Friday, July 25, 2014



Being a self-published author is an adventure. Publishing Eli's Heart through CreateSpace was a good experience; having some skills on the computer definitely was a plus in doing my own formatting. The folks I spoke with on the phone were without exception pleasant, helpful, and never made me feel rushed. No wonder so many people publish on CreateSpace, especially if they can do what I did: handle everything but the actual production of the book. I was lucky enough to have two very talented young men and an accommodating pianist friend to provide the cover I wanted. Marketing is another matter entirely, but we won’t go there today.

There’s some angst with proofreading the book, and I requested two printed proofs before I released Eli's Heart. I am very happy with the finished product. Some people have read it; some people are currently reading it, and some people tell me they’ll probably read it at some point in the future. I’ve had some nice feedback. My official readers had been encouraging, but it was definitely nice to hear from someone who hadn’t made the journey with me and loved the book. Maybe I really can do this.

After the book was released and I saw it actually listed on the Amazon site, and added to my author page (a free service Amazon provides, and a very helpful one), I spent a few days taking a deep breath and noticing that the world is still actually orbiting around the sun. I don’t know about other writers, but I get so engrossed … well, maybe obsessed … when I am writing, I really don’t like to do anything else. For some reason, to this point I really have not experienced “writer’s block.” If anything, I write too much. I write words and words that never get into a book. I heard at a writer’s conference that sometimes we write something we need to write, but the reader doesn’t need to see because it doesn’t really move the story forward. I do that extremely well, overwriting (if there is such a term).

All this is preamble to share with you that after that brief break, I had another story idea. So for the past several weeks I have been working on what I refer to as UNTITLED BOOK THREE. (I feel compelled to always write that in all caps, for some reason.) With both my previous books, the title didn’t come to me until I was well into the book. So they had temporary titles (I think they are called “working titles”). The working title of this book is simply “Jamie’s Story.” If you read How I Grew Up you may recognize the name, and yes, indeed, I’ve decided Jamie can’t let that beautiful voice languish. Or maybe Jamie told me he needed to sing.

The work I’ve done so far on this book (somehow, calling it “work” doesn’t seem right … it’s such a source of joy for me) has taken me into the world of classical music again, this time the world of opera, a place I love to visit. Jamie is a tenor, and the music a tenor needs to study and master is very familiar to me. I spent many years with a very fine tenor, my late husband Sam Jordan, and shared in his journey as he pursued a career as an opera singer, oratorio singer, and recitalist. He opted to not pursue that career after a few years. It’s a very difficult life, and I respected his choice. I sang very little opera in college, but my husband and I gave a joint recital about twenty-five years ago, I believe. It was a thrill for me to sing with him.

The tenor voice is in my opinion the most exciting if it is a naturally beautiful voice and used correctly, with no straining or forcing. I’m including a YouTube video of one of my favorite tenors, Giuseppe di Stefano, performing the tenor aria from Gounod’s opera Faust. He does something with the high note in this aria that seems impossible to me, but it demonstrates perfectly why hearing a tenor who can sing this wonderfully reinforces my feeling about how powerful music is.

Just hearing this is a thrill. How wonderful to be able to produce such a sound. How rewarding to be part of the experience, whether as artist or audience. Bravo, Giuseppe!