One Closed Door Opens Another

When I received news that the contract I had signed had made its way to a publishing company and that steps to publication were in the works, I eagerly awaited July 15, excited to finally let friends and strangers alike have access to my novels. It was terrifying to finally tell people I write as a hobby, but armed with the knowledge that I would be published soon, I decided it was for the best and went ahead.

I don't talk about my faith in God much on this blog so as to not alienate those who don't believe the same way I do, but it's impossible to leave Him out of this story. I began praying on June 23 because some of the steps in the process that should've been completed by then were only in the process of being started. I asked if this was not His will for Him to make it very clear to me. That day, I got an email from the company about some changes that were being made, asking me to consider if I still wanted to work with them. My response was to continue to pray and see where God was leading. On June 25, I received an email from the cover designer saying that he was almost ready to show me the draft for my cover and that he would be sending it to me soon. Then the next day, on June 26, the unexpected happened.

I received an email from my publishing company two weeks before my release date saying that they had decided to terminate our contract. After reading the email and rereading it several times, it became more real with each read. My book was not getting published. This life dream I have been working on has now taken a huge detour, and I'm back to square one. I now have to look for representation again.

Had this happened even three months ago, I would've been angry. I would've cried, thrown innocent stuffed animals at the wall, or blamed God and asked Him why He allowed this to happen. Instead, an incredible sense of peace flooded me, and my first instinct was to pray and thank God for answering my prayer, to tell Him I know His plans are better and always have been and I look forward to watching them unravel. How joyous it is that what I should desire most pales so much in comparison to knowing my Heavenly Father and that He has blessings beyond my wildest imagination that He can't wait to direct me to.

In this time, I am so incredibly thankful for how I've seen myself grow, and know that this process will continue to shape and mold me. Yes, I am disappointed. That is a normal human reaction. But the disappointment is overshadowed by joy. I've realized that I charge ahead with my own plans without praying and waiting on the Lord, and some other grave life mistakes have also shown to be a product of my own inability to seek His will above mine. Going forward, I will most likely be looking for new representation. I don't know if and when I will find it, but I know one thing: My life is in the hands of a sovereign, loving God, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. (Even a publishing deal.)

As for how you can help, words of encouragement and support will really help me through this time, but it is God who will carry me through. Support will be a catalyst during this trial. Please feel free to take the time to comment or say hi. Your words mean more than you will ever know.

Whether you are writing family, brothers and sisters in Christ, or someone just stopping by, I thank you for being part of my journey. Be assured that this is not the end, but only the beginning of something new that's far more beautiful.

Fun Friday: What Does This Remind You Of?

I've seen this picture around and have been wondering what people are reminded of or what people think when they first see this picture. And no, Game of Thrones doesn't count because we all know that Game of Thrones is perfectly defined by the following picture, but it's not the only thing that is. So aside from Game of Thrones, what does this remind you of?

Please leave your thoughts below! I love hearing from you guys. It reminds me of the TV show 24, which my brothers have been re-watching. I think it's a pretty accurate way to depict what goes on in it.

Truth Thursday: Why I Interrupt the Normal Blog Flow

For the next two or three weeks (at least two, hopefully) I will be conducting a blog tour for Second Chance. I'm still continuing to line it up, as a lot of things are still being finalized due to some complications, but no worries! They have been smoothed out (I think) and the cover will be revealed very soon!

So as to not wear myself out from all the blog posts I've written and have been writing for this tour, I will simply link to the blogs on a daily basis that are participating in the blog tour. Due to needing the book's ISBN and cover on Goodreads, I haven't gotten as many blogs signed up as I would like to, but will be taking care of that once some of the kinks get worked out. Thankfully, the first week's worth of blogs have been lined up, so get ready to see what happens with that!

Finally, I'll be hosting a Goodreads giveaway, as well as a Rafflecopter giveaway here on my blog, and for the blog tour as well. Stay tuned to learn more!

Wacky Wednesday: The Vow by Jessica Martinez

Welcome to yet another attempt by Jelsa to actually review a book. As last time, I will try to follow the same structure of Yays and Nays.

Summary (as seen on Goodreads):

No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends?

Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him.

Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love?

