“The Rat Who Didn’t Know He Was King” Available on Amazon

Well, we made it happen- the hardcover is going to take a bit but you can now order King Rat by clicking the link below to re-route to Amazon:

ORDER NOW

I’m pretty excited. My mom wants me to immediately have a signing at their volunteer library (in a town of 500) and I laughed a bit, then realized I better do it! Now I have to hustle, hustle, hustle to make it work and make it a source of some income. I have quite a bit of marketing and ad experience now, but always for other people. When it’s for yourself it’s much more interesting.

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It’s funny, I never considered self-publishing before, but from what everyone else is doing, it’s really the wave of the future. The whole industry has changed so much, with big companies less willing to put any money toward marketing and leaving it up to authors even WHEN they have a book deal. Because it’s expensive, and time-consuming, and they’re all about volume, just like Hollywood. It’s why, of course, all we have are re-runs. I want to do “Roads” the traditional way, if I can, but I imagine I’ll still need to do publicity myself. If it gets that far- which I plan on it doing. Again, a lot of work.

I’ve had some great inspiration from two of my family members who are self-published, successful authors- so thank you Sara C. Roethle and Susan Kalior. You’ve known how to make this work for a long time. Check out Sara’s site for fun YA fantasy and sci-fi, and Susan has some great self-help books.

 

 

“The Rat Who Didn’t Know He Was King” to be featured at the Tucson Festival of Books

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King Rat will be a participant at the Spring 2017 Festival of Books on March 12! I’ll be in the Author’s Pavilion signing and selling copies from 12:15 to 2:15. I’ll add a post here as soon as Amazon has the paperback copies for sale. Working on the hardcover next – and a couple more merch ideas😉

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Big announcement!! I am about to publish a children’s book

This has been in the works for a while- like, 27 years or so? I wrote a little story when we were living out in the desert outside of Bouse, Arizona. Jim’s Place, if you’ve ever read that story. It’s one of the earlier ones on this blog, though I have many stories about the place and the people we met: Roads on her Face #6: Jim’s Place.

My dad loved the fact that I’d written it, because I think he was most taken with the name. “The Rat Who Didn’t Know He Was King.” It was far from the first thing I’d written- I’d started writing as soon as I knew the alphabet. I made magazines, books that I bound myself with a stapler or that I sewed together with scraps of fabric and cardboard. This time, he decided he was going to illustrate it – as he was a great unrealized artist, he believed. He definitely had some talent, but it had never been honed. Raw talent, without the skills. He sketched a couple of illustrations and then gave up. I think he realized it was beyond him, but he just acted like it was stupid and like he’d never wanted to do it in the first place.

We got a magazine that was aimed at preppers or off-the-grid types, I forget what it was. We were the target market.

In the back I’d found a small black and white ad that offered to “Publish your book! Work with the pros!” My little 8-year old self was excited and full of hope. Mom had picked up a typewriter at a yardsale and I painstakingly typed it out, with lots of cross-outs and whiteout and a crappy old ink ribbon that had come with the machine. I dropped it in the mail and waited impatiently, KNOWING that I was going to be selected, going to be famous, going to be a WRITER. In about a week, I got a big fat package in the mail from Dorrance Publishing. It contained my offer- that they were willing to to publish my book! They planned 8 line drawings, black and white, and there were the specs and my name in print. For $4,000 dollars. Welcome to the real world, little girl. Ain’t nothing in this life for free….

Anyway- please like my Facebook page for updates about the book! I plan to have it ready for sales shortly on Amazon- I’m just debating now about hardcover or paperback. I have a wonderful tattoo artist here in Tucson – Ed Slocum – who agreed to come on board as the illustrator, and I just can’t thank him enough-  visit his shop on Facebook and tell him he’s awesome. He’s also on Tumblr, and that’s updated more often.

Click here http://www.facebook.com/theratwhodidntknow

 

 

Creative People

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Ira Glass

Roads on Her Face #45: Momma meets daddy

Here is how I imagine this.

