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'ghostgirl' - Tonya Hurley Draws Upon The Outsider Sensibility of Music Greats

''ghostgirl''- for the Grateful Web

Hitting the New York Times' top ten best-seller list this week, ghostgirl is a quirky, supernatural celebration of young love, romance and determination against all odds and reason.  Written by TONYA HURLEY, the novel is at the forefront of a growing sub-genre of Young Adult fiction, dubbed ''demento mori'' by Publisher's Weekly in their starred review of the book, about teens who cannot or will not die. It tells the story of Charlotte Usher, an "invisible" girl in high school who struggles to find her own identity and place among her peers. She is literally dying to be popular, fighting Fate all the way to the Fall Ball, which she schemes to attend with the boy of her dreams, infuriating her 'Dead Ed' classmates.

"Certain music speaks to you as an individual and when you find it, it's like finding a long lost friend," says HURLEY.  To bring this satirical tale of a super-driven dead girl to life, she uniquely incorporates the outsider sensibility of artists and bands like Lou Reed, Radiohead, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Belle And Sebastian, Paul Westerberg, R.E.M., Evanescence and The Cure by directly quoting their lyrics at the beginning of each chapter; the book also references the resonance of their music in pop culture in addition to other artists including Death Cab For Cutie, My Bloody Valentine, Dresden Dolls, My Chemical Romance and Arcade Fire.

"I had a lot of this music in my head when I was writing the novel," explains HURLEY, "and some lyric phrases and song titles just perfectly captured or added to what I was trying to say."  She adds: "I really connected to these lyrics and bands and I feel they've really stood the test of time.  They were, and, still are as powerful as any poetry to me.  There is music out there for everyone at every time in their lives, something they can relate to and that relates to them.  It is often the only thing that 'understands' you."

Elaborates HURLEY: "I wrote the book that I wished I had in high school.  To me, the most passionate people are always the most interesting. The ones who have to work hard to get noticed, to be appreciated not so much for how they look or what they have, but who they are.  Everybody feels invisible at some point in their lives, most especially in high school.  ghostgirl was just an extreme way of exploring that feeling, but in the most literal way imaginable."  HURLEY embraces this to full effect throughout the book with her engaging dark humor.

Since the book has been published, HURLEY says "I am amazed to find that it isn't just teens that are responding to it.  Adults are too."

ghostgirl, published by Little, Brown and Company, just debuted at #10 on the New York Times' best seller list and has already received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, VOYA and the School Library Journal.  The second book in the ghostgirl series will be released in July 2009.

To learn more about ghostgirl, visit www.ghostgirl.com where you can view the latest news, community activity and listen to personal play lists from characters in the book.

Yard Dogs Road Show Descend Upon Denver Oct. 4th

photos by Amanda Bell- for the Grateful Web

The Yard Dogs Road Show most recently left ROTHBURY and Glastonbury Festival audiences breathless. Yard Dogs Road Show will release their first music video EVER on their website in the next two weeks. It's called Lucky Day and it's an in-depth documentation of their last ten years on the road - from inception to the present - all about sprinklers, swimsuits and summer fun.  Shot by Dugan O'neal (Michael Franti, Bassnectar, M.I.A.). Now, San Francisco's hobo cabaret bring their living patchwork of vaudeville and rock and roll indoors for a headlining U.S. tour.

The run of shows launches on September 6 with a hometown show at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium. Complete with red carnations for all of the ladies in attendance, Beats Antique opens the show, while Shellac Shack spins vintage 78s in the venue's "Poster Room."  After SF, the troupe heads east for a string of dates with support act The Indigo Belly Dance, featuring Rachel Brice, Mardi Love and Zoe Jake are all members of Miles Copeland's internationally acclaimed Bellydance Superstars.

Of course, it wouldn't be a fall tour for Yard Dogs Road Show without a stop in Denver, where on October 4 they return to the Mile High City - this time at the Bluebird Theatre - for the first time since last year's epic Halloween bash with Devotchka. 

Yard Dogs Road Show Fall Dates are as follows:

September 11 Georgia Theater Athens GA w/ The Indigo Belly Dance
September 12 Variety Playhouse Atlanta GA w/ The Indigo Belly Dance
September 13 Orange Peel Asheville NC w/ The Indigo Belly Dance
September 14 Bijou Theatre Knoxville TN w/ The Indigo Belly Dance
September 16 The Cannery Ballroom Nashville TN w/ The Indigo Belly Dance
September 19 The Birchmere Alexandria VA w/ The Indigo Belly Dance
September 20 Asbury Lanes Asbury NJ
September 21-22 Spiegelworld, Pier 17 New York NY w/ The Indigo Belly Dance
September 26-27 Music Hall Portsmouth NJ
October 2 Majestic Theatre Madison WI
October 4 Bluebird Theater Denver CO

Yard Dogs Road Show are pure visual and sonic voodoo. It's a true story on stage: sword swallowers, dancing dolls, fire eaters and sunset hobo poetry - all animated by the live sounds of the Yard Dogs cartoon heavy band. Born from the saloon vaudeville that toured the Wild West in the late 1800's and slammed into the underworld of modern American road culture. The Yard Dogs create a timeless space for the union of ancient theatrical alchemy and modern pop culture.

With the publication of his book, Hobo: A Young Man's Thoughts on Trains and Tramping in America (Random House / 2003), straw boss and founding member Eddy Joe Cotton and the Yard Dogs Road Show surfaced into the mainstream media. As the San Francisco Weekly reviewed, "Many wandering youngsters identify with the label "tramp artist," but few have taken it to the top-hat perfection quite like Eddy Joe Cotton...[Eddy] and the Yard Dogs Road Show do their neo-vaudeville thing the only way it should be: with flash, panache and an underlying sense of menace."