Monday, December 10, 2012

Giveaway Entries and Winners

Thank you all for helping me support my friend and mentor Joshilyn Jackson. Her book made the finals -- that is a big win for all of us who support her! The eventual winner in the category was J.K. Rowling, so yep, I think we did pretty well making the finals.

Here are the entries and winners for the different prizes:

Prize #1: Hardcover Grown Up Kind of Pretty

1. Melissa
2. Philia
3. Susan
4. Kathy
5. Ally
6. Bernadette (entry from Facebook)

Winner: KATHY

Prize #2: Simon & Schuster UK version of Shine Shine Shine

1. Deb
2. Smokey
3. JsTague
4. Erin
5. Laume
6. Adriana
7. Riitta (entry from Facebook)

Winner: RIITTA

Prize #3: Audiobook of Between, Georgia

1. Shelley
2. YVonne
3. Wendy


Prize #4: Audiobook of Shine Shine Shine

1. Rhiannon
2. Kimberly
3. Reine
4. Kristen

Winner: REINE

Thank you to all who entered and congratulations to all who won. You should have received my message by now. Enjoy your prizes!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book and Audiobook Giveaway: A Grown Up Kind of Pretty

Joshilyn Jackson's novel, A Grown Up Kind of Pretty, has been nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in the category Best Fiction. I really, really want it to win. Let me tell you about this book, A Grown Up Kind of Pretty:

The novel is about three women, told in three voices. Big is 45, a tough nut, smartassed and sarcastic but soft in the center. She's subverted her entire personal life to the care of her daughter, Liza, who is 30 and has had a debilitating stroke. The third character is Liza's daughter, Mosey. She's 15 and a typical teenager: texting, skipping school, and obsessively peeing on pregnancy sticks in the woods to make sure, sure, sure that she's not, like the two previous generations of Slocumb women, pregnant at 15. That's the set-up... now add some baby bones in the backyard -- and you've got a novel on fire with plot, rich with characters, and resonating with meaning.

It's as readable as the best women's fiction, at times funny and at times sad, and I swear to you that you could proudly stand the sections written in stroked-out Liza's point of view up against the best literary fiction produced this year. I mean, it's just fantastic. There is a moment in this book where I had to stop reading and just sit there thinking, oh my god, this is what motherhood is. This is what it means to be a mother.

Also Joshilyn is a good, good, good friend. And a funny blogger. And she's kind of crazy. Which I respect.

So the book has been nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in the Best Fiction category. Yeah, it's there with Junot Diaz and Barbara Kingsolver and a lot of hard-hitting bestsellers from the year. It's the only work of Southern fiction to make the list -- I think it deserves, so much, to make the finals, I'm telling you. It really does. So I'm hosting a giveaway to support this book.


1. A hardback copy of A Grown Up Kind of Pretty that you can keep or give away as a present.
2. A signed hardback copy of Shine Shine Shine, my novel, in the hard-to-find UK version, which is orange and interesting and not for sale in the US.
3. An audiobook of Between, Georgia, Joshilyn Jackson's second novel and one of my favorites.
4. An audiobook of Shine Shine Shine, read by Joshilyn Jackson, which got a starred review in PW.

1. If you haven't already read this book, go buy it. It just came out in paperback, and I promise you that you will not be disappointed in this novel. Get it at your local indie -- chances are they might have a signed copy.
2. If you have already read it, and love it as I do, please go to this link and vote for it in the Best Fiction category.

Leave a comment saying you did one of these things, and which prize you want. I will pick four different people to win the four different prizes. Good luck! You can also enter on my Facebook page here.

