yesterday blog tour: Sept 23 - 28

Many thanks to Lindsey over at Random House Canada for assembling the upcoming Yesterday blog tour! Also BIG thanks to the terrific Canadian bloggers taking part for their cool guest blog ideas and questions. Here's the final tour schedule:

Diary of a Bookworm September 23
Just a lil' Lost September 24
Mermaid Visions September 25
Evie Bookish September 26
Midnight Bloom Reads September 27
Book Nerd September 28

I hope you'll drop by one of the stops and say hello. I'll be the tall woman in Doc Martens nursing a Coca-Cola.

About a week ago I received my first hardcover copy of Yesterday and it's so stunning that I can still hardly believe, whenever I lay eyes on it, that it's not some cool sci-film directed by Sofia Coppola (I know she hasn't directed a sci-fi movie yet but I can always dream an adaptation of my book will be the one!) but my very own novel. Thank you, Nicole De Las Heras, for this this beautiful looking book!
With the release right around the corner, on September 25th, I was inspired to re-design the website to match up with the novel and create double-sided (because My Beating Teenage Heart has it's paperback release on the same day) bookmarks to be used in giveaways and stuff. Also because, let's face it, I have way too much fun designing this stuff to consider NOT doing it.

My Beating Teenage Heart bookmark
Yesterday bookmark

As for my next blog post here, that will be posted early next week and I'll be talking about my favourite movies from the early 80s. The following post will cover technology and toys from the 80s and I'm saving favourite music for last but here's a peek—Such A Shame, from Talk Talk's second album, It's My Life (1984).

To this day I regret never seeing Talk Talk play live and I'm still pretty much convinced from here to 2063 that there was no one cooler in the 80s than Talk Talk lead singer Mark Hollis.
St. ElsewhereFirst, if you want a chance to win a copy of Yesterday head on over to Xpresso Reads and drop your name in the hat. Now, following on from my intro to the 80s post, it's time to delve into some of my favourite shows from the first part of the decade. This is all stuff that Freya might've run into while flicking channels (with the monster-sized corded remote that was in use at the time). Because this post is focusing on the 80s I'm leaving out all the 50s-70s repeats I would've watched in the 80s, but they made up a lot of my viewing then too (I have to admit that to this day I love watching Theodore Cleaver's antics in Leave It to Beaver).

Back then the TV environment was very different from today and most popular shows were on the three big networks ABC, CBS and NBC (Fox didn't launch until fall 1986). Plus, in the pre-Internet days and with VCRs only beginning to gain popularity (my family didn't get one until 1986) you had to watch your favourite show in its regular timeslot. Here are my most-loved shows from 1980-1985, in no particular order, with some notes on each.

Simon and Simon (weekly primetime show)

Sort of like a detective version of The Odd Couple but featuring two brothers who run a detective agency together (also sort of like Supernatural without the demons!). Rick was the freewheeling one with the cowboy hat and A.J. was his strait-laced younger brother. So big a fan of the show was I that I wrote the program asking for a signed photo and actors Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker obliged. While I quite liked them both I had a definite JP crush at the time.

City Limits (Fridays & Saturdays from around 12:30 to dawn)

Only Canadians of a certain age will remember this classic video show hosted by Chris Ward. It ran for about five hours through the night, and starting at around fifteen years old I would park myself in front of City Limits for as many hours as I could keep my eyes open. This was pre-MuchMusic, which started in the summer of 1984, so at the time City Limits was the closest thing we had to MTV but also somehow cooler because its late timeslot made it seem almost like a secret. Broadcaster and songwriter Christopher Ward hosted and City Limits is where Mike Myers character Wayne Campbell first appeared. Mike used to drop by City Limits as his alter ego. Sadly I couldn't find one existing clip of the show to link to or embed.

Three's Company (weekly primetime show)

Remake of British sitcom Man about the House. Premise: Aspiring chef Jack Tripper pretends to be gay so his uptight landlord won't mind him living with two cute women his own age. Silly as that sounds (although most sitcoms sound pretty silly anyway!) John Ritter's easy charm made the show loveable.

The Equalizer (weekly primetime show)

Edward Woodward has such a steely vibe that he was perfectly believable as Robert McCall a retired intelligence officer who has turned to directly helping civilians for free. I see this as an ancestor of today's Person of Interest. They're even both set in New York.

Late Night with David Letterman (Mondays to Thursdays from 12:30 - 1:30)

The first time I saw Letterman I was sleeping over at a friend's house and her older sister happened to be a fan. When Late Night began in 82 it was way past my bedtime so it wasn't until I was about fifteen that I was able to catch it myself and even then it was somewhat of a rarity (my school insisted on starting in the morning!) but for several years whenever I was in a crappy mood just tuning in to Late Night would set me right. It was funny in a way that I'd never seen before at the time, as well as being another show that almost felt like a secret by virtue of its timeslot. Check out this clip of rival:

Family Ties (weekly primetime show)

This family oriented sitcom ran from 1982-1989. A left-wing couple bring up their ultra-conservative son (played by Michael J. Fox) alongside their two daughters. Mostly the show was played for laughs but it had its serious side, tackling issues like drug abuse, racism, alcoholism and suicide.

