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up in the air

Okay, this is the world’s quickest blog to say that I am online IN THE AIR.  This, my friends, blows my mind.  To be blogging while on a plane.  But I have to be very careful putting anything in print while flying, because this old girl has to take a Xanax and drink a beer before flying, which looooosens me up.  So I’ll say adios before getting myself in trouble.

See you on the ground!!

Please let me be like this when I’m 68

I am probably slow to come to this, but I just tonight discovered that Neil Diamond did a cover of Adam Sandler’s, “The Chanukah Song.” (Full disclosure: I don’t get TV reception at my house so I haven’t seen Le Neil on American Idol.) But man, do I love that he covered this song. He’s 68! He’s goofy! He’s having a ball!

Here’s another American legend doing it up holiday style:

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April’s book club pic, new title, Charis Books and more…

My second book has an official title.  Whoosh.  (That’s not the title–that’s me exhaling.  It’s been through a couple of names already, and I just couldn’t figure out the exact right one.  But now I’ve got it, by George!)  Anyway, it’s called (drumroll):
A SOFT PLACE TO LAND. 

I am soo excited about it.  It’s a sister story (of sorts) and like BOUND SOUTH it’s set in Atlanta and San Francisco, although this one has more San Francisco in it.  And it’s coming out soon, in May, 2010!

Other news: I’m going to be at Charis Books this weekend, on 1189 Euclid Avenue, in the Little Five Points district of Atlanta.  Charis was started as a feminist bookstore 35 years ago (one year before I was started!) and it’s been going strong ever since.  In celebration of their 35th birthday the good people of Charis have asked a bunch of Atlanta writers to come sign books on Saturday and Sunday, plus there will be cake and all merchandise is 10 percent off.  I’m going to be there signing books from 4-5pm on Saturday, along with Kathryn Stockett, author of the incredible novel, THE HELP.  If you’re in Little 5, or are on your way home from the Cabbagetown Chomp and Stomp, come on by.

And finally, I got this great jpg from April, whose book club is reading BOUND SOUTH.  Check it out:

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Thems Bound Souths they’re holding…

Creative Loafing Best Of 2009

Bound South is the 2009  Creative Loafing Reader’s Pick for best book by an Atlanta author! What a nice shot in the arm.  Thanks, creative loafers.

Other news: my editor loves my second book!!!  What a huge, enormous, wonderful, relief.  I mean, I really love the new book–and I really did POUR myself into it, like a big bottle of bubbly on New Year’s, cascading down a tower of champagne glasses–but still. Good to get OFFICIAL VALIDATION.

(And please, don’t judge my writing by the big bottle of bubbly metaphor–please don’t.  I taught all day.  I’m tired.)

On the garden front: Atlanta was hit by a flood, and most of the sprouting seeds in le jardin have washed away.  And now these strange alien mushrooms are growing everywhere. They emerge from this eggshell like base, filled with a clear jelly that smells of rot, and then the mushrooms themselves are bright pink and foam like.  Strangest damn things I’ve ever encountered.  I pulled all of them up and could not get the smell of rot off my hands for hours.  Finally I squeezed lemon juice over my hands and that sort of helped.

Anybody ever hear about these strange, alien shrooms?  (Or perhaps actual aliens have implanted themselves in my sweet little organic vegetable garden?)

Decatur Book Festival this weekend!!

Holy pickles!  It’s time for the 4th annual Decatur Book Festival.  And best of all–this year it’s a White family affair!  My sister, my husband and I are all doing readings and panels and such. (Though technically, I’m the only one of the three of us with the last name of “White.”  Details, details.)

Anyhoo, if you want to swing on by to this free and fantastic event, I’ll be on a panel with the always lovely Kathryn Stockett and the ever debonair Todd Johnson at 3pm on Saturday afternoon, at the Decatur Presbyterian Church.  (And no, we are not sanctioned to give communion.)  My sister Lauren will be at “The Escape” at 1pm, and my darling husband Alan will be at Decatur Baptist at 5pm on Sunday, talking about his super smart new book, Walk the Walk (which just received a great review in the Wall Street Journal.)  And sorry folks, but Alan cain’t adminster communion either…

Hope to see you at the festival.  It really is a great event.  Bring the pickles.

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Down the Avenue

Folksies,
I am still on major deadline for book two, so this is going to be a short one:

Last night I was on a panel with authors Emily Giffin and Joshilyn Jackson.  Cool, huh?  It was sort of a “wow, little ol’ me gets to be up here with THEM” moment. Felt like I was getting away with something, like I was getting to stay up late with the big kids.  (When I was little my weekend bedtime was 10pm while my older sibs was 11pm.  This meant they got to watch FANTASY ISLAND while I did not.) Joshilyn and Emily were warm, funny, down-to-earth, and full of interesting things to say about writing, reading, and book clubs.  So as the small town newspapers used to say, a good time was had by all.

A month or so ago Renee from DOWN THE AVENUE blog interviewed me about Bound South and all things bloggy.  Because I have been swamped, I forgot to post the link to the interview.  Bad me! Bad.  But here it is if you’d like to check it out.  In general her blog is great.

