Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Introducing Still Me by Karen Helene Walker

If you haven't seen the book I'm featuring today, you likely will in the days to come. Karen Helene Walker has gathered some of the best writers in the blogosphere for this anthology:




Today, Karen is joining us to tell us all about the process of putting an anthology together. Scroll down after the guest post to read all about the book and enter a giveaway to win two copies of Still Me!

THE CHALLENGES OF PUTTING OUT AN ANTHOLOGY
by Karen Helene Walker

I’m about to turn 68 next month, so I guess technically, I am a senior citizen. You'll have to read the anthology to hear how I and others feel about that. But I really didn’t feel the issues I dealt with in writing and compiling the anthology were age-related.

The first challenge was getting enough submissions to make the project worthwhile taking to publication. I was absolutely sure that certain folks would jump on this opportunity - but they didn’t. What I heard was: Nothing is coming to mind to write about, or I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around this topic, or the topic is so vast, I can’t seem to narrow it down. I think aging is a difficult topic and one most people don’t even want to think about. Or there’s denial about it, which I can totally relate to. So I was concerned from the get-go about whether this would come to fruition or not.

Then I faced the challenge of which pieces out of the submissions I did receive could I include. Was it a universal theme? Was it well-thought out and well-written? Did someone else cover the same topic? Actually, that was one of my main concerns, but it did not happen. 24 authors wrote about a different aspect of aging. It was awesome.

Some of the submissions were accepted with very minor editing needs. Others needed some work. That was the next challenge. I did the first pass on editing. Once I was comfortable with those changes, the essay was passed on to a professional editor.  One author declined to work on edits at all. Another author felt she wanted to work directly with the editor and actually agreed to pay him herself to get her story where it needed to be (otherwise I paid all expenses for editing and publishing). I had to decline a story, even after several revisions went back and forth, because it still needed work and that writer just didn’t have the time to deal with it. I was bummed, because it was a good story.

That was the hardest thing, telling those authors I couldn’t include their essays. The last thing I want to do as a writer is hurt another writer’s feelings. But I had to consider that the quality of the writing would reflect on all the participating writers, so I couldn’t sacrifice any integrity on my part  in choosing what to include.I was lucky. These 23 writers were a delight to work with. I couldn’t have asked for a better group. 

The final challenge is marketing and promotion, always a challenge for a writer. Even with my 33+ years of marketing, it’s so difficult to promote myself. The anthology is a bit easier, because I’m not promoting me. I’m promoting 23 other writers as well. Hiring MC Book Tours was the smartest decision I made, besides hiring Mark David Gerson as editor and Kathleen Messmer as photographer for the cover. 

Would I ever do another anthology? I’ve learned to never say never, but more than likely, I will never do another anthology. Mostly because of the humongous amount of time it takes. I am not sorry about this one, thought. I’m proud of it and so happy it’s done!


Blurb:

Poignant...Humorous...Brutally Honest!

A collection of personal reflections guaranteed to keep you inspired and entertained on that journey we all travel together: The Journey of Aging.
With a blend of grace, dignity, warmth and humor, women and men from 60 to 90 and from all walks of life candidly share the blessings and pitfalls of aging – from keeping dreams alive and keeping sex lives active to dealing with retirement, loss of independence and a growing sense of mortality.

A BOOK ABOUT LIVING EVERY MOMENT OF LIFE!

Add it on GoodReads.

Buy Links:


About the Authors:

Rev. Clara Alexander is an ordained New Thought minister who creates and performs sacred ceremonies, including unique weddings, funerals, memorial services, baby blessings and house blessings. She is also a popular speaker, inspiring groups with her talks on how we cling to our grudges, how we overuse the phrase “I’m sorry” and how we can live the life we love. 
Wendy Brown recently retired from a career in wildlife biology, where she studied sandhill cranes and whooping cranes as they migrated from Idaho to New Mexico. Wendy eventually found a permanent home in Albuquerque, where she and her husband enjoy the sounds of sandhill cranes from their deck.
Valerie Capps has bypassed the porch rocking chair to pursue her life-long passion for writing, thereby proving that in today’s world, life can begin again at 65! Valerie lives in Nashville with her husband and their spoiled-rotten Welsh Corgi. www.amazon.com/Valerie-Capps/e/B016VD9V72 
Mary W. Clark retired from her law practice in 2007 and transferred her observation and composition skills to travel writing. She is currently working on a book about her father’s World War II experience flying “the Hump” from India to China over the Himalayas. Mary lives in Paris, Texas. www.maryclarktraveler.com
Fran Fischer: “I was born at a very young age and that happened 82 years ago, so I don’t remember much about it. I’ve crammed as much living into my life as possible, and I’m not through yet. I’ve traveled extensively and I even flew in the same zero-gravity plane that the astronauts trained in. I live in California with my first (and only) husband, and we celebrated our 62nd anniversary this year.” 
Pat Garcia (Patricia Anne Pierce-Garcia Schaack) is an American expatriate living in Europe. An accomplished musician as well as a writer, she has been writing (and reading) since childhood. 
Mark David Gerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including critically acclaimed titles for writers, award-winning fiction and compelling memoirs. Known as “The Birthing Your Book Guru,” Mark David works with an international roster of clients as coach and consultant, helping them get their stories onto the page and into the world with ease. www.markdavidgerson.com
Holly Deuel Gilster plays “make believe” for a living. In other words, she is a professional actress and musician. Holly also loves painting with words as an accomplished poet, an award-winning short-story writer and a book-reviewer for The Or Echo
Aaron Gordon is a retired social sciences community college professor. He and his wife, Ellie, have been married for 65 years and have three children and grandchildren. 
Ellie Gordon is a retired public school teacher who spent the best 20 years of her life in the classroom. A Chicago native, she now lives in New Mexico. 
Karla “Rosie” Harper recently retired from teaching elementary school, freeing her to return to her early love of dancing. Today, when not helping out with her grandchildren, Rosie is taking dance lessons, spinning on a dance floor or performing in senior centers and retirement communities with Albuquerque’s Sugartime, as singer as well as dancer. 
Linda Hoye is the author of Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude, available through major online retailers. A native of Saskatchewan, Linda currently lives in British Columbia (by way of Washington State) with her husband and doted-upon Yorkshire Terrier. www.lindahoye.com
E.V. Legters hasn’t so much retired as she has exchanged one life for another — from rewarding years with career and children (while pursuing the arts on the fly) to a life with the arts at its center. She is the author of Vanishing Point and Connected Underneath and is currently hard at work on her third novel. www.evlegters.com 
LD Masterson lived on both coasts before becoming landlocked in Ohio. After twenty years managing computers for the American Red Cross, she now divides her time between writing, volunteer work and enjoying her grandchildren. Her short stories have been published in several magazines and anthologies, and she is currently working on a new novel. www.ldmasterson.com 
Kathleen Messmer not only runs a film production company with offices in the UK and the US, she is an avid photographer and wildlife advocate. In the unlikely event that she ever retires, Kathleen plans to live on a ranch with draft horses and pygmy goats and vineyards and fruit orchards, somewhere near the water. Oh, and a cowboy...maybe. www.kathleenmessmer.com 
Karen Norstad has worked as cashier/gift wrapper, secretary, boutique seamstress, administrative assistant, manager of employee stock options, executive assistant and budget analyst. Now retired, Karen’s life revolves around lounging about, wearing PJs until four in the afternoon, obsessing over the news, reading, fusing and slumping glass, practicing piano, keeping a small balcony garden and cooking.
Matt Nyman’s nonlinear career path has included working in the geological sciences, teaching high school, stay-at-home parenting and, currently, training tomorrow’s teachers. Poetry equently resides near the surface of his existence, occasionally erupting onto paper. 
Jill Plaman was born and began aging in Milwaukee, but she has lived and worked in Albuquerque since 1977. She holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MSW from the University of Minnesota. Her special interests are travel, international folk dancing, reading, hiking and spending time with family and friends. 
Maureen Polikoff is a clinical social worker/ therapist who has always pursued many other creative endeavors, including painting, playing music and, now, writing. A Connecticut native, she lives in New Mexico with her husband, Michael. 
MaryFrank Sanborn left Boston 33 years ago, to apprentice with photographer Walter Chappell in Santa Fe. Still in love with the beauty of the Southwest, MaryFrank photographs, writes, hikes, travels, teaches yoga and meditation, makes soups on Sundays, and dreams of the ocean and whales.
Patricia Stoltey is the author of four mystery novels. The most recent is Wishing Caswell Dead. She lives in Northern Colorado with Sassy Dog, Katie Cat and her husband, Bill. www.patriciastolteybooks.com 
Susan Swiderski grew up in Dundalk, Maryland, where everybody calls everybody hon and eating steamed crabs is a sacrament. Although she’s happy in her adopted Georgia, part of her heart still lingers on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, explaining the setting for her novel, Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade. Susan is currently working on a trilogy, proof that this old gal is still a pathological optimist. www.susan-swiderski.blogspot.com 
Jan Castle Walker is a retired teacher and an active artist. She lives in Davis, California with her husband, Mack. www.jancastlewalker.com 
Karen Helene Walker is a novelist, memoirist and essayist and the author of The Wishing Steps and Following the Whispers. When not writing, Karen is tap dancing, folk dancing or performing with the musical group Sugartime at retirement communities. Karen is currently working on her second memoir. www.karenfollowingthewhispers.blogspot.com 

You can follow Karen and the other authors along on their tour by checking out the schedule HERE.


