#10 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

riding uphilGet Going!  Marcel Proust called it exercising the authority of his inner self. I woke up this morning knowing it's Tuesday and I've committed to riding my bike though I'm really not into it. This early in the morning I'd rather be in bed reading.  But once on my bike, I take off down the hill and immediately start feeling really good.  And now I'm on my way home with the results of my work; a baguette, a good workout, and several new ideas I want to put to paper.

I realize I do the same with my writing. I go to work at my desk saying I have to do it as if it is a terrible chore. When actually once I get going it is the most fun thing in my life.

Fall harvest in La Drôme - With Enthusiasm!

"The Greeks understood the mysterious power of the hidden side of things," wrote Louis Pasteur. "They bequeathed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language––the word 'enthusiasm'--en theos--a god within. The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a god within, and obeys it." poppyI chose "harvest" as the ending title for “Summer in la Drôme,” because, during my stay there, I lived in the fields of my imagination, where I planted and nurtured what grew into 116,297 words of my new novel MELISSA. I’ve brought the results, my harvest, back to America to sell in the publishers marketplace.

I chose Louis Pasteur's quote on enthusiasm because I would never have finished MELISSA if I hadn't obeyed my “en theos” who supported me through the days when no words budded or worse they died on the vine, and who celebrated with me on the days when words burst forth into colorful and loquacious blooms.

I chose the butterfly and poppy images because the enthusiasm of nature is the source of our own and it's contagious. In a sliver of Brazilian forest only a few miles square, scientists have counted more than 1,500 species of butterfly. And the poppy when coupled with another poppy and given seven years and the right conditions will produce 820 thousand million million million descendants. That’s enthusiasm!!!

News to follow on Melissa's publication date. First I must complete the third draft come Spring. So from now on my blog will be about the writing life. Well, not entirely. I am pulling up my Manhattan roots, deeply grown down under for thirty years. It isn’t easy to get out of New York, it takes a lot of enthusiasm, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for some time.

If you would like to learn more about enthusiasm I recommend "Exuberance: The Passion for Life" by Kay Redfield Jamison from whom I cite in the above text.


La Saison des Tournesols

"Exaggerate the essential and leave the obvious vague."  van Gogh (1853-1890) 3sunflowerAnd as the summer wanes these sun worshippers, which van Gogh painted, turn their heads toward the sun to catch the last of summer's light.

Outside my writing studio, in the fields, the lavender has been cut down by the local farmers and taken to the distillery to be condensed down into its essential oil.  The distillery is down the road and the balmy warm wind from Provence brings the essence of lavender to me in the early morning air. But I have no time to linger.

I'm in the middle of the second draft of "The Drummer's Widow" and, taking van Gogh's advice to heart, I am exaggerating the essential and leaving the obvious vague as I revise chapters and cut, cut, cut!

I expect to harvest my 96,163 words by the autumnal equinox but time is going by too fast!  And that is why I've had no time to blog. And won't again until I finish the manuscript early next year.

By the way if you ever want to read an awe-inspiring book on the life of an artist check out "Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent van Gogh."  Not only was van Gogh an exceptional artist he was a really good writer.

#9 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

sheepwith bellYou might be wondering why I'm photographing sheep for my lesson on gear shifting.  Well for one they're cute and might draw your attention and, more significant, they are a metaphor for those who hardly ever shift gears. Sheep prefer to move very slowly and eat and then be eaten.  The other half of the lesson is for those of us who are gear-shifters. My brother, Greg, a pro-biker once said to me, "If your bike has gears, it's easy to ride uphill."

Though there are five gears on my bike, I still hadn't figured out how to make it "easy."  Today huffing and puffing on my uphill climb I breathlessly said, "I can't do this. I'm going to get off and walk."

But then I shifted gears in my head and said, "Wow! look what I can do. I'm climbing a hill. The little engine can do it." And I made it to the top feeling breathlessly wonderful.

There's still a lot to learn about gear shifting that can't be covered in one lesson.

Tour de France Races thru la Drôme

8472146-13268192-thumbnail kangaroobikerwithtongueToday I'm letting the Big Boys take over on the bike trail.  After riding already for sixteen days these guys are not slowing down as they pass nearby on their way up into the Alps going over 25 miles per hour.  Three days from now they will reach Alpe d'Huez (6000 feet), which is 370 miles from here.  How about that for fortitude! kate and I wavingI'll be watching them on television this year as we are having a bit of winter weather and it is not conducive to picnics on the grass.  These pictures were taken two years ago when I last watched them whiz through la Drôme with my sister Kate Hudson.

