Friday, May 24, 2013


The iBookstore Book of the Week, I'm Not Her, is a special book to me.

I really loved writing it and I've really loved hearing from so many readers about how the story touched them in some way! It was emotional to write and I'm glad that emotion was felt by many of the readers!!

Another really cool part of getting I'M NOT HER published writing a dedication.

I was really excited to dedicate the book to my own sister, Tracey MacLeod and also to her daughters, my nieces, Ciara, Carly and Cede. btw- they all appear in my novels at some time or another or I borrow their names and give them secret appearances.Carly is in every book. My good luck charm.

Cede, Carly and Ciara

I was able to keep the dedication a secret until the Arc's of I'm Not Her came out. It's a small thing, but it meant a lot to me to dedicate the book to my sister and her girlies!

Things like the dedication are the really fun parts of being an author!

Click HERE to download a FREE COPY on iBOOK STORE

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Looking Back on a Book Release.

I'M NOT HER released in May 2011.  It had an adventurous journey to the shelves. When the book first sold it was called THE WEIGHT OF BONES. 

Soon after the sale, the acquiring editor for my publisher, Sourcebooks, left. I was a little frightened until I got a call from my now editor, Leah Hultenschmidt. She was delightful and assured me she loved the book, but oh... how did I feel about a title and cover change?

I was a little sad again until I saw what the design team came up with. I'M NOT HER! And I knew it was the best thing to do for the book. And it was!

The day that I'M NOT HER released I walked in the Bell Help Line Walk a Thon to help raise money for kids who need someone to talk to. I got a snapshot taken with a storm trooper and then had a giant celebration piece of chocolate cake! Do I party hard or WHAT??

The month I'M NOT HER released I went to NEW YORK for my first time and attended Book Expo of America.  That was one of the cooler things I've done. It was both wondrous and overwhelming. 

Later in May 2011, I had my first book signing at Chapters/Indigo in Calgary for I'M NOT HER. Many wonderful friends showed up to buy my book, support me and eat delicious cupcakes. Since then, I've made cupcakes a tradition at book signings!

One of the highlights of  I'm Not Her releasing was seeing books on store shelves at Indigo and at local independents in Winnipeg and Calgary.  I also had a book signing at MCNALLY ROBINSON, an amazing bookstore in Winnipeg, where I lived for many years!

I had no idea what to expect from my first experience with Sourcebooks but was really pleased when it turned out that I'M NOT HER was selling well! Since that time I've been on a multi- city book tour (for WHO I KISSED) and was nominated for a RITA, well for two RITA's actually-- for Best YA and Best First Book for I'M NOT HER! (Rita's are top awards for Romance Writer's of America- a huge honor!)

It's been a fun ride with Sourcebooks Fire! They are a great distributor of books and I'm so happy to be on the shelves at major bookstores,  AMAZING INDEPENDENTS ACROSS Canada and the USA and in ebook form on online stores. It truly is a dream come true.

And TODAY, all week long actually, you can get I'M NOT HER for FREE as it was selected to be the iBOOKSTORE BOOK OF THE WEEK on iTunes. Pretty cool right?

Click here for FREE DOWNLOAD!

I hope you enjoy I'M NOT HER (and maybe pick up other Janet Gurtler books!!!)
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog for a walk down the lane of memories!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ode to My Sister!

Originally posted in JULY 2010, I thought it would be great to revisit this "Ode to My Sister" blog post to celebrate iTunes choosing I'm Not Her as iBookstore Book of the Week. Which includes a FREE DOWNLOAD!! Find it on the iBook store!

Click HERE for FREE DOWNLOAD of I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler

Ode To My Sister
I have a sister. She is three years older than me. She doesn't look it now, damn her, but she is. Older. So there, older sister.

Growing up I envied her so much. She was taller than me, with long skinny legs. My legs are short. Kind of stumpy. She was thin. I was not. Well. I was for awhile, but I had some serious body images troubles and struggled to feel comfortable in my own skin. We have two brothers as well, and I ended up closer to my older brother because rumor has it I was kind of a pest to her. In reality, I thought she was cool. Much more confident and sophisticated than me, three years her junior. I just didn't know how to tell her that. So I didn't.

When she was in high school and I was in middle school, she had cool boyfriends.I was shy around boys who weren't just friends. Super shy. Tongue freezing up in my mouth, soft voice, red cheeks, shy. I have a really embarrassing story about one of her boyfriends who I thought was the coolest dude ever, but I'll shorten it. He was in a rock band. And he was cute. And I walked by him with a big puffy skirt tucked into the back of my pantyhose. Yes. I did.

After that she met a boy whom she would eventually marry. She was in Grade 12 when they first started dating. I was in Grade 9. Years apart at the time. She moved away from home early and I never really felt like I knew her that well. But she was my sister. And I cared.

