Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Jars, Oreos, and the worst Tooth Fairy ever

Anyone who likes Christmas books has probably heard of Jason Wright's novel, Christmas Jars. Well this year my family and I decided that we would fill our own Christmas Jar so that we can give the money to someone who needs a little lift. All of the kids have been very excited to do this. I'm constantly amazed at how much joy they get out of putting their money into the jar rather than their own pockets. But my youngest daughter, Emma (who just turned 5), wins the prize for the most selfless donation....

For the past month Emma has been telling us that she had a loose tooth, but to tell you the truth, I'd tugged on it a couple of times and never felt much wiggle. But since this would be her first tooth to come out, she has been anxiously waiting for its demise so that she could reap the rewards of her first Tooth Fairy experience. Two days ago we had some of her friends over for pre-school, and during snack time my wife was handing out Oreo cookies. Unfortunately, the package of Oreos in the cupboard was nearly empty, so she retrieved a new one...straight from the freezer. As you can imagine, the cookies were as hard as rocks, but the kids just grabbed them and started munching.

In a very short amount of time, little Emma was screaming, "My mouth is bleeding!" I was in the other room and came running, but Rebeecca was already there wiping a bloody Oreo mess from her face. And in the middle of the frozen cookie was Emma's tooth! Even while the blood was dripping down her mouth she began talking about how now the Tooth Fairy could come and bring her money. I took her into the bathroom and helped her clean up, and she asked me if I thought the Tooth Fairy would bring her a lot of money. I told her we'd have to wait and see. But regarless of the amount, she was clearly very happy that the stone-cold cookie had prematurely ripped a tooth from her jaw, and was thrilled that her pain would result in a cash payout.

Later that night, after the kids had gone to bed, Rebecca and I remembered that Emma had dutifully tucked her tooth beneath her pillow and was expecting it to be gone by morning, replaced by something more valuable. Unfortunately, neither of us are "cash" people, and both of our wallets were completely empty. We searched all over the house for some spare change, but found none. Of course, neither of us wanted to have to explain to our 5-year-old daughter why the Tooth Fairy had completely ignored her toothful offering, so we did what any [heartless, cheap, and otherwise lousy] parent would do...

Yes, I'm ashamed to admit it, for the first time this year we went to the kitchen counter and stole from the Christmas Jar! Isn't that awful?!? That money was intended to help someone in need, and we withdrew $2.00 to give to our kid in the name of the Tooth Fairy!!

Well the next morning Emma woke up overjoyed to find the two bucks under her pillow (hey, that's big-money to a 5-year-old). She was so proud, she went around showing everyone how much money she had and told us all about how the Tooth Fairy had come and given it to her. Once we'd all seen her money and heard her tell the story several times, we started getting breakfast ready. Emma was still in her bedroom admiring her wad of cash--we thought she was putting it in her piggy bank. But a few minutes later she came walking quietly into the kitchen, still holding her money. She paced casually up to the counter, climbed up on a stool, and tucked all of her money from the Tooth Fairy into the Christmas Jar!

Needless to say, the entire family appreciated her example of giving. None of the children knew that we'd stolen from the Christmas Jar. How fitting that the selflessness of a child would put the money right back where it belonged. Someone out there is going to end up with a very full jar of money this Christmas season, but I know that nobody will benefit from that jar more than those of us who have filled it.

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

If Amazon says so, I won't argue!

When I hear the word "classic" being used to describe literature, my mind immediately thinks in terms of longevity and staying power; simply passing the unmerciful test of time. My brain conjurs up authors like Hemingway, Shakespeare, Steinbeck, and all of the other greats we had to read (or should have read) in school; books like Lord of the Flies, The Grapes of Wrath, and A Christmas Carol, which are enjoyed again and again with each new generation. So you can imagine how shocked I was when my Paper Bag Christmas popped up in the top 25 downloads (e-books) in the "Classic Literature" category on, with higher customer ratings than The Bard!
Whatever. I'm flattered, but I'm also guessing that someone accidentally fat-fingered my book's category in a lonely database somewhere. Still, it's fun to see it listed among the greats, no matter how it got there!!
[For posterity-sake, the following were a few of the other authors/books in the top 25: The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), Jane Austen's complete works, Lord of The Flies (William Golding), The Sun Also Rises (Hemingway), A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens), War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy), Little Women (Louisa May Alcott).]

