Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Look here, followers! [New Posting Schedule]

To help me keep up with my updates and posting, I've decided I'm going to create a schedule for myself when it comes to blogging. This is what I've come up with so far, but if all of you-- my lovely followers-- have any other suggestions, please, post them in the comments!

Every other Monday - Book Reviews
Every other Wednesday - Writing Stuff [Tips, tricks, and all that fun stuff!]
Every Thursday - Media Thursdays [New music that I like, youtube videos, book covers I've made or friends have made, and websites I like, and cool stuff like that]
Every Friday - New Finds Friday [Other blogs from writers, work from Figment or Inkpop that I like]
Every Sunday - What's Going On In My Life [Brief Updates On My Life]

Of course, there will occasionally be the random post where there is something I just absolutely HAVE to share with you, so they won't follow my schedule.

Also, the "every other thing" will go something like this: On a week where there is a book review, there won't be a "Writing Stuff" post. The week after, there will be a "Writing Stuff" but no book review.

Let me know what you all think!

This will start next week.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New friends, new memories, new writing bits, new video!

Hello all! I'm finally home from my magical adventure at Juniper Insitute for Young Writers! I must say, I had a spectacular time.

There were about sixty of us there-- most of us girls-- and everyone was just so amazingly friendly. What's funny is that we all had similar interests other than just writing (Every other person was a theater geek, like myself). It was so easy to get along with people and we were all like family within a matter of days. I'm so sad that it's over already, but at the same time, I found myself to be very homesick. So, now I'm back home in Billerica and ready to move on to the rest of the summer!

I'm going to be posting a more detailed video about Juniper on my youtube channel, but for now, you can enjoy this video of me reading an excerpt of Into the Woods at open mic night, which was Saturday night:

Keep checking back here, as it's almost time for another book review!

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Thoughts On The New

I can't believe there's only one more day until I go away! You guys have no idea how excited I am. On that note though, don't expect any new blog posts until sometime around June 26-27th. Don't worry though, I'll make sure to post lots of pictures when I get back and tell you guys all about how much fun it was!

Okay, now onto the big topic for today... NEW INKPOP. (Dun dun dun...)
For those of you who are my followers from figment, you probably haven't seen the new inkpop yet, but you should anyways so you'll see exactly what I'm talking about here

So yesterday morning, I logged on, excited to see all the new changes. I was completely panic stricken when I got to my profile though: all of my projects were gone! Every single one of them! I went onto the forums to see if anyone had this same problem, and apparently, if you're logged onto facebook on the same email account, it'll automatically make a new account for you. Confused, I went and logged out of facebook and was able to get my IntoTheWoods account back to normal. By that time though, the new layout was starting to give me a headache due to the small text and neon-ish blue background. I went back to my projects only to see that my Harper Collins reviews on both Jaded and Into the Woods (Draft One) were GONE. This didn't just happen to me-- it happened to every top fiver in the history of the site. Good thing I had them saved to my computer, or else I would have been rather upset over that. To top it all off, I keep getting error messages from the site when I try to go into the forums.

For now, I think I'll take a little break from inkpop until they work the kinks out of the new site. Once that's taken care of, I'll figure out how to work the new stuff. Although, I still don't understand the point of badges-- it almost seems like they're trying to copy figment in some aspects, but I know that can't be it, as some of these ideas were introduced before figment even launched.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Getting Organized - Writing Binders!

As many of you already know, this Saturday I'll be going away to a writing program for teens for an entire week. This is something that I've been looking forward to since I was accepted into it in January (I literally ran into "Once On This Island" rehersal screaming, "I'M IN!"). While I was putting together my list of things that I need to bring, I realized: I don't have any of my writing organized in a portable fashion!

I've made various attempts at throwing chapters of Into the Woods into a folder and slapping my name on the cover, but all of them eventually fell apart and/or were lost in the abyss that is my bedroom. So, what's a girl to do but put together a binder full of everything I could possibly need to take to camp with me!

So, want to learn how to put together your own writing binder?
Well, here's how!

Step One - Find A Suitable Binder & Some Dividers
If you know you'll be putting a lot into it, buy one of the bigger ones. If you'll only be needing to organize a few things, a small or mid-sized one will do. If a binder isn't what you'd like to carry around with you, a folder or accordian folder works as well, but they aren't as durable and are harder to organize.You can use any sort of divider you'd like, but I've found that the transparancy-sheet type is easiest, as you can put sheets of paper in them.

Step Two- Gather the Important Things
Anything that you know you'll absolutely want/need in your binder/folder are the first things you should put together. You can organize them in order of importance or however you like, but they're best at the front of your binder/folder so that you can access them easier. You can either keep them seperate from everything else with a divider, or even a folder (If you have a larger binder, that is).

