I have two book releases to look forward to this fall, and I just received my contributor’s copy of the first book: The Art of Touch: A Collection of Poetry and Prose from the Pandemic and Beyond. (I also received some editor’s copies, as I wore two hats for this project.)

Most writers will tell you that holding your actual, physical, published book in your hands for the first time a special moment. When I held The Art of Touch, I felt excited and proud. I also felt relieved. Co-editing this anthology with prolific novelist Joan Schweighardt was an adventure that involved a tremendous amount of hard work. We solicited work from 38 writers, edited each piece, ordered the essays and poems into a complete manuscript, and then spent more than a year seeking a publisher.

Initially we had the help of a wonderful agent, Liz Turpin-Pulli, whose faith in the project helped keep us going for many months. Eventually we struck out on our own, knowing the book would be a perfect match for the right university press.

When the University of Georgia Press expressed interest in The Art of Touch, we were thrilled. More months of hard work were ahead, however, as we received and worked with feedback from preliminary readers. Finally, we received word that the book would be published.

In that moment we felt happy not just for ourselves and future readers, but for the contributors who’d trusted us with their varied, fascinating, and beautiful essays and poems.

I’m excited for November 1, when The Art of Touch: A Collection of Poetry and Prose from the Pandemic and Beyond is finally available to the public (pre-orders are now being accepted). I hope many readers will find themselves absorbed in its pages, in which a wide range of writers, thinkers, and professionals contemplate many different meanings and experiences related to “touch” — all during a time when we were being asked to avoid it.

Coming soon — November 1, 2023!

(And coming December 1, 2023 — Soul to Soul: Tiny Stories of Hope and Resilience!)