F*ck It!


Vitality Stories


F*ck It!


Dear Friend,

 

Exciting things are happening with Tiger Drive. Exciting things as in after several years of writing and editing, I am close to announcing Tiger Drive‘s release date.

I know, crazy right?

But first, WTF is up with my newsletter title?

Well, a few things.

I’ve decided to publish my novel and not pursue a traditional publisher for a variety of reasons, the most significant being,

  1. The resources that were once exclusive to traditional publishers are now available to anyone who is willing to invest in their work (in particular: editors, cover artists, lawyers, marketers, layout designers, and more),
  2. Using an agent and a traditional publisher could mean Tiger Drive might not be published for another year or more,
  3. I would most likely forfeit my rights to Tiger Drive for the rest of my life plus seventy years which means I’d have to get permission on how I market Tiger Drive, would have little insight on what is working and what isn’t working, and if the publisher decides they only want to print 1,000 copies and nothing more, I would have to get a lawyer to try to buy back my rights to do another print-run.

So I decided (with the support of my peers in three creative groups) in a very unusual Teri fashion, F*ck it. I’ll publish on my own.

What this means is things need to start happening, um, yesterday.Tiger Drive is currently in the hands of a copy editor. This week I’m finalizing the back of book description with the help of other authors and the Tiger Drive Squad, and next week, professional designers will start drafting the cover. I’m going to be honest, choosing the right cover and back of book description are more intimidating than writing the novel. Did you know (and I will try not to hyperventilate while I type this) that a book cover only gets 0.2 seconds to convey the genre and attract a reader’s attention? Point two seconds! It took me three seconds to type “point two seconds.”

Exactly!

But F*ck it! I have a team–a professional team–helping me get the cover and description right.Also, Tiger Drive is in the hand of an editor as I type. If I used a traditional publisher, I was going to face a problem that is now no longer a problem: use of the F-word.

Drug dealing, biker gang WJ in Tiger Drive can now be a realistic character and say f*ck as much as he wants. I rarely swear or use the F-word, but as I was writing Tiger Drive, WJ kept dropping F-bombs all over the place like F-ing cigarette butts. No kidding, during the first draft I was so embarrassed by WJ’s potty mouth, I said out loud, “You can’t write that. He can’t keep saying that!”

But F*ck it! A drug dealer, biker gang member like WJ would swear. So I let him.

However, now is a good time to share that many readers frown upon foul language in a book, and it’s possible you might be one of them, and for that, I’m sorry. In fact, using the F-word guarantees at least one negative review on Amazon and Goodreads. So I searched how many times WJ says it in Tiger Drive:

f*ck it

108 times?! WJ gets an “F” for language! But WJ won’t give a fig about an F grade. He’s got other problems to deal with.

Anyway, enough about me. What’s going on in your world?

As always thanks for being you,

Teri

P.S. If I don’t have your first name, send me an email, and I’ll update your subscription 🙂
P.P.S. If you are receiving this newsletter because one of my awesome subscribers forwarded it to you, and you want to subscribe to the newsletter, too, then click here and Thank You!

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Letting Go on the Camino de Santiago


Vitality  Stories



Letting Go on the Camino de Santiago


Why the wait?

Boy, this newsletter is long overdue. I’ve promised to share details about my week long hike between the French Pyrenees and Spain’s Rioja region at least five times in the past three months, but each time I tried, I just couldn’t do it justice, and there are a few reasons.

One, I’m not a travel writer. I’ve never been great about repeating the history and facts I learn about an area. What I hold onto are the feelings that a trip evokes in me: How I feel standing in a field or on a mountain top I could’ve never found on my own; experiencing the beauty of anonymity and humility in a crowd of people whose language I can’t speak; or recognizing that the world is huge, and the realities and perspectives in it are diverse and not exclusive to my own.

I also love seeing the native flowers and animals (see donkey above). I love connecting with nature. I enjoy architecture.

Continue reading

The Corner

 


Vitality Stories


Teri Case


The Inside Scoop – The VS Corner


And now introducing . . .

