The Weekend Bucket List Tour

Blog Tour, Misc.

Weekend Bucket List 1600px (Smashwords, Amazon).jpegThe Weekend Bucket List
by Mia Kerick
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction/Coming of Age (LGBTQ)
Release Date: April 19th 2018
Duet Books, YA imprint of Interlude

Summary:

High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line—they’ve never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.

There’s a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another—feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?

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I’m Cady: A Monologue by Mia Kerick

Sometimes I feel like nobody gets me.

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Let’s start with my parents… Mom is great but she’s a little bit broken, thanks to some of the stuff my brother Bradley did in over the past few years in high school. She tries so hard to make us the perfect family. I don’t think she knows that there aren’t any perfect families. So far, I’ve lived the life she wants me to live—I tried to be the perfect kid to make up for my twin brother’s mistakes. You know, to make up for the pain he caused. I can’t handle seeing Mom hurt any more, but I’m a regular kid, too. I need to try things out, to do things wrong, to learn stuff for myself, maybe even the hard way. She looks at everything I do from the perspective of how it will affect and reflect on her. She just doesn’t understand.

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In many ways, Dad’s separate from the rest of us. He doesn’t talk too much about how he feels or ask about how we feel. He just wants to be what he calls “the man of the house.” What he means is he wants to be the one in charge of everybody’s destinies. He wants to be respected and never questioned and be able to tell us what to do and how to do it. I think he loves us as much as Mom does, but he wants the job of raising a family to be simple, and it’s just not. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be me—trying to be perfect but needing to be real.

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My brother Bradley was my favorite person in the world until we hit high school. We just got each other completely and had each other’s backs. Being with him was always perfect, which you probably don’t believe, but it was. I don’t trust many people with my thoughts, but I trusted Bradley. It killed me when he started to go his own way, and to leave me behind. But it hurt even worse because the places he went were dangerous—he’d started to drink alcohol and use drugs. The tighter I held onto him, the more quickly he slipped away from me. And losing him changed me into a person I’m not sure I always like. I became kind of paranoid that I’d be left alone, without anyone I could truly relate to. Now he’s home from rehab and things are getting better. But it’s been tough at times because he’s so devoted to his new sober life that he looks at everything through rehab-tinted glasses. I want him to see me as his sister and his friend, and not just as a person who is in danger of making the same mistakes he made. Even if sometimes I am. We have a lack of communication, but a lot of it is my fault, at this point.

Now let’s take a look at my two best friends:

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I’ll start with Eli. He really isn’t the kind of guy to judge me, which lets us get on the same page pretty easily. But sometimes I think he looks up to me too much because I’m smart at school. And he admires that I’m maybe a little bit bossy, where he isn’t bossy at all. Eli says, “Cady, you aren’t large, but you sure are in charge.” In other words, I say just exactly what I think and tell people how I think it should be. I’ve got strong opinions—it’s not a crime. But I really don’t mean to intimidate Eli. I won’t explode in to a million pieces if I don’t get my way—seriously, it won’t happen. I wish that, at least every once in a while, Eli would stand up to me and tell me, “It’s not gonna happen like that, Cady.” Overall, he’s such a sweet guy and an awesome friend, and I’m so glad I met him. But he doesn’t get that he shouldn’t be so intimidated by me.

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Finally, there’s Cooper. We have a pretty complicated relationship. Best friends for years… sure, that’s a fact. But there’s also the attraction component that throws a wrench in the “we’re just friends” thing. Cooper means everything to me. He’s smart and cool and funny. We’ve been together so much for so long that we’re like, two sides of the same person. Except when we’re not. It’s awkward and scary to feel attraction to your best friend. It’s risky, too, because if you try to go romantic and it all goes downhill, can you ever reverse it? And so a few months ago I started staring at Cooper… a lot. I know he’s aware of it because he turns pink when I do it. But I can’t stop—I’m trying to figure him out. To figure us out. Sometimes I think he feels the same way about me—confused, because he’s a little bit into me—but everybody, and I mean everybody just assumes he’s gay. Which is not really fair at all, is it? It’s up to him to decide if he’s gay, or bi, or whatever. Maybe I don’t get him either. Maybe I’m just thinking of what I want from him, and not about letting him decide what’s right for him. All I know is that our friendship is pretty spectacular, and no matter what, it needs to last forever. We used to be on the exact same page, but sometimes, lately, it feels like we’re in different chapters.

