The Wind Beneath My Wings

friends, celebration, e-publishing, writing Whenever I hear the expression “you are the wind beneath my wings,” I think about how my friends have blown me through misgivings, doubts, mistakes, dilemmas, marvels, damnations, mysteries, and discomforts.

The times I laugh the loudest, and cry the hardest, are with my friends.

The wind beneath my wings.

One night this week, a group of six friends took me out to celebrate the publication of my book, The Right Wrong Man. They passed around cards of encouragement and pride, they plied me with chocolate bars to fortify me in my (writing) times of need. They gave me a bag full of ‘writing essentials’ in case the power went out: notebook, candle, pencils, pens, and an eraser that says ‘delete.’

writing, writing with no power, friendships, publishing

God, I love my friends.

college friends, friendsI cherish the faded photos of my first steady friends – friendships cemented during our college years of love found, love lost, tests failed, classes college, dorm, friendshipspassed, maturity endured, parties survived.

And I cherish the photo of us, decades later, still smiling together.

Women are only as strong as their friendships, yes?

friends, college, dorm, aging

Decades after college, still smiling.

champagne, congratulations, friendships, writing, publishingA week ago, another friend, “Inda the Bride,” took me out for lunch to celebrate my book, and before I knew what she was doing, two glasses of champagne sparkled on our table. Her friendship goes way back, including an evening 20 years ago when my daughter made glittery nameplates for our dinner table, but the glimmering “L” came off long before dessert. Linda’s been Inda ever since. Oh, and she and her love married in our house; I even pressed the CD button as she came down our stairs, so Pachelbel Canon in D Major would soothe her jittery nerves.

The wind beneath our wings.

Just as I’m writing this, I see an e-mail pop up from a ‘new’ friend. We’ve only known each other for 12 years. A Baby Friendship. She writes:

friendship, writing, e-book, publishing

MADS helped me survive New England winters, teaching me how to drive in the snow (close your eyes and pray), how to tutor special ed students (stare them in the eyes and love them), and how to laugh when you want to cry.

The wind beneath my wings.

When I began this blog almost two years ago, the second post I wrote was about a long-time friendship – “A Place I Could Easily Call Home” (http://bit.ly/placecallhome), and the first poem I posted explained that “Friendship sooths the rough edge of life.” (http://bit.ly/friendshipoem).

As I scroll down the friendships of my life, the special women who have helped me get through my fears and my devils, helped me celebrate my joys and my loves, I thank them for the wind they’ve provided beneath my wings.

cheers, writing, congratulations, publishing, friendshp Cheers and love to you, my friends!

Scarlett Fever

gone with the wind, self-publishing, writing  I woke up early this morning thinking about contests. Writing contests, beauty contests, spelling contests, I even wondered if there’s such a thing as sleeping contests, like who can best shut off their mind at 4 a.m. and NOT think about things like…contests.

Suddenly I realize why contest are on my (sleeping) mind. One of my blog supporters (we read each other’s blogs and learn about our writing pursuits, our love of shoo fly pie, and our propensity to be pranksters) suggested that now that I’ve published a book, I should do a “reading.”

The nightmares began. For heaven’s sake, I wrote the book, I edited the book, I published the book, I (briefly) promoted the book. Now I have to stand up in front of a group of strangers (or worse, friends), and read sections of my book to them?

I’m generally fearless when given a challenge, but my past races back to me, causing shivers and shakes.

Reading out loud.

Beauty contests.

Nightmares.

beauty contests, self-publishing, writing, e-book, junior miss pagaent

I was in the Miss Junior Miss pageant way back when (and for reasons of vanity, I will not mention when the ‘when’ was). My high school compatriots voted me in, despite my pleas to not, in any way, even consider writing my name in their little slot of who should represent Pitman High. Unfortunately the tally had come down to Mary (the prettiest), Diane (the wittiest), or me (the dark horse), and next thing I knew, I was galloping along to practice my ‘talent’ for the county’s Miss Junior Miss Pageant. (Yup, that’s me, top row center.)

TALENT? Reading was the only talent I possessed at age 17.

Gone with the Wind, Melanie or Scarlett? self-publishing

Melanie? or Scarlett?

