Hope of Hope's Bookshelf kindly invited me on over to her blog for an interview (thanks, Hope!) where I talk about my books and things like donkeys, my very favourite movie, and how much I hated high school physics class.

* Interview at Hope's Bookshelf

Today she's also going to post contest details. Not only can you win signed copies of both my books, there's also this One Lonely Degree mousepad which I'm pretty crazy about:

One Lonely Degree mousepad

It's been wet and stormy here the past few days but I just know we're going to have pool days like the above coming up soon!
One of my best friends is in Austria right now. I bought her a journal to take on her trip and received an email from her in Vienna the other day. She said she carries the book with her so I can pretend I'm on the trip with her, which I totally am. Oh, to be in Vienna!

Anyway, I'm leaning on visual aids to help fuel my imagination. When she wrote she said it was beautiful, sunny and hot, unlike the photo I've added below. But the breathtaking architecture, of course, is there year round so the picture still gives me an idea of the environment she's walking around and hanging out in.
Vienna, Austria

To get in a Vienna state of mind I'm also playing my all-time favourite Ultravox song from way back in 1980. You guessed it, Vienna:

In an non-Vienna related note, did you know lead singer Midge Ure temporarily played with Thin Lizzy?

Better sign off now and return to my imaginary trip—there's so much to see, I don't want to fall too far behind!
Two days ago One Lonely Degree hits bookstores across Canada and the United States and to celebrate I'm going to be holding a June contest to give away some books and book related GOODIES so look out for that in a few weeks.

I wrote One Lonely Degree five year ago but somehow it's still kind of weird for me to imagine that it's all over with. Maybe because I spent such a long time with the characters. I didn't see much of them for several years after finishing the book but then came the editing, coming up with descriptions of Finn and Jersy for Random House to use for casting the cover shoot, pouring over pictures of swimsuits to select some that could be right for Jersy and Finn, and rethinking words and phrases during copy-editing. Writing and publishing a book is a long process and it winds down gradually but it seems One Lonely Degree is finally done, right down to the commas and semi-colons.

I've been posting lots of music related to the book lately and that's something I'm probably not done with! Below I've posted a song that sums up Finn's emotional state for much of One Lonely Degree.

I'm Not Okay (I Promise), My Chemical Romance:

Some of the things that Finn does during the course of the book probably wouldn't happen if she was feeling more okay and then again, some of those exact same not so okay things happen precisely because she's starting to feel better in certain ways. Life is confusing and full of shades of gray.

Anyway, there are already some blog reviews for the book up if you want to have a look:

* Bookshipper

* S Krishna's Books

The YA Book Blogger 

* Rima's Bookjournal Blog

* Reading Keeps You Sane

* Reader Rabbit

* Teens Read Too
Depending on how much you know about my new book, One Lonely Degree, coming out tomorrow, you may or may not be aware that main character Finn Kavanagh is a huge fan of Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace. A very happy coincidence has the first single from their first new album in four years debuting on the radio today—the day before One Lonely Degree hits shelves.

In honour of that, and in conjunction with the fantastic month long party Lauren is having over at Shooting Stars Mag, Finn herself is actually guest blogging about the band over there:

* Finn Kavangh on Our Lady Peace

There's also a very cool contest involved where you can win a copy of the new OLP CD Burn Burn when it comes out on July 21st, along with a copy of their best of CD Playlist and a signed copy of One Lonely Degree.

I can't thank Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag enough for having me over there and helping me put this together! I had so much fun revisiting the Finn character (now I miss her more than ever) and have really been looking forward to the guest post going up.

Rock on!

All You Did Was Save My Life:
So yesterday was a gorgeous 27 degrees and today we're hitting 29 (84.2 for those of you who think in Fahrenheit). Summer itself doesn't get much more summer-like but I'm trying to exercise some self-discipline and stay inside and...type.

Today you can also find me at Books Make Great Lovers answering some very interesting questions about teen sex and sexuality in YA fiction. Thanks for those challenging questions, Ashley! I'm curious to see what kind of comments people might have on the subject.

I'll also be writing about music at Shooting Stars Magazine very soon but in the meantime I saw Green Day on SNL on Saturday and it reminded me of the scene in One Lonely Degree where Finn and Jersy listen to American Idiot together. So I'm putting this up for them (Green Day being one of only 3 bands they both like!):

And because it's hard to stop at just one Green Day song here's the band in 2004 playing my favourite GD song from way back:

In Canada we're curently celebrating Victoria Day or what we commonly call the May two-four long weekend, a statutory holiday in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. Never mind the fact that it's not actually May twenty-fourth, we don't let such trivialities stand in our way.

Anyway, if you're Canadian I hope you're enjoying the long weekend. Mostly I've been hanging out here and there (which included a visit to the ROM) but there's a movie and delicious Whole Foods turkey burgers still in my future. I'm not done with this weekend yet!

