If you’ve been around these parts, you know I love kid reviews and am always so thrilled when a reader takes the time to write/tape a review and share it with me. Well, in this instance, the amazing E Train reviewed THREE of my books in brief but really insightful podcast episodes that are part booktalk part review. Check them out below (the images are links that go to E Train’s podcast page).
Are you familiar with the word verklempt? It is a Yiddish word that people use to describe being overcome with emotion or feelings. It’s safe to say that I am currently verkempt over the news that SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS has been named as a Sydney Taylor Notable Book.
LOOK at that pretty seal!
From the award website: “The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.”
Now, I don’t want you to think that SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS is a book that only Jewish people can enjoy. I wrote this book for everyone. It has very universal themes: grief, loss, friendship, bullying, and what happens when we die. It’s told through a Jewish lens, due to the setting (a Jewish funeral home) but I hope that everyone can find something to enjoy (and maybe learn) in its pages.
But being honored this way means I got it right. People who aren’t even related to me, through this award, call the book outstanding and say that it authentically portrays the Jewish experience. This is such an incredible validation. I worked harder on this book than anything. I engaged so many beta readers and did SO MANY DRAFTS (Oy vey, so many drafts). All worth it. I’m so very proud of this book.
I share this honor with my dad who helped me with the details and who inspired so much of it with the important work he does.
SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS has been out in the world for a couple of weeks and I have been amazed and humbled by the wonderful feedback it’s gotten. So many reviewers have loved the book and while that’s so gratifying, I have to say that reviews from young people provides the kind of validation that authors really appreciate. To that end, I’m so excited to share this awesome video review by Ric of Ric’s Book Reviews.
Thank you so much to Ric for reading and talking about SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS (and totally getting the book!). “A beautiful book that’s masterfully written.” No higher praise!
But Ric isn’t just a great reviewer but an excellent interviewer! His questions are so thoughtful and smart – it’s a true pleasure to be interviewed by him. Watch the interview he did with Lisa McMann and I about our connections, working together, our books, and more:
AND check out Ric’s great review for Lisa’s latest, CLARICE THE BRAVE:
Well, friends, it’s been a week already. Whew! I’ve been so incredibly overwhelmed with the book love (and author love!) that I’ve received already and as I’m writing this, it’s only Wednesday. I’ve been so consumed with this book and getting the word out, that I actually forgot to do a release day post.
Here it is, just a day late. Still counts and now I can include some of the assorted media and posts.
In case you’re new to these parts, my book, SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS came out yesterday (October 12). *throws confetti*
Here are a few of the celebrations – first with the upcoming things so you can hurry to register/get your ticket.
October 14 – Triple Author Launch Extravaganza!
October 14 at 7pm PST/10pm EST is the triple-author launch extravaganza in partnership with Changing Hands Bookstore.
Event details are here. If you purchase one of my books as part of your ticket, you’ll get a signed bookplate and one of these cool wood and paper bookmarks.
NOTE: Changing Hands Bookstore is in the US but they will ship anywhere. Ticket price includes US shipping.
If you are in Canada and would like to purchase a book and bookmark directly from me, please head on over to my Etsyshop.
October 20, 11:30am – I’ll be doing a virtual public reading from SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS and will then be discussing the book and doing Q&A with award-winning author and psychiatrist, Tziporah Cohen. Free but registration is required. Sign up here.
And here’s some media/posts about me and the book:
The Nerdy Book Club – The story behind SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS – includes a giveaway open until October 19.
A post I wrote about how Jewish funerals are inherently green funerals over at L. E. Carmichael’s Cantastic Authorpalooza.
More to come but until then, I hope you’ll join me at one of my events. If you enjoyed reading SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS, please support the book by giving it a review at Goodreads and/or the place you bought it. More importantly, please pass it along to someone else who may enjoy it.
If you’ve read this far, you are the best. Thank you.
We’re getting close to the release of SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS in October, but I’m hearing that it’s already shipping out to stores. Thank you if you’ve already pre-ordered – hopefully that means you’ll get your copy soon!
In the AMAZING news category, SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS just got a starred review from Kirkus Reviews:
“A heartfelt and expertly written tale of loss, family, and friendship that will have readers blinking back their tears…Beautiful and sincere.”
If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet and are feeling lucky, you can enter this Goodreads giveaway for a paperback copy:
Even if you’ve already bought (and hopefully loved) CRUSHING IT, if you’re in the Hamilton, Ontario area, why don’t you come out to help me celebrate the book? I’ll be reading from the book and answering questions AND will be signing while you mingle and consume snacks.
There will be giveaways, too! Bring the book you’ve already purchased for me to sign or there will be copies there to buy.
