Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, March 07, 2008

There Is Yet Another New Babe in the Woods today

by Kerry Blair

You know that scene at the beginning of Dumbo where all the animals sit around, looking up and waiting for the stork to bring their new arrivals? I can’t help but think about that in relation to our blog. I’ll never be in Sariah or Julie’s shoes again, but like Jeff and Stephanie, I am awaiting a new little addition to my bookshelf. I have a fully-charged camera, a clean resting place for the little darling, and even a stack of “birth” announcements. Everything is ready and waiting – especially me! Where is that stupid book stork, anyway?

This is not a new or even an original analogy. I’ve often heard authors – female authors, at least – compare their freshly-printed books to newborn babies. As a mother of four children and author of ten books, let me assure you it’s not quite that incredible. But it is thrilling. And every single time it happens, I’m amazed and grateful and surprised all over again.

I’ve long identified with a feeling expressed by Sir James Barrie, author of Peter Pan. After describing the harrowing delivery of Auld Licht Idylls, he wrote: “For several days after my first book was published, I carried it around in my pocket and took surreptitious peeks at it to be sure the ink had not faded.” That’s exactly how I feel!

When the FedEx stork finally arrives, you can count on me to carry my new delivery around for awhile, taking peeks now and then to check its coloring and make sure it has all its little periods and commas in the right places. I might even wrap it up and take it to church on Sunday to show it off to my visiting teachers – and anybody else I can corner in the hallway on the way to Primary. I can certainly count on it to be well-behaved. It will not spit up, drool on my dress, nor cry loud enough to wake the high priests. And while it probably could use a change, there’s nothing I can do about that at this late date.

My main concern is that, like Dumbo and other tragic children of lit, it will be an offspring only its mother will love. It is, after all, a book of nonfiction – an oddity around here. Since all its siblings at home - and cousins here on the blog - are novels, how will it possibly fit in? Will the other books make fun of it? What if they mock its essays? Envy its hardcover? Laugh at its long name, sneering over the pretention of calling it witty or wise? (I never called it that, BTW. Please direct jeers toward Covenant’s title committee.) Worse, what if it’s scorned by society at large and soon sent to languish in the obscurity of a dark, dreary warehouse? Can’t you see it now? “Please, sir. I want some more.” (Marketing, that is.)

Nevertheless, it’s on its way into the world as we speak. (And I thought it was hard when one of my children merely went to Iraq.) If it’s true that “children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see,” are not books the written messages we send to people and places we may never see? What a blessing it is, then, when they report back!

While I was sitting here this morning writing this blog, I received my first two “letters from the mission field.” Books grow up really fast! (As Groucho Marx said, “A five-year-old could follow my reasoning; please find a five-year-old to explain it to you.) Just last night, a couple of strangers in Utah adopted the book I have not yet seen, took it home, and wrote this morning to say how much they like it. I cried. (Gratitude; joy; that kind of thing. While people are usually too polite to go out of their way to point out the deformities and shortcomings they find in your children, this is not always true of your books.) One lady was really gushy! She concluded her e-mail with, “I’ve already copied the essay about the church and sent it to everybody in my address book. I hope you don’t mind. I feel like I’ve known you all my life.”

I don’t mind. Many of the pieces in Counting Blessings were on the Internet to begin with – right here on the Frog Blog, in fact. If it weren’t for The Frog . . . and Sariah, and Jeff, and Jennie, and Stephanie, and you . . . I would have no new book. I’m so grateful, and I want to show it. While you can’t give away a child (as much as you want to some days) you can give away a book. To follow the example of wise and wonderful LDS Publisher, everyone who has commented on any post on this blog this week, or who comments on any post next week, is eligible for a drawing for a free copy.

All I ask if you win - or if you stumble upon Counting Blessings on a shelf somewhere out in the big, wide world - is that you pat it on the head and speak a word of encouragement or two. (It would be even better if you took it home! Hint. Hint.) After all, it’s new and small and very insecure -- just a babe in the woods of publishing.


