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BETWEEN THE LINES

HER SISTER'S TATTOO is three months old today. What a roller-coaster it has been!

Her Sister's Tattoo is three months old today. What a roller-coaster trip it has been, launching a novel into a pandemic followed by massive protests and an impressive rebirth of resistance to racism and economic injustice.
 
I have felt such a stew of emotions in these three long/short months: fear about COVID, fury at the mismanagement of our country's response, disappointment at not being able to tour with my book, anger at the increasing militarization of police response to demonstrators, sorrow at the loss of friends to the virus, and deep sadness at not being able, as part of a high risk household, to join others in the streets in support of Black Lives Matter.
 
Three months on, I've figured out some about how to reconfigure my life to online connections and how to redirect my political work. Having a politically-engaged novel launch at this moment in history has brought unexpected opportunities to talk with readers about the parallels between the uprisings of the late 1960's and now. To consider together the same questions activists face 50-odd years later. Questions about the political choices we make, the risks, and the consequences to ourselves and to the people we love.
 
I've come to understand other benefits in my life of the current situation. I've learned how to promote my novel using virtual events and social media. I appreciate that my carbon footprint is much lower, with no travel and few purchases other than food, books, and game apps so I can play with my grandchildren. I love being able to prepare for book events only from the waist up - a nice shirt, some earrings, and I'm ready. I love not worrying about eating garlic before a reading or book party.
 
Given the challenging times, I'm grateful to the folks who are generously promoting pandemic-launched books. I'm grateful to those of you who have read Her Sister's Tattoo and sent me emails about your response. Some of you have asked how you can help get the word out about this book and other pandemic-launched titles you've read and enjoyed. I just happen to have a few ideas about how we all can help writers and honor this moment in history:
 
1.     Take a few minutes to put a review and/or rating on Goodreads and Amazon. Seems silly, but they're important to help books find their readers.
2.     If you're in a book group, consider selecting titles impacted by the pandemic, as well as books written by writers of color.
3.     Word of mouth is so important. Talk with your reading friends and family members about the books that matter to you. And remind them that if they buy books, they should try to purchase from independent and/or BIPOC-owned bookstores.
 
This virus will probably be with us for much longer than we expect. So wear a mask, take care of yourself, read widely and deeply, and keep in touch.

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