Milestones

Wednesday, May 26, 2010



Hello everyone!

I'm baaaccckkk!!! What an amazing, wonderful, emotional past two weeks it has been, too. As you can see from the photo, I've been in sunny Southern California, watching my son and his friends graduate from college. A few of you have probably been hearing about him for years and years---I started my first novel when I was pregnant. And now here he is, twenty-two years old, advancing confidently in the direction of his dreams. (After a trip to Europe, what a lucky kid he is). I should have known how emotional a time it would be, but as usual, real life surprised me. I thought about all the details of his graduation--the accomodations, the flights, the coordination of family, the gifts, etc. All those details kept my mind off the big picture. But I saw it all as I sat there in the stands with my husband and my dad and his wife and my son's girlfriends' family--the future was down there, standing tall in a black gown, showing a thumbs up to the crowd. The future and past become one in that beautiful moment; I really felt the whole of our lives coming together. Thank God someone had a Kleenex is all I can say. :) People often ask me if writing my books make me cry, and the answer is "only once." But boy, real life gets me every time. I cry at acceptance speeches, a good Hallmark ad, triumphant sports moments. And graduations. You name it.

I have to say, it really got me thinking about milestones in women's lives. There are so many big moments along the way. For me, the past few years have been chock full of them. My son's graduation from high school...starting college..and now graduating from college. Each of those beginnings was as meaningful for me as for him, and offered as big a life change. Then there is my approaching birthday (fifty, but don't tell anyone, please), and my upcoming twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Yikes. 2010 is a big year for me. I am going to make a commitment now to take the time to really celebrate all of these special moments, and I hope you'll all do the same. So much of our crazy, hectic, whirlwind lives seem to be about other people. I say we should watch each other's backs--girlfriends uniting to make sure that we stop every now and then and smell the roses.
Of course, maybe I'm saying all of this because of another, smaller milestone. As many of you know, I finished the book for 2011 recently. It was a long haul and took a LOT of rewrites and re-thinking to get this one right, but it's finally tucked into its little bed with the high thread count sheets. The cover is well on it's way to done and the slow-going publishing process has begun. That's good news, right?
Right. It is...good news, I mean. I've done the lion's share of my work on the content of the book. Sure, there are still things to do--copy editing, galley reading, flap copy writing---but those are manageable tasks. Mostly, now, I just wait to hear what industry people think of the book. You might think that would be a stressful time, but it's not. Compared to the Herculean task of writing a book, getting reviews are nothing. You can't survive long in this business if you let yourself be bothered by professional reviews. Readers are who I care about, and I won't hear from all of you for a long time. So in a way, this is the halycon days of a book--I can sit back and dream that everyone will love what I've done. :)
No, the stressful time now is the perennial question. You hear it almost instantly, the second your book is done. What's next?
AAAAGGGHHHH. Honestly, it makes me want to call me editor and ask for another crack at the "finished" book. At least I know what that one's about. Now I am faced with the daunting challenge of finding another idea--and not just any idea will do. Sadly, I'm picky about my ideas. They have to sweep me away, scare the heck out of me, challenge my abilities, and fire my imagination. I have to love an idea so much that I will live, eat, breathe, dream it for the next fourteen months. And right now, I have only the barest glimmer--a seedling in a damaged shell. I'll plant it and stand back and pray. I hope it grows into something great...
While it's growing, I'll research endlessly--nothing coherent, mind you, just a collection of things I've found "interesting" enough to compile. They will seem to have nothing in common, but somehow, a few will begin to braid together. In Winter Garden, all I had in the beginning was a fascination with Leningrad in WWII. In True Colors, there was an injustice that nagged at me. This time, all I have right now is a very special time and place. Wish me luck.
When I'm not researching (and praying--a lot of desperation is involved in this process--my girlfriends will soon stop taking my calls), I'll be reading. Emily Giffin's latest is on my tbr pile, as is a YA novel, Before I Fall, and I'm currently finishing my first Jack Reacher novel. And there's the television, of course. The last episode of American Idol. (GO CRYSTAL!!!)
I am still a little melancholy over the end of Lost, which I will miss tremendously. The finale was really emotional in places. Juliet and Sawyer!! Claire and Charlie!!! Locke getting out of the chair and forgiving Ben!! Loved it all. Yes, I would have like a little bit more intellectually satisfying conclusion, but they hit all the emotional moments and I loved them for that.
Although I do have Fringe, which is deliciously bizarre and wonderful...
So, send me some book suggestions. The more obscure the better. I feel like a juicy, emotional roller coaster that is impossible to put down. Something like The Passage. Oh, wait, I already recommended that to you all, but I guess it bears repeating.
And let me know what milestones you all are celebrating this year. Let's raise our cyber glasses together!!
Aloha,
K






