Behind the scenes…

So tomorrow my book (Broken) comes out and I am both excited and terrified. Preorders make a really enormous difference in books so a GIANT thank you to everyone who has already ordered one! My virtual tour starts tomorrow and I was so worried that people wouldn’t come but they actually are sold out of some events and I can’t even wrap my head around that. (Click here to see what’s still available if you want to come and join us.) And I know the bookstores would want me to thank you as well because having a virtual tour with this much support makes such a difference to them too.

Slightly related…Want to hear a story? I’ve loved Omar Rayyan‘s artwork for years and his series of lovely ladies holding terrible beasties has always felt like a perfect symbol of fighting depression or anxiety while living with it so I was ecstatic when he agreed to do my portrait for the book cover. I couldn’t sit for him in real life because we are still living in THE PLAGUE YEARS so instead I sent him a series of pictures of me holding a squirming Hunter S. Thomcat as a stand-in for the beastie and I love the finished portrait for many reasons, including the fact that I think he really managed to capture Hunter S. Thomcat’s complicated inner soul.

He’d send sketches throughout the process and I asked if he’d consider selling the final piece to me because I thought it would be fun to own but I could never get a really straight answer and I worried that he’d already sold it to someone else or that I was being a pain by continuing to ask if I could buy it when clearly he didn’t want to sell it, and then I found out that he couldn’t sell it to me because he actually had already sold it to someone else.

He’d sold it to Victor who bought it as a surprise to celebrate the book.

I’m not crying. You’re crying. (No, I’m crying.)

And then I felt incredibly lucky and happy. And slightly dumb for continually harassing everyone about a painting that no one could tell me I technically already owned.

Yay for strange and wonderful surprises that come when you least expect them.

Tomorrow the book comes out. Now I’m just going to go lightly panic a bit until then.

Well, at least it’s on brand.

Two things. Slightly related.

One.

So last night my friend Mary texted me a picture of her copy of People Magazine and there’s apparently a three page spread in there about Broken and my family and related lovely weirdness so we all got in the car to pick up a copy at the grocery store but none of us have been in a grocery store in a year so instead Victor said he’d run in alone (double masked) to grab one and then a few minutes later he got back in the car and was like, “First time out of the house in a year and I almost got into a fight.” Turns out he was in the express line and the guy behind him was like, “This is the express line, dude,” and Victor was like, “I know. I only have this magazine” and the guy was like, “The express line is for groceries. You have to have a People magazine at 9:00 at night?” and Victor was like, “IF YOU MUST KNOW, MY WIFE IS IN THIS” and the guy looked at the cover and was like, “Huh. You a big Jennifer Garner super-fan?” and then Victor angrily paged through the magazine to find the spread but he couldn’t find it and finally he just stalked off back to the car and was like, “I COULDN’T EVEN FIND IT. YOU FIND IT AND WE’LL HOLD IT UP TO THE CAR WINDOW AS HE LEAVES THE STORE” and I was like, “Dude. You need practice at people” but then I flipped through and I was like, “Wait. I’m not even in this. I bet it’s in tomorrow’s edition” and Victor was like, “YOU’RE NOT EVEN IN IT? I JUST WENT TO A GROCERY STORE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A YEAR TO BUY A RANDOM JENNIFER GARNER EXPOSE AND YELL AT SOMEONE ABOUT A MAGAZINE YOU’RE NOT EVEN IN?” and then Hailey and I never stopped laughing, but technically this is very on brand and exactly the sort of story that would end up in my book.

Two.

Speaking of my book, I wanted to do something fun for Independent Bookstore Day (April 25th) because it’s a wonderful day when people go support indie bookstores and the bookstores celebrate and there are exclusive books and literary items you can get that day (some for free!) and one thing I’ve always wanted to make is an oracle deck. I’ve collected oracle and tarot and transformation decks since I was a kid but what I love about oracle decks is that they have no rules. They’re just a collection of cards that could contain anything from Hip-Hop Queens to Literary Witches and you just pull a card each day to set your intentions or answer a question or just carry with you to hand to a friend who seems to need it. So I partnered with my publisher and my incredibly talented friend, Katie Gamb, to make a small oracle deck based on Broken (in the best possible way). I’ll be sharing the cards here this month in a lead-up to Indie Bookstore Day when tons of Indie Bookstores will have oracle decks to give out for free to customers. YAY FOR FREE! (Nowhere will have a limited supply as well but I’m not sure if we’ll be open to the public by then or if we’ll be sending them out with curbside orders or tying them to tiny parachutes and dropping them off the roof onto unsuspecting passers-by.) And if for some reason you can’t leave the house and support your indie store digitally we’re working on a digital option.

