Danielle

Danielle Stockley is an Associate Editor at Ace and Roc Books. You can find her opinions about books and science and stuff on Twitter @D_Stockley.

 

 

 

 

 

The Golden City, by J. Kathleen Cheney

The Golden City, by J. Kathleen Cheney

If you like historical mysteries, if you like romantic fantasy, even if you just like rich, detailed storytelling, then check out The Golden City. Set in Portugal at the turn of the last century, it tells the story of Oriana Paredes, a siren and spy living in a country that has banned her people from setting foot on its shores. Her search to find a murderer will set Oriana in the path of police consultant Duilio Ferreira, a man whose family is hiding a secret of its own. Find out why Library Journal named this one of the best five science fiction/fantasy books of 2013.

 

 

 

The Grim Company by Luke Scull

The Grim Company, by Luke Scull

The Grim Company manages the neat trick of dropping a group of mostly despicable stock fantasy characters into the middle of a war where entire city populations are merely collateral damage, with the end result being a lot of fun. As well as copious amounts of gore. Author Luke Scull isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. Instead, he takes all the wheel’s best features (So round! What spokes!)  and then pushes said wheel downhill at breakneck speed directly toward a cliff.

 

 

 

Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds

Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds

The universe is big. Really, really big. And also very old. No one does a better job if instilling these facts in a reader than Alastair Reynolds in Revelation Space.  Imagine investigating a culture that disappeared 900,000 years in the past, or trying to coordinate a mission when your most recent information is thirty years old and it will take you another sixty to travel to your ultimate destination. Then also imagine some amazingly cool weapons systems and a menacing threat to all humanity and you’ve got this first book of Reynolds’ Revelation Space series. Fun fact: while you and I have frittered away our lives, Mr. Reynolds found the time to become an author and an astrophysicist.

 

The Necromancer’s House, by Christopher Buehlman

The Necromancer’s House, by Christopher Buehlman

If I told you that The Necromancer’s House was about a wizard living in modern-day New York you might stop me and say you’ve heard this sort of thing before. But you haven’t. Andrew may be a wizard, but he’s also a recovering alcoholic hamstrung by his own vanity, and he lives in New York, upstate, where life is relatively quiet. Usually. But something Andrew did in the past is working its way back toward him and the people he cares about, one extremely violent act at a time.  This is a story about deeply flawed people that features a truly unique magic system and owes as much to horror as it does to contemporary fantasy. Fans of both should enjoy it.

 

 

Blood Oranges by Caitlin R. Kiernan writing as Kathleen Tierney

Blood Oranges, by Caitlin R. Kiernan writing as Kathleen Tierney

Utterly profane, unflinchingly honest, and undeniably funny are how I would best describe this sardonic twist on urban fantasy.  Don’t-you-dare-ever-call-me-Siobhan Quinn was just your average street junky until the day she was bitten by a werewolf and a vampire in the same night. Now the doubly-gifted (or twice-damned) Quinn is trying to track down who set her up. If only she could stop eating the suspects. Expect to be offended and entertained in equal measures

 

 

 

Find more books on the Science Fiction / Fantasy page!

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Elda

Elda Rotor is the Associate Publisher and Editorial Director for Penguin Classics.  When she’s not overseeing the US Classics editorial program, she’s helping you memorize Yeats on your smartphone.

 

 

 

Five Children and It, by E. Nesbit

Five Children and It, by E. Nesbit

If you were granted a wish that lasted through sunset, what would you wish for?  A timeless and tempting proposition here, played out in Nesbit’s charming story of five siblings and the adventure and chaos that ensues. The Penguin Classics Drop Cap edition with Jessica Hische’s whimsical sand-fairy N casts a spell on any reader.

 

 

 

 

The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson

For a proper spooky tale, you can’t go wrong with Jackson. This is best-read in bed with a flashlight in a big old house. The creakier, the better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Persuasion, by Jane Austen

Persuasion, by Jane Austen

It’s true what they say about reading classics at different ages and the changes in one’s reading experience.  Persuasion is one of my favorite Austens, with its deep reflection on love, longing and loss. All I can say is: we should all get back to letter-writing.

 

 

 

 

 

The Portable Thoreau, by Henry David Thoreau

Portable Thoreau                

While we await the new Portable Emerson edited by Jeff Cramer later this year, we can dip into its perfect Portable companion for the writings of Thoreau, who is probably the #1 most mentioned author that inspires Classics intern interviewees.  Walden & Co. continue to speak to the post-grad set and the rest of us.

