Plans and Projects in Spring

Spring is the time of plans and projects. -Leo Tolstoy

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Just a super-quick update on what’s got my time and attention these days.

I’ve been working on a last round of edits for my manuscript and writing a series of essays for publication before and just after my September book release.

Have you ever used Microsoft Word’s track changes function?

Let me put it this way: twenty years ago, I remember telling a few people that if I went missing permanently, you could blame my former husband.

Then I worked a series of jobs that put me on the bad side of some. A domestic violence advocate. An investigative social worker. A probation officer. Any number of people on the other end of my work might want to bump me off.

And now? Now I am confident that if I’m found in a shallow grave, one of my editors will be responsible. I cannot seem to learn computer skills quick enough to avoid fouling up their great work. I’ll put their names on a sticky note by my will in the closet, just in case.

But the never-ending effort appears to be paying off.  And more than that, it’s becoming fun again instead of stressful (with the exception of the nightmare where two whole manuscripts were being deleted from my computer, line by line. Yikes!). Maybe it’s the added sunlight, but I feel for the first time in a while everything feels like is happening just as it should, and I look forward to book related adventures.

indexSpeaking of book, I’ve just finished some terrific reads. My Degeneration is a graphic novel by Alaskan author Peter-Dunlap Shohl about his journey with Parkinson’s Disease. Fourteen by Leslie Johansen Nack is a memoir about her childhood years spent on a sailboat with her foul-tempered father and her two sisters as they head to the Fijian islands. And, to balance such intensity, I checked out Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding from my local library.

So that’s what’s up with me. How about you?

If you’d like a nifty postcard with my book cover, just say the word using my Contact page or on Facebook.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Process of Publishing Pieces of Me: Naked and Afraid but Not Alone

A tidal wave of emotions has swept me away regarding publishing my memoir, Pieces of Me.

First, it started with a simple post. Last month I went on my author fan page on Facebook and mentioned my book’s publication date   (September 20, 2016!) next to its cover image.

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I thought it would reach a couple of hundred people. It did, and then they shared the post too. When all was said and done, nearly 6,000 people had seen of it, and so many privately and publicly commented to me. Friends remembered with me my daughters’ abduction and the community’s recovery efforts. Many friends and family members assured me that they couldn’t wait to read the book. These were nicest comments that a normal person would be happy to read.

But, the comments didn’t land with a normal person. They landed with me.

Suddenly, I was overwhelmed. Would my work live up to the reader’s standards? Did I remember to include the story about X? Am I too honest in the story? Not honest enough?

Dumb stuff.

And then I got my long-awaited round of edits back from just as I was taking time off work to take care of a few routine health and home issues. Perfect timing! Soon, I realized that she edited an older draft of my manuscript given to her by someone on my work team.

Again, pretty small potatoes. Unless you’re the one tasked with adding back all of the name changes and other details, and you have severely limited computer skills. I was devastated.

I reached out to a friend about it. “I’m a firm believer in timing,” she responded. “Things will work out just as they are intended.”

And they did. As I spent the next few days scrolling, page by page, through 300 plus pages, I was reminded of what brave people stepped up to help when I needed it. I was also reminded of what a great editor I am working with, who caught not only my grammatical but mathematical errors and did some back fact-checking about Greece and other things. And as I saw what ended up on the cutting room floor, so to speak, I was reminded of the most important thing about memoir writing.

Pieces of Me is not the story of my life. It’s about a slice of my life, the process of rescuing my kidnapped daughters. It covers snippets of my childhood as a kidnapped child. Not the whole childhood, just the parts that propel the story.

I went to see Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot this weekend, a terrific film made based on the memoir of journalist Kim Barker. There were a lot of artistic liberties taken in the making of the film. In an interview about the movie, Barker spoke openly about her decision to not make herself nuts by tracking the details of the movie once she’d signed her rights away. She was pleased that the important themes and relationships were captured in the final product. That the movie captured the essence of important relationships and themes was critical, and she refused to get caught up in the minutiae she couldn’t control.

So cheers to my insecurities and to timing and to the process glitches. And thank you to my well-wishers, supporters, and future readers. This has been a wonderful reminder that indeed, I am not alone.

Thanks always for stopping by.