MTV VMAs ticket for sale! Auction ends in 3 days!

Hey, all!

I've got a ticket to the MTV VMAs that I can't use as I won't be able to go. :( But I want someone to enjoy the show, so my ticket is up for sale on eBay. Please spread the word to anyone you know who might want it.

Here's the info and there's a map on the link to show you where my seat is:



I have one ticket that I purchased via StubHub for the VMA's for sale. The physical ticket will arrive to me on or before 8/23 (according to StubHub) and I will immediately mail the ticket to you via USPS Priority Mail Express.

This info is from my StubHub order:

MTV Video Music Awards Tickets
Barclays Center
Brooklyn, NY, U.S.
9:00 p.m.
Upper 206
Row: 16

As a potential buyer, I would understand the fear of a scam for a ticket. So, I am putting up a link to my personal Website so you can see that I'm not a fraud or selling a fake ticket. I Upon purchase of the ticket, we can exchange email addresses and I'll forward you the email from StubHub so you can see that I did in fact purchase the ticket.

I live in Brooklyn and will be mailing the ticket from here. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me! :)

Thank you for bidding!


Cover reveal! Unicorn Magic #1!

I am BEYOND excited to be able to share the cover of my first ever chapter book!! Here it is! This is for the first book in my Unicorn Magic series from Simon & Schuster's Aladdin MIX. BELLA'S BIRTHDAY UNICORN hits stores in summer 2014 and I couldn't be happier.
I'm absolutely in love with my first illustrated cover! Thank yous to Alyson Heller, editor of all things magical, Fiona Simpson, Bethany Buck, the rest of the S&S Aladdin team and the sales force who support this book. It means so very much to me. Special thanks to illustrator Angela Martini   who captured the spirits of Bella and her unicorn PERFECTLY.
I hope you all love it as much as I do! :)

Canterwood Crest FAMOUS girl: Lexi Carson

The Cali Barn Mafia created this gorgeous and amazing video to spotlight FAMOUS.

Endless thank yous and hugs to Lexi Carson, Grace Carson, Contero (our star horse!), Heatherly Davis for the riding coaching, and Edelweiss Farms for hosting the shoot.

I am absolutely in love with this video and thank you, Lex, for being a FAMOUS girl.

Team Canterwood all the way!

Who wants to have a FAMOUS party LIVE with me?!

So . . . would ANY of you guys be interested in attending a live virtual party with me?

Like, I'll be LIVE on camera from my computer and *all* of you, Team Canterwood, can watch and type questions to me that I'll read and answer in real time!

Here's how it would work:

1. You can find me here. I'll have set up a note that says what day and time the party is.

2. BEFORE the live party, you have to sign up for a free account. (The don't spam, or use your real name--you can use a screenname for privacy.) You have to give a real email address, though, to confirm your account. Again, it's 100% FREE. Promise!

This is what the sign up page looks like. See the "your email account" button? That's what you want to click. :) Or, "Join with Facebook" if you like.

3. On the day and time of the party, login and click on my channel. (The link in #1. You'll see me on camera (I can't see you), but you'll see a chat window where you can start asking me questions. Those will be visible for everyone to see.

I'll be able to read the comments or questions from you and will answer as many ask I can! The party would last an hour and you can join in and leave whenever you like.

If this sounds like supersparkly fun (it does to me!) then I need Team Canterwood out in full force for FAMOUS.

If FAMOUS sells more copies in the first 7 days of its release (including any pre-orders and then from June 11-June 18) then we'll have a party!

I'll have to get the numbers of copies sold the first week from my publisher, so if the party does happen (I know you guys can do it!) it'll likely be the week after the 4th of July so that everyone's home from vacay.

I really want to party with Team Canterwood! So, fingers crossed, and I hope we make FAMOUS, well, famous. ;) If you have questions or want to trade tips on getting the word out about FAMOUS with other TC members, feel free to use the comments area to do so.

If you want to go ahead and set up your free account for my channel, please go ahead. I will definitely be doing live shows in the future.

Much love!


(Purposeful?) Writer's Block

I don't know of a time when I've EVER been less productive as a writer. Okay, to clarify: less productive on ONE project.

Home for Christmas.

The ideas are there. The outline is done. Many, many pages are down. I even started the final chapter--something I NEVER do.