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oh, The Vanity

Fine, call me conceited. It's probably true, because today I "Googled" myself, just to see where my name would pop up. Interestingly, I found it in some unlikely places, so I thought I'd share. If anyone can confirm the languages of the websites shown above (click to enlarge), I'd love to know! I'm guessing one is Italian and another is Japanese, but I don't have a good guess on the third.

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

BOOK GIVEAWAY!! The Paper Bag Christmas Contest

Hi Folks! I've heard from a lot of people that they want to be able to give copies of The Paper Bag Christmas to family and friends for Christmas. So in the spirit of giving, I'm happy to announce that I am personally giving away 5 signed copies each to 2 lucky winners, so you can have enough books to give as special gifts on Christmas morning. For details click here. Good Luck!!

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

La vida en Mexico

Okay, so this is going to be a bit of a "running" post: I plan to keep adding to it while I'm down here in Mexico, just to document things that I don't want to forget. I know if I don't write it down I'll have forgotten it by the time I'm back on American soil. So here goes....

11/3/08 - 7:03 AM: Ran into Amy Roloff, from the TLC show "Little People Big World" in the line to get hot chocolate at the airport. I think she got a coffee, black. Seemed nice. Wore a fancy leather jacket.

11/3/08 - 8:45 AM: In Flight now en route to Phoenix. They want to charge me $1.00 for an in-flight water? R U Kidding Me??

11/3/08 - 11:31 AM: Sat down in the only seat I could find near an outlet for my laptop. I start talking to the guy next to me and he is the PRODUCER for the TLC show "Little People Big World"! It was a weird deja-vu moment. He thought it was funny that'd seen Amy Roloff in PDX. It just goes to show that Walt Disney was right: it's a small world after all (no pun intended for the little people).

11/3/08 - 3:15 PM: Flying on a turbo prop plane, about 20 seats total. A bit bumpy. The prop is whirring right outside my window. If it happens to break off mid-flight and come crashing into the plane, I'm in big trouble.

11/3/08 - 4:45 PM: Landed. Tried to get through customs. Uh oh...I brought 2 laptops (1 personal, 1 for work) and the limit is one! The Federalis took me into a back room and confiscated my work laptop. No, I'm not kidding. I got pictures of them taking it, just in case I don't get it back. I couldn't make this up even if I wanted to. So now I'm down here on business without my business computer. Ugh...

11/4/08 - 7:17 AM: It's election day. I just finished a 3 mile run. Now I'm watching TV. The choices are either CNN's election coverage or The Three Amigos in Spanish. Yes, I chose Los Tres Amigos. ;-)

11/4/08 - 7:45 PM: The restaurant we went to for dinner waited until we'd spent nearly $2000 Pesos to inform us that their credit card machine was "suddenly broken, senor." All of our wallets were empty, so the gentleman I was with offered to trade his brand new cowboy boots for the meal. No deal.

11/4/08 - 8:40 PM: Watched John McCain admit defeat. Watched the other guy accept the nomination. Watched news anchors gloat. Turned off my TV.

11/4/08 - 9:07 PM: Was able to chat online with my wife, and suddenly my day seemed a little brighter. My brief, typed interludes with her are the highlight of this trip. I hate being away from her and the kids! LOVE YOU, BEC!!

11/5/08 - 6:16 AM: Ate cow tongue for breakfast.

