Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Not Another Christmas Letter

If we’d known, as kids, that adulthood contained things like stirrups and “Turn your head and cough,” would we have been in such a big hurry to get here? Given the unreasonable burden of chores and equally senseless limitations (in my childhood reckoning), I distinctly remember thinking – and I think I speak for all of us – “I can’t wait ‘til I’m an adult, so I can do what I want to do!” [Pause for laughter.] We were so naïve. I’ll bet not a one of us imagined we’d one day be forced to forego a leisurely cocktail by the pool in favor of spending an hour on hold with the cable company; watching the appliance repair tech use the good towels to soak up the water instead of meeting up with friends at the Square Grouper; holding a child’s head as she pukes all night instead of getting a much-needed, long-overdue, full block of sleep.

Today, given the responsibilities of maintaining my health, home, and family, I feel as burdened and limited as I ever did. I’m 46-years-old, my kids are grown, and I’m STILL waiting for that elusive life that allows me to do what I want to do. For example, in addition to the annual violation a la stirrups I subject myself to (in the hopes of preventing more serious violations in the future), I’m also required to submit to a separate, head-to-toe physical evaluation – complete with needles and urine cups – AND visit the mammogram specialist to have my boobs pressed like Cuban sandwiches. Those three annual visits, alone, require at least one phone call each. For the doctor and gynecologist, I make a note on my calendar to start the process about 6 months ahead, which is about how far in advance you have to schedule an appointment. For the physical exam, I have to remember to fast for 24 hours prior to the visit (because of the blood work). For the gynecologist, I have to pray the appointment doesn’t coincide with the wrong time of the month. Otherwise, I have to reschedule – and wait (and pray) for another 6 months. The mammogram can’t happen without a prescription from the gynecologist and, since it’s worthless without films from the previous year to compare with the new images, I have to make sure all medical records get forwarded to the appropriate place(s) on time.

As a resident of Florida who’s often in the sun, and because my dad’s had brushes with skin cancer,  I’m strongly advised to also make an annual trip to the dermatologist. This year, after the second voice message yielded a return call, I fit it in between the dentist (whom I see every 4 months) and the chiropractor (every 5 weeks). I used to get my hair cut once or twice a year, but it’s short, now, so I have to get clipped more often. I tried to let the gray grow out, but I decided to wait ‘til I’m 60 to look 60, which means I have to at least touch-up the roots every few months. Because I don’t like my nails clicking on the keyboard, I cut them back about once a week.

Though paid by our mortgage company, our homeowners’ insurance has to be reviewed every year. We carry one master policy for structures and contents and, through another company, two separate policies for flood; one for the main house, one for the guest house. No reputable insurance company will touch wood-frame houses in Florida, so our car and boat insurance are with yet another company; one renews annually and isn’t eligible for automatic payment, the other renews every six months and IS on auto pay. God forbid we throw a claim in there somewhere…

Two filters for our reverse osmosis water system have to be changed every six months. The more expensive third filter can wait a year. Because the RO system already filters the water piped into the refrigerator, we often wait a couple months after the red light comes on to replace the filter in the main house fridge. Upstairs in the back house, the Brita pitcher needs a filter swap every 3 months (the ice trays, however, need to be re-filled every day). Spread over both houses, I’ve got a half dozen or more air fresheners of one sort or another that typically need monthly attention. With FOUR full bathrooms, a large kitchen, and a (soon to be) bar, I constantly monitor usage of towels, washcloths, soap, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper. If I don’t make weekly trips to the grocery store, we don’t eat. If I don’t do laundry, we risk offending the neighbors. The dog and cats have to be fed twice a day. For maximum health, I’m strongly urged to walk “briskly” for 30 minutes, get 30 minutes of sunshine, and eat 3 organic/natural meals, plus a snack, every day. I take probiotics in the morning and at night (on an empty stomach). I take multi-vitamins and calcium supplements twice a day (with food), iron and vitamin C once a day (also with food), and down one tablespoon of cod liver oil (can you say ick?) and one scoop of Mila (aka “the miracle seed” Salvia hispanica L. – ask Katie), usually in the morning, to get it over with. I’m not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but, when combating colitis, the fear of getting sick again is good incentive to stick close to the routine.

Teeth don’t brush themselves. Dishes don’t gather themselves, wash themselves, or put themselves away. Shaving and showering don’t spontaneously occur. Floors don’t get swept and vacuumed on their own. Beds and dinners don’t get made. Emails don’t get read and answered. Voice messages go unretrieved. Every minute of every day, every day of every week, every week of every month of every year it seems SOMETHING is required of me that isn’t on my “Things I Want To Do” list. Needless to say, the adulthood I pined for just isn’t what I expected it to be.

But, you know what? I’m grateful. The dew-covered lawn that takes 4 hours a week to mow in the summer attracts squirrels and butterflies and shimmers in the morning sunshine as I drink my coffee. The dog that shreds beach towels and romps across the yard carrying new seat cushions makes me smile every day. The pool that fills with leaves in the fall and evaporates almost as fast as we fill it in the summer provides the best way to cool off after a hard day of yard work.