Our family moved when I was in Grade 12 and my sister stayed behind with her boyfriend. They got married and I was in her wedding party, but I was a messed up teen and we never really connected.

After a couple of years of college, I moved to a small town that was close to where she lived, and she would come and visit me. She started to treat me like an adult. An equal. I started to feel more comfortable with her, but we are and were very different, her and I. My sister is uber responsible. Serious. I can be kind of a goof, and not so responsible.

When she and her husband split up, she called me. We talked and for the first time, I felt a like I was the one with clarity. I felt fierce loyalty to her and her situation and tried to make the transition smoother with our family. We had a long distance relationship, but we both knew we were more than friends. We were sisters.

She got through it of course, and we had grown closer. She started a new life in a new city with a new man and I visited her, more as an equal than little sister. But it's hard to change roles. Eventually she had her first child. She called me when she was in labour. When she had her first child, it was love at first sight. For me. I was Auntie and I think that made my sister relationship stronger again.

My sister had another baby (more Auntie love for me) and then she ended up moving to the city where I lived, the same city as our parents. For the first time in years we lived in the same place and I was so happy to have her there. I loved her kids more than I'd ever loved anything. She had one more little girl and I loved them all to pieces.

I, on the other hand, started to go through a rough patch in my life. I broke up with a boyfriend, and was lost and spiralling out of control. My sister saw what was happening, but I had to go the road myself. Finally I took an opportunity to transfer to a new city, in sort of an effort to save myself from myself. My biggest regret about moving was leaving behind my sister's little girls.

Eventually I came to terms with my demons and my sister was there when I reached out. I got myself together and started a new life for myself. When I got married, my sister stood beside me. She was perfect in her role, and I was proud to have her and her girls in my corner.

When I had my child, my sister came to visit, to finally get to play her own role as Auntie. She was worried about me though and it soon became apparent I had a bad case of PPD. I made it through that, with several calls to her, and our long distance relationship stayed strong.

My sister and I have our own path. Our road to the relationship we have today was built on becoming adults. She is a person who really understands me. She knows intimately where I've been what I've been through, and I know the same of her.

I still look up to her, and I still envy her long legs, but I also feel that I am her equal now. Her shorter, chubbier equal. Our age differences became meaningless years ago. As a bonus, I know she loves my child as much as I love her three amazing girls. If anything happened to me, I know my sister would be there for my son and I would do anything for her girls if they needed me. Sisters themselves. Sisters who have their own story and their own role, but a very important relationship, that I know will grow stronger over time.

We are very different people now, my sister and I. We have different lives, in different cities, but I know in my heart that she is in my corner, rooting for me, as much as I am in hers.

Being sisters can be complicated. But, it can also be wonderful and enlightening. I feel very lucky to have my sister in my life. Even if she is thinner and taller.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

iBookstore Book of the Week is I'M NOT HER!!!

What what??

I'm Not Her is the iBookstore Book of the Week!!! So what? you ask?? Well. It means you can download it from iTunes for FREE!!

I'm Not Her was my first Sourcebooks Fire Book and don't tell the others, but still one of my favorites!

You can download a copy of I'M NOT HER for FREE on iTunes starting TODAY.

Click Here to Download I'M NOT HER for FREE!!


I'M NOT HER by Janet Gurtler

"For the first time in my life, I didn't feel envy…"
Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that's okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. But, the smiles of her picture perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn't hold it together, who will?

Janet Gurtler tests the bonds of sisterhood in this moving debut that readers of Jodi Picoult and Sarah Dessen will savor.

Friday, May 17, 2013

PW Review of How I Lost You!

Taking a momentary break from the best friends series to get my revisions done for 16 Things I Thought Were True and the upcoming long weekend. Back next week with more fabulous YA Authors!!!

In the meantime, if you are so inclined, here's the PW review of How I Lost You. My first Publisher's Weekly review I might add!

How I Lost You

Janet Gurtler. Sourcebooks Fire, $9.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4022-7794-8

Gurtler (Who I Kissed) examines how unconditional loyalty between friends can sometimes lead to unhealthy self-sacrifice. Seventeen-year-old Grace and her best friend Kya have always put each other first, bonded by a chilling secret from Kya's past, as well as a mutual love of paintball. Forgiving Kya for her sometimes selfish and destructive behavior has always come naturally to Grace, in light of Kya's past trauma, but when Grace meets a cute, reliable guy named Levi, finding a balance between making excuses for her best friend and pursuing a budding love interest becomes challenging. Kya's recklessness causes problems for both girls; she makes them miss an important practice and acts inappropriately at another critical paintball event. Gurtler gracefully negotiates the powerful emotions that accompany a changing friendship and brings the game of paintball to life with fascinating detail. Readers may tire of Kya's antics before Grace finally takes a stand, but they'll understand the difficulty of moving on from a toxic relationship that once felt like it would last forever. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jill Corcoran, the Herman Agency. (May)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why I'm Jealous of these Two Best Friends!

