Young Adult Adult Scavenger Hunt Preview

I’m very excited to announce that I was selected to be part of an incredible event held twice a year for YA (Young Adult) authors – the YA Scavenger Hunt.

Below are all the details. I hope you’ll check back in a couple days when I have my posting up hosting author Leanna Renee Hieber and join the hunt. There are great prizes to be won! Plus check out incredible YA author Claire Legrand who will be hosting my book including a surprise, never before released bonus chapter for Sleeping in the Morgue!

Spring 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt Authors Announced!

Hello YA fans. It’s time once again for our Spring YA Scavenger Hunt. For those of you who’ve joined us before, welcome back! If you’re a newbie, you’re in for a treat! Twice a year we seek out fantastic YA authors with upcoming releases and give you a rare peek into exclusive material and do some fabulous giveaways and prizes along the way, including a chance to win a book from every author on the hunt!

To participate, all you need to do is pick an author to start with, head to their blog sometime between noon PST on April 3rd and noon PST on April 6th, and go from there. Follow the directions on the blog and hop from post to post until you’ve seen all the authors on that team. Then you can begin on team two!

If you get lost, don’t worry. You can always check in on the Hunt’s main webpage.

YA Scavenger Hunt

Here’s a sneak peek of the books that will be featured on the upcoming hunt.

THE BLUE TEAM

LUCY CONNORS

SHELLEY CORIELL

SARA B. LARSON

LEA NOLAN

C. J. REDWINE

P. J. HOOVER

LYNNE MATSON

AMALIE HOWARD

MY NOT SO SUPER SWEET LIFE

RACHEL HARRIS

KAY HONEYMAN

RACHEL CARTER

SARA RAASCH

PAULA STOKES

KRISTI HELVIG

ANGELA CORBETT

KRISTEN LIPPERT-MARTIN

JAYE ROBIN BROWN

MARI MANCUSI

RITA ARENS

JESSICA SPOTSWOOD

MAUREEN MCGOWAN

AMY CHRISTINE PARKER

APRIL TUCHOLKE

SASHI KAUFMAN

JEN MCCONNEL

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THE RED TEAM

JESSICA BRODY

TERA LYNN CHILDS

STACEY KADE

JESSICA SHIRVINGTON

SUSANNE WINNACKER

AMY PLUM

GRETCHEN MCNEIL

CLAIRE LEGRAND

JENNY LUNDQUIST

TRACY DEEBS

J. A. SOUDERS

KIMBERLY DERTING

MEGAN SHEPHERD

LIZ CZUKAS

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Firebird Trilogy: A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU

CLAUDIA GRAY

ALYXANDRA HARVEY

LEANNA RENEE HIEBER

CAT PATRICK

COLE GIBSEN

DEBRA DRIZA

JERI SMITH-READY

LISSA PRICE

COLLEEN HOUCK

AMBER ARGYLE

JENNIFER TRESSEN

Check back here to get started on the hunt on April 3rd for a chance to win amazing prizes! You won’t want to miss this!

Chapters of our life

Have you ever had a part of your life that you just had to finally close the door on?

It’s not a fun thing to do and you may be emotionally torn but it simply must be done in order to move on. While I’ve closed chapters of my own life book in the past there was one I was still leaving open to see if perhaps more pages would be filled in. That hasn’t happened. Instead it’s been years of questions without clear answers, wondering what she’s up to and trying to make sense of it all.

For awhile I actually believed she would make some kind of effort – why push us all away? However over time I realized that wasn’t going to happen. It never will. In fact, even with the letter I am going to drop off I don’t expect to hear anything in response. And that is fine, it’s her choice. She is the only one who will have to live with it.

The letter I’m going to write is a closing letter. It’s a way for me to close this chapter of my life. I have thousands of wonderful memories with this person, she was my best friend for practically all of childhood and our teenage years. But people change and grow apart. That’s what happened with us…at least I think. We no longer saw the world the same. Call it different experiences, different perspectives, different perceptions of reality even.

Like I said before – I don’t expect a response. This is just something I have to do for me. I have to put it all out there and tell her that I still feel the same I did years ago, that has not changed. However I want to wish her the best of luck in her adventures and let her know I do still think of her often and hope she can find her own happiness someday. Will we ever be friends again? Most likely not. We’ve missed so much of each other’s lives at this point that with the baggage which still exists it would be a difficult journey. Impossible – no, but hard, yes. Do I want to be friends again? I honestly don’t know. That’s the hard truth. It hurts saying that. But it is the truth. I just don’t know.

