Wednesday, March 31, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 12


12 DAYS TO GO.
I can't f*cking believe it. My thought for today is Jerry Seinfeld. I am a Seinfeld junkie. I even took the Seinfeld Facebook quiz and scored 100%. I could get a doctorate in Seinfeld. That said, here's today's thought from an early episode, so really it's Jerry's or Larry David's thought:

Jerry accidentally gives an alcoholic a drink with alcohol in it, and the alcoholic "falls off the wagon." Jerry thinks all the drunks would be "on the wagon," considering they're drunk.

Makes sense to me. XXOO

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 13


HELL'S BELLS!!!!!! 13 DAYS TO GO! I can't believe it. When I think about it, my stomach flutters how a first kiss makes you feel. My mother keeps telling me, "Never forget: You deserve this. You worked hard." Like my husband, she knows the rejection I endured. She got to hear me cry. She's also heard my elation these last eighteen months.

I'm getting emails from people as far away as Colorado and Ohio, telling me, "I loved your book."

I feel incredible. I love Becca and Buckley too and I'm so glad that other people are getting to know them.

On Saturday, April 17th, I am the guest blogger at The Debutante Ball--totally worth checking out. These debut authors have a great site: http://thedebuatanteball.com

See you then! Remember to wear your seatbelt! It's the law.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 15


15 DAYS TO GO!!!!!!! I am feeling really good about the launch of my new novel. I can be an "anxious sort". That's putting it mildly, but I figure since being a published writer has been my dream since I was seven years old, it would be kinda dumb to expend energy feeling nervous about book signings and such when what I really want to do is enjoy, enjoy, enjoy this wonderful experience.

Thanks to everyone who's sent emails of support. And remember, you can still pre-order your book from Chop Suey Books at 422-8066. They're offering 20% off all pre orders. Go for it!

THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BEES

I have an old postcard I've kept. I keep lots of old postcards. In this particular one, there's a woman in front of a white steepled church, bees swarming her head. Last year, for research purposes, my friend Allyson performed energy healing on me, and while I was lying there, my eyes closed, her hands feeling for energy passing through my chakras, I heard a sound like a week whacker, and thought, "I wish that would stop. It's driving me batty." Well, lo and behold, it turns out that a bee was swarming around my head. Allyson didn't want to stop the session, and eventually, the bee flew off and disappeared. Just today, I was sitting revising my novel, and touching my hair, I heard a buzzing sound. I touched my hair again. More loud buzzing. Well, wouldn't you know it: another bee!

From what I've read, bees are associated with celebration and with Aphrodite. "Honey bees are a shamanic sign of passion, progress, and sexuality. They are also tied to joy and creativity...." From Lipstick Mystic, http://lipstickmystick.com

If you feel like it, share your thoughts about bees buzzing around. xxoo

Thursday, March 25, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 18


18 Days to go! We are born to TV and taco night. Some of us. To hand-me-downs and blue toenails. To insecurity and Fiesta ware. To friendship. To good friends when we've discovered what it means to give and to receive.

We are born.

Red and blonde and tippy-toed. With flat feet and cleft palates. Easy bruisers and thick-skinned. Fast and slow. Brown-eyed. Bewildered. Bipolar and broke.

We are born. Characters. Books. Bedtime stories. Scheduled c-sections and surprises. Gay, straight, bisexual. Born. Premature and after term. A million variations, striations.

Soon, my little book is born. Insignificant against flat-footed and gay. Insignificant against bipolar and brown-eyed. But born. Come to fruition. Like you and this second in time. Undeniable.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION DAY 23

23 Days to go!!!!!!!!!!
A GREAT BIG shout out to Sheena and Gail at Comfort Inn, North, Kill Devil Hills for changing my room without hesitation. I was close to the inn's generator and after writing all day, I had a bad headache. Great service certainly goes a long way.

I wrote the last chapter to ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL today. Mind you, I'd written two prior endings, endings I "wanted," I thought, but today the ending revealed itself to me. I cried. Went for a long walk on the beach. Picked up some trash. Played with my sweet dog, Emma. I love the ocean!

Friday, March 19, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 24


24 DAYS TO GO!!!!!!!!
I've always thought it peculiar that Harper Lee only wrote one book. Mind you, it's brilliant, but it's strange that after To Kill a Mockingbird she stopped. I can't stop. As much as I love The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, the first thing I do when I finish a draft of one novel is start another one. I have a book, some 500 pages, sitting on a shelf in my office. It will never see the light of day because as I wrote it, I tried as hard as I could to write how I thought I was supposed to write. (As if there's such a thing!) I tried to write from point A to point B, and I don't write that way.