Super cool writing team on the blog today!!! Best friends and co-writers. How cool is that!  And check out this bio. I am a little geeked out!

Alyssa Embree Schwartz and Jessica Koosed Etting are each half of a writing team. The two met the first day of freshman year at the University of Southern California and instantly bonded over their obsessions with Brenda Walsh, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and The Babysitters Club books they read growing up. After spending a full year mourning the end of college, they began writing television and feature scripts together. They have set up pilots at ABC, NBC, Fox and CW, and sold films to The Weinstein Company, Happy Madison, Paramount, New Regency, MGM and Alloy Entertainment. They love writing female-centric stories, especially for teen and tween audiences, mainly because they still think they are the 18-year-old girls they were when they first met at USC.

Let’s find out about how these two became best friends and what they entailed.
So, how did you two meet? 

The two of us (Alyssa and Jessica) actually met and became best friends freshman year in college…and we then followed that up by living together after graduation and becoming writing partners. Not only are we in touch, but we’ve worked together almost every day for the last ten years! People say not to mix business and pleasure, but in our case, it’s been fantastic…we can go from discussing a character arc in our novel straight to discussing whether one of us should cut bangs and back.  

That just sounds AWESOME. So, did you ever have a big fight?  

Despite the fact that we’ve worked closely together for so many years, we really don’t fight. In fact, our biggest tiff occurred before we were friends, when we first met…we actually hated each other at first sight! It was the first day of classes freshman year at USC and Alyssa was sitting in the classroom, feeling homesick. That’s when Jessica showed up to class fifteen minutes late, her platform shoes clicking loudly on the tiles and interrupting the teacher. Alyssa eyed her disapprovingly and wondered, Who is this incredibly rude girl (who wears four inch heels to class!)that is NOT someone I’d ever be friends with. Meanwhile, Jessica took one look at Alyssa glowering at her from the corner and thought, Who is that miserable depressed-looking girl who refuses to crack a smile? Note to self: Steer clear of her!  A few weeks later, though, we both had to stay after class to speak with the teacher, and we started talking to each other on our way back to the dorms. We haven’t stopped since.

Love!!! So did you have a favorite song, or a favorite place where you hung out?

Our favorite song is Say My Name by Destiny’s Child because we made complete fools of ourselves singing it for a Karaoke night at a super trendy bar in Hollywood. We were so terrible that we got booed off the stage by the crowd…which was mortifying at the time, but now utterly hilarious to us.

One of our favorite places to hang out has to be the Japanese sushi restaurant and bar behind our old apartment. When we lived there, we’d go there all the time for dinner with each other…or when we were feeling super lazy, we’d yell down from our balcony to the waiters (our friends) who were hanging in the alley outside of the kitchen to bring food out for us, then one of us would run downstairs and bring it up for the other. We don’t live near there anymore, but we can’t drive by it without remembering all the fun nights that started there.

Best memories ever! So what did you guys most love to do?

Nothing better than a good old fashioned gossip session followed by watching some reality television together with lots of breaks to discuss the drama (our favorites are The Bachelor and Bad Girls Club. Yes, Bad Girls Club. We love it!)

Um…yes please!! What did you love most about your college best friend?

It’s almost narcissistic for us to answer this question because we’re so similar it’s frightening. We grew up on opposite coasts, but after fifteen years of friendship, some people (our husbands) are convinced we share a brain. We usually finish each other’s sentences and we’ve also mastered the art of having conversations with our eyes which definitely comes in handy during work meetings.

What did you learn from your best college friend?

We both remember the very first thing we learned from the other person. Alyssa grew up in a fairly small city in Virginia that is not exactly on the cutting edge of fashion and style. So at the all important age of eighteen, as the two of us were listening to Madonna’s Immaculate Collection and getting ready for a fraternity party, Jessica taught Alyssa that before you blow dry your hair, you have to put product in it. Alyssa and her hair have never looked back.

When we moved in together not long after that and lived in our apartment for about a week, Jessica’s room was overtaken by an Eiffel Tower-size pile of clothing on the floor, plates of old, crusty food, mugs of half-filled coffee and popcorn kernels that crunched beneath your feet as soon as you walked in. This is when Alyssa taught Jessica how to use a mop. Though Jessica doesn’t always make a habit of using this wonderful skill, it was an important life lesson she hasn’t forgotten.

So great! Are your relationships different at this stage in your life? How?

We’re still close with all our friends from college, though we obviously don’t see everyone nearly as much. In college, you can spend three days straight with each other and not even realize it! But what’s amazing about the bonds we formed then is that even if we haven’t seen someone for months, we always pick up right where we left off—definitely the sign of a strong friendship.