I’m grateful to have the means to visit the chiropractor, the dentist, the gynecologist, and the mammography center on a routine basis and that, albeit a juggling act, my diet allows me to keep waking up every morning to face another day. I bitch about my family, but I’d be lost without them. The construction dust never seems to settle, but I’m lucky and proud to have a husband who isn’t afraid to get dirty. And every project makes the house feel more like home.

That life is one kick in the nuts after another still rings true; death, taxes, and insurance won’t go away and shit breaks at the worst possible time. But, between the repeated shots to the groin, there ARE moments of peace to be found and countless blessings to be thankful for. As a (spoiled, ungrateful) child, I couldn’t see that. As an adult, I live for the moments of bliss and am in constant awe of their limitless possibilities.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." * "There is more to life than increasing its speed.” ~ Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi

To be healthy, wealthy, happy and successful in any and all areas of your life you need to be aware that you need to think healthy, wealthy, happy and successful thoughts and cancel all negative, destructive, fearful and unhappy thoughts. These two types of thought cannot coexist if you want to share in the abundance that surrounds us all.” ~ Deepok Chopra

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Lama

Git ‘er done.” ~ Larry the Cable Guy

I hope your moments of bliss are many this Christmas season. And I hope you’re able to enjoy every one of them. XO

~ Dawn

Monday, September 5, 2011

Why am I here?

[Originally posted to the MySpace blog on December 29, 2006 - edited for content, but the message remains the same...]

Why do people tell stories? Why do people listen? Why are some great writers never read? Why are shitty writers (who tell shitty stories about shitty people doing shitty things) read so much? Why do millions of people not read at all? Why aren't we doing more to change that?

Why can't people handle the truth? Why do we spend so much (too much) time on lies? Why can't we say what we mean and do what we say? Why isn't love always unconditional? Why aren't people staying married, anymore? And why the fuck is Danny Bonaduce still on tv?

Some questions have answers. Some obviously don't. And sometimes the answer to one question leads to another question and the answer to that one leads to another one and eventually it's a book.

So, I wrote a book. I sold it to a small publisher in January 2006, started a second book in February, then joined MySpace in June to promote the first book by telling people about the second one. That was the plan, anyway. But something happened on the way to the bookshelf. The publisher delayed production. Then I got sick. So I started blogging, because short pieces were all I could work on and I had to work on something to justify sitting home every day. All of a sudden, I looked up and it was December. New Year's Eve was a week away, and I sat working on a blog post, thinking, "Why am I here?"

Why AM I here?



After a good bit of thinking, I concluded that I'm here to entertain you. Not with pictures or music or video clips, but with words. Just words. Based on your responses, I seem to be doing okay. And I'm enjoying the hell out of it. But, all cards on the table, I'm expecting something in return. Right now, I'm here telling stories, reading stories, and meeting fantastic people. But stringing words together is more than a hobby for me. Someday (soon?), I hope to be enjoying unreasonable dividends for the ungodly number of hours I've put into my novels and short stories. So, if you like what you read here, *please* tell a friend. I do my best to do the same for you.

In return, I will continue to entertain. As often as I can. For as long as I can. I will also make the following promises to you, so your friends won't kick your ass for referring them:

I, Dawn Scovill, being of (mostly) sound mind and body, solemnly promise to…

         Use the fuck-word as often as good taste allows. The reason I make people click that "Yes, I'm willing to continue" button in the first place was so I could say things I shouldn't say in front of kids and relatives. I'd be doing readers a disservice if I didn't throw in a fuck or two.

         Never say anything I don't mean. I don't throw words around. (Think about it.) If I tell you I love you I'm not blowing smoke up your ass.

         Speak the truth. My novels are fiction, but, unless noted otherwise, the blog is all me.

         Never (well, maybe never, and the links at right shouldn't count) ask you straight up to "buy my book". If I do my job here, my words will say it for me.

         Do my damnedest to be somebody someday, so you won't think any of this has been a waste of your time.

Why am I here? Why are you here? Why are your friends here? Why are any of us here? And why IS Danny Bonaduce still on tv?

Who cares.

Let's just sit back and enjoy the ride. :)

~ Dawn 

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Good Kind of Lip Service

Imagine crawling into a warm bed, feeling the safety of the familiar, the security of being surrounded by the things you love, then waking up suddenly around 3 a.m. to a trickling sound. At first, you might write it off as a leaky faucet. But, even in your half-asleep state, you know the sound’s not quite right. You jump up, utter a shriek as your bare feet hit water, run as fast as you can through the slosh into the living room, and discover the storm outside has found a way in – a tree fell on the roof, a branch crashed through the window, a car broke down the front door – and water, wind, and debris are rapidly destroying everything you’ve worked for. You immediately worry about your kids, your spouse, your pets, your neighbors, but …what do you do when you realize there’s nothing you can do?

