Go find it!

I’ll give a signed jacket to the first two people who email me a picture of the book in the wild.

Bookstore! In your hand coming home from the bookstore! In your kid’s hand. On the bathroom sink. Anywhere.

Grasshrinker at gmail dot com.

Go!

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Tomorrow!

Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel is launching tomorrow! Technically less than an hour from now. Yes, yes, it's a midnight launch party of one, but that's OK. Tomorrow I'm going to stalk every bookstore in town. And, yes, I'm going to bring my camera. No, I'm not going to play it cool. I'm going to be a big fat dork. Yay!

It's going to be very embarrassing if it isn't on the shelf yet.

I started writing Mike when the wee one was 7 months old. And now he's seven YEARS! I didn't actually spend seven years writing it – really, probably all of the drafts and writing and editing and rewriting and everything took a total of one year – it was just spread out between writing a first draft, finding an agent, doing some rewrites, finding a publisher, doing some more rewrites, waiting for the publishing process to begin, etc.

I can measure the journey of this book from start to finish, with my kids. Started it when the wee one was a baby, sold it when I was pregnant with the wee-er one, and now it'll be in stores with Ike-a-saurus as a wee babe. My dedication page has had a lot of additions. And Mike is like their brother. Their brother who lives in my head. A HeadBrother.

Well that sounds really creepy.

Not creepy? This:

"Holt’s children’s book debut whizzes by at warp speed—the
suspenseful plot and the precocious yet complex hero combine for a fun
ride with a satisfying resolution."

Thanks Publisher's Weekly! Woo!

And I just checked Amazon… the sales rank is at 94,000. Don't laugh. That's way better than the 500,000 it was a few days ago. And, hey, after you read it, will you write a review? That would so rock my socks.

It's coming out tomorrow!

Tomorrow! I've been waiting for this day since I was a kid. I would always tell people, "Yep, I'm going to write books." And then I got distracted for a while – school, art, boys – but I got back on track. It really is amazing – and it's been a long time coming.

Here's to you ten-year-old self. Thanks for never really growing up.

It’s still so raw

years of emotion
occurring in only months
make processing hard

I was sitting here tonight, scrolling through some pictures, and I accidentally ventured into the DMZ of my iPhoto – the area after the NICU, but before the trach. It makes me well up just writing about it. It was such a wonderful, hopeful, exciting time for our family. We were finally past the hard part, or so we thought. We were building new routines, relishing in finally being a family, all together under one roof for the first time. We had made it through some pretty trying times, and daily tedium was a welcome, coveted experience.

When I have a moment to quietly sit and think about things, I'm starting to have kind of a hard time with it all. Even when I don't have a moment, sometimes the hard times sneak up on me. We're coming up on a year of all of this. The wee-er one's birthday, to be exact. July 1st, 4:30am last year, I was at the hospital with ruptured membranes at 20 weeks pregnant. Though, at the time, the tests for amniotic fluid came back negative. I knew better, though, and a few days later my worst fears were confirmed.

Or I thought they were my worst fears.

A year later I have new worst fears. I do well for a while, tucking them away in my brain, but then something triggers a memory, or gives me a flash of a possible future and the waves of panic and fear and sadness and helplessness just wash over me until I have to just grab my head and put on some loud music and wait for it all to go away.

It's hard for me to decide which is more terrifying, being pregnant and not knowing if you and your baby can stay healthy long enough for a non-tragic ending, or making it through all of that, thinking things are fine and then suddenly not knowing if your baby will be OK.

The first part of this terrifying, miraculous, life-altering journey started just over a year ago. And I think I am having some kind of perfect storm of PTSD. The heat, the way the trees look out of my bedroom window, the tan color of the kids' arms and legs, the smell of the farmers market, the taste of the fruit, my bedspread… everything is bringing me back to last year just before and just after my water broke.

So there's that.

And then on top of all of that I have this newer PTSD. The sight of an ambulance racing down the street makes me have to pull the car over to catch my breath. The smell of the brand of deodorant I wore when I was living at the hospital just after Ike got his trach. The music that was on my ipod. These are all things that prove I am still not over February and March. I think that I'm over it, but it sneaks up on me.

As the summer continues, I am starting to feel crushed by both ends; the past that was so scary, and the future that is so scary. I am not just forgetting how to live only in the present, I am afraid I am losing the stamina to do it. I want to look ahead. I want to seek out answers and information and hope. But I am starting to realize that these are not finite things. I will not wake up one morning and have The Answer. I will not have The Information. Things are ongoing, ever present. Our lives have been altered forever. Some days I accept that. I'm totally cool with it. I'm rolling with the punches. I'm enjoying the fact that there aren't punches everyday. I think things will be fine. I embrace the new normal.

Then, on other days, I am trapped in the past. The future is murky. It's frightening. The past is painful and ethereal. I don't know which way to look.

