Chapter 6 Excerpt with Illustration

Life really does get in the way sometimes! School has been busy for both Jess Cee and me, but we’re entering a slightly slower couple of weeks. Hopefully I can bring you several more excerpts before I get distracted again.

I actually really love this chapter and the illustration that goes with it is breathtaking! It really does the gorgeous Masonic Temple in New Bern justice. Have a look and a read in yet another peek into Jessica’s fantastic adventure:

“Maybe he was a Mason.” Katie said it quietly, as if she didn’t want anyone to hear her. She looked up at the tall Lodge next to the theater. “Do you think they’re ever in there anymore?”

Jessica knew what her friend meant. The lodge—which she’d heard some people refer to as a “temple”—was the source of much speculation and many stories among the theater kids. Ghost stories abounded about the building, including the theater, and the mysterious rites the Masons had once performed in the very theater they now performed their musicals in just fueled the rumors.

Though much of the building was now empty, Jessica knew the lodge room above the theater was still used. It was strictly off limits, of course, but it hadn’t been abandoned.

Before Jessica could answer her friend, however, a little red Volkswagen pulled into the parking lot and Miss Roberson got out. She smiled at them. “Good morning, girls. You’re all here bright and early.”

Celebrate with Chapter 5 excerpt and illustration!

I’m feeling pretty accomplished today as I finished the second round of edits of Jessica Entirely. It is definite cause for celebration, especially since it put to rest some of my doubts about whether or not the story is even any good. It is. In a heart-warming, sort of this-could-really-happen-here way. It is good.

So, I decided to celebrate by releasing Jess Cee’s Chapter 5 illustration with a small excerpt for your reading pleasure.

“Can you believe she offered me the part of the reporter? Me? I mean, what do I have to do to get a decent role?” Katie sighed.

“I’m really sorry, K. I wanted you for Charlotte, but Miss Roberson thought—”

“Yeah, which also kind of bums me out. You’re the co-director, right? Didn’t you tell her I’d be great for this role?”

“Of course, I did!” Jessica took the receiver away from her ear and stared at it as if she couldn’t have heard her friend right. “I totally did. But she has a vision—”

“Vision?” Katie snorted. “Right. I mean, first she tells you you’re too young for Charlotte and makes you a co-director, then she gives me a bit role. I mean, really. I doubt she listens to your opinions at all. In fact, I doubt she listens to anyone’s opinions. She probably just picks her favorites.”

“Um, well, that is sort of her job. To pick the people she thinks will be best for the role. Right?”

Silence from the other end of the line, then Katie, her voice very cold, said, “Whose side are you on, anyway?”

Planning Jessica’s next adventure! (And Chapter 4 excerpt)

Jess Cee and I took an afternoon this weekend and visited the historic New Bern site of our next Jessica adventure to make some plans for our next Jessica mystery, tentatively titled Jessica Naturally. No more about that book yet, but I did take a pic of Jess Cee pondering the illustrations that I’ll share with you:

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Very mysterious, isn’t she? 😉

On to more Jessica Entirely news! Jess Cee recently delivered several illustrations, and I just can’t wait to share them! Fortunately, she’s able to do both color and black and white, so I can share the color illustrations here. Here’s the illustration for Chapter 4, along with an excerpt:

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Jessica spent the next day…and the next!…waiting as patiently as possible to hear about callbacks. She just knew she’d get a callback for something. But it wasn’t until after dinner on Monday while she was doing her homework that her mother’s phone rang.

Mom tapped Jessica on the shoulder and held up the phone to show her the theater’s number. Jessica gasped and jumped up, but Mom held up a hand to stop her from grabbing the phone. She answered, her voice casual. “Hello…well, good evening, Miss Roberson…yes, she’s been waiting to hear from you.” She paused, listening for what seemed like an eternity. Her face, instead of brightening as it always did when Jessica got a callback or a role, remained in listening mode. “I see.”

Jessica’s heart felt like it had turned to stone. How could this happen? How could she not get a part? That had been her best audition ever. Could Mrs. Rachel have turned Miss Roberson against her?

Chapter 3 Illustration and Excerpt

We’re getting closer! I’m hoping to have Jessica Entirely (ahem) entirely ready for publication by June. This is a bit more complex since I’m including illustrations in this children’s book. My illustrator, Jess Cee, is hard at work on these, but she’s got school, too, so I’m competing for her attention.

