October 27, 2009

Dear Friends,

I’m so hoping this finds you all happy and healthy and that you’ve avoided the kind of week I just endured. My middle son had a reaction to a chicken pox vaccine, which meant he came down with a mild case of chicken pox. Which meant the baby came down with a mild case of chicken pox – while teething, the poor little guy. I had approximately 58 work deadlines (fine, more like six, but I’m trolling for sympathy here), and I still had to hand-roll sushi with my oldest son for his class project on Japan. This perfect storm of domestic bliss coincided with my husband’s trip to Chicago for business. His timing is just impeccable, and I sweetly told him so when he called from his relaxing dinner with colleagues at a lovely restaurant. On the bright side, though, I probably taught all our neighbors a few new colorful words.

Now I’m coming up for air, and feeling very grateful that everyone is healthy, and that I’m managing to meet my deadlines, and that no one was poisoned by my sushi. It’s possible, however, that no one actually ate the sushi, since my presentation was, shall we say, a tad bit lacking.  This is in no way related to the fact that I had a sip onetwo glasses of Chardonnay after I realized I hadn’t made nearly enough rice and would need to cook another batch. Oh, and that it was supposed to be cucumber sushi and I’d forgotten to buy CUCUMBERS.  I searched my pantry and came up with possible substitutes: Vitamin gummy bear sushi? Wheaties sushi? Chocolate sus- no, I won’t go there. I can’t even joke about defiling chocolate in such a heartless manner.

Anyway, cucumbers were obtained, Tylenol was dispensed, magazine columns were written, and now I’m taking a deep breath for the first time in days. Things will improve; there is Halloween candy to be purchased! And to be purchased again, after I eat all of the candy well before Halloween!

Don’t you just love this time of year? And there is other fun news on the horizon; some bookstores like Barnes & Noble in Bethesda have scheduled me to do signings of The Opposite of Me when it is released in March, and I found out I’m going to be a speaker at the Virginia Festival of the Book (www.vabook.org) also in March. Last year John Grisham, Rita Dove and David Baldacci headlined the festival, so I’m feeling a little star-struck. Fair warning in case you come to a reading: If I get nervous about public speaking, I’m going to picture you all naked. So you might want to start working out.

Let’s see, what else… oh, Bethesda Magazine is going to excerpt part of my book for their March/April issue, and do you know what’s strange? I’ve been re-reading The Opposite of Me to find passages for the excerpt, and it feels completely surreal. Mr. Horror himself, Stephen King, once described the feeling of reading your own book as if it was written not by you, but by “a soul-twin.” And it’s true; some pages of my novel are very familiar to me, but I can’t actually remember writing them. Maybe it’s partly because my brain is so focused on the new novel I’m writing, and after all, there is only so much space inside my brain. (Go ahead, make a joke. No, really, I know you want to. I’ll wait).

In any case, I’m off to buy candy – best to stock up early in case of a shortage – but before I do, I want to send one of you an Atria book of your choice and some Godivas. The name my webmaster picked from random.org is Kristin T. from Everett, WA. Kristin, just contact me through the link via my website at www.sarahpekkanen.com to let me know which book you’d like.

Happy Halloween!



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