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Posted by Jess - - 6 Comments

Okay, settle down. I'm not talking about giving up on writing. I would never give up on writing. I would rather go crazy first--and chances are, I will.

I'm talking about giving up on a book you're reading. 

The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern)I recently finished reading Shannon Hale's fantastic novel, The Goose Girl. I found it inspiring and fun, and I was full of hope for all literature as I started the next book on my library pile.

I fell off that mountain very quickly.

The next book was incredibly bland and weird and I was bored to tears. I had to force myself to keep reading--I told myself that I only kept reading because I was waiting for my hold on Paranormalcy to come into the library and I didn't have anything else to read.

When I expressed these sentiments to a friend, she asked me if I ever don't finish a book. To be quite honest, I very very rarely don't. And if I don't, it's thanks to immoral subject matter or excessive language (call me old fashioned, but that's the way I roll).  Even if I don't like a book, I find that I can't stand not knowing how it ends.

But with this particular book, I seriously considered giving up. Right up to the last page, my mind wandered to all the many things I would rather be doing: cleaning my room, shoveling manure, studying statistics--and I'm not even in a stats class.

So my question for you, dear readers, is this: do you ever stop reading a book? What are your reasons? How do you cope with not knowing the outcome--or do you cheat and read ahead?
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Posted by Jess - - 0 Comments

The lovely Story Siren hosts a regular feature called In My Mailbox. Lots of bloggers participate, and you can, too--just visit the Story Siren's blog for more info.

Since I rarely actually get books in the mail, I thought I'd call my version In My Library Bag. And the most recent goodies are:

Paranormalcy Feed Enna Burning (Books of Bayern) Heaven Eyes (Readers Circle) Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril, and Romance Peaches Wintergirls

If you're interested, you'll be able to read my reviews on Goodreads once I've read them.
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Posted by Jess - - 4 Comments


To commemorate the first BTWP interview of 2011, I thought we'd do a double feature! This dynamic duo has achieved near-celebrity status in online writing circles--and they deserve it. They are talented authors whose contributions are always insightful, humorous, and humble.

Please welcome
Marquita Hockaday and Pam Harris

What is your earliest writing memory? What did you write about? Did it have a title?

Both of us have been writing ever since we could hold a pencil. We wrote stories, poems, and even plays!

Pam: My earliest memory doesn't involve physical writing. I re-wrote Green Eggs and Ham as my mom read it to me when I was three years old . Sam I Am became Pam I Am. Clever, huh?

Marquita: My first writing memory was actually a poem about Rosa Parks in fourth grade. The title was: The Brave Woman. The title wasn't that great, but I was only nine okay?

When you were 6, what did you want to be when you grew up?
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Posted by Jess - - 9 Comments

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

To participate, just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments at YA Highway.

This Week's Topic:
What is your favorite line from your WIP (or from a book you read recently)?

My favorite line from WIP #1 (The Last Daughter of Elhamair) is hidden in a little corner between a major battle and a turning point in the character's journey. I feel like it's a little too much detail, but I really really  hope it doesn't get cut in this round of revisions. I know it's hard to know whether it really works or not without more of the book, but what do you think?

Click to enlarge

I have another favorite line, too, but it's the very last line of the book so I won't spoil it for you. I don't write in chronological order, but it did turn out to be the last line I wrote when I finished the first draft and it just worked. It was in that moment that I realized that I had written a book, and that it was actually kind of good.

What about you? What are your favorite lines?
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Posted by Jess - - 12 Comments

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

To participate, just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments at YA Highway.

2010 was quite a year for books. I set out to read 2 books per month, but I ended up reading many more. Do you know how happy that makes me?

My 5 Favorite Books from 2010 
(in the same order I read them)
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Posted by Jess - - 3 Comments

In case you hadn't noticed, it's 2011 now.

*Throws confetti*

And that means that Jest Kept Secret is officially


ONE YEAR OLDER AND WISER, TOO!

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear blooooooggggggy, happy birthday to you!

It also means that it's time to make some resolutions. I went a little overboard last year (no one can say I have no ambition...), so this year, I'm keeping it simple:

- Read 25 books
- Start querying for The Last Daughter of Elhamair - which means I'll needs some betas soon. If you're interested, let me know!
- Make significant progress on the new WIP. I'd like to say "Finish the new WIP", but we all know that I'm the world's slowest writer and it most likely won't be finished by December.
- Take the GRE
- Go somewhere I've never been
- Post at least one BTWP interview each month. As always, if you'd like to be interviewed, send me an email at jestkeptsecret (at) gmail (dot) com.

That's it--or at least, that's it for the ones I'm sharing with the general public. Ha!


What are your resolutions for 2011?
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