Book launch success!

The event at BookPeople was AMAZING. It was standing room only, and the books flew off the shelves!

The whole evening was simply too good to be true. It was a wonderful celebration of books and community and friends and fellow space-geeks. It was a chance to talk to starry-eyed kids who are desperate to be writers when they grow up. It was a brilliant flash of distraction from everything that has happened this year.

There was even one young girl – and I am so sorry I don't have her name, or a picture – who painted her fingernails with little designs from the book. Mars on one finger, a spaceship on another. She had an entire hand dedicated to Larc's blue braces. No one has ever painted their fingernails in celebration of something I've written before. An enormous compliment!!

The liquid nitrogen ice cream went off without a hitch, the space helmet crafts were a hit with the kiddos, and the Moon Pies were gobbled up with lightning speed.

It all went by in a blur for me, and I spent much of Sunday staggering around the house, exhausted. It's been a long time since I went out and spoke – with energy and waving arms – in front of a zillion people. I am, admittedly, very rusty. But it sure was fun. It has made me even more excited to get some school visits scheduled for the fall (and I was already pretty excited about that).

Thanks to everyone who came out, and thanks to everyone who wanted to make it, but couldn't. It was a great, great, event. And, of course, thanks to BookPeople for hosting. They did a fantastic job keeping things in order, even though I think we were all a little surprised by the turnout!

The pictures below were taken by David Gilder, a very talented local photographer. I'm going to post pictures over at kaholt.com in the blog area, so be sure to check in over there…

It was a great night. I can't say thank-you enough to everyone involved!

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Me being awfully smiley

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making the liquid nitrogen ice cream

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 A zillion people – and this was still before everyone was there!

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Holy Mother of Donkeys!

The book release party for Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel is Saturday 7/11 at 6pm! That's tomorrow!

If you're in the ATX, swing on by. I'll be reading, answering questions, and signing books.

ALSO we will:

Watch the real space shuttle launch at 6:39pm!
Make ice cream with liquid nitrogen!
Make space helmets with paper grocery bags and shiny things!
Take pictures with Mike Stellar himself!
Eat Moon Pies!
Drink beer from the Whip In!

For real, you have to come by. It's going to be so much fun.

39 days until impact!!!1!1!

If you want to see the live blog of the first half of this glorious made-for-TV movie/mini-series thing, have a look here.

OK, let's go!

Oh – and because this isn't actually on TV right now, I'm not sure what to write for the time. I'm just going to write what time it is now, even though that's confusing. We can just call it a live blog of my evening on the couch, how does that sound?

8:53: Just finished my Batter Blaster pancakes and bacon and now I'm going to poke the little TiVo man in his belly until he spews forth some awesomeness.

8:58: recap! Greatest meteor shower in 10,000 years. What could go wrong? OH SHIT. THE MOON. Mr. President needs answers. A brown dwarf is lodged inside the moon! (poop joke here) It's causing magnetism eff-ups galore! Pregnant girlfriends are trapped in trains that are being magnetically sucked towards the moon because gravity is going craaaaazy! The Moon is being pulled towards Earth like I am pulled towards the Cheetos in my pantry…. quickly and without remorse. OH SHIT, you guys, 39 DAYS UNTIL IMPACT!!!

9:01: Pregnant girlfriend is on the train that got sucked into the air and then dropped KABLAM. She's taking control! Pregnancy makes her strong and not exhausted or constantly urinating like the rest of us.

9:03: Road trip, kids! Dad with the hot dead wife wants his kids in DC with him, but the effing brown dwarf is jacking with the phones (why are brown dwarves such assholes?). Grandpa has given up on the helicopter that was supposed to come and he's taking the kids to DC himself!

9:04: In a boat!

9:06: OH SHIT. Fake CGI freighter has no gravity! Grandpa is trying to outrun no gravity in beat up cutlass!

9:07: Grandpa FAIL.

9:08: Or Cutlass fail, you be the judge. Stupid American cars.

9:10: Oh, gravity, the President is PISSED at you.

9:12: Meanwhile, the Lady Scientist wants to use the "brown dwarf to our advantage." By nuking it. To nudge it toward the sun, so that the sun can fix the moon orbit. I don't know either, people, but there's a nice sunshine drawn on a fancy whiteboard.

9:14: Uh-oh, Lady Scientist has to go meet with her shady soul-patchioed journalist ex husband. He's all, "You're lying to me. I can totally tell because we were married for ten years." She's all, "Hey, dipshit, try not telling people they're going to die in 39 days EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE."

9:18: Lady Scientist splains the brown dwarf advantage to the President. Blah blah blah. Old man in wheelchair – with glasses – has to translate into Old White Man Language so that all the President's men understand.

9:20: OH SHIT, YOU GUYS. The Old White Man translation has failed! The other old white dudes want to use 87 nukes to destroy the moon! But what about the tides? All the calendars will be wrong! THINK OF THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE BACKLASH.