As I close this chapter of my life I feel lighter. While I’ll still always be curious what is going on in her life I know I’ll now spend less wasted time thinking about it and checking her online profiles and such for clues as to what is going on in her life. I’ll care less, because the reality of the situation is I’ve spent too much time caring. Maybe she was caring about me the same amount this whole time but I somehow doubt it. When she was going through what she called the toughest time of her life I reached out – even though it was the simplest, most indiscrete way possible – dropping off one of her favorite foods without saying a word. When I went through the toughest time of my life with a newborn in and out of hospitals wondering if he was going to survive there was no reaching out. Maybe she cared but was too scared to communicate in any form. Maybe she didn’t care. I may never know. And that’s alright. I’ve come to terms with that. Heck, maybe my thinking she should have cared is asking too much. I’m not sure.

I’m finally ready to say it. Four year later and that time is now. This is the end of the road for me. It doesn’t mean this chapter won’t have a sequel and reappear later on in life. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. However this chapter, the one I’ve spent the majority of my life with, is closed. This for me is a big “Moment of Truth.” Goodbye friend. I wish you all the best.

Somehow it keeps coming back…

Life is funny in that sometimes the thing you start to pull away from often comes right back and smacks you in the face. In times like these you have to wonder….is it meant to be?

Over the past year or so I’ve been a bit removed from the world of screenwriting. Still working, but not as much as I once did. I questioned where I was in the business and what was working for me. So, I began the transition into writing novels. Then a couple weeks ago several old faces reappeared – clients I once worked for who needed more work. But there was one which stood out…and he presented a unique opportunity…

I understand this is cryptic but let’s just say the universe is bringing me back into the world of screenwriting….and I’m so excited! I always knew deep down I had a talent for screenwriting, which has been verified with the work I’ve been given. However, it still feels really good when you get that certification from someone again.

The project I’m working on now is incredibly exciting and I hope to be able to report wonderful news to you soon. Let me just say it’s an animated children’s show aimed at preschool/early elementary aged kids (my favorite)! We’ve been hard at work developing all the creative materials while the rest of the amazing team brings all the other elements together.

I haven’t been this excited about a project in such a long time. Can’t wait to see where this road takes me…for now I am at the very least thankful for this opportunity and the way it has made me feel about my own talents in this past week. The anticipation once the pilot is down will likely torture me as we wait to see what the channel says….oh I can’t wait and we’ve only just begun!

Cheers to new adventures!

Writing breeds loneliness

Being a writer you are almost always alone at work. It’s you and the keyboard. You and the page. It’s hard being alone all the time.  Yet another reason being a writer is so unglamorous.

Most people go to work and have co-workers to socialize with, customers/clients to interact with, human beings to speak to. As a writer you are confined to your office or workspace and sit in front of a computer screen or write in a notebook. It can be very lonely.

I find inspiration in going out and living life – that is my “research time.” However when it comes down to actual writing it’s easy to be distracted and stray off on internet searches, do household chores and other things to pass the time and fill in the void of human contact.

So I’ve found it sort of fun to make friends with my characters. I try to develop relationships with each character to strengthen my understanding of them and bring more life to each person. It’s embarrassing to say, but I pretend to have conversations with them aloud as I write dialogue. I love hearing the words to see if they fit. I talk to myself. Does anyone else do this?

How do you feel about the loneliness of being a writer? Any cures for writers’ isolation?

Interview with Jesse Wilson author of “Faces On My Wall”

Faces On My Wall Tour Banner

If you didn’t read my review the other day go back to the archives and check it out. I enjoyed reading his work! Here’s a little bit about Jesse and Faces On My Wall.

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About Jesse Wilson

Jesse Wilson is a motivational performer, professional speaker, author, teacher, and visual artist. A life-long involvement with theatre and film as both performer and writer began early, growing up in Hollywood, CA. A theatre graduate of The Juilliard School in New York City, Jesse developed material for his one-man shows that have been performed across the country. His solo production, Face the City, written for high school and college audiences, combines visual and animation projections in a multimedia presentation of a young artist’s journey to find his voice in the “real world.” His children’s book The Night the Moon Ate My Room! written and performed for young audiences to experience self-discovery, is created with the support of The Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration and Pikes Peak Library District. Integrating the arts and especially the powerful tool of improvisation, a program that Jesse has developed entitled “Making Perfect Mistakes!” helps people (like educators, business owners, at-risk teenagers, and every one else a part of the human race!) overcome the pitfalls of perfectionism that so often hinder the creative mind. Please visit his website at www.jessewilsonproductions.com for more information on what Jesse Wilson is doing in the “community at large”.

