Monday, September 1, 2008

The Celebration Begins! Line of Scrimmage Launch Party!

Happy September 1! Today is the day Line of Scrimmage officially launches. I'm pleased to invite you to attend the launch party here and simultaneously on my blog. All this week, everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing. I'll be giving away two copies of Line of Scrimmage as well as two Barnes & Noble gift cards! One week, four winners! Enter again over on my blog for four more chances to win! Both contests end at midnight Eastern Daylight Time on Friday, September 5.

I want to thank my family and friends for sharing in the excitement of these last few weeks with me. So many people helped to get me here, and I thank you all for your endless support and enthusiasm for my books. Line of Scrimmage is dedicated to my parents, George and Barbara Sullivan, who always said I could, and to my husband Dan and our kids, Emily and Jake, who stood by me while I did. I wrote the following paragraphs for my website, but I thought today would be a good day to retell my story.

When we lived in Jacksonville, FL, from 1998-2002, my husband deployed on the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy for months at a time. The kids and I used to drive down to Ft. Lauderdale to visit my parents who spent winters there. My dad and I would take long walks through the marinas where he would show me the boats we were going to buy someday. “You need to get busy writing that book,” he would say. My reply was always the same: “When exactly do you think I could fit that in? Between changing diapers and working full time?” With a big grin, he would say, “Three to six a.m. is available.” A pipe dream. That’s all it was. But there was this character running around in my head. A man with thick dark hair, gray-blue eyes, an engaging grin, a quick wit . . . His name was Jack, and he was an architect. I’d find myself talking to him in the car, when I was doing dishes or bathing babies. He’d crop up on days at the beach and on walks through the neighborhood. Someday, I said. Someday, I’ll write Jack’s story.

In 2002, I began to make some notes. I stumbled upon those notes recently and laughed so hard I cried. It was God-awful! Clearly, I wasn’t ready. Once in a while, though, I’d reopen that file, take another look, and make some more notes. I vividly remember outlining the story I had in mind to Dan when we were out to dinner one night. He loved it and encouraged me to pursue it. I knew I wanted something to happen to Jack’s wife, Clare, something that would incapacitate her but not kill her. I had great plans to put Jack through the wringer, but inevitably, life would interfere, and he’d get relegated to the back burner.

After we moved to Rhode Island in August 2002, I started to get more serious about the book but still wasn’t able to get very far. A year later, in November 2003, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The next nine months were a roller coaster ride, during which I turned to the book more and more often, seeking an escape from reality. By early August 2004, I had four solid chapters that my mother was the first to read. I made her cry, she said. She died shortly after.

Something that had lain dormant for years kicked into gear in the aftermath of my mother’s death. I asked myself—what are you waiting for? What meaning will it have to finally write that book if you wait until neither of your parents—the two people who always said you had it in you—aren’t around to read it? I firmly believe my mother is sending me these amazing characters who continue to pop up out of nowhere and lead me on one great adventure after another. How else can I possibly explain the incredible things that have happened in the four years since she died?

I finished Jack’s book, Treading Water, on May 18, 2005, and it’s my fondest hope to one day see it published. I’ve finished a few since then, including Line of Scrimmage, but no accomplishment will ever mean more to me than writing “The End” on that first one. You sort of expect the world to at least have the decency to tip on its axis in tribute to your enormous accomplishment. But alas, kids still have homework, there’s work and laundry and bills and dinner to make. Life goes on, but nothing is ever the same again.

My dad has read all of my books. Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of my mother's death. Today Line of Scrimmage officially launches. I like to picture her holding her own launch party in heaven. "WHOO HOO!" she would say. "WE DID IT!"

Has there been an event in your life that spurred you to action? That got you to do something you always said you were going to do?

48 comments:

  1. Hola Tia!

    I can't wait to read it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, niece Betta!! Nice of you to come to party!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I know what you mean about having someone's death kick you loose from that 'I want to write but I'm not writing' place. That happened to me too when a good friend, younger than I was, died.

    How wonderful that your mom got to read some of your book and know it was good! It's nice that you can still feel her nearby, cheering you on.

    Hear's a cheer from me
    Marie, Marie, Marie! yaaaaaaaaaaaay

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for bringing out the pom poms, Mary Margaret!

