Holy summer coma, Batman, I haven't blogged in a month!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Holy summer coma, Batman, I haven't blogged in a month!
How did that happen, friends? Honestly, I cannot say. In the dim recesses of my (obviously addled) brain, I thought I hadn't visited with you all in a few weeks or so. Yikes! If not for the date posted on my last blog, I would have sworn it was only last month that I checked in. My only excuse is that summer finally--finally--came to the Pacific Northwest. In classic sun-in-the-green-darkness-world, of course, it stayed for less than a few days, but it was here for a few glorious hours. So, I guess I should tell you all what's been going on.

Hmmm...let's see. In May, I told you all about my son's college graduation--what a lovely and proud moment that was for all of us. Then, only a few days later, we took him to the airport and watched him board a Virgin Atlantic plane bound for London. I did not worry about him. Really, I didn't. Not even with the riots that were going on in Greece and the volcano that was spewing ash into the sky. I watched him (and his lovely girlfriend) board the plane and fly away with that same mixture of pride and emotion that came to me as he accepted his diploma. In the blink of an eye, I was transported back three and half decades (yes, Virginia, it was that long ago), to the day I went to Europe on my own. I was nineteen years old and scared and thrilled and certain I knew what my future held. It was pure magic hearing his stories of traveling, both to places I had been and to places I still dream of going. Yes, it was a little irritating to hear him talk about Florence and Corfu and San Sebastian and know that my twenty-two year old had beaten me to the punch, but that was handily overtaken by the joy of knowing that he was as dazzled by Europe as I had been. Honestly, every morning, I raced to my computer to see if there was a new message or a new photo. What fun! And now he is back, safe and sound, and embarking on his next grand adventure--getting a job and finding a place to live. It is so exciting to watch him spread his wings. I can't wait to see where he goes next...

After the rather lengthy celebrations in Southern California--the grad, the party, the family fun--my husband and I came back to drizzly Washington, where I found my latest manuscript waiting for me yet again. Copy edits. I don't know if I've described this process for you all, and you may have heard about it from other writers, but for those who are blessedly in the dark about this necessary evil, it is the last time a writer gets to view a novel before it gets typeset. It is also the time when someone with a keen eye and a sharp red pencil has gone through every word, looking for errors. And they find them, believe me. We want them to find those pesky mistakes so you don't have to. What's more irritating than finding a mistake in an otherwise wonderful book? It jerks you out of the story like a bungee jumper. In fact, I'm so keen on copy editing that I don't trust an editor who doesn't find A LOT of things to question. It makes me think he or she is watching tv while reading. :) Anyway, what it means for the author is that you have to read a book that, really, you're bored with. Of course, you're not really bored with it, but it sure as heck feels as if you are. By copy edit, I have probably written minimum twenty drafts of the book, and most of the paragraphs are practically memorized, so it's a real chore to read it all so closely again. One is sorely tempted to breeze through, but that would be a mistake. So, anyway, that fine-print read took me the first two weeks of June. And at the end of it, I was still waiting for the sun to show itself.

