April 26, 2016

Piccolo Fiction at Charleston Music Hall

Hey friends! How's it going?

Do you remember recently, when I posted about dreams coming true? And I said you were actually getting to watch some of mine coming true over the coming months? And I was silly-excited?

Here's another one. I don't know how I've gotten so lucky this year, but I am thrilled and humbled and, well...holy crap!

I've been invited by my pals at Blue Bicycle Books to participate in Piccolo Fiction, the longest running Piccolo Spoleto event devoted entirely to fiction! And, well...holy crap!! 

For those not from the area, the Spoleto Festival USA is an annual celebration of all things cultural and cool. It takes place in Charleston, and it's HUGE. 

Piccolo Spoleto is an offshoot of that - it's smaller and quirkier, and always fun. 

Since moving down here and starting writing, I've dreamed of taking part in a Piccolo Spoleo event....and now I WILL!!! WHAT?

Even cooler? This amazing event will bring together four local(ish) writers, one of whom happens to be Mount Pleasant native Grady Hendrix, whose Horrorstor garnered him this review from me last year. Seriously, I love this book, and I can't wait to meet Grady and get him to sign my copy! Y'all should plan to come out just to see him and celebrate the release of his newest novel!

Oh, and the coolest part? The part that makes this the most exciting thing I may EVER do with my life? (Apart from marrying Charles and having Zoe, of course...)

It's taking place at the Charleston Music Hall.

You GUYS! I've seen the Indigo Girls on that stage. I've seen Neil-effing-Gaiman on that stage! This venue? The Music Hall? It's incredibly gorgeous, incredibly classy...and I'm going to get to stand on that stage?



WHAT THE EFF?

What did I step in to deserve this honor? 

I have no idea, but I'm gonna live it up and I really, really think you should come...not for me this time, but for the other writers, and the venue, and the taking part in something cultural and cool thing.

Seriously, people. I hope to see you there.

June 4, at 5 p.m., at the Charleston Music Hall on John Street. 

Holy CRAP!

April 19, 2016

HEARTLESS' First Day Out

Well, my darlings. It's been a long time coming. The emotional states of birthing a book are much like that of birthing a child. There's excitement (Woo! This is happening!). There's dread (oh my God, I'm in over my head!). There's joy (It's coming! It's coming!). There's terror (What if I suuuuuuuck at this?).

But then one day it all happens, and suddenly...a book is born.

Friday was that day for me. Upon returning from an outing with a visiting cousin, I found up on my doorstep, as though left there by the legendary stork itself...my HEARTLESS!

It was love at first sight, let me tell you. That beautiful baby book. How could I not fall in love?

This is me, holding HEARTLESS for the first time.
Excuse the hat and hair, please. Birthing a book is tough.
From there, I knew, we would be together always. Here's a glimpse of HEARTLESS' first day out in the world.

On her first morning home with us, her big sister Zoe decided to put on a puppet show for her. Here's HEARTLESS, watching with dubious feelings, as a paper bag puppet loomed over her.

Scary Bow Tie Puppet is scary.

After that, we had places to go, people to see. First, we went to an Art Fair at Zoe's school. Here's HEARTLESS, posing by her sister's owl collage. Isn't it lovely?

Beautiful Owl is beautiful. HEARTLESS agrees.
Next it was on to the Book Fair, where HEARTLESS was delighted to be among her own kind. 

Doesn't she look delightful, face-out on a book shelf?

Of course, after all those fairs, it seemed only right to stop at the playground. Here's HEARTLESS, enjoying her first ride on a swing. She's so adorable! If only you could have heard her squeals!

What you don't see is Zoe and her friend,
laughing at me.

And what Rhyne weekend would be complete without at least one trip to a soccer field? Big sister Zoe played LIGHTS OUT in goal that day, almost having a shut-out. Her team beat a MUCH bigger team, 2-1. Gooooooo LIGHTNING! And here's HEARTLESS, posing in the goal after the game, feeling SO PROUD of her big sister.

