Monday Notes: Atlanta Book Reading (Setting Intentions)

Some of you will recall that I had a book reading in Jacksonville, Florida. It was Women’s History Month and my intention was to introduce the book, Daddy in a public way with at least four authors. I did that and it was successful.

breeWith the Atlanta book reading, the intention shifted. One of my co-authors, Bree had a different purpose. She aimed to provide a space for healing.

It began with her creating another title. Instead of the book’s title, Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships, she decided the theme would be, Dear Daddy: Intimate Conversations about Father-Daughter Relationships. And let me tell you, her intention set the tone.

for_keepsAdditionally, Rosa Duffy, the owner of For Keeps Bookstore also had a goal. If you haven’t read about her, then please do so in this Atlanta magazine feature. Her intention was to have an open place for rare, African-American books. Her establishment is in an historical district, and she wanted a place for people to saunter by and say, “hmmm…let me see what’s going on in there.”

As you know, my intention when I write is to raise people’s consciousness, specifically women. I want us to see ourselves in writing and to connect with words and ideas, and then do, act, and speak differently.

Much like other happenings in the universe, these three intentions converged. We each accomplished our desired outcomes.

img_0805We had intimate conversations. A man in the front row pulled out his journal, started writing feverishly, and then held his partner’s hand for the remainder of the event. He didn’t share. He didn’t make eye contact. But I can tell he was moved.

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A woman happened to be walking past For Keeps Bookstore, opened the door, sat down, and connected with the stories being told. She even had an endearing conversation with one of the authors and will probably collaborate with her to continue healing hearts in some way.

Women spoke out about their experiences with their fathers. They shared their pain, and then the conversation took another direction.

Similar to the last reading, a few women expressed the fact that they didn’t realize not everyone had great fathers. But this time they communicated a growing awareness. They felt the need to thank their dads more; to appreciate the time they had left with their fathers; and to simply be more grateful. It became a time to honor everyone’s feelings, even if they were dissimilar. My husband even shared his sentiments. On that day, we were each mindful of one another; we created a dialogue and communicated in an empathetic space.

Once again I’m thankful for this reading. It was different. The energy was intense, in a progressive, Atlanta kind of way.

If you missed the first two readings, then no worries. We’ll be convening in Washington, DC in the fall.

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Monday Notes: Do These 3 Things Before Self-Publishing!

I love supporting people and their endeavors. I also love supporting authors, especially if they are independently published. Over the past three years, I’ve read approximately fifteen self-published books. Five of these were just since January. And most of you know, I’m also independently published. So, I feel confident in offering a few suggestions for those of you who are almost ready to click that publishing button on Amazon, Lulu, Ingram Spark, or Create Space.

editor#1: Please pay for an editor. I know firsthand that editors can be costly. For The Unhappy Wife, I paid a little under $300 and for Daddy, approximately $700. But, I will tell you what. Not one person has approached me asking if I had either edited. This is important. When readers open your book, they are expecting quality, especially if they’ve spent over $10. They are not expecting to trip over misspelled words and syntax errors. In fact, for avid readers, this can be a turn off, not only from finishing the book, but also from trusting you as an author whose work they should read in the future.

#2: Please pay for formatting. I’ve read a few indie books that looked as if the person just uploaded their Word document to a platform for sale. This is a no-no. Sometimes the editor you paid from #1 can also format your book. However, be sure s/he understands the nuance between formatting for a printed book and formatting for an eBook. There is a difference. For example, an eBook has to be reflowable; this means the book reorganizes or reformats itself, no matter the device. It’s the reason you can read a book on your tablet or on your cell phone and it looks the same. Conversely, your printed book has to be created as a static version, and depending on the size of your book, there are also specific dimensions you must adhere to. An editor who knows formatting can help you with either of those.

open_book#3: Proofread your book prior to publishing. I know you’re probably like, KG, I already paid the editor all this money. Why do I have to proofread? Because I said so, that’s why. Just kidding. Let me tell you what happened to me. With Daddy, I paid someone to format, trusted her, and ordered 50 copies. I opened up the book and it was all kinds of terrible. Spacing was off. Words were missing for some reason. It just looked unprofessional. On top of that I had just wasted a couple hundred dollars ordering the books because I was not about to allow that copy to be purchased by the public. I ended up finding someone else and the book looks like the version you have in your possession.

If you’re looking for affordable formatting, Fiverr is a reputable site. I’ve used it before and paid no more than $25. The editor I trusted for Daddy is named Christine Schmidt at True-Blue Editing. Finally, I also have a business that offers proofreading, copy and line editing, called Writing Endeavors®. I’d love to work with you.

