Sadness Behind the Smile


I’m at my daughter’s beautiful middle school library. This corner overlooks the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods where I go “forest bathing”, a.k.a. shinrin-yoku, with Lucy. (Check out this cool article about the Japanese health tradition.) 


Like many of you, I’m grieving over the suicide of Ulla, which I wrote about last week. I think about her often. I even talk to her in the car when I’m alone – it’s a bit crazy, I know, but hell, maybe she’s listening…whilst rolling her eyes. 

I found out that her beloved dog Solo has been in a friend’s temporary care. A permanent home is being sought. You can visit Ulla’s final blog post for more information in the comments section:




My Memoir Manuscript Update

My Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder ms is due to the publisher in 15 days. I know it’s only the beginning of a long editorial process, but I feel like I’m running mile 25 of a 26.2 marathon and I’m so close, yet so far away from the finish line.

I’ve been writing this memoir, on and off, since 2007, so it has felt like forever, and that’s a mighty long time. 

Speaking of Prince, you know I’ll be buying this memoir when it’s published even if it may seem a bit opportunistic in terms of its timing since Prince’s death is still recent.

I keep track of upcoming memoirs by searching on Amazon and through subscribing to the excellent blog Memoir Notes by author Lynette Davis. Like Lynette, I love reading good memoirs – I always have.

Anyway, I’m getting excited to move forward in publishing process, but I remain nervous as hell. I was instructed by Post Hill Press a few weeks ago to complete a metadata form. Have you heard of those? I was clueless, so I’ve been taking a crash course in what I call metadata madness.

My particular metadata form requires all kinds of info. such as:

a short book description, back cover text, a one sentence description of my book, search phrase lists, BISAC categories, marketing plan ideas, cover ideas, social media platform details, endorsements and blurbs, comparative titles, and my nemesis: the plot synopsis… I’m dizzy just from reading that!!!

Some of these items are parts of a standard book proposal, but my proposal didn’t include all of them. I wasn’t asked to submit this info. until now. There’s more to the form, but you get the idea…meanwhile, I might dress up as a metadata form for Halloween. Here it is in all its glory:


Happy Halloween – let me give you a headache instead of candy!

I’m still not caught up with some of your blogs, but I promise to catch up soon because I’m missing out, you know? 😉

I’ll be back next Friday with the latest excitement in this neck of the banana slug-filled redwoods. (My alma mater’s mascot is the banana slug. No offense to banana slug aficionados, but I’d prefer the mountain lion, another local legend, or a dolphin!)

imagesAt least this slug reads…

I wish you a good weekend!

love to you all,



p.s. Lose It! – We’re Losers and We Like It! Update

Bradley, blogger extraordinaire (Insights of A Bipolar Bear) and I continue to encourage one another regarding our weight loss quest/exercising/healthy eating on Lose It!’s website. We’re struggling these days, but we’re not giving up, ya hear that Bradley? If you’d like to join us you can sign up for free at Search for the “Wondrous Writers group” & say hello.


Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October, 2017.


23 thoughts on “Sadness Behind the Smile

  1. I’ve been thinking of you, Dyane. Glad to see your post, and your pic.🌞 🌙 ⭐️ 🌟 💫 ✨

    Happy Weekend to you, keep on plugging with that publication. ❤️ 💛 💙 💜

    • Thanks sweet Van 🚐- I’ve been plugging away on the draft. Craig is doing some last-minute editing (which is far more than what I did when he worked on his book – I only looked at the first chapter, but it was about aviation history ✈️ um, I just couldn’t get through it without getting sleepy! He didn’t hold it against me, thank God, especially because I was super-depressed back then. 😱)

      Anyway, I hope you had a good weekend and that you have a relaxing & happy night!!

      Much love,
      Lady Emoji

  2. That beanbag chair looks exactly like the one I had in college! I can only hope that one is half as comfy as mine was…if so zzzz……..

    • I had the same exact bean bag (same color too!) as a teenager. I let my hamster crawl all over it, LOL!!!!!!!

