Hurricane Evacuation and New York Books!

Hello Tuesdays!

OMG, it’s been forever since I’ve posted! Actually, it’s been forever since any of The Tuesdays posted. You see, for those of you who don’t know, The Tuesdays all live in Florida, and we had this little thing called Hurricane Irma. You may have heard of it? I think the news might’ve mentioned it a couple of times.

But, anyway, this thing was forecast to be a MONSTER! And we Floridians were kind of busy with hurricane prep and then dealing with the aftermath! There was also the question of whether to stay and hunker down or flee elsewhere. I kind of wanted to stay and hunker, but my family wanted to flee. So, we compromised and did what they wanted. But, as far as fleeing goes, we picked a great spot to go to . . . New York!

Now, I’m originally from New York. A Brooklyn kid, to be exact. So, I love going back and visiting. Still have a ton of family and friends there, so this became somewhat of an evacuation vacation. I got together with a few friends, and what was really fun this trip, was being able to meet some new ones, who until this getaway, I’d only known virtually. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s amazing how through social media, you can feel like you know someone for real, and that’s how it felt for me. But, this trip it was really great to finally meet personally.

 

While I was there, I started getting nostalgic for all the stories I used to read as a kid, which featured New York. New York is such a vibrant place, that the city almost becomes another character in the story. So, I decided to make a small list of some of my favorite books which take place in NY.

And away we go!

  1. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg

You CAN’T have a New York book list without this one! I used to love this book as a kid. Just the thought of staying overnight in a museum was thrilling. I wanted to be those kids! There’s a fun mystery to boot, but really, the appeal was staying in that museum overnight.

  1. The Night at the Museum, by Milan Trenc

This is the picture book which inspired the movies. A night guard at the Museum of Natural history, has to deal with the exhibits coming to life. Spending overnight in a museum? Are you sensing a theme in books which I like?

  1. Under the Egg, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

This is a fun mystery about a girl who discovers famous paintings which belonged to her late grandfather, and she worries that, since he used to be a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he might’ve stolen them.

  1. Stuart Little, by E.B. White

Always enjoyed this book about a mouse in a family of humans, who gets to have adventures in NY. Really sweet story.

  1. Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh

Another classic, which Harriet keeps notes about all her classmates, but then loses her notebook. Unfortunately for her, her friends find it and read the things she’s written about them. She has to fix things, before her life falls apart.

Of course, there are many, many more, as well as some great new books featuring New York City, which are coming out all the time. Be on the lookout for them!

One Day More!!

Hello Tuesdays!

Hope all of you are well today! As for me, I’m a mixture of excitement, hopefulness, and plenty of anxiety. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, or even for those who have, I’m here to tell you that my book, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, comes out TOMORROW!

Like, seriously, OMG!

Sorry, I wanted to appeal to the tween readers, in a language that they’d understand. But, in truth, I’m feeling very much, that way. I can’t believe that after all this time, what I started working on, almost three years ago, will finally be out in the world. I know there are some who roll their eyes and say about me or any author, “They’re posting about that again?” Well, I get it. Honestly, I do. There’s a fine line between necessary self-promotion and too much. And even authors feel, almost embarrassed to be posting about their books. Okay, some do. But, you’re all going to have to bear with me this week. It’s been such a long road to get here, and I want to savor every moment.

From the years of rejections, to the times of agonizingly, near-misses, to finally, acceptance and breakthrough. It’s been a lot of work and struggle. People who don’t write, don’t realize the amount of effort that goes into it. Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate enough to have such a strong community of writers, either surrounding me, or virtually, who have all endured similar experiences, and have made it easy to commiserate with, as well as, support each other.

As far as this book, it’ll always be special to me. For many reasons. The obvious one, is that it’s the book that finally broke me through to the promised land. As I said, I’d been so painfully close before then, that it was made all the sweeter, when it finally happened. I vividly remember the elation that I felt when I received the phone call. To say that I was stunned, is putting it very mildly. I didn’t know who to tell first, and was even scared to tell anyone at all, since it didn’t feel real and I didn’t want to jinx it. Thankfully, I got over silly superstition and managed to start informing people.

The next reason is far more personal. You see, this book was completed during the last year of my dad’s life. He had been suffering from cancer for a long time, until it finally consumed him. Believe me, it’s tough to write “funny” when that’s going on. But, my dad had a great sense of humor and looking at the funny was how I was raised. Also, he’d always wanted to write a book, but never got to it. It was one of his dreams. So, he always asked how it was going with me. He was intrigued by the process and had been proud that I was actually doing it, and that helped. It almost felt, like it was an extension of him.

