In Literary Limbo……….

 

 

Chips’s lively, off-the-wall presentation made me laugh out loud. Even if you don’t give a hoot about book covers, publishing, or the like, please watch his short talk. I guarantee you’ll find it fascinating!

 

What’s literary limbo? 

It’s not a West Indies-originated exclusive dance for men. 

(I always learn something new when I blog!)

I’m using another definition of “limbo”: a transitional state. I’m waiting to hear from my editor for the first time.

I’ve had nightmares about our first interaction. In my most vivid dream, the editor emailed me and tersely stated my manuscript needed a lot of work. To add insult to injury, I was told I had to change my title from Birth of a New Brain to BRAIN HAMMER! 

The title BRAIN HAMMER! reminded me of the Beatles’ Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. I couldn’t help but think of this classic song which ain’t exactly about peaches & cream.

 

Well, I couldn’t blame my disturbing dream on a spicy Mexican dinner. Once again my writing insecurity was surfacing from my murky subconscious to say BOO! At least I was able to laugh about it later. Much later.

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Hemingway was such a salty-tongued fellow! 

Of course, I can’t leave out Anne Lamott, or I risk getting trolled by an excessively ardent Anne Lamott fan. unknown-2

Believe me, they exist

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Book Cover News 

My book cover design is done, and it’s beautiful! Thanks to the brilliant book cover designer Vanessa No Heart for taking the concept to a whole new level. I’m not sure when it shall be revealed, but believe me, I’ll let you know as soon as I can. I’ll probably get it tattooed on my face.

A Cool Resource for Writers

I spotted the Publishizer link on Twitter and I was intrigued enough to take a look around the Publishizer site.

I encourage those of you with writerly aspirations to check it out.

The premise is this: You write a proposal and sell pre-orders, and the Publishizers query it to publishers for you. They even guide you step-by-step through writing a book proposal. Nice! (I’d also use agent/co-founder of the San Francisco Writers Conference Michael Larsen’s book as a reference.)

Publishizer queries a variety of publishers at pre-order “milestones.” If you sell 500 pre-orders, they personally query 20 publishers for you. There’s an extensive list of the publishers on the site.

Then you’ll arguably get one of the best problems of your life: you must select the best publishing offer for you. You’ll receive different kinds of offers based on the interest in your (fabulous) proposal.

After all that you shall select the best publishing offer and receive your payment!

Doesn’t it sound so easy-peasy-lemon-squeazy?

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Anyway, I thought the section showing how many agents were interested in each proposal particularly interesting. Please keep in mind that this is my rather poor paraphrasing of what Publishizer’s all about, so go take a peek!

Here’s A Memoir I Recently Enjoyed

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I like the publisher’s description, which I’ve edited quite a bit so this isn’t a 3000-word post. 

“The remarkable story of rising to the top of the music charts, a second act as a tech pioneer, and the sustaining power of creativity and art. Thomas Dolby’s hit songs “She Blinded Me with Science” and “Hyperactive!” catapulted him to international fame in the early 80’s. A pioneer of New Wave and Electronica, Thomas combined a love for invention with a passion for music. But as record company politics overshadow the joy of performing, Thomas finds a surprising second act.

Starting out in a rat-infested London bedsit (I must interject: “GRRRRROOOSSSSSSSSS!!!!!”)  a teenage Thomas Dolby stacks boxes by day at the grocery and tinkers with a homemade synthesizer at night… with a bit of luck he finds his own style, establishing himself on the scene and recording hits that take MTV  by storm. The world is now his oyster, and sold- out arenas, world tours, even a friendship with Michael Jackson become the fabric of his life.

But as the record industry flounders and disillusionment sets in, Thomas turns his attention to Hollywood. Scoring films and computer games eventually leads him to Silicon Valley and a software startup that turns up the volume on the digital music revolution. By 2005, two-thirds of the world’s mobile phones embed his Beatnik software. Life at the zenith of a tech empire proves to be just as full of big personalities, battling egos and roller-coaster success as his days spent at the top of the charts.

(I snipped quite a bit off at this juncture – they gave too much away in their mongo-blurb.)

