My Favorite Birthday Gift: A Book Deal with Post Hill Press!

Post Hill

Dear Friends,

This post won’t focus upon errant hamsters, dancing cows, or much darker thoughts. I have great news to share, and I hope you’ll understand why I want to sing it from the mountaintops! 

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After a nine-year-long labor, in Fall, 2016 (as long as an asteroid doesn’t fall on me), I’ll finally be giving birth to…drum roll please!

 

          Birth of a New Brain – Healing with Postpartum Bipolar Disorder                           

Last month on my 45th birthday, I woke up groggy as usual and made a beeline for the coffee machine. I trudged over to my laptop and opened up my email.  While sipping my beloved Steve’s Smooth French brew, I spotted a message from Post Hill Press and braced myself for another patronizing rejection.  As I scanned the lines, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  They read my proposal and were interested in speaking with me! Yes, it was the same proposal that was rejected by a mean publisher which I whined about here:

https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/lets-play-the-schadenfreude-game-a-writers-1st-rejection/)

Over the past month I received a contract, successfully negotiated a few amendments, signed and mailed the blessed document back to them. Now my goal is to produce a manuscript I’m proud of, and that’ll sell more than three copies.  (To people I don’t know!) 😉

The brilliant Dr. Walker Karraa has agreed to write the foreword. She’s the author of the highly acclaimed book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma, Healing and Growth (a #1 bestseller in the Amazon postpartum category) and founder of the wildly popular site Stigmama. http://stigmama.com./

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Now, many of the bloggers I read are absolutely amazing writers. (I bet you’re one of them!) There are numerous blogs containing writing that’s far superior to mine. So why did this deal happen if my writing isn’t National Book Critics Circle Award-worthy?  I’m stealing an answer from the talented author Kim Hooper. Hooper recently acquired a book deal with St. Martin’s Press for her book People Who Knew Me, and in her blog http://www.kimhooperwrites.com/she states,

“I still believe that getting a book deal is based less on talent than on luck and persistence.  I mean yes, you have to be a good writer.  But you have to keep trying, again and again and again.  And again.”

Kim’s right.

For years I’ve searched high and low for a book depicting PPBD, and to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing out there.  Like every author who’s passionate about her book, I believe my topics are worthwhile, interesting, and unique. That belief keeps me going when I wonder why the hell anyone would read my book.

Life hasn’t been all wine and roses since I got my happy news.  I’ve woken up many mornings at the grisly hour of 4:00 a.m. in a panic, wondering if I can pull any of this off.  I’ve been heartened by the encouragement of bloggers including Kitt O’Malley http://kittomalley.com/ Blahpolar Diaries https://bipolardyke.wordpress.com/ , Genevieve Desrochers/ Birth of a Bipolar Mother http://www.post-partum-bipolaire.me/, Anonymous, https://hidinginthespotlight.wordpress.com/, L.E. Henderson http://passionatereason.com/ and Laura Droege https://lauradroege.wordpress.com/.

All of your comments have bolstered my spirits when I’ve felt like giving up! Thank you!!! 

I’m also extraordinarily lucky to have a writing mentor in Wendy K. Williamson. https://wendykwilliamson.wordpress.com/ and 

http://www.twobipolarchicks.com/

I discovered Wendy years ago through one of my first Kindle purchases. I bought her bestselling memoir I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar, never imagining that we’d correspond and become friends.

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Author Greg Archer (Grace Revealed) has also served as a magnificent mentor. The day Greg surprised me with a profile in the Huffington Post in which he praised my writing nearly made me keel over.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-archer/agents-of-change-5-inspir_b_5992870.html

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My husband Craig went through the publishing process for his award-winning book Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West.  When it came to negotiating my contract, he helped me fully understand every item in the document.

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There’s a little more to my publishing journey that makes this “birthday gift” significant.

In 2013, I landed a book deal with another publisher. When I got my contract it was absolutely thrilling, of course! Unfortunately, a few days later I relapsed with bipolar depression. I was hospitalized three times within six weeks. When I was released from the unit the third time, I remained terribly depressed. I continued with the bilateral electroconvulsive (ECT) therapy I had requested as an inpatient.  ECT helped me out of suicidal ideation, but back then I couldn’t write a few sentences to save my life.  I had to back out of my contract.

I didn’t think I’d get a second chance at remotely feeling like writing a book, but maybe my Dad had a hand in this one. Finding a great psychiatrist and an effective combination of medication were essential.