      The bean bag at the library was super-comfy…catching some zzzzzzz’s on it sounds good right about now. 😉 Thanks for stopping by, my friend. I always love getting your take on things.

  3. I’m proud of you and excited regarding just two weeks to get your manuscript to your publisher. I know it will be awhile, but I’ll be first in line when it comes out.

    Have a great weekend, my dear Lose it! buddy.

  4. Oh my sweet fair lady, you shame me to lose some more now; just look at how you wow! And with your attire and flops 🙂
    As for the sadness and anxiety cum nervousness behind some smiles, those moments do plague lots of us every now ans then… That’s why we and I especially are here for… To mutually cheer, poke and proud each other along; alors ma Cherie… Whoop whoop whoop to the starting line over at PH

    • Sending you my ❤️ across the miles – I never, ever want to shame you!!!!! 👀
      I only wish to inspire you the way you inspire me! 👍

      Your one and only….
      Lady Dy

      p.s. I might ask you to light a candle for me on October 1st – what do you say?

      p.p.s. Lucy sends you her love! 🐕

      • Lady, oh my let me spill it before the post I had planned. Actually on that October 1st I will be leaving Abidjan in the Ivory Coast to return home, so it might not be feasible to light and carry one on air right dear? So let’s make it the 2nd which I guess at my time will still technically be the 1st for you hahaha:)
        Thank Lucy for me and tell her I owe her one… all willing, I’ll visit next year and who knows if I may hitchhike all the to hug her for real…
        As for my weight, I really wanna lose some on dem tighs and a little flap on the belly “yes which I alone seem to notice” which nerves me you know 🙂

  5. I love the image of you speaking to Ulla, and of her then rolling her eyes. Humor in your grief lightens the load. Best of luck in completing the last leg of your memoir writing marathon. Thanks for sharing metadata form. Learned something new.

    • Thanks, dear Kitt. I’m glad you appreciate the humor – the whole awful thing seems surreal, somehow; even more so since I didn’t ever meet her. Sigh……

      On a much, much brighter, note, I love you always, my wise kindred spirit.

      Doesn’t metadata sound like something out of a “Star Wars” film or a computer game that M. would play?

      Hope you have a great weekend – I wouldn’t mind seeing more stunning rose &/or other types of flower images on your Instagram, subtle hint.


      • That would be a great idea, but would require me getting out of bed. Still nauseated when I stand up, and even now as I lie propped up in bed. (Had to look up lay vs. lie to make sure I was using the proper verb. I was. Yay for me.)

  6. Hey Dy. Keep up the great work. Sorry I’m late. Things haven’t been going well. Hugs. XOXO

    • I was *just* thinking of you today, Jess, before I saw your message!!!!
      (You must be on the psychic side! 😉

      I miss your blog, and most importantly, I’m so sorry things have been hard.
      I hope that they get better ASAP!!!!!
      Thanks a million for taking time to write, especially when life sucks – you know I understand that all too well.
      Love 💜 & big hugs to you, beautiful one….

  7. I’ve been thinking of you, too–loss of a loved one, especially one who understands, is sooooooo damn hard. I’m glad you talk to her. Why shouldn’t you? I still talk to my dad sometimes, too. It helps me hear his laugh again.
    15 days! You can DO this, Dyane, I believe in you! How faaaaaaaaaaaantastic that what you started in 2007 comes to this!
    Gosh, that metadata stuff freaked me out, too. If I don’t get my second group of students, I want to work more on a Middle Grade fiction book proposal I started in summer. It didn’t sound like a bad idea back then…and then I saw ALL the technical stuff that’s supposed to be included. Huh? Wha? Yeah, I got scared off. But if you can do it, I can do it, too!
    Walk the woods, hug your family, and keep Lucy at hand while you work. You’re going to make it, O, Coffee Queen! 😉 xxxxx

    • Your comment really helped me, Lady J. Seriously. The last 24 hours have been extra-weird, and reading your encouraging words got me out of my head and even wiped away some funk. Thank you, thank you! 😘

      I’m wondering about your 2nd group of students – hasn’t it been 8 days? It sure seems like it, but it probably has been more like 3 days, LOL! You’ll let me know the verdict, yes?

