Did you have a childhood? Have you written your memoirs?
New PMUG member Connie (Kramer) Johnson answers, "Yes!" to both questions. She takes us on a delightful journey to Wisconsin in the 1950s. She wrote the book, Farm Kids, on her iMac. Now, with the help of Erica Simpson she has a Keynote/PowerPoint presentation for book clubs and other groups. Last week she spoke at the Prescott Valley Library.
Prescott's EMI PrintWorks was Connie's choice for the second printing of the book. They use Mac G5, and under the direction of owner Mark Davidson, turn out quality work.
Who buys her book, and who comes to hear her talk? People from Wisconsin who relate to growing up on a farm — and those who didn't and can't. A woman from New York announced to Connie that she didn't know what Connie was talking about, but that's why she bought the book!
Growing up on a 160 acre dairy farm near Roberts, Wisconsin the two sisters, Dianne and Connie Johnson were inspired to write on topics from "Chickens" to "Laundry Day." Putting those memories onto paper was a collaboration via phone calls and letters. Dianne now lives in Camarillo, California, and she was most interested in preserving those memories for her own children. Together the sisters wrote for 9 months, designed the cover, enlisted 5 friends to edit, then engaged a printer in California for the first run.
In June 2007 a book signing tour in Roberts, Wisconsin during the annual Good Neighbor Days gave the two sisters the first opportunity to sell their books. Connie had contacted the River Falls Journal and found that a conglomerate owns seven small town newspapers, so one editor handled the publicity. An independent book store and a coffee shop took the book. Sitting in the shade alongside Main Street for the parade Connie and Dianne were thrilled to see grade school and high school friends stop by, even telling them some stories not previously remembered.
Later, a friend encouraged Connie to submit a short write-up to the View, the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Alumni magazine. They published a tiny headshot of Connie holding her book, along with her e-mail address. To her surprise, two former college roommates e-mailed her.
Getting acquainted with Erica and Dan Simpson brought information on "Bean," a writing program that Connie finds more helpful than TextEdit. She attends the Writers' Networking Group headed by Elaine Hardt, meeting weekly in Prescott Valley.
What's next for Connie? She's written a picture book for children, ages 3 to 9, "Mr. Bunny's Secret Party" that's due out from EMI PrintWorks the last of June. Local artist Clareen Barrett was the illustrator.
Meanwhile Connie's enjoying the role of speaker and book publicist. She's also a member of Professional Writers of Prescott and the Arizona State Poetry Society. ASPS has just notified her that one of her poems will be published in their quarterly booklet, due out in July. When her birding hobby doesn't take her out of town we'll be seeing more of this vivacious gal at PMUG and SIG.
In closing, Farm Kids sells for $20. Contact Connie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a look at EMI PrintWorks' useful information, "Printing Terminology" on their site, www.emiprintworks.com.
Mac can make it easier for you, too, to write your memoir. # # #