I am afraid of what is to come. I am afraid of Cinci in August. I am afraid to be hopeful. I am afraid of having the panic attack of all panic attacks on Ike-a-saurus' birthday. I am sometimes afraid this is all my fault.

I say all of this not as a cry for help. I'm OK. I really am. I'm just still processing everything. And for the most part, I'm really happy. I know how incredibly, truly, amazingly fortunate we are. So I feel like an asshole when I wallow, but sometimes I need a moment to freak out.

Those moments may be coming more frequently as various "anniversaries" pop up this summer. I swear, sometimes just the way the air feels can set me off.

Right now, though, I'm OK. Just processing. Always processing. And now that I know better, always worrying that things could be worse.

Impact! Live blog

7:57pm: The anticipation for crappy TV is so palpable it has caused the wee-er one to poop in the potty! Very exciting! However, this is going to delay the liveblogging because it has delayed getting everyone to bed. But Fear Not! Thanks to lovely TiVo I will have caught up to you all in short order. I'll start blogging as soon as things settle down. Just got off the phone with Santa (or Ho Ho as the wee-er one calls him) and he is making an impromptu visit late tonight with a new baby doll for her. As you can imagine, this has gotten everyone even MORE excited. Really, though, the liveblogging will commence soon.

8:33pm: Still not quite ready to start the show. there was a brief freak out that maybe Ho Ho is a monster and that his presence would not be welcome in the wee-er one's room tonight. Luckily, just at that moment Santa called and reported that his motorcycle had run out of gas somewhere near Dallas and he's not going to be able to make it tonight. (He goes magic-free during the summer to keep a low profile.) So I am going to be the one to find a baby doll for the wee-er one, and she is hopefully going to go to sleep.

8:35pm: Maybe I should just liveblog the evenning around here. It is turning out to be even crazier than a made-for-TV movie.

8:39: It's starting! I'm only 39 minutes late.

8:40: The greatest meteor shower in 10,000 years! More or less impressive than getting your 2 11/12 year-old to finally poop in the potty? Discuss.

8:47: brief time-out to reassure the wee-er one yet again that ho Ho is not a monster. Note to self: never bring up Santa when it's not Christmas.

8:49: blond-haired scientist! Girls are totally smart! Also, they wear ginormous cable knit sweaters. Also, there's an asian scientist, just to keep her in line.

8:50: Oh SHIT you guys. THE MOON HAS BEEN HIT.

8:53: Thank goodness for cable TV, otherwise no one would see the flaming volkswagons falling from the sky.

8:54: Hey, remember when the President was married to Bree?

8:55: Oh SHIT you guys. TSUNAMI!

8:58: Innocent child: "do you think the man in the moon is OK?" Me: "Nope, kid. His fucking ear just landed on Australia."

9:00: So, the lady scientist who didn't see the enormous meteor that was going to hit the moon just tells you that it's totally cool the Moon is now 21,000 miles closer to Earth. Do you believe her? Discuss. She's wearing a pantsuit. You might want to factor that in.

9:02: Oh SHIT, you guys. BOY SCOUTS!

9:03: Hmmm. The tidal patterns are fucked up. What could it be? Satan?

9:04: Hey wait, if the Moon is jacking with the tidal patterns, do you know what's next? Oh SHIT. THINK OF THE MENSTRUAL CYCLES!

9:06: Social phobia is totally a real disease. I'm with grandpa.

9:08: tides, Canadian geese, car batteries, cell phones… I'm telling you, the periods are next.

9:10: The dude in Germany is using a dentist tool to pick at the moon chunk. The moon chunk is all, "DAMMIT. I forgot to take my prophylactic antibiotics first. i hope I don't get endocarditis because of you, douchebag."

9:13: Boring German love story part. Girlfriend announces she's pregnant. In church. Shhhh. God is totally smiting people in this movie. Isn't she paying attention?

9:16: a huge static charge is blowing up gas stations? What's causing it? The moon? No no no. It's that girl scientist's huge cable knit sweater. Duh.

9:19: this is outside any known scientific parameters!

9:21: oh SHIT. It's the remnants of a BROWN DWARF! (Just like in the downstairs bathroom. Sorry, sorry, I had to say it.)

9:22: the brown dwarf is twelve sixtillion tons! HOLY CRAP. Or maybe it's not. I can't hear anything over this nebulizer.

9:26: Dr. Science Lady, the President says, I don't understand your "science" and your "moon." Please speak to me as if I have been educated by the public school system.

9:30: Consultation with president, check. Doomed discussion of wedding in three weeks. Check. Man of the house speech, check. Which one is going to die? Discuss.

9:33: My husband has resorted to watching loud videos on his iPhone.

9:34: BSG shout out!

9:36: There's a brown dwarf lodged in the moon. Maybe if the moon drank some coffee things would get loosened up a little.