 

 

 

 

The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry

The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry

Aside from the Penguin Classics Annotated Listing, this is the book I refer to most frequently and from which I gain so much. Edited by Rita Dove, these are the contemporary voices of America, with poems as diverse, dynamic, explosive, energized, meditative, haunting, and beautiful as our lives can be.

 

 

 

 

An Organizer's Tale, by Cesar Chavez

An Organizer’s Tale:  Speeches, by Cesar Chavez

After returning from Salinas, CA where we celebrated the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath at the Steinbeck Festival, I’m drawn to rereading Cesar Chavez’s historic speeches chronicling his civil rights leadership in support of fair wages, benefits, and humane working conditions for thousands of farm workers.  Powerful, relevant, and timely still.

 

 

 

 

Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse

These days, it’s all about mindfulness, and Siddhartha’s journey is a personal favorite of several Penguin colleagues. To be in this world gladly, each finds her own path, and this is a wonderful guide.

 

 

 

 

 

Find more books on the Penguin Classics page!

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Laura

Laura Perciasepe is an Editor at Riverhead Books. She acquires and edits a wide range of literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, and works in translation. Originally from Baltimore, she now lives in Brooklyn.

 

 

 

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid

I cried at the end of this book so you know it’s good. This is Gatsby-ish in its scope; the tale of a young impoverished boy in an unnamed Asian city, on the rise, of course. There’s a love story, a story of success and failure, a family story, all bound up in this remarkable journey, both intimate and universal. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s short yet packs an unbelievable punch.

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Things Falling, by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

The Sound of Things Falling, by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

I know this word is over-used in describing good books, but this book is truly stunning. A work in translation that has won accolades across the globe, this novel begins with a hippo escaped from a Colombian drug lord’s derelict zoo and doesn’t let up from there. It’s a page turner, a monumental story of politics and family, love and violence.

 

 

 

 

Juliet, Naked, by Nick Hornby

Juliet, Naked, by Nick Hornby

I love all of Nick Hornby’s books but this recent one has a special place in my heart. It’s classic Hornby, full of complicated relationships, humor, sweetness and sadness, and music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vacationers, by Emma Straub

The Vacationers, by Emma Straub

This is the book I’ll be recommending all summer and I only regret that I read it myself before beach season! Emma Straub takes us on a trip to Mallorjca with a New York family that feels very familiar in its dysfunctions and in its bonds. It’s a keenly observed story with heart (that also looks great on your Instagram with its vibrant cover).

 

 

 

 

Margot, by Jillian Cantor

Margot, by Jillian Cantor

This is a what-if story about Anne Frank’s sister Margot, if she had escaped the war and come to America, living here in the 1950s as her sister became a cultural icon of hope. A psychologically sophisticated novel about sisters, memory, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive – this book became a house favorite at Penguin and it’s un-put-downable (that’s a real book publishing term, promise!).

 

 

 

 

The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano

The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano

This is another book in translation that I couldn’t recommend more – a completely unique voice and love story that transfixed me when I read it and has stayed with me long after. It’s about two Italian teenage misfits, the mathematics of humanity, recovery from trauma, and love.

 

 

 

 

 

Find more books on the Literary Fiction page!

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Eliza

Eliza Rosenberry is a Publicist at Blue Rider Press where she began her career in 2012. Originally from Massachusetts, she graduated from Northeastern University with a BA in English. She can be found wherever books and snacks are available.

 

 

 

This Town, by Mark Leibovich

This Town by Mark Leibovich

I love opening an issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine and seeing a new piece by Mark Leibovich. He’s the magazine’s Chief National Correspondent and writes sharp, critical, and thoughtful profiles of political figures (many of these profiles will be collected in his upcoming book Citizens of the Green Room - stay tuned!). This Town, which we published last summer in hardcover and this year in paperback, is an insider-y take on everything that’s wrong with Washington D.C.: in a nutshell, that the politicians, lobbyists, and media in our nation’s capital are way too friendly with each other. Mark is a hilarious writer and even though it paints a pretty depressing picture, This Town is so much fun to read. And the paperback edition has a new afterword, with updates on the Post-#ThisTown era.

