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Good mail day

April 16th 2014

Today was an awesome mail day. First, I found a small box on my porch (coated in a thin layer of snow) with my new bookmarks! Pretty jazzy, right? I designed them myself and I triple-checked for typos. But I’m still paranoid there’s a mistake, so if you see one, don’t tell me.

Mah bookmarks!

Mah bookmarks!

And then this afternoon I went to my mailbox where I found a big box full of new books! A lovely gift from my fabulous CP, Leandra. The girl is an angel. She won several copies of these brandy-new YA hardcovers and gave me a set. I’m going to read them and then donate them to my public library whose YA collection is in desperate need of updating. It’s the ultimate gift for a YA author. I feel uber blessed. Now which one to start reading first?

A present from Leandra

A present from Leandra

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20 years ago (April 5, 1994)

April 5th 2014

Twenty years ago today, Kurt Cobain killed himself. I was nearly 15 years old and a freshman in high school. I even remember where I was when I heard the news — in the backseat of my friend’s mom’s white Ford Taurus. Her mom was giving us a ride somewhere, to the mall maybe? The news must’ve broken earlier than that, while we were in school, but without cell phones none of us would’ve heard about it until we got off the bus around 3pm. Later, I remember listening to heartbroken Courtney Love read Kurt’s suicide note to a group of tear-streaked fans sitting in a park in Seattle. I remember these things. Not clearly, but they’re there in the back of my mind where I file away impactful historical moments that I was around for.

Truthfully, I liked Nirvana a lot, but I wasn’t a huge fan. I didn’t own one of their albums. When I was 15, I had a huge crush on Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day (even stitching the band’s name into my Jansport with embroidery thread). I listened to Dookie on cassette tape until the ribbon wore out. I loved angsty chick music like Sarah McLachlan and Hole (who had released their album, Live Through This, less than a week after Cobain’s death). My music tastes eventually evolved when I finally got a CD player for my birthday and discovered Radiohead, The Afghan Whigs and Tori Amos.

To be honest had I not just heard a piece about Kurt Cobain on NPR, the anniversary of his death would’ve missed me completely. And yet, the minute I hear Smells Like Teen Spirit on the radio I’m transformed back to the early 90s. I’m back in high school. I’m thrashing my head back and forth and singing along like I’m 14 again and not a mom driving a white minivan.

There’s no question in my mind that the 1990s was the best decade for music. Even my favorite bands today don’t make albums as good as the ones they put out in the late 90s. And I could probably write a treatise on how downloading a single does not produce the same level of excitement as getting a new CD on release day. And don’t even get me started on the pity party I throw myself every time my favorite 90s band tours and I can’t go because I’m nursing a baby…

A reflection on Cobain’s death twenty years later feels like a reflection on who I am at nearly 35 years old. The 90s were my formative years. It’s the reason I set my novel, Grunge Gods and Graveyards, in 1996. And why every chapter heading is the title of a song from that period, a band that had been influenced by Cobain’s genius. A band whose music influenced me in some way. Music that makes me feel like I’m 15 years old even when I’m driving my kids to an Easter egg hunt at the local park. That transports me to the past. That’s what Cobain’s legacy means to me. It’s a return to my youth no matter what age I am. Whether I’m 35 or 55. Hopefully, I’ll be able to thrash my head a bit when I’m 85 too.

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‘Half Bad’ giveaway!

March 15th 2014

If Lily Potter and Voldemort had a love child, he would be Nathan Byrn. That’s the first line in my BookPage review of Half Bad by Sally Green. Set in present-day United Kingdom, Half Bad is a YA fantasy about two factions of witches.

The book was just released this month, but (with Ms. Green’s permission) I’ll be giving away an Advanced Readers Copy (see below) to a random commenter. Good luck!

Half Bad

 

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My cover! My cover!

February 23rd 2014

I am so incredibly excited to reveal the cover of my upcoming YA novel, Grunge Gods and Graveyards (set to release in May!).

Grunge Gods and Graveyards

Publishing with an awesome, small press like RAP means I get to have input in things like cover design. When I was asked about what I wanted to see on the cover, my mind spun with a zillion different ideas. Everything flew out of my mouth. Tree branches that spelled out the titles! A girl leaning up against a gravestone rocking out to music, holding her dead beloved’s hand! Silhouettes because I just love silhouettes! Interesting typography! My cover inspirations were everything from Splintered by A.G. Howard to Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke to The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett. It amazes me how a graphic artist can take an idea and conceptualize it in such a way as to nail down exactly what you want without you saying what that is. I am truly in love with my cover. And every time I look at it, I see something new. For example, at this resolution and size I just noticed that the silhouette of the girl is wearing headphones and carrying a Discman or Walkman (the book is set in 1996, so that makes perfect sense).

Anyway, I am incredibly excited that this day has arrived. Please consider adding GGG to your Goodreads shelf.

When the book’s release date nears, I plan on doing all sorts of fun giveaways. I hope you’ll check back.

 

 

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