Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Independence Day

As many of you already know, I have had a cast on my dominant left hand for six weeks.  Before that it was a large bulky splint for two weeks following surgery.  I did this to myself.  I have arthritis in both thumbs, along with my hips, knees, etc.  . . .  I had the right thumb repaired four years ago.

Let me repeat - I did this to myself.  I chose to have the surgery to end the pain, so that I can continue to do the things I like to do.  Like write, garden, needlework, sew, crochet, even sleep.  Prior to the surgery, I had pain most days and many nights.  That will be over soon.

All of this only gives you background on why I am blogging about my thumb.  I’m really not. I’m writing today about my lack of independence for the last eight weeks.  I can’t drive. I can’t button or zip my pants (thank heaven for elastic waists). I can’t feed myself if the food requires the used of a knife. I can’t wash dishes or cook or make the bed.  I can’t - I can’t - I can’t.  The list is endless.

What have I learned from this experience?  I like my independence.  I like doing for myself.  I like having both hands.  I have learned what it is to be handicapped even in such a small way.  I have learned to rely on others.  I have learned to have patience - a hard lesson for me.  I learned to sit and do nothing to relieve the pain after surgery.

Will I remember these lessons?  Probably only some of them.  Tomorrow the cast comes off, and physical therapy begins. I look forward to that pain.  I look forward to typing with two hands.  I look forward to spring.  I look forward to using both hands even to do the chores I hate. I look forward to wearing jeans.

I look forward to thanking God for creating doctors that can provide me with this alternative to living the rest of my life in pain.  I will thank God for giving me back the ability to live as I want to live.  As a historian, I know that our forefathers and mothers did not have this option.  They had to adjust to the pain - to live with it.  I think this made them stronger.  It also made some of them figure out ways to end pain and cure disease.  Praise be! Tomorrow is Independence Day!

Monday, February 9, 2015

What if no one reads it?

If new authors have a fear, it is not that no one likes their book - it is that no one reads it.  Most authors can deal with someone not liking their book. I mean, how many of us cannot name a book we just did not like?  Personally, I have tried reading the Lord of the Rings series several times, but just like Tolkien’s The Hobbit, I never get much past the first two chapters.  My family finds this quite strange.

Recently, I journeyed to my local library for a book reading and signing for Greg’s First Adventure in Time. The event, which included a book giveaway, was in the local paper on several occasions, on the library’s event’s web page, and posted on the library door. I arrived in plenty of time, hoping to talk with the children as they arrived.  The weather was good; it was a prime after school time, but NO ONE CAME.

Yes, I was disappointed.  Yet, this is the life of a new author, especially us indie authors, us self-published authors.  We have to market our own books, often following the advice of those who have gone before us.  We are the creative director of our books from concept to completion and beyond.  We took control of our own written voice and now must work to see that others hear our words.  We don’t have contracts with big publishing companies that can make our books visible to our potential readers.  We must do that ourselves.

So next time you read a self published book or see a request from an indie author or just read a book you like. Tell someone. Write a review. Send the author an email (most have their own website).

So how do you think that indie authors of preteen novels can reach their audience?

Why Write?

When I was about 17 years old, I sent a sample of my writing to one of those ads that appeared in magazines about learning to be an author. To my mother’s dismay, a company representative showed up at our door wanting to sign me up. As you can imagine, the price turned out to be outrageous. I don’t remember Mama being upset with me— just curious as to why. Little did she know that I wrote constantly.

In college I received an invitation to the Jesse Stuart Writing Workshop after being nominated by a professor. I could not afford to attend this summer workshop as I needed to work to help pay the next term’s expenses. I never mentioned it to my family. I deeply regret not being able to attend as Jesse passed away not long thereafter. My treasured signed copy of his book Kentucky is My Land is proudly displayed in my home.

I had/have careers. I have been a wife, a mother, a school teacher, an archaeologist, a historic preservation consultant, a researcher, and an interpreter. All this time, I wrote.  I still write. I write history. I write fiction. I write interpretation for parks and museums. I enjoy writing and can afford the luxury of writing. I hope to continue writing for many years to come. I want to instill in children my love for history. I want to make them love reading. I want to share with adults and children what I learn by doing research.

I write.