Love & War

Love & War by James Carville and Mary Matalin

James Carville is a Democrat and Mary Matalin is a Republican, and they’re political consultants, and they’re married. I would have a hard enough time dating someone who didn’t like the same TV shows as me, let alone such a fundamental difference as political beliefs — especially when it’s also your career. But James and Mary have somehow made it work, and they speak candidly about their twenty years of marriage in Love & War. They also write about returning to Louisiana (where James is from) after Hurricane Katrina and working to rebuild the city of New Orleans — those passages are my favorite.

 

 

The Last Magazine, by Michael Hastings

The Last Magazine by Michael Hastings (on sale 6/17/14)

The Operators, Michael Hastings’s book about General Stanley McChrystal and the war in Afghanistan, was published on January 5, 2012. I remember because it was my third day as an assistant at Blue Rider Press and Michael was the first author I’d ever worked with. He was most famous for getting McChrystal fired with a Rolling Stone profile; his reporting was refreshing, exciting, and brave. But Michael died tragically in a car accident a year ago, and it was a shock for all of us who had read his writing, experienced his talent and energy, and anticipated a long and prolific career. The Last Magazine is Michael’s debut novel, discovered in his files after his death: a hilariously funny account of a young journalist in the early 2000s trying to find his footing in a changing media landscape, and informed by Michael’s own experiences. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to read a new piece of his writing, this time fiction – but still with Michael’s signature insight, humor, and perspective.

 

Blowback, by Valerie Plame and Sarah LovettBurned, by Valerie Plame and Sarah Lovett

Blowback and Burned (10/21/14) by Valerie Plame

Valerie Plame is a former covert CIA operative whose identity was exposed (and her career was therefore ended) by the Bush administration. After writing a memoir, appearing often as a CIA expert on TV and on speaking tours, and moving her family out to New Mexico, Valerie is now writing a spy thriller series. Co-written with Sarah Lovett, BLOWBACK and BURNED star Vanessa Piersen, a covert CIA operative who travels the world and focuses on anti-nuclear proliferation, keeping her assets safe, and having secret affairs with other agents. Valerie is incredibly smart and charming, and her professional expertise is on every page of these books.

Acid Test LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal, by Tom Shroder

Acid Test by Tom Shroder (on sale 9/9/14)

Ever since this book was presented at our launch meeting last year, I’ve been itching to get my hands on a galley. Journalist Tom Shroder has written a history of psychedelics, and how the drug MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy) has been used to effectively treat PTSD, especially in returning military personnel. I had no idea (until this book) that more than 500,000 veterans suffer from PTSD.  Shroder’s reporting is phenomenal and his sources — including a veteran whose PTSD is under control thanks to MDMA therapy — are fascinating.  If weed was the big drug story of 2013, this book could do the same for psychedelics in 2014. And it doesn’t hurt that the cover is awesome.

 

Find more books on the Current Events & History page!

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Jess

Jess Renheim is an Associate Editor at Dutton. She graduated from Middlebury College and lives in Brooklyn with her husband, who is patiently trying to teach her Swedish.

 

 

 

 

The Keeper of Lost Causes, by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

I have a soft spot for Scandinavian crime fiction, and Jussi Adler-Olsen is one of my favorites to emerge from the increasingly popular genre. His first Department Q novel, The Keeper of Lost Causes, has a propulsive, expertly crafted plot involving one of Copenhagen’s coldest cases, but what distinguishes the series for me is Adler-Olsen’s dark humor and memorable cast of characters, particularly Detective Carl Mørck’s assiduous and quirky sidekick Assad.

 

 

 

The Secret Place, by Tana French

The Secret Place by Tana French

The fifth Dublin Murder Squad novel by Tana French certainly doesn’t disappoint. I am continually amazed by French’s ability to deliver an engrossing, clever mystery plot and the kind of nuanced, astonishing characters and powerful relationships in which I can’t help but feel deeply invested. Detective Stephen Moran, last seen in Faithful Place, takes center stage here alongside Det. Antoinette Conway, a pariah in the Murder Squad, as the two attempt to unravel the secrets and relationships amongst two rival groups of teenage girls at a private boarding school.