18 Comments:

At 3/07/2008 11:51 AM, Anonymous Jennie Hansen said...

I just ordered fifteen copies. Guess what everyone on my Mother's Day list-if I can wait that long-is getting this year! Of course Easter is closer, hm-m-m. Kerry, I can hardly wait for the FedEx guy's next stop at my door. And what a teriffic blog. You've expressed so well the excitement, hopes, and fears that go along with each new book.

 
At 3/07/2008 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can guys read this book? Where's the wit and wisdom for men? Is that the sequel? Well done from the ly guy!

 
At 3/07/2008 1:28 PM, Blogger Marsha Ward said...

Oooo! Ahhh! What a darling baby! I can't wait to see it in person! I know it will be just as sweet as its mother!

 
At 3/07/2008 1:34 PM, Blogger jill said...

This looks beautiful. I'm excited to meet your newest little one. Congratulations!

 
At 3/07/2008 1:48 PM, Blogger Marcia Mickelson said...

What a fun analogy. It's a beautiful cover too.

 
At 3/07/2008 1:53 PM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

Kerry, congratulations on the new arrival. ;) Way cool. Incidentally, I'm planning on giving several copies of this book as gifts.

 
At 3/07/2008 3:44 PM, Blogger Karlene said...

Wonderful news! Can't wait to read it.

 
At 3/07/2008 3:54 PM, Blogger Doug Johnston said...

Kerry, you know I am a fan of yours. I will be buying as soon as I can find it. Way to go!

 
At 3/07/2008 3:57 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Wow Kerry, congrats! I can't wait to read this! (And don't enter me in the contest, I'm just excited for you.)

 
At 3/07/2008 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, dang, Kerry, you just lost the sells on the books I planned to send my sisters for Christmas--unless you can get another near-twin out by then. This can't wait, and their birthdays aren't even that close either. Guess I'll just have to give in and give them a gift for being my sisters!

And you are officially a succesful two, or is it three, genre author now!

Congrats.

Marlene

 
At 3/07/2008 7:10 PM, Blogger Stephanie Humphreys said...

It is such a gorgeous cover. And I think your novels will love the new member of the family.

 
At 3/08/2008 12:25 AM, Blogger Seagulljaap said...

It looks like a great book. I actually received, stickered, and began to arrange Counting Blessings and Fool Me Twice.

 
At 3/08/2008 11:44 AM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Congratulations, Kerry! What a great idea--and no better person to write it.

 
At 3/10/2008 6:48 PM, Blogger MaryJo said...

Well Kerry,

I was going to order your book but it looks like I'm going to get one for Mother's Day (YEAH) Thanks Kerry, congrats on your new book. Can't wait to read it.

MJ

 
At 3/10/2008 7:51 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Thanks so much for all the really nice comments! (You'd think by my absence that I was recovering from a difficult delivery, but really it was just a minor surgery.)

LY: Doug wrote today to say he doesn't think it's a chick book, but then he added...never mind. :) Not a chick book. Buy ten.

Jennie: I was kidding Anonymous just now. You don't really have to buy 15! You don't even have to buy one for MaryJo. I'd be willing to trade her for new pictures of Brandon.

Sariah: Thanks for putting up the new baby picture! That was really, really nice of you!

Again, thank you all! This is the absolute best place in cyberspace!

 
At 3/10/2008 10:51 PM, Blogger Doug Johnston said...

Kerry, first of all, what an amazing book. Second of all, I just wrote about it on my personal blog at dougjohnston.blogspot.com Way to go!!!

 
At 3/10/2008 11:16 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

Hey everyone,

I picked up some copies at Seagull on Saturday and read mine on Sunday. It's a delightful book!

 
At 3/11/2008 9:45 AM, Blogger MaryJo said...

Kerry,

You can have all the pictures of Brandon you want lol Check out his blog at brandonbear-mj.blogspot.com. He had his first ice skating lesson on Saturday, so I posted pictures of him learning how to stand up and skate. lol

Hugs,
MaryJo

 

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