I released my first published book last week. After almost two years, this story about the wine country, love, and change made it out of my small world into the larger one. My reactions were, more than anything, tiredness and hesitation. I decided quickly to postpone coming to the States to introduce the book. Everyone I knew agreed, almost unanimously, that it was a good idea. The trip was to be too close to Christmas, it’s too much of a busy time. My Rome signing event got postponed until the spring for reasons beyond my control.
It felt strange. Since knowing the book was going to be published I assumed I would immediately fly somewhere and start promoting. Putting on the brakes made me pensive. Made me feel like I should be doing something – all jittery and anxious.
Because it’s so much easier to let panic take over and pretend you CAN control something rather than admitting the truth is exactly the opposite. Because if there are moments intended to reinforce our fragility and lack of control, this was one of them.
And then came a girl named Sandy.
There are so many emotions I want to convey here and I feel incapable of doing any of them justice – which makes me question myself as a writer. It feels decadent and wrong to introduce a book when the city I as born in, the city I love more than any other, was so assaulted and decimated and left hurting and struggling to move forward. It feels wrong to even be thinking about it. My mother had to leave her home this week. My friends in New York and New Jersey are suffering – either they’re trying to help friends and family or they need help themselves. Life is reduced to a rudimentary struggle in the heart of my home town.
It wasn’t completely lost on me that one of the sub story lines in my book has to do with a flood that ripped through Pennsylvania in 1955 and left dozens dead and thousands homeless. I felt overwhelmed by the emotions attached to the losses of that flood, the last truly devastating storm that Northeastern Pennsylvania has seen, as I watched with horror as Sandy ripped a sharp chisel through the entire area around the parts that flood Diane destroyed in 1955. It all felt like too much.
Then Amazon put my book on sale three days ago, and immediately classified it as out of stock. I went outside and yelled and cried. I felt helpless and worried, selfish and small. What right did I have to worry about my Amazon stock situation when people had just lost everything they have ever had? When people are dead and livelihoods are destroyed?
Yesterday, we drove into the wine country. I needed a break from the computer and Amazon and the storm and the destruction and the worry and confusion. And as we strolled through the medieval village of Serralunga d’Alba, with castle walls that soar into the air and cobblestones that will challenge any heel of height at all, I realized something.
It’s the perfect week to introduce a book.
Because doing it this week means I can make the release of True Vines a force for good.
First of all, I am going to give away an autographed copy of True Vines.
It will be sent to you with love from my hill in Bella Piemonte. Just comment on this blog post before November 17th to qualify to win.
Second, I am going to donate to ShelterBox USA and ask you to do the same.
Shelter Box is the organization that provides first-response temporary shelter for natural disaster zones, and is on the ground in New Jersey, Staten Island, and all the other areas hit by Sandy. It is an absolutely amazing organization. I’ve given money to Shelter Box for other disasters and think that they are one of the most important, relevant charities for disasters of this type. I’ll start with a $50.00 donation. If you donate, post it here! Let’s see how much this post can generate for Shelter Box. Share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or email it to friends.
True Vines is now available on Amazon (both in Kindle and paperback – they’re listed separately as of this post) and in paperback at Barnes and Noble (Nook is still not up, but should be shortly). If you have an iPad, download the Kindle app – it’s free and the best way to read books on the iPad. It’s still listed as out of stock at Amazon, but as people order it, Amazon will place the automatic orders in the system, and the books will arrive.
Thank you for your support. Let’s help New York and New Jersey together! And don’t forget to comment to win an autographed copy of True Vines.