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Teaching fail of the day…

Every now and again on my car rides to school, I conceive brainchildren. These are exciting, lightbulb ideas that spring into my head out of nowhere, inspiring a flow of excited, positive thoughts such as, “By golly, that’s it!”, “What a great idea!” and, my personal favorite, “I am a genius!” Some brainchildren are far more superior than others, and make it beyond the car ride to paper or the plan book. It’s just a matter of how inspired I am by the idea to make it work. But putting this into action is a different story, and sometimes the great idea in my head looks quite different in the end. Many of my best stories and plays have evolved from these brainchildren, while an equal number of fails have occurred.

Today, was a failure. On a whim, I decided I was a creative person who belonged on some “most shared” list on Pinterest, and I decided to try my hand at making a rainforest tree on my bulletin board. Here is the result:
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Lesson learned? I should stick to pen and paper (or keyboard and screen, actually) because Art and design are still not my forte.

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My First Signing!

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Hi guys!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mostly because I have been hard at work on Spiral’s sequel, Twist. It’s coming along, but I could definitely use, I don’t know, say a good two months off to finish the manuscript?! Thank god summer vacay is around the corner!!

So the coolest news I have to share is that I held my first ever book signing on Saturday! The Barnes and Noble in Poughkeepsie, NY, hosted a Local Author Event and invited me to join a panel of 6 other authors to present our work and hold a discussion/Q&A. It was exciting, and naturally I went all out! I got a sign, ordered lots of books and business cards to hand out, and I even picked up fancy, sparkly red cloth to drape behind the sign. Here’s a shot of what it looked like:

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I was super nervous, even though it was mostly my friends and family at the event. Still, the questions they asked made me realize I need to brush up on my “canned” responses for what the book is about and where I got the inspiration from, yadda yadda.

Either way, I loved every minute of it, and it was the first moment when I realized I can call myself an author! Not to mention the perk of telling folks, “I had a book signing this weekend for my new novel” when asked what my weekend plans were. And this sign btw (by the fabulous Minutemen of RVC in Long Island, NY) is to die for:

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Of course, I need to be able to use this sign again, so I’ve already contacted the Barnes and Noble of Mohegan Lake, near my hometown of Cortlandt Manor, to see if they do the same program. Stay tuned!

XOXO

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Spiral by Jacqueline Levine

Jacqueline Levine:

A great interview by Prudence of Peace, Love, and Writing! Thanks, Prudence!

Originally posted on Peace, Love and Writing:

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Virtual Book Tour Dates: 2/27/14 – 3/27/14

Genres: Young Adult, Young Adult Contemporary Romance, Chick lit

Tour Promotional Price: $.99

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Still adjusting to life with his new stepfamily, complete with annoying twin sisters, seventeen-year-old Jack Hansen thought his Christmas Eve dinner couldn’t get any more complicated – until celebutante Cherie Belle walks into the room. The niece of Jack’s new stepfather, Jack had no idea the young starlet was even in the family. But his initial excitement quickly fades when the teen queen ruins dinner, humiliates his little brother, and storms out, leaving the blame for the night’s demise to fall squarely on Jack’s shoulders.

But then tragedy strikes for America’s tabloid princess, and Jack and his family are all Cherie has left. Suddenly, Jack finds himself riding the roller coaster that is Cherie Belle’s life: fending off the paparazzi, moving to California, and being cast in the tabloids as…

View original 1,376 more words

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In Memory of Paul Walker

Today, I am saddened by the news of Paul Walker’s tragic death. I’ll be the first to say I never knew him, he wasn’t in my top five favorite actors, and I begrudgingly went to see the Fast and Furious movies with my obsessed friends. But the news was difficult to read nonetheless because already I see how inundated all of the channels and websites have become with the story. I keep thinking, “His poor family must be suffering.”

Paul Walker’s death hits a little close to home, too. I had written a very similar scene in the sequel for Spiral involving Jack and his friend. I feel terrible and torn now, and I do not know if I should include the scene. My husband said, “Art imitates life,” but I don’t necessarily agree in this instance. I will have to think long and hard about using that scene because no one wants to repeat such an awful tragedy for the sake of art.

When I wrote Spiral, and now as I write Twist, the other side of a celebrity’s story is my goal. They’re people, you know, just like us. They have families and friends and, in his case, children. I want my readers to find empathy for the famous and their families because what we call “news” are stories about their lives. How painful and difficult it must be to have to live through tragedy in the public eye.

Imagine you’re Paul Walker’s 15 year old daughter, and you have to not only face the fact that your father has died in a terrible way, but you won’t be able to escape the images or the talk of it for days, maybe even weeks. Online, at the grocery store, in class, there will be whispers, pictures, gossip – constant reminders when all she will want to do is make it go away. Then there will be the careless, insensitive people who dare to say, “That’s what you get for living your life like your films.” For shame, people.

My heart goes out to Paul Walker’s family and friends at this time. My prayers are with them as they try to navigate through this tragedy and move on without him. I hope the media can give them the space and time to grieve they deserve.

XOXO

 

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New Review!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I received something extra special to be thankful for this week – a great review by an awesome blogger named Bianca! You can read all about her experience reading Spiral here: http://www.pages-of-forbidden-love.com/2013/11/26/spiral/

The ladies of Forbidden Love have a lot of great insights into YA and romance books, so check out their reviews of other books while you’re there! Thanks, Bianca – and a happy and healthy holiday season to all!

