From Imagination To Publication

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Well it’s official. Book two in my series CHILDREN OF THE GODS will be published by ZOVA Books in 2013!

I’m so excited to be working with ZOVA on my next book. I’ve heard horror stories about publishers that take a writer’s precious manuscript and write all over the top of it, making it something it was never intended to be. Now, maybe those stories are like urban myths…they don’t really happen, but they’re every writer’s worst nightmare. Still, the thought can be scary.

Thankfully ZOVA isn’t like that. They brainstorm, suggest, inspire, find holes, catch mistakes, give honest feedback and work magic. I mean, the fact that I can sit down with the CEO for half a day to discuss book details is amazing to me. I’m so lucky to have a publisher I can work one on one with.

So, book two is in the works. It’s not all the way done, but I can see a glimmer at the end of the tunnel. I’ve given it a name (one I can’t tell you due to the George Clooney fiasco) but the fact that it has a name means I have love for it. In fact, I love it every bit as much as I loved my first book-baby, OPPRESSION.

Despite the news and the excitement, there’s still a long road ahead of me and a lot of work to be done.

Wish me luck!

What are some of your favorite book series, and what makes you love them so much?

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Buzz: YA Movies

The Monday after Thanksgiving…duhn duhn duhn. Back to work, back to eating healthy, back to working out, back to the real world. After spending nearly every moment in my comfy cozies, I’m having trouble adjusting back to normal people clothes. My pants are definitely a bit more snug than I remember, but it was SO worth it. Practicing being lazy worked out as planned. I was Queen of the pajama rats, running the world from my tiny pink laptop.

I did, however, manage to brave the crazies on Black Friday. Not for shopping (I wasn’t about to get pepper sprayed for a two-dollar toaster). Why else would I risk being mauled by insane zombie shoppers, you ask? Um, hello…Breaking Dawn!

Maybe I was too excited about it. I don’t know. I was just sort of disappointed. I thought it was slow, kind of cheesy, and awkward. The funny thing is, my husband was the one sucked in. Although…I still have the urge to see it again, like it might be better the second time (which it might be). I think my expectations were somewhere out of this galaxy. I need a do-over.

So for all of you who haven’t seen it, here’s a little teaser. Don’t forget to tell me your thoughts on the movie.

AND (I know I’m a little late in posting this) for everyone who has yet to see the Hunger Games Movie trailer, TAH DAH!

How was your holiday? Any crazy shopper stories? Did you like Breaking Dawn?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Debut Novel Sneak Peek - First Look at OPPRESSION

This waiting game is torture...let's be honest. It's the one thing all of us writers have in common no matter where we are on the road to publication. Currently I'm waiting for cover art and...other secret awesome stuff I can't talk about (but really really want to). However, despite the waiting, I finally get to share something with you! My publisher has agreed to let me post a sneak peek into my debut novel OPPRESSION. Let me know what you think of my little teaser...

When I left Cearno’s in a state of half sleep, I found the door to my apartment ajar. I grabbed the knob and pushed it open with caution, assuming I had forgotten to close it all the way.
“Hello?” I asked, just in case.
No answer. I shut the door behind me.
It wasn’t until I reached the top of the stairs that I felt something wet on my palm and realized I had blood on my hand. I made my way to the sink, looking for where I’d cut myself when I heard her.
“It’s not your blood,” Kara said from behind me, making me jump a foot in the air.
“What are you doing here, Kara?” I asked, callous and guarded. The last time I’d seen her, she’d stabbed me in the leg.
She was slumped down in the corner, sitting on the floor of my kitchen, a bloody mess.
My face registered with shock. “What happened to you?” 
I waited for an answer, but she only glanced at me briefly, annoyed by the question, and continued staring off into the distance.
“Are you hurt?” 
If she wasn’t going to talk to me I would find out for myself. I knelt down in front of her, looking over her blood stained hands, arms and face. She seemed fine.
“It’s not my blood either,” she said, her eyes finally meeting mine.

