Submitting My Manuscript to My Publisher! Resources & Boo Boo’s

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Greetings, my friends!

Yes, I’m thrilled to announce I’m finally delivering my baby to my publisher, but it’s not a human baby. For starters, I take lithium & a MAOI, so I’m done with all that. From now on if we want to add to this family, we’re going to the Santa Cruz SPCA!

I’m delivering the manuscript of my memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder to Post Hill Press on Saturday. Dr. Carol Henshaw agreed to write the foreword, and I’m truly honored. She’s one of the top perinatal psychiatrists in the world, a highly acclaimed author, and intrepid world traveler.

I began writing Birth of a New Brain nine years ago after my daughter was born. I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder, and it took forever to complete the book because of my treatment-resistant bipolar depression. If you want to know more about that saga, well, you can read my book next October 2017!

The past week has been a whirlwind of editing, writing, assembling last-minute photos, and completing the freaky metadata form. I also realized I made a ghastly mistake, which you’ll read about, I promise. First the good stuff:

The following links contain incredible resources that helped me. They might help you with your writing projects too. 

Filler Words Detract from the Power of Your Writing!

Rae Ford’s Write for Your Life blog post Ecstasy Editing Notes: 20 Filler Words and How to Get Rid of Them is soooooo worth checking out! (Rae, that “so” was for you, LOL!) 

In 2015 I printed Rae’s page, and put it in my “procrastination” file. On Monday I finally got out Rae’s pointers and combed through my 320 pg. manuscript. I cut as many of the filler words as I could. It was an exhausting process, but editing those suckers felt good! 

Grammarly Fun

Yesterday I splurged and bought Grammarly Premium for one month ($30),  and I have one word to describe it:

SUPERHELPFUL!

(That is a real word according to Miss Lucy. And if you refer someone to Grammarly, you can each get a free week’s trial period, but I was too lazy to do that.)

NY EDITORS

I discovered more awesome editing tools and the cool NY Editors website. Some goodies are free and some cost cha-ching! Visit “Instantly Improve Your Writing With These 11 Editing Tools” at this groovy NY Book Editors link.

My Quotation Nightmare – Don’t Make My Amateur Mistake!

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I did something SO foolish and SO lame, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but if you learn from my mistake it’s worth the shame!

A Bit ‘O Backstory:

I spent many hours searching for apt quotes I placed at the beginning of each of my 28 chapters, and one quote for the “front matter” area. I enjoyed searching for these quotes – it was a labor of love.

Some of the quotes were from songs, others were from books, poems, and newspaper articles. Yours truly didn’t get permission to use any of them.

Big mistake.

Moreover, I should have known better! Last month I contacted the American Psychiatric Association’s Permissions Department. I applied for their holy permission to cite two brief paragraphs. Guess what they wanted?

SIX HUNDRED BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP DOLLARS!

(I appealed, but I was told no. I got around that snafu by paraphrasing the information I wanted to quote.)

Yesterday when I reviewed the “need for permissions” clause in my publishing contract, this image came to mind:

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It was time to do a little research I should have done, um, last year. It turns out I need permission to quote anything published after 1923. Of course, any publisher/person/alien/whatever can charge a fee (i.e. songs are notorious for costing major bucks) unless that source allows a writer to quote without formal permission. (See this link for infoplus, there are tons of other sites with all kinds of information about this topic.)

Even one line of a song is a no-no, which sucks because I had song quotes from Dolly Parton (yes!), Crowded House, Split Enz, Toni Childs, Bic Runga, and Howard Jones – yes, 80’s music forever, people!

A JOLLY UPDATE:

This morning I figured I had nothing to lose by emailing an author asking if she could provide a quote with a similar message to what I read in her book. (Her remark was the most relevant, meaningful quote out of th etwenty-nine.)

I had the good fortune to locate her email address online, but I didn’t have high hopes. Well, she wrote me back within the hour and graciously gave me the perfect quote. I’m thrilled! Remember this is an option if all else fails.

Below are some of the quotes I tearfully deleted. I’m not afraid to post them here because I can always delete anything in WordPress in 20 seconds. 

