I have spent the last few days following my poor old blind golden retriever around the back yard, serving as a kind of Seeing Eye Human. (Really, I ought to get me one of those little outfits that seeing eye dogs wear.) My job is to keep him from slamming into trees and from tripping on little pieces of grass. And because he is dizzy still, he holds his head at an amusing tilt, which often causes him to walk in circles. We make quite a fine pair out there. It is a little like following Mr. Magoo, who is pooping.

But with all this dog-tending, I have been neglecting to say that good things are happening for Kissing Games of the World, my new book…which I would like to talk about for a moment, if you wouldn’t mind so much.

I was just reading on Nova’s wonderful blog, Distraction No. 99, about that let-down feeling that comes once you’ve finished a novel and how much that is like postpartum depression. (Maybe this is why I’m not letting myself finish the novel I’m writing now–it’s been too soon since my last bout with postpartum book depression!) And it made me realize that sad to say, there is something similar that comes once a book is out there in the world, too. If finishing the writing is like postpartum depression, then what follows its publication is probably like the day your kid heads off to middle school. All you can do is sit back, watching it go, knowing it’s going to be judged and criticized and bullied in the playground. And somebody is sure to point out that its ears are too big, and that it could have been so much more interesting and delightful if, say, J.K. Rowling or James Patterson had written it instead of you. Or–as one man so aptly pointed out about my previous book, A Piece of Normal, and I quote: “Call it dysfunctional I have no other name for this kind of thing.” (I have no other name for it either.)  

But oh, yes. I was going to talk about the good things! (Sorry–just got back from running in the pouring rain, in my bathrobe, through the woods behind our house, following the dog who just discovered that if he actually RAN as fast as he could, he had a 50 percent chance of missing some of the trees, roots, pieces of grass that had tripped him up previously.)

Good things are these:

  • BlogLily, who is a talented writer who manages to write even though she is working full-time as a lawyer and has three boys, wrote the most amazing, kind, lovely review of the book on her delightful blog. She wrote these words which I am going to read whenever I feel again as though I can’t write another word:

The great thing about Sandi’s book is that it’s both fun and beautifully written.  You never feel like you’re being cheated when you’re in her generous hands — the characters are interesting, full of life, troubled, funny.  And my goodness, that woman can pull you in.

You can read her complete review here. (I, of course, am too shy and modest to include any more of it.)    

  •  Ravenous Reader (Becca Rowan) also posted a great review, for which I am undyingly grateful. She said:

Shelton has a pitch perfect ear for dialogue, and  I particularly enjoyed her characterization of the two little boys, Christopher and Arley, each with his own lovable, quirky personality.   Jamie is the perfect combination of gentleness and strength, while Nate–well, he’s one of those guys you gotta love, even when you feel like giving him a good swift kick.  The chemistry between the two characters is palpable, and you can’t help but root for their relationship to flourish. 

Most of all, I loved watching the process of Nate’s growth, and it struck me that sometimes our lives seem fulfilling and satisfying, and then – BAM! – something happens that sends us careening in unimaginable directions which take us to the place we were meant to be all along.  With the real world around us so topsy-turvy these days, it was rather comforting to see that change can be positive and exciting.

  • It also got a starred review in Library Journal, which said:

Shelton’s third novel is an engrossing, charming, and often funny exploration of love and the relationships that result. Though the slow-building and complicated relationship between Jamie and Nate plays a role in the story, it is the relationships between Nate and his son and Nate and his deceased father that allow the author to explore love in its different incarnations.