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Mia Kay: Book Babies (Giveaway)
Friday, May 13th, 2016

I’m writing this post on Mothers’ Day, so the topic and the feelings are at the front of my brain. And, before I start, let me say one thing – I don’t mean to trivialize being a mother or raising a child. At all. I’m not a mother, but I know a lot of them. I even have one. Raising a child is difficult, demanding, and terrifying. This post is meant to be fun, and nothing more.

Hello everyone, and thanks to Delilah for having me back.

I’m late getting this post done because I’ve been celebrating the birthday of my third book. You see the posts all the time during release week. “Happy book birthday!”  And in part, it is like my birthday because I’m getting all the presents and attention. But it’s also a birthday for the book. The time when it leaves my care and goes out into the world. So this post is about how books are like babies.

  1. Good manuscripts take time. Not always nine months – sometimes less, most of the time more. During that period, they grow and shift. They keep me awake, rattling around in my head rather than my uterus.
  2. I love to say that writing keeps me from snacking because my hands are busy. In part, that’s true. However, I still snack. This latest release will always be “the book where I gave up Diet Coke and craved kettle corn.” My new manuscript is “the cherry Pop-Tart one.” Seriously, the other night I had cherry Pop-Tarts and blush wine for dinner.
  3. It’s harder than it looks. Enough said, I think.
  4. Readers and friends ask me all the time which book is my favorite. I don’t have one. It’s impossible. They’re all different. Some get on my nerves, some make me laugh, some make me cry – some do it simultaneously.
  5. They look like me – sort of. There are pieces of me in each book. A heroine’s nervous nature, a hero’s love of chocolate.
  6. Showing them off. After I finish a manuscript, I hand it to my critique partners, my beta readers, and eventually an editor. I dress it as prettily as I can, and wait for feedback – which isn’t always positive, honestly.  At times it’s like hearing, “Is his nose going to straighten out? What’s that rash on her face? Is that a stain on his shirt?”
  7. Letting them go. I’ve watched my friends and family agonize over leaving their children – at daycare, with a sitter, at school for the first day. At some point, the child is no longer solely theirs, and they worry. What if someone is mean to them and I’m not around to defend my baby? What if they get hurt and I’m not there? What if they don’t behave the way I’d hoped? As an author, there’s a point where I leave the book for the reader and I walk away, hoping that people actually like my “baby.”
  8. They are yours forever. A book is never not I’ll worry about it, fuss over it, and brag about it for the rest of my life.
  9. Doing it again. We’ve all heard new mothers say. “Nope. She’ll be an only child.” (See #3.) And then something makes them want to do it again. I’m the same way after each book. I wonder if I can do it again, if anyone will want me to. And, in the end, I can’t help it. Something pulls me back.
  10. My mother has kept every school project my brothers and I did, including the book I made in second grade where I misspelled “pepole” and my ribbon for finishing a race in 17th place (out of 18). I will always, always be proud of my books.

In continuing the post-Mothers’ Day theme, I’m going to wave wildly at my mother, who reads my books but worries about the language in them. And I’m going to share my latest release, which contains Wallis Quinn – the candidate for worst mother of the year.

***Give Away***

If you’ll share a story about your mom or your children, I’ll pick one contributor to receive a copy of Hard Silence. The giveaway will close at midnight tomorrow, and I’ll post the winner in the comment thread the next day.

Thanks for stopping by!

Mia

***Excerpt***

mk0416_9781459293557_Hard_Silence (smaller file)They dug in, and Jeff rolled his eyes as he swallowed. “Jesus, that’s good. I’m glad you could get us in.”

“This is the only pull I have, other than getting a discount at the farm supply.”

He choked on his tea, and then settled in for another bite. “How long have you lived here?”

“Twenty-three years.”

“You moved here?”

“Yes,” she said around a mouthful of tomato and feta, “from Tacoma.”

She heard the words leave her mouth, felt the air chill her skin. It’s okay. Nobody died in Washington. It’s not a secret. It’s on my records at school.

