March 2014: The Children Are Tender

Caregiving, teaching little kids to read, and riding in the pickup with Farmer John; I tweet, pin, and blog, from my home in rural Kansas. If you've landed here looking for information about my books, visit my author's page by clicking this link: A. Born. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Great Bargain on E-book

Ambassador-International has selected The Children Are Tender for their Friday Fiction promotion this week.  Tonight and tomorrow you can download the book for just $2.99 from Amazon!  Here is the link:  The Children Are Tender for Kindle.

You can see the promo from Ambassador-International's publicist, Alison Storm,  HERE

You don't have to own a Kindle to buy and read e-books from Amazon; a free Kindle reader can be downloaded here:

Or, on your smart phone just download the Kindle app. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kansas Beauty: Depression's Cure

 I have cycled through some emotions that are close to depression in the wake of giving up my teaching job two years ago.  I hadn't considered retirement, and it came as a shock that I had enough years of service to do so.  My job description changed in the wake of budget cuts, my mother's needs increased, and it seemed logical for me to retire early.  And so here I am, back home on the farm; writing, caregiving, and being a grammy; all jobs I love.  But some days that depression cloud hovers.  It is usually comprised of fibromyalgia aches, caregiving stress, and a sense that my life is winding down to a journey's end rather than gearing up toward some new goal. The idea that I've been demoted from a position of authority and respect to the roles of housekeeper and caregiver adds to my angst, but I figure this is good for my humility (a reference to family lore; once when I was bemoaning some cosmetic deficiency my then six-year-old daughter said, "Welp, that's good for your humility, Mom..."). 

When one is depressed, the inclination is to pull the shades, turn out the lights, and lay on the nearest soft surface, escapism-book in hand.  I manage to resist these pulls, but as I putter about the house  procrastination attacks, and my sad/bad feelings increase as I accomplish little; the silence pressing in about me.  I'm too tired to seek company, ache too much to volunteer my services as a babysitter, and tend toward short-temperedness with my mother's dementia related behaviors.  What I am able to do, however, is to step outside. 

Fresh air and light are curative. A few nights ago I snapped this phone photo of the setting sun's colors over our little yellow house and found there's no room for depression when one's senses are filled with this kind of beauty.  Again today I'm feeling so grateful for the restorative peace that's always just outside my front door simply because I'm privileged to live in rural Kansas: 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I don't watch a whole lot of TV (I know, everyone says that), but in my occasional sessions with Food Network or news programs, a relatively new expression has caught my ear:
"Ridiculous!" exclaims a commentator as he tastes a delicacy prepared by a five star chef.

"Ridiculous," says an actor who is being interviewed about filming a movie in New Zealand.  He's gazing at a mountain range behind him as he whispers his assessment of the beauty.  "Just ridiculous!"  
I've come to understand this word is being used to express emotion over something so amazingly delicious or beautiful that no adjectives in the language can adequately describe it.

With these thoughts in mind here are some views of our Kansas skies taken within a mile of the little yellow farmhouse, all pretty much just ridiculous! 

The intersection west of our house is appropriately named Homestead Road

Evening walk with Farmer John

Sunrise over the lake on the hill above our house.

Sunlight through cottonwoods along the road.

Monday, September 9, 2013

...another Farmer Johnism...

I am riding in the pickup with Farmer John.  We have counted cattle at a pasture that is nearly ten miles away, and are driving back home.  The morning has been relatively cool, but afternoon temperatures are predicted to reach 102 degrees. 

As we approach, two turkey vultures swoop away from the unidentifiable remains of some small animal that did not make it across the highway successfully. 

