Category Archives: Book signing

As the Book Release Nears…

On January 31, my picture book, MY BUSY GREEN GARDEN was released! (Okay, since you had to ask, I’ll show you the cover).

busygreengardencoverwebsize

And I’m super-fortunate to have my first board book, MAMA LOVES YOU SO coming out in March (Well, if you insist, here’s that cover, as well!)

MamaLovesYouSo

Now, before you go thinking this all about me shamelessly promoting my new books, let me say I do have a point. And it’s an important one. And important and fun part of the “book deal to publication” process. What is Terry, you eagerly ask?

Inscriptions!

3oha2morfgv6qhcpm81

I recently took a copy of my book to my local library to donate to their children’s library. I was also running a bunch of errands so as I left my house I grabbed the book. Then it suddenly occurred to me…ack! I needed to sign in. What to say? What to say?

Here’s my point. With each book, comes the opportunity to create an inscription that fits with the theme of the story. It’s one of the many fun things about a new book! When my easy reader, TAE KWON DO! I always signed it, “Get a kick out of reading!” When my picture book, BLACKBERRY BANQUET, came out I often signed it, “Reading is a banquet for the mind.”

Back to me running out of the house, I hadn’t given a single thought as to how I would sign my new books. Yeah…I’ve been kind of busy AND I’m out of practice! And not only that, I know it’s wise to have more than one inscription for your book. I recalled a school visit I did where, at an after-school signing, a parent walked up and set four of my books down in front of me. I thanked her and asked who to inscribe the books to. She said each book was for a different child in the family (including some cousins). It struck me that it would be a letdown if I signed them all the same, so on the spot I made up four different inscriptions (not my cleverest moment as it had been a long day and I was getting tired). Ever since then I always think of three theme-based inscriptions for each book.

My criteria for a good inscription is that: 1) it ties into the theme of the book, 2) is fairly short and hopefully clever, and 3) I print it out because many children don’t know how to read cursive writing (although I do write my name in cursive and I alter my signature so it differs from the one I use on legal documents).

For MY BUSY GREEN GARDEN, the story is about a developing chrysalis hidden in the garden. Thus, I’m thinking something like, “Reading gives you wings” as one possibility. But that’s just one, so I thought I’d throw it out there to see if I can solicit any other suggestions for anyone who wants some practice on creating inscriptions. Also, I’d love to hear your own clever inscriptions!

Any suggestions?

_______________________________________

PierceHeadshotUCLA (2)About Terry Pierce…

Terry writes picture books, easy readers and board books and is whittling away at a middle-grade adventure novel. She lives in the California desert but avoids the summer heat by retreating to Mammoth Lakes every summer to hike, bike, write and dip her head in high mountain sky. She’s a Vermont College of Fine Arts graduate and teaches online children’s writing courses for UCLA Extension (go Bruins!).

 

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Filed under Book signing, Writing

10 Busy Brooms

I  have never enjoyed going to haunted houses because I am easily frightened by costumed actors paid to scare people. That’s one of many reason I love Michael Fleming’s illustrations for my Halloween counting book, 10 Busy Brooms, out this month from Doubleday.  The “bad” critters he depicted look nearly as adorable as the altruistic little witches who rescue one another, making it clear to children that this book is sweet rather than scary.

Thanks also to another talented Michael, Doubleday Assistant Editor Michael Joosten, who worked closely with me to make sure my text and Mr. Fleming’s art fit together seamlessly. An enormous thank-you also goes to Frances Gilbert—Associate Publishing Director of Random House, Golden Books, Doubleday Books for Young Readers—for accepting my manuscript. And major thanks to my agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette for selling it.

I got the idea for this manuscript while thinking about my wholesome trick-or-treating adventures in the small Ohio town where I grew up. No one’s parents ever accompanied them—that would have been humiliating! Preschoolers stayed home and helped to hand out treats. Elementary school kids joined up with older siblings or friends and made the rounds. It was exciting to be out and about at night, unsupervised by adults, and feeling the occasional thrill of fear at seeing a seriously scary goblin I didn’t recognize in costume.

