A lot of people make jokes about how, when you get old, it's no longer fun to blow out the candles on your birthday cake. But not me. I don't care if lighting all those candles threatens to turn the icing into a buttery puddle--I want the candles, and I want to make a wish! If I pass out trying to blow out my candles, so be it.
I've never been into big birthdays, but at my advanced age (I can hear some people who know me chortling) and in my new role as mother and custodian of Liam's birthday experiences, I no longer expect fireworks beyond birthday candles. Just a cake of some kind and a little quality time with my boys.
That said, may I state for the record that a surprise birthday party does NOT make up for pretending all day to have forgotten a person's birthday. Not that I'm speaking from experience here. I did not walk around with a lump in my throat for 10 hours during sophomore year in college when nobody said "happy birthday," and I did not buy myself a cupcake, and I DEFINITELY did not cry out of relief ("I do exist!) when the surprise was revealed. Right... it was a little like that youtube video a while back of the girl crying (really crying) when she finds out she's going to Disneyworld. Only... she was, like, 5. And this DIDN'T happen to me when I was, say, 17.
My best birthday gift ever? A marriage proposal from my best-friend and now husband, Arnulfo. It's possible that this was a little overdue (in my opinion) but NO WAY was it preceeded by any tearful, "are we getting married or what?" conversations. (There is a pattern in the non-events of my life, right...)
But that's history... And anyway, it was worth the wait. I never would have had enough faith in me to put an expensive ring on my finger while standing on a jety in the Gulf of Mexico, but lucky for us all, I didn't drop it into the ocean. Whew.
I'm a little out of breath, but I'm happy. I finished the race, er, I mean the blog tour for The Knife and the Butterfly. And I had fun. Really. And I did not spend all my writing time for top-secret novel #3 setting up guest posts. I did my writing a little bit at a time--mostly in advance--and, lo and behold, that elephant got eaten!
I'll admit that for about 5 minutes I thought about the whole blog tour thing as a kind of author obligation (seeing as how--living in Paris and all--I'm not able to do as much live promo stuff). But I grew out of that fast when I realized what a great chance a blog tour is to learn about my own writing, meet great bloggers and fellow authors, and connect with readers. I even discovered a few writing soulmates along the way.
Speaking of... Tanita S. Davis over at Finding Wonderland did this amazing post all about the blog tour that captures very well what's important about a blog tour:
The best thing about a blog tour is that it allows an author to think deeply and really talk about their work, and allows readers to ask the niggling, secret, or silly questions they've got lurking within them about a work, about an author, or about their process.
You definitely should read Tanita's whole Big Ideas, Small Venues post.
Okay, so I have lots more to say about blog tours--why to do them, how to do them and handle organization (thank you, Scrivener), and more. But here's one last blog tour digest to send you spinning out in many directions across the Internet. This time, I'm starting with my favorites...
I think this is the most important post of the tour. Not a defense of cussing or "mature themes," but an exploration of why books need to take us to some kind of edge.
My favorite excerpt from The Knife and the Butterfly.
Definitely the highest concentration of embarrassing stories about me on the Internet. Also... nerdy photos.
Even more fab posts here:
Click here for links to all 30+ (!) blog tour stops. And thanks to everyone who helped make the blog tour a success--much gratitude!
The blog tour marches on! Check out these delicious posts...
No, don't go hitting the unsubscribe buttons on your RSS readers. By "this" I mean my blog--and only for today. The seven reasons? Guest posts and reviews around the blogosphere that you don't want to miss, all part of my The Knife and the Butterfly blog tour. So stop reading me here and go find me there!
This is my favorite interview ever. Doret asks the best questions and gets me thinking about things in new ways--and talking politics.
Finally! Leigh Ann of Shelf Consumed gives me a chance to do something with my boundless gratitude to librarians. I get to talk to them here.
Fun interview with a book blogger living in Houston. Find out all my secret food crushes.
2/07/12 - ·Influences and Inspirations (student notes, teaching trauma, and more) -·The Book Smugglers··**Giveaway**
See a page from my writer's notebook on a VERY bad teaching day and learn about the stuff students left behind.
Want to know how a book gets its cover? Check out this post for the inside scoop on TK&TB's cover art.
Possibly my favorite review yet... Ana finds words for what I'm trying to do in the novel that I hadn't yet found myself.
Good times with spray paint and my defense of why a writer shouldn't talk about a WIP too much.
