My Little Surprise & Humiliation at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk!


Dear Friends,

Prepare yourself for a post filled with thrills

of the amusement park ride persuasion….

and chills I’m getting from the thought of proofing my book yet again!

Yesterday I received a PDF file from my managing editor at Post Hill Press. It was the paginated interior of my book!

It was a surreal experience scrolling through the file. Birth of a New Brain now looks like a bona fide book complete with photos and professional formatting, unlike the ARC (advanced review copy) which is a simple Word document devoid of photos or any stylistic touches. 

 

The ARC of Birth of a New Brain didn’t look like a “booky wook.” 

 

I didn’t know I’d have the opportunity to proof my book again, which was my little surprise. However, I knew the ARC had typos and other problems – errors that I wanted to fix, so now I can give it another shot.

While examining 250+ pages will be tedious, I’m thankful I get the chance to do it. I have eighteen days – gulp. Eighteen days sounds like a decent amount of time, but it’ll go by in a heartbeat.  I might need to eat a piece of humble pie and beg for a few more days.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Lost Boys was filmed at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk thirty years ago, the year before I moved here!

I took the girls to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Monday. Whenever I take them there, which is rare because it’s costly even with season passes, I consider the trip to be a profound event. (I wrote about why that’s the case in my post The Found Girl.)

I managed to have a panic attack on the Freefall ride in the children’s zone! I had never been on that ride before, but Avonlea had. She told me I’d be fine, and while I had an inkling I wasn’t going to like the ride, I was clueless I’d react the way I did.

The Boardwalk’s website blatantly lies – it describes Freefall as “Great training for bigger thrills! Freefall springs riders up and drops them down for a giggly good time.”

My Nemesis: Freefall

 When you watch this video, the ride doesn’t look scary, but the woman’s incessant laugh is frightening!!!

 

Our observant teen ride operator took pity on me when he heard my agonized screams and saw my terrified face. He stopped the ride and asked me if I wanted to exit.

Of course I did!

A little girl no older than four seated next to me laughed at my pain! My girls were fine. Avonlea is a daredevil and has been on Double Shot, the big, freaky-to-the-100,000,000th degree version of Freefall!

Marilla was a little scared at first, but her fear quickly went away. They didn’t mind getting off the ride so they could support their freaked-out, humiliated mom.

The Double Shot a.k.a. the 10th Circle of Dante’s Hell

 

Years ago I survived the Tower of Terror at Disneyland. The ride does the same type of up-down-up-down moves as Freefall, but it’s far scarier. My Tower of Terror ride took place years before I was diagnosed with the ultimate Terror: bipolar disorder.

On Freefall, I felt completely out of control since I wasn’t in charge of the stomach-twisting ups and downs. That helpless feeling triggered bad feelings. (You’ll never find me pretending to be an eloquent writer!)

Now I know I must stick to my favorite rides: the bumper cars, the flume log ride, and the wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster, which was built in 1924 and survived the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake!

 

1911 Looff Carousel with my girls

“The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s 1911 Looff Carousel is a National Historic Landmark and local treasure. The hand-carved merry-go-round has been turning children’s seaside dreams into golden memories since 1911.”

This ride is featured in the tense opening scene of The Lost Boys at the one-minute markI love this film! Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, the Two Coreys, Dianne Wiest, Edward Hermann (the gentleman who narrated all those History Channel shows), and 80’s music!!!

What’s not to love? If you haven’t seen it yet, promise me you’ll put it at the top of your bucket list. 

As you can tell, I get carried away when I reminisce about The Lost Boys. Please forgive me – I can’t help it. I’m such a sucker for it. Ha ha ha ha! If you’ve seen this movie, do you get it? 😉

Thanks for reading, and have a great Friday & weekend.

Sending you my love,

Dyane

 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder,  foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw, will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017. Birth of a New Brain is now available on Amazon for paperback pre-sales. Kindle pre-sales will be available later this summer.

