OMG it is 2015.
Actually 2015. Which means it’s the year of middle grade, for me. In April, my co-written book (with Maggie Stiefvater), PIP BARTLETT’S GUIDE TO MAGICAL CREATURES releases. And in July, the super-fun-heisty-delightful first book in my new spy series releases– THE DOUBLECROSS (and other skills I learned as a superspy).
Everyone in Hale’s family is a spy, going way back. His great grandfather. His grandmother. Both his parents. They’ve all worked for the Sub Rosa Society, an elite, top secret organization—so top secret that new agents aren’t recruited; they’re born.
Unfortunately for twelve-year-old Hale, he was born (as his mother puts it) “big-boned”– or (as his SRS classmates put it) “fat”. Despite the fact that Hale can defuse an explosive, don a disguise in seconds, and speak eleven languages, he’s often overlooked by his SRS classmates because he’s not so great at running, fighting, or back-handspringing over a laser grid.
But one day, Hale’s parents are kidnapped by a rival spy organization, and it turns out Hale– with some help from his little sister, Kennedy– might be the only one who can save the day. The trouble is, when you’re surrounded by spies, who can you trust?
Here’s where you can pre-order the book, if you’re so inclined:
Amazon.com | Indiebound.org | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository.co.uk
And here’s how you can enter to win an ARC! One entry just for signing up, and another entry for following me on twitter. This particular contest is North America only, but I promise I’ll do an international contest soon.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I am just so excited about this book. I mean, look at the cover. Just LOOK at it.
How could you not be excited? Maggie did the art, both for the jacket and the interior, and I think it’s amazing. Plus, my very favorite magical creature made the cover– the Flowerbeast, which is poking out from behind the center bit on the right hand side. Horns? Adorable face? See it?
How I love the Flowerbeast.
You can actually win two original Pip Bartlett pieces by sharing the cover! Share it on your blog, website, or facebook. Forum posts don’t count, the contest is open internationally, and the whole shebang is over on Monday.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
OMG I am excited.
I am so excited. Here are some gifs to convey my excitement because AHHHH.
In PIP BARTLETT’S GUIDE TO MAGICAL CREATURES, Pip is a girl who can talk to magical creatures. Her aunt is a vet for magical creatures. And her new friend Tomas is allergic to most magical creatures. When things go amok—and they often go amok—Pip consults Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures, a reference work that Pip finds herself constantly amending. Because dealing with magical creatures like unicorns, griffins, and fuzzles doesn’t just require book knowledge—it requires hands-on experience and thinking on your feet. For example, when fuzzles (which have an awful habit of bursting into flame when they’re agitated) invade your town, it’s not enough to know what the fuzzles are—Pip and Tomas also must trace the fuzzles’ agitation to its source, and in doing so, save the whole town.
Here are some things to know:
-It is a middle grade book (a touch younger than my other middle grade, THE DOUBLECROSS).
-It is full of magical creatures, some which are traditional (unicorns and griffins) and some that we invented (bitterflunks and bog wallows).
-Maggie illustrated aforementioned magical creatures in the book.
-There is a unicorn who, like my dog, is afraid of everything.
-There are a lot of capers.
-There are a lot of animals.
-This is a book I would have LOST MY MIND over as a kid because ANIMALS AND MAGIC.
-In fact, for years, my bio has said: “Jackson began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn’t tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself when she was twelve.” THIS IS THAT BOOK. Only instead of horses, they’re UNICORNS, which is EVEN BETTER.
So, I am pretty horrified (like most acceptable humans are) by this whole Sam Pepper thing. If you don’t know what that is, see below:
I’ll totally admit that as I’ve stepped back from the YouTube community in the past year due to time restraints, I totally missed that stuff like this is a THING. Like, I had no idea people DID THIS and put it on YOUTUBE. I thought this was the sort of stuff perverts did quietly in the shadows, you know?
And anyhow, I thought I’d share a story with you:
Back in 2007, I was a few weeks shy of graduating college, and had been querying agents daily with a book called THERE ARE NO STARS IN CALIBAN– a book that later was bought by Harper Collins and became AS YOU WISH. I was fortunate enough to get offers from two agents. That evening, I called my mom to debate both agents; mid-phone-call, I decided to run to a nearby grocery store and get Pull-N-Peel Twizzlers, because they are delicious and as we all know, candy helps your decision making skillz.
So I’m standing there in the candy aisle, talking to Mom, getting my Twizzlers, and my eyes drift to the tiny little natural foods section. And there, about thirty feet away from me, is some guy’s penis.
Like, right there. He has pants on, but he’s got them unzipped and it’s just THERE, bouncing away as he peruses the whole grain cereals.
My first thought is: OMG THAT POOR GUY HE DOESN’T KNOW!!!!