    ReplyDelete
  5. congrats Marie!!
    I just got back from the cottage waaaay up north (without phone and internet) to an email from Chapters saying that they have sent my copy of LOS!!! yeah, can't wait to read.
    I'm finishing up line edits today and tomorrow, and am planning on reading this with a nice steamy cup of chai latte!
    With the kidlet back and school and your book, it looks like the first week back in the routine is going to be a good one.
    Can't wait to see what else you have planned for the week.
    Many wishes for a successful launch.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for coming by, Charlotte! I'm delighted that you'll be spending your first days of peace and quiet with Ryan and Susannah! Back to school tomorrow! Whoo hoo is right (we should have a separate party just for that!) I will miss having my kids around, but I work full time from home, so summer is always challenging. Here's to a great re-entry for all the kids!
    xo
    Marie

    ReplyDelete
  7. Marie,
    Congrats on this very special day. It's been a joy to be on the ride with you!
    Hugs,
    Jessica

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks so much, Jessica, my first RWA friend!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Marie, That was so beautiful. I welled up inside when you told me some of your story over lunch in SF, and now I do not have to leave the emotions in. Your mom would be so proud of you. 'Congratulations' is an inadequate word, really, but I guess it is the best we can do. I received LOS yesterday! I have not officially started it, although I confess I flipped through it and did peruse a couple of the juicy bits! :) Thank you for sharing your inspiration with the world, and thank you for allowing me to be a part of it. I wish you all the success possible! Your friend, Sharon

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks Sharon!! You crack me up with the juicy bits! That's ALL I'm hearing about from my family, of course!

    I'm heading out on Dad's boat for a last summer hurrah today. Will check back in tonight! Have a great Labor Day everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey Marie!

    What a great way to launch your book :) Thanks for telling your story.

    My family is what always motivates me--they're the ones who told me I could do whatever I wanted, and a big reason why I took action to pursue this very job as a publicist with Sourcebooks. I also have an incredible group of friends that NEVER let me forget about something if I regret it. It's a nice little support group that makes me get up and do things--otherwise I'm shamelessly belittled! Whatever it takes, though, right?

    CONGRATS! I am so glad to do whatever I can to help out with LoS!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congrats on your release, I can't wait to read it!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dearest Marie, you deserve every moment of pride and joy. Congratulations on getting it done, and getting it done so well.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations, Marie! I love your story, I love how supportive your parents are. I love the idea of your mom celebrating in heaven.

    My first book will be in print in a couple of weeks and I wish my grandmother was still here, but I know she'll be celebrating, too.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Marie,
    It's interesting that you talk about your parents and how glad you are that they got to read at least some of what you've written. My father died three years ago today and my mother died in 1977. Neither of them ever read a word of any of my books, but I sometimes feel them cheering me on, and I'm sure your mother is cheering for you!
    Congratulations on your first book. I know it'll be a winner!

    ReplyDelete
  16. HAPPY LAUNCH DAY, Marie!!!

    I'll be going out to Borders to look for LOS after lunch.

    Okay, your post made Aunty tear up. KNOCK THAT OFF! This is a PAR-TAY! :-)

    But I know what you mean. One of the things I regret the most is that my mother and my grandmother, who read to me, taught me how to read, and instilled a great love of books within me, are not here to share my books with me. But as you say, I KNOW they are celebrating somewhere, probably with your mom. And I know MY mom is enjoying those juicy bits most of all. :-)

    AC

    ReplyDelete
  17. Huge congrats on the release Marie and I totally agree your Mum is having one fantastic party for you.

    I lost my Mum 6 years ago at the time I was doing a Frontline managment course thru work and working full time and runing a houshold as well and it was hard work but Mum was very proud of me in the middle of it all Mum passed away very suddenly but I pushed myself and passed the course and now have a diploma and I won student of the year and I always say it was for Mum and she helped me thru.
    Well done Marie you have a winner !!

    Have Fun
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Marie,
    You rock girl! Congrats on the release today and I'm sure Mom is up there passing out heavenly cyber books to everyone.

    I understand how losing someone you love can kick your but into high gear. My dad died last November and I swore I was going to find something I could do to help out as many people as I could. Well girl, I found you and Cindy, Linda, Kendra, Cheryl, Michele and Danielle along with many others. My reviewing and running Yankee Romance Reviewers is for all of you!!

    Now before I go starting crying my eyes out I will say, "Luv you Gals"!
    huggs and kisses,
    Terra

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks, Danielle! You have been so AWESOME in helping me to promote LOS. I can't imagine anyone could have better support than we have with you!

    Tetewa, thanks for coming by!!

    Mary, Whoo hoo on your book, too!!

    Christina, thanks for your kind words. Can't wait to read about your serial killer boss!

    Cheryl, it's great to know it's not just me who channels my deceased relatives. It's comforting to know for certain that they'd be proud of us. My mother put us to bed every night with a book and to this day my brother and i can't sleep without reading a little something first. I am trying to do the same thing with my kids. It's a great gift to pass along.

    Cindy, sorry you had to put down the riding crop and pick up the tissue!! Thanks for the retail support g'friend. You KNOW I can't wait to read The Wild Sight.

    Hi Helen, Thanks for coming by and joining the party. My mom loved a good party, so i know she's got it going on up there.

    Terra, your Yankee Romance Readers site is a great friend to the Casa girls. Thank you again for the lovely words about LOS. Writers are nothing without readers, so we appreciate your support more than you'll ever know!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh Marie~

    What a wonderful story. Enjoy your success, you deserve it! I've got my copy of LOS. Stephen picked it up for me and it's the first book I'm going to read just as soon as I turn in my manuscript on the 10th (if not sooner). I really can't wait to read it.