However, we do have another illustration for you. This one is for Chapter 3, where we meet Miss Roberson, the director of Charlotte’s Web. It’s pre-auditions, so everyone’s a little jittery, even our heroine—although she won’t admit it!

Ashley pounced on her as soon as she came through the door. “I’m so nervous I want to cry,” she hissed at Jessica. “I don’t think I can do this.”

Jessica looked at her with a little irritation. “Hold it together while I get my sheet to fill out, okay?” She crossed the room, greeting several of her theater friends as she did.

Mrs. Rachel was in the box office talking to the director, a new young teacher from a local school. She spotted Jessica and smiled. “Good to see you here, Miss Jessica.” She handed Jessica one of the sheets. “Jessica, I don’t think you know Miss Roberson, do you?”

Jessica held out a hand, remembering to grasp firmly but not to squeeze painfully. “It’s a pleasure, Miss Roberson. I look forward to working with you.”

Miss Roberson, who had perfect golden hair, bright blue eyes and the whitest teeth Jessica had ever seen, flashed her a smile. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Jessica. I have heard a lot about you.”

Jessica felt a hot flush on her cheeks and she looked at Mrs. Rachel.

New Illustration with Excerpt!

Jess Cee just sent me the second illustration and I LOVE it, so I’m going to share it here with a little excerpt. This one shows our Jessica with her best friend Ashley making plans to solve the mystery.

Mrs. Rachel was right about the theater being a family. This theater, anyway. And if there was anything going on that could hurt the theater, Jessica needed to find out what it was.

She made a sudden decision.

“I want you to try out for Charlotte’s Web.”

“Me?” Ashley shook her long, brown hair out of her face. “I don’t act. That’s your thing.”

“Yeah, but I need a friend there. Somebody who can help me figure this all out. I’m going to be busy if I get the part of Charlotte. I’ll have multiple solos, and I may not be able to get back into the box office very easily. I may need someone to…to run interference.”

Jessica used the last phrase with pride. She’d read it once in a detective novel. And that’s the part Jessica was playing right now. She was a detective.

News from the Jessica Entirely team!

I’ve been hard at work on the book, and my illustrator, Jess Cee, has been hard at work on the illustrations, so we haven’t been keeping up on the blog recently. But I just had to share Jess Cee’s first illustrations for Jessica Entirely.

First, she sent me the illustration for the book cover a little while ago, so I whipped up a sort of preview for the cover and here that is:

Parts of this may change, but the illustration itself should stay the same. It’s perfect for the mysterious theater setting of the book, so well done Jess Cee!

Jess Cee also provided me with the first illustration for the book, so I’m going to pair it up with an itty bitty excerpt from the first chapter. Maybe it’ll give you an idea what we’re doing.

For a while, the teenagers milled around in the lobby, but eventually Martina and Jeff herded them into the house—theater speak for auditorium—leaving Jessica alone in the lobby. Just the way she liked it.

Until the front door scraped quietly open.

Jessica looked up from her math book when she felt the little whoosh of cool air from the autumn afternoon. At first she thought it might be a teenager arriving late. But the shoes didn’t look like a teenager’s shoes. Expensive, brown leather, and pretty big. The shoes came into the lobby and paused, then went behind the counter into the box office. Jessica frowned. Nobody was allowed behind the counter except board members. And board members weren’t usually here during the day. Board members came to meetings in the evenings or attended the yearly fundraising events.

Maybe she should check it out.

What is Jessica Entirely?

Jessica Leigh is a Hollywood-bound actress—sure she’s only eight years old and she lives in the tiny historic city of New Bern, N.C. But Jessica’s been taking voice lessons since she was six, and she’s sure it’s her turn to get a lead in the kids’ musical at the local theater. If only other people would stop messing up her plans.

First Miss Roberson, the new director, doesn’t think she’s old enough for the role she wants, so she makes Jessica a co-director instead. Then her school friend gets the lead in the play, but her theater friend just gets a small part in the ensemble. To top it all off, mysterious things are happening in the old theater, and Jessica has to figure it out before her theater family gets hurt.

It’s going to take everything she’s got to get through this musical with her friendships intact, but Jessica is sure she can do it. Entirely.