And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
I don’t know how many non-writers know this, but when writers have a new book coming out, that book literally arrives at our door. Because there are events, i.e. book clubs, conferences, and so on, that don’t have booksellers associated with them, writers need to have their own copies of their books on hand.
So this week, when I received an email from UPS saying I had a delivery from my publisher, my heartrate instantly revved.
Hope was coming!
People have asked me if the fourteenth book (and all the others, all the way back to #2) is as exciting as Book #1. Of course it is. No matter who you are, no matter how many books you’ve written, the book you’re working on is not guaranteed to come out. Even writers with multiple book contracts can’t say with absolute certainty that their book will come out. The publisher could read the book (that you’ve put everything you have into) and say, “Hmmm. Nah. Not quite what we want. Send us the next one.” A multiple book deal only says it will publish multiple books. It doesn’t refer to specific books.
So every book written is written with uncertainty coursing through the writer’s veins.
This book, #14, aka Hope Always Rises, had its own special level of uncertainty, as written about in the 1/19/23 blog. And more happened after that blog, that basically involved me wrestling the book out of the grips of the original unscrupulous publisher to lay it into the hands of the publisher that believed in the book and in me and rescued me. I’m not going to go into details here, but leave it as this was the most stressful, unbelievable series of events I’ve ever experienced in a publishing career that spans back to 1975.
So knowing the book was actually on its way to my front door…well, I lived my title. Hope always rises.
I fell ill this week, no doubt caused by the amount of stress I’d been through, and so when I received the notice from UPS that the book was arriving the next day, I was elated…but also worried. Our UPS driver has a habit of ringing the doorbell, waiting two seconds, and then leaving with the package, as if I didn’t have three stories to run down to get to the front door. And this time, with my illness, I was likely to be in bed and sound asleep when the doorbell rang.
I needed to see that book. To make it real. To count its pages the way a mother counts her new baby’s toes.
So I left a note on the front door, telling the driver I was ill and to please wait after ringing the doorbell.
On Tuesday, the doorbell rang. I shot out of bed and ran down the stairs, already seeing that no one stood on the outside. “No!” I yelled. “Don’t you dare leave!” But when I flung open the door, no one was there.
But there was a stack of boxes.
I hauled them in, then opened the first one. And there it was.
Hope Always Rises.
Book #14. Novel #7.
Every book, for me, is a validation. My father once told me that my college education, a degree in English with a creative writing emphasis, was the biggest waste of his money in his life. When I first went to college, I was told that if I majored in creative writing, my parents would not support me. I had to major in something that would get me a job, and I wasn’t good enough to treat writing as anything other than a hobby. In my second semester of my sophomore year, after majoring in special education (with a focus on autism, ironically enough) and then switching to a social work major, I changed my major again to what I wanted to be. To who I already was. Creative writing. A writer. I told my parents that if they no longer supported me, I would drop out of school and work until I could afford to return. This was one of the scariest, bravest moments of my life.
My parents did continue to support me, but whenever someone asked them what I was majoring in, they said, “Oh, she’s getting married.”
By the time my parents passed away, my father first, my mother second, I had hundreds of short stories published in fine magazines. I’d become well-known as a short story writer. But both parents were already gone by the time my first book, The Home For Wayward Clocks, was released. It’s a regret, really, that they never held any of my books, that they never saw me present to an audience, and that they never saw me start a small business, focused on creative writing and writers, that is anything but small.
But here’s the thing. Of all the doubts I’ve had in my life, over what I can do, over what I should do, over my own worth, I have never ever ever doubted my ability as a writer. I knew what I could do. I knew what I was capable of. The day I told my parents that I was going to put my heart and soul into writing, into myself, was the day I fully felt comfortable in my own skin. I was in the right place. I was doing the right thing.
Of course, there have been knock-downs. But I don’t see these moments as a reason to doubt myself. I see them as insults. Many times, I’ve said out loud, “You have no idea who you are dealing with.”
And so, after a battle I was never expecting, never even knew could happen, I was holding my latest book in my hands. Book #14. Novel #7. And I’m at work on the next one.
Hope Always Rises.
Indeed it does.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.
Hope Always Rises will be officially released on February 28, 2023, by Black Rose Writing publishers. The launch will be on April 27th, as a Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books Special Event. It will be at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Waukesha campus, in the Hub at 7:00. We will be joined by a national suicide prevention organization, and I will be interviewed on stage by Philip Chard, well-known therapist and columnist with his Out Of My Mind column. Details will be appearing soon.
Hope Always Rises is on pre-release sale at the publisher’s website, when you enter the code PREORDER2023. https://www.blackrosewriting.com/literary/hopealwaysrises?fbclid=IwAR2ZxIhHXbuHA1XuJOJbdrxkhR3xfs1AhFYBwRnWwlmgZyNWbfjLP_yUTf4
It can also be pre-ordered for Kindle on Amazon.