Driving forward, looking back seems to be the story of my life. The strategy has provided more than a few bumps and scratches, but eventually it has gotten me on the road to where I want to be — a published author with my debut novel waiting in the wings.
My back story is this: I’ve always wanted to write the great American novel, a literary masterpiece, but since I was a single mom in 1976 when I went back to school to finish my college degree, I chose journalism and have worked as a writer/reporter/editor/photographer ever since, 40 years in the trenches and mostly loving it. Along the way I covered fascinating stories, got out and about in the world, wrote my buns off and earned a few awards, while raising two boys single-handedly. But, looking backward, I never gave up the dream of being a novelist, great, American or otherwise.
Today, I’m just happy to tell stories that I hope will touch readers in some way. In 2005, when my youngest graduated from high school, I went back to school to study creative writing. Since then I’ve been studying intensively, writing short stories, poetry and long-form fiction, publishing most of it in obscure places and working my day job while I’ve laid the groundwork for a future career transition into fiction writing. Today, my novel Adrift in the Sound is in production with an anticipated launch date of June 1. My co-authored book about writing, editing and publishing with my friend and editor Tom Thomas is available now from independent and online booksellers. Here are the details:
Between the Sheets: An Intimate ExchangeAbout Writing, Editing, and Publishing, is a peek behind the curtain at writer and editor at work on the final editing of Adrift. It’s a spirited and wide-ranging discussion of what it means to be a writer in today’s digital publishing world — and with Tom’s years of experience as a novelist — it’s filled with great advice and instruction for beginning fiction writers.
My sons jokingly call Between the Sheets “reality TV for writers.” It’s a little book that captures a discussion of unvarnished honesty about creating fiction. It works with Adrift and it stands alone as its own story.
Here’s a brief summary of the novel while we’re waiting for the launch:
Adrift in the Sound
In 1973, when frazzled Seattle street artist Lizette Karlson pulls herself together and turns to the Franklin Street Dogs for help, things go haywire. This low-life tavern softball team is a horrifying choice for a fragile spirit like Lizette, who’s just trying to stay warm and make it through another rainy night. The Dogs think Lizette’s a head case and don’t realize that while she’s beautiful, talented, and a bit off kilter–she’s also very dangerous.
Lizette is on the run, crisscrossing Puget Sound. She hides out on Orcas Island and paints in a secluded cabin owned by her best friend Marian, a gifted midwife who recently inherited her family’s ranch. On the island, Lizette works with Lummi tribal leaders Poland and Abaya, who stick to their cultural values, guard their family secrets and offer her reassuring love. Along the way, Lizette sorts out crippling secrets in her own past, unwittingly makes a splash in the New York art world—and finds the only thing that really matters.
If you lived through the free-love 60s, if you’ve ever wondered what happened the day after the music died, ADRIFT IN THE SOUND picks up the beat and offers unforgettable insights into a turbulent time in American history. It’s a story about fighting the tides, surviving the storm, and swimming for shore.
Readers are calling Adrift in the Sound an important exploration of the resilience of the human spirit in a radically changing world. In both lyrical prose and gritty street language, this tale rocks our understanding of contemporary history and challenges fiercely held beliefs about the pleasures of 60s sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. The story reshapes those old myths and creates new folktales to delight the imagination.
Of course, I didn’t choose the old business model for book publishing — finding an agent, signing with a publisher and enjoying the shower of publicity and sales. Nor did I seek to “enjoy” a traditional royalty split of 85 percent to the publisher, 15 percent to the author, who then shares 15 percent with the agent. All of that would have taken years; years I don’t have and cash I don’t want to waste.
I’ve chosen a faster, but harder path, by creating my own imprint and publishing the books myself. The world of independent publishing is changing fast — new technology, new marketing opportunities and greatly improved quality. Independent publishers are producing books that can rival those of major publishing houses in terms of the writing and quality of book manufacturing — and do it at a lower cost to readers. Learning all this has been fun and at times frustrating.
You can now find me on Facebook, as well as on www.goodreads.com and on my Amazon author’s page. Watch for the book release dates, let your friends know, too. I’d really appreciate it. If you like the books, tell a friend, write an Amazon review, visit my blog. Let’s get some buzz going. Otherwise, look for me here in the garden. I’ll be digging up dirt and working on my next books.