UPDATE: Joshilyn's book has made the finals!!! Thank you so much for voting. I'm going to keep the giveaway open until after Thanksgiving so we can hopefully push this awesome book even farther!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Shine Shine Shine on Shelf Discovery

"Strenuous but satisfying." I think I can live with that. But the real reason I'm embedding this review is that it has a thing that I can embed. And it talks if you click the button:

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Difficult Second Novel

First book. Done.
It's sitting there in a neat pile by my desk. My first novel, Shine Shine Shine, in glittering, glowing advance reader copies. The blurbs are in, the cover is designed, the thing has been revised fifty thousand times, and its pages contain everything I wanted to say about humanity, love, death, motherhood, and fear. Every word has been analyzed, moved, changed, tweaked, and every line is purposeful. And I like it.

It's sitting there in a file on my computer. My second novel, as yet untitled. It is a first draft, which means it hulks and skitters across the page. It is unfinished, which means I don't know all its secret agendas and devious little plans yet. It might change. It's full of stupidly repeated words. It's got place-holder dialogue and language, like "Describe the institute lobby here, fool, if you can." And I'm a little afraid of it.

In my imagination, the first book addresses the second:

Second book. Not done.
"What's up, noob? Hey, you got some pie filling on your collar. Or is that self-indulgent interior monologue? Dang, you're going to need to revise that, honey!"

Smartypants first book is not very tolerant of the second book's growing pains. Like an older sibling that pokes a baby and says, "Can it play yet?" Really, I want to love them both. But the first book is just so charming. Second book looks monstrous in comparison.

If I were a potter this would be easy.
I like a nice chili bowl. (Credit)

The first book is like a glazed, finished bowl. It's microwave-safe. Its motif is well defined. It's symmetrical. You can eat chili out of it and not die of lead poisoning. You can put it on your shelf and admire it. You can say to your neighbor: "I made that" and your neighbor will not back away in terror.

This is actual clay mined by me.
The second book is like a lump of clay you just dug up out of the yard. It has rocks in it, and streaks of dirt, and it's as symmetrical as a brain tumor, and if you tried to eat chili out of it... well, you would never try to do that. Because who eats chili out of a hideous lump of clay? Who would EVER want to do THAT?

"No one," whispers the first book. "Because it's just so hideous!"

The difficult second novel (or album). Is this really a thing? Oh yes, it's such a common problem that there are blogs and bands named after it. Stephen Fry explained it like this:

"The problem with a second novel is that it takes almost no time to write compared with a first novel. If I write my first novel in a month at the age of 23, and my second novel takes me two years, which have I written more quickly? The second of course. The first took 23 years, and contains all the experience, pain, stored-up artistry, anger, love, hope, comic invention and despair of that lifetime. The second is an act of professional writing. That is why it is so much more difficult."

Is that why it's so difficult? I'm not sure. Maybe there are other reasons. Here's my list:

1. It's always hard to draft. Writing through the drafting stage while the first novel is sitting there winking at you, fully edited and polished, takes a lot of fortitude. It's hard to remember your first book was once this difficult, that it once sat in tatters as you completely rearranged the timeline, that it used to be three main characters instead of one, that there was a really pretentious and unlikable stock trader in it, that it once had a line in it where one woman held the other woman's entire husband in her mouth, like a cat. It's hard to remember that the first novel used to be bad, used to be rough, used to be just like this.

2. The second novel sends you in a definite direction. The first novel is a point on a graph. The second novel is another point on the graph. But in between these points, something very significant is formed -- a vector. And the vector points to your future as a writer, and where your career will go. With one novel under your belt, and a second in the works, it feels like you could put the second point anywhere.

Darker, or lighter. More romantic, less. More literary, more commercial. More about cats, more about dogs. More hope, more despair. But ALL of those choices seem dangerous. If I write another book about artichokes, does that mean that all my future books must be about artichokes? Conversely if I write my second book about pears, will all the artichoke fanatics who bought my first book be disappointed and upset? Or is elliptical produce too limiting entirely -- maybe my second book should be about wristwatches.

3. There's not a lot of time to focus on it. This is why kid #1 gets a baby book elaborately filled in and packed with keepsakes. Kid #2 gets a "firsts" journal maybe, and by the time you get to kid #4, he's lucky to show up as a blur in the background of an aunt's snapshot.

