So tonight I’m celebrating the paperback release of Broken (in the best possible way) by having a free virtual tour stop where I will do a bit of reading and then be in conversation with Victor. I think this may be the first time any of you have ever heard Victor in real life and I am both excited and absolutley terrified.
I’m not sure what questions he will be asking but last night I had an anxiety dream about it and his questions were:
“Why do you keep buying scissors when we already have scissors?”
“Who turned down the air conditioner?”
“Why are you a maniac in a hotel room?” (Not sexually)
“If you were a mermaid would you rather be top half fish or bottom half fish?
“Do you smell that?”
“Why do you keep running over the trash can?”
And I would like to say that, 1. Do you smell that is a terrible question for a virtual event, and 2. if I had a nickel for every time I’ve run over the trash can I would have three nickels, which isn’t very many nickels at all thank you very much.
I do quite like the mermaid one though, so well done, Dream Victor.
Anyway, my point is that I’m a little worried so please leave a question for us in the comments below and if things get weird I can pull those out instead.
So last week the paperback of Broken was released and I did my first live book tour stop in literally years. We did it at Nowhere Bookshop (naturally) and it was also our first ever live reading at the store so it was terrifying on both accounts, but also amazing.
(Insert mental image here of Paul Rudd saying, “Look at us. Who would have thought? Not me.”)
We kept it really small, which was nice for everyone concerned and it held many nice surprises including this gift from a sweet woman who thought I’d enjoy it, and she was very right. I assumed it was soap in the shape of a dental mold but later when I opened it up to shower with I discovered it as an actual teaching model and I was even more pleased and also thankful that I hadn’t tried to loofah up with actual teeth because that seems dangerous.
But if you missed that you’re in luck because I’m doing a free virtual book tour stop in conjunction with my publisher and a bunch of lovely places, and it will be the first time ever that I will be appearing in conversation with...Victor.
This may be a terrible idea but it will at least be entertaining. So click here to see all the places offering a zoom spot and then pick your favorite bookshop/library/foundation from the list to sign up and they’ll send you a link for next Tuesday night. Also, several of these wonderful places have special bookmarks or bookplates or other things that they’re offering if you also buy a copy of the book from them so just check their descriptions for more info.
They asked for a bio for Victor so I sent them this:
Victor Lawson has been married to Jenny for 25 years and still hasn’t figured her out. Some would call that “keeping the mystery in a relationship.” He agrees but would still like to know a few things, including why he just opened a box of eyeballs.
Jenny Lawson would like to clarify that it’s a box of old dolls eyeballs (THAT BLINK WHEN YOU MOVE THEM). Not just random human peepers. That would be ridiculous because real eyeballs need to be stored in jars, not cardboard boxes. She would also like to point out that if Victor didn’t want to find a box of eyeballs he shouldn’t be opening her mail. This is all basic common sense.
Victor would like to point out that the box of eyeballs was actually addressed to him and also wants to know why Jenny is currently in his bio rambling about human eyeballs in jars.
Jenny is reluctantly admitting that yes, the eyeballs *were* in Victor’s name but that’s only because she bought them using his ebay account because she’s forgotten her password again. And also, it can be scary being a woman in the world who is buying a box of eyeballs from a stranger on the internet and so using a man’s name on the packaging makes it less likely that she will be stalked by some kind of eyeball-collecting maniac.
Victor is sighing deeply and considering pointing out that the maniac buying eyeballs on the internet is literally her, but is deciding that discretion is the better part of valor and is changing his eBay password as soon as he writes this.
Jenny is wondering if it counts as “discretion” if you actively mention the thing you’re supposedly not mentioning, but is willing to drop it because she is too busy making Victor a bunch of fantastic rings with blinking eyeballson them because that way he’ll see how amazing they are.
Victor is wondering if this whole event is a terrible mistake.
Jenny is certain it probably is. A wonderful, wonderful mistake.
