The Comparison Greens/A Call for Submissions!


The salt flats of the vast Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, beneath which lies roughly 50 percent of the world’s supply of lithium.

 

In June 2015, I read Jaime Lowe’s New York Times Magazine article “I Don’t Believe in God, but I Believe in Lithium! My 20-year Struggle with Bipolar Disorder.”

The critically acclaimed article went viral. After I read it, I had a strong feeling – heck, it was more of a premonition — that she’d land a spectacular, bipolar-themed book deal with a Big Five Publisher.

My envy of Lowe’s success made my tongue turn green!

 

A few months later, I subscribed to a trial of Publisher’s Weekly. The subscription included PW’s daily email that announced new book deals in every genre. 

In my very first Publisher’s Weekly email, I spotted an announcement of Jaime Lowe’s book deal for her memoir Mental. 

After her article’s wildly positive receptionI knew Mental would do well. My prediction was accurate in that Lowe landed a Big Five Publisher: Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House that was also Carrie Fisher’s publisher for The Princess Diarist

In my typical paranoid fashion, an irrational thought slimed its way through my brain synapses:  

I hope Mental isn’t released when my book comes out – it would kick Birth of a New Brain’s ass!

Okay, friends. Fast forward nineteen months later to January 2017.

Thanks to my ghost writer Lucy, my book is finally written and edited! 

Every week I review Amazon’s list of upcoming bipolar-themed books. (I do this because like to know what kinds of books will be published, and sometimes I pre-order one if it intrigues me, such as this one.)

As usual, I was scanning Amazon’s bipolar books when I spotted Lowe’s Mental and its release date. I double-blinked when I saw her book would be published in nine months on October 3rd, a mere week before my book publication date of October 10th.  

(If you sort our paperback books by the publication date, they are literally next to one another.)

My first thought was Waaaaah!!!!

Your first thought might be, “Shut up! I can’t even get out of bed.”

Friends, keep in mind that I did nothing during the many, many years of my treatment-resistant bipolar depression. Please forgive my insensitivity and rudeness, and keep reading!

Here’s my wack-a-doo theory I call:

The Theory of Relativityinsecuritythisissoembarrassingyuckmouth

When a reader who wants to buy a bipolar memoir is faced with a choice of two books published the same week, they’ll buy the book written by the New York Times writer. Not mine.

Believe me, I know how super-dumb this is, but that’s how my brain rolls.  

My topic is fundamentally different – I’m writing about postpartum bipolar and being a mother. As far as I know, Lowe isn’t a mom, and her book focuses on her experience with lithium.  

I spoke to my husband Craig, a published author of an award-winning book. (Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West)

“It’s actually a good thing,” he said. “The subject matter is being stirred up and promoted by the other author. On Kindle when people see what other books on the same topic have been bought, they might see yours and buy it.”

Okay, I’ll buy that.

But doesn’t it seem a teeny bit weird that out of all the days in the year, my book is alongside the very NYT Magazine superstar whose book I’ve been stalking tracking for 19 months?

 

 

I almost didn’t share this post because it’s so petty. I forced myself to press the “publish” button and cringed.

The heart of the matter is that I need to believe in my book’s worth. I won’t magically stop worrying about my competition, but I can remind myself, mantra-style, that my book will help people.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I could write fiction and transport readers in that amazing way. However, there’s a place for my memoir in this world.  And if you’re writing a book, or if you plan to write one, there’s a place for your book too.

I recommend Joanna Penn’s book The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey, specifically her section 1.11 “Why Write? There Are Already Too Many Books In The World,” and you’ll be encouraged.

Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn Company


I want to share a call for submissions. I copied most of the details below. If you’re even a little bit interested, why not visit the website and go for it! The co-editors/renowned authors are very respectful of the topic and moreover, they’re cool. While there isn’t payment, it’s a worthwhile project.

Have a good weekend!!!

I’ll see you next week!

Xo,

Dyane

How the Light Gets in 

an anthology on parenting and mental illness

Call for Submissions

 

Kelley Clink, Co-Editor and Author of A Different Kind of Same

 Gillian Marchenko, Co-Editor and Author of Still Life

Submission Guidelines

  1. Narrative nonfiction–be it essay, memoir, or some kind of creative hybrid. It doesn’t have to be in first person, but it needs to be personal and true.
  2. Stories from a wide range of diagnoses: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, OCD, schizophrenia, and eating disorders, to name a few. Anything covered by the DSM is accepted.
  3. Focused writing with a clear point of view.
  4. Stories from every point on the parenting timeline, including essays by people who are expecting children, raising infants, toddlers, school age kids, or parenting adult children. Even people who are not yet parents (and maybe not sure they want to be).