All that dirt in front of the goal?
Yeah. I'm still trying to get it out of big sister's white uniform!
Man, oh, man, you guys. HEARTLESS' first weekend in the world was a busy one. After that soccer game, she got to meet HORSES for the first time! She even got to ride one! Look and see!

HEARTLESS meets Abby...and Houston's butt

Look at that grace, up on a horse!
I've never known a newborn to ride so well!

Well, y'all...that was a lot for a first day out in the world. By the time we went to bed, we were all exhausted. Thankfully, HEARTLESS was a good girl, and she slept through the night. I was so grateful, the next day we went out and adopted 19 more copies of her!

Cue "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder

* * * *

Take HEARTLESS home for yourself on May 10, 2016! Guaranteed to sleep through the night, or your money back!!

(That said...hopefully you'll WANT to stay up late, reading her!!!!!)

(She says she can't wait to meet YOU!!!)

April 12, 2016

Upcoming HEARTLESS Launch Events

Hey friends! Happy Tuesday! Are you having a good day?

I am! Let me tell you why...

...it's because I'm EXCITED! The HEARTLESS Launch is less than one month away, and I've got TWO events coming up here in Charleston! Yes, not just one anymore, but TWO! TWO! I've never had TWO events before!

Here are all the details. I'll update this post should anything else come up, and re-share linkies and all that!

Event #1:


Oh yes, you read that right. Barnes and Noble. I'm not lying.

You guys. I've walked through this particular Barnes & Noble so many times, wishing wishing WISHING to one day see my book(s) on its shelves. I've lamented the fact that I'm not there yet.

Soon? I will be. At least at this particular Barnes & Noble, on May 10, 2016! So come on our and celebrate with us! This event is free and open to the public. I'll give a little author-y chat about HEARTLESS, read a bit, answer any audience questions, and then I'll hopefully sign YOUR book! Really! I hope I get to see you there!

Event #2:


What? A party? For me? That NEVER happens! 

But it is! It's happening! At Blue Bicycle Books, which is only the COOLEST indie bookseller in the area! Blue Bicycle Books is also the host of YALLFest each fall, a gathering of some of the top YA authors in the business! 

And they're letting ME come party at their place! Some come on out! Drink some wine! Eat some cake! (Nom nom nom!) and celebrate!

Because who doesn't need an excuse to party????

* * * * 

I trust you will believe me when I say: you're reading about my dreams coming true. 

I may never be famous. I may never be rich. 

I may never have the opportunity to host my own book signing or release party again.


Thus I am going to live this opportunity up to the fullest! I am going to read with gusto! Sign with a flourish! Drink wine like the wino I am!


And I am going to enjoy each moment my wacko-life presents me, to its fullest.

I hope you will come enjoy one of these moments with me. I hope I see you there.

Because I'm super-excited, and want to party with YOU!

P.S. There's one other event coming up...I'm gonna keep this one under wraps for a minute though...but keep an eye on this space for ONE MORE ANNOUNCEMENT, and trust me...if these events are (for me) killer, this next one? It's an atomic bomb!

Eeeeeeep! xoxo!


April 7, 2016

No, YOU have a book-crush on Rob Hart's Ash McKenna

Who was your first book-crush when you were a kid? 

Mine was Calvin O'Keefe from A Wrinkle In Time. I loved him so hard! He was a ginger! And sweet! He took care of Charles Wallace, and loved nerdy Meg. 

He was (and still is) a perfect guy.

Since reading A Wrinkle In Time for the first time, I've had many (MANY) other book crushes. Jem in To Kill A Mockingbird. Richie Tozier in It. So many more, I can't even think of them.

Now I have a new one. I trust that the author's wife is going to forgive me for this... 

In New Yorked, the debut crime novel of awesome author Rob Hart, we met Ash McKenna, the dude with the girlie name (today's boy named Sue, if you will), as he goes on a drug- and alcohol-fueled violence bender, searching for the killer of the unrequited love of his life. New Yorked was fun. It was a romp through the streets of Lower Manhattan, and Ash himself was....

Well, he was a mess.

I did NOT have a book-crush on the Ash McKenna of New Yorked. Nope. Not at all.

