Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Win a Picnic for your Book Club

Today is the day The Underside of Joy begins its new life as a paperback. Paperbacks are great. They're inexpensive. They fit perfectly in Christmas stockings. (Sing it with me...The Underside of Joyyy to the Woooorld!) They fit in purses. They fit in picnic baskets. Book clubs love paperbacks. And I love book clubs.

Hanging out with Les Girls book club.

Book clubs are smart, and funny, and they often serve delicious food. They have passionate discussions about people who existed only in my head for six years. These readers have actually taught me things about my own book, which is pretty cool. Many of the groups I've visited have had a picnic theme to tie in with the Life's a Picnic Store in Elbow. How cool is that?

Towne Centre Books hosted this lovely picnic for their book club.


I'm truly grateful to all the book clubs that have read The Underside of Joy. It's been such a privilege to talk with you.

As all of this rolled around in my head, an idea struck me, as they occasionally do. I thought, "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to deliver a Sonoma County picnic to a book club so it arrives in time for our skype visit?" And then I thought, "Yes, that would be fun."

So that's what we're doing. Contact me to schedule a skype or phone visit to discuss The Underside of Joy in January, February, or March and I'll enter you to win a picnic--chock full of goodies and wine from the region--delivered right to your doorstep. You'll eat, drink and be merry, and we'll chat about Ella and Annie and Zach and the whole Elbow gang, along with step-parenthood, grief, joy, Italian-American Internment, food, vineyards, postpartum depression, childhood secrets, family, nature, and how every once in a while, life really is a picnic. Check out my website for more details.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pretty in Paperback

I took yet another break from blogging over the summer so I could focus on writing my new novel. Some people can do more than one thing at once. This is called multi-tasking, and I've heard that it's quite useful. Unfortunately, this skill doesn't come naturally to me. I am a one-track kind of woman. Oh, sure, life forces me to at least attempt the octopus approach on a daily basis (I did somehow help to raise four children) but it's never pretty. So if you ever see me with toothpaste on my eyelashes and mascara on my teeth, you'll understand.

And now that the kids are living out in the world and feeding themselves, when I'm deep into my work I become sort of useless. I avoid cooking, cleaning, shopping, and errands. (My husband might divulge that I avoid many of these things even when I'm not in the thick of writing, but this is my blog and I'm not giving him the password. He'd have to start his own blog, and that's not happening. The dear man is too busy shopping and cooking.)

So this summer, while much of the population took to the beach, lost in reading a juicy novel, I was trying my best to write one.

My new novel was relentless. It would not let me go. Every morning as I stretched, sipped my coffee, and pondered the possibility of say, planting flowers or heading out to the beach to enjoy the incredible weather, my novel would say, "Like hell you are. You're staying right here in Alaska, freezing your keester off with Kache and Aunt Snag and Nadia." And I obeyed. A writer never wants to tick off her novel-in-progress.

On particularly hot days, this had its benefits. I remember when it was over 100 degrees and I happened to be writing a snow scene and had actual goosebumps. See? I may not be able to multi-task, but there are times when a focused imagination comes in handy.

While I was trekking through Alaska in my head, the hardworking, multi-tasking folks at Plume transformed The Underside of Joy into this wonderful paperback edition, which hits stores November 27th and is now available for pre-order here.

I am in love with this cover. I love the vertical treatment of the horizontal photograph, the reflection of the sky and the little girl. And I'm extremely grateful for the stamp of approval from the talented Jennifer Weiner.

I may not have spent much time playing on the beach this summer, but whenever I look at this cover, I'm right there...with Annie and Zach and Ella. I missed them while I was gone.