4. You feel like you've already said everything. We writers are not in the business of holding back. We put it all out there, as much as we can, in every single chapter, and we don't save back reserves to get us through next year, when there is a long, wide feasting table to be piled with everything in the pantry, right now. At least I don't. So when I had finally finished the eleventeenth revision of Shine Shine Shine, I felt that not only was I done with it, but that I was done with saying things in general, because everything I wanted to say was in that book. Everything important to me was represented. It felt complete.

Of course, that was dumb. Of course I have more to say. There are huge stones yet to turn over and an entire weird universe of questions to pry open. Now that I'm locked into wrestling with my new book, I'm urgent about its new ideas. As for not having a lot of time, hey, kid #2 might not get the elaborate baby book that #1 is so proud of, but kid #2 is going to get all the benefit of my "first time" experience. I'm a better writer now than I was when I started. That helps! And yes, my second novel will send me in a direction. But the reality is that I was already going in a direction. The second book is as inevitable as one breath follows the next, and the idea that I could set that second point down anywhere on the graph -- that is actually the illusion. I'm going to write the book I have to write, and do the best job I can, and what comes out will set a vector, yes. But that vector was pre-determined by the mess in my brain, not by some decision I think I've made to send myself down this or that career path.

Which brings us back to the act of drafting. The act of sticking one's hands into the lump of clay, while the glazed and finished bowl sits gleaming on the shelf (full of chili, I hope). And that, my friends, is just going to be hard. But fortunately, I'm in it up to my elbows, and my characters have grabbed me by the throat, and I'm not washing my hands until this thing looks like a plate. See you in the kiln!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Infinite Tides by Christian Kiefer

Christian Kiefer has written a novel about the solitude of an individual. He shows us the magnitude of our individual planet in the vast chaotic reach of space by way of creating an individual person, stripping him of family, job, connection, and possessions, and stranding him in the vast impersonal landscape of suburbia. Keith Corcoran, astronaut, is this man. Earth is this planet. Both are one of many, many, uncountable replications of themselves, yet both are stunningly, inconceivably alone. We are all alone, and Kiefer warns us there are no emotional epiphanies to save us from this.

What matters, when all you have is your *self*, and that self is so vulnerable, so fragile? In The Infinite Tides, an entire personal history can be wiped out by a lost bit of mail. A man can be laid low by a single blood vessel, a planet by a stray meteor, a great love by a collision with a tree. Nothing is safe, and the dangers intrude without regard or warning: termites, migraines, car accidents, meteors -- you can't control anything, and you can't even react. You just have to take whatever comes, even if it annihilates everything. There is no fate -- there is only math, and math is more ruthless than fate, and more final.

What saves the book from being basically a prose poem for a nihilist, is that redemption does come. Not from a glowing unicorn friend that takes Corcoran to Disneyland on a glitter rainbow (an ending I suggested to Kiefer on Twitter when I was part way through the book) or a wonderful carefree puppy that teaches him how to embrace life, or anything stupid like that. (Corcoran was ripe for the magical effects of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, for example. Fortunately one did not appear -- just a cynical housewife on the cul de sac, ready to yank his pecker but not forthcoming with life lessons.) Instead, redemption comes from the only place it can come: math. The same thing that brings the desolation, and the horror, and the isolation, brings the hope.

As we are small, and as iterations of us extend across the universe, there is a beauty and satisfaction, for Corcoran, in the infinity of fractals. The tiny speck at a central chamber of the nauticus' spiral, weak and fragile as it might seem, is actually the same chamber as the biggest one, a massive hypothetical chamber that takes up half the universe, and even a hypothetical chamber beyond that, that takes up double another universe.