Not every natural disaster hits without warning. The aftermath, though, regardless of whether or not we’ve prepared for the worst, is almost always the same: Confusion, heartbreak, fear, helplessness, and an overwhelming sense of loss. The first few days are the hardest, taking inventory, taking it all in. When you’ve lost everything, you don’t know where to start. When you have no insurance, you don’t know HOW to start. There are local and federal aid programs out there, but many require long application processes and most aren’t immediately or easily accessible. It takes time to get help, get back on your feet, and rebuild. In those first days, all you really have is YOU – your resources, your know-how, and the network of family, neighbors, and friends the disaster allows you to reach out to. Wouldn’t it be a comfort to know there was someone within reach at that critical time?

I don’t give money to charity. Not often, anyway. For one thing, it’s impossible to know my money will go where it’s needed. I’d rather DO something, like donate hair for an oil spill, drop canned goods in the box at Thanksgiving, visit the French Quarter and spend more money than I should on Bourbon Street, or write a blog post heralding the efforts of groups like The Kid Rock Life Line. After reading a Facebook friend’s status that described how a single mom with two boys had lost their home and possessions in Hurricane Irene, Sonia Woolf and a few others launched a full assault. Within three days, The Kid Rock Life Line had more than 30 members, they’d raised nearly $200, and care packages were on their way to the single mom and her boys. Within a week, another Irene survivor was identified and added to the care package list, membership grew to over 60, and it became apparent there was more than simple Facebook group chatter going on.

Most of these people have never met in person. Some have known each other for years. All have one thing in common: an adoration for Kid Rock. Because of their dedication to both the artist and each other, folks who’d lost everything overnight found immediate moral support and encouragement, as well as food, toiletries, blankets, clothes, and toys, days before any other aid organization had a chance. I know all this because I was there. I saw the initial status post from the single mom of two. I noticed Sonia’s post and joined the group the first day, shortly after my neighbor became an Admin. It has been a pleasure and an honor to play even the smallest part of this. I’m in awe of their generosity.

To help them raise funds for the next go-round(s), I’m offering signed copies of CKR for $20. You’re welcome to skip over to Amazon right now and pick up a copy for $10.98, plus shipping and whatnot, if you like. I’ll make $.91 that way and The Kid Rock Life Line won’t make a thing. OR (if you wanna DO something) you can send your shipping address in an email to, say you want a signed copy to benefit KRLL (make sure you say who to sign it to), and I’ll send the group ten bucks. I’ll still make almost $.91, but you’ll have a copy of CHASING KID ROCK signed by yours truly, and a victim of the next hurricane or flash flood or earthquake or whatever the hell Mother Nature throws at us will be able to put enough gas in the tank to get to work before they lose their job or pick up enough ice to keep the contents of their refrigerator safe in the cooler for another day or two. Every little bit makes a difference. I hope you’ll consider pitching in. Any way you can.

Thank you.

~ Dawn

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Monogamy Sucks

There. I said it. Someone had to. I know it hurts – as the truth often does – but this denial bullshit we’re living in has to stop. I know not everyone will agree with me, and that’s fine. But I think we CAN agree there’s an epidemic of hypocrisy going on around here. Politicians, church leaders, sports figures, desperate housewives – they’re constantly being outed for one devious behavior or another. For the record, I don’t think they’re necessarily wrong. We just enjoy making a big fuss over it (because we’re relieved it’s them, not us).

Humans are not wired to be monogamous. Some of us can be and many try and eventually succeed, but, in the end, a lot of us simply aren’t any good at it. Call it a flaw or an addiction, a hobby or a gift. We know who we are (Bill? Tiger? JFK?). Our parents, friends, society, and God expect us to pair up, multiply, vote, and live happily ever after… until we die. Still, we’re on second or third (or more) marriages, and we keep walking into them with the same messed up thinking, the same hollow promises, the same need to hide what comes natural. There has to be a better way.

People want to connect, it’s why we’re attracted to one another. The instinct guarantees survival of the species. Some cultures embrace the attraction, others call it wrong or evil, a few consider infidelity a crime punishable by death. In America, “cheating” is the #1 cause of divorce. The root of the issue stems from the simple fact that, at our core as humans, all we really want is to love and be loved. And by love, I mean the verb, not the feeling. To love is to show someone they’re important, and that their life, their efforts, mean something to you. How many of us never get to feel that? How many times have we recognized the opportunity too late? Or knew what it was, but chose to ignore it because it was “wrong”? How many have missed out due simply to fear?

Hippies had it right a long time ago. Every minute on earth is precious, every experience offers a chance to learn and grow, and every person we come in contact with allows a new opportunity to love. It could be with a hug or a kiss, an understanding smile, a public affirmation, a makeout session behind the bleachers, a roll in the hay, or any number of other actions, whether written or verbal, physical, emotional, or spiritual. Denying any part of that is unnatural for a lot of us. Holding it in is painful (confusing, frustrating). Letting it out, however, can make things worse.

Why? If it’s a natural instinct to be attracted, why is “cheating” such a big deal? If we can’t be with the one we love, as the song goes, why does it have to be such a horror to love the one we’re with? Whether powerful or subtle, love doesn’t always last forever. Sometimes there’s only the moment. And, right or wrong, sometimes it’s just fucking. Why force anyone to deny the gift of love? Why let it ruin marriages and tear families apart?

