Friday, November 11, 2005

Off to New Orleans in 3 Weeks

In just three weeks, I'll be heading to New Orleans. Honestly, I don't know what to expect. I have this image of NOLA in my mind from my previous visits, and then I have the images from the news on TV and in papers and magazines. Then I read articles and blogs online where people are saying it is so much worse than anyone can even imagine. At this point, I don't know how far into the city beyond the French Quarter I will be able to go. I'm flying in and am not getting a rental car. And I don't know if any of the city's areas are closed off at this point.

Admittedly, I am curious to see what this area looks like now. But that is not the reason I'm really going to New Orleans. I'm going to support the city and all the wonderful people I met there. I'm going to help clean up a cemetery. I'm going to meet new people and conduct interviews so that they can have their stories heard. I'm going because I feel the pull to be there. This is the next step.

My husband and I aren't millionaires, far from it. Neither one of us came from families with money. So while growing up I learned how to make a difference in ways that didn't cost a lot of money. Throughout my youth, I felt my best way of making a difference was with my writing. I wrote about important issues for school papers and also wrote a lot of things that I kept to myself or shared only with friends. While I wasn't making a difference to the world, I was making a huge difference to myself. As I grew as a writer, I was able to eventually come out of the shyness I was seemingly born with.

Eventually all my thoughts and ideas grew into Girls Make a Difference, a program I held for girls age 9-14 for five years. I kept the program free because I wanted all interested girls to be able to join. It was wonderful while it lasted, but it was year-round time consuming and was taxing on my bank account. It was time to move on. And writing was calling me.

I decided to write a book. Would it be fiction? Non-fiction? What would it be about? I tried to write a novel. It seemed good at the time, but then I lost interest in the story. It's still rattling around in my head, but I know my true calling is non-fiction. I love doing research. Always have. I love learning new things and figuring out how the new things fit in with the old things I've known. In two years, "Cemetery Walk" was born. And in the middle of that, "Epitaphs Magazine" was born.

I write for a living. I work for Palmer College of Chiropractic in the marketing and communications department. I'm a writer and editor. I edit a monthly newsletter, I write scripts for various video projects, and I do anything else that falls in the category a marketing specialist would take care of. Chiropractic plays an important role in my life. It's primary health care for me and my husband, and the results are excellent.

But while chiropractic is great and I enjoy working to promote it, it is not my calling. I know people who are supposed to be chiropractors, and they are great. I know, though, that for me there is more to my writing than newsletters and brochure copy. There's another book in me, and right now it's waiting to be found in New Orleans.

So if you are in New Orleans and want to say hi, let me know. I'll meet you at Cafe du Monde. It's open, you know!

All the best,

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

If you want to self-publish with a POD ...

If any of you are interested in self-publishing your own book (whether fiction, non-fiction, poetry, art, photography, children's, etc.) and you are looking for a print-on-demand company, you might consider AuthorHouse. That's who I went through for my book "Cemetery Walk."

If you have any questions about the process or what the experience of working with a print-on-demand (POD) company is like, feel free to e-mail me at I'll be honest with you about my experience. There are definite positives and negatives to PODs, but for me at the time, it was the right way to go. If it is for you, check them out. One thing that is very cool is the ability to check your sales online. It's pretty cool.

If you do decide to go with, please mention that I referred you. They have a referral program.

Good luck!

Minda Powers-Douglas