Unfortunately, his last few months, he started not comprehending things any longer. When I told him that I got an agent, he said he was happy for me, but I knew he wasn’t really understanding what that meant. Shortly after that, he passed away. Amazingly enough, a couple of months after that, I found out that I had an offer and signed the contract. I was beyond thrilled, but felt sad that I never got to tell my dad that it had finally happened.

Until, recently.

I mean, I went to the cemetery and told him. On the anniversary of his passing, which was coincidentally the same time as his birthdate, I was able to go there and show him the finished product. Yes, it was bittersweet, but I was still happy that he got to see, up close.

And, while I’m proud of the finished book, and feel it’s very funny, it’ll always feel like something more, to me. Whether it sells a million copies or just one, I’ll know that I managed to fulfill a dream, and maybe, even two. I’ll always associate Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies with that time.

So, while I’m sure there are some of you who are tired of hearing about it, this week is mine. Next week, I’m sure, it’ll start to lessen, and the week after that, even more. But, this week, you’re going to have to grin and bear it.

I thank every one of you for indulging me, and for the generosity and friendship shown by everyone who has helped with this. From words of encouragement, to sharing posts, leaving reviews, and genuine excitement for me, it was very much appreciated.

Tomorrow, will be the culmination of all of it. Everything that has happened to me, the last three years, comes true tomorrow, when I unleash Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies into the world.

Again, thank you, and I truly, hope you enjoy it.

One Day More.

Jonathan

Interview with Melissa Roske, Debut Author of Kat Greene Comes Clean!

Hello Tuesdays!

Today, I’m thrilled to be joined by friend and fellow 2017 Debut Author, Melissa Roske, whose book, Kat Greene Comes Clean, is scheduled to come out TOMORROW from Charlesbridge!

JR: Hi, Melissa and thanks for joining us today.

MR: Hi to you, Jonathan!

 

JR: Before we begin, can you tell us a little bit about Kat Greene Comes Clean and the impetus behind writing it?

MR: Okay, here’s the plot: Kat Greene is an 11-year-old fifth grader at the super-progressive Village Humanity School, in New York’s Greenwich Village. Kat’s lucky to have great friends, a loving blended family—including a caring stepmom and an adorable three-year-old half-brother, Henry—and the excitement of New York City at her doorstep. She’s also got a big problem: Her mom’s got an out-of-control cleaning compulsion, fuelled by her worsening OCD. She’s also terrified of germs. To cope, Kat reaches out to her best friend, as well as to the hippie-dippy school psychologist, Olympia Rabinowitz—but things start to spiral out of control when Kat’s mom decides to be a contestant on Clean Sweep, a TV game show about—you guessed it—cleaning.

The impetus behind the book is based on my own experience with OCD—or, to be more accurate, my dad’s OCD. His compulsions are the polar opposite of Kat’s mom’s, though, because my dad is extremely messy and keeps everything. (I recently found a datebook in his apartment from 1973!) He’s also a checker, which means he must check the front-door locks, and the gas jets on the stove, multiple times a day. I too have obsessive-compulsions tendencies, including the need to have my window shades fixed at a certain level, but I wouldn’t say they impede my life. They’re just extremely distracting—to my family, and to myself.

 

JR: I read that you used to be a journalist in Europe. That sounds fascinating. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

MR: Before my daughter was born, I lived with my husband in Brussels, London, and Munich respectively. My first gig, in Brussels, was at a newsweekly called The Bulletin, where I interviewed Belgian politicians, wrote restaurant reviews, and profiled minor celebrities (with the focus on minor). I did pretty much the same thing in London, but the celebrities were a tiny bit more high profile and I was able to get around town without getting lost! I also had an advice column in Just Seventeen magazine, Britain’s then-leading magazine for teenage girls, where I answered hundreds of letters from readers each month.

 

 

JR: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing journey getting to this point? 

MR: How long have you got, Jonathan? Okay, here’s the short version: I started querying Kat—which was then called What’s the Problem, Ellie Gold?—in 2012. I got an agent after an R and R, and went on submission later that year. When the manuscript failed to garner interest from editors, my agent and I parted ways. I then reworked the book from top to bottom (and bottom to top, and top to bottom…) and started the querying process all over again. I found a great agent, who then sold the book to Julie Bliven at Charlesbridge. The deal was announced on September 29, 2015. I’ve since switched agents—I’m now represented by the awesome Patricia Nelson of MLLA—and working on my next book.

