Old best friends week

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good evening one and all--

Well, I'm back from my west coast tour, and I want to thank those of you who ventured out of your comfy homes to join me at the various book stores. I met so many wonderful readers--in Seattle at Third Place Books, in Beaverton at Powell's, in Oakland at Good Great Place for Books, in San Francisco at Book Passage, at Dutton's in Brentwood, and at the totally cool Eagle Harbor Books/Liberty Bay books joint signing in Poulsbo. I'm bringing home lots of great memories--perhaps the best was standing in Brentwood in the dark, watching the eclipse with several old and new friends.

Most of all, I've been amazed and humbled by the response to Firefly Lane. After all these years in this career, I can't tell you what it means to me to see people buying my work with such enthusiasm. For the first time ever, my book hit the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today lists all in the very first week of publication. Wow!! I absolutely cannot believe it. So, thanks much to all of you who made that possible.

And now, on to the really important stuff: The Oscars. We had a rockin', girl dominated Oscar party at my house, complete with champagne and strawberries, wonderful food, and endless "dress" opinions. As usual, we had a hotly contested winner pool, and Megan Chance proved to be the big winner. Again. I maintain that she spends far, far too much time on research. :) But how can one argue with success? I will point out, however, that it was a tough prediction year even for her. It took 14 categories to win; usually it take 16 or more.

I've been parked in front of the television MUCH too much since I got home. I'm trying to catch up on American Idol, Project Runway (go Christian and Jillian!), Prison Break (LOVE that show--is anyone else even watching it?) Lost (most excellent episode last week), and last but not least, Make me a supermodel. But don't tell anyone about that last one. :)

One last thing. I don't know if it was Firefly Lane and all of your cool comments and remarks, or all of the discussion of old friends in general, but when I was getting ready for my tour, I decided to call some old friends in a couple of the cities. Women I hadn't seen or really talked to in probably a decade. Amazingly, a little internet research and you can reconnect with people! Anyway, I met these two remarkable women, whom I've really missed over the years, and it was as if we'd never been apart. So let me say this: if there's someone you've missed, give her a call. Life is short and friendship just goes on and on. Thanks Penny and Charlotte...It was great seeing both of you.

Well, I guess I'd best run along. My book recommendation for this week: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. It totally rocked.

Also, I have a question for all of you. I've received several postings/comments that contain big spoilers, usually without a warning that they're coming. Up to now, I haven't posted these remarks so that the reading experience isn't tainted for new readers. What do you all think of that? Do you want to see ALL comments, regardless of spoilers?

Thanks and aloha,

Great signing in Oakland

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm on the road in beautiful San Francisco, where I've found blue skies, yellow sun, warm weather. It's fabulous. I just wanted to do a quick shout out to Kathleen and the wonderful folks at a Great Good Place for Books. I had a fabulous, relaxing evening with Becky (thanks so much for driving all the way from Sacramento), Patricia, Glen, Sue, and the rest of the gang. I really enjoyed myself. I hope you all find something to like in Firefly Lane. Tomorrow it's off to Los Angeles, where I'll get to spend some time with my son, and the event at Dutton's. Hope to see some of you there.

Thanks too to all of you who showed up at Powell's in Beaverton. What a great crowd!


ps: thanks to Kathleen for not spoiling American Idol. :)

Lucky Number Thirteen

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Well here I am in the lovely city of Portland, Oregon, getting ready to leave for San Francisco. I had wonderful events in Seattle and Beaverton--thanks to all of you who showed up. It was really great to meet you.

And an even bigger THANKS to those of you who were kind enough to buy Firefly Lane. I found out moments ago that it hit the New York Times list at number thirteen. Valentine's Day and the New York Times list. How cool is that?

Also, on this tour, I'm reconnecting with a lot of old friends. I wonder if it's the Firefly Lane influence? Maybe. The more I talk/write/think about this novel, the more my memories rise to the surface--and all of those memories are about the people who were once such a big part of my life. Anyway, so when I was in Portland, I got to have dinner with my best friend from college, whom I hadn't seen in years. Amazingly, it was as if we'd never been apart. We immediately picked back up where we left off and started gabbing. It was an absolute riot. We're already making plans to get together again.

In San Francisco, I'm also meeting a friend I haven't seen in years. And I can't wait. So, here's my Valentine's Day/Firefly Lane gift to you: pick up the phone today. Call someone you used to know and just say hey. Reconnect with a friend from the past. It rocks!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you, and I'll check back in soon.



ps: since I'm on the road, I'm missing American Idol--anything good???

Rock and roll book tour...I wish...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hello friends--

Well, here goes. I'm doing the final bit of packing and planning for the big West Coast book tour for Firefly Lane. I've brought a camera--I'm told I'm supposed to post pictures along the way--but frankly, I'll be amazed if I can A): remember to bring my camera to events and then actually use it, and B): figure out how to post them to this blog once I've supposedly taken them. Then again, I've learned how to blog and that seemed impossible a month ago.

I know I should be chatting about Firefly Lane, but to be honest, I'm totally interested in the Oscars right now. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a popular culture junkie and the Oscars are my Mt. Everest. Every year I obsess about the various categories and make sure to see as many of the movies as possible. I also host a party for my similarly obsessed friends. We all get together early, drink champagne, nibble on whatever is put in front of us, and watch the entire thing, from red carpet to closing remarks, on the edge of our seats. We have a guessing pool going--and honestly it is not easy to win (some people do heavy research)--I really think this is my year, although the best way to win is actually to see NONE of the movies and base your decisions totally on hype.

