November 20, 2013

Are You An Author?

That is an interesting question: “are you an author?” I sometimes am not sure how to answer it. Depending on who is asking, I vacillate between telling them about my book and wondering if I really am an author?

I mean, what truly makes someone an author? Is it a feeling of author-ness? Is it the accolades or fame that J.K Rowling and Khaled Hussein enjoy? Is it when you get paid for your writing? It is when others think you an author or when you yourself proclaim that you are one? Or is it something else altogether?

The other day I had a colleague find out about my book and didn’t believe me until she actually Googled “Dustin Bradshaw” and saw it was true. Then she and other colleagues decided I wasn’t an author type…what is that supposed to mean?

For me easier questions to answer come with the static factual questions such as ‘You published a book?’ Yes, I did that. Then I wonder, if they read my book, would this person asking me agree that I am an author? There are thousands of books published every week and with the change in the publishing industry due to e-books there may be even more self-proclaimed authors. The quality of the writing is as dramatic and diverse as the names on the cover.

An even better question for me is: “Are you a writer?” Yes, I love to write, I think I always have. My first ‘book’ was about a dog in the 2nd grade. I still remember being so frustrated that my illustrations on stiff red card stock were not up to par. I write on a blog (as you know), I write in a daily journal, I write stories that come to my head, and I am constantly thinking about experiences in a day and how I would convey it to a reader so they feel as if they too were there, when in fact they are not.

For example, the other day I was on  the bus to work and sat across from two middle aged women, dressed in warm knit sweaters with cliché Christmas designs glaring in the sun from the windows, that I would guess were in their fifties. I listened (while pretending I was reading my book that was far less interesting) to them explain which way to face on the bus seat to cause less pain in their back or extra plump bottoms. The conversation slowly moved to Kirstie Alley, one of them called her “Kristen Alley.” They bantered back and forth about Kirstie’s life as if she were a close personal friend they invite to tea every afternoon and how she should rid herself of her ‘soul sucking’ family members. If that wasn’t entertaining enough, the conversation soon turned—just as cliché as their old lady sweaters—to their domestic cats. One woman was thankful her kids were grown so she can spend time with her kittens uninterrupted. When asked, the other woman said that “right now I only have two cats at home…” and went on for several minutes about the cats that have now passed on and are buried in the yard.

Did that paint a picture of the women? Can you picture them in your minds?

Writing is an art. Even in fiction stories, there are truths from the author that expose themselves through the characters. I see it in my writing and often wonder about it when reading someone else’s writing. Our writing is deeply personal. Putting it out there for people to critique and comment on is a risky decision. Even more so when my first published work was a memoir about my own life. But if there is a message to share, a message to improve life in some way, then the risk is worth it.

Today I have some exciting news to share. One of my “milestone goals” in life was to publish a book and in 2012, WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN was published. Last month I signed a contract with another publishing company, TATE PUBLISHING because they wanted to publish a second edition of it. I am excited for the new group to work with. So far they have been so open, friendly and helpful! So the official release date for the second edition of WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN is FEBRUARY 2014.  However, it is available from TATE already if you want a copy. You can find the link to the Tate Bookstore on my website :

The cover is new and guess what? I took the photo (in Baguio, Philippines) and designed the cover. I know pride is something we should avoid, but to actually produce something on Photoshop is a new feat! (Jon W. I know you do this type of thing in your sleep).

AND…last week I also signed a contract with Cedar Fort Publishing for my second book! This book is a fictional book and is set to be released JUNE 2014! What for news about THE IMPACT OF ORDINARY by Dustin Bradshaw. I will keep you posted with more details on both books as they come.

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