19 Comments:

Blogger april said...

Congratulations on your son's graduation! That's a wonderful milestone for all of you.

I went to the Emily Giffin booksigning with my friends. It was a load of fun though I have to admit I haven't read one of hers yet. I have Something Borrowed and Heart of the Matter both at home waiting.

Hm, no recommendations really. I just finished the 5-book Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and loved it despite the fact that its reading level is 10-13. Right now, I'm reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It was slow in the beginning, but it's picking up and I hear it's an easy read after page 100. If anything, I'm glad to see what all the fuss is about.

I'm not a weeper, only at TV and sometimes the movies, but I don't cry much in real life situations and not even in as many books lately. The husband is more of a sap. I did cry a bit at Grey's Anatomy. The boy gets misty-eyed at the fact that Little Miss may get married someday and don't even mention preschool to him.

Can't wait for 2011. New book from you and new book from Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I won't know what to do with myself. :) Well, other than read.

May 26, 2010 at 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a handsome son you have! Congratulations on his achievements!

My milestones this year:
#1. My marriage has been repaired and I cannot thank God enough for prayers answered. I prayed for whatever path He had in mind for me, well, just put me on it! Stay married, get divorce, I didn't care. I just wanted Him to choose and get it done NOW! And He did.

#2. On October 15th, I will be celebrating 15 years as a cancer thriver! I lost my right eye to melanoma, and I now have an artificial eye with a little gold star painted on it...just for fun. Gotta have fun with it, you know?

Take your time with your idea. Your readers love your work and will wait patiently. We will also read your books regardless of what anyone else in the industry says. OK? Have faith!

Leslie M.
California

May 26, 2010 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Tracie Lynne Hall said...

Yes, congratulations on your son's graduation!!! USC? UCLA? I don't recognize the background so I'm thinking not Orange County...I guess it *could* be UCI. What was his major? What are his plans--stay in CA, return to WA? How exciting! Good books? I was reading one I thought was going to be good--but the ending was completely disappointing. So I guess this is a recommendation on what *not* to read: "Pretty Birds" by Scott Simon. I went through h . . .eck with his main character, all the while hoping it would all be worth it, but nooooo. (Major spoiler here:) at the end he trades the character, whom I've been suffering along with, out with the best friend, killing off my heroin and basically replacing her with the friend for the final chapter...the friend who wasn't in much of the story until maybe two chapters before that! I really hate it when writers want to be real and just tell me how much some aspect of life, in this case war, sucks. I KNOW it sucks. I don't want to read about just how bad it sucks unless there's a light at the end of the tunnel...I don't care if it's not true to life--give me the light!
Well, so, today I began "The House of Seven Gables" for the summer reading program at work (Chapman University) and am looking forward to some good old fashioned reading enjoyment!

May 27, 2010 at 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Kristin! You make me laugh every time I read you. And don't worry about that 50 birthday thing, it'll be our little secret :)

Congrats on Tucker's graduation. I have to tell you, I'm starting a project that has to do with A Very Important goal for women. I'd love to say more, but it's too early. I think I'll wait and publish the pix.

Yes, Crystal's voice is beautiful.

But it was Lee who grabbed my heart. I loved it when he sang FIREFLIES, I loved it when he sang "Hallelujah" I think I might have cried. And he was wonderful with Chicago last night.

