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Winicker, Mistakes, Social Media, and Launch Parties

This post is going to have so much stuff in it. That’s because I’m terrible at blogging regularly. Sorry about that. But I should have more time for it these days! And I’ll tell you why in several paragraphs, so read on!

First of all, my books came out on December 15th! There are four Winicker Wallace chapter books, and the order is:

1.) Winicker Hates Paris

2.) Winicker and the Baby Wait

3.) Winicker and the Christmas Visit

4.) Winicker and the American Boy

It’s exciting stuff! I have books in the world!

But guys, there’s a mistake in the first book. In the first sentence of the first book, actually, and I’ve been more bummed about it than I can express. Like, regularly waking up to cry about it bummed. Like, listening to Eminem and temporarily believing that he and I have experienced the same level of disappointment in life bummed. The mistake happened honestly. Originally, Winicker was 8. After I turned in the first book, my editor asked me to make her 10 in the next three books, because that would make the books more readable by older kids. But some of the instances of Winicker being 8 were never edited in the first book. In the first sentence, for instance.

You’re going to be sweet and tell me that probably no one will notice. You doll, you. But people have noticed. My kindergartner’s school librarians, for instance.

It’s difficult to feel qualified to do speaking engagements and author events and important grown-up things even without the mistake. But with the mistake, I can’t even think about it without freaking out. I’m giving a talk at Northwest University next month on writing and publishing. I’m 100% going to feel like an actual 8 year old (not a 10 year old) in her mom’s clothing.

Let’s move on. Zach tells me it’s probably time to move on from the mistake. I’m not there yet, but maybe someday.

Social media. Social media is like a mermaid who calls to lonely sailors, and when the sailors get close enough, those mermaids crawl up the side of the boat all scary like the girl from The Grudge and then waste years of the sailors’ lives. So I’m taking a social media break to increase productivity on my middle grade novel (It’s Gonna Be Great, Maggie Chowder). And it’s been fabulous so far.

My Winicker launch party was small (because big events with big crowds are my least favorite things) and lovely. My mom was here for it, and friends and critique group members came over, and it was fun. The food was French (except for the fluffernutters) and the wine was Pacific Northwestern.

Bienvenue, Winicker.

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I have a book deal!

A four-book chapter book series deal, to be precise! I have been playing dreamy Disney songs in my head on a loop over the last couple of months, ever since my agent first called with the offer from ABDO, and I am so excited to finally be able to shout it from the rooftop. Well, the blog top.

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The book series is about Winicker Wallace, a spunky eight-year-old girl whose family moves to Paris.

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The Winicker books will be illustrated. Illustrated! I get an illustrator! I told Zach that I am over the moon about that part, and that I can’t wait till they choose an illustrator, and that I imagine the author-illustrator relationship must be a very mystical, spiritual one. Zach said, “That’s so weird. I wouldn’t say that to the illustrator.” Fair point.

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While all of this feels like What?! Is this real life?? How is this happening? the truth is that it was years of work. And not giving up. Not giving up after thirty rejections, and not giving up after the thirty rejections after that. Over a year ago, while I was working on maybe the sixth full revision of Winicker, I messaged my thesis advisor from Hamline, Sheila O’Connor, and told her where I was with my book. She wrote back, “The people who make it are the people who stay in it. Never quit.” Sheila, you amazing advisor, you are so right. So I’m passing that piece of advice on to all of you, because it’s such good advice. Never quit. It sounds pretty basic, but let me tell you, when you have three tiny children and two-thirds of them are in diapers and all three of them cry because it’s bedtime and they hate, hate, hate bedtime – you sometimes think that quitting on your manuscript, even temporarily, is the way to go. But man, am I glad I didn’t.

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