Hi! Lately I’ve been giving myself permission to cut back on my posts (to cut back on lots of stuff, actually) because the recovery from my most recent surgery was far more extensive than we’d anticipated. Things are beginning to normalize now, however. My energy has returned to near normal–and I have a fabulous pair of new glasses! 🙂 They are rimless, nearly disappear on my face, and give me huge relief from the neck and shoulder hunching I’d been experiencing. I hadn’t realized how much I’d been needing to lift my head in order to see the computer through the correct section of my previous pair of progressive lenses.
All is well now, and I’m already noticing a major difference. (If you’re at your computer for hours on end as well, and if your neck and shoulders are always stiff/sore, the source of the problem might be your glasses/eyes/vision. Just a thought/suggestion for you to consider …)
My next (and hope-to-God last) surgery won’t be until August 2, and I’m told that the recovery from that one won’t be anything like this last one. So, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed regarding that proclamation.
Good thing I’m getting back to my old self because the pace of this Journey is about to quicken several fold. As I believe I mentioned in a previous post, Separation of Faith is starting to get picked up by book clubs, which is absolutely one of the most delightful elements of this entire writing/publishing/promotion thing! The first big book club event will be taking place in Atlanta on April 19.
Since I used to live in Atlanta and still have family/friends there, I’ll be taking the train down there from New Jersey on April 13. I always take the train instead of flying when I visit there because there’s still something so “Agatha Christie” for me about traveling by train as a writer. I’ll have a sleeper room, which is really a hoot, and the inspiration typically begins to flow the moment we pull out of the Newark, New Jersey station.
Several chapters of both novels were originally “core dumped” out of my head while riding Amtrak–and the draft of the third novel’s Chapter One came out during my trip to Atlanta last December. The focus this time, however, will be on the nonfiction work that will address my breast cancer story. (Last Friday, April 1, marked one year since I received the call with the news. For those of you who’ve been kind enough to continue following this blog, you may find the quick passage of that year as amazing as I do!)
This new book will not be intended as a memoir but rather as a comfort and guide to women who are just receiving the news about the onset of their own breast cancer journeys. (One in eight women in the U.S.–12% of us–will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.) And believe it or not, plenty of humor is infused throughout each phase of the last year for me, since there really is a funny side to everything we go through–even our traumas–if we remain open to the possibility and if we’re listening. But right at the beginning, there’s a lot of fear and worry about all sorts of unknowns. My new book will hopefully make that early part of the life-changing event a little bit easier to handle.
My goal for completing this book (which will be relatively short compared to even my second novel) will be my birthday (October 14). And this time I’m going to try publishing the work exclusively as an ebook–to start with, at least. Everything I’m reading (and sharing through this blog) regarding ebook publishing has me completely intrigued, and I want to learn firsthand about the whole process.
Even though both Separation of Faith and The Truth about Cinnamon are available via all ebook formats, I didn’t actually put them there. The publisher (iUniverse) did. So, there are lots of elements I want to experience on my own, not the least of which is the pricing and the potential return on investment to the author. Once I dive in, you will, of course, become part of the fun, right along with me, as we learn together.
While I’m working on that new venture (which will move up to the top priority on my task list as soon as I finish my taxes and those of my 90-year-old dad–yet another form of torture), my massive Separation of Faith promotional efforts to date will begin to bear some of the most fun fruit!
The first morsel will be the Atlanta book club! This group meets monthly like clockwork–at one of their homes, with some sort of food and beverage included. But they’ve never before had the author of their featured book in attendance, and I’ve been hearing from several of them about how excited they are. So I’m thoroughly enjoying the anticipation and the thrill of being a mini-celebrity, even if only for a few relative minutes. In preparation for the meeting, I’m shipping to Atlanta a box of stuff I assembled during the research, writing, and editing stages of Separation of Faith, which I thought might add another level to the book club experience.
