About Me

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Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Toward Publication Again

OK, so a writer toils away for hours, days, months, years, in her office while the sun shines and people are inviting her to do fun things like play golf or go to a lecture or even shop!

Why?? Because it's something she loves to do more than anything else (except maybe a game of tennis), and she believes she's good at it. Herein is the crux of the matter: how does she KNOW she's good at this craft?

In other words, "Am I crazy??" How do I know that what I've written is actually good? Especially because I keep learning from writers' groups, editors, blogs, and newsletters every day?!?

Friends and family don't count, though my husband will always get the first look at any rough draft before anyone else. I trust his general reaction; we were in college together forty-five years ago and I know that our training in critical analysis served as the basis for his success, as well as for other writers, such as Doris Kearns Goodwin (also a graduate of Colby College).

After a thumbs-up from my husband, I proceed to ask him pointed questions about the flow of the story, the development of character, point-of-view changes, the time sequence, etc. He can usually provide some pretty obvious answers.

Then it's time for an objective opinion. In my first venture into publishing, I took the first one hundred pages of my manuscript to a sportswriter for The Providence Journal, since my memoir was the saga of our two sons in the Red Sox minor league system.  He perused the pages in front of him, suggested it should be a more intimate mother's story, and declared, "You've got to publish this!" He then gave me the names of two reference books to purchase, which would help me develop a proposal for literary agents.

So I sat at my computer for another six months and revised and revised some more. Then I decided to get another objective opinion. Purely by networking, I found a "reader" for a literary agent right in my backyard, who happened to be excited enough about my first draft to become my first editor. In addition, he was a published author.  He told me I had a unique story and a readable one and concurred with my first mentor: "You must publish this!"

When the revisions were completed, I spent six months on a query letter along with a seventy-page proposal for the literary agent my "reader" worked for. In fact, he personally delivered my package to the agent. I waited and waited and waited  - another six months went by, to be exact.  I received a two-line rejection letter. Eighteen months later, I had received seventy of these!

But somehow I kept believing I had written something worthy of publication. After all, I had two professional writers who had told me so! That stayed with me through all the rejections, through all the networking that proved useless, and through the months searching for an independent publisher. Yet I had never published anything before. I didn't have a "platform."

But I had a flow and my readers really cared about our sons in their quest toward the major leagues.

Here's a thought I kept in my head from literary agent Nathan Bransford: "Not every talented writer is a published author, but (nearly) every published author is talented."

Well, my book, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS, was published in April, '09, by independent publisher Barking Cat Books (a division of New River Press). No, I didn't ever find a literary agent, and yes, I did hours and hours of speeches and book signings over the next year.  I was chosen as one of ten authors to participate in a "Local Authors Day" at the Delray Beach, Florida, Public Library.  I appeared on Fox TV in Providence, R.I., on NPR, and on radio talk shows across the country.  The book was reviewed in print in Boston, Providence, and Florida.

Now my second book is ready.  It's called A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR CHILDREN WITH ELDERLY PARENTS (WHO STILL HAVE THEIR MARBLES).  It's a handbook based on the bizarre and often laughable antics of my parents in their eighties and nineties.  But the "rules" also apply for negotiating through hospitals, rehab centers, and nursing homes.  There's even an Appendix where terms like "Medicare" and "Medigap" are defined, with websites and phone numbers.  A SURVIVAL GUIDE been professionally edited twice and is ready to go. 

But my first publisher went out of business!!  So ready to go where?

Ready to go through all of the above process, all over again.

Why would I want to put myself through that again, you ask? 

Because I have to write.  My inner life depends on it.  And publication means validation.

Take my advice:  pick up a pen and jot down what's happening to you.  Jot down your family history.  Jot down funny conversations.  Jot down what you see out your window.  Maybe you don't want to see your words in print, but someday your inner life might depend on it, too.