 

 

Fear Nothing, by Lisa Gardner

Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner

It’s easy to see why Lisa Gardner has been called “the master of the psychological thriller” after reading Fear Nothing.  Joining Detective D.D. Warren at the center of this dark, riveting novel are two sisters: Dr. Adeline Glen, a psychiatrist specializing in pain management yet born with a congenital insensitivity to pain; and Shana Day, a notorious murderer who first killed at fourteen and has been incarcerated ever since. Connected by a terrible legacy, Adeline and Shana Day are compelling female characters with emotional resonance, and their shared past hurtles them—and the reader—forward to the novel’s shocking conclusion.

 

 

Lexicon, by Max Barry

Lexicon by Max Barry

I loved this incredibly inventive, mind-bending thriller about a secret society devoted to exploiting the power of words. A shadowy organization known as the Poets trains promising young candidates to control people’s minds and to wield words as weapons. With rich dialogue, sympathetic characters, and sustained suspense, Lexicon is a highly entertaining, fast-paced read.

 

 

 

 

The Wicked Girls, by Alex Marwood

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Dark, thought-provoking, and chilling, The Wicked Girls is a psychological suspense thriller that intersperses a contemporary serial-killer storyline with the accounts of two eleven-year old girls—now grown and rehabilitated—who were convicted of murdering a toddler in 1986. Filled with clever plot twists and anchored by two complex, believably drawn female protagonists, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

 

 

 

 

Find more books on the Mystery & Suspense page!

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The Vacationers, by Emma Straub

 

Emma Straub, is the author of Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures. Her latest, newly released book The Vacationers, is novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca. Emma shares some of her favorite vacation book recommendations to kick off your summer. What is on your summer reading list?

9781594632341H

 

The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer

Because summer camp is the greatest, and Wolitzer is one of our national treasures.

9781590172254

 

Enchanted April, by Elizabeth Von Arnim

Because it’s fun to hang out with grumpy British ladies on vacation in Italy!

 

9780307743954

 

 

Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead

Because rich people have problems too! Will make you want a lobster roll.

9780307455161

 

Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead

Because it’s hard to be a nerdy teenage boy. Will make you want a ice cream cone.

 

9780307277343

 

The Great Man, by Kate Christensen

Because not all vacation books need to be about vacations. Sometimes they can be hilarious and wise books about old people.

 

 


photo 2I don’t publish a lot of fiction, so when I do, I want it to be extraordinary: surprising,  engrossing, memorable – in short, a special book you’ll remember long after you’re doing reading it. Sundance by David Fuller is all of that – and much more.

Sundance is the story of Harry Longbaugh, a bank robber in the early 20th century better known to the world as the Sundance Kid. Legend has it that Sundance was killed with his partner in crime, Butch Cassidy, in a gun battle in Bolivia in 1908. Sundance imagines a different scenario. Instead of dying in South America, Harry was imprisoned in Wyoming under his real name and is released in 1913 with one goal in mind: To find his wife, Etta, who stopped visiting him in jail several years before.

9781594632457H

Harry’s search for Etta leads him from the stark emptiness of the Old West to the bustling chaos of New York City at a time when cultures and classes were clashing. From suffragette protests to the rise of the Black Hand to the digging of the New York City subway system, New York was a place of dizzying change – and unexpected danger.

Sundance is equal parts historical novel, literary thriller, and rollicking adventure story, and it calls to mind books as varied as The AlienistThe Death Instinct, and the novels of C.J. Box and Larry McMurtry.  The author, David Fuller, is both a talented writer and a wonderful storyteller, and he brings his characters to vivid life in the pages of this terrific novel.

Start Reading and excerpt from Sundance.

Read Sundance author David Fuller’s essay on the wife of “The Sundance Kid” and discover more new westerns.


9781592408177MOn the afternoon of June 8, 2005, a librarian at Yale University Library was shocked to discover an X-acto knife blade on the floor of the reading room. Library staff traced it to a bespectacled, silver-haired dealer in antiquarian maps who was looking at rare books and atlases that day. When he was followed out of the library, E. Forbes Smiley III was found to have four maps stolen from the books he looked at there. After an FBI investigation, Smiley eventually admitted to stealing 97 maps worth more than $3 million from libraries around the country. The question is, Why did he do it? That’s the question I set out to explore in my new book, The Map Thief, published by Gotham Books this week. Along the way, I discovered many new facts about the case, and about maps themselves. Here are five:

