Thursday, February 17, 2011

There are no coincidences

At the end of 2008, I was thrilled to get the results I was hoping for from Boston Medical Center.  My bone marrow was still normal, the swelling in my legs was starting to diminish, and my kidneys were still continuing to slowly improve.  The doctors could safely assume from my tests that no amyloid was being produced in my bone marrow, and told me no further treatment would be necessary at that point.  I was "free to go" until my annual evaluation, which I will need for the rest of my life.  I felt like jumping for joy!
The children's story I had written during that last bone marrow transplant was now sitting in my desk drawer.  I was busy with the holidays and in great spirits after receiving this good news from BMC, and it was just getting more and more difficult to carve out the time to research publishers and create a fabulous query letter.  With Jason now in kindergarten, I was enjoying the new routine, and volunteered regularly in his classroom.  It was so nice to finally "live" my life and not have to prepare for another relocation or medical treatment.  I had also found the perfect part-time job at Global Fitness Center, and was so happy to be back at work in the fitness industry.  Even though I was just working at the front desk, the hours were perfect and I loved getting back to my workouts.  I was getting back up to my normal speed, actually enjoying the daily grind of foodshopping, laundry, cooking meals, taking care of the house.  But I wasn't quite yet 100%, and at the end of the day, I was much too exhausted to focus on my book project.  I would collapse into bed around the same time as my 5-year old son.
About a year later, in April 2010, I was getting excited to see my friend Ali, who would be visiting from the west coast.  She hadn't been to Boston since Jason was only five months old (doesn't he look comfortable with "Aunt Ali"?), and it had been two years since I had gone to Los Angeles to visit her.

Ali was coming to Boston to speak at the Simmons Women's Leadership Conference that weekend, and I was looking forward to spending some long overdue, quality time with her.  We spent a relaxing afternoon with our mutual friend Stephanie strolling on Newbury Street and around Back Bay.  We had a lovely lunch, did some shopping, and even enjoyed some afternoon cocktails.  After a little down time at Stephanie's South End condo, we capped off the perfect girls' day with an amazing sushi dinner at Douzo.  The day really brought back memories of when Ali and I both lived in Boston in 1994, while I was getting my master's degree in Social Work at Boston University.  We were both teaching group exercise classes at City Gym in Kenmore Square (which is no longer there, I believe), and would often walk up and down Newbury Street window-shopping.  We had a few favorite places where we loved to eat, and it was always fun to sit outside and people-watch.

Before Ali's speaking engagement, Stephanie and I planned on attending a networking cocktail party.  Stephanie was eager to make some business contacts, but I was just along for the ride, happy to be spending time with both of them, and excited to see Ali "work her magic" for an enormous ballroom-full of adoring fans.
While we waited for Ali to arrive, Stephanie and I mingled and introduced ourselves to a few people.  The room was full of women entrepreneurs, some with well-established businesses, and some just starting to venture out on their own. Stephanie instantly hit it off with another fellow image consultant, and while they were talking I happened to overhear the conversation next to me.
"I'm a book publisher," I heard one woman tell another and my ears instantly perked up.  When they both noticed me next to them, they invited me into the conversation.  After we all introduced ouselves, I asked one of the women, "What type of books do you publish?"  I had already jumped to the conclusion that she would not be able to help me with my children's picture book--she probably worked on 'tween' vampire novels or cookbooks or travel guides.
"I publish all kinds of books," she told me, "I actually help authors self-publish, so really any type of book."  I could not believe it--what were the chances that I would be at a women's business networking event, not even looking to network, but just spend time with a couple friends, admire Ali's speech, and have some drinks afterward, and now I'm standing right next to a book publisher?!  I instantly felt a connection with Lisa; she was bubbly, high-energy and engaging.  I admired the fact that she had over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, was a mom with two children, and had started her own business.  I liked her right away, and told her about the little story I'd written.  Lisa appeared so interested, that for the first time since I wrote the book, I felt hopeful that it might have a chance at being published.  She gave me her card and we went to go see Ali at her pre-speech "meet and greet".
When I called Lisa later that week, I told her my entire story, how I had explained it to Jason and helped him understand what was happening with me, and how well my method had kept him from being frightened or overly worried.  Since I hadn't been able to find a children't book appropriate for my situation, I had written my own, but hadn't made any progress publishing it.  Lisa was so supportive and assured me I had a great story to tell, offering to read my manuscript. 
The more I spoke with Lisa, the more impressed I was with her background in publishing, her professional experience and expertise, and the quality of her work.  She patiently and openly answered all of my questions in detail, explaining the entire self-publishing process, and spent a fair amount of time speaking to both me and Steve on conference calls.  Both Steve and I appreciated Lisa's honesty, integrity and work ethic, and enjoyed her excitement and enthusiasm regarding my book.  There was no question we had found the perfect person to bring my story to life.
And so Where Did Mommy's Superpowers Go? had officially begun it's journey from a simple Word document on my laptop to a beautifully illustrated book, which I cannot wait to share with you.

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