But it didn't, so what is a girl to do? Well, there I was, between books, with no idea in sight (got one, by the way? I'm looking--just kidding), and I thought. Wait a second. I have a big birthday coming up this year, and so does my friend, Megan Chance. http://meganchance.com/. As many of you know, Megan and I have been critique partners for more than twenty years. Wow, that sounds like a long time. In all those years, we have brainstormed together, edited together, laughed and drank wine together. Twice a year, we go away to focus on the books, but we have never, in all those years, just gone somewhere because we felt like it. So I thought, this is the year. I surprised her totally--told her to pack a bag and I'd pick her up. She's so cool, she didn't even ask where we were going...which was to Los Angeles, btw. We stayed in a gorgeous little bungalow on Santa Monica beach. We talked endlessly, watched movies, walked along the beach, and sat by the pool. We had an absolute blast. It was especially nice to put on bathing suits and sit in the sun. It was my very own Firefly lane Girlfriend hour. :)
Back at home, only a few days later, I started pacing and sweating. That's the usual routine when I need a new idea. Nothing came to me. Nothing. So I thought: I need to visit my dad and Debbie and my brother in Alaska. Why not? Within moments of the decision, Ben and I were on a plane again, heading North to the Future, to the Land of the Midnight Sun, where a great time was had by all. Above, you can see the photo of the eagle, sitting on eggs in her nest. Is that cool, or what? The lower pic is of the view from my dad's lodge, the Great Alaska Adventure Lodge. We sat around the fire and fished until one in the morning (easy to do when it doesn't get dark), and re-connected. I even visited with a wild and crazy book group. It was awesome!
The trip served several purposes: I got to see a state I love, visit with my beloved family, commune with nature. Even better, I had so much fun, I stopped thinking that I needed an idea, and as usual, that's when the magic happens.
Now I have a kernel of a thought that could grow into an idea. At least it feels right. Yippee! now, I just need to relax enough to let it grow. Wish me luck! I sure wish I were one of those writers who have a lot of ideas and can make anything work. That's not me, though. When you spend fourteen months writing a single book, you have to really love the idea. At least, I do.
While I was hanging out in the past month, I've also done a lot of reading. As you know, The Passage and Dark Places and Still Missing are all out now---books I loved. I also read The Descendents (a tragicomedy set in Hawaii), which I really liked, and The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent (if you liked the first book in her Salem Witch Trials book, you'll want to read this one asap), the Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, and (yes, finally), the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I have to say that Lisbeth Sander is probably one of the coolest characters I've read in a decade. What about you? What have you all read lately? What did you all think of Dragon Tattoo??
That's about all the news that's fit to print right now. I should have a cover for the new book in a month or two, and in September, we'll probably have an advance reading copy to give away. Any ideas on what kind of contest to run?
Thanks again to all of you who read this blog. I really love hearing from you!



Blogger princessapr said...

Wow, that's a lot of travel!

My life is much more boring. Work has been busy. I did take my birthday off last month for a spa day and night out with friends. We'll be going to ME and NJ to the beach next month. I'm also going to Avenue Q, Dave Matthews Band and Lilith Fair in the next couple of weeks. Oh and my friends and I saw Emily Giffin, Sarah Pekkanen, Sarah Blake and are seeing Jennifer Weiner on Thursday. Let's see. I've also seen Knight and Day, The A-Team and Toy Story 3. As for reading, I read the first 2 Susan Mallery books in the Fool's Gold series and the first 2 Mary Jo Putney books in the Lost LOrd series. I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for book club and The Girl who Played with Fire is up for this month. My friend and I rented the movie last Friday, too. It was a pretty solid adaptation.

Yay, a new book! I'm always excited to hear there's a new one coming even if I'm still gushing about the previous one. In the meantime, I've been collecting the backlist on my nook.

Oh, I forgot the biggest news. I'm getting a nephew today! My sister-in-law is being induced early. It came as a surprise to everyone yesterday when she was suddenly admitted to the hospital, but everything should go well and we should meet the baby boy tonight!

Welcome back!

July 13, 2010 at 7:45 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Congratulations, April!!!! Our best wishes to you all. :)

July 13, 2010 at 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Kristin! Congrats on all your awesome news!! I'm so excited about your new book! I met you back in January in Huntington,NY and I sure hope you tour there again with the next book! Any contest you hold, I'll be sure to enter. I'm a huge fan anxiously awaiting you next amazing book!!

July 13, 2010 at 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Jana said...

Hey girl...glad to hear you have found a "thread" to pull for a story idea....I am sure it will be fabulous...trust yourself not to rush it, but to let it come to you naturally..and it WILL.....
I loved The Forgotten Garden and the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo is next on my pile to be read....I may the last person in the world to read it.....although, everyone I know that has read it.... loved it...I am reading Elin Hilderbrands new book now....love her and her stories about Nantucket (my fantasy island)....my college grad heads to Mexico with his girlfriend in a couple of weeks...for his grad trip...(are these girlfriends lucky or what?)....turning 50 has forced me to "take stock" somewhat...take better care of myself and do more things that "I" want to do......how about you?

July 13, 2010 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

A couple of weeks ago our 18 year old son flew from NC to Seattle to visit his girlfriend (they met on the internet via Skype). I've been wanting to visit the Pacific Northwest for a long time, but he got there first. Jason and Nicole had a great time. He's back home now, trying to decide if he's going to start a band, go to college in the fall, or both. Teenagers...what can you do with 'em?

