I spotted a trio of buzzards in the backyard. They looked like grumpy old men in black raincoats...a strange welcome back to the (waterlogged) Sunshine State after (an equally drizzly, yet chillier) weekend in Vermont. My family used to live in the green mountains before I was born. Whenever I dip my toes in Lake Champlain, I feel like I'm visiting a past life. I used to look for Champ, the lake monster, in the rise and swell of the water (which always reminded me of a snapping tarp). Giants snoozed on the horizon (or so I assumed in the slopes of Sugarbush). I picked raspberries and gobbled them until my fingers turned bloody with pulp. Even the air smelled different there: cool, dry breezes that seemed almost emerald-colored.

Now I'm back in teacher-mode, trying to balance my work responsibilities and the PR for my upcoming book release (Is it only months away?) The uber-cool ladies at Media Masters are mailing more galleys. Meanwhile, several bloggers have mentioned Total Constant Order in their early reviews. I am posting the links on my blog (under "books") with my usual compulsion to keep track of everything (for the record, I know none of the reviewers personally).

It's a tough job, reviewing. I should know. I worked as a film critic for eight years, emailing new material every Monday morning. The journalist in me still adores deadlines! In contrast, the book publishing world seems rather slow. When I look back and realize that I wrote the first draft of TCO almost four years ago, it feels like a lifetime.

When the reviewers talk about my characters, Fin and Thayer, it seems as if we're sharing a conversation about real people instead of imaginary friends. Check out the latest review at

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.

The post also mentions my interview with Little Willow, who was one of the first to grab a copy. I am so thankful for everyone who takes the time to review a book (especially with so many newspapers cutting back on their book sections). At least the Internet offers a kind of immediate interaction between reviewers and readers. When I was little, I used to send letters to my favorite authors (James P. Blaylock actually wrote back...on a postcard of a California beach). How many of you have sent emails to authors? Or a comment on MySpace?

This is the stuff I used to dream I sat on the pebbled boulders of Lake Champlain, reading about Ramona Quimby and wishing I could give the author a hug. Instead, I just hugged the book. You know the pages always smell good.