#8 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

stormyDidn't want to bike in the rain. Made excuses. Said it was pouring though it was only drizzling. But here I am. Glad I came, though now it really is pouring. Lesson for today: Do it! Do it! Do it! Practice! Practice! Practice! It's okay. Ride is easier every time. If I took a break, missed a ride, it would only slow me down, put a stop to what's important.

And that gets us to why I'm really here on this hilltop in a rain and windstorm; it is to write my new novel "Melissa," which by the way is going great! Near the end of the first draft but I have to do it every day. Just something. Anything. Just a thought. I try to do a minimum of a 1,000 words a day.

So that 's it. That's it for today. Got to go fill that blank page. Happy Sunday. Love to you all.

Photo Caption: Yes, it even rains in paradise

#7 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

Come fly with me ! ! ! "The more you let yourself be distracted from where you are going, the more you are the person that you are. It's not so much like getting lost as it is like getting found." William Stafford, poet (1914-1993)

This is a very important lesson for me. When I ride my bike, I get so focused on where I'm going, which is usually up or down a hill, that I forget the joy of distraction. Today I stopped on a hilltop and allowed myself to be distracted. And in that moment I found myself drifting with the clouds and it was grand.

"Not A Day Without A Line"

No bike lesson today.  I would like to talk about writing,  because I was inspired by this quote. I looked it up to find out its history: The original quote came from Apelles, an ancient Greek painter in 4th Century B.C.: "Nulla dies sine linea."

Then Beethoven (1770-1827) said, "No day without a line" in answer to how he accomplished so much work as a composer.

Then along comes van Gogh (1853-1890) who wrote in "Letters to Theo" (an extraordinary, intimate, and uplifting correspondence about the work of one of our greatest painters): "Not a day without a line.  By writing, reading, working and practicing daily, perseverance will lead me to a good end."

That's it! That's what you gotta do, whatever your creative expression is.  Now if I can just apply it to my own daily work I'll finish this manuscript before the end of summer in La Drôme and turn it into a novel!!!

#5 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

goat quote"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body but rather to skid in sideways thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "What a ride!" Today's lesson was difficult! I just couldn't find the energy to pedal up the final hill and had to stop. Looking down on the goats who felt as enthusiastic as I did reminded me of this anonymous quote I use to get going.

I got back on my bike and pedaled hard and when I reached the top of the hill, I loudly proclaimed, "What a ride!"

#4 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

would you like to live here self-portraitIf you want to reach the top of a hill on a bike, you must have a goal in mind.  Upon awaking this morning, I realized that I had no reason to go to la boulangerie to get a baguette as we were having lunch with friends at midday.  Oops.  Now what am I going to do?  I asked myself, lying there in my peaceful bed.  Croissants quickly came to mind.  That's it.  We'll have croissants for breakfast with strawberries.  And being quite interested in the DSK (Dominique Strauss-Kahn) affair, because I really want to see this guy go down, I will also bring home Le Dauphiné to read the latest on the scandal that daily enfolds like a soap opera here and in the USA.  So with two worthwhile goals in mind I took off on my two-wheeler. *When I traveled with my globe-trotter father (known to many of you as James A.) he would often pull over at a glorious location and say to me, "Would you like to live here?"  So this is to you, Dad.

#3 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

La Boulangerie at 7:30 a.m. At 6.45 a.m. I was snuggled in bed reading "Hunters and Gatherers" (great summer read) and I didn't want to take a bike ride. It was sixty degrees outside and that meant it'd be cold on my ride until the sun came over the canyon wall. And then I remembered it was Sunday. On Sunday I reward myself at the boulangerie with pain de chocolat, tarte framboise (rasberry), and croissants along with the baguette.

Spring water

After a slow start, I whizzed down the canyon, as if it was a ski slope, relieved each time I drove through a sun-patch. On my return, the phrase "one step at a time" came to mind though this was one pedal at a time. I found that it helped if I looked down at just what was in front of me, the pebbled road, and shaded my eyes with my cap so as not to look ahead at the steep incline, a vision that filled me with discouraging words.

One Step at a Time

So today's bike lesson was that when you have something that you really want to do, actually love to do, but it's really hard (most things you want to do are hard!) - to reach your ambition you take one step, and then another, stay in the present, and don't look too far ahead.

