Thursday, August 25, 2011 | By: Lynny Prince

In the Spotlight: Kenneth Weene, guest author


A Home After Retirement

I’d always wanted to be a writer. Little things had gotten in the way: an education, a career, marriage and family – just doing what life demands. After all, how many people earn their livelihoods and take care of their families writing novels and short fiction? I had the love but not the cojones.
Age has few advantages, but I did appreciate retirement. I was tired of helping people. It might seem an easy job, but being a shrink really exhausts – not so much the body as the psyche. It’s hard work to care. Retirement meant having time, the time to relax and especially the time to write. Not just the poetry and short stories I’d tossed off to unwind on weekends, but really write.
It was fun. It was easy. Most importantly, my writing was pretty good. I ran it by other people, and they said, “Ken, find a publisher.”

We had moved to Arizona, and I found a local vanity press. We brought out an anthology of my work. People liked it. Some asked if I’d ever considered writing a novel. Had I? Of course I had. In fact,  there were a couple already underway. More support. More suggestions from people with no idea of how difficult writing is. I hemmed and hawed and avoided until my wife asked me why I was bothering to write if I was afraid to do something real with my work. It was a fair question, especially from her. She had been a painter, and I had often gone with her to galleries to ask them about showing her work. It had been my job to stand in the doorway of each gallery so she couldn’t leave until she had made the painful advance to the gallery director.

Being her support had taught me something. The owners of those galleries had no more idea of what to show than you or I. One time she showed the director a book in which every painting had been sold – some to famous people. He looked through the photos and told her that her paintings weren’t commercial, that they wouldn’t sell. I figured publishers were no more likely to have good judgment than gallery owners, but what the heck?

I bought one of those books that list all the publishers and started looking at listings. I knew that without fame and starting so late I would be lucky to find a publisher. I said to myself that if it was meant to be it would happen. I checked off three small houses that seemed to have some idea that writing mattered. Only three because I thought I’d see if there was any useful feedback form those first sure failures.

I sent the the query letters. I went with Widow’s Walk because it was a good read, somewhat traditional in format, a love story, and set conventionally.

I got back one response. “Send us the book.”

That was from All Things That Matter Press. I don’t mind giving them a shout-out; they’ve been great. We just signed a contract for my third novel, and they are ever helpful and supportive. Surprise, finding a publisher had been easy.

I should have known there was something wrong with that picture. First came the editing. That took time, effort, and discipline. Next came checking the galleys – more time, effort, and discipline. Then the book came out. Wow!! Yay!! Hooray!!

That’s when the work really started. I didn’t realize how much work goes into marketing once those books are published. Now I spend half my time doing anything I can think of to get attention. For example, I write guest blogs like this one. If you’re enjoying my style, perhaps you’ll take a look at my website and check out those books. See what I mean?

If you are a new writer, I would say that finding a publisher is sort of like finding a new house. It’s difficult but in these times not so impossible, but once you move in be prepared for all the work; that never ends. Retired? Who’s retired? I’m an author.

Brief Bio
A New Englander by upbringing and inclination, Kenneth Weene is a teacher, psychologist, and pastoral counselor by education.
Ken’s short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous publications including Sol Spirits, Palo Verde Pages, Vox Poetica Clutching at Straws, The Word Place, Legendary, Sex and Murder Magazine, The New Flesh Magazine, The Santa Fe Literary Review, Daily Flashes of Erotica Quarterly, Bewildering Stories, A Word With You Press, Mirror Dance, and The Aurorean.
Ken’s novels, Widow’s Walk and Memoirs From the Asylum are published by All Things That Matter Press.

To learn more about Ken’s writing visit: http://www.authorkenweene.com

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