Last week I had the absolute pleasure to hang out with GiannaMarie Dobson and Veronica Ward, the delightful ladies of the new book podcast Something Old, Something Debut. They picked GIRLS ON THE VERGE as their first book review/discussion, and invited me to be on the pod. I had so much fun and so I invite you to take a listen. They are on many podcast catchers including Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Listen to them here Spotify Something Old, Something Debut. Or here on Apple Something Old, Something Debut.
The discussion on GIRLS ON THE VERGE is part one and two, and my interview is part three. GiannaMarie and Veronica are so funny and very passionate about books and life in general. I think you’ll enjoy listening to them. So if you want to learn about my writing process, my favorite fictional horse, what would kill me in a dystopian society, and why I have so many goats, head on over and take a listen.
If you haven’t heard the My Favorite Murder podcast, head over there now and acquaint yourself with this hilarious and endearing true crime comedy podcast. They release two pods a week, a true crime and a listeners’ hometown murders/weird stories/funny personal stories/all things just…odd. The MFM ladies, Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, released a memoir, STAY SEXY AND DON’T GET MURDERED, around the same time I released GIRLS ON THE VERGE. Both were on the Cosmo list of top books of 2019, which thrilled me to no end since I am a HUGE MFM fan and a murderino (the name for followers of the pod). I admire Georgia and Karen so much that I added an Easter egg in the story in their honor, only I had to call them the Murder and Mayhem Girls because their podcast wasn’t around in my book’s timeline.
A couple of weeks ago I thought it would be funny to send in my goofy hometown story, which was about the time I got hit by a car inside a steak restaurant. So they read it on Monday, and they also mentioned GIRLS ON THE VERGE, which also thrills me to no end! Here is Monday’s pod: Episode 125. I’m the last story.
GIRLS ON THE VERGE releases today, the third novel release of my career, and it’s a very happy day. A book birthday is a thrill for writers—it’s the day when that little idea, which turned into a story, becomes a book.
So what happens now? Well, aside from promoting the book as much as a writer and her publisher can, pretty much nothing. Writers get to work doing what they do best, writing. The one thing every writer should avoid doing, however, is peeking under the rug—meaning reading reviews. The one piece of advice I give all debut writers is this: DO NOT READ YOUR REVIEWS! Of course that’s difficult to do because it’s natural to want to know how your book is received, but be warned, that way lies dragons. Dragons are the bad/snarky reviews and the one and two stars, which every writer (even big name authors and best sellers) gets. And never, ever, under any circumstances, add a rebuttal to a review. That way lies white walkers and that scary white walker dragon. So unless a writer has the skin of a rhino, bad reviews will ruin a book release and might even spill into day-to-day life. How do I know? Because it happened to me, and it ain’t fun. So I don’t read Amazon or Goodreads reviews, I don’t read blogger reviews, I don’t Google my book. I only read reviews that my agent and publisher send me. I only read and respond to emails people send me. My theory is this: I did the best I could, I threw my heart into my book, I can’t change it, and it’s none of my business what readers think about my book unless they choose to tell me. Stories are interesting things because a writer’s words aren’t perceived the same way by one person or another. We all have individual imaginations, experiences, tastes. And readers will see things in a book that maybe the author didn’t mean to write—good and bad. Such is the magic of reading.
So. This morning I looked at Amazon to see my book up for sale, found out that it’s the number one release in YA theater novels, shut my app without looking at reviews. And then I went about my day feeding my animals and milking my goat, listening to Podcasts. I had some lovely emails from my agent and editor and friends. Later I’ll take my dogs for a walk. Tonight I’ll feed my animals and milk my goat again, make dinner. I’ll hang out with my husband and probably practice my guitar or embroider. I would say that’s a pretty good way to celebrate a book release. Wouldn’t you?
Here are the winners who entered my personal giveaway: Debi Tonks, Christina Carolin, and Kate Duncan. You’ve all won a signed galley of GIRLS ON THE VERGE, so please send me your details and I will put them in the mail. The rest of you who haven’t won, send me your details too and I’ll send you a signed book plate. Send to email@example.com. I’ve loved reading about all your road trip memories and favorite songs!
Welcome to the spring YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours! Also, I’ll be hosting my own giveaway. To enter the drawing, answer this question in the comment box: The inspiration for my third YA novel, GIRLS ON THE VERGE (out April 9th), was the seminal (as far as I’m concerned) road trip movie Thelma and Louise, which is about two friends supporting one other to the end. What is your favorite road trip movie, song, or personal road trip memory? Three winners will be drawn randomly. Prizes are book themed, of course! Please check back here on April 7th after noon PST to see if you’re a winner. Alternatively, you can send your contact info to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are FIVE contests going on simultaneously each with twenty authors, and you can enter one contest or all of them! I am a part of the RED TEAM–but there is also a blue team, a gold team, a green team, and a purple team.
