Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oregon, I'm headed your way.

I'm leaving for Portland today, and then for The Dalles tomorrow for the amazing GOT BOOKS? event at Klindt's Bookstore.

Check out the books whose authors will be there:

Doesn't it look like fun? It's an all day event, with live music and free bbq. So, if you're in Oregon, or the panhandle of Idaho, or Washington, or Montana, or Northern California, hop on a bus and join me! 

More info on the event here.

And, as usual, if you get a copy of EVERNEATH signed there, you get a guitar pick necklace, and a chance to meet my mom! 

Hope to see any of you there. Hope even more to see ALL of you there. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Have Some News on a New Project in the EVERNEATH World...

I have some news. 

This news has leaked out in several venues, mostly because I spilled the beans on the Twitter, and then I had a plan to blog about it immediately, but time went by, and the beans I spilled got old, and became slightly refried. (Okay, I might have the wrong idea of how beans actually get refried.)

Where was I? 

Right. News. So, we had a wordwar on twitter today, and I shared some of my favorite lines that I wrote, and then I realized that I forgot to mention my new project. 

So here it is:

Before EVERBOUND comes out (in January), HarperCollins will release an e-book set in the EVERNEATH world. Written by me. (Not sure I needed to specify my authorship, but just in case...) 

Here are three things about the e-book:

1. It will be novella length. (About a third to a half of the length of a full novel).
2. It will be told from Cole's point of view.
3. It doesn't have a title yet.
4. It will start immediately when EVERNEATH ends. Kind of like a bridge book.
5. You do NOT have to read it to understand EVERBOUND. 

That about wraps up the news. Until it gets a title, I will call it EVER-Novella. 

I'll share some of my favorite quotes from EVER-Novella so far:

Quote #1 "It's not worth it. You think you're bartering with your fingers, but you'll end up losing an arm."

Quote #2 Meredith: "He gave up his philandering ways to be with her."

     Cole: "He's in high school. Teenagers don't have 'philandering ways'."

Quote #3  "There's no such thing as 'epic love'. But there is such a thing as 'epically bad decisions based on something believed to be love, but is most likely lust'."

So, what do you think? Do you have any questions about said EVER-Novella? Are you as excited as I am? 

Yes? Then, can you write it?

Kidding. I'm totally writing it. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dad left behind a little bit of himself... namely, his intestines

Okay, so my dad had this disease called Celiac, which meant he couldn't have a trace of gluten (wheat, flour, barley, etc.)

So, none of this stuff:

After he passed away last month, my family (mom, sister's fam and my fam) went up to our condo in Midway. It was our first trip there without him, so it was bittersweet to say the least. But while we were up there, we ordered a couple of giant pizzas from this Italian pizza joint. 

We were so excited because it was the first time in 25 years we'd ordered pizza as a family. Up until last month, we never (as a family) wanted to order something with gluten in it, out of respect for my dad's disease. 

Well, my family hasn't stopped talking about last week's night of pizza. My sister spoke of the pizza like it had just been invented the night before. 

She's all, "It's cheese AND sauce AND bread! It's a miracle!"

We immediately made plans to go to the condo in Midway again, just so we could order that pizza. 

But then three days later, I got a call from my doctor's office.

"Ms. Ashton?"


"I'm calling about the results of your blood test. And... you've tested positive for celiac disease."


It kinda sucks. But the best part of whole thing has been the reactions I've gotten from my family and friends. 

I'll share them with you. These are the conversations that follow after the announcement, "I have Celiac disease." 

Reaction #1
Bree Despain (who is gluten-intolerant): "I knew it! I diagnosed that for you, like, weeks ago! And I didn't even need the blood test to prove it! Welcome to hell. Haha!"

Reaction #2:
my mom: "Oh, I'm so thrilled! It's like your dad left a little piece of himself behind for us."

me: "Um, if he wanted to leave a piece, I would've preferred his big heart, over his faulty intestines..."