Most children wore simple costumes:  old sheet with eye holes cut out for ghosts, and black wigs worn under witch hats. Many kids wore cheap masks from the dime store.  A few painted their faces. Many wore fake wax lips or wax teeth that had to be taken out when you said, “trick or treat.” Both the lips and teeth had a sweet taste and could be chewed like gum later in the evening. Older kids carried soap in their pockets to leave their marks on homes of people who were too clueless or cheap to give out treats. Some carried bags of dry corn. Soaping windows and/or throwing corn on porches were the “tricks” if a treat wasn’t given.

None of us liked the sheriff’s prissy daughter, Beverly, and we all hated knocking on the door of their home. However, her family gave out full-size candy bars, so we put away our wax teeth and lips so we could smile politely when her mother opened the door. Getting our candy bars wasn’t a quick transaction, though, because Mrs. B. (full name withheld to protect Beverly’s privacy) always attempted to first guess the identity of each beggar, then demanded that we take off our disguises if she guessed wrong. (Hand over the Hershey already!)

Okay, so how am I going to wind up this trip down memory lane? Hmmmm. How about with this:  Trick or treat/smell my feet/give me something good to eat. And, if you get a chance in October,  read 10 Busy Brooms to a child who loves Halloween.

 

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Filed under Book signing, Uncategorized

WINNER: EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN Giveaway!

Before I announce the lucky winner of the giveaway, I wanted to share a few photos from Lindsey Lane’s amazing launch party this past Sunday at Book People in Austin, Texas.

Family, friends, and fans gathered to welcome EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN into the world.

lindsey and crowd

photo by Sam Bond Photography

Lindsey with fellow EMU, Donna Janell Bowman (Bratton).

donna and lindsey

photo by Sam Bond Photography

And Lindsey signing.

lindsey signing

photo by Sam Bond Photography

Speaking of signed books, let’s move on to the WINNER of the signed ARC of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN.

The winner is: JOANNA MARPLE

Congratulations to Joanna, and thanks to each of you who visited our blog last week to help celebrate Lindsey’s launch week.

To purchase a copy of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN from your local independent bookstore, find one here or order it from your favorite national or online retailer such as FSG, BookPeoplePowell’sB&N,or Amazon.

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Filed under ARCs, Book Promotion, Book signing, Happiness, Launch

Longing for Balance, Post-launch

On Monday, our newest Emu Tamara Ellis Smith wrote a beautiful post about the longing that accompanies the journey toward publication. It’s a feeling that many, many writers aspiring to become published know, and one that I knew well for many years.

Born on July 10, 2014!

Born on July 10, 2014!

But now, I’m on the other side of the fence. All Four Stars has been out in the world for a month and a half, and I’ll be hanging up my Emu feathers before long. Has the longing evaporated?

No, of course not—but it has changed. For weeks around when my book came out, when my life felt swallowed up by launch-party planning and online promotion efforts, I longed to get back to my quiet, boring, normal routine and write. Finally, the chaos of launch has passed, and I’ve been able to do that, and now I have even more appreciation for it than I did before.

But now that I am writing again, I long to do it better—to dig deeper into my new characters, to send them on better-plotted journeys and describe their actions with more beautiful sentences. I’m thrilled that my first novel has been published, but I long to up my game in future ones.

But most of all, I long to find balance. I want to focus enough energy on promoting my published book that readers will continue to discover it even after the push of launch-time is over. But I also want to write new books. And I want to continue to travel and have the adventures and experiences that inspire my stories in the first place. Basically, I long for my old, prepublished lifestyle to continue while I also integrate my new obligations as a published author into it. A tall order, perhaps, but each day I’m finding my way.

All that said, finally being published after years of working toward it is undeniably sweet. There is nothing quite like a stranger—someone who has no reason to coddle or lie to you—telling you that they loved reading your book. And if that stranger is a kid, even better. And if they come to your latest book event and tell you in person, EVEN BETTER.

This actually happened last weekend.

This actually happened last weekend.

Yeah…life after launch isn’t so bad.

__________________________________________

Tara DairmanTara Dairman is a novelist, playwright, and recovering world traveler. All Four Starsher debut middle-grade novel about an 11-year-old who secretly becomes a New York restaurant critic, was published on July 10, 2014 by Putnam/Penguin.

Find her online at taradairman.com, and on Twitter at @TaraDairman.

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Filed under Book Promotion, Book signing, Happiness, Launch, Promotion, Satisfaction

“Norm!” (Whoops, I mean “Tara!”)