Good luck with the projects you're working on.


July 13, 2010 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Karie said...

You make me miss the Pacific Northwest! I know, you're tired of not seeing the sun. But I now live in Houston and I miss being able to go outside and not instantly feel moist (and not from rain or drizzle). :-)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo...I know so many people who loved this book. I struggled so hard getting through the first 50 pages that I put it down and haven't felt inspired to pick it back up. I figure there are so many other great books yet to read, I shouldn't have to try so hard. Maybe I'll try again later during my summer hibernation...since all I want to do is stayed curled up inside with my A/C.

Thanks for catching us up on all your happenings!

July 13, 2010 at 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Lois said...


Always look forward to reading your blog, seeing where you have gone, what you have read, what you have seen, and what you are watching.

Your “Firefly Lane Girlfriend hour” at the gorgeous little bungalow on Santa Monica beach sounded wonderful. What movies did you watch? I have Alaska on my list of places to go so of course I loved hearing about Alaska. We spent a week at a lovely beach house on Topsail Island, NC with our children and grandchildren. We savored those special days with our family.

Do you appreciate Europe more as a nineteen year old or as an adult?

I read the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and was so glad when I started The Girl Who Played with Fire to find the story continued with Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. They are such interesting characters. I loved them both, flaws and all. Now I can’t wait for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest to come out in paperback. Have you read Little Bee?

Wishing you luck for that kernel to grow!


July 13, 2010 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger Patricia T. said...

So very happy to have you back Kristin! Your summer is so full that it feels like you couldn't write quickly enough to share everything. And, thank you. I so enjoyed listening to your wonderful adventures with your friend and family. And, a bit envious. What a terrifc summer with so many trips and aventures.

I am especially happy to know you have a seed of an idea for you 2012novel. Don't really have a clue about your upcoming book, so it's hard to offer a contest suggestion. Still like my idea last year that connected with your charity -- but you were not comfortable with it.

You probably don't remember, but in early April I mentioned I was thinking about doing something I'd always wanted to do. You told me to "go for it." I did and have had a ball. I took a two-month children's book writing course with a well-known children's author, teacher and educator. She has my first manuscript for editorial review, but I won't hear until late August, because of her schedule. Even though I wrote and rewrote it four times, I look forward to her editorial suggestions. I have always wanted to write for children and I put it on hold for 30 yrs. The course really let me play in a sandbox for two months and find my creative self. My mind is spinning ideas. I'm finishing a second manuscript right now that I really like a lot. I didn't realize how deceptively difficult it is to write for children. The economy of words, the balance of text with pictures etc. Know how hard it is to break into the business. But, I feel so blessed to be working with someone who is very good. And, I'm willing to be patient and give it a chance.

After my unkind comments about American Idol last summer, guess who has tickets to see the live performance on 27 July in Columbus. The tickets are a birthday present for my daughter and I'm going with her -- we haven't done anything like this for a long while. I will admit I am looking forward to it.

And, I have a new addition to my family -- we rescued a very loving anc calm white toy poodle from a breeder last weekend. His name is Sir Archibald. Feel like I rescued him from sex slavery.

More than enough from me -- hope the remainder of your summer is great.



July 13, 2010 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

Karie, the first half is rough for some people. The second half FLIES though. If you get through the first book, the second book goes much quicker. Our book club was divided, but overall we did enjoy. All the books are a little wordy, but the basic storyline is pretty clever.

July 13, 2010 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

Just an update. We have a new nephew. Some of you may have seen on Facebook (though haven't posted on my blog yet). He was born 36 weeks but is a great 19 inches long and 5 lb 7 oz. They're in the process of taking him off the incubator, but I got to feed him yesterday, and he's doing well. He and his mama are under great care and being monitored, but they're expected to make quick recoveries and we should know more as each day passes.

Last night, I got to hold my nephew and tonight, I get to meet Jennifer Weiner - an exciting week if I do say so myself!

July 15, 2010 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Patricia T. said...

Again, congratulations on your new nephew.

Let us know how about your meeting with Jennifer Weiner -- including the details. :)


July 15, 2010 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I just recently got back from Europe myself, but it was for my aunts family reunion.

