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9 posts from September 2009

Sleeping InSeptember 25, 2009

I have a really flexible sense of time today. I think it has something to do with the fact that I forgot to set the alarm last night, something I never do. I woke up just in time to take a shower and make coffee.

Then I sat at my desk and stubbornly wrote a few lines because I have this Thing. Since last August, more than a year now, I've written every single day, except when I'm sick or out of town. Every single day. First thing. (Okay, usually first thing. Every once in a while I check email first and screw around on the internet, and I am here to tell you that those are the days that the writing gets bogged down in a sticky soul-sucking mud.)

So today I wrote a few lines. Just a couple, so that I can say I wrote. Nulla die sine linea, says the quote on my desk. Never a day without lines.

And then I looked at email, and then I looked at the clock, and I thought, oh, crap, I actually still have to go to work this morning. So I meandered to the kitchen and packed up some coffee in my thermos, and then started thinking about pulling back my hair, and then I went back to my desk and I started another email and THIS IS NOT LIKE ME, FRIENDS.

I'm one of those every-minute-accounted-for people. Once my alarm clock rings, every second of the rest of the day is pretty much spoken for. I even have my unplanned down-time prioritized, should it occur.

Just sitting at my desk, staring into space, not noticing that I'm thinking about emailing Cari and that I'm running late for work? Doesn't happen.

It felt decadent, and I think it's a direct result of that alarm clock not going off on time, and I'm in favor of it. Not enough not to set my alarm tomorrow, but it's an interesting feeling. It's kind of like I switched my caffeinated coffee for decaf or something. (Again, not enough to try THAT again tomorrow. I'm not crazy.) But I feel relaxed. Maybe I just needed that exta sleep.

It's nice.

The Secret to Knitting September 19, 2009

Mmmm.  I have one of those slow-burning coils of angst, one of those long ropes of something that will need to burn itself out at some point, you know? I'm not sure when, and I'm not sure where, but it'll happen soon, I think. I find myself driving down the road and fantasizing more and more about a long trip to Venice. A long, slow couple of weeks with nothing more to do than sit at a cafe and watch the rain drip into the canal while the people run about like bugs outside.

No time, no money for that right now. Put it to the side. It'll happen, I know that.

But a bath will have to do instead. And maybe a good long lie-in tomorrow. (As if. I really need to learn that skill. I'll practice tomorrow. Sadly, I suck at it.)

Now I'll give you some pictures.


How the boys sleep. Really. They weren't moving. I have a ton of pictures like this. They're pretty stressed out little cats.


Adah would like to show you both her paw (CUTE!) and our nephew Isaac (CUTER!!). And her new perch on top of the fridge, a basket which has replaced the fuzzy basket and OMG why didn't we think of that three years ago. Less fuzz in the ice, thank you very much. (And to those of you who have had drinks at our house, ahem. We cleaned first. Of course. WHAT'S THAT OVER THERE?)


My mother's African Violet bloomed, for the first time in a year. I love this. It's on my writing desk, and every day, I love it harder.

And all right, people. This one is an act of courage. This next one is me stepping foot firmly into the Trotting Horse camp. (You already knew I carried a card, right? Now you know I'm at the front, carrying the standard.)


The newcomers to knitting will whisper wow. The ones who have been around the block (HA! get it?) will hold their sides laughing, because I DO NOT HAVE BLOCKING WIRES, and I have about the same amount of pins as patience. I damp-block and pin out haphazardly, which leaves me with little sticky-out points, which I am OWNING, people.

This is my point (GET IT? Ha!). This is Cold Mountain, silk/merino, from Ellen's Half Pint Farm, bought at Maryland S&W years ago. I gave it to my sister Christy, and she put it on, and it looked simply gorgeous on her. And from a trotting horse (or, truly, held up for close inspection) no one will ever know whether I blocked the shawl on lace wires well or on pins carelessly.

This is what I wanted to show you. Just make it. Don't worry so much.

My gorgeous sister, looking even more beeyootiful:


Happy birthday, Christy. May this be your best year yet.

Newsflashes of Things You Already KnewSeptember 16, 2009

You all are awesome. I had the best time posting that there video, and I think it made everything so much more real. I have to admit that I've personally watched the video probably five times, and I got to relive the moment, over and over, which I wouldn't have been able to do, relying on my crappy memory. I would have been able to say, Hey! I opened my ARC box! It was great! Instead, I got to watch myself get teary and silly and over-the-moon happy.