Well, 6 weeks post book-launch and it would normally be time to wipe down the counters, flip over the barstools and tell the person knocking outside, “Sorry, we’re closed.” Tara has left the building.

cheersclosed

Instead of that final episode of Cheers, imagine Norm walking back in and everyone yelling “Norm!” Except, um, shouting some other name. “Tara!”

normcheers

Yep, I’m sticking around. Keep the stool on the corner warm for me.

I realized some of the most interesting debut experiences have happened to me post-launch. So why depart now? This is stuff that’s rarely discussed.

  • Like a corporate dispute between your publisher and America’s sole remaining national book chain which keeps your book out of the brick-and-mortar shops.
  • Like a gut-punching review.
  • Like your own child’s school declining your offer of a free school visit.
  • Like your daughter’s name being misspelled in the dedication.
  • Like most bookstores wanting you to appear in October because your book has Halloween appeal, yet very few wanting you NOW, when early sales are crucial to momentum.

BUT, there’s also the really cool stuff.

  • Like bookstores tweeting pictures of children drawing the monsters they’d like to buy at THE MONSTORE.
  • Like receiving fan mail from 22 kids at a summer writing camp, after using the first page of your book as their favorite writing prompt.
    monstorepage1
  • Like Skyping with classrooms across the country…in your jammies.
  • Like complete strangers showing up to your very first book signing. Even the town mayor.
  • Like being on a radio show!
  • Like people reviewing your book on blogs, Amazon and GoodReads, saying they love your book.

Yes, these things make you feel all warm and fuzzy, like an evening at a place where everybody knows your name.

.

So I’ll be here for a while longer. And let’s make this blog post interactive, shall we? Ask me anything about my post-book-launch experiences and I’ll be happy to oblige.

Cheers!

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Filed under Book Promotion, Book signing, Updates on our Books!

Wish me Well

The last time you all heard from me, I was busy planning. Planning my blog tour, planning my book release, planning my launch party. I was so busy with promotion and all that, well, planning, that I stopped even trying to write.

More on that later. Let’s rewind to the 11th hour when I’d done everything imaginable to make Parched a success, and it was time for me to enjoy the ride.

First, the reviews came tumbling in. Anyone who says this isn’t terrifying is lying! Don’t believe them! But despite all the nervous-making, the reviews have been great! And if you mash the best bits all together, Parched sounds like the most awesome book ever written in the history of the human race. It’s a fun game, (if you’ll forgive me fudging the strict rules of citation and quotation). Let’s play:

Fans of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet (1987) will want this[1] thrilling, imaginative soul quencher. Crowder’s stunning debut is sure to become a modern classic.[2] The writing, especially the descriptions of the drought conditions and extreme thirst, is excellent[3] all the more impressive for its restraint.[4] Makes one want to love the whole world with more courage, gentleness and hope.[5]  ZOMG. ZOMG. ZOMG. EVERYTHING I COULD WANT IN A MIDDLE-GRADE. OMG.[6]

[1] Booklist

[2] Rita Williams-Garcia

[3] School Library Journal

[4] Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal

[5] Elizabeth Phinney, Amazon

[6] Eden, Goodreads

See—that was fun, right? The thing is, you can’t take reviews too personally—positive or negative—if you want to keep writing. But more on the whole writing bit later.

After the reviews came release day.

Launch Party! (Yes, I was smiling that big the entire time!)

Launch Party! (Yes, my smile was that huge the entire time!)

You’d think that seeing your book on a bookshelf in a bookstore would be the most thrilling thing about that day.  And don’t get me wrong—it was great, really great. But by far, the best thing about launching my debut novel was seeing the community that had built up around me rise up and hold my book high for the world to see. It’s the best feeling, ever.

The Emu crew threw me a fantastic blog party, and my agency mates tossed confetti all over facebook and twitter. Fellow Vermont College alums and students posted pics of my book all over the country and penned swoon-worthy reviews. The Lucky 13s celebrated in their own bomb-diggity style. My launch party at Tattered Cover was packed with teachers from my school, buddies from my tennis and soccer teams, family and a few very supportive local writer friends.

It was amazing. Really. I feel so very honored.