Bits and pieces of that shelved book went into my most recent text, All Things Beautiful. As a matter of fact, I am finishing ATB's umpteenth rewrite this weekend. I have written the "two" climactic chapters (you know me... nothing is terribly linear, don't like straight lines so much... need more than one climax...) so I think the rest of the book should be like cake. The last chapter will be the frosting. Take my time, whip up the perfect texture and lay it on thick, but not too thick.

Wish me luck. And if anyone knows why Harper Lee only wrote one book, explain it to me.

XXOO *Above: My sister and I in our matching Easter dresses, Holiday City, NJ; my mom made most of our clothes, but the matching Easter dresses were the best.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 25


25 days to go! I got to see and hold my novel THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS today. Nothing can make this any more real! It's a beautiful book: Everything about it, from the smart electric jacket to the book itself, key-lime green and cantaloupe orange. I am elated. It's times like this that I think, "Wow! Is this really happening? Did I publish a book?" The proof is in the pudding. In this case, the spine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 27


Sara Arthur Cool! Remember to mark your calendar for April 18, 5-7, Gallery 5.

Not only am I reading and signing books, but you get to rock out to the sounds of Sara Arthur, Stephen McCarthy, Coby Batty, and Wells Hanley.

Lightning Strikes Twice for a Local Author! Michele Young-Stone celebrates the debut of her novel, THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS (Shaye Areheart Books) at Gallery 5, ( 200 W. Marshall Street , Richmond , VA 23220 ), Sunday, April 18th, 5-7 pm. Author reading, book signing, libations and live music add to the festivities! Free and open to the public. Sponsored by Chop Suey Books. Contact: 422-8066 for more information.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 29

29 days to go. And there's more daylight today.

an excerpt from ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL to celebrate:

“Remember that you’re tough.” With two fingers, he touched his lips and then touched hers. “I see it in you. You’re soulful. You’ll always be rich like that.” She wasn’t quite sure what he meant about being rich, but it was a good thing—she knew. Drawing closer, he added, “And if I wasn’t a queer, you’d be my girl.”

Saturday, March 13, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 30


30 DAYS TO GO today.

Still in my pajamas! Spent all day revising/rewriting ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL.

I made it to page 291. I am hell-bent on finishing this revision by April 1st. I have a third novel in the works, and I need to be able to put this one down for a little bit while I research the new book.

xo

Friday, March 12, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 31

31 DAYS TO GO:

I am a complete lunatic. If you know me, this is old news. But still, I spent the better part of the day doing something that I knew was a bad idea: trying to make my own new super duper fancy custom-made website that has all the high tech elements a budding novelist needs. OMG. Well, it was a bad idea. I knew it was a bad idea, but the same thing that makes me obsessive about about my books makes me obsess about things I should leave alone.

It seems that the closer I get to publication, the more lessons I learn. It's good to learn. You can never know too much.

I just hired a web designer. Thank God for east coast vs. west coast time because he was still in the office at 5 o'clock my time.

To all you dudes who support me despite my obsessiveness, I salute you!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 33

33 DAYS TO GO!!!!

Wow! It's hard to believe. In fact, I emailed my agent yesterday to find out when the actual hardcover books would be "made." I guess that's what one says. Hmmm. Anyway, she said, "Two to three weeks." I can't believe it. When I actually see my novel in hardcover, I will most probably cry. It's a chubby buck-toothed frizzy headed seven year old girl's dream come to fruition.

Mom said, "We thought you copied the words out of books. We were only humoring you when we said, 'That's wonderful, Micki.'" Man, I'm so glad that-- thinking their daughter was delusional--they humored me. 33 days to go!

I love my mom. This first novel THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS is dedicated to her. She's always been my gage, my guide, my sage, my bff.

