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Goodbye To All That

 

It has been a difficult year for most people.

Things have been hard for my family and me, too.

I deleted some social media accounts. Not because they are 100% bad or lacking utility, but I have a lot of personal gardens to tend, and these platforms were leaving me otherwise spent in ways that I can ill afford.

Mainly, I have to be more available to my family, and less with the world at large. Having people chiming in on my life choices has never been something I’m short of, and I am not built to manage the constant influx of forceful opinion that Twitter and Facebook serve up. Maybe I’ve never been shy about sharing my thoughts and feelings with people, but that doesn’t mean I like being engaged with them at all times.

If you’re wondering where I remain online, well, look at the rest of this website. There are links to other platforms that I find more amusing/less invasive.

For the foreseeable future, I’ll be at home, loving on Matilda and Adrian, working with my annoying biting puppy, setting things up in our house now that it’s basically remodeled and liveable, talking to Christa Desir about our podcast and all our other quotidian strife, and writing my 5th book, which is due out sometime in 2018.

(By the way: my fourth book, Just A Girl, is coming out in March; here’s a review.  You can pre-order it if you want. Or request that your local library purchase it.  Or buy it when it comes out March 28th. Or not. I’ll never know, right?)

But just go read something, okay? We need more readers in this world. Read a book to a kid, give books as gifts, visit or volunteer at your local library, advocate for reading as a lifelong activity, start a book club or just talk about books you read wherever you interact with others. Make reading visible and important, even if it’s something we tend to do alone, in silence, and in private. I think more than ever, we need thoughtfulness, we need reflection, we need imagination and empathy, and certainly, when things get overwhelming, we need hedonistic pleasure and escape. Please note that you don’t have to spend money on books! I use my library constantly, because I could never afford to buy all the books I want to read.

Do something revolutionary: be a reader.

(If you read this, and are down for more like it, please note that this was also sent out to my TinyLetter subscribers. TinyLetters = newsletters you receive as email. If you’d like to subscribe, go here. If not, it’s cool. You always know where to find me.)

 

Book #4: Meet JUST A GIRL

 

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Figure 1. Hello, love. Just waiting to see what your next book looks like on the outside.

 

So here’s my next book’s cover. The title is Just A Girl, because, yes, it features a girl main character/narrator.

I don’t have anything to add to this except for the image. I don’t have jacket copy yet. You don’t always write your book’s jacket copy yourself. (Thank god.)

WAIT…here’s the jacket copy!

By her senior year of high school, Rianne has exhausted all the fun there is to have in small town Wereford, Minnesota. Volleyball season is winding down, the parties all feel tired, and now that she’s in a serious relationship with reformed player Luke Pinsky, her wild streak has ended. Not that she ever did anything more than the guys her age did…but she knows what everyone thinks of her.

Including her parents. Divorced but now inexplicably living together again, Rianne wonders why they’re so quick to point out every bad choice she’s making when they can’t even act like adults. With an uncomfortable home life and her once-solid group of friends now dissolving, the reasons for sticking around after high school are few. So why is Rianne in lockstep when it comes to figuring out her future?

That’s not the only question Rianne can’t answer. Lately she’s been wondering why, when she has a perfect-on-paper boyfriend, she wants anything but. Or how it is that Sergei, a broken-English-speaking Russian, understands her better than anyone who’s known her all her life? And why has Rianne gotten stuck with an “easy girl” reputation for doing the same exact things guys do without any judgment?


You can preorder here; it goes on sale March 28, 2017.

 

JustaGirl HC

 

 

 

Cut Both Ways is HERE

Kirkus, in a starred review, calls Cut Both Ways “pitch perfect, raw & moving”

 

It’s available today. If you like books about sexuality and family dysfunction, please go pick up a copy.

Places you can buy:

IndieBound
HarperCollins
Addendum Books
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

Here is my actual plan for release day, in case you were wondering: coffee, dog walk, water plants on porch, take Matilda to swim practice, go buy newest Tessa Dare book, make chicken pot pie.

(Here is my fantasy plan for release day. Heh.)

 

Booklist called Cut Both Ways “an imperative read” huh? Better check it out…

 

 

 

 

 

Hooray! CUT BOTH WAYS gets a starred review from Kirkus

 

 

Happy news! Plus I’m on vacation! Woo!

Books are such a long, drawn-out process. They can be these giant amorphous blobs of intention. It’s hard for me, at least, to separate out the failed starts and junked drafts from the final product. Maybe because I don’t outline or really do plot? I don’t know.

ANYWAY. It’s nice to read a condensed summary of what you did. Or what you hoped you did. So, seeing this review from Kirkus makes me feel enormous relief. We pulled it off, my editor & I. PHEW.

To preorder, go here or here or here.

 

 

 

 

The Oral History Podcast: An Introduction

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This is Norman Reedus in that movie The Conspirator. This has nothing to do with the podcast.

 

Back in January, my fellow YA author and friend Christa Desir and I decided to produce a podcast. We had these long conversations about sex and YA books and our lives and thought it would be fun to share our thoughts with everyone else.

So, The Oral History Podcast was born.

It’s a simple concept. We pick a topic, discuss our own personal histories with respect to that topic, and then recommend YA books that we think handle that topic well.

Our first topic was “Girl Talk.” We discussed the kinds of ways our friends talked to each other about sex & romance when we were back in high school and then recommended six YA books that address female friendship and conversation.

We did three episodes on our own, with technical help from the excellent Sara Zarr, whose “This Creative Life” podcast was a big inspiration. Then podcast fan & editor Andrew Karre offered to be our technical advisor and producer, so the sound quality and format are much improved after the third episode, I’m pleased to say. I record my portion in his attic office, because he has better equipment, and this involves me kicking him out of his own lovely space for an hour or so. Then Christa records her portion in Chicago, where she also has great equipment thanks to her tech-loving husband. Then Andrew pastes it all together, erasing our pauses and ums and uhs.

Also: Thanks, Sara! Thanks, Andrew! Thanks, Julio!

In just seven episodes, we’ve discussed more than 50 books (you can find all titles here), as well as live-tweeted & commented on the premiere of the 50 Shades of Grey movie, and tackled First Sex, Oral Sex, Kissing & Masturbation. We also hosted a special Valentine’s Day LadyHead Flash Fiction blog hop, which was born of a Twitter conversation tagged #WriteLadyHeadRight. You can find those stories here.

It’s been a great learning experience from the technical side (uploading mp3 files properly, blog formatting, submitting to iTunes) and the author side (discovering and promoting books we love). Mainly it’s just been a lot of fun.

We’re going on hiatus for the summer, though we have a couple of things planned, including Favorite Scene Close Reads, as well as plans for our One Star Review Merch shop that we hope to unveil this fall. A sample, modeled by Christa:

 

 

So: if you love podcasts, sex talk and/or YA fiction, take the summer to catch up with us! You can subscribe to us in iTunes or listen directly on the website where we keep our show notes. We are always open to listener feedback too! Please let us know what you think here.