#2 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

Okay here are the photos I promised from this morning's bike ride. Lavender Fields Forever

En Route

Poppy Fields in Bloom

Unfortunately while I was working on uploading the photos from my iPhone to my iPhoto I had a technical breakdown - my internal keyboard froze, in other words non-communicative. Now I'm up and running again or should I say up and writing again but three hours later!

What I had started to write before my keyboard froze! was that today's bike ride was much improved because I'd gotten the tech part down. No more shifting into first gear to go uphill. And once that was resolved I became more present, less uptight, and could really take pleasure in my extraordinary surroundings.

Today's lesson is two-fold. Tech problems are unpredictable. One just has to take a deep breath and through trial and error fix the problem. Oh and another thing is not to be afraid of asking questions to those who know more than I do. So . . . whenever I have a technical problem with my computer I Google for help. My brother Greg taught me that.

#1 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

Yes, I'm back on my BLOG and want to thank my sixteen loyal followers for not deserting me.  I'm really gonna get the hang of blogging this time around.  That is when I'm not working on the first draft of my new manuscript, a contemporary novel entitled MELISSA. For my blog content, besides continuing my articles on self-publishing and the writing life, I'm going to write about my life in La Drôme and am starting with the lesson I learned pedaling my bike today. I have promised myself to ride a bicycle on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sunday mornings and BLOG on the same days.  It takes around 10 minutes to pedal on a one-lane road to the boulangerie, 2 minutes to buy the local newspaper, Le Dauphiné, and a still-warm-from-the-oven baguette, then 30 minutes to return home.  Why the difference?  Because I live in a canyon and it is downhill going and uphill coming back.

This morning as I was pedaling up one of the many steep hills, I found it almost impossible to continue and I consider myself in good shape - elliptical three times a week in my Manhattan gym plus up and down subway stairs daily.  I remembered my daughter Amie, who is a physical trainer, telling me that I must "Push!" myself.  So I did.  I stood up off my bike seat and pushed as hard as I could.  But I hardly moved.  And then 'I got it!'.  I had accidentally down shifted into first gear.  Once I realized my error and shifted into fifth, I moved forward.  It takes a while to get the hang of riding a bike again.

My ride today reminded me so much of my writing life that I thought I'd share it with you:  It's thrilling to go downhill with the wind in your face and not a care, but it takes great effort to climb back up the hill later.  There are days when words come easy and it's lots of fun but there are those uphill days when no words show up on the blank page.  I just have to stay with it, knowing that if I practice writing everyday I'll push myself through those uphill days and finish my new manuscript by the end of the summer.

I'd like to share also that while I'm riding my bike past fields of just-harvested hay and fields of brilliant orange poppies and purple lavender (I'll take a picture on Thursday so you can see too) I am writing a thousand explosive words in my head.  That is the impetus to hurry home and write them down before I forget!

That's it for now as Melissa's story is waiting to enfold and I have to write a chapter before I can give myself permission to take an early evening walk.

How I Came to Write "Katherine Mansfield"

Summer of 2007: Penguin-Deckchair-The-Garden-Party-by-Katherine-MansfieldThe genesis of In Pursuit . . . began in a used bookstore in a small village in southern France. I was looking for a book to read on my return flight to New York. There was one on a high dusty shelf crammed with English books. I read through the spine titles and author names. My discerning eye stopped on "The Garden Party and Other Short Stories" squeezed amongst the classics.

Katherine Mansfield? Why do I know that name? Oh yes, in Virginia Woolf’s journal she remarked that Katherine was the only writer she was ever jealous of. Why not find out why, I thought, and reached up and pulled down the thin tattered book that was just the right size for my purse. That brief moment led to my three and a half year odyssey in pursuit of Katherine Mansfield’s story.

Riveted to my airplane seat, I read her stories and discovered why Virginia Woolf was so jealous. What struggling young writer, like Virginia, wouldn’t be jealous of a contemporary writer who could put so much compassion, empathy and meaning into so few words?

But it wasn’t just Katherine’s stories that kept me riveted to my seat even as the jet landed at JFK Airport, it was reading the brief description of her life written by her husband, John Middleton Murry. I knew right then that I wanted to recreate her story.

I had reached a difficult crossroad in my own writing. I had spent that summer working on an autobiographical novel that I wasn’t at all satisfied with. I had every intention of continuing with it when I could find the time, but as Virginia Woolf said, ‘life interrupts.’ And in this case it wasn’t my life but Katherine’s that interrupted. She could not be ignored.

