Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekend wrap up

What a weekend!

First, I made a goal I was sure I'd keep on Friday--4000 new words before midnight. Author Paula Yoo joined me and dubbed it "Friday 4k."

Well, I gave up around 1300 words. Epic fail. The chance to go out came up and I took it. And for once, I didn't feel bad about it! Usually, I'd beat myself up over not making my word count goal. But instead, I ended up going out with BFF and doing exactly what was needed for a ridic week.

I worked a little on Saturday and focused on the end incentive--a night out in my neighborhood with awesome friends. It was sooo nice to be in my neighborhood and not have to get on the train after a night out. There are lots of interesting places yet to be explored...

Today, I pulled the plug on the Internet and got serious. For real. I wasn't messing around, LOL. I got 4049 words down today, so I feel good about it. Better than yesterday's measly total!

Tomorrow, I'm going out with the Melissa Walker and Sarah MacLean. Fun!

Also, I've been getting blurb requests lately and I'm flattered, thank you! Please feel free to send me an e-mail and I can give you an address where to send your book. My rule, though, just FYI--I won't blurb a book unless I love it. I think that's what you're supposed to do...right?

AND! I found out through a neighborhood message board that...get ready...there is a stable near my park! Kensington Stables. OMG! I about died. I'm going to email them to see if I can come observe a few lessons, talk to the riders, maybe groom a lesson horse--anything! I'm insanely excited and would love to go and spend even a little time in the horsey environment. The killer? They offer trail rides in the park.

The park I adore.

That's where it's complicated. I had a spinal fusion for super severe scoliosis. So, if I rode a horse and fell, I could break or snap my rods and have to go through a spinal fusion *again* or become paralyzed. High stakes, right? But there are moments, every so often, where I want to risk it, get on a horse and RIDE! This is one of those moments.

People have argued to me that I could ride a "bomb proof" horse and would have nothing to worry about. But IMO, there's no such thing. Accidents happen and no horse is bomb proof. I don't believe it and I've met/ridden dozens of horses and have yet to find a BP horse.

*sighs* Tough decision.

And I also got a super quick rejection today. Sent the query and got a nice note back within hours. It's a mag I've been trying to crack for years and they had just assigned the topic I pitched to someone else. Getting close I's just about timing! But that's a better rejection than "Um, hello. Have you read our mag before? Why are you pitching us something off topic?!" I haven't gotten one of those--I'm just saying that if you have to get a rejection, I got a nice one today.

And now to tackle e-mails from my reader girlies. :) Hope everyone had a fab weekend!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I have no title for this

Yesterday, it got scary black outside, hailed, rained like it was going to flood and then stopped. The sky was pink and pretty ten minutes later as if it never happened. It was the perfect way to cap off the week.

I just couldn't stop myself from taking pics.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book stalking in the 'hood

I realized that I haven't been book stalking in my new neighborhood yet! So, today, I did. I met the lovely Annie at Barnes & Noble who works in the children's department. I told her my name and the series and she was like, "Oh. Oh!! The horse books!" She was super sweet and filled that B&N basket with my books to sign. I was about to die. I signed a basket of books and it was so fun. So, if you want autographed copies of TAKE THE REINS, CHASING BLUE or BEHIND THE BIT, they're in stock.

Like a dork, I went to B&N last night to get a book (THE GLASS CASTLE), but forgot my other reason for going. The above! My reader girlies have been emailing me to say I've got a short story in the current issue of YOUNG RIDER Magazine and I hadn't had the chance to grab a copy. Thank you so much to Lesley Ward for running a bio box and mentioning the Canterwood books. Really sweet of you and I appreciate all of the YR support.

This is said issue. (Above.)

And okay. I was taking pics of all of my friends' books and the security guy was looking at me like, "What are you doing crazy girl?" I was finally like, "Dude. I'm a writer. These are my friends' books. 'Kay?" This was when I was snapping the pic of R Pattz. *grins* And NO--I did not purchase anything Rob-related. I was good.

Mandy's PRADA AND PREJUDICE. (Oh, and note from here on--I did not face out or move any of these books. This is how they were on shelves.)




