Thursday, August 27, 2009


It’s been a year since beginning this column, “In Pursuit of a Publisher.” I succeeded in getting my book, “East Garrison” published on my own terms, without the help of an agent or traditional publisher, and, although anyone can do it, everyone shouldn’t do it.

The story started from my imaginings, staring out my foggy office window on the former Army base, Fort Ord. I drove and hiked around the eerily-empty decrepitude and wondered what it would be like for a woman to be stranded on part of the deserted base (where even the police don't patrol) under the most physically difficult circumstance I’d been through (having a baby), and then I added a mountain lion protecting her cubs. A screenwriting teacher summed up the formula well, "I got my protagonist up a tree and then began chucking rocks at her."

However, what began as crazy musings quickly became a personal study into my deeply disturbing relationship with my father, who inadvertently materialized into my main character. Yes, I’m sure it sounds cliché, but it’s not. I grew up with a would-be Nazi who had me removing “Made in Japan” stickers off Gestapo badges and antiquing German battle flags in the washing machine with Rit #1 yellow dye, then stamping the edges with bizarre numbers and letters. I knew the words to the Nazi Party anthem, Die Fahne hoch (the flag on high) before I ever heard The Star Spangled Banner. I recognized Adolf Hitler from his picture and bible Mein Kampf (My Struggle), but had no idea who was the president of the United States of America. I had no clue what my father was doing, although I couldn’t help but be acutely aware of the strange looks. My feelings of not “fitting in” quickly turned me into a candidate for the suicide hotline.

Only now do I understand why I grew up with a keen sense of “outsiderdom.” East Garrison’s plot is fictional; many of its characters are not. And I’m fairly certain that my childhood was unusual. Hopefully people will want to read it and will, in fact, enjoy it.

In my next column I’ll tell you about my media training in Texas with my PR team—Phenix and Phenix Literary Publicists. In the meantime, visit my website, for upcoming events near YOU.
To be continued…

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