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And then there’s Daisy, my loyal cat. She gets me, pretty much all the time. She understands certain direct commands and when I need somebody to listen to me, Daisy gives me the time of day. Sometimes it’s painful because if I want her to stay I have to let her knead her paws on my belly. But we manage to work it out because she gets me, you know?

You can meet Cady LaBrie, her family and friends… and Daisy the cat, in The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick.

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A Note from the Author

I wrote The Weekend Bucket List because, although friendship is an exquisitely fine art, in our society it is undervalued. Much of the popular culture geared toward teens—books, movies, music, and more—grooms them to feel incomplete without a boyfriend or girlfriend—their mandatory “other half.” Romantic love is supposed to be what all teens should want—the end-all and be-all of relationships—but a committed bond of friendship is no consolation prize. Friendship is compelling in a different way than romantic love—it is precious and rare and is earned through patience, understanding, forgiveness, laughter, and love.

In fact, there are times when friendship can be a more meaningful and worthwhile vessel for deep feeling. Best friends Cady, Cooper, and Eli need one another and can no more live apart than could Romeo and Juliet! The three teens struggle to understand their individual sexualities and to discover the roles they will play in each other’s lives, but they find a way to be together. As they grapple with their feelings, they learn to be honest. They decide to forgive each other’s mistakes when walking away would be easier. They become a family of choice. And they complete each other.

If this isn’t a love story, I don’t know what is. But it isn’t a romance.

If you choose to read and review The Weekend Bucket List, please be aware that it strays from my usual path of touching YA romance, but not from the direction of a poignant love story. Friendship is just a different kind of love.

Bonus: I’m pretty sure you’ll laugh, and it’s possible you’ll cry.

 

mia kerick.jpgAbout the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com.

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Cori McCarthy – The Writer vs. The Adult Interview

Author Interview

CM Headshot2.jpgMeet Cori McCarthy

Cori McCarthy is the author of the science fiction thrillers The Color of Rain and Breaking Sky, as well as the contemporary mixed media novel, You Were Here, and the forthcoming feminist rom com, Now A Major Motion Picture. Cori started writing at the age of thirteen, and studied poetry, memoir writing, and screenwriting before falling in love with YA at Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA program. Cori spends most of their time at home in Vermont with their partner, fellow YA author Amy Rose Capetta, and their small son—and they are excitedly looking to get a puppy! On the horizon for 2019, Cori and their partner coauthored a duology entitled, Once & Future, a space fantasy about a girl King Arthur with an inclusive cast of the new knights of the round spaceship.

Find out more at CoriMcCarthy.com or tweet your favorite nerd .gif @CoriMcCarthy. You can also find me on Instagram. My account is locked to keep out the riff-raff, but if you’re a reader just request and send a note, and I will approve you 🙂

 

 

The Interview

 

The writer vs. the adult. What do you struggle with in terms of balancing your writing live with your personal life?

On most days, I have three full-time jobs. I am a writer, an editor, and a parent. This is tricky at best…and like living in a swamp at worst. To help me stay balanced, I make small to-do lists and try to clear the deck of life’s etc. so that I can spend as much time as possible playing LEGOs with my son and writing as many books as possible.

 

What inspires you as a writer?

My mistakes and National Geographic. Not a lot of people know this about me, but I love to research. When I worked on Breaking Sky, I got to research the military, the Cold War, our global history of militarized youth, as well as amazing firsthand accounts of fighter jet pilots. When I worked on You Were Here, I devoured the NatGEo show Secrets of the Underground for urbexer inspiration—as well as going to the urbex locations in that story firsthand.
I draw heavily from history, culture, travel, and adventure when I write, but I also delve pretty deeply into the mistakes I’ve made and the problems I’ve faced. My writing thus becomes a kind of catharsis—a way to understand why things happen the way they do. I’ve always found that fiction is a balm for the aching places in the soul. For example, I wrote You Were Here as a way to understand my friend’s death many years ago. I never thought I’d be able to process what happened—and why the adults in my life were so ill-equipped to help us deal with the loss. But then along came Mik, Jaycee, Natalie, Zach, and Bishop…and they helped me out.