 

JR: What’s your writing process like?

MR: I try to write every day, although some days are more successful than others. On successful days (which outnumber the slacker days, thankfully), I like to do a little prewriting in my journal before I sit down to work. I test out ideas, explore plot points, and to ask myself plenty of “What if” questions. For instance, there’s a scene in my book where Kat goes trick-or-treating with her BFF, Halle, but Halle isn’t speaking to Kat.  I wasn’t sure how Kat should react at this point, so I asked myself: “What if Kat acted as if everything was fine?” From there, the scene developed naturally. Another thing I do is to write a synopsis before I tackle a project. I like to have a roadmap, even if I don’t follow it.

JR: What was your favorite childhood book and who’s your favorite author?

MR: This one is too easy! Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh. Published in 1964, it tells the tale of Harriet M. Welsch, an eleven-year-old New Yorker who spies on her neighbors and writes down her observations in a notebook. I actually wrote a whole article on why I love this book so much, but I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say I’ve read Harriet the Spy more times than I can count—at least once a year, every year, since the age of 11. Don’t ask me to do the math. I will refuse.

 

JR: What’s your favorite movie?

MR: As embarrassing as this sounds—and it is, admittedly—it’s Legally Blonde. How can you not love it? It’s about a whip-smart fashion-merchandising major who aces “The History of Polka Dots” and gets into Harvard Law School.

 

JR: Something people would be surprised to learn about you?

MR: I turned down the chance to be on the David Letterman show. I was a life coach at the time, and I’m pretty sure the producers wanted to poke fun at the coaching profession. Life coaches have a hard enough time being taken seriously, and I didn’t think David Letterman needed any encouragement. So I said no.

JR: I think your inclination was probably right. 

 

JR: Do you do a lot of research when you write?

MR: I actually had to do quite a lot for Kat Greene, because I wanted to make sure that the portrayal Kat’s mom’s OCD was fair and accurate. To that end, I read many books on the subject—including David Adam’s excellent memoir, The Man Who Couldn’t Stop—and interviewed several psychologists and psychiatrists. I also corresponded with people who suffer from OCD, and talked to members of their families as well.

My second book focuses on a girl whose stepdad is an ex-football player, so I’ve been learning more about football than I thought humanly possible. And there’s been a steep learning curve. I know nothing—and I mean nothing—about the game!

 

JR: Here at the Tuesdays, a big part of our success and the purpose of this site, has been being involved in a critique group. Are you involved in one and if so, how has it helped you?

MR: I used to be a member of a wonderful critique group, but it disbanded when a key member moved away. Now I exchange manuscripts with several writer friends, including the accomplished MG author, Nancy Butts. At some point I’d like to join a new group, but it would have to be the right fit. The sharing of one’s work is incredibly personal.

 

R: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received and is there any advice you can give to writers looking to break in?

MR: The best piece of writing advice came from my mentor, the incredible life- and writing coach Sara Lewis Murre. She always says, “What you write is right.” That’s not to say what you write needs to be good, but it’s important that you let yourself write whatever you need to, at any given time. Self-criticism runs rife for writers, and it’s vital to keep it at bay.

 

JR: What are you working on next?

MR: I’m not sure if my agent wants me to blab, but I can say that it’s another middle-grade novel, this time about a sixth-grade girl whose family lands on a reality-TV show. Oh, and it’s set in New York. (Surprise, surprise!)

JR: That sounds very cool. Can’t wait to read it!

 

JR: Is there anything that else you want to share with our readers or perhaps tell them how they can follow you on social media?

MR: Well, I can give you my bio, if you want. If not, well… here it is anyway. Melissa Roske was a journalist in Europe, before landing a job as a teen-advice columnist for Britain’s Just Seventeen. Upon returning to her native New York, Melissa contributed to several books and magazines, selected jokes for Reader’s Digest, and got certified as a life coach. She lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her husband, daughter, and the occasional dust bunny.

 

Links:

WebsiteFacebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram

 

Before we go, I always like to ask, who’s your favorite member of The Tuesdays, and I’m begging you, please don’t say Faran!

MR: Faran? Who’s Faran?

JR: And that’s why I like you so much! 

Thanks, again for joining us, Melissa, and here’s hoping for huge success for Kat Greene Comes Clean!

Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies Launch Party Recap!

Hello Tuesdays!

I have to tell you, I am wired right now. I had my book launch tonight and it was beyond anything, that I’ve thought about.

First off, it was surreal, to walk in and see my name and face on a poster. Right beneath that, was a stack of my books. I couldn’t believe the thrill of actually seeing my book out on display. Nothing prepares you for that. It’s a better feeling, than I’d ever thought it would be. For all those years, when I picked up books at the store, I’d always pictured what it would be like to pick up my own. I’d thought about it, but actually doing it, was sooooo much better.

It’s amazing to see, in physical form, the product of all the hard work that you’ve put in.

After that, my friends and family started pouring in.

Seeing, so many people you know, come and support you, is such a heartwarming feeling.

There were writing friends, non-writing friends, and members of my family. For all of them, it was helping out and supporting a friend. But, for me seeing them all there, meant so much more. There were tons of kids roaming around, and also quite a few people who had just come in, after reading about the event, That, to me, was the coolest. People you know, might feel obligated, but just seeing people who came by, because they were interested in your book, was overwhelming. That made me incredibly happy.

Overall, I was relaxed, had fun, and everything felt like a party atmosphere.

So, thank you, once again, to all who came out to help me celebrate. It really meant so much to me, and I can honestly say, this was a night that I’ll never forget.

Interview with Leah Henderson, Debut Author of One Shadow on the Wall

Hello Tuesdays!

Today, I’m pleased to be joined by my fellow 2017 Debut member, Leah Henderson, whose debut, One Shadow On The Wall, came out June 6th from Simon & Schuster/Atheneum

JR: Hi, Leah and thanks for joining us today.

LH: Hey! I’m thrilled to be here. Thanks for having me.

JR: Before we begin, can you tell us a little bit about One Shadow On The Wall and the impetus behind writing it?  

LH: One Shadow On The Wall is the story of a newly orphaned boy choosing between what is right and what is easy in order to keep a promise he made to his father. It is laced with magical realism and set in contemporary Senegal, a place near and dear to my heart.

The impetus for writing it came a few years ago during a trip to Senegal. I happened to see a young boy sitting on a beach wall and asked myself what his day might be like and tried to collect my thoughts in a short story. When my grad school professor read it she remarked, “You know this is the start of a novel, right?” Although I wasn’t quite sold on the idea at first, after many, many drafts, and a couple more after that, I found Mor—my main character—and his story.

JR: I saw on your website, www.leahhendersonbooks.com, that you like taking in different traditions of people when you travel around the world. What are some of the more interesting traditions you’ve observed?

LH: That’s a tough one. I travel a lot. Wanderlust skips through every inch of my body—always! I have seen a number of things over the years that have definitely left an impression from the art of tea service in Senegal or Mali, having henna decorated on my hands and feet during a weeklong Indian wedding in Bangalore, but really my fondest memories are of each places cultural notes that are all their own. The differences between the souks of Muscat, Oman and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia compared to the shops in Dubrovnik, Croatia, or those in Beijing, Istanbul, or Capetown. There are so many differences and similarities around the world that are always so fascinating to witness.

 

JR: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing journey getting to this point?

LH: I’ve always loved writing, and after spending almost a year writing a novel on a speaker in an Italian nightclub, I decided to go back to school for a MFA in Writing. But I didn’t truly put writing blinders on and focus until after I graduated.

I started One Shadow on the Wall during graduate school, but really dragged my feet about finishing it. I truly didn’t believe I was the one to tell this story. I was worried I’d get everything wrong about a culture I knew so little about. And it wasn’t until my father reminded me that I had the opportunity to help kids like Mor see themselves on the page that my focus intensified.

So with the help of my amazingly supportive mentor I finished One Shadow On The Wall about a year later. Then I submitted it to a very small number of agents. I heard some really encouraging things about the story and my writing, but unfortunately no offers. I knew this quiet story set in a little known part of Africa would have an uphill journey to publication, so I decided to put it in a drawer for awhile and started writing something new. But about seven months after those rejections, I crossed paths with one of the first agents who’d read it and they wanted to take a second look. After that, things happened pretty quickly. I signed on with that agent at the end of 2014, went out on submission the last day of February 2015, and the manuscript sold by the beginning of March 2015.

 

JR: What’s your writing process like?

