From Imagination To Publication

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Buzz: Breaking Dawn

If you haven't already guessed, I'm still a Twihard. I know there are people out there who are "over it" (or so they say, right?). I'm not. To be honest, I don't see myself ever really being over it. I'll admit, I can be a bit obsessive. I was part of the Hanson craze back in the day. I may have covered every inch of my room in posters...and maybe I recorded every snippet of them on a collective VHS tape labeled DON'T TOUCH....and so what if I stapled their names into my bedroom wall. You get the point.

So for all those out there who have moved on, don't judge. For those like me....tomorrow is FINALLY NOVEMBER!! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Live. Laugh. Love...Sweet Baby Girls

On Fridays I like to post a little about the good things in my personal life that make me live, laugh, and love. Today, that is being an auntie...

Not having little babies of my own (YET!) my niece Cadence is the next best thing. I love my sweet baby girl, and though she's far away, she adds a special kind of joy to my life. I mean just look at her...

I know...too many pictures, but she's my little love. AND a second little love has been a bun in the oven for the past 9 months.... 

Finally, last night at about 12:06 a.m., at 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and 19 inches tall, Athena was born, and my heart grew another size...

My sister Allison, the Amazon woman, was in for quite a ride with this one.
For the first 24 hours she was in complete denial. She called me and explained that contractions were happening about 5 minutes apart.
"Holy smokes, this is happening!" I squealed over the phone.
"I don't know," she said. "It doesn't hurt, so I'm just going to hang out with Cadence and walk around. We'll see."
Meanwhile, I was the one freaking out. I was so anxious and so excited, I could hardly keep from calling every hour.
"How are you now? Any change?"
"They're getting stronger, but I think it might be fake. I don't want to drive to Truckee if it's not really happening."
My sister lives an hour from any hospital, so a quick check-in wasn't an option.
"Um, I think it's happening..."
"We'll see..."
She told my mom to cancel her flight!
"I don't think this baby is coming any time soon," she told her.
When the nurse convinced her she should come in, Allison was pretty sure she would be sent home after the hour-long drive to Truckee.  She wasn't.
She was in labor (of course).
Her plan was to go drug-free this time.
"Yeah, right...." I told her.
She made it halfway without caving, but after realizing she had another 5cm to dilate, she decided drug-free was not in the cards for her.
"Give me the drugs. I need the drugs," she pleaded (as so many women do).
They got her in the bathtub (yes, her hospital room) to wait the 30 min. for the Dr. to arrive...BUT the baby had other plans.
"I need to push," Allison said.
"No, just hang on, you've got a while," the nurse told her. It had only been 20 minutes, and the Dr. hadn't come to give her the drugs yet.
"Seriously, I need to get out. She's coming."
Within that twenty minutes Allison had gone from 5cm to 10cm. She rushed to the bed and delivered Athena into her husband's hands in three pushes before the Dr. had time to run into the room.


So much for the drugs.

Needless to say, baby fever is back...hahaha. Too many babies and a whole lot of love will do that to you.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Warm Fuzzies Blog Fest

Now that Rachael Harrie's Platform Building Campaign is coming to a close...sigh...I've decided to participate in the Warm Fuzzies Blog Fest! There is still time to sign up on Juliana Brandt's blog if you want to join me.

Thanks Juliana for hosting this!

To start off the fest, we’re going to tackle the issue of those who aren’t in our community. How do you broach the subject of being a writer to other people who aren’t authors?

This week, be it good or bad, funny or sad, share with us the best response you’ve heard when you’ve told someone you’re a writer. Also, tell us, do you tell other people that you’re a writer?

Slowly but surely I've become comfortable with sharing my writer-ness with the world. Or maybe the world has just become more comfortable with me sharing...

When I decided to write a book, I took my laptop everywhere. I even remember typing in KFC during a lunch stop on a road trip to Vegas. My friends thought I was nuts.
"You're bringing your laptop into KFC?" they said with raised eyebrows.
I guess they didn't think I was serious...haha.

