Have you ever lived somewhere that you didn’t belong? I mean, just really, truly felt like a fish out of water every single day? I spent a decade in a place like that, trying (and usually failing) to feel comfortable. A lot of the blame rests with me because it’s hard for me to “bloom where I’m planted” if I can’t find like-minded people to bloom with. But there are always silver linings and one of my best silver linings during that decade was Jennifer Watrous.
I’ve had the amazing honor of watching Jennifer as she found her calling and made it a vocation. A couple of years ago, she bought a camera. Now, you should know that Jennifer is an artist–mostly a painter, but she’s gifted at creating a ton of different kinds of art. And it’s a given that she sees the world differently from the rest of us. She decided her camera could be a way for her to show us how she sees the world. To her, it’s a beautiful, wondrous, God-filled place that changes every single day. This was fantastic. I knew she’d be a fabulous photographer.
Then, one day, Jennifer and I were scheming about a photo shoot on a friend’s property. The friend has horses . . . beautiful horses. We walked into a back field to scout a location and Jennifer spotted the horses. I pointed out the new foals and the mamas they belonged with and then turned to check on Jennifer because she’d gone quiet and still.
Man, I wish I’d had my own camera so I could show you what her face looked like. It held equal parts fear and awe, but mostly I remember the wonder. She dropped down, moved her equipment around and started shooting and giggling. She’d inch a little closer and squeal. At one point, I had to remind her that mama was watching and not to get between a baby and her mom. I just don’t think I’ve ever seen someone more in love with a moment in time.
See, I was witnessing a woman who had found one of the things she’d been made for. Seriously. Jennifer Watrous, as it turns out, was put on this earth to capture images of horses. She’s crazy talented, too. People all over the world look at and buy her prints and I’m so proud of her. Soon after that first look at horses, JD Waterhouse Photography was born!
Jennifer loved Glass Girl and was one of my earliest fans. She also loved Perfect Glass, and she wanted to find a way to encourage her horse photography fans to read my books. Today, her photography blog is a stop on the Perfect Clouds Virtual Book Tour and that’s awesome enough.
But to make it even sweeter, she’s raffling this print!
Believe me, you want this print hanging in your home. It will make you happy every time you look at it. So enter here—
Also, don’t forget that we’re getting close to the end of the Perfect Clouds Virtual Tour featuring Perfect Glass and Rajdeep Paulus’s Swimming Through Clouds. Rajdeep and I are giving away some really great book swag that I know you want to win. So throw your name into that raffle right here— a Rafflecopter giveaway
For those of you visiting because you found me through Jennifer’s horse photography – here’s a little background:
The Horse Obsession
In Glass Girl and Perfect Glass, there’s a good deal of talk about horses. I’m often asked if I own horses, or grew up with them, since I talk about them so much. The fact is . . . no, to both questions. Although I live next door to the Windham Quarter Horse ranch in College Station, Texas where some of the nation’s finest champion quarter horses spend their days, I’m really not an expert at all.
I’m honored today to be in the presence of such horse lovers—all of you who follow Jennifer’s blog and photography site amaze me. You possess knowledge that I envy.
My grandfather was a horse trader in Poteau, Oklahoma, and he raised his kids, including my mother, to be comfortable enough to ride whenever and wherever. My mother, as a small child, would ride to the city pool in the summers and depend on her horse to get her home after a long day in the sun, as she slept in the saddle. My riding experience, sadly, only includes trail rides in Colorado—although, these are rides to elevations of 11,000+ feet, and they take a fair amount of courage on my part.
In my novels, one of my main characters is a boy named Henry Whitmire. Henry is the son of a rancher in Wyoming, and one of his responsibilities is tending the large number of horses on the ranch. One way he gets to know Meg, the girl of his dreams, is by taking her on long horse rides in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains. Meg is a city girl from Pittsburgh, so this is all new to her. It was easy for me to describe the healthy fear she felt and the victory of actually making it into the saddle without flinging herself over the other side of the horse.
As someone who has always considered horses to be her favorite animal on the entire planet, I enjoyed writing about the world that you love so much. The creaking of the saddle’s leather, the rocking of a gentle trail horse, the stubborn nature of horses who know better than to stop on the trail and eat.