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page. SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE Directions: In my post, you’ll notice that I’ve hidden my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the RED team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!). Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify. Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 7th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
Today, I am hosting Joyce Scarborough, author of AFTER ME, for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Let’s give Joyce 52 rounds of applause!
About Joyce Scarbrough
The former senior editor for Champagne Books, Joyce now does freelance editing and writes full time. She writes both adult and YA fiction and has seven published novels as well as short stories in multiple anthologies.
About AFTER ME from the Unfinished Series.
After she’s murdered by a sexual predator, 18-year-old Jada Gayle must stay among the living until she finds and stops the internet stalker who killed her. Assigned to a foster home back among the living, she assumes the identity of a homeless teen and is expected to simply fit in as she hunts down her killer.
Takeoff initiated as soon as the Corvette’s tires hit the pavement. All systems were go. Flying already with not even a quarter mile gone. Making the ‘Vette fly was the only thing that helped when the explosions started up inside him again, and there was one helluva firestorm going on in there now.
Wade ran his hand lovingly over the dash. “This is it, baby. Time to give it all we got, pedal to the metal and all that shit.” He laughed and watched the speedometer needle move steadily to the right. “The old man’s counting on me to screw up again, and I sure wouldn’t wanna disappoint him one last time.”
The headlights sliced a path in the dark, the scenery flying past as indistinguishable shadows. The only break in the blackness came from an occasional streetlight on the few side roads and the North Star shining brighter than all the others around it in the cloudless autumn sky.
“He’s really pissed at me this time,” Wade said. “He’ll be hell bent on making me pay, and we both know he’s always had a talent for hitting me where it hurts the most. But I’m not gonna let him win this time, baby. No sir, he’s gonna have to go to Plan B.”
The needle hit seventy and Wade smiled. The split pine he’d always used as the point of no return was gone now—taken with the thousands of other trees felled when Hurricane Frederic hit Mobile the year before—but that was okay. Wade was sure he’d be well over his previous record when he reached the curve.
“Nope, not gonna let him take you this time, baby. Me and you gotta stick together. Can’t let him bust us up.” He pushed a cassette into the slot, and the guitar solo at the end of “Free Bird” soared out of the speakers.
The speedometer read seventy-eight.
“Gonna be airborne soon!” Wade shouted over the music. “Gonna look down on the old man and just laugh my ass off.” His hands caressed the steering wheel. “It’s always been you and me, baby. True love, just like Jeana said.”
As soon as he said her name, his smile disappeared and tears rolled down his cheeks, but he swiped them away and looked at the speedometer again. Coming up on eighty-five, the music accelerating along with the ‘Vette.
“Don’t get sidetracked, dumbass! Gotta stay focused. Can’t think about Jeana and how she looked at me tonight, or the way she told the old man off, or how it felt when she hugged me for the—”
His eyes widened and he took his foot off the accelerator at the same instant the headlights reflected off the warning signs. What the hell was wrong with him? He stomped the brake, causing the car’s rear end to fishtail just enough to put the driver’s side to the fore when the Corvette took flight into the curve.
Seconds before impact with the tenacious scrub oak that had managed to escape Frederic’s wrath, Wade had just long enough to whisper, “I’m sorry, Redhot. I didn’t mean to spoil your birthday.”
~ * ~
His eyes aren’t working and there’s something stiff around his neck. He can’t see who’s doing all the yelling, but he hears the whoop-whoop-whoopof a helicopter and feels hands rolling him onto some kind of board. That’s all he feels, and he knows he should probably be thankful for that. He wishes he could tell them all to just leave him the hell alone, but his voice isn’t working either.
Everything goes away for a while.
Then he’s awake again and doesn’t hear the helicopter anymore, but there are even more people yelling now, all of them pulling and poking at him. He hears hospital sounds too—beeps and whooshes and metal clanking. Don’t they know it’s too late? He really screwed up bad this time and there’s no coming back from it. He can’t black out again no matter how hard he tries, so he does the next best thing and goes away to the only place he’s ever been happy.
He’s ten years old and can’t stop smiling because Jeana is going swimming with him, and he’ll have her all to himself. Billy Joe is on vacation in Gulf Shores with his folks, and Jeana’s bratty sister has a cast on her arm and can’t tag along like she usually does.
They’re at the pool and he’s showing off for her with half-gainers and handstands. He challenges her to a Dead Man’s Float contest and lets her win so he can look at the way her hair gets all billowy around her when she’s in the water. She laughs and teases him about winning so he pretends to be upset, but the truth is the way she looks when she laughs is what he sees in his dreams.
A storm comes and they have to leave the pool. They take shelter at the school on the way home because she’s afraid of the lightning, and he can’t believe he has her in his arms, close enough to smell the heavenly scent of her hair that even the chlorine from the pool can’t mask. He touches one of her curls and thinks it must be what it feels like to touch strands of silk. For once his stupid brain doesn’t fail him, and he thinks of a way to keep her from being frightened. When she kisses him on the cheek before they leave and looks at him like he’s a hero or something, he knows he will love her as long as he lives . . .