I kept up the writing no matter how crazy my friends and family thought I was. To this day my mother-in-law and I still laugh about this story...

It was a beautiful memorial day weekend. Sun shining. Everyone was in the pool. The BBQ was sending wafts of grilled chicken across the backyard, and I was in my sweats, sprawled out on the floor, spending some good quality time with my computer.

"Jessica," she said, a little irritated. "Get outside. You need sun."
"I'm writing," I answered. "I can't stop or I'll forget."
She sighed. "You look like a pajama rat. It's three o'clock!"
"Maybe I'll go out in a little while." I didn't though...I stayed in my sweats and  kept writing.

She admits she was a little worried. Was this pale pajama-loving hermit going to marry her son? My behavior just wasn't normal for a twenty-five year old.

We joke about it now, because as it turns out, all that hard work turned into a publishing deal with ZOVA Books. The pajama rat delivered.

It's hard for people to understand what it takes to write a novel. At first they'll think you're a little weird, they won't take you seriously, but rest assured, when it all pays off, it feels good to call yourself a writer.

Feel free to add a link to your Warm Fuzzies Blog Fest post in the comments. How have people reacted to your writing habits? Have you had any strange responses after telling someone you're a writer?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Writing World: Jenny Bellington

The Internet Book Fair Blogfest got me thinking. OPPRESSION isn't out yet, but why not support a fellow author published through ZOVA Books?

East to Adonia is a children's fantasy novel from debut author Jenny Bellington.


Jenny Bellington began her writing career after pursuing dual degrees in geology and theatre. She wrote East to Adonia, the first of what promises to be an extensive series, while working in the film industry in Los Angeles. Now a full-time writer, Ms. Bellington will be touring for her book throughout the year at numerous conferences and book festivals around the country.

East to Adonia is a classic children's fantasy novel, chronicling the adventures of Mercator Robinson – a young boy with a mysterious ability to draw maps of anything, whether he has been there or not. After his uncle gives him an old mapping kit on his twelfth birthday, Mercator uses the gift to draw a map of an island he's never heard of before. All of a sudden, Mercator is transported in time and space to a land beyond our own world. Meeting up with a precocious young princess, Mercator's real adventure begins in earnest when the two are kidnapped by pirates and sold for ransom across the waters to a wicked duke. The story continues with all of the magic, danger, and intrigue that marks the best fantasy of any age. A promising beginning to a compelling series, this book also works as a standalone novel for children between the ages of ten and thirteen.

ZOVA Books has been working with Ms. Bellington on the release of this title since their inception. “East to Adonia is a very personal project for all of us,” says ZOVA Books Publisher, Molly Lewis. “We have been delighted to work with Jenny Bellington to bring her book to readers around the world. Its bold imagination and unrestrained wonder make it a story for readers of all ages.”

East to Adonia is available at book retailers across the country, on all digital platforms, and through Baker & Taylor Distributors.
Please visit Jenny's Website, Blog, Facebook, and Twitter to show your support!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Internet Book Fair Blogfest

Hey Everyone!

OPPRESSION won't be out until February, but I wanted to support my fellow authors and post about the Internet Book Fair Blogfest on M.A. Leslie's Blog. If you click on the picture below you will be taken to the virtual book fair where you can browse authors and their books.

If you are interested in my upcoming novel, soon to be published by ZOVA Books, check back here occasionally for updates. Click here for details about OPPRESSION, book one in my YA series CHILDREN OF THE GODS.

Have fun at the book fair...
I am sure most of you remember the book fairs that we had in school.  You know, they bring huge book stores on wheels and sell as many books as they possibly can in a few days. 
In our digital age, there is no reason that we can't and shouldn't have ourselves a good old fashion book fair to let everyone and anyone we know about our books.  If you're interested, sign up below and spread the word.  The more books we have to talk about, the better.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Buzz: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Okay, here I go again, getting all excited about a book I haven't read, but if Veronica Roth is recommending it, I'm in.

