Monthly Archives: March 2008

Wild Joe’s

As I sit in Wild Joe’s Organic Coffee & Tea House, where I have now spent many a weekend day writing, editing, and re-editing this book, I am proofing the edits my book designer implemented for me last week. Is it normal to start hating your very own book? I can’t help but wonder this, as I’m hitting that stage very quickly.

More significantly, as I read and re-read each chapter; each journey through the high highs and low lows of Motherhood, I feel the emotions all over again. The silly, gleeful and heartelt moments cause me to laugh out loud such that my coffee shop neighbors turn and give me that half accomodating smile that says, “whatever you’re working on must be better than what I’m working on.” But the difficult stories–the ones of prenatal and postpartum depression, of isolation, of lonliness, and chasing after the impossible Perfect Mom role that I am never destined to attain…those are really hard to dredge up again and again. Now years later, the memoires evoked are still raw.

So, I guess I don’t hate the book so much after all. I guess if I can still tap into my own emotions that inspired the writing of A Dozen Invisible Pieces in the first place, it is still a worth while project. It is still worth putting out there. And after today, I am another step closer.

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Housework Cure

I’ve done it. I’ve finally discovered the cure for finding a way to enjoy doing housework. The recipe for the cure goes something like this:

1) Write and self-publish a book that monopolizes every spare moment of your evening time during which you might otherwise be painting your nails, gabbing on the phone, zoning out in front of the boob tube, or reading (another) good book. Push yourself like a cattle driver to discover every possible promotional outlet (along with the help of your devoted husband, friends and family) and tap into each and every one of those outlets with no time to loose. After all, you won’t have a PR person doing the work for you–having chosen to self publish.

2) Invite a whole bunch of friends, many of whom you haven’t seen for a very long time, over to your house for a Girl’s Night Out.

3) Suddenly discover your house is a disaster–having largely neglected it in the recent book-entrenched weeks–and needs a top-to-bottom sanitizing before the girls show up.

4)Languish in the mindlessness of scrubbing toilets and dusting furniture, while envisioning your forth-coming leisure time with the girls.

And the best part is…this REALLY works! I have never enjoyed the “down time” of house cleaning so much in my life! (Now, if I can just find a way to once again enjoy preparing dinner for my family…)

Okay, I’m off to send some more emails…

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Dirty Laundry

I have continually had friends and colleagues ask me, “how do you find the time to write?” After all, keeping up with three children–ages five and under–is no small task.

Sometimes, my answers consist of pleas of delirium, insanity, and the more typical stand by, “I work at night after the kids go to bed.” But now that I’m getting closer to the launch of A Dozen Invisible Pieces, I’m finding myself drawn toward more and more day time work. After all, it’s pretty tough to arrange book signing events at 8:30 at night.

So, in short: the best answer I can offer as to how I am getting all this done, while still maintaining my primary role as a stay-at-home mom, is to share with you a picture from my laundry room:

Thankfully, no one has run out of clean underwear…yet!

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Proofing and PR Work

With the full interior formatting of my book now in hand, I am painstakingly working through my last proofing of the manuscript. I have to say, it is mentally tiring and emotionally taxing to scrutinize one’s own work in this way. But, man–is it worth it!

With the intention to return the corrections to Cold Tree’s designer by Monday, we will launch ourselves into the final three weeks of pulling everything together!

While taking a break between proofing sessions today, Ellie and I attended a book signing event at Llama Llama books here in Bozeman. This is the locally owned bookstore where I am scheduled to do my first event on May 17th. The author, Brian Khan of Yellowstone Public Radio

While I had hoped, a week ago, to convince Brian that I would make a fantastic guest on his Tuesday evening show, Home Ground, I ended up just appreciating my ten minute visit with him, and the advice he freely shared with me about the book publishing business. Best of all, Ellie now has her very own, signed copy of Tess’s book, and she discovered in the process, that the canine author loves listening to a five-year-old sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Rock-a-Bye Doggy.” (our local NPR affiliate), and his dog Tess were there to promote their book, Training People. Having been in communication with Brian via email in the preceding weeks, I wanted to show my support for his book promotion effort. And, of course, I wanted to meet Tess.

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Just a Stay At Home Mom with a story to tell…

Four days ago, thanks to the technical genius of my husband, I launched the first official campaign to announce my forth-coming book to the world. On Friday morning, Andrew and I sent out an email announcement to about 200 family members, friends, co-workers, colleagues and acquaintances sharing the news of A Dozen Invisible Pieces and providing a link to the website (www.adozeninvisiblepieces.com) and asking folks to pass the announcement on to their own friends/family who might be interested in knowing about an up-coming book regarding the wonders and trials of pregnancy, parenthood, womanhood and more.

As of today, we have had people in seven different countries, and eighteen U.S. states view the website, many of whom have signed up for future notification of the book’s official release next month.

