This is the year I publish my first book. It will be the fulfillment of a lifetime dream. The book, which will be available at Xlibris by the end of this month (February), is entitled The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships. I wrote it in 1985 while Tony and I lived in Wilson, North Carolina. Three major moves later, I rediscovered the hard copy deeply buried among unrelated papers stuffed into a file cabinet drawer.
I don't think this would have happened but for the prompting of my nephews to dig out the short stories (Tiger Lily and Tarantulas On My Mind) they had enjoyed when they were kids and wanted to read again. Thank you, Douglas and James and Michael!
The digital file for the manuscript was long lost through multiple computer moves. I created it on our first computer, a C/PM KayPro machine Tony and I bought in Scottsdale, Arizona while on our journey across the country in 1983-4. The dot matrix printout, not the clearest type to begin with, had faded over the years; however, between the two of us, my sister Nina and I managed to retype the full-length novel into a Word document in a few days.
In the meantime, I explored self-publishing and zeroed in on Xlibris. The problem for me was that even the most basic plan was beyond the reach of my bank account. I had to tell Bob Legaspi, the publication consultant, I would have to wait until I could accumulate the cost. Then an amazing sequence of event occurred.
1) A Vietnam veteran friend of my late brother Jacob, Carl ToersBijns, sent an email press release for his new book Gorilla Justice: Caged War Veterans, the Mentally Ill & Solitary Confinement, the newest of three books he self-published with Xlibris. I forwarded the press release to my friends and acquaintances, hoping to help get out his passionate message about the prison system. In an email to Carl I told him what I'd done.
2) Carl wrote back thanking me. He ended his email as follows: I do appreciate it and hope all good things happen in 2012 for you and family.. Maybe the lottery?? just kidding but you never know.
3) His remark jogged my memory about the two lottery tickets I'd purchased earlier in the week. I ran out (well, hurried out) to retrieve them from the visor in my Ford pickup truck, returned to the computer and checked the numbers online. First thing I saw was that one of the quick picks on the PowerBall ticket had two matching numbers, winning $7.00. That brought a smile. I'd have to let Carl know he was a prophet! Then I turned to the MegaMillions ticket.
02 03 12 22 23 36 My numbers.
02 03 15 22 23 12 Winning numbers.
Imagine my immediate reaction. Five numbers out of six! I ran up the stairs (close to running this time) to show Nina and ask her to verify the numbers. It was right--my regular numbers included five of the winning number of the MegaMillion lottery! If--the famous IF--if I had only used the 12 for the mega number, my winnings would have been (with the multiplier) $20,000. Nevertheless, I was--and am--grateful for the $300 I won--and don't forget the $7. It was a good start toward the cost of publication.
4) I talked to Bob at Xlibris and signed on to get my book self-published. Now we're within days of printing the first copy of The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships and making it available for ebook download on Xlibris. Soon Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble websites will also make them available. When I have the finalized copy of the book cover, I'll post it here. (sigh) (whew!) (smile) (whoopee!)
I'll soon have another story to tell about someone I just met. He is writing a book I can really get behind--and he has asked me to help out some. More about this later after we have met and talked in person.
This is definitely my year for new, exciting things. As soon as I catch my breath, I have at least a half dozen books I've worked on from time to time over the years. I am a lucky person!