Needless to say, lots of pictures and video will be taken on April 19, which I will share with you through a blog post upon my return. I will also check in here while traveling, confessing to you whether or not I’m being as productive with the new book as I’m promising myself I’ll be. 🙂
After returning to New Jersey from Atlanta …
My writing will be woven into the move I’m making. About a year and a half ago, my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter (who’s now three and a half), moved into a big house together, leasing with an option to buy. Well … we’re definitely not going to buy this place, so we’re all moving in May. They are going to buy their own house, and I’ll be moving back into the same high rise building where I was before–only this time I’ll be on the top floor, with a view of Manhattan extending into the room that will become my new office. (I’m already inspired just thinking about going into that space to write!) Needless to say, we’re very excited, but we sort of wish we could be like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, able to click our heels together and already be in June, with the move behind us.
The move out here in November 2009 turned out to be very providential, placing all of us under the same roof during the unforeseen breast cancer year. Every time we turn around we’re reminded that there is such a thing as “destiny” and that things do happen for a reason.
As soon as the move is over …
The next major Separation of Faith fruit will be plucked from the promotional tree in June. The novel is largely set in Kettle Falls, Washington–and if you’ll search this blog site using the term “Miss America,” you’ll come across several posts that touch upon an associated story that is both exciting as well as unbelievable (for me, at least). The continuation of that story picks up again on June 1.
That’s the day I’ll fly to Spokane, Washington. My oldest and dearest friend in the world (Elaine) will fly from her home in northern California to meet me in Spokane. We’ll rent a car and then make the 90-mile drive to Kettle Falls. That weekend a three-day event will unfold called Town & Country Days, which has been taking place in Kettle Falls on the first weekend in June for about seventy-five years and draws attendance from the entire Spokane area. But this time the festival will be featuring a book–a novel–called Separation of Faith! 🙂
As far as anyone out there can determine, there has never been a book featured before at the Town & Country Days. In fact, no one can remember a novel being written that centered around the town at all. Separation of Faith will have a dedicated booth, and the book and I have also been invited to be a part of the entertainment on that Saturday afternoon. I’m being given a 30-minute slot on stage, where I’ll talk about how I chose Kettle Falls, how and when I visited the town for my research, the Miss America connection, and so forth.
Everyone in Kettle Falls tells me how excited they are about this entire situation–but they could never imagine how excited I am to be there with them all! And you can be sure that the pictures and videos of that grand occasion will be shared with all of you!
Separation of Faith has been entered in about fifteen separate competitions. As mentioned in an earlier post, the novel made the first cut in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition but did not make the quarter finals. However, the book did place as runner up to the grand prize winner in the 2011 DIY Book Festival in Los Angeles! And we still have more than a dozen contests yet to conclude!
If you’ve already published a book and are wondering whether or not to start entering contests, my answer would be yes! Even if the book doesn’t win but does place or make a cut, that gives you something to write about and promote. Even more importantly, every positive thing that happens, no matter how small, provides you and your work with increased validation. So, enter every competition you can afford to enter (and you can find a great list of legitimate, prestigious contests–compiled by Writer’s Digest–at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B004I0IE1K/ref=dp_image_z_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books). Just like the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play. And the worst thing that can happen is that you’ll learn at least one new important thing that you didn’t know before with every contest you enter!
Whatever Happened to the Agents?
All three of the agents who requested more information about Separation of Faith at the January Writer’s Digest Conference ended up telling me that the novel was great but wasn’t what they were looking for. Moving on …
Promotional Lessons (Thus Far …)
- We, the authors, need to prime the pump every day, in order for events/sales to start happening and to keep happening.
- Some stuff works/sticks, and some stuff doesn’t/slips right off the wall. But even if more is slipping off than sticking, we can’t stop or give up–ever!
- The payoffs–even the small ones–bring unspeakable pleasure, and return immeasurable value, to every single minute of this insane endeavor we, as writers, call our passion.
Hoping that 2011 is moving forward in the best of ways for all you, I’ll sign off here, promising to regain my former diligence and regularity with respect to these posts. Take care!