Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Affliction, Submission, Milestone

We'll start with the affliction - I have a temporary (I pray) case of Bell's Palsy. It started about a week and a half ago when I woke up on Sunday morning and my tongue was numb (I thought I'd burned it). By Tuesday the entire left side of my face wouldn't work. I couldn't blink my eye down and I couldn't raise my lips up. If I kept my face perfectly still it wasn't too noticeable (unless you realized that my one eye wasn't blinking) but when I had to talk or - the worst - SMILE - it was very obvious. Since I wasn't in pain and had no other physical complaints, I didn't think I was having a stroke. I looked up the symptoms online and felt pretty sure it was a temporary palsy of some kind. I called my doctor and they agreed but said to go to the ER just in case. I did't want to leave work so I waited until Butch got home that evening and he took me. They did an MRI and said I would be fine eventually. It was a very strange experience. I'm not vain - or I didn't think I was - but having something wrong with my face and continually having to explain to everyone I meet why my eye doesn't blink and my lips don't move on one side was tedious. It really made made me think how difficult it is for people who have conditions or deformities that cause others to stare (even if they aren't being unkind). I take a lot for granted. And it was kind of a wake up call physically. I've gained a lot of weight over the past year or two and never even think about exercising. When I first realized that something was wrong and had to consider the possibility of stroke - I wished fervently that I'd been taking better care of myself. So now I'm rededicating myself to healthy eating (prayers please). And even though I was warned that it can take up to a YEAR to fully recover from the palsy - I am already noticing improvment. I still can't blink my left eye and my upper lip hangs down on the left side. But my lower jaw is working again along with my lower lip. So I can talk and eat much more easily. If I can just learn not to smile...

Now on to the Submission. I returned the final edit of Murder by the Book to the best editor in the world, Kirk Shaw, at Covenant yesterday. Now it's being typeset and then he'll send me that version for one last glance before it goes to the printer. I hope and pray that I didn't make any glaring errors this time. It was such a fun book to write and I'm really anxious to hear from readers about it. I'm also so thankful that it's going to come out this fall. That was truly a miracle. Time and financial constraints are going to prevent me from making a visit out west to 'introduce' the new book this fall - which is sad and disappointing. But I'm working hard to think of ways I can make the release exciting anyway. What I've come up with is a contest combined with a Murder Mystery Game (similar to Clue and the Murder Mystery Dinner Covenant used to do in the good old days). I'm thinking it will be something like the Twelve Days of Mystery (since Murder seems so harsh and un holidayish...) I'll use characters from all my books and create a little scenario. Then I'll give clues every day for 12 days and at the end I'll let people email me their guesses for a limited lenghth of time (like a day). Everyone who correctly solves the mystery gets their name put in a 'hat' for a drawing. I think we can do the drawing sort of semi-live using my blog or Facebook or both (with my kids as cyber-reporters) so participants can read along and see who wins. I think that will be fun and I hope it will generate some interest. The grand prize will be a basket (or box or something) that will contain not only some of my books, but other Covenant products and candy, etc. Other prizes will be copies of my new book. I'll post a picture of it on my website (I'm planning to do a whole page just about the contest and game). It's not up yet - but I promise it will be by October 1st when the book comes out (hopefully before). And I'm going to start presales on Murder by the Book on Sept 1st. I have a fun idea about that too (but this post is getting too long so I'll save that for later).

Finally - the milestone. On Monday Butch and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. It's crazy to think that it's been that long ago that he and I began this incredible journey. When we started out - both 21 and completely clueless - we had a lot of dreams and plans. Butch wanted to be a lawyer or a veternarian. I wanted to write books and have 10 kids. We assumed we'd live in the Decatur area near our family. Instead he's a UPS man and we live in Birmingham. I do write books and although I didn't make it to 10 - I have EIGHT of the greatest kids in the history of the world!!!! (Not to mention 3 great son in laws and 1 great daughter in law - and the grandkids - well there just aren't words to describe how fabulous they are). Life has not always been easy (that's an understatement - it's never been easy - sometimes it's more manageable than others). So looking back I see things we could have (maybe should have) done differently so that the present could be better or easier or at least more what I had expected to be my future when I was that 21 year old girl. But the funny thing is that even though there are things I wish were different - if given the chance I wouldn't change a single thing - just because I'm afraid that one different decision (even for the better) might change where I am right now and I couldn't risk it. So we'll take what we've learned from the first 30 years together and work on making the next 30 even better.


Nancy Campbell Allen said...

BETSY! I am so glad you're going to be ok, and glad you figured out what was going on. My prayers will definitely be with you, sweet friend.

Woohoo on the new book! Your contest sounds great. I'll be watching for it! And yes, I agree, Kirk is the most wonderful editor in the world.

As for your milestone, congrats! And you perfectly voiced everything I've ever thought about "going back and doing things differently." Even a better choice about something could alter everything we have now. 30 years is fantastic. We celebrated our 20th this summer and I'm looking forward to another gajillion. :-)

Stephanie Black said...

Betsy, I'm sorry about the Bell's Palsy. No fun! My brother-in-law went through that a few years back.

Congrats on the new book and happy anniversary!!

Cheri J. Crane said...

Holy the cow Betsy!!! I am so sorry for all you've been enduring. A friend of mine in our ward suffered through the same thing a few years ago. The good news is she did completely recover. Know my prayers are with you big time.

And congrats on the 30 year milestone!!! Way cool. Also, congratulations on your newest book. You are an awesome lady. Hang in there and know you are loved.

Jennie said...

OH Betsy, I'm sorry you're going through such a difficult time and I'm glad the palsy isn't permanent. You'll be in my prayers. And happy anniversary. Boyd and I have you beat, but I won't say by how far.
Congratulations on the new book too. Will it be released the same time as mine? The first of October?

Anna said...

Congrats on the 30 years.

On other note: I just finished reading Code of Honor. Loved it, loved it, LOVED it. As a reader, I am so not ready for that book to be the end. I want more. So, I guess my imagination will have to imagine the rest.

I had forgotten that the main character's name is Savannah. Between your books, I had a baby and named her Savannah. Makes me love the book even more. :)

Can't wait for your next book.