In 1997, after the Christmas holidays slowed and we dragged the brittle tree out of the house and down to the edge of the woods, my parents and I packed everything I owned into their mauve Ford Taurus station wagon, and drove north from Tennessee to New York City.  We spent New Year’s Eve in a hotel room somewhere in between here and there.  It was snowing, and we were tired, and we didn’t stay up to watch the ball drop on television in Times Square, which we had done for many years with our neighbors, the Craft family, playing Trivial Pursuit until midnight.

Here’s the good news. My first novel was reviewed by the New York Times.

Here’s the bad news. It was a horrible review.

I do not hyperbolize. It was really bad. So that you understand how terrible it is, I’ve included it entirely as the next full paragraph. Please feel free to gasp, snicker, or laugh aloud at any time during my cautionary tale, even if you think you shouldn’t. Release the humours. It’s healthier that way.