There are a dozen cards in the deck that I’ll start sharing here next week but for now, here is a peek at the front of the cover:

And the back of the card with directions:

It’s one of my favorite projects ever and I love that it helps indie bookstores and rewards wonderful people who support them. These are a few of my favorite things.

PS. If you’re reading this, grocery store dude, it totally does exist. Even though I personally haven’t seen one yet. Also, that Jennifer Garner piece was fantastic.

(Photo by Robin Jerstad)

One week from today…

One week from today Broken (in the best possible way) comes out and I start my (virtual) book tour and I can’t even believe it’s almost here after so many years.

I’m spending this week signing a ton of books (THANK YOU!) and I’ve sent thousands of signed books across the country to lovely independent bookstores so if you want to check to see if your local bookstore might have a few click here to look at the list of stores that have signed copies. And if your local bookstore doesn’t have copies you can still get tickets to the virtual book tour here and each ticket comes with a signed book delivered straight to you. (If you’re Canadian I’ve got you covered with the Indigo virtual tour stop I’m doing with Samantha Irby.)

Also, I just opened a box of Broken audio cds (in that they are me reading the book Broken, not that the CDs are broken) and they are so pretty but I have too many so let me know if you listen to CDs in the comments and I’ll send a few out in the mail. (But just to the US because I only have prepaid US mailers.)

You can buy them wherever book CDs are sold and it seems sort of pricey but you do get 7 CDs and it includes a bonus chapter and technically you can play it in your car and it’s like we’re on a road trip together. Or play it at night and we’re sleeping together. You know what I mean.

And now I’m going to hyperventilate a little bit because omg it’s almost here.

We’ve come a long way, baby. (But so fucking slowly and we’re still not there yet but let’s just focus on the good stuff, okay?)

This just popped up in my digital memories.

This was Nowhere Bookshop in late 2019, back when we had no idea of the shit show of 2020 that was coming.

At the time my biggest worry was that we’d uncovered a horde of floor vampires and that we couldn’t afford to do anything to the wonky floors other than power wash them. Then came the plague and that sucked for a number of reasons but it has given us over a year to build up the shop and the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club and while we STILL have never actually been able to open our doors to actual customers I’m so incredibly grateful every time I sneak up (after everyone is gone for the day) and curl up in the window seat with a book or four. And I wave at people who pass by and imagine how the store will look one day when those people can come inside.

We’re still a long way from perfect but at least it looks like a bookstore at first glance rather than low-budget Indiana Jones movie.

And technically in a “how it started/how it’s going” sort of way it’s still not anything close to what I expected, but it is nice to look at it and realize that even when we may seem totally stuck we’re still moving forward. And not just the bookstore…you and I are moving forward too. Even when it doesn’t seem like it.

Celebrate those small victories, y’all.

Psst. Step into my office.

Sorry I fell off the world for a bit. I got overwhelmed and exhausted and then I got my second covid vaccine (YAY!) and stayed in bed for a day because it made me tired and achey (BUT STILL WORTH IT) but now I am back and to make up for being gone please step into my office and lets look at these tiny videos that I saved for you because I knew you’d want to see them:

A question for Strangelings

A quick question for members of the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club

Right now I’m reading a ton of books to pick something perfect for May and there are a LOT of good choices (which is both good and bad) and I thought it would be helpful to know how you guys would actually classify your favorite genres and books. The book club picks are usually unusual books from authors who might not get as much attention as they should. They probably skew a bit dark compared the normal bookclub (especially when you add in the bonus books) and feature diverse voices and books that may not have necessarily been on your radar.

Also, no worries if you haven’t read all of the books (you may not even have gotten this month’s yet) but from what you have read (or shared with friends and family who stole your books before you could read them) use the poll below to pick (up to 5 of) your favorite books we’ve read so far. Later this week I’ll share the top picks in case you’re interested. Here’s a list of the books and the optional ones in case you need a visual reminder or missed one.

Thank you!

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