Also, writer Tabitha Olson has an interview with me up on her blog Writer Musings today. Thank you, Tabitha! She's giving away a copy of One Lonely Degree, I Know It's Over, and Sliding on the Edge (by C. Lee McKenzie) as part of her May giveaway and will randomly select three winners on May 30th.

Finally, I've been listening to the new Metric CD Fantasies non-stop for the past four days and Stadium Love, especially, strikes me as a fantastic long weekend song:

One Lonely Degree hits shelves two weeks today! In conjunction with the release I'm going to be making some blog appearances in the next little while to talk books, bands and sex in teen fiction.

* May 18 > Writer Musings

* May 21 > Books Make Great Lovers

* May 25 > Shooting Stars Mag

* May 26 > Hope's Bookshelf

One Lonely Degree is quite a summer book so I'm especially pleased that we're nearing its release date because that signals sunshine and warm weather are on the way too. I confess I've already gotten into the habit of drinking pink lemonade but I need to stock up on freezies. I wish I could buy a package of all blue ones (my favourite).
Swimming Pool

Anyway, you can read the first two chapters of One Lonely Degree right here if you like. And here's a short outtake from later in the book:

“Coming back, I spot Billy Young in line at the concession stand. I can't remember seeing him out of school uniform since eighth grade, and it takes my eyes a second to adjust to his dark jeans and black T-shirt. If I didn't know he was Billy Young, I might even think he looked good. He's got nice arms (not beefy but not thin), wide hazel eyes that look like they never quit thinking, and a rangy build he hasn't finished growing into. Billy nods hello and I nod back, wondering if Jersy was right about me liking Billy, if maybe he just realized it before I did. Then Jersy steps out of line next to Billy—and suddenly I know that's not true.”

Zombies Calling by Faith Erin HicksI always love checking this out (have been to all three previous TCAFs) and judging by the crowds of people pouring over comics and comic-related merchandise at the Toronto Reference Library today the Toronto Comic Arts Festival has surely gained enough popularity to make the jump to being held every year rather than biennially.

It's a fantastic free event that anyone interested in the diversity of comics should think about dropping into. There are plenty of signings, panels and workshops scheduled for tomorrow too but this afternoon I was lucky to be able to listen to comics guru Scott McCloud talk about the medium for an hour and a half. I also picked up a copy of Faith Erin Hicks' graphic novel Zombies Calling, some mini comics by Diana Tamblyn (I love everything I've read by her in the past and am happy to hear she's working on a full length graphic novel) and True Loves & True Loves 2 by Jason Turner & Manien Botma. So all in all, a perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday!
I noticed two interesting pieces of reproductive news recently:

1) The fantastic news that emergency contraception (otherwise known as the morning after pill) will soon be available to seventeen-year-olds in the U.S. without a prescription.

“Like their older counterparts, 17-year-old women will now be able to go to almost any pharmacy, clinic or hospital and, after showing proof of age, buy Plan B without a prescription. Men 17 and older may also buy Plan B for a partner.”

Awesome. Goodbye Bush administration leftovers, hello enlightenment.

2) Scientists in China have completed trials of a monthly contraceptive testosterone injection which works by temporarily blocking sperm production. During the clinical trials just one man in a hundred fathered a child while on the injections. Six months after stopping the birth control injections the men's sperm counts returned to normal. Read the BBC coverage.

In other news, Canada has been barking about its right to club seals to death. “A motion to use the [2010 Winter Olympic] Games to promote seal products passed unanimously in the House of Commons yesterday.”

However, the EU isn't buying our tired (and shameful) spiel about how we club seals humanely in this country. Maybe we haven't done a very good job of articulating our methods, how we offer the seals comfy hypoallergenic pillows to lie on when said clubbing is being done, as well as a blindfold and a scrumptious final meal...or something.

Nope, the EU isn't having it. This week the European Parliament voted 550—49 to ban imported Canadian seal products.

We shouldn't need the EU to point out how wrong the seal hunt is. Just because we can make money from something doesn't make it defensible. And having a long history of hunting seals doesn't make it defensible either. The hunt is quite simply barbaric and has to stop. Now that the market for seal products is disappearing Canada will be forced to see the light but it's more than a little disconcerting that we couldn't have opened our eyes voluntarily.
Seal Hunt

May is my favourite month. May is a slice of heaven. May is hope and beauty, growth and renewal. May is sunshine with fresh breezes. May is blue skies and vibrant flowers. May is long days, thin sleeves, grass as green as green can ever be and children skipping stones in lakes. May is the best. May is glorious.

And if you need proof here's the result of April's showers:

Happy May!

***Update May 6th***

And a couple more from today...

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