I also registered at Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s publisher Penguin Random House * and I applied for permission to use her quote. It wasn’t that big a deal, and I’m glad I did it. I’ll know by eight weeks if it’s a yay or nay. I’m hoping they won’t ask for $600.00

* https://permissions.penguinrandomhouse.com/faq/

On hypergraphia:

My writing felt like a disease: I could not stop, and it sucked me away from family and friends. Sensations outside of language dried up: music became irritating discord, the visual world grew faint…While my hypergraphia felt like a disease, it also felt like one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It still does.

Dr. Alice W. Flaherty, The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block and the Creative Brain

On bibliotherapy:

A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe

Madeleine L’Engle

Electroconvulsive therapy/ECT:

I had been in a place where no drug could touch me. ECT was like a huge crane that pulled me out and let me back down on land. But I still had to walk the rest of the way.

Martha Manning, Undercurrents: A Therapist’s Reckoning With Her Own Depression

Benzodiazepine addiction:

To escape, you must make a conscious decision to break the fear-benzo-fear-benzo cycle.

Matt Samet, Death Grip: A Climber’s Escape from Benzo Madness (fab book!)

And it’s de rigueur to have something from the great Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison:

Suicidal depression involves a kind of pain and hopelessness that is impossible to describe — and I have tried. I teach in psychiatry and have written about my bipolar illness, but words struggle to do justice to it. How can you say what it feels like to go from being someone who loves life to wishing only to die? Suicidal depression is a state of cold, agitated horror and relentless despair.

Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind, in the New York Times Op-Ed piece “To Know Suicide”

I’m glad I figured out this mess three days before submitting the manuscript. Maybe I can still apply to the powers that be to use some of my favorite quotes. If I get permission, maybe the quotes can be added during the editing process. I’ll check with my editor and give you an update in a future post.

Lose It! Update

Awesome blogger Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear) and I continue struggling mightily with our healthy eating/exercise program (I have a knee injury and I’ve been overeating every night, a topic for another post…) but we aren’t giving up! No way! If you’d like to join us, sign up for free at www.loseit.com  and search for the Wondrous Writers group.

Halloween Is Coming – What Shall I Be, What Shall You Be?

Halloween is my favorite day of the year! My daughter Avonlea came up with my costume idea last night. She sure cheered me up after that quote fiasco.

I’m STOKED!
I’m going to dress up as….

MELINDA GORDON, THE MEDIUM in THE GHOST WHISPERER!

(This show is my current glorious, guilty pleasure – while my family watches Avatar and makes fun of me, I watch Melinda send everyone to the light! I mean, how can you go wrong with actors Jay Mohr, Camryn Manheim and David Conrad?)

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I already have the perfect vampire-ish dress; now I just need to get a ton of makeup (she wears pounds of it in every episode, plus fake eyelashes) and, um, maybe get ahold of some falsies, since (TMI Warning) because when I lost forty pounds, um, a lot of it came from up top. Oh well.

And on that lovely note…

Thanks for reading!

much love,

Dyane

 

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.

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It’s World Insecure Writers Day!

Since there aren’t enough official “Days” and “Months” in the year, i.e.

World Bipolar Day and World Gourmet Donut Month,

I’ve decided to petition Congress for yet another day:

World Insecure Writers Day

Why not?

(Okay, okay, I’m kidding!)

Today’s post will be rather silly, superficial, and my personal favorite: whiny. (I hope you’ll enjoy reading it regardless of the content.)

A wise blogger once wrote, “Our blogs are the equivalent of our living rooms.” 

That quote resonates within me. 

Welcome to my living room – I vacuumed it just for you!

This is a time of year that breeds insecurity for me. While I love the fall, it’s also an unsettling reminder that I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar (bipolar, peripartum onset) in October, 2007. Even without my insecurity woes, I’d be waffling around in my soul.

In last week’s vlog I referred to a few incidents that were utterly ridiculous, but threw me for a loop. I promised to write about them this week, and true to my word, here goes:

First I was freaked out by an unpleasant, blog-related incident. Then I was unnerved by two writing-related schmuppywuppies. 

Schmuppywuppy means a weird coincidence that reminds one of yearned-for dreams that were never realized, touched with a soupcon of envy. It’s the dark, dreary side of wistful. It’s also a good name for a pet fish.

My Yucky Bloggy Bummer

After writing over 350 posts, I never had a single request from anyone to delete his/her name from a post. That changed last month. And the irony of the whole enchilada was that I only wrote glowing remarks about the person – damn, I’d love someone to write what I wrote about me. The way I saw it, I was giving the person’s services great P.R.