It took me a while to come down from all that excitement. Promoting a book and writing a book use very different parts of my brain, and they don’t always play nicely together. But any writer worth her salt will tell you that resting and thinking and reading are as important to the writing process as actually getting the words down on page.

And I still wasn’t quite ready for the writing part…

My book launch ended in some lovely, surprising news. My next two Young Adult novels were picked up by Philomel Books and I signed on for another middle grade with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. That makes three books on the horizon for me. I always wanted a long and varied writing career, and now, there it is, right in front of me.

So last week, I cleaned my office. I put away all my bookmarks and teacher guides, and I celebrated the last leg of my blog tour. It had been about two months since I had worked on one of my stories, since I had written anything other than a blog post or press release.

It was time. I was rested. My mind was quiet and I was eager to get going again.

I’d love to tell you that the words flowed onto the page, that it was a delightful, inspiring week. It was not. I wrote very little, and not very well. By the end of the week, I had 2,000 words, a quantity some writers can crank out in a morning.

But writing is as much about habit and discipline as it is about inspiration. I know how to get myself back into the habit of writing, so that the inspiration is welcome. I know that the words will come, and that they will be good, if not the first time around, then maybe the second, or the third. I’ve got a great community around me who will challenge me and cheer me on as I write my way through this story and the next one, and the one after that.

I am so very proud of Parched. And I will continue to spread the word about this story to schools and libraries and readers, wherever I can find them. But as people much wiser than I have said, the best part of your writing career should always be your work in progress.

So off I go, to get to work. Wish me well, Emus.

______________________________________________

Parched cover imageThis is Melanie’s last post as an Emu’s Debut. In the future, you’ll find her up in the Emu Emeriti tab, or in the comments section, or at her own website: www.melaniecrowder.net.

She graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Melanie is the author of PARCHED (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013) and AUDACITY (Philomel, 2015).

 

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Filed under Book Promotion, Book signing, Celebrations, Editor, Farewell, Happiness, Promotion, Thankfulness, Writing

Hard to fly a kite in the rain…

July 1, 2012 really was going to be great day in the history of FLYING THE DRAGON. Barnes & Noble even had the poster set up and everything. There was going to be cake!

CAKE!! Decorated with the cover art for the book.

But, as we learned this past Monday when author Natalie Dias Lorenzi posted about the rainout/blackout of her book launch, the best laid plans and all that.

For a debut novelist, the planning and anticipation for the first book launch event are the culmination of a lifelong dream suddenly coming true. People are showing up to get your signature on your book, there’s a poster with your name on it, it’s an EVENT. For YOUR book!

Dream. Come. True.

But, as I said, it’s hard to fly a kite in the rain:

And there was a lot of rain. And wind. And, as Natalie discovered, blackouts.

So, how important is the BOOK LAUNCH?

Because that’s what we’re talking about. One book launch at one Barnes & Noble.

I know Natalie and all of us here at EMU’s Debuts are grateful and thankful and happy that the physical and emotional toll of this storm system were not greater. To those who lived through it, losing power in the heat, losing trees and property in the storm, our prayers go out to you and we hope all the best for all of you.

In the grand scheme of things, one missed book launch event would probably qualify as ‘best case scenario’ since we can all imagine far worse from a storm of this magnitude.

So, how important is that book launch?

Compared to the safety and well-being of our friends and family who lived through it, not all that important, actually.

In the end, the celebration for this wonderful book will keep going, both at Barnes & Noble and elsewhere. FLYING THE DRAGON will be supported by friends, family and strangers, read and adored with and without cake.

Come on—go up! Fly!

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Filed under Book Promotion, Book signing, Celebrations

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. 

“Now!”

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

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2012!

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.

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Filed under Book signing, Celebrations, Thankfulness

Why, yes, It IS all about me. Um…unless it’s not.

Before I start talking about me, it is my pleasure to announce our BIG WINNERS!!! From last week’s release week party drawings!

The signed copy of Natalie’s FLYING THE DRAGON goes to Maryanne! The set of four chop sticks goes to ERIK! We will be in contact about sending your fabulous prizes! Congratulations.

Okay, enough about you. I’m here today to talk about ME.  Some of you may recall my last post, in which I reflected on being in a moment where nothing was happening. Editing was done, but reviews, publicity, etc. had not yet started.

