Tag Archives: grief

My book is published


It took me more than ten years, but I finally finished my book “Starting at Goodbye.” I think I hesitated and dragged it on for so long because I was terrified about dealing with publishing.

In the many critique groups in which I participated, I asked those who’d finally completed their books how they had gone about the publishing process. One woman said she actually got an agent who was interested in shopping her book around to different companies. She waited months and months and, finally, the agent told her no one was interested. In the end, she published it herself.

Wanting to spare myself a similar frustrating experience, I decided to skip the whole agent and famous publishing house deal by self-publishing. In this day and age, it seems like the easiest and best prospect for those of us who aren’t BIG named authors.

I found a guy on facebook in a writers forum who said he had just started his own publishing company. For $1000.00, he’d edit it, format it, design the cover, and then send it to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. It sounded good to me, so I corresponded with him for several weeks. Allegedly, he had a partner who was the talented artist and who would design my cover.

The longer we were in contact, the more suspicious I grew. He was just too lackadaisical about the money thing (“You can pay me on a payment plan whenever you want”) and so on. He said he was based in California, where I live, but he wouldn’t divulge the exact location.

We spoke on the phone a couple times, and he sounded more nervous about it than I did. In essence, he wasn’t very professional, and I began to smell a rat!

After working on my book for so long, I was not about to deal with an unscrupulous publishing business.  My gut was screaming “run for your life!”

When he suddenly picked up and moved out of state with his “partner,” I was about done. Then the partner started pressuring me for money so they could pay their rent. Really?!!!

I decided to quit while I was ahead. I wanted no nasty repercussions, so I simply told him I planned to go with another option. He didn’t argue and just begged me not to share my experience of him and his business online.

I looked into other options and queried other writers who’d been through self publishing. None was willing to give me a solid recommendation.

While I’d been writing the book, I kept emails from different sources that offered publishing options. Most seemed to come from Book Baby. I held my breath, did some mild meditation, and decided to contact someone from BookBaby. The whole deal sounded so professional and straightforward, especially after my previous experience.

So I did it! I went with BookBaby. The whole thing, including 25 hard copies of my book, cost over two grand. Now that I’ve gotten those books in my grubby little hands, I feel like the whole thing was worth it. The books are beautiful! The cover, which I helped by suggesting themes and by sending three photos taken in a cheapy fair photo booth, looks wonderful.

I have already sold out those first 25 copies, giving a few copies to family members for free and saving three for myself. On November 26th, the books go on sale on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Nook, and some online companies I’ve never heard of.

You can buy an ebook for $4.99 and a paperback for $16.99. Of that amount, I’ll probably receive about $1.50 for each paperback book sold.

I didn’t write the book to make money and to be famous. I wrote it to share my life and my experiences with others. So far, my friends have told me they “love it.” Several read it almost non-stop, saying they couldn’t put it down. I may decide to market it, after all.

In my next post, I’ll share the first three chapters here. If you are interested, you can buy the book afterwards.

I’m ecstatic! I finished a major item on my “bucket list.” I hope others here will enjoy the journey.


Diary of a Divorce–Dec 10th



      I once heard a motivational speaker explain the concept of who we really are inside by a comparison to an orange. No matter how hard you squeeze the orange, what comes out is orange juice. So if you are an angry person, it doesn’t matter how hard someone “squeezes” you. What comes out is anger.

       I recognize my own anger issues. I realize it doesn’t take a lot of pressure to get me going. All it takes sometimes is to be told “no” or not to get my way. The difference between me and Mark, though, is that I’m aware of the anger inside and I’m working hard not to allow it to run my life. I honestly don’t think he has any idea how angry he is. The sad part of this is that his anger, which has festered over the years, explodes on those he most loves. When I didn’t do something he felt I should, he reacted as if the world was coming to an end. And this happened over and over and over again. No, he can’t help being who he is. He could manage to disguise it from most people. He could put on his charming persona to the world. But he will always be that orange. No matter what I did or said, I got the red hot orange juice.

        So why did I think it’d be different THIS time? Had I fallen into the trap of believing that time would fix him? If he just missed me enough…If he wanted me badly enough. No, it wasn’t enough. He hadn’t done the necessary internal work, which always starts with a recognition of what type of juice lives inside of us.

        And what was operating ME during this attempted reconciliation? That darn fantasy stuff. That twinkling Hallmark card commercial of the happy, loving couple. That hope. Haven’t I told myselff enough times that there is NO hope? There is only what IS. As a recovering alkie, I have never liked reality. I can wish, hope, dream, imagine and it changes absolutely nothing.

          The good news is that I recognized it so quickly. Nine days. Pretty damned good, if I say so myself. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Mark is Mark, no matter how much he tried to win me over one more time with the Great Guy routine. And, today, I am not willing to settle for BTN (Better than Nothing). Is it worth walking on eggshells all the time just for those moments of hand holding and whispered “I love you’s”? No, not anymore. I’ve learned I can do my life by myself. I don’t “need” anyone to make me complete. I AM complete. Yes, I would’ve loved to share my life with someone, and I still do. But not just anyone.