9:22: "As my grandmother used to say, 'leave the frosting in the fridge'" That's what the Pres just said. About science and imminent death. Huh?

9:24: Uh-oh, soul-patchioed journalist is spilling everything on "CLN" His soul patch is blowing to and fro from the  breeze of imminent panic.

9:26: The Pres announces "Operation Safeguard." The world will band together and launch a billion bars of soap up at the moon to wash that brown dwarf right off of it. Not really. But that would be cool, no? Instead, Operation Safeguard will launch the 87 nukes at the moon and cause the brown dwarf to land with a splash into the roiling toilet of the Atlantic. Doh.

9:29: Kids smile gleefully and yell Hey Look! They are pointing at upside down cars on fire. Kids are so desensitized these days.

9:31: The nukes are in the air!!!

9:32: The Old White Men were WRONG. The moon has gobbled up the nukes. OH SHIT, YOU GUYS. Now it's FIVE DAYS until impact.

9:33: And that's what you get for ignoring Lady Scientists, assholes.

9:34: now they have a guy with a British accent explaining the new plan. Whew. That's better.

9:35: They're going to make a thing to turn the moon's core into a magnet. But they have to send dudes up to the moon to find a canyon to shoot a missile into. Insert missile into canyon. bow chicka bow wow.

9:37: Basically, they're creating a giant suppository to push out the brown dwarf.

9:39: Space elevator wire! the space elevator idea freaks me out, y'all. Totally freaks me out. I can't look at artist simulations of the space elevator without my sphincter clenching. It's like the opposite of claustrophobia. I hope the moon doesn't feel the same way, because these guys are totally going to use space elevator wire to weave the suppository through the moon. All sphincters go.

9:41: Back to grandpa and the kids. He totally made this "uuuhhhnnn" noise which in movie language means "internal bleeding." Also, oboes are playing. That's never good.

9:43: A mean man won't give grandpa any aspirin! OH SHIT, YOU GUYS, the little girl just beaned the bad guy in the head with a water bottle! Take that, asshole.

9:45: The Pres wants the dad with the hot dead wife to be one of the dudes to go to the moon. Even though it's a – wait for it – one.way.trip.

9:48: Lady Scientist promises to say good-bye to DWTHDW's kids for him. They do a little necking.

9:50: For some reason the Moon Suppository Training is taking place in Germany.

9:51: Also in Germany, or thereabouts? Pregnant girlfriend of the british accented guy! Some guy keeps hitting on her. He's really annoying. Maybe he needs to find himself a Lady Scientist.

9:53: time to put the oximeter probe on Ike's toe.

9:54: He stayed asleep. Yay!

9:58: The dude hitting on Pregnant Girlfriend finds out she's pregnant and helps get her into some kind of German FEMA truck to go find her accented boyfriend who is also going on the Suppository Mission. She asks him his name. "My name is Pierce. Bob Pierce." Then she answers, "I'm Ety-eyeg-flurg" or "ety-eyeg-muh" or "ety-eyeg-man" I can't understand what the hell she's saying.

9:59: He's definitely wishing he had impregnated Ety-eyeg-flur.

10:01: boring grandpa is back. He's making the kids cry by telling them about their hot dead mom. Stop it, grandpa!!

10:02: OH SHIT YOU GUYS, boring grandpa is dead! I told you oboes are bad news.

10:03: Speaking of round exploding things, it's time for me to pump. Can I live blog and pump at the same time? Let's test it out.

10:10: Pregnant Girlfriend got her boyfriend to marry her! Funny how quickly he agrees to it after he thinks he's going to be sharted out of the moon.

10:12: Back to the boring kids. Water-bottle-to-the-head guy just abandoned them in his meat shack. No wait! He's back! He's going to drive them to DC to be with their dad. Except that their dad is in Germany. These kids can't catch a break, can they?

10:14: Rocket footage from 1969 or something shows that the Suppository Team is on their way!

10:17: Already the
kids are in DC, interrogating their father via NASA-TV.

10:19: The kids are freaking out! Why does daddy have to help the moon poop? Why? It's not fair!

10:22: meanwhile, on the moon… everyone is lumbering around like they have on wet jean shorts. They are inserting a giant glow stick into a thing. A red light turns on. Bad! Re-insertion. Red light. Bad! I warned them about the sphincters.

10:23: OH SHIT YOU GUYS, five hours til impact!!!

10:25: Dudes are riding a thing covered in tin foil down into a moon crater. The thing has green blinking lights. This means it is Highly Technical and you don't really need to know what it is.

10:28: They're "mapping the crater." That isn't a euphemism for anything. Too bad.

10:30: And now we get a montage of what everyone in the world is doing as TEH END DRAWS NIGH. Old people are going to the beach. Some guy is playing golf. A couple of scrawny teenagers are totally going to do it.

