Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What are "first-pass pages"?

...Just when I was starting to feel antsy, like I needed to start working on something new... My head and hands idle too long. Wouldn't you know it, but the "first-pass pages" arrived overnight delivery (7/11 due back 7/23). This is all new to me, so if you're wondering, "What are first-pass pages?" you are not alone. THE FIRST PASS PAGES are the pages that the book will be printed from. First, the galley or initial copies will be printed from these pages so it's imperative that we catch any glaring typos or misprints and things like that.

As I'm reading the ms. pages for errors, a proofreader is also reading. It's terribly exciting to have an ISBN number and a title page and to visually see the ms. in a near book form.

The only "bad" part of this step in publishing is that I still feel the urge to rewrite. As my professor Bill Tester used to say, "You are NEVER done with a book because it will NEVER be perfect." I imagine picking up a copy of THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS five years from now, flipping to a random page, and going, "What was I thinking? That sentence is clunky! I could've been more concise. It could've been more poetic."

Could've, should've would've. Shaye Areheart of Random House is publishing my debut novel! No regrets here. Lots of joy. We do the best we can, and I'm proud, so proud of this book. If I didn't look at it down the road and think, "That could be better," I wouldn't be very good at what I do. Thanks to everyone who has an interest in my novel. It means a lot to me.

People keep asking, "How come it's not out yet? What's taking so long?" and I'll tell you: this is a long process. Writing the book was a mostly solitary matter, but publishing it is another story all together. There are so many steps, from initial big edits to copy edits to cover art to selecting a release date, to "first-pass pages" and down the line to galleys (those first printings), and reviews (cross your fingers) to promote the hardback; and there's publicity (lots, hopefully), marketing, and lastly: hardback printings. We're really only halfway through the process.

Keep following and see what happens next, and thanks again for all the congratulations and good wishes. I can't wait until everyone can hold my book in their hands and read it. It's going to be incredible. THANK YOU. *And I want to add huge kudos and thanks to all the folks at Harmony & Shaye Areheart for caring about my opinion regarding the cover art. I didn't expect consideration in that matter. I write the book. They sell it, but they really genuinely cared about my opinion. That surprised and thrilled me.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I had a great time at the beach with my gorgeous surfer dude hubby. I love you, Danny. Don't say I never blog about you. Ha ha.
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Good News

My editor's wonderful assistant, Christine Kopprasch, sent me the latest cover art for THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS. It's a real treat for me to have it and show it to friends. I love the art so much. It's arresting and engaging. Thanks, Christine!

On another happy note, I finished my first revision of my latest novel, ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL, and sent it to my terrific agent, Michelle Brower, without whom THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS would still be a manuscript and not a soon-to-be published novel. I love Michelle Brower.

I hope everyone had a great and safe 4th of July.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


copyright by Michele Young-Stone, 2009

The clearing was behind a row of loblolly pines, a species ill-suited to New Jersey’s climate. In the darkness, Gloria wore a flower-print cotton dress and white flats. Slipping off her shoes, she set them side by side on the blanket’s edge and sat beside Isabel. “I brought sandwiches.”
Isabel reached for one. Unfolding the wax paper, she took a bite.
Gloria said, “The loblollies aren’t supposed to be here.” She remembered her dad telling her the legend of the Payne boys, three brothers from Maryville who’d supposedly traveled south to sow their wild oats. Gloria’s father had embellished the story, as had everyone who’d ever told the tale—making it legend. Her father said that when the young men were journeying back to Maryville by way of South Carolina, they stopped to eat lunch beneath a grouping of loblolly pines, and admiring the bark, the way it flaked under their fingernails, thought the trees might be worth something. They dug three of the younger trees from the sandy soil, binding their roots in sackcloth, and carrying them home to Maryville in their wagon. When the boys’ parents told them that the strange trees were as worthless as they were, the Paynes took the loblollies to the edge of the New Jersey pine barrens planting them among Maryville’s pitch and oak.
The trees survived, differing from their southern counterparts, their canopies sparser, their trunks shorter, their bark thinner, but they survived. Maybe that had been Gloria’s father’s point—telling her that story: People, like loblollies, can endure. Maybe her mother would survive—a little differently than she’d been before —but survive just the same.
“My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me. Tell me where did you sleep last night?” Isabel and Gloria sang staring at the moon.