 

Her blonde hair is blowing in the wind, a red bandana snapping like a flag, keeping the little wisps out of her face as she’s driving. The cool mountain air, pine-scented and softened at its edges with the warmth from the sun, fills the car like the joy flowing through her veins at being out on her own, finally. There is no one looking over her shoulder, telling her what to do.

 

But she’s lonely, too. She’s discovered that traveling alone without the companionship of her Papa or her recently broken-hearted ex-husband isn’t quite the same. When she exclaims over a pretty bird, or wants to stop to see “The Thing,” after miles of road signs extolling its virtues, there’s no one to turn to over her shoulder, either. She’s decided at some point, to cheer her up, she’s going to up the adventure ante and pick up the next hitchhiker. A good-looking one, of course. And a man, obviously.

 

Having driven through Alpine many times myself, I see her yellow car slowing to the town’s 25 mph speed limit, all her windows down and some local ranchers gawking. She’d feel at home here, all the green grass and tall trees, but still feel the adventure of the wide open blue skies of the West, the absence of black people, all the brown people she’s never seen outside of her trip to Mexico and the last drive through Texas. She’s probably got a little fear-excitement sitting low in her belly, though the years of road trips with Papa have helped her feel safer in unfamiliar locations. Nothing bad has happened. Nothing bad will happen.

 

Mary passes the café with the chainsaw bear sculpture out front, the candy shop with colored flags in the window. She slows at the one stop sign in front of the gas station, where big diesel trucks are pulled up next to the two pumps, their trailers full of hay for the cattle and their drivers spitting tobacco and chatting, leaned up against their doors. Horses come close to the fence, the fields spreading back behind the station into the verdant little valley. She smiles at them, turns right and is already out of town. Just as she starts to accelerate to propel the Bug up the hill, she sees him up ahead, his pack beside him on the ground. There’s my dad. He sticks out his thumb, casually, looking back at her as if willing her to stop. Her fear-excitement jumps from her belly to her throat, and she thinks ,“This is it. “

 

She slows down, the car putt-putting as she puts it into neutral and pulls up beside him. Her upside-down smile peers out the passenger window.

 

“Need a ride?” For a moment he thinks she’s a guy, her hair pulled back and her no-makeup traveling face on. She has that strong jaw, and her prominent nose is more so without her hair framing her face. When he looks closer, he grins.

 

“What are you doing picking up a man by yourself?” I imagine his wheels turning, Ed – always on the prowl.

 

He’d throw his pack in the back, slam the door, and off they drove into my future.

Roads On Her Face #44: People

I imagine it’s like being raised in a commune. Your little network of interactions is so specific and well-known. The outcomes of disagreements are easily predicted; no matter what happens you will stay friends or family, because you have to when your network is only six people deep.

Stepping out into the world of other new and strange people is a different ball game. Relationships are begun, destroyed, fall apart as easily as speaking your mind too bluntly. My second real job was in Glenwood, washing dishes in the institute of a cafe known as the Blue Front (now, sadly closed as many businesses in Glenwood have). I think I was too young to legally work, but the owners’ kids worked there too and besides, nobody cared.  Everyone in town worked here or had worked here in the past. There aren’t a lot of options in a town of 500. Being in the back at first was good for me, since I was shy around people and would often freeze when faced with a question. I talked plenty once you got to know me, though. I had and have a lot of opinions, kinda known for that. I might tell you even if you don’t ask, now, though that’s something I’m trying to work on. I’ve discovered people often don’t want to hear what you think, even if they do ask.

The Blue Front started the granting of my freedom, by providing me with a little bit of money and a small group of mostly ladies that at least pretended to listen to me and maybe felt sorry for me. I credit them with the first lessons in relating to “normal” people who hadn’t lived in cars and buses their entire lives before this town.

I began to learn how to be in one place, what it meant to not always walk away from an issue or something I disliked. I’d never had to learn that before. Before, I’d known that it wouldn’t be long and the problem would be a distant memory.