Jane Hopper’s a gritty girl.

She’s not the kind of protagonist who’ll be stopped by some pandemic. She’s picked tomatoes in 106-degree heat, choking with Valley Fever. She’s bested a man five inches taller and three potato bags heavier than her. She’s gotten herself onto all the front pages–top of the fold. She’s gone toe to toe with the biggest artists and most-powerful players in Depression-era San Francisco. She’s faced worse than some dumb virus.

That’s how she sees it. She’s not the anxious type.

I, on the other hand, tend to worry. There won’t be any debut launch parties or in-person readings. Who cares? she says. I don’t know when the trucks will deliver books. People can read it on their phones, then. Or listen to the actress read it on audio. Everybody’s too interested now in important stuff–the news and politics–to care about stories. They’ll care about me, she says. I’m relevant.

I’ve decided to follow Jane’s lead. Less nervous. More nervy. Copy Boy will still publish June 23, 2020, though events that were on the calendar before are lined out now. So I’m hoping you’ll consider pre-ordering a copy. Online pre-orders do a lot for the luck of a book, especially now, with brick and mortar bookstores closed. You can order it anywhere, though Capital Books is my local favorite. They’re scrappy. And Bookshop is a great new seller that gives back to indie stores.

Capital Books

Gift packages are on their way

I made a little giveaway-drawing ceremony, playing “We’re in the Money” as I pulled ten subscriber names out of a hat. Here are the winners: Jenny O’Mara Steinbeck, Suzy Underwood, Ronda Perry, Robin Gustafson, Jodi Angel, Laura Angel, Joanne Matthews, Sue Staats, Monic Vejar and Dillon Allen. Thank you all for signing up!

Soon I’ll bundle up the promised advance reader copies, moleskin notebooks, fine-point Zebra ballpoint pens, and Temple Coffee beans. I’ll be mailing some, dropping off others. Maybe leave them on your porch for the afternoon before pulling the box in to open, just to make sure.

Hey! Kirkus didn’t slam me

Kirkus Reviews is a trade journal, directed at booksellers and libraries. They have a reputation for almost always finding something to criticize, so I was biting my nails waiting for that email. (I spent one afternoon reading mean reviews of books I love.)  But Jane did all right. Kirkus called Copy Boy “…an engrossing work of fiction…an expressive and striking story that examines what one does for family and for oneself.” Whew. You can read it here.

Great opportunity from a feisty literary nonprofit

You really ought to sign your 3rd-5th grade child up today for Ink at Home Live Online Workshops. No matter where you live. This live online program will focus on engaging creative writing exercises that fuel the imagination and promote positive self-expression. The 916 Ink method is proven to increase kids’ self-confidence, academic engagement, and interpersonal skills. It includes eight 90-minute online sessions, Tuesdays and Thursdays, May 5th through May 28th. They can join in via Zoom on any device. Only $100 for the series and limited scholarships are available. Learn more and register your child here.

Posting reader reviews

I’ve heard from one reader of an advance copy that Amazon would not allow her to post a review, even though she identified herself as an ARC-reader. I’ve learned that this can happen to reviewers who didn’t purchase the book through Amazon. But the good news is, if you have read an ARC, Goodreads will accept your review. Just an honest, one or two sentences would do it. And if you don’t have an ARC,  you could mark Copy Boy as “want to read” on Goodreads. (Sheesh, that felt awkward. To me. Not to Jane.)

That’s it for now. Be nervy (though safe) and make good stories to counteract the bad.