In a perfect world, relationships would all begin with complete honesty. Given our divorce rate, it’s obvious we’re far from perfect. But why do we lie? Why hide parts of ourselves, especially from the people we’re supposed to love most? Is it fear? Of what? Being ridiculed? Being alone? There are no guarantees in life, no matter the path we take. We hope the ones we love will never leave us, but they do – they move away, they get sick, they die. We want every day to be free of pain and sorrow, heartache and misery, but they’re not. A perfect, carefree world is impossible. We can never attain the ideal we’re reaching for. What we CAN do is recognize our limitations and be honest with ourselves, THEN share that honesty with those closest to us. It might not be easy. It might even be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But the alternative is a life of hiding, lying, and hypocrisy. Which is the better path?

If you’re into monogamy, good for you! I hope the person who accompanies you in this life is truthful when they tell you they’re into it, too. Finding out later is no picnic. The rest of us need to look hard and deep at ourselves, our values, and our behavior. Are we living honestly? Do our actions support our beliefs? Or do we keep secrets, even from ourselves? Where do we expect that to get us?

Someone told me once they wanted to live with “integrity.” It sounded honorable, and I was curious as to the exact definition, so I looked it up. It’s the adherence to a moral or ethical code. Seems to me that, if I’m living by the code I believe in, I could claim I live with integrity. On the other hand, if I said I valued one code while my behavior supported another, I’d not only be NOT living with integrity, I’d have one hell of a problem. That’s currently where too many of us are.

So, get real. And get over it. Monogamy sucks. You know it as well as I do. But I’m here to tell you it sucks less once you admit it and move forward. I should know, I wrote the book on it (sorta). And, after all, like so many of you, I am Ted… and he’ll be okay.  ;)

~ Dawn

Monday, August 15, 2011


If the Good Lord had meant for rednecks to read, He wouldn’t have created NASCAR. Or fishing. Or titties. Or Pabst Blue Ribbon. Rednecks are built for workin’ hard and playin’ harder, raisin’ families and raisin’ hell. They don’t spend a rainy afternoon curled up with a novel, they go four-wheelin’. They certainly don’t invite friends over for beer, BBQ, and book readin’. When they want to be entertained by a good story, they turn to Spike and TruTV – where the REAL stuff’s at…

(This is the part where you say, “Dawn, I think you’re stereotyping, and stereotyping is wrong,” to which I would then respond with, “You might be right, and I’ll admit I’m embellishing for comic effect, but – honestly – how many Dukes of Hazzard fans do YOU think ever picked up a book? … Huh? … I’m waiting …”)

A redneck gets up early, shows up on time, deals with assholes and idiots all day, does more than his share, and collects half what he’s worth. He struggles from one pay day to the next, does what he can to keep a roof over his head and what he has to for the health and safety of his family. He dreams of a life he’ll never have, but keeps going because he finds a kind of happiness in the dreaming. He is America’s working class, and – having learned in high school that Shakespeare sucks and reading is for nerds – he has neither the time, the money, nor the interest in picking up a novel.

For that guy, I present CKR.

It started as a fun, little story about a middle-aged Kid Rock fan who gets kicked out of his house then dragged to the Daytona 500. It became a quest to write a book that would bring the huge, untapped market of “men who don’t read” to its knees. I believe I’ve done that…and then some. But don’t take my word for it. Ask around. Or, better yet, pick up a copy. I guarantee you’ll be surprised.

The world might say redneck fiction doesn’t exist, but – to them – I say HA! We give too little credit and even less attention to the bedrock of our nation. Having come from the foothills, on a family farm nestled between the Olympics and Cascades, and as the daughter and eldest sister of the finest rednecks ever produced in the state of Washington, I believe it’s high time we gave them their due.


Dawn Scovill
Periodic blogger, whiskey drinker, proud redneck, and author of CKR

Saturday, August 6, 2011

CKR: August 2011 - THE FINAL POST

(continued from July 2011...)

“CKR” Diary Post No. 69,
or The Happy End…ing
Saturday, August 06, 2011

If, on February 16, 2006, you had suggested I write a book titled CHASING KID ROCK, I’d have told you to go fuck yourself. I’m a fan, yes, but not a groupie. Okay, not a BIG groupie. Whatever the case, Kid Rock didn’t need my help then any more than he needs it now. And, though I’ve bought ALL his albums (at least once), seen every South Florida concert (except one when I had to work and the boy used my ticket), and booked passage on his cruise (3 times!), HE hasn’t done a damn thing for ME lately. Or ever. What possible motivation could I have for spending FIVE YEARS at the keyboard, writing an homage to Kid Motherfuckin’ Rock?

Not only that, every step of the way has been a fight. First for my health. Later for my marriage. Even the final act of publishing gave me gray hair – I rejected the proof not once, not twice, but three times! AND squeezed in a vacation to the Pacific Northwest during the process. This book crushed me, physically, mentally, emotionally, and everywhere in between. I’m literally exhausted.

