You guys! It happened. The launch party was everything I hoped it would be. We had so much fun. I feel like this book is really off to a great start. It’s already sold out on Amazon, can you believe it?!! I’ve heard they will have more in stock on Monday, thankfully. It’s still available on Barnes and Noble though and you can always walk into your favorite bookstore and special request it. In fact, that’s an excellent idea! No pressure, of course. :)
I keep going over and over in my mind all the little things that went right. Everything! Usually there is some big hiccup when I throw a party but this one went together pretty well. I have so many people to thank.
This book was a real struggle, as you know. It’s had a lot of ups and downs. So many people have been there along the way to help it along. To see it finally finished and accepted is a huge relief. I feel so blessed.
Mostly I need to thank God because way back when I was living in the sticks and things looked pretty bleak, I prayed and prayed that I could dig myself out and (…I don’t mean to get all religious or anything but) I really felt like God said, Finish Secret Agent Josephine in Paris and you will be okay. Of course this could all be in my brain and probably some of you will be thinking I might be smoking crack but I have felt from the beginning that this book was a gift from God. I’m not going to become a famous author or anything but this book is going to pay the bills or at least it has put me on a path that can help me pay the bills and that is a REAL answer to prayer. Just like God takes care of the sparrows, he takes care of me. Not always the way I think I should be taken care of but I’m well taken care of, none-the-less.
The reading went pretty well. I was so nervous that my voice wouldn’t be loud enough or I’d stumble over something. I had help from the audience to pronounce the French parts, which was really really fun.
I think everyone had a lot of fun. I know I did. I think the kids really did too which was super sweet. It wasn’t supposed to be a “kids party” per se but my books are for kids after all and it’s not like I’m going to say, Sorry, kids you have to stay home. It was tricky because the venue was a darling children’s clothing boutique and photo studio in San Juan Capistrano called Little Mud Nest . They have beautiful designer clothing and knick-knacks set up all over. I was so worried that the kids would spill sparkling lemonade on the handmade onesies or rub raspberry macaron filling on the hand-knitted cashmere owls. I was so busy talking and thanking everyone for coming but I constantly had one eyeball on the kids who might wreck havoc on the store merchandise.
Enter Sean Slippy! The solution to all my worries!
It’s funny how sometimes the things you do last minute, on a whim, save the day. My brother is in town just for the party. The plan was to have him lurk about because he is the villain in the story. But then right before the party I made up four little tiny manilla folders with mission instructions inside to find the bad guy. I handed them out to a few ring-leaders at the party with a small skein of red yarn (which is also in the story).
At first the kids were bewildered. They had to find the bad guy and all they had to work with was red yarn? Not to mention, my brother is a six-foot, 280-pound, scary-looking guy. The kids rushed outside to the court yard and spent the next half hour trying to get up enough guts to approach him. It was great. He lurked, they followed. It kept them out of the store and provided some lively entertainment. Have I mentioned that my brother is great sport? He is. He’s a big teddy bear of a guy but when he doesn’t smile he can look pretty intimidating.
Of course they caught him in the end and wrapped him in red yarn. He said a few of the kids got pretty aggressive and hit him on the head a lot but I think he can take it. I’ll call it payback for all the times he held me in a headlock when we were kids.
So the rest was all book readings and poster handing out, lots of talking and sipping wine, munching on macarons and catching up with old friends…trying on costumes and taking pictures in front of the giant Eiffel Tower.
Isn’t the Eiffel Tower awesome? My good friend, and fairy godmother, Susan LaPorta sent that because she couldn’t make it to the party. How sweet is that? I have the sweetest friends and family. I can’t thank my family enough.
They’ve put up with my craziness for a long long time and they’ve always believed in me with more enthusiasm than I deserve.
One sad thing about the book is that I used up all my allotted pages writing the story and because of the publishing deal I have, I wasn’t allowed any more pages to write my thank you’s. A bit ironic but the story couldn’t be shortened! I did write a dedication in the front to my blog readers (you guys!) but I really need to write a post thanking everyone who helped me. So here goes:
The biggest thank you goes to my family. My mom and dad for always, always, being there. My sister-in-law and nieces for being my biggest fans before I ever wrote books. My brother for volunteering to be the bad guy for inspiration. My Aunt Keren and Grandma for all the lunches discussing the plot and inviting your friend Caroline, the French teacher, over to check my French phrases.
Thank you Caroline for all your help. I hope I see you in Paris someday!
Thank you Marcus, my neighbor, for helping me figure out a route through Paris that could be in one day. I don’t remember your last name and I have no way of tracking you down but if you ever stumble across this post, please know that I appreciated all your patience with us and our noise.
Thank you Calee, my friend and publisher who put up with all my stressed out phone calls and who talked me into doing this in the first place. I hope this book is wildly successful and you hire three assistants AND a nanny!
Thank you Aimee for your tea shop and double-checking my French!
Thank you Neil for taking my book to Aimee in Paris! And for helping with my character development and pretty much being smart and putting me back on track when things were getting tough.
