My 5-Year Pregnancy is ending!
Announcing an Imminent Book Birth, Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl
Book Birth Date: Launch party, September 14, 2019, Jacksonville, Florida
What if the Mennonite life young Marian Longenecker chafed against offered the chance for a new beginning? What if her two Lancaster County homes with three generations of family were the perfect launch pad for a brighter future? Readers who long for a simpler life can smell the aroma of saffron-infused potpie in Grandma’s kitchen, hear the strains of four-part à capella music at church, and see the miracle of a divine healing.
Follow the author in pigtails as a child and later with a prayer cap, bucking a heavy-handed father and challenging church rules. Feel the terror of being locked behind a dark cellar door. Observe the horror of feeling defenseless before a conclave of bishops, an event propelling her into a different world.
Fans of coming-of-age stories will delight in one woman’s surprising path toward self-discovery, a self that lets her revel in shiny red shoes.
You’ll find more than story in my memoir:
- Family tree, Longenecker and Metzler ancestry
- Glossary: My parents’ odd, but quotable, expressions
- Recipes from Mother’s and Grandma’s Kitchen
- Newspaper transcript of a traumatic experience in Grandma Longenecker’s teen years.
- Original artwork
- Family photo gallery
Today, I am celebrating my own birthday. Then comes the formal book launch on September 14, a mere 7 1/2 weeks from now. I feel excited and scared at the prospect.
In the coming weeks: more labor before delivery:
- Planning special launch events here in Jacksonville and then in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area.
- Preparing to send advance reader copies to authors who are willing to read and review my book on Goodreads, Amazon, and other outlets. (Shipment due tomorrow, fingers crossed.)
- Keeping up with social media: Facebook, Twitter, and updating my Goodreads page. Click here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45800329-mennonite-daughter/My Amazon author page will appear later. Creating special guest posts with giveaways.
- Hosting on my blog other authors’ books which release this summer/fall.
- Organizing a Pennsylvania itinerary.
- Securing dates for presentations at book stores and libraries in my city and elsewhere.
- Following up with inquiries to advertise in publications.
- What did I forget? I gasp!
A Writer’s Third Act
Five years ago, I began taking a memoir-writing course to learn the craft of narrative in non-fiction. By any measure, I am publishing my first book, a memoir, at advanced maternal age. Once referred to as “geriatric pregnancy,” obstetricians classify women over thirty-five with the “advanced maternal age” tag. The fears are real: maybe their baby will suffer birth defects, autism, something worse?
When Shirley Hershey Showalter published BLUSH in her sixties, she referred to herself as an “elderly newbie.” When I remarked to one editor, Annie Tucker, that I’m in my seventies (disparaging myself), she pushed back with the comment that “Many of my clients are in their eighties and nineties.”
Wow! Picture my thoughts in cartoon balloons when I heard this amazing announcement: “I may not live that long!” “Where would I find the energy for the rigors of writing, editing, publishing, and MARKETING, for heavens sake?”
As proof of the latter, at age ninety-eight (Yes, I said 98!) Juan Carlos Marcos published The Last Corpsman based on 600 pages of war correspondence, including letters from his wife. Granted, he had a co-author, but STILL!
Featured on 1106 Design website
A much younger author friend, Jill Weatherholt, is releasing her third book soon, available for pre-order. I’m reading her new book, A Mother for His Twins, now and will post a review. She has offered to reciprocate.
Author friendships don’t seem to find age a barrier, a lovely discovery!
Young adult author, Darlene Foster, a Canadian writer who lives in Spain, features Amanda traveling the world, making discoveries and often solving a mystery. In her seventh book in the series, also releasing in September, Amanda travels to Holland.
Her book also is available for pre-order.
Like a plant, [one’s life] adds up “until it blooms, but even after blooming, after mid-life. . . . It keeps going because it has to start withering. Only in drying does the real fertility begin, the seedcase forming, and only then are the seeds available to be blown apart and travel and settle. ~ Molly Peacock in The Paper Garden
* * *
When is the right time to publish your book?
Comments, questions, or suggestions about my book or book launch welcome here.
Yay! How exciting for you. So much work, so much reward I’m guessing. Good job, Marian.
You are up early, Ms. Ally Bean. You get an extra toot from my horn because I think you are in the central time zone. Work now . . . reward comes when I know the book resonates with readers like you. Thank you!
I’m so excited for you, Marian! Launch day will be here before you know it. Happy birthday (not book birthday) to you. I hope you have an extra special day!
That’s what I’m thinking . . . here before you know it. But just like previous steps toward publication, launching and more marketing will unfold just as it should. It’s unknown territory, but I have great mentors. I remember your giving me tips on social media, Twitter, I think. Thanks for blazing a trail ahead of me, Jill!