Crystal just...leaves a little bit to be desired in the personality department. In my humble opinion.
The Alanis Morisette duet was AMAZING. They were in perfect sync.

I have to go. Unfortunately, I don't come with any recommends this time.

But I am so happy for you and proud to be your number one fan. (Although facebook has me as 667.)
and thanks for your online friendship and encouragement.

Love and Cheers,
Michelle

May 27, 2010 at 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

P.S. Leslie- I don't believe God would ever choose divorce; I'm happy for you that your marriage got saved and you're a thriving survivor! Go Life!!

And Tracie-have you read Winter Garden yet?

May 27, 2010 at 10:23 AM  
Anonymous donna said...

Hi Kristen:
So glad you are back - in fact yesterday I was going to post something and ask where the heck you were! I've read all of the "Reacher" books and they are all great. I just finished the newest Elizabeth George mystery "This Body of Death" - it is absolutely amazing. If you like the English mystery I highly recommend her books. However, you really should start with the first book as they characters evolve. She is a wonderful writer. I too am a cryer - both when I am moved by something happy or sad. All the best to everyone for a lovely Memorial Holiday. Time to read many good books!
Donna from Connecticut

May 27, 2010 at 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Sharon said...

Well Hello Kristin,
Congratulations on winter garden--it is a wonderful book.Your best I think?I have read it twice-Ilove the detail.There are angels looking down at you with smiling faces.Hope some day to chat with you about it.Congratulations also to Tucker,and to all of you,he has his whole life ahead.We just passed a milestone for us 50th anniversary--do not know where all the years have gone,but they have.Hope the family is all well!!
Big Hugs
Sharon

May 27, 2010 at 4:06 PM  
Blogger april said...

Tracie, my husband's cousin went to Chapman University. I'd never heard of it before (which isn't saying much as I'm a little far from the area). :)

May 27, 2010 at 6:44 PM  
Blogger Tracie Lynne Hall said...

Hi Michelle!
Not yet. I'm very much looking forward to it. Before reading everyone here's glowing comments, I first heard of it from my co-worker friend. She was finishing it as I was finishing Fireflies and we were telling each other about the great book we'd just read. So now she's read my copy of Fireflies and my copy of True Colors (which I haven't had a chance to read yet either). Until responding to this I was thinking Winter Garden wasn't in the Leatherby library (Summer Reading is restricted to the books in their collection), but, now that I think of it, it might actually be, because I think that's how my friend got a hold of it. I'll check! I started Seven Gables today and I just love Nathaniel's vocabulary, but I totally have to be by a dictionary or the computer to look up words, so this could take awhile.
Also, it occurs to me that I said I didn't have any recommendations but I lied. If you guys haven't read, "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett, you've got something to look forward to also. And, yeah, I know it was a movie but the book, "Time Traveler's Wife" was also great.
TTFN (ta-ta-for-now),
Tracie

May 27, 2010 at 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Congratulations to Tucker! I love the Hawaiian touch with his lei and what a great family picture! Love you guys! xoxo

May 28, 2010 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Tracie Lynne Hall said...

Cool April! I work in the Law Library which is across the street from the main campus and their library, so a lot of students come and go that I never get to meet. If your husband's cousin attended in the past 5 1/2 years I may have encountered him, but probably didn't get to. Chapman is a private school so a LOT of people haven't heard of it, but it gets more recognition as time goes on. (smile)

May 28, 2010 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Patricia T. said...

Kristin,

Congratulations to Tucker! Loved the photo. And, I'm happy you had such a nice time in Hawaii.

It is so nice that you have a year of milestones. Thought I'd share a 50th birthday idea. When many of my friends turned 50, we held a celebration of our rite of passage into midlife -- our years of wisdom and power. Marianne Williamson has a ceremony in her book "Illuminata" (p. 272) that is a great guide. Many of my friends only invited women who were 50+. You can put your own special spin one it. But, I can say it is a very meaningful experience with your close friends. You will join the ranks of being an official crone -- you are entering the best years of your life. Also an interesting a book idea.