My favorite book back then was Gone with the Wind. I wished I was Scarlett, but I was worried that I was really Melanie. So, the light bulb flickered in my 17-year-old brain. Yes! I would be Scarlett, up on that stage. That would be my talent – acting out the ‘hunger’ scene in plantation clothes and with a lilting Southern accent (note to self: if born and raised in NJ, no way, no how will you perfect a lilting Southern accent within one month).

But I was young back then, as we are wont to be when we’re 17 (yes, wont is a real word), and I borrowed an old 1800s (tattered) dress and I practiced in front of the drama teacher and I found myself in front of hundreds of smirking teens and their parents (they were all rooting for the girl at their high school) stumbling along in Scarlett’s words:“As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me….If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

http://youtu.be/gn26pEDEhyY

Gone with the Wind, self-publishing, I memorized the entire scene. I scraped the old wooden auditorium floor as if it was a dried-up garden, and I shed real tears. I don’t think I humiliated myself, but I may have. I do know that afterwards, I swore that as God was my witness, I would never ever be part of a contest, or a beauty pageant, again.

But now, I’m a published writer, and we writers are supposed to ‘do readings,’ and offer contests of free books to grow our sales. Otherwise, our books will just blow like the wind, far afield and unfound by readers.

We’re supposed to promote, promote, promote, giving up our writing so others will buy our books.

Well, yes, that makes sense. How else will readers know our work is out there?

But you know what? For now, I’m going to hunker down at my computer and just write.

Sales of my book? I’ll worry about that later.

As Scarlett so famously says, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

What about you? Do you have what I call “Scarlett Fever”? Fear of contests… fear of promoting yourself?

Or do you have a trick to make it all easy and…fearless.

A Brave New World

self-publishing, Indie publishing, writing, author, Huxley, A Brave New WorldO wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.

William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–205

Dare I quote Shakespeare while in the same sentence mention Indie Publishing, e-publishing, independent authors, self-published writers, Kindles, Nooks, I-pads, and more?

Darn right I dare.

Shakespeare was a daring writer, pushing convention, taunting enemies and hypocrites, creating love poems between lovers who should never ever be together.

selp-publishing, connecting the dots, writing, Shakespeare, Huxley, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley used Shakespeare’s quote for his famous 1932 novel A Brave New World. Huxley was inspired by the novels of H.G. Wells (believe it or not, my favorite author when I was in middle school!) and Wells’ imaginings of the future, which tended to be positively gleeful of what was to come. Remember The Time Machine…? War of the Worlds…? The Invisible Man…? Fabulous books for a young girl with an immense imagination.

Okay, yes, somehow I’m connecting the dots between Shakespeare, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, and Pamela Wight, self-publisher. See my rueful smile here?

But at this moment in time, we are living in a Brave New World. A century from now, readers and writers and publishers (if there still are any) will cite the beginning of the 21st century as a landmark time of changes in the way we read. In the choices of how and who we read.

As of 3:03 the afternoon of Tuesday, January 8, I became a published writer.

I didn’t use an agent. Nor a publisher.

I created my own publishing company – Near. Perfect. Press.

The company is very NEAR, in my own computer;

The idea of creating and sharing with the world in my own time and my own space is PERFECT;

And when I PRESS the keyboard, I can create words and characters and worlds and then, press, send it out to you and to you and to you.

A Brave New World

That’s not to say it’s easy, self-publishing, pushing the boundaries of the way things always have been, always were ‘meant to be.’

I toiled for years on my just-published book, The Right Wrong Man. My main character Meredith developed over the page (with the scribbling of a pen and the tapping of computer keys) through verbs and nouns and metaphors; through research on the police station in St. Thomas and the biting habits of the tarantula; through reading endless newspaper and magazine articles about drug cartels and the illegal trafficking of meth. Oh, and through draft 2 and draft 22.

And now I’m ready to share my novel, my work of inspiration and imagination, my years-long affair with Meredith and Parker and Gregory, and the story of The Right Wrong Man.

Please join me in my

brave

new

world,

which has such wondrous and beauteous people in it.

self-publishing, author, writing, e-book