But a week or so ago? I quit! I was moving along and then BAM. I kept opening the Word doc and staring at it. Or writing a sentence. Or editing what I'd already written. Nothing new. Even though it's all right there and ready to go down on paper.

Instead, I've done a zillion other things: finished the first unicorn book final draft (!), wrote a new proposal, attended a H-U-G-E beyond H-U-G-E meeting that could change Canterwood forever, and some other stuff, too. But Home for Christmas? To borrow a line from Titanic: "Now, it exists only in my memory."

Not really my memory, but you know what I'm saying.

So, writers, series writers, readers, bloggers--do we ever block ourselves either subconsciously or consciously?

Am I not writing HFC because it's the last book in Canterwood Crest? Possibly. You probably know the long, boring story of how it started, but check my Website if you don't.

This is going to sound SO DRAMATIC, but it's the truth: Sasha Silver saved me when I didn't know how to save myself.

I was a nineteen year old obsessed with college and writing nonfiction. I was in an environment where I could control nothing except my body, which manifested as severe anorexia, and my work, which I did a LOT of. If I wasn't studying or writing, I saw it as "wasted time."

I was six years into a nightmare of a lost dream that I couldn't let go of. Six years since I'd been told by doctors that I couldn't be a competitive rider (or a regular one, for safety's sake) because of severe scoliosis. I was 13 and the dream that I'd put my soul into, breathed, and bled for was taken away. By something I couldn't control. I had two titanium rods and a bunch of screws inserted into my spine. Oh, they sawed off one of my ribs, too, and used that to fuse the rod to the bone. Risk of paralysis was high for the surgery, but part of me didn't care. I'd been a rider since I was five. If I couldn't do that--what was the point of having working legs?

Fast forward to the six years where I erased horses from my life. Upon receiving the news from my doctor, I tore my room apart. Down came all of the horse posters from Target. Into the trash went years worth of issues of Horse Illustrated. The Saddle Club, Thoroughbred, Pony Pals, Pony Tails, The Black Stallion, books by Marguerite Henry, The Horse Crazy series by Virginia Vail, Black Beauty, National Velvet--the hundreds of horse books that filled my room went into boxes. So did the movies. I asked relatives not to send me horsey calendars. I donated my riding clothes and any shirts with equestrian slogans.

I was OUT of horse world. Done.

October 2006: I heard about National Novel Writing Month. It was my senior year of college and I decided to sign up. Yes, I would write a book in 30 days during November. Awesome! Except I had no ideas. I checked out every fiction writing guide from my library and tried a million techniques for writer's block.


One night, just two or three days before 11/1, I "saw" Sasha. Her story ran through my brain and wouldn't go away. It bugged me so much that I got out of bed and wrote it down in hopes it would go away. No way was I writing about horses. November 1st arrived and I opened a new Word doc, ready to write a novel.

I started telling Sasha's story.

It wasn't painful as I'd feared. It was the opposite--I was riding again through Sasha. I felt her pain when she messed up a jump, the elation from a good gallop across the field, the giggly feeling of being on a trail ride with her besties.

Sasha and Canterwood have been part of my life for 7 years. I've been "riding" for 7 years and maybe I'm scared that's going to stop.

But I have to remember that *I* am in control now. I have MANY other horse stories to write. :) I have non-horse stories, too, that are asking to be told. Whatever I decide to do, I can always start a new horse story. With that, I think I'm ready to get back to HFC. That and because I'll be sent to Author Jail if I'm late turning it in! ;)

As Sasha would say:


Finally! 1 Big Announcement Revealed! :)

Hi, all!

(crossposted from

I've been promising an announcement for some time and TODAY'S THE DAY! I absolutely can't hold it in any longer. :) I wanted to do it via vlog, but I have a cold and sound like Snuffleupagus! LOL. So I'll do my very best to convey my CRAZY excitement via blog!

I've been holding onto this news for months and oh, my, it has been SO hard not to spill!! Only a handful of close friends know and I'm thrilled to finally be able to tell everyone else.

So . . . back in December, I signed a new book contract!!

Actually, a 4-book series contract with my ever-so-amazing publisher, Simon & Schuster.

The series, currently untitled, is a chapter book series for kids ages 6-9 (roughly) and it is my first EVER time writing fantasy!