      I hope the answer is what YOU want! My fingers are being crossed right….about….nNnOwwwww. It’s hard to type with crosssed fingers – I could try my dictation option, I guess, but nah….👌 (there was no crossed fingers emoji, drat! What are those emoji people doing anyway, those lazy *^&(^*^&))

      As far as the Middle Grade fiction book proposal goes; the most important thing is that you started it. I’m super-proud of you!!!! And it won’t take you 9 years to finish it, I promise!You could do the technical stuff in your sleep or while piloting a 747 or while swimming the English Channel. Of course you can do it!
      And you can and will do it EXTREMELY WELL!!!!

      Last night I was browsing an indie. publisher’s book listings, and out of nowhere, this thought popped into my mind: “Jean’s writing deserves to be pubished more than 99% of what I see here.” Remember that!

      I will keep walking in the redwoods. My Friday blog post will explain a couple cool things I found out about why the woods help me so much, and I’ll hug the family. Lucy is in her special place next to my foot this very moment.

      On a final note (related to java – what else?) recently I discovered high-caffeine coffe. The health food store’s coffee beans section has several kinds, and this week as a special treat I bought two of them. One is organic and from North Coast Coffee Roasting Co. called Wicked Wake-Up. Gotta love that title…The other type is from a local roaster and called Rocket Fuel. I don’t mix the two beans, ha ha! That would be truly scary. I can only have 1-2 cups, or else the buzz becomes too much of a jittery feeling.

      I wish I could give you a Wicked cup right now!
      Here’s a virtual one:


      I’m sending you lots of love and hugs, and thanks again for being a true friend/kindred spirit of the highest degree. The offer stands for you to come visit anytime, and I don’t put that offer out to just anyone. If you want to call it a “writing retreat” that works for me!


      The One & Only (Extra) Caffeine Queen 👑

      • Oh, yes! I hesitated to mention yesterday because my school can STILL open classes on the first day, but it’s official: I only have the one group of students, thank goodness! Now I can continue with the balance I already had…sort of. I have to do school-mom stuff this weekend and help host this family fun night first. Blech. I’m none too keen to socialize, but my daughter’s too excited not to go. 😛
        I think I’ve seen Rocket Fuel before! Where was that…maybe at the co-op. I’ll give it a go! 🙂
        Those funky days have a nasty habit of fighting dirty, I’ve learned. Yesterday was like that for me; Bash raged for hours yesterday, kicking and throwing whatever he could get his hands on. It’s days like that where I don’t know how the hell I think I can write and teach when I can’t even be a mom.
        But I’ve learned that I can’t be a mom if I don’t write. Writing here, writing stories, it all helps me balance out, and if I don’t balance out, I can’t be the mom my kids need me to be.
        Just like you, Your Highness–you’re writing the book you need to write. You can always go on into the stories and writing you want to do after, but right now you’re doing what you need to do for you. With extra caffeine. 🙂 Keep your family in arm’s reach and Lucy at your feet. Keep talking to Ulla. The fog will lift, and we will both know the sun on our skin again. xxxx -Lady J. 🙂
        PS–I can’t wait to hear about your forest. EVery time you write about it, my fingers itch for a plane ticket. 🙂
        and thanks for the encouragement on my writing. Every hug helps! xxxx

  8. Dyane,
    I just read a few of Ulla’s last posts. It is heart breaking. I am so sorry you lost your friend. (How I wish I lived close to a forest to soak in the peace and calm and green, but I make do with my “magic tree” in my garden…)

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Catrin.
      I still can’t quite believe it. I’m not thinking about her all the time anymore (and I feel guilty about that, which I know is ludicrous) and, anyway, she’d be the first one to tell me to cut it out. It’s simply heartbreaking as you mentioned…

      Your magic tree sounds wonderful. How fantastic to have that kind of energy right there in your garden. Trees are definitely healing and all you need is one special tree; I’m so happy that it’s there for you to love. 🌲💗

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