 

The Evolution of a Book Cover/Update

 

Welcome and Happy Freaky Friday, my friends!

I’m writing this post in a zombie-like state.

(Now, before some of you comment, “That’s nothing new,” please hear me out.)

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I met my editing deadline on Wednesday night, and I swear I felt like I had a baby. I’ve never worked that hard on something before, with the exception of labor. I was so exhausted that I actually slept well. (
My fellow insomniacs will get the significance of such an event!) I’m slowly coming back to life…

I look forward to reading your blogs again and replying to your wonderful comments.

Some of you have seen the current cover on the Facebook page (please “like” & share the love!) and Twitter. It’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon  (woo hoo!), and the Kindle pre-sales option will come this summer. It’ll be out October 10th.

A week ago my book got posted on Amazon, and it was SUPER-exciting! It went to #20 on Bipolar Book bestsellers for an hour! 😉 It was the #1 Hot New Release in Amazon’s “Pregnancy & Childbirth” category for an afternoon or so! 
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But yesterday I had a little surprise!

My publisher asked me to consider changing the front cover title font from cursive to regular. (Regular…schmegular…whatever that word is! I told you I’m a zombie!)

Although I’ve disagreed with them before on other points, I was okay with this suggestion. More than okay. But I don’t like the all caps element. (You’ll see what I mean when you look at the 2/16 image.)

Some backstory you should know is that I negotiated with my publisher to handle the cover design, but they would get final approval, of course. And they did approve what I submitted. (Hope that makes sense.)

Moving on…

Here’s how the cover came to be:

My daughters and I thought of an idea. We created this mock-up. (Sorry for the terrible picture, but you get the idea…) The title, subheader, bylines were black on the mock-up, but we wanted our designer to use a sparkling white color instead of black.

Avonlea wanted the title font to consist of stars (and those fonts exist), but that didn’t quite work out.

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We gave that mock-up to our remarkable graphic designer Vanessa No Heart to play with. Vanessa sent us a bunch of ideas that boiled down to this image with three different color palettes:

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I liked this one the best:

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My publisher prefers this font. They have a very good rationale which I’ll paraphrase below.

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2/16 Image

I’m down with the publisher’s font, BUT I’d like “Birth,” “New,” and”Brain” to have the first letter capitalized.  I’m really hoping they’re going to be honky dory with that feedback!

Here’s the loosely paraphrased rationale:

“Dear Dyane,

We think the design you submitted will hurt sales. 

Readers use visual elements to identify the book’s topic, and this process happens super-fast

Usually, script fonts signify humorous topics, light topics

Your memoir covers a serious, important topic. Our font makes it look more serious, not like a Harlequin romance novel

When you look at books online or in a store, you spend a fraction of a minute looking at a cover. Cursive is harder to read. Many readers pass on the book ONLY because they don’t want to take a closer look at the font!”

Okay, that all makes 100% sense! Like I mentioned, I just don’t like the all-caps version. It’s too stark and I don’t feel the magic! 😉 

The publisher also wrote they wanted my approval on the suggested font, which was very cool of them to do. Technically, I think they could have insisted that I had to accept the new font. At least they are being respectful.

In the big picture of worldly events, this is a very, very, VERRRRRRY minor situation, and I’m not going to freak out. But I do love nice book covers, and I’d like to be proud of mine, you know what I’m sayin’? 

Stay tuned…..let me know your deep or shallow thoughts on the matter, and if you don’t like the cover, I understand – it’s not for everyone…& most importantly, have a GREAT weekend!!!!!

XOXO

Dyane

Dyane Harwood’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.

It’s now available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon at this link!

 

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Cover Reveal Coming….I Miss You All!

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Dear blogging friends, hello there!

I know, I know….I promised I’d do the exciting cover reveal yesterday, but I lied. Just kidding. The truth is that I’ve been TOTALLY flipping out about meeting my Feb. 15th deadline. (It’s nothing major…it’s just the deadline to submit my revised manuscript to The Great and Powerful Oz.)

