The Birth of a Book

“Life, Death, and Beyond Smiggle’s Bottom” is out and available now. Many people are impressed by the fact that I actually wrote a book; they say that’s the hard part. But that’s not how it feels to me. I would be happy to sit in my room forever, making up stories, concocting my own world peopled by characters of my own design. But, alas, you have to play a part in publishing it, see to all the details in that process. Every time I look at something I’ve written, I want to “fix” it. I see things that I could have done better, things I should have cut out, things I should have expanded, wording that could be more poetic—or less so. I’m terrible at catching spelling mistakes; I need someone else to do that (someone beside my well-meaning computer). I could revise until the world warms to a melting point and beyond. (This being more of a worry these days than things freezing over.) So at a certain point, I let my (literary) babies go, and stop looking at them.
The worst part for me, however, is marketing. I lack the Kardashian gene. I have bouts of confidence crisis. I suffer from stage-fright, shyness, geekiness. Social media makes my head ache (unless I’m reading heart-felt or humorous antidotes; looking at photos of your garden, vacation, dog, or cute children). My preferred super-power is invisibility.
Perhaps the reason I am this way is a result of my past. You might know me, or think you know me, or not know me at all. You might like to know me or you might not want to know me, but you might be interested in some of the characters I’ve known/invented/embellished in “Life, Death, and Beyond Smiggle’s Bottom.” How’s that for marketing?

“Life, Death, and Beyond Smiggle’s Bottom” available now!

Here’s what my early readers had to say:

At first, this book seems to be about death, but it is really about life—the life of an extended family in northern Appalachia. It is also about the internal life of the narrator, who is fascinated with her family but who is also in touch with a parallel world, where strange beings like “the invisibles” live. This hybrid work of memoir and made-up stories is filled with characters—I mean characters, quirky people—who will populate your mind as they populate Smiggle’s Bottom. It is an unpredictable, absorbing, eye-opening read, accompanied by helpful photos.

—Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of Violent Outbursts

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