The publish date crept in quietly, with little fanfare but great anticipation. It had the hope of Christmas Eve mixed with the nervousness of the first day of school. I lay awake in my bed at 4:20 AM, imagining owls swooping across the dusky pre-dawn sky, brown-paper-wrapped parcels clutched in their talons, as they deposited my book on doorsteps across the land.
At the appropriate hour, I checked my phone, to find wonderful messages from my agent, from my editor, and from the crew at St. Martin’s Press, offering congratulations on the official birth day of my baby book. To goose things a little more, articles in Esquire and Visible Soul sprouted, talking about me and the novel. And the audio book dropped the same day! Me, me, more me! How much more of my blathering could the internet take? (It’s for the baby, I reasoned. For the baby.)
The next thrill was going to Barnes & Noble in Studio City while out running errands for the upcoming launch party. My book was not in the best place (shelf, not table) but it was there, all three copies, and when I asked if I could sign them, the staff couldn’t have been nicer. They slapped “autographed by the author” on the books and moved them to the counter! That was pretty damn cool.
But the best thing about the day was seeing in my mailbox and on my Facebook feed all these photos spring up—friends with their newly-unboxed copies of Still Life Las Vegas in hand. The baby was traveling! It had magically appeared in the hands of all these people I loved and admired! The joy of seeing these friends, new and old, sharing their happiness and excitement for me, well, it was quite a gift.
If the publication day had a Christmas/First-day-of-School/Birthday vibe, the launch party three days later was like Cinderella’s ball, but without evil stepmothers, wardrobe malfunctions, or lentils in the ashes.
Gathering the food and paraphernalia was like getting ready for the Most Important Catering job ever, but I had the help of a crackerjack team of friends and family (and Doug, of course) who took care of me every step of the way.
Once the event began, it was an unalloyed pleasure.
Chocolate accordions were dispensed… Cheese plates were decimated.
We had about ninety people attend, from every sector of my life—college friends, family, literary colleagues, voiceover buddies, plus a few much-appreciated strangers.
The illustrator of the book, Sungyoon Choi, took to the podium with me and we discussed our collaboration. She was funny and sweet.
The reading went well, the Q&A held no stumpers, and the cake afterwards was grand.
But really, the biggest thrill was stepping up to the front of the room and having this greet me:
How could one not rise to euphoria on a wave like that?
Thank you all for making it such an auspicious start. Onward to Denver!
Note: Thanks to Denis O’Hare, Frank DeCaro, and all my friends who contributed the photos; I was much too foggy to be able to capture the moments.