Launch Day

For almost a year, today’s date, June 8, 2015, has glimmered impossibly in the future: my first novel’s Publication Date. It has the same magical qualities as a baby’s due date.

And, practically speaking, it is almost as reliable a metric for when your baby or book will arrive.*  Stores have been selling Shelter Us for a couple weeks, Amazon has been shipping it, and friends and family who have read it and liked it have told me so. (I’m not keeping a list, ahem.)

Still, I’m human, and humans love to infuse meaning into 24 hour periods — like birthdays, anniversaries, and the 4th of July. I can’t let this date pass without a little huzzah. Besides, seeing as I’ve been talking and talking and talking about this book (I’m so sorry) for so long, the least I could do is share some Launch day trivia with you.

Here’s a glimpse of the glamorous life of a newly published novelist:

  • Wake up foggy-headed and remember that you’re supposed to pick up your eldest child from a sleepover in twenty minutes.
  • Send newsletter announcing Launch Day, asking everyone to please read your book. Again.
  • Throw on sneakers and sweatshirt, lick finger to wipe mascara from under eyelids (why does it never come off all the way?) in case there’s an earthquake and you have to get out of the car.
  • Check e-mail, read a new review!
  • Bring child home, make him breakfast and a sack lunch for camp. Take to camp.
  • Come home. Wash dishes.
  • Do a radio interview! (…while sitting in a closet, because this is the day tree trimmers came.)
  • Closet 1Take child shopping for shorts and bathing suit for camp.
  • Come home. Wash dishes. Again.
  • Let your kids break into the cookies you bought for tomorrow’s Launch Party.
  • Remember to thank your spouse for being unconditionally supportive and amazing, including that last text that dinner is almost ready.
  • Pinch yourself that people are reading your book, and even if you never write another word, this is enough.

There you have June 8, 2015, a big day, and also just a Monday, drizzled with bursts of excitement and the mundane. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get any better than this.


*Side note: Only 5% of babies are born on their due dates. My second baby was one of those!

DELIVER ME is Now on Kindle!

DELIVER ME is Now on Kindle! 

Deliver Me for Kindle

Some of you may be on your third or fourth Kindles. Me, I’m not a Kindle fan – it strains my weary eyes — but I get the attraction. Books! Now! In hand! No waiting! When the rest of my book group greedily downloaded Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings for our next selection, I had to settle for being number 230 in line on the library waiting list. (On the plus side, there are 20 copies systemwide!) If I don’t finish it in my allotted three weeks, I’ll have to relinquish it to number 231 in line, or knowingly keep an overdue book.

This happened last month to my twelve-year-old, who could not finish his 500 page tome in three weeks, what with homework and baseball and basketball and Wii. The man at the library advised him to keep it, finish it and consider the fine to be “rent.” We went with that. 

So while I am still Kindle-less, I am finally catching up to the rest of the modern world.

Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood is now available on KindleReader reviews are here.

If you want to share it with a friend, however, you’ll have to loan them your whole Kindle, or get one in print. That’s one more reason to love books in print. You can pass them on.

Words to live by at the L.A. Festival of Books

I attended the L.A. Festival of Books this past weekend. The last time I went I was a toddler-towing parent, bringing my 18-month-old wonder-boy to the Children’s Stage and subjecting him to the crowded festival environment he has never enjoyed. A decade has passed, and he’s now a baseball playing, independent, 11-year-old with no need for his mom to stay in arm’s reach. Meanwhile, his little brother and dad were gone for the weekend on an island adventure, encountering endangered foxes and kayaking through emerald waters. This is how I found myself all alone at the Festival of Books — my definition of bliss — and able to avoid the kiddie entertainments and escape into the literary panels that were previously off-limits to me and my ilk.

Delectable conversations ensued. I share with you some of the gems from the authors and publishers I heard. Use them how you like — as writing prompts, dinner table conversation starters, post them on your bathroom mirror, or toss them away like an off-base cookie fortune.

“There is no one way to do anything anymore.” (Publishing panel that included Rob Spillman of Tin House, Ken Baumann of Sator Press and Sumanth Prabhaker of Madras Press). They were talking about getting a book published. But certainly this doesn’t apply only to book publishing. Sure, it is more comfortable to know the one established path to achieving a goal (e.g. go to law school, become a a lawyer). But this not knowing, this feeling your way business, well, it does open up unlimited possibilities.

“There are two kinds of people. Those who stay and those who leave.”  Author Susan Straight (Take One Candle, Light a Room, most recently). When she asked us to raise our hands if we lived within one hour of where we grew up, I wanted to stand up and shout, “I live ten feet from my old bedroom!” Guess I know which kind of person I am. Which are you?

“Every work of fiction is emotional autobiography.” Author Tayari Jones (Silver Sparrow). Amen, sister. For those kind and brave souls who have helpfully read drafts of my novel Shelter Us, however, this is not license to psychoanalyze me. You can keep your thoughts to yourselves and your mouths shut. Or I’ll write about you in my next one.

“Motivation matters.” Tayari Jones, again. In other words, a person/character may do something awful or inconceivable, but if it’s because of love we can forgive her. If it’s for money, forget it. For example, I may unplug the television for an entire weekend because I am a mean mother trying to ruin my sons’ lives, or because I love them dearly and desire that they get off their tushies and out into the fresh air and sunshine. How about you: who is currently ruining your life (or annoying the bejeebers out of you), and what motivates them?

Everyone feeling literary? Good! Discuss.