They did not end up using that bio because I guess people don’t want to learn about the correct way of shipping eyeballs, or maybe it was too long but I’m including it here because it’s a good idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
I’ve been a bit behind but I’m about to open up the facebook discussion page for The Fantastic Strangelings Book Club to discuss Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel. (And if you haven’t read it yet I suggest you move it to the top of your TBR list because I found it a strangely encouraging read during all this Roe V. Wade bullshit, and maybe you will too.) If you don’t do facebook I’ll leave my thoughts in the comments below.
(And check your email because we’re going to do a live zoom book discussion with Vaishnavi Patel next Tuesday!)
Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, a sinister haunting, and the woman pulled into their clutches. Suspenseful, fast-paced, interesting 19th century Mexican history, fascinating folklore, a strong female protagonist…it explores religion, colorism, class, and haunted haciendas. So good. And it’s not too late to get your copy if you want to join the club this month. Click here for details.
The Children on the Hillby Jennifer McMahon –A novel inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein that explores the eerie mysteries of childhood and the monsters among us.
The Premonitions Bureauby Sam Knight – an enthralling true story of science and the supernatural as a psychiatrist investigates whether premonitions can prevent disasters…including the premonition that he was about to die.
Siren Queen by Nghi Vo – A lush historical fantasy set in the glittering world of old Hollywood, where stardom sometimes comes with dark bargains and literal soul sacrifices.
Today is the pub date of the paperback of Broken (in the best possible way) and I’m so excited and nervous because today people will be able to read the new bonus chapter and tonight I’m doing my first live tour stop in SO MANY YEARS. It sold out in two hours but I’ll be doing a virtual one for all of you in a few weeks. More on that soon.
And to celebrate the book, I wanted to share a little bit of behind-the-scenes magic of me actually writing it:
Giant thanks to everyone who has ordered a copy or is going to visit their local bookshop to pick one up this week or is going to read it at the library or pass it on to others. Honestly, the best book advertising comes from you guys passing on copies of my books to others and saying, “READ THIS TO UNDERSTAND ME” or sharing your thoughts on it online and I can’t thank you enough for being part of my strange and wondrous community.
So, listen. Tomorrow is the release of the paperback edition of Broken so I should be writing about that but instead I’m writing something imperfectly that I need to get down and that maybe you need to read.
If you’ve been here long enough you already know I battle with depression and probably always will. This last week has been filled with wonderful things, like school plays, Indie Bookshop Day, Hailey’s first prom and book releases. And I’ve loved all of those but I’m also dealing with a medium-sized bout of depression that I’m hoping will just hover and pass soon rather than stay. It’s light enough that I can still function and enjoy life but numbing enough that I wish I could pause these good moments so that I could feel them fully as they are meant to be felt. I surreptitiously record these plays and moments so that the future me who will one day wake up from this fog can appreciate them fully. This sounds insane, I know, but I suspect if you’ve dealt with depression you might understand.
This weekend Victor got tickets for us to see Tori Amos in concert. Tori is probably my favorite performer ever (the person who got me through so many bad teen breakups and hard, lonely times). The fact that Victor owned a Tori Amos CD when we met was a giant contributing factor to me giving him a go, and the first concert we ever went to together was Tori, decades ago.
So it was very sweet when Victor surprised me with tickets for us and for Hailey and their partner and I immediately didn’t want to go and began making every excuse to cancel.
When I’m in a depression I can’t listen to music. It literally hurts because I know the emotions a normal person would feel and the cognitive dissonance of not feeling those emotions makes the depression even more obvious, and the idea of a concert of emotional songs that I won’t be able to appreciate was something I was not looking forward to, and honestly if Hailey and their sweetheart weren’t already excited about it I probably would have just begged off.
But we went, and luckily I’m still at that high-functioning level of medium depression where I have access to most of my energy, even though my emotions are turned down to a muffled sort of noise, and as she started to sing I felt so incredibly lucky to be at a wonderful event with people I love and so incredibly bad about not being able to fully appreciate it and so incredibly selfish for having so very much and not having the ability to live in that moment with the joy that it should have been afforded.