  • Loved how Mo's ethnicity played into the story. Not only were issues present that many minorities encounter, but those that are specific to Mo for being from Jordan. It was wonderful to have a non-white character represented in a true, authentic way--that his culture didn't override the story, but didn't hide either.
  • The friendship between Annie and Mo. It really is true that some guys and girls can be extremely close and just never end up falling in love with each other in a romantic way. It is definitely possible for people to love more than one person of the opposite gender.
  • How each chapter flowed into the next. It was so beautiful to watch the characters have the same thoughts as each other, but in different ways. It really is proof of their friendship and their individual differences at the same time.
  • The way information was weaved into this novel so that readers get the information they need without feeling like they're reading a book. For example, the way Annie's last name's pronunciation is revealed to the readers is very subtle, and evidence of good editing and writing.
  • The basic story idea. It's a reminder of The Proposal movie, but involving many more issues. It was really interesting to see that idea done in a different way with a completely different ending.
  • Each character's distinctness. When walking away from this novel, there are distinct things that can be remembered about each character, even each parent, which is proof that the author did well in introducing the characters to the readers.
  • It was too easy to get lost in the dialogue and not know who was saying what, which was frustrating. This could have been fixed with extra body language or even just a few tags here or there.
  • The beginning started off just a little too slow for my personal taste, but I feel like this is probably just my own opinion.
  • Some stereotypes were a little overdone. While it is understandable that Mo faces a lot of his issues due to his ethnic background, a balance needs to be in place for how often this comes up. It should add to the story but not overwhelm it, and at points it did feel like the racism issues present in the book were a little much. Not extreme, but appearing more than necessary. Racism is a very relevant and imperative issue to discuss, but maybe one or two fewer instances of it would make the book work better overall as a whole.
  • Minor detail: Mo's full name is repeated three times in the entire novel, and the explanation for how it affects him given twice. It might have worked better to only have this mentioned once in the beginning, then later on in the novel where it is currently mentioned.
Overall, complaints for this novel were few, but the one that really made this book a little more difficult than it should be was the first point under Nay. The lack of body language detail detracted from the "I don't feel like I'm reading a book" feel, and if that were to improve this book would be much better.

It was really difficult to choose a rating for this book, but I'll give it 4 stars. It's one of the few 4 stars I would actually recommend, however, and I did enjoy reading this novel.

Agree? Disagree? Please leave your thoughts below! Thanks again for tuning in!

Toolbox Tuesday: Giving a Good Critique

Welcome to this week's Toolbox Tuesday! Today, I would like to talk about how any reader can leave a good, constructive critique for an author or writer, which will serve to help them actually improve their writing in the future. Let's get started!

I have found that using a more third person approach rather than a first person one makes a critique more credible, and makes it seem less like pointing fingers. For example:

Your characters are flat.


The characters seem a little flat. Character A is a very stereotypical cheerleader with her blonde hair and snarkiness, while Character B is a stereotypical football player with his 4-hour, 7-days-a-week workout and his ability to charm teachers.

Music Monday: Too Long Since the Last Prompts

Well indeed, the title says it all. So here is a set of prompts for you.

1. People never crumble in a day. (Slow Fade - Casting Crowns)
2. Will someone please radio for help? 'Cause I think I'm allergic to myself. (The One Thing I Have Left - Hawk Nelson)
3. There's just too much that time cannot erase. (My Immortal - Evanescence)

Enjoy these prompts, and let me know, as always, if anything comes of them!

Fun Friday: Something to Think About

On this Fun Friday, I bring you once again a quote for you to think about.

I find it interesting that the word maybe is included, because it doesn't have to be. Well? What are your thoughts on this?

Truth Thursday: Impatience Sets In

A short blog post for today, since I'm getting a lot together for the next few days.

I keep thinking, can't it be July 15 already? I just want to be able to hold my own book in my hands, to breathe in the clean new book smell of my very own novel for the first time. I want to discuss the ins and outs of my novel with people I never would've expected would actually want to read my work, to be able to walk into the library and stare at my beautiful book glistening on the shelf, smiling back at me.

Instead I'm pulling my dog out from under my bed because he keeps escaping into that space like he owns it, my room is getting turned inside-out as I prepare to host relatives, I'm recovering from scraping my butt while longboarding (believe it or not, nothing else got hurt when I fell), needles are getting stuck in my arm to make sure I don't pass tuberculosis to children, and I keep shoving other people's books in front of my face so I won't think about mine as much.