Reaction #3:
also my mom: "Okay, we had pizza last weekend, and I don't know about you, but I felt just dang crappy afterward, so this works out great. You couldn't have asked for better news."

To be fair, any news that doesn't involve the word "cancer" is good news in our family.

Reaction #4:
My sister: "Seriously? Crap! Does that mean no more pizza? What are we going to eat over Memorial Day weekend? Couldn't you have planned to get the diagnosis later?"

me: "I've heard that a gluten-free diet is sort of healthy. At least, healthier than eating all that bread."

sister (with jealousy in her voice): "Really? Then I'm going gluten-free too, and don't try to stop me. It's not all about you."

So, I know it's not a big deal. But it's going to be a little difficult going "Gluten-Free" because I've been on the "Go Gluten or Go Home" diet for so long. 

I met with the doctor again, hoping that the blood test might have been a little inconclusive, but she told me that on the celiac scale of 1-10, my blood test came back at 72.

No joke. 

Below, I present something this world has never seen before... nay, something this universe has never seen before... 


In other great news, I'll be in San Francisco at Books Inc. for a book event with the amazing Bree Despain and Cynthia Hand tomorrow night. 

If you are in the area, or know anyone in the area, take pity on a gluten-free soul and spread the word! And if you have any good GF tips or recipes, send them my way. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

How We Fooled Kid C... and Now We Worry about his lack of Basic Perception Skills

The other day we surprised Kid C by taking him to Avengers.

I was so excited, because I have this memory of my parents surprising me and my sister by taking us to Return of the Jedi when it was fresh in theaters. (No, I'm not that old. I think I was like, 2.)

But my dad didn't tell his little Star Wars fanatics that they were seeing it. He told us we were at the theater to see High Road to China. 

My sister and I didn't suspect a thing when the line to get in to the movie wrapped around the entire theater. Nor did we become suspicious when when people in that line were dressed like Jawas. (kidding). But when the screen lit up, and those stars showed up, and the music started up, my sister and I got the picture, and we started screaming we were so thrilled.

I wanted to do the same thing with Kid C, but I was worried he'd catch on quickly, because these days the signs are everywhere. And not just cheap letters on a theater marquee. We're talking lifesize posters.

We took him to the theater, and he wasn't suspicious. He's all, "I want to see Avengers!" And we were all, "We're not here to see a movie. Sam just needs to pick up some gift certificates."

We waited in line for the tickets, and when Sam bought them, I distracted Kid C by pointing out how good the popcorn smelled.

Kid C: "Can we get some popcorn?"

me: "Sure!"

We went past the ticket taker, and Sam slipped him our tickets unbeknownst to Kid C, so we could go inside and buy popcorn and an Icee.

After we paid for the stuff, Kid C's all, "Where's dad?"

me: "I think he's meeting someone in Theater six. Let's go check."

We found him, saving us seats on the third row.

Kid C: "What's he doing?"

me: "They're showing a free movie right now."

Kid C: "Which one?"

me: "Um... We Bought a Zoo. Have you seen it?"

Kid C: "Yes. It's sort of boring."

Sam: "Well, they're only showing the first 45 minutes of it. We can leave if you don't like it."

Kid C (reluctantly): "Okay."

The trailers started up. If you've seen the Avengers, you know the trailers shown there would not be shown before We Bought a Zoo. 

Still, nothing.

Finally, the movie began. The packed theater started cheering and clapping. 

Kid C: "Boy, they're excited to see We Bought a Zoo."

The first scene appears. It shows a magical cube called a tesseract. 

Kid C's all, "Hey! That's like in Thor! I wish we could see the Avengers."

Sam and I looked at each other. 

Sam: "Should we tell him?"

me: "If we don't, at this rate I'm not sure he'll get it until the end of the movie."

So, to recap, we drove him to the movie theater, stood in line for tickets, bought tickets, handed them to the ticket taker, bought popcorn and an icee, went into theater 6 "Showing AVENGERS", sat in row three, watched the theater fill up, watched the trailers, watched the first five minutes of the movie... and Kid C never caught on that we were even going to a movie. 