Thomas Dolby has been named Johns Hopkins University’s first Homewood Professor of the Arts, where he will help create a new center that will serve as an incubator for technology in the arts.”

Now that’s a class I’d love to audit! 

As a longtime fan of Thomas Dolby’s music, I was caught up in his incredible story. The only portion I found challenging was the uber-Silicon Valley techie descriptions, but that was to be expected. I was also very moved to learn about Dolby’s transgender child Harper, and Dolby’s ultimate acceptance and support of his  on. I was plain-old-sad when this memoir ended; I wanted it to go on, which is the sign of a truly awesome book.

The catchy, witty song Close But No Cigar is one of my favorite tunes from Thomas Dolby’s Astronauts and Heretics album, complete with a rip-roaring guitar solo from Eddie Van Halen. Avonlea and I got to see Dolby perform in Santa Cruz; she was in utero at the time. (And unfortunately she doesn’t care for his music or any other “80’s music nightmare artists” for that matter!) 

The Lose It! Update

My friends Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear), Marie Abanga (Merry Marie) and I are using the Lose It! app & website to get healthy. Thanks to Lose It!, I lost 40 lbs. – the equivalent of a small child or big carp fish! However, maintenance is tough, especially because I still struggle with compulsive overeating. I’m sticking to LoseIt! so I don’t yo-yo as I’ve done in the past.

You can sign up for free at www.loseit.com to join our little group; search for the Wondrous Writers group at the Lose It! site. It’s easy. Not peasy-lemon-squeezy. (Sorry.)

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It’s raining cats, dogs, and banana slugs today. The power could go out at any minute, so I’m pressing “publish” before checking for typos. I used my new BFF, Grammarly Premium proofreader, as I typed along and it caught some nasties, but not all of them. I’ll take a chance of offending the typo police. 

I hope you have a good weekend, a happy Halloween on Monday, and I’ll see you next Friday with tales to tell.

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love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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Ready for My Close-Up…Not!

Ready for My Close-Up…Not!

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Neanderthal Dyane 

(Painted by my beloved father, the violinist Richard Leshin, 1927-2009)

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Here I am, looking slightly less like a member of the Homo neanderthalensis species

(Thanks to Crystal Crafton of rap.ture photography)

 

I hate having my picture taken. 

I posed for pics at my wedding only because I drank two bottles of Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque champagne. Ever since that day, I don’t advise any gal to hit the booze a few hours before she gets married. Please allow me to explain…

Our wedding took place six years before my postpartum bipolar diagnosis. However, because of my alcoholic brunch, not eating, and not sleeping the night before our ceremony, I became hypomanic as Craig slipped the wedding ring on my finger. Ugh. Luckily I was able to get a full night’s sleep the following night, and the hypomania quickly subsided.

In keeping with the tradition of this blog, I digress.

Some of you know I turned in my manuscript on October 1st. Until the editing phase begins, there are other tasks to do, such as scheduling a headshot. 

Craig volunteered to take my picture, but I declined because this snob  wanted a professional. I know it’s possible for amateur photographers to take great headshots. One example is the shot my friend, the bestselling author Dan White (Under The Stars, The Cactus Eaters), took of his wife Amy Ettinger, also an author. Check out Amy’s beautiful headshot and what her upcoming book is about, that lucky gal!

Through a friend in my local Facebook group, I was referred to a reasonably priced photographer named Crystal Crafton and I booked her. I refrained from telling Crystal about my aversion to being photographed until we met, for I didn’t want to scare her off! We got together on Tuesday, and I immediately felt at ease with her.

The weather was sunny and clear, so I suggested we shoot at the beautiful Highlands Park across the street. As Crystal snapped away, I gritted my teeth while I emitted the sound the character Mini-Me makes in the Austin Powers movies. The intrepid Crystal had photographed far more challenging  situations, so my freaky noises didn’t faze her.

I was very happy with Crystal’s work! It’s a basic headshot – there’s nothing fancy about it, but I could always use these jazzed-up versions for publicity purposes.

Like this one, which I like to call the “Juice Newton”:

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“Just call me angel of the morning, angel!”