This is one reason I enjoy JD Waterhouse photography—Jennifer is someone who truly loves the beauty of a horse. And she’s unconditional about that—horses that have thrown her or bitten her get just as much camera time as the ones who stay out of her way. As you all know—that’s true love.
I hope, if you’re looking for a good story about a boy who loves horses as much as you do, that you’ll pick up Glass Girl and Perfect Glass!
For everyone else—-
I think you would all enjoy following Jennifer on Facebook and keeping tabs on her JD Waterhouse Photography blog. In fact, she’s hosting today’s stop on the Perfect Clouds Virtual Book Tour so don’t miss it!
I was always the girl who fell for the guy reading a book. I’d see a guy hunched over a novel on a subway or sitting on a bench somewhere, and I just knew he was the one for me.
I’m pretty sure this is why there’s a higher than normal percentage of literary guys in Glass Girl and Perfect Glass. Meg falls hard the minute Henry opens his mouth in Mr. Landmann’s class and discusses a Frost poem with ease. She finds Thanet irresistible as soon as she meets him in his mom’s bookstore and sees that he can recommend books to anyone.
Later, in Perfect Glass, the new boy, Quinn, can be found sprawled in hallways reading tattered copies of classics, and he can discuss such high concepts as theodicy and the ironic intent of authors in English class.
Henry even befriends a book lover in Nicaragua. Fifteen-year-old former gang member, Raf, is highly intelligent and enjoys books like The Labyrinth of Solitude over anything else. Granted the walls of his room are covered with posters of rap artists, but Raf would argue that rappers are really poets. Which they are, truly.
Henry makes a parallel between a Dylan Thomas poem and what’s happening to the children in Nicaragua, and he recognizes that the themes in Central American literature are similar to the themes used by “tough guy” writers in the U.S—freedom, loneliness, and pride.
So why all the bookish guys? More than anything, I think I wanted to send the message that boys should read and read often. And that girls should date boys who read. There’s nothing cooler in the world than hearing a guy quote one of your favorite authors or poets.
I hope your summer is perfect!
So June has been a little busy. I’m on a book tour for Perfect Glass that lasts until June 27 (virtual, of course, but still a lot of work) and my own blog has been a little neglected. I miss you guys!
I really hope you’re following the Perfect Clouds Virtual Book Tour that I’m on with debut author and friend, Rajdeep Paulus (Swimming Through Clouds). We’re having a lot of fun revealing behind the scenes aspects of our books and our lives.
In case you want to catch up with me, here are a few places I’ve been–
In Search of Waterfalls with Rajdeep Paulus–
Laura L. Smith’s blog
Teen author Tessa Emily Hall’s Blog
StarShadow Book Blog
Written to Our Hearts Blog with April Hamrick
Go Teen Writers
Brilliantly Novel Book Blog with Diana Garner
In the coming days, I’ll be talking about–
Here’s the best part, though–I’m giving away t-shirts and iPhone covers and posters and greeting cards AND hardcover copies of To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye (Favorites of Meg and Henry). Just get busy with the rafflecopter below to be entered! Rajdeep Paulus is giving away awesome stuff, too, and your name will be included in the raffle for her items.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Today is a great day for Playlist Young Adult Fiction as we release two new titles–Perfect Glass and Rajdeep Paulus’s debut Swimming Through Clouds. Thank you to all the fantastic BOOK BLOGGERS who have agreed to be part of this virtual tour! (For a full list of bloggers, site addresses, and dates, scroll to the bottom of this post.)
I’ve got lots of details to give you so you can follow our PERFECT CLOUDS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR and be in the running for some InCReDiBLe giveaways. But, first, I want to introduce the two books (and authors) on tour.
Introducing Rajdeep Paulus and her debut Swimming Through Clouds
Rajdeep decided to be a writer during her junior year in high school after her English teacher gave her an “F,” but told her she had potential. She studied English Literature at Northwestern University, and she writes masala-marinated, Young Adult Fiction, blogging weekly at InSearchofWaterfalls dot com.
Swimming Through Clouds synopsis:
When a high school cell phone disruption forces a classroom ban, the words on a Post-it note spark a sticky romance between two unlikely friends. Transfer student Talia Vanderbilt has one goal at her new school: to blend in with the walls. Lagan Desai, basketball captain and mathlete, would do just about anything to befriend the new girl. One Post-it note at a time, Lagan persuades Talia to peel back her heart, revealing her treasure chest of pain—an absent mother, a bedridden brother, and an abusive father. In a world where hurt is inevitable, the two teens search for a safe place to weather the storms of life. Together.