Once we told him our surprise, he freaked out appropriately, but then asked, "Are we only seeing 45 minutes of it? Or the whole thing?"

Either we are incredibly stealthy parents, or... No, that has to be it. We're incredibly stealthy parents. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Three things on my mind... Including zombie flies and dead fish

Three things on my mind:

1. Every day I kill one single fruit fly in my bathroom. It's usually in the sink, so I run the water and wash it down. 

Every day, another one appears. Only one. 

My question: Is it the same fruit fly, and it somehow doesn't drown? Is it a zombie fruit fly? Is it a glitch in the matrix? Or are the fruit flies invading my house using the worst possible strategy of sending in one soldier at a time.

2. While discussing the phenomenon of _________ Shades of ________ (I don't really want to add to the hype by using the entire title) we discovered that there are two levels of porn. 

Level #1: Porn

Level #2: Porny-porn. 

I don't yet know the implications of this discovery, but I hope it leads to a cure for cancer. 

3. My fish died today. For those of you new to the blog, you might not know we are known for killing Beta fish in our house, due to the fact that I like to tap on the glass of the tank and make them do tricks. 

But with Shadow, I left him alone. And he survived for a year and a half (which is a year and five months longer than any other fish have survived). 

I cried. I usually don't cry over fish, but I'm oversensitive right now. Looks like I picked the wrong month to quit smoking. 

So, yon bloggerville, what's on your mind? 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Three Things I've Learned over the last Two Weeks

Hey y'all. 

Three things I've learned over the last two weeks. 

1. Humor can go a long way. 

In the hospital, we were showing my father the latest Mission Impossible movie. We had to pause it at one point, so the nurse - the awesome Bradley - could give my dad his medicine. He had to deliver the medicine in an unconventional way because my dad was so nauseous, so my mom, my sister and I stepped outside to give him room.

When Bradley came out into the hallway afterward, he pulled off his latex gloves and announced, "You won't see that on Mission Impossible!"

He was right. We didn't see it. 

2. Some gifts shouldn't be acknowledged. 

My family is all for organ donation. If there is a chance someone can live, or thrive, because of a gift from someone who is dying, we support it. We were lucky enough to be able to donate the corneas of my dad's eyes, and we didn't hesitate. We are thrilled that someone who couldn't see will now be able to view life through a different perspective. 

However, in recognition of the donation, the eye and cornea organization sent me a thank you card, and a plastic three ring binder with some sort of saying printed on the front about how to deal with the loss of a loved one.

Now all I can think is, "We gave you my dad's eyes, and you gave us a Trapper Keeper!"

2. a. Sometimes my grief manifests itself in anger. 

Forgive me. 

3. I am not alone. 

We have been fed, embraced and ministered to by countless friends and loved ones. As my friend Sally says, I'm now a member of the "Cancer took my dad" club, where the price of membership is way too high, but you're never alone. 

There's no gesture of support more organic than catching someone else's tears, and my tears have been caught so many times. They've never hit the ground. 

Thank you to everyone, for catching my tears. 

And now, as my dad said during his last day in this life, "Let's move forward."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hi Everybody!

Thank you so much for all the kind words, condolences, prayers and thoughts on my behalf. I have felt so supported and loved! 

A few things to let you know about in regards to upcoming events:

  • I've had to cancel the book signing at the Rainbow Blvd. Barnes and Noble in Las Vegas tomorrow. 
  • But I WILL be at the Mysterious Galaxy Book Store in San Diego on Saturday morning, 11:00 am, for their birthday bash.
  • NEW EVENT: I will also be in Oregon coming up on June 2nd for the YA Book Festival in The Dalles, Oregon, at Klindt's Bookstore. Hope to see you there. 
My dad's send-off yesterday was simple and sweet, just like he is. We are extremely grateful for the bonus four and a half years we got with him since his diagnosis. They were good years, and he was healthy for most of them. 

Now if we could just figure out how to navigate a world he's not a part of. :)

Love to you all.