My next (next) book!

For all those who have been asking what’s coming from me post-Gladys, I finally have an answer for you!

In today’s Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf:

deal announcement pw

Here’s a bit more of the story behind this book.

In January of 2013, my mother was very ill–on a breathing machine in a hospital bed, fighting for her life. I flew to New York to be with my dad and sister, sleeping on a mattress on the floor at my parents’ house for two weeks when I wasn’t at the hospital.

One morning, I woke up on that mattress clinging to the remnants of a vivid dream: Two children in a tiny boat in choppy, frigid waters, trying to sail for help because something was very wrong at home. All of the adults in their little town had mysteriously fallen asleep, and no one could wake them up.

Looking back now, the connection between this dream and my family’s situation at the time seems so obvious–but I didn’t see it then. I just thought “Well, that’s a decent story idea.” And I put it in my back pocket.

Miraculously, over the course of many months, Mom made an amazing recovery. I returned home and resumed my work on the All Four Stars series, though between contracts I started to play around more with my parents-falling-asleep book idea. My dream had also gifted me with the perfect setting, inspired by a remote town in northern Iceland that I had visited the year before. And I had a handful of characters who were starting to feel real to me.

Yes, people live here!

Yes, people live here!

Teasing out the story’s plot strands was harder. I’m a serious plotter–I love suspense and mystery and surprise–but the twists this story seemed to want to take scared me a little. It was a much bigger, much more complicated plot than I had ever attempted before (science and politics and myths and sheep farming!). When I finally drew up the courage to pitch it to my husband, he gave me the full-on “are you crazy?” stare.

I pressed on, though. I outlined. I tackled the dread synopsis. I finally finished an appallingly bad first draft in February of 2015–literally the day before I got the green light to write Stars So Sweet, the third book in the All Four Stars series. So into the drawer my draft went for several more months.

Non-negotiable deadline!

Non-negotiable deadline!

I finally got back to this book in the fall, writing a new draft nearly from scratch. Stars So Sweet was pretty much done at that point, but I had a new deadline: the due date of my first child, who was coming at the end of the year. The story took shape as my belly grew. I made it through two more drafts with the help of an intrepid team of beta-readers. I tamed that roaring bear of a plot (this is not a random metaphor–an unruly bear actually plays an important role in the story 🙂 ) and finally sent the book in to my agent, who had been excited about it ever since I’d mentioned my idea to her at our retreat in 2013.

Two days later, my baby was born.

And now, to my absolute delight, the wacky, challenging book I wasn’t sure I could pull off has found an editor who loves its quirkiness and wants to bring it to readers everywhere!

We can’t wait to share it with you all.

Winner, and tonight’s event!

Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike JungThanks so much to everyone who entered my giveaway for an ARC of Mike Jung’s Unidentified Suburban ObjectThe randomly selected winner is…

**** Luke Reynolds ****

Congrats, Luke, and happy reading!

For the rest of you, you can find preorder links for Unidentified Suburban Object right here on Mike’s website!

And if you’re in Denver, just a reminder that I’ll be at Second Star to the Right Bookstore tonight at 6:30 with Jeannie Mobley for a fun author event. More details here. I’d love to see you!

Win an ARC of UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT by Mike Jung!

Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike JungI was lucky enough to get my paws on an advance copy of my friend and agency-sibling Mike Jung‘s new middle-grade novel, Unidentified Suburban Objecta few months back. It comes out on April 26, but here’s your chance to read it early, because I am giving my ARC away this week! Details about entering are below.

This delightful, category-defying book has already received rave reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly (and from me!). Here’s the blurb:

The next person who compares Chloe Cho with famous violinist Abigail Yang is going to HEAR it. Chloe has just about had it with people not knowing the difference between someone who’s Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. She’s had it with people thinking that everything she does well — getting good grades, winning first chair in the orchestra, etCETera — are because she’s ASIAN.

Of course, her own parents don’t want to have anything to DO with their Korean background. Any time Chloe asks them a question they change the subject. They seem perfectly happy to be the only Asian family in town. It’s only when Chloe’s with her best friend, Shelly, that she doesn’t feel like a total alien.

Then a new teacher comes to town: Ms. Lee. She’s Korean American, and for the first time Chloe has a person to talk to who seems to understand completely. For Ms. Lee’s class, Chloe finally gets to explore her family history. But what she unearths is light-years away from what she expected.

