by Toni L.P. Kelner / Leigh Perry
My family and I recently returned from nine days on vacation, and when we got home late Sunday night we were jet-lagged and worn out. There were at least six packages waiting, a stack of mail and newspapers, and guinea pigs to check on. Amidst all of that, I zeroed in on one particular package.
I'd had my fingers crosse the whole week that it would arrive while we were gone. Even as we were in Disneyland, riding the Pirates of the Carribbean and dancing to the Mad T Party Band and watching the Incredibles on parade and driving through Cars Land, I wondered about that package every day. So when we finally got home, I didn't even take a bathroom break before opening it.
You see, the box was from my publisher, Berkley Prime Crime, and the whole time we were gone I'd been hoping that my author copies of A Skeleton in the Family would have arrived by the time we got back. I ripped open that box and there they were.
I grabbed out two copies--one for me and one for my family--and we got busy admiring. I'd seen the text in the galley proofs, negotiated the cover, approved the cover copy, and grinned as each cover quote came in, but I'd never seen the whole thing put together.
And I'd never seen the adorable skeleton on the spine!
It never gets old.
Bear in mind that I've been publishing books for twenty years. This is not my first book. Or second. Or... Heck, it's my seventeenth, counting my eleven novels and five anthologies co-edited with Femme Charlaine. Then there are different edtitions of those books--large print, translations, paperback reprints, and so on. I've been in a slew of anthologies, magazines, and collections of essays. I don't even think I can count how many times I've opened up boxes of author or contributor copies in order to check out the latest addition.
And it never gets old.
Even now I've got a copy sitting on the desk next to my computer so I can oggle it while I work.
There's another on the end table in the living room so I can fondle it while watching TV.
It never gets old.
I admit that this book has particular significance. A Skeleton in the Family the first in a new series and the first written under my pen name Leigh Perry. It's also a departure for me. It's a paranormal cozy mystery, and I don't know if my readers will be willing to follow me from the Southern small-town Laura Fleming series or the freelance entertainment world of the "Where are they now?" series or the urban fantasy short stories. Plus the subject matter--a single mother whose best friend is an ambulatory skeleton named Sid--is a bit quirky. So I'm particularly anxious about this release, as if I were back on the Tower of Terror at Disney's California Adventures.
But honestly, I've been that same mix of nervous and excited for every release. That doesn't get old, either.
So for the next few weeks, until the September 3 release date and the numbers start to come in, I'll be distracting myself from the business of publishing with the reality of holding an honest-to-gosh copy of A Skeleton in the Family. And I'll be working hard on the next Family Skeleton book, too.
Writing never gets old, either.