11/5/08 - 5:58 PM: I'm sitting at the Hotel's restaurant, connected to their free WiFi. This is my first meal alone and I'm bored to death. I'm so bored, in fact, that I started listening to the restaurant's background music. They've got an XM radio station playing cheesy American music from the 80's. Last song played? Footloose. Before that? Wind Beneath My Wings. Before that? You Don't Buy Me Flowers (Anymore). Now Playing: Time In A Bottle. The wait-staff is singing along and loving it. Wow. Am I in a time warp? Who invented XM Radio anyway? Did they have to export the technology to Mexico?

11/5/08 - 6:42 PM: "Flan". Need I say more? The texture and caramel silkiness is so exhilarating that I can almost block out the sound of Rod Stewart singing in the background.

11/5/08 - 7:01 PM: I'm on my 3rd Diet Coke ("on the rocks") and the 1st verse of I will Be Right Here Waiting For You.

11/6/08 - 6:39 AM:
Another brush with reality TV "fame" this morning. The captain and 2 crew of the boat called Time Bandit on the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" are staying at the same hotel as me. There aren't many of us here this week, so I'd seen them around before, but this morning someone told me who they are. They are like heroes in this little fishing town!

11/6/08 - 6:57 AM: Boarded a beautiful boat and went out for a "cruise" in the Sea of Cortez. My wife didn't want me to go fishing, so if she asks, that's not what I was doing. I was just enjoying the wildlife and the beauty of the endless saltwater. I saw dolphins, a marlin playing in the surf, a hammerhead shark, and lots of pelicans. Sure, we were dragging fishing lures behind the boat the whole time, but since we didn't catch anything, I don't think that qualifies as "fishing". We baited lines, we trolled, we studied the poles for any sign of a bite, but we did not reel anything in. We did lots of things related to fishing...but we did NOT fish. :-)

11/6/08 - 1:15 PM: I'm back at the cafe enjoying lunch. Well, mostly enjoying. It would be better if they'd turn that dang XM Radio off. "You have no right, to ask me how I have no right, to speak to me so..." SING ALONG! "...But for now we'll go on living, separate lives..."

11/6/08 - 5:49 PM:
Landed on American soil in Phoenix. God Bless America...there is no cheesy music in the background. Next stop: HOME!!

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Still at 149!!

When does the bubble burst?

Leia Mais…

Moving UP

So an hour ago the book ranked at it's climbed to 217. The auctioneer in my head is rattling off numbers like crazy..., "Do I hear 205? Who'll give me 205? 200, 200, I need 200. 200! Let's go to 185. 185. Do I hear 185?...."

Let's keep it moving!!

Leia Mais…

283 Isn't Bad!

Wow! My book officially "hit the market" today. I wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised to see it debuted as the #283 selling book at Barnes & Nobel (see fine print above). Sound like a big number? Well, okay, it's not small. But of all of the books that are out there, 283 is not bad! Tell your friends about it, and maybe we can crack the top 100. :-)

Leia Mais…

Friday, October 24, 2008

A-Maize-ing Politicians

Today I took my family to a pumpkin farm just a couple miles from our house. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, and, most importantly, there were lots of pumpkins. Little did I know when we arrived at the farm that we would also be given a crash-course in Presidential Politics. The lesson was kind of corny, but all in good fun…

Of utmost importance for my children was finding a perfect pumpkin, which required a short hay-ride to the pumpkin patch (which wasn’t really a patch at all, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. It was just a large open field. No pumpkins were ever grown there. Instead, migrant workers brought thousands of large orange pumpkins into this place on trucks, but that’s beside the point). It wasn’t until we had all found [and paid for…ouch!$!] our pumpkins that our political education began. We had some spare time and decided to have a family adventure in the farm’s big corn maze, which ended up being the weirdest, coolest, and most political pre-Halloween thing I’ve ever done…

Believe it or not, the picture shown above is an aerial photo of the corn maze. Yes, believe it! Some nutty farmer turned his acreage into a giant rock-the-vote campaign. It was so bizarre. Here are a few observations from my experience in the presidential corn:

1. The corn on the northwest edge of the field was noticeably older, like it had been planted much earlier in the season. That was helpful. Simply by it’s age I knew it must have been the McCain section of the maze, and I was better able to orient myself.