As for the two of us, we lived together until we were twenty-five and got hit with the next stage of our life—Jessica got engaged. We still laugh about the day when we realized the wedding was only two months away and it was probably time for Jessica to move in with her fiancĂ©. We thought everything would change after that, but the only person whose life shifted was Jessica’s husband who didn’t quite realize he was gaining a second wife (something he made sure to warn Alyssa’s husband of a few years later). Then this September, we entered another phase—Alyssa moved from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. and again, we thought things might be different being across the country from each other. But we Skype for work every day and make sure to start early because inevitably the first hour will be devoted to hearing about what happened to each other in the last fifteen hours, TV recapping and analyzing ad nauseam any problems one of us might be having. The most impressive thing about friendship by far is that we actually get any work done at all.

You two sound so fun and what a great story of friendship! Thanks so much for sharing it today!!!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Best Friends with a Sister Writer!!

Sister authors, Laura and Lisa Roecker, are two of my favorite YA authors in the world! They’re full of win and so many other good qualities and are great authors on top of all that! I was lucky enough to go on a book tour with the sisters last year and they are totally great fun and worthy best friends! You’ll love them!

Lisa and Laura Roecker wrote the Liar Society series and also have a new book coming out this July called This is WAR. I’m SOO excited to read it!

Lisa and Laura Roecker are sisters-turned-writing-partners with a love of all things Young Adult. Some call it arrested development, but the sisters claim it keeps them young. Plus, it’s cheaper than Botox. Lisa and Laura live in Cleveland, Ohio in separate residences. Their husbands wouldn't agree to a duplex. THE LIAR SOCIETY series was their first novel.

So, today Laura was nice enough to take time to talk about her teen best friend, so join us while we chat! Did you have a best friend in high school? If you did, are you still in touch?

Yes and yes. Beginning in middle school, I began to grow close with my best friend. We'd have sleepovers, hang out after school, go to movies. Her family even took me on vacation with them. We are still best friends to this day. She was in my wedding and I was her matron of honor.

Ah!! I KNEW it. You’re a best friends for life girl!!! I love that. So. Did you ever have a big fight?

Unfortunately, yes. It involved a boy. But mainly involved me being stupid and insecure. If I wanted to save our friendship, I had to make the first move, which I finally ended up doing. I had to apologize for being dumb and thank goodness I had the sense to!

A good learning lesson for sure. So, did you have a favorite place where you hung out?

Everyone loved hanging out at her house. She had a pool and an awesome family and it was always lots of fun. 

I wonder if you used sunscreen? I hope so. How much fun to hang out at a house with a pool! So what did you and your best friend most love to do?

When we were little, we loved to dress up in stupid, crazy outfits and take pictures of ourselves being goofy. As we grew older, we loved to lay out in the sun or go shopping.

Sunscreen?? Hmmm! So what did you love most about your teenage best friend?

She has always been very naturally beautiful. Didn't have to try hard to look pretty--never had braces or acne or any of those awful teenage maladies. One would think a person like this would be stuck up, mean or snotty, but she is always kind to everyone and has a huge heart. I love this about her. 
Um. I hate to point it out. But have you looked in a mirror lately! But I love that you are so humble. You truly are. So what did you learn from your best teen friend?

I learned to embrace everything that life has to offer and to do it with grace.

That is a great thing to learn!! So do you think your relationships with friends different at this stage in your life?

Yes. We are all very busy with our families, work and life in general. We do not talk nearly as much as we used to, but when we do, we have marathon conversations to get up to date. We also live far away from each other and keep in touch mainly through Instagram and social media. But despite the distance, it works and I still consider her one of my closest friends!
That is amazing! She sounds wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing today! I look so forward to reading new book!

This is W.A.R. begins with a victim who can no longer speak for herself, and whose murder blossoms into a call-to-arms. Enter four very different girls, four very different motives to avenge Willa Ames-Rowan, and only one rule to start: Destroy James Gregory and his family at any cost. Willa's initials spell the secret rallying cry that spurs the foursome to pool their considerable resources and deliver their particular brand of vigilante justice. Innocence is lost, battles are won—and the pursuit of the truth ultimately threatens to destroy them all.


Friday, May 10, 2013

What did Linda Joy Singleton and her Best Friend Do?

Hello, hello! And please welcome to the friendship blog,  YA Author,  Linda Singleton.  Linda Joy Singleton is the author of over 35 books for kids,  including YALSA honored THE SEER series and DEAD GIRL WALKING trilogy.