10:31: Insertion win! The green light has lighted and the big thing with the plasma ignition is blinking and flashing. It's creating the world's largest Fleet suppository! Go go go go go go!

10:32: OH SHIT YOU GUYS! The guys in the crater who are driving the tin foil covered Disney World ride have lost control! The chick has fallen into the deep part of the crater! DOH. Luckily, she has no kids and no pregnant girlfriends.

10:35: the Lady Scientist is breathing really really hard while she watches the moon monitors. She is either worried or enjoying some ben wa balls.

10:37: The missile is launched! It's going to drag the suppository into that crater and shoot that brown dwarf right out of there! Somebody get the moon a magazine. STAT.

10:39: The accented boyfriend is going to be shat out of the crater if he isn't careful.

10:40: He's writing "Roland Loves Ety-eyeg-flurg" in moon dust. That is the moon version of grandpa's "uuuuhhhnn" noise.

10:42: OH SHIT YOU GUYS! KAPOW.

10:44: The moon has cracked in two! It looks really cool.

10:45: DWTHDW is alive! And so is Other Random Dude With him! Lady Scientist is so excited she embraces the children and gives them a "I'm so going to be your stepmom soon so buck up, suckas." look.

10:47: Operation Make The Moon Poop has worked! There will be no impact! There is now world peace! A second chance! More making out with Lady Scientist!

10:49: And now there are two moons. What does this mean for the tides? the Earth's temperatures? The periods? Only time will tell, my friends. Only time will tell.

10:50: Fin

You do not even know

they burn when they're closed
spiderwebs or lightning bolts
streak across my eyes

For some reason I haven't been able to sleep more than four hours at a time lately. I have tried making lists before I go to sleep. I have tried making lists when I wake up and want to go back to sleep. This will, theoretically, tame the jabbering in my head that won't let me settle down – at least that's what I tell myself. But it doesn't work.

I try covering my eyes so that the room stays dark, because going to bed at 4:30 am every night means I sleep when the sun is brightest in my room in the mornings. It doesn't work.

I try rescue remedy.

A pillow over my head.

Chanting a single word over and over.

And yet, after that first 4 hours, I cannot go back to sleep.

I'm sure part of it has to do with my schedule. Being the night nurse for Ike-a-saurus is something that I honestly love. But it takes a toll when I can't sleep in the mornings.

Staying up with him gives me time to myself, and gives me time to write and mull and plan. If we ever get a regular night nurse I will really miss these late nights with him. He snoozes, I administer nebs and meds and bottles, and I get a chance to write for a while. It reminds me of being in college. Except for the nebs and meds and bottles part. Writing in the dark while other people are zonked in a chair – that's the college part.

Even so, I have got to start sleeping.

Where for art thou, sleep? My burning eyeballs miss you.

Danger! Danger!

holiday hijinks
fire and minor injuries
co-mingled with food

At first it didn't seem like much of a holiday today. I've been discombobulated with my days all week this week, and everyday just kind of blends into the other. The only real clue we were dealing with a holiday was that we didn't have a nurse coming to the house to help with Ike-a-saurus. No nurse tomorrow either. That's fine, though exhausting. It's been wonderful having just the family here, and it's fun for us to figure out ways to get everything done all day while still keeping the wee-est man in check.

He had free reign of the kitchen floor for a while this afternoon, until we realized he discovered how fast he can crawl. Then it was a race to baby proof as much as we could in the shortest amount of time possible. The kid was turbo-charged today.

As Ike-a-saurus was winding down, though, the wee one and the wee-er one were gearing up. Time for sparklers! Time for poppers! Time for chicken legs and cookies!

I took them out front for some sparkler fun and made the mistake of planting a sparkler in the dry (though deceptively green) yard. Right about the time the sparkler was fizzling out, the grass was catching fire.

Doh.

Lots of scrambling for water as the kids laughed me. I could hear Benny Hill music in my head as I ran around like a crazy person. At least I wasn't in my underwear.

So the fire was out and we decided that was enough excitement for the evening – or I did, at least – and brought the kids in to get them ready for bed. Because of the holiday, I gave the kids glow-in-the-dark bracelets to take to bed with them. Fun, right?

Well, while we were laying down reading stories, the wee-er one decided to bite her bracelet. I took it from her to see if she had poked a hole or not and as I bent the bracelet around to see A huge spray flew into the air. A geyser of glow-in-the-dark purple. Most of it landed in my eye, and the rest landed on the wee one's forehead. Again, Benny Hill music, lots of laughing, me screaming, etc.

So far, I am not blind. But, dude. Ouch. I'm hoping maybe the glow-in-the-dark chemicals embedded into my sclera will give some kind of awesome superpowers. I'll let you know.

A very successful 4th, by far. I hope you all had a nice holiday, too, and that none of you burned down your house or went blind.