The concept of fractal iterations is one that haunts Corcoran from his own youth, to his parenting of his daughter, to the pivotal moment of the book which happens quite early in its pages -- he's at the end of a robotic arm that he's built for the International Space Station, and the arm is used to move things from one end of the station to the other, and he swings wide, away from the vehicle, and extends out into space. But when he's out there, swinging loose, it's not "Oh, I should have spent more time with my family" or "Oh, I miss love" that strikes him -- it's the vastness of it, the visible infinity of it, the real, brutal beauty. That's what matters. Fractals don't stop in either direction, do they? Can something be terrifying and comforting at the same time?

In the tiniest is the most enormous. One leaf on the pythagorean tree is the entire tree, because it is of the same number. Really it's the ONLY way to address the solitude of the space between your ears, or the magnitude of the universe -- to draw a mathematical equation that says they're the same thing.

Kiefer's writing is perfect. His language is tight, but swells in all the right places. He uses words you'll want to look up, but places them so gently that you won't have to. His idea is big, but his character is what the story is all about -- this lost and grounded astronaut. Maybe being where he's been, and having lost what he's lost, Corcoran is the loneliest human on earth. Or maybe only the one who has been outside the earth and has seen it from afar is suited to see how we are all connected. Don't miss this quiet masterpiece.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Great Britain and Shine Shine Shine

Shine Shine Shine has been published in the United Kingdom and Australia by Simon & Schuster! Here is the beautiful cover they designed, and here are some reviews coming in from the UK press:

‘Packed with original ideas and compelling characters … funny, lyrical and fascinating … This is a novel about the strangeness of being human. Lydia Netzer says she wrote it when she was pregnant with her first child and feeling “paralysed with fear …” Hopefully, she feels better now. Or at least, a lot less alone in her imagined weirdness. After meeting Sunny and Maxon, I know I do’ -- Independent on Sunday

‘Think The Corrections meets Geek Love in this captivating modern love story. Sweet. Funny clever’  -- Red Magazine

‘This debut novel is  a sparky study of family life with a slightly surreal twist’  Bella Magazine

‘This is a love story with a difference. Looking at marriage, loss and the choices that make us all human, everyone will be talking about this one’ -- Look Magazine

‘Quirky and inventive’ --Mirror

‘You have to admire Shine Shine Shine’s ambition and originality’ --Stylist

Huge thank you and air kisses to the wonderful team at Simon & Schuster UK, who are really pulling in some amazing reviews here!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Twooshes On My Mind

I like to make twooshes. A Twoosh is a combination of "tweet" and "swoosh" and it means a tweet that is exactly 140 characters.

My current novel-in-progress is on its third draft. When I was writing the first draft of it, back in 2003, I got very neurotic about how it looked on the page. Paragraphs had to be mathematically precise. If I deleted a word, I had to add a word. Hours were spent deliberating over the choice of a preposition. In the whole draft, there was not one line of dialogue, because it looked weird to me, physically. I couldn't let it into my manuscript. Eventually I scrapped that attempt and forced myself to write it as a screenplay, to get over my twitching. It worked -- I mostly scrapped the screenplay too, but I can now write the book with dialogue and it doesn't bother me too much.

Other authors have said that they like the 140 character limit on Twitter because it forces them to think about word choice and be thrifty about language. I like that too. I also like hitting that 140 character limit exactly -- it's like ringing a bell. It satisfies my need to be picky-picky with words without ruining my manuscript. I like twooshing for this reason. I've done it 330 times.

This is my Twitter cloud for the last five years, in alphabetical order (generated by Tweet Stats -- they can also tell you how many times you've twooshed). My Twitter handle is @lostcheerio. Should we really be following each other?