 I had the pleasure of meeting Linda at an SCWBI conference way back in 2009 and today we all get to chat with her about teen friends!! Hello Linda!  Tell us, did you have a best friend in high school? If you did, are you still in touch?
 I have had the same best friend since I was 10 and we are still very close even when we go for months without seeing each other. We just spoke for two hours on the phone last night, catching up with our family and personal drama.

I am so jealous. I find that so cool since I moved around a lot when I was young. So, d id you ever have a big fight?

 When we were teens, we had MANY disagreements. Usually it was a misunderstanding or something one of us said that caused hurt feelings. We were in a dance group together so had the same group of friends which caused some boyfriend drama. Usually she was the one who got mad at me for something I said (I often spoke without thinking back then) and she wouldn't talk to me for a few days, but then we'd talk it out and be closer than ever. One unusual thing we started doing was having "confessions" and revealing some of our deep jealousies, like how I envied her for always getting A's when I got B's and how she envied me for having a more supportive family. It was often a surprise to realize that we secretly envied each other for different reasons.

That’s very cool, and also so true. We often envy things in others we wish we could have.  So, what did you and your best friend most love to do?
Together we were like a creative explosion of energy. We made up games--even writing games when I became passionate about writing. We would create crazy titles, write  them on strips of paper and put them in a bowl then whatever title we drew we had to write. She wrote one called "Whose Teeth are in the Fishbowl" and I wrote one called "Angel in the Bathtub." We wrote newspapers, created a town with siblings included, had our own secret club and left each other messages in mailboxes hidden in bushes outside our windows. We were extremely crafty, too; sewing, crocheting and making our own holiday gifts.

Sounds like good clean fun. I should have taken lessons from you! So! What did you love most about you teenage best friend?
Playing with our pets, making up games like hunting for clues in our room, hiding our Halloween candy, and a game of solving the murder of my Teddy bear Freddy. One year we made elaborate yarn dolls and wrote stories about them and competed in competitions. She always made the best ones. I envied that.

And what did you learn from your best teen friend?
We learned from each other about acceptance, sharing deep thoughts such as our mutual interest in paranormal topics, and how to forgive. We are still learning.

Forgiving is a great lesson. And paranormal topics are so FUN to chat with friends about. Of course, I always get scared. Is your relationships with friends different at this stage in your life?
We have both become mothers and as our kids grow up we both have small grand kids now. When we talk, it's about our families and how they are doing. Once that's out of the way, we go deep and talk of our feelings, world issues, fears and joys. Even when things got tough (and they did!), we have a best friend bond that's very special, and we treasure each other.

The best friend bond really is something that can’t be beat. Thanks so much for stopping by to share your friend with us!!

Find Linda on her Blog !

Thursday, May 9, 2013

YA Author Kira Synder On Best Friends

 KIRA SNYDER is the author of the Parish Mail active fiction series
Kira Snyder is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her television work includes the Syfy Channel shows ALPHAS and EUREKA and the People’s Choice Award-winning vampire drama MOONLIGHT, which aired on CBS. Kira’s plays have been performed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Circle in the Square Theatre School, the Burton-Taylor Theatre in Oxford, England, the Bay Area Independent Theatre Fringe Festival, and Stanford University. Also a game designer with a Masters degree from NYU-Tisch’s interactive media program, Kira has produced games for Electronic Arts, Purple Moon, Microsoft,, the MIT Press textbook Rules of Play, and Yahoo, including EA’s seminal alternate reality game MAJESTIC. She is a proud geek and loves sci-fi and videogames, reading and playing when she’s not writing or designing

Welcome Kira. May I say I love your name and I impressed by your amazing bio? My family loved Alpha. Why did it have to get cancelled? Why? Why? Um sorry. So…did you have a best friend in high school? If you did, are you still in touch?

I actually had a small, tight group of about 5-6 best friends, boys and girls. We're in touch off and on through Facebook and alumni stuff, but not that much. I did see many of them at a recent reunion, which was a lot of fun. We all got together at a friend's house for a party, the same house we'd gather at for parties when we were teens. 

Fun and scary. No offense, but I’m happy to find someone who isn’t still best friends with their high school best friends. What do you miss most about your friends?

As that reunion party reminded us, just being together and talking and laughing was so much fun.   

Yeah. Teen friends really do bring out the laughs. So did you ever have fighst?

As you might imagine, with a group of friends, especially a mix of boys and girls, there was a certain amount of friend and romantic Drama (capital D intentional!). But we always got through it by talking things out.

Ah, the talking. The talking. It is so necessary, yes?? What’s something your friends did for you, that probably no other person would?

We defended each other a lot to other people. My high school didn't have a lot of the bully/mean girl thing going on, but enough so that it was good to have friends who had your back.

Definitely! So where was your favorite hang out?
We hung out at that one friend's house a lot, as I mentioned. There was also a funky deli-type diner that we'd go to all the time, in part because they had live music and a number of us were -- and are -- musicians.

