My First Book

Crossing a big ticket item off your bucket list is a momentous occasion. This I know, as I have managed to clear my entire 2015 Ta-Da list and am walking into 2016 with a relatively clean slate. Of the many achievements of the year passé, the biggest, and most personally exciting, is finally getting around to self-publishing my first novel.

Once upon a time, I jumped out of a plane. The most common question afterward was Alex Skydivingfrom how high I jumped. When I answer 3,000 feet, there is always that little catch, that little hesitation that says, oh, is that all? To which I always respond, hey, dead’s dead; doesn’t matter how far you fell.

So, then, yeah, I self-published my own book. But the thing is, I never really wanted to publish it at all. That’s not why I wrote it. I’m not looking for fame and glory. It matters not a lick to me one way or the other what happens to it now. (Although, yes, I would be beside myself if Kevin Costner wanted to make it into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Channing Tatum. But I digress…) I was happy to have completed the story. I wrote over 100,000 words, in some kind of a coherent order, and enjoyed every minute of the process.

It was my husband, Paul, who had always pestered me to try to find a publisher for it. Ironic that he had never actually read a word I wrote – that also being funny since so much of it was about him. But he, ever my greatest supporter, wanted me to publish it. I decided that, yes, I did want to see a copy on my shelf along with some of my other favourite books and started editing it.  Before it was done, he passed away.

As I prepared to tackle my renovations last summer, I finally thought I should put this task on the grand Ta-Da! list and get ‘er done. Before the office went in. Before my thoughts and dreams would become obsessed with Romantic Shorts. And so I put the whole thing together and published it through Amazon.

Pyrrhic Truths Front CoverAs it turns out, it doesn’t matter who actually turns your story into a book; when that pile of neatly trimmed paper lands in your hands, and without thinking, you stick your nose in and breath in that new-book smell, the elation and satisfaction of accomplishment are to die for!! And there it sits on my shelf. Quietly watching me and whispering constantly that it would like a baby sibling.

Yeah. I’m on that.

And looking forward to it.

Welcome to the family, Pyrrhic Truths!


Fifty Shades of Bad Luck

It figures.

You’re getting dressed to go out and you discover a run in the brand new pantyhose. You make an appointment at the dentist and the toothache goes away. You buy a new tv to watch the Olympics and your lottery ticket doesn’t win.

Call it Murphy’s Law. Karma. Whatever.

And so, my romantic short story, The Allure Of A Half-Naked God, is being published this morning at Romantic Shorts. Part of the deal in being published there is that I get an Author’s Page to promote all my stuff. So of course, I submitted the link to this site.

But then I went out on a limb.

I decided, against everything I’ve ever decided with respect to my writing, to self-publish a novel – my first novel – that I wrote about ten years ago. Truthfully, I just want to buy one copy for myself. I’m not big on the fame and fortune that may or may not result from my writing. I really do only write to extricate the demons from my foggy old brain. (This is therapeutic since I honestly forget pretty much everything I think once it’s said or written. And since no one wants to listen as much as I can talk, writing is the next best thing.)

Anyway, I digress. (Yeah, like that’s unexpected…)

So I had reworked the novel for publication and pretty much had it ready to go. The pressure I put on myself was to have a link all ready in time to pad my Author’s Page a little over at Romantic Shorts. Something I was going to do anyway, now had a deadline.

As I went about my business all week, it occurred to me that I should finally change the title. The working title, since the story’s conception a dozen years ago, was REMEMBER ME. Given the sheer number of books/movies/babies that have been named REMEMBER ME in the past decade, it’s pretty much a no brainer that the title has to go.

But changing something that has been set in concrete since the Spice Girls died is easier said than done.

However, I did experience a most joyous and welcomed success in this endeavour, if I do say so myself.

The book is now called PYRRHIC TRUTHS.

Yeah. Pyrrhic. Rhymes with ‘lyric.’

Usually used as an adjective with ‘victory,’ it describes a victory, the fighting for which costs more than the reward of winning.

I don’t care if no one has ever heard of the word. It is absolutely perfect for this book. And I am beyond excited. To the point that I am completely ignoringthe fact that the literary class of the title far outweighs the quality of the literature it is doomed to describe. I like it.

At this point, I figured I was off to the races! I set up the document at Createspace. Only chose this site as I had previously used extensively, but wanted to try something different to be able to compare.

One of the nastier elements of writing a book is creating its description. Everything I read said keep it to 150 words (WHAT?!?!) and make it count. Use power words. Grab the reader by the cajones and don’t let go.

Unbelievably proud of my accomplishment after two full days of toil – (see ‘150 words’ above) – I inflicted a reading of said description on my husband. This is the same husband, who, after 23 years, has never read anything I’ve ever written. My last article in the newspaper went completely unnoticed in my house until one of the neighbours mentioned it to him. At that point he thought maybe he should take a look. (And yes, I have mentioned to him repeatedly that he should probably take a read through this blog as most of it is about him. The man has far too much trust in me. I feel bad for him.)

So I read the description, expecting a rave review from the man I love. Even knowing that rave reviews are virtually completely absent from his skill set. When I finished, he had a most uncomfortable look on his face. Clearly he was warring between his actual opinion and his loving concern for my feelings.

After open threats and a stern look, he finally confessed his confusion.

(I am still considering therapy in response to his response – just not sure if for me or for him.)

“You have to change the names.”

“What names?”

“Of your characters.”

“What? Why? Why would I do that?”

“You have to.”

“I can’t. Their names are integral to the story. Not to mention they’ve had those names since the last millennium. I can’t.”

“You have to.”


He took a deep breath and rocked my world with on sentence. “Because you can’t have Chris and Andy as the names for your characters because they’re the main characters in the Fifty Shades so you have to change it.”

This is disturbing on many levels.

One, I named those characters fifteen years ago. I had them first. Their names are part of the plot. I cannot just change them without dealing with alternate forms, nicknames, and insinuations. But he’s right – Christian and Ana are too much like Chris and Andy. Shit! This is huge.

Two, after changing the title, I now have to put the book on hold while I work this out. This does not coincide with my plans for my Romantic Shorts debut.

And three, my husband has read Fifty Shades of Grey.

Is this allowed?! It certainly explains a few things of late… But again, I ask, is this allowed? I don’t think it is. I can’t say that this would be a good thing. Should I worry? What if he starts reading my Nora Roberts? Or, god forbid, Jude Devereaux?

Oh no – what if he starts reading my stuff?

(Deep breaths.)

Okay. After some serious consideration, let’s not tell him about the story on Romantic Shorts. I lied. It’s not based on a true story. Or maybe it is. Or not.

Yeah. That should confuse the issue.

Anyway, the point is, my book’s not ready yet. I’m hoping to resolve any outstanding issues and have it available for sale in the near future. For now, I need to take a little break and get some work done around the house. We’re painting the bedrooms. A nice pink for one daughter, purple for the other, and the husband’s picked a nice deep red for ours. Should look quite nice.