Tag Archives: Self-publishing

Interviewer turns interviewee

It’s funny when the world turns the tables on you.

For years, I asked the questions. I was a newspaper reporter for a small daily in Ohio, and I spent hours on the phone, in meetings and talking to people, and then I spent hours more turning the raw material into readable newspaper stories.

Final ecover rgb compressedEarlier this week, a reporter asked me questions. She was writing about my latest book, Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” in 1982.

It’s a story that’s been three and half decades in the making and took, oh, about five years to coalesce into something comprehensible, but you’ll love it if you’re a teenage girl or was one once. Do you remember your first French kiss? Did it change you? This book explores that moment for me.

Ooh, sounds interesting, right? Here’s the book blurb:

In a world before social networks made it a routine act performed with a click, “like” is a state of mystery and meaning among teenagers navigating the halls of Wadena Senior High School. Fifteen-year-old Monica is sure she would be happy if only she had boyfriend, but first she endures a litany of boys who think flirting is accomplished with insults and other shenanigans. After her first kiss, performed on a dare and described in the pages of Dear Diary as “the pits! Gross! Dirty!,” Monica learns the truth about French kissing from a charming outsider. Navigating relationships and learning the meaning of like—or love—is far trickier.

Set in a “hick town” on the windswept plains of Minnesota where a teenager’s social calendar is marked by basketball games, cafeteria dances and playing Pac-Man at the bowling alley arcade, Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” in 1982 examines the fateful year Monica devotes to reeling in a keeper of a boyfriend like so much walleye. With self-deprecating humor, authenticity and awkward details captured on the pages of the diaries Monica faithfully kept at the time, it’s a story that reminds us what it feels like to be a teenager again, grappling with timeless questions of desire, loyalty and remaining true to oneself.

This book is for every teenager trying to navigate the maze of finding true love, or at least true “like,” and for every woman who grew up in the ’80s who might have forgotten all she learned during those seemingly simpler times.

You’ll feel like you’re sneaking a peek at my diaries (no guilt!). Like my first memoir, subtitled with “sex, crime and betrayal,” there’s little about kissing, a little about a petty crime and a little bit of double-dealing, too.

Set in Wadena, Minnesota, as it is, the local paper took an interest. Reporter Meagan Pitellko chatted with me earlier this week, and the today made the front page of the Wadena Pioneer Journal today. Click here to have a peek. I was impressed that she turned what I thought was small-talk about the weather into the lead of the story.

This was the kind of table-turning I could appreciate.

* * *

Interested in reading Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat? The paperback is $11.95 and available here.

The Kindle edition is $3.95. If you’re a member of KindleUnlimited or Amazon Prime, it’s FREE! Click here.

Priorities, people

Did you miss me? I know. There’s no excuse. Two weeks without a post is just evidence of sloth. Or possibly death of the author.

How to Look Hot & Feel Amazing in Your 40s: The 21-Day Age-Defying Diet, Exercise & Everything Makeover PlanWell, I’m neither lazy nor dead. I was designing my new book on InDesign, and it was a trick, I’m tellin’ ya.

But it’s complete, and I’m back. If you’re interested in hearing more about my new health-and-fitness memoir, check it out here on my author blog here. There’s even a deal there for you if you’re interested in getting yourself a copy.

We now return you to a regular blogging schedule.

Today is someday: I’m an author

Young adult author Judy Bloom published a diary in the 1980s filled with lots of blank lines, quotes from her myriad books and question prompts. As a teenager, I filled four of these diaries with my darkest secrets and wishes.

My copy of The Judy Bloom Diary from 1984 is well-worn and filled with memorabilia.

In June 1984 when I was 17, among the highlights I remembered about June was  the book “A Perfect Stranger” by Danielle Steel.  “Very, very good,” I wrote. “I’d like to write as well.”

While I recall reading a lot of Danielle Steel’s novels, I don’t remember any of the details. A quick internet search sparks my memory: “A Perfect Stranger” is the story of a young woman married to an old man who meets and falls for a handsome acquaintance. The Amazon.com review describes it as the “classic duty-versus-love dilemma.”

One has to love romance novels to admire Danielle Steel, but her popularity indicates she’s doing something right despite an occasional review like “everything about this book is predictable and boring.”

I knew at 17 that writing was part of my DNA. And writers write books, of course.

Today, my 17-year-old self’s wish comes true: I’m a published author. “The Percussionist’s Wife: A Memoir of Sex, Crime & Betrayal” is available for sale.

It remains to be seen if I write as well as one the most popular romance novelists of all time, but my first book, a memoir, might be described as a “classic duty-versus-love dilemma,” too. Here’s the blurb:

“The Percussionist’s Wife” is the riveting story of a writer who marries a drummer. Talented and tortured, the drummer is caught in a compromising situation with one of his drum line students and is ultimately prosecuted for a sex crime. The complete account of the crime and the resulting collateral damage on their marriage are told here. “The Percussionist’s Wife” is a brave portrait of a flawed relationship and the irrevocable damage caused by infidelity.

I’m jumping out of my skin with excitement. When I was living the story, I had no idea how the universe would realign to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse but it’s not every day one can say, “My dreams have come true.”

Thanks to my family and friends — especially my Beloved husband — who have encouraged me to write, to persevere and to put my story out there.

You can find “The Percussionist’s Wife” in paperback from Amazon for $16.95 and hardcover from Lulu for $32.95. If ebooks are your preferred method of enjoying a good book, you’ll find it on Kindle, Nook and Kobo (for iPad) for $9.95. Kindle versions of “The Percussionist’s Wife” are also available in English from Amazon in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and India.

Like pulling teeth

“If you like a challenge and are quite computer literate, you might want to consider purchasing your own publishing software and doing your book covers and layout on your own.”

~ Ben Peters in “Birthing the Book Within You”

Note the word choices of “challenge” and “on your own.” Peters wasn’t kidding.

Formatting an entire book and designing a book cover all by myself requires all the skills I learned as a copy editor and marketer.

It’s not for the faint of heart. On an otherwise ordinary Saturday night or any other time.

P.S. Happy birthday to my nephew who was joyfully born on the same date as my late brother. And the president of the United States. Talk about a star-studded astrological date.

Independent publishing requires the skills of Jack (jack of all trades)

I’ve moved from book writer to book editor.

Self-publishing is amazing, sure, but it’s like modern photography: The onus is on you.

Before digital images, we used a point-and-click camera to take a picture, brought the film to the drug store, waited a week and looked at our double prints in the car. The only skill required was pushing a button (and driving). Nowadays,  you have to be versed in megapixels, bytes, jpegs, uploading, downloading, color correcting and cropping before you can hold a picture in your hands.

So it is with publishing. Before self-publishing and e-books, you needed a story, the skill to write it and the luck to sell it to a publisher. Nowadays, you need to be an expert in Microsoft Word and book cover design to get anywhere.

I spent a half an hour today trying to change the font of my page numbers in Amazon’s book template before giving up and changing each page number one by one. That’s about 246 page numbers, people.

But I’m getting there. Check up on the progress of my memoir at http://mindfulmonica.wordpress.com/ and start subscribing to that blog so you don’t miss a thing about the launch later this summer.