Monday, June 13, 2011


Well, I have to say this whole post has been a long time coming. 

And I don't just mean a long time from when I was a very little girl, still mastering how to hold a pencil (I still do this wrong) and scribbling away in notebooks, on papers, on napkins, and anything smooth and still enough to hold the words and ideas and pictures zinging around in my head (still do this).

No, I mean this post has been a long time coming because the actual event happened several months ago, 
and I've been keeping it quiet.  

But now, the time has come for me to - actually, the time has now passed and I'm a little late (thanks to an early summer family vacation, among other things) - 
the time has now come for me to finally be able to say:

I've been published.

Sometime last year, my good friend Rebekah approached me about submitting an essay for an anthology she and her former professor Melanie Springer Mock were putting together.  (An anthology is a collection of selected literary pieces or passages or works of art or music - thank you Merriam-Webster. This idea had been some time in the making as Rebekah and Melanie chatted, mulled, and finally birthed the idea through countless conversations followed by countless hours of compilation, author recruiting, publisher/manuscript shopping, and editing.   

I liked the book idea, but I really didn't want to submit anything.  It was a dark time for me personally and Rebekah had asked me to submit an essay on "contentment."  I waited and waited until the very last minute, and then scribbled something out - something raw and bloody and utterly unsatisfying.  And then I sent that to my friend.  Oh well, I thought, at least I followed up on her request.  We went through the editing process - which in hindsight was great experience, albeit a bit painful in points - and then I discovered I'd made the cut.  

Incredibly (and against all odds, at least in my mind) - I was in the book.   

Just Moms: Conveying Justice in an Unjust World

Our book: Just Moms

Re-reading what I wrote, from a new place in life as well as from a renewed perspective, it's not nearly the awful piece I was afraid I'd put together.  I wrote about contentment, yes, but also the principles which I believe are laying quietly just beneath contentment, the main one being: choice.  My chapter "Choose to Be" honors my mother, who taught me that happiness is a choice, not just a feeling.  It also touches on my hopes and endeavors to teach this principle to my own daughter.  (I kept the news of the book as quiet as I could until I could give the book to my mother as a surprise Mother's Day gift.

The rest of the book is a compilation of writings from women, and not all moms either, who share their varied stories of teaching and learning, retooling ideas and scrapping ideals, and above all how being a mom isn't always what it had looked like on paper. 

I encourage you to pick up a copy, read it, and leave a review on

And below, just for fun, is a shot of me and my two dear friends (and also two of the contributing authors in Just Moms), Jen and Rebekah.  This picture is from the story our local (Albany) paper did on us as local authors.
Jessica Kantola, Jen Rouse, and Rebekah Schneiter (co-editor), contributing authors in Just Moms (Photograph from the Democrat Herald)
Jen and Rebekah also happen to comprise my writing critique group.  We meet every month or two and share submissions of what we're up to in our literary lives.  These women have taught me so much.  I'm very blessed to have them in my life.

Thank you, Rebekah, for befriending me, encouraging me, and getting me to write that dang essay.  I love you for it!

Published!  My toes are wet.  Time for the rest of me to jump in.


Pressing on and pressing in.... said...

WOW!!! Jess, I am SO proud of you!! (Not that I had anything to do with it, why do we say that?) Well, I am so excited for you!! (better) You are an amazing person, mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, and now "officially published author".....can't wait to hear (read) where this takes you. Love and hugs, Holly

Blue Cotton Memory said...

Congratulations on your dream coming to Life! WooHoo! I am so excited for you.

Anonymous said...

I love this and you are an amazing writer! I can't wait to read this book now! Good job at keeping it quiet too!

Nikki Lynn said...

Congratulations Jess! You're an inspiration and I love you for it. :) I can't wait to read this book and the next one as well. (hint hint) You have an amazing way with words I know this will not be the only thing you get published.

Rebekah said...

Congrats....again! It really was such a good essay and so many people comment on it and how encouraging it is to them.

heather said...

Your essay was my favorite and
I still think about what you shared.