Whenever I post a blog, there's one reader I'm sure will be lurking out there. My brother David. My biggest fan.
It was David who emailed me to tell me a review of SEALed With a Promise had made it into USA Today.* He keeps up with the book's sales positions as reported on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And as a sales promotion for his company, hands out signed copies of my books.
When I think of the two of us as kids, one photograph pops into my mind. I think I'm about eight and he's ten.
I'm on the left, sitting up straight, my plaid cotton dress smoothed over my knees. My hair is a frizzy dark cloud held back by barrettes. I don't really remember the day except for how elegant I thought the black velvet bow at the white collar of the dress was.
When I look at the photograph now, I'm always surprised to see the bow is little more than a limp string--and lopsided, to boot. Never mind. That day I thought I was one fancy dressed little girl and I'm wearing the sort of smug smile only little girls who know they are well-dressed can achieve .
David is on the right. His sandy blond hair stands up in a crew cut, the hair tips form a silky glowing nimbus. His white shirt is open at the neck, the collar folded out wide. It lies in perfect order across the lapels of his jacket.
He sits forward a bit. Already he shows the high, wide, rather sharp cheekbones that distinguish his face. His wide spaced light blue eyes are earnest--even a little strained looking. You can tell he's trying--in a serious, responsible ten-year-old boy way--to get the portrait sitting thing right.
I'm not looking at the photograph as I write this. I prefer to transmit my impressions of it. Trust me. He will tell me all the ways I've gotten it wrong. Chances are, he'll be right.
Twenty months separate us. Family legend has it he didn't talk until quite late, almost four years. I don't remember. David does, and he says it happened this way: The normal age for kids to put together two-word combinations is twenty-four months. He, he says, had the whole talking thing figured out. He was practicing several nouns and had picked out some verbs. On his second birthday, he planned to astound everyone with his eloquence. But just as he was fixing to commence to get ready...I appeared.
According to him, I came out of the womb talking, and it wasn't that he couldn't talk. But it was two more years before he could talk fast enough to get a word in edgewise.
I emailed him the other day with a question about the wine aerator you see pictured. Told him I wondered what he thought of the gadget, since I was considering using an oenophile in my next story.
"Oh?" he replied. "Who would that be? I hope I am not that pretentious. I certainly don't know that much. [about wine] Just enjoy my fair share."
Since SEALed With A Promise appeared, both family doctor and dentist have hinted they would like to be characters in my next book. I promised to insert doctors with their names. David, though, who is an oenophile (though not a pretentious one!) and who has earned a place in my writing, didn't recognize that I might be talking about him.
So, here's the big "heads up!" David. The lead character of the book that will appear next year is named David. Though the SEAL hero is completely a product of my twisted mind, he is named for you.
Today or tomorrow, look for a lumpy package, so haphazardly taped it could only come from me. Yes, it's a wine aerator. And, my dear oenophile, whether it helps the wine taste better or not, anytime you use it, you'll have a good story to tell.
*For those who'd like to see the wonderful review, here's the link to the review's text.