I had to write her story – the story of a woman who managed to cut out a brilliant and creative life for herself with everything working against her; the story of an individual’s powerful determination to surmount the limitations forced upon her by illness. I wanted to tell her story so that others might be as inspired by it as I was.

Winter 2008:

duckdogI went to my annual one-week writer’s retreat on North Carolina’s OuterBank with a weighted-down suitcase containing books by or about Katherine Mansfield. By then I had read several of her biographies, more of her short stories, the fascinating chapter in Hermione Lee’s biography of Virginia Woolf about the relationship between Virginia and Katherine, and the equally fascinating book by her caregiver, "The Memories of L.M."

Under the hot shower or before rising in the morning I was creating scenes with Katherine and Virginia, Katherine and LM, Katherine and Jack, Katherine alone.

I was anxious to write it all down.

In the isolated beach house surrounded by the tapping keyboards of four other writers deter- mined to get much work done in one week, I faced the blank page on my laptop’s monitor screen. I sat ever so still. Then I too started to tap my fingers across the keys and Katherine and Ida Baker and Jack came into my interior vision.

By the end of the week I had an opening chapter that catapulted Katherine’s story into the 21st century. Tuberculosis became lung cancer. The Bloomsbury Group became the New York literary scene. Menton was transferred to Miami. The Alps to Teyssières.

But surprisingly it was Ida’s voice that spoke, not Katherine’s. It was the voice of the caregiver, not the one being cared for. I wrote the first draft, but neither Katherine nor Ida nor Jack were comfortable in the 21st century, and nor was I.

In the second draft I moved them back into the early 20th century where I thought they belonged. I worked on this draft when I could find the time, knowing that the bulk of the work would take place the next summer in France.

I’m a freelance editor in New York City. It pays for my writing habit. In the summers my husband and I retreat to a farmhouse in southern France to plant and harvest our creative work. We bring our harvest back to the States to sell in the marketplace.

Summer 2008:

TeyssieresIn Teyssières, I settled down in my writing room and read the second draft. I wanted to love it but the writing was forced and worse it wasn’t the story I had envisioned tell- ing. The voice was wrong. The point of view was wrong. Katherine had to tell this story, no one else could do it justice. The story wasn’t about what Ida did for Katherine, as important as that was; it was about what Katherine did for Ida. So what does a writer do when the story doesn’t work? Reams of printed pages went in the recycle bin. The only files I kept were the massive research notes I had written that included an old soapbox packed with 5 x 7 index cards.

I started a third draft, this time from Katherine’s point of view.

p1010851And that summer I visited Menton, Bandol and Fontainebleau to see Katherine’s writing haunts with my own eyes and continue my research.

My daughter Amie came with me to Bandol. We stayed at a hotel literally overhanging the Mediterranean Sea and only a short walk from Villa Pauline – so close that before I went to sleep that night Katherine’s spirit slipped under my skin and has been with me ever since.

hatsamieandmeIn the car, Amie read aloud the letters written back and forth between Jack and Katherine when they were separated, and when Katherine was very ill, scared and alone. We cried together over some of the passages and I had to pull over and take a deep breath to avoid driving off a cliff. We went hat shopping in Cassis to escape from Katherine’s grip on us.

By autumn I had planted the seeds of Katherine’s story but I knew it would take much more work before the harvest.

Summer 2009:

I started to see the end of my quest as I approached the last pages of the manuscript.

genetperfumeSome days I was exhausted but I had a time limit and I’d have to return to New York shortly where I wouldn’t have the time to write, particularly under such suitably quiet and isolated conditions, surrounded by nature and the blossoming yellow flowers whose essence, Genêt Fleuri, was Katherine’s favorite perfume, an essence that Virginia Woolf found too earthy. I had to finish soon.

And, like Virginia, I also had Katherine’s formidable presence to deal with. She would not leave me alone – no, really. She wanted me to finish "In Pursuit . . ." so she could sink into its pages or better still rise from them.

hammockWhen I took breaks and rested in a hammock under a 100-year-old walnut tree, Katherine would come to me as a monarch butterfly and sit on my shoulder.

Flapping her wings against my ear, she would whisper, ‘What are you doing? There’s work to be done. How much longer must I wait to be brought back to life?’

Winter 2010:

I revised the last chapter of my manuscript at the writers’ retreat at Outer Banks and read it to a very supportive and enthusiastic writing group. They too had become fascinated by Katherine’s life and were often coming to me with quotes and pictures they’d found on the Internet, and they read her stories for the first time.