I couldn’t resist adding a link to Juice’s video. It has gotten almost 15 million views. (If you watch it, let me know if you think that’s all her real hair!)

Then there’s “The Bellah”:wp-1476983506051.jpg

“Bellah!” is a nonsensical word my high school BFF and I made up. We used to yell it out in the middle of Ms. Shirley’s 10th-grade math class to shake things up.

Option No. Three: “My True Self”:

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“Oh yes, I’m a Princess at heart, and you will wait on me hand and foot!”

When it comes to my book, I think about it often and I freak myself out with the dreaded “What If’s.”

What if they cancel my contract?

What if I relapse?

What if someone I love dies over the next year? 

I think my subconscious was trying to get me to lighten up the other night. I had a vivid nightmare in which my editor wrote me an icy email that said, “Your book will need a lot of work! We’re going to need plenty of time! Plus, we’re going to change the title to BRAIN HAMMER.”

I loathe the title BRAIN HAMMER! I love my title. I found BRAIN HAMMER pretty funny, and it felt good to laugh about it. But if it turns out I’m psychic, and my nightmare comes true, well, I’ll find other means to get my story out into the world. I’ll keep you posted! 

Quick Lose It! Update

My friends Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear), Marie Abanga (Merry Marie) and I are using the Lose It! app & website to shed pounds. Thanks, in part, to Lose It!, I lost 40 lbs. Hopefully none of those pounds were taken from my hammer brain. It helps me to stick to Lose It! so I don’t yo-yo. Bradley and Marie’s encouragement helps me to no end. You can sign up for free at www.loseit.com – to join our group, search for the Wondrous Writers group at the website.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your wonderful comments & support, and I’ll see you next week, my friends.

Love,
Dyane 

p.s. Please don’t get mad at me if you listen to Angel of the Morning and it stays in your noggin waaaaay longer than you’d like!

 Facebook Birth of a New Brain Book Page – please visit & like it!

My new Twitter handle: @DyaneHarwood 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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Psychiatrist Dr. Manipod’s “Have You Been Hit With Autumn Anxiety?”

Psychiatrist Dr. Manipod’s “Have You Been Hit With Autumn Anxiety?”

Dr. Vania Manipod is an incredible psychiatrist. I’ve been following her blog Freud and Fashion for quite a while because it’s fascinating to read her insights about psychiatry.

I particularly appreciate her willingness to share her challenges and insecurities, both personal and professional. I can’t stand arrogant psychiatrists who prance around thinking they’re better than their patients. Dr. Manipod is the opposite of the big-headed pdoc, and because of her humility, I’ve been pleading with her to open a Santa Cruz practice in two years when my psychiatrist retires.

Dr. Manipod wrote an excellent post about autumn anxiety, a unique topic, & it’s definitely worth the read…let us know what you think!

 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

Freud & Fashion

I noticed a pattern in several of my Instagram posts the last few weeks: a sense of being hard on myself, feeling like I haven’t been productive enough, lacking any sense of accomplishment, feeling as if there’s no time in the day to get through my task list, etc.  Such a surge in self-criticism didn’t sit well with me, so I wanted to gain more insight and determine the trigger (as if I don’t psychoanalyze enough in my day to day life).  It wasn’t until I started noticing the anxious tone in my voice each time I told some of my patients to schedule their next appointment in 3 months (which would be around January 2017) and went on to wish them an early “Happy Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas/Hannukah/Qwanzaa,” etc, that an a-ha moment occurred in my mind — Oh my goodness, it’s almost 2017!

So I started researching if there was…

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On The Road to Publication: Covering My Bases

 

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Separated at birth?

Dear Friends,

Another week has flown by, and I hope that you’re doing well.

When I told my therapist that it seems like a hard time for so many of us, she agreed. She said she knew two people who recently died by suicide, and she noticed more clients are in crisis now compared to other times of the year. 

So, whatever helps you feel a little better each day, do it!

Hanging out with my dog Lucy, good food, reading the WordPress Reader, connecting with bloggers, light therapy, coffee, mood lifting essential oils, watching Netflix shows, listening to anxiety-reducing music

Those are some of my favorite things. Tell me what lifts your spirits in the comments section – I’d love to know.