Why, then, did I write CKR? For money? Please. Check the previous Diary post – 90 cents a book. Cha-fuckin-ching. That might have brought in some coin for Mark Twain, but who the hell is Dawn Scovill? For notoriety, then? As if. Have you read the headlines? Seen the billboards? Caught the TV commercials? No? That’s because there aren’t any. I’m on my own here, promoting myself and my work on a blog and via Facebook and Twitter pages. Unless my trailer goes viral on YouTube, or I stuff my kid in a trunk, say she’s with a nanny, and get acquitted for her murder after she turns up dead, the TODAY show’s not going to call.

I wrote CKR because I want to see more men read, and because the book’s underlying message is important to me. Plus, I’m a writer, and the story – concept, theme, people, places – was too good to pass on. I don’t want to merely write books for the rest of my life, I want to SELL them. That means my stuff can’t be “just” good, it has to be interesting, topical, relevant, and entertaining enough to make you want to drop the TV remote. It’s a tall order. But I think I’ve hit the mark this time.

Regardless of my intentions, I expect a few haters. Someone’s going to complain about my using Kid Rock’s name. A few women will take issue with the threesomes (and foursome) thing. A husband or two will get bitched at for reading it – and liking it too much. Overall, though, I think it’ll do alright. I might even sell more books than Paris Hilton and her dog. Most importantly, it’ll get a few rednecks to read. Hopefully one in particular. I’ll be happy with that. Then again, I’m simply happy it’s finished. Where it goes from here is now in the hands of destiny.

To Kat, Emily, Chip and Deb, Don and Angie, Eman, Dr. C, Trysh, Joe Dogg, Snarls, Ben, Craig, Cindy, Elaine, Maggie and Jeff-or-Dave, Mark and Dwight (miss you, my love), and Scott (of course), and everyone I’m forgetting who’s been with me since the beginning: THANK YOU for reading, for riding, and for holding my hand. When I first stepped onto the MySpace stage, I never imagined The End would take five years. That so many of you stuck with me all this time is a testament to the Internet’s ability to bring people together. We’ve forged friendships that will last a lifetime. YOU, more than any other, are the reason I never gave up.

To Kathleen (Kat 2 ;)), Sherri, Katie, Rhett, Brandi, Dorothy, Diane, Annette, Kimmie, and all the rest who’ve jumped on this ride late in the game: Thank you for your faith. Our paths might have crossed at the end of this story, but you know as well as I do the ride’s not over yet. This is, in fact, only the beginning. CKR will be released any day (minute), and the world will see it for the first time. After that, whatever fortune – or misfortune – befalls me will trickle onto you. It’s a kind of law of physics for friends of writers. But don’t worry, it won’t hurt. My only suggestion is to pack a raincoat; I feel a storm coming on. ;)

Much, much love to ALL,

~ Dawn

The End

Friday, July 1, 2011

CKR: July 2011

(continued from June 2011...)

"CKR" Diary Post No. 65
Friday, July 1, 2011
Finally! The announcement we’ve been waiting for: CTM3 (aka Kid Rock’s “Chillin’ The Most” Cruise #3) is setting sail from Miami to Half Moon Cay, April 26-30, 2012.

I repeat: APRIL 26-30, 2012.

Mark your calendar, get out your AmEx card, and be ready to reserve your spot (tickets likely on sale to the public in a week or two). Kat and Sherri, the friends who took CKR on CTM1, missed the last boat, but they will DEFINITELY be joining us this go ‘round. And the neighbors are 95% sure they’ll be there, too. If you’ve never been on a cruise before, this is the best inaugural voyage you could ever take. And if you HAVE taken a cruise, you’ve NEVER been on one like this. It’s a floating music festival, with a dozen bands (all genres) playing all day and all night long, the food’s free, the atmosphere can’t be beat, and your fellow cruisers are ALL there to have a good time – just like you.

Here’s the best part, though, from my perspective: CTM1 sailed on the Carnival INSPIRATION (which I found appropriate…and inspiring), CTM2 sailed on the TRIUMPH (interpreted as a good sign, given that I was on the boat and that much closer to getting his attention), and CTM3 will sail on the DESTINY. I shouldn’t have to explain my thoughts on that one.

We’re going all out and getting a cabin with a balcony, but you don’t have to go crazy – just GO. If two days on a private island with Kid Rock and friends isn’t enough to convince you, how ‘bout I offer to buy the first round? The boat sells out fast, so don’t wait too long to decide. Details are at It’s MY destiny, why not make it yours, too. ;)

~ Dawn

"CKR" Diary Post No. 66
Thursday, July 7, 2011
When I last spoke with the publisher, two weeks ago, all that stood between their finger and the print button was my approval of the cover and content. They sent me the cover last Wednesday (over a week ago). Given the timetable they advised, I thought the content would soon follow. I’ve been waiting ever since.

While waiting, I picked up Stephen King’s DUMA KEY. Actually, I borrowed it from a friend after I saw it on her shelf last Saturday (thanks, Dorothy!). I thought it might keep my mind off CKR and the cruise and keep my anxious self occupied over the three-day, Fourth of July weekend. I can’t say it was a complete failure; I enjoyed the book. Read the first half on Sunday – about all I could handle with a hangover (thanks, Dorothy! al) – before heading out with the neighbors Sunday night to Boston’s On The Beach in Delray to catch Ana Popovic at Red, White & Blues Fest (she rocked!). Climbed into bed around 2am (again after drinking too much), slept late, did laundry, and read a little more on the Fourth. I was hoping to get a good night’s (sober) sleep that night.

