Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Walking and Thinking...

Vernita Porter and I walk four days a week at the Tacoma Mall just before I head off for work. I sometimes also walk at lunch time, as was the case today. The weather is just right for walking now -- not too warm, not too cool -- here in the Pacific Northwest. The temperature at 7 a.m. is about 52 degrees and by noon warms up to 71 or 72 many days, so I take advantage of it! (Usually. Some days I just roll down the windows in my car, push the seat back and take a half hour nap in the warmth of the sun. Either way, my lunch hour is a lovely time-out during the day and I can pray, read or nap, whatever my spirit seems to require most...)

My sister should be calling any minute to tell me what she found out about the resort hotel I won a weekend trip to yesterday. The plan is to see if Big Sis can get away at the same time we can so that we can have a sister weekend, I think. If Laurel isn't available (which is probable; it's very hard to blast her out of her law practice), Jackie's trying to decide if Phil and Wendy and she and I and the grandkids can all get into the resort for the $500 in lodging I won. If we can, we have to go before July 1st or lose out altogether - and the weekend freebie isn't available during Memorial Day.

Freebie. I use the term loosely. We will need to cover all the other costs -- food and gas, but we have a system: we'll pack food and take it along and share gas costs. So it should be a lovely weekend sometime soon in the next two months. I'm looking forward to it -- especially because this time I get to be the bless-er instead of the bless-ee... It has been many, many years since I could do something "big" for my family. Finances just haven't allowed it.

Does that surprise you? I wonder if it does.

You may think that since I'm the author of four books and have a full-time writing job I'm just rolling in dough, but boy howdy is that a fallacy. If you've been with this blog all along you know I was down to $38 in liquid assets in January when I landed my present job. The past four years since leaving Warner Bros. have been very, very lean and I had been going steadily backwards in available (non-retirement) savings. So this job was a real God thing!!!

My book about De came out just weeks after 9-11-2001 so there was zero interest in it as far as mainstream media was concerned -- and to tell you the truth, my own heart was so devastated by the events of 9-11 that the debut of the book, while a thrill momentarily (the first week I was able to hold it in my hands and thumb through it), didn't last long. I was hurting, as was the rest of the country. Except for a few TREK websites that expressed interest in the new book, there was not a frenzied rush to my doorstep to find out more about my thirty year association with DeForest and Carolyn Kelley. The book finally broke even (from its publishing costs) in February, 2006! It was a very long four and a half years waiting for that to happen, especially since I was so underemployed during most of it. But sometimes one's investments take time to become a blessing. This was certainly the case with DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES. (Not that I wrote it for the money, really. I wrote it because my first book had to be about De, the man who encouraged me to believe in myself. I owed him that book... and every second of help I was able to give to him and Carolyn during the last months of his life and the first several months of hers as a widow. That book is my ode to a man whose life lit up all of our lives in a major way, whether we ever really met him or just cherished him from afar.

The other three books have not come even close to breaking even. I may let them lapse at the end of this year , so if you are thinking of getting any of them for yourself or for others as gifts, now is the time. Don't delay. If they don't find an audience the way the De book has, there's no point in keeping them "live" to buy at Authorhouse. The title of the other three books can be found in the heading at the top of my blog and you can access the website to purchase them here:

To those of you who have bought any of my books, THANK YOU! If you enjoyed them (and gads, I hope you did!) please write reviews at Amazon and other on-line retail outlets. If you hated them, please be a wee bit more circumspect (kinder) than the few others at Amazon who trashed me and tried to trash my reputation at the same time! I was so touched to see happy readers rushing to my defense in tags whenever a vitriolic review would appear. It took the edge off the sense of having failed a few readers. No writer ever wants to fail a reader, but I suspect no author can escape that... People are either looking for the book you wanted to write and finding it "everything they hoped for" or they find it disappointing. Most of those who seem disappointed in mine were looking for De's biography (FROM SAWDUST TO STARDUST) and thought mine was it. My book fails utterly as a biography of De because it was never intended to be a biography -- I left that one to a pro, Terry Lee Rioux! My book is the faithful recording of the evolution of an acquaintanceship that became a close friendship and then a lifeline for all three parties involved (De, Carolyn and me). Comparing the two books are like comparing lions and leprechauns. They are different "animals" entirely.

It bothers me to have disappointed some readers. Luckily, based on the preponderance of 5-star reviews at Amazon, it seems likely I DE-lighted many more fans than I disappointed, so I consider the attempt a success.

Which reminds me:

I am extending the deadline of my next Kelley book, THE ENDURING LEGACY OF DeFOREST KELLEY: ACTOR, HEALER, FRIEND to March 5, 2008. I haven't received the number of submissions I expected to receive. Pass this blog along to all your De/TREK friends and associates: This next book will be at least half filled with other fans', friends' and colleagues' reminiscenses of De as an actor, healer and friend. If you are in touch with any of the TREK casts, give them my email address (KRISTINEMSMITH@MSN.COM) and let them know I am looking for personal memories of De to place into this book as a keepsake tome for De's newest fans who never had the chance to meet him up close and personal. Put De's personal-to-you legacy in writing and send it to me. And don't worry if you're not a writer. I am and will edit and get the final draft to you for your approval.

Be aware that these submissions must be contributed without any expectation of monetary reward. You will receive a by-line stating your name, city and country and your work will always belong to you, but in order for it to make it into this keepsake book, it must be a freewill offering without expectation of financial reward.

When you submit your reminiscense also submit (at the bottom) the following: "I grant Kris Smith the publication rights for this original work for her book THE ENDURING LEGACY OF DeFOREST KELLEY without any expectation of financial reward. I retain all other rights to this document" and sign your name and date it.

If you have any questions or comments, email me.

Oh, by the way: You do not have to have known or met De personally to write something for this book. And of course be aware that I have final say when deciding which essays or reminiscences will be published in the book.

Fair enough? Ready -- Set -- GO! Tell the TREK folks and fans you know that the deadline has been extended to March 5, 2008!


Alison said...

Some people have funny ideas about creatives, don´t they! It´s the same when I tell people about acting - they say "oooh you´ll be famous in Hollywood" without considering the 99% of actors who manage modestly in TV and theatre all over the world because they love acting but will never be famous. I don´t want to be famous! I just want to do the job I love and earn enough money to survive comfortably on it rather than living a double life which I´ve always had to do. I wish the same for you.

I reviewed your book a couple of times I think on Amazon (once for US and once for UK). I think you have to be a De fan to buy it in the first place, but I just think it´s a wonderful story of care-giving also and perhaps deserves some marketing from another angle. Perhaps for people caring!

Personally I never make assumptions about a person´s finances.

I told someone I recently met that I´m going to America, to have a look round before settling down back in the UK next year. She said rather sharply, "Wow. Did you inherit a bunch of dough or something??" looking jealous. And I said, "Yes, my mother died and now I´m trying to make the most of life even though the most important person in it has gone forever."

She shut up then. As if having some money to travel compares to actually having a loved one. I´d lock myself in a cell if I could share it with someone. For me, traveling isn´t freedom. It´s limbo. I´m only doing it in the hope of meeting people.

Well. I met you!!!!

Kristine M Smith said...

And I am blessed because you did!