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Posts Tagged ‘Breast cancer’

… With a New Perspective on the Concept of Strength

Since I launched this blog on November 4, 2009, my routine (until recently) has been producing a new post approximately once a week. Sometimes the posts have only been separated by a few days–and I think the most time elapsed between any of the posts, in a worst-case scenario, was two or three weeks. Now, however, we’re sitting at almost two months since my last post, and I feel as if I owe an explanation to those of you who regularly follow my blog.

Of all the elements stitched together to create my own version of a social media process/network, this blog has been (and remains) my favorite–the little niche of the cyberworld that I somehow managed to create (unknowingly, at the start) to house the soul of my writing and the diagram of my dreams. And because the posts are published rather than held secret and close to the chest, I’ve tried from the beginning to strike a chord of familiarity, kinship, and the sharing of information with other writers on their own journey. Happily, that connection does, in fact, appear to have developed, as I’d hoped, although I’ve probably lost some of you lately. But I’d obviously like to increase the scope of readers reached (a goal shared in common, I’m sure, with just about every other blogger on the planet). Perhaps that will be easier once this post is finished and there’s an understanding between you and me of what’s been going on.

There’s a clearly defined mission here in this blog–not just for me but for anyone who simply stops by, or who follows me with a fervor, or who falls somewhere in between. My objective has been to create a place where everyone who’s on some sort of writing/publishing journey–no matter how fresh or seasoned the journey, no matter what level of complexity might be inherent in the writing projects–will find at least one item of immediate value (and hopefully a couple points of interest) embedded within each post.

In order to accomplish this plan, my blog posts needed to be published with a predictable, dependable regularity. And I believe that most bloggers would agree with me when I say that, of all the areas we might neglect from time to time, the regularity/dependability/predictability of blog posts is the last one we want to ignore. So, I’ve really been beating myself up over the distance between the ever-moving “today” and my last published post. There have been many posts drafted but not completed, and even more constructed fully in my head but never transferred to the computer during this long stretch of silence. Of course, none of you could possibly have known that.

One reason for this frustrating development is that I’ve been very careful about muddying up this blog’s clear mission through the inclusion of personal stuff. That pattern was broken a couple of times–once when the “hurricane without a name” hit our part of New Jersey in March 2010, sending me and my family (and thousands of others as well) out of our homes and into a hotel for several days. Pictures on those blog posts justify (for me, anyway) the momentary diversion from my publishing journey intricasies to a focus on basic shelter and food. Another brief detour from this blog’s mission involved intermittent references to my breast cancer (diagnosed on April 1, 2010) and the subsequent treatment. Prior to diving into the creation of my third novel, I’m in the process of writing a book inspired by the breast cancer experience. The book is intended for a target audience of women who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer, along with their family members and friends. My hope has been to have that book available to help those women and the people close to them by the end of this month (August 2011).

But that date is slipping, which brings me to (a) the reason for my extended posting absence, to (b) the heart of this post, and ultimately to (c) my re-evaluation of what we, as writers, might view as “strength” from time to time. Here’s the situation: For some reason that the good folks at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhatta can’t yet figure out, I have now been diagnosed with three types of cancer in the last eighteen months. None of the three cancers is a byproduct of any of the others, and they’ve tested me for the potential immunodeficiency things that might be making me vulnerable to a situation like this. Those tests have all been negative. I’ve had six surgeries in fifteen months, the most recent two of those occurring since June 30. And there will be another major surgery required in September. The latest pathology isn’t back yet, but my surgeon suspects that this one is also being discovered very early, as the others have been. And, if his suspicions are correct, any subsequent treatment should be fairly easy to manage and work into my life. So, assuming the pathology (due early next week) ends up being what we anticipate, I’m actually very blessed. In the past many months, I’ve met a lot of wonderful people who are in a lot worse shape than I am.

Needless to say, the whole story is sort of long (perhaps the understatement of the decade) and will be addressed as an addendum in the new book I’m writing rather than as a blog post. But there are a couple of relevant points I do want to make here as I wrap this up. The first point is on the subject of strength. Until recently, I’ve been feeling immensely “un-strong,” concerned beyond words about readers of this blog and the fact that I was letting them down–concerned about the beautiful fans of my two novels who will be waiting for some time yet for the next story from me that will hopefully transport them again into the worlds I create filled with mystery, messed up families, illicit love, suspense, survival, and surprise plot twists.

