Tag Archives: young adult

Another Blog Hijack!!!!

Psst! Jesi Lea Ryan here.  Welcome to my sneak-attack blog tour!  Scott is off plotting his #NaNoWriMo project, and forgot to lock his computer.  So I thought I’d take over his blog for my own nefarious (shameless?) purposes.  I have to hurry though before he comes back.  (Hee, hee!)  Read to the end and you have a chance to win a free e-book!

I want to take a moment to tell you about my new young adult, paranormal romance, Arcadia’s Gift.

Most people who experience death don’t live to tell about it.


When sixteen year old Arcadia “Cady” Day wakes in a hospital after experiencing what can only be called a psychic episode, she finds her family in tatters. With her twin sister gone, her dad moved out, her mom’s spiraling depression and her sister’s boyfriend, Cane, barely able to look at her, the only bright spot in her life is Bryan Sullivan, the new guy in school. When Bryan’s around, Cady can almost pretend she’s a regular girl, living a regular life; when he’s not, she’s wracked with wild, inexplicable mood swings. As her home life crumbles and her emotional control slips away, Cady begins to suspect that her first psychic episode was just the beginning…


I am so excited to share this book with the world!  Cady is such an amazing character.  I think what I like best about her is that she has to deal with some seriously heavy family issues in addition to her new gifts.  Because of this, both teen and adult readers will be able to find different ways to relate to her on an emotional level.

Where did the idea for Arcadia’s Gift come from?  I honestly don’t remember.  I knew I wanted to write a young adult paranormal, since I read a lot of young adult literature.  Vampires are a tad overdone right now and werewolves just don’t appeal to me.  (Hello? Doggy breath is NOT sexy!)  I seem to recall the character of Cady forming in my mind first.  I wanted her to be as realistic as possible.  I truly believe some people have psychic abilities, so it seemed natural to develop them in Cady.  Once I figured out what those abilities would be, the story of how she got them unfolded naturally.

Why set the story in Dubuque, Iowa?  My first novel, Four Thousand Miles, was set in England. While I have been to England and all of the places in my book, I had to do a ton of research into the setting, the culture and the speech.  With Arcadia’s Gift, I chose to set the story in my hometown of Dubuque where I am intimately familiar with the city.  Cady goes to the same high school I attended, lives in the neighborhood I used to live in and hangs out in the places my friends and I used to haunt on Saturday nights.  What I discovered is that I felt a greater emotional connection to this story because I could draw on my sense of nostalgia.

The other reason I chose Dubuque is because it hasn’t been done before.  I can’t think of another young adult novel set there, can you?  Bordered by the Mississippi River on one side and the Great Plains on the other, Dubuque is unique to Iowa for its incredible bluffs and hills.  It truly has a natural beauty.  The landscape plays a strong role in the plot of the novel.


What’s next for Arcadia?  Nice try!  I’m not giving you any spoilers.  I can tell you that Arcadia’s Gift is the first in a planned trilogy.  The second book, Arcadia’s Curse, is planned to release in May or June 2013.

Oh, crap!  I hear Scott coming, so I have to dash!  Before I go, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from my novel.  Tell me what you think of it in the comments and leave your email address for a chance to win a copy of Arcadia’s Gift!!


~Jesi Lea Ryan, Future Bestselling Author and International Hijacker of Blogs



It felt like ripping… ripping through me, ripping from me. A deafening roar reverberated all around as I lay flat on my back, drowning the shrieks and screams echoing on the river valley walls. My eyes were wide open, unblinking, but all I could see were abstract forms in shades of black, gray and red. A searing burn cut across both of my thighs as if I’d been struck by a flaming hot iron. My flesh melted and bubbled, absorbing the phantom burning metal and shattering my femur bones like glass. Although I was screaming as loud as I could, the sound was distant, like someone screaming under water.


A hub of activity swirled around me, but I had the distinct feeling of being alone… alone in hell. I groped around on the cool soil at my sides, sparse patches of long grass and loose gravel, trying to remember where I was and what had happened to me. The pain prevented any coherent thoughts.


Voices. Panic all around me. Yet I was alone in my hell.


A flash of heat seared through my head, pounding rhythmically. Rust coated my tongue. The heat began to sink down my torso, leaking out of the stumps left under my hips. I sucked in jagged breaths as I realized that the heat was my blood, pumping through my arteries and spilling onto the cool ground.


No! I don’t want to die! Again, the screams tore out of me. No one answered my cries.


My body grew colder. The pain faded to numbness. They say when you know that you are dying, your life flashes before your eyes. I knew I was dying, but curiously, it was my twin sister Lony’s life that came to me in last minute mourning, not mine. I saw her love for me, even if we fought more than talked these days. I saw her fierce hope that our parents would reconcile their failed marriage and reunite, before nothing remained to salvage. I saw her boyfriend, Cane, and the lost promise of young love. A swell of love and pain filled my chest when I pictured Cane. It made no sense…I didn’t even like him.


