The Ides of March, aka Three Weeks to Book Launch

It’s the Ides of March, the day Julius Caesar was assassinated and the day I give my six-month Deb check-in. Beware!

So, what’s going on in my life these days?

Camera made of cookies
“Cameras” for the Girl Scout troop working on the digital photography badge

On no sugar: Utter failure. I made it three weeks before having to make “cameras” for my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. It wasn’t the graham crackers nor the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups nor the Hershey’s that did me in. No, it was the “glue,” the chocolate frosting I used to stick the pieces down that I couldn’t resist and yesterday morning, in a haze of deadlines, I scooped up huge spoonfuls of the stuff and gorged on the sweet piece of heaven. No sugar starts again today. Or perhaps tomorrow. Okay, soon. We’ll stick with “soon.”

On sick kids and smoke alarms: The husband is back in town, so therefore there have been no electrical mishaps, no sick kids, and most gratefully, clean laundry once again.

On the school literary journal: Production has been delayed due to good weather. I received a call from the 5th grade right before our last meeting was scheduled. My daughter: “Ms. Connor says she thinks there will be a riot if kids have to go to literary journal instead of recess.” Indeed it was a gorgeous day (the warmest on record for the Boston area), so kids played outside.

Let’s see. What else can I update you with? I feel like something else is going on. Oh, yes. That’s right. I’M THREE WEEKS OUT FROM MY PUB DATE!

Minor stuff really. I’m not hyperventilating. I’m not a deer in the headlights, trying to get it all done. I’m not a total basket case wondering what the hell else I’m supposed to be doing.

Yeah, right.

MODERN GIRLS by Jennifer S. BrownLuckily my friends are all supportive. The other Debs are instrumental in telling me when to go to my bourbon… and when to put my bourbon down and get back to work. The folks I’ve met on Twitter give me encouragement like you wouldn’t believe. My writer friend, Judy Batalion, just sent me an e-mail reminding me to “BREATHE!” I would if I could remember what that is. So, what’s my book update?

On books: I have seen final copies of the book… elsewhere! I know books will be coming my way soon, but imagine my shock when I Googled myself (yes, I Google myself! Yes, daily! I won’t admit to any more than that) and saw my finished book in a stack with other books. It’s real, people!

On publicity writing: I created a slew of article pitches for my publicist to send off into the world, and now I’m getting e-mails such as “This site is interested in this piece. Is there a draft ready?” Um, no. But there will be in 24 hours. I’m writing all sorts of articles for all sorts of sites/publications, and it’s great fun, but a lot and I’m doing a juggling act with all my writing.

On events: Events are being scheduled! My next step is to go through my book (my not-finished-copy of the book) and decide what I’m reading and what I’ll be talking about at each event. The events I have confirmed in the near future so far are:

  • April 6–Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
  • May 10–Eldridge Street Synagogue Museum (with Lynda Cohen Loigman), New York, NY
  • May 11–Brookline Booksmith (with Lynda Cohen Loigman), Brookline, MA
  • May 15–Jewish Museum, Baltimore, MD
  • June 23–Harvard Bookstore (with Marian Stanley), Cambridge, MA

I will post more events as I schedule them on my website.

On book clubs: Super excited that I already have three in-person book club visits scheduled and one Skype visit (with a group in Japan). Do you have a book club? I would love to visit either in person or via Skype. Just let me know and we can schedule it.

On reviews: Getting reviews is so exciting. Or perhaps that’s easy to say because–knock on wood–so far I’m doing okay. Kirkus liked it, and the readers who have gotten it from the Penguin’s First to Read program have had pretty positive things to say. You can add the book to your “want to read” list and see what folks are saying so far on Goodreads.

On the next novel: I’ve sent my agent the first 90 pages of the next novel I’m working on. I’m happy to report–the third revision around–she loved it. As soon as I’m done with all this other writing, I will continue with this novel, which I’m super excited about. I don’t want to reveal too much yet, but I will say it involves an orphanage, speakeasies, and complicated family relationships. Oh, and yes, it’s another New York historical, this time spanning 1919 to early 1930s.

So that’s where I stand, six months as a Deb, three weeks to launch. Oversugared, overwhelmed, and overjoyed. And it’ll only amplify from here. Beware. The Ides of March has come… but not gone.

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Jennifer S. Brown is the author of MODERN GIRLS (NAL/Penguin). The novel, set in 1935 in the Lower East Side of New York, is about a Russian-born Jewish mother and her American-born unmarried daughter. Each discovers that she is expecting, although the pregnancies are unplanned and unwanted, in this story about women’s roles, standards, and choices, set against the backdrop of the impending war. Learn more at www.jennifersbrown.com.

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This article has 2 Comments

    1. Feels both so long ago and just like yesterday that I was saying to the kids, “You can’t tell anyone yet… but my book is going to be published!” Hope I can actually be of help to you Debs (and other writers out there!) coming after me.

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