P.S. I had to regain my composure after being called “much younger.” LOL! Thank you for sharing my release, Marian. By the way, I just turned 54 on Monday, so I don’t think I’m too far behind. 🙂
As I said, a delightful discovery about the camaraderie I’ve noticed among writers . . . chronological age doesn’t seem to be a barrier. We access our memories the same way, but view them through a different lens. You (and I) are just hitting our stride – ha!
The pregnancy metaphor for the birth of a book is so apt–even if your baby was five years in the making. While people rarely critique a new baby (how beautiful, so sweet, adorable, perfect!) are the usual kudos tossed around on Facebook, with a new book you do feel vulnerable to “oh, is there something I missed, did wrong, spelled wrong and no one caught, what if people pan it, no one buys it, etc. etc.” And after it is out there and published, there is no taking it back for an exchange or refund!
Relax, Marian, you have done awesome prep work; the “baby” will come out, and you will be supremely happy and contented–if a bit busier than usual. Hope it won’t keep you up at night and no 2 a.m. feedings at least!
Ha, ha, yes, I’ve had my moments of “awful-izing,” but it’s usually an exercise in futility. Now I’ll expend my energy in a different way. After my schedule is set up, I believe I’ll enjoy meeting new people. You of all people know about the process from start to finish: writing, editing, publishing at Herald Press. And then comes marketing. Fortunately, I don’t fit the stereotype of the introvert-ish writer.
Thanks for the boost here, Melodie!
Good morning, Marian! Happy Birthday and happy book day! Congratulations! I know this has been a long journey for you, and how it exciting it is to actually see your book in print.
Collingswood, NJ has a big book festival held in October–if you’re going to be in PA around then, perhaps it would be worth it.
Thanks for the thumbs up, Merril. I did check the Collingswood website, and it appears their exhibitor slots are already filled, but there’s always next year. 🙂
Aww–too bad. You’d only be about 20 minutes away from me. Let me know your PA schedule when you have one. 🙂
Good news for you, Merril! 🙂
Susan Weidener has me on her schedule to visit the Women’s Writers’ Circle on Saturday, September 21 – I don’t know the time of day, but you might because you have presented before.
Lovely. You will enjoy that, Marian.
Maybe I’ll see you then?
I’m not a part of the group, so probably not. I was thinking maybe if you were doing a book signing event somewhere. . .
Well, perhaps in the Lancaster area. I’ll alert you if there is another event closer to NJ.
Congratulations, Marian! On your birthday and your launch, coming up soon! Oh, Glorious Days! The cover is perfect! And your marketing plan is ambitious and fun! Have a great time. Let the celebrations begin! I can’t wait to read it! Hooray for you! 💕❤️
Beverly, I’m so glad we took that memoir-writing class together. Was it back in 2014? I believe that’s the date I used to calculate the length of this pregnancy – ha! It’s great to see you here. I’m glad we can keep track of each other on Facebook too. Thanks, Beverly. You’re enthusiasm is catching!
What a wonderful birthday post. I do hope you have a great day!! Thanks for the shout out for Amanda in Holland. I hope to have copies in my hands soon. Now the fun, or should I say work, begins for both of us! 💖🎉
Maybe you’ll get some pre-orders from his post. That’s my hope anyway. I can tell you relate well to readers in the marketplace, as I’ve seen you in snaps from book presentations and signings. Thanks for shining a light on the path ahead, Darlene!
The perfect post! Yay! Congrats, Marian! She’s a beautiful baby. You look fabulous in your red with your cover! Can’t wait to discuss your book on my blog! And you included the fabulous Jill! Yay! A good day! Congrats to all of the authors you mentioned. 😊
I loved the color red, always have. As I recall, the Big Lady Shoes were actually black suede, which the book cover designer painted red.
As I recall, I met you through Jill’s website. Lucky day! Let’s discuss a good time for your hosting me on your blog, perhaps after the launch when the book will be available. Thanks for being generous with your space, L. Marie! 🙂
P.S. Happy birthday to you!
Congratulations on both your Birthday and your book launch!
Thanks, Irwin! 😀
Congrats Marion on 5 years of hard work brought to a completion. Can’t wait to see you in Lancaster and purchase a good read from a childhood friend and peer. Riba Crill
Hi, Reba! You will recognize ALL the places and re-live Communion and other events at Bossler Mennonite. You’ll certainly recognize many of the characters in my memoir too. I look forward to seeing you in September. 🙂
Congratulations to all – how exciting! 🙂
It IS exciting, scary, and more. I notice on your blog you have your fingers on the pulse of writers and readers and definitely understand the range of emotions. Thanks, Barbara.
What a nice thing to say – thank you! Best wishes to you and your new book – are you an indie or self-published author? Would you like to be featured on Who’s That Indie Author? Let me know if you are – you can email me at email@example.com. Have a great day!
