Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Friday, November 11, 2011

Amazon Chart Rush

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrackMelody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free!

All you have to do is purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and then email the receipt to:


She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost!

To purchase the paperback:

To purchase the eBook:

To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.

If you are not familiar with String Bridge, check out the book trailer:

Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout, seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world begins to unravel … String Bridge is a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion Thrust and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel. I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jessica Bell Interview

Welcome back to the String Bridge Blog Tour! Today, I have my interview with Jessica Bell. I focused on more personal questions, rather than her novel, due to the sheer volume of interviewers. I wanted you to see a side of her that you can't get from her novel or book reviews. If you missed my review yesterday, check it out. 

String Bridge Debut-Interview with Jessica Bell

Milk, Dark or White Chocolate?
Milk! Especially with cream peppermint filling.

How did your Dalmatian Holly find her way into your family?
Ah, well, we found a breeder on the island of Crete and chose her from a picture! The breeder then sent her over with a ferry and bus at only 35 days old. Was totally hit and miss. We knew we wanted a Dalmatian, so it was just a matter of finding one. We were so lucky. Her temperament is wonderful. She is now four years old. Here is the picture we chose her from:

Did you experience any sibling rivalry growing up?
Nope. Was an only child until my half brother and sister came along. I only visited them, though, so we never spent enough time together to experience any conflict.

What’s on your guilty pleasure reading list?
Haha. Marian Keyes and Jodi Picoult.

What’s the story behind your nose piercing? Do you have any other piercings or tattoos?
Got it when I was 14 simply because I wanted to look tough. HA! J I have two holes in each ear, but no tatts. I’m terrified of pain! Would love to get a small one somewhere though. My closest cousins both have a gorgeous little dragonfly behind their ears at the base of their hairline. That’s my idea of a perfect tattoo. I think I might do something similar one day.

What activities do you enjoy while traveling?
Gotta see the sights. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Can you give us a glimpse of what a typical night-out-with-friends looks like?
I’m a bit boring when it comes to going out nowadays. I just can’t be bothered. Ha! But if I do go out, it’s usually with a girlfriend for sushi and a good chunk of cake afterward J. I also love to just sit on my balcony, with my other half, drinking wine.

What are your favorite TV shows and/or movies?
TV shows: Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Bones, Dexter
Movies: The Hours, Strictly Ballroom, The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, Cry Baby, Hairspray (the old version)

Who is your favorite character in literature? Why?
I’ve actually never thought about that before … Hmm … I really don’t know. Can I say anyone who has major flaws and is depicted realistically?

How does the publishing experience with String Bridge differ from your collection of poetry Twisted Velvet Chains or any of your short stories?
Well, the short stories are in anthologies from various publishers, so it is just a matter of submitting them and getting them accepted. After acceptance I don’t usually get involved. Except recently for a short story I was commissioned to write for eMergent Publishing’s “Literary Mix Tapes,” I actually had a say in the editing phases for that, which was wonderful.

The poetry book, I self-published because, to cut a long story short, I believed in it and publishers are reluctant to release such depressing material. Have received a wonderful response for it though, so I don’t regret that move at all. And I’m not in it for the money. I just want people to read my work.

Getting String Bridge accepted by Lucky Press must be my proudest moment ever. Especially considering the fact that I was about to shelve the manuscript. Janice, the publisher of Lucky Press, has been one of the most supportive people in this whole journey. She has boosted my confidence in ways I can’t even describe. I spent five years trying to write like other people were telling me to write until Janice came along. She encouraged me to be true to myself. Being true to myself is what got the book published.

Do you have a catch phrase?
Learn the rules, and then break them intelligently.

String Bridge Review

Today, I present you with my review of Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge. This is my first book review*, so please bear with me. I'm sure I forgot something in my attempt to make this a comprehensive quick read. I've provided a bio and list of links to purchase her novel and the soundtrack at the end of the review. 

Check back tomorrow to learn more about Jessica from my interview with her.    