The truth has been, though, that I haven’t really known what to write in the past few months, especially in this blog. I have lots of updates to share about the two novels I’m trying to market, along with a collection of writing tips I’ve been gathering as I craft my nonfiction project and my next novel. And yet none of those words would come together for me in a blog post, despite the many hours I spent thinking about them. Furthermore, because I’d been so adamant (to myself) about not bringing elements of my personal life into this blog, I didn’t feel comfortable reaching out to explain why I haven’t been writing to you. Consequently, what you’ve been receiving from me is nothing–and that hasn’t been making me feel very strong at all. Quite the contrary!

Over the last couple of weeks, however, I’ve started to acquire a different perspective on the concept of strength. Now I’m beginning to believe that, as writers, we’re stronger sometimes if we don’t say anything. Instead of “don’t just stand there, do something,” turn that around to say, “don’t just do something, stand there.” Perhaps simply publishing a post with a bunch of words because we’re “supposed” to publish a post with regularity isn’t nearly as strong as waiting a considered amount of time until the words we’re going to write are the best we can make them, designed, above all, to be of help to someone else. Sometimes we’re stronger if we fight back a little against the the guilt of not adhering to the crazy schedules we often set for ourselves. Perhaps strength sometimes means pulling inward for a little while rather than spreading ourselves all over the blogosphere like shapeless, directionless amoebas. And I’m convinced, in retrospect, that any blog post I might have written during the last six or seven weeks would have, indeed, come across as shapeless, absent of any direction, and of absolutely no value to anyone else. My prayer is that the post I’m writing at the moment is turning out to be at least a cut above that bleak description. 🙂

The second and final point I want to make as I wrap this up is that I am going to be just fine! I’m in great hands, in a great place–and the good people at Sloan-Kettering are not only going to figure this out, but I believe we’re all going to learn things from my situation that will eventually benefit others down the road. And now that I’ve explained things to you, I’ll be more comfortable about updating you regarding my health progress as well as my publishing progress–because I now understand that, from here on out, at least, the two elements have become, and will remain, inexorably entwined. (They’ve undoubtedly been that way all along. But I must have been thinking subconsciously that keeping them segregated would enable them to operate independently. If one wasn’t working, the other one still would. That might, in fact, be possible, with plenty of practice. I’ll let you know.)

A couple of additional blog posts will follow in close succession to this one, so I can update you on my promotional activities/accomplishments/status and share a few of the tips and ideas I’ve been collecting for you as I’ve been working on my new projects. After that, we should be rolling again on some sort of posting schedule that will remain undefined but certainly frequent enough to be of value.

I’m very happy to be back with you again, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you, if you feel like responding.

Hope you’re all having a fabulous summer and that your own writing Journeys are perfectly on track!

All the best to each of you. –Cheri

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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.

Meanwhile …

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!

The Contests

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 …)

  1. We, the authors, need to prime the pump every day, in order for events/sales to start happening and to keep happening.
  2. 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!
  3. 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!

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As a consequence of entering Separation of Faith in the “Best Books 2011” Awards competition (one of about 15 contests entered during the last couple of months), this increasingly high-powered little novel of mine is now listed “live” on USA Book News (http://www.usabooknews.com/generalfiction.html).

Winners of this contest will not be announced until October (2011), so the wait for some of these results seems rather interminable. But meanwhile, there’s new visibility as a byproduct.

Book Promotion

The list of promotional to-dos for Separation of Faith seems to grow exponentially by the day, appearing even longer, I sometimes think, because authors have to do all the work themselves (until they become famous … 🙂 …). I’ve been collecting promotional tips, which I’ll be sharing with you in a post later this week.

Current New Project

This is also the week that I will finally begin earnestly writing my next book, which I’ve decided will be my nonfiction story about the last year initiated by the breast cancer. (You can search this blog for all relevant references once the breast cancer popped up.)

Because I diligently kept a daily journal for many months after the diagnosis, and then wrote substantial notes thereafter, I believe this book will be the quickest to complete and properly edit. (You can also search this blog for all of the references to editing Separation of Faith, the most critical of all the steps in the production of this novel. I believe with all my heart that the high quality of editing is directly correlated to the success we’re beginning to realize in contests. Poor or nonexistent editing can squash the dreams about an otherwise well-written, innovative novel. And that’s the most important lesson learned from the post-completion phases of Separation of Faith!)

Once my nonfiction project is comfortably out of my head, I’m confident that focusing on novel #3 will become easier. As long as the nonfiction effort remains incomplete, I’ve found that there are too many distractions that keep me from the heads-down attention required to effectively fire up the next novel.

