Me again?

Guys. It’s been forever. I’ll spare you all my lame excuses, because if you’re actually reading this then I love you, and I definitely don’t want to bore you.

Bottom line: I love to blog. I want to blog. So I’m dipping my baby toe back into it, hoping I can make time for it.

Let’s start with some highlights from THE VOW book launch in October. Better late than never, right?

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Me signing books with what my daughter calls “rainbow hair.” Sometimes as a mom you have to decide to take things as a compliment. Rainbow hair has now faded and grown out. Not sure if I’m going to continue to paint it with all the colors of the wind.

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Me: Please don’t get that ring pop in your hair.

Her: Already did, lady.

Him: Stop talking, I’m trying to read my book.

 

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Random, bald, slightly square-headed baby trying to climb away from a devastatingly handsome man. I think she was actually taking a breath between wails when this picture was taken.

 

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Writer friends!!! Lauren Gibaldi Mathur on the left. Her first book is THE NIGHT WE SAID YES (HarperTeen, 2015). If you’re local, you may also recognize her as the charming youth librarian at the Alafaya library. And that’s Jenny Sanchez on the right, author of THE DOWNSIDE OF BEING CHARLIE and DEATH, DICKINSON, AND THE DEMENTED LIFE OF FRENCHIE GARCIA (Running Press). I linked them because you’ll like them.

 

 

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Amy Lopez, the woman who took these pictures. I’m not friends with her because she takes fabulous pictures. I’m just saying it doesn’t hurt our friendship. Her facebook page, should you want her.

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This was the appropriate picture taken of my lovely friend Sarah. Special bonus for those of you were at the launch, who got the less G-rated posing. That’s all I’m going to say.

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He has sugar. He has Rick Riordan. There may be stuff going on around him, but really, who cares.

 

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My running friend, Carmen. Great name, right? And she’s posing behind VIRTUOSITY. Cue Twilight Zone music.

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This is starting to feel like a lot of pictures of me, but I wanted to put this last one in, because I thought Amy did such a lovely job with it.

Alright friends, thanks for jumping back in with me. Oh, and one more thing about my blog: It’s a lot more fun to help promote other people’s books than yammer on about my own all the time, so I’m going to be posting about YA books from friends and colleagues that I’ve either read and loved or that look interesting to me. (Like Jeri Smith-Ready’s below.) I hope you find them interesting too.

New YA by Jeri Smith-Ready!

This Side of SalvationJeri Smith-Ready (author of the Shade trilogy) makes her contemporary debut in what Kirkus calls “a captivating story of family heartbreak.”

THIS SIDE OF SALVATION

Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure:  The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined…

What Others Are Saying:

“THIS SIDE OF SALVATION is impossible to pigeonhole. It’s a mystery, a
love story, a tale of friendship, of prejudice, and of a family
overcoming tragedy…Jeri Smith-Ready has her finger on the pulse of
American youth.” — Printz Honor winner and NYT Bestseller Elizabeth Wein

“This is a frighteningly realistic story that delicately handles the issues of religion and family—an emotional mystery sure to be popular and perfect for discussion.” — VOYA, **Highlighted (Starred) Review**

“[A] smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale…bringing to light
issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus
self—while never being heavy-handed.” Booklist, **Starred Review**

“This book has some of the best written, strongest, and most satisfying
character dynamics that I have read in a long time…There are no
extreme moral rights and wrongs in this book. These people just are, and
they work, and they make this story beautiful.” — Bibliopunkk

Giveaways Galore!

Jeri has two ongoing giveaways to celebrate the release of This Side of Salvation.

Join the Rush swag fest: free EXCLUSIVE swag for everyone who orders TSOS on or before Monday, April 7.

Superfan contest (March 31 – April 9): share the TSOS characters’ “trading cards”  on your social networks to earn points. Biggest Superfan wins the grand prize, but there’s a chance to win a book and a gift card every day you play!

Here’s the first day’s card, featuring the main character, David Cooper:

 

Cat blogging meets book birthday!

Meet Misha and Twinkle, the real-life inspiration for the cats of This Side of Salvation, on PulseIt, the official site of Jeri’s publisher, Simon Pulse.

Order the hardcover:

Order the ebook:

Find Jeri

Visit Jeri’s website, or follow her on one of these sites:

 

3 Books, 3 Things I’ve Learned

  1. Connect. And Who Cares About the Cool Kids?

Before Virtuosity sold, I had no publishing contacts, no online presence, not even any real life writer friends. I was a lone girl, writing a book. Incredible, I know—was I even alive???? If a tree falls in a forest and nobody live tweets it, did it even happen?

Suddenly faced with the Twitter/Facebook/Website/Blog/Tumblr behemoth, I felt like a lifetime home-schooled kid being thrown into a high school cafeteria. Everybody clearly already had their group of friends, and I was the only one wearing head gear! (I’ve never been home schooled or worn head gear. I’m sorry if I’ve offended either of those groups. Lest you think I’m a cool kid making fun of less cool kids, I’ve included a picture of young Jessica below. I’m very young in this picture, but I didn’t get much cooler as a teenager. Mullet. Bach. Enough said.)

 

As a new author, figuring out the social and professional relationships going on around me on all of these different platforms was more than overwhelming. It took time. It took letting go of worrying whether I was saying the right thing to the right person, and just jumping in there.

In high school it seemed to me like everyone else already knew each other, and that people could tell that I didn’t. It made me even shyer. I probably came off as snobby. Online, I’ve had to consciously not be that girl. It did, and still does, take effort, but I’m glad I’m doing it, because I’ve met so many genuine people who’ve enriched this experience for me. We keep each other sane. Or keep each other insane? Whichever.

And do I still occasionally accidentally jump into a twitter convo with the cool kids and not even know it until none of them reply? Why, yes. I do. And then I say to myself, “That was totally lame of them, and little lame of me, but I’m not in high school anymore, so I’m not going to retreat to my corner. I’ll just tweet about gravy and my dental woes for a little while. Then I’ll attempt to talk to other writers who seem less lame and more like my type of people.”

I wish I’d have figure that out in high school.

 

2. Comparisons Will Kill You.

    It is freaking hard to be Type A enough to write a book, but not so Type A that you’re psycho about the success of the book. Who owns that sweet spot? I certainly don’t. I can write the books, but keeping the side of me that compares my success to other writers’ success in check is a constant struggle. But as I told my son the other day when all his friends were able to do a move at karate and he couldn’t get it so he ended up having to do 25 push-ups instead, “Other people’s successes do not hurt you! You had to do the push-ups because you hadn’t learned the move, so don’t be mad at your friends for that!” Then I tried to do some push-ups to show solidarity. The last number I remember saying before I passed out was 4. So. Yeah. The moral of that story: sometimes in publishing all your friends get exactly what you think you deserve, and you have to suck it up and in the words of Chuck Wendig, “art harder.”

     

    3.  Make Your Own Happy.

    Me. Alone. At my computer. That has to be enough.

    There are other things that make this job great—a caring agent, an awesome editor, great reviews, new book deals, solid sales, etc. but the minute I start relying on any one of those things to keep me going, I’m in trouble. None of those are for sure. This business can be crazy, and one minute you can be everybody’s darling, and the next minute it’s all collapsed, and it’s just you sitting at your computer by yourself again. I’ve come to understand that the act of creating has to be enjoyable enough that I can continue to do this no matter what else is happening. Obviously not every day can be an awesome writing day, but I’m more cognizant of the good ones now, because it pays to recognize them and to be grateful for them. It helps me remember when I’m not getting what I’d hoped for from all of those other things, that it really is all about the writing.