My blog is finally beginning to catch up to the present. From comments by readers, I ascertained there was a bit of confusion. Many thought my blog posts were in real time. Actually, my writing started several months before I came up with the idea to create a blog.
Although the current date is August 31, 2013, in this post I am writing about events that occurred in the first quarter of this year, or seven months in the past. I should be blogging in real time by November. Sorry for all the confusion.
In January the re-construction on our California condo was moving forward in earnest. We spent our days waiting for workmen and selecting replacement items. I got zero writing done. After eleven days had passed in the New Year, we left for Minneapolis as planned. We would be back home for about five weeks. Most would assume leaving California for the frozen north would be torture, but we arrived in our hometown looking forward to being free from the hubbub and chaos of construction.
Therese Pautz, one of the members of my informal writer’s group, sent me an email indicating her book, Rain and Revelation, had been published in December (check out her website at http://www.rainandrevelation.com). Note: as of this blog post she has sold over 40,000 copies. Therese is definitely someone I want to emulate.
I responded to her email, and we agreed to get together for coffee. We met at Starbucks in the Galleria shopping mall and I was anxious to purchase her book, have it signed, and catch up. After grabbing our brews, we sat at one of the high top tables. She presented me with a signed copy of her book. I was thrilled and, at the same time, realized this was what I was trying to accomplish.
I immediately began to ask her questions about the self-publishing process. Therese indicated she wanted to be in control. She used her own editors, cover-designer, and photographer, and then had Amazon publish it. As I rolled the book over and over in my hands, I marveled at its professionalism. I couldn’t wait to get home and start reading. (Her book is wonderful, and I highly recommend it!!)
Therese then asked me how my writing was going. I told her how frustrated I was, but commented about my thought process on characters and plot development. Although I had not written much, she complimented me on the work I had done. Always supportive, she encouraged me to set a time each day to write. As we said our good-byes, I promised her and myself that I would. My writing production actually did begin to build while I was in Minneapolis. Then four weeks after my meeting with Therese, a random event occurred.
Marcia, myself, and several friends went to Travail. It is a unique food restaurant located in the suburb of Robbinsdale. From its décor, you would never assume that it has been touted as one of the finest establishments in the country. It was basically a bar with a few booths and long communal tables. Due to limited seating, customers queue up before the doors open at 5:00PM. Marcia and I volunteered to be placeholders on a very cold night. While standing in line, we met Bob and Karen Italia. We had a fun conversation due, most likely, to the camaraderie of standing in the cold. As the doors opened we all rushed in to find seats. Our group took the first six seats at the long communal table and Bob and Karen ended up sitting next to us. As the evening wound down, Marcia asked Bob what he did for a living. Bob proclaimed he was an author. When Marcia told Bob that I was writing a novel, we all laughed at the coincidence. Bob and I agreed to have lunch.
I continued to write with more regularity, but still could not live up to the promise I made Therese. The amount of time was neither regular nor consistent. Three days before we returned to Palm Springs, Bob and I met at McCormick’s Pub and Restaurant in Wayzata, Minnesota. Bob revealed that he had published several books, but now was attempting his first novel. We tentatively agreed, if requested, to provide each other with specific advice and avoid the burden of lengthy readings of rough drafts. Bob was now the fourth member of my informal writer’s group.
Close to the end of February, we returned to Palm Springs. Once again my writing suffered with the constant interruption of workmen. In mid March I got an email from Bob requesting my input on his book. I was truly flattered. We exchanged several emails as I attempted to read and then respond to his specific inquiries. The requests fell within our predetermined guidelines, and I found it enjoyable since it took my mind off the work that was being done around me.
At the end of March, we began preparing for our return to Minneapolis, looking forward to spring. I finally got some writing done as the construction abated. Thankfully, the last item was completed right before we headed for the airport.