These days you can publish a book anywhere... even in your own home! Read on, in this blog series Publish A Book in 21 Days--and see if I can do it myself! (Photo taken in the village of Tarradeau, at a goat cheese farm)
la maison d'édition (may-zon-day-dee-syon)
: publishing house
No help with a fancy house publisher for my next book.... But that doesn't mean we are all not having a blast editing it together! I can't thank you enough for your help, all who are reading now, in looking over today's story selections and letting me know if there are any needed changes! Meantime, why not forward today's post to someone who loves to write? Or who is interested in the book-publishing process?
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
The behind-the-scenes stories that are taking place as I rush, to speed-publish, would make a lively novella—or memoirella—of their own.
There are the nightly calls to Mexico, for one, in which I spend a lot of time keeping an enthusiastic Book Director in line.
"I think you should keep the SONGE story," Mom votes. "The writing may be awkward, but is a record of your growth as an écrivaine—is that the word, Honey?—anyway...the story marks the moment when you began to pay attention to the rhythm of words! Oh, by the way, did you see Nancy's website? You've got to watch the video!" and with that Mom is off on other tangent, talking about all of the people she has encountered in the comments boxes, those readers-editors who are helping with the speed publishing project (psst, dear Reader, I'm talking to you. Are you helping, too? I hope so!).
"Mom, keep to the subject. There's no time for this! We need to talk about the book's title. And there's the back cover to think about... and what about book blurbs? We need to ask readers for those!" I try to channel my Book Director's energy. God knows there is plenty of it!
"Now I've been thinking about that...." Mom says, calmly, and I notice how she has downshifted her gears, lest I suspect for one moment that she can't center herself... in time to center me!
"I have your book Wish, Prune, Pray here, and I've been looking at it... What a cover! By the way, you have got to republish that book! The intro takes my breath away! Here let me read it to you..."
When my French husband shared with me an announcement for a vineyard in the Rhone Valley, a fluttering in his voice told me that this time would be different...
From behind the computer screen, where I fed my own passion—writing—I listened to a renewed enthusiasm coming from Jean-Marc. As he stood before the window of my office, I noticed a change coming over him. Where once darkeness gathered beneath his brows—the shadows of an unfulfilled dream—light now shined, this, from behind the window to his inner farmer's soul...
"Mom! We don't have time for this!" I barked, interrupting her reading. There are only 16 days left! Now let's keep focused! Besides, we've already done an intro for this book, it's the ESPOIR story—remember? Moving on now to chapter order: I'll need to bring in all of the characters in the first five chapters. We've met Jean-Marc and the kids in the opening stories. I now need an anecdote about my mother-in-law... and a story about you, bien sûr!"
"OK," Mom answers, and I can actually hear her bed sheets ruffle as she straightens up, determined to do her best to keep her energy focused this time.
"Honey, she says, sliding again... "that Bruce—he sure knows his stuff! So glad we have HIM on board."
"I know. Did you see his website?"
"He has a website?" And with that, Mom has managed to pull us off topic once again, until we are talking about all of the interesting people we meet in the comments area, and wouldn't it be cool to publish the comments box?
"Mom," I say, "you are high and I am obsessed!" Neither of us gets our feelings hurt as I call our behavior for what it is ... just a little bit manic...; instead, we break out in laughter and shake off this latest burst of creation-frenzy.
Apart from the creative lapses, Mom is proving to be a savvy and efficient assistant. "You'll need to work on more than two stories per post if you want to have enough chapters to fill this book!" With that, she's given us all extra work (from now on there will be three stories per post to edit!).
"And, personally, I still don't think that's enough," Mom puffs, driving in her point.
The other day she sent a list of twenty stories for inclusion into this project. I was humbled to realize that she had taken hours and hours to scour the archives (this she downplayed: "But all of your faithful readers are doing the same. Don't you realize that?); she was busy looking for stories that fit into the 5-point criteria I had drawn up, on Day One of Le Défi.
More than book director, Mom has been Doting Nurse and Spiritual Advisor—for if I threw myself into this whirlwind project, part of that was to take my mind off other worries. Bref, between chapter-editing and book design, I've spent a fair amount of time staring into the mirror, obsessing about the healing process. Each time I do, an old English idiom pops into my mind: "A watched pot never boils."
I think I much prefer a different, French, expression: Le temps guérit toutes les blessures....
Bon, we all have a lot of work to do now—so no more side-trekking. Here are three (are you reading, Mom?), yes three stories that need your attention. Would you kindly volunteer to read one (or more) of them, and to point out any typos in the corresponding comments boxes. Mille mercis!
EPUISER: Mom teaches us to sweep, during a lesson in "lightening up"
TRAINEAU: Our golden retriever "The Drag Queen"
NOYAU: My mother-in-law finds a job for her lonely neighbor
Coming next, THE BOOK COVER! Here's a preview. What do you think? I used a photo, taken in Grignan (when my aunt and uncle came to visit) -- and played around in Google's Picasa, until I found the typography I liked (does the lettering look amateur? Any suggestions? I think I need to color in my name with a different hue....)
Please share your thoughts about the stories, the project, the book cover or title, today's post, my mom, or anything that strikes your fancy, here, in the comments box.
I know: my name is a little large... you can blame the Book Director (my proud mom) for this detail! P.S. notice the subtitle, which I hope speaks about the life lessons that are learned... in the process of learning French....
This picture speaks volumes. In my usual author event cluelessness, I have thrown a bedcover over the table and scrambled to find as many books as I could, from my personal stock. The results were dismal, and I wanted to hide under the bedcover (literally...) as all of the professional authors set up their stands with lovely lace table cloths and books-à-gogo... Mom, do you have any comments to add, regarding this image? (Photo taken 2 or 3 years ago.)
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety