The Amazon “Look Inside” feature went live at 1:48 PM today, so you can now read the first pages of my book! There is a lot of material in the preview, so it should give you a good feel for it. (Did you think I listed the exact time for literary effect, and did not actually know to the minute when the feature went live because I’m not a data nerd and a publishing nerd who spends a ridiculous amount of time on my own Amazon page? God bless you, charitable reader.)
Go check it out, and don’t forget that anyone who pre-orders receives a free ebook instantly!
More exciting mail last week:
These are bookplates that will be included in the first copies of the book ordered directly from Ignatius Press! I was so excited by how beautifully they turned out…and then I saw this:
There is an entire row below that, too. That’s a lot of bookplates.
A thousand, to be exact.
And I am going to sign them. Every one.
I can’t remember the last time I felt this daunted by a project.
Oh, wait, yes I can! It was when I was out recording the audiobook and I realized that I was going to have to read 70,000 words in one day after giving a long speech. Or maybe it was when I was in Raleigh to promote the book and had to give three hour-long talks in one weekend. Or perhaps it was when I started writing the ebook that I intended to be 15 pages and realized that it would be 95 pages if I were going to do it right.
Before you report Ignatius Press to human rights organizations for their treatment of authors, I should note that everything in this process that almost killed me was something I pushed for.
In fact, in a spasm of idealistic delusion that was extreme even by my standards, I initially wanted to sign 10X more bookplates than are in that box. If you knew what Joe and I had suggested for the book tour possibility, you would personally show up at my house with wire cutters to sever my internet connection to stop me from dashing out emails containing insane ideas (let’s just say an RV was involved — seriously, someone cut me off from communicating with my publisher’s marketing department).
I have spent a fair amount of time analyzing how it is that I perpetually find myself maxed out by situations that were my idea in the first place.
It occurs to me that I enjoy challenges that test the limits of human endurance — as long as I can sit motionless while undertaking them. Basically, I’m like an Olympic athlete or an explorer, except without moving.
Just as Ernest Shackleton braved the Antarctic for almost two years, I daringly talked into a microphone for 14 hours at the audiobook recording. You know how Teddy Roosevelt and his intrepid crew went on their harrowing expedition through an uncharted tributary of the Amazon, nearly dying the process? Me signing these bookplates is going to be exactly like that.
So I’m not a fool with a bad habit of getting myself in over my head, I’m a chair adventurer.
My aunt and uncle are in town, and we all went out to El Monumento tonight.
The last time we dared to take all the kids there it was fine, but this time the crazy two-year-old decided to bring her A-game. There was standing in the high chair, screaming while being carried out of the restaurant, a bathroom trip that was akin to wrestling a crocodile in a latrine, pointing fingers at adults to shout orders at them, and more screaming while being carried out of the restaurant.
But the best was after we got home. She’s really an incredibly joyful child — it’s just that she derives the most joy from causing chaos. And so she stood in the living room, smiling and laughing with unbridled delight as she relived the glorious memories of her trip to El Monumento. She clenched her fists in excitement when she recounted a screaming episode to her siblings, telling them, “I say ‘AAAAAH!’ at da west-want!”
She’s about to turn three. I know that the proper reaction is for a mother to look at her child wistfully and wonder how three whole years could have flown by so quickly.
But when I looked at her tonight and thought of all the hilarious and epic and sanity-testing moments of the past 35 months, I thought, “Shouldn’t she be almost three THOUSAND years old by now?!”
I don’t tell you guys enough how much I love your comments.
Last night I was putting said toddler to bed and she was requesting various songs for me to sing. Any time I would misunderstand her and start the wrong tune, she’d throw her head back and shriek as if the awful sounds emanating from my mouth caused her physical agony. When I’d stumble onto the right lullaby, she’d immediately turn off the screaming and say, “Yeah, dat one!”
When I finally finished, I could hear her chattering happily in her room, and I chuckled bitterly to think that I ever applied the phrase “strong-willed” to any of my other children. As I flopped onto the couch in the living room, I thought of this comment that a lovely young woman named Anna left a few weeks ago, which was so wonderful and encouraging that Joe and I have both memorized it and often quote it back to one another. Anna wrote:
Jen, my baby sister (13 years younger than I) was a holy terror when she was 2…and 3. Your toddler reminds me so much of her. My sister used to do things like use candle holders to scoop water out of the fish tank to drink it. She was also naked quite often.
Now, she is a beautiful, soft spoken 12 year old. You would never know in just meeting her what she put us through when she was small. She’s never known anything but homeschooling, and she has more real friends than all her siblings combined. She treats everyone with astounding kindness.
I tell you all this to let you know there is hope! This ends. We older siblings used to have to set the microwave timer to give us a definite end to our shifts of watching her. She was that insane. Your exhausted efforts to pour love into her matter. This season shall pass, but the care you give her will stay with her. Stay the course, fellow soldier!!
Prayers for you in this ridiculous time
I get teary-eyed every time I read it. You guys are the best.
I did a Skype interview with Bonnie Engstrom about my free ebook, The Family-First Creative. We recorded it in the morning, with me sitting on my bathroom floor. Then we found out that we didn’t get most of the footage, so we re-recorded it at 10 PM (hence the smeared eye makeup and waning will to live in the second half of the interview).