The reason for his request made no sense to me, or to Craig, or to the girls, or to Lucy or even to our new, erudite Asyrian hamster Copper. I’d write more, but since this person is local, I’ll leave it at that for now.

I realized the reason for this person’s request had to be STIGMA.

Yes, gruesome, bipolar-related stigma! (Don’t you think that could be a Halloween costume? STIGMA!)

My gut feeling was that this individual didn’t want anyone on the planet to think he had anything to do with a bipolar-related blog because — gasp — someone might think HE had bipolar too. (Perish the thought!)

As I mentioned, this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it threw me all the same. Apart from the stigma theory, I couldn’t imagine what else could cause him to feel that way unless this person thought I was a sh*tty writer and wanted no assocation with my blog. Was I being paranoid? Yes.

I’d love your thoughts on this one…don’t hold back. (Well, maybe hold back a little bit. I’m so sensitive…)

What Was In My High School Water Fountain Drinking Water?

At least two people in my high school class of ’87 became best-selling authors. One author is a junior high friend I lost touch with when we attended separate colleges. Her name is Aimee Bender. (I’ve briefly mentioned her here.)  

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Made into a feature film!

The other writer is Norman Ollestad; I only knew him in passing.

And this writer also attended my high school – you might have heard of her – but she was, and remains in a class all her own!

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So, a few days ago I received the latest e-letter from a publisher I admire named Counterpoint. I met the head of this publishing company last year at a writer’s conference. He was super-cool and even gave me useful advice. 

As usual, I scanned Counterpoint’s e-letter and I saw that they’re representing Norman’s second book. The newsletter editor went on and on about how fabulous a writer Norman is. (I’m sure he is brilliant, but I didn’t read his first book because I was too depresssed at the time.)

I’m happy for him because he has gone through hell, and he turned his agony into a bestseller.

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Suffice to say that when I saw Norman’s name in Counterpoint’s e-letter, and read accolade after accolade, I thought, Look at him, he’s the type of author you’ll never be: super-successful!!!

That thought came and went because even though I’m not going to get on the NYT list, I can make peace with that. It’s just all the other writing-related insecurities I have a problem with handling well.

The last thing that happened was kind of funny.  

There are a lot of writers in this area, but most of them aren’t professional and they do it as a hobby. There are many independently published local books with titles such as The Magic of CannabisJerry Garcia Is God, and How I Found Myself Dancing in the Pagan Rain

After my girls’ school started last week, I read all the introductory material from their teachers. One teacher’s welcome letter particularly interested me because she wrote her husband is an author whose newest book is coming out soon. I snarkily thought, I bet his book is called Banana Slugs and Me – A Love Story or something like that!

Of course I Googled the author’s name to discover that he had a big-time agent, a glitzy website, an exciting book tour, and, to top it off, his book is being published by one of my dream publishers.

This publisher is the one that famously took a big, controversial chance on publishing Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time, who is one of my favorite authors. (The publisher is Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, now a division of MacMillan.)

After reading the author’s lengthy bio, I found out that some of his previous books were compared to my junior high classmate Aimee Bender. Small world, eh?

What can I learn from all this?

What might you learn from any of this?

It’s okay to be jealous, and it’s okay to be petty, but keep on moving. 

Keep on writing, or keep on doing whatever you enjoy, even when you get insecure about your ability. Move through those negative thoughts, distract yourself, do anything but linger in the great sinkhole of envy and insecurity because these thoughts can drain the spark out of us faster than when Lucy chases after a squirrel.

Take a lesson from Arrow’s song Groove Master from The Mighty Quinn soundtrack. Arrow reminds us to keep on moving! (If you haven’t seen The Mighty Quinn, you need to put it on your bucket list.) 

I know there has to be another lesson to learn from the recent events, but I have to pick up the kids at school. I’ll let you know if anything comes to mind next Friday. In the meantime, happy September!

XoXo

Keep on groovin’,

Dyane

Lose It! – We’re Losers and We Like It!!

My friend Bradley, author of the excellent Insights of A Bipolar Bear and I are continuing to use Lose It!’s website. We encourage one another to reach our goals, especially now that it’s harder to eat well for a myriad of reasons. If you’d like to join us, leave a message in the comment section or sign up for free at www.loseit.com. Search for the “Wondrous Writers group”.

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

 

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