Friday, December 6, 2013

Buzz Books: new releases

As the senior editor at Buzz Books, I've worked on books in various genres--YA, women's fiction, non-fiction, thriller, mystery--and it's my job to let the author shine. For the  most part, my job is done well when you can't tell it's done at all (with one rare exception--more on that in just a second).

This month, there are two big releases from Buzz authors, for each of them the second books in their series. I was lucky enough to meet both of these awesome ladies at the Oklahoma Writers Federation 2012 conference. It's an exciting thing to meet a new writer with a fresh voice, a story angle that you hear in a two minute pitch that makes you sit at that table for a few minutes longer, discussing ideas and angles and plots and characters. When a book can put you on the edge of your seat before it's even fully written? That's a beautiful thing.

With Heather (left) and Buzz Books publisher Malena (right)
at OWFI 2013

Heather Davis, the TMI Mom

Heather Davis pitched a column about what I can only describe as her antics in motherhood. She was already a very accomplished blogger (and we knew each other through our blogs but not in real life), but the books that she envisioned were what drew my attention. Her first book, the bestselling TMI MOM: Oversharing My Life broke the seal on life with Heather, Brian and Daughters 1 and 2.

Heather's books are the rare exception where my work as an editor is not as transparent, as many of our discussions were incorporated into her narrative through parenthetical discussions. This reflects the nature of our relationship; Heather and I have collaborated on many projects, and we have a friendship that is based on lots and lots of laughter and jokes. It's rare that we'll have a serious discussion that doesn't at some point tangent off into an absurd discourse on something that will double either or both of us over in laughter. The conversations that led to our editor/author conversation inclusions in her first book were driven by a discussion on wearing slips, whether or not slips are actually still made and why on earth they are a thing was the driving force behind that choice, if memory serves. You'll have to read the book to find out who championed which side of that argument.

Released this month, TMI Mom: Getting Lucky goes under the covers to discuss sex after marriage. It's funny and sweet and might make you blush, just a little bit, as Heather overshares just enough to tell her tale and retain her dignity. While known for oversharing, Heather is also dedicated to not telling more than her family can handle being in the public eye, so you can rest assured that she'll tease and titillate but not give the full Monty.

With Cara Brookins at OWFI 2013

Cara Brookins, YA Adventure Writer

I met Cara Brookins standing in line at the same conference I met Heather. She was standing ahead of me, and I heard in her voice that distinct tone that told me she and I had something in common: Wisconsin. Not something I expected to find at an Oklahoma-based writing conference, but something that warmed my heart.

Sure enough, we got to talking and I learned that this dynamic, intelligent woman was born in my home state. We talked several books when she pitched, and the one she was perhaps least excited about was the story of a boy, Jordan Booker, whose adventures take him back in time--really far back in time--to save his family and the world.

The first in this series, Timeshifters Journey 1: Mark of the Centipede came out first and introduced the story of Jordan. It drew me in and Jordan's adventures got my adrenaline pumping. I was excited to read something that I knew my kids would like and as I edited and prepared for this first book to come out, I told my son about the story and as soon as I got my copy, he took it off my hands and ripped through it. For the next several months, every time he saw me reading a manuscript, he would ask: "is that the next Timeshifters book!?" When it finally was, he would take the marked up pages from me and read them before I could return them to Cara.

Timeshifters Journey 2: Mark of the Serpent takes Jordan on another journey back in time, the second in this trilogy that still puts me on the edge of my seat. These stories made me suspend rationale and plug into the possibility, and it doesn't feel like a stretch at all. Fantastic fun.

I am proud of both of these ladies for their hard work and beautiful words. I've been blessed by their friendship and can't wait to work with them again!

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