Rajdeep’s book is powerful. It’s one of those that leaves you heartbroken and wondering if it’s possible that people live in such extreme abuse situations. In graduate school, I volunteered for a program that helped women and children leave their abusers and I know, from that experience, that there are unspeakable things happening in some homes in this nation. And the answers are never clear–escape is not a given.
My in-depth review of Swimming Through Clouds can be found on Goodreads.
I’m a little beside myself because the next book is mine – Perfect Glass, the sequel to Glass Girl. I have to say there were times I thought I’d never see this day, so pardon me if I seem a little emotional.
Introducing Laura Anderson Kurk and Perfect Glass
Laura Anderson Kurk writes unconventional and bittersweet contemporary YA. Her debut novel, Glass Girl, and its sequel, Perfect Glass, are available now from Playlist Young Adult Fiction. Laura lives in Texas with her husband and two children.
Perfect Glass synopsis
Things get messy when Meg Kavanagh gets involved—first with Jo Russell, the eccentric old artist, and then with Quinn O’Neill, the intriguing loner who can’t hide how he feels about Meg. Her senior year isn’t turning out like she planned it, but sometimes the best parts of life happen in the in-between moments. And Henry will be home soon, right?
He commits to one year in an orphanage that needs him more than he ever dreamed. Thousands of miles from Meg and the new punk who has fallen for her, and absent from the ranch that’s in his blood, Henry Whitmire finds out what it means to trust. When you’re so far from home, it’s terrifying to realize you’re not who you thought. But the perfect glass of calamity makes the best mirror.
Here’s an advanced review of Perfect Glass on Goodreads.
The Tour Details
Every weekday until Thursday, June 27, there will be a blog stop on the Perfect Clouds Virtual Book Tour. You should follow the schedule below and hit every stop to increase your chances to win some amazing prizes — including t-shirts with book covers and quotes, iPhone cases with book covers, mugs, stickers, posters, hardcover copies of some classic books (Henry’s, Meg’s, Talia’s, and Lagan’s favorites), and lots of other stuff!
Here’s the cool part–Rajdeep and I have worked hard to create puzzle reveals for both books. At each stop on the tour, you will be given another clue to help you figure out something Lagan wants to say to Talia, and something Henry wants to say to Meg. For Perfect Glass you’ll see “Today’s Secret Letter” clues, and for Swimming Through Clouds, you’ll see pieces of a Post-It note that will come together on the last day of the tour.
Here’s your first clue for Swimming Through Clouds—
Your first Perfect Glass clue will be revealed at tomorrow’s tour stop — In Search of Waterfalls.
If you miss a day, click through the schedule that will be posted at the bottom of each blog and catch up!
And now — here’s the Rafflecopter. Get busy and enter your name as often as possible!
Saturday, June 1 – Laura Anderson Kurk ⬅YOU ARE HERE!
Sunday, June 2 – Rajdeep Paulus
Monday, June 3 – Melanie Brasher
Tuesday, June 4 – Tessa Emily Hall
Wednesday, June 5 – Melissa Tagg
Thursday, June 6 – ReganStar McBeigh
Friday, June 7 – April Hamrick
Monday, June 10 – Diana Garner
Tuesday, June11 – Stephanie Karfelt
Wednesday, June 12 – Bethany Baldwin
Thursday, June 13 – Kim Vandel
Friday, June 14 – Sarah Tipton
Monday, June 17 – Jennifer Watrous
Tuesday, June 18 – Marni Jarman
Wednesday, June 19 – Peggy Warren
Thursday, June 20 – Bethany Jett
Friday, June 21 – Amy Leigh Simpson
Monday, June 24 – Summer Andrews
Tuesday, June 25 – Arlette Geuverink
Wednesday, June 26 – Jennifer Murgia
Thursday, June 27 – JoJo SutisRead More
As we count down the days to the Perfect Glass release on June 1, Playlist Fiction is offering Glass Girl for only 99-cents at Amazon! Don’t miss the chance to download the new, revised Glass Girl and read it before you read Perfect Glass!