~

WHAT WE’RE NOT LOOKING FOR

  1. Prescriptive or “How To.” Rather than giving advice, show how you tackled issues or disclosed personal information.
  2. Stories about Postpartum Depression (unless PPD was unresolved and became a chronic condition). These stories are valid and extremely important, but they have been written about extensively in other places.
  3. Stories about parenting a child with mental illness, unless it relates to your own experiences with mental illness and your parenting. Like PPD, these stories are important, and like PPD they have been written about in other places.
  4. Fiction. Changing names and details to protect privacy is okay, but the work submitted must reflect personal experience.
  5. Typos. Please read your work carefully and have others read it as well.

~

LOGISTICS

  • We welcome submissions between ~1,000 and ~10,000 words.
  • Previously published material is accepted, as long as the author retains the rights.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, as long as the author notifies us if the work is accepted elsewhere.
  • All files should be Microsoft Word .doc or .docx, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 point font.
  • Please include your name, email address, and a short bio with your submission. Phone number and website are optional.
  • Electronic submissions only. Submit via email to parentingmentalillnessbook@gmail.com
  • Contributors will be compensated with copies of the book and our undying gratitude.

~

SUBMISSIONS OPEN FROM 4/1/17-8/1/17. Responses can be expected by 10/1/17.

 

Dyane Harwood’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 on October 10th.

Birth of a New Brain is available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link – Kindle pre-sales coming this summer!

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Silly Sonnet 29 Redux to Lucy (a.k.a. I’m Not A Poet & I Know It!)

dyane-and-lucy-the-writing-muse

Dyane & Lucy, 2015

It has been far too serious around here, plus the weather’s turning cold and gloomy. Perhaps the gallon of locally roasted Rocket Fuel from Coffeol Roasting I enjoyed this morning affected me, because I’m suddenly feeling silly! 

My favorite Shakespeare sonnet #29 When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes popped into my brain.

I have a degree in English literature, and once in a while this kind of thing happens. As I slurped my java, I read Counterpoint Press’ newsletter, scrolled down, and BOOM! There was an interview with that guy  from my high school math class who became a bestselling author.

Seeing Norman Ollestad’s intense visage accompanied by all that glow-in-the-dark praise inspired me to commit a silly sin. I changed the Almighty Bard’s words in his beloved Sonnet #29 to reflect my current goofy, insecure state of mind. 

Thankfully Shakespeare wrote the sonnet before 1923, so he can’t sue me for copyright infringement (see this post for more about that topic) although I suppose he could haunt me a la the ghost he penned in Hamlet
images

 

 To that, all I have to say in my most nasal of Valley Girl voices is “Whatever, William!”

Without further adeiu, I present the revision to you. Hope you like it!

XO,

Dyane

Silly Sonnet 29 Redux to Lucy

When, in disgrace with the Craft and writers’ eyes,

I all alone beweep my lack of talent,

And trouble the deaf New York Times Book Review with my bootless cries,

And look upon myself and curse my manuscript,

Wishing me like to J.K. Rowling more rich in….everything!

Featured like her, like her with agents and publicists possessed,

Desiring this woman’s literary art and that woman’s literary scope

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

(Like to the lark at break of day arising 

From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with 5-star Amazon reviews (among other things!)

*here is the original masterpiece Sonnet 29: When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes by William Shakespeare

 

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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Writing Envy Redux & My Dog Lucy Is Writing A Book!

dog-writer

 

My hound Lucy looks twice as focused as this dog when she spots a fly!

 

 

I’ve written before about my writing envy

And while I’d love to rhapsodize how much brilliant writing inspires me to better my craftor exclaim how thrilled I was when my friend’s debut novel hit the New York Times Best Seller list, I won’t. 

I’ve been reading such incredible books and blogs lately. When I looked at my Seroquel belly this morning, it was a rippling, verdant hue. 🙂 

During the years I was mired in bipolar depression, I couldn’t care less about others’ writing because I no longer felt human. I abandoned the freelance writing relationships I had nurtured, but what hurt the most was that my writing identity vanished.

