Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodbye 2008, Hello 2009

Over at The Novel Girls this week, we're talking about New Year's resolutions. I haven't actually figured out any good ones to write about yet (check back Thursday to see what I come up with!)But I have been reflecting on the past year this week.

2008 was a really great year for me, and in a way, I'm sad to see it go. The highlight may have been in January, when The September Sisters sold at auction-- after having been rejected in one way or another in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. I thought that was a very good sign for my writing life in 2008-- and I was right!.

In fact, 2008 was the first year I came to think of myself as a real writer -- as in I could tell other people that I was a writer without having to feel like an imposter when they asked me exactly what I had written. Which means while I was writing my second book, I could tell people I was working and have it be true, since I was actually getting paid to do it. (A thought which still boggles my mind.)

Looking back, I've also done a lot more writing this year than I ever, ever have in my life. I wrote and revised and polished my second novel (which will be out in 2010 from Harperteen), and I just this week I completed a draft of what I hope will be my first adult novel. It's not that I had more ideas this year or even more time to write (In fact, I probably actually had less time than I've had in the past.). But 2008 was the year I started having enough confidence in my writing to really, really, really work at it. To make myself sit at the computer for two hours every night after the kids went to sleep and just write. Even if I was tired. Even if Grey's Anatomy was on! Because it was the first time I believed that if I kept at it, it would be worthwhile, that I could be writing something other people would eventually read.

But for the last part of 2008 I've also felt like I've been waiting, waiting for The September Sisters to come out, waiting to see it in a bookstore, waiting nervously for reviews, waiting for my real writing life to start. So I'm excited for 2009, excited for the possibility of what it might bring both for my writing and for my life as well. I love fresh beginnings, new starts, new years, because you never know what might be waiting for you just around the corner. (Can you tell I'm an optimist?!)

So what were your 2008 highlights, and what are you looking forward to in 2009? I'd love to hear.

Happy New Year!!

PS. Don't forget, Thursday is the last day to enter my contest and the contest over at The Novel Girls!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wondrous Strange Release!

My cyber writer friend and fellow Novel Girl, Lesley Livingston, had her debut novel, Wondrous Strange hit bookstores today! (I'll be blogging more about my excitement for the book over at The Novel Girls on Thursday, which will include my sighting of the book on a real live display at Borders yesterday!!!)

My copy is, according to Amazon, arriving tomorrow, upon which I'm planning on rippng open the box and reading it right away. I've heard so many wonderful (wondrous?!) things about the book, and when I saw it at Borders I was blown away by how gorgeous it looks.

And if you want to enter to win your very own signed copy, all you need to do is become a follower of The Novel Girls by January 1st!


I came across an awesome review of THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS over at YA Book Realm, and I was so excited and awed to read it!!

Among other lovely things, YA BR says, "Jillian Cantor’s debut novel, was unforgettable with the perfect mixture of realism, great character development, and plot. . .The moment I started reading it, I seriously could not put it down until I learned more about the disappearance of Becky."

You can click here to read the whole review.

And don't forget, a little over a week left to enter my contest for the chance to win an ARC of THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blogging with Harperteen!

Today I'm blogging over at the Harperteen MySpace site about the old writing adage, write what you know. You can click here to read it. One thing I left out of the post is how a writing teacher of mine in college, once referred to my life (after reading an autobiographical piece I'd written), as "tragically boring!" (And that was definitely not a compliment in his eyes.) But you can see how I sort of figured out how to write what I know anyway!

And if you haven't already, enter my contest for a chance to win a signed Advanced Review Copy of The September Sisters!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


If you'll notice from the title of this post, I said "contests" plural. That's because I have two great contests to tell you about!!

First, as promised, I'm having a contest to give away a signed Advanced Review Copy of THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS. All you have to do is become a follower of my blog by January 1, 2009. (Click on "follow this blog" on the left hand side -- you might have to scroll down a little bit to see it.) If you're already a follower, then you're already entered to win! I will pick one winner, at random, after Jan. 1st.

Contest number 2 is going on over at my group blog, The Novel Girls. We're giving away a signed, hardcover copy of Lesley Livingston's WONDROUS STRANGE, in celebration of her December 23rd release. (If you click over, you can find the details, but really all you need to do is become a follower of The Novel Girls.)

It's simple, so enter them both! And good luck!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Do you follow?

Head on over to The Novel Girls to check out my post about Abby's (the main character in The September Sisters) favorite things. You'll get to learn a little bit about the book, and I promise no spoilers.