Here's a glimpse from the new book:

It was an ugly place with ugly doctors, most of whom weren’t medical doctors, but all of whom, regardless of qualifications, believed that the deviance called homosexuality could be cured. Gloria had been brainwashed by Isabel, and they could—with enough time—fix her. Because it was an ugly place, and Gloria’s story is one of all things beautiful, her time at the institute is a blip in an otherwise complex and nuanced existence. That’s how she wants it, and she’s allowed to make choices, to determine what’s relived with detail and what’s skimmed.

c. 2009 by Michele Young-Stone

Monday, March 8, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 35

35 DAYS TO GO!
Revising ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL today, and looking forward to playing out in the sunshine later!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 37


37 DAYS TO GO!

Musings on youth and nature:
Saturday is my work day--my sunny funny solitary writing day. Today. My husband is off playing at the park with our son. I envy them, but I'm grateful to have this time to revise ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL.

Yesterday, while I was at the park with my son, I was in awe of how beautiful, how terrifically amazing this peacock was. Hypnotized by the color and poise. The bird walked round and round showing me its amazing feathers.

Inside the barn, there was an old Sheep named Daisy. Approximately 16 years old, sheep usually only live to be 11 or 12. Daisy has vertigo and confusion and walks in a circle. I thought about Alzheimer's disease and dementia and how we're sometimes too often cruel to the elderly--as if they belong to some other world.

This brought me back to ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL, to a former post about how everybody was somebody before they were just old. I can imagine Daisy as a lamb. I probably saw her then. I've been going to this park for two decades. I probably fed Daisy when she was younger.

Yesterday, we watched two goats butt horns, fighting to feed from our hands. They were young, full of spunk.

Note: My son does not want to grow up, to get old, or anything of the sort. I gave him my permission to stay young. (At least--at heart.)

My mother always said that she was young forever. She is young forever. As a girl, she saw Mary Martin play Peter Pan on Broadway and decided, "I'll be young forever." She told me this when I was seven or eight, as we ate mint chocolate chip ice cream and watched cartoons. I remember her laughing.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 40

DAY 40

Oops. I missed a day!!

The following review in Library Journal makes up for it.

Young-Stone, Michele. The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors. Shaye Areheart: Harmony. Apr. 2010. c.384p. ISBN 978-0-307-46447-7. $24. F

Becca Burke was eight years old the first time lightning struck her down. Her dad didn't believe it, and her mom was drunk. Buckley Pitank's life, on the other hand, was finally looking up when his mom's head was opened by a lightning bolt out of a clear blue sky. Unknown to each other, Becca and Buckley spend the next 20-some years coming to grips with the aftermath of these incidents. Lonely, disaffected, and estranged from family, they each live out their lives along two separate story lines, taking readers from North Carolina, to the shores of Texas, to the art world of New York City, before they inevitably cross paths through the clever conceit of the handbook in the title. Each character in this startlingly mature debut novel, from Becca's self-absorbed father and self-destructive mother to Buckley's evangelical stepdad, is complicated, nuanced, and sympathetic. Young-Stone's writing style is crystal clear and shot through with lightning-like flashes of description so vivid that readers might think that they are watching a movie. VERDICT It's not often that this reviewer regrets a book's ending, but that's what happened here. The sense of melancholy, tempered by the resilience and heart of the characters, makes this ripe for Oprah or fans of Elizabeth Berg or Anne Tyler. The author's web site says she has another novel in the hopper. Two thumbs up.—Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst. Fort Myers, FL




Monday, March 1, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 42


42 Days to go!!!!!

DAre I say, "Next month." Be still my heart. It's too exciting.

Today I went to my son's preschool class and shared what I do for a living. My son told them, "My mom writes books."

It warms my heart.

The kids were awesome. I asked them, "When you go to the library or to a book store, how do you choose a book to read?"

One little boy said, "By the cover." Other answers included, "Transformers," and "Nancy." I decided that we'd talk about covers instead of Transformers. I showed them two covers for my book. The one pictured here--which is the actual cover--and the novel's earlier cover--which is the Advanced Reader Copy.

We then discussed which cover they liked best, and it was so cute, because a lot of them said that they liked the "Love Cover,"--the current cover--because of the boy and girl on the front. The love cover! They also liked the bright colors on the love cover. A few of the boys preferred the other cover because it had the word lightning on it.

It was pretty interesting because of how one word stuck out for most of the boys, while the image dominated for the girls. Really, the kids seemed to like both, so the choice was hard.

Then, they made their own book covers. It was so much fun. Thank you to Ms. Joan and Ms. Carter and the class for having me.

NEXT MONTH!!!!!!! Can you believe it? What does Stacy from What Not to Wear always say? Oh yeah! "Shut the back door!"