#fb #litchat #nanowrimo actually @andreakinnear author away awesome bad bed benny best better big bike blog book books @campcreek @celeritycycling chapter check child children come coming cool dan day @deadwhiteguys dear did didnt does doesnt dog doing eating @emilygatlin favorite feel finished getting girl glad going @gonavy1994 good great guy happy hard having head heh hes hey home hope hot house @hubcitybookshop husband @iamsusannah idea @joshilynjackson kids kind know @lbardugo let life liked list little long look looking looks @lostcheerio lot love lydia make makes making maybe mean minutes mom morning movie need new night novel oh okay old people person post pretty race read reading real really @rebeccaschinsky review right rt sadie said say shine song stop story sure tell thank thanks thats theres theyre thing things think thought time times today tomorrow tonight @tossedinmylap trying tweet twitter use violin virginia wait want watch watching way week whats @wileycash win word words work world wow write writing wrong www yay yeah year yes youre


Monday, July 30, 2012

10 Best Marriage Vows You Never Hear At Weddings

by Lydia Netzer

Love is patient, love is kind, love endures, blah blah blah, isn't it all wonderful? Vowing to persevere through sickness and health and in wealth and poverty is tradition, and it's comfortable when associated with lace and roses. But hasn’t it proven to be fairly useless when it comes to forging marriages that last forever? How many people have mouthed the words, “until we are parted by death” while privately plotting to move on as soon as a more attractive option presents itself?

Here's a set of wedding vows with practical merit. They might sound unconventional and unromantic. They’re certainly not poetic, but these promises, if kept, will go far in sealing a marriage for the ages.

1. I promise to clarify my expectations. 

A marriage ends because a spouse has failed to meet the expectations their partner brought to the marriage. Expectations are unique, and come packaged inside your fiance’s brain. You may think these things are obvious or universal, that “everyone knows” what makes a good husband, what makes a good wife. But the truth is: Your expectations are yours alone -- spawned from your experiences and locked in your head. There is nothing you can assume about your partner’s idea of what a good marriage looks like. No harm will come from being very specific and concrete about exactly what you want, not just in bed but in the bank account, at the dinner table, with regard to parenting, and everything else. If you’re too shy to mention what you believe is the right way to behave, and you’re hoping everything will become obvious as time goes on, you’re not ready to get married. Get it all in the open, and keep putting it out in the open. If someone fails you, they should have to do it by choice, and not have ignorance as an excuse.

2. I promise to give you the benefit of the doubt, when it comes to money. 

One of the biggest adjustments, when entering marriage, is joint finances. From being on your own and subject only to your own ups and downs, you’re now responsible for another person, or you’re depending on another person. That can be scary. Here’s a vow you can make that will help: If your spouse spends a lot of money on something, trust that they know what they’re doing. Trust them until it becomes impossible not to trust them. Don’t come out of the gate suspicious. Here’s why you can do this: You didn’t marry an idiot. Right? If you think they’re overspending this month, chances are they’re expecting a special check, or they’re compensating for underspending last month, or something else. This is not a fool; this is your spouse. Surrender the worry that they’re going to drive you into financial ruin. Give the benefit of the doubt. If they really do appear to be ruining you, then the last benefit of the doubt you can give is that they don’t know any better, and need help. Help kindly and respectfully, not with judgment and blame.

3. I promise to make sure I'm not just hungry, before I yell at you. 

Do your wife or husband a favor: Eat your favorite sandwich, and then come back and yell at her/him all you want, if you still feel like it.

4. I promise not to give in to you for the sole purpose of using my compliance against you later. 

Some people call this passive aggressive behavior, but this is a very specific maneuver that you can understand and avoid: Being the good person, even though you don’t want to, is not always good. Being so compliant and docile that a halo pops out of your hair and lofts itself over you, bathing you in its golden light, is sometimes a trick, and you really intend to strangle your spouse with that halo, somewhere down the road. Being so good that next time there’s an argument, you can point back to this moment as an example of how your goodness practically rent the sky in half -- that’s not goodness. Don’t do that. It’s not going to help, in the long run. If you don’t want to do something, fight not to do it. If you want to do something, fight to do it. Be honest, and don’t posture.

