Posted by: jeannineatkins | June 19, 2008

Having a Good Day

As the dogs barked madly at the UPS truck rumbling up the hill, I didn’t pay much attention. I thought my daughter had ordered another book about the Tudors or maybe the sandals she’d been talking about. It was a while before I went to the door and picked up the slight but padded envelope with those black bleary marks that look like something’s run over it. My heart beat harder at the address. I just got a contract from Henry Holt for my first collection of verse, biographical poems about Marie Curie, Madam Walker, and Laura Ingalls Wilder (there is a connection) and their daughters.

I’m thrilled — of course! I got the call on a dismal gray day, changing everything, but wanted the contract before I announced. We do get superstitious in this business, don’t we? Or maybe anxious. Or both.

All the great selections made by ALA in January, where poetry was prized, nudged up my hope for these and other poems now being written and submitted. Do I still get to grumble? Oh you know I will. Grumbling may be part of the path onto the next plateau, and besides, the book won’t see print until spring 2010, in time for women’s history month and poetry month. That’s a lot of life and more writing to move through. But at the moment I’m excited. And I hope all of you waiting, hard-working creators get a call and that UPS truck (or a similar one) soon. I wish someone could spin me around with my finger pointing and I could say, “Your turn!”



  1. WooHOO! Congratulations, Jeannine! What fabulous news. Verse poems? Wow. Can’t wait to read the book. Yay for you!!

  2. WOW!!!
    Fantastic news! Congratulations to you. 🙂 (And 2010 isn’t all that far away!)

  3. YAY for the contract! Congratulations!

    You are very good at keeping secrets – I’m so impressed. 🙂

  5. We don’t have to wait until 2010 to understand the connection–do we?! Thinking, thinking….I have no idea.
    Congratulations on the big brown truck on the exciting contents therein. And thank you for your graciousness in hoping for a truck for the rest of us.

  6. Thank you, Jama. Now the question is chocolate or strawberry pie?

  7. Re: WOW!!!
    Thank you, Mary Beth. You know, it actually doesn’t seem all that far. Putting all those pages together, that takes time!

  8. Thanks for the cheering girl, Debbi! (doesn’t she get tired?)

  9. Thanks, Lisa. Keeping secrets — it was hard the first day, wanting to tell total strangers on the street (maybe I did) but then it got easier! I love my friends on LJ, but this is the good part of having ones around you can talk to instead of write to and make them promise to share the hush for a while.

  10. Linda, thanks for your thinking, as only another nonfiction writer might do! All were born in 1867. And here’s hoping for a truck to come to you.

  11. You obviously deserve to have both!
    I was so excited about your news I said “verse poems.” Kind of redundant?! Okay, let me be redundant again. CONGRATS CONGRATS CONGRATS!

  12. That’s wonderful. I loved reading this post. Absolutely recognition well deserved. I’m so very happy for you. And thanks for the vibes. I need them!

  13. That sounds like a very cool collection — congratulations!

  14. I’ll have my son do Snoopy’s “The Beagle” dance for you! I so want to read a verse biography of Laura & Rose!
    Congrats. What a way to start your summer!

  15. Congrats!

  16. Thank you, that’s very sweet. And more good vibes going your way!

  17. Cool. I don’t know, but I’ll take it. In fact, I’m going to pretend you called me cool and not the collection and quote that to my daughter. Or not. You are the cool one.

  18. Oh, would he do The Beagle dance? That’s very nice. As is your wanting to read a verse biography of Laura and Rose. They are so fascinating. I am supposed to get an editorial letter next month and am excited to dive back into the material for a while. There was a lovely interlude when Rose was a young woman in San Francisco, her mother’s first trip to the ocean.

  19. Thank you!

  20. The dance has been done. 🙂
    I think I read that book–Laura’s letters back to Almanzo when she came out to SF for the world’s fair? It was so amazing to think about Laura walking the streets I’ve been on(altho I think I might have liked SF better back then, when I didn’t have to try & get around it in a car!).