Lesson: If you have more than one book in your head, pick one to finish. Spending time scattered across more than one project ends up producing nothing of value at all. As we travel this Journey, unless we’re already celebrities, no one is going to be interested in our “ideas.” The only things publishing professionals want to see are finished books!

So, here I go, all set to create a work of nonfiction that will hopefully prove helpful to women who are finding themselves in the same place I was a year ago. More later on this project as the chapters materialize. Really fun (and incredibly fulfilling) to be moving back into the writing part of this Journey.

Hope you all have a great week!

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2011! How Is This Possible?

First, (as I wonder how we got to 2011 so quickly) let me deliver my sincere best wishes for the happiest, healthiest, and most fulfilling New Year ever for each of you!

On this initial day of our fresh twelve months of 2011, I hope you have big dreams coupled with big plans to fulfill those dreams! I’m looking forward to hearing what you’re up to on your own publishing journeys and to offering you assistance along the way whenever I run across something I think might be useful to you, or whenever you have something you’d like to discuss. By this time next year, I hope a lot of big dreams are being realized (or close, at least) for everyone!

A Year in Brief Review …

Before starting to write this post, I reviewed the New Year’s post I wrote in 2010 on January 4. (Looking back at what you wrote a year ago sure does help you realize that you haven’t been standing still after all!) At that point, Separation of Faith was still very much a work in progress. I had just received the input from my six beta readers, which resulted in the writing of an additional chapter and the editing of the entire manuscript yet one more time (seemed like a zillion edits at that point), all of which added another two unanticipated months to my Journey’s plan for the year.

PageOneLit Interview & Video about Separation of Faith 

Now, of course, Separation of Faith is a completed, beautifully edited, and increasingly acclaimed novel (goosebumps pop out on my arms whenever I say that). In fact, a hugely exciting development since I wrote my Christmas post is that my first official interview was just published by PageOneLit (an award-winning literary newsletter Web site–http://pageonelit.com/).

Currently, Separation of Faith is being featured as one of the books on PageOneLit’s home page–and you can find the complete interview, along with the embedded video book trailer/review also by PageOneLit, at http://www.pageonelit.com/interviews/CheriLaser.html. Next to the endorsement from Miss America (found in my pre-Christmas post at https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/84-holiday-cheer-publishing-journey-update/), this PageOneLit interview and new video are absolutely the biggest things to happen yet, and I could not be more thrilled! You are invited to take a look at the interview and video and then let me know what you think.

You have no idea how much I learned from that interview. Answering those questions really made me think about the details of what we’re all trying to accomplish–and why. How would you answer those questions? Have you ever even thought about some of those things? I know I hadn’t, and finding the words to talk about myself in that light was a challenge.

A useful exercise might be to write out a few of your own answers for future reference. Someone at a writer’s conference might even ask one/some of those questions in casual conversation. Thinking a few of those answers out beforehand is not a bad idea. Sort of an interesting part of the process, isn’t it?  

The Truth About Cinnamon–Update on 2nd Edition Availability!

Also, when I wrote that New Year’s post a year ago on January 4, 2010, I had only published two of the ten serialized chapters of my first novel The Truth About Cinnamon on Scribd (http://www.scribd.com/doc/24081497/Free-Cinnamon-Serialization-Issue-1). Now the first ten chapters of the original book are available for free reading/downloading on my Scribd site, along with a number of other things I’ve written (short stories and articles).

But the most important announcement regarding The Truth About Cinnamon is that the the re-edited and reprinted Second Edition version is now (finally … at last … never thought it would happen!) available on Amazon!! Yay!! The Second Edition version will not be on Kindle for a few more weeks, and the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon still reflects the original. But if you order a copy, you will get the new version, which will say “2010” on the copyright page. (Please let me know directly if you do not receive the new version, and I will personally make things right! But I’m assured by the publisher that the new edition is now what Amazon is shipping.)

If you’re one of the readers who loved Cinnamon before, you’ll love the new version even more now. And if you’ve yet to experience the story, I invite you to give this novel a chance, if you enjoy long, juicy sagas filled with mystery, love, and Irish-Italian immigrant history.

Writer’s Digest Conference

When I wrote the 2010 New Year’s post on January 4, I was still in the early stages of implementing the Journey-altering publishing plan borne out of the first annual Writer’s Digest Writer’s Conference held in New York City in September 2009. Now I’m not only fully entrenched in elements of the Journey that I hadn’t even thought about a year ago, but I’m also preparing to attend the second Writer’s Digest conference being held in New York again from January 21-23.

I’ve blogged several times about how important I personally believe this particular conference is for all of us, and I encourage you to check out the event while there’s still time to plan (http://www.writersdigest.com/conferences-events/). If you’re going to be there, please let me know so we can arrange to at least say hi!

If you won’t be able to get there, please know that I will be blogging about the event throughout the entire three days, highlighting those things I’m learning that might be of use/interest to you. 

Health Update at the Start of 2011

First, I’m very blessed to be receiving the best care possible from some of the finest specialists in the country (if not the world), and I’m ever mindful of how many people are dealing with issues far more challenging than mine, many without access to the same care for one reason or another. So, no matter what’s going on with me, I’m constantly saying prayers of thanks that the situation isn’t any worse.

We remain one surgery away from having the whole breast cancer (discovered in April) reconstruction finished (surgery is scheduled for February 8, but we’re trying to get that moved up). And the surprise new issue (unrelated to the breast cancer) discovered in October is now being treated with a course of high-dose radiation (started last week, with two more weeks to go). So, most (or maybe all) of my body will be put back together by the time I arrive at the WD conference on the 21st. That will leave eleven months of 2011 fully available for the research and writing of novel #3 plus a short non-fiction book that tells the story about the 2010 health journey.

The goal: two manuscripts written and ready for editing by the time I write my Happy New Year post on January 1, 2012.

Meanwhile

Happy dreaming, planning, writing, and accomplishing to each of you at the beginning of this brilliant, hope-filled New Year! Talk to you soon!

Cheri

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Separation of Faith Is Going Live Today!

Yes, my friends, the day has finally arrived! Hallelujah! The next post (#65) following this one (which should happen between 10:00 & 11:00 this morning, September 9) will actually be coming from the social media group at iUniverse. At that time, you’ll see all of the ordering and social media pages in the blog’s right-hand column as you hover over the links. Each of the sites will become fully active at different times over the upcoming days. For example, Amazon’s availability might not be at 24 hours for awhile. The title is just beginning to feed into all the sources.

The novel will also become available directly through me (with customized autographs) on my Web site’s book store (www.SeparationOfFaith.com) as soon as I receive my initial supply (in a few days). Once I have my copies of the book in hand, I’ll need to get photos posted to my Web site and also add the ordering information to the book store. I’ll publish a blog post once that avenue is open.

If you encounter any problems trying to secure a copy of Separation of Faith anywhere, please let me know right away.

VIDEO BOOK TRAILER FOR SEPARATION OF FAITH AVAILABLE NOW FOR VIEWING AT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy60sDqkEbs. Be sure to have your volume turned up so you can fully hear and appreciate the original melody. 🙂 This one-minute forty-three second project took months to complete. Enjoy.

Book Launch Party

My official Book Launch Party for Separation of Faith will be on Thursday, September 23, at the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights, 650 Terrace Avenue, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, from 4-7 pm. If, by some chance, you’re going to be in this neck of the woods on that day, please let me know so we can hold a spot for you. There will be food, drinks, fun, and lots of celebration that I’d love to share with you.

What a Day, Right?

I can hardly believe that this is actually happening at last! We’ve juggled a bunch of issues during the past five weeks, and I want to publicly thank the staff and management at iUniverse/Author Solutions once again for all the hoops they’ve jumped through to get this thing back on track. I was already a big fan of that company, but I’m an even bigger one now. If you’re a writer who’s considering an alternate path for publishing your book, I highly recommend the iUniverse route.

Of course, I also recommend that, whatever route you choose for your Journey, you make certain that your selection places a substantial emphasis on the editing of your manuscript! If you scan through the last ten months of my blog posts, you’ll see why I believe that the editing component of our publishing journeys is so critical.

Update on The Truth About Cinnamon

The proof of the re-edited version should be finalized by this weekend. Those changes will then need to be implemented by the publisher’s design team. Based on my recent experience with getting Separation of Faith back into the queue, I’m guessing that the Second Edition version of Cinnamon will be available by the end of this month, approximately. I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, the original version is still available everywhere and will remain so until the new one goes live. There won’t be any gap.

Photos

As soon as my initial supply of Separation of Faith arrives, I’ll take and post pictures so you’ll have a more three-dimensional view of what’s going on in this crazy place. Photos and videos of the September 23 Book Launch Party will follow shortly thereafter.

Surgery Update

This time last Thursday we were at the hospital. Everything went well, and I was home that night. My drains were removed yesterday, so I feel bit like a new woman today. Perfect timing, right?

