About Me

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I write novels, eat dark chocolate, raise three children, love my husband, scrub toilets, ignore the laundry, and love a good story, but hardly ever in that order.



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Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Boss

This week Marc and I went to a Bruce Springsteen concert. Just writing that sentence should help my cool quotient, right? It should cancel out the fact that I wore sensible shoes because we’d be standing, right? I’m going with yes, it should. We went with our friends Laura and Warren, who are, by nature, cooler than us AND more organized. For example, Laura had prepared a tailgate dinner to eat on the way. I had planned on having to spend $46 dollars on a shriveled hot dog. Laura also provided us with Old People Survival Kits. Contents: A can of Red Bull, Dr. Scholl’s inserts (I’m Gellin’!), and Advil. Marc rounded out our supply by producing earplugs for all. (Warren politely declined but has since been unable to hear the voices of his children.)

So there we were, gellin’ and earplugged, right on the ground floor and within spitting distance of the Boss. First, let me weigh in on the wrinkle factor. Bruce is looking good, friends. He turned 60 this week and I must say, I can’t believe the upward trajectory of his rear. (Sorry, but I was close enough to see it.) Also, his face is remarkably smooth. Not in a creepy, Botoxed way, but very impressive for six decades and lots of late night screaming into a mic. And the voice! Still great! Gravelly and great. Laura and I got particularly hysterical and swoony when he was walking through a little pathway made just for him (the Boss gets his own pathways) and he stopped to stand RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. He grabbed our hands and sweated all over us! I let my hand air-dry, people. It was Bruce Sweat.

(He looks kind of sad here, but that was before he sweated on me.)

The following day, I felt just a bit smug name-dropping and retelling the sweat story. Give me a break here. I spend most of my days wiping noses and bottoms and listening to the same three children’s CDs. It is not a life of glamour and rock stars who play a different guitar for every song, unless you count Mitchell, who does a mean air-guitar. So I dropped that story everywhere I went, trying to sound super nonchalant, as if Bruce and I were meeting later for lattes and a look-sy at his newest press photos. The smugness lasted all day. In fact, it even started annoying my husband, who had been much more excited about Bruce Sweat when his wife hadn’t been talking about it for 24 hours. Just when I thought I might actually have made it through an entire experience without shaming myself, I saw this on my jeans when I disrobed.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure cool people don’t wear baby puke on their jeans. And I’m pretty sure Bruce doesn’t want to drink his latte while looking at the white spray marks.

It’s probably just as well. I’m all out of Red Bull and it’d be hard to fit my Dr. Scholl’s into high heels. And who would be uncool enough to meet a rock star in person and be wearing sensible shoes?

P.S. Anybody in GRINNELL/NEWTON area? I’ll be in Grinnell signing books at the Stepping Stones bookstore in Grinnell, this Friday night, from 5 to 7ish. Stop by for a copy of STRETCH MARKS and tell me you heard about it on the blog and I’ll give you a free copy of ACT TWO. And I’ll throw in a high kick for good measure!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Oh, What A Night!

Wowza. You all are good to me. We had a FANTASTIC crowd Friday night at Beaverdale Books. I met lots of new folks, laughed and cried with old friends, and felt weepy gratitude for every single person there. Great conversation and lots of books sold (thank you, thank you, Marc and I both thank you), and everyone was so busy having fun, we hardly took any photos. Still, I managed to preserve a few visual memories. Here are some highlights:

1. The Shoes. I might start wearing them to the playground.

2. Flowers and Champagne, most of which we ended up taking home. I feel honored, really. This means you weren’t there to get sloshed, but rather to get a book or two. So now I’ll get sloshed. JUST KIDDING, MOM.

3. My kids. Thea was completely unimpressed, particularly during my talk. In fact, I think she thought I was super boring. If I’d jumped around more and blown raspberries on readers’ bellies, she would have felt more comfortable.
Ana, even in her not-quite-100% state, was in her element, camped out in the children’s section of the store. She told me on the way over that she was so glad her mom wrote books and didn’t sell, say, paper clips, which would be a “horrible job.”
Mitch. Oh, gracious, Mitch. He sat with me at the signing table for a bit and introduced himself to readers. At one point, he stopped my friend Makila, who was holding a copy of STRETCH MARKS. “My mom has that book at our house,” he said. “Do you think I'll like it?” she asked. He looked skeptical. “I don’t know.” Good to have the family endorsement.
Mitch also made some of his own book selections and suggested them to my brother-in-law, Jimmy. (He's the really tall one, the one who plays basketball and people pay him. Hint: I've NEVER accepted money to play a sport, but I might still hold a shot put record at my junior high.)