So many of the Vitality Stories readers have powerful, insightful and often funny stories they graciously share in response to some of the VS newsletters. With their permission, I’m starting the Vitality Stories Corner (VS Corner) so we can all benefit from our shared life experiences and laughs.

Recently I shared my What the Cantaloupe?! Inside Scoop, and for the next three days, I laughed as readers sent me emails and shared their own “treats gone wrong” experiences.

In today’s world, we need laughter breaks more than ever, and I hope you get a laugh out of two of my favorite responses.


They Went Coconuts by David Prater

“I remember when I worked for the Telephone Company, and I supervised six people. One of them, David D., and his wife had a baby, and we had a shower for them in the office. I wasn’t really clued in on what was appropriate for a baby gift, so I got her a coconut. It was in the crusty brown fibers that come out of the original full shell. Some people were aghast. I thought it was pretty clever, and there wasn’t another coconut gift from anyone else. I sort of like the original.

I still think about giving coconut gifts but I ask my wife now if it’s a good idea.  So far, no other coconut gifts.”

Continue reading

The Inside Scoop


Vitality Stories


tiger drive


The Inside Scoop


What the cantaloupe?!

Thanks to your encouragement and your ‘Go Teri’-s, I was able to finish the edits to Tiger Drive as planned. In addition to your support, I had the amazing Tiger Drive Squad keeping me on my fingertips as they read each edited chapter. The squad came back with suggestions and some much needed praise, and I really enjoyed the daily interaction with these twenty readers.

When Tiger Drive Squadster Lorraine Watson (Follow Your Light) finished reading Tiger Drive, she said, “As with all good books, it’s a struggle between finding out the end and not wanting it to be over. It feels like I’ve been hanging out with you for several weeks and now it’s over. A gap. Void. So I changed out more electrical outlets.”

I felt like I was hanging out with each squad member, too. For the past week, I’ve been torn between being happy the editing is done and sad that I’m not hearing from the squad every day. One reason is that, after each chapter, I shared an “Inside Scoop.” Tiger Drive is fiction, but like most writers, I drew from personal perspective and experiences. The Inside Scoop served as a fact vs. fiction tip. In return, the squad member often sent me a note sharing a similar story of his/her own, and I enjoyed getting to know each person better. Here’s an example of what I might have shared: Continue reading

Dear Me by Teri Case


Vitality Stories


Dear Me TFBY


Dear Me@13,

It’s August, and you’re a thirteen-going-on-fourteen-year-old girl who is super excited to start the 8th grade at Carson Junior High School. This week, you’ll go back-to-school shopping at Contempo Casuals in Meadowood Mall with not only the babysitting money you saved all summer but with a bonus $100 that your dad gave you from his “big win” at the casino the night before. You’re going to buy black Jellies pumps that will kill your feet, a pair of Guess jeans, and those awful cotton versatile white overalls that will get stretched out and stained and look horrible on you, but I’m not writing to warn you about your fashion choices. You’re going to love those purchases, and you’ll prove it by wearing them over and over.

No, I’m writing to prepare you. Life’s about to get difficult. In fact, it’s going to be the most difficult year of our life.

You’re so young and sweet. If I could travel back in time and be your friend for the year, I wouldn’t hesitate. I’d move in with you. I’d go everywhere with you. I’m sorry, but we’re about to lose our “kid-shine” (as the mother, Janice, in Tiger Drive likes to say). It happens so fast, and you won’t be able to point to when or why it happens, but it does. Continue reading

I Am Editing


Vitality Stories


Snoopy Peanuts

credit to Peanuts


I Am Editing


Hi Everyone,

Just a quick note to say I’m head down and editing Tiger Drive. I am so frigging close to finishing this edit; I can hardly stand myself. And I mean that in a good way.

I’ve learned a lot over the past 3.5 years of my writing life, but my favorite advice came indirectly from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. She said, “Nothing is more exhausting than the task not started.” Continue reading

Embracing Tiger Drive


Vitality Stories


Teri Case


Embracing Tiger Drive


Gut says what?