The book: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson


I've actually started reading the end of Divergent (for those who don't know, I tend to save the end of good books that I have trouble parting with. I never want them to be over). My heart sinks a little with each brilliant page, and soon I'll have finished *sad face.* Normally I would just leave it unfinished next to my bed (tempting me each morning and night) but I actually have a few books stacked up that may be good enough to fulfill my need for a page-turning story.

It's strange. I almost feel like I can't write unless I am being inspired by a good book. I was having a bit of a writing lull, but after picking up Divergent again, I wrote 20 pages. I'm about halfway through writing book two in my series CHILDREN OF THE GODS, and I only have 34 pages left in Divergent. *Melodramatic Scream* NO!!!

So, up next to inspire the writing bug in me, Blood Red Road by Moira Young. After that, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. After that, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

Thank you YA genre for adding a little spark to my reading life. I'm so grateful for this explosion of awesome stories and characters that suck me into a new world. Whether it's Dystopian, Paranormal, or Fantasy...I love you YA!

Which books are you anxiously awaiting? What is in your TBR (To Be Read) stack right now and why?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Live. Laugh. Love...Boston Trip

I've been very lucky that I've gotten to travel so much over the past year. This trip to Boston was for a family wedding (is EVERYONE getting married or what?). It was amazing! My stinkin' memory card filled up two days in, though, so you'll just have to take my word for it...Boston is fabulous. The city has SO much history...PLUS I met some of my new family. They're all Italian Boston-ers with thick accents. Everyone is a cousin and now they're all MY cousins.

In front of our hotel

Copley Square
Church built in the 1600's (yeah...before America!)

Dressed up for the wedding

Cove in Marblehead

The gorgeous couple!

 Speaking of weddings....MY OFFICIAL WEDDING PICTURES ARE IN!!!

Check Out Jessica and Brian's Slideshow
As photographer's, we had a great time interacting with you at Jessica and Brian's Patriotic Wedding. View our favorite highlights from the event by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Writer's Campaign Challenge #3

As part of Rachael Harrie's Platform-Building Campaign we've been given a third challenge:

Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:
  • that it’s morning, 
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.
Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: "synbatec," "wastopaneer," and "tacise."   (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them).

I watch Nathan’s lips move as he prattles on about the new world, but all I can see beyond the rusted bow of the ship is water, black as coal in the night.
A rush of air chills my skin, and I fake a yawn, in hopes that he’ll excuse himself. He does. Thank God.
When I stand to leave, I hear a bang and the clatter of splintering wood. The boards shake beneath my feet.
“Pirates!” someone shouts.
Another bang. This time I fall. I scream as I tumble over the edge, but nobody hears me. I hit the water with force, then nothing.


I wake to the taste of salty lips on mine as breath is forced into my lungs. I cough and choke up water, digging my fingers into the wet sand when I catch sight of the half-naked man above me.
“Synbatec,” he whispers.
I freeze.
“Where am I?”
The rising sun has stained the sky with pink, and I see no sign of the ship. I try to take deep breaths, but the smell of festering seaweed invades my nose.
He points to the jungle behind us.
“What?” I ask.
“Wastopaneer el tacise. Tu et Synbatec.” I can see every muscle flex beneath his coconut skin as he gestures with nervous eyes.
He beckons for me to follow him. My heart skips with hesitation, but I take his hand.
We walk in silence.
Without warning, a soundless arrow pierces my chest, and I cry out as sharp pain tears through me.
He catches me before I fall. I’m as good as dead. He grips the arrow, and I expect him to pull it out. Instead, the arrow disappears. The wound disappears. The pain is gone.
I stare at him. He smiles. We run.

If you liked my story, you can give it a thumbs up here. I'm #70.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Buzz: Blood Red Road

Maybe I shouldn’t be so excited about a book I haven’t read, but I am. The reviews I’ve been reading about Blood Red Road by Moira Young are crazy good. Some say it’s better than Divergent…I know. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Better than Divergent? Anyway, I’m anxiously awaiting its arrival in the mail. Good books always inspire me to write, and I’m in need of some good inspiration. I’m currently writing book two in my series CHILDREN OF THE GODS. It’s actually going really well, but I have a June deadline, so I’ve got to step it up a notch.