Cool. I’m a little in awe of musicians. So, what did you love most about you teenage best friends?

These were people I could tell anything to, which when you're a teenager going through all that angst is so reassuring. 

Yes. True that! So what did you learn from your friends?

To listen without judging, and the importance of seeing things from another person's perspective. 

Such great lessons. So are your relationships with friends different at this stage in your life?

It's not so different. While my husband is my best friend, and has been since I've known him, I still have a small group of friends rather than a single "bestie." A number of us are writers, so we have that in common to talk about (I was pretty much the only writer among my high school group).

YAY for writer friends. Er. And for non writer friends too. And husbands.  Thanks so much!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teen Best Friends Sometimes Save Lives

Okay, so I'm really honored to share this best friend story with you. It's a story about survival and a best friend who made all the difference in the world. Thank you for sharing it Shaun. It's so great that you and Rachel are in each other's lives!!!

SHAUN HUTCHISON is the author of the upcoming YA novel, FML, out in June 2013. Look for it at your favorite bookstore or on GOODREADS 

Rachel has been my best friend for over half my life.  She's meant more to me than anyone outside of my mom and brother, and knows more about me than anyone at all.  She's inspired me and believed in me and I wouldn't be the person I am if it wasn't for her.  I probably wouldn't be alive.

Over the years, Rach and I have had a lot of stupid fights. I'm an idiot and she's stubborn, and sometimes that is a terrible combination.  But we always managed to put our friendship back together.  There's one thing though that I've never been able to forgive myself for.
Rach knew I was depressed growing up.  We had a deal: if I was thinking about killing myself, I had to give her a one week warning.  One week for her to help me or talk me out of it or do whatever it was she was going to do.  When I was 19, I broke that deal.  I waited until she was out of town and I tried to commit suicide.

A lot of things happened to me after that.  I talked to a bunch of doctors, I examined who I was and who I wanted to be.  But nothing had a more profound affect on me than seeing the look on Rachel's face when she first came to visit me in the ICU.  Disappointment.  Though she never said it, I knew she had to feel like I hadn't cared enough about her or our friendship to give her the week I'd promised.  I was a selfish jerk who didn't deserve a friend like her, and we both knew it.  But Rach never gave up on me.

Getting better and becoming the person I am today didn't happen overnight.  In fact, I did a lot of running between 19 and 25, trying to figure out who I was.  There were so many times I thought about quitting again.  But I never did because even when we weren't talking, I couldn't bear the thought of letting Rachel down.  I had to prove to her that she was important to me.  More important than depression. During my darkest days, that was often all I had to hang onto.

Twenty years later, Rachel is still my best friend.  She has a beautiful family up north and I have my odd little family down here in Florida, and we don't see each other as often as I'd like, but she's still in my thoughts every day.  She is the person I most aspire to be like.  The person who inspires me to be better.

I don't know who or where I'd be if I'd never met Rachel, and I'm thankful that I never have to find out.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why Heidi R Kling Cries When She Sees Her Best Friends

Today is Tuesday and not only that, but we get to chat with another author friend of mine from a secret online group (okay not that secret, but it makes it sound more mysterious, right?) 

After earning her BA in Literature & Creative Writing Literature from UC Santa Cruz and finding her voice in YA, Heidi went on to earn her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. She has directed and written children's theatre on both coasts and lives with her husband and two children in Palo Alto, CA.
Heidi R Kling is the author of several YA novels, including  The Spellspinner of Melas County. Check out the series HERE
Hello Heidi!! So… let’s do this thing! Did you have a best friend in high school? If you did, are you still in touch?
HK: Yes. I had three best friends for all four years. We were like Elena, Caroline, and Bonnie only minus the supernatural element. We are all still in touch, except one of them--we got in a fight and aren't talking right now. Just like in high school. ;)
Too bad about the supernatural element. That would be cool, right? Although based on the picture, you were all attractive enough to have your own show! So what do you miss most about them?
HK: I was out of touch with two of them for a few years after high school because I went to a different college and we just drifted apart, there was no fight or anything. I'm lucky that they are wonderful friends who kept track of me and we still get together. What I missed most was having that friend who you could tell everything to without fear of judgement and just this closeness that isn't easy to replicate as an adult with new friends.
Not so much. The teen relationship is pretty intense. So did you all  have a favorite song, or a favorite place where you hung out?
HK: Yes! SO many songs. We had songs for all of our boy crushes, songs for our friendships. We were pretty zany and emotional and dramatic. By we I mean me. My friends, while passionate, were pretty level-headed, actually. 
But we all need zany and dramatic people in our lives! So what did you and your best friends most love to do?

