Since some of you are fairly new to the blogosphere, here’s a mini-course in Blogging 101. When we have a Virtual Book Tour or feature a special guest you don’t have to be present at that time. The post of that day – as well as all previous posts – remains on the blog. So you can join us at that time or visit at your leisure, reading past posts and making comments when you want – simply by clicking on “comments” at the bottom of the post and adding your thoughts. Easy as that!

Here’s what author Carolyn Howard-Johnson had to say in response to comments about her Virtual Book tour on the blog yesterday:

The question was what was the first step I took when I decided to change my career path. Obviously, that is a bit different for someone who has decided to write than many others. I just sat down and started to write. The next step – very independent and feminist – I got my own computer! I could see that a writer (maybe anyone!) should not have to plan their creative moments (for writing or business!) around the practical needs of someone else. It was some time after that I realized how important it is to take care of yourself in the little ways if you want the big,new plans to be taken seriously. Indeed, if you want them to succeed.

Comments from another reader included, “What a great interview. Really shows that life has many dimensions. It’s amazing how far things have come. Much of that I attribute to the courage of women like Carolyn Howard-Johnson.” To which Carolyn replied, Yes, we’ve come a long, long way. But still so far to go. Witness the Spitzer thing. There was a column in this morning’s LA Times criticizing Hilary for not speaking out against a system that enslaves women. If she’d spoken out, they would have criticized her for being strident and made the point that she has no room to criticize. I mean she couldn’t win and at least part of that kind of thing is based on what people expect of their women.

Someone else asked, “I think you first wrote fiction, then poetry and lately some nonfiction books – what’s next?” Said Carolyn, What’s next in the way of books? Well, I’m hoping to get a few of the poems I’ve written into a collection – one with a tolerance theme (with a little anti-war mixed in). And a publishing book primarily aimed at those who have difficulty finding publishers because the market for works that aren’t commercial successes (like poetry and like short stories and like literary novels) are so scarce. But it will be able to be used by anyone who has a book in them. And that’s most of us. Thank you for asking. (-:

In a question about self care, “I’ve put my family first for so many years, I’m not sure I even know how to take better care of myself. How did you feel when you said “no” to your family? I would feel so guilty turning them down just to do something for me.”

Carolyn’s response was so insightful: I needed a support group to help me say no. And this is what I found. That my family was better for it. I learned to say no with a sense of humor. Sort of, “You want me to do WHAT??? And that helped.

And yes, better for it. More independent. More respectful. I think I set a better example for my daughter that moms and wives don’t need to also be dishrags. I didn’t even realize that I was inviting the dishrag thing, but I was.

It sounds awful, but that’s the truth – for me at least. We often aren’t helping by doing. That getting the courage to be independent is part of the theme of This Is the Place, my novel. You might enjoy it.

With thanks to Carolyn Howard-Johnson for her generosity of time and spirit, this ends our Virtual Book Tour. If this has piqued your curiosity, let us know about other authors you’d like to meet and we’ll do our best to have them visit our blog.

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