LH:  It varies for each project I write. But generally an idea sits in my head, twirling around for a while before I actually start to put anything down on paper. Sometimes I will write a brief outline, and other times I will dive right in because certain scenes are so vivid in my mind.

I kind of let the story dictate how things will go. But at some point I definitely stop and assess where I am in the process and either start outlining for the first time, or add to an outline I already created, sometimes even shifting around scenes.

JR: What was your favorite childhood book and who’s your favorite author?

LH: Agh…this question… As a writer and avid reader I have soooooo many favorites! They depend on what I need at the moment. But I will say the childhood book that has left the deepest impression is Corduroy. It was the first book where I got to see an image of myself and my mom having a simple adventure and I loved it.

 

JR: What’s your favorite movie?

LH: Many of my favorite things depend on my mood. So any questions about “favorites” are tough for me. I like and love so many things for what they are and for how they make me feel. I’ve never been one to put a limit on my “happy” or shy away from things that evoke strong emotions in me.  

But one movie I can play again and again and not get bored of no matter how many times I see it is: Beauty and the Beast though Slumdog Millionaire, Love Actually, The Piano, and Notting Hill are up there as well. But right now my whole soul is waiting for the Black Panther. I know that movie will give me life!

 

JR: Something people would be surprised to learn about you?

LH: To be honest, I’m not really sure anymore. I am always surprised by what people find surprising. I’ve never run off and joined the circus or anything, but I once packed up my brother’s Batmobile and headed off for a cross-country trip in my red rain boots (didn’t make it out of the cul-de-sac though . . . Momdukes convinced me there was an adventure waiting for me at the playground).

 

 

JR: Do you do a lot of research when you write?

LH: Absolutely, especially for One Shadow on the Wall. Even though I’ve traveled to Senegal a number of times, her culture is not my own, so I definitely needed to research EVEYTHING. But I have also done a far amount of research on some of my other stories as well. I have a very curious soul, so I love to research. Though sometimes it can quickly turn into a procrastination technique. But I generally do quite a bit of exploring before I ever start writing anything. And in some cases a lot more after I get a completed first draft down, because that’s when I truly know what I need.

JR: Here at the Tuesdays, a big part of our success and the purpose of this site, has been being involved in a critique group. Are you involved in one and if so, how has it helped you?

LH: Critique groups are amazing! Or at least having one or two solid critique partners can do a world of good. And I’m fortunate enough to have both. Critique groups have helped me brainstorm when I’m stuck, and have called me on things that I’ve tried to slip in unnoticed (even though I already knew they weren’t going to fly). They are also a great source of encouragement and kinship if you are fortunate to find the right one.  

 

JR: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received and is there any advice you can give to writers looking to break in?

LH: Just remember that: “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something – anything – down on paper.” –Anne Lamott

And I would offer this: Believe in yourself, and if you can’t completely do that yet, surround yourself with others who believe in you wholeheartedly, even when you falter, and from who’s example you can learn from.

 

JR: What are you working on next?

LH: My heart-place is middle grade, so I am working on another middle grade that is very different from One Shadow on the Wall, but it combines similar elements—family, friendship, and finding your possibilities and stars.

 

 

JR: Before we go, I always like to ask, who’s your favorite member of The Tuesdays? And I really hope you choose me, though, You see, everyone picks Faran, and I would really appreciate it, if for once, someone chose me. 

LH: There goes that word “favorite” again. This time I’m not pickin’ favorites! I’m all about people that make others smile and I’m sure each of you have a talent for bringing out a smile in someone else so I’m staying out of this one (call me a coward if you want to). 

JR: Sigh . . . okay. Anyway, thanks again for joining us, and the best of luck with One Shadow on the Wall!

A Very Busy Writer!

Hello Tuesdays!

Hope all of you are well.

Well, right now, I have to tell you, I am swamped! Absolutely swamped. But, when you’re a writer and you’re swamped, that means you’re working, and that’s a good thing. Right now, I’m working on a sequel to Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, as well as, another project, and also trying to prepare a book launch.

But, I’m going to brush all talk of that other work aside for a few minutes, and talk about next week. You see, next week, is that book launch for Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies. So, for anyone who happens to be in South Florida, it’ll be on Thursday, August 10th at 7:00 p.m. at the Plantation, Barnes & Noble, to be precise! I can’t even begin to tell you, that’s going to be very exciting for me, since it’s the culmination of a very long journey. When you work hard for years, it’s gratifying to see results. That’s finally happening, for me. When I first saw the book cover with my name on it, it was such an indescribable feeling. Just happiness and awe. Although, that particular book didn’t take years, the whole process itself, did. It’s about reaching a goal. Learning your craft, getting to a point, where you’re good enough to have someone interested in your work, and then, finally publishing it. It really is rewarding.

