Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

During my tenure as director and editor for Honno: Welsh Women’s Press, I encouraged my mother to write her World War II memoirs. I presented my siblings and my sons with a privately published copy on her 90th birthday. These memoirs were subsequently published as an ebook, Following the Troops: Life for an Army Wife, 1941-1945. 

July 23, 2012

I read Andrew Galasetti’s guest blog at selfpublishingteam.com on Saturday morning (July 21, 2012) that resonated with me. Near the end of this post, Galasetti writes about his grandfather’s writing dreams and how they had nearly died with him. This was particularly moving to me because I spent many years as an editor for a women’s cooperative press in Wales, selecting material for three volumes of autobiographical writing by women that, had it not been for Honno, would not have been published or recorded for history.

One of my proudest publishing moments was working with historian, Dierdre Beddoe, on Parachutes and Petticoats and Iancs, Conshis a Spam, two volumes of women’s writing about their experiences in World War II. Many of these accounts were harrowing, tragic or triumphant. All were about the indomitable human spirit and our willingness to sacrifice our lives for strangers.

The stimulus for both of these volumes was the stories my mother told me about her experiences during World War II and her childhood. Twenty years before her death, I asked her to write these stories down, intending to include them in one of the volumes. In the end, I edited and published them independently for my family and her grandchildren.

Several of my friends have created similar publications, so that their own personal journeys aren’t lost and forgotten. During the latter part of the 20thC, there were hundreds of volumes of diaries and oral history projects undertaken to capture these stories for posterity. Until they were written, recorded or published, these experiences were stories passed on from one generation to another but often not. Now they are history, available to us all.

That is, as long as our smartphones, laptops, ereaders and tablets keep working. Galasetti’s book, To Breathe Free, incorporates his grandfather’s poetry and will be published in Fall 2012.

If you want a really good yarn, talk to your elders.


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cosmos1If you’ve ever traveled with children, you have a good sense of what anticipation means. “Are we there yet?” repeated a gazillion times from the moment the car door is shut at the front door of your house until either they are worn out or your destination is reached.

Anticipation is that state of excitement when you know something will happen and you want that something to happen. You have prepared, packed your bag and started on the road, literally or figuratively.

For a writer, that’s hitting the send button (nowadays) on the email that will deliver your completed, edited and already acquired work to the publisher. Your job is done. Now, you wait.  For the cover proofs; for the galleys; for the proofreader; for the copy editor; for the continuity editor; for the marketing department and at last, you have a release date. There is only this one last, sometimes long wait. Through it all, you are anticipating the publication of your book.

Anticipation for the entrepreneurial author is different – it’s all on your shoulders and that has its own rewards.

If you have read my posts before, you know I often use gardening as an analogy for the process of writing. My most recent was Gardening in the City – my contribution to the health and well-being of the birds and bees, as well as memorials to five members of my immediate family who have died, three within the past year. In that post, I included photographs of my growing garden of which I had high hopes, anticipating the arrival of the critters the flowers were intended to help.

In the same way, I had the pleasure of anticipating the publication of my first novel, Wait a Lonely Lifetime. In the case of this book, my anticipation was short, 18 months, in comparison to that of some of my colleagues who received publication dates at least two or three years ahead. My anticipation was cut short when my publisher brought forward the release date by two months. Even that seemed an eternity – exactly the way children anticipate a 30 minute journey as a lifetime!

All too soon, the novel was in my hands, the launch was over and my royalty advance was paid into my bank.

Sometimes, anticipation ends in disappointment – a flat tire, engine failure, the amusement park is closed, the publisher goes out of business, your editor loses credibility, your book is postponed or canceled.

poppies1Or the critters for which you planted hundreds upon hundreds of seeds, nurtured, watered, watched and waited for the first signs of growth are not the critters that benefit from your efforts.

Anticipation is the important part of the equation, regardless of results. Anticipation gives you something to look forward to, after a lot of hard work and preparation. Anticipation lasts; gratification is momentary. Anticipation enlivens; disappointment is short-term.

Anticipate without fear. Poppies nourish all kinds of varmints. You can always plant again.

UPDATE October 29, 2013:poppies2

What a difference a day can make! This is a definite attack to utterly devastate the California Poppy population on my balcony.  There are no signs of snails or slugs. If you look closely, you might see a few hardy feathery fronds hanging on for dear life. That is one of the joys of vegetation. If there’s life, there’s life.

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NB#3 -200 For the final Sunday Snippet in August, I’m sharing a short section from my serial novel, Nights Before, ‘Twas the Night Before Mother’s Day, the third story in the series and showing off the new covers in celebration of the series now being available on Amazon. The fourth book in the series, ‘Twas the Night Before Labor Day, will be released on September 1st.

Jocelyn Tavers faces her 26th birthday, falling on Mother’s Day, at the same time as she wonders what happened to a certain officious lawman and a certain deserter father remembers her birthday after only fifteen years of neglect. 

