DESCRIPTION: “The novella My Mirror Self, and I is an intimate exploration of a young woman’s struggle with breast cancer and depression. Described as “powerful”, “compelling”, and “uncompromising” by readers, this story puts you inside Cassie’s head as she tries desperately to find a way out.
Cassie is a small town girl with everyday dreams: a happy marriage, a fulfilling job, and eventually a family. In eighteen short months her life and hopes slide from her grasp – her marriage to David is failing, and her career prospects are fading fast. Already struggling with her isolation as depression tightens its grip, she is devastated to discover she has breast cancer…
Now Cassie has to choose. Does she let her downward spiral continue all the way to the bottom or can she find something – anything – to fight for and make her future worth living?
This novella touches on themes explored in books like Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, but it is written in a style more akin to Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, combined with Victoria Hislop’s The Island.”
It’s been several months in the making, but I’ve finally managed to self-publish my first work. Anyone who thinks self-pubbing is the easy option either isn’t doing it right or they’ve lots of help. There’s been plenty of hard graft, as a researcher, writer, editor, graphic designer, typesetter, HTML programmer, website builder, chocolate eater, and to come: promoter and marketer. Anyone who’s been keeping an eye out won’t have seen me online as much, and this is why.
Self-pubbing is satisfying though, and not as solitary as some may think: thank you everyone who gave their precious time and valuable insights. The story is much improved from earlier versions because of your input.
I didn’t know how it would feel to have something actually finished and available. Am I overjoyed? Am I struggling with negative feelings as I have nothing to work on? I don’t know how I expected to feel but the most obvious emotions are a sense of the surreal, as technically (depending on who you talk to) I am now an author as well as a writer. There’s a huge sense of satisfaction, of seeing something worked on for so long come to fruition. Excitement? Anyone who reads writer’s blogs knows that most eBooks don’t set the world on fire, and sales figures for many writers range from meagre to ‘not bad’.
I’m more ‘cautiously hopeful’. I’ve always known Cassie wasn’t mainstream, and I hope some readers will appreciate the character focus, where I’ve taken the story, and why I’ve made some of the choices I’ve made; there’s at least two blog posts that could be written about that alone, but I can’t write them today.
I was up until 3am attempting to get the website online before this blog post, only to be informed by the host site that although the files should all be there, it can take the internet another 48 hours to get all the signposts in place so that people can actually access the web page. Currently writerandauthor.com points to my old author website. The link may be live (or broken) by the time you read this. There should be an extended free sample available there when it goes live (hopefully – the Amazon Kindle’s limited 10% doesn’t give a prospective reader much to go on).
I’m hoping at least some readers will be moved by what I’ve written, but I know not everyone will enjoy a piece like this. If you do like it, I’ll make a brazen request that you tweet it, ‘like’ it, and review it all the way into the Top 100. (I am available for blog interviews, discussions, opening supermarkets, and guest speaking at bar mitzvahs and weddings).
My Mirror Self, and I is now available on Amazon Kindle via:
It was a challenge to write, it’s challenging to read – I will find out over the next few months how a writer fares when they walk a road less travelled.
I, for one, am very excited about this release! Cassie’s story struck such a strong cord with me that there were times I had trouble reading it because of the intense emotions it conjured up. I wish you the best of luck!
Thank you for the well wishes Krista, I hope DoD and Greylands will both be a success for you too.
Thanks too for your support through the process, your edits made formatting so much easier.
Well done, mate. Good luck with the book. It’s a lot of work to produce a good product and I’m sure your efforts will show through the quality of the story.
Cheers Colin. I know I’ve done all I can to ensure this is as high a quality read as I can make it. Your suggestions on cover design were a great help. Thanks.
Well done my friend – All the best to you!
Thank you Rich, for your support and your honest and insightful feedback on the story.
Congrats on the book, TJ. I wish you all he best with it, although I’m sure it’ll do very well for you.
Much obliged for the encouragement Steve. Your new book cover also makes a great avatar.
Hi TJ –
I confess every time I see the name “Cassie” I keep having Belle & Sebastian / Stuart Murdoch’s song “I’ll Have To Dance With Cassie” from his “God Help The Girl” project go through my head.
A fun song, although the novella is obviously somber. But perhaps its uplifting mood can help Cassie forward
Thanks for the song recommendation Matthew, although I don’t know what Cassie would make of being told she dances like a ‘boxing kangaroo’…
Yes, but her “little Joey buys the drinks, he’s in love more than he thinks!”
I liked what Stuart Murdoch did with his “God Help The Girl” project. And Canadian-Irish singer Catherine Ireton has an absolutely beautiful voice.
I really love how British-Isles music has been producing a lot of variety in recent years including more of a focus on the voice and talent in a more simple setting without the distraction of choreographed dancing.
The Indie scene in UK music has often provided a welcome distraction from the sameness of the mainstream charts. There’s a bit of cross-over though. I have a liking for Florence and the Machine.
Congrats TJ! I wish you all the best. Its good to hear how all your hard work has paid off.
Thanks E.R. Now hopefully I’ll find people who want to read it… It does feel good though to finish something and be able to ‘put it out there’…
I won’t be reading this, breast cancer simply strikes too close to home. Congrats and Good luck with it!
Don’t worry Bea, that’s fine. It’s written in an emotionally intense style, and I knew that wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste.
I hope the ‘too close to home’ experience wasn’t too traumatic…
It wasn’t me, no, but my mother, stepmother, and a cousin.
Best of luck with it, though, and I emailed you about doing a promo on my blog.
For some families, cancer is an inescapable truth that’s hard to live with… I’m sorry yours is one of those.
Thank you for the offer of some blog space Bea. Much appreciated
Congrats, TJ! I know you worked hard to get this done!
I did, but it was worth it. Hopefully others will think so too… Thanks for your help with beta-reading Angie.
Congratulations on the publication TJ. All the best with it and now remember to get the marketing on the road.
Cheers Gareth. I guess it would be a good thing if, now I’ve written it, I let people know it existed…
Shoot me an e-mail if you want any promoting/marketing tips.
Thank you Emma. Your comment started with the two words I most like to hear. I hope you engage with it, and it leaves a favourable impression.
As for marketing tips, thank you again. I may well be in touch next week. I’m visiting family this weekend…
Haha. I thought you might like my opening. I am going to try and get it read in time for next Wednesday’s book review.
E-mail me whenever you want!
Thanks a lot, Emma.