What could she do? She couldn’t just lie here all day. Was she desperate enough to clean? Even to her jaded eyes, her half of the room looked dreadful. Reluctantly, she got off her bed and wandered around, pushing stuff hither and yon. Each time she pushed, she found herself closer to her desk, where the book she’d been reading, The Exiles in Love, just happened to be lying open. I won’t look at it until I’ve straightened up, she told herself, but somehow, she looked at it anyway, and soon she was sinking to her bed, lost in the story, which all too quickly came to an end. Jane closed the book and put it back on her bookshelf. She hated finishing one of her favorite books, because she knew she’d have to wait at least a few months before she could read it again. It was a rule she’d imposed on herself after reading The Various twice in one week—a disaster, like eating three large slices of chocolate cake at one sitting.

—Jeanne Birdsall, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

Cracking Up1

Cracking Up2

I’m feeling about the book in the picture like Jane Penderwick did after reading The Various twice in one week. Only I haven’t read my book twice in one week. I’ve read it a dozen times in a year. Some parts of it, I’ve read close to a hundred times.

I try to console myself with the thought that even Pride and Prejudice would start to sound stale after that many close readings so close together. But I’m unconvinced. So it’s not an altogether consoling thought.

As sit here typing, Doug asks what I’m working on.

“My book launch post.”

When I read it to him, he raises his eyebrows. “And how exactly is telling your readers you think your book is stale going to generate sales?”

Sales? I’m supposed to be selling something here?

He says, “You should tell them I think it’s some of your best writing ever.”

Gentle reader: my husband thinks it’s some of my best writing ever.

“Tell them what Jennifer Dukes Lee said about it.”

Kimberlee Conway Ireton writes a boldly honest story…of God’s enduring faithfulness, and it is a revelation of the Father’s love for her, and for all of us.”


“And what Kris what’s-her-name said, that writer woman you Skype with.”

A fearlessly honest memoir….I laughed and cried, and found a kindred soul within these pages.

Kris Camealy, author of Holey, Wholly, Holy


“Tell them what Dan and Lynne said.”

…a beautifully written, often painfully honest account of trying to pay attention to God through the rigors of motherhood.

—Dan Baumgartner, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood

…evocative and honest, modeling a deep prayer life and joyful obedience to God.

Lynne Baab, author of Joy Together and Sabbath Keeping

Gentle reader: please note that Lynne called my writing evocative. I draw attention to this word because four years ago when I was beginning my agent search, that was the word I wanted so desperately to hear, that my writing was evocative. Now I’ve heard it. I can die fulfilled. (Thank you, Lynne!)

“Done. Anything else you think I should tell them?”

“Tell them to buy a copy. Tell them to buy two.”

Gentle reader: I humbly request that if you have not yet done so, you buy a copy of Cracking Up. For my husband’s sake. He spent nine months of Saturdays as a single dad so I could write this book. It would console him no end to see that his labor was not in vain. I am only thinking of his welfare here.

“Okay,” I say. “Anything else?”

“Yeah. Ask them to write a review on Amazon. A five star one.”

Gentle reader: You heard the man. A five-star review on Amazon, please.

“You done yet?” I ask.

“Oh no,” he says. “I’m just getting started.”

I wish I could spare you, gentle reader, the rest of his list, but he is my husband, after all, and he did give up those nine months of Saturdays so I could write this book, so I feel I owe it to him (I think only of my husband here, gentle reader, and spare not a thought for myself) to ask you the following:

  1. If you haven’t yet, please buy a copy. You can get Cracking Up on Amazon. Or Barnes and Noble. Or Indiebound. Or order it from your local bookseller.
  2. Once you’ve read it, and assuming you like it, please leave a (glowing, five-star) review on Amazon.
  3. While you’re there (or if the thought of writing a review leaves you cold), simply click “yes” on all the five-star reviews to indicate that each one was helpful for you.
  4. Link to your Amazon review from Facebook or Twitter or both.
  5. If after all that, you find yourself with time on your hands (because you have nothing better to do than help me, I mean, my husband, sell books, right?), you can copy and paste your Amazon review onto the Cracking Up page at Barnes and Noble.
  6. If you’re a blogger and you’d like to review the book on your blog, please do (please please please!). You can even say nasty things about it because I will (probably) never know.

    (I’m trying really hard not to read reviews of my writing. Only two outcomes are possible: either my heart breaks and I curl up in a fetal position and never write again or my head swells so large it explodes. Neither of which is a particularly desirable outcome for yours truly.)

    Regardless of the content of your review, go ahead and send me the link, and I’ll help spread the word. All publicity is good publicity, right?

    I’m also happy to do an interview or write a guest post. Just ask.

  7. (Almost done, I promise!) If you have a mom’s group or book club and you’d like me to come speak, either in person or via Skype, shoot me an email, and we’ll figure out a time that works.

Okay, whew. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. I think it’s time for another cup of tea. If you join me for said beverage, be sure to bring along your copy of that boldly, fearlessly, and painfully honest, beautifully written, and, yes, evocative book we’ve been talking about. Though if you’ll forgive me, I think I’ll be reading something else.