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My next Piper Morgan book, Piper Morgan Makes a Splash, comes out April 4, 2017. Sign up if you'd like to help out by posting on your blog about it!

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39 comments:

  1. Karen, I think you have a group of amazing authors gathered together in this book. The stories touch on that subject most of us want to avoid - getting older. Stephanie, thanks for being a part of the tour.

    Mason
    MC Book Tours

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    1. I agree, Mason. They are awesome writers and wonderful people

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    2. Thank you guys for including me. I can't wait to read the book!

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    3. Stephanie, are you kidding? thank you!!!!

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  2. I can't imagine refusing to do edits. That just boggles my mind.
    Glad you got a great group of stories for the anthology. I'm sure I will relate to many of them. Congratulations, Karen!
    And never say never...

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    1. Alex, I know. In some cases it was a time issue, though, which is understandable.

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    2. My editor always talks about how easy I am to work with. I still can't fathom the idea that there are actual authors who act like divas about their work being edited. What the heck??? That's part of putting your work out there for public consumption. They wouldn't last five seconds as freelance writers!

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  3. Hi,
    Reading this brought tears to my eyes and you know why. it touched me deep within. I am so proud to be among this group of fantastic authors, and I am so happy that I met you in the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Your high standards and your demands to only give the best was one of the reasons I wanted to be a part of it. There is something about you that spurred me to move higher and I am sure others notice that quality in you too.

    Thank you for the opportunity. Through this opportunity, which I consider a great privilege, my life has been changed.

    All the best, Lady.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. And now you've brought tears to my eyes, Pat. Blessings to you.

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  4. Hi Steph and Karen - glad it all worked out for you and lovely you've so many blogging friends help out ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Ahh, Hilary, you dear, dear lady. Thank you.

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  5. Thank you, Stephanie, for participating in this Blog Tour. Thank you, Karen, for allowing me to be a part of this amazing book. I've enjoyed working with you through the process and I'm proud of the results. I believe the main obstacle you encountered in gathering together essays is the denial many people have about growing old. We're still the same person we've always been inside, but the mirror tells a different story. It is shocking and somewhat depressing until you finally accept the changes and go with them. Our senior years can be the best years of our lives, but that doesn't just happen--you have to make them the best. I believe the authors you chose "get it" and are doing just that.

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    1. I think you're right, Valerie. What's interesting is the comments I'm beginning to get about the essays. I think what we all wrote about is jolting some folks out of that denial and it's not comfortable. Oy!

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    2. I feel like the older you get, the happier you are with who you are. There's so much insecurity and stress in your 20s and 30s...each decade brings a little more comfort with who we are.

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    3. I'm in my late sixties and I'm still working on this - I think I'm almost there...

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  6. Stephanie, you are one of the best blogging buddies I know. You're willingness to reach out and help others, sometimes without being asked, is such a blessing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping with this "heart" project of mine.

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    1. Stephanie is a real treasure. She is one of those people whose success at the top doesn't stop her from sending the elevator down to help others with the climb.

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    2. LOL, I think I'm on the same elevator as you guys, actually! We're taking the elevator together.

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    3. Here's hoping we don't get stuck!

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  7. This sounds like a delightful book, lots of perspective.

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    1. 24 perspectives, to be exact. Thanks, Jacqui

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  8. this sounds really wonderful, a great idea!! i am not a reader, so i am not going to enter the give-a-way but it would make an awesome gift for someone!!

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  9. Thanks you, Stephanie, for helping to promote this book. Karen has done such a wonderful job putting it together.

    And, Karen, coming from the other side, I can say you were a joy to work with on this.

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    1. LD, heaving a big sigh here - I'm not sure those I had to say "no" to feel that way

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  10. I know it was a lot of work for you Karen, but I'm glad you stuck with it in spite of all the challenges and hurdles. Thanks for allowing me to be a small part of it. You've created something well worth reading.

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    1. Ah, Susan, thank you. I truly hope it helps others deal with this most difficult issue

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  11. I wish I had known about this anthology! I could have contributed a piece on hot flashes. :O

    Sounds like a book I want to read!

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    1. Diane, no one tackled that topic - it would have been great!

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    2. Maybe next time! A sequel titled, "Hey Me, Where Did You Go?" lol

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  12. Well, I went to purchase the anthology and I'll be...I purchased it in February!

    I better get reading. lol

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    1. You must have pre-ordered it - thank you!

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  13. I read about this anthology a while back when Karen was looking for authors. Glad to see it got written and congrats to all the writers.

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  14. Having been there, it's definitely a laborious process but so worth it to see the results. Congrats to you and all the contributors!

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  15. Thanks, Nick. It was a very worthwhile project

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  16. Congrats, Karen! Sounds like a lot of hard work, but you did it and now it's time to celebrate!

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  17. Editors are gods! The one who worked on my books for Five Star taught me more stuff than you can imagine....stuff I didn't even know I didn't know. :D

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