And then a few songs in Tori sang Bouncing on Clouds and I don’t know if it was the music or the moment or a synapsis in my brain spasming or a boost of serotonin from the depression gods, but suddenly I felt something.
She sang, “Is there a lone lost-and-found? Make it easy…we could make this easy…it’s not as heavy as it seems. I think we decide where we take our lives” and I felt it in my heart. And I cried. I cried so much and I was so thankful that Hailey and their partner were sitting behind us and that my mask covered most of my face and that the music was so loud that no one could hear me sobbing so loudly.
I cried for lost time and I cried for joy at coming so far and I cried from an incredible relief at being able to cry and feel, and I cried for how selfish I feel for being depressed even when I’m so lucky, and I cried for thinking it’s selfish to be honest about battling a debilitating disease.
I don’t know where it came from, but afterward I felt clean and like I’d finally put down a heavy weight I’d been carrying. And I thought, I need to write about this now while the memory is still bright, but I also can’t write well when I’m in a depression and I worried (I still worry) that I won’t find the right words. So I stayed quiet.
And then a fellow treatment-resistant depression sufferer who I have admired lost her battle. And I saw people saying, “But why? She had everything. She was just about to go back on tour and accept a giant award” and I had people reach out to me to say, “Sometimes it’s like we’re slowing being picked off” and I see others online saying, “Check on your friends even if they seem happy!” and all of those are valid things but the ignore the fact that we win more than we lose. Even when we battle depression, or cancer, or abuse or a million other things that try to take us out, we fight and win and love and are loved. Every battle won is a victory and every wonderful memory is golden and worthwhile, regardless of how it all ends. We fight and we love and we wait for the world to come back and each time that is worth celebrating. It is worthwhile. It’s easy to paint people by their last actions, but remember that they are so much more than that. They are more than what they battle. They are more than just their struggle. And you are too. And if you are reading this it means that you have lived. And I’m so glad for it. Right now. Right this second. I’m happy that we are here together. Even if we’ve never met, know that you are not alone. Know that if you’ve lost someone to the darkness they were more than their end. Know that if you are thinking dark thoughts it’s okay to reach out…to friends or family or crisis lines or therapists. And if they don’t understand or you think they don’t care, remember that depression tells you terrible lies and keep fighting. Even if you feel alone right this moment I promise that there would be an empty spot in life without your light. There are future friends who can’t wait to meet you so they will feel less alone as well. There will be a time when you come out of the darkness and can breathe again and all of this will look so strange to your eyes.
And until then, I’ll wait in the lone lost-and-found with you. Quietly. But there. Waiting for the music to work again. Because all of these moments are worth it.
First, it has a whole extra chapter in it (called For Real Though, Where Exactly Are the Murder Hornets?) just to make it worth buying it again in case you already had the hardcover.
I’m really happy that I wrote that bonus chapter because of what happened when I turned it in. It went to editing and the editors were like, “We noticed that you’re using “they/them” pronouns for your kiddo, but it doesn’t actually match the rest of the book” and I explained that when I submitted the book Hailey wasn’t publicly non-binary but now they are and the editors explained that this was a problem of inconsistency and I was worried they were going to tell me they needed to change it, but instead they were like, “How about if we go back and edit the entire book so Hailey’s pronouns are correct throughout?” And then I literally cried a little.
Books are sort of set in stone once they’re published, even if you later dislike something you wrote it’s usually there for good…they’re like a slice of life of who you were at the time. So to have the entire publishing team on board with a rewrite even though it meant a lot of extra work and pushing the pub date back a little is a big deal. For me. For Hailey. For others who may see themselves in the story. It’s a small thing, but it means a lot.
The other exciting thing is…that I’m going to do a tiny tour with one actual IN PERSON READING/Q&A/SIGNING. It’s at Nowhere Bookshop (duh) and it will be very small since we want to be safe (masks are optional if you’re fully vaxxed, but I’m happy to wear a mask when I sign your book if you like. I’m quadruple vaxxed at this point and am still waiting for my second tail to grow). This will be the first ever physical book event at Nowhere and so I’m doubly excited. (And if you follow Nowhere on instagram we’ll try to show it on instagram live so it’s like you’re there even if you’re not.) Click here to get your ticket.
