Thursday, 24 February 2011

Christchurch NZ earthquake. Publication Party! Seventh and final session. Author Ann Best. Win a critique or the Grand Prize!

Before our session gets underway I want to offer my thoughts and prayers to those across the Tasman Sea in Christchurch New Zealand, who are enduring yet another earthquake disaster. This time there has been an appalling loss of life as it happened when people were at work. Many of these high-rise buildings have collapsed. It looks like a war zone over there. Queensland has sent many Search & Rescue personnel and equipment across to help in the recovery/retrieval operations. Help has been offered from around the world. People are sending messages from the mobile phones from amongst the rubble. Hopefully there will be many more survivors...

Now, amidst yet another tragedy, life goes on. Ann Best has been waiting in the wings to speak to us.


Hello one and all! Today is our final session of our memorable publishing series. I, and so many other aspiring authors, have learned so much from very hard-working, never-give-up speakers. I've found each and every session an inspiration and as this series comes to a close I will be able to go back over each session and follow through many of the links I've not yet found the time to thus far. 

So, a big thank you to all you wonderful authors: Christine Bell, Clarissa Draper, Alex J Cavanaugh, Helen M Hunt, Lisa Maliga, N.R. Williams and today Ann Carbine Best. If you're new to the Publication Party concept, it would pay to go back and read over the sessions. I've provided the links at the end.

Now before we get started I must announce the winners from last week's session. The winner of the critique is Zan Marie and the winner of the e-book is Kari White. Congratulations ladies. Contact N. R. Williams directly for your goodies. Her email is: 

Ann Carbine Best was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She now lives in the Shenandoah Valley, her favourite place, where she is full-time caregiver of her disabled daughter. Ann lives not far from her and Larry's other three children and seven grandchildren.  She started writing when she was in elementary school, and for sixty years has never stopped. During this time she gained a B.A. in English and an M.F.A. in creative writing. Over the years, she has published and won awards for stories, personal essays, and poetry, and is currently plotting a MG novel, a YA novel and two novella-length memoirs. Her first full-length memoir, In the Mirror, is scheduled for publication by WiDo Publishing company this spring.

“I’ve lived long enough,” she says, “to write memoir.”

Over to you, Ann. Tell us about your writing journey.

Thank you Denise and welcome to you all here today. My journey is longer than most of the speakers who have addressed this enthusiastic group, but this just proves that every writer's journey is unique.

I was born in 1940. The Forties and Fifties was a great time to grow up. I was born at the beginning of World War Two, but I don’t remember anything about it. But I do remember the first story I wrote. I was in sixth grade. “Call of the Canyon” was its title. I don’t remember anything about it, but I do remember that the teacher had very shy me stand in front of the class and read it.

This hooked me on writing, and performing (I did oratory and debate in high school).

I didn’t buy books. I couldn’t afford them. During my teenage years, I rode my bicycle spring, summer, and fall to the local library, and checked out historical fiction and short story collections. I read a lot of the O. Henry Award stories. I loved the short story.

I loved reading and writing as far back as I can remember. It was my main interest (I also liked photography but never had the money to buy the equipment). My goal was always to be a published writer.

When I was about eleven, I started reading my country cousins’ collection of Nancy Drew mysteries. I wanted to write one like them. I couldn’t compose very well on Mama’s old Underwood typewriter, and so when I was twelve, in longhand on pencil tablets I wrote two Susan Benson mysteries. I also began writing improbable romances, all of them long since lost. The only romance I vaguely remember was based on a song from the Fifties: “Blue Star when I am blue, all I do is look at you.” I laboriously typed it then sent it to Redbook magazine. It promptly came back, rejected.

This was the golden age of the magazine market. Oh, those were the days! Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, McCall’s, Collier’s, the weekly Saturday Evening Post all published short stories. There were also several prominent teen magazines. I was a senior in high school when I submitted a short story to a Seventeen magazine contest. My name appeared with several others who received special commendation.

As an undergraduate in college, I took all the creative writing and literature classes I could handle. My stories, essays, and poems were published in the campus magazines. I won awards for some of them.

