Here we are, several years later and finally we have a book and a website. If I had known it would take this long, I might not have begun this project. It all started with a dream. To co-write a book of short stories and recipes with my sister. (Susie, known as Carmen Suzanne on the West Coast, is on the left in this photo. We were younger then. Little Sis and me in our Sunday best. Aren’t we just the sweetest things? She looks like she might be screaming. Oh wait. She’s laughing. Yes. That’s a laugh.) That book’s still in the works, but we needed a break and during that time, I went off on a tangent with another book when the oil spill happened in the Gulf. I became determined to write a story from a child’s perspective about how integral water is to everyone and every thing on the planet. That book is still on the table, but I hit a wall and needed to back away. The truth is I got cold feet about self publishing. I’m now warming up to the idea and getting more comfortable with it. That said, I owe a tremendous debt of thanks to Don Shreve of Shreve Imaging and Cheryl Barton of bycherylimages, who contributed photography and graphics’ help on that project. I’d like us to finish it one day, if they will give me and Turtle Lake Press another chance. Since all of us work other jobs and have family responsibilities, it’s a labor of love when we get involved in these projects.
While I was in the throes of squirming about my “dis-ease” with self-publishing, I ran into my friend and fellow writer Ginny Masullo and one thing led to another. As it turned out, Ginny had written a how-to pamphlet based on her experience of caring for her late husband in the home, with the help of a large circle of people from the community. She had already run the draft of her pamphlet by author Gail Sheehy, who had mentioned it in a column in USA Today. I suggested to Ginny that Turtle Lake Press would be a great publisher to take on the project. Why not turn her pamphlet into a book? She had already recruited a graphic designer (Susan Idlet). And that’s when we all got to work. Ginny wrote some additional essays. We also made the decisiion to reprint some essays published previously and written by her late husband, Nick, from the perspective of the person with the chronic illness. Meanwhile, Susan took a break and we recruited friend Dot Neely to pick up design where she left off. And … voilà! We now have a finished book. Find out more about Help is Hope and how to order it here. Check back soon for more Turtle Thoughts. There’s no telling what might turn up in this space from time to time. Thanks for visiting!