 So please, I beg of you, give me an extension! The truth shall be revealed!

Speaking of book covers, some of you have seen the following image, but for those who haven’t had the, um, experience yet, I’ll reveal what the cover is NOT going to be.

The cartoonist Chato Stewart generously submitted this artwork pro bono for my consideration. I was grateful, but after careful consideration, I decided to take a pass.

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

The cover won’t be this:

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This is picture of a bona fide mountain lion who lives near me! Photo courtesy of the Santa Cruz Puma Project

The cover won’t be this either, primarily because it’s my husband’s book’s cover:


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It won’t be this:

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(courtesy of Bookshop Santa Cruz)

On the other hand, THIS could work!

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Have a great Valentine’s Day! I send you each a virtual tray of calorie-free pastries from the glorious heaven known as the Ben Lomond Baking Company.

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Sending you lots and lots of love,

Dyane

Dyane Harwood’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.

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Two Editing Gems & Cover/Pre-Sale Update!!!

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Hello, my lovelies!

This will be the shortest post I’ve written in a long time. I read somewhere that an ideal blog post length is around 500 words. Since I usually publish 2000+ words, I’m happy I won’t bog you down this week!

In next week’s post, there’s a chance I’ll be revealing the cover of my memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder and I’ll provide an Amazon link where it’ll be available for groovy pre-sales!!!!

I’ve scanned books on Amazon for years. (Don’t ask me how many books I’ve bought for my Kindle because it’s downright freakish.) It will be incredible and surreal to see my book on my Kindle Fire’s fingerprint-covered screen.

Aside from avoiding being a tasty nibble for our neighborhood mountain lion

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I’ve continued editing every day.

I’ve killed more darlings! (I must admit every “murder” has felt good!)

I invested in two awesome, relatively inexpensive editing tools: Grammarly Premium, and  ProWriting Aid, which is relatively new and remarkable to boot.

I learned about ProWriting Aid at the awesome * Beyond Your Blog by Susan Maccarelli. I encourage you to read Susan’s review “How A Non-Human Leveled Up My Writing.” ProWriting Aid has been the most helpful to me, and has more features than Grammarly. You can try ProWriting Aid for free, and if you want to purchase it, you can do that too! With Susan’s discount code provided on her blog post, I received 20% off the cost. I paid less than $40 for a year’s subscription, which is the same amount of money I’ve been known to blow at the Italian-owned, dreamy Ben Lomond Baking Company down the road; they made me gain ten pounds – it’s all their fault.

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Damn you, Ben Lomond Baking Company! I can’t quit you!

ProWriting Aid has been worth its weight in chocolate ganache cupcakes and gold.

That’s all the news that’s fit to blog. Phew!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for putting up with my being incommunicado during the home stretch to publication! And thanks, as always, for reading!

Love,

Dyane

p.s. I can’t take all the credit for editing. My ghost writer Lucy has been working very hard too.

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With her hedgehog baby

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Stretching before returning to take over the laptop

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After an intense editing session, Lucy took a dognap on Craig’s pillow – please don’t let him know, although in truth she’s the cleanest member of our family!

* Beyond Your Blog is “a site helping bloggers successfully submit their writing for publishing opportunities beyond their personal blogs. Susan also offers online training and consulting to new bloggers looking for direction on submitting their writing for publication. Susan has interviewed dozens of editors from publications like The New York Times, Huffington Post, Brain, Child, Chicken Soup For The Soul, The Washington Post, and speaks at many respected writing and blogging conferences.” 

 

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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.

A Noise I’ll Never Forget…

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Photos courtesy of the Santa Cruz Puma Project

Today at 3:00 a.m., I woke up and realized I left something important in my car. I needed to get it, so I walked up the hill to our driveway. It was pitch black outside and brrrrrrrrrr…cold!!!!

