I was sitting in Battenkill Books with Connie Brooks yesterday afternoon, signing boxes and boxes of "Dancing Dogs," and Connie and I turned to one another at almost the same time and said the same thing: if we are signing and selling so many books, how come we don't have any money? We sure felt successful, even if our bank accounts suggested otherwise. We both cracked up at the same time, and then said the same thing again: "but we are happy!" So we are. This is the writer's life and the booksellers, I think, so lucky to be doing what we love and yet always chasing the realities of life, like everyone else.
"Dancing Dogs" is my 22nd book, and I am very proud of it. It is a collection of 16 short stories that seek to capture the emotional attachment between people and the animals they love, especially their dogs. Some of the stories are funny, some sad, some surprising and tricky. Most are about dogs, one about a barn cats, one or two with other animals snuck in. A different book, new perspectives, surprise endings. Be careful when you read it. Some of the early online reviewers are a bit apoplectic that the cover is cuter than the book and this is perhaps true. I hope some of the stories will make you cry, as I cried when I wrote them, as this is the nature of life and while the book celebrates our love of animals, it also, hopefully, challenges you to think about that love as well as enjoy and experience it.
Every writer I know – surely including me – thinks of every new book as the "big" book, the "breakthrough" book, the one that will end all of the struggle with money and position for good, will etch his or her place in literary history. The "big" book, I have come to see, is en ephemera, another rescue fantasy. I don't think in those terms much any longer, and that is healthy. My wish for "Dancing Dogs" is that it touches people, makes them laugh, smile, cry, think. From the lovely reviews, off to a good start. And perhaps if I don't expect it to be a "big" book, it just might be. Hope springs eternal.
Tonight, I will celebrate publication of "Dancing Dogs" at Battenkill Books, Cambridge, N.Y., 7 p.m. Red and Lenore are coming, Maria too. Saturday I'll be reading and signing (and talking) at Northshire Books, Manchester Center, Vt. We'll also mark the publication of my second children's book, "Lenore Finds A Friend." If you order any of my books from Battenkill, you will also get a free signed Bedlam Farm Notecard and I will sign and personalize the book. Connie will ship it anywhere in the world and she takes PayPal. She is also wonderful. You can call the store at 518 677-2515 or go on her website.
Every publication date is a joyous day for me, an affirmation of my life. Every book reminds me as my angels peer over my shoulder, that I am the luckiest person alive to be a writer as my words sparkle, my heart beats, my blood flows. I hope you like "Dancing Dogs: Stories." It is, after all, written for you.