Around 4am Tuesday, we got a call from the boy that his car broke down on the off-ramp to our exit. I was ready to give him hell for calling us at that hour to say he’d run out of gas (Next time, you can walk!), when he explained he’d had a flat, stopped to change the tire, then couldn’t get the engine to start. I gave him a pass and a ride home. I tried to sleep a little more, was awakened again at 7:15 by the auto-call from FPL to say the meter reader was coming and could I unlock my gate and contain my dog, tried to be coherent when Scott left around 8am, so I could tell him goodbye before he caught a flight later that afternoon, then gave up trying to sleep around 10. Rocko was starving.* I worked on blog and Diary posts until 1:30ish, when the teenager (who’s rarely been home this summer) reminded me that she was going to Sebring for the week and we had to leave to meet her grandma – in 20 minutes. Three hours of steady driving later, I returned to the house with just enough time to take the boy to work.

I was reading Tuesday night when the neighbors called to invite me to the Grouper for a nightcap. There’s only one answer to that; it’s the Grouper. We started there and continued on at their place (I warn them constantly they treat me too well, but they don’t listen), where I stayed up past my bedtime, waiting for the boy to call for a pick-up. He sent a text at say he’d found a ride. Fifteen minutes later, I was walking through the yard when he arrived with a buddy from work and headed to the back house. I remembered to grab DUMA KEY and my whiskey bottle before seeking refuge in my bedroom. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about the Patrón in the cupboard until I saw the bottle on the counter the next morning.

The book was awesome. I even thought he did a great job on the ending (not one of his strengths). Scott returned home around six on Wednesday and helped the boy get his car off the off-ramp. After a Google search, they figured out what the problem was. Turns out it had an EASY button in the trunk. With all things settled and returned to (relative) normalcy, I turned my attention, once again, to the tick-tock of the publishing process. Throughout the week, I’ve been checking both email and my online account. At least twice a day. I knew, at any moment, I could be required to stop whatever I was doing and sit down to review CKR. This morning, my online account said there was an “ACTION REQUIRED” on my project. Thrilled, and thinking the timing couldn’t have been better, I looked for the action that was required of me – and found nothing.

I looked everywhere. Finally, after hours (days) of heightened anxiety and speculation, I called my contact at CreateSpace and asked what was up. She explained there was a glitch in the system, several accounts had received the same bogus message. I literally felt the wind in my sails *poof* out. Then she looked up my account and said it appeared the interior would be completed either today or tomorrow. Once I approved it, it would be “ready to ship in 3 to 5 business days.” I should have asked her to explain. I should have asked her to be more specific, give me a date to look forward to. Once she’d said “today or tomorrow,” though, my mind locked on and considered the rest extraneous. I’ll find out what’s next next.

That means I’m back to waiting. And speculating. At least I found time to write an update. Had the weather been better – or had the weather not threatened to be bad, only to be just fine – I’d planned to mow the lawn today. Still can, I suppose. But you can bet I’ll check my email first. I want this wait OVER. The suspense is killing me.

Once again, stay tuned…

~ Dawn

* Rocko ate 6 mangoes today – that I know of. In addition to breakfast and dinner, he nibbles on acorns, grass, crickets, lizards, and squirrels all day, every day, helps himself to trash if he can reach it, and gets fed treats all night by the kids while we’re sleeping. He might think he is, but he is NOT starving.

“CKR” Diary Post No. 67
Monday, July 11, 2011
This is so fuckin’ frustrating! I’d toss back a shot to calm my nerves, but it’s only 9am (and I had enough over the weekend the thought is almost nauseating). Five years of sweat, tears, and aggravation got me here, and all I can do is wait – and suffer MORE aggravation – while the publisher deals with computer glitches (and Christ knows what else) and 3 to 5 business days turns into 12. I really thought it would be over by now, thought I’d be holding CKR in my hands, feeling its weight, turning its pages. I announced to the “world” (aka you) that it was coming. I spent a week producing a trailer and shamelessly begged my friends to “Like” my Facebook page. And what do I have to show for all the hype? Nothing. You’d think I was new. How on earth could I have allowed myself to believe THIS process would be any better or less stressful than every other damn process related to this book?


Why can’t one thing be easy? Just one. The inspiration hit me so hard it left a bruise. The drive to write nearly killed me. I lost my writers’ group, almost lost my marriage, and might have lost my mind. I want this ride to be over! I want to get off, regain my balance, and climb aboard something a little slower – think inner tube floating gently down a lazy river. DeSAIN is (impatiently) idling in the wings, and I’d very much like to pounce on it. The idea of spending the next several months in Malta (via my imagination) is extemely appealing, even with the bloodshed and sibling rivalry. But, given the need for focus, I can’t even begin to entertain the possibility of working on new chapters until CKR is out there. Whenever the fuck that is.