5. I promise to defend you to others, even if you are wrong. 

Your spouse is going encounter plenty of haters and critics. Don’t join them. Ever. In the privacy of your pillow, or your sofa, or your minivan, you can have conversations that need to be had, if there’s really something that needs to be addressed. But you don’t need to agree with someone who’s calling him a boor, or her an idiot. There is nothing uglier than watching a husband degrade his wife or a wife demean her husband in front of other people. It doesn’t make you smart or funny. It’s just a low behavior. Your spouse’s criticism hurts plenty, even if it’s private and kind. If it’s public and rude, it’s almost unbearable.

6. I promise to try to put you before the children. 

This is tricky, because your biological imperative will be to put the children first. Your physiology will be directing you to eat the face off your spouse if he or she threatens the children’s progress and happiness in any way. This is why it’s possible to make this promise to each other: to really try to prioritize each other sometimes, even though the children are absorbing so much of your life. In reality, if you truly prioritize your spouse, and leave your children out on the porch in a dirty diaper in the rain, the police will come. But because you’re a normal person and not some child-abusing monster, you’re not going to do that. Making this promise might actually result in some time spent together as a couple, some choices made for the benefit of Dad’s or Mom’s agenda and goals instead of the kids’ activities all the time, and some needed balance.

7. I promise to do the stuff neither of us wants to do, if you really don't want to do it more than I don't. 

My husband hates to do the dishes. He really hates it and thinks it is disgusting. I do not like to look at spreadsheets or think about money. At all. It gives me panting fits. Now, I don’t especially want to do the dishes either. Nobody wants to do the dishes. But I’m okay doing the dishes, yes every single time, yes even if I also cooked the dinner, yes even if he left a plate full of gravy and broccoli bits hardening in the sink. I don’t really care that much, and I’m not going to stand on principle to try and chase some goal of “fairness” and make him do the dishes half the time. If fairness were what we were after, then I would have to pay attention to the checking account, and have a budget, and worry about mortgages. And I don’t. That’s not fair either. But we don’t care because we’ve made this promise:

8. I promise not to keep score. 

You can’t win marriage. There are no points. Any reckoning or score-keeping on your part is only going to result in told-you-so trumpeting or sad dissatisfaction. Not keeping score means you don’t have to pay back the good stuff, and you don’t get to punish the failures. It also means you can give freely, and that you have a soft place to fall when you fail yourself. There are consequences for every action -- good and bad. That is true. But “forgive and forget” works two ways -- you forget the good stuff you did and the bad stuff he/she did. In return you can expect your bad stuff to be forgotten, and your spouse to give you good stuff without measure.

9. I promise to not care if you get fat, or skinny, or old. 

I’m talking about getting fat, people. Butt, huge. Arms, wiggly. I’m also talking about hot bodies wasting away to nothing. Boobs, gone. Butt, gone. Can we talk about hair falling out? Not just boy hair, but girl hair too. Weird moles developing. Facial hair getting thicker or thinner. Googly eyes. The truth is you don’t really care about these things. Your favorite person is your favorite person until the end of time, even if their head falls off or they grow a third leg. Even if a dragon comes and eats off the lower half of their body or they turn purple or get warts. You know what matters is on the inside, and you can articulate it. If you want to utter the most romantic words a woman will ever hear, say “I will love you forever, babe, even if you get wicked fat.” Trust me. Your skinny fiance will love you for this.

10. I promise to put your happiness before mine. 

Really it all boils down to this, doesn’t it? You promise to subvert your needs, your wants, your goals and priorities, to those of your spouse. And he or she does the same for you. If you’re both working for the other’s happiness, earnestly and sincerely, then you’re both going to be ridiculously happy. Here’s the key though: It’s not enough to sublimate yourself and be a virtuous martyr for his/her dreams to come true. You also have to allow your spouse to do the same for you. You have to be able to say “Okay!” when he says “Go!” To say “Thanks!” when she says “I don’t mind!” And trust that when it’s your turn to reverse roles, you’ll do the very same. Because in the end, it’s not even selflessness. It’s working for the common good. And if you can’t say you’ll do that, then “until we are parted by death” is just going to be a long, dull, sad life sentence.