I tell my mom what I see, and her first thought is: THAT GUY IS A CREEP GET OUT OF THERE NOW
And suddenly I realize she’s RIGHT. This dude IS a creep, and his penis isn’t hanging out on accident, and by this point he KNOWS I’ve seen it and I can tell this is PLEASING.
So my second thought is: OH #$%(#$ NO.
So I spin around and march to the customer service desk, where some poor kid who’s maybe 17 is working. I ask to see a manager.
Him: I’m sure I can help you, ma’am!
Me: I REALLY need to see a manager, and fast.
Him: Why don’t you tell me what’s bothering–
Me: There’s a man exposing himself by the Toastie-Os.
Him: I’ll call a manager.
By this time, of course, Pervert Dude realizes that I am ratting him out, and hurriedly rushes toward the exit, zipper up. I point and tell 17-year-old THAT’S HIM and 17-year-old frantically calls a manager and has no idea what to do.
My third thought: LIKE HELL YOU JUST DRIVE OFF FROM HERE
So I hurry outside after this guy (a safe distance, btw) and memorize his license plate/car make as he drives off. Then I call 911 and tell the police what happened, and all the info I have.
Now, to be honest, I figured that was the end of it. I mean, the guy was GONE before the cops got there. Hell, even I had left before the cops got there. But damn if a week later, the cops didn’t call me and ask me to come in and identify him in a photo line up, and ask me some questions, and get a “victim impact statement”. They’d actually used the store’s surveillance video, the license plate I’d given them, and my description (which included the LOGO-BEARING WORK SHIRT he wore to this little fiesta) to arrest him. He was being charged with a smattering of things, and apparently admitted to even more once they had him in custody.
Anyhow, the point of this story is: If someone exposes themselves to you, or touches you, or does ANYTHING YOU DO NOT WANT, CALL THE POLICE. Whip out your cell phone and GET SOME $&#* ON VIDEO. It does NOT take much to get the police to look into something, and what’s more, it’s important the police get this sort of information on file, even if they don’t make an arrest. THIS IS PART OF WHAT YOU PAY TAXES FOR– A POLICE FORCE THAT WILL PROTECT YOU. You don’t have to HOLD THE CREEP there to prove to the police that he’s a creep. I didn’t even have a picture of the guy who exposed himself to me, and he got arrested– and this was in a small college town with limited resources.
Obviously, I know in some cases coming forward can be difficult for a lot of very complicated, sad reasons, and I’m sympathetic to those. The point of this post is more about– don’t think calling and reporting a creep is pointless. It’s important, it’s helpful, and moreover, it’s your RIGHT. Use your phone if it’s safe, get photos and video, and don’t be shy about the fact that you’re doing it– you have nothing to hide or be ashamed of, after all. Even if you aren’t particularly traumatized by seeing some random dude’s junk, call in support of the woman or child he might do it to in the future who WOULD be traumatized by it.
I KNOW it can be crazy and disorienting when you’re going about your day and suddenly, someone is exposing themselves or touching you or God knows what– and your first reaction is just to LEAVE, fast. That’s a totally normal reaction, as is laughing or smiling or doing something to try and calm yourself, because your mind is just WAIT IS THIS REAL LIFE NO IT CAN’T BE PEOPLE DON’T DO %&*^ LIKE THIS. But I’m watching those videos Laci showed clips of, with women who are angry and horrified and then walk away quickly or nervous-smile the whole situation off, and I think, did they KNOW they can call the cops? They can dial 911– whether they stay near the criminal or not– and get the police involved?
Maybe they realized that, but felt they couldn’t for one reason or another. But if they DIDN’T realize, or were worried nothing would happen if they called…well. I want them to know that calling was/is an option, and I want YOU to know that it’s an option.
As always, here’s my 9/11 video that I made a few years ago. I know a lot of readers are too young to have memories of 9/11, which might mean this day is a little weird for you. I get that. But I think it’s important you listen– that we all listen– because empathy is what will always, always bring us together, no matter how hard hate tries to drive us apart.
Also, the other day I came across these in a drawer:
Those are the Atlanta newspapers from September 12, 13, and 14. I was 17 when 9/11 happened, and I’ve moved…five? Six? Seven times since then? But through all the moves, through dorm rooms and small apartments, I’ve kept these. I’m not even sure WHY, to be honest– it’s not like I could forget this stuff. But here they are, anyhow…
And here’s this, by the way– it’s something I neglected to mention in the video. An article from the 14th’s paper:
Just a few days after September 11th, you couldn’t GET an American flag. For real. They were NO WHERE. Everyone had sold out. I remember that my sister somehow had the hook up, and managed to get one for our car, and everyone was all OMG HOW DID YOU FIND ONE?