  21. Yeah, something between trekking around in covered wagon and driving a car in SF is good.
    Rose ended up buying her parents a car, but her father preferred horses who listened when you said, “Whoa!”

  22. I’ll bet Laura drove that car, though!
    Boy, if you ever did a blog post about which books you’ve read for this project, I’d have another whole bill at the bookstore! (Hint, hint.)
    I’ll be quiet now. 🙂

  23. What a FANTASTIC day!!!! I am thrilled for you and I can’t wait to add this book to my collection. I know it will be fantastic!!!! Oh, J, I am just so happy for you and can’t wait to join you for lunch to celebrate!!! Pick a date!

  24. Thanks for your enthusiasm, Nan! Once I get Em off to L.A. in early July I will be most welcoming fun distractions! Are you doing any signings for Leap into Space? At Oblong for instance? It would be fun to meet there or in the valley.

  25. That is just wonderful! I know how good it feels. Super congrats! And have fun with the writing of it.

  26. Actually I will be at Oblong on Saturday at 11 am for Leap into Space. That’s short notice, though. Early July also works for me.

  27. You can totally say I said you were cool, too, since you are!
    (Meanwhile, I’ll just fall over in astonishment at the notion I might be cool … as will my 11-year-old inner self.)

  28. Congratulations, Jeannine!
    I can hardly wait to get my paws on this one. It sounds marvelous.

  29. You Call this only a GOOD Day???! I Beg to Differ. ;>
    WOW ZOW POW You are totally having One Very Fine, Wish It Were Mine, Rhymes in a Line Day!
    The Curious Cat in me aches to discover the Madame Currie-us connections but I’ll Walk er-round and try not go Wilde until you make the big, rhythmic reveal. {{{{}}}
    I love Jeannine selling a book
    and sharing the news here
    with her friends
    (the silly, ahem ahem and the wise, er, look up above at all the responses before mine)
    HURRAH FOR JEANNINE and I Can’t Wait to Read This One. It is RIGHT up my alley.
    Bowling for clues,

  30. I love it {}
    -Pamela, hoping the truck coming for Linda hits me too

  31. Thank you –most is done, but I do like feeling on tiptoes, ready to dive into revisions. Yes, you know the joys of swimming through research, finding a shape. Have a great summer!

  32. Re: Wow!
    Thank you for the cheer, Tracie. Reaching for Sun kept me in good company doing some of the writing, knowing some of what can be done with verse and narrative, so I thank you so much for that, too. (I love The Floating Circus cover and want to get my hands on that soon!)

  33. Thanks for your enthusiasm, Loree! Glad you have plenty of bees to keep you company in the meanwhile. I’ll be interested in your take on the Curies!

  34. Re: You Call this only a GOOD Day???! I Beg to Differ. ;>
    Pamela, only you can throw a whole party in a paragraph! Thank you for all the virtual hugs and mayhem and puns and rhymes! Can’t wait for the UPS to find your house and I know the party will be steaming through New York up to Maine, and then, of course, around the country, and I want to be there for every minute. Many x’s and o’s right back to you, darling!

  35. CONGRATULATIONS, Jeannine! I am so excited for you. And your topic sounds utterly cool. I can’t wait until you’re able to share even more about it.
    Hurray–doing a big happy dance for you!

  36. Finding a shape. That’s a great way to put it!
    Fantastic summer so far!
    You too…

  37. Thanks, Laura. Hope you have a good weekend.

  38. Congratulations, Jeannine! It sounds like it will be a wonderful collection. I can’t wait to hear about how these women are connected. And I love to hear about poetry selling! Thanks for sharing your news.

  39. Yes, it is good news when an editor and a house make room for poetry! Great to read about your son’s adventure — and yours, in big-heartedly sending him off!

  40. Mary, I am sorry I sounded like an idiot in my earlier reply to you. I had a temporary case of blog-identity-confusion. You were very sweet not to call me names or even point it out. I appreciate that!

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