Best of luck if you’re planning to self-publish! If you have any other advice for these types of authors, then please feel free to share in the comments.

Giving Back to the Community through Book Sales

1521808695783I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but 100% of the proceeds from the book, Daddy (from June 16, 2018-June 16, 2019) will go to a nonprofit organization near and dear to ten of the authors’ hearts. When you buy a book, you’re also giving back! A list and explanation follows:

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Toliver, Black Girls Code. The owner hopes to “provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Price, the Marjaree Mason Center. The organization “provides emergency and longer-term safe housing, along with a wide variety of support services for victims of domestic violence in Fresno County.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Scott, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The Foundation’s mission is to “provide optimal care and services to individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses and to their families and caregivers.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Wright, North Florida Freedom Schools. Operated under the Children’s Defense Fund, “the goal of CDF’s integrated curriculum is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Hagan, The Rhode Island Center for Justice. This organization partners with community groups to protect legal rights and to ensure justice for vulnerable individuals, families, and communities. The Center provides free civil legal assistance to low-income Rhode Islanders, engages in key impact litigation affecting the rights and wellbeing of thousands across the State, and conducts legislative and policy advocacy on behalf of the communities. 

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Thomas, the March of Dimes. According to their mission statement, “Prematurity is the #1 killer of babies in the United States. We are working to change that and help more moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Jefferson, Vista Maria. The organization’s mission is to “deliver innovative care, support, treatment and education to vulnerable youth so that they heal, believe in their worth, and build the skills needed to succeed.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Kollar, The Oasis Center for Women & Girls. Their mission is to “improve the lives of women and girls through celebration and support.”

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A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Carlyle, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund provides critically-needed medical facilities for treating United States military personnel suffering the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health issues.

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Roxanne, Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project supports veterans who’ve served on or after September 11, 2001. They help veterans transition to civilian life.

Be sure to order a copy for you or a woman you know who might benefit from understanding that she isn’t the only one with “daddy issues.”

Or, order a copy for a father who might need a nudge towards healing by reading about  other men’s imperfect father-daughter relationships.

 

DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: Ishna Hagan

Unlike The Unhappy Wife book, Daddy is not written by me. This anthology includes stories written by women, who felt it important to publicly re-tell narratives centered on their relationship with their father. Each woman’s purpose is similar, yet different. Every Friday, I invite you to read about their reason why.

Today, meet Ishna Hagan, author of “The Deprivation of a Father’s Love,” which describes the impact of physical and financial abandonment.

1521808695783Why were you inspired to contribute to this book? I like to be onboard with any project Katherin takes on. I know it’ll be good, and she is great at executing and bringing it all together. I also know for her anthology, I could offer an honest story about my and my father’s relationship. Furthermore, I write. Everything fell right into place.

What is your father-daughter relationship like now? My dad and I are cool. I visit him and will take my 3-year-old daughter to see him. I always have a place to stay and food when I’m in town.

If there is one thing you could tell your father what would it be? I wish we were closer.

What do you hope your story accomplishes? I hope fathers do better to be honest. I hope they hear our cry for improvement. Also, I want to encourage women to be conscious of with whom they procreate. It’s a game-changer. (Ask me how I know).

What are you working on currently? I am currently working on my music review website, Just One Thing. Like music? Please visit.

ishnaIshna Hagan creates marketing-driven website copy and e-commerce stores for North American businesses. She is also a published author—most notably for her article “Gulf Residents Protest, Brace Themselves for Effects of Oil Spill” (National Newspaper Association, 2010) and for her WUSA9 online news reports. Ishna has one beautiful daughter and is a proud Howard University graduate.

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Hagan, The Rhode Island Center for Justice. This organization partners with community groups to protect legal rights and to ensure justice for vulnerable individuals, families, and communities. The Center provides free civil legal assistance to low-income Rhode Islanders, engages in key impact litigation affecting the rights and wellbeing of thousands across the State, and conducts legislative and policy advocacy on behalf of the communities. 

The eBook version of Daddy is available now for pre-order!

The paperback version of Daddy is available for order here.

DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: Anna Scott

Unlike The Unhappy Wife book, Daddy is not written by me. This anthology includes stories written by women, who felt it important to publicly re-tell narratives centered on their relationship with their father. Each woman’s purpose is similar, yet different. Every Friday, I invite you to read about their reason why.

Today, please meet Anna Scott, author of “The Thing About My Father.”