OPPRESSION tells the story of a young woman who discovers that she belongs to a secret society of individuals with extraordinarily long life spans and unusual abilities. Fearful of prophecies about their only daughter, her parents kept her hidden from the world – and the society – for as long as they could. But when their own untimely deaths leave her to fend for herself, the truth of her origins and the fateful prophecy find her at last. Joining the ranks of such widely popular works as the Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, and the Mortal Instruments series, Mrs. Therrien's paranormal romance/adventure promises to be the next fan-favorite in its genre.

The rest of the novel will be out on February 28, 2012. Stay tuned for more information on OPPRESSION, book one in my series CHILDREN OF THE GODS, published by ZOVA Books.

Feel like sharing a sneak peek from your novel/WIP? I'd love to read it. Post a link in the comments!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Writing World: Interview with Cherie Colyer

I've met so many amazing authors since I've joined the overwhelmingly large and super awesome online community of bloggers, and Cherie Colyer is one of them. Like me, Cherie's debut novel is coming out soon! I thought it would be fun to interview her about it.

So Cherie...

When will your book be out?  

Embrace will be available on December 20, 2011. I’ll be announcing the Virtual Launch Party on my blog ( on November 22nd. I hope you’ll stop by then to learn how to join the fun.

What is Embrace about?

Embrace is a teen paranormal romance about a girl who discovers there are unseen forces in the world, and she’ll need to embrace these forces to save her friends.

Madison Riley hates change. For her, nothing good ever comes from it and this year everything’s changing. She begins to believe that change might not be all bad when she meets Isaac. He’s handsome and fun to be around, but he’s a guy with a secret. Madison is willing to risk the unknown to be with him; reasoning with herself that whatever it is that makes him choose his words carefully can’t be that bad.

Her life spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctor’s can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own and nothing could have prepared her for what she discovers.

Check out her blog for a great teaser (here...)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Oh, this is a good question. When I first started writing, it was for myself. I wanted to see where my characters were headed and how they’d get there. I must have been writing for close to two years before I called myself a writer. By that time I had written a couple books that I knew needed work, I had joined SCBWI and a critique group, and I was in the process of taking a writing course to learn more about writing for children. I knew then that I was a writer. The bug had hit me and no matter what happened with my books, I would always be a writer.

How did you come up with the title?  

The title for Embrace came to me as I was writing the first draft. Let me see if I can answer this question without giving away any spoilers, so I apologize now if I’m vague. The title became Embrace as soon as I realized Madison would have to embrace the unknown to save her friends. She’ll have to choose to embrace change and take control of her life or let change determine her future and who will be in it. Since friends are very important to Madison, there is also the embrace or security of being with her friends and of course the embrace of a strong guy. That one word became the perfect title for this book.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?  

I tend to struggle with finding a good balance of intrigue, detail and action in the first chapter of my books. I know if there is too much detail, I risk pulling readers out of the scene or boring them. If I don’t have enough detail the reader will become lost. It can be just as confusing to someone who doesn’t know the characters and their world if I jump into the action too quickly. I probably wrote a dozen versions of chapter one before I was happy with it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?   

Keep writing and revise, revise, revise. I know writers hear this all the time, but there is a reason people have nicknamed the first draft the sh--ty first draft. If you haven’t already, join a critique group. The amount of knowledge I gained and the friendships that developed are invaluable. And lastly, read. Study what it is you like or dislike about a particular book and apply these things to your own writing.

If you could be a character in any fiction, who would you be? Why?  

It’s a toss-up, so I’m going to cheat and tell you both. On one hand I want to say Mystique from the X-men. She’s extremely intelligent, that alone is a huge must for me. But Mystique is also great in a fight. She’s cunning, loyal and even though she’s a mutant, she’s still very human. And then there’s her ability to turn into anybody. Think of the possibilities.  Then I thought about magic and the ability to conjure just about anything I wanted if I were a witch. Since there’s no better witch than Hermione – who is smart, cunning and one of the best friends a person could have – I would chose her.

Where can people purchase Embrace?   

Embrace will be sold at,, and from my publisher at

Cherie is always dreaming of romance and expressing her dreams in stories. She combined her passion for writing with her fascination of all things mythical to weave together a youth romance story that led to her debut novel, Embrace.