9:38: Uh-oh, ambitious laid off newspaperman ex-husband with a d-bag soul patch. I smell trouble!

9:41: Grandpa forgets to feed the kids. Don't feel bad grandpa. I do that all the time.

9:44: "Just make sure the kids are on the helicopter – and if they ask, make sure they don't think it's anything out of the ordinary." Got it.

9:46: Scientist lady has GIANT boobs. You know you've been thinking it.

9:47: Why the moms always gotta get killed off? Is this a Disney cartoon? Can a dad not be seen paying attention to his kids and have a living wife AT THE SAME TIME?

9:49: We know it's Eurpoe because there are vespas.

9:50: Oh SHIT you guys. VESPAS ARE FLOATING!

9:51: The Homeland Security lady is constantly referring to her own stupidity. Shouldn't she be the FEMA lady, then?

9:53: I don't think that FEMA joke makes any sense anymore.

9:55: "You can't hide from gravity!" Apparently, he's never seen me trying to walk down a flight of stairs.

9:57: If gravity is fluctuating, would you put your kids on a helicopter? Discuss.

9:59: Oh SHIT you guys. THE DOG IS LOST.

10:00: And now gravity is suspended! Watch out for flying trains! And flying dogs. And flying kids looking for their flying dogs.

10:02: The broken moon looks awesome, by the way. All sparkly and big. Like David James Elliot's forehead.

10:04: Is it coincidental that this movie has come out just before NASA is planning to crash a probe into the moon? IS IT? Ladies, you better hold on to your periods.

10:05: the smart asian scientist is concerned. This can't be good. Also, there is fake saxophone music playing in the background. it's not good either.

10:06: Seriously, this music? I'm expecting Riggs and Murtaugh to show up at any minute.

10:09: Uh-oh. The pregnant girl is squished on a formerly anti-gravitied train. She totally should have kept quiet about the pregnancy in church.

10:11: Oh SHIT you guys, TOTAL ANNIHILATION IS IMMINENT!

10:12: Hey, you know the turducken? A chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey? Well next week they're going to TURDUCKEN the moon! A rocket shoved up the ass of a brown dwarf shoved up the ass of the moon! A moowarfket!

10:15: Oh SHIT you guys! I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE MOOWARFKET!

I can haz yer vitriol?

do not mess with him
the anointed TV god
of many JAG-offs

Wow. You guys really like this David James Elliott fellow. You like him so much that kind readers have instructed me to, among other things, "keep you [sic] insulting thoughts to yourself".

I have also been schooled that JAG was the awesomest show of awesomeness ever to awesomely graze the awesome TV for ten awesome years.

I stand corrected.

So, in order to make it up to all of you DJE fans, please accept this list I have come up with to celebrate the awesomeness of the dude from JAG:

David James Elliott is so awesome all of the magnetic poles point to him.
David James Elliott is so awesome chocolate craves him.
David James Elliott is so awesome the Grand Canyon visits him on vacation.
David James Elliott is so awesome he is certified organic.
David James Elliott is so awesome the D in HDTV actually stands for David.
David James Elliott is so awesome pandas spawn at the sight of him.
David James Elliott is so awesome the space shuttle's launch window is in his bathroom.
David James Elliott is so awesome the Emmy's have been renamed the DJE's.
David James Elliott is so awesome he just merged with Fiat.
David James Elliott is so awesome he can keep two beta fish in one bowl.

Is that good? Do we all agree now that David James Elliott is super awesome with a side of awesome?

Excellent.

Anyone have his phone number? I'm interested to know how much he charges to perform a single stage laryngotracheoplasty. I'm totally in the market for a person who can do that while looking handsome.

Or we can forget the laryngotracheoplasty and I can just make fun of him watch him in a made-for-TV movie.

That would be awesome.

omg! omg! omg!

it's that time of year!
prevalent, smoldering cheese
oozing in HD

Sunday night! 8pm CST! First two hours of an ABC miniseries! The Moon is going to crash into the Earth!

Or is it?! [please click here for a moment to emphasize the drama of this situation.]

Thank goodness we have David James Elliott (who?) and Natasha Henstridge to use their names that sound famous to walk us through the plot of Impact: a 4 hour miniseries brought to us by the lovelies at ABC!

And in a dose of actual famousness, James Cromwell (he of Babe the Pig!) makes an appearance to lend some dramatic gravity (so to speak) to this picture made for television.

Can you tell how excited I am about this? I promise, dear friends, to do my best to live blog as much as possible, even though on NBC at the exact same time is a new show about a hott young Merlin intent to practice magic in an undercover type setting, manservanting for an also hott Prince Arthur. Can you sense the homoeroticism? Well, CAN YOU?

I can see my TiVo quivering in anticipation for Sunday night. I know you all are, too. I sure am.

Famous Sounding Names vs Hott Merlin = I better hit up the HEB for some quality snack food.

Sunday night is BRINGING IT.