General Hospital (Monday - Friday, 3-4PM)

One of my favourite General Hospital storylines included secret agent Robert Scorpio and an arch-villain's evil plot to build a weather machine capable of creating something called "carbonic snow" which could be used to freeze the world (I swear I'm not making this up! It was an actual GH plot in '81). Here Scorpio finds kidnapped love interest Holly.

But I started watching around about the time of Luke and Laura's romance and was just as entranced by it as everyone else. Now I'm appalled that show ever developed a romance between the two considering Luke had actually raped Laura two years earlier. Disturbing, harmful and incredibly insensitive - this is exactly the kind of attitude that fuels rape.
30 million viewers tuned in when Luke and Laura were
married on November 16, 1981
Kate & Allie (weekly primetime show)

Two divorced long-time friends move share a house and raise their kids together which seemed like somewhat of a novel arrangement at the time. Divorce really only became common in North America during the 70s and 80s. I confess I barely remember any specifics about the show, except that the characters were likeable.

St. Elsewhere (weekly primetime show)

My mom and I were totally devoted to this angsty medical drama that ran from 82 - 88. It was both realistic and emotional in a way which most 80s shows just weren't, and featured a strong cast including Denzel Washington, Bruce Greenwood, David Morse, Mark Harmon and Ed Begley Jr. No surprise that later my mom and I both became devotees of E.R. too! My heart still melts a little at the sound of the St. Elsewhere opening credits tune.

The New Music (weekly show, Saturday night?)
Canadian cutting edge magazine style show about music that started in 1979 and was eventually incorporated into MuchMusic in what evolved into a less interesting tone and format. In the 80s I considered host Daniel Richler the epitome of cool (I even list him as one of my heroes in the school yearbook). I still have his autograph somewhere along with 1985's anti-drug slogan: "Stay alive in 85". Below you can see him interview the band Cabaret Voltaire around the 1:12 mark:

Read the Rest of the 80s series:
* The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there
* The past is a foreign country: 80s Movies
* The past is a foreign country: 80s Toys and Technology
* The past is a foreign country: 80s Music

To celebrate Yesterday's release, in the run-up to September 25th I'll be blogging about the early 80s (1980-1985). Just like Yesterday's main character, Freya, I was sixteen in 1985 and if you were a teenager then too, these blog entries will be a trip down memory lane, back to the days of new wave music and the glory of Atari. If you weren't around for the early 80s, welcome to the time before cell phones you could fit in your pocket and the Internet as we know it today! This first post is an introduction to the period and will give you an idea (or remind you) what was happing culturally and politically during that time. Ready? Let's get started.


* The arcade game PacMan is released in Japan in May and then in October in the U.S.A. sparking PacMan mania in 1981.
* John Lennon is assassinated in New York City.
* Ted Turner establishes CNN, the first all news TV service.
* The Rubik's Cube gains worldwide popularity.
* The world population is 4,434,682,000.
* In 1980 the average new house in the U.S. costs $68,714., the average U.S. income per year is $19,170 and a gallon of gas costs $1.19.
* Terry Fox launches his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research.


* An assassination attempt is made on U.S. President Reagan.
* AIDS is first recognized by the CDC: five men in Los Angeles have a rare form of pneumonia seen only in patients with weakened immune systems.
* IBM introduces Personal Computers (PC).
* After fourteen months, fifty-two American hostages are released, ending the Iran hostage crisis, within minutes of Ronald Reagan succeeding Jimmy Carter as the President of the United States.
* Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer are married at St Paul's Cathedral in London drawing a global TV audience of over 700 million people.
* On August 1st the 24 hour a day music television station MTV is launched on cable television in the U.S.
* The first launch of a space shuttle (Columbia) occurs.
* Luke and Laura get married on TV soap General Hospital. Their wedding becomes the second most watched in history.


* Argentina invades the Falkland Islands.
* Michael Jackson releases Thriller which sells 20 million copies making it the largest selling album up to that time.
* The Vietnam War Memorial opens in Washington, DC.
* Prince William is born in West London.
* Sony launches the first consumer compact disc player.
* The Commodore 64 PC is released.
* Time Magazine names the computer its man of the year.
* The first artificial heart transplant takes place, the receipent lives 112 days.
* The Toyota Camry is introduced.


* The popularity of Cabbage Patch Kids causes a Christmas shopping frenzy in the U.S.
* Camcorders are introduced.
* President Reagan announces a defense intiative to intercept enemy missiles, a plan which becomes popularly known as "Star Wars."
* The first flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger occurs in April. Several months later Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space.
* A Provisional IRA bomb kills 6 Christmas shoppers and injures 90 outside Harrods in London.
* McDonald's introduces the McNugget.