I’m so excited for you, Marian! What a fantastic birthday celebration for you: a major accomplishment and much to look forward to in the coming months. As an early reader, I’m delighted to think of what’s in store for those who will have the joy of reading Mennonite Daughter.
Yes, I remember sending your my manuscript, which I think had just been copyedited. It’s much the same story with a little tweak here and there. Your blurb appears on the first leaf, before the title page. So, so thankful of your endorsement, Linda.
Marian — I’m thrilled to pieces for you and can hardly wait to read your memoir.
When is the right time to publish your books? WRITE NOW!
Of course, WRITE NOW, if not sooner! I remember meeting you as a blogger, and now you are into your third book with a series coming up. I believe you have a tiger in your tank, Laurie!
Happy Birthday Marian! Hope you have a wonderful day. I can feel the energy and excitement in your post. I love the quote by Molly Peacock about the seeds, a very apt metaphor. Would you consider a PR person – it will cost you but that person could help advertise in local newspapers, do published interviews in same, have you on the radio ..
Thanks, Susan. Yes, I have considered hiring a publicist, but at the moment I’ve become my own PR advance planner by contacting libraries and bookstores, here in the city and in other venues. But I do see the benefit of putting more wind in my sails with assistance.
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, dear Marian . . .
And Happy Book Launch, too! 😊
I hear you Linda, music to my ears. Last evening and this morning, some callers actually sang the birthday song over the phone. Thanks for chiming in with your version of the tune!
Oh Marian, you have great cause for celebration on this, your birthday and the birth of your book baby. It’s happy dance time! I am so very excited for you. Happy Birthday , my dear friend. Now it’s time to enjoy the ride.💞
I love how your Italian family knows how to do the happy dance. As you know, dancing was forbidden among Mennonites of my era, but I can click my heels, not very high of course. Yes, I’ve decided to enjoy the ride. Why not! 😀
That’s right, Marian. I didn’t even think about that. I figured you could dance now they you
Ha! Ha! I can jump as high as I want to now . . . if only I had the energy!
How wonderful! Happy Birthday, Marian, and just look at your happy face with your newborn! A long pregnancy indeed. Many congratulations to you. It looks like you’re going to be a very busy mum indeed for the forthcoming weeks and, incidentally, my own birthday is 8th September, so guess what I’ll be getting as a present? Can’t wait! Well done! 👍❤
Fatima, I’ll look for your own birthday celebration probably on both your blog and on Facebook. I love, love, love the idea that my book will be available “across the pond” and you’ll turn pages as you travel. Thanks for the thumbs up!
That’s kind of you. We don’t celebrate birthdays too much, but I do like to go out for a meal to give me a break from cooking. 😉
My son, whose birthday is tomorrow, invited us to their house, and his wife cooked a lovely lasagna dinner for us. So, I didn’t have to cook either on my birthday . . . lovely to have all the family together to, our daughter’s family included.
How lovely! I love cooking, but it’s nice to have a break, especially on your Birthday. And I forgot to say you share your birthday with my husband! Happy Birthday to your son tomorrow. 🎂🥂
Happy, Happy Birthday to Peter, your Adonis. I hope you had a grand celebration!
Happy Birthday dear Marian, and congratulations on getting to the Final days of your book adventure!
You’ve traveled this path not so very long ago. By the way, it was our mutual editor Annie Tucker who remarked that many of her clients are in their 80s and 90s. I can’t imagine! Thanks, Joan!
Marian, I’m so happy for you and your new “baby!” Pregnancy is a hard road to travel, and I believe it is the perfect metaphor for writing a book, especially a memoir. I’m looking forward to reading your story. Also, happy birthday wishes for your own birthday today.
Memoir writing is especially difficult because the writer is accessing and making sense of old memories. Fiction authors write from their imagination. Even though fiction writers may draw from real life, I believe this genre puts the writer at a remove. I’m not certain of my conclusions because fiction is not my genre, but so I imagine. I’m happy to count you among my readers!
Thanks for good wishes all around, Sherrey. I’ve really been enjoying your blog posts recently too!
Congratulations on the book! I will read it for sure. I’m a few steps behind you in that I just finished a first draft, but I’m getting there. I can’t offer any advice on best times to launch. Maybe I can learn from your experience!
Your first draft will generate successive drafts, and finally a finished manuscript. I know so, because I know you are not a quitter.You’ll get there, even if it take you X more years. Other authors in this space have been my mentors, and I’m absolutely SURE I could not have written in a vacuum, without their mentoring me.
Forward ho, Arlene, baby steps all the way! 🙂
Go, Marian! The birthing pangs may be almost over, but now you’ll have a toddler on your hands. Happy birthday and happy bookday. You did it! She’s crowning! Now to let the world know. I’m so glad you already have a strong social media platform and readership. Thanks for introducing other authors, too. I wonder if you’ll make it to northern PA which isn’t outlandishly far from where I live. I’ll watch for your PA schedule.