I’ve been head down editing Tiger Drive. My goal is to complete it by July 31st. And when I say complete it, I mean do this final (and 13th edit) to the best of my capability so that I can make publishing choices and share it with the world. I am ready to move on–move on to Book 2 that has already been drafted and is ready for some TLC. And what about Book 3 and 4 – both ideas of which I am in love with and can’t wait to write?

So why now? Why am I so focused on getting it done now? Why am I ready? A few reasons.

First, I hiked for a week between the French Pyrenees and Spain’s Rioja. I learned a lot about ‘letting go’ as I walked portions of the Camino de Santiago. I have so much to tell you about this trip and experience, and how Tiger Drive came into play, that I have to save it for a long newsletter next week.

Secondly, I have a squad! The Tiger Drive Squadsters have been amazing. They are reading each chapter as I do the final edit, and I’m doing my best to stay ahead of them. Their ideas, input, and encouragement have made this journey fun and rewarding.

To get traction, I had to embrace what doesn’t work for me. I know, it seems like I should let go of a process that doesn’t work for me, but first I had to embrace what doesn’t work to figure out what would work.

I’m not someone who knocks out several edited chapters in a day. I always thought I should be so I pushed myself to do this, and that, my friends, is why Tiger Drive has had 13 revisions. With every round of edits that I forced out or kept working on even though I was emotionally drained, I always felt like I was forgetting something, but I’d throw my hands up and say, nope, time to finish this chapter and get going. And then, in the middle of the night or the next day, I’d realize something magical that I should have included in the chapter, a detail that would have taken the story to a new level, but I was too late. The ship had sailed, or the flight had taken off. I felt and looked like this:

So I embraced the fact that I needed time. Time for ideas to come to me, time for the characters to percolate and develop within me. But I also needed a goal date. Once I embraced this, I could let go of the pressure to get Tiger Drive done today. I could instead build in time for each chapter to become its best and set a realistic goal date.

This is what my day looks like now:

I do a light editing pass on three chapters at a time. Fresh in my mind, ideas start pinging me throughout the following days, so I’ll start grabbing some of those ideas and focus on one of the chapters. And I work on that chapter until I get a gut feeling that I’ve edited it to the best of my ability. And then I move on to the next chapter. This gut feeling seems to be happening on a daily basis now, and I am getting really excited about finishing Tiger Drive the right way, the best way.

I’m trusting my gut right now. That’s my creative process.

Have you ever had to work through a routine or process and figure out what works best for you by first embracing what didn’t work? Let me know about it.

By the way, inside scoop: I chose this picture of me because I look so gritty in it, like “don’t mess with me!” I’m claiming it as my editing face. I laugh whenever I see this picture because, I don’t know, it makes me feel a little exposed or embarrassed. My brother calls it our “trailer park face.” So in the spirit of embracing, I’m embracing my grit. Photo credit to the amazing Gretchen LeMay.

Until next time, thanks for being you!

Teri

P.S. Sorry for any typos. I’m so focused on editing the novel, I seem to be making typos everywhere else. LOL

Teri Case Vitality Stories

Click here to subscribe or email me at teri@tericase.com

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My Library AHA Moment


Vitality Stories



My Library AHA Moment


 

I uncovered the true gift of libraries

I’m determined to do a final edit of Tiger Drive by July 31st and thanks to the confidence and feedback the Tiger Drive Squad has shared with me so far, I know I can meet the goal and write this story to the best of my ability at this point in my life. But writing from home isn’t as ideal as many might think. There are endless distractions at home. Endless excuses to not get into an editing groove. Lame stuff like organizing my cupboards or wiping out the fridge and microwave, and shouldn’t I get the garage straightened up? Add a partner who works from home to the mix, and I’m stopping at specific times for lunch, to nap, and to go to the gym (I’m not complaining about these last three).

Being at home makes my shout-out to the world that I will finish editing Tiger Drive by July 31st feel a bit impossible. So what to do, oh what to do.