* The PG-13 Movie rating is created.
* The Apple Macintosh is introduced and swells the ranks of new computer users.
* The Space Shuttle Discovery lands after its maiden voyage.
* Stonewashed jeans are introduced.
* Famine in Ethiopia begins, killing a million people by the end of the year.
* Crack, a smokeable form of cocaine, is first introduced in the LA area and soon spreads across the U.S.
* Canadian Music TV station MuchMusic launches on August 31.
* Novelist William Gibson coins the term cyberspace in his book Neuromancer.


* Continuing famine in Ethiopia prompts the Live Aid Rock Concerts in London and Philadelphia which raise over $600M for famine relief.
* The Hole in the ozone layer, first detected in 1977, is now indisputable.
* Mikhail Gorbachev becomes the last president of the Soviet Union.
* New Coke hits the Market, flops and is quickly replaced with Coke Classic ( the original formula).
* The wreck of the Titanic is discovered.
* The first Nintendo home entertainment system is introduced.
* Leaded gas is officially banned in the US.

And that, in a nutshell, was the first half of the 80's, the backdrop of events against which we all lived our lives from 1980 - 1985. Next time I'll be talking about my personal favourite TV shows from the period. Future posts will also cover music, movies and favourite technology/toys from the era. In the meantime, if you need more 80s in a hurry check out my post on my blast from the past vacation in 1981. Don't miss the photos!

Read the Rest of the 80s series:
* The past is a foreign country: 80s TV
* The past is a foreign country: 80s Movies
* The past is a foreign country: 80s Toys and Technology
* The past is a foreign country: 80s Music
I've seldom been so happy to see the back of a summer month as I was when August hit. July outright sucked on multiple levels. But so far August has been a breath of fresh air (thank you, universe!)—and not just because our air conditioning was finally, finally fixed after twenty-seven days. So many things started to look up after July bit the dust that I thought there must have been some major astrological shift going on in my chart (not that I really believe in that, but sometimes you have to wonder...).

Anyway, with the release of Yesterday just around the corner I plan to do some blogging about the 80s in August and September—music, technology, movies and TV, that sort of thing. I was sixteen in 1985 like Yesterday's main character, Freya, and there are times I wish I could go back for a visit and see how close some my rose-coloured glasses memories of the place are to the truth.

I also want to celebrate the same-day (September 25th) paperback release of My Beating Teenage Heart. You may remember that the hardcover looked like this:

My Beating Teenage Heart hardcover

Pretty creepy and atmospheric. The main thing the paperback cover has in common with its predecessor is that there's a a close-up of the girl on the cover. But the vibe of it is markedly different, I think. The paperback screams child of the universe which is pretty damn cool. And though I'm not one for faces on covers (I much prefer to imagine what a character looks like) I think this, thankfully, still leaves much of Ashlyn's appearance to imagination. I love its vibrancy.

My Beating Teenage Heart paperback

Before last September's hardcover release of My Beating Teenage Heart I wrote a brief essay for Amazon which somehow got lost in the shuffle and was never posted, but that I'd like to share with you now:

The kind of books I love to write are solidly rooted in reality, books that focus on ordinary young people living ordinary lives but who are at a point in their lives where whatever is happening to them feels anything but ordinary. They've lost their best friend because of a line that's been crossed. They've been the victim of violence and as a result have lost their sense of trust and well-being. They've fallen in love but have been unable to hold on to it. None of these things are unusual experiences, but they matter; people's emotional lives matter. We're not just the things we do or the things that happen to us—we're how we feel about those things.

When it came to writing My Beating Teenage Heart, I wanted to write the sort of book I've described above. But after penning many YA manuscripts that were strictly contemporary in nature (three of which have already seen the light of day), I also wanted to try something a little different.

So I wrote a story about two teenage characters, Breckon and Ashlyn, whose lives are intertwined, although they don't actually know each other. Breckon is grieving the death of his younger sister and holds himself responsible for her death to the extent that it's tearing him apart inside. Meanwhile, Ashlyn, when she becomes aware of her own existence, is a consciousness without a body, at first falling through a sea of stars and then completely tethered to a boy who is oblivious to her presence. Ashlyn sees everything Breckon does. She becomes his constant witness and has no idea why. In fact, she has only the most basic inkling of who she is and initially she wants nothing more than to be free of Breckon and his anguish.

I approached My Beating Teenage Heart as though it were based in reality, the same way I did with my previous books. While the situation is out of the ordinary (at least as far as our understanding of life goes), at heart it's very much the story of two teenagers' emotional lives. I hope reading the details of Breckon and Ashlyn's story makes you care about how they feel about things they've done and the things that have happened to them—that would mean I've done right by them.

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