Tag Archives: Rachael Brownell

Dopefiend Forthcoming from Central Recovery Press in October 2011!

Four Views of a Book Press

I signed a contract with a book publisher!

Dopefiend* is forthcoming from Central Recovery Press in October 2011. I am so excited and pleased.

Central Recovery Press first contacted me in early spring. I signed in late September. In-between was much book publishing drama. It’s nothing like what I imagined. I say that, but I am no longer even sure what I imagined. I just know I agonized over everything.

You always read about these wonderfully talented writers who were poor business people and ended up dying penniless and lonely in some terrible place. I was determined not to let that happen to me. I asked about print runs, wholesale and retail prices, and means of distribution, but the person I worked with—a kind soul from upstate NY named Tom Woll—liked to answer these type questions in general terms. I could never tell if he thought I was somewhat slow or if he was  just trying to protect me from myself.

Probably a little of both.

In the end, I had to reach out to all my writer friends and acquaintances for help. That’s what really turned the tide and helped me understand what was going on. It’s one thing to see yourself as a promising new voice. No matter how many rejections come, you’re always able to shrug it off. Writers get rejected. This is just what we do. In a sense, we’re manufacturing rejection. But being asked to deliver on a vivid and engaging manuscript is another story altogether. I didn’t see it right off, but now I realize I was overwhelmed, intimidated, and mabye even a little frightened.

Fortunately I had a host of writers and friends to rely on for everything from sanity checks to encouragement. Much thanks to: William Bradley, Dinty Moore, Matt Briggs, Rachael Brownell, Diane Diekman, Karna Converse, Carter Jefferson, Grace Skibicki, William Pitt Root, Tom Catton, Ira Sukrungruang, and I am sure a few others who I am forgetting as I write this.

And many thanks to Holly—a wonderfully talented writer in her own right, and my best reader and favorite critic—for putting up with me all summer long and for cleaning out some room in the house where I can write. I realize that I have been offered a wonderful opportunity, one that not many writers get.

Now my job is to write the best book I can produce.

*Dopefiend is the tentative title. I agreed to come up with a new title, but I haven’t found anything I like just yet.

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Rachael Brownell’s Mommy Doesn’t Drink Here Anymore

mama-no-drink-here-no-mo-yo

I’ve done a ton of summer reading that I probably won’t ever find time to write about (especially since it’s Nov), but I wanted to push Rachael Brownell’s debut memoir to the top of the list. I loved it. I watch for recovery memoirs, but had no idea about Ms Brownell or her book until I found a small stack of Mommy Doesn’t Drink Here Anymore at one of the big independent book stores in Bellingham.

I am glad I found it.

A fast paced romp through the first year of sobriety, it’s a pretty quick read. Brownell knows how to tell a story. At the end of an early chapter, I found myself astonished at the lengths she was willing to go to carve out a safe place for herself and her children. I don’t want to spoil it, but Brownell is one of those indomitable people whose presence just leaps off the page. Motherhood triggers her descent into alcoholism, although this isn’t a sordid tale by any standard. She used crisp white wine to unwind in the evenings, until eventually she felt the wine had her.

This memoir is notable for its realistic focus on recovery in 12-Step programs. Most recovery memoirs include an obligatory mention of attendance at some sort 12-Step meeting. Some offer critiques of 12-Step programs, while others offer breathless details about the anonymous lives the author finds there. Most of the time I get the impression that the meetings weren’t all that important to the story. Certainly attendance at 12-Step meetings isn’t the only way to get sober. But I always feel a little skeptical about recovery stories where the addicted person’s salvation comes through the love of a good man or woman.

Mommy Doesn’t Drink Here Anymore isn’t like that at all. It’s not a testimonial, but more like a celebration of 12-Step recovery, as told through the eyes of a grateful newcomer, who is charmed and appalled in equal parts by what she finds in meetings: the 12-Step lingo, the corny slogans, and the member’s oft stated reliance on a Higher Power.

Read it. You won’t be disappointed.

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