2. The farmer who mowed this thing obviously doesn't know much about the political spectrum: he put Senator Obama on the right and Senator McCain on the left. What it should have been was McCain on the left and Obama on the FAR-left.

3. Although the stalks of corn that made up McCain were starting to wither, they did look tough, as though they’d weathered a lot of difficult storms.

4. Obama’s corn looked nice and new and shiny, but the stalks were kind of weak.

5. The largest vacancy in the presidential corn maze: Obama’s head (hey, that's not a slam on Obama, just the cornfield caricature of him ;-)

For what it’s worth, we had a really fun time. Both candidates stood tall as we ran all over them.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekend of Icons

This weekend in Maryland was a ton of fun. We got to see so many cool things and meet wonderful people. But a few brushes with fame must be shared...

First, bronze art: Rodin's famous statue, "The Thinker", has always been one of my favorites. It just makes you's he thinking about? The death of a loved one? How to capture the heart of his true love? The demise of the aristocracy? Breakfast? Who knows! But it's fun to think about. It is truly a stunning work of art. So my jaw about dropped when we walked into the Baltimore Museum of art to find it there on display. We didn't know we weren't supposed to take pictures, so Rebecca snapped a shot of me "thinking" (thinking about whether or not we were allowed to take pictures). Then a guard rushed over and scolded us.

Our second encounter was with a more modern icon. Although he hasn't been around as long as The Thinker, Elmo is, arguably, just as cool (and much more cuddly). At the fundraiser this weekend for the Children's Cancer Foundation, Elmo and Zoe (the REAL people behind the puppets) were there, and we got to meet them and get our picture taken. It was really exciting. Kevin Clash (Elmo) has had an amazing career, and is deserving of everything that has come his way.

Leia Mais…

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fine Feathered Friend

Warning: What you are about to read is sad. Very sad. If you have a soft-spot in your heart for God's most reliable egg-manufacturers, you should probably stop reading. As in now. Stop already! Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you...

Two nights ago, as we were packing up for our trip to Baltimore (which is where I'm at right now), I noticed that one of our chickens was missing. We have about 20 chickens, 3 of which are roosters that sort of roam free near the barn and watch the lady-chicks from the other side of the fence. Two of the roosters are a very small breed, called Bantams, while the third is probably twice as big. The missing rooster was a Bantam. So I went looking, and it didn't take long before I found the little guy curled up in the grass, barely conscious, his eyes literally rolling back in his head. He had been his "friend", the BIG rooster. All of the feathers on his back had been pecked off, leaving just a fleshy mound of blood and raw meat.

I wanted to throw up.

The poor little guy was in such pain that he couldn't even move, and I knew instantly that we had to do the humane thing by ending its life. I made the mistake of telling my daughters what I'd found, and they all rushed to see, and then it was just hysteria, tears, and more hysteria. My oldest daughter, Mikayla, called her mother on the cell and started crying. "Mom...[sniffle, sniffle,]...the chicken..[sniffle,sniffle] hurt. Do you...[sniffle, sniffle]...know where the hatchet is? We have to end its suffering." That worried Rebecca, because she didn't know I was home yet, and she thought perhaps Mikayla was going to 'take care of business' all by herself.

Once I'd found the hatchet, I sent all of the kids inside except for Mikayla, who I needed to help stretch out the neck. She didn't want to see what was about to happen, so she covered her tear-stained eyes with her free hand. Just before I swung, she yelled, "Wait!" Then she took another moment to wrap her free arm all the way around her head, covering not only her eyes, but her ears as well so she wouldn't have to hear the sound of the chop. I raised the hatchet just as Mikayla whispered to the chicken, "I love you."

I could hardly bring myself to do it, but I know it was the right thing. The chicken's sorry little eyes were almost begging for the pain to end. Ultimately, the final blow was swift and sure. No more pain.