Squeezing breast cancer into all of this has become my biggest challenge. But I’m incredibly blessed that we found this early, that the type of breast cancer is one we believe we can bring under control, and that I’m being cared for at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, one of the best (if not the best) places I could be in the entire world. Prayers of gratitude are said many times each day for all the things that are going well.

Stay Tuned for the Social Media Post Marking the Official Launch of Separation of Faith–and Have a Perfectly Fabulous Day!

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My printer copies did not arrive last Friday. But the folks at iUniverse are scrambling to get them to me by this Wednesday (since my surgery is on Thursday). I need to deliver my final approval after those copies arrive because that approval will trigger all the social media hoopla once again.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • I’ll publish a numbered post (for example, 64) announcing that the Separation of Faith title is really, truly live.
  • The very next consecutively numbered post will actually be coming from the publisher’s social media group. You’ll see the Separation of Faith cover, and scrolling down the right hand column of my blog you’ll see all the links where you can find the novel. (And at that point those links will be for real … 🙂 …)
  • This will all (hopefully) be happening before Friday.
  • Because some time is required for the title to fully feed into all the online sites, the book might be more available in some places than others at first. And it won’t be on Kindle for a few more weeks.

Book Launch Party

Invitations to the Book Launch Party for Separation of Faith went out on Saturday. Press releases will be sent next week (something easy to do while I won’t be able to go anywhere with drains still attached to the sides of my body).

Today I visited the owner of a local graphics art shop to discuss the T-shirts and shopping bags that I’m going to have printed with the cover. Next will be the decorations for the big room at the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights where the party will be held. I’ll only have about 10 or 12 days to get everything done after I recover from my surgery, so I’m trying to get ahead of the curve here.

Yesterday I finally transferred the scary piles of notes written on post-its and scraps of paper into an organizer, spreading the tasks out over the next three weeks in a reasonable, realistic manner. Having everything I need to do in this single book is a great relief because I just knew I was going to forget something in the chaos that had develped on top of my desk.

My state of mind at this very moment gives new meaning to the term “chomping at the bit”–and I really do have a sense that the gate to something enormously exciting is about to be flung wide open.

The Truth About Cinnamon

The galley for the re-edited version of Cinnamon has been returned to me, and I’m in the process of reviewing each page. There’s a chance I won’t finish the review until next week, but that wouldn’t be the end of the world at this point.

Also, I was wrong about the original not being available. You’ll be able to order the original version right up to the point when the new version goes live. So there won’t be any gap, which makes me very happy.

The Fine Art of Hanging in There

We all read constantly about the importance of tenacity in our business. Authors who’ve made their way beyond obscurity tell us that quitting or stopping is never an option for writers. But sometimes, when the path we’ve chosen to follow on our publishing Journey looks hazy, or jumbled, or maybe sort of like a dead end, our grip on the fine art of hanging in there might not feel too secure.

But I’m here to tell you that, no matter what course you decide to take to pursue your publishing dream, the moment when you reach your goal is worth all the pain inherent in long stretches of tenacity. And despite the frustrating little goal-achieving teasers during this past month, the way I’m feeling right now, and the way I know I’ll be feeling in a few days (not counting the general anesthesia on Thursday … 🙂 …) when Separation of Faith has really gone “live,” transforms the entire Journey into a blessing.

The realities of promotion and marketing will settle in soon enough. Until they do (probably early next week), I’m going to savor this moment and share every nuance with you.

Talk to you soon.

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Separation of Faith at Final Approval Stage (Again)

Yesterday the issues with the cover on Separation of Faith were resolved, and I approved the changes. My contacts at iUniverse/Author Solutions (parent of iUniverse) have been amazingly helpful and supportive. Of course, the process never moves along as quickly as I’d like, but I’m only one of many authors/issues they’re juggling. And I have to keep reminding myself that this last month of delay was initiated by me when I found things that needed to be changed upon receipt of the original printer copies (one sample of the hard cover and one of the soft). I also have to keep reminding myself how fortunate I am that those necessary changes were discovered before hundreds of books were printed for my initial launch supply. (Every time I think about what would have happened, my knees start to buckle!)

The updated printer copies containing all of the corrected issues should be in my hands by this Friday (August 27). Once I give that final go-ahead, the title will again begin feeding into all of the various sources where the novel can be purchased. And as soon as we know for certain that Separation of Faith is really, truly available everywhere, we will re-launch the social media blitz, and I will officially enter the marketing/promotion segment of this Journey.

