Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday Fricassee (aka Vacation and Beyond)

There's so much emotion involved in the unfolding of a debut novel. The work--the nitty-gritty, teeth-grinding, hand-wringing work--is largely behind me, and now there's this huge, invisible machine that cranks behind the scenes.

Crank, crank, blurbs from authors.

Crank, crank, fabulous cover artist.

Crank, crank, release date moved.

On it goes, and whenever I really think about any part of it, my stomach shoots down to my toes and the sheer THIS-IS-ACTUALLY-HAPPENING overwhelms me all over again.

These are my legs and toes from 2016, when I was plotting GATHERING STORM. Not even writing yet--just planning. Which, by the way, is my least favorite part of writing, with first-drafting a very close second. (Revisions make my spirit sing.) I'm so glad I took this silly little selfie back then, because it reminds me of what lies ahead of the hard parts. (And, yes, I'm in the middle of one of those right now, planning and plotting and all sorts of blank-faced staring.)

This is the picture-with-a-moral, of course, which is, as always, KEEP WRITING.

So June was vacation month, and we were gone for 16 days, which is a lot of days to be not-home. We spent the first week at my parents' home, which happens to be the house I grew up in. One of my goals for the trip was to do this:

The first picture was taken in March, 1974, by a photographer from The Morning Call (the newspaper for the Allentown area of Pennsylvania). They did a lovely article on my writing, including an interview and several of my poems and drawings on a full-page spread. It was, for a not-quite-nine-year-old, a heady experience.

And, of course, the picture on the right was taken just a few weeks ago. I mean, THE WALLPAPER. It's the same! So are the table and chair. I couldn't not take advantage of such a perfect time capsule. Mind you, I didn't quite fit in the same little nook I'd squooshed myself into when I was 8. But I'm still pretty pleased with the results, thanks to the patience of my dear husband.

Other than spending Father's Day with my almost-85-year-old dad, who is and always will be my original Prince Charming, another highlight of that first week was a trip to New York, where I spent time with both my editor and my agent!

I met Elayne in the foyer of the Flatiron building, where the Tor offices are located, and we walked up the street to have lunch. This was our first face-to-face, and I absolutely enjoyed every moment! One can only hope--and not be guaranteed--that there will be a "click" between author and editor, and I was not disappointed. Elayne exuded a loveliness and down-to-earthness that made talking with her sheer pleasure. (The fact that she's in love with Mr. Thornton is an added bonus.) I wish I'd asked our waiter to take a picture, but he was a bit off-putting and the opportunity didn't present itself. At any rate, I was thankful for the gift of meeting Elayne in person, and I remain oh, so thankful to have her as my editor.

After way too much walking (husband Eric was born in Yonkers and isn't the least bit intimidated by the city--and he clearly didn't anticipate my level of wimpdom), I met Danielle at an amazing wine and chocolate bar for dinner.

Ever since Gathering Storm sold last September, Danielle and I have been talking about sharing chocolate martinis to celebrate. She picked the absolutely best place to do so, and it was seriously the best chocolate martini I've ever had. 

No, really. I'm wrecked for life. 

And they were served with this amazing dark chocolate, filled with a ganache that made me question the necessity for any other food, ever.

I could've sat there until the moon rose and the city streets emptied. Truly, words fail me for how much I love and appreciate this woman. She has stuck by me through hard revisions, difficult plotting, and repeated disappointment. She's empathetic, insightful, brilliant, and funny, and, why, yes, I am gushing.

On an incredibly exciting, not-so-side note, Danielle recently signed my daughter, Maggie Boehme, who has written an incredible YA survival story that's going to knock the socks off any editor who reads it. I'm as over the moon about this as Maggie is!

I've watched Maggie grow from her sweet, fumbling attempts when she was 11 or 12 (yes, she jumped right in and started writing novels!), through her teen years when she got really serious about her writing but didn't have the maturity to go back and revise, past the college years when writing had to take a back seat to course reading and term papers, to recently when she jumped back in and blew me away with how far she'd come. She has a natural knack for creating multi-faceted, believable characters--the kind that stick with you for days after you finish reading the book. The kind that make you cry.

I'm so proud of her. But you knew that.

Anyway. Our second week of vacation was spent at the shore. Yes, I wrote almost every day, but writing near the ocean is something I wish I could always do, so it didn't exactly feel like work. Not exactly.

This was probably the best part--working through story notes for what has turned out to be Elayne's choice for my next novel. But that's a tale for another day. (I'm so excited about this story that sometimes I just close my eyes and grin like an idiot, thinking about it. That doesn't happen when I'm actually plotting, of course. Because...plotting.)

And now we're home, and July, my wonderfully, beautifully open month of almost no commitments, is flying by at an alarming rate.

Also it's hot. My cat is drooping.

And there you have it! So much to be thankful for. The latest news is an amended release date for Gathering Storm, so take note: September, 2019. For some strange reason, that doesn't feel so far away!  The only stinky part is that, since my book has been shifted from a summer to a fall release, I'll have to wait until November to let you all know what the new title is.

Still. You can add it to your to-read list on Goodreads, regardless. (And, oh, that would make me happy!) 

I think that's about it! Oh, and if you haven't yet subscribed to my newsletter, take a minute to sign up now. The next issue will be out on August 9.

Happy weekend! Happy writing! And thanks, as always, for sharing my journey.

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