Then I picked up City of Rose, the second book in Hart's series and, well...I sorta fell in love with Ash McKenna.



In a bookish sort of way.

Dammit.

Here's the thing. In City of Rose, Ash has fled his self-destructive ways, seeking new beginnings across the country in Portland, Oregon. Working in a "vegan strip-club" (that is, a strip club that serves only vegan food - how very Portlandia!) as a bouncer, he's self-suppressed. Buttoned up. Opposed to making any sort of connection with any sort of person who could possibly make him smile.

At least until a gorgeous ex-junkie-stripper named Crystal asks for his help in finding her little girl.

Little by little, Ash opens up, becoming human again, but also falling into his violent tendencies. But it's all in the name of saving a little girl! And thus, it becomes so...sweet!

Yes, in this book, somehow violence is endearing.

No, I don't understand it.

But I do love it.

I think what's happening here, really, is that we, as readers, got to see a major change in the author's life.  Rob...had a kid. A sweet little baby girl, born during the writing of City of Rose. We get to see his love for his child portrayed through Crystal, sure, but also through Ash himself, giving the characters so many more dimensions than he had in New Yorked. 

Now Ash is sometimes tender. He lets Crystal in beyond the brick walls he's built for himself. He goes above and beyond to reunite mother and daughter.

And in the end...he reads a little girl a story, and damn if it doesn't make you want to hug someone.

Now, keep in mind this is still a Rob Hart original. As such it's still snarky. Vicious. Witty. Bloody. Nothing is every quite as it seems, and the other characters are almost as colorful as in New Yorked (though it's hard to top a drag queen drug kingpin). City of Rose kept me turning pages late into the night, and gave me a good excuse to shut out the rest of the world and sit on my back porch and READ.

It's a fun book, about as fun as it gets, and I'll be honest. That Ash. He owns a piece of my heart now, and I really hope he doesn't give it back!

Thanks, Rob, for all the fun!

February 9, 2016

Books books books!

I am the WORST at Goodreads. I never remember to go there to tell people what I'm reading. I never think people care what I'm reading.

But I've read a lot lately, and thought you might like to hear about some of it! Maybe? I don't know. Perhaps. Well, no matter what, these are awesome books, and you just might enjoy them.


Picture this: a family who lives in filth by choice. A family who collects junk, loving on those bits and bobs of cast-off detritus like most of us love on each other.

No, this isn't an episode of Hoarders (though that show is, to me, like a train wreck - I can never turn if off if I've happened upon it). This is the Iremonger Trilogy by Edward Carey.

Beautifully written and illustrated by Carey, these young adult books are freakishly charming. Set in Victorian London, they follow the tale of Clod Iremonger and Lucy Pennant, two star-crossed teenagers who wind up having to save the world from the Iremonger clan. This devilish family can manipulate trash, and while that doesn't necessarily sound terrifying...it is.

In this wild and imaginative world, people become objects, and objects become people, and again, it doesn't necessarily sound terrifying...but it is.

I swear.

You should definitely check it out.


Okay, okay, okay...I should have read this book YEARS ago, I'm sure. But it came out before I'd heard of Neil Gaiman, who has since become one of my all-time favorite writers, and I only noticed it on a shelf in our personal library a few weeks ago.

But I picked it up and dove into his slightly-fractured fairy tale, and fell immediately in love. Seriously. Tristran Thorn is my new literary boyfriend, and I've even watched the movie. Twice.

If you haven't read it and you love the magical, please, do yourself a favor...go read.

* * * *

Beyond these books, I've read lots of nonfiction again lately, and I've been watching lots of movies. I think it's my way of refilling the creative coffers before diving into the writing of the sequel to HEARTLESS, which I will begin pretty much as soon as I'm done with this blog post.

No one can create in a vacuum, that much I know. Sometimes I need those outside influences to spark some flame of creativity in my belly. I love seeing how these voices, literary and otherwise, wind up influencing my own stories...and so we'll see how it all comes together.

In the meantime - go forth and read! Have fun! Enjoy!

*hugs*