And if you can’t make it to Nowhere, no worries because I’m also doing a virtual event in coordination with several indie bookshops and it will be absolutely free to attend, and I’ll have links to that soon. And they have lots of books to sell (and more…see details below) so you can order from them too. I needed a moderator for that event so I went on twitter a few weeks ago to ask who y’all would most like to see me in-conversation-with and the overwhelming and incredibly surprising answer was…
I can only assume Victor paid all of you because this is actually happening and this might be the first time anyone hears his side of the story and he is literally rubbing his hands in glee at the surprise questions he can’t wait to grill me about and refuses to tell me in advance. This will either be horrific or hilarious (probably a bit of both) but certainly something to see. I’m a little nervous because in real life Victor is the funny one and I think it’s possible people will watch and go, “Fuck Jenny. When’s Victor’s book coming out?” but it’s a chance I’m willing to take. We won’t be able to see you since it’s virtual but please wear your Team Jenny or Team Victor shirts from the comfort of your home.
And I’ve sent fabulous bookmarks and signed bookplates to a bunch of indie bookshops, so if you buy a book from one of the places hosting the event you may get one of those.
We have tons of bookmarks at Nowhere as well so if you pre-order a paperback we’ll be slipping bookmarks into your signed copies (And yes, I will happily personalize copies to send to your friends or family or even your enemies through Nowhere, and yes, of course I will write “knock knock motherfucker” or implicate you in a crime or anything else you want, and we ship everywhere.) We also just found a box of Broken oracle cards so if you pre-order soon enough it is entirely possible that you might open your paperback Broken and find that I’ve stuffed a random oracle card inside as I signed your book.
And if you can’t snag a ticket to the in-person event, don’t worry because I’m also planning an in-store signing at Nowhere sometime soon that will be open to everyone, where you can bring in your books or boobs or taxidermy or whatever you want signed. No babies please. (I mean you can totally bring your babies, but I won’t sign them because they can’t give consent. A girl’s gotta have her standards.) More on that later.
So the main point here is to say thank you to everyone who has bought a book and thank you to everyone who will buy a book. Preorders make such a difference and they help show stores if they should stock your book and I really hope it does well because I desperately want to thank all the people at my publisher who did so much to make this book release something special. It’s not been an easy time to live in Texas during this time of LGBTQ+ backlash against our youth, and this made me remember there are so many more good people out there who not only accept, but also embrace and protect others…and I really needed to see that. Maybe you do too.
Whether you buy a copy of Broken or get one from the library or just say, “That’s not quite for me” and leave it in a little free library, know that I am grateful for you. You have saved me over and over. Thank you.
Ingram Hills Dental: Local San Antonio badass dentist willing to talk and laugh you off the dental cliff. Military wife, mom and lover of sarcasm and teeth.
Perfectionist Anonymous: Proudly serving unpolished working motherhood, with bipolar depression and hilarity on the side.
Relatively Painless: “My only complaint is that I wanted more, which is a good complaint to have. It made me laugh and cry and then laugh again and then pee and then cry. Lots of fluids lost. But in a good way. A book to make you appreciate the tragically funny and beautiful horror of family.” — Jenny Lawson — use code BLOGGESS for $5 off a ticket to a live reading!
The Dating Days of Marta O: When I told my sister I was building a blog she asked ‘Do people still read blogs?’ I don’t know, but if YOU want to read it, click on the link. Keep in mind, reading about dating after 40 is for the brave. ~Marta O
Dear Childhood Me: Your inner child deserves all the love in the world—and, yes, even if that love is in the form of reflecting back on the time as a kid when you buried the PB&J in the backyard, dug it up the next day, and ate it.
The Art of Holly Eaton: Realism with a hint of surrealism! Paintings and Prints. Reasonably priced art for reasonable people
They Called Him Marvin: They were just kids, barely not teenagers. Desperate to be a family but a B29 and a war got in their way.