Monday, January 24, 2011

South Carolina

Last weekend my book tour took me to South Carolina.  When my publicist originally told me I'd be going to South Carolina for a weekend in January, I thought, "Fantastic!  It'll be WARM!"  My Aunt Mary moved from Massachusetts to South Carolina ten years ago, and she's always bragging about 70 degree days while we're up here shoveling snow.

I arrived at Myrtle Beach last Thursday evening, and it was 36 degrees.  So not warm.  Ah well.  I wasn't there to sun bathe or play golf anyway.

On Friday, I was the Moveable Feast author at Pawleys Plantation.  It was a great event, attended by about 150 people (mostly women, a few brave men).  I talked for about 40 minutes and then opened the floor to a lively and fun Q&A (always my favorite part of book events).  Thank you to Litchfield Books for sponsoring and promoting the Feast (they have a great lineup of authors this winter, including one of my favorites, Elizabeth Gilbert)!

On Saturday, I had the honor and pleasure of being one of the panel authors at the Wild Dunes Author Luncheon.  This event was also very well attended (about 150).  The best part of the event for me was meeting and learning a bit about the other authors. Mary Alice Monroe, a passionate environmentalist and bestselling author, was our dynamic and gracious moderator. My fellow panelists were:  Jeffrey Stepakoff, author of Fireworks Over Toccoa, Ann Ross, author of the Miss Julia novles, Tamar Myers, author of The Headhunter's Daughter (among many others), and Diane Chamberlain, author of The Shadow Wife (among 20 others!).  It was especially fascinating and reassuring to hear about each author's writing process.  Mine seems to be as methodical, mysterious, magical, and terrifying as everyone else's.

On Sunday, I sat a small table with my Aunt Mary at the front of Barnes & Noble for an hour and a half.  My friend, Doug, from college and a lovely woman from Facebook stopped by to chat and buy a book.  Not exactly the crowd of 150 that I'd been spoiled with during the previous two South Carolina events.  Ah well.  I didn't mind. Events like that keep you humble.  And it was 60 degrees outside.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Top Ten Best Things About My Trip to NYC

I went to NYC on Tuesday with the plan to travel to Madison, CT that night with my publicist to attend a book event at RJ Julia's. But alas, Mother Nature had other plans and threw a huge snow storm at us. The event has been moved to February 2, 7 pm. So, no book event in CT or NYC, but I had a great time! Here are the top ten highlights:

10. The FOOD. Oh my, the FOOD. Especially memorable--the lobster sandwich at Oceans.

9. NYC Firemen. On my first night, when I should've been at RJ Julia's, there was an electrical fire and people were trapped in an elevator in my hotel. I was "trapped" in the lobby for about two hours, watching the firemen. They were all in full gear, looking larger than life, wielding hatchets and long metal poles (I assume for extracting the people from the elevator; I was so grateful to be trapped only in the lobby!). It was quite an exciting, if inconvenient, scene. My 3 year old son would've loved it.

8. Hearing my name and Snooky mentioned in the same sentence. It turns out Snooky has a book out now, too, and we're both published by Gallery at Simon & Schuster. So my publicist kept talking about us, in the same breath. I'm still cracking up thinking about it. Who knew we had anything in common? (Although, my hair in the 80's was something to see...)

7. Seeing this display in the lobby of 1230 Avenue of the Americas:

(sorry, can't get photo to download onto my ipad--need tech support, aka husband. Check back on Monday)

6. The Champagne Toast. The many people at Gallery who helped bring LEFT NEGLECTED into the world gathered together yesterday with me and toasted to the book! I'm so lucky to have such a talented and devoted team behind this novel.

5. Watching the emotional response to my description of the next book, LOVE ANTHONY, after the toast. I'm on the right track!

4. Hearing that LEFT NEGLECTED debuted at #23 on the New York Times Bestseller list for hardcover fiction!

3. Hearing that LEFT NEGLECTED debuted at #5 in Canada!

2. A lovely dinner with my even lovelier agent.

1. No diapers.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Launch Party!

On Thursday, Where the Sidewalk Ends (one of the two independent bookstores in my small town--we're so lucky here!) hosted a most fabulous launch party for LEFT NEGLECTED.  The store was all decked out in lights, red apples, and more copies of my book than I could count!  Here's a photo of the wonderful women from Where the Sidewalk Ends who made it all happen.

A special and heartfelt thank you to Joanne and Caitlin Doggart, the store's owners (the two lovely ladies to my left).  I had a blast sharing this night with so many close friends, family, and enthusiastic readers from the Cape and beyond.

And when I say beyond, I'm not kidding.  The highlight of the night for me was meeting Mike and his family who drove 10 hours from Canada to come to this event!

It was almost two years ago.  I had only written about 50 pages of LEFT NEGLECTED when I received my first email from Mike.  His sister Karyn had come across my website--and my request for help in better understanding what it's like to experience Left side Neglect.  In January 2007, Mike suffered a stroke on the right side of his brain. He now lives with Left Neglect.

We talked on the phone and emailed many times.  In these conversations, Mike candidly shared his Left Neglect stories with me---the challenges, his goals, his strategies for adapting, what he's lost, what he's gained, and the humor he often finds in living with this condition.  I also spoke and emailed with his wife, Sue, about all the same things but from her perspective.  They taught me so much about Left Neglect--far more than I could ever have learned from any of the text books.

So it was an extraordinary gift to meet Mike and his wife and sister in person on Thursday.  I can't thank them enough for making the long journey to Chatham from Canada (and then back!).  At one point during the evening, Mike said to me, "It's been so difficult trying to explain what I have to people.  Now I can give them a copy of your book, and they'll understand."

Thank you again, Mike.  It doesn't get any more rewarding that that.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Belated Happy Pub Day!

I had planned to enter my first LEFT NEGLECTED blog post yesterday, on Publication Day, but it was such a whirlwind day, I didn't have time.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I had plenty of time to be on Facebook--to spread the word and thank friends and family and fans for their support.  And the embarrassingly compulsive/addictive behavior of checking my rank began again, so I had time for that.  But I spent most of the day going to book stores, signing stock, saying Hi and Thanks and jumping up and down with some of my favorite booksellers.  I actually screamed when I saw this display at Where the Sidewalk Ends here in Chatham.

Oh, and I bought three copies of USA Today at Stop & Shop because Craig Wilson (Oh, how I love Craig Wilson!) wrote a PHENOMENAL review of LEFT NEGLECTED.

It was definitely a whirlwind day--hopefully the kickoff to a whirlwind tour!  I have lots of hopes for this book.  I hope it gives readers an opportunity to think about their own lives, to maybe slow down and pay more attention to what really matters to them.  I hope it teaches readers a little bit about traumatic brain injury and Left Neglect.  I hope it helps certain readers find NEHSA (New England Handicapped Sports Association), and I hope it changes their lives.  I hope the story helps everyone to learn to ignore our cell phones in our cars.  And mostly, I hope you all like it!

I did have a little time last night before bed to enter this post.  But instead I drank a glass of wine with my husband and played Connect Four with my 10-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.  I think Sarah Nickerson would approve!