I am no longer in that place. I am in a new place. The place of, HOLY COW, STUFF IS HAPPENING!!! And I am discovering that this is a dangerous place for a person with an ego (large or small.)

The silence of the “waiting for a review” time was shattered two weeks ago by notice of my first official review–A Kirkus starred review!  Fortunately, my editor emailed the news to me with the heading “Starred Review.”  Had the subject line read “Kirkus review,” I would probably still be trying to get the nerve up to open the email.

Getting a Kirkus star on my first review was overwhelming. I switched between relief and excitement about twenty times in five minutes. A year ago, another writer said to me, “I’m hoping for good reviews, because without them I don’t think my book will sell.”  This innocent statement was a dose of poison that’s been running through my veins ever since, and especially as we draw closer to review time. So this first review seemed to say to me, “You’re gonna be okay, Jeannie! You’re gonna live!”

It felt just like this. Only with more hair and less muscle.

The second cool thing about the Kirkus Star, is that when it was announced via the EMLA facebook page, the response from friends and fellow EMLA clients (which is basically a redundant phrase) was overwhelming. I felt like I had just won Olympic Gold with all the congratulations and reposts pouring in.

A few days later the book received a first BEAUTIFUL author blurb, from the fabulous Laura Resau, (which you can now read on Amazon, along with a highlight from Kirkus.)

Then last week, my industrious S&S publicist got rolling. I was contacted by some bookstore owners interested in signings, including one in Albuquerque. (NOTE: States out here in the West are big. Albuquerque is in the next state over from Colorado, but it’s still a long way away. Not sure my publicist knew this.)  I’m also being scheduled for an interview in the Denver Post, and a gig at a major trade show.

And just to put a cherry on top, last week I visited with a bookstore owner who tells me she has already nominated the book for an award!

Now if, like me, you are the sort of person who is susceptible to Delusions of Grandeur, this is likely to trigger fantasies of moving to Graceland. Not that I’m writing my speech for the Newbery Medal or anything.

Ahem. Anyway, what I mean is, this last couple of weeks have been pretty amazing. I believe in celebrating everything I can in this process, because Lord knows, there has been plenty of pain and frustration in getting here.  So, I admit, I’ve been a little bit bragy. A little bit WOO HOO! LOOK AT ME!!! as all this has been happening.

So, let’s go for full disclosure, shall we? Last week, I also got my first mediocre review. I visited two bookstores that were uninterested in hosting me for a signing or in stocking my book, even though it’s set right here in my home state. And of course, the best cutting-me-down-to-size moments: sharing my Kirkus star with non-writers, who have consistently replied with a confused look and a statement like, “Oh. Um. That’s great. What’s Kirkus?”

Now if, like me, you are the sort of person who is susceptible to falling into The Pit of Despair and Self Loathing, where the voices clamor, “I knew you sucked! I told you you would trip at the finish line!” you may find yourself fantasizing about moving to Antarctica so you don’t have to face the inevitable public humiliation.

So what is my point, you ask?  Simply this. It is easy, with all this happening, to get sucked into All About Me mode. I love to celebrate the highs, and embarrassingly enough, I kinda love to wallow in the lows, too. But really, none of these moments are as big or significant as they can seem.

And I’ve come to one other realization as I’ve watched people I don’t know adding my book to their Goodreads “to-read” stack:

Really, it’s not about me at all. None of it is.

It’s about Katerina and her sisters. It’s about a “magic” fish, a coal camp, an effort to overcome hardship.

And more than that, it’s about readers, some who will love my book and some who won’t. Some who will be moved and touched, some who will be bored to tears. Some who will be forced to read it by their wicked teachers, some who will read it three or four times because it’s a cozy warm blanket they want to wrap up in over and over. And because I firmly believe there are books out there for every reader, and not everyone likes the same thing, that’s all okay.

So yes, READERS OF THE WORLD, celebrate! Because it’s all about you. You are the people who humble me. Whom I thank. Whom I am grateful for. To you I offer all my hard work, in the hopes it is a gift from which you can grow, as I believe all books should be.

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Filed under Book Promotion, Book signing, Celebrations, Reviews

Writing “The End” is only the Beginning

It has been suggested that I write about my first few weeks of being a published author–what I’ve been doing and how it feels. How much time do you have to sit and read? I could write a 10,000 word essay if I were to detail everything (Or I could write “Wow” over and over?) Not to say it’s all been easy. It hasn’t.