So... there you have them: 7 reasons to click away from here today. But don't stay away too long--I want to see you back!
I'll be "traveling" the blogosphere with The Knife and the Butterfly blog tour until the end of February, then it's back to regular programming.
Today I'm thrilled to be posting over at Actin' Up With Books on making stereotypes undo themselves. Go check it out... or be damned to stereotype ignorance forever! Here's the first bit of my post:
Let’s get one fact about The Knife and the Butterfly out of the way. My protagonist, Azael, is Hispanic. He’s also a gang member. And he’s been in jail.
I know what you’re thinking. How can somebody with the last name “Pérez” be ready to go along with a damaging stereotype like this?
Read the rest here. And watch for Joli's review of The Knife and the Butterfly tomorrow.
It's official: The Knife and the Butterfly is OUT IN THE WORLD. Ask for it in your local bookstore, request it from your library, or order it online. If you read it and love it, consider these (mostly serious) suggestions for helping to get the word out about a book you love.
Today I'm trying out my divisibility suit, which allows me to be in three places at once. So I'm at YA Outside the Lines talking about the things Azael carries, I'm here at I Read Banned Books explaining how TK&TB was inspired by·the students I never got to teach, but I'm also right here at home, serving up the acknowledgments page of The Knife and the Butterfly in light of its release:
Much gratitude to the following professional rock stars: my agent, Steven Chudney; my editor, Andrew Karre; and Lindsay Matvick, Elizabeth Dingmann, and all the others at Lerner who work behind the scenes to make great books happen. I’m also grateful to the Blythe Woolston for blazing trails and sharing her wisdom.
A special thank you to the turn-around scholars of my freshman English summer school class at Davis High in Houston. I started finding Azael’s voice while we were writing together back in 2007, and you told me that you wanted to hear more of it. I’m glad you put me on the right track.
To my writing group, thanks for reading the manuscript (twice). To Alisa, thank you for the friendship that makes writing seem possible all over again every time we talk.
To my families from Kilgore, El Paso, Houston, Denver, and beyond, thank you for believing in my writing. Special thanks to my parents, who can find redemption anywhere and who support me in everything, and to my brother, Justin, who never, never leaves me in the lurch.
And most of all, thank you to my boys for all the days and nights you shared me with my writing. Arnulfo, thank you for reading and for listening. I still can’t believe my luck. Liam, thank you for your jokes, your laughter, and your besos. You two are the best part of my every day.
Welcome to Day 2 of the The Knife and the Butterfly blog tour! Today I'm over at Reading in Color, hosted by Ari. (Watch out, y'all, this gal is going places, starting with college next fall. She was the first to mention What Can't Wait online, and I'll never forget the jolt that gave me. Someone is talking about wanting to read my book!) I share the first chapter and a few reassuring words about stereotypes and their fate in the pages of The Knife and the Butterfly. For example...
In the first chapter, I wanted to throw down the gauntlet—no easing the reader into Azael’s world. But don’t worry: it’s not all gangs and violence. And in fact, if I let Azael’s bravado come on full force here—he definitely thinks he is one macho badass—it’s precisely so that the reader can see that stereotype undo itself in the rest of the novel.
Read the rest of the post here.
Today is Day 1 of my blog tour for The Knife and the Butterfly. Yay! I'm over at Forever Young Adult with an excerpt, a quiz, and the snarky scoop on why The Knife and the Butterfly doesn't need a glossary. Check out Erin of FYA's gorgeous (and funny) review of The Knife and the Butterfly and comment for a chance to win your very own hardbound copy.
My favorite part from Erin's introduction to the FYA post:
I reviewed The Knife and the Butterfly on Friday (and if you haven’t read my review and commented, therefore entering yourself in a drawing to receive a free copy of the book, you are dumb. Go do that!), and I had to struggle not to turn the entire review into just a .gif of Lisa Frank unicorns bearing champ cans with Handel’s Messiah playing in the background and Paula Deen popping up to say, “JUST READ IT, Y’ALL!” because THAT IS HOW MUCH I LOVED THIS BOOK.
You know, I'm a sucker for affirmation. Here's a bit from MY part of the post:
Whatever your level of Spanish, you really don’t need a glossary to read The Knife and the Butterfly. All you need is a big appetite for a story that will take you into dark places and show you a good dose of light, too.
Read the whole thing here.