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on second chances and free books!

September 30th, 2009

So a couple days ago was the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, a holiday that never fails to confuse non-Jews who know it’s a holiday but seem to get it’s not a happy one. As in, you don’t say “Happy Yom Kippur!” Yom Kippur is a day of atonement. It’s a day you contemplate all the bad stuff you did the year before and say sorry for it and wipe the slate clean for the next year. Then you can start screwing up all over again. Also, you don’t eat all day. Fun!

Yom Kippur is the day you get to sort of say Do Over! Or to me, it’s the day I get to say Do Better! It’s a day for thinking about being the gleaming perfect person I want to be, as opposed to the fallible person I am. Anyhow, this Yom Kippur was also about a fall cleaning because we spent the day rearranging the apartment so that Denbele and Willa now sleep separately and clearing a space in the hallway for Willa to have her own “office area,” (which is more than I have, btw). It was during this major crap-move and purge that I discovered a box of unopened paperback Sisters in Sanity books.

That this book exists in paperback is testament to the power of second chances. As I might have mentioned, when Sisters was released, it came out to this                                                       . By which I mean the resounding sound of nothing. It sold about 12 copies. To my relatives. A few months after its release a friend asked me how the book was doing and I told him, “lousy.” I explained how hard it was for any book to break through and this friend, who was in publishing, albeit underground indie-fringe publishing, said how sorry he was for  and how bitter I must be. I told him that I decided that I could feel bitter but that I’d decided to just be grateful that I had published a novel and was making a living as a writer and that maybe one day I’d have another book do well and Sisters would get another chance. Ahh. See. That was a moment of me being that better person I always tell myself I’ll be on Yom Kippur. I wish I could say I am like this always, but alas, that kind of Zen optimism and letting go takes so much effort for a worrywart like me.

So, you can see where this is going. Sisters in Sanity was headed for the graveyard (or, in publishing speak: remaindering) but when If I Stay started to get some attention, my old publisher decided to give Sisters a…second chance and put out a paperback edition. And it’s not like that book has suddenly become a huge hit. But lately something strange has been happening. I did a bookstore reading for If I Stay a few weeks ago  and a couple of readers wanted to buy Sisters but it was sold out! Three of my foreign publishers are now publishing Sisters! And last week, I bumped into a neighbor and she said “I’m reading your book.” And I said, “Oh, cool.” And she said, “I’m at the part where V…” and it took me a second to realize she was referring to V, one of the characters in Sisters.

So, in honor of fresh starts and second chances and the fact that I found a box of 20 books I didn’t know I had, I’m giving away 5 signed copies of Sisters in Sanity to the first readers who comment on this blog with some tale of their own second chances.

  1. G’mar chatimah tovah! Belated :\
    I spent the day cleaning. My husband moped around all day. It’s always a mopey day for him. He spends a lot of time on the porch alone. When the sun goes down and the dinner goes on the table, he’s a happy camper.

    So, second chances. I don’t have any great stories to tell yet, but I suppose I’m working on one. My father was pretty wild in his younger years and as it turns out, I have a half sister about six years older than me. I’ve known about her for as long as I can remember. My parents have been divorced since I was about three years old but I keep in touch with my father, I always have. He and I have a pretty good relationship, but I can’t say the same for my sister. There were times when he wanted to see her, but her mother wouldn’t allow it. My father left her mother and more or less abandoned her and her mother didn’t want her to be hurt by him, so she severed all contact.
    Nearly thirty years later, I found her. The internet is a wonderful thing! Of course, she had no idea I existed so she was a little shocked and I dealt with her crazy Canadian relatives telling me I wasn’t who I said I was. After about three days of harassing emails from people she doesn’t even talk too, I finally got down to speaking with her via email. It’s wonderful!
    I wasn’t sure if or when to tell me dad, but I decided to yesterday. I called him up and said, “Dad, I found Maggie.” and he cried. In all my life, I’ve only seen him cry once, and that was three months ago when he met my husband and my children for the first time.
    He gathered himself together and we talked. I told him what she looks like (she sent me pictures) and I told him where she is and where she works, her family status etc. I think I really made my father a happy man. That’s saying something.
    He’s not the man he was then and he has a lot of regrets. There are many things he needs to make amends for and I know my sister is at the top of that list. It’s obvious that she doesn’t have any intention of speaking to him at this time, but I’m hoping that she’ll give him a much needed second chance.

  2. My greatest second chance came with my husband. We were 15 when we met, and at 16 he was my very first boyfriend. Although we broke up about a year later, we remained friends, and I always loved him. Right after I graduated college we met for coffee, he asked me on a date for that evening, and from there on out we knew that this was it – and are now happily married! Best second chance I could have asked for.

    Thanks for the contest – I absolutely adored “If I Stay” and look forward to reading a lot more from you!

    -Chrissie

  3. I lost touch with a very dear friend 10 years ago. I don’t know why, really. A stupid disagreement. But I thought about him often and would search for him online. I sent cards to his last known mailing address. I never had luck. Then, about two months ago, a friend of mine said, “I have his address! Here it is.” We’ve been in touch ever since, catching up on the last 10 years. We’ve apologized. We’ve forgiven. It’s like we never lost touch. One of my greatest joys is going to the mailbox and finding his letters. I’m so happy I have to have a second chance at friendship!

  4. I love horses, always have. Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted one to be mine. When I was nine years old, I started riding at a stable around twenty miles from my house. One day, they put me on a horse named Ranger. He proceeded to buck me off. That was the first time I’d ever fallen off of any horse. Thankfully nothing was hurt but my pride. I spent the next few months riding various horses, then one day my trainer said she wanted to put me on Ranger again. I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it, but I did. I fell in love with him. Now, he’s mine, and my dream of owning a horse has finally come true. I’ll always be thankful that Ranger and I got a second chance.

  5. These are just such great stories! So much better than My Book Came Out In Paperback! I”m so glad I posted this blog just to solicit these beautiful tales. Keep em coming! Please!

  6. Facebook! my husband’s ex-GF, who um he was not fully broken up with when we got together, friended me on Facebook recently and told me she forgave me. It’s been 13 years since all that stuff went down, but it all had to have sucked for her in a big way at the time, and it was not exactly a shining moment for me. It was such a generous gesture on her part.

  7. :( I am not part of the five ones :(. But I’ll write a second chance anyway :). (I screwed up with people so many times that I can’t think about one xD). Humm, when I was around 12, I used to read my older sister’s journal because she was getting in her teens and we didn’t talk as we used to. I got caught up on her bed reading it when she came in. She started yelling at me and everything, but after an hour or so, she came back to me and told me that it was ok and that she probably would had done the same…(thats why I never had a diary..)
    Bea

  8. this is awesome! i got and read if i stay so quickly when it first came out, that i just immediately went and ordered sisters right after because i wanted to read more of your stuff. i had no idea that the book had this amazing little story behind it and, although i loved it, that makes me love it even more! :)

  9. Lets just hope UK are going to publish Sisters! Ruthx

  10. it’s my first time to read a book without pictures (my mother also told me that)
    I dont know why I bought your book in the book store, it attracts me, maybe because Im also a teenager who sometimes got misunderstood. I really like the story, this triggers me to read and read other books, Im a fan of yours.God bless.

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