I married when I was twenty-one, and divorced my husband when I was forty because he wanted to live with his gay lover. Two years later I moved from Utah to Virginia to go to graduate school. The last eight years of my first marriage was the subject of the creative writing thesis I wrote for my Master of Fine Arts degree, a thesis that became the basis, twenty-five years later, for my soon-to-be-published memoir.

Personal experience has turned out to be the underlying successful factor in my writing. As well as my age. I can see life as a whole and my life more clearly at age seventy than I could even ten years ago. “Emotion recollected in tranquility,” as the poet Wordsworth said. In graduate school, I thought I was “tranquil” enough to write about my past--but I wasn’t! But I tried, and am so glad I decided to take my not-so-well-written thesis and try to turn it into a book worth someone’s time to read.

It’s been a long journey, but a fun one. I never dreamed when I typed my stories on typewriters the current generation sees only in photographs that one day I would be composing on a computer that doesn’t require making corrections on multiple copies. And that I would be making friends worldwide through blogging. Thank you, all of you, for making my writing journey so enjoyable.

I have learned that all things are possible for those who never give up on their dream. It might not come true the way you imagined, but that’s okay. What would life be without the surprises, even the not-so-good ones!

The biggest surprise was a small press accepting my manuscript. WiDo Publishing. It was the only press that I felt was a “fit” for my book. Happily, they accepted it, and worked with me for months on the editing. It needed good editors! I see now that I could have self-published, but I’m glad I didn’t have to. But either way, these days the author needs to do a lot of self-promoting. It’s a new publishing world out there. My memoir In the Mirror will be released shortly.

In the Mirror by Ann Carbine Best is the memoir of a woman who planned on her marriage lasting forever.
When Ann marries Larry in September of 1961, she’s certain he will be that eternal companion. Eleven years later, she is devastated to learn that he’s been having affairs with men. She wants to help him. She wants to save her marriage.
However, powerful emotions pull Larry away from his family, and eight years later their marriage ends. As a single parent, Ann is now faced with four grieving children who don’t want to leave their father and their home in Utah Valley. But Ann needs to start a new life in a new place.
In the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Ann at last makes peace with the past.

ISBN (print): 978-0-9830238-5-2

ISBN (ebook): 978-0-9830238-6-9

You can visit Ann at her blog Long Journey Home.


Ann is happy to offer a critique for any one, any two, or all three of these: a pitch, a synopsis, ideas for memoirs. Please tell us in the comments if you want to take up Ann's kind offer.


For those who have attended every party, your name goes into the draw to win: Typo book bag, Aussie Author Di Morrissy's The Last Mile Home, Fast Fiction magazine, filled with short stories from writers all over the world (next edition contains one of mine, woo hoo!), Typo desk calendar, Enchantez writer's notebook and a koala bookmark.

I hope the prize spurs you on to go back and read the previous posts.

Christine Bell
Clarissa Draper
Alex J Cavanaugh
Helen M Hunt
Lisa Maliga
N.R. Williams

Now, where do I go from here? Any suggestions?


Raquel Byrnes said...

What an amazing journey, Anne. I can't wait to read it. Congratulations.

Ann said...

Oh Anne you give me hope. Great story of your journey.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Wow, Ann, Hi, Denise,

Your story is a courageous one. I've known several woman who had married gay me and after a family and many years of marriage they separated.

Your memoirs will show other woman in this position they are not alone.

You are a very special woman.

Congratualtions on your publication.


mculi at aol dot com

M Pax said...

What a great series, Denise.

I enjoyed reading Anne's journey. I loved Nancy Drew, too. Because of those books I still love scenes that describe food - takes me back to mint tea, cookies and Nancy Drew and Ned and Bess.

All success to you, Anne!

Len Lambert said...

Thank you Ann, thank you Denise for this interview. What an amazing story, Ann.

Unknown said...

I can't believe Redbook rejected your entry!

Well, Ann, I can't wait to read your book and I will do my best to promote it on my blog.

Denise Covey said...

Raquel: Thanks for coming by.

Ann: It's a great story, isn't it?

Michael: Was that a Freudian slip -'gay me' ha ha ha. I agree. Ann's story will be inspirational to so many.

M Pax: Ooh, Nancy Drew!

Len: Thanks for coming to the party.

Clarissa: Thanks for coming by and supporting us today!

Dawn Embers said...