As for reading I finished True Colors a while ago and
I just recently got back from Europe as well, but I was there for a family reunion with my aunts family.

As for books I finished True Colors (and LOVED it!) started a sugary sweet book Called Kissed By An Angel by Elizabeth Chandler. I love romance books but this has been so sweet it made me gag so I'm debatig on fightigy nature and not finishig it. Thankfully I went on a huge shopping spree for books before I left for France so I have five other books to read.

I'm so happy you have a 'thread' of an idea! I cantwait to see how it turn out!


July 16, 2010 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger princessapr said...

Patricia, I know you've seen the pictures, but here is my blog post: http://princessapr.blogspot.com/2010/07/cupcakes-books-and-friends.html

The picture of the cupcakes is on Facebook. They were super yummy. I can't believe I had never had Georgetown Cupcakes before (they are the subject of a new TLC tv show tonight - DC Cupcakes). I hate going into Georgetown and I don't think it's worth the $10 shipping fee to deliver, but yummy! I love that Jennifer Weiner almost always has DC on her book tours. If you can go and see her, she's worth it.

July 16, 2010 at 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...


Great picture. Did your red velvet cupcake have the cream cheese frosting? Ahhhh, those are so delicious. I've had Georgetown Cupcakes twice...both times were given to me. Yum. I've never actually been there. I did dvr DC Cupcakes last night so I'll have to check it out.

I saw Charlaine Harris at that same Borders a few months ago. That was a fun night. It was *so* crowded, but they have the flow of crowd control down pretty well there.

July 17, 2010 at 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Hi Kristin!

I've missed hearing from you but I'm glad you've been having this much fun :) I'm actually really wanting to write a kid's book, just see how I do. Wish we could all celebrate your birthday together!!

I'm reading Summer Light right now, by Luanne Rice. Amazing book. And I started Heart of the Matter, by Emily Giffin. What a book that was, as well. I'm looking for enchantment, because it's time to read one of yours.

July 17, 2010 at 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Congrats April! Wish to be your friend on facebook... Kristin, you inspire us...

I'm still on my "to be unnamed for now" project...

July 17, 2010 at 11:47 PM  
Anonymous donna said...

Hi Kristen: Was off last week so just caught up with the blog. I saw the DVD of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo and just loved it. What a riveting movie. On the DVD as an extra is an interview with the star - a Swedish actress Noomi. It was fascinating as she is different in every way from the character - she looks completely different, speaks differently, etc. She spent 1 1/2 years in character making the 3 films. I just saw The Girl Who Played with Fire as it just opened in the movies. It was good too but I liked Dragon Tatoo better. So sad that the author is deceased and didn't get to see how successful his stories have become.

July 19, 2010 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Tracie Lynne Hall said...

Wow! So much activity, excitement, and things to be grateful for (Kristin AND friends)! Boy, I'm away for a couple of weeks (-busy at a Denver Law Librarian's conference, and then busy uploading and identifying all the photos I took so that when I submit a fraction of them to the regional association newsletter they are well defined--and still trying to do a little summer reading-[Winter Garden!]--and I miss all the excitement here. I tend to write too much here..."I mean really Tracie, if people wanted to read YOUR words they would be on YOUR blog!" so I'll try to cut short and just say, Kristin, thank you *so* much for taking time to keep in touch with us. You have had quite a whirlwind couple of months and I suspect that might be a bit normal for you--I feel so privileged to be privy (<redundant word?) to the intimate details of your life and writing process! I love reading about your activities, loved ones and Washington --a writers biography in real time! Happy birthday--but the trip w/Megan wasn't your actual birthday? Do you guys share a birthday, or, no, you just both have one birthday in a year? Me too, btw! I'd love to know how the new book idea came to you but that's probably a secret of the trade.
I'm talking too much and haven't touched on my other new friends here....Blessings, April, for your new nephew! Congrats Patricia on coming so far with your children's book and on having a fabulous mentor! Erin, you seem to travel a lot. Color me GREEN! Michelle, good luck with your mystery project! Take care everyone!

July 22, 2010 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger Patricia T. said...

Tracie -- Laughed out loud when I read your e-mail. Yeah, I too have a tendency to have verbal diarrhea when I start to write on the blog. Guess it's because I have made so many friends. Wow are you busy!

