Sweet Melissa

Sweet Melissa has a new cover…and it’s #FREE for five days on Amazon Go here:. https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Melissa-Traveling-Girls-Book-ebook/dp/B00KMXE484

Melissa is the character whose teenage journey most resembles my own. (That photo is vintage me btw) In fact, it’s memoir wrapped in magic. The magic parts didn’t happen but I for sure felt the heavenly presence of my grandma angel when I sat late at night on those church steps. Far from home, knowing nobody, no money, no place to sleep, nasty boys wanting to do bad things to me.

How I got through it, and how Melissa did, too, is part of that story. I hitchhiked my way across the USA same as Melissa and other parts of the journey, including the junkie mom with a car she made me drive across several state lines, is true. Hope that baby of hers turned out okay.

Anyway, I have a few books on Amazon KDP, indie titles, and I don’t pay too much attention to them. I made them indies because I wanted to be able to give them away free as part of the KDP exclusive program. So I’m going to get better about doing that. And about a thousand other things. For some reason the steroids are really ratcheting up the marketing ideas! Just donated a set of up print books to the local library and introduced myself there yesterday. What will tomorrow bring?

New From Then

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Above is the header I’ve been trying to incorporate into the website for a week. Thursday someone will be helping me make that happen for real. Just a little preview before unveiling the new. She’s helping  me do a few other things, too. Also, I already forgot (again) how to wrap text and time is short today so just pretend I prefer this image this way. Eventually everything will work itself out. I’m confident. You need lots of that to be a writer.

I just finished a novella. The first scenes rely heavily on a short story I wrote many years ago about a trip I took many years before that. When I took the chapter to my critique group, I relied on them to let me know when anachronisms slipped in. Really, the entire trip was an anachronism, like saying “What a trip,” and not talking about vacation.

But I worked with what I had and then I asked a young friend to read and be ruthless. She worked her magic and finally I think I have a story from 1973 than works in 2014. That’s how it always works, at least for me. Writing relies on memory. Why else write but to capture those magic times when the world seemed new and full of possibilities?

Or at least that reason to write should be in the shopping cart along with love, sex, revenge, and death.

As I prepare to send my Sweet Melissa into the world, I’ll find out if I have succeeded in making over yesterday into something new. And it should arrive at just about the time the new header comes, too.

Valentine to 11 Years

This month marks 11 years here at A Writer’s Diary. In my life, I’ve achieved so much more than I ever thought possible. I was a high school drop-out who became a college teacher and the published author of five books. How’d that happen?

As a young woman, I didn’t have aspirations above getting married to a guy I loved, having kids, and being a homemaker. It was a weird dream for a freak, which is what people called kids like me back then, in post-hippie days. It wasn’t a put-down. We proudly flew our freak flags.

So I should have been joining a commune or something. Instead, I hitch-hiked all over the country my junior year and then begged to be let back in school for my senior year. I didn’t think they’d let me skip a grade, but I guess they wanted to get rid of me:) I graduated with my class.

I married my true love the same month: June ’73. A year later, we were divorced and I was licking my wounds in Key West, a 19 year-old divorcee on the run. Key West was different then. It was, put simply, paradise. But I was heart-sick over some stupid rebound guy, and didn’t ever fully appreciate its wonders. Mallory Square was just people holding beer bottles heading down to an empty area where we watched the sunset. No stores, no performers, nothing to distract us from that natural beauty.

Then the bad ex-boyfriend begged me to come back to Detroit, and like an idiot, I did. I’m still here, but he got the boot a long time ago. I promptly moved in with a musician boyfriend ten years older than me. When I saw his sister’s new baby, I was struck with unexplained baby lust. I wanted one. Really, really bad.

The muso said no, as he should have, and after I left him for the next husband, took off for California with another girl. I got married this time with all the special things my first group marriage by mayor didn’t have. And in the 7 years we were married, by the time I was 25, I had 2 sons, who remain the best things I ever did in this life. They grew into amazing men.

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My divorce from their father, when I was 28, made me reassess my life. I had almost no college, except for a creative writing class I took. Because I was always a writer. I had my diary, I wrote journalism in junior high, graduated to poetry for the next ten years, and when I was pregnant with my first son, wrote my first novel.

This was all stuff that happened in the most natural way. I am a reader. I have always been a reader. But what slowly dawned on me was the fact that I was a writer, too. And I reasoned that teaching was a good job for a single mom writer for three big reasons: June, July, and August. Also, I was off school when my kids were. Perfect!

Ha. Teaching the kind of alternative kids that I had been was the hardest thing I have ever done. I applied to grad school and did that at night while teaching stoners with small attention spans during the day. Then I applied to teach at college. Then university. Then started taking chunks of time off to write.

I wasn’t a single mom for long. Marriage #3 has lasted 28 years this month. My sons were 5 and 7 when I married Al. They don’t remember me being married to their dad. They don’t remember I spent 5 years as a SAHM before the bug to move on bit me again. It was more than a bug, it was a troubled marriage. Almost 30 years later, I’m exploring divorce and child custody (as well as addiction) in the novel I’m writing.

So, how did this dream life come to me? Well, sure I did the footwork. But it’s been a pleasure. When you do what you love, life has a way of working out.