 

I see you freelance edit and are a writing coach. Does your editor brain clash with your writer brain when you are working on your own projects?

Nope! My editor brain and my writing brain don’t seem to be friends, let alone acquaintances. There are so many times when I’m advising a writing client, and I realize that the mistake they’ve been making is something I also need to work on in my own manuscript. I tend to write loose and fast, making all the mistakes as I go—only to smooth them out later. While I don’t necessarily tell other writers to do the same, I do encourage writers to be more willing to write badly. After all, you can never write a perfect book from the get-go. So go ahead and write it badly first! It’s faster to revise a draft than to wait for the perfect (imaginary) pages.

 

From to memoirs to poetry to screenwriting to YA to picture books… you’ve dabbled in it all! Tell us about you and how it influenced your decisions to branch out into different genres shaped your writing.

I find that they’re all related! When I write picture books or novels in verse, my poetry background leaps forward. When I’m plotting novels, my screenwriting education takes the wheel and makes sure I don’t get lost in the land of over-plotting nonsense. When I worked on You Were Here, I had to write scripts for the graphic novel sections, and poems for Bishop’s poetry, and then I needed all my education to make Zach, Jaycee, and Natalie’s prose voices sound unique. It was the best kind of juggling.

 

Are there any stereotypes or stigmas that you really want to tackle in upcoming projects? I have to point out here I am anxiously awaiting for everything you have in the works and continue to read You Were Here whenever I need the facts (but hope!) during rough times.

This is such a great question!
My upcoming book Now A Major Motion Picture is lighter than my other books—well, it is a rom com! That being said, I’d love for readers to look at what’s woven into the sweetheart romance and the ridiculous fantasy nerd shenanigans. Iris, the main character, is waking up to how women are blatantly mistreated in Hollywood—and the world and in her own family. This kind of awakening is tough to write about, and I’m hoping that it sneakily reaches everyone out there who needs a boost in fighting back against the most recent surge of patriarchal nonsense.

I’m also starting to write more about the LGBTQ+ community, and my experiences being a nonbinary, pansexual, mixed race Arab American. I have been afraid to write openly about these things in the past because publishing hasn’t had the best track record with uplifting marginalized identity stories and the writers who are brave enough to write them. But things are changing. And I’m done being afraid. Right now I’m working on a story that is similar to You Were Here in tone and depth, only this time it’s about my experiences growing up in a rural conservative community that abhorred difference. We’ll see how it goes…and if I can convince anyone to publish it!

 

Do you have a go-to author, book, or activity that helps you destress from writers block? If not, how do you tackle writers block? (Feel free to answer both if time permits or inspiration strikes!)

Keep in mind that if you are a writer, you should always be writing. Every day. But if you’ve hit a wall, maybe you should be writing something else? I once heard Philip Pullman say, “Don’t write when you’re not inspired. That’s like looking for a shadow with a flashlight.”
If there’s something you’ve burned out on, move along to a different project. When I was worn down from the heaviness of You Were Here, I ended up writing a rom com and a picture book biography about Kahlil Gibran—both of which surprised me. So yes, always write, but don’t make yourself write one book at a time. This business is tough enough, and you might as well have fun while you’re doing it 😉

 

Fangirling aside, is there anything you’d like to share with the readers today?

I think this is it! Great questions! Thank you for reaching out, and I’m really hoping to meet you one day!

 

 

Thank you Cori for stopping by! Had a blast 🙂

Now A Motion Picture is out now!

