Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Sweet New Year

Today on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, we start the year of 5773. At the start of the year we are told many things. Most frequently we are wished a sweet, happy, and healthy new year. We are also told that this is when we get to wipe the slate clean and start over fresh with a new year, that is supposed to be the best year yet! This is usually an exciting prospect for most people who look forward to putting the bad things from the past behind them. For me as a writer, starting with a blank page is down right terrifying. No writer ever wants to stare at nothing and try and create something out of it.

When I write everything always starts with an idea - a spark that eventually blooms into a wildfire. I never start with a blank slate because I already have a foundation to work off of. So when I'm told I get a fresh start I cringe a bit because I don' know where to begin. Don't get me wrong there are many things from the past year that I will be happy to leave behind, but there are also many things from last year that I also don't want to forget. In fact the past year has been pretty amazing. I've accomplished so many wonderful things and have so many more things to look forward to.

So this year as I started to think about what I will do with my blank slate, I realized that like my writing, I didn't want to start from nothing. The thought of leaving behind all those good things made me sad. As I look ahead to this year I want to do something different. I'm consciously choosing to leave all the bad behind, while remembering all the lessons I learned from it, but I'm also choosing to grab up all the good from the past year and carry it with me into this new year. I want to take all the good things that I'm grateful for and use it as a foundation to build an even better year to come. Just like my writing starting with a great idea, I'm choosing to start my year with all the wonderful things from my past. And as I remember all the good from last year, I've found I have a great stepping stone to build an even better year.

So to all those starting the new year, (and even those just looking for a new beginning) I challenge you to reflect on your past and gather up all the things you are thankful for and carry them into the new year. We shouldn't have to start from nothing, and when we remember that even in the worst of times there is a silver lining then we truly have the makings for the best year yet.

Wishing everyone a L'shana Tova!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Origin Review

Pia is an immortal, bred to be the first of a new immortal race. She's grown up in a secret lab in the Amazon Rainforest where she has never left. She knows little about the outside world and the scientists she lives with are forbidden to speak of it. One day she will learn the secret to her immortality, but first she must prove she is ready to join the team of scientists that created her.

On the night of her seventeenth birthday she escapes through a gap in the electric fence and sees the jungle for the first time. She meets Eio, who lives in a village close by. Captivated by him she continues to sneak outside her secret lab to see him. As she falls for him, she begins to unravel the secrets of her existence which eventually means choosing between the live she's always known and the mystery of the world outside the fence.

Origin is a beautifully written story about an innocent girl searching to find the truth. Her world contains many secrets and wonder. Discovering the truth alongside Pia and watching her grow and learn is an exciting adventure unlike anything I've read before. Pia is a strong and extremely intelligent heroine placed in a gorgeous setting surrounded by tough choices. Eio will steal your heart as you watch him fall for Pia and try to protect her from the world crumbling around her. Watching Pia take her journey leaves you with sense of hope and a beautiful message about humanity.  

Origin by Jessica Khoury, is the first of five books to release from Penguin's Fall 2012 Breathless Reads. It debuts Tuesday, September 4, 2012. Be sure to pick it up because it is certain to leave you nothing short of breathless. I look forward to more books by Jessica Khoury.