Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It was like reading an indie film.

"I just finished reading your book and needed to tell you how much I enjoyed it and needed it. It was like reading an indie film. It was wonderful."

All right. Another AMAZING review from a guy! I am ecstatic. I realize that it's the individual reviews that keep me smiling, writing, and working on the next book.

Listen up, boys! Keep the comments coming. You're making my year!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sweetest review to date...

I received an email yesterday from a reader, who commented, "Some books are over too soon, but Handbook is substantial. It has kept me reading for quite a while, which sort of feels like I got my money's worth, except that it has nothing to do with money.

It's more like I have the feeling that this is something you made, like a really nice pie with a lot of fruit.

Thank you for releasing this book into the wild."

Here is a raspberry pie that I made (fresh-picked Cape Cod raspberries) with homemade crust.

Thank you to Ralph for the "sweet" review. I love hearing from readers. It really makes me feel good to know that people understand and love my characters.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Losing My Mind

I have a serious problem with losing things. I always have. This problem is apparently inherited from my dad. I can remember him stomping around the house like a lunatic, shouting, "Where are my god-damn keys?" I did not plan on following in his footsteps, but I did--to some degree--anyway.

For instance, today I lost the book I was reading. It's absolutely ridiculous, as I was reading it last night, but that said, I've searched the sofa and between the bed and wall, my pillows, beneath the covers. I seem to only lose things that are important to me. Another example: many years ago, I lost my wedding ring. It was a very nice ring--as my husband slid it onto my finger during our wedding ceremony--so you can imagine it was very nice and not as easily replaced as a book--and I was devastated. I told him. "God damn it! I lost my wedding ring. I put it right here. It was right here!" I pointed beside the kitchen sink.

We took the sink apart. No ring.

My husband said, "It will turn up. Don't worry about it, honey."

It never turned up. I turned our house upside down but the ring didn't fall out.

I think I would lose my mind if I didn't have my husband to ground me. I love him so much. I grew up with a raging dad, and I married a soft-spoken witty man. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

I used to think... Well, I think I'm losing my mind this time, this time I'm losing my mind. --Beastie Boys, Mike D (I got to meet the Beastie Boys back in the 90s... back in the day!) And sometimes I still do think that way--that I'm losing my mind--but I have this awesome family to keep me sane. I wasn't born into them. I chose them, and that makes my family all the better.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

HAVE BOOK CLUB? WILL TRAVEL! Or speaker phone... Or skype...

To say that I had an awesome time with the Richmond Book Club that I found at meet-up.com is an understatement.

I am blown away by the positive response my novel is getting from readers. It is so emotionally affecting to know that my characters stick with readers and that readers want more of them. "Will you write a sequel?" "Can you include the character Tide in another book?" "I really want to know that he turns out okay."

It's so wonderful! Because these characters are my family. A wonderful woman at the book club, who I'd met at Chippenham Hospital when my book first sold, wondered, "How can you talk so objectively, without being defensive, about your characters?" And the truth is, as I explained,
"First, great question! And one I'd never heard, but secondly, my characters are who they are. I know they're flawed and 'damaged' as Publisher's Weekly aptly stated, but that's what makes them so endearing, so real.

Just last night, I stopped by a friend's house. We were chit-chatting and for some reason, I told the story of how when I was in high school and we would go to parties, I had a friend who raided deep freezers and stole meat, like leg-of-lamb and pork chops, steak, etc. My friend who I was talking to, said, "No wonder you're a writer." I think we all know people who steal meat from deep freezers. We just don't all write about them.

All that said, if you are in a book club, I would love to come and talk with your group and if you're miles or states away, I would love to do a speaker phone or skype meet-up. I did one with a group of delightful women in Louisiana, and it was a blast.

Thanks for all the love. Thanks, Richmond Book Club. Thanks to all the book clubs who support me, and reminder, mark your calendar: Sunday, July 11th, 6 o'clock, Gallery 5, 200 W. Marshall Street, City Wide Book Club--River City Reads.org . Everyone is invited. Please come. Ask questions. Spread the word. Light fare and libations for sale. Bring your kids. Bring neighbors and friends and cohorts and frenemies. Bring it on. Get your read on, Richmond, Virginia! http://micheleyoung-stone.com

Sunday, June 13, 2010

You can Win a Free Signed Book plus 5 Writer Tips

Check out Rivercityreads.org and participate in the online forum for your chance to win an autographed copy of The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors. All you have to do is post a discussion or participate in an online discussion about the book.

On the Road Again
Five writer tips from a traveling novelist newbie:

1. When speaking or signing books in public, dress comfortably. There's nothing worse than boob sweat or having your dress stuck to the back of your thighs, or even worse--lodged in your underwear.

2. Even if no one buys or bothers to peruse your book, smile, and act like you don't mind. You're just happy to be invited.

3. If someone spends an hour talking to you about your novel, and your attention has been solely on this person, telling them why your book is a "Must Read" and "a great gift," as other readers have moved away, and then, this possible reader says, "I'm not buying anything today," or "I don't read" and walks away, don't be upset. Smile. You're happy just to be invited.