…”A pound of dark chocolate covered cherries doesn’t give you nightmares. New knowledge base item. A pound will make you too sick to sleep. With that hard won information well engrained, Jocelyn had lost her craving for chocolate of any kind.

“In spite of the excessive obsessive revisions, Moonstalker had come in under the wire and tonight her dubious pleasure was to escort Gordon Fieldcott to the Book Launch and party at his department’s library. Suggesting to Daven he was a better choice had earned her double duty. Not only did she have to chaperone, she had to chauffer. “As was his wont, Gordon was too nervous to drive. With only a shelf full of books to his credit, he couldn’t face the drive to Brunswick or be trusted to get there on time on any alternative mode of transport. “Jocelyn wanted to push him out of her snazzy 4×4 and make him hitch. He wasn’t talking. He was staring. And staring. And staring. “There wasn’t much fun in the fact that this year of all years her birthday fell on Mother’s Day when she didn’t have a mother. Last year hadn’t been all that great either, coming on the heels of her mother’s diagnosed death sentence. “The bouquet of lilies and calendula had sat on the table in the front room. Neither of them could endure looking at it for long. It was too beautiful, too hopeful, too life-affirming and Jocelyn was sorry she had done such a thoughtless thing. The bouquet became a funeral wreath and by the time the water dried up and the flowers wilted and browned, the front room door had been shut for a month. “They didn’t need that room anymore. Maisie stayed in the kitchen or her room, moved from upstairs to the back of the rented house so that she wouldn’t have so far to walk when Jocelyn called her to a meal. “The slush pile reader job hadn’t been hard to leave, but coming home for this reason took the spunk out of her. Both of them dragging themselves around the small house like too old women. Maisie Tavers was only fifty-two.” — ‘Twas the Night Before Mother’s Day, Nights Before #3

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My answers to Jeff Salter’s interview questions about writing and creativity:


August 13-14, 2013: As Jeff says in his introduction, we go back a few years – but not that many! If you feel a comment coming on, please do!

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The following are entries I began in a journal (handwritten in pencil) when my youngest was approaching 3 years of age. All the entries are in the ‘bane’ aspect but one has to wonder where the ‘pleasure’ comes from such as this?

March 28

I do really want to be writing again but am having trouble settling down. Probably for several reasons – the most solid being that there are builders outside and plumbers inside – the least physical but most important being that I have always had trouble getting started but it has been a very long time now since I did any creative work at all besides articles so it is almost a new experience but I cannot get stories and ideas out of my head. (Mr. Lombardi, I apologize for this run-on sentence – call it stream of consciousness, or just bad grammar!)

March 29

I think this book is my preliminary warm-up for writing. Maybe by using this or letters, I won’t waste a lot of time and paper writing what won’t be of any use — sort of getting junk out of my system before tackling anything else. Yesterday, I wrote about 500 words, maybe less, while I had the chance. Today I am alone for more than an hour but already part of that hour is gone.

April 28

LM told me today that my story needed work. She didn’t understand what I was trying to do and asked HC to write to me with corrections and suggestions. There is always the nagging fear that I really am not good enough to make a success of writing.  LM and RR have received several manuscripts from writers who have been published in magazines. I believe I am as good though my stories are rejected. I don’t know. Should I even be trying?

I am low about LM’s response. I thought when she first mentioned wanting to talk after the meeting that I detected a note of enthusiasm for the story, but I was wrong. Maybe potential but not success.

AL was going to publish the story when I sent it to her but she couldn’t find space in her monthly magazine so it got lost.

Now that I’ve come back to writing after so long, these small setbacks seem major. Maybe I’m out of practice. And maybe I’m just not good enough.

I’m trying to get back into reading well. I’ve started with North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I mean reading literature instead of Martin Luther King and women’s diaries and Spanish textbooks and Ngaio Marsh. If I read better, I might write better.

Please, please, please don’t let me be not good enough. I’ve had enough of that all my life. Mediocre, not wanted, unsuitable, can do better.

Well, I was younger then than now! Stay tuned for Bane III

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The great independent bookstore, Florey’s Book Company, in Pacifica, CA has Wait a Lonely Lifetime in stock and I will be there on October 20th to talk about how the book came about, discuss writing and publishing. There will be a reading from the book and actors’ recordings of Sylviana’s and Eric’s first letters to each other. A little music too.

Wait a Lonely Lifetime @ Florey’s Book Co., 2120 Palmetto Street, Pacifica, CA
10/20/2012, 2PM – 4PM

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Parachutes & Petticoats, my second book with Honno, is cited in Alex McAulay’s Shelter Me.  Pretty thrilling to be research material. McAulay used the collection of autobiographical writings by Welsh women and makes a reference to me and my co-editor, Deidre Beddoe.

I stumbled across this when searching for my own titles. Nice feature this look inside business!

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