Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday, the 18th

If you came by on Friday, you read my rant about my least favorite number (at least until recently), which is 13. Today, I'm all about my favorite number: 18. I've had a long and fruitful relationship with the number 18. Both my kids were born on the 18th of the month—July and October. I finished my first book, "Treading Water," on May 18, 2005, and today I added another item to my list of why I love the 18th of the month: I signed with a fabulous new agent, Kevan Lyon.

This exciting development came the day after my Sourcebooks editor offered me a contract for book two and beyond. As my writing friends know, we spend a lot of time waiting for stuff to happen. To have two such huge events happen in one twenty-four hour period is beyond amazing. Today, I had my wonderful new agent and my lovely editor give me insightful, detailed feedback on two of my books. I told my friend Chris that I wondered briefly if I had died and gone straight to writer heaven!

For those keeping score at home, this love of the number 18 is why I gave Ryan that uniform number in "Line of Scrimmage."

To cap off my day, I just got an e-mail from my friend Linda Wisdom that I won her new book for commenting on a guest blog. What a great day!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday, the 14th

We survived the Friday the 13th birthday party. None of the things I worried about happened. Emily had a good time, her friends had a good time, and surprisingly enough, so did we. I was impressed by how polite and well behaved her friends were.

Today, we're pooped. It was a nice afternoon to chill on the sofa with the Red Sox.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Embracing Thirteen

Happy Friday the 13th!

It's a big day around here. Tonight, we'll host our daughter Emily's 13th birthday party, and I'm proud to say that having it on Friday the 13th was actually MY idea. This is a big step forward for someone who avoids the number 13 like the plague. I wouldn't dream, for instance, of staying on the 13th floor of a hotel and have been known to choose another flight when the original flight number added up to 13. I almost scheduled my launch party for "Line of Scrimmage" on Sept. 13, but I dodged that bullet by moving it to the 12th. Hey, I'm Irish, what can I say?

But this year, as I face down my 13th annual meeting with AGA and as my oldest child turns 13, there's no avoiding the dreaded number. So, I figured, if I can't beat 'em, I'll join 'em. Pray for me around 7 p.m. eastern time tonight when 35 of Emily's closest friends, including—for the first time—BOYS, will invade my house.

Despite all this zen-like acceptance of the dreaded number, disturbing signs have been appearing that I might be tempting fate with this new philosophy. I went downstairs to my office today and leaning against the house right outside my window was a ladder that Cliff Claven left there last night. As if I don't have ENOUGH to worry about today! I'm spending my work day under a freaking ladder! On top of that, my "good luck" bamboo that a friend gave me when we were leaving Jacksonville almost six years ago picked THIS week to kick the bucket. If I really wanted to show you how truly crazy I am, I'd give you the mental list of things I've decided could go wrong at the Friday the 13th birthday party. Suffice to say, a call to the loony bin might be in order.

Another event happening tonight is graduation at our local high school, located conveniently three doors up the hill from our house. Imagine graduating from high school on Friday the 13th—as if life's not tough enough! Every year I watch the tent go up at the high school and calculate how many more years until Emily graduates. Five years from tonight, she'll walk the stage as part of, you guessed it, the Class of 2013.

Let's hear it for THIRTEEN!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Galleys Are Done—Whew!

I've been immersed once again in "Line of Scrimmage" over the last week, reliving every delicious moment. From when Ryan's boots land in Susannah's foyer in the midst of her dinner party with her future in-laws, to his demands that they spend their final ten days as Mr. and Mrs. together, to their journey to the heart of what tore them apart in the first place, I love my "little book that could."

It's been a long road from the day I wrote "The End" for the first time in 2005 to seeing my debut novel, number seven for me, about to be sent to the printer. I know some people would say I didn't suffer long enough. However, those who have been with me every step of the way will attest that there's been just enough suffering—and never more so than this last week as the copy editor in me waged war with the perfectionist, leading to a few sleepless nights and a hot ball of anxiety in my belly.

I blogged this week with my friends Stephanie and Cai, who write as Marilu Mann ( about the inner workings of a copy editor's twisted mind. One of the things I talked about is how hard it is to edit yourself, which is exactly what I spent this week doing. I found only two actual typos in LOS—one of them on page two! The other was a "softy" that should have been "softly." One little letter, so much difference in meaning. My husband, who will be known henceforth on this blog as Cliff Claven (if you're not a Cheers fan, read the Marilu Mann blog for an explanation), pointed out that in a romance novel, the last thing you want is a "softy." Insert snarky laughter here. Got to say, that was a good one!

I asked my Sourcebooks Casablanca friend Linda Wisdom, author of 70 books, how many times she reads her galleys. She said to just do it once otherwise you end up finding "mistakes" that aren't really mistakes. Good advice. Of course I couldn't take it because I'm obsessive that way. So I read them a second time, and found the softy typo and a few other inconsistencies that would've made me mad if they had made it into print. The second read through turned out to be time well spent. I promise to take Linda's always astute advice on everything else! At one o'clock this morning, I typed up and sent the final list of changes to our production editor. Other than one final PDF to proof the changes, the next time I see "Line of Scrimmage," probably sometime in late August, it will be a real live book with MY name on it.

I've got the next two and a half months to wonder what I would have found if I had read the proofs three times!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Galleys are Here!

Today I received the final proofs for "Line of Scrimmage." They landed with a thud on my front porch at about ten this morning. This is the final step in the publication process that involves me. I have just over a week to proof the galleys one last time and get them back to Chicago. 

When the box arrived this morning, I opened it, took a quick look at my inch-thick book in paginated format with crop marks and spreads (terms that have been part of my daily work life since long before I ever tried my hand at fiction writing). After that quick look, I put it down and went back to work. People talk about the discipline it takes to work at home. Today was a true test of that discipline, but it was a busy day at AGA and that comes first. The pages sat on my counter all day and all night. It's now 10:20 p.m., and I'm just now getting a chance to look at them. Been one of those days. 

I'm trying to take a moment at each step along this journey to enjoy the milestones, to savor the tasks I've heard working authors talk (and complain) about, and to anticipate the next step—in this case, holding the book in my hands sometime in August. The little book that could is about to come to fruition, and it's every bit as exciting as I thought it would be!

I'm off to have yet another visit with Ryan and Susannah, coming to a bookstore near you September 1!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sex in the City

Did you see the movie this weekend? As a huge fan of the show, it was everything I had hoped it would be and then some. I wouldn't have changed much about it. My friend Julie put it best—"I could've done without the Steve and Miranda 'reach around' scene." No kidding! Me too! He has never done it for me, though. Something about him is just too much, but she's my least favorite of the girls, so that's probably why I don't like him. However, I thought she looked fabulous in the movie.

Oprah told Sarah Jessica Parker that she had done some of her best acting in the movie. I agree. I also loved the emergence of Charlotte's character as someone to be reckoned with but not at the expense of her essential Charlotte-ness. During the Oprah interview, SJP said they had trouble securing financing for the movie because it was produced by a women and starred four women. Apparently, women aren't a good risk in Hollywood. We can only hope that this weekend served as a big wake-up call to the powers that be in the movie business: if you build it for us, we will come—in droves, to the tune of nearly $56 million—enough to knock Indiana Jones out of first place.

My favorite part? The writing, of course! Witty, sentimental, sexy, sweet, ironic... Something for every taste. Worth the four-year wait? You bet. Carrie, Mr. Big, a closet... Sigh. Who could ask for anything more? What did you think?