Remember when I used to write “Dear Readers” letters on my home page? Well, now I can stay more current – and interactive – by posting regularly on this new blog and responding to your comments. (Also on the site now is my long-running “Confessions of a She-Fan” blog, which I moved over from Major League Baseball’s blogging site and which, I’m pleased to report, has been the #1 fan blog there.)
Here at “Mainly Jane” I’ll be providing updates about my books and news of Hollywood-related deals, explaining why I loved Nora Ephron’s latest collection of essays but didn’t think Ricky Gervais was amusing at the Golden Globes, talking about whatever seems relevant at the moment. I’ll also be sharing my running dialogues with my husband Michael, who seems to trigger lots of ideas for my books and screenplays. (Don’t worry. He’s a good sport. He’s used to being “material.”)
Let me me get things started by officially announcing the new book I’m working on. No, it’s not a romantic comedy. (Sorry to those who’ve been waiting for me to go back to writing fiction. I have a novel in the computer, I promise, but it’s waiting its turn.) The nonfiction book is called (drum roll, please):
You’d Better Not Die Or I’ll Kill You:
A Caregiver’s Survival Guide to Keeping YOU in Good Health and Good Spirits
As Publishers Lunch reported it in their announcement today, it’s a “companion for caregivers, told in a mix of humorous vignettes and essential info, drawing on personal experience and outside expertise.”
Which is another way of saying it’s not going to be a depressing book about illness; there are plenty of them out there already. And it’s not going to be a dense reference full of resources; caregivers don’t have time for themselves, let alone for a heavy tome. If the perennial bestseller What To Expect When You’re Expecting is a pregnant woman’s best friend, I’d say You’d Better Not Die Or I’ll Kill You will be a caregiver’s best friend. There are an estimated 65 million caregivers in America right now, whether caring for a parent, a child, a spouse or a close friend. My hope is to reach out to every one of them with the book. Chronicle is the publisher and I anticipate that they’ll schedule release sometime in 2012. They do such great things with graphics and design, so I’m very excited to join their stable of authors.
And my editor is Leigh Haber, who acquired Confessions of a She-Fan for Rodale back in ’07. She’s one of the smartest people I know, so she’ll undoubtedly help to make the book the best it can be.
Where does the title come from? Michael. He has Crohn’s disease, a chronic, auto-immune disease of the gastrointestinal tract that causes intestinal obstructions, severe abdominal pain, and other not-so-lovely symptoms. He’s been hospitalized nearly 100 times since he was diagnosed as a child – 5 times in the past year alone – and had many surgeries. Each time he’s on a gurney, about to be wheeled into the operating room, I lean over to kiss him and say, “You’d better not die or I’ll kill you,” and he’ll laugh and make us both feel better.
The book is intended to make other caregivers feel better too – physically and emotionally. It will include my funny stories about life with a chronically ill husband (yes, there are funny moments and it’s important that we celebrate them), as well as advice from experts in a variety of fields on a variety of subjects – from how caregivers can get a decent night’s sleep to how we can make a doctor answer our questions even when he/she has one foot out the door. I’ll also feature anecdotes and inspirational words from other caregivers, so if you have a story to tell or know someone else who does, please leave a comment here or contact me via the “Contact” page on the web site or the links to me on Twitter or Facebook.
Over the years I’ve had so much mail from readers who’ve said: “Your novels have gotten me through a tough time.” And: “In spite of my medical condition your stories made me laugh.” And, best of all, I once got a letter from a psychotherapist who wrote: “I prescribe your books to all my depressed patients. They’re better than Prozac.” I really hope You’d Better Not Die Or I’ll Kill You will have the same prescriptive effect.
P.S. Before I finish up with my inaugural “Mainly Jane” post, I need to give a huge shout out to Kristen, webmaster, web designer, web guru, and (most of all) friend. You may have noticed that the web site’s home page has been refreshed and enhanced with graphics and links and all the stuff I could never in a million years figure out how to do. (All that in addition to creating the two new blogs.) I met Kristen when I was living in Florida writing novels and she was in New York handling the Soap Opera Digest web site. Now she and I are both in California and, although she has a full time job in the web world, she continues to make time for me and this site – and for that I’m eternally grateful.
Yes, she’s a Red Sox fan and, yes, I’m a Yankee fan, but we co-exist like civil Democrats and Republicans, which is to say we rarely discuss baseball.