A New Essay About My Path to Adoption at The Manifest-Station

So it’s been a while since I last blogged. (Okay, it’s been a loooonnnggg while since I last blogged.) But I’ve been wonderfully occupied with getting our new son Yao acclimated and comfy in his new home. And, yes, I’ve managed to squeeze in some writing between 4:30am & 6:15am every day.

Happy to share that my new essay, “With Child,” was recently published at Jennifer Pastiloff’s amazing site, The Manifest-Station. This story of my adoption path to the Yaoster is one of the most from-my-heart things I’ve ever written. Would love for you to head on over there and give it a read.

Here’s the beginning:

“During the adoption process for our second child, I packed on a good twenty-plus pounds. As a number, twenty isn’t so much. Twenty bucks won’t get you far. Twenty minutes pass in a flash. And at twenty years old, most can’t find their way out of a paper bag. But if you go to your local farmer’s market, pick out two ten-pound pumpkins, strap them to your arse, and walk around for a day, you’ll quickly realize that twenty pounds is a heck of a lot of weight.

“Physically, there was no reason I should have gained any weight at all. It’s not like I was growing our child in my womb and had to feed it. But emotionally, for nearly two years as we went through the adoption process, I was eating for two. Emotionally, I was trying to feed this faraway baby in a Chinese orphanage who I didn’t even know, yet who I knew was not getting enough love or nutrition or food or stimulation…all those things babies need. From thousands of miles away, I was eating and eating and eating, trying desperately to give our future child everything he or she needed to thrive until we could scoop them up and bring them home…”

There’s also a moment in which I eat the dashboard of my Suburu.

xoxoxo Kristin

Sleepy Boy After Consulate Appointment_Guangzhou

Happy 2015, Year of “No Mud, No Lotus”

“No mud, no lotus”

This is my mantra as I write this new novel, continue sharing THE ART OF FLOATING, and shift into 2015.

The necklace is a Christmas gift from my hubs. The wisdom on writing (& life) comes from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk I’ve been following for years.

Happy New Year, all!

No Mud No Lotus

Friday Night Launch Party at Jabberwocky Bookshop Newburyport, MA!

This is it, folks! The big launch party for THE ART OF FLOATING. Tonight. Friday, March 28, at 7pm. At Jabberwocky Bookshop in Newburyport, MA. Right in the town where the novel takes place.

Yep, I know that the book doesn’t officially release until April 1, but Penguin/Berkley has graciously given permission for Jabberwocky to sell copies at the event. Huzzah!

I hope to see all of you there! Yes, all of you!

And if you are inclined to buy a copy of THE ART OF FLOATING and read it, I’ll be eternally grateful. This is what it’s about really…when the story I imagined and saw in my head and spent years putting on the page reaches readers. Reaches you.

Cheers!

 

 

Goodreads Giveaway for THE ART OF FLOATING (March 10-17)!

9780425271483_large_The Art of Floating_HIGH RESReaders! Penguin/Berkley and I are giving away 10 copies of THE ART OF FLOATING on Goodreads this week!

10! 10! 10!

It’s true! Between March 10 (today!) and March 17, you can enter the giveaway by clicking HERE!

Hop on over! Add THE ART OF FLOATING to your “Want to Read” shelf! Enter the giveaway!

 

 

 

RT Review Says THE ART OF FLOATING, “…delivers quite an emotional punch.”

 

9780425271483_large_The Art of Floating_HIGH RESScore! About THE ART OF FLOATING, the RT review says,

 

“…the core plot of THE ART OF FLOATING is touching and delivers quite an emotional punch.”

 

 

 

Wonderful Review in BOOKLIST of THE ART OF FLOATING!

Great news!

On March 1, THE ART OF FLOATING received a glowing review from Booklist. After a delicious description of the story, here’s how it culminates:

 

“Blending radiant language and a dreamlike journey through sorrow and healing, this is one to recommend to fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Eowyn Ivey.”

~Booklist (March 1, 2014)

 

If you’re familiar with either or both of these two marvelous writers, you’ll know what an honor it is to be mentioned alongside them.

Yay! (cartwheels down the hall!!!)

(Have you pre-ordered yet? Perfect time!)

 

 

 

 

Writing Process: Obsessed by Tom Waits’s “Georgia Lee”

You know, I wrote THE ART OF FLOATING during the five years I lived in Shanghai, China. And while I wrote, I was obsessed with “Georgia Lee,” this haunting, beautiful song by Tom Waits. I had it on my iPod, and every day I’d take a walk through the old French Concession area, deep in writerhead, listening and absorbing.

Take a listen. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

(Once you’ve listened, if you’re so inclined, I’d love for you to pop over and “Like” my Facebook author page! Thx!)


 

My New Writing Partner…

About six months ago, our pup Gumper unexpectedly died. He was young…just 1 1/2 years old. It was one of those things that you can’t explain. And it was heartbreaking.

After that, we took a doggie break. Spent a lot of time talking with our five-year-old about death and the cycle of life (during which time she switched from unintentionally referring to all graveyards as “junk yards”). 🙂

Then, missing that dog energy from our home, I started stalking dog rescue groups online…looking for the right dog to follow in Gumper’s fine paw-steps.

Two weeks ago, we brought this guy home. 1/2 St. Bernard. 1/2 Great Pyrenees. About two years old. A rescue from Tennessee.