        The paralegal’s office caught the Stip before it was sent out. My divorce proceeds towards its intended end. By January, I will be a single woman again. In the paperwork, I indicated I want to return to my maiden name. Wish I’d done that at marriages number one, two three, and four. I want to go out of this world with the name I’d been given when I came into it.

        There is the possibility I’ll be alone for the rest of this lifetime. Maybe. I hope not, but it IS a possibility.  I’ve known true love, and it wasn’t with Mark. He was, after all, simply a rebound from the man I truly loved but who died.  I met Mark on an online site, when I should’ve been concentrating on grieving. I wanted some light times, some fun times, after all those bleak moments. Mark and I should’ve dated but never married. Oh, well. Lessons learned.  The guys on online sites are single for a reason.  Patience has never been my strong suit. 

       After this mistake,  I’m no longer in such a rush to find a new, warm body to lie by my side in bed. I’ve got the dogs, anyway, and all they do is love me. S-l-o-w down, girl! In the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow IS another day!”

        Oranges? They’re pretty sour anyway. Maybe the next time, I’ll pick an apple.

Diary of a Divorce–Nov 12th



         Death and Divorce–two of the top stressors in the hierarchy of suffering. Both cause unbearable emotional pain, and many of us turn to what appear to be simple solutions to salve the wounds. That is what I’ve been doing with this online dating, and I’m finding that I’ve only been adding to the damage. Big surprise.

         This latest episode with the “Cowboy” really knocked me for a loop (or lassooed me to the ground). Monday Morning quarterbacking always sheds light on the darkness. I have been running, ducking, doing whatever I can to avoid the inevitable feelings of loss. I thought “Cowboy” would be a quick replacement for my soon-t0-be-ex-husband. I’d found this dashing, romantic man who’d take me into his powerful arms and remove all the sadness and disappointment. I’d have a new and shiny toy, a thrilling infatuation, a stroll into the life of another. Here was someone who hadn’t yet heard all my stories, someone who’d be magnetized by every word that fell from my mouth. I LOVE that stage!!!

         It was not to be, and reality came crashing down soon enough. No diversion would be offered to distract me from those painful feelings. Damn it! I even felt angry at my ex for “forcing” me into this situation by being such a schmuck causing our marriage to end! Blame him for my predicament. Blame anyone but myself. No, I’m not beating myself up for nurturing this fantasy. What red-blooded American woman wouldn’t fall for the fairy tale of wrapping her arms around the waist of her loving man as they rode off into the sunset on his trusty steed? My god, I was primed for the taking.

          I’m a recovering alcoholic and have been sober for almost 25 years. As part of my nature, I don’t like reality–in fact, I hate it!  I love pictures filtered by a hazy lens. I love the twilight, just as the light of day fades into the promise of evening. And I want it all NOW. In fact, I want it yesterday! I am not one who is crazy about deferring anything except the bill for my pleasures. That has not changed with sobriety, and I doubt it’ll ever change no matter how long I avoid the bottle.    Tell me the story about the handsome prince that rescues the princess. And make sure the ending is a happy one.

           My stories have not had happy endings. The love of my life died almost four years ago. I miss him with each passing day. There is no replacement for that kind of love, even though the story was often filled with bumps and bruises (not the physical kind!) He aggravated me on a regular basis. I often wanted him gone…but not for too long. Now, he’ll never come back. I can’t lift a phone and tell him I’ve changed my mind about our separation or even our divorces. I can’t get him back no matter how much I grieve. He is gone forever. There’s no easy piece to complete that puzzle, no tool to fix that broken part of my heart.

            Mark was supposed to do that, and it ended badly too. Why do I think it’ll work now with yet another one, another Mark? Yet, it seems part of this well-established pattern.

             On top of it, I’ve got my rapidly aging and deteriorating situation with my 93 yr old mom. She’s eager to go into the assisted living home THIS Thursday. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to get her to let go of years worth of memories in her home. I went over yesterday and tried to sort out the junk (which is what most of it is) from the valuable. She clung to dusty artificial flowers and old dime store plaques from strangers and relatives alike. She shrieked as I tried to toss out old cassette tapes that she has never listened to. They are part of HER dreams, part of her memories. In her eyes and her rabid mind, I saw myself clinging to the past, believing that things were real because of the rosey cast with which I’d painted them.

            It is time to let go. Time to cherish what IS for today and to let loose the fantasies of what never was. The hard part for both me and my mom is that what we take with us is what we leave for others. In the end, what will I leave? I will stay in my pajamas today and allow the feelings in, instead of trying to fight them. There IS no easy answer, no romantic cowboy who will sweep me off my feet and onto the back of his horse.  Maybe it’s time to give up living in fairy tales.