So the truth is, yes, I'm getting impatient and can't wait to see my book in print. But at the same time, I am enjoying the process. I'm savoring the moments of being an unpublished writer and preparing to unclench my fists and allow my baby (that is, my book) to become widely available for the public to ogle, look at from every angle, and even hate. I'm still allowing the fact that my book will be published in a month sink into my poor disbelieving brain, and probably won't believe it until a box full of books finds its way to my house.

Until then, impatient Jelsa remains impatient, but very grateful and excited at the same time.

Wacky Wednesday: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

Because I am not exactly skilled at book reviewing (hope to be one day, though), this is an attempt to begin reviewing books I've read recently. As a writer, what better way to learn how to write than to actually read? So here goes.

Summary (as seen on Goodreads):

Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. 

After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she'll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.

Cover Reveal: The Rose Master by Valentina Cano

I have the privilege of participating in yet another cover reveal! But wait! Before I do that, don't you want to know what the book is actually about?

The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that's hardly the most upsetting news. She's being dismissed from the home she's served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she's never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:
There's something wrong with Rosewood Manor.
Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits.
As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them--some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her.
When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn't prepared for. The creature is very real, and she's the only one who can help him stop it. 

Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she's grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.

Now that you know what the book is about, here is the cover!

At first I thought it was just a mirror, but then I realized there's actually a skull in the mirror! Also, I'm associating the bird with the skull and the idea of death, which makes for a very sinister cover. Seems like a fascinating read!

Finally, I leave you with some information about the author. Stop by and say hi! Feel free to say I sent you if you'd like.

Author Bio:
Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. She also watches over a veritable army of pets, including her five, very spoiled, snakes. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She lives in Miami, Florida.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

It is my turn to post about my writing process! Thanks to Keely Brooke Keith for tagging me to post this week.

Next, for the questions I answered:

1) What am I working on?
I am working on publishing Second Chance next month on July 15. Currently, I am also rewriting a novel called Solid Ground, a story about weather curses that also focuses on many themes found in realistic fiction. As for my editing project, I am working on hand-edits for Chains, a novel about an abusive relationship combined with a love triangle.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is difficult for realistic fiction, but I often layer and combine different ideas together in unique ways so as to not tire out a theme. For example, my project Facades combines themes of life and death while incorporating a photography project set in the main characters’ sophomore and junior years of high school. Chains’ combination about an abusive relationship from dual perspectives and its love triangle is unusual, and I enjoyed writing it. Most of my projects involve exploring combinations of events sparked by my imagination.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I write to bring awareness about certain difficulties people go through. For example, I write about abuse in several different forms, divorce, single-parent families, etc. I do this to personally learn how to understand people who go through these situations better, and in the hopes that my readers will learn to better connect with more fellow human beings as well.

4) How does my writing process work?
It looks different every day. For example, some days I wake up in the morning and write the moment I’ve finished brushing my teeth, breakfast in one hand, pen in the other. I normally write by hand, but if I’m doing rewrites I always use my computer, so it depends on what project I want to work on that day. To tell the truth, I could use a better balance between all my projects, but I tend to go with what I feel like that day since I don’t really have any deadlines. Every day, it looks different. Some days I crank out five thousand words, and others I barely manage one hundred. On other days, I don’t write anything at all. It can be difficult to find time to write in between rock climbing, church duties, and school, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Finally, I'm supposed to tag three people to be up next, but I only have one's info currently. I should get it from my other two friends soon and will edit in their info when I have it!


In her non-superhero life, Anah is a student at the University of Northern Colorado, studying semi-hard as an English major with a minor in writing. Although she’s always liked English, she never really considered writing outside of class until high school. Once she joined the seedy world of online writing websites she discovered her true passion: writing fiction.

Ever since then, Anah’s been writing about hot guys, monsters, and all-types of apocalypses. Her favorite genres are dystopia, paranormal, and futuristic fantasy.

While she’s never finished a novel, she completed various short stories. Her short story, Dusk Light was picked as the winner of The Dark Unwinding Contest by Sharon Cameron on

Anah is an editor and graphic designer for The Crucible, the student literary and arts magazine on her campus, as well as a blogger for the writing website, Hexbound. When she’s not sitting in class or making flyers, Anah is preparing vigilantly for the zombie/alien apocalypse, composing music, playing viola, and attempting to learn how to art.