Author Links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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FACES ON MY WALL

A coming-of-age story and a comedic tour-de-force, meet Jamey Fuller, a cocky California kid who achieves his wildest ambition: admission to The Juilliard School in New York City, the country’s most prestigious acting school. Once there, he is sure, he will find fame and glory. He will dance on tables, as in “Fame.” He will take his place among the Great Actors of his time, freed from the fear of becoming just like his father, a director of Hollywood TV spots. But the reality proves hilariously brutal, as Jamey grapples with Shakespeare, lust, disillusionment, cut-throat classmates and imperious teachers. FACES ON MY WALL is a privileged glimpse into the bizarre hidden world of an actor’s training, a poignant father-and-son story, and the chronicle of a young man’s painful gropings toward maturity.

Faces On My Wall: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

And now onto the interview…..

Faces On My Wall is a very personal novel, written about your experiences at Juilliard. Now your main character is named Jamey Fuller, why not write the novel as an autobiography and actually use your own name? Is all of the novel true or did you use a bit of artistic license to dramatize situations?

I took a lot of liberties in the narrative, characters, and chronology of the novel. The feeling, however, I mean the overall tone, the general experience of Juilliard in the book was very similar to the world that I experienced during those four years in intense training. The reason I ultimately chose to make the book a novel instead of a memoir or autobiography was simply out of pure interest and fascination, (and maybe a few legalities I didn’t want to face, either!). Creating Jamey Fuller allowed me to see this “character” from all dimensions, and also put so many other “voices” into him from other people that I knew who struggled with ambition into this one guy. I like how Jamey Fuller really is a “symbol person” for me. Concerning my own personal challenges during my time at Juilliard, Jamey Fuller allowed me to “objectivity” a lot of those emotions that were difficult to articulate just as a memoir. But certainly, it was not a clear cut decision to leap into the novel vs. the memoir. 

Have you stayed in contact with any of your friends from Juilliard?

A few. The door has opened pretty wide since the publication of Faces On My Wall, so I’m happy to say that I’ve reunited with a lot of people I lost contact with over the years. And Facebook also helps enormously!

If you could tell a young person who wants to be an actor and study at Juilliard three things, what would you say?

The first thing I’d tell that young person is to begin to create an awareness of what it means  to be an artist in the first place. At least to begin thinking about it. I think most young people approach acting with the idea of becoming famous and having the shiny golden man in your hand. That’s a nice image to aim for, of course, but there’s so much more than that.

The second thing I’d say is read Rilke’s Letters To A Young Poet. And the third, and here comes’s the shameless self-promotion, read Faces On My Wall. It’s all about humility while maintaining the integrity of your voice in the world. To me, that’s a very important teaching tool, humility, maybe almost as much as a great acting class. Again, having that awareness before training, I think, would be essential to an actor’s training, whether they’re interested in Juilliard or not.

“It was Friday. Fridays we were kings.” Can you elaborate on the importance of this in your youth? Do you still feel the same way now?

I wish I did. Fridays, now, I’m king of the couch! But back then… Yes, I felt this way. Friday night was pure magic, and it was about owning the night with my three teenage friends. They’re named differently in the novel, but in the solo stage play (the adaptation of the novel) they’re named The Painter, The Journalist, The Composer, and the Jamey Fuller character is, of course, The Performer. Though one of them is dead, I know I’m speaking for those guys when I say, we knew what we had was magic and it wouldn’t last long. It was Dead Poet’s Society times ten!  Those Friday nights collectively we molded our identities, or what we wanted to be our identities, we discovered our voices, and they were all about counter-culture and defiance and pure artistic expression. It was beautiful, it was chaos, it was all the stuff Jim Morrison was singing about.

It was also our way of dealing with the agony that that we didn’t have any girlfriends yet!

What motivated you to come up with the idea to make your experiences into a traveling presentation for school audiences? How are the shows being received?

Never performing on stage has never been an option for me as much as I love sitting down in a very quiet place and writing. So knowing that I didn’t want to escape the stage, a number of years ago, I had to ask myself, what are the stories that still run deeply through me and won’t let themselves die? What am I still struggling with in this life? What do I need to learn? And it all came winding back to this novel. I’m so grateful to say that my stage work is being well received, especially in “Face the City.” The feedback I’ve received from students (and teachers, who mostly were teenagers when I was) is that the show speaks directly to the heart of adolescence– kids, who are just beginning to question their place in this world.

