Okay, it's a little bit squished (I have no idea why) but after all the fighting I've done to get this picture up at all, a little bit squished will have to do.
I was able to call a book group last night and discuss my book with them. There were 12 women from Herriman, Utah, who picked my book just off review sites etc and read it for this month's selection. I was super-excited to find out that they had picked it (thanks, Google Alerts!) and emailed the woman who'd blogged about it, Amanda Day (hi, Amanda!), to ask if I could participate by phone. (and how cool is it that my book cover occupies the same page as Stephenie Meyer's bestseller? Let's have some selling karma rub off onto me!) She said yes and last night I called and we had a *great* discussion. You always worry it's going to be a little weird, since you can't see faces and it's going to be a bit unnatural if you're just a phone presence, but it worked out really, really well. I was so happy to do it, and I think they hadn't had that experience before so it was great all around. (I did notice that I kept referring to September 11...a little too much. Maybe it's because of the anniversary coming up, and maybe because it really did have a strong impression on me and the writing of the book. Either way, I felt like Rudy Giuliani: a noun, a verb, and 9/11. Sorry!) I love getting insights that I hadn't thought of from readers; it's really a wonderful thing to gasp and say, "Yes, you're right!" And I had a couple of those moments last night. I think the best were when some of the women, mothers, told me that they wanted to hug their children a little more and appreciate their families more because of having read the book. That caused some serious warm-and-fuzzies. So thank you to all of you, especially Kristy Johnson (who hosted the group and emailed me--hi, Kristy!) and Amanda. Oh, and Rusti (I don't know your last name) who wrote an awesome blog entry today. Emily, who just left a comment on Rusti's blog, I'd love-love-love to call into your book group, too!!
They also asked to see a picture of chupacabras, so that's what's above. This is one that a young man from Costa Rica drew for me. His name is Edwin (the guy, not the chupacabra), and he was a lot of fun. At some point when I was in CR, in a little town called San Ramon, chupacabras started making headlines. I'm not sure exactly for what; I wasn't supposed to read or watch the news. All I knew was that suddenly a ton of little kids were asking me if I believed in chupacabras. The literal meaning of that word is "suck goat" -- they were supposed to be little noctural creatures that sucked the blood out of animals. "Do you believe in chupacabras?" Well, I'm sure I don't know. I asked Edwin what they were talking about, and he drew me the above picture (I've saved it all these years), which I describe as a mixture between an alien and a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I can definitively say I do not believe in THAT.
Anyone who reads my book from now on, this is NOT what I am picturing when Henry talks about making chupacabra toys. Please don't let me spoil that for you.
Much to talk about! I have started a monthlong Virtual Book Tour on 11 different blogs. We've had our first stops already: The Friendly Book Nook and Booking Mama. I followed up Booking Mama with a guest post the next day, about angels in my life, and I will do the same with TFBN tomorrow (no link yet because...well, I haven't written it. That's next.) Both of these blogs are terrific and I have bookmarked them for future reading. This book tour is being put together by TLC Book Tours, founded by the lovely Trish and Lisa. Info on my book tour is here. (look at me and my links today!)
So that's that. I'm sure there's more to talk about, but there are more days in which to do it. Until soon...