Yahoo! News, one of the biggest media outlets on the planet, emailed me and asked for an interview. Hundreds of thousands of people would see this story. It was the kind of publicity break an independent press author like me dreams of.
"Absolutely!" I said. "But can it wait an hour until naptime?"
Such was my day.
My novel, Broken Piano for President, was riding an insane wave of goodwill and popularity after the media picked up on the world's most polite cease and desist letter sent by Jack Daniel's whiskey. Broken Piano's cover parodied that famous black and white label. Usually, this is the part of a story where a lawyerly hammer crashes down hard. But, not in my case. Jack Daniel's lawyers said they were "flattered" by the cover, but my publisher, Lazy Fascist Press, still had to get rid of it. However, Gentleman Jack was so nice, they offered to help pay for a new one! Unheard of kindness.
I declined their offer for money, but agreed to change the cover. From there, everyone from Esquire to TIME to the New York Times picked up the story. The novel rocketed to Amazon's Top 10 bestseller list in two days.
I should have been doing cartwheels. Years of hard work and obscurity were finally paying off! I should have been running around the backyard, lighting Roman Candles. Naked. I should have at least been uncorking champagne, except my son was teething.
My boy, Walter, is nine months old and before walking ass-backward into the indie book media frenzy of the year, I was primarily a stay-at-home-dad. Those duties, I quickly learned, don't stop when Yahoo! News calls.
It never failed: if my editor phoned, ecstatic about Forbes covering our story, my son had a toxically dirty diaper in need of changing. While opening email, learning I was the Chuck Yeager of small press books, effectively breaking the sound barrier of Amazon's Top 100 sellers, I was also trying to distract Walter from gnawing through my computer cable with his four teeth. I came this close to hauling him into NPR's studio one morning until I found a last-minute babysitter.
Whenever a career high hit, there was a sobering slug of reality waiting.
And I wouldn't have had it any other way. Walter and I spend almost 10 hours a day together, alone. Everyday. We are best friends because, well, we have to be. Would you want to spend upwards of 40 hours a week with someone you hate? No, thanks. That's what office jobs are for.
I've always known family is there to pick you up when you're down. However, I didn't realize how valuable family was for keeping you in check until then. Baby Walter made sure I wasn't shopping for Rolls-Royces, but that also meant he wasn't getting that solid-gold pacifier he's been going on and on about. Around our house, things are going to stay the same because family doesn't change when Yahoo! News comes calling.