When I was growing up, and even in college, I couldn’t bear to fall asleep on Christmas Eve or Christmas Night. I’d stretch out on the living room floor near the fireplace and watch the fire burn low, and with all the overhead lights off, look at the Christmas tree standing in the corner. Without my glasses (and they were very thick lenses!) the tree glowed with big round balls of red and blue and green and gold light. The stereo would be loaded with albums, and we had one of those record players that stacked albums a dozen at a time and they’d drop and play, one after the other. I’d lie there, hugging a pillow and listen to Nat and Bing, to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, to Julie Andrews and Johnny Cash and the night would press against the windows, and the fire would crackle, and I’d be there all by myself, holding my breath, unable to go to sleep because I couldn’t bear time passing, or Christmas coming and going so fast.
I feel a bit that way now. And it’s not Christmas I’m afraid will go, but the something good that is happening right now. And sometimes when one doesn’t really expect something good to happen, or hopes it’ll happen but knows there are no sure things, glimpses of good are almost unbearable.
Flirting with Forty is doing well, really well, and it’s only been out a week today but all week it’s had such a nice showing at Amazon, and then it showed up it’s first week at BookScan, and my agent said Flirting probably came close to hitting a list.
And so instead of sleeping, I sit at my computer and stare at the computer screen that shows Amazon’s numbers, and I’d heard about authors who did this, and I heard authors poke fun of themselves for doing this, but it’s hard to look away when something you’ve done, something you’ve written, is succeeding. Is being bought. Read. Tonight I even printed out the pages of Amazon’s bestsellers on July 20, 2006 so I’d have proof–something concrete to remind me–that good things happen, and that good things will happen.
Under the Top Sellers in Books Flirting flirted on the Literature & Fiction list at #59, tucked between Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons.
Under the Top Selling Romance at Amazon Flirting hit #11, appearing in the company of Nora, Nora, Nora, Janet E, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn and a few others.
If you narrow the Romance list to bestselling Contemporary Romance, tonight Flirting at Forty jumped to #5, behind Nora, Nora, Nora, and Nora. And you can believe I printed that list, too.
Yes, I need to go to bed. Yes, I know these lists change hourly. And yes, Flirting with Forty won’t stay at #256 in sales forever, much less much longer, but it did hit #256 and it was popular on the romance list, and it even hit the impressive Lit Fiction list. And that’s something I’ve dreamed about for years. It’s something that seemed impossible, breathtakingly magical, a book that people read, and loved, and remembered.
And now with the house dark, and the children sleeping, and the windows open to let in the cooler night air, I sit in my office and hold my breath and tell myself don’t go to bed, don’t go to sleep. Not yet. Not when I might never have this moment again.