If you’re local, I’d love to see you at the LAUNCH PARTY on January 28 at the Westdale Libary (2pm).
Don’t forget to please review CRUSHING IT (unless you hated it) at review sites like Goodreads and at retailers. That is the kindest, and cheapest way you can help authors get the word out about their books.
Apparently it’s been months since my last blog (September? How did that much time slide by?) but I guess that goes along with the theme that I’m not a very good blogger and really only crawl out of the woodwork when I have something to tell you. Well guess what? I HAVE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU!
While Small Medium at Large is out in the world and people still seem to be reading it (thank you!) I’ve been working on some other things and one of those things will be published by Simon and Schuster’s Aladdin M!X imprint in 2017 December 2016! If you’re not familiar with the M!X books, check out the website (see, those exclamation points were intentional).
The book is called Crushing It and is a tween version of Cyrano de Bergerac – see the official deal notice at Publishers Weekly. I can’t tell you too much about the story yet, but it will be fun and funny and will likely include some awkward moments and maybe a cat. You’ll just have to wait and see.
And if you believe it, some kind soul has already put it up on Goodreads (which means you can add it to your TBR list, you know, because you’re already worried about what you’re going to need to read two years from now).
This isn’t the Oscars, so I’ll keep this short, but I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to my agent, Caryn Wiseman for facilitating this. She has been tirelessly working toward getting my books out there and I so appreciate having her on my team.
Yes, I know, I haven’t blogged in a while and I probably wouldn’t have even written this post if not for the wonderfully awesome Philippa Dowding! I have to tell you how I met Philippa, because meeting her was just one part in the amazing Forest of Reading experience I had last spring! When I did the ‘near north’ tour, Philippa and I traveled together (through some crazy terrain and a heck of a storm, I might add) from North Bay to Parry Sound and we got to know each other and had great chats, as writers often do. I can’t tell you what we talked about (what happens on tour, stays on tour) but by the end of the trip, I was so glad to have met her!
AND we exchanged books, which I love, because the one thing I cherish and collect more than anything (because it’s hard to collect cheese, though I do love it so) is signed books.
Please check out Philippa’s post and her books and make sure you tell her I sent you. Make sure you watch the trailer for The Strange Gift of GwendolynGolden (Philippa even did the music for the video—could she be any more talented?).
Now, to the questions!
1. What are you working on?
Oh, okay, so let’s start this with the hardest question to answer! I hate talking about projects I’m working on, because inevitably, they don’t freaking sell and then people are all like, “Remember you were working on that story about the purple alien that fell in love with a crocodile who ate beets? When is that coming out?” and I have to tell them that the book will come out on the fifteenth of never. So I think I’ll play it safe here and tell you I’m working on a wickedly funny Facebook post.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I wrote it, so that’s the most notable difference. Plus, my writing tends to be funny and honest. I try to mine the most embarrassing moments from my own youth (real or imagined) and project them onto my characters. Then, I manipulate those scenes to make them even funnier and work them into a plot. So yeah, there’s a good chance if you’re reading my work, you will laugh. I keep hearing there’s not enough funny books, so I’m trying to help fill the niche.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I have always looked up to authors who honestly portray the lives of tweens/teens and who write the books that everyone relates to. There are so many experiences that we all go through in some way or another and sharing those experiences is one of the great parts of being human. Dogs can’t share the story of a great romp at the leash-free park or describe the taste of a really delicious steak bone found at the bottom of a garbage can. The stories we share bond us to each other with no reciprocal hind-end sniffing required. So I write to share stories like that. ALSO, and maybe more importantly, I love to make people laugh and if I can do that with strangers I’ve never met, well, that’s the most amazing feeling ever. No, the second most amazing feeling—having a kid come up to me wearing a shirt with my book on it, that’s pretty much THE most amazing feeling.
4. How does your writing process work?
This is a very wide-open question, which I’m guessing is by design… Uh, I come up with an idea, and then I have four or five plot points in my head before I start actually writing. Then I sit down (or, actually these days, I go to my treadmill desk) and start writing. I don’t normally write to outline, so I make up the story and characters as I go. This means I need to do more editing/layering of details later as I learn more about my book and what/who it’s actually about, but it’s how I work. I’ve tried outlining and it just doesn’t work for me. If I need an outline or synopsis for a proposal, I pretty much have to write the book (or most of it) first.
Thanks again for tagging me, Philippa! And of course, one good turn deserves another, so I tag: Jocelyn Shipley! I know Jocelyn from #TorKidLit, a social group of writers from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) that gets together monthly. I’m a big fan of Jocelyn and her work (particularly her HOW TO TEND A GRAVE that I couldn’t stop raving about when I read it) and I’m looking forward to her post next week.
Thanks so much for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment about your process.