Interesting to see someone who was born in Utah. That is quite a journey to get published. I don't know much about memoir but it sounds like a tough genre to get into in general.

I remember another female author from Utah who had a similar journey, at least part of it. Her ex-husband was gay, as was her dauther's ex-husband. I don't remember the names or the books she wrote but I do know there are at least two books. I met her at a women's conference in Ogden at Weber State University where I went to college. Really bad with names and I'm not even thirty yet, lol.

Nancy Drew was one of my favorites growing up as well. Amazing how long those books have lasted. I still see them in bookstores, though feels weird when I see them in the middle grade section. I know they fit there and I haven't read them in a long time but still. Such good memories.

Theresa Milstein said...

The poor people in Christchurch.

I wish Anne the best with her book.

Kari Marie said...

My heart and prayers to everyone in Christchurch.

Anne, what an amazing story. I can't wait to read it. Congratulations on publication!

Denise-this has been such a wonderful series. Thank you for taking it on.

I don't have a pitch or synopsis written yet, so I'm out for this weeks drawing, but someone will be very lucky!

Denise Covey said...

Dawn: Yes I've heard of this a couple of times - it actually happened to a lovely friend of mine with 2 little kids. Ann will be interested in what you have to say about Utah etc.

Theresa: Thanks for coming!

Kari Marie: Just as well, or you'd be sure to win! You have such luck!

notesfromnadir said...

It's fun to read what others grew up reading & how it influenced them. How lucky you were to read such classic magazines like the Saturday Evening Post. & nothing wrong w/ being inspired by Nancy Drew! :)

I'm really looking forward to reading your book. You did the right thing in going w/ a publishing company that obviously cares so much about your book & in perfecting it.

dolorah said...

Wow, that was a long journey. Thanks for sharing it.

I went back and read NR Williams also. That was a lot of good info. I'm glad I stopped by.

Thanks for the e-mail Denise :)


Denise Covey said...

Lisa: Thanks for returning. I hope all goes well with you.

Donna: Glad I mentioned it. Yes, Nancy had some great stuff too as did all the speakers.

Anonymous said...

What a journey, Ann! Thanks for being so brave and willing to share your story.

Rachael Harrie said...

It's so awful to read about the earthquake - seems like things just keep happening in our end of the world!

Fantastic interview with Ann, and lovely learning more about her. My synopsis needs lots of work ;)



Dawn Embers said...

L'Aussie: Yeah, it can happen both ways. My stepdad had a similar situation with his ex too, so it can be the women also. Utah is interesting. Many people think of it as not diverse or open, and some if it can be (I still think those in government are the worse) but so many are more open then people know. I spent so much time with the college gay straight alliance, volunteering with teens and the salt lake city pride parade is an awesome event. I'm thinking of writing a novel set in SLC, urban fantasy because someone in #UFchat said salt lake would be too boring for a novel. Part of my family lives in Utah, including my dad, so I go there often still.

Margo Benson said...

Hi Ann, Hi Denise,

Thank you so much for another wonderful interview - what an amazing story. Many congratulations on having it published, I'm so looking forward to reading it.

Deniz Bevan said...

These have been great parties, Denise!
And thank you for sharing a little of your story with us, Anne. Looking forward to reading your book when it comes out.
And I'm jealous - I love the Shenandoah Valley too [g]

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Ann and Denise:
I didn't know this about you, Ann. My daughter just shared with me that this type of marriage was one of her fears. I admire your bravery to travel to another state and start over with children in tow. I wish you much success with your book and will be sure to read it when it comes out.

Many prayers for our New Zealand friends. We have some in the blogging community. I must stop by and see if they are ok.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Carol Kilgore said...

What a beautiful post, Ann. I'd say you definitely have lived a life worthy of writing about. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story here.

Zan Marie said...

You've proven that we grow in adversity and that growth is strong. Rooted in grief, we become vibrant. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for hosting this party! I'm thrilled to win a critique from N. R. Williams! I'll contact her today.

I'll not enter this week's contest since I won last week.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful comments, and to Denise for guesting me. Doesn't she do a great service for us writers?!!

Yesterday, I thought I'd lost my daughter's aide, but she got her act together and came back. So today I'm upstairs in my study, alone, and am going to go into each of your blogs, read your current post, and respond. Some of you are new to me, so I'll be making new friends. Always love this!

