In Your Face

If you have a daughter, In Your Face is a must-buy.

inyourface

My publisher sent me a copy. For me. You know, for me to read. But ten-year-old Silence skulked away with it before I even cracked the spine. She loved it. (She finished it in 24 hours, so I at least got it back quickly.)

Now that I’ve perused it myself, I’ve decided we both have to read it once a year for the next decade. The book covers everything from the Disney princess indoctrination of preschoolers to ideal breast shapes through the ages. As the mother of a half-Burmese girl who already complains that her body is different from that of her friends’, I particularly appreciated the chapter on cultural views of beauty.

Plus, the book is funny. Pointed, but still funny. It is not at all like having your mother lecture you about feminism.

Not that this will stop me from lecturing. I loved Vikki VanSickle’s latest post about the Bechdel test, so maybe I will harp on movie imagery next…

Jitters

Anywhere But Here has been getting some exciting pre-publication attention. It was featured in Quill & Quire’s fall preview last week, as well as at Canlit for Little Canadians.

But the closer we get to the release date, the more nervous I get!

When you hatch a baby, it doesn’t matter if it’s ugly and wrinkly — everyone tells you it’s the most beautiful creature they’ve ever seen. But when you hatch a book, everyone goes on-line and tells you exactly what they think. Ack!

I said this to two writer friends last week, and they responded:

“I know!”

“My book got a bad Kirkus review. I felt terrible!”

“Why is it so hard to get past 4 on Goodreads?”

“Another friend of mine got horrible comments on Amazon.”

This was NO HELP AT ALL.

It seems there’s nothing to be done. I have to wait for four more months with fingers crossed, hoping you’ll love my baby as much as I do!

In the meantime, I’m off to read someone else’s baby: Vikki VanSickle’s Summer Days, Starry Nights. I’m pretty sure this one’s going to be just as wonderful as a newborn book should be.

Want to hang out?

Lots of fun book events on the horizon! Here’s a few I’m going to… want to come?

Rachelle Delaney’s launch of The Metro Dogs of Moscow on February 7th at Kidsbooks. Check out Vikki VanSickle’s review of the book, then get your launch details!

The Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable illustrator breakfast with Oliver Jeffers. I’ll let this video do the explaining for that event:

The Getting Started in Children’s Books 2013 panel discussion at the Vancouver Library, organized by the lovely Ellen Schwartz. If you have a manuscript stashed away in your underwear drawer, this is the place for you.

The right kind of book

Every once in a while, I find the exactly-perfect kind of book. The kind of book that challenges my brain without straining it, that makes me stop at occasional sentences just to wonder at the rightness of them. The kind of book that makes me feel as if I might look at people differently, for the rest of my life, just because I’ve now read that book.

I’ve met two of these in the last week. Two!

Come, Thou Tortoise, written by Jessica Grant and recommended to me by Rachelle Delaney, was just the most heartbreakingly engaging story ever. I love unusual narrators, and this book has two. One’s a tortoise.

Sorta Like a Rock Star, By Matthew Quick, was a book I picked up after reading a glowing review by Vikki VanSickle. And it was everything she promised. I’ve never fallen in love with a character as quickly as I fell in love with Amber Appleton. The sad surroundings of those first few pages, coupled with her obvious love for her messed-up mom… well, she had me at hello.

What a good way to start the summer reading spree!

B is for “Be careful, that microphone’s on…”

Wow. There are crazy things going on in Toronto this week. Who ever heard of a mayor calling a children’s author the B word?

Coincidentally, I just finished reading Vikki VanSickle’s Words That Start With B, which I loved. Funny and unexpected and poignant. And one of those books that contains much more than promised in the back cover copy.

I read it partly because the author and I have some mutual friends. I also received a manuscript critique recently which read: “Some of the themes you are tackling have been dealt with in other books — a recently passed away mother in Words That Start With B…”

No one likes to hear her book has been done elsewhere, better. Fortunately, Words that Start with B does not actually deal with a recently deceased mother. Nope, no dead mothers to be found. My editor must have been thinking of some other title, which frees me to like this book without restrictions. Yay B Words!

You also have to like anyone who would speak in public at 4:30 a.m., and tweet this: “Rob Ford thinks I’m a bitch, but I think he’s a bully.”