Friday, June 6, 2014

California Here I Come...Summer Lovin' 2.0 Tour

Woot Woot!

In two weeks I am going to California for my first ever official book tour and I am pretty darned pumped about it. Also, a tad anxious (if you remember my travel anxiety/weirdo cleaning the house before traveling issues) But I am trying to push those anxieties aside and embrace the Now.

The Now = a 6 day/6 city trip through California.

Check out this cool poster designed by Suzanne Young's friend at Novel Novice

I have only been to California once, last year for the SCBWI conference in LA and had a grand old time. So I have high hopes for this trip.

Something awesome: the Simon & Schuster publicist who is arranging everything sent each of us a packet of books by the other participating authors. I got my packet last week and was a tad anxious about this too. I confess that I had never read books by these particular authors before. What if I didn't, um, like their books?

But I am happy to report that I did. In fact, I stayed up waaaay late the other night reading the last of my packet, The Program by Suzanne Young. 

This book is a page turner. It's a bleak dystopian world where the teenagers are passing around a virus that makes them suicidal. A powerful organization called the Program has swooped in to save the kids by erasing their memories, which they see as the cause of the virus. The main character Sloane is terrified of catching the suicide bug but she's more terrified of the cure. She doesn't want to forget her beloved brother or her boyfriend James.

This book wrecked me and all I can say is Thank you Simon & Schuster for also sending me the sequel The Treatment so I can see what becomes of these poor sweet kids.

Momentary digression: In the midst of all of this travel planning excitement, I've been finishing up the final touches on a novel that I have been struggling with since 2009. See here, here, here, and here, for a fun recap of the latest leg of the journey. (For the record, this is not my "second" book. Thin Space is the 6th book I've written, so we are talking Numero 7 here. Sad truth: each day's writing is harder than the day before. Inspirational truth: if you keep writing anyway, you will eventually break through. I am living proof of that. Yesterday I clicked Send and shot that bad boy off to my agent... who happens to live in California.

Coincidence? I think not.)

I've got a bit of time on my hands between projects, is my point, and this book tour and the reading of my fellow author tour-ers' books could not have come at a better time.

One of my reading goals this year was to discover a YA writer I've somehow missed along the way (See here for my 2014 Flexy Book Category Challenge) Well, the hands down winning writer in that category is Sarah Ockler.

Her new novel #Scandal, out this month, is her fifth book. It's got the perfect mixture of humor and angst and cleverness that I love in YA books.

The story begins with main character Lucy agreeing to go to the prom with her best friend Ellie's boyfriend Cole because poor Ellie's got the flu. Secret: Lucy's had a raging crush on Cole for years.

Yeah, so you get the feeling fast that things aren't going to turn out well for Lucy--but HOW they turn out is what makes this story so much fun. Throw in the amped up cyber high school gossip machine, a visiting reality TV show star, a fringe club protesting all forms of social media, and a cute foreign exchange student from Canada and well... I don't want to ruin it for you.

Last but so not least of my Summer Lovin' author buds is C.J. Flood and her debut novel Infinite Sky. This was actually the first novel I read in the packet because I love the cover so much. I also confess to have a secret girl writer crush on C.J. based entirely on our social media interactions. Everything she says sounds so British. (I suspect this is because C.J. is from England.) When I first found out who would be on this tour, I immediately checked everyone's websites out. This post is worth a read, among other things, because of C.J.'s suggestion that all of us should get matching tattoos.

I laughed out loud when I read that, and then, after a beat, I started seriously thinking about it. What better way to celebrate this surreal amazing crazy dream come true debut writing year of mine than a tattoo? (I took a poll around my house, which consisted of asking my husband and teen daughter at breakfast. Their response: no response, just snorty snickers accompanied by eyerolls. Ah. Well. This is what you get when you have your debut year at the age of, erm, cough cough cough, 46. Cough.)

(The British cover--
which I like better
than the US cover. Sorry.)
Okay, back to C.J.'s book. It's so beautifully written it just about killed me.

Almost fourteen year old Iris is floundering around the house after her Mum leaves the family. Enter: a camp of Irish Travelers in the field across the street. (I didn't know much about this group before I read the book, but apparently, they move around England--and the US too, much like gypsies and experience quite a bit of prejudice wherever they settle.)

Iris befriends one of the Travelers, a boy named Trick, despite warnings from her father and older brother, both of whom are struggling too by Mum's abandonment. I loved everything about this novel. The world, the fully drawn characters, the gorgeous prose, but most of all the aching romance between Iris and Trick. There is an anxious tension that drives the narrative. You will not be able to put it down.

Here's something funny that I figured out after reading the books: they're not what you'd called summery or lovin'-y. But we are going to go with the flow on this.

If you live in the California, please please please come by and see us. I am told there will be pizza.

Also, we may be sporting matching tattoos.

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