My Book · On Writing · Publishing

Introducing My New Book! I Am That Woman

Introducing my new book – a book of poetry – entitled “I Am That Woman”.

Can I get a ‘heck ya’ up in here?!!

What a whirlwind this last month has been! I’m thrilled and grateful to tell you that this, my first book of poetry, has been published by Black Moss Press.

Here’s how it happened:

I was chatting with my publisher, Marty Gervais, about some upcoming book launches. We were discussing who would be part of these launches and he said, “We need someone like you to read,” to which I answered, “I’d love to be a part of a launch, but I’d have to read from paper, not a book”. Because I’m at so many poetry readings and book launches, it always seems like I have a book of poetry published, but I don’t. Even I…forget, if you will, that I don’t have an actual book of poetry published – besides my self-published Poetry on Demand chapbooks. And I’m not discounting these books at all, mind you. In any case, the conversation progressed and Marty said, “Well, let’s get a book of your poetry published then. Can you send me a manuscript by the end of the week?”

UM – YES!!!!

Then we proceeded to talk other business, and when I got home that night and told the hubby that I was going to get a book of poetry published, it was his reaction that sparked my own realization into reality: “That’s amazing, baby! Another book! Congratulations!” Wait, what?! Yeah, it didn’t really set into my brain what this all meant until I got home and told my love (you know how that happens?).

I got super excited and worked my arse off that week to get a manuscript together. The first place I went was to my ‘rejected submissions’ folder to see what poetry was available to include in a manuscript. Then I gathered poetry from my laptop and my desktop computers – because I always write poetry and save it then forget I’ve written it…! I had about ten pieces that I shared with Governor General’s Award winner Phil Hall (for his collection of poetry ‘Killdeer‘) when he was a writer-in-residence at the University of Windsor. I revisited these and added them to the collection. I wrote about 8 new pieces over that week as well. When all was said and done, I had over 100 pages of poetry in the manuscript. It was too much. I had to cut, edit and then cut some more. The week passed and the manuscript wasn’t ready. I told Marty as asked for another few days, which he gave me (Thank you!).

I realized that the new poetry I was writing was quite different than most of the poetry I’d written before. And I really liked the new stuff. So I promised myself that for the next few days if I had an idea, I’d stop what I was doing and write a poem. No matter what. It was so invigorating! I’d be washing dishes, my hands soaked and pruning, and ideas would trickle into my mind. So I’d stop the dishes, find a paper and pen, and write. I pulled over to sides of streets while I was driving to stop and write. I woke up in the middle of the night to write. I became hyper-aware of my surroundings, the people and things and experiences in my life, and I stopped to write about it all.

In the end, I submitted a 70 page manuscript of poetry that reflected…well, me. My life. My experience. My voice.

I was terrified. The day I handed it in I couldn’t really function. I held my cell phone at all times awaiting a vibration that would bring me any news from Marty (the publisher) either via text or email. He asked me what to call it. My first idea was ‘The Ones’. Super lame. My second idea was ‘Sermons on the Porch’.  It didn’t quite fit. Then I suggested ‘I Am That Woman’, the title of a poem I’d written earlier in the week. He LOVED IT. In fact, I did too!

I got a response that evening to get together over the weekend to go over the manuscript page by page. And a ‘it’s great!’ comment that put me mostly at ease. I was a nervous wreck about the whole thing, truth be told. Writing poetry, at least the way I write it, it’s like tearing pieces of myself off and sharing them with whoever will read. It’s exhilarating as much as it’s terrifying. Because much of it is so personal, I want people to love it, share it and love it some more. I know that it’s impossible for everyone to love it all the time. But I can’t help but want it to be read and loved. Essentially, it’s a reflection of my self and my life…and I guess that means I want people to like me.  Is that weird? Egotistical? Natural? Gah. Let’s move on, shall we?

I was able to share cover ideas, and I got approval for a cover image right away. While the hubby worked on the cover design, I met with Marty and went over the manuscript – page by page. Line by line for some of the pieces. I was quiet and listened. I felt my cheeks blush and heat rise from my chest when we got to certain pieces (especially the sexy ones). Marty and I agreed on which pieces we could lose entirely and which pieces needed more editing. The meeting took about an hour. What we were left with was a manuscript that we were both very excited about. For me – a collection of poetry I am very proud of.

Within 24-hours, the manuscript went through layout and design, and several more rounds of copy editing/revisions, and the cover was completed. It was sent to the printers and about 10 days later, I had a copy of the book, I Am That Woman, in my hands.

What did I do when I saw the first copy? I was a writer’s salon at Artspeak Gallery with a group of writers and Marty. I rubbed the cover gently…blushing at my  laughing-wildly blurry image on the cover. I opened it and smelled it. And then my dear friend Karen snapped a picture of the whole thing!

I read the first poem, “How to Sneeze After You’ve Given Birth Twice”. I stumbled over a couple of words because I was overwhelmed and out of breath, but it made everyone laugh. Even the men! The women said, ‘Wow! I’ve experienced that but would never say it out loud! Thanks for being the one to write it!” Thanks for being…that woman!

When I brought a box of books home…

…I was speechless. So I took then out and piled them…

…and stared at them.

I was moved to silence. Then I called the family in the room and we all cheered and hugged.

It all happened in about three weeks. Very quickly. Very efficiently. And I didn’t say a word to anyone…I couldn’t because I wanted it to happen first – I wanted to have the manuscript submitted…so I knew that it was real, you know?

Now it’s real. It’s very real! I’ve sold five books to date! I’ve scheduled a pre-launch book sale…

…where I hope to sell a whole lot more – and promote the book launch that is happening at the end of January.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 23, 2014 – to be exact! I’ll send out ‘save the date’ reminders…

As I write, the book is beside me on the table. It feels bizarre to see it…to see my self on the cover…but I love it. And it feels right too. Very right.

Maybe I am that woman…no, I know I am.

I am a poet. And poetry is essential. The world needs more poetry.

I hope you enjoy it! I hope it makes you laugh and think and love a little harder than you did before you read it.

PS. Wanna like my I Am That Woman Facebook page?



6 thoughts on “Introducing My New Book! I Am That Woman

  1. Congratulations! I was glad to be there at the launching of the book, and to experience the reading of that hilarious poem.



    1. Thanks, Maureen! I’m so happy that writing has brought us back to each other! Happy Holidays and thanks for reading and responding! I appreciate it!


  2. Hey Miss Vanessa!! I am so very proud of you and so excited for you! You ARE “That Woman” – that amazing, wonderful, exciting, hard working and edgy woman that so many of us already love!! I really can’t wait to have my own copy… See you on the 14th!


  3. What a way to end this year and begin the next! Many, many congratulations and much success with the book! My lord girl, what’s next for you?! 🙂


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