As difficult as it was to end one chicken's life, I know that I will have no trouble ending another one as soon as we're back from Baltimore....the "perp" in this brutal chicken attack (the Big rooster) is going to be chicken-stew just as soon as I get the chance.

Chop. Chop.

Leia Mais…

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Pits

This morning I "slept in" (which, with 5 kids, means I woke up at 7 AM). My daughter Mary came in and jumped in bed next to me. She looked at me for a few seconds and then said, "Daddy, why don't you shave....[pause]...your armpits?" Hmmm. Let me see. My wife shaves her armpits. My oldest daughters, Mikayla and Kamry, shave theirs. Why don't I?? It's a reasonable 7-year-old question.

But I didn't have a good answer for her. So I've decided that when I die, as I'm standing in line at the pearly gates, the first thing I'm going to ask the people in charge will be the great mystery of the universe: Why do we have armpit hair???? Someday, I'm gonna figure it out.

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


This past Saturday was a really good day for me in many respects: all of my children won their soccer games, all of my favorite NCAA football teams won their games as well, and the weather in Oregon was blue-skies and sunshine with temperatures in the low 90's. Sounds like a perfect September day, right? Wrong....

Late in the evening I was relaxing in my favorite recliner, reflecting on the many wonders of the day while innocently eating a bowl of ice-cream, when all of a sudden I bit down on something hard. I was momentarily confused. Why, I asked myself, is there something hard in my mouth? This is not chunky ice-cream...there shouldn't be any nuts or candy's just plain vanilla. Then it donned on me: My Ice-Cream Has A Foreign Object In It! I ran as fast as I could to the sink to spit out whatever disgusting chunk had infiltrated my dessert.

My wife and kids, who were also eating ice-cream, watched intently as I cleaned the melted cream from off the small, jagged object that came flying out of my mouth. That's when I nearly vomited. "A human tooth!" I shouted in disgust. "Ben and Jerry's let a human tooth get into their ice-cream! Into MY ice-cream!!"

Everyone put their bowls down and groaned, then scrambled over to study the tooth in the sink. For several minutes we bemoaned the fact that I had just been chewing on someone else's tooth. We were all horrified. As a proud, former Vermonter (where Ben & Jerry's is made), my mind was already racing with ideas about how I would break the news to Ben and/or Jerry...and how much free ice-cream they would be supplying the Milne family as compensation for my horrific ordeal.

But wasn't meant to be. Once the initial shock wore off, my wife asked me if I was sure it wasn't my own tooth. My tooth?? I would know if I broke my own tooth, right...My tongue started probing around inside my mouth. There would be pain, there would be blood, there would be a hole where my tooth used to...."Oh crud," I groaned, louder than before as my tongue found the new space in my mouth. "This is going to cost me a fortune at the dentist!" It was my own, dumb tooth...well sort of. To be more exact, it was a crown I'd gotten about a year ago. It turns out they used a defective porcelain material, and it just fell apart in the cold of the ice-cream.

It ruined the rest of my perfect weekend. And today, as I sat in the dentist's chair gagging on Novocain, yet another day was ruined. Even as I type, there is a drip of saliva running helplessly down the numb side of my mouth. Those who know me best know that my own father is an oral surgeon, so I grew up around dental practitioners. I certainly love my father, and hold no ill-will against dentists as individuals, but as I consider the high-pitched whine of the dental drill, the neck-ache from titling my head "just so", the choking on quick-curing mold compounds, the shots, the poking, the chiseling, the spitting, and of course, the insane cost of a simple crown, I can't deny that I am, and always will be, an anti-dentite. Sorry, dad. :-)

Leia Mais…

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Title Change (again)

My editor called this week while we were driving down Highway 101 along the Oregon coast during our family camping trip. It seems the publisher is insistent that we avoid a golf-related title for my next book, so as not to drive away the main audience, who are probably not golfers. As a result, what started out as "Waiting For Mulligans", and then later switched to "Playing Through", is now going to be called "The Nine Lessons". It's probably not as catchy or intriguing as the original, but it should have more mass-market appeal, and that's not such a bad thing.