Regardless of what I do, it appears I’ll be tested to the end. Pre-sales for the Kid Rock Cruise started today. Booking times are assigned, based on seniority. I’m scheduled to reserve our cabin(s) on Wednesday morning. If I don’t receive the interior proof today, there’s a strong possibility I’ll be editing when go-time rolls around. Five other people are depending on me to secure their spots. I’ve gotta be at the computer, credit card in hand, when the time comes. No exceptions, no excuses. The big question, then, is: How far into the book will I be when I have to put it down? Two chapters from the end? Four pages from the beginning? Dead middle? Which would produce the highest levels of anxiety? And what if I don’t have a book at all and am still empty-handed and waiting on Wednesday morning? What state of mind could I expect to be in? Should I be trusted with a credit card under those circumstances?

Again, Fuck! I should have stuck to my original, childhood plan and become a superhero.

~ Dawn

“CKR” Diary Post No. 68
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Four hundred pages? FOUR HUNDRED??! Are they shitting me?! I said it was REDNECK fiction. How many rednecks do they suppose will pick up a novel that looks like a dictionary? We agreed on an estimated 270 pages. How does THAT become 402? Did I authorize a large print version? Is it going to cost me extra to fix it…and put it where it was supposed to be? At least I can’t say there’s a doubt in my mind, anymore, about whether or not they’re reading the book. Or listening to me.

I thought they’d send an electronic version prior to supplying a hard copy. Instead, I received notice yesterday via email that my “physical proof” was ready. All I had to do was provide my mailing address (which they already had – twice, in the billing and royalties sections on the site) to approve shipment…all 400 pages’ worth…in 3-5 business days. I called to ask if they could correct the length BEFORE they mailed it to avoid adding another 3-5 business days to the 3-5 business days it’ll take to decline it, return it, and have it reformatted. They said I could make the change once I got the proof.

Why can’t just ONE thing be easy?

They’ve assigned a $9.46 price, which I thought I was supposed to do, though it’s possible the amount is only an automatic default entry, based on industry standards. At that retail price, I’d make royalties of $1.89 per Amazon copy and $0.00 per Kindle copy. [Ultimately, the sale price I settled on  allows me to earn $.89 on paperback sales and $.91 on e-book.] Not exactly the cha-ching I had in mind. To add distribution channels (i.e., book stores, etc.), I’d have to increase the sale price to over $14. I think that’s too high. I’d correct it now, but there’s no sense confusing the matter; the formulas will all change once the book’s a reasonable 300 pages or less. Which will happen in 3-5 business days, give or take 3-5 business days.

On a cheerful note, I signed on this morning (as directed by Sixthman) and booked the cabin we wanted on CTM3. (That’s right: We’re headed BACK to the BOAT, MOTHERFUCKERS!) Our fingers are crossed that our homegirls can snag a room next to ours this afternoon. The neighbors get their shot on the 18th. It’ll be awesome to share this experience with friends, regardless of where our beds are located. But having three balcony rooms in a row would be so much awesomer. We’ll no doubt have to come up with some type of no-peeking or sock-on-the-door-knob rule, but we’ve got ‘til April to work through details. And I’m not opposed to holding a pillow over my mouth.

For the next few (3-5 business) days, I’m going to craft the final Diary post. It had to end somewhere, and the point has always been to tell the story of writing the story, from concept to reality. Once it’s published, the story’s over. And I think six years’ of entries is enough. I’ll continue to post material to the blog, of course (we’ve already discussed that ego stroking thing, so I won’t get into reasons why I blog). And I’ll hopefully tie up any loose ends I’ve left dangling. If there’s something YOU would like me to address in the last entry of The Diary of “Chasing Kid Rock,” now would be a good time to leave a comment or send a note. I won’t be back ‘til there’s a real book in my hands, so there’s no rush. Just make sure you pencil in a return to read the final post. I’m guessing it’ll be here in 3-5 business days, give or take 3-5 business days.

~ Dawn

Post Script: It was raining like hell, but the Internet connection held long enough: Our homegirls are on the boat! All that’s left is the wait for the neighbors’ booking time…tick tock, tick tock

(to be continued...)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thank You, Anne Rice

Edgar Allan Poe fascinated me in junior high and high school. Stephen King was natural progression. True, the dark themes were intriguing, especially at that age, but it was their writing that kept me coming back. The way they eased into every scene, taking care to reach all my senses, making it feel as if I stood right there. I found it hard to read anyone else, at least for pleasure. I doubted I’d ever enjoy any writer’s work as much. Then, in college, I was introduced to Anne Rice.

I didn’t simply read her book, INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, I studied it in Contemporary English class. We were covering existentialism. I loved her style and courage, and her plot and character development were flawless. She knew human nature so well, she could weave the supernatural into a story and make it completely believable. And, though at the time I’d never been there, she made New Orleans sound like a place I’d never want to leave. Thanks largely to her, I now spend most of my days wondering when I’m going to get back.

