Proud Grandmother

This is my mom holding a copy of her newest grandchild ME WITH YOU.

Mom is currently on vacation in Destin, FL. But do you know what she has been doing every day since she arrived? She has been visiting bookstores to see if she can find a copy of ME WITH YOU on the shelves. Is this some kind of mother or what?

THIS is the mother who, before I had an agent, received emails from me with explicit instructions on how to fold, or not to fold, and what order to place things in an envelope, and who, with joy in her heart, mailed out all my submissions from her SC address because I live overseas and have an unreliable mail system. And she never once complained.

THIS is the same mother, who when she came home after a long day of work and checked her mail, would call me immediately to tell me we’d received another rejection, or thank God, an acceptance, BEFORE she got a snack. Heck, probably before she even peed.

THIS is the same mother who every time that I asked her how much I owed her for the submissions she had sent out on my behalf, hemmed and hawed and couldn’t remember and said it wasn’t important.

THIS is the mother who believed in me when I was too afraid to believe in myself.

And this is the stepfather who is just as excited as my mother.

ME WITH YOU is about grandparents and I had a teary-eyed, sniffly moment the other day when I realized that my first book, this celebration of the grandparent/grandchild relationship, would be coming out the week of the anniversary of my own father’s death. My daddy died 24 years ago today. My own children never knew the love of my sweet daddy. They did not know their own maternal grandfather. But as you can see from the pictures above, they are not lacking for love. They are not lacking for people who celebrate them for who they are and who love them unconditionally. If my mom and stepdad are as happy as they are to see this book on the shelves of a bookstore, you can only imagine how much more they love and celebrate my children.

I could not be more blessed.

Edited to add: DON’T FORGET THE CONTEST! We’ve already had a winner on the first sighting but I’ll be drawing a name from everyone who sends me a picture thereafter up until June 15th!

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Final report: 4 excellent picture book drafts, 3 stinky ones.
7 different picture books total. 4 ready to revise and sub for crit, 3 that truthfully have bones but no skin.

And I’m so glad this week is over with. I don’t think I’ll be ready to open any of these files for a month. I’m taking a break!

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News for ME WITH YOU

1. A wonderful review from Booklist. Two particularly nice bits: "The rhyming text is delightful" and "readers [will] want to climb right into the pages to participate in each charming episode."

2. ME WITH YOU will be carried in the Chinaberry Holiday catalog which will go out in early September.

3. Penguin Putnam just ordered another printing!

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These days are one of those times when I wish I could be in two places at once. For example, I live in Brazil and not in Vermont, so I couldn’t attend Linda Urban’s signing of her new picture book, MOUSE WAS MAD. I have heard Linda read MOUSE in manuscript form. (And as an aside, Linda is the BEST reader. Seriously. Next time we’re all together, I’m going to have her read the Financial Section of the newspaper out loud just to show how talented she is.) Anyway, back to MOUSE. You can’t really talk about a picture book without seeming like you’re talking about its main character. MOUSE is funny and endearing and so real. I want to do a proper celebration of MOUSE when I actually have my very own copy in my hands after July. Right now, I can’t even talk about the art because, well, I haven’t seen it, though I’ve heard, dear reader, I’ve heard of its wonderful adorableness.

For now, I’m going to join Linda’s contest and weigh in on what makes me mad and what makes me feel better. Truth is, I don’t often get mad, really, really foot-stompin’ mad. It’s most often disrespect and injustice that make me mad, and most often in relation to the way someone else treats my children. But truth is, though I will speak up for myself and my children, what most comforts me is similar to MOUSE in that I like to crawl under the covers and stay as still as possible for a while. Just snuggle up until the adrenaline and anxiety fade away.

What about you, readers? You can weigh in on your own blog or here at Linda’s for a chance to win a copy of MOUSE *and* chocolate. (Chocolate is in 2nd place for me as a comfort. And a nap coupled with chocolate = no longer being angry at all!)

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ME WITH YOU has been spotted!


ME WITH YOU has been found at Books-a-Million in Birmingham, AL on Lakeshore Drive, by Amy Dowdy.

Don’t forget to continue to send me pictures between now and June 15. I will draw a name from the entrants for a second winner of a copy of ME WITH YOU. And if you post it to your Facebook or blog and send me the link (at kristy (at) kristydempsey (dot) com, you get TWO entries!

And I’m such a dork that when Amy sent me the picture, I gasped, and then began to sob, mostly because I am happy, but also because Amy and her family lived here in Brazil for ten years and are very dear to my heart and she has been one of my cheerleaders from when I began writing.

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National Poetry Month– a chat with my brother-in-law

(Yes, I posting this on the 1st of May. After poetry month is over. But it is before many on the West Coast wake up and start their May. So I’m counting it!)

I can tell you that I’m positive I’ve never had a conversation about poetry with my brother-in-law, but I recently read a poem on his blog that cracked me up. It’s probably not considered literature; it’s a little more on the absurd side of the spectrum. But my brother-in-law liked it enough to post it, and I laughed enough that I had to ask him about it. And guess what, dear readers? His answers to me revealed something about how unexpectedly a poem can get into your head, or your heart, when you hear it out loud.

The poem my brother-in-law David shared was "A Fat Man’s Prayer". He’d heard it performed by Victor Buono, one of his favorite actors. David says, "my relationship with poetry is exactly what I said on my blog. I heard it. I liked it. I shared it." Suffice it to say, David isn’t searching for poetry to connect with. But hey, sometimes poetry finds us. You hear it, you like it, you share it. Which makes me think we should read more poetry out loud. From the street corners. From the rooftops. On top of our chairs in crowded restaurants. More chances for people to fall in love with poetry.

Ahem. Okay, I digress.

So, here in all its glory, is the poem that caught my brother-in-law’s attention, and that made me laugh out loud. And reader, though it might be considered doggerel by some, if you can keep yourself from laughing out loud by the time you reach the Jujubee line, well, then, you just might be hard-hearted. 🙂

A Fat Man’s Prayer

by Victor Buono

Lord, my soul is ripped with riot,

Incited by my wicked diet.

We are what we eat, said a wise old man,

And Lord, if that’s true, I’m a garbage can!

I want to rise on Judgment Day, that’s plain,

But at my present weight, I’ll need a crane!

So grant me strength that I may not fall

Into the clutches of cholesterol.

May my flesh with carrot curls be sated

That my soul may be polyunsaturated.

And show me the light that I may bear witness

To the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

At oleomargarine I’ll never mutter,

For the road to hell is spread with butter.

And cake is cursed, and cream is awful,

And Satan is hiding in every waffle.

Mephistopheles lurks in provolone,

The devil is in each slice of bologna,

Beelzebub is a chocolate drop,

And Lucifer is a lollipop!

Give me this day my daily slice –

But cut it thin and toast it twice.
I beg upon my dimpled knees,

Deliver me from Jujubees.

And my when days of trial are done

And my war with malted milks is won,

Let me stand with the saints in heaven

In a shining robe – Size 37!

I can do it, Lord, if you’ll show to me

The virtues of lettuce and celery.

If you’ll teach me the evils of mayonnaise,

The sinfulness of hollandaise

And pasta a la milanese

And potatoes a la lyonaise

And crisp fried chicken from the south!

Lord, if you love me, SHUT MY MOUTH!

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