Step Three- Get YOUR Writing Together
If you write in a notebook, you can simply stick your notebook right into the binder and you're all set. If not, slide one of your dividers right in there and add your own work. You can organize it however you like; with mine, I chose to keep poetry in one section, with my fiction in another.

Step Four- Print Out Any Other Writings
Of course, this part is optional, but I've found that reading some of my favorite writings can be rather inspiring. Make sure whatever you decide to print out is legal though!

Step Five - Make It Your Own
You can design it however you like: print out some pictures of your friends, family, pets, or whatever else you'd like.

Then, ta-da, you have your own writing binder!

Some Suggestions For Other Things You Can Add:
-Pages from webpages on writing you've found helpful.
-Summaries of your favorite books for inspiration
-Scrap Paper (For writing down any sudden ideas you may have)
-Any book covers you've made for your work

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fourteen more days!

...Until I leave for writing camp! I'm so excited it's not even funny. I've been putting together a whole binder full of cool stuff to take with me: I'll be sure to post tips for making your own personalized writing binder once it's complete.

Sadly though, before I can escape to a place with people like myself, I have to deal with finals. Chemistry is going to suck, considering we've gone through three teachers this year, each with a different method of teaching. The entire sophomore class is going crazy trying to teach themselves a semester's worth of chem this weekend, as am I. So, I'm sorry if I haven't posted anything lately, but I promise once this week is over, there will be plenty more updates.

Sit tight!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Writing Stuff ~ A New Series In Blog Posts By Yours Truly!

When I hit twenty-four followers (I don't know why I picked that number, I just felt like it would be a good one) I'm going to start a new series in posting. It will be appropriately named "Writing Stuff". In those posts, I'm going to be discussing a lot of different elements in writing. I don't have my list set yet about what I want to do topics on, but here are the ideas I have so far:

1. The Golden Rules - How to show instead of tell
2. How To Create Well Developed Characters Through Outlining
3. Naming Your Characters
4. Outlining Your Plot (Including my favorite outline that I use in almost every book I write)
5. Which Person? Which Tense?

This is what I have so far.

What would you guys like me to add to this list?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Siren by Tricia Rayburn

Book Review: The Siren by Tricia Rayburn (Siren Trilogy, #1)

Vacationing in Winter Harbor, Maine, is a tradition for Vanessa and Justine Sands, and that means spending time with the Carmichael boys. This summer, Vanessa is determined to channel some of her older sister’s boldness, get over her fear of the ocean, and maybe turn her friendship with Simon Carmichael into something much more.

But when Justine goes cliff-diving after a big family argument, and her body washes ashore the next day, Vanessa is sure that it was more than an accident. She is more certain of this, when she discovers that her sister was keeping some big secrets and Caleb Carmichael’s gone missing. Suddenly, the entire oceanfront town is abuzz when a series of grim, water-related accidents occur, with the male victims washed ashore grinning from ear to ear.

Vanessa and Simon team up to figure out if these creepy deaths have anything to do with Justine and Caleb. But will what Vanessa discovers mean the end of her summer romance, or even life as she knows it?

Title: Unless you have no idea what a siren is, then it's a pretty interesting title. For the rest of us fantasy and mythology lovers though, it gives away a lot about the mystery in the book. The majority of people though, I'm guessing, don't know what sirens are, so the title is just okay, in my opinion.

Cover: Gives the reader the feeling that something eerie is going to happen in this book. Lovely color scheme, and when you have the actual copy of the book, the girl's eyes and the title shimmer when you turn it into the light. 

Plot: If you're looking for something suspenseful, this is absolutely the book for you. Unlike a lot of YA books like this, the whole mystery of how Justine was killed isn't just suddenly revealed all at once. The author leaves us little clues to figure out what really happened all throughout the book, making it a really fascinating discover. This is the first time I've also even seen sirens used in a YA book, which really makes this stand out from other novels. Rayburn also puts her own unique twist on these creatures, but nothing so huge that it makes them into something completely different. The book is also not entirely romance, which made me happy, as I'm getting tired of seeing so many cliche romances in YA.

Characters: Nicely developed, although I feel like the author could have gone a little bit more in depth on Vanessa herself, rather than Vanessa with other characters. The relationship described between Justine & Vanessa is unique for teenage sisters and the author does a lovely job of getting that across to the reader loud and clear.

