Tuesday, June 4, 2013

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney: Release Day Launch, Excerpt, and Giveaway

It's release day for When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney and Inkslinger PR is hosting a Release Day Launch in Celebration of this.  You can read an excerpt below, and the author is also giving away three signed copies of When You Were Here, which you can enter below.   

ABOUT WHEN YOU WERE HERE:  Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity. 
Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.

When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.
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We eat in silence for a minute, then Holland breaks it. “So you’regoing to Tokyo?”“Your mom told you?” “Yes.” “Did your mom send you to get info out of me orsomething?” “No. She mentioned it, and now I’m mentioning it.Why? Is there info to get? Are you going with a girl?” I scoff. “Yeah,right. I was supposed to go with some- one, but it didn’t work out,” Isay, my eyes locked on herthe whole time. “Well, I wanted to go, okay?” “So did I,” I say, solow it’s a whisper. But she hears me,and she inches her hand across the counter, just a little bit closer,and that hand, I want to grab it and hold on.“Me too,” she says, barely there, barely painting the space between uswith all that has been broken.I glance at our hands, so close all it would take is one of us giving an inch.“I bought my ticket an hour ago.”“When do you leave?” “A couple days from now. I found a good deal.” She nods a few times,taps her fingers. I can feel thewarmth from her hands. “Cool,” she says, and we stay like that. Onestretch is all it would take to be back, so I wait. Wait for her totell me she’ll miss me, to ask me to stay, to put her hands on my faceand press her lips against mine and kiss me like it’s the thing that’sbeen killing her not to do for all these months. That it’s not coolfor me to go. That if I go, she’ll be the one who’s sad.But she doesn’t. We just finish our food, and she washes the plates,and the other ones that were in the sink too, and she tosses out thecartons from Captain Wong’s and bags up the garbage, and she’s like anurse. She’s here as a nurse. To take care of me. To make sure I eatenough food and clean the house and take my vitamins.I watch her take my vitals and check my temperature and adjust thetubes, and when she suggests we watch a movie, here on the couch, Ijust nod because my heart isn’t beating fast enough anymore, bloodisn’t pumping smoothly enough anymore for me to find the will to sayno like I did last night. Evidently I can buy tickets to fly out ofthe coun-try, no problem, but I can’t even tell Holland to stop being so nearto me all the time but not near enough.Because she is supposed to want to go to Tokyo with me now. She issupposed to invite herself, to ask me in that sweet and sexy, thatbold and confident voice, to say that I should take her along, that wepromised we’d go together, that we even talked about it last summer.As if I needed reminding. As if I were the one who’d forgotten.Instead she turns on the TV and finds a film where the hero survives abridge being blown up. We stay like that through fire and bombs,through fists and blows, through a knife fight in an alley, a footaway from each other, not touching, not moving, not talking, notcurled up together, just staring mutely at the screen.But faking it becomes too much for me, so when the hero clutches thecrumbling concrete from the bridge, scram- bling for purchase, I standup and leave the living room, mumbling, “Be right back.”I walk to the bathroom at the end of the hall. I shut the door. I headstraight for the window. I slide it open and pop out the screen. Istand on the toilet seat, then climb the rest of the way out of thewindow and hop into my front yard. I close the window, and I walk andI walk and I walk.When I return an hour later, my greatest hope is she’ll be gone. Mymost fervent wish is that I will have made my great escape from her,from her hold on me. But instead Ifind her sound asleep on my couch, Sandy Koufax tucked tightly into aball at Holland’s bare feet.I kneel down on the tiles where the book she was read- ing has slippedout of her tired hands. It’s a paperback, The Big Sleep. I run a thumbacross the cover, wondering when Holland developed a penchant forRaymond Chandler. There was a time when she would have told me herfavorite parts. When she would have tried to tell me the endingbecause she just loved it so much, she had to share, and I’d have heldup a hand and told her to stop. Laughing all the time. Then I’d haveread it too, and we’d have walked on the beach and talked about thebest parts. We’d have done that tonight with the movie too. Imitatedthe actors’ inflections at their most over-the-top moments, thenmarveled at the blown-up buildings.I shut the book we’re not sharing. The ending we’re not talking about.I place it on the coffee table and walk upstairs, because if I staynear her, I will wake her up, rus- tle a shoulder, and ask her. Askher why she left. Ask her why she’s here. Ask her what changed forher.When I get into my bed, I am keenly aware of her in my house, as ifthe rising and falling of her breathing, the flut- tering of hersleeping eyelids, can somehow be seen and heard from a floor above. Iimagine her waking up, walking up the stairs, heading down the hall,standing in my door- way, a sliver of moonlight through the windowsketching her in the dark. I would speak first, telling her thetruth—that I’m still totally in love with her. That nothing haschanged for me when it comes to her.Everything else is so muted, so fuzzy, so frayed around the edges.This—how I feel for Holland—is the only thing in my life that hasremained the same. Everyone I have loved is gone. Except her. Hollandis the before and the after, and the way I feel for her is both lethaland beautiful. It is like breathing, like a heartbeat.She would say the same words back to me, that she feels the same. Thenshe would say my name, like she’s been searching for something, likeshe’s found the thing she’s been looking for.Come find me, come find me, come find me.
By day, Daisy Whitney is a reporter and ghostwriter. At night, she writes novels for teens and is the author of THE MOCKINGBIRDS and its sequel THE RIVALS (Little, Brown). Her third novel WHEN YOU WERE HERE releases in June 2013 (Little, Brown), and her fourth novel STARRY NIGHTS (Bloomsbury) hits shelves in September 2013. When Daisy's not inventing fictional high school worlds, she can be found somewhere north of San Francisco walking her adorable dog, watching online TV with her fabulous husband or playing with her fantastic kids.  A graduate of Brown University, she believes in shoes, chocolate chip cookies and karma.  You can follow her writing blog and new media adventures at DaisyWhitney.com.

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  1. I am not sure. I might use up a box of kleenex by the time I finish it. This sounds wonderful

  2. I think I will be a sobbing mess with this one, and definitely something I would read.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  3. This sounds like an amazing story. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I just picked this one up today, it looks so good!

  5. I want to read it because the excerpt is so good. It got me.
    MCantu1019 at aol dot com

  6. it sounds wonderful and i can't wait to read it

  7. Great excerpt! I like the sound of this. Thanks for sharing!


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