Farmer John:  Oh look.  This morning they are having cold cuts but if they come back at noon they can have a hot lunch! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Not-So-Ghostly Ghost Town

Farmer John and I made a parts run to Iola, Kansas today and on the way home John said, "Let's go see Neosho Falls; we've never been there."  I agreed, and he made an apparently random turn onto an unmarked road that led us, Farmer John fashion, straight to our goal.  The man has an uncanny ability to find places, and this nicely counterbalances my complete lack of directional sense.  Before the advent of cell phones and GPS, I couldn't go anyplace without him because I would get lost. Years of habit are deeply ingrained, and even now I rarely travel alone.  I kind of miss him when he's not along. 

As we drove into town I was astounded at the beauty of the Neosho River. The river flows serenely along but then makes a 9 foot drop over a man-made dam and from that point bubbles and rushes madly toward the new concrete bridge.  It does not look like the entrance to what I'd heard described as a ghost town. 

As we drove down the main street I had John stop several times so I could snap photos, and as I stepped away from the car I could hear more than one lawn mower running.  A man mowing a large corner lot gave me a careful look, and as I turned to come back to the car I saw a rusty sign that read Neighborhood Watch.  "I guess he's the neighborhood watcher," I said, laughing. But a few minutes later two motorcycles appeared at the corner a block away from where I was attempting to photograph the main street that is now overgrown with vines and trees, and I had the distinct feeling that Neosho Falls' neighborhood watch had indeed been activated. 

The neatest part of this little side trip is that I found Karola's Community Church!  Those of you who have read The Children Are Tender know that the fictional community of Karola has just one place of worship, a white clapboard church where all are welcome. Neosho Falls' United Methodist Church is a ringer for the non-denominational church I imagined for Karola,  so much so that I posted the photo below at the Pinterest Page dedicated to creating a visual introduction to the world of Karola.
Neosho Falls' Methodist Church is a ringer for the community church in the fictional town of Karola, Kansas, setting for the novel The Children Are Tender. However,  I do think the ladies of Karola Community Church would have hosted numerous bake sales in order to fund a fresh coat of white paint for their church. 

Neosho Falls' school was abandoned in 1969 and its framework still stands as a testament to what happens over 40 years of time to a building that is not maintained. I took this closeup of a pair of windows in the old school:

Two former places of business, the one on the left is completely obliterated by greenery. Perhaps the building on the right was a gas station. 
Neatly mown lawns, a new post office/community building, and the pickups parked around an establishment called "The Oasis" keep the remains of this little town from feeling abandoned or ghostly.  The people didn't seem unfriendly, but they were watchful, and we took the point and left a little sooner than I would have liked.  This is probably just as well because following my urge to explore inside the abandoned school might not have been safe; the building's remaining concrete walls stand with no visible means of support. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this little side trip, and though the citizens of Neosho Falls seem happy with their town just as it is, I am hoping that Karola does not become quite as unpopulated.  In my imagination, Karola School stands with open doors, awaiting another school year's influx of students and teachers who will have adventures yet to be told. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nine Reasons I Love June in Kansas

The euonymus shrubs are green and glossy but haven't bloomed, so they aren't yet attracting flies! 

Dragonflies have emerged with rainbow wings...

These guys are almost done producing flowers and fluff...

The Margie rose is blooming in the fence row (named for the childhood friend who gave me the cutting). 

The hanging basket my daughter and her husband gave me for Mother's Day is still beautiful (I haven't killed it yet).

The rosebush my son and his wife gave me two years ago survived the drought and is covered with blooms....

...and the old fashioned rosebush  is blossoming

First thing in the morning it is neither too warm or too cool to sit here......

...and it isn't yet too hot to take a walk in the early evening. 
If I could've captured a photo of cottonwood fluff wafting through the air this would have been reason #10!  I love June in Kansas! 

Friday, May 31, 2013


Linda:  I heard a horrifying fact about Gila Monsters today on a children's zoo show.  When they latch on to bite you they don't let go!

Farmer John:  Like snapping turtles.

Linda: (rolls her eyes toward her husband doubtfully)

Farmer John:  (nods sagely) Yup.  When they latch on they don't let go until it thunders.

