A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore…

10492212_10203595970355787_8702093362303428279_n-1Two weeks ago I went to Old Navy to buy new clothes for my kids.  My boys are growing like those little magic capsule thingies they love to play with – one night they drink a glass of milk, the next morning their pants are three inches too short and they’re sporting belly shirts.  It’s insane.  Anyway, Old Navy happens to be next to a Barnes and Noble.  It had been a little over a week since the release of my book, and I decided to take a stroll through B&N to see if Holding Avery was on the shelves.

I knew Barnes and Noble carried my book online – tons of bookstores carry my book online – but I wasn’t 100 percent sure they’d have it in-store.  I walked in, took a deep breath, and told myself not to be disappointed if it wasn’t there. I wandered through the biographies, breathless, and came face-to-face with Hillary Clinton on more than one occasion.  Not the actual Hillary Clinton, of course, but the giant picture of her on the cover of her brand-new memoir.  (The memoir that came out the same day as Holding Avery, I might add.) I passed scores of books by famous people, but I didn’t see my own.  I headed for the self-help section. My story is a memoir – a biography – but it’s also classified as self-help.  Since I’m not exactly on the same plane as former first ladies and aging superstars, I figured it was worth a shot. As I turned down that aisle, my heart stopped.  There it was, the white feather, my name in print, Avery’s name in print…I had a faceout, too, so my book was right there for the world to see, begging to be read.

It’s hard to actually put this feeling into words – think being five years old again on Christmas morning, and then multiply that by a thousand. In short, it was amazing. I looked around; a man sat on the floor a few feet away, perusing a book.  It took all my willpower not to tap him on the shoulder ask him if I looked like the lady on the back of Holding Avery.  Instead I shamelessly took a selfie with my book, stared at it for another minute, and left.

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A few days later we had a rainy Sunday.  After breakfast with my husband and boys, we took a bookstore tour through the Dallas Metroplex, and yes, I took selfies every time I found my book on the shelves.  I couldn’t help it.  It was exciting stuff.

It’s also a timely distraction for me. The last few days of June and the first few days of July are always hard for me.  At this very moment six years ago, I was sitting in a hospital bed trying to decide if I was ready to start the process of birthing my stillborn daughter.  I felt pretty lousy; I felt extremely hopeless.   Back then I couldn’t imagine the beautiful future that was waiting for me, completed by two incredible little boys who would come into my life and help me find happiness.10339637_10203315588106406_8543961783156059448_n

I also couldn’t fathom that the little girl I was mourning, a baby who graced this earth for just an instant, would have the ability to leave such a long-lasting impression on so many.  Tomorrow is Avery’s sixth birthday. While she may not be here to celebrate, her legacy lives on in print.

And that feels amazing, too.

 

The Significance of the White Feather

10441372_256945837823752_6784578036389995828_n-1I’ve had a number of people ask me about the cover for my book, Holding Avery. “It’s beautiful,” they say.  “But why the white feather?”

I’ll be completely honest with you – I had nothing to do with the cover.  That was all done by Alison at MP Publishing. But when she sent a proof over months ago, I immediately fell in love. I’d heard the legend of the white feather before, and it was a perfect fit for my book.

White feathers signify either a guardian angel or a message from a deceased loved one. If you find a white feather, it’s good luck, and you’re supposed to save it. I know some people may think it’s all superstitious hogwash, but since the release of Holding Avery last week my white feather sightings have increased tenfold.  Maybe I’m looking more or maybe I just need new pillows, but I’d prefer to think there’s a little girl up in Heaven who is happy to have her story told.

Cover Me

Back when I taught high school journalism, my newspaper class produced a delightful little monthly newsmagazine, The Crystal.  While the content was important, there was always much ado about the cover – what was going to be on it, who was going to get to design it, etc., etc., etc.

To make a long story short, the cover was important.

When it comes to books, I’ve always felt that the cover is the window to a book’s soul, a visual representation of the magic held within those seemingly endless lightweight pages. 

And while I’d like to think I’m above judging a book by its cover, I’m pretty sure that over the years I’ve purchased at least fifty books based solely on looks.

When I first got my book deal with MP Publishing, it took me a while to process the idea that I was going to be a real, legitimately published author, with an actual book made out of paper that people buy and stuff.  I kept expecting the sky to fall, for a weapon of mass destruction to annihilate my dreams, blowing up my good fortune and leaving me sobbing in a corner.

We are currently less than two months away from the big release, and my dreams are still in tact. The reality of it all is finally starting to sink in, especially now that I have a cover.

A perfectly beautiful, amazingly stunning cover.

A cover that says so much without really saying anything at all.

A cover that I truly love.

HoldingAvery frontAnd, like I said earlier, I think that the cover is pretty important.

When Alison from MP sent this file over to me a few weeks ago, I was a little nervous to see it for the first time.  (Alison is phenomenal to work with, by the way.) But after I opened it, I immediately fell in love.

Finally, what has been surreal for so long is feeling real, and, I have to admit, it feels pretty good.

What also feels good is the little blurb about Holding Avery on my publisher’s website:

In the tradition of The Year of Magical Thinking and The Glass Castle comes Heidi Chandler’s memoir Holding Avery.

Now that’s some pretty incredible company to have at a dinner party.

Holding Avery will be released May 13, but it’s also available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, and An Independent Bookstore.