With the December release date of my new book coming up, I thought I would share with you what’s involved in bringing a book to print. It’s a piece of cake really; all you need is time, money, and expertise. Oh, and a story to tell. In fact, let’s start there with the story.
When I finished Back Home, several months passed before I started thinking of more Sam Barger stories, but I knew that his tale wasn't complete. I decided, what the heck? Let's make it a trilogy. I was kicking around story ideas when it came to me. Sam should get together with Iris, the girl from Back Home, and Iris gets pregnant. No spoiler here. This is the opening line of The One-Man Iris Davis Club, literally. Here it is: “If you paid any attention in biology class, you know how I got Iris pregnant, so all that’s left is when and where, and what happens after because that’s the real story.”
So, after a very long months of writing and editing . . .and editing, I had some trusted people read the story and give me feedback. Then, I
sent it on to the publishers of Back Home and Secondhand Summer, full of optimism that they would be interested in publishing. No such luck. They passed on the project. Once I finished pouting, I decided to publish the book myself and have total control over the story. That’s where money and expertise comes in. MONEY
Once I had a finished document, I purchased an ISBN number and uploaded it to Ingramspark, a company specializing in printing and distributing books and ebooks. As a distributor, this company will deliver my book to bookstores and online sellers like Barnes and Noble and Amazon. So, I am proud to announce the release of this adventure-romance historical fiction. I know that title, The One-Man Iris Davis Club, is a mouthful, but it should be memorable when you're in the bookstore wanting to buy it or you’re telling a friend how great it is. The original title was Do the Right Thing, but that’s a pretty common and vague title. This title came to me when I was writing the book's last chapter.
In this Sam Barger tale, he is fresh out of high school and thinks the world is his oyster. You can probably guess that things are not that way at all. Join Sam as he begins his journey into adulthood and faces unexpected challenges along the way. Here's a sample:
We were sitting in my pickup at Earthquake Park, making out and talking while we waited to see the sunset. I was seriously into making out, but Iris was more interested in talking. She was tense and didn’t seem to want to be touched at first. I tried putting my hand up her shirt but, she took it and slid it down to her knee and held it there. First, she talked about school and the war, chasing topics around like she was trying to grab soap in a bathtub. Then she asked, “So how was fishing? Was it all you wanted?” “Yes and no. There’s lots of downtime. I don’t handle that well. I think I’d like to go to college and be a lawyer and spend my summers fishing. Mom wanted that, the lawyer part anyway, and I think I did too. Now that I made a stab at fishing, though, I think I want more. It might fit for a couple of summers, but I ain’t going to make a living at. I learned that much. I’m not good at waiting, and fishing has lots of waiting.”
“Yeah,” she said, “I’m thinking this is my last summer at fish camp.
Dad’ll have to find a camp monkey.”
“Really? Is fly fishing losing its glamour?”
“You might say that. Then she sat back against the passenger door and took a deep breath. “Sam, I think I might be pregnant.” I jerked my hand away from her leg like I was touching a hot griddle—another bad move—and that’s when I said it.
What followed was a long silence during which I rubbed my hands up and down my arms as a fever ran up my spine and my tongue became a thick ball of wool. Suddenly the truck felt small and cold.
“Is that all you’re going to say?” She slugged my shoulder. “Did you even hear me? I’m late, you know what that means, right?”
“I get it.”
“I stopped having periods, Sam. You don’t have to be Dr. Kildare to know what that means.” She leaned her head back and closed her eyes. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure, like 99 percent sure that I’m pregnant.”
I reached out to pull her close to me. Searching desperately for words, not just any words but the right words for such a moment, the right words for all the ideas racing through my head. She sat up straight and looked me square in the eye. “And don’t you even ask, Sam Barger. I know what you’re thinking.”
My hands came up instinctively to block any blows to follow. “Ask what?”
Finally, she smiled and faked a punch at my face then hit me on the thigh. “Don’t even ask if it’s yours!”
“Of course it’s mine,” I said, sounding more confident than I really was. “Wow, this is big. We’re having a kid.”
“Not so fast, Hotshot.” Iris reached down and grabbed an Oly from the six-pack on the floorboards and held it out for me to open.
“You better hand me one too. I’m going to need it.” I opened the truck door and used the latch to pop the caps off the beer bottles. I took a deep drink and looked out the window and then looked into those brown eyes and said, “I want to do the right thing.” I braced myself as Iris shook her head. I was on thin ice.\
“The right thing?” I could feel the ice cracking under me. No, I wasn’t ready to be a father, but I was crazy about this girl, and what the hell. Sure, I’d marry her. “The right thing?” she repeated. “What the hell does that mean? Does that mean you’ll pay for the abortion?” The ice was breaking under me now. “You’ll drive me to the airport and pay the doctor bills? Sam, are you that shallow?”
The ice was gone. I had sunk into ice-cold water and was drowning. “Iris, don’t. I’m right here. I’ll be here however you want me to be. I want to be part of this. You know how I feel about you. Shit, we can get married.” I downed the last of my beer and thought about another.
“Well don’t act like it’s a job, some chore on your daily checklist,” she said. She scooted away from me, putting her back against the door again and her feet up on the seat creating a wall between us. She sipped her beer and looked past me through the window to the horizon of mountains across the water.
“What did I do wrong? What did I say?” I asked.
“You just sounded so flat, like you don’t see just how big this is. Shit, I wish I had some weed. I have to walk.” With that, she bailed out of the truck, and I followed. We walked away from the other cars steamed up by couples with their heads together and moved down toward the crumpled chunks of earth left from when the shoreline collapsed after the ’64 earthquake. Five years later it was still a jumble of giant slabs of mud and dead trees.
“Do your parents know?” I asked, taking her hand. She didn’t pull away, and I realized that her hands were so small and mine so broad that we couldn’t lace our fingers like lovers usually do. It felt like a child’s hand I was holding.
“Are you kidding? Not yet. Dad will kill me—and you too. Mom’s going to cry for a week and tell me how I ruined my life.”
We were surrounded by the near-dusk light of late summer, and I searched the reddening sky for an answer. “They might surprise you, you know. Sometimes parents get it and actually act like they understand."
Boy, did I have that wrong.