Setting: Being from New England (Massachusetts, but I have been to Maine several times), I'm happy to say Rayburn did a fantastic job of describing one of Maine's many beach towns.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
I would recommend this to anybody who is a fan of mermaids, sirens, or anything to do with the ocean. It's a great read and I would absolutely invest my money into the sequel when it is released.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Possible Summer Project?

I don't know how we got to the subject of it, but today, my friends and I were talking about "My Immortal". No, not that Evanescense song, but the worst fan-fic in the enitre universe. We were just joking around about it, giving silly impressions and what not.

As many of you already know, I have a youtube channel. So, I got the idea of maybe doing a two-part parody of it. Being bored in Theology class, I already started to come up with random, silly ideas for it. It would be a lot of fun to film, plus it would provide a good amount of entertainment for the part of the summer that I'm not busy. I'm still thinking about whether to do it or not and about who would want to do it with me, but it is something to possibly look forward to if you're a subscriber to Jenna & I's youtube channel.

Speaking of which, I'm going to be posting a new video on there sometime this week.

If you haven't read "My Immortal", it can be found here:

My Youtube channel:

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Sunshine by Robin McKinley is quite possibly the worst book I've ever read. I'm not exaggerating here-- it was that bad.

I bought it a few weeks ago with a gift card for that I'd got from my mom for some unknown reason thinking it'd be a good book. If you know anything about me, you know that I'm a sucker for a good vampire or horror story. When I read the pitch, I thought it was poorly written and a little cliche sounding, but decided to give the book a chance anyways. It had received some decent reviews, so I went ahead and bought it.

What a waste of nine bucks.

Really. In the first few pages alone there were so many random characters introduced that I found myself confused as to who was who and what their role in the story was. The author would introduce a character, tell your their whole life story, have him/her speak one line of dialogue, then never appear in the story again. This happened about five times. Another thing is that you don't even learn the MC's name until 50 pages or so in. When you finally learn it, you realize that her real name isn't even used once in the book. Her real name is Raven, but then it's Rae, but then it's Sunshine. That alone left me going, "Huh?"

What's worse was how every few pages, the author would have the MC complain about how she has to wake up at four in the morning to bake freaking cinnamon rolls. We get it, you aren't a morning person, but you like to cook. You can stop now.

I wouldn't recommend this book to anybody. It was just... Ick.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's a Friday night.

And tomorrow is supposidly the end of the world. Awesome. I jokingly told a friend of mine today that if the world begins to end, I'll convert to Christianity. That got a good laugh out of her.


I got a packet of stuff from the writing program I'll be part of this summer. It's two hours away from where I live in a place I've never been to. Only one of my friends from school is going, but we're not in the same group, so I don't believe I'll be seeing her that much at all. I cannot wait to go though-- it's going to be a blast. In the packet of stuff, there were things to sign up for different classes and courses. I picked one about getting out of my comfort zone when it comes to writing because it's something that I really need to work on. I'm also in another one focused on writing fantasy, horror, and supernatural stuff-- this is funny because those are all things IN my comfort zone.

Starting tomorrow, my life is going to be incredibly hectic. Between getting ready to end my sophomore year by studying for finals while hauling my French grade up to something my mom won't kill me over, vocal lessons, and other stuff that I'm sure will come up, I'm going to be very tired by the time the end of June rolls around.

One last thing... Last night, I went to my hair dressers and got this really cool feather hair extension. It's very pretty. I'll post a picture tomorrow, most likely.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Back to my roots.

I'm here to announce that I'm back on inkpop as an active member and ITW draft two has been uploaded.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Stupid MS word...

So, here I am, happily typing up a chapter of Into the Woods draft two, when all of a sudden...

The word doc just decides to close out on itself. Ugh.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's always nice having a three day weekend.

Tomorrow is my Friday this week. Because this upcoming Friday is senior prom, everyone gets the day off from school (Woo-hoo!), so I'm looking forward to a nice, long, relaxing weekend before the teachers start rushing to finish up for the year so we can have time to review for finals. Hopefully I'll be able to make a new youtube video sometime this weekend, but I won't be at home for the majority of the time, so that may not happen.

I posted a new chapter of Morning, which brings us up to Chapter 3 (I did an extra one last night). So far, I've had mostly positive reviews, which makes me feel really good about this whole writing in verse thing. I've also thrown together a cover:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Progress is a good thing.

Chapter One of Morning is going up on tonight.

You should be able to read it at this link:

If you like sarcasm, teenaged agnst, sibling rivalries, stories about kidnappings, and bad boys, then you're going to LOVE Morning.

I'm very excited to be working on this right now because it's much different than what I normally write for a few reasons. First off, it's not fantasy and has nothing fantasy-like in it. That's right everyone, Jessyka's writing a book that's completely real life-ish. Secondly, it's written in verse. While it's still going to be first person, present tense (as all of my writing is), this is the first time I've ever written something I'm serious about in verse.