Why were you inspired to contribute to this book? When Kathy invited me to submit an essay about my relationship with my father for consideration in Daddy, I knew this was a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work through the myriad emotions I felt toward him in what I hoped was a healthy, constructive way. One of my greatest concerns while writing this piece was making sure that my intentions for doing so were clean. By that, I mean that I didn’t want to write out of anger or to be vindictive. I wanted to write to share my truth about our relationship, as I saw it, and in the process, try to heal and move on. Writing this was cathartic in the sense that, while I didn’t have any epiphanies or learn anything I didn’t already know deep down, I was able to release the expectations associated with our relationship. Somehow the process of putting pen to paper and being able to look at the relationship objectively, through an author’s eyes, transferred that energy out of me.

What is your father-daughter relationship like now? Nothing has changed on the surface. Our relationship is still superficial, kind of like that between a niece and an uncle she sees a few times a year. What has changed is that this no longer upsets me. Once I accepted that my father doesn’t get it and never will, I stopped taking his behavior personally. This has made a tremendous difference in my sense of self-worth and esteem. Also, I no longer feel an obligation to make effort with him.

If there is one thing you could tell women who struggle with “daddy issues” what would it be? I would tell them that they are worthy, lovable, and significant regardless of whether their father values them or not. I would tell them to be kind, loving, and forgiving to themselves. I would also tell them to be mindful of the men they invite into their lives so that they are not unconsciously trying to work out their “daddy issues” through unhealthy romantic relationships. It is better to be alone than with someone who doesn’t value you.

1521808695783What do you hope your story accomplishes? There are two things I hope to accomplish with my story. The first is that it might encourage women to stop feeling guilty and afraid to speak their truth to and about their fathers. This is tough, I know, because The Bible tells us to honor our father, and so it seems the burden of guilt falls on us, the daughters, no matter how deplorable our fathers might be. Family members may try to make us feel guilty for speaking out, even if they know full well our father has hurt us in some way. Society overall might judge and condemn us. Even so, it is our right to speak our truth, as we see it and feel it. A wise woman once shared something that I still refer to whenever I am questioning my feelings about someone or something: “I know what I know. I see what I see. I feel what I feel.” Don’t let anyone invalidate your feelings in the name of “honoring” your father if said father is an asshole. The second thing I hope to accomplish is that women will realize they should not take their father’s behavior toward them – whether it is rejection, cruelty, abandonment or something else – personally. Again, this is tough, because fathers are supposed to love and protect and adore their daughters, and when they don’t, it hurts. Try not to internalize the pain. It is his ignorance, selfishness, fear, self-loathing, etc. that causes him to behave the way he does. In the end, blowing the opportunity to have an authentic, loving, healthy relationship with his daughter is his responsibility and loss far more than anyone else’s.

What are you working on currently? Currently, I’m working on a historical romance novel set in 1930 Newport, RI. It’s about a young woman trying to hold her family together after her father loses his fortune and his mind in the 1929 stock market crash, who falls in love with the businessman sent to try and purchase their summer cottage for a steal. Recently, I submitted to Harlequin a 75,000-word historical romance. It is the first novel I have ever completed, and I didn’t show it to a soul before submitting it. This was a bucket list goal for me. Three months later, I received a rejection; however, it was accompanied by an extensive constructive critique by the editors that told me what they had enjoyed about it and what they felt needed improvement should I choose to submit again. I was so encouraged by the feedback that I am back to work on this new novel and plan to try again.

Anna Scott believes in the power of writing our stories to facilitate healing and personal growth. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and the family cat. “The Thing About My Father” is her first published personal essay.

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Scott, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The Foundation’s mission is to “provide optimal care and services to individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses and to their families and caregivers.”

The eBook version of Daddy is available for pre-order now!

Paperback is available for order here.

 

DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: S.R. Toliver

Unlike The Unhappy Wife book, Daddy is not written by me. This anthology includes stories written by women, who felt it important to publicly re-tell narratives centered on their relationship with their father. Each woman’s purpose is similar, yet different. Every Friday, I invite you to read about their reason why.

Today, meet S.R. Toliver, author of “Trial by Father.”

Why were you inspired to contribute to this book? I have always had a strained relationship with my father, but I was never able to talk about it until a couple of years ago. Therapy helped. It was in therapy sessions that I realized what I felt was valid. It was in therapy that I learned that I’m not responsible for the way I was treated, and that it was okay for me to let go of my father because he was the cause of my anxiety. After being able to talk about it, I felt like the next step was to write about it. There might be a young girl who is dealing with some of the same issues that people don’t want to talk about, and maybe by my speaking about it, they’ll know that they aren’t alone.