I left home.

I went to Ithaca’s public library, invested in six hours of parking (watching the clock to feed the meter was not an acceptable excuse to break from editing), found a table near an outlet so I could keep my computer charged (a dying battery would be an inexcusable excuse to stop editing), and sat down to edit. And guess what? I did edit for six straight hours minus bathroom breaks. I didn’t leave for lunch (I had bottled water and some nuts), and if I needed to stretch my legs, I walked about the rows of books for inspiration for five minutes here and there.

Throughout the day, the tenants at the nearby tables turned over. Individuals came and went. I was thriving on the energy in the library. But what was fueling the energy? Was it enough that I had no distractions? Was it the smell and sight of books surrounding me? Was it the pleasure of seeing people reading, writing, or doing research? I’ve always loved libraries and the magic they hold, but I will admit that in the past several years, I’ve been horrible about going to the library–it’s been too easy to spend money and order the books on Amazon. I think the silly break I took from libraries let me discover a subtle gift.

A library is one of the only places that individuals can go to turn inward. Introverts and extroverts unite in a library. Unless you’re there with a study group and working in a sanctioned ‘noise allowed’ area, the rest of the library is for going inside ourselves, pondering our thoughts, fueling our imagination, learning, and creating.

I edited over four chapters at the library; this is a record for me. It usually takes me an entire week to do one chapter. By going to the library, I gave myself permission to turn inward with the characters and to stay in their point of view(s). It was glorious. In fact, this clip from Toy Story 3 came to mind as I walked out of the library at 5:00 p.m., smiling and rejuvenated:

Have you had any AHAs about your habits or goals lately? I’d love to learn more about you.
Until next time, thanks for being you.
Teri

Teri Case Vitality Stories

Click here to subscribe or email me at teri@tericase.com

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True Crime and Tiger Drive

 


Vitality Stories


True Detective


True Crime and Tiger Drive


 

Hello!

Last week I shared a memory of my dad being shamed for scrounging in a commercial laundry detergent dumpster when I was three years old. Not all of his dumpster dives ended in embarrassment. Some were downright rewarding.

After the soapbox incident, we moved from Boise, Idaho, to Reno, Nevada. Dad would become a garbage man (today we would say sanitation worker) and work the job to his dying day. Over the years, he worked his way up, and he drove a Peterbilt and handled commercial accounts–I’m sure he found some vindication in being able to sort through as many dumpsters with discarded laundry detergent, and other commercial goods, as he wanted. He loved picking through other people’s junk and amassing his own treasures, but often times, stores would put ‘expired’ food or obsolete items in a box next to the dumpsters for my dad.

One day in the late 1970s, he brought home boxes of True Detective magazines set aside by a customer. True Detective magazines ran from 1924 to 1995. They’d become known as True Crime magazines, too. He loved them. He poured over them, hundreds of them. After 12 hours of work and dinner, he’d sit in our small kitchen at his small two person table, pop open his can of Budweiser (all 6+ of them), and read both solved and unsolved crimes all night long. Every now and then, he’d yell for us children to “learn from what happened to this victim.” Continue reading

Dad and His Soapbox


Vitality Stories


Richard Case Teri Case


Dad and His Soapbox


 

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure

In my upcoming debut novel, Tiger Drive, Harry is the father of several children. He struggles with addiction. He is a sanitation worker who never intended to be a sanitation worker. He wants to matter but doesn’t feel like he does. He is a man with a broken past on which he is building a broken future. He is a character some readers will hate to forgive, hate to love.

And this description also matches my dad, Richard, so it’s natural that I often think about my dad–wonder what he was thinking–as I write Tiger Drive, as I write Harry’s story.

I recently had a memory that twisted my gut. I was about three years old, almost four. I know because we lived in Boise, Idaho, at the time. My dad liked to load us kids, and Mom, in the car and take drives. Drives took away his restlessness. Sometimes the drives were just a few hours; sometimes they took all day. I always wished for a pancake pitstop (I still do today). Continue reading