1) Maps are much easier to steal than art

Works of art are generally one-of-a-kind pieces that hang in museums where everyone knows where they are. It’s hard enough for thieves to break and in and try and steal one; but it’s even harder for them to try and sell it. For that reason, most art thieves are apprehended soon after their crimes—or else, the art goes underground for decades. Rare maps, meanwhile, may be printed in thousands of copies—of which a dozen or even a hundred may have survived over the centuries. Most of those copies exist in libraries, contained in books or in folders full of similar maps that are often poorly catalogued and sometimes poorly guarded. Once a thief walks out with one, he can sell it for thousands of dollars, or even tens of thousands of dollars, to dealers or collectors who may never even suspect it is stolen—and may hang it in public view without anyone else suspecting it either. Smiley got away with this kind of theft for at least four years, and would have gotten away with it for longer had he not carelessly dropped the blade on the floor.

2) Most maps are bad—but bad for a reason

It’s hard to put ourselves back in time to the way the world was before Google Maps and satellite technology, back when mapmakers had to rely on primitive instruments and dubious travelers’ reports to sketch the border and coastlines of the world. But hundreds of years ago, cartographers introduced all kinds of errors into maps, some mistakenly and others intentionally. A misjudgment by explorers in the 17th century, for example, led to California being drawn as an island for over a hundred years. But other mistakes were politically motivated, such as the inclusion of a Northwest Passage on Dutch and English maps for centuries; or the introduction of fictitious towns and cities onto areas a particular country was trying to colonize. During the 18th century, France and England battled over North America for years with maps that drew boundary lines in different places before they ever fired a shot in an actual war over the continent. Oftentimes these mistakes, intentionally or not, increase the value of maps, prized by collectors for the stories they tell about the area during a certain time period.

3) Map dealing can be a cutthroat business

Far from the image of map collecting being a rarified pursuit followed in a gentlemanly manner, serious map dealing can be competitive and cutthroat, with a small number of dealers battling it out at auctions over a limited number of rare and valuable artifacts. In the 1990s, the value of maps soared when they became popular for decorating by the rich and famous. Map dealer Forbes Smiley found it difficult to compete, even though he was one of the most knowledgeable dealers in his field. Always a bad businessman, Smiley began getting squeezed by other dealers better at competing at auction and sewing up valuable clients. He began falling further and further into debt, until he began to desperately look at theft as a way out of his predicament.

4) The roots of Smiley’s thefts were laid in a small town in Maine

Forbes Smiley always loved New England history; he grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and always lamented the way it became overrun with commercialization. In college, he fantasized about creating a utopian village with his friends that they could design to their liking. Years later, he actively sought to create that town in the small hamlet of Sebec, Maine, where he bought the post office and a restaurant and general store and sought to create the perfect New England village. Unfortunately, not all residents shared his vision, and he ended up getting in a legal dispute that cost him money and prestige—eventually leading him in part to steal maps to make up for his losses. While some of the money from the maps he stole went into nice clothes, fancy meals, and plane trips, the vast majority went into his grandiose scheme in Sebec.

5) Smiley didn’t admit all of the maps he stole

In an interview, Smiley told me that he didn’t know of a single map he stole that he didn’t admit to authorities. Yet, in my research, I uncovered nearly a dozen maps that libraries were able to recover after the FBI had given up their own hunt. The libraries relied on physical evidence such as smudges or impressions on the paper in order to identify and claim the maps they did; but many of them also have circumstantial evidence pointing to even more maps that Smiley stole. For example, some libraries are missing copies of maps that Smiley admitted taking from other libraries, and in other cases, he sold extremely rare maps to dealers that existed in only a few copies. Without definitive proof, however, the libraries weren’t able to recover them. Never a good businessman, Smiley may be telling the truth when he says he can’t recall all of the maps he stole. But either way, we may never know for sure how many maps he got away with taking.


photo 2

Welcome to Penguin This is my desk.

Welcome to 375 Hudson Street!

With the warm weather approaching, things are getting busier and busier here as we gear up for our summer season. Next week Penguin heads to Book Expo America (BEA), the industry book and author conference in New York City, which we are all very excited for. (Stop by the Penguin Booth and say hi if you are attending this year!) We have a lot of great authors going and it should be a lot of fun—look for our BEA wrap-up post coming soon where Amy, Lindsay, and I will all share our BEA 2014 photos and stories!