 

Chasing Nirvana Tour + Road Trip Playlist

Blog Tour

Chasing Nirvana
by Elyn Oaksmith
Genre: YA Coming of Age Romance/LGBTQ
Release Date: October 2017

Summary:

Fran Worth is just another girl trying to make it through senior year at Weatherwax High in Aberdeen, Washington. But it’s 1993 and Fran is gay. Her comfortably off the radar life turns vividly public when a student nominates Fran for prom queen. When confronted by angry parents Fran refuses to back down, promising to deliver her hometown heroes in hopes of winning prom queen votes.
Fran heads out on a 24 hour road trip to Daily City, California with four friends, including her crush who may or may not be gay.  Their plan? To sneak backstage to ask Kurt Cobain and Nirvana to come home and play prom. No problem. Unless something goes wrong.
 

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**Want to check out a sample of Chasing Nirvana? Download a three chapter sample here: https://bookhip.com/HLLPLA

Guest Post:

Ellyn Oaksmith’s Road Trip Playlist
Of course we’ll start out with Nirvana. Smells like Teen Spirit, Come as You Are, About a Girl and All Apologies, Sliver, Heart-Shaped box and Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge because even if that last one isn’t my favorite – it’s the name of my main character and the story behind the song is incredible. A local movie star who was institutionalized for being different. Something that would never happen today.

Hopefully. From there I’d move onto another grunge band I love: Pearl Jam: “Jeremy,” “Evenflow,” “Better Man.” I saw them live for free right near the real Soundgarden in Seattle in Madison Park. My sister went into the mosh pit. From that band I’d choose “Black Hole Sun,” “Fell on Black Days” and “Pretty Noose.”
From there I’d toss in a little old school dance music: Soul to Soul, anything from “Club Classics Volume I.” This whole album is for serious roll down your windows, sing along, car dancing. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill has “Zion” and “That Thing.” Also some of the intros to the songs with the school children are funny and heart-warming. I’d listen to Johnny Cash, Live at Folsom Prison. You gotta love the Man in Black singing to a bunch of convicts while the announcements about “report to cell block one” is made and the prisoners cheer like crazy at a song about a man shooting his wife while high on cocaine. Johnny Cash knew how to write a story in a few minutes that could break your heart.

Likewise Freddie Mercury from Queen. I’d listen to their “Greatest Hits” album. “Purple Rain” by Prince. The whole thing. Also OutKast. “The Love Below.”
If my kids were along for the ride we’d listen to Taylor Swift, Pink (love her) Snoop Dog, Kanye, Beyonce (who is awesome) 21 Pilots (who I adore) and Bastille (who I also love.) I just heard a fabulous song with Logic and Halsey. Amazing lyrics. So that too.
I’d toss in some U2 of course. Joshua Tree. Some classic Beatles. I do love Oasis also. Champagne Supernova is just a lovely song. There are many songs by Muse that I’d add to the mix. September by Earth Wind and Fire is so fun. So let’s toss that in too. I’d probably want to sing along to the Bee Gees, Stayin’ Alive just for giggles.
Two artists are always in my car: Adele (every album) and Coldplay: Parachutes, A Rush of Blood to the Head, X and Y, Viva la Vida, Ghost Stories and A Head Full of Dreams. Mylo Xyloto is their one album that just doesn’t speak to me. Everything else I can listen to endlessly.
Okay, I feel like we just drove from Seattle to Boston and I got to choose the tunes for the entire trip.
Thanks so much!

 

About the Author
I graduated from Smith College and have a very expensive MFA from The American Film Institute. Some writers will tell you that their MFA was a waste of money. I won’t. It gave me great editorial skills and colorful, crazy experiences working as a screenwriter in LA. Cooking on fishing boats in Alaska paid my tuition. Screenwriting and working in the middle of the Bering Sea have a lot in common: hard work, unpredictability and occasionally both make you want to scream.
Besides my family and friends, I love rescue dogs, cats, cooking, baking, open water swimming, kayaking and reading, reading, reading, reading. Did I mention reading?

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GIVEAWAYS:

Anyone who comments on any of the blogs during the tour is eligible to win one of 30 e-book copies of Chasing Nirvana.

Anyone who signs up for the Author’s newsletter during the blog tour at this link: http://eepurl.com/2ZfTP  will enter to win one of 5 signed copies of the paperback.

Tour schedule here.
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