See what others had to say at Bookshelves of Doom. What book has you excited these days?


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Update on OPPRESSION

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link -- or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic:
What has your writing road trip looked like so far? Excitement? Traffic Jams and detours? Where are you going next?

What a fun topic this Wednesday! I've been wanting to give an update on the status of OPPRESSION. It's getting close...

For those of you who haven't been following my blog, OPPRESSION is book one of my YA series CHILDREN OF THE GODS. It is being published by ZOVA Books and will be available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. in regular old book form and as an e-book this February.

Over the past few months I've been consumed by the editing process. I'm not sure what other authors go through, but I imagine it's something similar to my experience. When I signed with ZOVA I assumed the publishing process went a little something like this:

Publisher: "You're book is amazing. We want to publish it."
Publisher: "Everything looks perfect. We'll fix all the little mistakes and get it in stores ASAP. Just sit back and watch the magic."
Me: "No problem. I'll just start writing the next one. See you in 8 months!"

Wow, right? I'm a bit of a dreamer, I know. Needless to say, that is NOT how it goes. After all the time you've slaved over that precious manuscript of yours (thinking all the while it is as perfect as anyone could make it) get ready for more work.

This is how it really goes:

Step One: Content Edits - So you remember that supposedly flawless manuscript you've slaved over? Get ready to hand that puppy's not so perfect after all. Thankfully the people that work for ZOVA are pretty close to writing super heroes. They didn't just take my manuscript as is and put it in print all easy breezy like I thought they would. Instead they opened my eyes to the weaknesses and the strengths of the story and gave me the opportunity to reorganize, take out chapters that didn't move the story forward, write in new scenes that are now key elements of the plot, and develop characters further. You can't imagine how much better the book is. Content edits are hard. They hurt. But they are worth it. If your publisher tells you your manuscript is flawless, you're either not getting the attention you deserve, or you're a super author genius and I hate you for being so dang perfect (just kidding...but seriously though).

Step Two: Fine-Tuning - After you get the email that says the content edits are good and you can move forward, don't get too excited. Although the really hard stuff is over, there is still a ton of work to be done. This second read-through is where you strip out redundant sentences, add more sensory details to the places that have too much internal monologue/narrative, and fine-tune sentences that seem choppy. 

Step Three: Line Edits - This is the most recent step I've taken on my writing road trip. Line edits mean it's the publisher/editor's turn to read through the manuscript and correct the remaining mistakes that you've failed to catch. These are mostly commas or whatever seems to be your bad writing habit (mine habit is comma placement...I'm terrible). After they do this, you then have to do a third read-through to approve the changes and make any last minute corrections. Sounds like the easy part, right? Unless, like me, you have to do it in two days. I didn't mind though. There was a reason behind the sudden rush to finish. Today they are having the largest book fair in the world in Frankfurt, Germany, and OPPRESSION is there! They're on the hunt for international publishers to pick up the series. It's very exciting...

As for what's next? I believe it is proofing (one last editing step) before ARCs are produced and sent out for reviews. Also, we drew up a mock cover, so that should be coming up soon as well. Stay tuned for updates!

Where are you on your writing journey?

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Buzz: Hunger Games Movie Update

165 days until the Hunger Games Movie! They came out with some more pictures on the official Hunger Games website and on Enjoy...




Friday, October 7, 2011

Live. Laugh. Love...Wedding Pics

Our wedding photographer, Jillian Bisinger, posted some teaser pics of my new husband and me on her photography blog. It's been three months since we got married, but it feels like forever (in a good way). I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful man in my life...not only because he's super awesome, but because when I write about love, it's not contrived, but inspired by genuine experience. It's easy to write a character who is in love when you know exactly what that feels like. Enjoy the pics :)