Linda:  You make this stuff up.  I swear you think I'll believe anything.  (Pulls out her smart phone, finds hundreds of references--albeit most labeled folklore--to snapping turtles not letting go until it thunders).

Linda:  (Sheepishly) Ummm...guess that's just one I hadn't heard before.

Farmer John: (Smug) Well, I do know a few things you don't.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Riding in the Pickup With Farmer John

This sprig of purple flowers lay by itself in a field of green, looking as if a passing bridesmaid had dropped her delicate bouquet in the grass. 

The pastures are full of these little yellow flowers this spring (see below).

The bouquet Farmer John tossed in my lap--he harvests his spring crop of asparagus from road ditches; disdaining the lack of challenge raising an asparagus patch in our garden would provide. 
I hadn't accompanied John to do chores all week long because he's been so busy planting.  Last night's storms brought us about a quarter inch of rain, and so he couldn't go to the field this morning.  "Want to go count cattle with me?" he asked.

It is Sunday, and on Sundays I am nearly always in my usual pew at church, but after just a moment's hesitation I pulled on jeans and boots and followed my husband out the door.  The rain had washed everything clean, the air was sweet with the scent of mown grass and spring flowers; and I hardly felt guilty at all (well, not until after I ate the donut John bought for me--but I did give our dog, Annie, part of it...). 

We saw a white cattle egret that was apparently playing tag with two calves.  The bird would fly a few feet ahead of the frisky critters and land.  As they kicked up their heels and gave chase, it would stretch out its wings and fly a few dozen more feet ahead, then land and wait for the calves to approach once more.  

There was a flock of white pelicans paddling sedately, almost swan-like, across the lake.  Two coyotes trotted across a pasture and stopped to look back at us over their shoulders before they resumed their journey.  A lanky adolescent whitetail deer leaped across the road in front of us. 

We saw a total of four box turtles at different places along the road which, John claims, means we will receive a "four turtle rain tonight." 

"Notice," he said, in the tones of a tour guide, "...that all those turtles are on high ground." 

I looked at him doubtfully. 

"Well would YOU like to be a box turtle in a flood?" he asked. "They can only swim so long before they sink like a rock." 

I never know whether my husband is teasing or not, but I do know one thing.  Though I'll return to church so as not to give up meeting together with fellow worshipers next week, I found respite in God's creation this morning. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Just Like Grace Kelley

My parents were the inspiration for the characters of Bob and Anna Williamson in The Children Are Tender.  In the book, Anna is Karola School's head cook, while Bob is the head custodian. The character Bob thinks his wife looks just like Grace Kelley, while he himself claims a resemblance to Humphrey Bogart. 
"The head cook’s name was Anna Williamson. She was married to our custodian, Bob, who thought her the most beautiful woman in the world. Because I kept such late hours at the school, Bob often found me still at work when he made his rounds each evening. We had shared regular conversations, and I’d learned that he and Anna had married when Bob was a sergeant in the army during World War II and she was a receptionist for an industrial motor company in Kansas City. Because of his hearing disability, Bob had been assigned stateside duty as a military policeman, riding the trains that carried troops. Bob and Anna met when he was home on furlough, shared their first kiss under the Grand Hall clock at Kansas City’s Union Station, and had married just a few months later."
My mother actually was an assistant manager for the central kitchen that served the Olathe public schools for a time, and her initial aversion to the use of bulger as an additive to meat served as the basis for the chapter in the book that relates the completely fictional story of how Anna charmed the school board as well as Mayor Burke with her cookies and her smile.  However, Dad was never a custodian, although he once thought about applying for a custodial position at the school where I worked. I'm sad to say I objected so strenuously that he gave up the idea.  Dad, the real life Bob Williamson, was something a character--not in the literary sense--and I didn't want him to work at the school where I taught.  My lingering guilt over not wanting to share my workplace with my own father probably contributed to my decision to model Karola School's head custodian after Dad

In the book, Bob and Anna are about 35 years older than they appear in the wedding photo above.  They have both grown slightly rotund, but Bob still believes his wife looks just like Grace Kelley.   The real-life Bob Williamson would never have claimed resemblance to a movie star either for himself or his wife, but as his admiring daughter I always thought my dad was even handsomer than Bogart. 