What kind of fantasy? How about one centered around unicorns? :) It felt like such a natural step to take after Canterwood and it has been So. Much. Fun. I've written the first book and had a blast doing so. The series will be edited by the awesome Alyson Heller at Aladdin. I'm thankful to Fiona Simpson for her interest and notes early on. Also, huge thanks to Kate Angelella for helping talk this project through and flesh out concepts.

Alyson is just as excited as I am about all things magic, unicorn-related, and did I mention, princess-y?

The main character is a princess and writing as a princess made me want to move to a castle, LOL.

 The entire world is superfun and magical! I can't wait to share it with you!

Of course, not everything in the books are sparkly and happy. Evil creatures, including some baaad unicorns roam the lands.

Ultimately, the series is about a girl and her unicorn--her best friend. They're about to embark on some amazing adventures together.

The first two books in the series have a tentative publication date of summer 2014.

Yaaaaaay, unicorns!!! :D I'm so, SO glad I finally got to share and hope you're as excited as I am.

For those of you who might remember me stating that I have multiple announcements--that's still true! I can't say anything about the other surprise yet, but I will the second I'm able! It's thrilling in a completely new way. :)

I've been collecting unicorn stuff since I made the book deal and I'll be sure to snap pix and post them on Facebook and Twitter of what I've got. If YOU have anything unicorn related, I want to see it!

Happy weekend, all!

Gaga 1

My photo inspired by Lady Gaga's Body Revolution

Jess Ashley's take on Lady Gaga's Body Revolution 10/17/12
There have been a lot of positive (and some negative) comments in the media recently about Lady Gaga's Body Revolution. In short, the movement is about loving and accepting your body exactly the way it is. Many people are posting their own shots on I wasn't "born this way," but I'm proud of how I now look.

2: titanium rods in my back
12: number of inches long each rod is
4: inches of height I gained after my spinal fusion
6: pints of my blood used during surgery
1: year until full recovery
9: hours in surgery
0: number of scoliosis cases worse than mine that the doctors had seen
13: age I was at the time of surgery
25: age I am now


*Photo credit: Kate Angelella
Cross-posted from

Dear Teen Me blog tour kick off

I'm so excited to be the first author in a line up ahhh-mazing writers to kick off the Dear Teen Me Blog Tour!

If you're not familiar with DTM, here's the official scoop:

Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves. (Zest Books, October 30, 2012, $14.99; ISBN 978-1-9369762-1-8) edited by Miranda Kenneally and E. Kristin Anderson. Zest Books, a leading publisher of nonfiction for young adult readers, is distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Over 70 YA and MG authors write letters to their teenage selves. 
The co-editors, Miranda Kenneally (below) and E. Kristin Anderson (right) are pretty awesome!

 We're very grateful that DTM found a home with Zest Books. I cannot wait until it hits shelves on October 30! Woot!

Anyone in the mood for a . . . prize? :) Leave a comment in this post about anything you like and make sure to leave your address. A WEEK from today (Monday, October 22 at midnight EST) the contest ends and I'll use a random generator to choose a winner. I'll contact you for your name and mailing address (US residents only, sorry!) and you'll get your prize from the folks at Zest!

You'll receive: an autographed copy of DTM (singed by 4-5 authors), post cards, and bookmarks. See the winner's swag below. :)

So, now that you know what DTM is, I thought I'd share the reason WHY I wrote my letter. It started as a blog post on DTM's Website and then I was contacted by the editors to be asked if I'd like to participate in the anthology. Excited? Big time! Nervous? Um, yeah!

I had to write a new story from the one that was posted on It would have been so easy for me if copy and paste were an option. Then I wouldn't have to think about that Dark Scary Place again. But I was glad, at the same time, that I did have to write a new story. This time, I pushed myself to go darker, access deeper hidden away feelings, and get myself to a place where it felt as though I'd overdosed on caffeine. 

I bared my feelings to a Word document and was left breathless and feeling as though I wasn't the Brooklyn girl with the tattoo(the date I moved to Brooklyn), who was addicted to Starbucks Pumpkin Spice lattes, who had seven piercings, who lived a block and a half from her BFFL, who loved walking the streets and avenue blocks in the summer, and who had discovered a new passion for photography.

