Girl Mans Up Book Launch #2: Durham Region

Wednesday evening was Book Launch #2 for Girl Mans Up. (Photo gallery is at the end of this post.) I planned 2 launches because when you’re from the suburbs, traveling to downtown Toronto is a pain in the ass. All that traffic, and the parking drama. Anyway, I decided to have this second launch at a local library.

This launch was different from the first launch. The first had this downtown/nightspot feel, with several people I didn’t know attending, along with my agent and the HarperCollins Canada team. The second was in a bright room, and was packed with people I know, many of whom I’ve known for a long time. I am so glad the library gave me the bigger room because had we had to go with the original room I requested, we would’ve been stuck together and gasping for air.

Book launches, I’m finding out, are like big social teases, dangling all these cool people in front of the person who wrote the book and basically going, Ha! You’re all giddy to be seeing these people but you won’t have more than 1 minute to talk to each of them, and then it’ll be over and everyone will have gone home. I just wanted to talk to everyone, see what they’ve all been up to!

I saw people I went to elementary school and high school with, some of my mom’s longtime coworkers, some of my own coworkers, many loyal faces from my local writing community (the Writers’ Community of Durham Region), and of course close friends and family.

I could just leave it at all the amazing, but I won’t. I’m going to share the not-so-great things that happened because those are way more interesting to read about. So here’s what happened: I got punched in the mouth by the microphone I was using for my reading and Q&A, and rather than punch it back, I rolled with it and kept on chatting away. I had gotten stuck in the rain on the way in earlier, and everyone neglected to tell me my hair had gone all “There’s Something about Mary” on me. Half the photos taken turned out blurry and/or have my messed-up hair in them. And I ran out of books to sell (but that part is actually pretty exciting!).

I had planned to write this blog post yesterday, however my attention was totally highjacked by the more exciting, badass thing ever:

To give you some context, although Pen came to life through the inspiration I got from my girlfriend Melissa, when describing Pen, I had Bex Taylor-Klaus in mind. I sent clips of her as Bullet (in The Killing) to my editor to help her see the way I see Pen. So it’s been a thing for quite a while now that Melissa and I are like, “If there’s ever a Girl Mans Up movie, Bex totally has to play Pen.” (And not just because she literally looks the part, but also because she’s just an awesome actor. Go watch The Killing and Scream and you’ll see the energy and heart she brings to a part.) She’s who we picture when we read the story. So I tweeted Bex just that. And then her response came:

I mean…what?! Melissa and I had a serious case of fangirlism. We legit screamed repeatedly and scared the crap out of our puppies. And through all this, my Twitter was blowing up with mentions. People actually went out to buy my book on Bex’s recommendation (so, you know, thanks, Bex!). I honestly never thought something like this would happen. When you write a book, you often get asked “Who would play so-and-so in the movie?” And you throw out names of famous people just for fun. I was all “Hands down, Bex Taylor-Klaus.” Well now she’s reading my book, and I’m over here trying not to be a creeper about it because I just want to be bombarding her with tweets! Where did you get the book? How did you hear about it? What page are you on? What parts made you laugh? No but for real—how did my book end up in your hands? Do you wanna hang out?

Let me be clear: There is no Girl Mans Up movie (as of yet, anyway). But personally I think there should be (ha!) and I think it should happen while Bex can still play teenaged characters. 😉

And now for the photos of the second launch. (For just the photos, click here.)

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Girl Mans Up is Out!

Yesterday was September 6, the day my YA novel GIRL MANS UP was released. I’d planned on writing a little thing IMG_20160906_191124about it, but the day ended up being crazy-busy, mostly because of Twitter. 😀 I did talk a little about this milestone on my agent Linda Epstein’s blog, so check out that post if you want to read my thoughts on this story going from idea to book.

So yesterday GMU came out…

14188185_1125269607561184_1858142118738416256_oI went to my local Chapters to see it live. I think this is the realest this has felt, so far. When I received the ARC, and even the hardcover book, I felt like it was some prop I ordered. Maybe because it was in my hands, in my house, in my little universe. At Chapters, it was just a book on a shelf with all the others. I spotted it from across the aisle (my red book is eye-catching!). It was extra special because at that location, it was facing out, with a “Staff Pick” sticker. Coincidentally, that staff person was there, so it was great to meet her in person.

After that, I drove to another local Chapters. This one hadn’t received its order, 14257446_1125269557561189_4502110421592326369_oso that was kind of a bummer. 😛 I then drove to the mall and signed the few copies that bookstore had. Throughout all this, I was killing my phone battery and eating up all my data because…Twitter.

gmu lindaFor one day, I got to feel like a celebrity, and it was nutty! Ha! I can’t believe all the pub-day attention I got. It almost felt like everyone else was as excited as I was. Book Birthdays are way better than real birthdays, let me tell you.

My agent called me from New York, and she went to go see my book at her local Barnes & Noble. How cool is that?!