On the garden front: the cukes are still coming in like mad.  How do they grow so fast? We are harvesting, on average, three cukes a day.  From one little plant! (Though the plant is no longer little.  It is a monster that wraps its arms around weaker plants and anchors itself to them.) To use them all up before they rotted, I had been quick pickling them in apple cider vinegar and sugar, but lately I’ve become a fan of the California cucumber sandwich.  Which is french bread, open faced and toasted, spread with goat cheese then topped with lightly salted cukes and a little torn basil.

It’s good.

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(This is not actually what my cucumber sandwiches look like, but I feel compelled to leave you with an image…)

Oh the Guilt!!

Okay, first an important public service announcment: I’m participating in a panel discussion with Emily Giffin and Joshilyn Jackson this Thursday night, July 16 at the Marcus Jewish Community Center in Atlatna.  Event starts at 7pm, includes wine and snacks, and is FWEE!! One caveat: it’s only for book club members.  So if you are in a book club, or you want to form a book club real quick, do so, and then go here to register.

(And now back to the regularly scheduled blog.)

Yikes! Has it really been eight weeks since I last posted? Oy, the guilt I feel for neglecting you, little blog…

In brief, here’s been what’s up: Went to a crazy writing retreat in Costa Ricafor the month of May.  The good thing about the retreat was I got to further bond with my friend Sheri and meet the fabulous Lauren Cobb, whom I adore (here’s winking at you, Lauren.) The bad thing about the retreat wasLord, how do I even describe it? Let’s just say the director might benefit from some anger management training.  And the rear of my cabin abutted against a dug out space in the earth, and every afternoon there were tremendous thunderstorms, and dirt and debris would tumble down the dug out space and fly through my back window.

Actually, that part was kind of neat.  In a “gee, ain’t nature powerful?” kind of a way.

What else, what else? Mainly I’ve been working like a madwoman on book # 2, which I’m planning to send to my editor August 1.  (Rapid knocking on wood.)  I love this stage of writing.  I’m over two years into this next book, and by now–thank God!–I really know the characters, know their lives.  So now I get to see how they resolve their problems.  Or if not resolve their problems, grow (or shrink) because of them.  It’s a very fertile time.  But one that does not allow for much of anything else in my life.  Besides of course, the GARDEN!

Front yard garden is going strong, lots of summer vegetables, no chemicals allowed.  Veggies I’ve got growing are eggplant, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and peppers.  (Perfect for ratatouille, minus the cukes.)  And just for kicks I planted a whole bunch of sunflowers, which are now taller than me.

What’s driving me crazy about the garden is some little critter is getting into it at night and stealing the eggplants.  And these are big, round, gorgeous purple things.  (The eggplants, not the critters.  At least, I think.)  Makes me so mad I’ve considered buying a BB gun and sitting vigil on my front porch.  But alas, the fact that it’s a front yard garden prevents that.  Wouldn’t want to scare the neighbors.

A friend suggested I draw faces on potatoes and place them in the garden.  That the little “potato people” would scare off the thieving critters.  I don’t know. Sounds like a LOT of effort.  Maybe I’ll just invest in a Mr. Potato Head and put him in there?

All rights, so I’ve got to go write some more, but I’ll leave you with some pics.  Ta ta for now!
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This is one of the gorgeous eggplants that got taken by a critter.

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Can you make out the budding head on this big ol’ sunflower?

Adios!

This is not a permanent adios, just a temporary one.  I’m going on a writing retreat and plan not to check email or blog much while gone.  Otherwise I will ONLY check email and blog, and get no work done on the ever-looming BOOK NUMBER TWO.  Wish me luck.  Wish me concentration.  Wish me AWAY from the internet…

Check back early June for more musings…

Oh, and DEB, you won PRECIOUS! How cool is that?  Zap me your mailing address to my gmail account, and I’ll have my husband send you the copy. 

Birthdays and podcasts

To begin, today is my big sister’s birthday!! Happy birthday, Lauren! And happy book birthday, too, as her latest novel, Peace, Love and Baby Ducks, was born May 14.  Welcome to the world, lil’ ducky.

The week of my book’s birthday (Feb. 10, 2009), I was interviewed by Dana Barrett from Better World Books.  Dana was a fantastic interviewer–lots of fun with a splash of sass.  The podcast from the interview is now online at Better World Books, and you can buy a copy of Bound South from them, too! Go here to hear the podcast.

Oh, and there’s another birthday to celebrate, that of Quinn, my dear friends Laura and Alec’s little girl.  Welcome to the world baby Quinn!

Susan in Memphis

Another Susan, Susan Cushman, posted a great review of Bound South on her blog today.  Go here to read it.

I knew her blog was going to be good when I saw that it begins with a quote from the patron saint of southern fiction, Flannery O’Connor. And it’s a quote from one of Flannery’s letters no less, collected in the excellent book The Habit of Being which serves as O’Connor biography, literature class, writing class, and Catholicism 101 all wrapped up in one.

Thanks Susan, for the great review! (And, dear readers, I promise I’m not just posing as Susan Cushman so I can give myself props.)

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