This is for the Montana writers… Resolve to Publish Your Book in 2012 Workshop!
Roxanne McHenry, who helped me launch The Do-Over, will present the technical aspects of e-publishing and the specific tools for online marketing.
I’m going to cover the author’s job in the process. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but the steps are clear once you begin and very do-able. My mentor Dennis Foley says about novel writing, “If Dennis can do it, anybody can do it.” Let me say about e-publishing, “If Kathy can do it, anybody can do it!”
Prior to May I didn’t have so much as a Facebook account. I am now the owner of Blue House Publishing, the author of an e-book (the second one’s coming out this month!), a blogger, and occasionally I’m a twit. Okay, I mean I tweet on Twitter!
It’s been a great experience, and we hope you’ll join us…
Saturday January 21, 2012 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Montana. For more information and to register contact Roxanne at firstname.lastname@example.org
A To-Do List Because I Can’t Help Myself
Then in the manner of the best laid plans of mice and women… my cold, that has taken on a life of its own, dropped me against my will on the couch.
The Still, Small Voice
The Imprint on the Couch…
In college I once broke up with a guy who said, “The only thing worse than not getting what you want is getting it.” (At the time he was referring to the Italian I dumped him for, but that’s another story.) When he said it to me, it felt like the worst fortune cookie ever.
Eternal Optimism and the Hamster Brain
As an eternal optimist, I always think that things will get better. He actually introduced me to the idea that you could want something and then later be sorry. (For the record, I do not regret the Italian!)
In a matter of days, my first book The Do-Over will be in the hands of readers. I’d like to say I am nothing but thrilled… “I am nothing but thrilled.” I am also nervous and a little stressed, and guilty of hamster brain. (You know, where your thoughts spin around on that damn squeaky wheel?) Being a writer, and even better, having readers is something I’ve wanted my whole life, and I want getting it to be the best thing.
I hope, like the Italian, I will look back on all this as a grand adventure. (I’m thinking that my analogy needs to end here before I say something with a double meaning that I will surely mean but will cause me to lose my PG-13 rating.) And I refuse to give into my hamster brain and the ominous parting shot of a college boy, and embrace the sheer joy of sharing my work. So here’s to the only thing better than having an adventure at twenty…. Having one at mid-life!
What draws a writer to a story? Maybe it’s something lofty like a desire to change the world, but what drew me to The Do-Over was a long, cold, dark winter stuck inside with two children. I fantasized about taking a vacation from my beloved family and returning re-energized.
After the wonderful break, I’d be ready to make another peanut butter and jelly sandwich and happy to warehouse shop for jugs of ketchup. Since a vacation wasn’t actually shimmering on the horizon, I spent the rest of the long season escaping to my computer. I lived Mara Jane Mulligan’s story vicariously, and I hope others will feel the fantasy of their own domestic escapes.
Question and answer with the author
Where did you get your idea for this book?
There were a rash of movies about superheroes, and it struck me that they were male fantasies. I thought, “what’s a woman’s fantasy?”
Every woman I know longs for a break. A vacation is great, but even when you’re on one you’re still a wife and a mother and a woman who doesn’t wear prints. The real fantasy would be to take a break from your whole life, be somebody else, and recharge enough to head home again.
Where do you get your ideas for writing in general?
I wrote a screenplay from an obituary. I read them every day because I love that they are mini biographies. I keep my eyes and ears open for things just like that, an over-heard bit of conversation in the grocery store, a piece of news, a picture. Then, when something strikes me, I ask, “what if?” and try to put the least likely character in a challenging situation.
What are your inspirations?
I just love to write. “Inspired” sounds like the stars need to align, but I think writing is fun. I entertain myself by living with stories in my head. Besides, if I’m not writing, I’m like a hamster without a wheel, and my family is inspired to tell me to get to work.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Third grade. I wrote a story for Mr. Hartman, a Nancy Drew sort of mystery based on my grandmother’s black velvet watch band. The story was well received at Muldown Elementary. I realized writing was great fun, and I was forced to abandon my second grade dream of being a botanist, a profession I chose because the word was cool.
What do you like to read?
I always have a non-fiction book going. I think of it as continuing education. I love books about finance and budgeting, self-improvement, home organization, business, and, of course, writing and creativity. In fiction I read for pure pleasure: Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Janet Evanovich, and Jennifer Crusie.
How do you balance writing and family life?
I write at home, so it’s been tricky. I learned never to write when the girls are around. My mom radar is always on, and I’m easily distracted by anything I hear outside my office door. I can plot, research, take notes, etc… but I don’t even try to get any pages done. Now that they’re both in school, it’s easier, but I still go away from the house to write during school breaks. I’ve written with no trouble in a McDonald’s playland with children screaming. They just weren’t my children.
How did you start writing novels?
My background was in poetry, and I was teaching college English when I had an idea for a novel. I think working in different forms keeps writing interesting. I dove in and used the first novel to learn how to write one. My first screenplay started the same way, as an exercise in how to be a better writer. Now I like to alternate novels and screenplays.
How did you research The Do-Over? Did you run away from home or play volleyball on a nude beach?
First, what I love about fiction is that I get to make stuff up. It’s the main reason I don’t use my journalism degree. News agencies frown on “made up” stuff. For The Do-Over I took many, many bubble baths while entertaining the fantasy of thirty days away from everything, including myself. And I did take the family to Vancouver to fill in the details of that wonderful city. I scouted the beach next to the nude one. I like to imagine I would have happily gone the female equivalent of the full monty had the children not been there.