Now, I'm back to writing and hanging out and having my days off (yay days off! They are nice! You knew that, too?). But here you go, for viewing pleasure, if you like (click to enlarge):


This is the uncorrected proof -- the real thing, looking somewhat different, will be in a bookstore near you on March 23, 2010.


Knitting content in next post, I swear! xoxo

I Got ARCs! (video blog)September 12, 2009

Also known as advance reader's copies, or uncorrected proofs, or galleys, these are the marketing tools that publishers send out in to the world for review. Some are plain, some are fancy. Mine is the prettiest one I've ever seen, ever, and I worked in a bookstore for a long time, and I've seen plenty of 'em.


My baby. It is being shipped. All over. It is suddenly very real, and I have a Stomachache Of Doom. (Will they know that it likes to go to bed early and its favorite is salted caramel ice cream? WILL THEY? I don't think so!)

I also have the Excitement of OMG, caught on tape here. Now, many of you have never met me in person. I recently talked on the phone to Grace in Canada and she was surprised by my voice (hi, Grace!) and that made me wonder what y'all think I sound like. Watching myself on this video, I realize *I* have never met myself in person, and I am a big doofus goofball, especially when I'm acting up in front of a camera (I talk like a grownup sometimes, I swear). Wow.

But this was a really important moment and I wish I could have invited every single person who made this moment possible over to my house to see this momentous opening of the ARC box (MY NAME AND ISBN WAS ON THE CARDBOARD BOX), and that includes you, my darling reader. So please, indulge my goofiness. (And yes. It was 7pm, and I'd been up since 4am, and I really did feel that powdering my nose was absolutely essential before I opened the box.)

It's a real book. Really, really real. It's gorgeous.(Also, wild, mad thanks to Amanda Bergeron at HarperCollins, my editor's assistant who delivered these to me next-day air. She didn't have to. She was better than Zappo's. She made my dreams come true, even faster than imagined, as a surprise. She's awesome.)

Hero Name UpdateSeptember 11, 2009

If anyone wants to write romance and is looking for a hero's name? YOU SHOULD READ THE COMMENTS FROM MY LAST POST!

You know the one that made me swoon the most? It's from Beth P. in Maryland:

I voted for Luke, but, would like to suggest Mark.
I am rather partial to that name, even though my Mark is NEVER called Mark, he is called Doc! Twenty years in the military wearing his name on his uniforms (LastName, M.D.) it was inevitable!I voted for Luke, but, would like to suggest Mark.

Don't you love that? It doesn't fit with my new guy, but I'm putting that one in the bank for a future leading man, for sure.

And according to the poll, most of you like Luke the most (do we all picture Luke from the Gilmore Girls? I know I do), and hardly any of you like what used to be my front-runner (Hoyt, for Hoyt Axton, singer of my dreams).

But then a few of you suggested the obvious.

Hank. Sturdy. Old-fashioned. Strong. And I love the slight echo it has of fun stuff: hank of yarn, hanky-panky...

Dude, that was fun.

It's not set in stone. It could change. There are so many names on that list that I love, that I might draw from. And I never have to ask again -- I have names on that list I can work from for years to come. No baby-name books for me, I'm all set. Woot!

Also, there is a rumor (the best kind) that the advance reader's copies of HOW TO KNIT A LOVE SONG are in the mail on their way to me. There will be a drawing, my chickens. All I'm saying. Stay tuned. I'm SO FLIPPING EXCITED.

Can you help me name my new hero?September 9, 2009

So I'm in kind of a quandary. I can't seem to grab and keep a hero's first name for Book Three. I can't tell you details (THE SECRETS! MUST KEEP THEM!) but here's a little bit about him: He's a blue-collar successful entrepreneur. He's sweet (natch) with a tough edge. He's a jeans and tees guy, but he knows how to wear Armani if he absolutely has to. His nname was Lawson, but argh. Too precious. I couldn't write more than a page and he was all grumbly about it.


E.T.A. Apparently my own personal rule is that his name must include only four letters. Interesting. Huh.

Rockstar MomentSeptember 8, 2009

We are back from camping at Strawberry Music Festival. It was the best year ever, for several reasons:

It wasn't too hot or too cold. The sun was just the right temperature to heat you up enough to plunge into the cold lake and the air was just right for sitting under the redwoods and pines, just right for reading, spinning, knitting, or talking. Or drinking. There might have been a little of that. (Although we brought back both booze and money. We must have done something wrong.)

The music was good. Not great, but good. The Avett Brothers were sublime, as always, and Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women were great, as were a couple of other bands, but by and large the music was a big miss, which was surprising for Strawberry.

