A new ~Adventure~

I’m a New England girl.

My favorite foods are clams and lobsters.
My favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Patriots’ Day (Marathon Monday!).
My second puggle is named Bruschi.
My favorite sound is the ocean and my legs still sport faded scars from barnacle scrapes while tide-pooling.

I may not still live in Massachusetts, but my heart has never left.

Which makes me all the more excited to have been chosen to write the picture book for a New England icon:

 

In fact, my whole family is excited.

The puggles, however, did object when I suggested dying them black for this photo.

 

The Adventures of Black Dog will be publishing late summer – and, man, I can’t wait till you can see the jaw-dropping illustrations the uber-talented Betsy Bauer is creating.

So, find your flip-flops and your sand pails; plan your clam bakes and ready your four-legged friends~ because this New England girl hopes you’ll join the Black Dog, her ship, and her crew for the first of many adventures!

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!).

Hooray for Paperback Day

It seems like just yesterday I was writing this poem and preparing for my debut novel to release. In reality it was 15 months ago.

But look at my book baby! It’s all grown up and in paperback form now.

 

And inside it are a few surprises:

1) A bonus short story from GYVER’S point of view

2) The first couple of chapters of BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE

If you see a copy in the ‘wilds’ of a bookstore, snap a picture and share it with me, please. Or, snatch it up and take it home with you :)

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!

In The Wild – Send Me a Sign’s Release Party

I’ve seen Send Me a Sign in book stores. I’ve seen texts and tweets and Facebook photos of other people’s copies. I’ve even seen a picture of my book in front of the Eiffel Tower (Thanks, Amy!)

It’s still hard to believe that this is real.

Perhaps most surreal of all was last Friday’s release party at Doylestown Bookshop. I’ve had a whole week to process it and beam at the photos, but I’m still in pinch-me mode. I’m still in teary-eyed gratitude mode.

Thank you to everyone who came to support me and Send Me a Sign. You are ALL part of my dream-come-true  ♥

Here, there, everywhere…

It’s been a busy week.

Actually, it’s been a *full* week — there’s a difference.

This week saw the sharing/revealing/posting of:

 

I felt like *I* couldn’t keep up with it all — so I certainly wouldn’t blame you if you missed some of this.

So, I conveniently linked everything above :)

Have a fabulous weekend!

Pre-Orders For Morgan

Below is a blog post I’d written last August while working on edits on Send Me A Sign and dreaming of a time fourteen months from then when my book would be in bookstores.

It’s something I believed in strongly then—and that was before cancer went and made it personal, stealing someone very special from me this year. One of my former students, Morgan, passed away from cancer in January.

Morgan was a fighter. I’d like to follow her example and fight back too—and you can help. Read the details below or by clicking HERE.

As many of you know, my debut novel, SEND ME A SIGN, comes out in a month.

I’d like to make it obsolete – and you can help.

Now, before the publicity and sales departments at Walker-Bloomsbury have a collective heart attack, let me explain: Send Me A Sign is about a teenager with leukemia. It’s about a lot of other things, too: love, luck, music, friends, alliteration… but leukemia plays a large role. And did you know that leukemia is the most common form of cancer for young people?

If this were to change, if we could find a cure to this awful disease, then my this part of my book would be… obsolete.

Imagine if in five, ten, fifteen years, everyone who picks up the novel could say, “Wow, cancer. Remember that? I’m so glad we cured it.”

And here’s how you can help.

You were planning on buying my book anyway, right? Well, for every person who pre-orders my book between now and its release date, October 2nd, I will donate two dollars in Morgan’s memory to be split between two cancer charities: The Dear Jack Foundation and Sunshine Kids.

Here’s what you need to do:
1) Pre-order my book (links below)
2) Send me proof (photo of receipt, forward email confirmation of order, etc) to SendMeASignBook@gmail.com
3) Pat yourself on the back

Thank you for helping make my book obsolete. Thank you for helping me honor Morgan’s memory.

And thanks for reading it, too!

Handy-dandy pre-order links:

IndieBound * Doylestown Bookshop * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Pre-orders through Doylestown Bookshop will be signed and include bookmarks/surprise swag.
If pre-ordering through Doylestown Bookshop, please indicate whether you would like your book shipped or will be attending the release party on October 5th .

If you have any questions, please email me at SendMeASignBook@gmail.com

Contest, Author Copies, AND a New Website

So… that happened yesterday. That’s pretty much my real-time reaction to getting my author copies. (After I danced around the box and put The Schmidtlets down for an impromptu nap). In case you were wondering, YES, I DID give myself a papercut on the chin while snuggling the book.

And then I quickly put the book back in the box. Where it still sits, along with all my other untouched author copies, in the front hall of my house. It didn’t even occur to me to OPEN the book until St.Matt was paging through one when he got home from work.

Guys… they’re so pretty! I LOVE them! And I can’t wait until you can see them too.

It’s only FIVE WEEKS AND FIVE DAYS until SEND ME A SIGN hits bookstore shelves… and since FIVE is my main character, Mia’s, favorite number, that means it’s time for a giveaway.

I’m giving away TWO Send Me A Sign ARCS. (Yes, I DO know it’s odd to give away ARCS when I just got my author copies, but I had this giveaway planned out and the author copies were a Very Awesome Surprise).

To enter — just fill out the form below. I’ll pick winners on August 31st.

ALSO — did you notice anything NEW around here? *gestures excitedly*  Hello, new website! (This was how I’d planned to open this blog post before the Very Awesome Surprise). Go! Click around! Explore! This post will still be waiting when you come back. MANY, many hours of stress, tears, and tweaking went into this redesign. I hope you like it! I owe a HUGE hug-accompanying THANK YOU to Courtney Summers who talked me down from my My-Brain-Can’t-Handle-WordPress ledge many, many times. (Including a particularly tearful e-mail “I just don’t know WHY it’s not working! I’ve spent the past 90 minutes trying EVERYTHING” — her response, “Tiffany, clear your cache – it’s working fine.” I dutifully Googled “cache” and she was right.)

So, really, this whole post can be summed up as:

Welcome to the new site! I’m so glad you’re here!  Let me offer you prizes & please admire my pretty author copies!

 

(The form has been removed because the contest is close — thanks for entering!)

Why I don’t blog more often…

…because if I look away for even a moment, this happens:

Yes, that IS my manuscript.

Notice that The Pip Squeak is totally feigning innocence while simultaneously using his little toes to push the papers around. The Wild Imp is just gleefully mischievous.

Heaven help me once he learns to remove pen caps…

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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