My Cousin Jesse

This is my cousin Jesse.

I babysat this little six-month-old pumpkin a few times over the past month, and I’ve enjoyed every delicious second, marveling over those chubby legs and cheeks and the newness of everything to that pair of big, innocent eyes.

I was giving Jesse his bottle of formula the other day and just hanging out on the couch wondering how on earth my own children had grown up so fast when my thoughts turned to my novel, Baby Grand, which features an infant, a little girl, who at the time of my book is about three or four months older than Jesse. I thought about how I had tried to draw upon my parenting experiences in creating that little character, her mannerisms, her personality, and the joy I had in doing so when it hit me — not once during the course of the book did anyone give that kid a bottle!

How could this be, I wondered, when I had so painstakingly detailed (or so I thought) what it was like to care for a 10-month-old child over a period of several days. There were the requisite Cheerios, the finely diced, peeled grapes, the many, many diaper changes. But, apparently, in all the murder and mayhem (Baby Grand is a thriller, after all), I inadvertently nearly starved one of my main characters by not giving her any formula.

D’oh!

So as I finally (finally!) finish this last edit of Baby Grand, I will be sure to incorporate a few formula feedings, or at least the mention of them, here and there. Thank you, sweet, sweet Baby Jesse (and, of course, Mama Irene) for the chance to have these tiny spurts of babyhood once again, which have not only reminded me of the gloriousness of life, but also of the ravenousness of infants.

Meet Author Crystal Marcos

I remember when my kids were really young, I was so disappointed with the quality of children’s literature that I wrote a children’s book. Chatting with Crystal Marcos, today’s Debut Author, made me remember that somewhere, lurking on my hard drive, is that sorely neglected manuscript. (Another thing for the to-do list). Here, Crystal discusses her book, BELLYACHE: A Delicious Tale, which was published last summer.

Name: Crystal Marcos

Name of book: BELLYACHE: A Delicious Tale

Book genre: Children’s

Date Published: June 15, 2010

Publisher: Cat Marcs Publishing

What is your book about? When Peter Fischer sets out to help his grandfather at Papa’s Sweet Shop, he will quickly learn that sneaking sweets and covering up his sugar-dusted tracks will have major consequences. As Peter is transported to a mysteriously delicious, faraway land, a curious people known as the Candonites, some of whom have no time for a non-Candonite, will teach Peter a lesson on what it means to be different and what it means to forgive.

For you, what was the most challenging part of the writing process? The editing process. I didn’t realize how long the process would take.

What motivates you to write? My love for children and children’s books inspired me to write. I imagined what I would want my children to read about someday, and I wanted it to be something I felt comfortable with them reading.

Did you experience writer’s block? No.

How long did it take you to write this book? It was four years. The next book won’t take that long. I had gotten married, moved to a different state, changed careers, moved back, and had a baby all within that time period.

What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? Falling in love with the characters and world I created. They will forever be a part of my life.

What drew you to children’s literature? I have always enjoyed children’s books. I still read them. It came natural to write for children.

Nowadays, authors are expected to participate in the marketing of their book. What kinds of things do/did you do to promote your book? I do online networking such as Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc. I participate in giveaways and blogging sites. I also called for newspaper and television interviews. I basically seize every opportunity I can. Thankfully, people have also contacted me.

What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? You just write it and you’re done. Ha!

Do you plan to do this again? Oh yes! I am currently working on the sequel to BELLYACHE: A Delicious Tale, and I have other projects in the works.

Oprah has famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I believe in blessings, I believe I have been blessed with the opportunities I have received. I have achieved so much in a short period of time with my book; I know I couldn’t have done it alone.

Drop-Side Crib Ban

Yesterday, I read in the newspaper that the government has outlawed drop-side cribs after the death of more than 30 infants and toddlers in the past decade and millions of recalls. Members of the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously to ban the manufacture, sale and resale of cribs that have a side rail that moves up and down, allowing parents to more easily lift their children into the crib. The new standard requiring cribs to have fixed sides takes effect in June. I tore out the article and added it to my Baby Grand folder that contains all my notes for the novel. Since I finished the revisions on Monday, I’ve been jotting down all kinds of things this week that I want to address or add. (Apparently, I can’t turn it off…) Since the novel features a newly purchased drop-side crib, I have to remember to change it to a fixed-side crib. Ah, the stresses of writing a contemporary story. Maybe my next one should be historical fiction. :)