However, the music at our camp? Camp Hehu? Kicked ass. At any time we had a stand-up bass, banjo, a couple of ukes, guitars, mandola, washboard, mandolin, possibly a fiddle, and lots of voices keeping the tunes going. Saturday night we never made it up to main stage at all. Even though I kept saying I was going, I never stood up, just kept singing and strumming.

There was this great moment when the song was American Pie (it has to be sung at some point during a music festival -- it's the law). We were sitting in a circle, maybe ten of us, playing and singing. Then someone else shined a flashlight over my shoulder. I looked behind me and there were at least twenty people there, all grinning in the dark, singing along. I hadn't heard them filter in behind us, and they looked like a wall of humanity, a sea of faces, all singing at once, a total surprise to me. It was awesome.

The other best part, and this takes some backstory, was my Rockstar Moment. Okay, so Book One is called HOW TO KNIT A LOVE SONG. You know that already. What you might not have known is A) I didn't write the title (although I love it) and B) there is no love song in the book. So hey. That's easy. I just wrote a love song. And I called it "How to Knit a Love Song." And because the book is set on a sheep ranch, I made it a good ole country song, and while I was at Strawberry I taught it to a couple of friends with the intention of performing it at an afternoon show called Chickwagon (which we did, which went great). So we'd been practicing my song around camp, and people had heard it while walking past. That's the backstory.

Rockstar Moment: While jamming that Saturday night, from behind me, a stranger's voice in the dark, someone I DID NOT KNOW said, "Can you play that knit and purl song you were playing yesterday?" I about like to died, people. Seriously. Hopefully, in the future, people will tell me they like my writing. That's my goal. But Lala is the rockstar of the family. I'm the writer. Someone liking a song I wrote? I never saw that coming AND IT WAS SO FUN. (Eventually I will get the MP3 up here and a video and you can hear it, too.)

In the meantime, I'm also blogging over at PensFatales today. Come say hi?

Postpartum Novel Blues (and Woolbur!)September 2, 2009

Oh, the annoying angst of it all.

There should be a word for the postpartum novel blues. Granted, I didn't actually give birth and my body didn't change physiologically (whew!). But this book took nine months, total. (It only took six months to write and revise which I am pretty proud of, since there was SUCH MASSIVE REVISION, as I believe I might have mentioned in passing before, but there were three months in the middle during which I was working on edits of Book One at the same time, so I wasn't working on Book Two at all. (Gah, what an awkward sentence. And I'm a writer?) But still, to go with my metaphor, the second novel had been conceived in a fit of Nanowrimo passion and was gestating during those months.

Ew. Now I can just imagine my book in my tummy (NO NOT MY WOMB GET THE METAPHORICAL BOOK OUT OF THERE) and it's kind of icky in an Aliens kind of way.

Great. Now I'm angsty, postpartum-ey, and grossed-out. All at the same time.

I'm bummed I finished my book. Nine months later, I sent it out into the world. I don't get it back. I don't get to keep it. (I'm GLAD about that. Yes. But still. It's a strange, empty ache that's stupid, yet real. Dumb. Inexplicable. I should stop trying to explic, already.)

I was so freaked out by Book Two. I can't really tell you how scared I was. The first book could have been a fluke, you know? I wrote a book good enough to get an agent and a book contract, but could I pull it off again? Really? Write a book that was a real book another time? Write The End and mean it? Believe in it myself?

And then I did.

That means a couple of things:

Number One: I am a writer. I think I really know that now. No more fear of the sophomore slump.

Number Two: Book Three is just exciting to look forward to. I have none of the fear, and all of the fun ahead of me. I started a bit of it this morning, just a couple of hundred words. I just splashed my toes. Just because I could.

Number Three: These postpartum blues make me a cranky-ass beeyotch the likes of which I don't want to be around much longer and there is only one cure, and my agent Susanna knew it, and I didn't, and it arrived in the mail today:



Don't be afraid to be yourself! That's the message of Woolbur, and my little chickens, it's the best book. There's carding! Spinning! Weaving! Dyeing! And Woolbur does it ALL wrong, and oh, so right. He makes it all work for him, because he believes in himself.

It was exactly the reminder I needed. I just re-read for the fourth time and it cheered me right up. Again. I'm just right. So are you.

Book Three, here I come.

(And as of tomorrow morning, I'll be offline for about five days -- no phone, no internet, out in the wilds. Enjoy your long weekend, all. xo)

The Wool ItchSeptember 1, 2009

You know it when you get it -- I'm blogging over HERE today.