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.

My Old-School Meds Helped A Star’s Treatment-Resistant Depression!

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It’s another rainy Thursday, but I’m in a better state of mind. The past week I haven’t thought much about being rejected by Team Voldemort.

As Kermit and Fozzie sing, it’s time to be:

Movin’ Right Along!

 

Over the past few nights, I read country music superstar Naomi Judd’s new memoir River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope. The instant bestseller was co-written by Marcia Wilkie. Although I’m not a country music fan, I wanted to read about Judd’s experience with severe mental illness. 

I found the book absorbing and well-written. Like many gifted musicians, Judd had a very tough childhood. She was traumatized by sexual abuse, a profound lack of parental love, and much more. She became the young, single mom of Wynonna and Ashley, and put herself through nursing school. She endured more physical and emotional abuse. Her story is a remarkable one.

However, Naomi Judd differs from many of us in that she had the finances to spare almost no expense in her quest to get well. She attended rehabilitation centers such as Promises Malibu, which costs $75,000-$90,000 a month for a single room with a shared bathroom or private suite!

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She was treated by an acclaimed psychiatrist who made an exception to meet with her due to her fame. However, I brushed these inequities aside. I wanted to discover how, exactly, she got better from severe, treatment-depression.

Little did I know I’d be surprised in Chapter 17. At that point, Judd had taken all kinds of meds for her anxiety and depression. She had electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which, as some of you know, saved my life. ECT helped her somewhat, but just like with my case, ECT didn’t eradicate her unremitting, soul-sucking depression.

Her psychiatrist Dr. Jerrold Rosenbaum, head of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, suggested she try the medication combination I’ve taken since 2013: lithium and the MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) Parnate. Parnate’s generic name is tranylcypromine.

She wrote, “He explained (Parnate) is an old-school second-line treatment that works best for people with major depressive disorders combined with extreme anxiety.”

I do wish the authors included how Parnate can also help treatment-resistant bipolar depression. I’m sure many of Judd’s readers have bipolar or know someone who does. 

I have mixed feelings about the book. I was thrilled that the doctor suggested Parnate and lithium   — they are the only meds out of 30+ I tried that lifted my treatment-resistant bipolar depression. But I was disappointed about some misinformation. Judd wrote, “I was given an entire list of foods that the drug could react with and possibly kill me. This includes chocolate.”

That is utter hogwash. You CAN eat chocolate while taking a MAOI, as long as you don’t gobble gallons of it! While researching my book, I discovered that some people who suffer from terrible depression won’t take a MAOI if it means giving up chocolate. This, my friends, is a case of serious WTF-itis! I’m one of the biggest chocolate lovers you’ll ever meet, but I’d give up ANY food to feel better. Even (Jean Lee, you won’t believe this), gasp, coffee!!! 

Judd wrote about how much she loved to research the heck out of any medical topic. Apparently, she didn’t research two small, old, but profoundly convincing studies. These studies indicated that lithium and Parnate worked powerfully together to alleviate treatment-resistant bipolar depression. Although the subjects had bipolar depression, it would’ve been useful to cite that study or more recent Parnate/lithium studies in her book.

Most importantly, Judd downplayed how much lithium and Parnate helped her. She wrote,

“About seven days after beginning both prescriptions, I could feel a slight change, a peek at a new dawn on the horizon. It was more like a spark of stability that was within my sight. For the first time in two and a half years, I could sense the possibility of ascending from, instead of descending deeper into, a dark and lifeless hole.”

 “Though Parnate was the the first medication that proved to have an effect on my depression, it was not without a price,”

referring to hair loss she had, although it was possible it could’ve been a side effect from lithium.

During the previous two and a half years she was incredibly depressed and suicidal. This medication cocktail was the true turning point.

Then, she added, “I was also prescribed many other medications.” 

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I was flabbergasted that she didn’t name what those other meds were, or if they even had anything to do with depression. I hope she’s asked about these meds at her book talk Q&A session. 

Despite my misgivings, I’m glad I read the book, literary warts and all. If you want to read more about my take on MAOI’s and lithium, please see the following two posts: Now and Then: Thank You MAOI’S and Lithium and Misinforming the Public About MAOI’s Isn’t Cool.