Earlier today, I figured out how to add the cool "followers" feature to my blog, only, I sadly don't have any followers yet :-(.

There's going to be lots more blogging in the new year, and I'm even planning some contests for January, where I'll be giving away a few advanced copies of The September Sisters!!! So follow away, or, at least check back soon for the contest details.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I'm Still Here. . .

I know I've been neglecting this blog as of late, and I have to apologize. But I've been busy, busy busy writing what I hope (fingers crossed) will end up being my debut novel for adults. I'm working on the end now, and when I'm done, when I come out of this writing fog that is consuming my life at this moment, I may get back into other things, like blogging, or say, cleaning my house.

I've also officially finished revising my second YA book, which will be out from Harperteen in Winter 2010. I'm super-excited about this book, and I think the details about it, the writing of it, and the title, deserve their own blog post, which I promise will come soon, probably in January.

For now, it's back to writing for me, back to pushing through this first draft so I can spend my holiday break from teaching revising.

You can still find me every Thursday on The Novel Girls. Last week we blogged about names, and I discussed the importance of nicknames, both for me and my characters. This week we're going to blog about our favorite things, just like Oprah or um, Maria Von Trapp. (Only don't ask me to sing. Really. Don't.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Here's an update: I'm still only on page 75 of Wally Lamb's new book -- which means I've got a long way to go till the end. But I haven't read much in the past two weeks. I've been working furiously on my new adult book, and I have a problem with reading another book while I'm really in the midst of writing my own. There are only so many characters I can allow in my head at once! But I'm going to get back to Wally Lamb, just as soon as I finish my draft. In fact, maybe I will make it my New Year's resolution.

But it's today it's Thanksgiving, which means I'll be cooking instead of reading or writing. So head on over to The Novel Girls to check out my Thanksgiving post! (I've even added a picture of my ugly but tasty pineapple upside down cake from earlier in the week.)

Hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

752 Pages!

I was so excited to get Wally Lamb's new book, The Hour I First Believed, in the mail yesterday. (Of course I pre-ordered it from Amazon weeks ago!). I'm only 40 pages into it, but I'm enjoying it immensely so far. No one can make a character, a story, or a voice come alive like Wally Lamb. I was hooked on the first page, and I've been thinking about the book all day, wanting to get back to it. The good news is that the book is 752 pages, which means I'll be able to savor it; I'll be able to look forward to reading something good every night. The bad news is that the book is 752 pages, because, well, I barely have time to sleep as it is.

I read the acknowledgments first (as I always do), and he mentioned that it took him 9 years to write the book. 9 years!! I can't even imagine the patience and the painstaking work that must have gone into that. I'm absolutely awed!

So I'll let you know when I finish the book, and what I think of the 752 pages in the end. But I'm already crossing my fingers that he'll get an Oprah Book Club three-peat.

PS. Over at The Novel Girls, we're blogging about recipes this week. Click on over to read about my disasters in baking!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blogging with Harperteen

Harperteen invited me to blog on their MySpace page today! Since first love is an important aspect of THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS, I wrote about my own first love!

Click here to check it out, and while you're there check out the awesome Harperteen MySpace site!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

An Author, A President

I came across this article this morning that talks about President-elect Obama as a writer. I was interested in the interviews with some of my all-time favorite authors, Toni Morrison and Jane Smiley, but also in the whole idea the article purports that Obama is actually a "peer" to other authors.

After you check that out, be sure to stop by The Novel Girls and check out my post on revision.

And coming next week, I'll be blogging on the Harperteen Myspace site. (More details to come.)But in the meantime, the site is lots of fun, so drop on by.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween and New Links

The good news is, after an exhaustive search, I've finally found some orange knee socks -- well, orange with brown trim actually, but that's going to be good enough. My Velma outfit is complete!!

I haven't been blogging much lately, but I've been hard at work on three separate projects. Just finished another round of copy-edits on The September Sisters, I'm finishing up revisions on YA Book 2 (Title coming soon -- I promise!), and I'm also deep into a new adult book that is practically leaping out of my head. I figure if I had an extra five hours or so every day, I might actually have the time to write the book on the computer as fast as my mind is concocting it. But I don't, so I'm seriously exhausted now from not sleeping enough this week.

At The Novel Girls this week, we blogged about Halloween -- and I wrote about my orange and black kitties who like to hang out together, and who we call, collectively, "Halloween." There's a cute picture of them and everything, so pop on over and check it out!

And check out a few new links: This first one is a blog post about the HarperCollins spring preview. Check out the nice mention and the picture of The September Sisters cover!

