Today I’m thrilled to share a little piece I wrote for USA Today’s brilliant Happy Ever After blog. Letters to Zell features all sorts of lies — lies of omission, lies outright, lies to lovers, lies to oneself. I wanted to go a little deeper and explain how lying was once a part of my own life, for better or for worse. Being honest with myself was the most worthy change I’ve every made. Thanks for reading.
With Letters to Zell finally making its way through the world on its own, I’ve turned my attention back to New Charity Blues and its eponymous town. But I’ve also been doing a few extra things here and there talking about LTZ, the importance of writing, and, of course, myself.
Here’s a smattering:
- Interview with the amazing G.G. Silverman
- Interview with the fine folks at The Qwillery
- A few words on my favorite retelling, C.S. Lewis’ Til We Have Faces
- A letter from 38-year-old me to 16-year-old me
I’m looking forward to bringing you more soon! xo
To quote a friend (author Randy Henderson), yesterday was my Dream Come True Day.
For which I hauled out my first book, written in what must have been 3rd or 4th grade. I wrote about it here, long ago, but to recap it’s about a girl who inexplicably lives in Dallas (I grew up in Montana), cons her parents into letting her win a horse that turns out to be a Pegasus, and adventures until she and the steed are eaten by a large green dragon. Chomp. The End.
Little could I have dreamed all those many years ago (and they are many) that I’d spend the day awash in love and support from all corners of the globe, all corners of time, and all corners of my life. That I’d spend an evening at the podium of one of my favorite bookstores looking at a room crammed with friends and supporters who came to listen to me read, and bought all but one of the books in stock. Or that I’d close out the night with five of my close friends, shutting out a bar full of quiz teams, waltzing in and whooping the next closest team by twenty points. That I’d be unable to sleep, the day swimming hazy and the night’s full moon bathing the room with light. There are no words for the gratitude I feel, for the love I hope I reflected back to my friends and community. I couldn’t do this without them. I’m so glad I don’t have to.
There were so many great surprises yesterday. People who came who I hadn’t expected. Happy tears. Flowers. Champagne.
But one of the most wonderful points of the evening yesterday was when a bookstore employee named Anna approached me before the reading. (I can’t even type this without crying.) She thanked me for writing the book and said she’d had trouble putting it down because it was the book she’d needed in her life just then. And I couldn’t tell her this without completely dissolving, but one of the many reasons I wrote LTZ was because I had just finished a book (also an epistolary novel) that I had very much needed in my life. To be able to give that back — even to just one beautiful young woman — well, it makes every bad day, every bad review, every all-nighter worth it. This is why we read and write, for the call and response, for someone to say I see you. I see you: friends, lovers, dreamers, optimists, bartenders, unicorn farmers, readers. Thank you to those who’ve taken this journey with me so far and all of you who have yet to and will someday. xo
Friends, today’s the day Letters to Zell goes on sale worldwide. You can have it in ebook or paperback, audio CD or mp3. You can read it in a boat. You can read it with a goat. Scratch that. Goats are bad news. (Speaking from experience, here.)
I started this post about five minutes to midnight. Adam and Dutchess have been asleep for hours now, but I know sleeping will be hard to do for me for least a bit longer. When you’ve wanted something your whole life — or at least most of the part you’ve wanted things better than red bicycles and Snickers — sometimes it’s hard to know what to do with it once you’re holding it in your hands.
And it’s here that I come to gratitude. The acknowledgements section of a book is so woefully inadequate at expressing thanks to the people who’ve made this possible. Writing is not completed in a vacuum. Nor is life. I am boundlessly fortunate to have met some of the world’s best humans in this endeavor. I continue to do so.
Today, the wonderful Su Ring, a novelist in her own right, invited me over to King5’s talk show New Day Northwest to talk about the book and the reading at University Bookstore. (That’s 7pm at the University District location.) Today was yet another day spent meeting new friends, talking to amazing people, and experiencing new things.
Maybe you’ve already started reading on your kindle. Maybe you don’t read books about fairy tales, or books in letters or even books at all. Still, I thank you for being a part of this journey. It means the world to me. Cheers. xo
PS. I mean it about the goat.
One week from today, my debut novel Letters to Zell will hit shelves (virtual and dead tree). But before I get lost in my own confetti party, I wanted to mention a few pieces of news:
This week, my flash piece “Salt” debuted in the first issue of The Vignette Review. It’s a beautiful new magazine, and I’m delighted to be a part of their inaugural effort.
My latest CNF essay, “Roads, Lost,” appears in the July issue of Under The Gum Tree, available online and in print. ($)
Finally, I’m very excited to be on the longlist of Synaesthesia Magazine‘s 2015 Poetry Contest. I don’t write a ton of poetry these days, as I’m so in awe of those who strive daily at the mastery of the form. But I did take four of my favorites and throw them into the ring. Congrats to the rest of the finalists and best wishes to them, the judges, and everyone over at Synaesthesia.
