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.

The Countdown


Any day now I am expecting a package from Beaufort Books filled with first editions of North of the Tension Line. When it comes, my friends will be receiving a spur of the minute call to come for champagne. Megan, Felicia, Michael, Eric–my team extraordinaire: I wish you could be here!

We Are Not Fast!

The Albatross, Washington Island

My sister and I needed a little break from the melancholy task of closing my late mother’s house, so we decided a little trip up the Door Peninsula was in order. With North of the Tension Line coming out in September (pre-order now!!) I thought I should introduce myself to some booksellers and shop owners. We ambled up the Peninsula and down the other side, and managed a brief 18 hours on Washington Island, too.

On our way home, we made a lunch stop at the Albatross Drive-In, which has a cameo appearance in North of the Tension Line. Everyone there was excited and happy about the book, and told me they would make my cheeseburger with extra love. Along with the best burgers on earth, the Albatross also sells Albatross t-shirts.
On the back is their slogan, excerpted from the sign below.


And it’s all true.

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.







North of the Tension Line Debuts at Book Expo of America in New York

This past weekend, at the invitation of my publisher,  I traveled to New York to sign advanced reading copies (formerly known as galleys) of North of the Tension Line. I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want an unknown author to sign an unknown book, but I was wrong. Maybe it was the lure of the free book, maybe it was the beautiful cover designed by Oliver Munday, or the lovely interior design by Jane Perini, or maybe it was the charismatic salesmanship of the delightful intern Kate Prince. But whatever the reason, people lined up for an autograph, and before I knew it we had run out of books.

It isn’t every day that you hold your first book in your hands. I am so grateful to my friends at Beaufort Books and Midpoint Trade–Eric, Megan, Felicia, Michael, and everyone–for two of the happiest days of my life.

And now, a brief word to my friends and readers: Pre-ordering is really important. Please go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or your favorite local bookseller and place an order for North of the Tension Line. If you write to me here, I’ll be happy to sign it for you.