A BRIGHT Sunrise, Indeed!

My second book, Bright Before Sunrise, releases today.

IndieBound   *  Amazon  *  B&N

Sometimes books happen quickly, but others take time.

Bright Before Sunrise took a lifetime – literally.

This is a picture from when I was drafting/revising BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE

That sweet face is now three years old.

I’ve heard it said that every book has a piece of its writer hidden within its pages, and there’s quite a bit of my heart embedded in this story.

I hope you enjoy it! <3

The Night I Became an Author

When my publisher approached me about Bright Before Sunrises blog tour, I knew I wanted to do something a little different. Rather than have me answer questions, I asked if we could have others answer one.

We asked author friends and an amazing group of bloggers to respond to Bright Before Sunrise’s tagline: One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself by sharing One Night from their own life. The posts so far have been heartfelt, amusing, intriguing, thought-provoking. They’re so different, but they’re all wonderful!  They can be read here.

Here’s mine:

 

My twins were eight months old when my first novel, Send Me a Sign, sold.  It was two days after I’d sent my resignation letter to the superintendent, formally announcing I was leaving my beloved job as a teacher to stay home with The Schmidtlets.

This is not the One Night I’m going to talk about. It’s not that I wasn’t thrilled or excited, but at that point it all seemed so distant and surreal. I’d have a BOOK…someday, 18 months from then. And it would have A Cover. And Pages! And I had An Editor! These were all shiny fancy ideas, but they were too much like the first years after my wedding when people would say “Mrs. Schmidt” and I’d look around for my mother-in-law.

I may have *technically* entered the ranks of authordom, but I really didn’t believe it. It felt like dressing up for Halloween or playing let’s-pretend. I’d spent too long writing, revising, querying, writing, revising, querying, rinse/repeat to actually believe it was real.

Edits happened. Massive quantities of Revision Skittles were consumed. I met my editor, saw my cover, had a page on GoodReads… and I still felt like an impostor.

ARCs arrived. I snuggled those things to death, thinking that maybe if I held them tight enough, long enough, that belief would seep through my fingers and I’d start accepting this was REAL, that my dream was coming true.

Nope.

It was one of my Schmidtlets that convinced me. Pip Squeak, toddling around at 18 months old, got ahold of an ARC while we wrestled his brother into pajamas. My husband and I both flew across the room to save it from drool, or the puggles’ water bowl, or whatever other mishap he was more than capable of inventing.

But he was hugging it. And he smiled and said, “Momma’s book.” (over and over and over and over as 18-month-olds like to do).

And I started to cry. Because this teeny little guy in his footie pajamas had recognized what I couldn’t: that was MY book.

More than that, his and his brother’s conception of me as a person would ALWAYS be: My momma writes books. He’d have no knowledge or memories of the years when I was 97% doubts, the times I wanted to chuck my laptop in the trash and walk away forever.

In his eyes I’d ALWAYS be an author.

And once I realize he understood that… how could I not?

In fact, I had a printed canvas made of my first book cover. The plan had been to hang it above my desk. Nope. The Pip Squeak had other plans. It hangs above his crib, reminding me every night at bedtime that he believes in me. How can I not believe in myself.

I’m an author.

And I’ve got a heck of an adorbs fan club.

BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE

When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, “miserable” doesn’t even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother’s first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real… until she breaks up with him.

For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she’s really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She’s determined to change his mind, and when they’re stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance.

Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.?

One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.

Bright Before Sunrise releases on 2/18 (THREE DAYS!).

ARC-itement & Blurb-blushes

Late last summer I came home from a Schmidtlet playdate at my friend Stacey’s house to find a box of these on my porch.

Today she and her daughter were over and these were delivered.

If I totally ignore the dozens of no-book-happens playdates we’ve had in between, I can say she’s good luck, right?*

Oh, these ARCs are so pretty! And the interiors? ALL THE FONTS. ALL of the lovely, lovely fonts that I can’t wait for you guys to see.

Will you indulge me just a little while I share two of my favorite parts of the ARC?

Eeeeee!

Do you know how honored I am to have the praise of these two uber-talentd authors on Bright Before Sunrise? On a scale of 1-10, my excitement is a 36! Thank you, thank you, Diana and Jen!

I promise I’ll do some ARC giveaways soon. But right now I’ve got to go snuggle some ARCs… or Schmidtlets.

Or both.

*Stacey, leave some dates open for playdates in early winter… I can’t wait to see my finished copies!

Things that Change… and Things that Don’t.

Over the holidays my mother handed me a stack of papers to bring back to PA with me—“It’s your permanent record; thought you might want it.”

