A box the size of pony is perched beside my bed. It's crammed with advanced reading copies of Total Constant Order. When I peek inside, I see my cover multiplied like looking through a kaleidoscope. Before I can send them out into the world, I'm waiting for HarperCollins to give me the green light. The publicity people are making a list and checking it twice, just in case we have duplicates of the same potential readers (think: websites that deal with YA literature, a smattering of libraries and bloggers in cyberspace). I feel like I'm standing in the wings, stricken with stage fright. My characters don't belong to me anymore. They're about to leave kids going off to school. I finally finished my Dear Reviewer letter. Like most authors, I don't like talking about myself. I'd rather write in character. But Julie insisted that this was a way to "introduce myself" because I'm still a nobody in the big bad book world. So I had to sit down and explain why I wrote the book, the connection to my own struggles with OCD, and cram it into a single non-boring page. Not an easy task!

Next week I'm flying to New York for a publicity meeting with my Harper peeps. I'm also swinging by my agent's office at ICM. Kate was kind enough to comb through my new novel (aka The Prague book) and point out a few continuity issues. This time, I'm going to mark my changes on certain page numbers so she doesn't have to read the whole thing again. We're getting close!

It's the right time to vacate the tropics. Too many Spring Break goons are descending on South Florida. They'll hover around exhaust-clogged South Beach (our equivalent to Times island, after all...not even the same city as Miami) and bake in the sand, surrounded by jellyfish washed up like Ziploc bags. But will they ever cruise through the Everglades on an airboat? Or kiss a vanilla orchid in the middle of Vizcaya's garden maze? Or dance to Dj-sampled booty bass in a refurbished pawnshop downtown? I don't think so. And that's a shame.

Time to get back to work. As I tell my crazy students: Writing is Rewriting. Isn't that the truth?

PS: If anyone wants to hang out in New York next week, give me a holler.