And speaking of spirits, Halloween is in 18 days!

What will you be?

Visit this post to find out what my costume is – scroll all the way down.

 

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder Update

I submitted my manuscript on October 1st to my publisher. The next step is to start working with my editor. I’m nervous (who wouldn’t be?) but I’m incredibly excited that I’ve reached this stage. (I’m hard at work growing an extra-thick layer of skin because I’ll need it when I get the feedback!) 

I received an excellent foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw, one of the world’s top perinatal psychiatrists. Dr. Henshaw is also an intrepid world traveler and blogger. To read about her journeys visit her blog On The Road Again – Wanderlust and the need to see more of the world.

Cover Design

Here’s the first contender:

Mental Health Humor and psychological disorder humor and cartoons by Chato Stewart
Mental Health Humor and psychological disorder humor and cartoons by Chato Stewart

Just kidding!

Last week I started working with a talented graphic designer who will create the cover! My girls inspired me to come up with a potential concept, and they drafted it on the Post-It pictured below. It’s fun to include them in the process, and I’m thrilled they took an interest.

I love beautifully designed book covers, and I look forward to sharing more details with you in the months ahead.

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Thinking about book covers inspired me to brainstorm about endorsement blurbs. I have an extensive list of celebrated writers, doctors, and even celebs who I want to contact, but I’m holding off until I have a completed cover I can send out to entice them, heh heh heh.

If you’re interested in this topic, publisher Brooke Warner of SheWrites Press wrote an article “An Author’s Guide to Praise and Endorsement Practices”  that’s worth a look.

I took this picture at our local indie bookstore in the children’s book section. I guess as long as no one writes this about my book, I’ll be happy! 😉 

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Social Media, I Can’t Quit You!

After a three-month-long social media hiatus, I’ve returned to Twitter and Facebook. (I took time off to focus on completing my book, and it was a great decision – I highly recommend it.)I won’t kid you – I allowed myself to get sucked right back in! 

I won’t kid you – I allowed myself to get sucked right back in! 

I’d be grateful if you could like my Facebook Book Page

Unlike Facebook, which retains your contacts when you deactivate your profile, Twitter erases your followers, etc. after a certain amount of time. Boo Twitter! I have a new Twitter handle: @DyaneHarwood — and I invite you to follow me!

The Lose It! Update

My friends Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear), Marie Abanga (Merry Marie) and I are using the Lose It! app & website to get healthy. Thanks, in part, to Lose It! I’ve maintained a 40 lb. weight loss but I struggle with food. 

At least over the past few days I stopped bingeing at night! I still eat too much for dessert, but my dessert is a far cry from the tons of gelato, chocolate cake, chocolate bars, chocolate anything I used to eat. These days I enjoy an apple and (lots of ) almond butter! In any case, I’m relieved to have broken the bingeing cycle. I suspect that meeting my deadline had something to do with that…

If you’d like to try Lose It!, you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com – to join our little group, search for the Wondrous Writers group at the site.

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So much for aiming to write a short post. Someday I’ll surprise you and do it. Thanks for reading, and be extra-good to yourselves!

lots of love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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Weekend Vlog Hello to My Friends – XoXo

photo-on-10-5-16-at-9-55-am-2Only 24 days to go! 

Dear Friends,

How are you? I hope you’re doing well. I know it’s a tough month for many of us due to the change in season. I didn’t get a chance to write my typical rambling weekly post, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my vlog.

I share a couple tools that help me deal with challenges such as seasonal affective disorder and anxiety.

I meant to talk a little about my friend Ulla, creator of the blog Blahpolar. Although I didn’t bring her up, she has been on my mind a lot. (Some of you know the awful news: last month Ulla died by suicide.)

If you’re not familiar with Ulla’s blog, here’s the link to the About page. It contains some salty words, so you’ve been warned. 😉 I encourage you to read her blog – it’s one of my all-time favorites. I’m grateful it’ll remain active thanks to her friends. (Be sure to check out her quotes & memes too!)