On my way to my car, I heard the chickens rustling loudly, and I thought maybe a few raccoons had been around. As I began opening our wooden gate, I heard a very low, rumbling, resonant growl the likes of which I’ve never heard before. It sounded like a mountain lion’s growl.

My gut told me whatever made that noise was NO dog! I can’t prove it, but I swear it was a mountain lion. 

I fled back to the house. Running away from a mountain lion is exactly what you aren’t supposed to do – it can provoke a mountain lion to attack you! You’re supposed to make yourself look big, i.e. raise your arms up high and yell.  

After I heard that unforgettable sound, I stood still inside our house for a good 20 minutes, trembling from fear, thinking about what took place.

We live in mountain lion country. Recently, mountain lions have been spotted a few minutes up our street, so it’s entirely plausible that my gut was right. 

It’s their home as well as ours, but that growl was one of the most frightening sounds I’ve ever heard. (It sounded a lot like the growl at this link.)

And I’m grateful to that mountain lion because it didn’t attack me. That’s not the way this gal wants to go – oh, my dear mountain lion/neighbor, if you’re going to come after me, please wait until my book Birth of a New Brain is published in October! 

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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On the Homestretch of Editing “Birth of a New Brain”

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I look a lot like her, complete with frizzy hair and her expression! (But she’s dressed way better than I am.)

Hello, hello!

You might have noticed I’ve been taking a hiatus from reading your blogs. Believe me, I miss them! Hopefully you haven’t been making voodoo dolls in my image for neglecting your posts.

I swear on a tower of glorious Halo Top Ice Cream pints I shall return to your blogs come February!

To add insult to injury, I still owe replies to comments some of you made on my last post – that one about the awful email I wanted to send my writing teacher. While I plan on responding, I must say that each of you who gave me advice was 100% right!;)

De to my Jan. 31 deadline, every spare moment I have is allocated to editing 300 pages of….well, now I can state for the record that my manuscript (ms) no longer resembles Bandini Mountain.

However, sh*t describes exactly how I’ve felt about my ms ever since I got it back from my editor last month, and heck, long before that.

After making the editor’s suggested changes, I realized that my book was NOT ready to be perused by anyone, especially a famous author who agreed to consider contributing a cover blurb. 

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Even after following my editor’s suggestions, the ms still needed a TON of work, and I made up my mind that I was going to give it one last shot before turning it in. I’ve been “killing my darlings” and last night I deleted an entire chapter that didn’t further the story. Sorry to sound like a drama queen, but deleting those pages almost killed me.

With the exception of giving birth, I’ve never worked so hard in my life. I’ve been sleeping, but I’ve had vivid nightmares such as the one where alien-human hybrids were eating people around me, and it was clear I was next in line. I woke up just in time.

There was another nightmare that was even worse: I was editing my ms and found an error, and I fixed it, only to discover it had reappeared. That happened with the same error over and over again, a la maddening Groundhog Day fashion. 

Yuck!

At least Lucy has been by my side; her loving energy has been an enormous boost. (That’s her hedgehog “baby” next to her paw.)

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So that’s what has been going on in my life, and things will continue to be that way until January 31st. Every second I’m not taking care of the girls or doing the neverending chores, I’m in my office (i.e. on my bed) editing until I can’t take it anymore, and I guiltily close the ms Word file to play hooky on the wicked internet.

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How are you?

Sending you my love, as always,

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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To Send or Not to Send? (A Self-Indulgent Fantasy!)

“Sometimes a fantasy is all you need…”  

Sometimes a Fantasy by Billy Joel is from the seminal album Glass Houses. I must have listened to that album hundreds of times in the 1970s!

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I wrote last week I’d update you about working with the editors on my book Birth of a New Brain. I’m reviewing their feedback, and I’m editing every day for hours until I speak in tongues, but please, I ask you for an extension, because something else came up! 

It all started yesterday with WhitePages Premium.