    Hugs.....Robin :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks Robin (and Stephen the fabulous)! I appreciate the retail support!! Good luck with that deadline. Mine is tomorrow and I'm DYING! LOL! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

    ReplyDelete
  22. Marie, sorry to be late for the party, we were up at the lake, no phone, tv or internet.

    What a wonderful story, and yes I'm sure your mother is holding her own party and I bet your Dad is so proud.

    Celebrate and enjoy. Congratulations. You deserve it.
    Michele

    ReplyDelete
  23. Welcome back to civilization, Michele, and welcome to the party!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey, Marie! Rolling in from the big family BBQ here (yeah, seriously, I'm just about rolling I ate so much) to say CONGRATS! Hope you drank some real champagne today, you've earned it. And I love the story about your journey...I'm sure your mom is partying in heaven. My favorite aunt, who lived next door while I was growing up, died in a car accident a few months before I got an agent and sold, and I like to think she's popping a cork up in heaven for all of my milestones too:-)

    I'm sure you'll have many more exciting release days...and we'll all be here to celebrate with you!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hey Kendra,
    Thanks for "rolling" in to join the party. I appreciate the support!
    Marie

    ReplyDelete
  26. Marie,

    Congratulations on your debut "Line of Scrimmage".

    What a wonderful legacy for your mother to have gifted her daughter with the love of writing and the determination to make it happen.

    I, too was spurred to follow my dream after my own mother's passing. She gifted me with the passion, the creativity to weave words into stories and the determination and persistance to stick with it and never give up.

    I know she is proud of you!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks, joan! I appreciate your kind words. It's nice to hear from others who have been through the same thing and had the same results--the realization that life is short and THIS is the time! Thanks for coming by and best of luck with your writing!
    Marie

    ReplyDelete
  28. Congrats!!!!! I can't wait to read the book!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Marie, congratulations on your launch day!! I can't wait to read your book.

    ReplyDelete
  30. congrts on the hot book. love football and hot men.

    skydive would be fun or a hot air balloon
    kh

    ReplyDelete
  31. Congrats on the book release, I can't wait to read it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thanks Jennifer!! Looking forward to my day on your blog today!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi jill,
    Thanks for coming by and for your excitement about LOS!
    Marie

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi KH,
    My dad, the retired airplane mechanic, has a saying about skydiving: why would ANYONE want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? LOL! I will keep my dreams confined to those that can be achieved on tera firma. I'm a terrible flyer!! Medication required. LOL!
    Marie

    ReplyDelete
  35. Congratulations to you Marie!! Can't wait to read the book (and Jack's story too!)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks CPA Mom! Go TEAM JACK! i am so hopeful for that book and the two that came after it when my readers asked for more.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Marie,
    Thanks for inviting us to your launch party. Congrats on the release. You wrote six books before "Line of Scrimmage." Will any of those be published?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi Jane,
    The third one, Same Time Sunday, will be out next Spring. We'll see what happens with the others!! I remain very hopeful. Thanks for coming by the party!
    Marie

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi again; how nice that your Mom was able to read some chapters that you'd written. Sorry about your Mom. My Mom passed away from breast cancer 5 yrs. ago and now most things I do are in honor(in my own way)of her and my Dad who passed away 3 yrs. ago. When I see a rainbow I associate it with Mom and a butterfly with Dad. I understand.
    A big congrats on LOS being out and I look forward to reading it.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi Robyn,
    Thanks for sharing your special thoughts about your parents. I'm sorry to hear you lost both of them so close together. Rainbows and butterflies are a great way to remember them. Appreciate you bringing the confetti to my blog!!
    Marie

    ReplyDelete
  41. Marie,
    Well, today I went to B&N and bought a copy of Line of Scrimmage. They were already facing out, so I didn't have to rearrange anything!
    Finished reading it a few minutes ago--under five hours, which I think is a personal best!--and I give it a great, big, double thumbs up!
    Terrific job well done!
    Cheryl

    ReplyDelete
  42. Cheryl!
    You are awesome. I so appreciate your kind words about LOS. You officially made my day! I can't believe you gave me five hours of your day today. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    xo
    Marie

    ReplyDelete
  43. Marie,

    Sorry I just got around to reading this, but, wow, was it worth the wait. The anniversary of your mom's passing is followed the next day by your first published novel's release? Yeah, she's definitely up there helping you celebrate!

    Major, major congrats to you!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks, Judi. It does feel like kismet. I'm glad you were able to join in the party!
    Marie

    ReplyDelete
  45. Woohoo, Marie! Just popping over from your blog to say congratulations! I'm sure your mom's celebrating with you right now! :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thanks for coming by both parties, Fichen!

    ReplyDelete