HK: We loved to mostly hang out and talk and laugh. Sometimes we'd draw cartoons of funny things going on at school. Sometimes we'd cry together. Regardless, we were always there for each other.  I loved that their friendship was unconditional. To be totally honest, my friends were better friends to me than I was to them, especially as we got older and grew apart. I was the head-in-the-clouds-dreamer friend and they were the practical "Let's get together now" friends. They were my rocks.
I totally get that. I need people like that in my life too, or I'd b a hermit. So what did you learn from your best teen friends?
HK: To live life to the fullest. To trust. To believe in limitless potential. They were very supportive of my writing and still are. 
So Awesome! Are your relationships with friends different at this stage in your life? How?
HK: Oh, yes. My friends from high school are more like sisters. They know me, know me, if that makes sense? Recently, they surprised me for a Big Birthday and I burst into tears when I saw them. I love them truly, madly and deeply and always will.
Totally makes sense and totally awesome. So glad you have such wonderful friends and that they still mean so much to you today!! Thanks so much for playing along!!



Sunday, May 5, 2013

A.S. King Has Cool Friends

So today on the bloggity blog, I’m so excited to welcome YA author, A.S. KING, recent winner of the L.A. Book Prize!! I am a HUGE fan of all of her work but I think  Please Ignore Vera Dietz is my all-time favorite YA Novel.  Check out A.S. King's books on Goodreads

A.S. King is the author of the critically-acclaimed ASK THE PASSENGERS, YALSA Top Ten EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS and the Edgar Award nominated and 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ. She is also the author of THE DUST OF 100 DOGS and MONICA NEVER SHUTS UP, an adult short story collection for adults. Next up: REALITY BOY coming October 2013.
I’m so happy to welcome A.S. King and her teen friends!
So. Right to it. Did you have a best friend in high school? If you did, are you still in touch?

I had two best friends in high school, Christine, who I've known since I was three, and Maria, who arrived in our school from another district when I was about 16. Even though I moved abroad for many years, we always stayed in touch and now that I am back in the PA area, we are more than in touch. Christine heads the local V-Day organization and she and Maria have been producing The Vagina Monologues for a few years. So, when I moved back to PA, I got to join in and help, too. We raise money to help support rape and sexual abuse survivors in our county and around the world. It is thoroughly enjoyable to spend time with them doing something so special. Can't put it into words, actually.

So that paragraph encompasses so many things I love! A friend since you still pee’d your pants! (well I did at three anyhow maybe you were already trained) and a third friend later on to balance out the mix. Then moving abroad, and now how incredibly cool that your friends produce the Vagina Monologues. And help raise money for rape and sexual abuse survivors. I’m impressed.  

So, did you ever have a big fight?

Not really any big fights. I mean, we were together all the time in high school, so I'm sure we wore on each others' nerves sometimes, but we always talked about it and got over things quickly.

Smart and cool women. Talking usually makes things better, yes?! So since you never really fought, what’s something your best friends did for you, that probably no other person would?

The thing about being best friends is that these two ladies know me better than anyone else, so they make me laugh harder than pretty much anyone. We were very silly teenagers. We remain very silly into adulthood. They don't judge.

Laughing is truly a gift friends give each other. And how wonderful to have the safety of friends who never judge! Did you have a favorite song, or a favorite place where you hung out?

There are several answers to this question. Maria used to love listening to Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da with me in my little Nissan Sentra. Christine and I go so far back, I bet she remembers singing along to Captain and Tennille songs in preschool. We also loved to dance. I seem to remember Janet Jackson having an album out at that time. And George Michael's Faith.

You are of my era. Favorite line from a Janet Jackson song. “My name is Janet. Miss Jackson if You’re Nasty.” Er...but back to what you! What did your best friends most love to do?

We were active in sports. We loved driving around and listening to music.

Sharing music with friends is almost as good as sharing laughter! So what did you love most about you teenage best friends?

Both of them have the best laughs EVER. Still do. Real, hearty laughers, they are.

And that is made of goodness. So what did you learn from your best teen friends?

More than I can write here. But considering we're still friends so many years later, they taught me what genuine friends look like. I think they taught me that I need to view myself as a valuable, nice person when in reality, I put myself down too much and am often quick to self-deprecate. They often celebrate my successes more than I do and help me celebrate them, too.

Yay! I love your best friends!! So do you find your friendships are different at this stage in your life?

Yes and no. I mean, we're all grown up and are so busy, right? So a lot of my friendships are carried out through telephone. (Plus, considering many of my friends live abroad where I used to live, this is a have-to.) But really, not at all. When I see friends--even ones I haven't seen in years--it's as if we never had a time gap in our relationship.

Yes. And that to me is the indication of a good good friend. That’s so awesome. Thanks for sharing your friends with us. And thank you for writing such wonderful YA novels! I can’t wait for your next one, REALITY BOY coming in October 2013!!


