In an event filled summer, with a new book at the press, research for the next book underway, a new 15-passenger van in my driveway, my father's 80-th birthday, 4 kids at EFY, a dozen other Church, ward and stake activities, etc., etc., the most profound, extraordinary and magnificent summer event is scheduled to take place in less than ten days. Namely, the birth my new son, Hunter Helaman!
It's a daunting prospect to say the least. I haven't had a brand new baby for six years. Additionally, I haven't had a SON for 17 years! As I recall, it is much more difficult having a baby son around the house than a baby daughter. I'm not playing favorites. (Actually, the roles sort of reverse in complexity as they become teens!) but as babies and toddlers, girls (at least in my experience) are much easier to handle. However, my wife, Emily, appears eager and up to the task, despite her perpetual discomfort, Braxton hicks, and inability to ever get comfortable enough to enjoy a full night's slumber. The baby is due in early August, but actually being induced on July 28th (to avoid certain medical complications). So in 9 days, our lives will once again be filled with diapers, spit-ups, late night pacing, and continuous Sacrament meeting interruptions. And you know what? This is my last one. I know it. I've fully digested this fact, and because of it, I plan to cherish every moment--from the crying to the puking to the disposable "blowouts" (only an experienced parent would fully know what that term means in this context).
So in the midst of all this, one might wonder, what about Tennis Shoes Book 12?! Yes, I still get an average of 5 emails per day wanting to know about the novel's progress. I'll only say this: ideas are hatching, plots are thickening, and breath-taking climaxes are being orchestrated. Sadly, no matter what else is happening in my life, I can never totally turn off the spigot of my imagination. It's actually a bit of a peculiar, distressing thing. Even as I witness the sacred birth of my child, my mind will occasionally--inevitably--ruminate upon some plot point or character from whatever new project is dominating my attention. If I could help it, I assure you, I would. Such is a curse of being an artist. Or maybe just the curse of having a personality plagued by A.D.D. Either way, a part is my mind is forever bouncing like a pinball, desperately searching for a place to land. I suppose the only respite I have from this "disease" is the moment that I actually complete a novel, or a movie, or a song. Even so, the moment lasts only about 45 seconds. Then it's off to my next fantastical wonderland. But ohhh!, what a golden 45 seconds of freedom those precious seconds truly are! They are worth all the creative effort that came before.
In a day or two I will begin to offer pre-orders for Escape to Zarahemla, still scheduled for an October release. I now know the price--both of the book and the audio book--and I have seen the first mock-ups of the cover design. Honestly, I didn't like my publisher's first efforts at a cover. But with a little extra work I think we've finally found the needed images of Kerra, Brock and other characters, plus a gnarly face-forward image of a jaguar, which is very "story appropriate," as readers will discover soon enough.
Don't call me quite yet for pre-orders. Give me another day or so. I may have to post the "mock-up" cover for now and the final cover next week. Today I'm actually working with the editor on a final draft of the manuscript. The more I read my own words, the more satisfied I am with the pure adventure this story offers. It's quite breathtaking at moments (if I do say so). The Book of Mormon has been a source of inexhaustible inspiration for me throughout my career, and Escape to Zarahemla is no exception. I truly believe readers will be immersed in the Nephite world in ways that have never yet been explored or imagined. In any case, it's a much more engaging (and longer) read than Passage to Zarahemla. My hope is that readers will grip the edge their seats with enthrallment, just as with the most intense moments of any other Tennis Shoes adventure. Then, when this novel concludes, both book series will magically blend together in perfect and poetic way that should surprise and please the most discriminating fans.
When the time comes (let's say Friday), you can pre-order from me directly by phone, or you can simply go to this blog's companion site at http://www.frostcave.com/. Lastly, you can go to my Amazon account called FrostCave found at:
Shucks, you can go there now if you have a hankering and see hundreds of great LDS titles that came into my hands earlier this year--most of them brand new and in mint condition. Take special note of the price on Tennis Shoes sets--books and/or audio. Honestly, no one else can touch the prices that I can offer--even including shipping!!
So for now, stay tuned! Not merely for the pre-sale of Escape to Zarahemla. Mostly for the announcement of the long-awaited arrival--on July 28th--of the planet's newest occupant: Hunter Helaman Heimerdinger.