The forms in my vision began moving more slowly, becoming even darker. I struggled to reach out to them, but my arms were as heavy as iron weights. I opened my mouth to scream again, but only rust flavored foam escaped my throat and rolled down the corner of my mouth and into my hair. The skin on my face broke into a cold sweat as I steadily bled out.


It was almost over. I wanted my mom.


A shock of pain ripped through my chest as my heart raced, running out of blood.


Thump-thump. Thump-thump.


The faster my heart pumped, the less time I had left. My back reared up, head scraping the ground. My lungs heaved, panting. The forms in my vision swirled so dark they blended with the night. I reached out desperately with my hands, fingers not even finding a hand to hold. Breath rattled in my chest as it left my body for the final time and the whole world faded to black.


Arcadia’s Gift is available for purchase at the following retailers:



Barnes & Noble

All Romance



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Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

I’m posting an early update today, so I can focus on my writing for the rest of the day. I’m over 26,000 words and am nearing the halfway point of my goal. Things are slow, but I have been making my daily goal of 700+ words, so I guess I can’t complain.

And now, on to our topic for the day:


Specifically, how do you handle sex in a book that is supposed to be intended for younger readers? After all, this novel is supposed to be YA. So what am I supposed to do with this scene I am currently writing where one of the boys is rubbing suntan lotion onto the back of one of the girls?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like he’s trying to untie her bikini top or slip his hands under her bottoms. But he is a teenage male, and is definitely getting aroused.

This also ties in to the problem I am having with keeping the writing appropriate to their age. I’m finding it difficult to keep the kids’ down to the point at which I originally started. When I first conceived this idea, they were supposed to be around ten years old. Then I decided to raise it to fourteen. With this scene, they seem to be approaching eighteen. I suppose I could argue that teenagers’ actions regularly swing between that of a two-year-old and a twenty-year-old, but what kind of writing is it where the character is that out of control?

Another thing I have to consider is the censors. Despite the fact that this is a “free country”, and this story is just a story, I would be a fool to think that if I tried to publish it there wouldn’t be any negative reactions from someone who thought it was inappropriate to discuss kids thinking about sex. Even though we all know that they do. I’m not planning on letting them actually have sex, but I would probably be accused of being some sort of pedophile if I got too explicit and let them do “it”.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Or maybe examples of mainstream books that cover this issue? I would definitely appreciate any feedback.

Thanks in advance. I’ll see you again on Sunday. I’m going to try to hit that halfway mark by then, and hopefully I’ll be past the sex and on to a different problem.


Filed under ROW80, The Writing Experience

Finding Your Story

I have said before that the best reason for you to become a writer is because you have a story that demands to be told. But what do you do if that isn’t the case? What if you suffer from the dreaded writer’s block? I have always felt that I had a story that needed to be told. The problem was that I didn’t know what it was. Sometimes I still don’t, but I write anyway.

I only recently started writing seriously. I loved to read, and wanted to write, but I didn’t think I had a decent plot idea. I would read tons of books and love the stories of others, but then I would think that either my idea had already been done, or it wasn’t nearly as good as someone elses. It’s pretty easy to see how this type of thinking makes it impossible to be productive.

When I started writing I still thought that the plot wasn’t very good. But it was a plot, and I had made a commitment for NaNoWriMo to write 50,000 words, so I started writing anyway. And as I wrote, I found that the story started to take on a life of its own. Things started happening in the story that I hadn’t thought of before. And I started thinking of other ways that I could have started the story that might have been better. As I look at the completed first draft now, I know that the story is good. It just needs a bit of polish before it can be published.

When I started my second story I was only thinking that I wanted to do a paranormal romance. It took a while before I figured out what the “paranormal” part of the romance was going to be. But once I did it was a bit easier to come up with the rest of the story. The very nature of the character determined most of the story. I even had the ending figured out before I was even halfway through. Now all I have to do is fill in the middle.

I am currently working on a Young Adult novel that I started for the sole purpose of having something to write on Sundays. My only thought was that it should be spiritual. Something that reflected my faith. I have now written over a thousand words of this story, and I still have no idea what it is about. I am constantly asking myself, “What am I doing?”

So how do I answer this question? How can you push past the uncertainty and self-doubt to find your story?

The best advice I have read about writing is that the best way to be a writer is to write. Write something every day, even if you don’t have anything to write about. If nothing else, it is a good way to hone your skills until you do find that story. Sometimes your characters will start to tell you their story on their own.

The other thing to remember is that stories are everywhere. You can find a story watching television, reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, watching your neighbors, parking your car, at work (it doesn’t matter what the job is), literally everywhere. Eavesdropping is fun. A great way to find a story is to listen to only half of a conversation, because then you can make up the other half of the story on your own. When you see someone on the street, you don’t need to know what they are doing or where they are going, you can make it up yourself.

So what am I going to do about my YA novel? I am going to keep writing. I am going to keep thinking about my characters and eventually they will tell me their story. I know it’s a good one, and I can hardly wait to find out what it is.

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, The Writing Experience