Meanwhile, back at the (Judd) Ranch…

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Naomi’s Ranch

It just so happens that Naomi Judd lives in the small town where my publisher’s main office is located: Franklin, near Nashville. Dangnabbit, it’s a small world!

 

I hope you have a good Friday, and I’ll see you next week!

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.

Afterlifethoughts & Angels: Part One

What Dreams May Come is a film based on Richard Matheson’s book and stars Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorra and Cuba Gooding Jr. It’s one of my favorite movies, but I can only watch it when I’m feeling relatively stable (TW) as it contains themes of suicide and children’s deaths. An amazingly vivid, imaginative & groundbreaking film, it won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

 * I apologize for the spacing/formatting snafus – WordPress seems to have a glitch today!
I intended to post about the afterlife and angels the week before Halloween, but it simply didn’t happen. Since I’m unable to write coherently (or even incoherently) about the election (plus I’m sure you don’t need to read more about that) today’s the day to expound on the afterlife. Next week’s post will focus on the angels. 
As a special treat, I’m not writing about ten topics in one 2500 word post – hurrah!
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The Afterlife
I’ve always been fascinated by the possibility of life after death. However, I didn’t think about it constantly until after my father died in 2009.
I’m reminded of Prince’s solemn “sermon” in his classic song Let’s Go Crazy:
A world of never-ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night…
Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life
You’re on your own.
I think Prince got that right.
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A few days ago I was walking Lucy among the peaceful redwoods…
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As we trudged along the muddy path, I thought about my friend Ulla who died by suicide not long ago. A wave of guilt hit me because I realized I had stopped thinking about her every day, and while that’s no crime, I felt like an ass. I began speaking to Ulla out loud, not caring if another hiker heard me. I told her I was sorry for placing her on my mental back burner. I said I hoped she was happy wherever she was. And then I begged her to give me a sign she was okay.
I thought a mountain lion sighting (far, far off in the distance) would be cool, or even a brush with the hirsute Bigfoot….yes, Bigfoot allegedly likes to hang out there too. But I settled on a deer sighting. 
As Train’s Pat Monahan sings in Calling All Angels,
I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me 
During the remainder of the hike, I didn’t see a deer or even a bit of deer scat. Even though the skeptic in me thought it was unlikely I’d get the sign I wanted, I was disappointed. I wanted to believe with all my heart, not just some of it, that we move on to a better existence, yet remain connected to those we care about here.
Although I didn’t get the sign I wanted this time around,that won’t stop me from asking her again on another next hike.
Psychic Mediums
An authentic psychic medium can see a client’s past, present, and future and communicates with those who have died. I’ve met with one affordable psychic medium who told me some details about my life that were accurate, but I didn’t have the transformative experience I yearned for: to communicate with my Dad. I wanted to receive a message from him that would prove it truly was him.
I could try another session with a different psychic medium, but our family doesn’t have the financial means to do so. The practitioners with stellar reputations charge astronomical amounts. Unless I’m blessed with an unexpected windfall, I’m not pursuing it.
Books
I love reading well-written books about the afterlife. I admit these works aren’t exactly up there with Shakespeare, so they are a bit of a guilty pleasure, but when I read them I relax. I relish escaping into another world – whether that world is a fantasy or reality, I guess I’ll eventually find out!
Some of my favorite authors include Dr. Raymond Moody, a psychiatrist with a colorful personal history, Maureen Hancock, James Van Praagh, Suzan Saxman and yes, Theresa Caputo, the wacky Long Island Medium. You can give me a hard time about her – I can take it! 🙂
Calling All Angels
This is such a great song, even if you’re not a Train fan! The lead singer Pat Monahan reminds me of a lizard.
Next week in Part Two, I’ll focus on the angels. I want to share something I learned about angels that affected my life for the better. I know that sounds like a dubious claim, perhaps fueled by a “special” brownie, but I’m sincere. When the post is up, please give me the benefit of the doubt and take a peek.
In the meantime, I want to thank you for reading this blog. I know it’s a particularly hard week, so please take care of yourselves. I hope you do something nice for yourself this weekend!
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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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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