Malinda Lo posted a blog specifically about my book, which was a total surprise. That made my release day extra awesome.

And then Emma Donoghue tweeted about my book! That was quite ridiculously amazing. I’m still in awe.

So back to my book adventure. I didn’t just go out to stare at my book. Not at all. I went to spend money! There are so many queer YA books out right around the same time. I celebrated my book release by buying myself a ton of IMG_20160906_121237books. 😀 And it looks like I won’t be quitting my book spending for a while because Fall really is where queer YA literature is at. Don’t forget to check out the hashtag #FallLGBTQ on Twitter for a series of chats this fall. Speaking of… I had my #FallLGBTQ chat yesterday afternoon, along with Robin IMG_20160906_135623Talley and Zoraida Cordova (whose new books I totally bought yesterday).

I crashed early last night because I had been up for way over 24hrs (night-shift worker here), and after that crazy day, I was out.

Today I’m over at Diversity in YA with a Q&A on GIRL MANS UP‘s approach to gender, sexuality, and language. Check it out, especially if you’ve been wondering about those hot-button topics. 😉

And tonight is my second book launch, at one of my local libraries. I cannot wait!!

Girl Mans Up Book Launch #1: Toronto

Last night was the official book launch for my debut YA novel Girl Mans Up. It was downtown Toronto, at Glad Day Bookshop’s new location. The space is amazing, and I highly recommend having literary events there. It was the perfect spot for my launch, and I’m sure you’ll see that by looking at the photos.

Glad dayWhat is Glad Day Bookshop? Glad Day is the oldest surviving queer bookstore in the world (established in the ‘70s. It is also Toronto’s oldest bookstore. They have been location on Yonge Street, but are now working toward moving to a new (and accessible!) location on Church Street, reinventing themselves as a café/nightspot/bookstore/literary event venue.

Let me describe the scene and events for you a little (especially for those to whom the photos are useless!): The space is a modern-looking restaurant/bar. The reading/Q&A was set up in the front, with the window wall opened so we could experience the nice September downtown-Toronto night. I had a station set up with a canvas for attendees to sign. That’s going up in my office as a Toronto launch keepsake! I also had a photo area where attendees picked up a sign (that I made myself so it was nothing fancy :P) and posed for photos, which will be turned into a cool photo diary series I’ll be posting separately. For those who read the book, you’ll know why this photo idea was significant. 😉 There were amazing snacks set up (including the world’s best cupcakes), and Glad Day was there to serve beverages. We all just stood or sat around, mingling. I was so freaking pumped to see each face that popped in. I was floored by how many people I didn’t know personally came!

Around 8pm, Michael, one of Glad Day’s owners—the dude who worked his magic to make my launch happen there—came on to quiet the room. He then introduced Suzanne, my editor at HarperCollins Canada. She gave me the best intro ever. I felt like my face was going to split in half from smiling so damn much. I went up to the mic and instantly, I felt like doing karaoke. Instead, I talked a little bit about GMU, then I did a short reading. I was about to walk off when Michael stopped me! Apparently I was about to give up the opportunity for a Q&A. I honestly thought I’d be boring everyone by staying up there talking. Ha! I got some awesome questions, and I really felt like people had a good time, judging by all their engaged, smiling faces. That was an amazing experience.

And now, can we talk about the lineup of people who bought my book and had it signed? What a crazy-cool experience. I just wanted to sit and chat with everybody forever, especially because I hadn’t seen some of these people for a while. I’m blown away by the number of people who turned up, including some of the HarperCollins Canada team (Hi Suzanne, Melissa, Shamin, and Jessica!), and my agent Linda Epstein who flew up from New York. (I wish my HarperTeen editor Jill Davis would’ve been able to attend!)

Linda also brought me a gift: Earlier, she’d sent out one of her GMU ARCs out to her clients who then passed it around and scribbled inside as they read. They then wrote me notes at the back, almost the way we’d sign each other’s yearbooks in high school. This is one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever gotten. Getting to read people’s thoughts as they experienced the story is magical. I am going to find a way to hang this well-worn ARC on my wall to display it.

I’d done my research on book launches, and I tried to plan for a fun evening, but I could never have planned for all the awesomeness that came from having the best venue, the coolest gang of attendees, and for the publishing people who took the time to come celebrate with me. I really think this was the best book launch in the entire world.

And now I get to have another one! Next Wednesday, September 7th 2016, in Ajax (Ontario). I cannot wait!!!

Now for the photos! (And for just the individual photos, check out this post.)

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Quill & Quire Review of GMU

I got a pleasant surprise a few days ago. I found out not only did Quill & Quire review my book, but they gave it a starred review! The whole write-up is so amazing, and I am so grateful for this reviewer’s careful analysis of the story. I cannot wait to buy the September issue when it’s out in stores (and my mom may have already reserved a few copies at our local Chapters…!).

I’m sharing the review here for those who might want to see it! It’s so good!!! 😀


Quill and Quire - M-E Girard - GMU

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