I'm blessed to honor the love my parents shared by naming characters after them in my book.  Dad would've been proud, and if he were still living I know he would still, as he always did, believe my mother to be the best looking woman in town (even if he never went so far as to compare her to Grace Kelley)! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Cow Whisperer

I keep repeating this claim: "There are no characterizations of real people in my book.  Some stories were inspired by true life situations, but I created characters to act out the parts."

I admit there is one exception to these statements; I did my level best to reveal my husband's personality in the character of Farmer John.  He has a host of aggravating, lovable, endearing, and infuriating characteristics, and I tried to include them all; after all, my own husband can't sue me (I don't think). 

I ride along in the old red pickup to help with chores each morning and have taken to carrying a pen and notebook along.  In this way I've gathered quite a few "Farmer Johnisms" for my next Karola book, if there is one (first y'all need to help the current Karola book sell well enough so I don't have to pay a publishing fee to have my next book published.  I've decided we aren't doing that again, I don't care how much the nice publisher likes my book, even if he does have a charming Irish brogue.  After all, the Proverbs 31 woman brings in cash via her hobbies rather then expending it...but that's another blog post. Meantime, click HERE to review the book--you don't have to have purchased the book at Amazon to review there).

Yesterday morning John was sorting cattle as he prepared to move them to pasture.  He prefers to do this job alone, spurning his father's help, telling our son not to bother to drive down to help, and instructing me sternly to stay in the truck.  He says the cattle are used to him and get spooked if anyone else shows up, and this may be true.  However, I'm convinced there is something more.  He doesn't want anyone distracting the critters from his mystical cattle-influencing talents.

As John strides into their midst the animals stop what they are doing and stare at him like prepubescent girls stare at posters of Justin Bieber.  John fixes his gaze upon the animal he desires to move.  She casts her eyes from side to side and bats her long eyelashes...and then, incredibly, turns in the direction he wants her to go. 

John's appeal to the critters may have more to do with the scent of corn chop than with any mystic talent, but I'm not sure.

I call him "The cow whisperer." 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book Excerpt: First Day of School

Hope you enjoy this excerpt from chapter 4 of The Children Are Tender:  

They say a drowning person’s life passes before his eyes, and I believe this to be true, because a similar phenomenon happened to me. In the few seconds between the ringing of the bell and the moment the first tidal wave of youngsters hit the elementary hall- way, there played before my eyes in excruciating detail a record of every single misbehavior I had ever seen committed by a small child. There was the three-year-old I’d seen punch his entreating mother squarely in the nose because she wanted him to stay in the church nursery. I saw grocery store tantrums of varying intensities, ranging from whining at the checkout line to full-fledged tantrums in the aisles. Next, I remembered a five-year-old cousin’s complete domination of all adults present at an Easter Sunday dinner as she screamed at high volume over not being allowed to eat chocolate as a first course, and there was more, much more. 

My eyes were wide with terror, and I was staring sightlessly at the wall when I was brought to the present by a tug at my skirt. I forced myself to focus upon a tiny girl who was looking up at me curiously. “Are you Mrs. Boin?” she asked. I knelt in front of her and admitted that I was indeed, Mrs. Birn. 

“Teacher!” she exclaimed, and with no more introduction than this, she put her arms around my neck for a quick, shy hug, then ducked into the classroom. Her name was Jenny Malone, and by that one sweet gesture, she enabled me to get a grip on my churning insides. I turned to greet the other children.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Try It--You'll Like It!!

My husband's uncle approached me at a family reunion.  "You know I've tried to read your caregiving book," he said, "But I just couldn't do it." 

