Sunday, November 4, 2012

Skunks, Children and Stories

We have skunks terrorizing the neighborhood. They are riling up the dogs and chewing up our lawns. One neighbor called vector control and now has two metal cages in their front yard. I’m grateful they are in his yard on the street above us and not in my yard, or my neighbor’s yard, because the only thing worse than two terrorizing skunks is two terrified skunks trapped in a little metal box. According to Vector control, even if they manage to catch the skunks, it might be several days before they’re able to return and haul the skunks away…two terrified skunks trapped for days…

It’s been a remarkable ten days. We went to Disneyland with our family. My daughter’s award winning drama class went to festival and Miranda’s monologue went to finals (she really is fabulous.) Last night we went to the Clipper’s game and Natalie’s choir, which is reputedly the best in the state, sang the National Anthem.  Often when I watch any of my children, I’ll think I don’t deserve them.

And it’s just like the skunks (only much, much better.) As far as I know, no one in our neighborhood did anything to attract the skunks, they just came. That’s how I feel about my children. I’m lucky that they came and that they are who they are. I’m lucky that they love me, because I adore them.

I feel the same way about my books. Stealing Mercy has been ranked in the top five of Amazon’s (free) bestselling historical romance for more than a week now. It spent a few days as #1. Currently, it’s #4 in historical romance and number #13 overall.  I find this incredible and I find myself thinking I don’t deserve this, just like my neighborhood doesn’t deserve the skunks and I don’t deserve my children.

My novel Hailey Comments just returned from the editor and I typed the final sentence on my other novel, Losing Penny, on Friday. I sent it to my editor and she’ll return it in a month. The covers are made and both books should be published before the New Year. I feel about them the same way I feel about all of my books—a sense of wonder and appreciation.

Because of letters I’ve received about Stealing Mercy, my next book will be about the missing cousin, Rita. These titles are in my mind—Rescuing Rita, Reading Rita, Rehearsing Rita. I already know what the cover will look like. The entire story will take place in the late 1880s and it will be about Rita and the hero on the run from bad guys and hiding with a traveling vaudeville troupe. I’ll use Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn as a plot map (try to imagine Huck and Joe with sexual tension. By the time I’m finished no one will accuse me of plagiarizing Mr. Twain, I promise.)  I love the idea. Even before it’s written, the ending gives me goose-bumps. I’m dying to write it.

Already, I know I don’t deserve this story. The story, the idea, is a gift that has been handed to me. I am so grateful.

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