Sunday, June 13, 2010

No Place to Hide-- Not Even a Lair!

photo by Ben Heine

Dear Violets and Vinnies,

Thank you again for all the happy wishes last week as I launched my new novel. It was an insanely wild week as Robin shared-- my partner and her cycling team, aka the Pink Hurricane, were in the final stages of prep for the Race Across America-- a 3000 mile bike race from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD. It is a non-stop trek, with the team taking on the challenge of breaking the standing women's record of 6 days and 12 hours. Yeah, not quite enough to just do the whole thing, they want to blast the record!

The team left yesterday at 2pm and will be racing continuously-- four racers and 16 crew members crammed into five vehicles that stop only for gas and quick grocery pick-ups. It is, in other words, an introvert's worst nightmare. If you want to briefly be a bug on the wall of the vans, you can check them out by clicking here.

Imagine being stuck in one of five moving vehicles with constant activity, chatter, phones, social media, and sleeping on ice chests or vinyl seats in 2-4 hour shifts. That is, if you are a crew member. The longest the racers sleep is 1.5 hours. Imagine no privacy whatsoever. Uh, for anything!

As you might imagine, there are a good many extraverts that signed on to this adventure. One of the crew leaders, however, a cherished friend of mine, is a sister introvert. I am keeping a novena for her. How she keeps from going rabid is beyond me. Just the year of prep for the race would have put me under the table gnawing at the leg trying not to shriek. I suspect she'll sleep for a month when it is over!

The team is using the race as a fundraiser for Girls, Inc. whose mission statement is to inspire girls to be "strong, smart and bold." I love that! Robin and I are doing a buddy booksigning at our local indie, Chaucer's Books on June 27th from 3pm to 5pm. We will be matching a portion of the event's proceeds to donate to Girls, Inc. as well. As we did last time we signed together, we encouraged our friends, family, and community to sponsor (buy) a book(s) for one or more of the girls, many of whom may not even own their own book.

For the past week, there has absolutely no place to hide in my life. We had assorted racers and crew members in and out of our house all week which was wildly fun, but also had a profound impact on my personal wattage. When they left town to begin staging, I crashed and took a five-hour nap, my personal record. These are the kinds of records that I love to break!

It was such a vivid reminder to me that I'm just not like everyone else. There is nothing wrong with me-- I am not formatted to keep up that pace. This may be part of why my own camp experience as a child was so challenging, and why I felt compelled to write about it. Eating, sleeping, recreating and moving through the day en masse just didn't work for me. I was mourning all my hiding places back home.

One of us needs to start Camp Introvert for kids-- hmmmm. Interesting concept, but we'll need to work on the name.

If you might be wondering why I'm blathering on about this bike race and my near recent catatonic state, part of the reason is to keep a promise that I made (under duress, mind you) to Robin. You see, she had a new book come out last week, too, the day before mine. But since she is the nicest BFF in the world, she wanted to launch mine last week, because she publishes more often than I do. See what I mean? Incredibly thoughtful.

Naturally, I wanted to launch her book today in a BIG way, but she made me promise that I would launch it only as an addendum, so I was forced to make you endure all this other stuff above so that I could have something to addend! But, now, without further ado-be-do, let me introduce R. L. LaFever's latest book!

Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist
Book Two
R. L. LaFevers
Illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Houghton Mifflin for Children
June 7, 2010
Hardcover, 160 pages

From Kirkus Review:

When his Aunt Phil flies to the western Sudan to recapture an escaped basilisk, she takes Nathaniel Fludd along, reassuring him that he is only to "watch and learn." Instead, he and his gremlin friend, Greasle, play important roles. This satisfying middle-grade adventure features a hesitant, unskilled hero, a miniature sidekick straight from Where the Wild Things Are and an exotic setting in colonial British West Africa in 1928. The basilisk is appropriately scary, and straightforward storytelling leads to an exciting climax. Readers won't get and don't need the entire back story from Flight of the Phoenix (2009), the first in the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series, but those who have read it will surely enjoy the return of the supposed orphan and his formidable aunt. Murphy has provided a full-page pen-and-ink illustration as well as several smaller sketches for almost every chapter, and Nathaniel contributes drawings, too. Sharp-eyed readers will realize that the chapter numbers are counted in animal bones. This story is complete in itself, but the ending promises more adventure to come.

Robin was recently interviewed by 11-year old Summer Oh over at The Enchanted Inpots blog. It's a completely charming post, and I learned some things about Robin I never knew. Like what beast she pines to be! That's some serious investigative journalism, Miss Summer! You won't want to miss this one. Robin and Summer's interview

Please join me in congratulating Robin on the wonderfully successful series that clearly fills a much needed niche for kids ready to cut their teeth on some accessible fantasy for young readers. Robin excels at finding those places in the market and for creating such fresh, unique, characters in historic settings. That is an extraordinary talent!

And of course, you can :::WIN::: a personally autographed copy of Robin's book for yourself or your favorite little beastie. If you'll look at the cover above, there is a very short little creature in desperate need of waxing standing near Nate. What's his/her name? Let us know in the comment section and you'll be entered to win. And the winner of last week's contest to win a copy of Love and Pollywogs from Camp Calamity is the soon-to-be-launched herself, Kimberly Griffiths Little. I'm so glad for you, Kimberly! Please email me offline here and I'll get that out right away.

Have a most wonderful week, everyone!


Mary Hershey


tanita✿davis said...

It was such a vivid reminder to me that I'm not just not like everyone else. There is nothing wrong with me-- I am not formatted to keep up that pace.

After eight days of company, and them insisting on spilling into the kitchen and doing for themselves, I am repeating that: there is nothing wrong with me. I truly resent my hidey holes being taken, and it's tough when your guests want to inhabit every part of your house and your life, but my flinching reaction is just because I am who I am, not because I am a bad hostess. And there have been good times... it is just EXHAUSTING. But, there's nothing wrong with that. Or me.

I'm going to keep repeating that 'til they go home tonight...

CONGRATULATIONS, ROBIN! I know a young fan of your series, so I already knew you had a new book out -- someone was waiting and counting down the days. Mazel tov.

Cid said...

OMG ~ my mom crewed RAAM one year and she wants to do it in the near future as part of a team. I crew for her races in the southern states, but RAAM? Uh, Robin's way stronger than me! Totally going to look into this book too. :)

Mary Hershey said...

Laughing at Robin's horror when she reads this, Cid. It's not Robin my writing partner that is doing RAAM, but my life partner, Jill.


Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

OH MY GOSH - I won??? I'm stunned! Thank you so much, Mary . . . I'm off to email you right now!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats Robin. I can't wait to read your book. It sounds awesome. I actually pasted the blurb for the first book in the series as an example of how to write a query.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Wow, lots of congrats here: to Kimberley for winning POllywog, to Robin for releasing Nate and to Mary for getting in that five-hour nap!

The kids and I are reading this Nathaniel Fludd book right now and since I ran into Robin at the book store when I was purchasing it, you don't need to enter me in the contest. She already signed our copy :D

As for Jill's bike race, I'm with you, Mary. I'd be much better at taking a record nap!

Cid said...

Ug! That's what I get for commenting on stuff when I'm sooo sleeeeeeepy.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Robin, and Go, Jill!!!

Jan Markley said...

sounds like a great book!