In the novel you wrote about a “magic window” from which you watched the snow fall when you were six years old. Do you have any sort of “magic windows” now? What are they or where are they located and what do they mean to you?

This is such a great question. Thank you so much for asking it. I still feel that way about the snow… maybe it’s being from LA, but I still feel that it’s kind of like a miracle every time I see snow fall. I always feel lucky. I never want it to stop, but it always does. And whatever window I’m looking out of, whether it’s my office, hotel room, car, plane… that window becomes a magic window. It’s about safety, comfort, feeling quiet, hidden. Feeling like a kid witnessing Narnia for the first time.

Are you working on another novel?

I am more than halfway into my second novel, which is the continuation of Jamey Fuller’s journey into marriage (take cover!) and adulthood. I’m hoping to have the book complete by the end of this summer. 

Do you still want to be an actor?

Haha, I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am an actor, whether I like it or not. I’ve run away from the stage so many times because I never felt I was good enough, or that somehow that world had let me down and I couldn’t face it, but I’m so glad I don’t feel that way now. I love performing, in whatever capacity I’m performing in. Being an actor has taken on a much larger “role” than I ever intended, certainly when I was at Juilliard. No other word quite describes it as grateful. Like seeing an old friend come back. Or… like looking out of a magic window.

GIVEAWAY

***Any contestant that uses dummy or contest only accounts to enter will be disqualified.***

Grand prize:

Signed copy of FACES ON MY WALL with $30 Amazon giftcard (US/CA only)

Second prize (5):

ebook copy of FACES ON MY WALL (international)

Enter at the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you want to follow Jesse’s book tour, here is the schedule.

TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, March 3rd – A Book and a Latte

Wednesday, March 5th – Jennifer Tressen

Friday, March 7th – Book Blogger Mom

Monday, March 10th – Once Upon a Twilight

Tuesday, March 11th – Daily Actor
 Wednesday, March 12th – Plain Talk Book Marketing

Friday, March 14th – The Real Bookshelves of Room 918

Monday, March 17th –  Heather Reid
Wednesday, March 19th –  Lost in Ever After
Friday, March 21st – My Life in Books

Read Across America Day

It’s “Read Across America” day!

What’s that? you ask.

It’s a day which aims to promote the importance of literacy – especially to children.

When I was a child my mother constantly reminded us of the importance of being literate. She said that those who could read and write were capable of doing anything they wanted. We were also poor and she had been her entire life so she understood other things; like how going to the library was free and reading a book could you take you on an adventure anywhere in the world. She often said, “You can go anywhere in a book. You can be anyone.” That still sticks with me today.

Thus I love this day. As of now my boys love having me read books to them. I hope their passion for books continue to grow more and more through the years.

So I urge everyone today to take the time to read a story to a child if you have the chance. I often find myself reading a story aloud to my kids in a public place and suddenly several other interested children gather around. It’s a wonderful gift you can give for free – the simple reading of a book or telling of a tale.

Help grow the minds of children by enriching them through reading.

Happy Read Across America Day!

Book Review – Faces On My Wall

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I recently had the privilege of reading Faces On My Wall by Jesse Wilson. If you are interested in the performing arts this is an intriguing book you should pick up.

The story centers around Jamey Fuller, a cocky kid from California growing up in Hollywood being raised by a commercial spot director who wished he was making movies and pushy stage mom. After being accepted into Julliard’s prestigious acting school Jamey is faced with the realities of being an actor, dealing with deceitful peers, teachers and trying to make sense of the world around him. New York is a very different town than LA and while Jamey feels more like himself in the shadows of big buildings he struggles to find his own voice all the time in the midst of lust, success and failure. In the end it’s a coming of age tale which tests a young man’s strength to push forward and the ties which bind the relationships of his family.

Faces On My Wall was written based on Jesse Wilson’s own experiences at Julliard and beyond. I was fascinated with some of the tales of how classes and weeknights were spent by students, it was a fun look into this exclusive community. As a former actor myself I also enjoyed the chapters about his experiences auditioning for television shows, commercials and working with agents and such. There was a fair balance of the various storylines however I wish there had been more time spent on some of the smaller items while at Julliard – such as other classes, the buildings themselves and how the grandeur made him feel, the writing he did while in school and so forth.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is curious about what going to a prestigious arts school like Julliard entails, those who are interested in acting, or even those who simply enjoy the tale of a boy chasing down a dream.

Check back on Wednesday for my interview with author Jesse Wilson!

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