I am still in bed, but there is less phlegm hacking, which is promising. This is good because I head out on book tour for Heartsick
again tomorrow. It is bad because my husband is having to take care of our almost-three-year-old daughter while I'm sick, and will have to take care of our almost-three-year-old daughter when I'm gone, and I think he's getting testy.
Best part of being a writer: penning medical blogs for Powell's. Worst part of being a writer: having to tell my toddler that I can't play with her because I'm working. Keep in mind that working consists of me at home with a laptop on my lap sitting on the couch. It doesn't look like working. I don't have a hammer or anything.
When she was one-and-a-half, my daughter would point at every laptop she saw and say, "Mama." Heartbreaking.
Now she thinks that I sign books for a living. Literally, that I go out to bookstores, sign books, and that people pay me for this. This comes from the fact that when I take her out to readings with me (I don't let her hear the reading ? too gory), someone watches her and then she joins me for the signing.
Now, when I say that I have to work she says, "Going to sign books, Mom?"
It was funny until I caught her signing an autographed hardback of Val McDermid's new Carol Jordan/Tony Hill book only available in the UK and which I had waited weeks for someone at my UK publisher to score for me and which had been damaged in the mail and miraculous arrived in a Ziploc bag.
I have to give my daughter credit ? she was signing the right page. They are picky about that. You have to sign the second title page. Not the page that just has the title. But the next page, the one with the title and the author's name. This sort of makes sense ? signing your name next to your printed name ? so people can be like "Hey! That is the signature of the actual writer of this book ? look, the names are the same!" But it also the page where there is the least white space so you can't fit anything more than "To: Dan, Yours, Chelsea Cain." (I sign all my books to Dan. If your name isn't Dan, don't bother. There certainly isn't room to sign a book to Mary Elizabeth.)
I like signing books for a living, I do. But you have no idea the panic that sets in. I am not a very good speller. Put me in a stresser situation and I lose all capacity to recall how to spell the most simple names.
I once misspelled "Jennifer." [Confession: I just spell-checked this document and I actually misspelled "misspelled."]
I wrote "To: Jeniffer." The worst part is I even asked. My mind went blank, and looking for help I asked, "How is it spelled?" The woman blinked at me. "The normal way," she said. Normal way, I thought. Normal way. Okay. No "i" at the end. I know there are two "n"s or two "f"s. Now, which is it? "N" or "F"? "N" or "F"? Oh, what the hell, I'll go with the "f"s. Even as I wrote it I knew it looked wrong, but there was no going back. I snapped the book shut and handed it to her.
I think about that woman a lot.
My daughter can't sign her name yet, so her autograph in that Val McDermid book is more of a scrawled line, which, now that I think about it, looks a lot like my signature. We had a talk after that, about the fact that you can only sign books that you've written. This seemed to make sense to her, and I think she at least now understands that my job isn't as easy as she thought it was. I don't go to bookstores and sign ANY books. I can only sign MY books, which is naturally more limiting.
Oops, I feel some phlegm* building in the lung-al area. And, in case my editor is reading this, I have to get back to work on editing Sweetheart, the sequel* to my thriller Heartsick, which is due in like nine days, not that I'm counting.
*indicates words also misspelled before spell-check.