Today's the big day--the official release of my book, Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can't Afford Vodka. A year and a half of scribbling and editing; elation and discouragement; doubt and confidence; and now it's done ...sort of. Writing the book is the easy part. Marketing and promoting it takes about ten times more energy, but I'm thinking about that now. No. I'm thinking of something else: perspective and gratitude.
This morning, Allie walked up to my desk and said, "I'm the luckiest girl in the whole second grade. I'm a older sister. I'm a younger [step]sister. Aaaand I'm in a book."
Hearing her say that so sincerely put things in perspective for me, and it made me tear up. Without her, Avery, Noah, Harrison, Sawyer, and my dear wife Ashley, none of this would have happened. None of it. I'm the luckiest dad in the world because I have a family that made a major dream in my life come true. They have supported (and endured) me for a long time while never wavering in their enthusiasm. (The picture below was drawn by Avery for me to have as a bookmark.) Even today, both the girls are wearing Sugar Milk t-shirts and little badges to school today in celebration of my accomplishment. I didn't even ask them to (but I coached the hell out of them on giving a sales pitch to their teachers).
My sons have been supportive too, expressing their excitement over every mention of the book in magazines, papers and the radio. They think it very cool, and are heavily involved in my next book project, providing input on how they would solve ghost mysteries at their age. (It's a young adult novel series focused on three little brothers, but that's all I can reveal at the moment.) Next week I get to see them for Spring Break and they are accompanying me as I do some research for the book.
But if there's anyone that's endured more than the rest, it's my wife Ashley. She has read, re-read, and then re-read every version of Sugar Milk's manuscript to the point she won't even pour a bowl of corn flakes for breakfast. She has had to put up with my frustration induced bad moods. She has had to keep me focused on the task, and most grueling of all, she has had to go to a job day in and day out while I sat at home pounding this thing out. I am not an easy person to live with sometimes, yet Ashley has extended a grace to me that I can never repay. All I can say is, "I love you honey. You made this happen. The circumstances have been no picnic, but with you my life has meaning. Thank you."
And while I'm doling out the thank you's, I'd also like to express my sincere gratitude to the many readers who continue to come back and read my drivel, and to all my blogging friends who have done the same even though I do a lousy job of keeping up with your blogs. Many of you have posted links and marred up you site layouts with Sugar Milk badges. You've purchased the book already and said many kind things. Without your support, I just be a guy with several hundred copies of a book I couldn't give away at a methadone clinic. Instead, you've been more than instrumental in helping to achieve a goal of exceeding 500 sold copies prior to release (almost there). Thank you.
Speaking of which, one of the biggest supporters of Sugar Milk has been John Cave Osborne, author of Tales From the Trips: How Three Babies Turned Our World Upside Down. Today he's running Part 1 of his interview with me on his site. Please stop by; the man asks good questions.
Later today I'm going to hit some bookstores to see where it's at. I've been told it's in "limited distribution," meaning some stores will have it and some won't--not till I hit the 500 sales mark anyway (which I think I'm close to). So, if you're walk in and don't see a copy, you may have to order it. A couple independent stores I'd like to give a shout out to are Tattered Corners in my hometown of Meadville, Pa and to Katy Discount Books in west Houston, both of which will be sponsoring book signings. Keep following here at the official website SugarMilkBook.com for details on these and other events.
Before I sign off, let me say one more time, thank you ...and if you haven't purchased a copy yet, I'll toot my horn and tell you it's worth the read--that and it's only $11.50 at amazon.com. Go get a glass and con a friend into doing the same.