And here’s my own review on Goodreads.

Unidentified Suburban ObjectUnidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Is any middle-grade author better at pulling off the jaw-dropping plot twist than Mike Jung? I didn’t think I’d ever read another twist as clever as the one in GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES, but that was before I’d picked up his latest. Add to that a stellar narrative voice and conversation-starting themes, and UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT is a true winner.

View all my reviews

GIVEAWAY ALERT! You can enter to win an ARC of Unidentified Suburban Object by leaving a comment on this post. You can also earn up to two extra entries by posting about this giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook. (Please mention or link your follows and extra posts in your comment to get credit for them.)

Sample Tweet:
Win an ARC of @Mike_Jung’s excellent new MG novel, UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT! http://bit.ly/1UTqiSr #giveaway

Sample FB status:
Win an ARC of Mike Jung’s excellent new MG novel, UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT! http://bit.ly/1UTqiSr #giveaway

I‘ll announce a winner at 9 am Mountain Time this Friday, 4/1. 

(Oh, and if one giveaway isn’t enough for you, there are also currently giveaways for signed copies of my books The Stars of Summer and Stars So Sweet up on Goodreads. Click the titles to enter, and good luck!)

This Friday at Second Star to the Right!

Second StarGreetings, friends!

If you’re in the Denver area, I invite you to come out this Friday, April 1, to see me and Jeannie Mobley at Second Star to the Right Children’s Books on Tennyson street. We will be reading from our middle-grade books, answering questions, and doing a craft starting at 6:30 pm.

Second Star has also posted an interview with both of us on their blog.

This event is part of the Tennyson Street Cultural District First Friday Art Walk, meaning that lots of artsy shops, galleries, and restaurants in the area will be open late and having special programming. It’s a fun time for kids and adults alike.

Hope to see you there!

 

 

A whole new format for Gladys in 2016!

All Three CoversAs this year draws to a close, I’m thrilled to share one more very nice piece of news for the All Four Stars series…

THERE WILL BE AUDIOBOOKS!

My publisher, Penguin, has licensed audio rights to Ideal Audiobooks for All Four Stars, The Stars of Summerand Stars So SweetI don’t have all of the details yet, but I believe that they will all be recorded and released in 2016.

logo

On a personal note, I love listening to audiobooks, so this is a dream come true/author bucket list item for me. On a more practical note, I love that this new format will give kids with learning differences who need or prefer to listen to books access to Gladys’s adventures. And I think it’s great that families and groups of friends will be able to listen together if they want to, too.

I’ll share more news about the audiobooks here when I have it. In the meantime, dear readers, I hope that you’re having a very happy holiday season. This news has certainly made mine a little sweeter.

ALL FOUR STARS is a finalist for One Book, One Denver!

ALL FOUR STARS by Tara Dairman coverI received some exciting news this morning: All Four Stars is a finalist for the Youth One Book, One Denver program–along with two other books I *love*, Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman and The Secret of Ferrell Savage by J. Duddy Gill!

The Secret of Ferrell Savage by Jennifer Duddy GillYouth One Book, One Denver is a fantastic summer reading program that provides books to kids all over Denver and gives participants a chance to interact with the featured book’s author at various public events.

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
The winning book will be chosen by vote, which is open to the public until November 20. Anyone can vote (though extra props if you’re a Denver public school student!). Any of these books would be an excellent choice, and I’m very much looking forward to the programming next summer, whether All Four Stars is the featured book or not.

You can VOTE HERE – thank you!

Want personalized books for the holidays?

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman CoverIs there someone in your life who would love a Gladys Gatsby book, personalized and signed by the author, for the holidays?

If so, you’re in luck. I’m pleased to announce that I’m teaming up with my local independent bookstore, Boulder Book Store, to make it easy for you to get exactly that!

Ordering is simple: Just go to the Boulder Book Store website and choose the books you want. When you reach the checkout page, all the way at the bottom will be a field called “Order comments.” Just write in that field which book(s) you would like personalized, and to whom. Boulder Book Store will then call me up and I’ll pop into the store and personalize the books for you before they ship!

Stars of SummerYou can also reach the store by phone at 303-447-2074.

There is no extra charge for this service–I’m happy to do it. Books make great gifts, and I’m thrilled to partner with an independent bookstore that has been so supportive of my career as an author. Read deliciously this holiday season!