School. Buck had taken her into town and registered her for junior high. Wallis had slammed dishes and drawers for days afterward.

“So you grew up in Washington?” Jeff asked.

This was normal date chatter. She knew he’d grown up in Tennessee. He’d told her. He just wanted—

He can’t know.

She shook her head. “We. Bounced. Around. A lot.”

“After your father died?”

How did he know her father had died? She hadn’t said anything. She didn’t tell. She didn’t—

He put his hand over hers. “Sorry, professional hazard. You were so kind about my dad, I sort of guessed. I didn’t mean to freak you out.”

See. There. Not my fault. He guessed. And he still didn’t know particulars.

“When did he die?”

“I was four.”

“Damn. How?”

I don’t know. I didn’t see it. All I know was the floor was all red like when I’d spilled Kool-Aid, and I was worried Mama would think I’d made a mess, but Papa was there. He was so still, and Mama was so mad. Her voice made me cry.

“Abby?”

She looked away from him, trying to catch her thoughts and to stop the words. And there, in the corner, with her back to them. There was a lady with chestnut-brown hair, just like hers, cut into the severe style Wallis had always liked. An expensive bag sat at her feet, which were clad in designer shoes, and she reached a manicured hand for her napkin. Diamonds glittered under the lights.

Only the best, Abby. I deserve the best, and I’m going to have it. No one’s going to stop me.

Oh God, oh God, oh God. She should’ve known better than to try this. Wallis always knew. She blinked across the table. She’d told Jeff a secret. She was here with him, holding his hand, enjoying dinner with her friends. They were all in danger, because she’d been happy.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

“Darlin’, what’s wrong?”

She stumbled to her feet. “I have to wash my hands.”

“Ooh-kay.” He smiled up at her. “I’ll be right here. Hurry back before I eat all the mozzarella.”

I’m so sorry.

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About the Author

Mia Kay spent years writing legal documents and keeping people out of trouble. Now she spends her days looking for ways to get her characters into trouble. She lives in Arkansas with her husband, who doesn’t mind discussing (and sometimes causing) mayhem over breakfast. She’s always worried her mother will stop by unannounced and find her in her pajamas until far too late on Saturday morning.

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9 comments to “Mia Kay: Book Babies (Giveaway)”

  1. DebraG
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    1
    · May 13th, 2016 at 11:44 am · Link

    I just found some old pictures and one of them was of my daughter standing on a toy to reach into the fish tank to play with the fish.



  2. Kathy M
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    · May 13th, 2016 at 1:25 pm · Link

    My mom is no longer here on this earth but, she’s always in my heart. There were plenty of times we didn’t get along, or didn’t speak for months, but no matter what I always knew that I could always call her and I knew shed be there for me. I miss her everyday. I know she knew I loved her, I just wish I had one more minute with her to tell her how much I cherished her and am so grateful for all the valuable lessons she taught me.



  3. Mia Kay
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    · May 13th, 2016 at 1:29 pm · Link

    Debra, that’s fabulous! Thanks for sharing!



  4. Snarky Mom Michelle
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    · May 13th, 2016 at 7:20 pm · Link

    I try really hard to live my life without jealousy, but I really felt heaous of the folks who had a Mom on Mother’s Day. My Mom died from lung cancer 12/30/14 and it’s so hard to not pick up the phone every day & call her. Her one final request was that I did her eulogy (yeah, NO PRESSURE THERE lol!!!). Here’s part of what I wrote/said:

    Now, most life lessons are learned by a combination of trial, error and observation – and I’ve had 47 years of observing an amazing woman who gave her time and energies to her friends, family and community. What were some of those lessons? Well…

    IT IS MY DUTY TO WARP THE NEXT GENERATION: My Mom always made “events” fun. Green milk on St. Patrick’s Day… heart-shaped plastic boxes of red hots on Valentine’s Day… crafts galore… stockings at Christmas… joyful celebrations for birthdays. At this point, if I don’t plan the neighborhood hayride or have their friends’ favorite treats for sleepovers, my kids whine. The traditions make the memories. I just consider it my efforts to warp the next generation, so that my kids will find themselves on the morning of March 17th with the milk carton & the green food dye freaking their own kids out with colored milk.