You can find Cherie here...

Embrace Website

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Buzz: Divergent Update

I finally (and reluctantly) finished Divergent last weekend *sigh* which means I have to join the rest of you in waiting for the next book. I was hoping I could hold out on finishing it until Insurgent was released, but that was just unrealistic. The book was basically whispering my name as it sat next to me on my nightstand while I me, Jessica. Please. Read me.

I caved.

Fine Veronica Roth. You win. I can't resist your powers. UGH!

 It's been a week and I'm still thinking about how flippin' awesome it was.

So, in Divergent news...we wait. We salivate over the cover of Insurgent and imagine the genius inside (No pressure Veronica). She's in the editing stage, which means the contents are out there, somewhere in the world...

...AND we check Variety and Entertainment Weekly for any more news on the movie deal. What's that, you say? Movie Deal?


Summit Entertainment has the film rights to Divergent with Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher set to produce it! Come on people...get on it. I want to see this thing on screen already. Sadly there isn't much more news to report, but IMDB lists the date as 2015. Bummer.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Live.Laugh.Love...Athena Saige

Forgive this second post about my love for my nieces...I'm just still not over it yet. Athena was born only 2 weeks ago!

Babies are cute, and I love them all. So when my first niece Cadence was born, I knew I would love her too, and I knew that love would be special. I just didn't know how special. I wasn't expecting to love her like she was my own, but I do. When I heard there was a niece #2 on the way, honestly, I didn't know if I could love another baby like I love my niece Cadence. I just couldn't imagine sharing that love. In my mind, I was already loving to capacity...she had my whole heart. How could there be any more to give?

Two weeks ago, I learned a big lesson on love. There is no such thing as loving to capacity...the heart can grow and make room for more, because sure enough, I love Athena equally. As if she were my own.

Only six more days until I meet the newest little love of my life...I can't wait.

Who are your little loves, and what lessons on love have you learned recently?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Writing Superpowers

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 are your writing and publishing superpowers? (drafting? beta-reading? writing queries? plotting? character creation? etc.) -- and what's your kryptonite?
The neat-freak in me is the source of my writing superpower. I guess it’s no surprise I have a knack for proof-reading and polishing my manuscript. I’m not saying my manuscripts are perfect when I turn them in, but I like to think they are cleaner than most. In reality, you can’t catch everything, but I like to try. (Now watch me post this with a million errors…)

I wish my superpower was something different….something a little more useful. In my writer fantasy world, I would be able to sit down at the computer and type chapter after chapter of genius plot without stopping to blink. My writing doesn’t just pour out of me like that. It never has. When it does, it’s rare. That’s not for lack of ideas, but more a symptom of my perfectionism that won’t let me move past a scene that hasn’t been molded and groomed. Sometimes I look at books like Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows or Breaking Dawn and think, How did they write such a long book? Didn’t it take them forever?

Thankfully National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has helped me to overcome the nit-pickiness that is my kryptonite. The solution…just write for the sake of writing. Because you have a goal. Because you need to get it out. Because you need to move on.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo…

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

See what I mean…
My hope is to write on the fly every time I write. So far, it’s working.

What are your writing superpowers and what's your kryptonite?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Buzz: The Host Movie Cast

At this point I'm sure nothing is set in stone, but it's still fun to browse the possible choices for the male leads in The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Variety came out with an article (here) on who's being considered...squeeee!

I have no idea if the article is credible, but it also mentions that Stephenie Meyer wants The Host to be the first book in a trilogy. When I read that, I immediately read it again...a trilogy? Wait, what? AWESOME! I hope it's true...

Write on Stephenie Meyer! In the meantime, at least I can be excited about the movie, because that is a sure thing.

If you've read my past posts, you know that Saoirse Ronan is to star as Melanie Stryder. She's a little more delicate than I imagined Melanie, but after seeing Jennifer Lawrence transform into Katniss for The Hunger Games, I'm hoping she'll transform into her character just as easily.

As for the boys....drum roll please....

