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Excuses and Updates from See Jane Run HQ

Excuses and Updates from See Jane Run HQ

Excuses and updates from See Jane Run! HQ are in order after close to a 2 month silence. They run the gamut from pathetic to praiseworthy. You can decide which ones belong in which categories as you run through my list.

  • House construction contractor woes. Specifically, the lack of a functioning heating system after months of repeated promises from the heating/cooling contractor that he would send someone “tomorrow.” Well, tomorrow stretched well into October. Cold weather was breathing down our neck, and I can’t write with someone breathing down my neck. Tomorrow arrived on November 9, when the work was finally completed to our satisfaction with the warranty filed and in effect. Wahoo!
  • The Great British Baking Show. Netflix began broadcasting Season 12 several weeks ago, so I had to rewatch the previous seasons to prepare for the momentous event. Kind of like having to rewatch previous seasons of Downton Abbey before a new season came out. Loyalty is a virtue, right?
  • Airplane travel. Hiram and I flew to Idaho for a week in October. After 2 1/2 years with my feet planted on terra firma, I underestimated the time involved in packing 3.5 ounce containers of liquids in quart zip lock bags, recovering from jet lag, and unpacking afterwards.
  • Online teaching. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the online college class I’m teaching. It’s just that it’s taking more minutes to do a good job on behalf of my students than anticipated, so there’s less time to write than anticipated.
  • West River Mystery Series progress. Stuff is starting to happen as the publication date for See Jane Run! inches closer. The first proof of the book cover arrived, and it makes me laugh. Marketing details like designing business cards (see above) and developing a marketing plan eat up hours and hours. Writing the first draft of See Jane Dance!, book 3 in the series, devours entire mornings and afternoons. I’ve reached chapter 5 of 50, which means much devouring remains to be done.

If you want more excuses and updates from See Jane Run! HQ, leave a comment below and I’ll try to oblige. Please indicate if you want a real or imaginary excuse and/or update. Fiction writers often struggle with that differentiation, so your guidance is appreciated.

What To Do, What To Do, What To Do

What To Do, What To Do, What To Do

I've been pondering what to do with See Jane Run! Here's what I've come up with, as well as a few things you can do to increase its publication chances.

What to do? What to do? What to do?

I’ve been pondering that question since my agent emailed to say the 4 Christian market publishers who had looked at See Jane Run! this summer had passed on the manuscript. This has happened before so I’ve had plenty of practice generating answers. They always boil down to these four options.

  1. Abandon the project. In many ways this is the easiest option as it would remove something from my crowded plate. But every time I try to walk away from See Jane Run! and the rest of my ideas for The Tipperary County Mystery Series, I have no peace. An internal motivation compels me to keep at it. Until that motivation goes away, option #1 isn’t going to happen
  2. Pitch to general market publishers. My daughter, who is a book coach and the proprietor of Novel Spirits Books, thinks this is a viable option. Mainly because See Jane Run! doesn’t quite fit into Christian publishing’s cozy mystery box. The problem is that my agent is not familiar with general market publishers and pitching to them without an agent is almost impossible.
  3. Pitch to independent publishers. My daughter thinks this path is also viable, especially since we both know some indie authors whose brains we can pick. The problem is that my schedule is tight right now, which leaves little time to research and pitch to independent publishers.
  4. Self-publish. If the most recent rejections had come before COVID, this would be my next step. But self-publishing requires cash up front, all my speaking engagements have been canceled due to COVID so I have no income. Once speaking engagements pick up again, this option will be more attractive because I’ll be able to afford to self-publish and sell See Jane Run! at speaking events.

So here’s what I’m going to do for now.

What do you think of the plan? What am I missing? I’d love to hear your thoughts about what to do, what to do, what to do.

Sign up to receive website updates and See Jane Run! book news on Gravel Road’s home page right under the picture of–you guessed it–the gravel road.

Does My Child Have PTSD? Releases This Week!

Does My Child Have PTSD? Releases This Week!

Gravel Road's celebrating the release of Does My Child Have PTSD? and its Publishers Weekly starred review with s book give away. Enter by leaving a comment.Life’s getting more and more exciting on our little Gravel Road these days. Not only is October 13 the official release date for Does My Child Have PTSD? What to Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out, but the book also received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. You can read the entire review at Publishers Weekly or celebrate with me right here on our gravel road where I’m showing off the sentence I like best.

Philo can make a dramatic statement (e.g., trauma “changes the very structure of the brain”) and then evenly explain the physiology behind it. Though occasionally heart-wrenching, the book is organized so simply and logically as to be easy to follow and digest. ~ Publishers Weekly

Would you please join me in praying that the review increases its visibility so it gets into the hands of families who need it?

Also, if you’re part of a family who could use the book, or would like to give it to someone, Gravel Road is hosting a book give away. To enter, leave a comment in the box below about why you’d like to win between today, October 12, 2015 and midnight on October 31, 2015. The give away is limited to residents of the United States and Canada.

Does My Child Have PTSD?, a Bouncing Baby Book Is Here!

Does My Child Have PTSD?, a Bouncing Baby Book Is Here!

