Thanks to countless wonderful people, all throughout this week I've been reminded of two of my favorite poems / quotes:
As earth stirs in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.
Look. There's hope.
--Lorie Ann Grover
Despite the snow, the falling snow that's been upheaving my life, there's so much hope and so much to be thankful for. Here, then, are the grass and flowers that earth has given me so plentifully:
1. Holly Cupala who so generously created the much-talked about, much-forwarded beautiful Book Launch announcement. She is a dear and loyal friend.
2. Martha Brockenbrough who is single-handedly overseeing the North of Beautiful: Find Beauty Challenge. She is truly one of the most generous (and funny) people I know. Michael Sterns, you got yourself a treasure. So did you, Adam.
3. My son and his best friend, Gaby, who gave up their entire day AND the Super Bowl to be videographers, shooting video essays on beauty at my party. You both are becoming incredible young men.
4. Mitali Perkins who spearheaded the incredibly fun Book Blog Tour with luminaries like Shelf Elf, Sarah Rettger, Bibliophile, and Teen Book Review. We dished on everything from characters to bubble tea. Now, tell me, are these soul sisters or what?
5. Brenda Gurung, the world's best Community Relations Manager at my local Barnes & Noble, who said: Justina, let me host your Book Launch Party; you just show up. So the woman created a map collage as a backdrop.
Then she kicked off a virtual geocaching scavenger hunt around the store, arranged a collage station, gave away prizes, publicized the event all over town... Brenda, you are a gift.
6. My daughter who is the best meeter-and-greeter. Ever. And best daughter ever.
7. Miss Erin whose mom drove her 5.5 hours to surprise me at the party! I cried when I saw her!
8. All my friends who turned out for the party despite the Super Bowl--from Anita at the post office whose lips have kissed every manuscript that I've mailed (good luck lips, I'm telling you!) to my StrataGem pals to my sister who tore herself away from studying for finals. And especially my Diviners critique group, readergirlz, and Kim Swift (the famous gamer girl!) who baked and baked and baked to feed everyone at the party. A special thanks to Jackie Parker whose amazing cinnamon rolls save me after a dire energy lull.
9. Barnes & Noble for putting North of Beautiful in its coveted real estate: the home page scroll on its website. It was thrilling to see my book alongside President Obama, Bruce Springsteen, and James Patterson. And then merchandised my book prominently on the Teen Page. Thank you. I am so humbled by the company Terra got to keep this week. And I am absolutely humbled that in this economy, readers are spending their precious dollars on my words. Thank you so much.
10. And all the unexpected gifts that this week held for me: a starred review from Booklist, freshly baked bread from Barbara Stolzenburg (one of the first librarians to get behind my first novel), a collage and serenade from Miss Erin... These are just a few of the ways you have made one author feel nurtured and beloved. I thank you all.
Despite the snow, despite the falling snow, hope is waiting to bloom.