I have to admit this is an exciting day. This story’s been on a long journey—from actual experiences decades ago, to in my head for what seems even longer, to the drawn-out writing process which took twelve years, and the always bumpy road to publication. This book has gestated long enough to be a monster, and sometimes it’s felt like that. It’s more than time this baby was born. And I can’t wait to share it with you. Please help me make it a success.
So Far So Great
It’s coming out on a high tide after lots of belly-to-belly marketing, as you may have noticed. (I hope you aren’t too sick of my face in that headshot or—egads!—the cover of the book.) I put a lot of irons in the fire early on, not really knowing what would click, and I’ve been gratified by the pre-publication reception to The Fourteenth of September. Pre-orders are strong (thanks to so many of you), reviews have been favorable, media coverage abundant, and the book has even done well in early awards competitions.
Read or Listen
There’s even more going on now that the book is out in the world. In addition to paperback and ebook formats, the audiobook is now available on Amazon, narrated by actress Marissa DuBois, who had a blast juggling the various character voices in the book’s large cast. Check out what she has to say in her video, and take a listen to a three-minute excerpt via SoundCloud. And, if it really puts you in the spirit, check out the soundtrack, full of the circa 1969-70 tunes that punctuate the action of the story.
Above all, The Fourteenth of September is a discussion book, with a multitude of topics to fuel any interest. And, its appeal is cross audience. Certainly, those of you who were around during the 1969-70 time of the novel will approach it from the vantage point of experience, but as historical fiction, its story of a young woman coming of age and conscience during wartime is appealing to all audiences. Check out the new Official Book Club Guide, including discussion questions by best-selling novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard. Please consider it as a selection for your book club and feel free to refer it to others.
Share What You Think
I thank all of you for your support throughout the process of bringing this book to fruition, and I hope you’ll help me take it over the finish line by sharing and spreading the word. In particular, I’m hoping you’ll be sufficiently intrigued to read the story of Judy Blue Eyes in The Fourteenth of September and, once you do, post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. There’s simply nothing that helps more to give a book momentum.
Help Me Make a Difference
The tag line of The Fourteenth of September is “A Coming of Conscience.” That defines Judy’s journey in the book—when integrity trumps consequences. But it also resonates as a call to action even today.
In that spirit, I am initiating a social-giving campaign as part of the launch of The Fourteenth of September to encourage young people to engage in meaningful activism and bold personal responsibility as they continue their education.
The initial iteration of this program will fund a Coming of Conscience Scholarship for a student at Northern Illinois University, the real-life inspiration for the fictional university in The Fourteenth of September. The scholarship will be awarded to a student who best demonstrates their understanding of what a Coming of Conscience means, and their plan for how they will use whatever degree they choose to help change the world in whatever way their beliefs guide them.
To help fund this up-to $10,000 scholarship, I ask you to either share a post on the program, a photo of your copy of The Fourteenth of September, or a thirty-second video of your personal Coming of Conscience (or one you’d like to see) across your social media channels, using the hashtag #ComingofConscience. Or, all three for triple the exposure and funding. See all program details here.
Celebrate with Me
I’d love to hear from you—about what you thought of the book, what memories or thoughts it conjures up, what your Coming of Conscience experiences have been, or how you think we can amplify that program. Or, just to say hi and stay in touch. If anyone will be in or visiting Chicago on October 24, please join me at my Book Launch Party at Women and Children First bookstore, at 7 p.m. We can take a photo of ourselves with the book to post on the spot and also make a lasting memory.
I can’t thank you enough for your support and hope we can continue. I have three more books keyed up, and I’m looking forward to to telling you about them.