And I'm also up on the HarperCollins site now, with my own countdown widget and everything! Click here to check it out.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sales and Socks

The Novel Girls are blogging about our book sale calls this week!

Though I love the story of my book sale, it always makes me sad to think about it because my book sold the same week my grandfather died. He was the first person that I was really close to, to die, so it was an oddly surreal time for me. The excitement and the sadness, all at once, was a lot to handle. If you want to read the whole story, click here.

And be sure to check out the posts by the other The Novel Girls, too! There's nothing I enjoy reading about more than triumph in the publishing world. And these posts have all been pretty inspirational so far.

Next week, we're blogging about Halloween. Which reminds me, I still have to finish getting my costume together. That's right, for the first time in probably, um, 15 years, I'll be dressing up, at the request of my son. So, please, if anyone knows where I can buy a pair of bright orange knee-socks, drop me a line. I've been searching all over, and big surprise, they're kinda hard to find!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Asking a writer to choose her favorite books is like asking someone with a sweet tooth to choose her favorite dessert. ( I know this one because I fit into both categories!) Seriously, there is nothing more exciting to me than walking into Barnes and Noble, the store aglow with all the pretty, pretty covers.

But it's favorite books week over at The Novel Girls, so I've been agonizing all week about which books to write about. There are so many that I love. If you want to see what I chose, click here to read my post.

Something that I left out is the fact that lately I've been immersing myself in YA books. It's mainly because THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS and my second book (which I'm almost finished revising!! Yay!) are both YA books. So what are my most recent, favorite YA picks? I'll have to say Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin and The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante, two books which I couldn't put down and made me think.

What are some of your favorites? I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

An Anniversary of Sorts

It occured to me that it will be exactly a year next week since I finished my final revision of The September Sisters and sent it off to my agent. That means a year ago from now, I still had no book deal, I felt at the end of my rope in terms of revising the book, and I was more than a little pessimistic about whether or not the book would ever find a home. What a difference a year makes!! The September Sisters will be out in a little over four months, and I'm in the process of revising my second novel, which will be published by HarperCollins in 2010.

I wrote the first draft of The September Sisters in 2003, and it went through dozens and dozens of (maybe more?) different revisions before that final one last October. If you head on over to The Novel Girls you can check out my post on first drafts and read about how it all began for me writing that book.

Of course, in the end, I think it was the revisions that really mattered more than anything, but first things first. Getting it all down on paper has to count for something!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Terrific Review!!!!

The Compulsive Reader posted an amazing early review of THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS on her blog today!! To read it, click here.

Her review is so beautiful that it made me tear up to read it! She calls the book "beautifully penned and emotional," and she says "Cantor is an extremely sensitive and yet savvy writer, and aptly describes each and every dynamic aspect of the girls' lives, giving the book a haunting and persistently real quality. "

My favorite part is the end where she says, "Cantor's impressive debut is a beautiful and heartfelt novel that will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, and should not be missed. "

Knowing that someone else (well, aside from my mom) read the book and truly loved it, makes me unbelievably happy! So thanks to the Compulsive Reader for a lovely review!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

TV Resolutions

Since it's Fall TV week over at The Novel Girls this week, and it's also The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, I decided to come up with some TV related New Year's resolutions.

As in, I watch way too much TV and some of it needs to stop. In fact, I have so many shows that have recently come back on that I can't even possibly tape them all, even with two DVRs that can both tape two shows at once. That's four shows at one time, people!! (Yes, I think it has reached the level of addiction!) And then there's the issue of not having time to watch all of it -- two kids to take care of, two books to work on, three college classes to teach, one house to clean (Well, who am I kidding, my house is actually a mess). But still, you get the point. So I am resolving to kick some of these shows to the curb. Here's what and why:

1.) Dancing with the Stars: I think I've seen one too many quick-steps at this point. And this is 2 hours twice a week -- way too long!!
2.) Heroes: This is sad, because I was such a huge, huge fan the first season. But last season, they kinda lost me with all the time travel stuff, and I've still been unable to make it through the entire premiere episode -- so gross -- that scene with Claire and Sylar (if you watched you know what I'm talking about). Plus how many times can they save the world? Really!
3.) Ugly Betty -- I was a little bored with the premiere show. Okay, I was multi-tasking and only half watching, but I didn't rewind back to see what I missed. Gone.
4.) Real World/Road Rules Challenge: They don't even do any actual challenges this season! They sit around and argue (and drink) and besides, I'm 30 now. I may be the only 30-year-old who thinks she's still young enough to watch this. Gotta go.
5.) Fringe: I saw the first episode and I really liked it -- but it scared me, no, terrified me. And I still can't get the image of translucent, melting skin out of my head.
6.) House: I was so mad about the end of last season, that I vowed never to watch it again. (I did already slip up and watch the premiere episode). But I'm gonna try to kick the habit for real now.