Here are the links to the resources I mention in the vlog:

The Sunbox Company

Mayo Clinic Water Intake guidelines 

One of my fave green teas: Yogi Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life

Rescue Remedy Plus homeopathic lozenges for anxiety

The Lose It! Update

Extraordinary blogger Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear) and I are still trying our best to be healthy. It ain’t easy. My knee injury put a damper on my redwood forest walks with Lucy.  Due to stress, I’ve been overeating every night. Binge eating is a topic I want to address in a future post – unfortunately it plays a significant role in my life.

I’m happy to announce that the dynamo blogger Marie Abanga has joined our Lose It! group Wondrous Writers! If you’d like to try it (why not?) you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com – to join our group, search for the Wondrous Writers group.

See you next weekend, my friends!

Lots of love,

Dyane

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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Silly Sonnet 29 Redux to Lucy (a.k.a. I’m Not A Poet & I Know It!)

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Dyane & Lucy, 2015

It has been far too serious around here, plus the weather’s turning cold and gloomy. Perhaps the gallon of locally roasted Rocket Fuel from Coffeol Roasting I enjoyed this morning affected me, because I’m suddenly feeling silly! 

My favorite Shakespeare sonnet #29 When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes popped into my brain.

I have a degree in English literature, and once in a while this kind of thing happens. As I slurped my java, I read Counterpoint Press’ newsletter, scrolled down, and BOOM! There was an interview with that guy  from my high school math class who became a bestselling author.

Seeing Norman Ollestad’s intense visage accompanied by all that glow-in-the-dark praise inspired me to commit a silly sin. I changed the Almighty Bard’s words in his beloved Sonnet #29 to reflect my current goofy, insecure state of mind. 

Thankfully Shakespeare wrote the sonnet before 1923, so he can’t sue me for copyright infringement (see this post for more about that topic) although I suppose he could haunt me a la the ghost he penned in Hamlet
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 To that, all I have to say in my most nasal of Valley Girl voices is “Whatever, William!”

Without further adeiu, I present the revision to you. Hope you like it!

XO,

Dyane

Silly Sonnet 29 Redux to Lucy

When, in disgrace with the Craft and writers’ eyes,

I all alone beweep my lack of talent,

And trouble the deaf New York Times Book Review with my bootless cries,

And look upon myself and curse my manuscript,

Wishing me like to J.K. Rowling more rich in….everything!

Featured like her, like her with agents and publicists possessed,

Desiring this woman’s literary art and that woman’s literary scope

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

(Like to the lark at break of day arising 

From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with 5-star Amazon reviews (among other things!)

*here is the original masterpiece Sonnet 29: When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes by William Shakespeare

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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Cheering My dear Dyane all the way with love

As I write this, my friends, I’m still working on my book until tonight – this is called, um, neurotic. But why not, right?

I rarely reblog, but I felt compelled to share this beautifully written post by Marie Abanga. Here’s what I wrote on her blog:

“I can’t thank you enough for this beautiful, beautiful post, Marie.
You’re gonna make me cry, girl!
(Okay, you just did!)

I’m going to reblog it! And you’ll see I re-tweeted it, although Twitter got rid of all my contacts and my old handle! Mean Twitter!

This is a truly amazing post and it has touched my heart like no other. Thanks again from the top of my head to the tips of my toes.
Lucy loves you too!

p.s. I’m thinking of Ulla today. Wish she was here to read this. Xo”

Marie Abanga's Blog

DearDyaneLeshin-Harwood, sadly I don’tknow how to properly link from a phone, but I tried my best…

It all started 9 years ago with your courageous decision to not bottle it up and pretend it never happen, your painful and challenging crawls and strides to get a book deal and submit a draft…

Today, as you finally get to submit that draft, which is a big big step to the fulfilment of your dream and desire to see your exceptional story and advocacy message out there in the literary and psycho-scientic world, know that am rooting for you. I am so proud of you because as an author I know some of the frustrating and yet rewarding pumps of it all…

I am sure dearest, that several member of our e-family as well as your actual family, are equally so supportive and super proud of you…

As I board…

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