My writing buddy, Sylvia Gravrock, author of Alive in the Storm, has roped me into a “blog hop.” Bunny hop, sock hop and I suppose premium brew hops. But blog hop? I agreed because I like her and wanted to help. So thank you Sylvia. Although I am rather resistant, I am willing to hop a bit. I’m supposed to answer ten questions about my novel, Turtle Season, which I will do unless I go in a different direction. I do want to talk about Turtle Season.

I’ve been writing for many years, always with a gorilla-sized inner critic cluttering my brain. I’ve had moments of freedom, but mostly I tangled with that gorilla over every word I wrote. Somehow NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month) drugged the ape into submission. My goal for thirty days was to write 1667 words daily, any words. Word count was primary, not the quality of the writing.

I started with a few pages about a depressed, menopausal woman at her kitchen table and gradually I discovered she was a widow, mother of twins and a lecturer on hospice issues. As the story grew, Anna, the protagonist, discovers her husband’s shocking betrayal and also finds herself attracted to a woman. Who knew? At the end of NaNoWriMo, November 2010, I had the core of what has become Turtle Season.

I loved waking up every morning for many months and hanging out with Anna and the people who came to populate her life. I loved meeting them daily and discovering their stories. Turtle Season has been available now for a couple of months as an ebook and paperback. Visit my website, to read the first chapter.

And now I am lonely and bereft. Many readers have asked for a sequel. “What happens to Anna? I miss her,” they say. Well I do too! And mostly I miss the daily adventure of creating a story, refining it, giving life.

I had the opportunity of publishing with a lesbian feminist small press, but I hated the idea of losing control of my novel and I also didn’t want to lock myself into a niche market. Although there is definitely a lesbian aspect to Turtle Season, I believe Anna’s story could be any woman’s story. So far, most readers agree.

So I decided to self-publish and chose to work with Beaver’s Pond Press in Edina, MN. Established over twenty years ago, Beaver’s Pond Press was assisting authors way before self-publishing became a trend.

I took the photo attached to this post on a road trip somewhere – I think New Mexico or Arizona. “Open Road with Clouds.” I feel a bit like that now as I stumble around trying to find my way back into a story.

I think of a wonderful poem by James Wright, The Branch Will Not Break, in a poetry collection of the same name, recently republished. I don’t have the exact words with me now but I see Jim Wright, who was my professor, awakening with a massive hangover one morning, looking out the window, and seeing a bird joyously hopping on a tree branch, knowing it would not break. The clouds will disappear and a new character will turn up to keep me company. Another kind of hop.

You too can hop….. Visit Dara Beevas, author of the Indie Author Revolution, Insider’s Guide to Self-Publishing and Amy Quale, Managing Editor of Beaver’s Pond Press at their engaging and useful site They’ll be showcasing a new post on Wednesday, December 12th about self publishing.

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