In my opinion, if you can't wholeheartedly vow these things, you shouldn't be getting married. Yep, it's a little tougher to promise "in fatness and in emaciation, even if my mother hates you" than it is to promise "in joy and in sorrow, forsaking all others." But which is really braver, and what promise more meaningful?


Did you like this? Buy my book, quick. Read it, come back, tell me what you think of it. I'll listen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Dear Reader,

Dear Reader,

My novel is released today. Let's pretend you've bought it. Let's pretend you're holding it in your hands. I know what it feels like. 

Visible Woman by Perry Vasquez
The novel you are about to read has been with me for over a decade. Like all authors I’ve tried to put into it everything I have to say about life, just in case I never get a chance to do this book thing again. So what you’re holding is my best attempt at downloading everything I have in my head that matters.

I’ve been asked what pieces of this novel are from real life and which are pure invention. The truth is that nothing here is a direct representation of anything in “real life.” At the same time, everything here is very real to me, and all of my most important pieces: my kids, my husband, my mother, and even my robot fixation, are present. This book is a treatise; it’s what I believe. And that means true love and merciless death and mechanical evolution and happy motherhood and mortal fear. There’s some weird stuff, some serious stuff, some goofy stuff. Some of it is pretty dark.

Publishing a novel is, I am finding, a very personal public act. In the book, I expose my self – dark and light, good and bad – and when you have read it, you will know me better than I will probably ever get the chance to know you. I am so grateful that I have this way to explain myself, this book-sized opening in my head. And I am so grateful to you that you are willing to listen, to hear this story, and to understand.

In other words, I have waited a long time to meet you, and I’m so happy that you are finally here.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Three Book Launch Events for Shine Shine Shine

My book will be released tomorrow, July 17th! On this day you can walk into any bookstore, demand to be sold a copy of my book, and the bookseller will cheerfully comply. Cheerfully. And honorably. It's true.

I am having three book launch events because triangles. Here I have arranged them chronologically.

EVENT 1: Signing/Reading/Meeting/Greeting @ Prince Books: 12:00pm Tuesday, July 17

Prince Books
109 East Main St.
Norfolk, VA 23510

Special note: The first ten people to buy books from Prince Bookstore will receive a coupon to receive an item of your choice for free at the Leaping Lizard cafe. Browse the menu. Let Maxon buy you lunch. 

EVENT 2: Virtual Book Launch Party @ Shindig Events: 7:30pm Tuesday, July 17

No need to register, download, install, get a ticket, drive anywhere, or put on pants. There will be special guests including Joshilyn Jackson, who read the audiobook for Shine Shine Shine, Andrea Kinnear and my husband, who wrote the math equations. I may be wearing a robot head. I may be singing a song. You can participate with audio/video and appear on the screen via your webcam, OR you can participate via chat only. 

Official cocktail of the event:

The Perfect Mother

The perfect mother is always minty-fresh and peacefully diluted with vodka and sugar.

Start with this:
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Combine and boil, simmer, cool, then strain to make mint syrup. While it's bubbling, whisper your suspicions about your neighbors over the pot. As you're straining, mash the mint with vigor, attempting to extract all the secrets from its leaves. Should yield 1 1/2 cups if you strain angrily enough. 

Juice three limes into a pitcher. With each lime you strain, visualize one way you've changed for the better in the last ten years. Add a cup of vodka and a cup of club soda, and all the mint syrup. Stir with satisfaction.

Mix and pour over ice into glasses. Garnish with a straw topper by punching out the holes and sticking your straw in and out (click for larger image): 

EVENT 3: Book Launch Party @ Barnes & Noble : 7:00pm Wednesday July 18th

Come a bit early for appetizers, Italian soda, cupcakes and a beautiful book cake from Frank's cousin who needs a Facebook page so I can link to her! I'll get the party started at 6:30 and the actual event will begin with an intro from my son Benny at 7:00pm.