As you all know my second novel, WHEN I’M GONE, met the world two days ago. Wow. What a great two days! From the rank stalking to the awesome reviews to the fun surprises that I just could never have expected…it was a super memorable launch. I took some pictures from my day and thought I would share them. Lake Union also sent me some screen shots that are just too fun to not share.
I was in my daughter’s room on Tuesday morning when my son came up with a package. I thought it was something one of my boys had earned and had been waiting for since we ordered it but when I saw the return address on the box I knew it held a special treasure and it was for me. Yeah, that’s right, something came to my house with my name on it and it was actually FOR ME! I’m as surprised as you are. When I opened the box I found a letter and a lovely little box with this beautiful necklace inside.
What my friends from Lake Union couldn’t know is that I love necklaces with a special meaning. They don’t have to cost much but it started when I was 15 and went to Greece on a school trip. I felt horribly guilty buying anything the whole time I was traveling because my parents had already pinched pennies just so I could go in the first place but it was our last day and I’d just talked to my mom on the phone. She told me that I needed to get SOMETHING special to remember the trip. Soon after we spoke, our tour group went to visit this little silver shop near the Acropolis. Inside I picked out a simple charm and somehow forced myself to buy it. I wore that necklace through most of my high school days, always using it to transport back to that moment in time. Since then if I have the opportunity to get a souvenir from a trip I try to find a simple charm to wear because—what a better way to remember something amazing then to have it around your neck always?
I will always, always treasure this simple but beautiful necklace. Notice–the letter charm and the blue crystal for the color of the envelopes Natalie sent her letters in. Perfect.
That night I went out to dinner with my kids and then was surprised by some friends with celebratory flowers. I love that they a lilies. Made me think of Lillian from WRECKAGE and I suddenly missed her like an old friend. I’ve found it interesting how much I love each of my books in their own way–almost like children. When a new story comes around you don’t give up all the love you have for your old story…it just scootches over in your heart and makes room for more.
And, of course, there was the rank stalking. Come now…we all do it! So proud today when WHEN I’M GONE hit #4 in the Kindle Store and then hung up there all day. I had actual tears in my eyes when I woke up to that sight. Later, a friend of mine texted and reminded me to check my author rank and that’s when I saw this awesome sight as well.
The amount of love and support I received from my friends and family has been nearly overwhelming (in a good way). The support of other authors in particular has been touching. For example—the other Lake Union authors have been cheering me on and sharing my posts like crazy. I think it is a perfect example of how writers don’t compete…we support.
My most surreal moment of the day was coming upon this add on Twitter where this nice young man stands around for 45 seconds talking about MY BOOK! What? So awesome. Check it out.
— Kindle Love Stories (@KindleLoves)”
What a lovely few days. Hey, there were ups and downs…like how my son spilled water on my treadmill and now it won’t turn on (gasp!!!) and how one of my kids got car sick and I spent a good hour cleaning up vomit out of my car…and mats…and seats…and…everywhere (so so gross) and how life in general still went on. But even as I managed tantrums and navigated sibling disputes and homework and chores…I would put one hand on the letter charm bouncing against my collar bone and remember that Luke and Natalie’s story is out there in the world and I couldn’t be more proud.
I watched this video some months ago in its entirety but today I saw someone post this little snippet and I just couldn’t keep from sharing. It is a clip from Jim Carrey’s inspiring commencement speech at Maharishi University in 2014. In this clip he shares a story of his father that touched me and reminded me why I’m so glad that I’ve been able to go from “secret writer” to published author.
I wish I could say that just the act of publishing a book banished days of broken treadmills and bodily fluids from my life but, alas, those still happen far more often than I would like BUT….it’s okay. All of these experiences add up to a glowing vestige that will one day be called “the story of my life.” And one day we will laugh at the broken exercise equipment, we will be grossed out by the impromptu van cleaning, we will be amazed we made it through all the challenges that stood in our way. And *I* will always look back in awe that I’ve had the opportunity to write stories that other people read and, if I’m lucky, enjoy.