Big happenings

Hey, guys.

I just wanted to share with you that my book, Building Celebration House, is free during April because…(drum roll)…it’s being featured by Bookbub on Sunday, April 8th. Day after tomorrow, an email will go out to 1.8 million readers, telling them about Building Celebration House. The hope is they will buy the second book, Stay at Celebration House, and then the third.

Chris and Jack in OregonSpeaking of which, I’m finishing up Return to Celebration House. Thankfully, it’s pretty rainy here on the Oregon coast where my family and I are spending Spring Break. Staying inside our small trailer and working on the book is an easy task.

The manuscript goes to my editor on Monday, April 9th. My plan is to publish the book on Sunday, May 13th, also known as Mother’s Day!

Which brings me to share an idea. The theme of sisterhood and friendship is dominant in the third book. What if I offer readers a free copy of Return to Celebration House in exchange for a photograph of them with their sister or best friend? I will compose a collage of the photographs and publish it on my website on Mother’s Day.  I plan to send out an email, sharing all the details.

Thanks so much for your encouraging words. No doubt about it: readers – especially those who took the time to write to me – were the inspiration that helped me finish Return to Celebration House. Thank you.

Let me tell you a story

Yesterday, I took my two children to see the Japanese animated film, “Spirited Away,” directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s a masterpiece of storytelling and my daughter’s favorite movie. She and I were afraid her younger brother, who turns six years old today, wouldn’t understand the nuances of the film. But our worries were for naught; he was mesmerized.

That is the power of good storytelling: wrapping up the reader, or in the case of this film, the viewer, in the story and whisking them away to a magical place. I think storytelling is an inherent quality of being human, like the ability to make music.

I know people who have no use for fiction. They read only non-fiction; they consider anything else a waste of time. I feel sad for these people because I believe through storytelling, we share our histories and our humanity.

I awoke last night from a dream, in which former co-workers and supervisors treated me as a pariah because I no longer work in healthcare. To these dream characters, I have no value because I no longer work 12-hour night shifts. I know this is me worried about our finances, but I woke up believing their sentiments: no job = no value.

It takes time to find for every writer to find a niche. I know this. Success isn’t going to come overnight. Right now, my dream to make a living with my words requires the quality I am least capable of: patience. I have to stay on this path, whether it leads me uphill or down. Some days, that’s easier said than done, especially when the rejections show up in my Yahoo inbox. Dreams like the one I had last night are not helpful.

So this morning, I turned to the journal I keep about my middle-grade novel, Bone Girl. Below is the first entry I wrote:   

Date: October 10, 2011

“Here’s what I believe: I believe, with all my heart, that I have beautiful stories inside of me. Beautiful stories that will inspire and awe and entertain and lift people out of their misery and into a place where they feel the sun on their face. I believe that. I believe I can use the power of the written word to make this place better. I’m not shooting for great. Better. I can make life better with my stories, with the people that speak to me every day, but whom I’ve chosen to ignore most of my life. It’s time to stop ignoring those voices.”

Hands and arms inside the cart, please. Next: Visiting my green room.