Excerpt from Call Girl – New Mommy Misery

harried mom

I am suffering from a case of author identity confusion. My first book is middle grade/young adult, set during the Mexican Revolution, and ripe with opportunity for learning and thoughtful discussion. It’s full of prose and carefully crafted imagery.

My second book, Call Girl, is about a sassy woman named Julia who runs a call center and struggles with post-partum depression, work/life imbalance and a womanizing boss. She also has a tawdry tale of greed, money and blackmail to uncover. It’s filled with humor, but I hope it provokes some thoughtful discussion about post-partum depression, misogyny and challenges for working women. Clearly, NOT a book for youngsters.

Despite Call Girl’s complete pivot from Evangelina Takes Flight, I want to share bits of it with you (as I’ve done in the past), and hope it resonates with some moms out there, or at least gives readers a chuckle.

I am actively sending queries to Literary Agents hoping to find representation. The segment below comes early on in the book, chapter 2.

EXCERPT:

Someone on the consulting nurse twenty-four-hour hotline told me colic usually lasts about six weeks. I marked the days on the calendar with an “X” until the six weeks were up.

Trey screamed the first day after his six-week birthday.

At 2:30 a.m., I woke up to his crying, picked him up, and walked to the kitchen, where we kept the calendar. I turned on the overhead stove light to see it. Yep, one day past six weeks, and he cried off and on that morning, afternoon, and night.

Gah! Was there such a thing as twenty-hour-a-day colic, and was there such a thing as a baby that cried until he left for college? Because his crying seemed like it was on a non-stop repeat cycle from hell.

My days included the following, or a combination thereof:

  • Pick crying Trey up out of his crib
  • Nurse Trey . . . twenty minutes of quiet—yay!
  • Hold Trey in the rocking chair
  • Wipe Trey’s spit-up off my shoulder
  • Smell eau de vomit every time I turn my head
  • Hold Trey on the sofa
  • Hold Trey at the kitchen table
  • Sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “You Are My Sunshine,” the ABCs, a few Barbara Streisand songs and Broadway tunes
  • Tell myself, “You can do this!”
  • Lay Trey on his back, atop my thighs, his tiny feet against my weirdly stretched-out stomach, head the opposite direction, and talk to him, smile at him, grab his little feet and move them around, stroke his hair, touch his cheek, kiss his nose, tell him I love him, but feel guilty, because part of my heart feels paralyzed and in desperate need of emergency care
  • Beg Trey to tell me why he’s crying, so I can fix it!
  • Walk around our itty-bitty house with Trey over my shoulder
  • Put Trey, who is crying, in his stroller, and take him for a walk, thinking the fresh air will do him good
  • Bring Trey home in stroller, because he won’t stop crying, and I’m embarrassed the neighbors will hear, or the dogs will start howling
  • Change Trey’s diaper
  • Burp Trey
  • Change Trey’s clothes
  • Bathe Trey
  • Tell myself, “I can’t do this!”
  • Read Doctor Spock book, again, hoping there’s information I missed that will tell me what I’m doing wrong
  • Repeat

I cried every day, too, but I usually got my act together before Charlie came home, lest he think I was the most un-motherly woman on the planet. He knew it was exactly that though, an act. There is no “off” button for new-mommy misery.

One awful day ran into the next awful day until it seemed like one enormously long awful life. I had waited anxiously for this child. Couldn’t wait until he came. Then he arrived, like a little alien being, a total stranger, fragile and scary. My son, unable to talk, hold his head up, or even keep his eyes from crossing, scared me ****less morning, noon, and night.

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Will You Post a Review?

Dearest readers of Evangelina Takes Flight,

Would you be so kind as to post a review on the site where you bought the book? Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target or elsewhere… I have a few GREAT reviews out there, but I’d like to see more. Be honest with it. No glowing review if the book does not deserve it (but a glowing review if it DOES deserve it). Just what you thought of it, and how the book made you feel. Thank you. I appreciate the tremendous support I’m getting for this book – such an important read, especially now in these uncertain times when lawful, contributing immigrants (much like my own family in Evangelina’s time) are vilified.

This is what Kirkus Reviews had to say about the story’s relevance to the world today:

In 1911 during the Mexican Revolution, a Mexican family seeking refuge from Pancho Villa, soldiers, and violence migrates to Texas. Debut novelist Noble introduces 13-year-old Evangelina de León—a self-aware, observant, caring daughter and sister—her six siblings, parents, and abuelo, who live on a ranch located outside of Mariposa, a small, northern (fictional) Mexican town. Days after her sister’s quinceañera and the news of imminent raids and violence, the family splits up and, in waves, arrive at a relative’s home in Texas. They have not left struggle behind, however. Signs that read “No Perros! No Negros! No Mexicanos!” tell them they are shunned at grocery stores. The political and racial tensions in their new home town are not subtle: the family is denied a burial for a stillborn son; foreign-born children must use the woods as a bathroom instead of the school’s outhouse; a black boy is shot; a Lebanese kid is harassed; a young Mexican boy is spat upon; and both white children and adults are cruel to the immigrants in the neighborhood. Using the first person with Spanish sprinkled throughout, Noble propels the novel with vivid imagery and lovely prose, successfully guiding readers behind an immigrant family’s lens. Loosely based on Noble’s own grandmother’s story, this debut hits awfully close to home in the current anti-immigrant political climate. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