And thanks again, Denise, for your kindness and support!!


Anonymous said...

p.s. Such a trial the Christchurch people are having right now. But one of our tests, I think, is how we respond to others in their need. It sounds like the people there are doing a great job with this!!

Summer Ross said...

That is quite the journey- wonderful post!

Misha Gerrick said...

Wow Anne, that was inspirational how you took all of the sad things in your life and did something productive with it.

All the success for your Memoirs. :-)

Nas said...

What an amazing life. So full of all type of emotional experience. ANd inspiring to those of us who feel like quitting.

All the best!

JJ said...

Thanks for your support from across the ditch Denise <3 I've resorted to not turning on my TV because it's too horrible to watch :(

And thanks for sharing your story Ann!

Donea Lee said...

Hi! Popping over from the crusade (finally). 1st of all, my hearts go out to the families in ChristChurch. How terrible. Hopefully no more deaths and they get the support they need!

I'll have to read through the other inspiring author journeys! And growing up in UT, I can only imagine what Anne must have gone through. I'm sure her memoir is fascinating! Nice to meet you, Denise! Loved your story, Anne! :)

Grandpa said...

Hi Denise, I finally made it here! (now imagine me full of mud and scratches,and my expensive tux torn to bits...). Internet in the wilderness has been intermittent and very unstable...

I've been following Christchurch's disaster on TV - it's really harrowing, with so many lives lost. My prayers to the people of Christchurch and the surviving families - may they be strong in the face of this adversity.

Hello Ann, I'm so glad to be able to make it to this party, to meet you and to learn about your courageous journey. Thanks for sharing it with us. I look forward to reading your memoir.

Thanks Denise!

erica and christy said...

I'm late to the pary again! I'll keep the vicitms and families and rescue workers in NZ in my prayers. Thanks for posting about it. Also, thanks for these publcation posts. Anne this was a lovely post. Your words are inspirational. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I wish you all the success with your memoirs and other projects. Christy

The Words Crafter said...

Wow, what an amazing life. How wonderful that she's remained optimistic and has been able to turn all of that into a memoir. Kudos to her! And thanks for posting this!

Lydia Kang said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Anne! I am so glad it will be out for all to share in your amazing journey.

Denise Covey said...

It's great to see such support for poor Christchurch. It looks like many more dead. One is a baby born 2 weeks after the last earthquake. How sad!

Ann, looks like everyone's waiting for your book. Tell WiDo to hurry up!


Ellie Garratt said...

What an amazing journey, Anne. I must congratulate you on first writing your memoir and then having it accepted. I'm sure your book will bring comfort to many others who have been through or are going through the same situation as yourself.

I can't believe it's the last week already, Denise. Thank you for hosting this fabulous event!

Tony Benson said...

Hi Denise *waves*

Hi Ann, thank you for an intersesting post. As an author who aspires to being published I feel encouraged by your story.

You've had some big challenges in your life, and I'm sure your memoir is interesting and will be successful. Congratulations on having it published.

Savannah Chase said...

Wow how amazing....

Anonymous said...

Oh Denise. It is so sad about the baby in Christchurch. Lots of sad things. I wish I could do more than just pray for them.

Yes, I do hope WiDo will hurry up! And I have been so astonished at such wonderful support, yours and your followers who have commented. I've made it around to most of the blogs. Am about to catch up with the rest!

Jai Joshi said...

Denise, my thoughts and prayers are also with the people of New Zealand. Such a terrible tragedy and so wide in it's scale.

Ann, I'd love a critigue of my synopsis. The book isn't a memoir though, it's a suspense novel.


Denise Covey said...

Ellie: Hi, thanks for coming. I know. So sad.

Tony: Always a pleasure. I'm sure you'll reach your goal.

Hey everyone. This has been great for Ann!

Glynis Peters said...

Great post. I look forward to reading Ann's book.

NZ, it is so sad.

Trisha said...

Congratulations Ann on your publication - sounds like you have an amazing story to tell!

John Teal said...

fascinating interview and impressive memoirs.

John (A-Z blogger)


PK HREZO said...

Hadn't heard about the NZ earthquake. Wow. Prayers for them.

SO nice to learn more about you and your path, Ann. Would love a pitch critique! :)