 

We’ve got winners!

Thanks so much to everyone who helped celebrate the cover and title reveal for Stars So Sweetthe third volume in the All Four Stars series. Your enthusiastic comments, Tweets, Facebook posts, and e-mails really made this author’s week!

(As did the package I received in the mail yesterday from my publisher, containing these beauties. Great timing, because now I can ship two off to the winners right away!)

ARCs of STARS SO SWEET by Tara Dairman

 

So now, without further ado, the two randomly selected winners of signed advance copies of Stars So Sweet are… jpetroroy and LMcCJ! Congratulations, and read deliciously!

I wish that I had enough advance copies to share with everyone who wants to read them. Rest assured that there will be some more giveaways as the publication date gets closer, and I’ll make sure to post about them here and on my Twitter and Facebook pages.

In the meantime, here’s a list of some of my favorite recent middle-grade reads. If you read one of these books and enjoy it, make sure to let me know!

 

 

Cover reveal & giveaway: STARS SO SWEET!

NOTE: The ARC giveaway is now closed, and winners have been announced. Thank you for entering!

Hey there! Guess what you’ll be able to find on…Sale

…next summer?

Hint: This young restaurant critic is involved.
Gladys

And so is a visitor from a certain European city…French treats

Give up? Okay–reveal time!
STARS SO SWEET by Tara Dairman

Stars So Sweet

an All Four Stars book, coming July 19, 2016!
ISBN-13: 978-1-101-99648-5

Summer is winding down, and Gladys Gatsby’s stomach is full of butterflies about starting middle school. But her concerns go beyond juggling schoolwork and losing touch with old friends; she also has to worry about looming deadlines from her undercover job as the New York Standard’s youngest restaurant critic.

When her editor pushes for a face-to-face meeting, Gladys knows she must finally come clean to the grown-ups in her life about her job. Her perfectly planned reveal is put on hold, though, when her parents arrive home with a surprise: Gladys’s aunt Lydia—one of the only adults who knows her secret—fresh off a plane from Paris. Gladys and Aunt Lydia try one last ruse to fool her editor at the Standard, but for how long will Gladys be able to balance the drama of middle school with her secret life?

This third book in the delicious All Four Stars series sees Gladys facing her biggest challenge yet: being true to herself and honest with her friends and family, regardless of what those around her think.

****

Huge thanks to the Penguin Young Readers design team, and as always to brilliant cover artist Kelly Murphy, who has captured Gladys so perfectly in this cover!

****

You can now preorder Stars So Sweet from the following vendors:

Penguin *  AmazonBook Depository (International)

…and it should be available from many more retailers within the next month. Please consider supporting your local independent bookstore (find one here) by preordering the book from them. And, of course, if you’re in Colorado or New York, I hope to see you at a launch event next summer!

And you can add Stars So Sweet to your to-read shelf on GoodReads!

Giveaway alert!

TWO lucky commenters on this post will win their choice of either a signed hardcover of The Stars of Summer OR an advance copy of Stars So Sweet.

Leave a comment on this post if you’d like to enter, and you can earn extra entries by signing up for my e-mail newsletter and/or by tweeting about the giveaway.

Here’s a sample tweet you can use:

Check out the cover for STARS SO SWEET, third book in ‘s ALL FOUR STARS series, & win an ARC! http://wp.me/p1VIEB-Tz 

Just let me know in your comment if you’ve signed up for the newsletter (either now or in the past) and/or tweeted. And feel free to share this cover far and wide. I hope you love it as much as I do!

The book can be sent to a mailing address in the USA or Canada. I’ll announce a winner one week from today, on Thursday, November 5.

Help “Complete the Cahills”!

Friends, if you’d like to start your Monday off with a good deed (and quite possibly a misty eye), please check out my brother- and sister-in-law’s beautiful video and inspiring story. They *both* survived cancer before the age of 32 and are now seeking to adopt. They are honestly two of the very best people I know, and are going to make incredible parents.

If you have the time to help share their story on social media and/or can find a few dollars to support them, I know that everyone who loves Matt and Heidi would be so grateful. Thank you!

Direct link to Matt & Heidi’s YouCaring crowdfunding site: Complete the Cahills: Help Dual Cancer Survivors Adopt