Today is my book’s secret birthday! That special day when authors receive their very first copy of their new book. I knew what it was as soon as I saw the envelope. I could feel the hard cover inside the padding as soon as I picked it up. I carried it around the house and debated where to sit when I opened it and, for a moment, whether to wait until my husband got home late tonight from his week long business trip. No. There would be no waiting. It had been a rough week. (I haven’t even told y’all the story of my broken glass all over the kitchen.) So I plopped down on the couch and pulled the tab on the back of the envelope. I pulled hard. Too hard. Gobs of gray glitter came flying out. Wait. No, it wasn’t glitter. It was just the packing material from the envelope. Sigh.

It was shrinkwrapped. Whew! No gray gunk to stick to the cover. I’ve never had a book come to me shrinkwrapped before. I stroked the plastic front and back before using my fingernail along the top edge to slice through the plastic and slip it out the book. I held it up to my nose and sniffed. Chelsie (my dog) thought I had food so she demanded to sniff it too. I flipped the pages. Sniffed some more. Showed the insides to Chelsie then pulled it away before she started to drool on it.

It’s a book. A real book. It’s not my first book but it feels so different. It’s a NOVEL, not a picture book, not an easy reader, not an educational anything. It’s a verse novel. It’s poetry. Omigosh…it POETRY. (That still sort of freaks me out.)

It’s beautiful. I have seen all the elements that went into the book, the design, the font, the cover, the flap copy and the author info but this, seeing it in its altogether, well it is just the sweetest thing. (Cue up some U2, will you please?)

And when I turned it over there was that blurb, that wonderfully almost unbelievable blurb from a poet whom I admire tremendously. (Someone remind me later to post about how my editor actually first told me about the blurb.)

Yes, Lee Bennett Hopkins blurbed my book!!! Now you know my blurb-secret I’ve been keeping.

In case the image doesn’t come through, here’s the text of the blurb that my editor said I could now share.

“Brown creates a poignant work dealing with a topic rare in children’s literature. In spare, poetic prose, the pain and angst of a young girl whose bipolar mother leaves, never to return, is detailed. The heart of the story is the growing relationship between Rachel and her father – a rock with soft spots – and how they must learn to live, love, cope – go on with their lives – together. Readers will hug this book. I did.”

Let me tell you, Lee writing a blurb really rocked (pun intended) my world!

Official pub date is September 1st!  You have called your local independent bookstore and asked them to order you a copy, haven’t you? No? Well go ahead and do that right now. I can wait. I’ll just be flipping through the pages, rereading my book, while you’re gone.

PS to someone, I can’t remember whose blog it was (sorry) who asked for a jacket photo of poet who was smiling. This is me raising my hand. I’m smiling in the pic on the jacket flap for Hugging the Rock.