New books coming out!

All right, after many silly, photo-happy blog posts, I think it’s about time I wrote something Quite Serious about Writing to try and balance it out.

First, I’m thrilled to say that Avatars: Book One has been chosen for the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age 2007 list. Yippee! Thank you, NYPL! The book actually owes a lot to the New York Public Library, since I did a bunch of research there, and a scene in book two takes place at the big famous branch of the library on 42nd Street. Yay library! You rock!

Secondly, I have posted a page of my reviews (sent to me by my fabulous editor), which you can get to from here or from the Books page. Although I am now madly in love with all these wonderful, brilliant reviewers, I feel pretty weird posting these because they’re so incredibly nice about my book, and I feel a bit like I’m jumping up and down shouting “Look! Somebody thinks I’m innovative! And compelling! And creepy and futuristic! YAHOO!”

But rumor has it that authors are supposed to promote their books, especially on their own websites. There are those who might even claim that such promotion is more essential than pictures of the author’s dog or lengthy discussions about the relative hotness of Logan Echolls versus Helo Agathon (ooh, tough one…Logan is all tortured and bad-boy, but Helo is not only hot and ethical, he loves his robot wife so much he shot her so she could go rescue their baby. HMMMMM.) (er, that”d make more sense if you watch Battlestar Galactica) (which you should).

Anyway, I’m not sure I agree with THAT craziness, but I suppose a mention of my books here and there might be okay.

And speaking of which, I have a couple of new books coming out this year which I am quite excited about, and I actually really should mention them because they’re not all under my own name. So if I didn’t tell you about them, how would you ever find them, right?

The one I’m going to talk about in this blog entry is called He’s With Me, and it’s part of a new series Scholastic is launching called I [Heart] Bikinis. Check it out on Amazon! Where apparently you’ll be able to get it as of May 1! Eeeeep!

The idea of the series is that they’re all cute, light, innocent summer romance stories, and they’re paperbacks, so you can easily throw them in your backpack on your way to the beach or if you’re, say, honeymooning in Costa Rica (you know who you are).

So, imagine you have a huge crush on this adorable guy (let’s call him, say, Jake), but you’re pretty sure he thinks of you as a sister. Then the hottest, meanest girl in school sets her sights on him, and the only way he can get out of dating her is to pretend he already has a girlfriend. Maybe…you! Would you do it? Would you pretend to be his girlfriend to protect him? Remember…he’s REALLY cute.

That’s what happens to fourteen-year-old Lexis Willis in He’s With Me. OMG, what’s going to happen? Will pretending to date Jake ruin her chances of finding love elsewhere? Or will this fake romance…become something more?

Read it and find out!

Amusingly, Amazon is showing the original cover for the book, which has actually changed. Here’s what it used to be:

But apparently, this version alarmed some viewers, who were like, ummm, ok…so, I see his and her sandals…but if her bikini is here, then…where are they, and WHAT IS SHE WEARING? Is she off having a Paris Hilton moment or what? While others were like, OMG, she totally got MUUURRRRRDERED, didn’t she? It’s the tell-tale bikini of murrrrrrrder! Murrrrder and SCAAAANDAL!

Which, as you can imagine, was not exactly what we were going for in our light and fluffy teen romance.

So it got changed to this:

Which is extremely cute and a little less CSI: Laguna Beach.

The editor of this series, the fabulous Abby McAden, is, in addition to being a brilliant editor, absolutely amazing at getting terrific covers on the books she edits. Witness, for instance, The Princess Diaries, or Bad Kitty, by Michele Jaffe (a great book, too). SO adorable! I, on the other hand, have almost no visual sense whatsoever. I can’t picture what something’s going to look like until it’s right in front of me.

(As you can imagine, this is making me a very useful partner in the ongoing kitchen-and-bath remodeling project that’s taken over our new house. Adam’s like, so, what do you think of this tile? And I’m like, hmm, I have no idea, but how”s about I let you know if I hate it once it’s all finished? And he’s like, awesome. I can’t wait. And then he’s like, so, let’s pick some granite for our countertops, and I’m like, hmm, could they maybe bring these ten giant slabs to our house so we can look at them next to our cabinets and in the right light? And he’s like, dude, maybe you should go away until it’s done, and I’m like, I WISH, because I’m totally getting so much writing done with burly men BANGING AROUND OVER MY HEAD ALL DAY.)

(I mean, ahem, everything is wonderful and I love our house and construction fills me with joy, yes.)

Fun facts about He’s With Me:

Hypothetically, it might perhaps be possible that this is loooooosely based on a true story, but if it were, remember that just about everything about it would have been dramatically altered to protect the innocent and the people I no longer have a huge crush on, not that I’m admitting I ever did, or anything.

The last names of Lexie and Jake are those of two of my favorite authors of all time: Connie Willis (author of To Say Nothing of the Dog) and Kate Atkinson (author of Not the End of the World and Case Histories). (See, Dad, I do so read grown-up books sometimes!)

Lexie, much like myself, does not actually [heart] bikinis at all, at least at the start of the book. Luckily for Lexie, she is blessed with a mother who has spectacular fashion sense. Luckily for me, I am blessed with a mother who is very funny. 😉 (Love you, Mom!)

The two pugs in the book were originally named Luke and Leia, after the Star Wars twins (because they’re owned by Lexie and her twin brother Colin). But that was a lot of L-names very close together, so I ended up changing them to Alanna and Thom — another pair of twins, from Tamora Pierce’s great Lioness series. Why are they pugs? Because two of Sunshine’s best friends are pug mixes:

Peetles (that”s “short for” Peter)

and Kerry

Kerry: Oooh! I”m in a book?!
Peetles: Zzzrrsnrft-snort-zzt-snorfle-zzzzmm

Yup…even when we’re talking about writing, apparently I can still bring this blog back around to cute pictures of dogs.

And that seems like a good note to end on for today! Keep an eye out for He’s With Me (and future books by “Tamara Summers” — that’s me, that’s me!), coming soon to a bookstore near you! Next week I’ll either have more deep insight into the writing process, or I’ll be back to making fun of Jericho. (Poor hilarious show. It can’t decide if it’s 24 (the Hawkins plot) or Little House on the Prairie (everything else).)

Quote of the Week:
Mr. Minoru: Nico, you’ve been in there for three hours! Let’s go!
Nico: I can’t find my stupid black nail polish!
Mrs. Minoru: Oh, sweetie, I threw it away.
Nico: WHAT?
Mrs. Minoru: Oprah’s doctor friend said that teens who wear black fingernail polish are more likely to do drugs, so I—
Nico: Great! Now I have to mix all my old polish together and try to make black!
Mr. Minoru: We’re going to be late, aren’t we?
Runaways, Vol. 1: Pride and Joy, by Brian K. Vaughan
(a totally kick-ass graphic novel series that you should TOTALLY read)