What is your father-daughter relationship like now? I completely cut my father off about two years ago. I had a major anxiety attack the summer before I began my Ph.D. program, and I couldn’t figure out why. What I realized later, though, was that it was because my father had been in the same space, something that I’ve avoided (physically by not being around or mentally by drinking). There’s so much trauma that I experienced when he was around that it started to manifest physically. I just didn’t know that it was called an anxiety attack until then. I’ve been much happier now that I don’t speak to him or see him.

1521808695783If there is one thing you could tell women who struggle with “daddy issues” what would it be? It’s not your fault. You father’s issues don’t define who you are or who you have become. They don’t have to guide your life. If it’s hard for you to see that, like it was hard for me, then therapy can work wonders. Don’t be afraid to seek help from outside voices.

If there is one thing you could tell men with daughters what would it be? They are bombarded by images that constantly tell them they aren’t enough. They are consistently told that they aren’t deserving of love. They don’t need to hear the same messages from you.

What do you hope your story accomplishes? I hope that it opens up discussions about the ways fathers can place unnecessary burdens on their daughters. I want there to be conversations about how toxic masculinity can cause fathers to question and judge their daughters rather than questioning the society that oversexualizes them before they begin to acknowledge their own sexuality or sexual identity.

What are you working on currently? I always tell my friends that Storm (from the X-Men) saved my life. I say this because I always looked to her as a pillar of strength even when the whole world hated her just for existing. My Ph.D. work centralizes science fiction for this reason. Reality can be burdensome and harsh, and although it is necessary to acknowledge, sometimes Black girls need dreams to hold onto instead of reality.

srtoliverS.R. Toliver is pursuing a PhD in language and literacy education at the University of Georgia. Her current research is based in the critical tradition, analyzing young adult literature and literacy pedagogies in an effort to promote social justice and equity in education. She can be reached on Twitter: @SR_Toliver.

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Toliver, Black Girls Code. The owner hopes to “provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.”

The eBook version of Daddy is available for pre-order right now

Paperback is available for order here.

DADDY: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships (Cover Reveal)

 

I write to inspire. I write to motivate people to re-think social issues. I write to raise women’s voices because, although women make up nearly half of the world’s population, many times our experiences are not heard, and subsequently, devalued.

To that end, I’ve compiled another anthology. This time, I’ve invited 13 women to write memoirs centered on their father-daughter relationships. Over the next couple of months, I’ll introduce you to ten of the writers. Each Friday, they’ll explain why they wrote and what they hope to accomplish by participating in such a project.

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SYNOPSIS

A father’s presence is important in a daughter’s life. He is the first man a little girl sees and knows. He demonstrates how men relate to women.

But what happens when the father-daughter relationship is dysfunctional? Daddy answers that question.

Included are fourteen memoirs that describe the impact a failed father-daughter relationship can have. These women share essays and narratives that detail various stages of breakdown. Whether an event occurred in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, each story explains how their father’s physical, emotional, or psychological abandonment has affected them.

The book is separated into two parts. Part I shows the proverbial truth in the phrase, hurt people hurt people. While some stories confirm why or how men mistreat their daughters, others show how daughters sometimes internalize neglect and continue the cycle either with the relationship they have with themselves, or others. Part II illustrates how compassion can lead towards a path of inner peace and happiness, no matter the state of the relationship.

About the Editor

garlandkDr. K E Garland is an award-winning writer, whose work has appeared in the The Coil, The Mighty, and For Harriet, a popular women’s blog. Her writing focuses on creative nonfiction intended to inspire. Though born and raised on the west side of Chicago, Katherin now lives in Jacksonville, Florida with Dwight Garland Jr., her husband of over twenty years and her daughters, Kesi and Desi.

Editor’s Links: Website  WordPress  Facebook

                              Twitter  Instagram    Amazon

                              Goodreads

eBook pre-orders available NOW

Paperback orders available June 2, 2018.

Sofia from The Unhappy Wife book

unhappy-wifeSofia was the first wife that I’d interviewed. Her story is interesting for two reasons. The first is because I wanted ethnic diversity. She identifies as Latina and her ex-husband is part African. It was great to be able to show that marital challenges are cross-cultural. This story was also interesting because there are not many women who are willing to share details about intimacy with the world.

Concept: At the crux of this narrative is a sexless marriage. Sofia and Leo didn’t have sex for years. What caused the lack of sex was Leo’s infertility. This was the one story where I was able to show the husband’s innermost feelings. Leo’s reaction to his inability to produce sperm affected how he interacted for the remainder of their marriage. He once told Sofia, “If I would’ve found out it was you who was infertile, I would’ve left.” This is a direct quote. Whether it was because of gender or ethnicity, not being able to have sex and procreate was a big deal to Leo. It seemed to be what being a man and marriage was about for him.