That evening after I read the final chapter, we went to see Avatar at a local movie theatre. I felt like an Avatar myself that evening and could hardly keep still in my seat as I cheered them on to victory in a battle against the dark and evil forces. (If you haven’t already guessed I’m an avid cheerleader for the underdog.)

manuscriptI returned to New York filled with anticipation and expectations. I printed my 330-page manuscript and held it in my hands for the first time.

I then wrote the perfect query letter and, after researching the most appropriate ones, sent it out to fifteen agents. All fifteen rejected me. The gatekeepers on guard at the pearly publishing houses told me it was impossible for an unpublished writer to get published in this recession-driven marketplace.

Summer 2010:

My husband and my editor never gave up on Katherine’s story and kept encouraging me to self-publish. I hesitated and then, because they’re smart guys, I took their advice and sacri- ficed a summer of reading and writing and reflecting (my favourite occupations) to get down to the business of self-publishing because Katherine wouldn’t rest in my desk drawer. In- stead, after choosing Createspace/Amazon for my printer/distributor, I spent the summer assembling a book. The details were endless and the full weight of what I had set myself up to do – produce a book from cover to cover – was overwhelming.

northampton clamp scapeA cover! What would I use for the cover? In a despairing moment, a brown paper bag came to mind. Then I remembered a folder of my son Sam’s artwork in my photo library. There I found the perfect painting for the cover of "In Pursuit . . ."

As the summer weeks turned into months I copyedited my own manuscript and then proofread it. I thought of Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth press and how all their work had been self- published. The image of Virginia bending over the ink-stained printing press to hand set Katherine’s sixty-eight-page ‘Prelude’ made what I was doing seem less arduous. I finally came home with my harvest – a completed book ready to enter the marketplace.

Was it all worthwhile? Yes! Absolutely!

"Katherine Mansfield" reviews are arriving!

Ah . . . I can feel those beating wings of happiness against my blushing cheek, whispering, "happy new year." In brief:

The term they use in the television world is ‘edutainment’, a blurring of the lines between an entertaining tale and informative education.

And this is what Joanna Fitzpatrick has done with "In Pursuit. . ." an absorbing account of Katherine Mansfield’s extraordinary life, from the moment she left New Zealand aged 18, through to her early death at 34.

Particularly captivating are the conversations with the Bloomsbury crowd, especially the intimate discussions between Virginia Woolf and Mansfield. For those accustomed to reading Woolf, it can be difficult to imagine that she speaks or thinks in anything other than flow of consciousness.

Whilst the conversation is never that of hair braiding and boy crushes, tender words expressed between the two women over a cup of chamomile tea adds a personal dimension so often missed in the image of this author’s persona.

Disputes between Lawrence and Mansfield, dinners with HG Wells and correspondence across the literary scene sweep out the pedestal from under these authors, illustrating their very human essence, whilst never removing the reverence that their literature deserves.

--Francesca Baker - Read full review at For Books’ Sake

“In Pursuit . . .” is not only a captivating but a thought-provoking read.

A beautifully crafted novel that will move and inspire you. The beauty of this book is that FitzPatrick presents Katherine Mansfield, not like an enigma, but a very real person. Through the book we get to know this talented and brave young woman. Despite everything, her determination to fight her situation is really awe-inspiring. “In Pursuit . . .” is a poignant description of the brief life of a very talented woman.

--Misha, Top Amazon Reviewer

Read full review at Books-Love-Affair

Okay, Katherine Mansfield, what do I do now?

What do I do now? I ask myself and Katherine. Yet I think I know what she would say. Move on. Yes, face the truth - face the blank page. Risk it all! Start your next book But what about "In Pursuit . . ."? Leave it. Let it have a life of its own. Okay, I say again. Good plan. So tonight I will go hear my dear friends Fred Hersch, piano, Janis Siegel, vocals. Two people dear to my heart and who have shared part of my life. There is nothing like live music to make one feel very alive and grateful for it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all particularly those who are alone. As Katherine Mansfield would say "this letter is my arms wrapping around you."

The Katherine Mansfield Story has gone to print!!!

I'm treating you as a friend asking you to share my present minuses in the hope that I can ask you to share my future pluses. —Katherine Mansfield

Today I got exciting news from CreateSpace: “In Pursuit . . . The Katherine Mansfield Story Retold” has been ordered and will be shipped to you within five days. What that means is that I am about to actually, after all these arduous mounts, going to touch finished product. Not the stack of manuscript sheets proudly displayed on my bookshelf or the PDF file but the book itself will be in my hands and I can open the cover and look between the sheets. That’s cool.