So, I know, for some, it’s becoming interminable listening to me talk about this, but for me, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime feeling, and I plan on enjoying and savoring every moment.

Hopefully, I’ll get to see as many of you as possible next week, because sharing it with friends, is the majority of the fun.

Until next time . . .

Jonathan

Overcoming Disappointment and Setbacks

Hello Tuesdays!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

What a difference a week makes for me. Just last Monday, I was all excited, talking about how great it was that my debut was only a few weeks away, and how great it had been to share the limelight, with a bunch of some great debut authors in the Class of ’17.

Well, that’ll teach me to get ahead of myself. You see, I wrote that piece on Sunday night and posted it, so it would appear first thing Monday morning. So, guess what happens Monday morning . . .

Well, I get an email from my editor. Basically saying, ‘Can we talk?’

It felt like a ‘Dear John’ letter, or in this case, a ‘Dear Jonathan’, because, never in the history of letters, has anything good started with, “Can we talk?” . . . and this was no exception.

The gist of it was, there was an issue with the printing and the debut of Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, had been pushed back, from August 1 to August 29th.

Now, I’m fully aware, that things happen. It’s not always a seamless operation. And I understand all that. This was not a thing where it was anybody’s fault, but I can’t come right out and lie, and say that I wasn’t terribly disappointed. Because, I was.

It’s tough to keep counting down for over a year, and then, once you’re so close, it feels, a little, like the rug was pulled out from under. Still, I didn’t allow myself to wallow for too long. All things considered, I had to be happy, that I was STILL relatively close, and I was still fortunate enough to have my book coming out. Another few weeks wasn’t going to kill me.

Once, I started to relax somewhat, anther awful thought struck me . . . my launch party! In all the turmoil, I had completely forgotten about my launch party. I had it scheduled for the 10th and now with my book scheduled to come out on the 29th, how would that go?

I had already advertised it. Already invited tons of people. And already heard from out-of-town people, that they were coming. And, because of all of that, I really hated the thought of postponing.


I know, it’s very easy to say, let’s just reschedule that too, but I, actually, put a lot of thought into the dates I wanted to have it.

First thing, and I’ve mentioned it before, my father’s birthday, was that weekend on the 13th, and two years ago, on the 12th, he passed away. So, I really wanted to have it as close to that weekend as I could. It was important to me, to have that kind of tie-in to my dad.

The only reason, I didn’t ask for that weekend, specifically, was because it was the last weekend before school starts up again, here in Broward County, Florida. Also, I didn’t want friends, with children, to have to worry that they had things to do for school, and this way, they could still stay out late on a weeknight for my launch.

So, there was, at least, some semblance of thought put into this. Well, as much as I could muster, anyway. So, after I realized that I would probably have to move the launch, as well, that’s when I started getting really down.

That’s when, the amazing people involved in this, took over. My agent, editor, and bookseller, all made sure that I would still have my launch on time. Almost, literally, hot-off-the-presses, my editor is going to have the books shipped out to Plantation Barnes and Noble, so they’ll be able to be displayed on the 10th, while the rest of the country gets them on the 29th.

I have to say, that in spite of my disappointment at the book being pushed back, that was my silver lining. I didn’t have to change dates and could still go on with the celebration, as scheduled.

All the things, I had been upset about, I realized, were out of my hands. Nothing I could do about it. So, it was pointless to wallow. It wasn’t like it was something I did, or that anybody did, these things just happen sometimes. What we were able to control, was taken care of. And, for that, I’m grateful and happy.

With my counting down getting an unexpected rewind, my primary countdown, will be for the launch. I’ve already started a lot of planning for it. We’re going to have some giveaways. Some contests. And, some activities. And, some lucky kid, is going to win a cuddle bunny of their very own!

Why, rumor even has it, that Faran Fagen will be dresses in a bunny costume. I might be the one starting the rumor, but, so what?

Disappointments come, and setbacks happen. It’s how you deal with them, that’s the difference. So, hope to see all of you out there at Plantation Barnes and Noble on August 10th, and together, we can all have a great time, and forget anything else!

See you there!