Leslie -- I am so happy your milestones have turned out to be so positive for you!

American Idol -- was so sad Crystal didn't win! But, I think she will have a huge career.

So sad about the oil spill. Have read some of Rebecca Wells comments about her beloved Louisiana.

Glad to hear everyone's news!

Blessings,
Patricia

May 28, 2010 at 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Patricia,

That all sounded so lovely until you threw the word 'crone' into the mix. LOL

May 29, 2010 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger Patricia T. said...

Lynn,
Yeah, you're probably right -- I could have left the word out. :)

April, finally started "Sarah's Key." I'm looking forward to reading it.

Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Patricia

May 30, 2010 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous blondee said...

KRISTIN, I've read True Colors and Firefly Lane. They both brought back memories. I am reading my fourth book, Winter Garden. I grew up in the Salinas Valley (CALIFORNIA) alittle before 1974 but still I can relate. Keep up the good work!

May 31, 2010 at 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kristin.

Congrats on the graduation. I do have a book suggestion:

The 4 books in the Shetland Quartet by Ann Cleeves. The Shetland Islands are such an interesting place and each of the mysteries in the books is very very interesting. The first book is called Raven Black (followed by White Nights, Red Bones and Blue Lightening. The last is only out in the UK right now, but I have to have it imported, as I just couldn't wait.

Enjoy the summer. Can't wait for the next book.

Kristopher (from Best Book Club Ever).

June 2, 2010 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Hi Kristin,

I just got done reading "Summer Island". My life is a replica of Nora's in the sense of the relationship she has with her daughter Ruby. I have been looking for a book I could get my 14-year-old to read to make her understand that there are so many things she doesn't know because she is too young and realize that time goes by too fast before we realize what we have missed. But I'll save more of this for a blog on Summer's Island. I discovered Emily Giffin about a year ago and have referred her books to my sister as well. We both think she was a refreshing writer compared to what we both usually read. When you are a stay at home Mom and don't get out in the real world much you have no idea about the situations other women go through. That is what you and Emily have done for me. I am going to recommend you to my sister (who recommends to all her friends as well). I hope they realize what I have been going through after they read Summer Island. By the way, I love the cover. It is what made me pick up the book to read what it was about. The big soft covers are also wonderful because they make it easy to read when you are in bed. One of the reasons why I picked up Emily Giffins book to begin with as well.
Thank you for your wonderful writing. Looking forward to reading more!

August 4, 2010 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Hi Kristin,

I just got done reading "Summer Island". My life is a replica of Nora's in the sense of the relationship she has with her daughter Ruby. I have been looking for a book I could get my 14-year-old to read to make her understand that there are so many things she doesn't know because she is too young and realize that time goes by too fast before we realize what we have missed. But I'll save more of this for a blog on Summer's Island. I discovered Emily Giffin about a year ago and have referred her books to my sister as well. We both think she was a refreshing writer compared to what we both usually read. When you are a stay at home Mom and don't get out in the real world much you have no idea about the situations other women go through. That is what you and Emily have done for me. I am going to recommend you to my sister (who recommends to all her friends as well). I hope they realize what I have been going through after they read Summer Island. By the way, I love the cover. It is what made me pick up the book to read what it was about. The big soft covers are also wonderful because they make it easy to read when you are in bed. One of the reasons why I picked up Emily Giffins book to begin with as well.
Thank you for your wonderful writing. Looking forward to reading more!

August 4, 2010 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

I highly recommend reading Nora Roberts series of the Bride Quartet. I had a long time dream of opening my own wedding business and these books go into such detail about being 4 girls who played "wedding day" as little girls, and opened a wedding consulting business together when they got older, that I can see every detail described in Nora's writing. There are only 3 out so far, but they let me escape and dream about the perfect wedding consulting business. It made me want to call them up and set a wedding date at their facility. I truly think you will enjoy them.

August 4, 2010 at 10:24 AM  

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