The Dragon Has Launched…Sort Of

For the past year and a half, I’ve had Flying the Dragon’s release date etched in my brain.

JULY 1, 2012!

The day that banners will fly and the crowds will go wild! Okay, maybe not flying banners…how about a sign? Something like this:

Taken a few hours before the derecho. Don’t know what a derecho is? Read on…

And instead of wild crowds, I looked forward to celebrating with my students, colleagues, family, and friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in years.

The venue was set—the closest bookstore to the Title I school where I teach is a Barnes and Noble. I met with the events coordinator months ago and dropped off an ARC. He read it and was enthusiastic about holding my launch event at their store.

About five weeks out, I sent e-vites and the RSVPs started rolling in.

Emus Debuts own wise and creative Jeannie Mobley sent me a link to these Fun Chops:

How can anyone resist something called Fun Chops?? I ordered some along with sets of wooden chopsticks—the kind you find in Chinese restaurants. My daughters’ plan was to give the kids each a set of chopsticks, a Fun Chop, and a cup of popped corn and let ‘em gnosh away—a sort of Eating With Chopsticks 101.

I also ordered the cake, complete with my book’s gorgeous cover (thank you, Kelly Murphy!).

What could be better than Kelly Murphy’s gorgeous illustration? Kelly Murphy’s gorgeous illustration on frosting on spongy marble cake!

I even ordered this necklace from Etsy, as cherry blossoms figure prominently in Flying the Dragon.

I was all set. Until the storm hit.

Unless you’re Ben Franklin, don’t try launching your kite in this stuff.

Not just any storm, mind you. On June 29, a rare, rouge storm called a derecho swept across four states, causing massive power outages that lasted days in record-setting 100+-degree temperatures.  Grocery stores were closed, traffic lights were out, pools were shut down. And the doors of Barnes and Noble were closed, the lights out, and a sign posted: Closed until further notice due to power outage.

By the morning of

JULY 1, 2012!

…we still had no power. I was cranky, sweaty, and trying to pack our things for our flight to Italy the next day. Power was slowly being restored in some areas, but still not ours, still not Barnes and Noble. That morning, I emailed people from my phone to let them know that the Barnes and Noble still had no power and that my book launch would have to be postponed.

That evening, my family and my sister’s family checked into a Holiday Inn that had rooms available with a laundromat, and sweet, sweet air conditioning. The place where I’d ordered my cake had power (of course) so we picked up the giant cake, and a dozen of us dug in after pizza that night. My husband had bought a Happy Birthday helium-filled balloon for my book from an open grocery store, and we all toasted the release of Flying the Dragon.

There are several scenes in my book where my main characters, Hiroshi and Skye, launch the dragon kite. Here’s a kite-launching scene from my book that mirrors the launch I thought my book would have:

Hiroshi turned his back to the breeze. He unrolled some extra line, then held on with both hands. 


Skye let go of the kite and Hiroshi pulled up on the line. The kite climbed higher and higher as Hiroshi shuffled backward, faster and faster. The wind took hold of the winking dragon, and Hiroshi let out more line, surrendering the kite to the sky.

Here’s another scene that serves as a more accurate metaphor for what actually happened on

JULY 1, 2012!

Skye took the kite and paced backward until they were several yards apart. She lifted the kite by the bridle.

As soon as Hiroshi felt a small gust of wind, he nodded. Skye released the kite, he ran with the line, and the winking dragon began its crooked climb.

Come on—go up! Fly!

But he could see the breeze wasn’t strong enough. The wind sighed as the kite drifted back down. Skye ran to catch it before it hit the ground. She shook her head as she walked it over.

But you know what? When all was said and done and the power restored (at around 3:00 a.m. on July 2), I counted myself as one of the lucky ones. None us were hurt in the storm and our homes didn’t sustain any damage. I celebrated my book’s birthday surrounded by people I love and who love me back. I have a book out there in the world, and I will celebrate that book at the Barnes and Noble on


with more loved ones. And chopsticks and popcorn and Fun Chops and another big cake.  If you’re in the area that day, I hope you’ll stop by and celebrate with me.


Filed under Book signing, Celebrations, Thankfulness

20 responses to “The Dragon Has Launched…Sort Of

  1. This is wonderful, Natalie. We just miss you in Port Ludlow!


  2. Natalie Dias Lorenzi

    Oh, I miss you all, too, Cynthia! Funny that it’s 11:30 pm there on Saturday, while I write this at 8:30 am Sunday morning here in Italy. Please tell everyone I say ciao! 🙂


  3. Congratulations! I love the Fun Chops you sent me! Thanks again!! 🙂 )


  4. Meg Brinkhuis

    Release dates come and go, but the book is with us *now* and while we are reading it! Congrats, Natalie!


  5. Way to take a lemon of a day and turn it into a sweet lemonade story. Wish you were in in Port Ludlow so I could meet you.


  6. We writers are so used to having control over the details of our story, we tend to get surprised when things go awry… and for you, that was pretty spectacularly awry. But I love how you and your loved ones made the best of a tough situation. Congratulations on your launch… may “Flying the Dragon” soar!


    • Natalie Dias Lorenzi

      Thanks, Maryanne! So true about wishing we could have more control over things. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned as a writer in the past year–we have control over very little outside of what we put down on the page!


  7. The great news is that I can attend the new launch date and am looking forward to cake and activities. I’ll bring my girls! That Derecho was no joke-o. Took us 6 days to get the power bback. Eesh. And viva Italia!


    • Natalie Dias Lorenzi

      Six days?? Ugh. And right when you were getting back from a trip–what a nice welcome home that must have been. 😛 So glad you and your girls will be able to make it on September 15!


  8. I almost made it to your almost launch. Maybe next time.


    • Natalie Dias Lorenzi

      I know, Donna! I’m glad you were able to Skype your way into your grandson’s baptism that day and that the church had power. What a crazy storm!


  9. L.B. Schulman

    I’m sorry you went through all that! Sheesh. Your book is so great, tho, that I have a feeling the parties will be going on for a long time.


  10. Susan

    We had deck and fence damage, but luckily no house damage. Your book has launched! And the postponed launch party will be a great milestone too. We *might* be in the DC area in September. If so, we’ll be there!


    • Natalie Dias Lorenzi

      I’m glad your house is fine, Susan–it’s even more of a worry when you’re out of town and have to wait to hear the extent of the damage. Would LOVE to see you guys in September, if not for the book launch, then for coffee or whatever!


  11. Pingback: Hard to fly a kite in the rain… | EMU's Debuts

  12. Pingback: Arrivederci! | EMU's Debuts

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