Sharing Experiences with the 2017 Debut Group

Hello Tuesdays!

Hope all of you are well! I know, I know, you came here all excited, because you thought it was Faran Fagen’s turn, but have no fear! Faran is going to be here tomorrow, with what he assures me, are some life-changing tips for you, and trust me, you’re not going to want to miss them!

No pressure, Faran!

Anyway, back to the here and now.

As some of you know, since I’ve posted about it before, I also, belong to a group of authors who have debuts this year. If you’re on Twitter, you can look under #2017Debuts and for those who are Middle Grade-minded, there’s the #2017MGDebuts, and if you want it narrowed down even more to summertime, there’s #SummerMGDebuts.

 

With my own book coming out in, right around, three weeks from now, it’s getting more and more surreal. I just can’t even imagine how I’m going to feel when I see it on shelves at bookstores. It’ll be beyond exciting for me. Also, a little nerve-wracking.

One of the things that has helped a lot, though, has been, being a part of that debut group, a bunch of very talented people, for well over a year. I remember, when I first joined, how exciting it was to be hearing about everyone’s books, seeing their cover reveals, buying them when they came out and eventually reading them. It was so much fun to be able to finally read something that’s been talked about for so long. But, when I first joined, it all seemed like an abstract. I knew the books were going to be out, but it all felt so far off. And that’s what helped bring a lot of the members in this group closer together. We were all going through the same things, at the same times. Able to commiserate about bumps in the road, but also able to celebrate with each new release.

You constantly hear writers referring to other writers, as their tribe, and that pretty much holds true. I’ve been lucky to have met some really great people. Great mentors, who have provided guidance. The Tuesdays, where we all went through the shared experience of being in a critique group together, the 2017 Debuts, where we shared the distinction of having books published in the same year. And many other writers, who I’ve met virtually and hope to meet in person, one day. Every single one, has played some part in my path, whether being supportive or just to be able to talk and share things going on. It helps to know that you’re not alone in this.

And that’s especially true of the debut group, I was in. Sometimes, if I was feeling a little lost, or unsure of things, I was able to look at some posts, that other members of the 2017 Debuts put up, and felt relieved, when I saw that I wasn’t the only one who had that question. I wasn’t the only one who was feeling a certain way. Because, while this experience is definitely exciting, it can be a little scary too. But, I wasn’t going through it alone.

Whenever I posted an interview, with a 2017 Debut member, it was fun to be able to see their paths and see how similar or different, they were to my own. For the most part, everyone’s path was different, but had a similar vibe with how much work they put into their craft. That’s something everyone shared.

So, thanks, to everyone, who was in that debut group with me. It has been great to be a part of that, and get to share your journeys. I’ve read thousands of books over the course of my lifetime, and know approximately when they came out. I know, whether I read them as a kid, teen, or adult. But, there’s no way, I’d remember exact years, on almost all of them.

Now, there are going to be many, great books, which I’ll be able to look at fondly, and say, “That came out in 2017!” There are going to be many great writers, that I’ll feel, in some way, linked to, forever. It’s kind of like a fraternity, where we all pledged at the same time. Or, some new recruits, going through basic training together. We’ve passed. We’re all going to graduate in the same year. The Class of 2017.

So, besides my, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, which comes out on August 1 (You knew I had to get it in somewhere!) I, also, urge you, to check out those books from other authors in my debut group, who have either had books already come out, or will have books coming out at the same time as mine, or before the end of the year. There really are some great ones in there! And I would know, since I was able to hear about all of them, well before they came out.

Here’s to you Class of ’17! Good luck to all of you!

 

Book Launch Help!

Hello Tuesdays!

We sure have been seeing a lot of each other, lately! Now, we’re bookending the weekend! Isn’t that great? I know, I know. You’re torn, because, while you like these posts, you’re, also, probably dying for something from Faran, by now, and I am too. But, I have a dilemma, so I needed to post. It’s a good dilemma, but a dilemma, nonetheless.

You see, I’m not sure if you’ve heard this or not, but I have a book coming out. August 1st, to be precise, and I’ve been worried, since I had no idea where or when to do a launch. I’ve gone back and forth, between a couple of places, unsure of where to finally make it. Well, last week, the decision was finally made. I’m going to have the launch on Thursday, August 10th at 7 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble in Plantation, 591 S University Dr. and, I’d love to see all of you, there!

This is a very special and emotional time for me, and I’ll tell you why.