Choosing the self publishing route has become increasingly mainstream over the past few years, but it is still a bit of leap over all. The traditional publishing industry is now comprised of several trade publishers who have now swallowed up smaller publishers…creating publishing houses within publishing houses. I suppose it’s slightly similar to what has happened within the radio industry: a couple of enormous organizations control the large percentage of what is now available on our airwaves. Likewise in the publishing industry, the millions of titles flooding the book market pass through a relatively small number of gates…until self publishing came along, that is. Pick up an Writer’s Digest magazine, and you will see ad after ad for Print On Demand publishers touting impressive author royalties, author copyright control, quick turn around times, etc. But the one service lacking, which traditional trade publishers can still offer, is wide-reaching book promotion campaigns. The print on demand and boutique self publishers offer a tremendous amount of benefit to the author who lacks the time, courage, patience, or even financial means to engage an agent and run the gauntlet that exists within the trade publishing industry. But if an author’s goal is to publish a book for the general publics’ consumption, they must be willing to do the leg work when it comes to promotion.

And so, while working in conjunction with my publisher, Cold Tree Press (www.coldtreepress.org) on the cover image design, interior formatting and the like, Andrew and I launched into the work of creating the website, this blog, a database of people and places we felt most likely to take interest in the book’s contents, and then with a great deal of optimism and a leap of faith–we put it out there.

In four short days, I’ve received wonderful feedback from the folks who’ve taken the time to read my on-line excerpts and listen to the audio files of sample chapters of the book. I’ve received invites and requests for book signing events in Bozeman and Red Lodge, Montana, Richmond, Virginia and San Diego. All in four days.

I can’t help but feel like this is all a crazy dream…after all, I’m just a stay-at-home mom with a story to tell! A story that so many people will read, and say to themselves: Wow, I’m really not alone in this Motherhood thing.

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Shenanigans

Compared to my usual frame of reference, today was a particularly busy day.
Okay, what am I saying? EVERYDAY is a particularly busy day…but I guess I was multi-tasking more than usual today. My phone began ringing off the hook by 9am (thankfully I had been up since 6:30, thanks to my early-rising youth crew). As Andrew has been incredibly instrumental in helping me promote my soon-to-be released book, along with my dear friend Tera in San Diego, I’ve started to see some traction. I tentatively set up two separate book promotion/book signing events today: one here in Bozeman in May, and one in San Diego in June. But even as I have begun the process of spreading the word on this book about my family, my experiences as a woman, mother, professional, and stay-at-home parent, I could easily be creating the outline for a sequel.
In between telephone conversations with a local book store owner and an organization in CA, I rounded the corner into my living room to find Landon pulling Gabriel backwards by the feet–belly down–stretching out the feet of Gabe’s pj’s. “Landon, it’s not okay to drag your brother around by the feet!” I heard myself scolding, en route to time out with Landon tucked securely under my arm.
Less than twenty minutes later, while conducting yet another book promo phone conversation, I retreated to my bedroom to check on the activities of a much-too-quiet trio of kids. Landon was up to no good again–this time naked from the waist down, fascinated by the discovery of his own ability to tuck a large necklace charm (of a pregnant woman) between the cheeks of his bottom and then promptly “poop” the object back out again.
Later this evening, now twelve hours into our day and while preparing the kids for bed, Ellie broke into one of her recurrent woe-is-me themes:
“Mommy? Why did Gabriel have to replace me? I wish I could still be the baby.”
“Honey, Gabe didn’t
replace you,” I answered, moving from canines to molars while brushing her teeth. All three of you have your own place in our family. You each have your own personalities, you were born at different times…you’re each special in your own way.”
I’d hoped my answer would suffice. No such luck.
“Mommy,” Ellie replied, pulling away from the toothbrush, and grasping my face in her hands. “let me be straight with you. I used to be one, and now Gabe is one year old. Now, I’m five. He took my place.”
“Hhmm, I guess you’re right, Ellie.” What else was I supposed to say?
Andrew and I pontificate with increasing frequency, that Ellie is surely an old soul. The things she comes up with are astounding. Last week, while setting the table for dinner, she lined up a row of boxes along the center of the table. I noticed her arrangement, and asked about the collection of shoe boxes, Tupperware containers and gift boxes. Pointing out a few, in order from right to left, she explained.
“These are treasure boxes from when different people were alive here on earth. This one,” indicating the box furthest to her right, “was around when God lived on earth. This one was here when Jesus was alive. This one,” now moving to the center of the table, “was from when the Native American Indians lived here, and
this one is mine, since I’m living on the earth now!” Moments later, she mused about how similar the burritos we would be having for dinner that night were to the food people eat in Pakistan, Africa, and Mexico.
So, when I step back and wonder if anyone out there will find the contents in my book the least bit interesting, my present day familial shenanigans remind me that there is no richer content for a novel, than life itself.

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Audio, Anyone?

I have a whole new appreciation for books on tape actors. Reading aloud with intonation and precision is not an easy task. If it was, I suppose the Toastmasters organization would be defunct.

With the guidance of my ever-amazing, tech-savvy husband, (he is sitting beside me right now putting on the final touches) I have recorded a selection of readings from the book and placed it on the Experience the Book section of my website.

Having always been a reader who was curious to know how an author would intone his or her own work, I hope this added feature to the web site will satisfy others’ curiosity, and peak further interest in the contents of A Dozen Invisible Pieces. Follow this link, if you want to hear an excerpt: http://www.adozeninvisiblepieces.com/experience_book.html

Thanks to everyone who takes a few minutes to listen! And as always, if you like what you heard, forward the link to this blog or to the website, on to those you know who would also be interested.

Now, go pick up a book, and snuggle in for a good read.

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