Don’t Let Society Define Your Worth

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Laura Droege is such an insightful writer and prolific as well – she has written several novels and has one currently in the works. I’ve been following her blog for over a year. The one & only Kitt O’Malley referred me to Laura – that gal has good taste as many of you know.

Laura lives with bipolar disorder, but she definitely doesn’t let it define her, and I find that inspiring.¬†I was very honored Laura shared my song “More Than Bipolar”with her followers. I’d encourage you to follow her because she writes with conviction, faith and humor. Moreover, her posts will expand your knowledge of literature, even if you have a literature degree like I do! ūüôā

Speaking of literature, I’m off to the Catamaran Writing Conference on Wednesday and I’m sure I’ll return with tales to tell. Writer catfights and such. (Just kidding!) I’m scared about sharing the first chapter of my memoir Birth of a New Brain¬†with seven strangers, but I also know it’s exactly what I need to do. If the feedback gets too bad I can always burst into tears, bolt from the classroom, and scream “Die, you elitist literary snobs, die!” as I run out of the building.

It’s important to note that¬†this conference offers free coffee all day long, but there’s no chocolate to complement all that java. This is a serious problem, so I need to go buy some Dagoba milk chocolate bars and a couple other ridiculously expensive brands, as without chocolate I simply cannot write. I’m sure you understand the gravity of this situation.

Until next week, please take care everyone!
Xo,
Dyane

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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 РHealing 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!) ūüėČ

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 РJanuary 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

 

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