He’s a lovebug. And my daughter named him…BOINGA!

Here’s a good shot of Boinga getting ready to go to the bus stop with us in the morning. (Tully’s bus driver brings him biscuits…oh, this boy is spoiled.)

And, he’s a great writing partner. (Good thing, ’cause I’ve got a hell of a lot of writing to get done.)

Tully & Boinga 3

A Sneak Peek at the Cover of My Upcoming Novel THE ART OF FLOATING!

(drum roll, please)

Here it is! A big thanks to the cover designers at Berkley Books | Penguin Random House. The novel isn’t due in bookstores until April 2014, but until then, I’m going to enjoy the cover.

Cheers!

the cover for my new novel THE ART OF FLOATING (Berkley Books | Penguin Random House, April 2014)

the cover for my new novel THE ART OF FLOATING (Berkley Books | Penguin Random House, April 2014)

5 Tips for Authors on How to Engage Book Clubs from Midge Raymond

Hey, folks,everydaybookmarketing_high

The marvelous, brilliant, book savvy Midge Raymond is back at Writerhead. This time she’s written a terrific book about how to market your book!

Read, buy, share!

_______

Book clubs are not only fun as a reader, they are an author’s dear friend. Having your book chosen by a book club is an honor, and it creates word of mouth that often keeps building. The big question is: How do you get your book chosen for a book club?

When my story collection, Forgetting English, was published, I was delighted to be invited to several book club meetings in my then-hometown of Seattle. Being a part of book clubs was something I’d wanted to do but wasn’t sure how to go about doing it—especially with a collection of short fiction, a genre that is less popular among book clubs than novels and memoirs.

I was fortunate to have writer friends in book clubs, and they got me started by suggesting my book to their own clubs. And in fact, when I talk to other authors about their experiences with book clubs, they all seem to start in the same way: Someone they know chooses their book and invites them to a meeting, and a club member who enjoys the experience tells someone in another book club—and everything grows from there.

So this leads to my first tip…

1. Tell your friends that you’d love to join their book clubs (either in person, or via phone, FaceTime, or Skype). This is the most important first step of all; from there, you’ll have readers who then tell their own friends about your book and how fun it was to discuss it with you at their meeting (and don’t be afraid to let them know you’d appreciate their sharing their experience—often readers don’t understand how helpful this is to writers, and they are usually so happy to help). Also, bring up your book club availability not only among friends but everyone you meet. So often we’re in a position to reach new readers—whether it’s when we go to a new hair stylist or when we meet people at a party—yet we don’t take advantage when we’re asked, “So what do you do?” You don’t have to shamelessly sell yourself; just mention your book, let people know that you love chatting with book clubs, and invite them to contact you (or visit your website) if they’d like to learn more.

2. Use social media. Facebook is a wonderful way to reach out to book clubs, as this is a national (or worldwide) network of your own friends and family, all of whom have an interest in you and your book and can then share whatever you post (and do encourage people to share links). Twitter and Goodreads are also great for letting readers know about your work with book clubs—remember to use social networks not only to offer your availability but to post photos and comments about past meetings, which will show your enthusiasm and generate interest from other readers and book clubs.

3. Be local. While there are many ways to join a book club long-distance, it’s always most special when you can be there in person—so take advantage of what your hometown has to offer. Visit local bookstores, your local library branches, and other organizations to let them know about your book and your availability for local book clubs. Create a flyer with all the relevant info (your book, your bio, reviews, testimonials from other book clubs, contact information) and ask folks to post it and/or share it with readers.

4. Create a reading guide for book clubs, and be sure this is easy to find on your website. (Note: If book clubs are a big part of your marketing plan, you might even want a special link on your website to a page devoted to book club info.) A reading guide not only provides a starting point for discussion with clubs you’re scheduled to meet with but it also generates interest among those who are considering choosing your book. Think about what is most “book clubby” about your book—i.e., what aspects of it make for good discussions, not only about the book but beyond it? Forgetting English, for example, is interesting for book clubs in part because its ten stories means there’s something for everyone, and among all those stories there are a lot of topics, characters, and settings to discuss. At the same time, its common themes—love, travel, life-work balance—allow for the conversation to expand beyond the book itself. Often the best book club meetings end up being more about the participants’ stories than about the book—but this is part of what makes it fun: seeing people respond to the book in ways that open them up to reflect on their own lives and experiences.

5. Offer incentives. If you can, offer a free copy of your book to book club hosts (if you don’t have a lot of spare copies, you can do this for a limited time or for a limited number of books). And find ways to bring something more than yourself to the meeting—for example, if your book features a chef, offer to bring your character’s signature dish to the meeting.

Most of all, enjoy the process—think of this aspect of marketing not as work but as a privilege. As bestselling author Jenna Blum tells us in Everyday Book Marketing about her first book club meeting for her first novel: “A chance to talk about my baby for three hours with kind strangers and drink all their wine? What writer wouldn’t go?” And remember that the more you reach out, and the more book clubs you meet with, the more readers connect not only with your book but with you as an author—and this can lead not only to new readers but to new friendships as well.

 

MidgeRaymondBIO: Midge Raymond is the author of the short story collection Forgetting English, which received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. She is also the author of two books for writers: Everyday Writing and Everyday Book Marketing. Her work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, the Los Angeles Times magazine, and many other publications. Visit her online at www.MidgeRaymond.com.