Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Book

My Book

Just in time for World Diabetes Day!  11/14/13

I’ve always loved English, and I am a confessed Grammar Snob.  I’m not perfect, but I try.  I tell people all the time that I took AP English in high school and tested out of college English.  Thus, I’ve never taken any English beyond my high school years.  So, it’s not like I have a Master’s in it.  This stuff isn’t hard; it just requires attention to detail.

I’m already rambling.

Anyway, I have always wanted to write a book.  A few years back, I spent a bulk of my spare time trying to draft a fictional novel loosely based on real crazy characters.  I think I wrote 14 chapters or so before I lost steam.  My spare time became less bulky.  Regardless, I still wanted to write a book and say, “I’m a published author”.

As everyone knows, both of my twin sons were diagnosed with the craptastic Type One Diabetes in 2012, five months apart.  To say 2012 sucked (in that regard) is an understatement.  Between that, working overtime, and my baby girl getting married, I was an emotional wreck inside.

Aiden’s 1-year Diabetes Anniversary (Diaversary) was in February.  In January, I really started struggling emotionally all over again.  I was having flashbacks of the pain and anguish I felt on that fateful February day. I was getting angry at the whole situation again.  I really felt myself sinking all over again.

 Around the same time, an old friend of mine contacted me about her son’s symptoms.  He was screaming, “I have Type One Diabetes”.  The same day she messaged me, he was in the hospital with this craptastic diagnosis.  Needless to say, I received a lot of messages from her.  I welcomed them all.  Messages with questions, messages with feelings.  This, too, catapulted me back to that February (and August) day.
I was so happy to help my friend, J.  I was glad I could be there for her for two reasons: 1) She was there for me when I was on bedrest with my twins.  She helped take care of me and my kids, and for that, I’m forever grateful. And 2) I really wished I had had someone to bounce questions and feelings off of when Aiden was first diagnosed.  Besides my husband, I was pretty much alone.  Knowing I couldn't fix it was a tough pill to swallow!

(Later, I was introduced to TOFN, and let me tell you, hearing people speak your language and validate your feelings is very therapeutic.  That group was the lifeline I needed!)

Reliving all those still-raw emotions and helping my friend sparked the idea for my book.  I had the idea that if I could help at least one person not feel crazy or alone, then I had won.  I made an outline of my chapter ideas and things I wanted to include, and I began to write.  It was cathartic and therapeutic.  Frankly, it helped me re-process all of the conflicting, sad, and confusing emotions I had surrounding my boys’ diagnoses and their upcoming Diaversaries.  The book gave me something to focus on, and it really helped in the Acceptance phase of grief.

I showed my work to my equally grammar-snobby friend, Melissa, when it was still pretty raw.  She said, “You’ve got good bones; now you need some meat on those bones.”  I thanked her for the back-handed compliment, and I assured her I did not need to gain any weight.  OOHH, the book.  She was talking about the content.  I see. 

After I put the said meat on the said bones, I had my husband read it.  He’d already read some of the preliminary stuff.  If my husband is anything, he’s honest.  Sometimes brutally so.  He pulled no punches with me.  He told me what needed to be fixed, added to or changed.  I stuck my lower lip out, but I did it, and I think it made the book better. Since this is sort of a horror story, I think he expected it to be very much like Stephen King, but I’m totally less nerdy and creepy than SK is!

After investigating my options, I chose to do self-publishing.  I did not want to have to pitch for an agent, and delay getting the book out any longer than necessary. When I finally finished, I spent a couple of weeks working with Createspace to upload the files and create the book covers.

Melissa helped me again with a great cover idea.  She’s honest, too, but not quite as brutal, and she helped me make it fantastic.  When my step-son helped me shoot the photograph, with no provocation he said, “Wow!  That’s really freakin’ emotional!  WHAT are you doing?”  That was the affirmation I needed that the cover photo elicited the response I was looking for.  After I explained about the book cover, he was so proud to be a part of the process!

Several times, I had to go fix or add “one little thing” then resubmit to Createspace.  Finally, yesterday, the proof was near-perfect.  I think there was a problem with one line space, but I refused to keep splitting hairs.  I submitted it for publishing on Amazon and Kindle.  I’m sure I could still pick it apart today and add more, but I had to put the brakes on somewhere!

A few hours later, I typed my book title in an Amazon search, and voila….there’s my book!  I was tickled!  How cool is that?!  Now, I need to get the word out there.  I want others to read it.  I want the Endocrinologists and CDEs to read and give to newly diagnosed families, because I really could’ve used such help when I walked away from Cook Children’s three days after admission.

I don’t want to be assaulted or coddled, but I do welcome feedback from my D-friends! 

Here’s the link below!  Please share! It’s paperback through Amazon or on Kindle.  It will be more widely available later.  A portion of all proceeds will go to our JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes Team!


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