    EMBARRASSING MY KIDS IS JUST ONE MORE SERVICE I CAN OFFER: My Mom was the Room Mom… the Brownie/Girl Scout Leader… on the PTA… Everyone knew my Mom… and my Mom knew everyone. No matter how much I may have been embarrassed by her being around all the time, deep down I was happy that she WAS around, because there were so many other Moms who weren’t. Now I am that Mom. The Room Mom… Cub Scout Mom… volunteer Mom… coach Mom… and I take a certain amount of delight in calling out to my kids & their friends while in the hallways of their schools. Granted, it is a perverse delight, but more often than not, they and their friends will call out to me FIRST. I’m sure I embarrass them, but hey – in 25 years they will reflect on the fact that their Mom was THERE, just as my sister and I know that OUR Mom was there for US.

    MY MOM COULD DO *ANYTHING* !! Each year I called my Mom up during the holidays and said, “I don’t know how you did it.” (To which she normally replied, “I don’t either”.) She would make up huge tins of cookies & candies for all my Dad’s employees, neighbors, etc… Our front porch became the goodie freezer each December, filled with dozens upon dozens of different kinds of cookies, buckeyes, rock candy, etc… She ran carpools, got us to violin & piano lessons, dance, orchestra practices, swim practices & out-of-town weekend meets, led Girl Scout meetings and cookie sales, volunteered for the PTA and swim association — all by herself, with a limited budget, and minimal support. She dealt with in-laws, her own parents, a dog, two hormonal girls and a husband. She held it together when my Dad’s “hobby” exploded into a downtown storefront for a ski business – which she ran. She helped her daughters after the birth of her grandchildren, stayed active and involved with BSP and helped with the church’s food pantry and prayer shawl ministry. The bar was set really high!



  5. flchen1
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    · May 14th, 2016 at 12:34 am · Link

    How fabulous, Mia! I’ve never written a book (hats off to you authors–such an amazing accomplishment!) but I am one of three kids and am now the mom of three 🙂 I do think that there are things we can’t fully appreciate until we go through it ourselves, and becoming a parent has greatly deepened my appreciation of my own parents. There are definitely similarities to authoring a book, as you pointed out! I think it is very difficult to let go and see your child take off without you, although at the same time, that is one’s goal and wish, that they be able to do just that! DS1 has just recently gotten his learner’s permit, and driving with him has indeed been hair-raising! I don’t know how my dad got through it with the three of us without drinking 😉 We shall see how we survive in the coming months! Thanks for sharing about your latest release–looking forward to reading more!



  6. Mia Kay
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    · May 14th, 2016 at 7:12 am · Link

    Kathy – I am so sorry your Mom is no longer physically with you. I have those same feelings about my dad. I think we always look back and wish we’d said more or done more. Hold on to those memories!



  7. Mia Kay
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    · May 14th, 2016 at 7:19 am · Link

    Michelle – What awesome stories! It makes me remember all the times my mother came to class with snacks or helped with projects. When my brother and I were small (like pre-K age), we were playing cowboys and we sneaked up on our mother and “shot” her in the kitchen. She played dead so well we started to worry.

    And, like you, I still call my mother and ask how to do things. Last Christmas I texted her a photo of the dressing I’d made using her recipe. Her reply? “What is that?” Not a good sign, huh?



  8. Mia Kay
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    · May 14th, 2016 at 7:26 am · Link

    flchen – Driving! My mother sat next to me in the passenger seat for months, trying not to flinch. However, she also told me, “if you go slower than the speed limit, I’m putting a rock on your foot.”

    Good luck with your new driver!



  9. Mia Kay
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    · May 15th, 2016 at 11:15 am · Link

    Thank you everyone, for stopping by to comment. flchen1 – you’re my winner! Please email me at mia@authormiakay.com to claim your prize.

    Mia