Thursday, September 11, 2008

Help Me, Rhonda (Or Whomever)

By next Monday, I need to submit an author photo to Moon to go with my book. This photo will appear on the inside back cover next to my author bio. It can also be used for publicity purposes and could appear in any articles or reviews that may ever be written about the book. Ahh, the pressure! What picture to choose. This task has been hanging over my head for weeks, but I just can't make a decision. First of all, I don't have that many pictures of myself. We tend to take pictures of bugs and birds and trees and flowers and waterfalls and vistas...but not people. Secondly, in the photos I do have of myself, I'm usually being goofy and making strange faces. And thirdly, I can't decide what style I want this photo to have. Do I want more of a headshot or something taken from farther away? Do I want to look like a hiker (to give me some credence since this is a hiking book) or do I want to look pretty?

I don't know. So I want your opinion. Below you will find the photos under consideration. Please leave me a comment and let me know which one you think I should choose. (You can leave a second and third place vote too if you case they come back to me and decide the one I choose is to close up or too far away, or you know, too pretty:-) )

Also, if you're interested, you can go to the Moon Homepage and check out the various guides through the links under the Handbooks, Metro, Outdoors, and Living Abroad sections on the right side. You can then click on any title to see the author photos of others.

Please, please, please vote. This decision can not be left up to me alone!







(The image will appear in black and white in most places, which is why I'm showing them to you that way, even though they are all actually color photos.)

(Also, I've posted twice today---prolific, I know. So after you vote, go read the post below too if you haven't already.)

Help Save a Life

Unfortunately, we probably all know someone who has been affected by cancer. The many different types of this disease are treated in many different ways, but for some people, the best hope is a bone marrow transplant. Too often, however, finding a donor is a difficult, if not impossible, task. So many factors come into play, and a perfect match is rare, with a family member often being the best hope. For those without a matching family member, the best hope lies with a generous donor, someone who joined the national bone marrow registry.

Have you considered joining this registry? If you haven't, but are interested in the possibility, now's the time to act. Normally the registry asks that you make a donation of $52 when you join, in order to cover the cost of testing. However, from September 7 to September 22, a sponsor is covering the cost, so you can register for free. Take a moment to consider this option, and then, if you wish, use this link to register.

After registering, you'll receive a kit in the mail, which you'll use to swab the inside of your cheek. The registry will then use the swab as a tissue culture and add you to the list. Should this culture appear to be a match for someone in need, you'll be contacted and asked to undergo further tests, and then should those also indicate a match, you'll be asked to donate marrow. (Just so you know, the chance you'll actually be a match is small, but the chances of a person in need finding a match are even smaller if you don't register.) While the registering part is completely painless, donating bone marrow can be a bit painful (just want to be upfront and honest, since I don't think you should register unless you truly intend to be a donor if you're called upon). BUT, in my opinion, the amount of pain you may suffer is truly a drop in the bucket compared to the joy you'd experience from knowing you helped save someone's life. Anyhow, I encourage you to consider the option and then click on the link above if you're interested. You can also find more information on bone marrow transplants and the donation process by following that link.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Out of My Hands

Because I've had a few people ask, I thought I'd write a post and declare that yes, indeed, I am done with the book! I submitted the manuscript, maps, and photos on Friday before I left on Saturday for Stockholm (where I am now, in case you didn't know). The book is with my editor. I'll see it again (probably in early November to answer queries from the copy editor, and then again in late December for a final blueline proof of it), but the bulk of the work is done, and the manuscript is now on its way to becoming bound copy. It should hit the shelves sometime next spring. I'll definitely update about that when I know more. Working on this book has been a rewarding (but oh so tiring) endeavor. Though I enjoyed working on it over the past six (!) months, I have to say that it feels good to be done. I can now truly revel in my free time (and finally finish planning our trip).