THINGS ARE GONNA GET UGLY by Hillary Homzie. Um, go Aladdin MIX for being faced out everywhere. Just sayin'.

NYT bestselling DORK DIARIES also edited by L Abrams.

Yay, all! :) Thank you, Annie, for being so wonderful!

Also, a huge congrats to Alyson Noel on her GIANT new book deal. What I love about Alyson--she's had monster success recently (not that she wasn't doing amazing before!) and it hasn't changed her at all. She's still one of the nicest authors I've ever met and I'm thrilled for her!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Deadline craze

Blogging is about to get slowish (I think, anyway. Unless, R Pattz is spotted cuz then all bets are off!) because it's Insane Deadline Time and I'm feeling crazy behind. Which isn't really true. I'm not sooo behind, but it feels that way until I hit midpoint of the book. This is the panic stage of "Aahh! I better get words down or else!"

So, if I owe you an email (my reader girlies!) I'm sorry! I will respond ASAP, I promise. Thank you for writing me and I WILL write back. Just give me a little time or LITTLE WHITE LIES will be late and Editor K will confiscate my lip gloss until I finish it...that would be bad, ya know? :) There would be crying and Lip Smackers cotton candy withdrawal (my fave) and it would be sad.

Gotta get back to Sasha & Co., but I'll be blogging whenever I can. But know that I have to go into Manhattan on Wednesday. Yep. That means subway. And directions. And a high probabilty of something happening that's blog worthy.

Btw, thank you to Whitebrook Farm for blogging about the Girls' Horse Club fiction competition. (See blogger sidebar or old entry for deets).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Enter the 2009 Girls' Horse Club Fiction Competition

Spread the word to your horse crazy friends! I'm a judge for the 2009 GHC fiction competition. Find the updated rules here! I hope you consider entering and good luck!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Everything and nothing

I started writing LITTLE WHITE LIES (Canterwood Crest #6 (SIX! *falls over*) yesterday. I Tweeted (stupidly, LOL) that I was going to stay up all night writing and hit 5k before I went to sleep.

Didn't happen. I wrote 500 words and stopped for the night. I needed a few hours to absorb outline changes and just think about where I needed to go with the book.

Today, I got started late and hit my stride. I had one of those rare "OMG" writer moments where I sat back and actually said, "Oh. Whoa. Wow. Um." out loud. One of those crazy-talking-to-yourself writer moments where you actually start to cry like an idiot for no reason.

But a few things hit me full force:

* I'm writing book freaking six. S-I-X. There was a time when I thought I wouldn't be able to write one book. Not one. Just short articles, nothing book length. And I'm not saying this to be like, "Oh, wow. Look. You've written five books." I'm saying this because so many writers e-mail me and say they're sure they can't write a book but so want to. That they can't write past a few pages. I used to think that too.

* I'm in love with a character. A character that I didn't fall for until twenty minutes ago. And I'm hard core crushing. (And man, I'm sooo gonna regret posting this part 'cause EK will read it and never let me forget it when I tell her my new love interest. As if she needs another thing to hold over me, LOL.)

* This is the first book I've ever written in New York and it'll be my only first book in NYC. It feels sparkly just for that reason.

* I'm not the writer I was when I wrote BEST ENEMIES. Not better, not worse (I hope!). Just not the same.

* Everything and nothing has changed. Everything in my life has changed. Nothing in my character's lives has. They were all there--waiting for me to come and move things for them. I'm almost annoyingly giddy to be back to Canterwood (I sound like a student, LOL) and into writing.

And not just writing.

Writing that I love.

There's a difference.

And it took a while for me to find it again. But I have.

Okay! Sappy much? Seriously. :) As you were.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Girls Horse Club Fiction Competition

Hey, horse crazy girls!

If you're 17 and under, check out the preliminary guidelines for the Girls Horse Club Fiction Competition. More details will be revealed soon...including (ahem) judges. *grins*

So check it out and start brainstorming! The prizes will be awesome!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Robert Pattinson's REMEMBER ME set in NYC on June 16

On a whim, I read that Robert Pattinson was filming REMEMBER ME on 8th Street and University in NYC. I was like, "Do I go, or not?!" I wasn't going to go and then everyone was telling me, "Go! It's R Pattz!"

