There are lots of superheroes hitting theaters this summer. Iron Man. Superman. Percy Jackson (yes, he counts!). There are even giant robots fighting giant monsters Power Rangers style. Amid all this Hollywood awesomeness, let’s not forget the true heroes who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. To the families and friends of fallen soldiers, to the men and women still bravely serving our county, and to all those who’ve served in the past: there aren’t words big enough to convey my gratitude for all you do and have done, but from my family to yours thank you and God bless.
When you look up “awesome” in the dictionary, you find a picture of my mom. I know this because, when I was about seven, I copied my children’s dictionary from cover to cover, including the pictures, and my mom never called me a freak, not once.
Even at that age, I loved words and wanted to know all about them… but I could’ve easily learned to hate books. Why? School. That’s right, my required reading list nearly soured me on the whole world of literature when my teacher assigned A Taste of Blackberries. (Apologies to anyone who loves this book.)
Spoiler alert: one of the main characters dies. And what was his name? You guessed it: Jamie. To say I was sad would be an understatement. I sobbed for Jamie. And I sobbed when my classmates started teasing me. Apparently, even though I hadn’t a few days before, I now had a “boy” name. A “dead” name. At recess, kids would point in mock terror and shout, “Careful, Jayme – a bee!” (Cause of death for unfortunate literary Jamie)
My takeaway? “Big kid” books sucked. I wanted nothing to do with them.
So Mom tricked me into reading The Secret Garden. I really wanted to see the movie, and she said she’d only take me if I read the book. So I did. And I loved it. Like really, really loved it. And this wasn’t a one time thing for Mom. When my little sister decided reading was boring, she bought her a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’m not sure Mom planned on that turning into midnight book release parties and Halloween costumes, but it worked in a big way. All during school, when my required reading just kept getting bleaker and bleaker, I escaped into the pages of Peter Pan and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I solved mysteries with Sherlock Holmes, broke curses along with Ella of Frell, and nowadays when life gets me down I take up my sword and join Percy Jackson. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.
My mom gave me that and so much more, so Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I know I don’t say it enough, but thank you. Thank you for always knowing best. Thank you for teaching me it’s okay to be different. And thank you for reminding me that even when something looks shriveled up and horrible, deep down, it can still be “wick.”
P.S. If you’ve never read The Secret Garden, “wick” means “alive” or “lively.”
Okay, I know everyone’s dying to hear how I got my agent, but first a shout-out to Juliana, Brooks, Michelle, Casey, Heidi, Summer and everyone else who made suggestions for this blog and answered questions – THANK YOU!! Y’all rock!
Next a Wizard of the Year award for my big sis, who not only took my author photo but made me feel like a total rock star in the process. Let me set the scene: she came to town with her fancypants camera, an auxiliary flash, and a magical lens that makes everyone look awesome. No, seriously. I’m pretty sure I saw Dumbledore say a few words over it. Next, she sweet-talked her hubby into holding the auxiliary flash and enlisted my little sister and dad to reflect the light with a giant sheet of poster board. While I struck poses all over town, cars slowed down to watch and little kids pointed and asked, “Who is that girl?” True story.
As for my gorgeous cover shot, my little sister snapped that all casually at the zoo. ‘Cause, apparently, everyone in my family is an awesome photographer.
I guess that just leaves everyone who’s encouraged me to start a blog for weeks, months, and/or years. You didn’t think I was gonna let you have all the fun forever, did ya?
Hugs all around! XOXO
So… I finally broke down and started a blog. Why, you ask? Because blogs have been good to me. Really good.
Have you ever met a weird kid who scribbles stories on whatever’s handy? I’m talking notebooks, napkins, gum wrappers, sometimes even the inside hemline of her jeans? Yeah, I was that kid. But my friendly neighborhood bloggers and their awesome communities have helped turn me into a fairly respectable writerly type, if I do say so myself. When I didn’t know how to write a query or format a manuscript or, as I later found out, edit a manuscript into a book worth reading, where did I turn? Blogs. I even connected with my fantabulous agent Adriann through a blog contest run by my equally fantabulous agency sister Mindy and her pals R.C. and MarcyKate.
Bottom line: I’m not an expert. Not by a long shot. But this little slice of the Internet is my attempt to give back and hopefully have loads of fun while keeping the great Circle of (writer) Life going. *cue the lion cub*