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It is endlessly bleak and dreary here so I am lighting every candle in my apartment and reading about Hygge, watching Christmas movies and knitting scarves and eating extra-dark pretzels dipped in mascarpone cheese. In December the cold makes me feel old fashioned, like someone who darns socks or has a root cellar, so I wrapped and sent out a bunch of Christmas packages full of bits and bobs from my overstuffed stationery drawer and made a bunch of dinners from stuff already in the fridge. It’s nice, this preparing kind of feeling. The notion that that something is on its way.

99 DAYS, and a giveaway

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I was at a writing retreat recently and I heard a woman say that before she actually sat down to do it, she had been very smug about writing her second book. “I was like, I just wrote one,” she said, shaking her head a bit in disbelief. “How hard could writing another one possibly be?”

Spoiler alert: it was very hard.

I mean, not hard-hard. Not hard like working on an oilrig or being in the army or cleaning bathrooms. Not hard like being a surgeon, like saving lives, and yes of course books save lives but sometimes I feel like I don’t even write those kinds of books, the really important lifesaving kind, not that my books aren’t important and not that I don’t feel proud but why does this feel so difficult and and on and on and on.

Do you hear me? I trust you to hear me.

The point is: HOW TO LOVE I wrote for the fun of it, because at the time I was playing around and didn’t really know any better. My third book, the shiny neon tragedy I’m writing now–that one I’m writing for love.

99 DAYS? 99 DAYS was work.

And it was so, so worth it.

I love this book, you guys. I am so excited to share it with you. It’s about a girl and two brothers and love and families and friendships and secrets and candy and water and ghost hearts and how sometimes you can’t even pinpoint the moment when a mistake starts to happen—you just look behind you at the end of it and there it is stretching back to the horizon line, as far as your eyes can see.

Also there is like, a ton of kissing in it, if that’s your bag. It is certainly mine.

99 DAYS isn’t out ‘til next April (although hello yes it is available for preorder), but I’ve got a stack of ARCs sitting on my desk and I would love love love to send one of them your way, along with a host of other goodies. A 99 DAYS Prize Pack, even. How about that.

There are four ways to enter, and you can enter up to four times:

  1. Subscribe to this blog (if you don’t already) and leave a comment here telling me you’ve done so.
  2. Follow me on twitter (if you don’t already!) and leave a comment here telling me you’ve done so.
  3. Follow me on tumblr (if you don’t already) and leave a comment here telling me you’ve done so
  4. Follow me on instagram (if, wait for it, you don’t already) and leave a comment here telling me you’ve done so.

The contest will run until this Sunday, November 16th, and is unfortunately only open to residents of the continental US. I’ll post the winner on Monday. So go play!

UPDATE: this giveaway is now closed. Stick around for more chances to win!

on and on

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In 2008 I was depressed so I started doing extreme couponing. Not, like, EXTREME extreme couponing, with the forty jars of mayonnaise and a year’s supply of Desitin for the baby I didn’t have, but extreme couponing nevertheless. I read the CVS circular the way I imagine other twenty-three year old women read Joan Didion, at length and with great attention. I was bored. I was looking for something. It was not six packages of oil-free Neutrogena wipes for a penny, but looking back I think I liked the weird obsessive logic of the endeavor—do this and this and this and this and this is what will happen. You will have something, you will have paid very little, and you will feel satisfied.

The other thing I did in 2008 was start this blog, and the two things feel connected a) because I used to TALK about my effing couponing here, as if that was the kind of thing that people wanted to read about, and b) because I think at the time it was satisfying to me in a similar way? The give and take of writing here and reading elsewhere, the click of my hands on the keys.

The point of all of this is that it’s six years later, I have two books under my belt that are happily not about couponing, I like to think that I’m generally less of a sad sack, but I still have a lot of other things to yammer about that are not fictional or my shopping habits (okay I want to yammer about my shopping habits a LITTLE). Most of all I miss making my home here, unwinding my words in this space.

I do this, and I feel satisfied. I am still here, if you are still here.

Plus if you’re interested I know where you can get some face wash WICKED CHEAP right now.

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OH HEY, WHO WANTS TO COME SEE ME ON TOUR NEXT WEEK?

I could not be more excited about this next adventure, you guys: five bookstores, five days, four (and sometimes five!) super cool YA-writing ladies, including yours truly. Come say hi if you’re in the neighborhood, yeah?

 

Featured Authors:

Katie Cotugno (How to Love)

Melissa Kantor (Maybe One Day)

Robyn Schneider (The Beginning of Everything)

Courtney C. Stevens (Faking Normal)

*Special Guest Lauren Oliver (Panic)*

 

Saturday, March 1st @ 4:00 PM

Odyssey Books

South Hadley, MA

 

Sunday, March 2nd @ 4:00 PM

Oblong Books

Rhinebeck, NY

 

Monday, March 3rd @ 7:00 PM

Barnes & Noble

Fairless Hills, PA

*With Special Guest Lauren Oliver (Panic)

 

Tuesday, March 4th @ 7:00 PM

Little Shop of Stories

Decatur, GA

*With Special Guest Lauren Oliver (Panic)

 

Wednesday, March 5th @ 7:00 PM

Blue Bicycle Books

Charleston, SC

*With Special Guest Lauren Oliver (Panic)