Writing my essay had sucked me back into the black hole. The Bermuda triangle. The place where even now makes my (Pause. Sorry. Have to grab a Xanax.) palms sweat, my voice low, and my thoughts try to change the subject. HEY! Do you guys wanna hear about what I'm doing for Lady Gaga's Body Revolution project? Ack! See! <----- Told you I'd try to change topics!

Okay. Writing that piece made me feel everything from sure that I'd vomit to holy-shit-I-did-it to a heartbeat so hard and loud that I was sure everyone in the apartment could hear it. I felt guilt. Shame. Terrific sadness. Loss. Pride. Love. Trapped. Friendship. Freedom. I remembered what it felt like to be there and feeling suicidal. I felt ugly. Hungry. Scared.

I could see my entire future laid out in front of Old Me. There was no change unless I made it happen--I wouldn't, I was too scared on my own. I envisioned my paychecks for Canterwood arriving and never seeing the check except to sign it. The money, and not to brag but rather to show the craziness (that's so the wrong word. Where's my editor BFF when I need her?!) of my then situation, was an amount that was enough to keep a family of four in Florida able to pay the bills and have a little extra.

That would have been fine with Old Me. But the money I earned never went to the family. I fought and argued over every check that was taken by an insane person (using insane here as "one who does the same thing over and over and expects a different outcome each time") and deposited into the latest Get Rich Quick Scheme. Old Me would have fought until she ran out of air for the money to be used for the right things. Old Me, even at a legal age, would not have left the emotionally and verbally abusive environment. She would have thought that the only thing she could do was write books, make money to keep the Insane Person happy, and do nothing else. She was her books.

That was until Old Me met Kate (far left at right) and I became New Me. New Me hated Old Me. She hated her behavior and ways of bowing down to a man. New Me despised Old Me for not being stronger. For not leaving the day she turned eighteen. For being so afraid.

Kate taught New Me not to hate old me. K taught New Me to forgive Old Me and keep learning and growing as a person. With her love, help, friendship, and teaching I very slowly became New Me and Old Me disappeared. It doesn't mean Old Me still doesn't make appearances from time to time--she does--but as time passes Old Me stays away longer and longer.

(And when I saw Kate "taught" me in the paragraph above, I really do mean taught. Remember that scene in Mean Girls where Cady, Regina, Gretchen, and Karen are in Regina's bedroom for the first time? Regina turns on the radio. They have a convo that goes like this:

Regina: Cady, do you even know who sings this?

Cady: Um . . . the Spice Girls?

Regina: I love her. She's just like a Martian!

Martian Jess was the Old Me at nineteen! I'd never used (or really knew what it was) a debit card, never filled a gas tank, hadn't had cable for over 11 years, had only seen two R-rated movies, let my parents drive me to college, hadn't been to public/private school since 7th grade, and a million other things that made me Old Jess. Kate was patient enough to take someone with the knowledge of the world kind of like Cady's and teach me how things in Brooklyn worked. How things in life worked.

Now you get why she's my bestie, right?

Flash forward to now:

I was on my way out the door when my DTM galley came. Even though I was already late for a doctor appointment, I stopped, ripped open the envelope, and flipped though many familiar author faces. I caught words such as "suicide," "anorexic," "bullied," "love," and finally found my own story.

My first reaction?


That lasted 1.5 seconds. Immediately, a "Whoa. I really did it and look at this beautiful collection of stories." feeling replaced it. I feel immense pride and gratefulness that my name is one that appears alongside authors whose work I've been in love with for years. Authors whom have helped me on the road to becoming New Jess.

There's no such thing as a crystal ball or a way to change how my teen years turned out. If if I could, I honestly wouldn't change a thing.

Writing a letter to my nineteen-year-old self from a now twenty-five year old's perspective was pretty damn satisfying.
Jessica Burkhart (a pseudonym for Jess Ashley) is the author of the 20-book Canterwood Crest series for Aladdin MIX. She has many WIPs, one of which includes KEPT, a fictionalized version of her life told in verse. Jess co-owns Violet & Ruby with Kate and they plan to release dominate, their first e-novella soon. Visit for more!

Go pre-order your copy of DTM today or find us online! Here's how:

Keep up with our blog tour:

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Dear Teen Me
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