With the recent publication of My Life With Cats, I’m “starting over” in many ways.
It’s been four years since I’ve had a new book on the market. Previously, I’d been averaging a new book every two years. Because of life changes (a divorce and a job loss) and numerous health problems, I was too depressed to promote my older books, maintain my author website, or complete any book I started.
Now that that’s changed, I have been tentatively been dipping my toes back into waters which were once familiar… but now seem foreboding. Let me tell you: it is NOT “like getting back on a bicycle.” It’s more like, starting from scratch.
Self-promotion has never come easy for me.I was raised to be super-modest. My mother apparently confused “confidence” with “conceit.”Any form of talking about my accomplishments was considered “bragging.” To this day, when customers come into the bookstore where I work, inquiring about the 90 local authors, I can’t bring myself to mention that I am one of them. One time, someone bought a copy of my Young Adult thriller, Tricked, and as I cashed them out, I could not tell them I wrote it. I felt embarrassed, awkward and tongue-tied.
This new book is a little different. It’s not just about promoting myself as an author; it is also raising awareness of a cause. $1 from every copy of My Life With Cats will be donated to the local, non-profit agency, Caring For Cats. Among the wonderful things they do for the feral cat community in Jefferson County, is to capture, spay/ neuter the animals and re-release them into the neighborhoods where they were found. (Most feral cats are unadoptable, but this procedure cuts down on the rampant breeding and inbreeding that would otherwise occur.) Feral kittens are salvageable, if rescued when young enough, and Caring For Cats volunteers foster these baby kitties until they are ready for adoption.
Tragically, the founder of the Caring For Cats charity, JoAnn Reed, was recently diagnosed with cancer. She has helped others in the Cape Vincent/Three Mile Bay communities for decades, and now she needs OUR help.
So, as uncomfortable as it might be for me, I am rebuilding my website and contacting press, little by little. I feel like I’m playing a character, like I do on the radio. Pretending to be happy and confident. Psyching myself up for interviews and such. I had a ton-load of people– co-workers, friends and strangers– come through for me to raise funds when I needed surgery. It is my turn to give back.
Watch for my revised website soon, plus personal appearances… Wherever. If you know of local gift shops or stores that might sell my book, please let me know.
Meanwhile, I am planning a future book signing and cat food drive. Stay tuned for details!
Pray for JoAnn and the feral cat community.