Today I'm over at the Stacked Books blog sharing my picks for their "So you want to read YA?" series. Thanks, Kelly, for giving me the chance to rave about some of my favourite young adult books! Some of them you may have already heard about and/or read but there are way too many cool YA books out there that don't get the hype they deserve.

There's such a neat mixture of novels that have been mentioned so far in the series that you might want to catch up with earlier guest blog entries if you haven't had a chance to check them out yet:

*  Susan Adrian
*  Laura Arnold

Speaking of hype, I also want to point people toward author Tara Kelly's recent blog post on an Amplified Sequel. I'm a big fan of Tara's books and in this entry she makes excellent points that some readers may not be aware of, like how tough it can be for quiet/midlist-ish authors to get a publishing deal for their next novel and how important that makes it that readers are loud about the books they like. So if you love a book, particularly if it's one that's not raking in the cash, not one that you see mentioned one every second book blog or not one that's attracting Hollywood option offers, go public with your fondness for it.

Teaser trailer! Full trailer coming in August.

I just posted the first two chapters of Come See About Me here on my website and plan to have the ebook available for the end of June. One of the things I loved about writing this novel is that it's set where I live so I had the chance to explore some of Oakville's charms (not that the main character, who is in a fragile emotional state for much of the book, really notices them as such). But honestly, Oakville has pretty much spoiled me for other places. There are few things I love more than a walk by the lake and Oakville's compact downtown area is so charming that every time I'm strolling there it feels like a holiday. I mean, do places this cute exist in real life? Did I conjure this town up with my imagination? It feels that way sometimes.

Before 2000 I'd never even been to Oakville but in the late 90s a co-worker used to rave about the place (she lived here) and when my husband and I moved back to Canada at the start of the 21st century we gravitated here. Anyway, main character twenty-year-old Leah Fischer (from Burnaby, British Columbia) moves to Oakville in 2012. Late June, to be exact. The move's not really a choice on her part but after her boyfriend Bastien has died and she's flunked out of college and pretty much stopped functioning Bastien's aunt offers her a rent-free place to stay—a soft place to fall.

You can find out a bit more about Come See About Me here and if you read the sample chapters you'll notice there are some brief Liam sightings in Chapter One but it's awhile before Leah's in the headspace to really notice him and even when she does...well, it's infinitely complicated. Grief isn't linear. Relationships aren't linear.

If you've read any of my YA books you've probably noticed that I like writing about gray areas but I do think there's alot of light in this book too and I thoroughly enjoyed writing about a character who, though still quite young, doesn't fit in the YA category. Like I talked about a few weeks ago, I wish traditional publishers would release more books about characters in their late teens and early twenties. I don't think readers interest in young characters ends when they turn nineteen or finish high school. However, it's great to be writing in a time when you can bring a story to readers without depending on traditional channels and if traditional publishers continue to avoid books about 'new adults' I have high hopes that the void will be filled by other means!

In honour of Support Teen Lit Day I left some signed copies of my books around the town of Oakville to ROCK THE DROP. I Know It's Over is at the bus station, waiting to catch a bus.

I Know It's Over at the bus station

One Lonely Degree's hanging out in the sun at Lakeside Park (incidentally, this is the park—a stone's throw from Lake Ontario—where I envisioned Nick Severson watching the little girl with the English accent).

One Lonely Degree at Lakeside Park

The Lighter Side of Life and Death's lounging around on a bench outside the public library. You'll notice from the next picture that the library is in the middle of a book sale so I'll be going back later to pick up more books (only $1.25/lb, what a steal)!

The Lighter Side of Life and Death on a bench outside the public library

Oakville Public Library

Luckily it's a gorgeous spring day out there, the kind where books can bask outside for hours with no fear of rain and the kind that usually makes me reach for my camera. Today's no exception and I couldn't resist the budding greenery

and the most glorious tree that I'll likely see all day. An apple blossom that smelled like heaven and sprinkled me with confetti-sized blossom bits as I passed under it.

apple blossom tree

Happy Reading and Happy Spring!

I'm planning to post the first two chapters of Come See About Me up on my website in mid-April, with an e-book release date late in June. In the meantime there are several YA books I can't really talk about, in various stages of evolution—some ready to be submitted, one in an evaluation stage and yet another that's just a seedling at the moment (which means I've been working on it, but so far only in my head). At this point I'm wrestling with the seedling book nearly nonstop, except during the rare moments when my attention is being entirely directed elsewhere.

Twice during the last few days the seedling book has been forced out of my mind by exposure to other art. Specifically, terrific Canadian art. On Sunday I saw the French Canadian film that swept the Genies last month: Monsieur Lazhar.

The most emotionally intense moments of the film don't appear in the trailer but when they occur they're filled with a stunning amount of depth, warmth and truthfulness. In my opinion there's not one false note in the film and the two child actors with the largest parts offer breathtakingly subtle performances. Hands down this is the best movie I've seen since 2006's Children of Men. Please, please check it out if you haven't seen it. I know it's out on DVD now (not sure about Netflix because I don't have it) and if you're in Toronto, tonight is Monsieur Lazhar's final night at the Lightbox.

I was also lucky enough to get tickets to Our Lady Peace's sold-out gig at the Phoenix last night. Read a full review (and check out the setlist) at Canoe. It's such a treat to see an iconic Canadian rockband like OLP in an intimate club setting like the Phoenix. The crowd were pumped, the band was stellar and the show was a perfect blend of classics and material from the new album, Curve (which was released only yesterday), that left me dying to pick up the new CD. It's tough to pick a favourite song rendition from such a fantastic show but I have to go with 4AM.

I'm just sorry that the gig is over and that I'm not there now. Not that I don't want to hang out with seedling book some more but the breaks, and the inspiration are much appreciated!

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