Of course the fashions are the most fun. So, I hope you'll all join me in hoping that the writer's strike is ended in time for the ceremony (assuming the writers get what they deserve), so we girls can gather together in rooms all across the country and stare at the beautiful people. :)

FYI: my favorite movies of the year are, in no particular order: Into the Wild, No Country for Old Men, Juno, and the Bourne Ultimatum. Favorite performance by an actor: Daniel Day Lewis; by a supporting actor: Javier Bardem (although Tom Wilkinson rocked it, too), Favorite movie overall: Into the Wild. What about you guys? What am I forgetting?

So, now, enough about that and onto work. I'm heading out to the ferry, so I can leave my beautiful peaceful island and embark on this book signing adventure. I have loved hearing from so many of you about Firefly, and I really hope to meet some of you along the way. If not, I promise to try to make you feel as if you were there...


The reader in me

Friday, February 8, 2008

Hello again--

Well, today I'm in the mood of a reader, rather than a writer. I just finished the third book in series which has captivated my attention for quite some time. It's the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers. Technically, it's a young adult series, but that's as much a marketing tag as anything. Like the Harry Potter novels, these books can be enjoyed by all ages. The thing I have liked most about these novels (three and counting) is the passion they invoke. One of the sad byproducts of being a writer is that one often is detached from the pure enjoyment of reading. I find myself editing other writers or wishing they'd made other choices; generally finding fault. It's a rare book these days that can sweep me away, make me crazy mad, and surprise me, all at the same time. I have to say that the Twilight series falls in this unique category. More than that, it was a story I couldn't wait to dissect. One of my best friends (another writer) was reading the series at the same time and it was heaven to argue with her about what the story meant, where it was going, and how we thought the author would go forward. In other words, I was a pure reader again.

It made me think about what a wonderful and magical thing that is: to be swept into an unknown world, to fall in love with characters and grant them lives beyond even what the author intended or created. Because the best stories do that: they allow you to be a part of the story, too. You, the reader, are as important in creating and/or determining a character's fullest life as the author is. I lost count of the times my friend and I said to each other: "do you think Stephanie intended..." Ultimately, the answer is an unequivocal maybe.

We authors try to see it all, but quite honestly sometimes we just don't. I don't, anyway. Sometimes my characters are perceived differently than I anticipated, and for that, I'm really grateful.

I'm always on the lookout for books like that--stories that create worlds and populate them with complex, powerful, intriguing characters...especially when there are great stakes. Books like those written by Anne Rice and Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. If any of you have any recommendations for me, don't hesitate to pipe up. And while you're at it, maybe you'd like to tell me what it is you're looking for in a novel. What moves you to anger or tears or laughter. What kind of stories keep you up all night, reading? Who are your favorite authors and why?

That's really what brings us all together, those of us who love books, the simple statement: "Have you read...?"

I always hear from readers that I make them cry, and that's a strange thing, because honestly, I think I'm a funny gal...:)

I'll post again tomorrow if I can, before I leave on tour. And for those of you who are out there, either lurking or posting, don't be shy. Come on by to the bookstores. I'd love to talk to you.

Aloha and bon voyage,

Firefly Lane hits the shelves--

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hello again...

Well, after two years of waiting, planning, and hoping, the release date of Firefly Lane is now at hand! I have to say, I'm really excited. It's been so long since I've seen a new book on the stands that it almost feels like a new beginning to a career that has been bustling along for almost twenty years. Those of you who have--quite kindly--read this blog and perused my new website, know that this book is a very special novel for me. Quite simply, it's the most personal novel I've ever written. So much of my past peeks through the cracks of this story, whether it's the time period, the place, the music. Whatever.

I've never been very good at synopsizing my own novels, and I'm even worse at promoting them. The truth is that what I love is writing them...conceiving the story, creating the characters, molding the dialogue. For the year (and with Firefly Lane, it was twice that long) that I inhabit a particular story world, I am totally obsessed. If it weren't for people forcing me to occasionally get dressed and leave my house, I could sit with my notepads forever, dreaming. The process of writing is totally compelling for me. That being said, once the process is over and done with, one has to look at the book itself, and after all that work, some books simply work better than others. It's a fact of life. Sometimes we writers nail our vision and sometimes we stumble.

I'm glad to say that with Firefly, I really feel that the book lives up to all the effort. Mostly, this is because of the characters: Kate Mularkey and Tully Hart. I just loved these two women. It sounds crazy, because I know I created them, but somehow they grew beyond my expectations. No matter how many times I read and re-read and edited their story, I was always entertained. Perhaps this is precisely because of how keenly I relate to the story. It takes place in my hometown, and begins in my era--the late seventies. The story follows these two women, and their remarkable friendship, for thirty years. It really is a valentine to female friendship, a novel that explores how invaluable those relationships are in our lives. So how cool is it that my publisher decided to bring it out in February??

I really want to thank all of you who dared to step out of the shadows and post on this blog. I've loved reading your thoughts and gathering your ideas. It only reinforces what I believe about the community of women. We are all so very alike--it doesn't matter what choices we've made or where we've lived or who we've loved--it's so much more fundamental than that. It's about who we are in our heart.

Thanks again, and keep checking in. As you know from the website, I'll be on the road--hoping to meet you in person--for the next couple of weeks. I'll try to post from some of the various cities and say hey.

Take care and I hope you enjoy Firefly Lane--