At any rate, I think this will be the final title change, because they are ready to start marketing it to booksellers. Plus, the cover is now complete, and since the cover needs a title I'm pretty sure we're done fiddling with it. [note: I'll post the new cover to my web page's BEAUTIFUL! Many thanks to the design team!!]

Leia Mais…

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Me and My Buddy Michael Moore? Ha!!

I don't want to get political on this blog, so I won't. But I think most people would agree that it's hard to avoid politics when mentioning the name Michael Moore. If the name doesn't ring a bell, perhaps you'll recognize some of his infamous movies: Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko, and Bowling for Columbine, three of the top five highest-grossing documentaries of all time. So anyway, I was perusing a magazine today that highlights some books that will be sold in foreign markets during the next 6 months, and my name was listed on the table of contents! Cool, right? I had no idea it was being marketed overseas, so I was ecstatic. But I had to laugh when I read the name right below mine on the list....yep, Michael Moore. I'd never really thought of it before, but Mr. Moore and I share a capital-M in common at the start of our last names! The similarities between us probably end there, but hey, it's something. I never imagined I would ever see my name in print next to Mr. Moore's, but for better or worse, I think it's hilarious.

By the way, it's worth noting that Stephenie Meyer is on the top of the M-list. She's everywhere these days. In fact, I just heard that she topped 7 gazillion books sold (and no matter how you measure it, that's a lot). Way to go Stephenie! My wife loves your books...and I intend to read them too (someday).

Leia Mais…

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Celebrity Morphing My Son

I admit it...I'm bored. In my boredom today I found a funny tool that morphs your photo into that of a celebrity. I chose my 11 month old son, Kyler, as the Guinea Pig (I would have done my wife, but she'd shoot me). The program matched Kyler up most closely with Will Smith. Hey, that's not bad right? A kid could do worse than to grow up and save the planet several times over from alien invasion!

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Critic's Review

I just received a note from my publisher about the progress that The Paper Bag Christmas is making in the marketplace. The feedback so far has been very positive (yeah!). My real hope with this book is that it will touch as many lives as possible. One reviewer sent a very kind note to the publisher this week, which I thought I'd post for those who are interested. With any luck, some of you will share these same sentiments....

The email said...."Thank you for sending a review copy of The Paper Bag Christmas. So many books are sent to our office for review that I hardly want to THANK someone for adding to my reading stack, but I am, indeed, grateful for receiving this book. It has been years since I've read a book that touched me to tears. Thank you again."

Here is a short blurb from the official review...."Kevin Milne's book, "The Paper Bag Christmas", reads like a Christmas classic -- warm, funny, sweet, inspiring, humbling, and nostalgic. The celebration of Christmas as the birth of Jesus is artfully woven into the story, pulled through like a golden thread among the heart-melting yarn. When will it be made into a movie? I can't wait to treat my family to a round of popcorn stringing while we watch it on Christmas Eve."

Leia Mais…

Re-creating the past

For convenience, today I am formally moving my Blogs to I have been trying to maintain these entries on my primary website by FTP'ing html code. Uggh. It is painful to do and extremely clunky, so this seems like a much easier way to post. But, for the sake of posterity, I don't want to lose key tidbits of history that I've already posted over the past year, so I'm copying earlier blogs into this one entry. Here goes nothing.....

July 25, 2008 - If you listen very hard, you can probably still hear me exhaling...the new book has been accepted! Better yet, my editor loves it (she cried)!! There's only one thing....their market research over the past couple of months suggests that non-golfers don't "get" the title. It seems their first impression is that the book is about an Irish family named Mulligans, which it isn't. Therefore, we have agreed to change the title to something a little more generic, since this book is definitely not just for golfers. The new title will be....drum roll please..... Playing Through.