Michelle, also wanted to tell you good luck with your "unamed project." Glad you have an interest in writing for children. I'm having a great time. You may want to check out the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators www.scbwi.org. I have met so many interesting writers and SCBWI will be posting parts of it's upcoming conference July 30.

April, got a copy of Jennifer Weimer's new book and my husband read it before I could get to it. He said it was good. I' still treading through Laura Bush's book -- it's good, but sooooooo much detail.

Erin, am so envious of your trip to Europe. A friend of mine went to Germany for her huge family reunion in July with hundreds of family members. Would love to hear more.


July 22, 2010 at 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I am a new fan of yours. I started with Firefly Lane and that got me hooked! Just finished Summer Island, and starting Magic Hour next! I actually have Powells on line up right now and am ordering every book I can find of yours! :0) I love to read and being from and living in Oregon I really enjoy finding authors from this area. Another favorite of mine is Jennie Shortridge. When She Flew is a great read, one you don't want to put down!
Well, it was great reading a little more about you, and I am so excited to continue to read your stuff and I'm sure enjoy!!!

July 22, 2010 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

Great news! Nephew finally came home from the hospital after a week. He's gaining weight like a champ, but he's still under 6 pounds. He's doing great. He met Little Miss last night and it went very well, much better than we anticipated. Thank you, everyone, for your kind and encouraging words.

I am 3/4 through The Girl who Played with Fire and am enjoying it, but I'm an impatient mystery reader.

This week I saw Avenue Q with my mom and am going to Dave Matthews Band tomorrow. Busy week and work hasn't been kind. Oh, well, some weeks are like that. Just have to hold out and wrap things up in the next 2 weeks and then I go on VACATION! Hope you all are doing well!

July 22, 2010 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Patricia T. said...

I attended the American Idol concert tour (3 hrs) in Columbus last night -- an early birthday gift for my almost 26-year-old daughter. It was worth it just see the excitement and joy on her face. We had outstanding seats and she was able to get very close for photos. Casey, Erin and Big Mike even yelled hello to her as they left the stage after the finale -- she was thrilled. Oh, to be young agin.


It was a very impressive production, but the band so loud it was hard at times to understand the words. I thought Crystal really stole the show with her vocals. Lee was good to. My other favorites were Slovana (great stage presence) and Big Mike. Casey really let loose and played some electric guitar solos.

It was fun to see them go through the auditions and put together a very professional show. I was very surprised at the diversity of the audience. I can't say the young people outnumbered.

It was an experience! My ears are still ringing.

July 28, 2010 at 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your books and your writing gift are my discovery of the summer! How have I not found you sooner? Perhaps this was the the time of my life to find you. I am reading "Distant Shores" --- and have read three of your books so far. "Firefly Lane" was wonderful and I was sad when it ended. I miss TulyandKate! I just read thru your Blog this evening and am so excited to be part of your world.

August 1, 2010 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger Tracie Lynne Hall said...

How fun, Patricia, that you and your daughter saw the American Idol Concert tour. I'm afraid I haven't been keeping up, but I always enjoyed American Idol when I *did* watch ...although I usually waited until it got far enough along that only the good ones were left. ;-)
April, 'had to check your blog for Nephew. The photo with Little Miss is adorable. And you're a wizard to figure out the nail painting! And how pretty her little feet are with her painted nails.
OK, I really just stopped in to mention that I really really *really* loved "Winter Garden". I'd been waiting to mention I'd finished it, hoping I'd be able to think of something more fulfilling for the author than "really really really", but I guess this is why *I* am not a writer. It just amazes me though, Kristin, how you could come up with such an involved, tightly woven story like that. I don't want to give anything away, in case there are fans here who've not yet read it. But now that I finally have, I am less patient with those who haven't. ;-) So hurry up so I can talk about it.
Take care y'all!

August 3, 2010 at 11:38 PM  
Blogger The Drama Mama said...

Hi, Kristin. I am new to your blog, and your writing. I have a copy of Firefly Lane (which I absolutely loved, all 4 times I have read it now). I am looking forward to reading more of your work in the future. I love seeing this "human" side of you, as well.

I hope you find some time to stop by my humble place sometime. I would be very honored.

August 11, 2010 at 2:55 AM  

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