When I had the great fortune to find a psychiatrist who suggested an “out-of-thebox” medication, my depression lifted. In late 2013 I resumed writing and began blogging. And I remembered someone I used to be friends with in junior high named Aimee Bender.  

We weren’t very close, but we shared a mutual love for books. On a whim, I sent a photograph of us to my favorite author Madeleine L’Engle. A couple months later, L’Engle mailed me a postcard with a picture of the Milky Way. (A fitting image to represent the author of A Wrinkle In Time.) L’Engle wrote few lines thanking me, and added, “I always enjoy seeing what my readers look like.” I treasure her postcard and keep it near my laptop.

Toward the end of junior high, Aimee and I lost touch. Thank God no drama was involved in our parting – we simply went our separate ways and I wished her well. 

In 2011 Aimee’s book The Girl in the Flammable Skirt was published, and it received rave reviews along with the Los Angeles Times best seller status. I bought it and while I found the book unique, it didn’t wasn’t my taste. I was envious of Aimee’s success, but it was a fleeting feeling. 

Recently I checked the internet to find out about Aimee’s most recent book. Her writing career is nothing short of amazing: a prolific output of books, heaps of awards, a book made into a film, a cult following, fancy teaching positions, healthy twins at age 43, a relatively good-sounding marriage, etc. The one thing she didn’t seem to have was a severe mental illness.  That’s the day I knew it was time to stop following her accomplishments! 

My literary envy is often triggered when I can’t put down a compelling book that’s so beautifully written it makes me wish I had written it. I finished such a memoir last night. As with any intense, engaging book I immerse myself in, I was sad to reach the last page. 

To Have Not is about the author’s life growing up poor in San Francisco. It was written by my upcoming Catamaran Writing Conference instructor Frances Lefkowtiz. To Have Not is an unforgettable, lyrically written memoir.

You could say that I’m a wee bit envious of the gifted Lefkowtiz. 

Gulp.

Despite the intimidation I’ll feel in the presence of this accomplished writer, I’d rather have a fantastic nonfiction instructor than a mediocre one.  More than anything, I’m incredibly grateful that I won the fellowship award to attend her class.

What helps me grapple with my nasty emerald bits is reading insightful posts by those who expose their writing jealousy. Today I found a refreshingly honest post about this very topic! Acclaimed author Robin Black reveals the not-so-nice parts of herself after her writer friends hit the literary lotto. Interestingly, Black discusses how bestselling authors possess cases of the envies just like the neophytes do. She includes original advice on how to handle waves of envy, and trust me, her post is definitely worth the read.

Happily, I didn’t get consumed with jealousy over Robin Black’s talent. Well, I wouldn’t mind having one or two of the achievements listed on her bio; they’re nothing major, really…I mean, being published in small rags like the New York Times Magazine and receiving several major grants is not that big a deal.  

http://www.thereviewreview.net/publishing-tips/green-eyed-writer-literary-envy

On a separate note, you might be wondering about my collie Lucy’s blossoming writing career. Well, being a goofball, I thought I’d touch upon another phenomenon that freaks me out: the fact that almost everyone I encounter is writing a book, even my beloved beast.

With her two furry paws bursting with creativity, Miss Lucy has already amassed 80,000 words about her life. 

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With the enormous amount of books being published annually, sometimes I wonder what’s the point of adding my book to the mix. Will Birth of a New Brain truly help anyone or is it primarily a quest to massage my ego? 

Although I believe these are totally normal thoughts, I must kick them to the curb.

I can reflect upon this gem of a mood booster: 

If books such as Reusing Old Graves, Why Cats Paint, Mommy Drinks Because You’re Bad (Arch Books – Quality Religious Books for Children), Make Your Own Sex Toys, The Bitch Who Forgot Birthdays, and the page turner Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns can be published, then my book has a place in our world!

I remind myself that my book will be a worthwhile read. I’m writing for a niche market, with absolutely no aspirations of having it become a bestseller. Madeleine L’Engle said, “You must write the book that wants to be written…” and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

So what if there are trillions of books out in the world?

It’s okay.

So what if  countless writers possess such off-the-hook talent that I feel odious by comparison?

It’s okay.

It’s not easy being green, but at least I’m not alone…

* Lithium and tranylcypromine/Parnate (an MAOI, which stands for monoamine oxidase inhibitor)

 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of  Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press in Fall, 2016.