Invitations for my Book Launch Party on September 23 have already been printed and will be going out this week. Press releases to the local newspapers and to every person/group in my contact world will be sent as soon as I’m sure the title is live through all of the critical online retailers (Amazon, etc.). When my intial supply of books arrives (shortly after my September 2 surgery, I hope), I’ll be sending copies out for potential reviews, endorsements, and testimonials. There are also a number of contests that I’ll be entering, with looming deadlines. In addition to my Book Launch Party, I’ll be scheduling local events in every venue possible–independent book stores, restaurants, groups, clubs–wherever I can garner interest. And assuming I’m able to secure an endorsement from one significant individual (name to be withheld until I get the endorsement), I’ll be traveling from New Jersey to Kettle Falls, Washington (a primary setting in the novel) in October for a big community-wide book event. As long as I’m already that far “out West,” I’ll move on to San Francisco where I’ll attend an IBM reunion (part of my other life, years ago, before I reinvented myself into author/editor). My best friend for forty years (Elaine–probably the original BFF) lives there, so I’ll have a welcome chance to spend a few days with her and her family. Hopefully, I’ll be able to interest some of those IBM reunion folks in Separation of Faith as well. 🙂

Obviously, I’ll have to work in a quick recovery from my September 2 surgery. Squeezing breast cancer stuff into a book launch is something of a challenge. 🙂 But I’m amazingly blessed that we found the illness so early, that the pathology was so encouraging, and that the process required to bring things under control could have been a whole lot worse. I’m also thankful every day that I have this work, not to mention the layers of dreams and possibilities that never seem to thin out as the Journey moves forward. And sharing each step with you has become an unbelievably important and rewarding part of the entire endeavor.

Update: Second Edition of The Truth About Cinnamon

Guess what? The re-edited version is actually in production! I know. I’ve been talking about this part of the Journey’s plan for so long (see November 4 Blog Launch Post) that the reality is difficult to process. But yesterday I learned that the updates to the cover (updated bio, photo, and other stuff that’s changed over the last six years) are complete and should be sent to me shortly for approval. The bazillions of changes to the book’s interior are being implemented and should be in my hands for review in approximately five business days.

There will come a point very shortly where The Truth About Cinnamon will not be available anywhere for purchase for a brief period of time. The original (which will then officially become a First Edition) will be removed from all retail outlets, and the Second Edition won’t go live until I’ve submitted my final approval. So, even though I’d rather have you read the new version (if you’ve never experienced Cinnamon before), if you’re someone who’s interested in collecting First Editions, this would be the moment to do that for The Truth About Cinnamon (http://www.amazon.com/TRUTH-ABOUT-CINNAMON-Novel/dp/0595299733/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282751665&sr=1-1).

Transition Reading

As I continue my reading in search of interesting tidbits to share with you, I’m discovering a gravitation toward articles dealing with the process of writing again. That’s because I’m excited about getting back into my primary love–the actual writing of another book. Although there isn’t any decision yet as to which story idea I’ll pursue, I’ve been pleased to realize that three strong ideas have managed to survive the grueling process of bringing Separation of Faith and a new Cinnamon to life.

One article–“4 Ways to Improve Narrative Drive in Your Story”–caught my eye because the lessons/suggestions are succinct and easy to digest: (http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/2010/08/17/4WaysToImproveNarrativeDriveInYourStory.aspx). Stay tuned for more like this as I shift into the realm of process and technique again where, after all, the true passion of a writer lives and breathes. Right?

A second article is about a man named Ransom Stephens who published his first novel as an E-book on www.Scribd.com. He chose this method after trying (unsuccessfully) the traditional publishing route over an extended period. On Scribd, however, he experienced a huge success, and now that same novel has been picked up by a publisher in the world that originally rejected him–a story I’m sure we all entertain in the Dream lane of our Journeys.

Scribd is a vehicle I’ve experimented with as well, publishing a number of short stories, essays, and free excerpts of Cinnamon on that site. (This story has been among the most popular:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/32280899/Life-at-Bat, and you can get to my other stuff there as well.) Very shortly (as soon as Separation of Faith has gone live, hopefully next week), I’m going to publish the first chapter on Scribd.

Meanwhile, check out Ransom Stephens’ story (doesn’t he have the greatest name?), which was featured by Jane Friedman of Writer’s Digest: http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/2010/08/18/ThePowerOfAnEmailNetwork10YearsInTheMaking.aspx. His Journey is not only full of great information but is incredibly inspirational as well.

Well, that’s the latest. Take care, and have a terrific week!

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