I hopped on the F and forty minutes later, I was walking around looking for Rob. I walked for about twenty minutes and didn't find him. I was getting discouraged and then I decided to walk a different way.

And then...there was a MASSIVE crowd of girls (and some guys) and I KNEW I'd found the right place.

So, enjoy the pics and video of Rob's latest project. Yay!

The video's still processing, so the quality's a little wonky. It shall improve once it's fully processed!

Team Maureen Johnson FTW

The Fox News clip Maureen mentioned.

And the Orlando clip.

Thank you, librarian of awesome. And go Maureen!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I heart the park

Street lamp = pretty!

This trail makes me want to have a dog to borrow just to walk. Any takers?

(When I took this pic, "real" people were playing baseball and I was like, "Aw. Sigh. It's not vampire baseball. LOL.)

Yesterday, I got stuck on my YA WIP and needed a break, so I headed to the park. I've only ever been on the edge of it and who knew there were MILES of trails--like, shaded trails with signs so you don't get lost--for exploring and walking. I looove it there! It's rained so much that some of the trails were flooded, so I hopped around puddles (read: lakes) and enjoyed the squirrels, grass and trees. Very pretty.

I love that I can either walk down my fave streets in town or head out to the park if I want to be alone and need quiet. It's cool. I love, love the streetlamps. I wouldn't walk around the park alone at night, but I'll prob try to talk Roy and Kassie into walking around with me one night 'cause I really want to see the street lamps on and it would be fun.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Flatiron Lounge taken over by MIXers

I went to the Flatiron Lounge yesterday to meet the lovely and awesome Taylor Morris and PG Kain. While I was waiting...

I watched two guys set up a camera and then those two people (newscasters) showed up minutes later. They got directions from the camera guy, "Just walk straight, talk to each other and smile! But start over if someone walks in front of you."

Newsguy and Newsgirl walked a few yards away, then walked back doing their thing. I, of course, took a cell phone pic. They did this four times before they got it and left.

I wonder what THAT segment is going to be about...?

Taylor, PG and I had so much fun and it's so cool to be able to go out with other authors and not talk about writing or books. Oh, no! We had topics of utmost importance to cover, including but not limited to reality TV and Speidi.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Book spotlight: Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

I read DORK DIARIES: TALES FROM A NOT-SO-FABULOUS LIFE yesterday and am crazy about this book! Okay, okay, so the cover alone was enough to draw me in. I know--wrong way to pick a book, huh? It was also in the book's favor that it was edited by the super talented Liesa Abrams. I knew it would be good.

DORK DIARIES is laugh out loud hilarious and I couldn't put it down. The illustrations (also done by author Rachel Renee Russell are fab) and I loved the story line. Nikki is your every girl and her situations are so real and engaging. This book is from Simon & Schuster's Aladdin line and while aimed at tweens, I (at 22) totally loved it.

Find it here!

I am reading BOY MEETS BOY right now and then am off for drinks with fellow Aladdin MIXers PG Kain and Taylor Morris. They're taking me to The Flatiron Lounge. The Website looks super cool. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thank you, readers!

I have the *best* readers EVER. It's a fact. Last night, I sent out the first Canterwood Crest newsletter and when I checked my e-mail this morning, I had over 30 new messages from you all saying the sweetest things about the books. I'm floating this morning--thank you!! You also did something awesome and put up new reviews on Amazon. How lucky am I?!

If you haven't signed up, check out the sidebar and do so. I'll be sending a newsletter once a month or whenever I have super big news to share. The subscribers of the newsletter got to hear a secret that hadn't been announced here yet. The news?

Behind the Bit went into its second printing! Yay! I'm so excited about that.

Onto other things...

I think I moved to Seattle and not NYC. Is it supposed to rain this much here? I reeeeaaallly need to go out today, but didn't want to anyway and then when I saw it was raining I was like, "Ha. It's raining. Excuse. Staying in."

I'm in my cozy writer clothes (yoga pants, t-shirt and hoodie) and am working on Canterwood Crest marketing. I'm making a list of big horse shows for junior riders and other equine associations to contact about the series.