 

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When You Need a Really Uplifting Song

So much going on in the world; so much sadness, so much division, so much fear and despair. Many are focused on casting aspersions, pointing fingers and judging others, filled with their own self-righteousness rather than trying to understand and find common ground. It can be overwhelming. But, I’ve heard many heartwarming stories of kindness, love, compassion and inclusiveness. Those stories are all around us, too. Just last night, our youngest child, on the cusp of adulthood, decided to volunteer in Houston for the next 10 days. Not knowing exactly what she’ll be doing when she gets there, and giving up time to be with friends before she heads off to college in 3 weeks, she’s going, because her heart is aching to help others who’ve lost so much.

In reflecting on the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey and the hope people need to get up every day and keep at it, I remembered this song – “I’m Going All the Way” by the Sounds of Blackness. I heard it decades ago when I was running a charity carwash at work. Executives were in their shorts and flip-flops, scrubbing and drying cars for donations. My buddy and co-worker, Craig, was spinning high energy tunes with his fancy disc jockey equipment and huge speakers. Another coworker, JJ, handed Craig a CD and said, “You’ve got to play this.” And, on that sunny day in Seattle, it made me smile – big and goofy, and swing my hips and otherwise, get my groove on, right there, in front of everyone. (The truth is, I like getting my groove on, and I don’t care who’s watching.) This is one of the most hopeful, uplifting songs I know. So worth the 5 minutes! Turn it up! You’re going to love it.

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Donations to Support Hurricane Harvey Victims

Hurricane Harvey image

Most of my family and countless friends live in Houston, a city currently devastated by Hurricane Harvey (or category 4 storm, take your pick). Feeling helpless here in the Pacific Northwest, I’m doing my little part by donating to organizations that can help. I’m including links to 2 organizations, both of which have received a 5-star rating by Charity Navigator, an independent organization that rates charities based on many factors including % of money going to products/services as opposed to fundraising/administration costs, effectiveness of programs, etc.

Please consider donating. Having worked in health & human services for 4 years, I highly recommend using Charity Navigator to research ANY charity you want to give to. The Better Business Bureau recommends that donors give to registered non-profits that spend 25 cents or less of every dollar donated on fundraising/administration costs and conversely, 75 cents of every dollar or more on products/services. Demand wise use of your donation. United Way does an outstanding job of giving grants to organizations that demonstrate results and use every donor dollar wisely. United Way of King County in Seattle spends 100% of every dollar on services due to a generous grant from the Gates Foundation.

Thank you!

*****DONATE: AMERICARES

AMERICARES CHARITY NAVIGATOR RATING AND INFO

*****DONATE: FOOD BANK OF CENTRAL TEXAS – Food Banks in Houston are flooded. They will need to rely on other Food Banks such as this one, located in Austin, to fill the gap.

FOOD BANK OF CENTRAL TEXAS CHARITY NAVIGATOR RATING & INFO

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ETF in Hardcover!

Diana hardcover bookEvangelina Takes Flight in hardcover! A few copies arrived today from my publisher. A large volume of books was ordered by the Junior Library Guild (JLG) which put Evangelina Takes Flight on their recommended reading list. An enormous honor! Public and school libraries look to the JLG for recommended reads. Hope this helps put my book in the hands of middle grade students across the country and beyond!

 

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Children of the Revolución Documentary

The children of the revolucion title

In a post from years back, I mentioned how helpful this award-winning documentary was in providing context and historical details I needed for my book. Now you can watch the multi-part series online. I highly recommend it for learning about a revolution that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, and changed Mexican and American history forever. I interfaced over email quite a few times with the show’s creator, Lionel Sosa, during the early stages of my writing. He was quite supportive, and I am still grateful.

http://childrenoftherevolucion.org/the-show/

 

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Edmonds Bookshop Event Thursday 8/17, 5-6 pm

Edmonds bookshop logo

The Edmonds Bookshop in gorgeous downtown Edmonds, WA has invited me to stop by and sign books this Thursday from 5-6 pm only. If you haven’t bought your copy of Evangelina Takes Flight (or a copy for your friend/s) yet, here’s a chance to buy a signed copy. I would love to see you!

It’ll be Edmonds’ monthly art walk night. If you haven’t been before, I can almost guarantee you’ll thoroughly enjoy it. Edmonds is my favorite town ever – for it’s charm, friendly people, beautiful surroundings (water/mountains), shops, quaint restaurants, ferries gliding in and out, beaches, Saturday farmers’ market and on and on. The bookshop is small and independently owned. Support your local bookstore!

http://www.edmondsbookshop.com/events.htm

Edmonds Bookshop address:

111 5th Ave South
Edmonds, WA  98020

 

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