XOXO

 

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TWIST EXCERPT!!!

Happy Friday, one and all!

I am happy to finally be able to provide a little excerpt for the upcoming sequel to Spiral, titled Twist. Jack and Cherie have new battles to face and big sacrifices to make, but the biggest sacrifice they may have to make just might be each other. Here is the working promotional text for the book: 

People make mistakes; nobody’s perfect. But when the world is watching, waiting for you to fall, expecting  you  to crack, they’re going to find what they’re looking for. They’re going to see you however they want to see you. 

I didn’t do anything terrible. I just forgot I’m a celebrity now. And guess what? There’s no such thing as secrets for celebrities; especially not me. I’m Cherie Belle’s  misogynist boyfriend. I’m the guy who got jumped by Caz Farell and Dominck Furst. I’m a loose cannon who was sent to a court-ordered anger management program. I’m a top, undecided college football recruit. I’m the face of the new Whitewater campaign.

I’m the guy who cheated on his girlfriend.  

What’s fact and what’s fiction? Who knows – doesn’t matter. I’m whoever the media says I am now. The only person I’m not is the one person I want to be more than anything: Jack Hansen.

But I don’t know who he is anymore, and I don’t think I’ll ever be him again.  

Check out the excerpt to the book now! TWIST EXCERPT Then take this poll to let me know what you think!

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Music for Inspiration

“What the hell are you listening to?” my good friend Cristin cries over the wailing Righteous Brothers tune that blasts from my iPad. It’s 6:00am, and I am getting ready for her to bring me to the train after a fun, impromptu sleepover. 

I glance up innocently from my makeup bag and look at her reflection in the mirror. “It’s Unchained Melody. It’s a classic.”

She scrunches her face. “God, do you miss Alex that much? It was one night!” She’s referring to our Girls Night, which led to me spending my first evening away from my husband in a very long time.

But that wasn’t why I was getting ready alongside this sad playlist, aptly titled “Twist” after my upcoming sequel, which is chock full of weepy love songs about broken hearts and devastation. I immediately set to explaining that, like many authors, I listen to some pretty select music to get me in the mood for writing.

“It’s the playlist for the book I’m writing. I sort of build soundtracks that map out a story,” I tell her. No kidding; I actually arrange the songs in the order of the book’s chapters because every scene I write has a song for inspiration. Think of it as a mental “Glee” episode. Nuts, right? It gets better: As an added bonus of strange, I sometimes hit ‘repeat’ on the song until I’m finished writing the chapter because no other song will do. I know…simply batshit crazy, isn’t it?

There’s more: While I get ready in the morning, or on the train on my way to work, or while I cook, I listen to this playlist so that I can stay in the mood of my characters and the story. Real life can pull you out of your characters’ heads, and it is tough to go through the motions of a normal day as yourself until that blessed hour or twenty minutes or whatever you have to sit and take the time to write as those imaginary people. Hence, I use the music to maintain a steady flow of emotion for whatever part of the story I am on.

Unfortunately for Cristin, I’m writing the brutal parts of Twist right now, and she had to endure the heartbroken ballads at an ungodly time of the morning. Staying in this frame of mind is essential, though. These chapters and scenes will suck readers into Jack and Cherie’s world and spit them back out feeling crushed and confused. Readers will feel their pain, and they might even choose sides. And there will be sides to choose, because it’s going to be an all out war for these two.

Sometimes there isn’t a right person or a wrong person but choices we have to make make that hurt the people we love, and sometimes people change, which is hard for those who know them best to accept. All these things are like daggers, and many daggers can pierce through the strong bonds of love, even if they don’t tear them apart.    

So, in case you were wondering, here are the top 10 songs from my playlist other than Unchained Melody. These are the ones that get the honor of playing on repeat because they really drive home the emotion of a scene and speak to how Jack and Cherie really feel:

The Reason – Hoobastank

Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus (I’m looking into buying the rights for this song so it can be music for Twist’s video trailer) 

 Against All Odds – Phil Collins

On Bended Knee – Boyz II Men

Emotion – Destiny’s Child

Everytime and Where Are You Now – Britney Spears

Bed of Roses – Bon Jovi

Come Home – OneRepublic and Sara Bareilles

Set Fire to the Rain – Adele

Blood on the Leaves – Kanye West

What’s Left of Me – Nick Lachey

Check these great songs out if you’re looking for writing inspiration, or mending a broken heart, or just need music that fits a dreary, rainy day. And don’t worry folks, these aren’t the only songs driving the book. There are plenty more songs that I’ve been using for the other important parts of the book, such as:

Seventeen – Winger

Show Me – Usher

My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark – Fall Out Boy

All of Me – John Legend

For Your Entertainment – Adam Lambert

Poison – Alice Cooper

Gorilla – Bruno Mars

#Beautiful – Mariah Carey featuring Miguel

Sweetest Sin – Jessica Simpson

What About Love – Austin Malone

I’m in Miami Bitch – LMFAO

I’d love to host a poll or a vote of some sort about book 1 to see if readers can guess which songs in my first playlist helped me write which scenes…hmmm….stay tuned!

XOXO