Mitch whispered (loudly) during my talk, taking book after book off the shelves and saying, “Jimmy, you should read this one. It’s awesome.” (STOP READING HERE, MOM.) They must have been camped in a particularly riveting section of the bookstore because Mitch's suggestions included B is for Beer and Porn For Women of A Certain Age. Couldn’t endorse his mother’s books, but these got the green light. Jimmy, to his credit, was appropriately cautious and did not buy the books.


4. After the last guest left, we talked with Alice, the lovely owner of Beaverdale Books.

See how pleasant she still looks after being a hostess? And she remained pleasant, even when we discovered one book was unaccounted for. We toured the store, looking for the missing title, wondering if perhaps among all those nice people I’d invited there lurked a shoplifter. Was it my cousin Sally, such a nice Dutch girl who drove an hour just to see me? Maybe my uncle Robert, one of my favorite human beings but perhaps secretly Mr. Sticky Fingers? I was getting worried and a tad indignant but Alice assured me all would be well. When we got home, guess what I found in my things?

Me? What? I wrote this book AND stole it from a local business?

Call me Mrs. Sticky Fingers. Sorry, Alice. I’ll be by this week.

The Day After, I was not in any condition for photo taking, but two of us were. My very supportive and patient Marc and our Thea. (Go Hawkeyes!)

So thanks for coming. Thanks for reading. My heart is full of gratitude to a God who lets me have this job and to all of you who get my jokes and laugh in the right spots. Thanks for keeping me around.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Report from the Trenches

We’re working on Day 7 of a fever for one of my babes. The positives: I get to watch Peter Pan and Mulan and the insultingly syrupy High School Musical with wild abandon, all the while getting lots of in-home exercise on trips for the thermometer and Sprite. Negatives: I get absolutely no writing done, even though I have a novel due in February and I won’t be able to cite “Seven-Day Fever” as a valid excuse for a late manuscript. Please understand I am not soliciting pity here. It would be unsightly for a girl who just released a novel and who leads a very, very blessing-drenched life.

Speaking of unsightly, however, being home with a sick child means I look at myself in the mirror more often. This is woefully disappointing. I must live most of my life not really dedicating myself to mirror time because what I’ve discovered this week is nothing short of earth-shattering. Turns out, I’m aging. I have AGE SPOTS on my FACE. Like things you see a lot of at buffets and casinos and care facilities with names like “Shady Meadows.” Age spots. And wrinkles. And I’m getting a cold sore, which, admittedly, is not a byproduct of age but we might as well lump all skin trauma together.

And here’s another thing, which I am not making up, even though I write fiction: Just as I was thinking to myself that a good sit out on the deck would do me good, I saw something that stopped me in my Vitamin D-deficient tracks. And his name, friend, is CHUCKLES. Just in case you missed Chuckles’s first, grand appearance, here’s his mug shot:

Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT write to tell me you think he’s cute. Just because you can’t see his age spots does not mean he should be popping up his head and scurrying around on my deck! I’m trying to keep it together here, but I can feel some SERIOUS EXCLAMATION POINTS coming on!! !!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, listen, I’d really love to see you this week. I need adult interaction. First, there’s the grand soiree at Beaverdale Books. We’ll start at 6:30 p.m. Friday and will have A LOT of fun. I can promise this without reservation. Also---this just in---I’ll be hanging out at Connxions bookstore in Urbandale Thursday night. The Connxions folks are having a Girls’ Night Out with lots of fun stuff to buy, give, and use for self-pampering purposes. So if you’re not able to come Friday, I’d love to see you tomorrow in Urbandale.

Just promise me this: You will not take my temperature, bring along any rodents, or stare at my cold sore. You don’t want to see what happens when a stir-crazy mother starts ACTING OUT exclamation points. Let’s just keep that on pen and paper. Thank you! ! ! ! ! ! !! ! !!! ! ! !!!!!!!!