I used to hesitate to call myself a writer because that’s not how I make my living. Then I realized that “a writer” is who I am, whether or not I get paid for it.
I’m excited to announce that I have finished writing my first novel!
This is new ground for me, as I have never attempted to write fiction before. Fiction always felt more intimidating than non-fiction, perhaps because I feel that it reveals more about the author and requires (in my opinion) a higher degree of creativity. In short, there seems to be more room for criticism and failure in writing a novel, which kept me at bay.
Nevertheless, I self-published the e-book edition on October 24, 2013 and have since published the paperback version. Both are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as other major online distributors.
Titled Since I Last Saw You, here is the cover illustration and the first page:
Ali sat looking out the window at the driving rain, one hand propping up her chin and the other absent-mindedly stroking the cracked leather upholstery of the well-worn couch. She loved this little hideaway where she could be alone without being lonely.
Ali and Isaac stumbled upon the cabin when they were hiking the backwoods of Mt. Baker. How many years ago was that? 10? 15? No, it must have been 14 years ago, because it was the year they got engaged. It was about this time of year – late November – but the weather then was dry and crisp. The trees were dropping the last of their leaves, carpeting the ground with a mosaic of gold and red and orange. It was a magical autumn.
Today, Mother Nature was showing her more dramatic side. The wind and rain had already been pummeling the area for hours and the weather forecast was for more of the same throughout the night; possibly all weekend.
If Ali were less familiar with this place, she might have been more concerned about being alone on a mountaintop during such a violent storm. But she had arrived a few hours earlier in her ancient-yet-dependable Jeep Cherokee, fully intending to stay put for several days. Despite her family’s protestations, this is where she wanted to spend her first Thanksgiving since the death of her husband and daughter 10 months earlier.
What do you think? Does this leave you wanting to read more?
I’ve had several articles and essays published within major newspapers and within a book of collected works. Since I Last Saw You is the first book I have self-published. It’s challenging to try to produce significant writing in the best of circumstances, but I find it even more difficult to try to squeeze it into a life when I work 40+ hours a week at another job.
I am also writing a work of non-fiction with the working title, “different”. It is intended for a teenage audience with the goal of helping them navigate the rough seas of their high school years. For more details about the genesis and content of this project, go to my other (rather meager) blog at: www.tinyurl.com/telltalescribe. (My writer’s dba alias is The Telltale Scribe.) There are also links from that page to a survey and questionnaire you can fill out if you want to contribute to my book.
Because I believe that the eventual success of “different” will depend, in large part, on my ability to write in a style that appeals to teenagers, I needed to find a focus group of teens to give me feedback on my writing. Last week I was able to recruit some 10th grade students to do just that.
82 of those 10th graders also filled out a survey for me that will be included in the book. Here is my Facebook posting from today about the results:
Many thanks to Sealth High School teacher, Heather Griffin, for allowing me to address her 10th grade Language Arts classes to recruit students for a focus group to give me feedback on initial drafts of my book “different”. 27 students signed up! And 82 filled out surveys for me for the statistics section of the book. One section of the survey asks students to choose words that describe them well (self-perception) and the second part asks them to choose words to describe emotions they feel frequently and strongly. Here are some of the results:70% described themselves as “social”; 60% as “well-behaved”; 49% as “athletic”; 48% as “musical”; 43% as “studious”; 38% as “nerdish”; 30% as “influential”; 24% “stupid”; 23% as “solitary”; 20% as “disinterested”; 12% “destructive”; 11% “self-destructive”; 10% “disruptive”; 5% “drugged out”. Words I wish I had included, but didn’t think of: artistic, creative, out-going, nice, adventurous, amazing.
On the “emotions” checklist, 66% (the highest percentage) described themselves as feeling “happy”; the next highest, at 65%, was “bored”! 62% “stressed; 60% “accepted”; 59% “hopeful”; 57% “average”; 56% “smart”; 52% “optimistic” & “social”; 49% “successful”; 44% “proud”; 39% “generally talented”; 33% “judged”; 32% “beautiful”; 30% “high self-esteem”; 29% “self-doubting”; 26% “angry”; 23% “rebellious”; 21% “low self-esteem” “embarrassed” and “religious”;18% “sex-crazed” “fearful” and “ugly”; 17% “pressured by peers” “ashamed” and “hopeless”; 13% “isolated”; 12% “inadequate”; 11% “worthless”; 7% “pessimistic”; 6% “suicidal”; 5% “bullied” and “bashful”; 2% “persecuted”. Words I wish I had included, but didn’t think of: sad, alone, sexy, tired, confused.
If you’d like to fill out the survey concerning how you felt in high school, go to www.tinyurl.com/telltalescribe.
The address of my Facebook page is www.Facebook.com/telltalescribe. I’d love it if you’d “like” me!