*May contain spoilers.

String Bridge
By Jessica Bell
Lucky Press, LLC. 288 pp. $14.95

What price must be paid to hold onto our dreams? Jessica Bell dives into the dilemma of staying true to oneself in marriage and motherhood in her debut novel, String Bridge. She gives readers insight into the effects of compromising your identity for your family.

This visually evocative story set in Athens, Greece paints a picture of relationships between parents, husbands and wives and children many will recognize. Bell’s character development brings a life to Melody, her husband, Alex and their daughter, Tessa that touches the reader in an honest and heartbreaking way.

The novel’s structure, similar to an opus, is broken down into numbered parts. Each of the four sections begins with lyrics to a song from the soundtrack, On The Other Side, accompanying the novel that reveals a part of Melody’s battle between pursuing her music career and her responsibilities as a wife and mother. It’s evident to the reader Melody’s dream to play music faded after marriage and motherhood. She’s determined to breathe new life into her dream at any cost.

Melody’s anger and resentment towards her husband and daughter about her life creates dissonance in her marriage. Alex is distant and short-tempered, and Melody wants time away from him to sort out her feelings. A plan to accept a promotion in England with an attractive boss and join an ex-boyfriend on tour with his band leads to the epic fight that puts Tessa in the hospital.

In the last part of the novel, Melody reflects on her life and the choices she’s made. She realizes relationships are fragile and easily broken after a life-altering accident. In the novel excerpt below, Melody explains the bridge on a guitar to Tessa in hopes of filling her with the same wonder and excitement about music that she grew up with. The bridge is where the strings originate and receive support, much like a family.  

‘“Well, that is one of the most important parts, Blossom. If the bridge isn’t straight, or built properly, then the strings won’t sing very well—the guitar will be out of tune.’
‘Out of tune?’
‘Well, I guess that just means, not quite right—when strings are out of tune, they sound a bit sad.’”

Relating to Melody was easier than I thought when I started reading this novel. I know how it feels to stand still while a life you thought you wanted engulfs you, slowly eating away at your identity until you’re left with an unrecognizable image in the mirror. Then, something drastic and emotionally devastating happens, snapping you back to reality. It’s the moment when you decide if you’re going to let life happen or fight for the one you want. I’m confident women at any stage of life will get wrapped up in the tumultuous world Jessica Bell created in her novel. 

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. I did not receive renumeration. 

Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.

She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.

In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.

From September 2012 Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus.

Purchase links:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pump the Brakes Princess!

Well, I knew November promised a fast-paced insanity. And to add to the enormous pile on my plate, my metaphorical brakes don't work anymore. I just hope my head doesn't spin off into a wall while I try to keep up.

Today, I'm interviewing for a freelance copywriting position in King of Prussia, PA (high-end shopping mecca with Lego Store). I'm a bit apprehensive, but curious to see where my writing journey takes me.

This month is filled with birthdays, including my own. My schedule is already filled with writing goals, art projects, job searches and holiday planning that squeezing in some gift shopping and a few birthday parties might require some heavy-duty lubricant.

Let's see...what else?

I replaced my original NaNoWriMo novel with a mystery story, HIDING, I started at the beginning of October. The decision wasn't easy after spending a month prepping the original idea, but HIDING kept pulling at me, so I gave in. My outlook on the crazy month of writing changed as well. I face everyday with the goal of getting some writing done on my story. The pursuit of 50,000 words (focus on QUANTITY over quality) doesn't jive with my current process. The story tells me what it needs, and I need to listen.

And finally...

This is the second week of Jessica Bell's String Bridge Blog Tour. I'm excited to be part of her promotional team getting the word out about her debut novel with accompanying soundtrack.

WEDNESDAY: I will post my review of her novel.

THURSDAY: Check out my interview with Jessica, and find out what TV shows she likes to watch and if she has any hidden tattoos.

What's going on in your life? Any new books, projects, jobs, etc.?
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