'm working on talking all the awesome authors I know into working silly secret additions into their future books.

How do you feel about temporary horse tattoos, Jessica?

JB note: I'm *so* there! Wanna get one with me?

What’s something no interviewer has asked you that you’re like, “Ask me this already!”

"Hey, Saundra, how does it feel to win the lottery?"

I might have to win the lottery first, though. Hmm. No wonder no one asks me that.

Thank you, Saundra! For more, visit Saundra's Website and check out her blog.

**Saundra's got a giveaway!**

February 1, I will be taking entries for one of 3 Extremely Haunted Gift Bags at

And if your readers enter with the special code DRESSAGE after their name in the entry box, I will give them DOUBLE entries into the sweepstakes!

Go enter to win! :) Good luck!

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