It’s the final week of our UK/AU UK Kindle First celebration for Letters to Zell. If this is your first time stopping by this month, I’m introducing our three protagonists to readers via the characters’ favorite things from across the pond. Check out CeCi’s introduction here and Bianca’s introduction here. I am pleased to introduce you to Rory.
Dossier: Briar Rory Rose
AKA: Sleeping Beauty
AKA: Princess Aurora
Her Bulldog, Snoozer
Favorite Top Gear Host: Captain Slow
Favorite Dr. Who companion: Martha
Favorite Downton Abbey Character: Mrs. Hughes
Favorite Biscuit: Burtons Jammie Dodgers
Favorite chocolate: Cadbury Dairy Milk
Favorite Down Under Dessert: Fairy Bread
Favorite Australian Animal: Koala
Top Five British Books:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
Girlfriend Anthem: “It’s a Shame” – Monie Love
Feel Good Tune: “Just Right” – Soul II Soul
Best to Dance To: “123” – The Chimes
Love Song: “When We Dance” – Sting
Sad Song: “No Difference” – Everything But The Girl
Satire: “Smile” – Lily Allen
Pop: “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” – Pet Shop Boys
Electronic: “Voices” – Disclosure feat. Sasha Keable
Rock: “Holding Back the Years” – Simply Red
Singer-Songwriter: “Summertime” – The Sundays
It’s the second week of our UK/AU UK Kindle First celebration for Letters to Zell. If this is your first time stopping by this month, I’m introducing our three protagonists to readers via the characters’ favorite things from across the pond. Check out CeCi’s introduction here. Now, everyone meet Bianca.
Dossier: Snow Bianca White
AKA: The One Flipping You Off
Pies in Jars
Favorite Top Gear Host: Clarkson
Favorite Dr. Who companion: Dr. Donna
Favorite Downton Abbey Character: Lady Mary
Favorite Biscuit: Jacob’s Bourbon Creams
Favorite chocolate: Jaffas
Favorite Down Under Dessert: Penfold’s (any kind)
Favorite Australian Animal: Goanna
Top Five British Books:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Girlfriend Anthem: “Bad Girls” – MIA
Feel Good Tune: “Firestarter” – The Prodigy
Best to Dance To: “I’m Gonna Get You” – Bizarre Inc
Love Song: “Cherish the Day” – Sade
Sad Song: “Since I Left You” – The Avalanches
Satire: “Lazy” – XPress-2
Pop: “Valerie” – Amy Winehouse
Electronic: “Best Days of Our Lives” – Weekend Players
Rock: “A Sort of Homecoming” – U2
Singer-Songwriter: “Wildwood” – Eliza Carthy
Letters to Zell is a part of the sneak preview program, UK Kindle First, for the month of June. Since most of the book takes place in Los Angeles, I thought it might be nice to celebrate Zell’s British readership by introducing the princesses with a few of their favorite things from across the pond. Kindle First is also a brand new feature in Australia, so if you’ve stumbled here from down under, I’ve slipped a few songs, books, and miscellany in here for you, too. xo
Dossier: CeCilia Cinder Charming
AKA: Chef Charming
Scones (baking & eating)
The Great British Bakeoff (Team Norman)
Captain Jack Harkness
The Breakup of the Spice Girls
Favorite Top Gear Host: Richard Hammond
Favorite Dr. Who companion: Martha
Favorite Downton Abbey Character: Mrs. Patmore
Favorite Biscuit: Chocolate Hobnobs
Favorite chocolate: Cadbury Twisted
Favorite Down Under Dessert: Pavlova
Favorite Australian Animal: Wombat
Girlfriend Anthem: “Lola’s Theme” – Shapeshifters
Feel Good Tune: “The Light” – Reel People
Best to Dance To: “One More Chance” – Basement Jaxx
Love Song: “Drowning In Your Eyes” – Ephraim Lewis
Sad Song: “I Can’t Believe It’s Over” – Bent
Pop: “Am I the Same Girl” – Swing Out Sister
Electronic: “Unfinished Sympathy” – Massive Attack
Rock: “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – Tears for Fears
Singer-Songwriter: “Central Reservation” – Beth Orton
Mail Day Song: Postcards – Napoleon
June is always an exciting month: it has always hosted birthdays and dance recitals and visits from friends. This June, however, hosts the Kindle First UK debut of Letters to Zell. This means, for Kindle users in the UK, Amazon Prime members can get Letters to Zell for free during the month of June. (Non Prime members for 99p!)
To celebrate this exclusive release with UK Kindle readers, I’ll be spending the month featuring the ladies of LTZ and their favorite everything British. We’ll talk music, books, celebrities, even dairy milk. Stay tuned! xo
Last week I had a wonderful surprise when I learned Letters to Zell had been named one of the Summer’s Best Books by Publisher’s Weekly. You can see the feature and peruse the rest of their recommendations here. I’m thrilled and incredibly humbled to be included.
I’ve been working a lot on promotional materials for Zell and I’m so looking forward to talking in depth about the book and the characters and inspiration for the project. The coming months are sure to be very exciting. More soon!