Pinch Me

My new puppy, Kiku, is joining in on the celebration!

Today, my debut chapter book series Jasmine Toguchi launches with the first two books: Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen and Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth. This is the culmination of over 15 years of writing, learning, growing, revising, querying, submitting, and collecting rejections. Having my chapter books published is a dream come true.

I’ve talked about my journey on this blog and elsewhere so I won’t rehash it except to say, for Jasmine, it’s been seven years from the spark of an idea to book release. And it’s been a little over two years since my wonderful editor, Grace Kendall, made the offer to publish Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen, not as a stand-alone, but as a series. It’s been a truly wonderful experience working with my editor Grace, my awesome agent Tricia Lawrence, talented illustrator Elizabet Vukovic, and the FSG team. I feel so fortunate.

I’ve revised, copyedited, and proofread (with the help of the sharp eyes of professional copyeditors and proofreaders). I’ve reviewed and loved the art. Jasmine Toguchi is part of a Macmillan bookseller campaign called “Got Character?” that features six series. Jasmine is on a poster! The reviews (all good, thankfully) are in. Mochi Queen is a Junior Library Guild fall selection and a pick for Amazon’s Summer Book Club – New Favorite Series for Kids. I’ve been interviewed by some awesome bloggers. I’ve stumbled upon Twitter conversations and Instagram posts about Jasmine. And I’ve held the actual books in my hands. I’m giddy!

So when does it feel real? This still feels like a dream. A very wonderful dream but, still, a dream. I can’t believe that a book I wrote with characters I conceived is really going to find its way into the hands of readers. Perhaps that is when it will feel real – when a child reads my books.

Pre-launch, so much energy and focus is on getting the words and the art just right, on waiting for the reviews to come in, on planning events, on promotion and marketing. All of this is, of course, relevant and important and fun. But during all that, sometimes it’s easy to forget why I wrote the story in the first place, for whom I wrote the story – for a child. When I started my writing career over 15 years ago, I didn’t know about Kirkus or School Library Journal, or the effect of sales numbers or earning out, or how important it was to get parents and educators on board. All I thought about was the child who might pick up my book, read the story, connect to the character, and fall in love. And today, I’m remembering that. I can’t wait for readers to meet Jasmine and, I hope, fall in love with her.

Art copyright Elizabet Vukovic

Maybe that’s when it will feel real. When a child reader says, “I read and loved your book.” That is the review I’m holding my breath for.

In the meantime, I am celebrating this dream come true. I’m pinching myself to make sure this is really happening. I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me along this journey, who has believed in me, who has talked up my books, and who has helped make Jasmine and her stories come alive. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And extra special thanks to my awesome agent Tricia Lawrence, to my amazing editor Grace Kendall, and to my husband B0b and daughter Caitlin!


Enter to win Mochi Queen and Super Sleuth! One entry per one comment per post this launch week for a maximum total of five entries. Enter by midnight EST, Sunday July 16. The winner will be drawn at random. Must have U.S. mailing address. Good luck!




Filed under Book Giveaway, Book Launch, Celebrations, Launch, Thankfulness

38 responses to “Pinch Me

  1. Congratulations and best of luck on your book release! Adorable puppy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have loved reading about your path to publication and your process for this series. And I love seeing Kiku photos! Looking forward to getting to know Jasmine! Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So happy to see all your hopes, dreams, and hard work finally coming to fruition! Congratulations, Debbi!!! Savor these special moments, which you so richly deserve!

    (Go, Jasmine Toguchi, go!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rebecca Van Slyke

    Happy, happy book birthday, Debbi! It won’t be long until kids are falling in love with Jasmine, too! Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. stephanieburgis

    Yay! I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to read these to my kids. (And of course I live outside the US, but we’re visiting my family there in a few weeks, so I can use that mailing address!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations, Debbi. I’m excited that Jasmine is beginning that journey today to the children who will love her.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jen 2

    Happy book birthday!! I can’t wait to read them and share them with my second grade students this fall.
    Jen Rusin

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jason Gallaher

    I am so so so so so so excited for you! Happy happy book birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. David McMullin

    Congratulation. The hard work had paid off.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Heartfelt Congratulations, Debbi! I’m so excited that many, many young readers will get to meet Jasmine. It’s been quite a journey, you never gave up, and now your dream has come true!! Happy Book Birthday!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. kristivaliant

    “…it’s been seven years from the spark of an idea to book release.” Well, my 7-year-old who was born when you had your spark of an idea would absolutely love this series. Adorable art. Hope to see it in person!


  12. Jo

    I’m so happy for you, Debbi!!!!!! xoxoxoxo


  13. Yay, Debbie! I am so, so excited for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Christina Uss

    Debbi – the reason you got all those good reviews is because reviewers can tell how much kids are going to love these books. So happy for you and Jasmine!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wooohooo!!!! Happy book birthday, Debbi! You have worked so hard and deserve all the accolades! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I usually say, ignore the reviews, but in this case…bask in them. So looking forward to sharing these with the kids in my life!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Laura Reeves

    Congratulations! Your books caught my eye! I teach dyslexic kids to read — and am always looking for new books! Also a writer of YA. Best wishes to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Congratulations on your new book release!

    Liked by 1 person

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