Although he was not either a caregiver or dealing with someone suffering dementia, he had made an attempt to read the devotions I wrote for caregivers in My Mom Has Alzheimer's.  "I liked the funny stories," he said, shaking his head, "...but Alzheimer's...ugh!" 

My first book was written for those undergoing the rocky transition from past relationship roles into a becoming a caregiver for a loved one who has dementia; not what you'd sit down to for an afternoon's light reading!  It is like medicine that can be lifesaving when prescribed for someone suffering pain, and I do have a file of emails from grateful caregivers that attest to its effectiveness in providing balm for wounded spirits, but is not needed for a person who isn't undergoing the trials it addresses.  

I'm concerned now that those who read my first book think they know how I write.  I'm worried that I'll be pigeonholed as someone who writes about "serious subjects."  An author to be avoided if you need a bit of escapism from the real world! 

Well, welcome to the world of Karola, Kansas!  Mrs. Springer slams her car into reverse and careens across two lanes of traffic and onto the curb inches from the large glass window of the Farmer's State Bank of Karola.  Marshal Jonathan Rosencutter dances with the pretty ladies who form a line for that  privilege on Saturday nights at the Smokey Bar and Grill.  The head of the schoolboard dons a chicken costume in an ill-advised foray into the realm of whimsy at Halloween, terrifying a group of first graders.  A kindergarten student hears a teacher's sound effects from an adjacent stall in the girl's restroom and dubs her "Mrs. Tinkle." 

This is not a relentlessly sober book. 

There are heartwarming and heart-rending moments to be sure--these are inevitable when telling the story of a young woman's first year of teaching.  But if you like James Herriot's stories where the three protagonists play off one another in a humorous way, you'll like this book.  If you enjoy the warmth and close knit feeling of community in a Jan Karon novel, you will enjoy this book.  I admit it is a feel good book with a happy ending, and you'll also find some timely issues that just don't go away for us in education such as budget cuts and testing mandates.  But mostly I just hope it becomes one of those "old friend" books that are opened time and again because the stories are engaging and the characters have become familiar. 

Try it, you'll like it! 

You can win a free copy of The Children Are Tender by entering the April giveaway at my website! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Do this...and this...and this....

Decorations from Saturday's book signing--I particularly loved that copy of an ancient basal reader, The Story Road, that topped the decorative stack of books in the foreground. 
In the current economic climate in our nation, budget cuts have impacted every sector.  Publishing companies have handled this financial stress by placing more responsibility on authors' shoulders to publicize their own books.  My agent has encouraged me to aim for 100 positive reviews at Amazon, because Amazon fuels book sales not only at their own site but across the internet as well as with book sellers.  If people want to help spread the word about this or any book, writing a positive review at Amazon is the most powerful way to do it (if you like The Children Are Tender I'd appreciate your taking a few minutes to review it--you don't have to have purchased the book from Amazon to write a review there). 

I want to do a good job promoting my book, really I do; but I honestly am uncertain of the best way to begin making those connections that seem to be so vital in the book publishing world today.  I find it disconcerting that all of these marketing strategies I'm trying to learn to utilize take  time and creative energy away from the writing/caregiving/grandmothering/farming that my life is truly about nowadays.   

My creative muse is fed by time on the farm with my husband, John, but the stress of preparing for a recent book signing took me away from farm excursions and chores for two weeks.  As I fielded emails from my publisher, composed news releases, and set up for the book signing I felt fragmented and stressed.  It reminded me of a scene from the final Twilight movie.  Newly transformed Bella is being instructed on how to act like a human.  She receives so many instructions from so many people that she ends up looking somewhat like a comic book character as she follows each command in quick succession. 

That's how I feel. 

I'm praying today for wisdom about how to allot my daily writing time efficiently!  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Another Snow Post...

The weather plays a starring role in many of my memories of teaching first grade; the children especially loved the fearful delight of a thunderstorm (they loved it even more if the electricity happened to fail, and would respond with enthusiastic screams of mostly feigned terror).  However their chief delight, weather-wise, was snow.