Also, I've got an ARC of HUSH, HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick that looks so amazing. I Tweeted about the cover yesterday and y'all agreed with me--amazing cover.

And, finally, in this random jumble of a blog--I started writing a new story on paper last night. Paper. The last time I wrote a book on paper? Um, never. I type way faster than I write and it seems like a waste of time to transfer paper writing to the computer. But I *wanted* to start this story on paper and I'm hopeful about what I've got so far. I ended up writing a page with one opening, then starting over and switching to another. Then I changed format. And the weirdest part is that I still like it this morning. Usually, I hate my writing the next morning. I look at it and go, "Ugggh! That's the worst thing ever! Delete!" But I actually like this. And I came up with a sick tag for it that I can't share, but I'm excited.

So, I'm going offline to write more on paper. How odd. How about you guys? Anyone write on paper? Or is it computers only?

Monday, June 8, 2009


**Warning: People who heart me and worry about my survival should stop reading now. You've been warned!**

Last night, around 8:30ish, I looked up at my ceiling fan (see below) and realized, "Oh. Hey. I never cleaned that!" So, I got out that step ladder and cleaned the fan blades and then the glass shade things. They were pretty dirty and def needed to come off and be washed. There were three screws per shade and I was all, "Yay!" when I got them off. I washed the shades and started to screw them back on.

I got this far and was screwing in the third shade when ZAP!

Shocked. I was turning the screw and got shocked. Not strong enough to knock me off the ladder, but strong enough to make me sit on the floor for half an hour, stare up at the fan and mutter awful things about it. I was scared to finish putting up the rest of the shades! I waited for a while and finally tried again. I got all of the shades on and I'm never touching them again. No matter how dirty they may get. :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

How I officially became Libba Bray's back up dancer

All about Libba Bray's B&N event and how I back up danced for her. Yes, I did. *blushes* In front of Holly Black, Cassie Clare, Robin Wasserman and Barry Goldblatt.


Thankfully, none of my friends were there to capture the video on camera though other people were....

WSJ talks about dark YA

Here's a link to an article than ran in today's WSJ about dark YA, how it's selling and what might be driving readers to buy these books. Sure, the article kind of missed the fact that dark YA has been around for a looong time, but I'm glad to see the paper (thanks Katie Roiphe) covering YA.

As someone who writes lighter tween but adores reading and aspires to write dark YA, I think the books Katie mentioned are must reads for those interested in that area of YA. The timing of the article, for me, is awesome because I've been playing with a dark YA but ultimately had to put it down because now wasn't the time to write it. But last night, I came up with a new dark YA idea and got up at 4am to write it down so I wouldn't forget. I'm exploring it in my brain today while doing other stuff.

I'm trying to get things done on my "must do" list before 3ish because Libba Bray will be at my neighborhood B&N at 4. I want to go, but I've got a zillion things to do first. It would prob help if I stopped writing this blog...

Friday, June 5, 2009 weird

June 5, 2007 was the day my first book deal was announced in PubLunch.

April 5, 2009 was the day I moved to NYC.

June 5, 2009 is the one-month mark that I've had my own apt.

Guess 5 is my lucky number, huh?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Scheduling author visits for fall and spring

This is a quick note to all NY, NJ and New England teachers/librarians/Pony Club DCs:

I'm currently scheduling school, library and Pony Club visits for fall 2009 and spring 2010. There are some details on my Website, but please e-mail (jessica [at] jessicaburkhart [dot]) come for full info. I live in New York City and am willing to travel to visit your students.

Yes, I am happy to report that the PR Ninja will be suiting up again to tackle New York! Woo!

Happy summer!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Canterwood Crest video

Sooo...I was outlining LITTLE WHITE LIES and then I needed a little break so I made a new video for Canterwood.

Enjoy and thanks to the readers who asked for a new video! :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

About the TV option...

Thanks so much to all of the readers who emailed me about casting for the Canterwood Crest TV series. It's all veeery early in the option process and I have no details right now. But thank you guys so much for emailing me about casting and sharing your ideas! If/when I get details, you'll be the first to know--promise! :)

I'm going to be in crazy outline stage this week, but I will respond to all emails ASAP.

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