So, this is going to be one of two things:
1. Awesome and a really interesting read.
2. Absolutely awful.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Here's Something to Brighten Your Monday...

I stumbled across this on Memebase...

(It's a Rick Astley reference, for those who actually live in this century, unlike myself...)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Two Great Things In One Day!

First of all, a happy Mother's Day to you all! Hopefully you've all been nice to your moms today ;)

Secondly, I've FINALLY finished working on Chapter 5 of Into the Woods' second draft. Granted, it isn't the best thing I've ever written, there's always going to be time to go back and edit later. I'm very excited I've finally completed it though because this means I'm done introducing Shadow's POV and I can finally get into the jucier parts of the story. The rest of Part One should write itself out easily.

Here's a little excerpt for those who want to see:

Listening carefully, I realize just how loud he really seems to me. Coming from somewhere that was usually almost always bustling and filled with a constant din, this place seems nearly so silent that at times it makes me feel uncomfortable. What makes it worse is that there are only the four of us here and it always seems to be me that’s the first awake in the morning.  I could go on and on with the list of things that are so… foreign about living here, but I’d rather keep a positive attitude. However, I’m still not used to being able to lounge around in a pair of sweatpants for a good portion of the day without anyone saying something or casting me any not-so-friendly glances.

Like I said, the entire chapter is very draft-ish, so don't mind the sloppy sentence structure and what not.

I've also got a new video up on my youtube channel: the book review for The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. I'll post the blog version up sometime this week, but for now, you can see the review here:

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I've been in a variety of moods today.

This morning, I was tired and irritable as I usually am up until I have a cup of coffee in my hand. By the time Chemistry rolled around second period, I was just flat out bored and wanting to go home even though I'd only been at school for a little over an hour. When I got to lunch, I wasn't in a mood to talk to anyone. That mood has stuck, but has lessened up a little bit.

I'm usually a pretty moody person, but today was a litte... extreme in that sense. Oh well. Just one of those Thursdays, I suppose.

I hate to sound like every other teenager in high school right now, but I really want summer to come faster. Everything seems so boring now that drama club is over and I actually have time to do things other than be a tree.

Maybe I'll make another video tonight.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely
By Melissa Marr


Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.

But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

After seeing mixed reviews about this book everywhere, I finally decided to give it a read to weigh in my own oppinions on it. I'd seen reviews that were very positive and then some that were not-so-positive. After spending about three days reading through Wicked Lovely's 328 pages, I came to the conclussion that I feel that the book was only O.K.

Title: Being from Boston, when I see the word "wicked" I instantly think of the way it's used here as an adverb (Example: Oh, that was wicked awesome!) To me, something about the words "wicked" and "lovely" just doesn't sound quite right.

Cover: Very pretty. You can tell just from the cover that it's going to be a fantasy book. I love the colors. It caught my eye nicely.

Plot: While original, I found this story a little hard to follow. The author only gives out little pieces of important information throughout the exposition of the book, which can leave the reader slightly confused if one doesn't know all that much about fae legends and what not. Fortunately, I did know a thing or two, but if I didn't, I probably wouldn't have read past page 100. As stated before though, it is original as there aren't very many YA fantasy novels that have aspects of traditional fae legends in them. The fantasy aspect was captured very clearly here.

Characters: Ugh. Headache inducing. There were far too many minor characters, which ditracted from how the main characters were developed. It was a little hard to keep up with them all and left me confused at points. Some of the minor characters could have easily been done without.

However, I do appreciate the author's use of unique names!

Setting: Decent. The author did a good job interweaving the fae world with the human world.

Over All Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

Wicked Lovely is an interesting and unique paranormal romance, but is not something that I would find myself rushing off to read again or buy the sequels to.

I really like this weather, oddly enough.

I normally don't like it when it rains, but around this time of year, I actually do for some reason. You might think that's strange, seen as how Spring has finally found its way to New England after what feels like forever and everyone is aching to be outside. I'd like to be outside too, don't get me wrong (I mean, have you seen how pale I am? I could really use some color!), but this kind of weather is just... Pretty. All of the plants seem so much greener in contrast with the gray sky and the bleakness of it.

Everything just seems more colorful.

  It makes me want to write.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

First Ever Post!

Hurray! The first ever post to my new blog.

My old one was just a mess, so I figured it would just be easier to start anew with this one. I do like the title of it very much, as it goes along with a lot of my writing. Anyways, I'm going to try and post something new here at least twice a week-- possibly more if I feel like it.