There is always something going on in our offices and this week (for me at least) it has been a busy one, but let’s focus on the fun bits from the last few days!

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This Wednesday, the Penguin Twitter Book Club held its second May #ReadPenguin chat with Jolie Kerr, author of My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…And Other Things You Can’t Tell Martha—my favorite question from the chat was “How do you clean a lasagna spill off the street?” If you are not already joining our Book Club chats you should, because we get to talk about fun things like lasagna (and books too, of course!) Next month we are chatting with Yours for Eternity authors Damien Echols and Lorri Davis.

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Beartiz Williams signing her new book THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT

 

On Thursday, New York Times bestselling A Hundred Summers author Beatriz Williams stopped by to say hello and sign copies of her new book The Secret Life of Violet Grant, which comes out next week on Tuesday, May 27th and which I am very excited to read. Amy and I went up to say hello and grab a picture. See you next week at BEA, Beatriz!

Today, Friday, we have a half-day to kick off Memorial Day weekend.

Just your typical week at the office…and now I am off to sunny (fingers crossed) Long Island to sit outside and enjoy the weekend. What are your Memorial Day plans?

Until next time,

Shelby


mistakesFirst, open a Twitter account.  Sit on a chair outside of your daughter’s room at night, because she insists.  This lack of personal freedom is the reason that you were able to complete an entire book in nine months.  Now she’s asleep but you stay there, hands hovering over the keyboard.  Know that you MUST TWEET.  The pressure is overwhelming.  No witty quip will be witty enough, so decide to write about politics. Think about politics and draw a blank.  Close Twitter and open the NY Times. Go to “most emailed articles,” where number eight is a piece on making green smoothies. Become deeply absorbed.

Your sister-in-law has generously, patiently followed you around with her fancy camera, taking photos against backgrounds that might make you look like an author.  The pillars of Smith College; a lovely tree beside an academic building that – when you check the camera’s small bright screen – looks like it’s growing out of your head. Finally, you lead your sister-in-law back to your own office and stand against the bright red wall that makes everyone look good.  Click.  The picture pops up over and over when you post media interviews with YOU on Facebook.  Finally, a guy in Florida messages you saying he likes the way you look. “Ick,” says your husband. “Erase it.” Feel put-off and quite flattered.  Wonder if this is what it would be like to online date.  Refresh Facebook every ten minutes to see all of the likes. Smile.

The night before your book is actually published, leave your phone by your bed.  Check email at 1:00 am, 3:00 am and 5:00 am. Imagine bookstore owners around the country tearing into brown cardboard boxes filled with copies of your book, lifting those copies to the light and air.  Cue religious music – you’re Jewish, but this is Christian music, sweet voices of altar boys echoing in a cathedral where the windows are your book cover design made out of stained glass.  No reviews have come in by 5:00, so you rise and eat a nice bowl of pub day oatmeal.

Get your hair streaked with gold.  Wear bright red pants.  It’s the day of your son’s flute recital and so you walk over to the concert hall in this get-up.  This is a small town filled with students who wear pajamas to class and out into the street; this is a town where everyone knows you didn’t have gold streaks before you wrote a book; everyone knows you didn’t own red pants.  Decide not to care. Put on sunglasses to complete the look.  Feel like a show-off.

Wear your show-off outfit to the local bookstore, which has sold-out of the one copy of your book it had in stock – purchased by your colleague.  Talk to one of the booksellers, a tall, placid man with gray hair and the furrowed brow of a serious reader. Imagine that your book isn’t serious enough for him. Follow him around as he shelves novels written by other people, and offer phrases like, “I’m wondering,” and  “it would be great” and “I’d be happy to.”  Finally, he will turn to you and make eye contact, saying a box of your books is due in soon. Refrain from making yourself a total fool by asking – as he turns from you and continues shelving – if he’d like you come back and sign them.  Leave feeling like you have done well because you didn’t jump onto the counter and cry, “Am I not a local author? If you prick me, do I not bleed?”

When your publisher asks you to write for the new Penguin blog, consider the assignment and realize that writing about “anything” is hard. Does this mean you’re not a real writer? Maybe. Open Twitter, and notice that several male crime novelists are now following you. Wonder if this is creepy or nice.  Check Facebook again.  Realize that you’re hungry. You will need something, maybe green smoothie, before starting to do any real work.