 

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Richard Leshin, May 22, 1927 – January 6, 2009   How he loved reading!  

And Mom, you inspired me to read. Thank you for buying me wonderful books as soon as I could hold one up, and for always believing I was a writer. Xo

 

I’m excited to work with Post Hill Press, an independent, progressive publisher. www.posthillpress.com  The team I’m working with has experience at several “Big Six” publishers, and their list features 20 New York Times non-fiction and fiction bestsellers. Post Hill Press publishes books that I purchased long before I even wrote my proposal. (I took that as a good omen!)  

Thanks for reading, thanks for inspiring me through your blogs, and thanks for your “likes” and comments, all of which have motivated me to keep submitting my book proposal again and again and again.

(and again!)

 Dyane

 

Please “like” the Post Hill Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/PostHillPress

Follow Post Hill Press on Twitter:

@PostHillPress

Medications| International Bipolar Foundation & More, Oh My!

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 Lucy, stick to dog kibble!

 There’s something in the blogosphere air this week…

After months of my faithfully posting every Friday, no more, no less, these past few days I’ve been full of blogging & re-blogging excitement! I just can’t help myself, especially when it comes to the topic that my good friend Kitt O’Malley addressed today in her acclaimed blog.  Kitt’s post contains an International Bipolar Foundation post written by our our mutual friend Susan Zarit.  I also have been blogging for the International Bipolar Foundation once a month, but I haven’t tackled the slippery slope of medication yet.  What has dissuaded me in part is that bloggers aren’t allowed to mention specific medications in our posts, so it’s a good thing I have my own blog! 🙂 Please read on…

I’m on a mission to let people know about a rather “obsolete”, unsung bipolar medication combination that DID work to lift my years-long, insidious, evil bipolar depression.   I’ll tell you one thing, my friends, it wasn’t no gift! 😉

What still boggles my mind to this day is that none of the numerous psychiatrists I consulted with ever thought to mention this medication until my most recent doctor, Dr. D.  Since I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar one disorder in 2007, Dr. D. is the best psychiatrist I’ve ever seen, bar none, and a big reason why that is the case is because he thought out of the box, he had extensive experience, he was patient, and most importantly…he cared.  

In late 2013, per Dr. D.’s suggestion, I started taking an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) medication called Parnate, which is an old-school anti-depressant medication.   I’ve never had any anti-depressant throw me into hypomania or mania, but of course that was a concern. The fact I was taking a therapeutic dose of the mood stabilizer lithium was a safeguard in a way, but of course I needed to be closely monitored.  

There are a few different MAOI’s and they’ve been used for decades for bipolar-medication resistant patients!  So yes, again, I wonder why didn’t any psychiatrist think to tell me about MAOI’s as a possibility before Dr. D. suggested them?  I’d love your take on that one! For the record my father (who also had bipolar one) took an MAOI in the early 1980’s, but it didn’t work for him as he drank alcohol while taking it, which is a BIG BIG no no.

Parnate works especially well when used with lithium; I take 900 mg of lithium a night and I’m extremely lucky that my blood tests have all been normal and I can tolerate it very well..

I never like to give false hope when it comes to bipolar & meds, but this combination of an MAOI and lithium has been nothing short of miraculous in my life. It hasn’t been perfect; there are sacrifices I’ve made (some good, i.e. the nixing of alcohol!) but dammit – these sacrifices have been completely worth it.  Read on for more info. – and I’ll try not to blog again until my regular Friday. Famous last words….. 😉

p.s. feel free to ask me any and all questions about MAOI’s & if I don’t know the answer I’ll ask my psychiatrist when I see him on Thursday.

Kitt O'Malley

My friend Dyane Harwood of Birth of a New Brain responded to a recent IBPF blog article by Susan Zarit entitled Medications: To Have Or Not, That Is The Question! Susan Zarit of Bravely Bipolar has struggled unsuccessfully to find a medication combination that works. I can only imagine what Susan must go through mood cycling on a daily basis. Neither Dyane Harwood nor I are medical doctors. Please see a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications and to discuss medication changes. Medication of psychiatric illnesses requires the expertise of a psychiatrist. In my opinion, serious mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are best treated with medication by board certified psychiatrists. Supportive psychotherapists should be expert in working with our populations. We need more specialized support than, say, relationship counseling.

Dyane Harwood | Tue, 2015-03-03 09:34

Hi Susan! thanks so much for writing about this topic!

I know you wrote…

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