Happy Launch Day!

Gratuitous Dog Picture

Regular readers of this blog (both of them) are familiar with my distaste for Facebook. However, as a sop to Cerberus I knew I had to have a page to promote my book, North of the Tension Line. My editor and publicist at Beaufort Books, lovely people that they are, having heard of my misadventures, assigned an intern to set up a page for me.

Interns, of course, are college students–mostly English majors–hoping to gain experience so that they may beat the odds and find a job in their field after graduation. So, when they were asked to enter my birthdate on Facebook, they cleverly put in today’s date–the official launch date of NOTTL, and the most likely year for an adult to have been born–which is, obviously, 1993.

I woke up this morning to three different birthday greetings, all from people who know perfectly well how old I am, and who, therefore, were rather smirking in tone.

So, yes. Today is the birthday of North of the Tension Line, now officially out in the world. So please go purchase a copy. (Gratuitous cover shot to follow.)

Novel poster

For my part, I will alter my daughter’s suggestion of the traditional 21st birthday shot of tequila and celebrate instead with some nice champagne.

Although I may wait until after noon.

(Photo of Moses and me by Manning Photography)

What’s Under My Desk

What's under my desk

There are all kinds of interesting ways for authors to communicate with their readers and with one another, and on one site authors are asked to post photos of where they write and compose a little essay about it. Don’t tell my publicist, but I haven’t done that yet. Still, I couldn’t help feeling as if I should post this edition, not of where I write, but  of what’s under where I write.

At the moment we are in the midst of  post-construction landscaping, and maybe the sound of the bulldozer is scary. For whatever reason, Moses, who is always nearby anyway, is unusually close. I am writing with his head on my feet, and his ears pressed up against my knees. It’s kind of nice, actually.



W.I. Crossroads

It is a jittery place, knowing that your book is out there, and that strangers are reading it. North of the Tension Line is off press and ready to ship, so any errors in editing are now permanent. But the hundreds of Advance Reading Copies are out there like little seeds, taking root or dying.   There are so many things to worry about, but they are all things that are stupid to worry about, because they are beyond my control. I can’t make people like the book. I can’t re-read anymore and correct. I can only wait, and hope. And try not to wait and hope.

As any writer knows, you put your heart out there and hope that no one stomps it.

It will be a good night for a long romp with dogs. And possibly a cocktail.

An Editing Cautionary Tale

We are in the final edits–the galleys–of North of the Tension Line (Beaufort Books, September 2014; Available now for pre-sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Sorry. Had to be done. ) just at the very moment that things are intense at work. Although a professional proofreader and my editor have been through the book, as the author, I, too, need to review it, and time is pretty crunched. My good friend, Mary Beth, aka “Impromptu Librarian”, offered to be an extra set of eyes, and I gratefully accepted. In less than a day she had read the book for probably the third time,  and returned the proofed documents for me to pass on to my editor. But the next morning she called and we had an odd conversation.

Mary Beth: “What is hapcedarss?”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Mary Beth: “Hapcedarss.”

Me: “I hate your bluetooth system.”

Mary Beth: “It’s in your book. Hapcedarss.”

Me: “Hapcedarss? It’s in my book? Are you sure?”

Mary Beth: “I’m sure. The proof reader has many notes about it.”

Me: “In my book?”

Mary Beth: “She had been commenting on it several times, and then pointed out that she had googled the word and checked with OED, but cannot find any such word.”

Me: “That’s hardly surprising. I don’t think there is any such word.”

Mary Beth: “Well, it’s in your book.”

Me: “Hapcedarss is in my book.”

Mary Beth: “Right.”

Me: “Hmmm. Very odd.”

It was a busy day of meetings and preparations for meetings at work, so it wasn’t until quite late that, now having forgotten about hapcedarss, I was able to finally sit down with my manuscript to begin my own proofreading. Not far into the manuscript light finally dawned.

I sold my book much more quickly than I had expected, so submitting my manuscript for fact-checking had therefore also had a much tighter timeline than I had expected. Among the more essential things was sending the book to my friend, Captain Bill, the ferry captain, to make sure that I hadn’t committed any egregious ferrying errors. He called me, and in one of the more delightful moments of this whole process, left a message telling me that he had read the book, and that he had liked it. I still have his voice mail on my phone and listen to it when I’m feeling blue. Anyway, when I called him back, I anxiously enquired whether I had made any mistakes about the ferry, or said anything stupid about the lake or its navigation. He assured me that it was all fine, but he had one correction. The trees at School House Beach, he pointed out, were not pines, as I had written. They were cedars.

Armed with this information, I sat down with my manuscript and created a “find and replace”. Wherever P-I-N-E appeared, it should be replaced with C-E-D-A-R. For some reason, I have rarely used find and replace, even though I have been using Word at home and at work for a pretty long time. What I hadn’t realized was that find and replace doesn’t just find and replace words. It finds and replaces the interiors of words.

It was late in the day, but I called my editor in New York. “I’m so glad you called to tell me this,” she said. “I had a terrible day, and this makes it so much better.”

Apparently, there is a great deal of happiness–or at least the talk of it–in my book. And it’s likely that hapcedarss will forever be a part of Mary Beth’s and my, and my editor’s vocabularies.

Our cups overflow with hapcedarss.