Um, yes! That thing that teachers and books and movies constantly cite as the paper trail* that will make or ruin your whole future—I was dying to get a look at it.

It turns out it’s mostly vaccine records and report cards and the various results of standardized tests. Other people’s may be wicked exciting, but mine was really disappointingly boring… which is surprising, because I was/am quite the hijinks-magnet.

EXCEPT for one little paragraph in the results of some IQ testing I had when I was in second grade…

Many of you may have heard me talk about my writing process: non-linear, no outlines, and I write the dialogue first (followed by the kissing scenes). Apparently this isn’t a new habit:


 

Today, the first day of 2013**, seemed like the perfect time to reflect on things that change and things that don’t.

So, while my writing technique hasn’t varied much since I was eight, a whole lot changed this past year. My first book hit bookshelves. I still get a rush each time I see it there. I still squeak out “Really?” in response to anyone commenting, “So, I read Send Me a Sign.”  Maybe I should work on my poker face, because I had a high schooler respond, “Yes… Was I not supposed to?”

I have a hard time wrapping my head around dreams-coming-true.****

Last year brought me so many nights of lying awake because I’m too excited to sleep. Or too impatient to sleep. Or too nervous to sleep. Summary: there hasn’t been much sleep—(I’m hoping 2013 is the year of the pillow). But 2012 brought me many new friends: writers, readers, bloggers. And I’m grateful for each of them.

I’m not sure about 2013*****. I don’t have a book coming out this year; my next novel is slated for release in March, 2014. So there’s definitely some fear that all those “Really?” readers of Send Me a Sign will forget about me. There’s also a sense of restless that’s already creeping in—what is my goal for the year? What am I working toward?

My natural tendency is going to be impatience for 2014—and since I’m not okay with rushing through a year of my life to get to Bright Before Sunrise—I’ve decided my resolution will need to be slowing down, focusing on THIS moment, enjoying the now, and letting what’s-next? come at it’s own pace.

And, of course, writing more books: dialogue first.

Happy Twenty-Thirteen, everyone!

*Yeah, they’re probably not on paper anymore, huh?
** Totally typed 2012 there… the habit usually fades out around May
***Yup, did it again.
**** I still go tiptoe in The Schmidtlets’ room sometimes at night and whisper, “Do you know I get to keep you?” Um, but in a totally non-creepy, momma-adoration way.
***** Nailed it first-try that time!

YAmazing winner!

If the contest had been a spelling list, I’d now be required to use all your words in sentences or a story. That would be a horrendous homework assignment and a VERY LONG spelling list. And, there is less than zero percent chance that I would have gotten the spelling of hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia or pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis or floccinaucinihilipilification correct. But I guess when there’s 100+ words on the list (and awesomesauce is on there three times), it wouldn’t have hurt my score too badly to skip some of your zanier choices ;)

Thank you all for stopping by, entering the race, and sharing your favorite words with me. You are ALL YAmazing.

But there can only be one winner of the YAmazing Race SEND ME A SIGN bonus contest and that person is…

*mentally insert drumroll here*

– I guess “rediculous” is not only adorably adorable, it’s also lucky! Congrats, Desiree!
 
Also!!! Did you see my BIG NEWS from last week? Did you know BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE is already up on GoodReads? It think it would very much like to visit your To-Read shelf…

Bright Before Sunrise

The best things in my life come in TWOs.

Obviously there’s my favorite duo – The Schmidtlets.

Look, Momma, we can edit too…

Then there’s my pair of puggles.

Being this adorable is *exhausting*

And now I’m adding a new two to the list: A SECOND BOOK DEAL!

I’m thrilled to share that my second book – Bright Before Sunrise - will be published by Walker-Bloomsbury in winter 2014!

Here’s a little more about Bright Before Sunrise, which is dual-perspective (See! TWO narrators!) and takes place over the course of a single night.

 When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, “miserable” doesn’t even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother’s first marriage; and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real… until she breaks up with him. 
For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she’s really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand.  She’s determined to change his mind, and when they’re stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance. 
Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.? 
One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.  

I can’t wait to share Bright Before Sunrise with you all! HUGE thank yous to my amazing agent, Joe Monti. And I’m very excited to be working with Emily Easton and the rest of the Walker-Bloomsbury crew on BBS.

I’m feeling so lucky and blessed and giddy… I feel like I should go celebrate with something that comes in a two-pack.

…if only Twinkies weren’t gross.

Any celebratory suggestions?!

*squee*

Bonus Twin AND Puggle photo – Yes, it’s old… YOU try getting all FOUR to sit still and pose ;)

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