I was searching for author Martha Manning’s new email. She’s a psychologist who I interviewed via email in the 1990s for a magazine article. Manning wrote Undercurrents about her ECT experience, one of the best books I’ve read about ECT. I wanted to send her an ARC of my book to see if she might possibly endorse it. (I take breaks from editing to do that sort of thing.)

Well, it turned out that I found it impossible to find an active email for her, so I finally spent a whopping $1.00 for a five-day trial of WhitePages Premium. I plugged in Manning’s name and I was given not one, not two, but six emails for her, including the email that worked for me in the 90s, but all six emails are now stinkers! I was dismayed, to say the least. 

Had I wasted my precious dollar???

It turns out I did not. WhitePages Premium gave me surprisingly accurate contact information for other professionals and even celebrities I’ve been in touch with over the years, so it wasn’t a sham.

I tell you this because:

a) You might want to use this resource.

b) I used it in a moment of weakness which I’d like to share here. Just to be clear, I don’t recommend that you do anything like what I contemplated doing. I want you to learn from my wicked ways!

Si vous plait, allow me to explain.

Some of you might remember my Bad Manners post.

In a nutshell, last year I was excited to learn that my college writing instructor’s play was being produced near my home. Despite my severe social anxiety, I went to the matinee and listened to her speak about the play afterward. It looked like she was doing well. 

I made 100% sure she received a package I left for her at the box office.

I don’t usually do that kind of thing, but I had brought a letter and some gifts for her. After going to that trouble, I gave it to the stage manager because I didn’t want to bug my teacher, and I was freaked out in general.

I spent all afternoon writing that letter, thanking her for being a great influence on me as a writer. I filled her in on my writing career after college, my bipolar diagnosis & its harrowing aftermath, and my upcoming Post Hill Press book. I included my contact info.

I never got a thank-you, not even a one-liner email. 

I know that when we give someone a gift, we should have no expectations. It shouldn’t be “tit for tat.” (Sorry, that’s a dumb phrase you won’t catch me uttering out loud, or writing again for that matter.)  

But I still believe in my heart of hearts there’s no excuse for rudeness.

I wondered if my teacher now felt I wasn’t worth her time since she was no longer just my teacher, but someone who had partnered with one of the most famous and successful writers of our century. (By the way, I know how ridiculous this all sounds.) Maybe she didn’t want to associate with someone with bipolar, or someone who was a small potatoes writer like me. Maybe she had a crisis, right? Who knows.

I certainly don’t know.

I may be a mess of a human being, but I’ve tried my best to thank the kind people who popped up in my life no matter what their status has been.

So let’s go back to WhitePages Premium and see what all the fuss is about!

Believe it or not, I had forgotten about what happened with my teacher, but when I played around with WhitePages Premium, I put her name into the tabs. Up came several emails for her, plus her address which I already knew was accurate.

I wrote this draft:

Dear Teacher,

I want to thank you so much for not thanking me for my letter and gifts. I was shocked I never got a reply because I don’t think you would have ignored my letter in 1991.

However, I learned a valuable lesson – I must have learned a lesson since you were one of the best teachers I ever had, but I just don’t know what the hell it is.

All my best,

Dyane

PLEASE NOTE I DIDN’T SEND THAT GROSSLY IMMATURE EMAIL!

Plus, I read it to Craig and he talked me off the “I’m gonna press ‘send’ ledge.” Moreover, this teacher and I live in a small town, and I don’t think I should burn a bridge with her in that way. But dang, I was tempted to send it!

What would you do if this kooky scenario happened with a teacher you admired…who you connected with and never forgot even though you had sh*tloads of unilateral and bilateral ECT?

Let it go?

(That’s what my Frozen soundtrack-loving girls would sing at me!) 

Thanks for reading, and have a good week!

Love,

Your friend who loves to air her brain’s dirty laundry

 

The first two lines sum it up so well: 
“This is a story about two writers. A story, in other words, of envy.”

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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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