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Good-bye Mom

Doolie Sisters Picture Books Still on Their Journey

"When are you going to get those Doolie Sisters published?" Mom asked when I walked into her hospital room. She had suffered a major heart attack. "Widow Maker," they called it.

"Hi, Mom, how are you feeling?" I wanted to talk about her not those books that were going nowhere. I couldn't get anyone to feel the thrill I did about these books, so decided to hide them forever.

Mom was not going to let me.

That was September, 2022.

In October, 2022, I met a picture book author. I told him that I paid two editors to look over the first book of the Doolie Sisters' series. The editors hated it, though they didn't come out and say it directly.

He said to go with my passion - to stick with them despite the naysayers.

I made some changes and shared them with my Beta group. I don't think my Beta Readers felt as passionate about them as I did. The Doolie Sisters were tucked away again.

For some reason this August I decided to wake them back up, dust them off, and start pitching them to agents and publishers.

On Tuesday, September 19, Mom went on Hospice.

I decided maybe I should self-publish them. I put out a call to my SCBWI Wisconsin friends for advice. Would I have enough time?

Mom died Saturday, September 23, 2023.

I know in the great cosmos, my timing is not the same as God's timing but I feel as if I've let Mom down. True, we want our books to be the best before sending them into the world. However, was I using the opinions of others to convince myself they would never win a literary award, they didn't have universal appeal or have deep intrinsic meaning?

As authors, it's difficult to know when to start pitching our books to agents or publishers. Even when I began pitching all four Doolie Sisters in August, I would notice mistakes I left in the books or query letters. Why, Carol? Why are you an author, anyway? I wanted to stop. Instead, I corrected them and moved on. I tell my daughters if they don't want to make mistakes, don't do anything. That's my one and only famous quote.

When is it time to turn off the noise in our heads and move forward? When is it time to tackle the self-doubt and run the race? I don't have the answers. I usually advise writers to go through the manuscript a few times, share it with professionals, and then move on. If you need to make revisions, bring it back in and go through the process again. Do not hide your work like I did with the Doolie Sisters.

Perhaps there are many out there who would continue to advise me not to move forward with these books. Knowing my mother is on the other side, however, her voice is stronger, and I will push forward. She never let us kids give up. All during my years dealing with my cleft palate - surgeries, doctor visits, speech classes - she was adamant that I didn't give up. She was like that with my other siblings in their endeavors. Besides, I can't get the image of her in her hospital gown asking me about the Doolie Sisters.

Mom had a great love for her husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. My friend, Royce, said, "She was a force of nature." Indeed, especially when it came to her family. I will move forward with the Doolie Sisters along with all my other books and projects. It's a small way of giving back some of the love Mom had shown me and her family.

Rest in peace Mom.

For Mom's 90th Birthday, she let me interview her. Instead of my usual podcast, I thought we'd revisit that interview.

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26 de set. de 2023
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What a lovely tribute to your mom. I KNOW you didn’t let her down! Keep pushing- that’s what Barb would tell you :)

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