One year ago, my book hit the shelves and I held my breath.

On that day, I didn't sip champagne. Instead, I drove around New England with my Uncle Lou and Aunt Helen (who just happened to be celebrating their wedding anniversary) and made a pitstop at every indie bookstore within driving distance of Turners Falls.

I won't forget it.

This year, I'm toasting the day with cupcakes and candles. I'm thankful for all the good reviews (including the VOYA star...and I remember when I first heard the news in a hotel room, while gulping take-out spaghetti leftovers, picnic-style, on the floor, during a book tour that swept from Miami to the Midwest, north, south, and all the way to Cali). I'm still blushing about the Miami medal and the New York Public Library list...because both cities feel like home to me.

Now I'm churning out new pages and wondering what's around the corner. Surprises have a way of showing up on your doorstep...like my tiger-striped kitten, Willa, (who likes to play fetch with her toys).

I'm still holding my breath. But this time, I'm going to blow out the candle.