The weather became almost a character unto itself in The Children Are Tender, and the current state of our recent snowfalls from winter storms Q and Rocky remind me of this passage: 
Our January snow was briefly lovely but quickly disintegrated into a brown slush that did nothing to enhance the colorless landscape. The sun remained hidden behind sullen, low- hanging clouds that produced neither rain nor snow but only an intermittent, freezing drizzle. Bob was grouchily engaged in a losing battle to keep the outdoor walkways free of ice, and each morning he could be seen puffing furiously on his pipe as he scraped and salted the treacherous glaze that had formed overnight. (The Children Are Tender, p. 148)
However, in the country it is still possible to find expanses of snow that has not been touched either by the warmth of the sun or the county snowplow.   The pathway below is just across the road from our house and is steeper than it looks. 
From the bottom of the hill looking up...

Lydia, the lead character in The Children Are Tender, is often unable to resist a quick walk through the countryside near her home, even when she is on her way to work.  I think she would have tromped right up this hill in her new winter boots, just as I did!  
From the top of the hill looking down.
However, because of her youth, Lydia would have fared better than I managed to do--I was thoroughly winded after trudging up this hill in snow that was over a foot deep! 

This year's snows were pretty but I confess I'm ready for spring! 

Monday, February 25, 2013


An underlying theme in The Children Are Tender is the beauty of the countryside and the wide variety of Kansas weather patterns.  One of my favorite scenes in the book describes Lydia's class playing in the snow, a scene recorded nearly verbatim from my own days of teaching first grade: 
"We donned coats and hats in record time. As I went out the door, I pulled my old black sweater from its hook. I chose four children to hold the sweater taut under the leaden gray sky. “See how many flakes you can catch! You can take a really close look if you’ll hold your breath so you don’t melt them. Find out how many sides they have!” Every few minutes I called a new group to hold the sweater while the rest of the children danced with outspread arms, throwing back their heads to catch flakes on their tongues. As I watched, tears stung my eyes, and the intensity of joy I felt caused all other concerns to recede into the background. Mundane issues such as math assessments or the fact that I was pretty sure I was getting a cold myself no longer seemed so troublesome in light of the magic of watching small children reaching out to catch snowflakes."
This afternoon I sat on my front porch, watching the beginning of a storm that is predicted to add twelve more inches to the snow cover already on the ground by tomorrow morning.  Even though I retired from teaching nearly two years ago, I could hear the echoes of childish voices, and nearly see little faces turned upwards to catch flakes of snow.  I shot this 30 second video of a Kansas snowstorm.  Snow is magical, probably because it is rare.  Enjoy!  

Friday, February 22, 2013

35 (or so) Years Later...

My grandma used to talk about how quickly time passes, and only now am I beginning to understand what she meant.

A misconception we have when we are young is that older people are somehow inherently different from us.  Turns out, not so much.  I'm older, and admittedly I look quite a bit different than I did many years ago, but essentially, I'm still me.  And I'd think that fact would comfort young folks; you aren't going to morph into some old codgerly thing.  You will still be you!  And you really won't feel so differently about yourself than you do now...except maybe you'll become a little more comfortable in your own skin.  Funny how that happens when the skin is definitely beginning to sag...

Farmer John and Lydia are the lead characters in my book, The Children Are Tender, and they are based on my husband and me as we were during our first few years of marriage more than 35 years ago. Now that our nest is empty the real life Farmer John and I have rekindled some of the romance we felt during those early years.  We are having fun driving around the farm in the old red pickup doing chores together each morning and we laugh a lot.  If that doesn't sound romantic to you it must be because you haven't yet learned that having fun together is essential to romance at any age. 

Yesterday our part of Kansas received 12 inches of snow.  Farmer John and I had fun--and no cardiac events--shoveling, throwing snowballs, and I made a snow angel.  I think the the younger version of ourselves as I wrote them in The Children Are Tender would be proud. 
Like my hot pink John Deere gloves? 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Follow Me?