Next I will have to approve it. And that will happen very quickly as my primary concern is the cover. I have only seen the jacket on a monitor screen and I can only hope it looks as good. Then I have to email my “design team” and somehow shout “Print it!”

Meanwhile what have I been doing and what will I be doing? Internet Marketing 101 – what else! Long tedious hours pursuing ways to make “In Pursuit . . .“ available to the public thorugh my website. Ah yes, speaking of websites, mine is still in constuction. It has taken way longer than I could ever have imagined. And the writer? What has she been doing? Not a word. And there won’t be a word put to the blank page until I go on my retreat in January. Until then I will continue to market “In Pursuit . . .“ in a responsible manner. I owe it to Katherine Mansfield’s memory and to myself for she would haunt me to the end of my days if I left her hanging.

So though I can’t develop a character, or write dialog, or place a scene, I can still blog. It’s not exactly the same as putting down words on a blank page but it’s better than no writing.

So with that thought I am going to make myself a vodka gimlet. Then I am going lift my glass to all you writers who know the pain of not writing. You who know that feeling when someone asks “what do you do?” and your immediate response is “I’m a writer” and then you immediately ask yourself if that is entirely true seeing you haven’t put ink to paper or fingers to keys in months!

Wait that is not entirely true. Today I spent condensing my 333-page biographical novel into a 500-word plot summary. Not easy. In the next few days I will put the plot summary up on my site so you can see how I did manage to compress “In Pursuit . . .” from 110,000 words to 500.

Katherine Mansfield was a mistress at condensing her stories. And if you don’t know that I suggest you read one of her short story collections. There is a reason for Virginia’s Woolf’s jealousy toward Katherine’s work. And if I was tech-smart I would code a highlight here that would immediately link you to Amazon and Katherine Mansfield’s book collections. I still have to work on that. But I will in the future recommend several of Mansfield’s short stories.

Now before I go here is the shock of it all at least for me. This is the second time I have written this blog tonight. It took a lot of courage for me to start writing a blog again. After the last blog crashed, I was blog-shy. So tonight I started. And guess what happened to my first copy? It disappeared, swallowed up into internet infinity. This second time I have backed-it up so that it won’t happen again. But let me tell you I was ready to pack it in. Instead I slammed my door and sat back down again and here are the results. I liked the first version but at least I did it and I will be back.

Katherine Mansfield is available in fine bookstores!

"Oh, to be a writer, a real writer given up to it and to it alone!” - Katherine Mansfield

How often these past few months have I moaned over that Katherine Mansfield quote while occupied with publishing my book. And now here comes another deterrent from being a writer again – Marketing 102;"Build it and they will come." But with 21st century book releases it's more about Link-it and they might come.

So I have built my web page and linked it to virtually millions. I have also linked to Wikipedia, Goodreads, and Amazon. And before Katherine's 122 birthday candles blow out tonight I must tweet the book release announcement to Tweeter and face it on Facebook and send out countless emails.

If Katherine's extraordinary life hadn't been so brief, perhaps it would not have haunted me as much as it has, and been a driving force behind my publication efforts.

Even in the summer seasons during the past three years when I was researching and writing "In Pursuit . . ." she didn't leave me alone. I would be reclining in my hammock under an ancient walnut tree in the south of France and her spirit would land in the form of a stunning black and gold butterfly on my shoulder and flutter her wings to say, "What are you doing out here? You promised to write my story and you can't do it lying in a hammock.

And now the book cover has been chosen. The readable font decided upon. And I am just waiting to approve the final proof before it goes to print.

So I must get the word out on "In Pursuit . . . " in the hopes that Katherine will live again if only in our imaginations.

Self-publishing 101: Nightmare

How about this statistic: one Print-On-Demand in 200 sells over 500 copies and that’s if you’ve done your homework and have thousands of visitors. What is that phrase: Build it and they will come. Hard to believe in that right now. And you can read one thousand how to self-publish books and still not have thousands of visitors. How despressing is that to a writer who just wants to be read, even by just a few. So depressing I had two glasses of rosé instead of one with my Camembert sandwich while reminding myself that I have specific goals here and don’t go crazy over this.

Reminding myself that the reason for this website is to have my book read by more than a few family members.

Reminding myself that I do not want to be a publisher or a web tech.

I just want this book to be read so I can feel good about writing the next one. Reminding myself that I am a writer and my next book is waiting to be written - so as I said earlier get going!