I've been pregnant for 96 months. Yes, the average gestation period for humans is nine months, but I'm not human, and neither are most authors.
Oh, you thought I was talking about baby-babies?! Ha, ha, no...those are easy. I'm talking about writing a full-length book filled with historical references and getting it to traditional print publication, the longest gestation period ever, all before my life ends, silly goose! And because my latest and 6th YA novel, Wake the Hollow, releases tomorrow and rings in at the longest road to publication ever for me (8 years), longest length ever (304 pages), and longest trail of tears ever (the blood and sweat kind), I am celebrating this puppy tonight because...me da la gana. English translation: I FREAKIN' DESERVE IT.
Because my big release party for Wake the Hollow is next month in Miami, tonight I will be celebrating quietly, but most triumphantly. Here's how:
1. WATCHING THE DISNEY SHORT THAT STARTED IT ALL: In 1949, Walt Disney Productions was winding down from their war effort by creating short films meant to boost patriotic morale, so they weren't releasing full-length features and instead focused on a series of "package films," or short movies instead. The last of these included "Wind in the Willows" and "Ichabod Crane" adapted from Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," and later became known as "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad."
As a kid, I became totally enamored with the Ichabod part of the tale. Here was this poor, lanky schoolmaster who came to town and fell in love with the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, only to be spirited away by The Headless Horseman, who looked suspiciously like Brom Bones, Katrina's jealous boyfriend, without a head. I always felt sorry for the schoolmaster and thought he was the nicer, more educated gentleman of the two, and have spent the rest of my life showing the film to anyone who'll watch it with me to see if they'll agree. To that end, if you've never seen it, YOU SO HAVE TO! First of all, it's voiced by the enchanting Bing Crosby, so right there--WIN. Secondly, it's funny, because--surprise, surprise--the original Legend of Sleepy Hollow was a romantic comedy, if you can believe it, with a little supernatural spirit thrown in.
Anyway, I've made my students watch it over the years, and now I make my kids watch it, and they totally hate me for it, but I insist. It sets the perfect mood for the fall season, so even though it's only August 1st and I usually don't watch it until September, I'm watching it tonight. Because inspiration deserves its day, and that day is tonight.
2. BUY BATH & BODY STUFF: You might say I have a weakness for Bath & Body products. I don't know what it is...wait, yes, I do. It's those delicious scents of warm vanilla sugar, toasted marshmallow pumpkin, pear and brown sugar goodness that fire my synapses and I just can't resist! Just look at my bathroom shelves, and this doesn't include the ones hidden in all my purses. I try to stay away from this store on the basis of losing all my money whenever I do, but because it's Book Birthday Eve, I splurged! That's right--body products were Buy 3, Get 3 Free, PLUS I had a $10 off coupon over $30, so you can't blame me, right? AmIRite?
3. BURGER & MILKSHAKE: Another guilty pleasure of mine is this deadly combo right here, and because I've been eating gluten-free and really healthy for five months now, I totally dragged my ass into Red Robin and ordered an ACTUAL blue cheese burger on ACTUAL bread (gluten-free bun) with sweet potato fries AND a salted caramel milkshake. Hell, yeah! Guys, guys, guys...my eyes rolled into the back of my head, and they're still rolled back as I write this. I'm typing with voice-activated dictation or some other techy sounding fake explanation. I'm hoping tomorrow they'll be rolled down again, as I have to get back to work.
4. LISTEN TO EVANESCENCE: In 2003, the band Evanescence released a song called "Bring Me to Life" which was featured on the Daredevil soundtrack. From the moment I started writing Wake the Hollow, I envisioned this song as the soundtrack for Micaela's life. She's so closed up inside, hasn't felt anything real in so long, and from the moment she arrives back in Sleepy Hollow, her empty hollow core awakens long-repressed emotion. Hence the lyrics, Wake me up inside...wake me up inside...save me from the nothing I've become.. I can hear it a thousand times and always imagine Mica walking through the row of maple trees on her way to visit her abandoned childhood home. Gives me goosebumps every time. Evanescence - Bring Me To Life - YouTube
5. THANK MY MAMA: I have many people to thank over the last 15 years of publishing, but tonight I'm calling my mom and letting her know how instrumental she has been throughout my writing career. My mother is a tough nut to please. Imagine Gru's mother, played by Julie Andrews, in the funny film, Despicable Me. "Hey, Mom, do you like this chapter?" "Eh." "What about this story idea? Do you like this one??" "Eh." But when my mother was done reading Wake the Hollow, she put it down and said, "Wow, muy bueno." I almost died. I probably cried. No, I definitely cried. Not that my mom is the last word in YA fiction or anything, but I'd finally written something she truly loved, and because of that, I didn't abandon the manuscript like I almost did. I thought no one would get it, no one would care about this plot or these characters, and I was wrong. Turns out I'd written my first real mystery thriller after years of writing romantic teen comedy. Turns out it wasn't half bad.
So there. That's my To-Do List for tonight. HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO ME! Hope you'll join me online to celebrate tonight, tomorrow, and many more.