(Blackstone) Coffee and Collaboration

Eldercare Is Making Me Fat
Book Launch and Signing
Sunday, October 14, 20012
1:00-3:00 pm
Blackstone Coffee
Fredericksburg, VA

Writing can be a very lonely job. It used to be for me, anyway.

When I was a freelance journalist back in the day, I was one of those midnight writers, cranking away in the dark, trying to make the work perfect and still get it in on time.

CharJoJones's cat, Sugar, around 1997

Sugar Circa 1997

If I hadn’t had my gentle aging cat, Sugar, to sit in a box of stationery on the desk and keep me company, I would have gone the way of Edgar Allen Poe and started hearing angry birds. Thank goodness, all Sugar ever quoth was meow–although nevermore would have been more like it. I was always crushed right up against a deadline, always telling myself this was the last time.

I actually quit writing in 1998 and went to graduate school in library science because I couldn’t take the solitude.

Self-publishing saved me.

When I retired from librarianship a couple of years ago and surveyed the vastly changed writing landscape, I found I liked the idea of being able to package and directly sell my own work. One of the other horrors of the late Twentieth Century was having to ship query letters to editors and then wait, wait, wait by the phone for a response. It was like dating. Antediluvian dating. It was nerve-wracking, time-consuming, and death on my chewed-up fingernails.

With self-publishing, I realized I could hire my own editor, cover designer, and Web coach and get a book out for sale as closely to lickety-split as these things ever go.

Who knew that the side benefit would be so much collaboration? The best kind of collaboration, sitting in a coffee shop, scarfing down too many cranberry orange muffins? The three women I found to help me—editor Vera Pastore, graphic designer Maria Christina Schultz, and Web guru-ette Shannon Hauser—were amazing companions who laughed at the jokes, believed in the work, weren’t afraid to tell me the truth, and liked hanging around drinking lattes as much as I do.

So it is altogether fitting that the launch and first signing of Eldercare Is Making Me Fat will be this Sunday, October 14, from 1:00-3:00 in the afternoon at Fredericksburg’s Blackstone Coffee, site of all those working meetings.

Thank you to Blackstone owners Paula and Don Merritt and their kind and accommodating staff for not throwing us out when we nursed two coffees for three hours, spread papers all over our table and sometimes the floor, hogged the wireless connection, and talked and cackled way too loudly.

 And thank you for so generously offering to invite us—and your other customers—back to the scene of the crime for the signing. Save a muffin or three for me!

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