Let me begin with a confession. I have read countless times that authors never open and/or read their books once they are published. Well, I sometimes do—take a peek and read a few pages. It isn’t that I’m admiring the writing or patting myself on the back. Honestly…I just miss the Murphys. I miss Toni. I miss Carley. I miss Michael Eric. They are as real to me as any person that I have ever met. When I remember that Michael Eric and the others don’t actually live and breathe somewhere. .. You know what? It makes me sad.

As a debut author, I am busy. Really busy. Here is a bit about what’s been going on:

I was so honored to be a faculty member at the New England SCBWI conference in Springfield—this was like coming full circle. It was a fantastic weekend of debut author milestones—including seeing my book for the first time. Of opening the cover and seeing what my publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, had done to the inside. Not easy to make me tear up—but this moment did. I was so shocked and so, so touched.

That weekend, I also served on some panels with incredibly talented authors (including EMLA clients, Joan Paquette, Erin Moulton, and Audrey Vernick) and signed for the first time ever—elbow-to-elbow with amazing, generous people/friends like Jo Knowles, Mitali Perkins, and AC Gaughen. I also made new friends like Sarah Darer Littman who is awesome—so generous and funny and sweet.

And then there was planning the Book Launch. I had two “official launches” actually. One was for my mom’s side of the family in Newton, MA. That was very special. The room was filled with faces that I’ve loved since I’ve had a memory. An amazing day. A memorable, cherished one.

The second launch was at the local B&N in Glastonbury. This was like a, “This is your Life, Lynda Mullaly” episode. Best friend since I was fourteen came. College roommate and teaching colleagues from 15 years ago came. Various friends and fellow moms and writers from both down the road and out-of-state. It was a big crowd—only thing was, I wish I had had more time to talk to people.

I taught myself to make a book trailer by jumping in. It’s embarrassing how many hours this took, between looking for the right images and trying to distill the strengths of the book into a minute and twenty three second’s worth of text. I have also designed t-shirts, postcards, bookmarks, etc. and researched places to get this stuff printed economically. (http://postcardsrus.com has been great!)

I lined up a fairly extensive blog tour in the months before release. Beforehand, I did hours of research and then sent out notes to bloggers, asking them to join my tour. During the tour, I visited sites, updated links, and left messages of gratitude. Throughout, I’ve spent lots of time writing guest posts and answering interview questions. Some have gotten personal. And, wow. I answer a lot of e-mails these days.

I have done several school visits—my favorite part, as I love getting into schools to speak with kids about writing and Murphys and being someone’s hero—including being one to yourself. These visits have been in RI, CT, MA, and New York City! I am now lining up events for summer and fall. Time seems to be speeding up.

Lastly, I attended BEA in New York last week. With some of my Class of 2k12 peeps, I signed at the famous book shops, Bank Street Books and Books of Wonder. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. I attending author breakfasts where I laughed at Chris Colfer and John Green’s humor and wisdom and wiped away tears at Lois Lowry’s both heart-breaking and inspiring words. I sat in awe of Kamir Nelson’s talent with a paint brush. I hugged Patricia Reilly Giff who blurbed One for the Murphys and then staged some silly pictures with Lemony Snicket.

There is much more but I’m afraid that it will all sound list-like. Lists are great if you want lists—but not if you want engaging blog posts.

The hardest part of all of this? Trying to slow down enough to savor it all. Enjoy it. I know I will always take my career seriously, but I do hope a day never comes when it feels too much like work. I do spend many hours in my office, though, and that’s not always easy.

I started out this post by fessing up to taking peeks at my own book. The people that breathe for me in this book seem to have stepped right out of the pages now that I am receiving feedback that there are others out there that also feel like these characters are real. Teachers and social workers and school counselors are thanking me? Really?

When told that Murphys has had a “profound impact” on a child, I want to thank them—for being there in the flesh for that child and caring enough to give him/her the book and then follow-up.

So, how do I feel as a debut author?

Blessed. I am blessed, indeed.

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Filed under Book Promotion, Book signing, Celebrations, Colleagues, Happiness, Promotion, School Author Visits