So there, I've freed up 8 hours a week. Now if only I can stick with it, I may actually get more work done and go to bed earlier, too. . . And free up some space on the DVR for the important shows, like Sesame Street and The Wiggles.

If you want to hear what TV I'm not giving up on, stop by The Novel Girls on Thursday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just cuz it's Thursday. . .

It's Thursday again, so that means it's time to head on over to The Novel Girls to check out my weekly post. This week, I wrote about how the first day of autumn, and the seasons in general, feel much different to me since I've been living in Arizona.

And hey, Thursdays are getting even better again now that Grey's Anatomy comes back on TV tonight. I can't wait to see what's going to happen with Meredith and McDreamy. Really, I'm even slightly forgetting about the fact that I'm exhausted and I have lots of work to do -- that's how excited I am!

Friday, September 19, 2008

My First Review!!!!

Kidliterate posted an early review for THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS today!! Click here to read it.

I absolutely love the way the reviewer describes Abby (the main character) and her emotions. My favorite part is where she says "Very nicely written. I thought Cantor [THAT'S ME!!!] did a great job with Abby and her very complex all-over-the-map emotions."

So thanks to Kidliterate for a lovely first review!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Balzer & Bray, Bushnell, and . . . Me?

Check out this little tidbit from Publishers Weekly about Candace Bushnell's deal with Balzer & Bray to write two teen books about Carrie Bradshaw's (of Sex and the City) high school years, with the first book to be out in Fall 2010.

This is so exciting to me on so many levels! First, I absolutely can't wait to read these books!! What was the fabulous Carrie like in high school?? And who was she friends with? And who did she date? Seriously, I'm going to be first in line to pre-order this.

And, perhaps even more exciting, I've recently found out that I, too, am going to be a Balzer & Bray author in 2010. My lovely editor, Jill Santopolo, is moving to that imprint and taking me with her for my second (still untitled) book to be out in winter 2010.

Imagine that, me at the same imprint as Candace Bushnell, Carrie Bradshaw coming alive in the very same rooms as my protagonists! I never would have believed it a few years back, at a time in my life when I was up to my ears in agent rejection letters, and I was prone to staying up very, very late to watch Sex and the City marathons.

(And speaking of agents. . . Don't forget to check out my post at The Novel Girls tomorrow to read about how I found my fabulous agent, Jessica Regel, without whom, I would still undoubtably be watching Sex and the City re-runs right now rather than writing this post. Though, to be honest, I'm probably going to go do that after I post this. . .)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Something's Awesome in the State of Denmark. . .

And that is that the Danish rights to THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS have sold to the publisher Forlaget Thorup!!

I can't tell you how excited I am that my work is going to be translated into another language! And what better place than Denmark, birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson, and setting for Hamlet?!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Friendship Week

The Novel Girls are going to be groggin' about friendship all week this week. Which has gotten me thinking about some of my own friendships and what I'm going to write about in my post on Thursday.

My best friend Monica and I have known each other for 25 years. (I even have this really embarassing picture of the two of us wearing matching hot pink and black outfits to a dance in junior high.) If only my hair had been a little less frizzy back then, I may have considered posting it. . .

But as a fairly new Facebook & Myspace obsessee, I've also started to think about how friendship has taken on a whole new meaning in this Internet age that we live in these days.

So, more on my take on friendship on Thursday. If you stop by, leave me a comment, and while you're at it, friend me on Myspace, too!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


If you head on over to The Novel Girls blog, you can read my first Thursday post. In fact if you haven't already read it, you should "book it" on over there. Hehe.

Seems I wasn't the only one obssessed with The Pizza Hut Book-It program as a child. (I would've read the books anyway, I swear! But who can resist those personal pan pizzas??)

I checked out their website today, and they actually have an Alumni page!!

Okay, now I really want a piece of pizza. . .

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Novel Girls

Starting Monday, September 1st, my new group blog will be up and running!

Check us out at http://www.thenovelgirls.blogspot.com/.

We're a group of six new authors, all debuting in the upcoming year, and we're going to blog about life, writing, and friendship.