Thank you Dennis for your brilliant comments. If you ever read the book, you’ll see I took quite a few of your suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to give a nobody a few pointers.
Thank you Bethany for being my best friend and for all your editing. Though we seriously need to use you a little earlier in the game next time. Blarg! And thank you for the madelines!
Thank you Deb for so many pep talks and Erik too. You guys have been there for me, cooking me dinner, sharing wine and your couch. Thank you!! And thank you Erik for awesome photos of last night!
A special thank you to all the new friends I’ve made at Bug’s school. Thank you for coming to the Launch Party and for cheering me on and listening to me when I had many small breakdowns (I’m looking at you Maria).
Thank you Teri, for letting me use your house and skyping with me nearly every day. Thank you for art directing when all I had was illustrations and no plot. Thank you for being such a good friend. We met like what, six months ago? Who knew!!
Thank you, Heather, for all your prayers and all the work you’ve sent me over the years so I can keep the lights on when I’m making books on the side. Thank you Isabel too!
Thank you Vanessa for letting us use your store. Thank you Kiley for hooking me up with Vanessa in the first place!
Thank you Toby for being a pretty cool ex-husband. I’m glad we are friends.
Thank you blog readers and friends on the internet who twitter and facebook and generally spread the word for me. You guys are worth more than a zillion publicists that I can’t afford anyway.
I am forever grateful. More than you know.
I know I’m forgetting some people. But check back because I’ll probably add more as I remember them. And feel free to email me and chew me out.
yay! congrats! looked like you had a wonderful party!
Your post brings tears to my eyes!!! I am so incredibly proud of you for finishing and getting it out there. I am sorry I couldn’t get out your way for the party but I thought of you all day and wished I owned a private jet :). You are so blessed and I am happy that you listened to His word.
Anna, I felt this way all day too.
Brenda, I’m so proud of you, I know how difficult this road was for you, but now you’ve made it to the end of this particular route and I cannot wait to see where the next one will you take you.
I love you!
Thank you CC and Beach Mama!! You guys have always helped me so much!
Looks like a fab party…congrats!! Celebrate-you deserve it.
Thank you for your amazon review Sally!!! Reviews are so valuable! :D
Congratulations! Will have to order book and spread the word in Scotland! Party looked great. Your daughter looks so proud of her clever mum! A day you won’t forget in a hurry! Here’s to more of the same for you xx
It looks like a great party! I’m sorry I wasn’t able to come. I really wanted to, but circumstances got on the way. But I am definitely ordering the book!
so. very. happy for you! awesome party, and may it sell beyond your wildest dreams!
I am so excited for you!!!!!! Great job. I am going to order one for my girls for Christmas and heck maybe one day I will come to your side of the country again and you can sign it:) so proud of you!
Congrats on the successful party! It looked like LOADS of fun!
And congrats on the successful book – I hope it hits some best seller lists.
Congratulations! The party looks like it was so fun and your book looks fantastic! I’m going to order a copy for my son.
Aww man, now I’m all weepy!
Congratulations on a dream brought to fruition! It looks beautiful and I hope it’s a milestone in a snowballing success for you! (I think that qualifies as a mixed metaphor but it is late and I am not going to fix it.)
Here’s to snowing milestones! xo! :)
How many book launches can boast a real life villain to catch?!
yay!! sorry you’re on the other coast, or I would have tried to get there!
VERY jealous of your lovely Eiffel tower!
HOW ARE YOU SO AMAZING!? Yay! Standing ovation! You go, girl! I love catching the villain with red yard! xoxo
Why am I crying? Because I am so very happy for you and proud of the work you’ve done despite the odds. Great job and bravo from a long-time reader!
Congratulations on your fabulous accomplishment! xox
Congratulations!!! I will go the route of ordering a few books from my local book store, just so they learn about you and hopefully go on to carry your books! My girls and my nieces are getting SAJ in Paris for Christmas. :)
And isn’t it great when God comes through when it all seems bleak and hopeless? I love it when that happens.
I’m so proud of you!
So happy this all came together for you. The party looks fabulous, and Amazon tells me that my copy will be shipped on November 19th. I will definitely let you know how it goes down with my kids – but I already know I’m going to love it. Congratulations!
That party looked AMAZING! I hate that I couldn’t be there for it. Wow! You are surrounded by love and support, and you are the epitome of creativity and making dreams come true.
I’m so proud of you, Brenda.
So very, very proud.
This is is one of your best posts. Your book is wonderful and and I am so incredibly happy for you!
So proud of you!!!!! You are such a talented illustrator and I am so happy for you. Just ordered mine and can’t wait to read it and buy another batch for Christmas presents. Many congrats, love!
I’ve been reading here since 2007 and it’s so great to see you and Bug happy and having such success. I love the posters, and the launch looks like it was so much fun for everyone.
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Oh wow this looks like an amazing launch party I am so glad you finished your book and that things are looking up. xx
The picture of you with your parents made me cry. They look like they’re just bursting with pride! Congratulations!