July 23, 2008 - The month of July has been quiet on the book front, as I'm awaiting a final decision on Waiting For Mulligans. So instead of stressing about writing, we've been stressing about my youngest sister, Kacie, getting married. The wedding is tomorrow! Tonight we had a pre-wedding Luau at our house, complete with authentic Samoan dancers and tiki torches all around the property. There were around one hundred people in attendance, and we had enough food for at least twice than number. Anyway, it was a great time...and we're glad it's over!

April 4, 2008 - Tonight I sent the finished manuscript of my next book, Waiting for Mulligans, to my editor for review. It was SOOOO hard to let it go! I told her that I felt like I was sending off a portion of myself for public scrutiny. To date the only person who has read it is my wife, Rebecca (she liked it, by the way, but I know she is biased), so I have HUGE anxiety that maybe the publisher will hate it and my writing career will come to a grinding halt. Ouch. I was so scared to send it that I finally had to have my two oldest daughters push "send" on the email. Thanks girls, I couldn't have done it without you!

February 20, 2008 - My head is still spinning from the whirlwind trip to NYC. But to help clear the fog, my editor just sent me a copy of the new cover design for The Paper Bag Christmas. The big has an endorsement at the top! Jason F. Wright, the NYT Bestselling Author of Christmas Jars and The Wednesday Letters, has provided a very flattering endorsement. I can't seem to wipe the smile off my face. [Note to Jason: THANKS!]

February 14, 2008 - Happy Valentines Day! I'm completely exhausted...I didn't sleep at all last night, and somehow even now I feel like I'm living in a dream. The sales meeting was last night, and it was so surreal. I kept shaking my head in disbelief, wondering how on earth I ended up there. The headliners of the evening were Brad Meltzer , who has been on the NYT Bestseller list more times than I can count, and comedian Paul Feig, creator of the hit show Freaks & Geeks and a former actor on the TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Are you kidding me? The cool thing was, they were both completely nice, gracious, down-to-earth guys. Brad came and sat by me before the speeches got underway. We chatted about Portland, Powell Books, and who knows what else--it's all just a blur now.

I was the first speaker of the night, and I think I did okay...but Paul was up right after me, so anything I said was soon forgotten. He spoke faster than I can think, and every other sentence was a joke. He was seriously funny! What a great experience to listen and learn from him. Brad wrapped things up and also had the whole crowd in stitches. He's clearly done this before, so I was taking copious notes.

January 31, 2008 - I'm heading to the BIG APPLE! My [fabulous] editor called me this past week and said that I'd been selected as one of 4 authors to attend Hachette Book Group's annual sales meeting in NYC in a couple of weeks. Apparently this is a really big deal. I will be speaking to a group of sales executives in Manhattan. From everything I've gathered, it's not terribly common for new authors to be invited, so I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity. I'm told that last year (or the year before?) one of the guests was John Ratzenberger, who played the role of "Cliff" on the TV sitcom Cheers. How cool is that?

January 1, 2008 - This is my first-ever Blog entry, and already I know that I'm a terrible blogger. Writing shouldn't be this hard! It just feels so much like keeping a journal, which I'm terrible at (as evidence, I got a brand-spanking-new journal when I got married 13 years ago, and I've filled maybe 20 pages, if that). Needless to say, I don't expect this blogging thing to be a part of my daily routine. I'll try to post things of interest, but beyond that I'm afraid I just don't have it in me.

For those who knew about The Paper Bag Christmas from its original publication with Granite Publishing, you may be interested to learn that Hachette Book Group, the company that bought Time Warner Books in 2006, picked up my book this past spring and gave me a contract for another book as well. I was thrilled! I loved Granite, but Hachette really has the national distribution network that can help make it a real success. They are already working hard on a new cover design, re-editing, and are developing an elaborate sales campaign--and it doesn't even go to market until the end of October 2008. I'm hoping (and praying...literally) that things will go well with the book this fall.

Leia Mais…