“Pressure’s dropping—he’s flatlining!”
“Give him an amp of epi!”
. . . as long as he lives. . .
“Asystole. We lost him.”
. . .as long as he lives.
“Shit. Call it.”
And longer . . .
~ * ~
When he opened his eyes again, he was in some kind of pristine waiting room, sitting across from a girl wearing a long white dress. He looked down and saw that he was also clad in all white—pants, shirt and shoes. What the hell was going on?
“Hey, where are we?” he asked the girl, but she only put a finger to her lips and pointed at the wall behind him. He got up to see what she was pointing at and saw a sign lettered in gold paint.
TAKE A SEAT AND WAIT TO BE CALLED. NO TALKING.
On the door to the right of his chair was another sign.
“You gotta be kidding me.”
AFTER YOU Releasing Summer 2019
Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Joyce Scarbrough, and more! To enter, you need to find my favorite number somewhere in this post (hint: it’s highlighted in red). Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the RED team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
CONTINUE THE HUNT To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! Marsha Black
Good news about a book is always a fabulous way to start a Monday. My upcoming young adult novel, GIRLS ON THE VERGE, was chosen by NetGalley to feature in the their homepage placement this week. There are so many books for them to choose from and they chose mine! So that’s very cool. If you’d like to take a look head on over here— NetGalley
Also, School Library Journal gave GIRLS ON THE VERGE a starred review, which makes my heart sing! Libraries are just about the best things in the world, as far as I’m concerned. If you love books and libraries as much as I do, check out Susan Orleans new book, THE LIBRARY BOOK, my favorite book of 2018. It’s about the terrible LA library in the 1980s, but it’s also a love story to books and libraries, and an important examination about how important these institutions are to civilization. Think about it—it’s probably the last free place on earth a person can go to get information, read books for free, receive assistance with just about anything, and most importantly, libraries are safe spaces for everyone to gather, no matter who they are. So go read Susan’s book and visit your local library! The librarians are waiting for you.
Anyway…here is my review!
Starred Review SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
Gr 9 Up–This compelling novel opens with a stark
and timely reminder of a woman’s right to choose in June 2014, when there were
only 19 abortion clinics left in Texas, a state which included five million
women of reproductive age. Camille, ready to spend her summer at an advanced
drama camp, is horrified to find herself pregnant from her first and only
sexual encounter, and unwilling to give her future up for a baby with a boy
she’s never spoken to again. Knowing she would be disappointing her parents and
unwilling to tell them, Camille tries repeatedly to solve her problem, before
setting off with two friends determined to help her: Annabelle because she
believes in the right to choose, and Bea because she is Camille’s friend.
Waller realistically depicts the 17-year-old’s struggles to get an abortion,
from ending up at a clinic where she’s prayed over, with a doctor who won’t do
anything without parental consent, to facing a judge who won’t bypass parental
consent as he’s sure he’s doing what’s best for her. This title offers realistic viewpoints on teenage pregnancy, along with
what it is like to have the right to choose, wanting that right, and living
knowing that you will be judged for having exercised it. An author’s
note details what inspired this personal story and additional information on
Roe v. Wade. VERDICT A first purchase.–Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library,
Lovely things are happening with my third book, GIRLS ON THE VERGE. In the run-up to its release on April 9th, reviews are starting to roll in. This week GIRLS ON THE VERGE received a stellar review from the notoriously-difficult-to-impress Kirkus Reviews. I can’t post the entire review until the end of January, but I can share a blurb (see below). I’m most excited about the comparison to Judy Blume’s teen novel FOREVER. Blume’s book about a teen’s first sexual experience and all the emotions that go with it was an important book for me. So important that when I read the book today I’m whisked back to my teenage years when I had so many questions.
GIRLS ON THE VERGE was also included in Cosmopolitan’s list of 15 books you won’t be able to put down in 2019. This one is a dream come true for me because other authors listed include Oprah, Elizabeth Gilbert, Margaret Atwood, Angie Thomas, and the My Favorite Murder podcasters, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Head on over here to have a look: Cosmopolitan.
And lastly, Fierce Reads are hosting a giveaway on Goodreads of 15 advanced reader copies of GIRLS ON THE VERGE from February 8th to February 15th. Click on the link to enter, or go here: Giveaway.
And here is the Kirkus blurb! Waller’s (The FORBIDDEN ORCHID, 2016, etc.) book is highly informative, filled with frank, detailed descriptions of our nation’s restrictions on reproductive health as well as the emotional and physical experiences of abortion. A Forever-esque story for reproductive justice, this is a timely and vital book.
Welcome to the online home for my young adult contemporary and historical fiction, and for my equine non-fiction. Have a look around and read a first chapter or two by going here.
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