A Grandma Blog

Last weekend our youngest granddaughter, Celeste, participated in a state gymnastics meet in Auburn.  I was there, in the bleachers cheering my head off while she brought in her best personal scores even though she didn’t win any events.  This week her older sister, Audrey, will be in a state meet in Spokane, so tomorrow we head for Spokane where, for the first time ever, I won’t be doing a book signing.  This will be a strictly a family affair.

Since both these girls were found abandoned in the street before being taken to orphanages in China, I can’t imagine that they will ever meet their birth mothers.  But when I see these talented, graceful, and poised young women, there is a part of me that hopes the mothers who walked away from them realize how well-loved they are and how they are thriving in their adoptive family and country.

I suspect that there are people who read this blog who are not necessarily in my new book notification list.  That means that you didn’t receive a copy of the announcement that went out yesterday letting readers know that the paperback edition of Judgment Call, Joanna # 15, goes on sale April 30.  Now you know.

The day after an announcement goes out, my e-mail box fills up with notes from folks.   I read them all although I may not respond to them all.  One guy thought my characters are as individual as elements on the periodic table.  (My chemistry teacher from Bisbee High School, Mr. H. B. “Fuzzy” Warren, would be astonished.  And no, I have NO idea how he came to be called Fuzzy.  If it had something to do with hair, he didn’t have much left when I got around to being one of his students.)

Another wrote to say that one of her husband high school students, a girl who always hated reading and who tested at the third grade level, got started on my books and loves them.  Her reading skills have so far improved to 8th grade levels.  I am always thrilled to know that my books have turned a non-reader into a reader.

In the announcement I talked about how, despite the advent of e-reader technology, some of my readers always have been and will continue to be paperback readers.  Most of the e-mails that came to me this morning echoed that reality.  For many of them, the smell and touch of a “real” book are part of what makes the magic of reading work.

One woman wrote to say how my books have helped fill the empty spot in her life since her husband’s death five and a half years ago.  Another wrote about still missing a friend who committed suicide.  The notes that come to me are what my husband calls the psychological income that comes from writing.

And this morning, as I was starting to write this, the doorbell rang.  It was UPS delivering an envelope.  In it was a check from HarperCollins, the signing check, real income this time, for the publishing contract on After the Fire, my book of poetry.  That book has been out for almost thirty years, mostly from a university press that eventually let the book go out of print and who didn’t do much to sell it.  The fact that After The Fire will be available from a major publisher and will be available on the same day Beaumont #21, Second Watch goes on sale is something of a miracle.  It will be in bookstores all over the country for a change, in both hardback and e-book formats.

After the Fire is the story of my life, told in prose and poetry.  It’s a cautionary tale about the hazards of trying to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved, and it’s also a book about the triumph of getting back on the horse after you’ve been thrown.  When I started writing those bits of poetry all the way back in the sixties I had no way of envisioning the life I live now, and as far as I’m concerned, the journey is everything.

In other words, aside from the fact that I’m on my way to the dentist, life is very good right now.

And keep your fingers crossed for Audrey.