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Posts from the ‘Creativity’ Category

Swarming Thoughts

Having trouble with ants swarming on the cat bowls on the porch. I spray, and they are deterred until it rains, then back they come. This morning my thoughts are like those dang ants, all over me before 6 am. Gotta do this, what about that? what if there’s a glitch here? Get a cup of tea and come to the porch chair, imagine I’ve sprayed and no nagging thoughts allowed.

It is still as if someone stopped the very air. It is the same 74 but a cooler 74. Ever notice that? The lavender scent is wafting around, and a single cicada trying to chirp above the crickets. Daylight comes relentlessly. For this space in time I let myself be right here, and it is pleasant. Glad I didn’t miss it! And funny thing. Now my thoughts turn to writing projects, and ideas swarm. Like those.

Good morning, everybody! God bless us.

It is Called Indie Publishing

My friend has written a book about her experience of going through Alzheimer Disease with a loved one. She expressed her quandary in choosing how to get the book published. She said, in so many words, that she was impatient to spend the time it took to go through the process of finding a publisher who might like what she has to offer, but that others in her writing circle had, “planted seeds of doubt that I wasn’t being “professional” by self publishing.”

Well, honey, first off, self-publishing is not anything new, and I doubt the likes of Benjamin Franklin, William Blake, or James Joyce would consider it unprofessional. They each at one time published their own work. Such a thing was common back in their day. And  Anthony Hope, who wrote The Prisoner of Zenda, (and goodness knows that’s had at least two movies made of it. I recommend the one with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., so hokey and so delightful). One modern book was The Joy of Cooking, by Irma Rombauer. Amazing.

Miracle-1999Self-publishing fell out of style for awhile, but it is back and in a big way and here to stay. It has become Independent publishing, or Indie for short.

There is room for it all–traditional publishing and indie publishing. What writers and readers are given by the indie publishing is more options and creativity. There’s nothing unprofessional about that.

Back in 1999, when self-publishing was very much denigrated, (certainly the Journalism School at the University of Oklahoma, where I attended, frowned heavily on the idea), I decided to publish my small novella, Miracle On I-40. Computers and desktop publishing were coming on like gangbusters, and a number of us romance genre writers decided to band together to help each other and formed The Author’s Studio. A few of the writers had books their current publishers did not want to publish because the stories did not fit their ‘guidelines’, meaning they were too original. A couple wanted to, and did, develop their own publishing houses, a number successfully running today.  I myself wanted to see my book published in a lovely way, with beautiful font and styling. I’m mad for fonts.

The result of my passion and daring was the small, soft-cover edition of  Miracle on I-40. I used Adobe Pagemaker and did every bit of the formatting, and I found a cover artist who did a sweet job, an artist who did beautiful illustrations, and a printing company in Nashville that went beyond friendly and helpful. While it took a few years, I did earn back my investment plus a bit more. For me, the process was invaluable.

Miracle-on-I-40In 2005, I re-sold the rights to Miracle On I-40 to Mira Books, which produced the book in a hardback gift edition. After only one season, the publisher again let the book fall out of print and languish, forgotten.

More years went by, until finally I was able to once more secure the rights to the book and publish it as ebook with Belgrave House, which, by the way is one of those author publishing houses begun back in 1999 and now publishes many a best-selling book.

Miracle On I-40 by Curtiss Ann Matlock, the 2005 revised and expanded edition published in hardback by Mira Books, now in ebook from Belgrave House.

Had I not followed the path of my own indie publishing back in 1999, Miracle On I-40 would today still be forgotten. I have had so many wonderful letters from readers on the book that make me glad for stepping out and going my own way. It is my plan for the coming Christmas to have it into print-on-demand with Createspace, too. But I have so much to learn!

The reasons to indie publish are as varied as writers themselves. For myself, independent publishing gives me control, joy in the creative act with cover art, too, and the adventure of seeing what I can do and where I can go. It’s all good.

Sometimes you have to step out to find out. ~ Joyce Meyer

Time Management, and other hopeful joys

We are one week today into 2013 (just in case you didn’t know). So far so good on this end. I’m still excited about the new year. Everything I desire still seems possible. I am imprinting this mindset in order to get back to it weeks from now when the world has spun me around and set me loose.

This morning I sat at my desk with the intent of organizing myself on my planner. I still buy one of those paper ones, and I like a plain thin one from Dollar General, on which I can write with my blue ink pen. Let me just say that I am already proficient at using paper and pen, they can be cheaply  and quickly replaced when they don’t work, can be used without electricity, and also for doodling when thinking. I’ll use them ’til I die.

In order to plan, though, I had to dig myself out. I have not seen the top of my desk in over six months. I solved that problem by sweeping everything into a plastic basket to deal with at a later date. Or never. I also found that I no longer needed things like the heavy Oxford Dictionary that has been on my desk for 20 years. Nor did I need to keep the plastic pen holder that I have never liked, just because my mother gave it to me. I brought in a blue pottery vase that delights my eyes. And I left the wind-up monkey, not only for the grands, but for me.

I had quite a number of bits of paper scattered on my desk on which I scribble things I don’t want to forget. I have to look at each of these as I drop them into the pile in the basket. On one bit of paper is the list of Nanny McPhee‘s medals; one each for courage, kindness, resolve, imagination, enthusiasm, and leaps of faith. Where shall I keep that list?

photoThen there is the paragraph of wisdom from Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I looked it up one day early last year (I know this because it was on the bottom of the pile.) and scribbled it on yellow foolscap. I’ve probably shared it here before, but it bears repeating.

If one sets aside time for a business appointment, a trip to the hairdresser, a social engagement, or a shopping expedition, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if one says: ‘I cannot come because that is my hour to be alone,’ one is considered rude, egotistical or strange. What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it–like a secret vice! ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea.

I have set as my Word(s) for the Year: Seek Joy. By managing my time, I can save myself from two thieves of joy: hurry and indecision. I’ve finally come to the clear acceptance that when I say yes to doing one thing, I must say no to many other things. Let me choose those things that contribute to my joy.

Here is my desk now. It contributes to my joy:


I put the list of Nanny McPhee’s medals back on the desk. Maybe I’ll make myself some.

“…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” ~Nehemiah 8:10



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