My agent along with the publisher, editor, and even the graphic designer at my publishing company  have all told me that I need a platform, a package, and a plan.  I need to be knowledgeable about social networking, and most of all, I need followers.  

Yes, followers.  

I was hesitant.  In my view there is only one Person who has the credentials and the backing to say, "Follow Me," and I'm not Him.  

But, I've come to understand that in the social networking sense, the request to "follow me" is really a euphemism for "help me out." Following someone is a way of being kind and of accepting an invitation to community.  It can also be a first step in  joining a network of human interaction that can have great power of influence in our world.  

Sally Stuart, who for years published an annual volume entitled "The Christian Writers Market Guide," wants Christian writers to have confidence in the Lord in them.  She says, "...each of you has been given a specific mission in the field of writing. You and I often feel inadequate to the task, but I learned a long time ago that the writing assignments God has given me cannot be written quite as well by anyone else." This perspective helps me to lose my hesitation to ask folks to follow me.  My caregiving book contains information that saved my sanity during my transition into the role of caregiver, and I have an urgency to share this with others suffering the same kinds of challenges.  And my novel about teaching little kids in a rural community during a time of budget cuts to education has important implications for our world today as well as great, clean entertainment value.  

So (she says confidently) please follow me on Twitter or Facebook or  Pinterest.  If you read one of my books and like it please retweet, repin, write a comment at Amazon, or share on Facebook.  "Like" my Amazon listing, or Youtube video, or posts on my books' Facebook pages. If you are able to do even one of those things it will be a great help! In this way the people who need (or will enjoy) the things the Lord's given me to write can gain benefit, and you will have had a hand in this effort.  Thank you, bless you, and I'll be glad to follow your sites...just ask!  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Book Introduction

Here is the Youtube video uploaded today as a book intro to The Children Are Tender! Be sure to adjust the resolution if you want to watch it big...HD loads slowly for many of us but 480p isn't bad.  This particular version has more of sentiment than humor, and the book contains both...hope it does the job needed.  Ambassador International will post the link on their site. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Longing to Hear: "It's a Bouncing Baby Book!"

In many ways, writing a book mirrors the labor required to carry and bring forth a child.

The work of writing really is more difficult than one might think.  At a recent book signing an older man said, "It must be nice to earn your living sitting behind a computer writing all day long."

Now, he was suffering a couple of misconceptions--not the least of which is the idea I am earning a living--but I didn't choose to address the financial aspect of writing books just then.  I replied testily,  "Well, if you call composing what is essentially a 300 page term paper and then being forced to revise it multiple times 'easy,' then yes, I guess it is."

I am usually nicer to the people I meet at book signings. 


I happened to write The Children Are Tender at the same time my daughter was pregnant with her second son, and so I was especially aware of the correlations between her labor to bring forth a baby boy and my work to produce a baby book.  Strengthening the parallels between these experiences, the book coincidentally has forty chapters and human gestation lasts forty weeks. 

At the end of the process of writing (carrying the child), editing (heading into labor), and design (what will this child look like?) there is a breathless pause as the book goes to print.  Here the two experiences begin to differ markedly, because while a laboring mother is very much a part of the birthing process, editors, publishers, and art directors don't particularly welcome an over-anxious author's pushy inquiries into how the process is going.  "PUSH!" is a not a command ever given to an author by the professionals overseeing the birth of a new book. 

And so I wait, my role in this process mostly done.  There will be a couple more proof-readings once the corrections to the injuries (I mean, format changes) that occurred during the birthing process (I mean, from the layout software) are corrected.  And then I will have the opportunity to approve the cover art (wondering what happens if I should disapprove???).  I'm anticipating one last bout of discussion over the baby's name (I mean, the book's title).

And then at long last I should be the proud parent of a bouncing baby book!  Watch for the birth announcement here.