My dad’s birthday, was August 13th. He passed away, a couple of years ago, on August 12th. So, I was trying to have my launch on that date. I figured, that would be a nice way, to pay respects, honor his birthday, as well as make the 12th, something positive in my life, also. Well, after thinking about it, I started to realize, that the Thursday before, would just work out better. Especially, since that weekend, would be the last, before school started here, in south Florida, and I thought parents would want to spend that final weekend getting things organized.

So, the 10th, it is.

Anyway, this book has taken a long time to come to fruition. Years, of hard work. There were many people, who have been a part of this, for me. And really, I’d love to share this with as many friends and family, as possible. I promise, this one isn’t motivated by anything other than wanting to have as many friendly faces as I can. It would mean a whole, heck of a lot, to me. So, I really hope you all can make it.

But, back to my dilemma.

The problem is, I have no idea what to do. Okay, that’s not true. I have a little idea, but it’s only in the formative stages. It’s not like I’ve ever done this before.

So, other than shameless self-promotion, this post, actually, has a purpose for me. I need your help. I don’t care, if you’re someone who has been published many times over, just once or twice, or never, or not an author at all, but creative, and brimming with great ideas.

I need your help.

What would you suggest that I do at the launch?

In case you forgot, my book is called, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies. (And you were worried that I wouldn’t sneak it in!) I had several bunny-related ideas, but am welcoming . . . no, let’s be more realistic, I’m, actually, begging for help. Let’s remember, that it’s in a bookstore, but I’m sure there are fun things, which could be done. Budget-friendly, would also be on the preferable side.

Toss them all at me. My kids are already coming up with some cute things, but the more ideas, the better.

Thank you, and I’d love your help in making this a fun and memorable launch.

Until, next time, my fellow Tuesdays!

Feeling Fortunate

Hello Tuesdays!

Hope all of you are well! Can you believe we get each other to bookend the week? Yay for us!

Anyway, I suppose, I should probably get right to my post, since my mom and my other two readers, are waiting impatiently for it! Let me start by saying, that I had this magnificent post planned for today. Some would call it, perfect. Pulitzer-caliber, perhaps. Not me, I would never. I leave that for others to say. But, alas, my dear Tuesdays, I have decided to shelve it.

Will it resurface? I’m not sure. Maybe, somewhere down the line, I might submit it, when we release our special edition, The Tuesdays: The Lost Articles. Until then, you’ll just have to trust me, that it was exceptional.

So, right about now, I’m sure you’re saying, “Gosh, Jonathan, if you’re not posting that wondrous, once-in-a-lifetime, piece, then, what are you going to post?”

Well, I’m glad you asked that. You see, my fellow Tuesdays, sometimes, things happen in life, which force us to scrap what we had planned, and instead, just roll with what life brings. Today, was one of those times.

You see, for some time now, I’ve been very quiet, but I was sitting on the news, that I sold a sequel to my August Debut, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies (Isn’t it disgusting how I worked that in? Seriously, I’m ashamed, but since it’s already on the page, I’m too lazy to backspace it, so I’ll have to leave that there). But, anyway, back to the sequel. I, mostly, kept it to myself. Didn’t tell too many people. I’m very superstitious in some ways, and don’t like to talk about things, until they’re official. I know superstition is silly, but in sports and publishing, it’s a real thing, so I had to obey the jinx laws.

But, now, I’m happy to say, it’s official!

In a business, that moves at a snail’s pace at times, this happened pretty quickly. I signed the papers on Wednesday and on Thursday, the official announcement came out in print.

 

The sequel, will take the same characters and deal with vampires instead of cuddle bunnies, this time. And honestly, I had so much fun with the first book, that I’m glad that I can keep going with these characters, in this world.

And to get even more serious, I’ll say that, I feel really fortunate and blessed, right now. Writing is a lot of hard work. It takes years of honing, before you can put down anything that’s worth reading. But, after you do it, it’s nice to have someone validate your effort, and appreciate what you’ve done, and that’s where I feel fortunate.

And as for feeling blessed? Well, how about saying, I just feel, both, grateful and blessed. Something, that I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid, has somehow come to fruition, and I still have a hard time believing it.

So, while I’m sure, that besides my mom, everyone cringes when they see the word, bunnies, and soon will, at vampires, you’ll have to indulge me a little more, since this is all very new and exciting for me. Just wait until my Killer Tomato book!

Anyway, thanks, Tuesdays!

I’ll see you all, next week!