4. If you're sitting alone with your giant stack of books, and the stack is not shrinking, and you'd much rather be home writing your new book, get some paper out and have at it. Write anything. Better yet, read one of the ten books you've bought in support of your fellow writers. You'll learn something!

5. The most important rule: You're happy to be invited!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Writers, writers everywhere!!

Writers, writers everywhere in Galax, Virginia.

Thanks to Chapters Bookshop for hosting the Authors on Grayson Street Festival.

Pictured: Me, Michele, Anne Clinard Barnhill author of At Home in the Land of Oz, and Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House.

My sweet son, who loathes having his picture taken, insisted on being in this shot--because it's hard sharing your mom with other authors.

I thoroughly enjoyed the company of Anne and Kathleen. It's fantastic meeting other talented writers.

Other highlights: meeting Kevin Donleavy, author of Strings of Life--Conversations with Old-Time Musicians from Virginia and North Carolina; Jennifer Frick-Ruppert, author of Mountain Nature (she was my table buddy!), Becky Mushko, author of Ferradiddledumday, An Appalachian Version of Rumpelstiltskin, and Peggy Ann Shifflett, author of The Red Flannel Rug and many other books centered around Appalachia. And Erica Eisdorfer, author of The Wet Nurse's Tale. In addition to being a talented novelist, Erica manages The Bull's Head Bookshop in Chapel Hill.

I had such a nice time in Galax. And it was the most fun getting to hang out in Chestnut Creek with my husband and son. Thanks, Galax. We'll be back!

Friday, June 11, 2010

What's going on?

I want to fly like a bird--with direction--and not like a kite or a leaf.

I want to hold time still. Yesterday in Chestnut Creek with my son; keep the picture, the smell, temperature, taste, rockiness and certainty with me. Certainty seems hard to come by sometimes.

Galax is beautiful: writers, monarch butterflies, crayfish, river glass, chestnuts, the Galax leaf. Sunday, I drive to Chapel Hill to tape Bookwatch with D. G. Martin, who was so wonderful to invite me.

And Tuesday, I get to meet with the Richmond Book Club in Midlothian. I am THRILLED that they've embraced me and my book. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today in Galax I met fellow writers: Jennifer Frick-Ruppert, Peggy Ann Shifflett, Kathleen Grissom (who spoke with Heidi Durrow at the VA Festival of the Book), Anne Clinard Barnhill (a friend of Therese Fowler's) and Becky Mushko. I can't wait to post my pictures (forgot my USB cable).

Monday, June 7, 2010

It won't happen to me!!!!

Oh, yes it will! As the steamy weather continues, so do the thunderstorms. People who have read my debut novel tell me that they think twice now about staying outside to finish gardening or play ball, and I'M GLAD.

Lightning can strike AT LEAST five miles from a thunderstorm. This means that you might be standing under thick puffy clouds and blue skies, thunder in the distance, and ZAP, lightning strikes.

Recently, a man was struck locally in Brandermill and more recently, a young woman about to be proposed to, was struck and killed on a mountaintop. Her fiancee suffered second-degree burns, but still attempted CPR in the storm, as did EMS. Everyone says that lightning strike injuries are rare, but this isn't true. A great percentage of people struck indirectly by lightning do not go to the hospital or report the injury. There are all types of lightning, and you can die!

Respect nature. If you see stormy clouds, seek shelter. You can't predict the first strike, and thunder doesn't have to occur before that first strike touches down. Don't let your kids play under stormy skies. Thunder is the sound lightning makes when it connects from cloud to ground. Thunder is not only a warning. It's lightning touching the earth. Please be careful, and if someone is struck, begin CPR immediately. The main cause of death from lightning is the electrical charge causes the heart to stop beating--cardiac arrest. Administer CPR until paramedics arrive.

Be safe this summer!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I love my book club!!!!!!!!!!!

Where else can a group of attractive smart women hang out, drink wine, munch snacks and talk about books, large and small ones, intellectual and otherwise? Our book club has read everything from The Time Traveler's Wife to The Great Santini to Eat, Pray, Love to It's Superman and Pride and Prejudice.

I was HONORED this Tuesday when we discussed my debut novel, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors.

Our readers/members range from realtors to teachers to lawyers to media specialists to pediatric nurse practitioners and on and on. (I should keep better track of what people do.)

I am so appreciative of the love and support these wonderful ladies have shown me and my first novel. I can't wait until we can review my second one. And Amy, who hosted Tuesday night, is one of my oldest friends. She's in the back-left corner, and like the majority of these women, has her plate full with three kids, a husband, and a job. I'm amazed at how she put together such a great event.

A long time ago, Amy and I taught eighth grade English together. I'm so happy that we've remained friends and I'm glad that our friendship has blossomed into so many more connections. If you have a book club, and you'd like me to visit, check into River City Reads or shoot me an email micheleyoungstone@gmail.com The success of any novel begins and ends with the reader. If you have an interested book club, we can make it happen--even if it's via internet.

Anyone with an interest in the book can participate in River City Reads at Gallery 5, July 11th, 6 pm. The more the merrier.

And to all you readers who are reaching out and telling me that you like the book, THANK YOU. It means the world to me.