This summer I had the privilege of visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For those who haven’t been there, it is a rugged sort of beauty, one in which outdoor lovers are in their element.
Now, I’ve spent lots of time there in the past, but it’s been awhile. Yet, I’ve been there, in my mind. The Upper Peninsula is almost like a character in my book, The Nature of Denial. It was part of what inspired the story.
I remember working through the entire book in my mind over hiking and camping trips. I snuggled in my sleeping bag, listened to the snores of others, and imagined how the rugged nature of the U.P. could help heal a person so badly in need of healing.
Anna (my main character) is not taken from my life or any other person’s life, but the scenery is very much what (for the most part) I’ve seen on my own. And it has, in many ways, healed me, again and again.
Visiting some of my old “haunts” was exhilarating for me, like meeting an old, dear friend. I couldn’t help but smile at references in my book that only I would get as I passed an old (not to be named) questionable motel, a dazzling waterfall, or heard the calming whispers of the forest leaves.
So, that was a part of my inspiration for the book. The other parts are too long to get into for this blog (maybe another one?) but they have to do with themes that I seem to revisit in my writing–struggle, hope, friendship, and love. The world is full of darkness, but there is light around every corner.
“Dreams. Don’t be afraid of them. Immerse yourself in yours. Remember, they exist today, in the here and now, in the what you do in this very moment. Dream big, break goals down small, and start checking them off the list. It’s empowering.”
This is part of an email I sent to some of the high school students that I work with. One of my jobs is to mentor students in an online program. Many of these teens need to hear that they are capable, that dreams are possible, and other positive affirmations. I’m sharing this because I think it’s important for all of us to dream, and dream big.
Whatever the goal–being a writer, promoting world peace, making a decent living doing something you love–it is okay, imperative even, that we are dreamers. Dreamers have created the beautiful parts of humanity and advancements that have altered how we live. So, go ahead, dream a little, and if you have kids, encourage their dreams too!
This day took a mountain of other days to reach, but finally, publishing day has arrived! Am I nervous? Yes! But I’m ready to offer Anna’s story to others and hope that they find the experience worthwhile.
Read it for free! It’s available on Kindle for free starting tomorrow. Read the blurb below, if it’s not your genre of choice, no problem, but please pass it along if you know of someone who might enjoy it.
Darkness is growing within Anna Montagna and she can’t control it. She’s hurt someone that she loves. She fears that mental illness is descending upon her, like it did her mother, except her mother never hurt anyone. Scared and alone, Anna flees to small-town Mikamaw in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to save her family from the monster that she has become.
Anna hopes to find anonymity and solitude in Mikamaw, but instead finds a slightly-psychic friend, nosy locals, and the healing nature of the landscape. Despite the hundreds of miles Anna travels to escape her past, it continues to haunt her. She tries to drown her life’s regrets in alcohol and deep water, but they always resurface. When her husband and best friend find her in Mikamaw, she must decide whether to confront the past or turn and keep running.
When you hang out with writers, you recognize the signs of a writer going through the “marketing” experience of self-publishing. They talk incessantly about social media, blogging, Amazon sales, and finding high-quality reviews. Yep, you’ve got it; they are in the marketing phase.
For most writers, this experience means lost sleep, gray hair, and various signs of outward stress. Sure, there are writers out there that love selling their wares, but you and I aren’t one of them! For us, it can feel a little like selling your soul. We’re writers, not sales people.
The truth is that if you want to sell your books, you will have to be part of that process (unless you are an all-star author). That means putting in the time to build a platform, finding internet spaces to shout about your book, and handing out the occasional “bookcard” or bookmark.
I know, you’d rather be writing. I feel your pain! For me, balancing between a writing project and the marketing side is what keeps me sane. If I had to do all marketing at one time, it would dry out my passion for writing.
So, if you see the signs, help a fellow author out. Take them to coffee, listen to them rant, then brainstorm the next book idea.