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WomanChrist: The 30th Anniversary Edition

A few weeks after my novel, Widow's Walk, was released I was visiting with my neighbor, Cecile. She was curious  about one of my first published books, WomanChrist, and asked if I had a copy. I did. It was a second-hand Amazon.com copy, rather battered, with a sticky-note inside the cover that read:
“Cheryl--yes, this book is Really weird! (I had no idea when I bought it 😊) But bear with it—she has a lot of good ideas about being a woman today while also being Religious. Hope you enjoy it— (it’s not just to skip around and browse through)!!”
Cecile might get a laugh out of that, I thought. Her reaction after reading the book was, “This is your best book! It’s so current. How could you have written this all those years ago? It’s actually prophetic.” She was the first one who told me to republish it.
It had been written on my very first computer, more like a glorified typewriter and neither DOS-based nor Windows-based. I had only the published book; if I intended to publish a new e…
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WIDOW'S WALK IS PUBLISHED

Getting Close

The printer’s proof is in the mail on its way to me. And here is the book’s cover with Shiloh Sophia’s painting. To my eye She is the perfect image of the Widow in all her paradox. She is the meeting place of opposites: the fiery annihilation of all that was formerly known, meeting the transformation in the present moment; the interpenetration of all colors and forms; the stillness of inner being with the evolution of new life; the suffering heart out of which grows the Tree of Life; the breath of Divine Spirit from which emerges the personal story; the sacred Rose, woman’s mandala of integration and wholeness. She is Wisdom, the brilliance of love, truth and beauty.
After examining my options for publication and balancing them with my understanding of how my writing life fits into the variations of energies in this world, I’ve chosen to continue publishing independently, using CreateSpace as printer, and John’s and my CyberScribe Publications as my publishing imprint. Since 1983, w…

SORTING THROUGH OPTIONS

The options for publishing WIDOW'S WALK seemed to be three: 1. A big publisher such as I had for ALTAR MUSIC, but this would require getting a new contract with my former Literary Agent. 2. A small literary publisher with a long queue of already accepted manuscripts. I was told to expect a 3 to 4 year wait. 3. Independent Publishing.

The agent didn't even acknowledge receipt of the manuscript. I was told by a writer-friend that non-response is the new normal. Maybe that is true. I'd promised myself that I wouldn't spend too much of my precious and limited time trying to find a new agent.

And I really like Independent Publishing! Marketing is difficult for me, but even the large publishers now expect authors to present a marketing plan. So...I will learn. And I brought up my Amazon.com/CreateSpace account. They have acted as printer for six of my books, and I've enjoyed the process. The only problem is that I haven't sold many. Marketing again! My technique lea…

The Generosity of Readers

The light and shadow, solidity and wisp, Autumn. I had more brilliant pictures of Fall color more intense than any here since I arrived eighteen years ago. But this one captures best the complexity of my readers' comments and the effect they have had on my re-write of Widow's  Walk. Five talented and generous people have now read my first draft, and a few more are right in the middle of it. Already their comments are giving the narrative more depth and filling it in where I took too much for granted.

I spend from three days to a week or more with each reader, returning to the narrative through their eyes, listening as deeply as is possible for me to their questions, suggestions, confusions, reactions. Each reader has his or her unique gift that motivated me to request their assistance, from personal experience with the flow and content in this novel, to a particularly accomplished sense of literary structure, to a creative ability with language, to a habit of reading contempl…

The Vanishing Point

Here's a photo snapped at sunset off the Oregon Coast while my author husband and I were spending a few days on a writing retreat. My new novel, Widow's Walk, had just reached a scene in which the main character, a widow, is instructed to look into the vanishing point. How could I communicate how terrifying this was for her, but at the same time, compelling?

John and I had just finished an early dinner at the Asana Bistro and returned to our cabin to sit on the bench while the sun went down. We'd watch for the green flash. But what I saw was something that, because of the story I've been trying to tell for months now, felt even more stunning. I was looking right out over the ocean at was was clearly the vanishing point. The clouds, the water, the point of light, all those colors around that SPACE just shook me with a realization that I needed, somehow, to get into my book.

Twice in this life I have been widowed. I know the secrets that widows hesitate to tell. About a…

Carol in the Hand of God