I was 68 when my book was published. I thought I’d have a few more by now, but life had other plans. As always, we’ll see what happens next. I’m happy, happy, happy for you and your beautiful book.
Oh, Elaine, your metaphors are wonderful. I know all about toddlers. Every Sunday I work/play with about 8 of them for two hours. Spontaneous, risk-takers, taking cues from their environment., that’s their game. I guess another wild ride is what’s ahead for me.
My best bet is to go with the flow: Plan as well as I can, and leave what I can’t control in God’s hands. Today I turned 78 with a first book in the hopper. All I can say, better late than never. A true cliche is there ever was one!
Really looking forward to reading your book, Marian! Bravo!
I look forward to your reading it. Maybe we can meet up when I come to PA. (Itinerary not quite set up yet though.)
I’m elated for you Marian. I can feel you beeming through the cyber waves! And Happy, Happy Birthday!!! 🙂 x
Thanks for sharing my excitement here, Debby! If UPS follows through as scheduled, an advance reader copy will be winging it’s way to you by tomorrow, Thursday.
Woohoo!!!!! I’ll let you know as soon as I receive it! <3
I’m still waiting for the UPS truck to make a delivery this afternoon! :-0
What a wonderful birthday gift. I am so happy for you. The book sounds fascinating. Even though at times it seems overwhelming, the journey is the best part. By the way, Books-A-Million at the Beaches was very easy to work with to set up appearances/book signings. Another great place to try would be The Book Mark at the Beaches. They tend to focus on local writers. Just a couple of ideas. Congratulations!
Nina, I remember you from Crista’s class at UCS. I’m really stoked that you know about my blog and book. I will take your advice and check out Books-A-Million. I have already contacted The Book Mark in Neptune Beach. Thanks you so much for connecting with me here, very much appreciated!
Congratulations Marian.. and will do a new book promotion for the Cafe and Bookstore a week after on 23rd September. I can get everything from Amazon nearer the time..Exciting for you… hugs Sally.
What a generous soul you are, Sally. You know all about the writers’ life and are willing to promote us, however and whenever. Huge thanks! (( ))
My pleasure Marian.. so pleased for you.. hugsx
So special how you share your launch date for your “baby” and share your news with that of other authors. You are a class act, Marian. And I can’t WAIT to read your memoir. I’m really impressed about your promotion plans. I am so bad about following up with marketing/promotion when I ‘launch’ a book. I kind of don’t launch, I slowly walk it out of the barn. 🙂 Haha. You are inspiration personified.
Oh, wow, Pam, you are really giving me heaps of praise here!
I’m thinking at the moment that this may be my first and last book, so I have to one chance to get it right. But what do I know? I have learned from the best of them, but your comment makes me think I don’t have to put so much pressure on myself. I chuckled when I read “I slowly walk it out of the barn.” Ha, ha!
I think we authors/bloggers/writers can be very hard on ourselves. But that’s good – we only want to publish the best. But I wouldn’t tell yourself that you’re a “one-book wonder.” You might find that you miss birthing book babies. xo
I rest my case! (( ))
I also am pleased to join in with the many authors and well-wishers at the birth of your new book. I’ve seen it as you imagined it in your mind and watched it grow out-of-womb to a healthy baby book. Now others near and far can hear the baby’s loud elated cry – “Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl.”
Thanks, dear, for your artistic touches to the design along with original art and photo restoration. 🙂
I am full of joy for you such an amazing achievement. Well done for never giving up till you’d reached the bitter end . You could have left your manuscript in a cupboard somewhere for your immediate family to read . Instead you made sure the world and it’s wife read it and I can’t wait to be one of them . Happy birthday and book day Marian .
What’s the saying: A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved, but a joy shared is a joy doubled. You are a Joy Doubler, for sure, Cherry. You warm the cockles of my heart. Thank you, my dear! ((( )))
What an achievement! Well done you!
Thank you for noticing, Lady Fi!
How. So. Very. Exciting, Marian! Congratulations and a happy belated birthday to you. How wonderful to be done with this pregnancy and to be able to hold your own book into your own hands. By the way, red really suits you! 🙂
It sure looks like you have a plan and a schedule. Let the marketing, performances, and presentations begin! Scary and fun at the same time. Nice to see Jill featured here as well. I wish you all success in the next steps to … (more) success!
You know my story from the inside out, Liesbet. Your voluntary, squinty-eyed perusal of my manuscript deserved a nod, so you’ll find your name on my Acknowledgements page.
Truth be told, I have very little energy left for marketing. My plan sounds good on paper, so I’ll have to catch my “second wind” to execute it, I suppose. “Scary and fun” nails it, for sure.
I hope you have enjoyed time with family and are experiencing cooler weather than we are here in Florida. Thanks for checking in this evening. 😀