I can't wait to get started blogging with these fabulous writers: Tracy Madison, Maureen Lipinski, Lisa Patton, Lesley Livingston, and Carolyn McTighe.

Look for my posts every Thursday, starting next week!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Check out the cover for The September Sisters!
Pretty great, huh? The HarperCollins design team did absolutely beautiful work, and I'm so happy that this is what they came up with. Wanna know why there's a lovely blue heart against a shimmery pool background? Guess you'll have to read the book!

Friday, July 18, 2008

What's In A Name?

I recently received some beautiful looking Advanced Review Copies of The September Sisters compliments of the lovely people at HarperCollins. So, Meg Cabot (or any other amazing, talented, published authors), if you happen to be reading this, and you are dying to read The September Sisters and write a beautiful quote for the back cover, just drop me an e-mail and I'll send you your very own copy!!

In other news, after lots of late nights and babysitting by my wonderful husband, I finally have something that might resemble a rough draft of my second novel (which will be out in Winter 2010 from HarperCollins). I had this brief feeling of accomplishment, for all of about an hour, and then I started thinking about how I need to revise the heck out of this thing before it's fit for anyone else to see.

I always think it's kinda fun to write a rough draft because I know in the back of my mind that I'm going to have to go back and fix it anyway, so I just let the creative juices flow and write whatever comes into my head. Not so fun, is going back and reading through and realizing how much work there is to be done!

But right now, I'm still at the stage where I love my characters and it makes me happy to work on them (Much, much later after many, many hours of tireless revision, I sometimes secretly plot about how to kill them off in the last chapter!)

So the work continues, and hopefully soon I'll be able to post more info. about this second book including a title (well, assuming I can come up with one).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sort of Like Doing Research. . .

I confess. My obsession with reality TV has sunk to a new low. I am now looking forward to Tuesday nights, so I can watch Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood. Don't ask me why I watch. I'm not exactly a Tori Spelling fan. But there is something about it that keeps me coming back. Maybe it's the fact that she's pregnant and over-emotional (and boy, have I been there), or the fact that she has problems just like the rest of us (a dog who won't stop pooping in the house).

Last night, I spent an entire hour watching a very pregnant Tori obssess over her husband's young, dark, and beautiful scuba instructor, then take charge by spending a miserable day, sea sick, out on the boat with him just to keep an eye on things.

Not that I could relate to any of this, and honestly I didn't care one bit. Instead of watching I could've/should've been a.) working on my latest book, b.)reading a good book or c.)catching up on some much needed sleep. But did I turn off the TV? Nope.

Alas, summer reality season only comes around once a year. And besides, this season is going to follow Tori as her first book comes out and she goes on her book tour. So, really, it's all going to be quite educational. Sort of like doing research.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me (And My Sister!)

In The September Sisters, the main character, Abby, and her sister, Becky, have birthdays that are one day apart in September. This was one element of the book where I really drew on real life! My sister, Rachel, and I also have birthdays one day apart -- in June. Last week I turned 30, and the next day, she turned 27.

When we were kids, we used to hate having our birthdays a day apart. Just like in the book, my sister would literally hold a countdown to her birthday all day on my birthday. It was so annoying and infuriating! It was as if she'd decided to be born six weeks early just to ruin my birthday.

But now that we're grown-ups, it's been fun spending our birthdays together. What cooler way to celebrate your birthday than with your sister who is also celebrating her birthday? This year was the first time in a few years that we were not able to be together on our birthdays, and I have to say that I missed her. So, Happy Birthday, Rachel! And now that your birthday is over, it's my birthday next!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Beginning

Well, I've finally started my own blog! After reading lots of blogs by other authors, I decided it was my turn to jump in. Actually, this is harder than I thought it would be. I feel awfully self-conscious thinking that people might actually read this. . . But here I am.

So I should say that my first novel for young adults, The September Sisters, will be published by HarperCollins/Laura Geringer books in early 2009. This book has been a long time in the making for me. If you want to read more about this, click on over to my website. http://www.jilliancantor.com/ and check out the "about me" section.

But I am really, really excited for the book to be out. It's crazy how long it takes from the time you sell your book until the time it actually comes out. (In my case, about a year, I think.) I mean, that is longer than it takes to have a baby -- and believe me, I've had two, and that nine months feels like forever. I guess in a lot of ways, a book is like a baby. But I digress.

Anyway, at this point I'm in the middle of reading the author galley, in which I get to see the book look like a real book with formatted chapters and cool font. Very exciting!! I love the way the inside of the book is designed. As I read through it, it's making this very surreal publishing experience seem real to me.