HOW I LOST YOU in Entertainment Weekly!!

So, cool on top of cool!

I was interviewed for the Shelf Talk on Entertainment Weekly and the interview posted!!

Check it out here... CHECK IT OUT!

Can you hear me squeeeeee!!!!

Also, tomorrow we'll be talking to A.S. KING!!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Proof Home Perms Are Always a Bad Idea

Teen Janet and her Tony Home Perm

In case you haven't noticed, to celebrate the recent release of HOW I LOST YOU, the YA ADDICT blog is currently running a series on Best Friends. I'm talking to YA authors and people in the YA world about their teen best friends, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The blog is featuring lots and lots of favorite YA authors, like A.S. King, Mandy Hubbard, Jennifer Brown, Kimberly Derting.  Look for your favorite authors and for great stories from debut authors too, about teen best friends. The blog features a new interview every week day until June 8 which is NATIONAL FRIENDSHIP DAY!! Hug your friends close!

If YOU have a story about YOUR teen best friend, especially in you're teen RIGHT NOW let me know, I'd love to interview YOU on the blog too! I'd love to see some BOOK BLOGGERS take part and READERS and anyone else who wants to chat about their best friend!!

Meanwhile, RUN to your nearest bookstore for your copy of HOW I LOST YOU. Okay. You don't have to RUN.  But if you do pick up a copy, THANK YOU!! You are awesome. And you smell nice too. Oh. And I love your shoes.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Is Dan Krokos Weird?

Dan Krokos is the author of the False Memory Series. After pumping gas for nine years to put himself through college, Dan Krokos, now twenty-six, dropped out to write full-time. He enjoys watching TV, playing MMORPGs, and drinking coffee. False Sight comes out in August 2013!

Hey Dan. Nice to have a male type person on the blog to talk about friends. So. Tell us, did you have a best friend in high school? If you did, are you still in touch?

Yes I did, and yes we are, and we’re still best friends.

Me: Cool.

Well, he still lives in Cleveland and I’m in New York often, so I miss hanging out all the time. Luckily we both play video games and can kind of hang out that way. 

Me: Online video games? For real. So cool and beyond my life. So did you ever have a big fight?

Oh yeah. Adam is afraid of the dark, even though he’s a fully grown man. One time he came home from work, and I turned off all the lights in the apartment. It was pitch black. He came into the apartment and was mad, and I hid in the dark for a little too long. He wouldn’t come inside. As I was going out to get him, he burst through the door, and thought I’d been hiding behind the door when really I was coming to tell him it was safe to come inside, and that there were no gremlins in sight.
He got really mad.
Another time before we were really friends, he pulled up to a gas pump on the wrong side three times in a row, like someone experiencing a mild stroke. I made the mistake of laughing.
Okay, that made me laugh out loud. Also, I find it awesome that he is afraid of the dark. Since he likes video games, you should get him this…. Pajama Sam

Okay, I’m done laughing, so where did you like to hang out?

Applebees and Denny’s, depending on what time it was. We would play video games, then decide it was time to eat all the food, so we’d rip it to Applebees for half off appetizers or Denny’s for eggs and hashbrowns and bacon/sausage. My mouth is watering right now. Whenever I go back to Cleveland we go to those restaurants as often as we can.

Mmm. My mouth is watering too. So what did you and your best friend most love to do?

You may be sensing a theme here: play video games. But before that, when we were in our teens, Adam had a Camaro he would race at the local track. It wasn’t street legal. We’d spend all day at the track eating dollar ice cream (it was seriously a pound of ice cream for a dollar) and generally hanging out and having the time of our lives. Those days were the best.

We also worked together for a short time at EB Games, which was awesome. Imagine working at a fun job with your best friend? You can’t do it.

Not anymore that’s for sure. I am sensing food and video game obsessions. So what did you love most about Adam?

That he was literally the only other person in the world as weird as I am. Stands true to this day.

Um. Let me introduce you to my big brother. And Geoff Herbach. Ha ha. So what did you learn from Adam?

How to talk to girls. How to be better at Warcraft. How to drive stick shift. How to swing a baseball bat.

I hope you didn’t talk to girls about Warcraft. Just saying.  I’d like to learn to drive a stick shift.  Adam? Adam? Never mind, Cleveland is far from Calgary. So. Are your relationships with friends different at this stage in your life? How?

 Yes and no. Depends on if I became friends with that person at a later stage in my life, and it depends on how weird they are. My relationships with my teen-era friends haven’t changed much at all. But I do have adult friends who I try not to be too weird around, or make weird noises, or say crude things.

 Oh, but you should, because that’s much more fun. There’s a teenage weirdo in most adults. Well. The fun ones anyhow! Thanks so much Dan. That was an awesome chat! Hope you and Adam are eating sausage at Denny’s soon!