My latest book Does My Child Have PTSD? has arrived, & here's why its not getting as much attention as its older siblings did when they appeared.The advance copies of my newest baby book, Does My Child Have PTSD? What to Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out have arrived. As you can tell from the picture, meeting this 9″ X 6″, 186 page, soft-covered beauty made me very, very happy.

But I feel a little guilty about its arrival, too. Since it’s the third baby book to arrive in less than a year, the poor little tyke didn’t receive the undivided attention my firstborn book did. Truth be told, the box sat on the dining room table for three days before I got around to opening it. Then it received only a cursory once over and didn’t have an in-the-box picture taken for two more days.

IMG_5073I keep meaning to do a happy dance, but taking care of the other four kids blogging about and marketing my other four books keeps distracting me. And to add insult to injury, this baby can’t go out in public for two more months the official release date won’t arrive for two more months, though it can be pre-ordered on Amazon now.

In addition to feeling guilty about the lack of attention the new baby book has received, I’m consumed by worry. Because, as the book makes clear, neglect can be very traumatic for children. So I’m not even practicing what I preach to other parents.

Therefore, I am taking steps to rectify the situation. Step one is to make regular eye contact with the baby book, so it learns to trust its mother author.

IMG_5082Step two will be to sit down with the baby book on my lap and read it from cover to cover as soon as time allows. Because as I also learned during my pregnancy during my researching and writing, babies and very young children who have experienced trauma can experience great healing when they have a loving and consistent primary caregiver to provide security and reassurance.

Which means that in the next few months, given a choice between spending time with our three grandchildren, all under the age of three, and reading or marketing my latest bouncing baby book, I’ll choose the grandkids every single time.

Poor Jane; Poor, Poor Jane

Poor Jane; Poor, Poor Jane

JaneCan it possibly be that Jane last made an appearance along this gravel road in July of last year? Yes, sorry to say, it’s been that long. And since that post’s report of on the sad lack of progress of the mystery novel bearing her name, Jane and her cast of characters has been almost completely neglected.

Poor Jane. Poor, poor Jane.

Mind, you the reasons for this shameful neglect are all good ones. First, I had to research and write a book about PTSD in children to meet the publishers November 30, 2014 deadline. A week later a month long Camp Dorothy commenced, and I was too busy keeping track of Vanna White and Judge Judy to write much. No sooner did that end, than our second grandchild was born and Mom moved into assisted living. Oh, and did I mention that The Caregiver’s Notebook released on November 1, 2014?

Poor Jane. Poor, neglected Jane.

To add insult to injury, all my time since 2015 began has been spent going to see the grandkids and completing edits on Every Child Welcome, along with a B-I-G rewrite of the PTSD book. That book, by the way, has finally been named Does My Child Have PTSD? What to Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Outs.

Poor Jane. Poor, traumatized Jane.

Because, as Does My Child Have PTSD? makes very clear, neglect over a long period of time can cause PTSD in children, especially babies. And Jane is most certainly my baby, even though she’s a young, independent woman living in the wilds of South Dakota. And my baby will most likely remain sadly neglected for at least 2 more months, maybe 3…until the final edits of the PTSD book are done, my daughter’s baby is born, and my spring speaking schedule clears up.

Poor Jolene Jane. Poor, poor Jolene Jane.

She misses her imaginary romps in northwest South Dakota and writing school teacher detective scenes where glitter becomes the ultimate weapon. She misses writing about nasty weather on the big prairie without having to experience it first hand. So to give Jolene Jane and anyone else who misses the short grass prairie a taste of what they’re missing, here’s a clip from KOTA news in Rapid City offers a taste of life out west. Complete with heat, indoor plumbing, and two of the strongest Harding County women I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

Just wait, Jane. Wait, Jane, wait!

When Caregiving Feels Like Juggling with Knives

When Caregiving Feels Like Juggling with Knives

jugglingwithknivesSince the beginning of December, I feel like I’ve been juggling knives.
Sharp knives.
Recently honed to a razor’s edge.
And all because I was plunked into the role of primary caregiver for the first time in a long time.

Though I was caring for an aging parent–first in our home, then transitioning her to assisted living, and now advocating for her with insurance companies, with a little break thrown in caring for a toddler grandchild when a new baby came along–the experience was a reminder of what parents of kids with special needs live with day by day.

Parents of kids with special needs are constantly juggling knives that
gouge finances,
skewer free time,
turn any attempts into creating a routine into chopped liver,
and shred caregiving paperwork into teeny, tiny bits.

A New Caregiver’s Notebook Give Away

Caregiver's Notebook

My caregiving duties are easing up, but if you’re the parent of a child with special needs or caring for an aging parent, your duties are as demanding as ever. That’s why Different Dream is giving away a copy my The Caregiver’s Notebook. Why? Because the notebook I filled out for Mom was a way to sheath the mess of knives I was juggling. And it sheathed them better than I ever imagined it would while writing the notebook. Especially after my Caregiver’s Notebook epic fail, which tells the story of why I now carry Mom’s copy with me to e-v-e-r-y appointment she has.

To enter the contest, visit Gravel Road’s sister site,