But Leo wasn’t the only one who had a view of how marriage was supposed to go. Sofia did too. Another central part of the story was how much she enjoyed taking care of Leo’s needs. Because he was career military, he was always coming and going. Sofia enjoyed this. She helped him pack out to leave, and she helped him unpack when he returned. She cooked and assumed other duties that some of us might deem “old-fashioned.”

Commentary: I wanted to show how both Sofia and Leo had developed a societal stereotype about wives, husbands and marriage, and then lived out those ideas. Leo believed a husband was someone who could give his wife a baby, and if he couldn’t do that, then what was the point of being married, much less having sex? Is this the truth? I’m not a man and I’ve never been infertile, but I suppose if my gender identity was inextricably linked to my fertility, then where would that leave me? What would that make me?

The fact that Sofia stayed with Leo for years, even after his insensitive comment also struck me as odd. She explained that she was fine because she continued to do the part of marriage she liked: taking care of Leo. That was her focus. I suppose that can be marriage, but I’m not sure it’s a relationship. I’m not sure that a husband and wife can sleep separately, have no sex and be 100% happy. This is also why I categorized her experience as part of the “Detached Wife” section. It seemed that she was separated from the reality of her relationship.

unhappy-wifeWhat do you think?

What else stood out for you in this story? Do you think she should’ve been in another category? Is sex important for a marriage and/or relationship? Or am I trippin?

It’s not too late to order The Unhappy Wife here, so you can catch up. Next month, we have to skip Rhadiya, because she also signed a waiver that doesn’t allow me to discuss her story in public. And if you read the book, then you probably understand why! So we’ll move on to everyone’s second favorite wife, Miss Sharlene 😉

4 Things I Learned while Self-Publishing

TUWcover2#1 Outsource your cover design; however, be mindful about how much you pay. The same person who designed the Kwoted cover also created The Unhappy Wife cover. This time around, she charged $265. This is not what I expected for a simple eBook jpeg. But instead of complaining, I paid her for it and then learned about a site called Fiverr. On Fiverr, you can find anyone to do anything digital for you. By the time I was ready for a cover for the paperback, I simply signed up, listed an ad with these words: I need a 6×9 paperback cover for Lulu specifications, and then narrowed my choices down from international graphic designers. Someone I didn’t know produced the paperback cover in less than 48 hours for $15.00!!!

img_1603#2 Outsource your editor. I started to ask an English major friend to proof and edit The Unhappy Wife, but everything I’d read stated that this should be completed by a paid professional. I used a book called 2015 Guide to Self-Publishing in order to find an editor. The book lists several different editors by state. I vetted a few Florida ones through email in order to determine cost and efficiency. Each one offered a free/sample editing of the first 500-1000 words. Once I emailed the story, I compared editing style, personality and expertise. For example, the editor who charged $700 had a lot of industry knowledge and mentioned book characteristics that I wasn’t familiar with. Another editor who charged significantly less didn’t notice things like number formatting. I decided to go with someone in the middle, Erin Foster Books. She had a great personality, didn’t charge an arm and a leg, and offered two passes (read and edited twice).

#3 Outsource the formatting because it has to be precise. You probably can figure out the formatting yourself, but by the time I’d written a book, revised a book, and edited a book, the last thing I wanted to do was format a book. eBook formatting is so very finicky. It has to do with styles, style changes, making the book reflowable, etc. (big yawn). Paperback versions have to be formatted totally different than eBooks because whatever you send to your distributor is what will be printed, exactly as is. Take it from me; just have someone else do it. In my case, I asked Erin. She was wonderful and both books were published with no issues.

#4 Choose your publisher/distributor wisely. I chose Amazon because it’s the largest retailer of eBooks and authors earn 70% profit, which is the highest in the industry. But because I’m also not a fan of having all of my eggs in one monopoly basket, I chose Lulu.com to publish/distribute the paperback. Again, Lulu is known for paying the largest profit (as long as you sell from their site). This site also offers mass distribution to places like Barnes & Noble. Finally, Lulu prints books that look and feel like traditional books. I’m sure you know what I mean.

If you’re planning to self-publish a book, then I hope this information helps you in some way. If you’ve already self-published a book, then what else would you add? You know I’m all about helping one another!

Book Review: The Unhappy Wife | Dr. KE Garland #unhappyWIFEBook #52things52weeks

This Friday’s review of The Unhappy Wife comes from Marquessa! She and I began our blogs at the same time, two years ago. I think we met in Blogging 101 and have been supporters of one another ever since. Check out her blog! She’s an amazing fiction writer, who will have you waiting for her next installment about Alejandro 😉