According to the Variety article: 

Liam Hemsworth ("The Hunger Games"), Kit Harington ("Game of Thrones"), Jai Courtney ("One Shot") and Max Irons ("Red Riding Hood") will test for the role of Jared, Melanie's boyfriend. 

Who do you think makes the best Jared? ...I'm going with Liam or Jai. It's hard to choose.

Liam Hemsworth

Kit Harington

Jai Courtney

Max Irons

Dane DeHaan ("In Treatment"), Thomas McDonnell ("Prom"), Augustus Prew ("The Borgias") and Ronan's "Lovely Bones" co-star Jake Abel will test for the role of Ian, who brutalizes Wanderer before falling in love with her.

Who do you think makes the best Ian? ...I'm 100% for Thomas (super cute).

Dane DeHaan

Thomas McDonnell

Augustus Prew

Jake Abel

 It's just for fun, but who do you vote for?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Live.Laugh.Love: Inspiration

This week, we’ll cater to those of us who are completely possessive over our WIPs and don’t want to give anything too telling away. Instead of posting something intimate about our writing, post a picture or piece of music that describes your WIP.
What do you look to when you write? What inspires you? How else do you use your creativity? Music? Pictures? Art?

I love writing. I know that's obvious, but when others want to talk about writing and what inspires my writing, it gets me excited. I've posted these pictures before, but they still remind me so much of OPPRESSION. I see my characters when I look at these photos. Elyse is quiet, shy, and lonely. Because of who she is (or what she is) she doesn't allow herself to have friends or fall in love, but when she meets William, everything changes. Life seems perfect...for a while. Time is not on her side.


Saves The Day - Hold
Foofighters - Everlong
Bright Eyes - First Day of My Life
Des'ree - Kissing You

Music truly inspires a lot of my writing. More so than pictures. I'm sort of in need for new music. Any suggestions? What songs have been inspiring your work lately? 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Be Honest...I Can Take It!

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 kind of writing coach do you need? When you have to coach friends, what kind of coach are you?

I don't know where I would be without my critique partners and the three musketeers at ZOVA (Dan, Matt, and Molly). They give me the one thing every writer needs to improve their work—the truth.

Many writers are afraid to share their work because they are afraid someone will tell them that it’s terrible. They’d rather stay in the fantasy world where their manuscript is perfect and everyone loves it. I don’t blame them. I lived in that fantasy world for a while. It’s nice, but it’s lonely and confusing, as you think to yourself, “Why don’t these agents know my book is awesome?” *crickets* Oh yeah, nobody’s there to answer you!

The way I see it, the flaws in your manuscript are like food in your teeth. Do you really want a writing coach (or critique partner) who is going to look you straight in the face and let you keep talking like they don’t see it? No. You want someone who says, “Hey buddy, here’s a mirror. Take a look at what I see. You’ve got a mouth full of spinach.”

Sure you’ll feel a little embarrassed at first. I mean, you didn’t know you had food in your teeth (or flaws in your manuscript) but aren’t you glad someone told you! Otherwise, you’d just keep on going around thinking everything is fine and dandy, meanwhile everyone is staring at you like you’re some weirdo for not knowing.

Get a thick skin and welcome an honest critique. You’ll be glad you did, because in the end, your book will be that much better. Thanks to my brutally honest critique partners and amazing publisher, OPPRESSION is the best it can be. 

Remember that honest critiquing goes both ways. It's hard to tell someone that their precious manuscript needs work, but do your writer friends a favor and be the bad guy every once in a while. You better believe my critiques aren’t sugar-coated. They are real, honest, harsh, and that’s how my critique partners and I like it. It may sound a bit like an abusive relationship, but our comments are always constructive and from the heart. Being honest doesn't give you the right to be mean.

Now, that being said, we all need that vote of confidence, and at the end of the day nobody has supported me and my work like my family. Of course they are a little biased, but every writer gets knocked down, and you need someone to pick you back up. A good writing coach/critique partner is key, but a team of cheerleaders doesn’t hurt! Love you guys!

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given? Do you have any stories about brutally honest critiques? Did a critique change the way you looked at your book? Please share!!