When asked, as a writer, who my influences are, I always mention King and Rice. No doubt the endless summers reading Nancy Drew had a hand in the creation of who I am, but I spent the majority of my formative years with the top horror writers of the 80’s and 90’s. I don’t read near as much as I like these days, but, in my teens and twenties, I gobbled up as much as I could. And it shows. From King, I learned how to craft a story, build suspense, and tell the truth. Rice added to what I’d learned, teaching me the importance of backstory, description, and emotion, and – because she’s a woman – gave me the confidence I needed to believe I could really do this. Her First Street Witches series cemented my love for New Orleans. Her Sleeping Beauty Chronicles took erotica to the next level, stripped away my fear of going too far or saying too much, and showed me how to write sex scenes like no one else. I feel her in almost every word I write. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Today, she inspires me with her Facebook posts. Through the articles she shares on the trends of the publishing industry, I’ve learned more in the past year than I did in the previous 45. Working in a vacuum as I do, she keeps me up on current events, makes me think about politics (even when I don’t want to), shares relevant, “insider” news on the Catholic church (which helps with the Malta book), and shows me every day that a successful author can still be accessible. I might never have considered self-publishing CKR had it not been for her in-depth discussion threads on the subject. If it sells, I’ll have that to thank her for as well.

If we are our heroes, I’m glad I picked good ones. My challenge, now, is to make them proud.

~ Dawn

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Preparing to Dive in 3...2...1...

DIVE! DIVE! DIVE! That’s all hear in my head these days. It might as well be DUCK! or JUMP! or RUN! for all the discomfort it’s causing – butterflies in my stomach, hitch in my breath, pins and needles jabbing at my insides AND my outsides. I’m trying not to look like a nervous wreck, but I’m not sleeping well, and hiding the fact that I’m about to publish another book is impossible.

The feeling reminds me of the hours before Mr. Blaine, our middle school principal, announced the winner of the student council president’s race. It reminds me, too, of the day he suggested I sing a solo at our 8th-grade graduation. It’s like the minutes before my wedding (the last one); the moment I learned I was pregnant; the day I received a publishing contract for IB; the hours leading up to a hurricane. Something big and scary is about to happen. It could end up being simply a wonderful memory, a lesson learned, or it could be a catastrophe. Regardless, it’ll probably change my life. And I’m not sure I’m ready for it.

Something had to give. I’m blessed with the ability to stay home and write because my husband works and travels his ass off. I’m also cursed with a constant guilt that, while I make myself available, 24/7, for him and the kids, I’m not financially contributing. When we moved into a house a couple years ago and took on a bigger mortgage, higher taxes, and totally unreasonable insurance premiums, the guilt became a nagging insistence. I’ve done some editing work, but a single novel can suck up 3-5 days of my time. Between the dog and kids, the husband and the house(s), I already have precious little to spare.

So, I’m diving in. (And yes, for those who’ve been reading a while and noticed, I use “So” a lot when I’m wrapping things up. Sometimes I edit it out, sometimes I don’t. It’s like “just” and “that” – people are creatures of habit. I bet YOU use a few words repetitively, too. So there.) My gut (instinct, little bird, angel on my shoulder) tells me I’m doing the right thing. Given the variety of predicaments I’ve found myself in over these past 46 years, I can’t testify to its accuracy. I have a kick-ass support group right now, though. You, Scott, family, friends, neighbors – for better or worse – are all riding this wave with me. Such an army must surely be victorious. And, with CKR, we’re well-armed; it’s like Kid Rock says:

If it looks good, you'll see it.
If it sounds good, you'll hear it.
If it's marketed right, you'll buy it.
But...if it's real, you'll feel it.

I might not be ready. But it’s time.

Take a deep breath … close your eyes … and listen for the splash …


~ Dawn

Monday, June 6, 2011

CKR: June 2011

(continued from May 2011...)

"CKR" Diary Post No. 61, or Biting the Bullet
Monday, June 06, 2011
June 1st marked the start of hurricane season. It was also the day my husband suggested I commit professional suicide.

Since embarking on this journey toward authordom, I’ve maintained a strong opinion about self-publishing. True, not every self-publishing company is awful, nor is every self-published book. Some (a precious few) sell millions of copies. But the ease with which people can now present the world with their Great American Novel has flooded the industry with bad material, making it nearly impossible for a good, but unknown, writer to be recognized. To self-publish is to say, “My book isn’t good enough for a REAL publisher.” The practice has a bad reputation, and the odds of rising above the vanity print market and scoring a large, big-advance-paying publisher are slim. Getting that phone call from Random House was all I ever wanted.

But Nooks and Kindles are changing the world. And I need to be out there in it. Neither Random House nor Viking Press (or anyone else) has sent a check, and I can’t get an agent to open my email, let alone read and represent my book. Without someone to champion me, publication could take years. I’m tired of waiting – and you should be, too.

Someone from Amazon’s CreateSpace is calling me tomorrow to discuss details. The book was assigned an ISBN last week. I chose Amazon because I didn’t feel like wading through the endless sea of self-publishing companies to find “the right one” (how do you know that, anyway?). I also trust them and have already sold a number of copies of my first book through With “Immortal Bonds” out of print, it’s that much more important that something be out there. What could be better than CKR?

I don’t know, yet, what the retail price will be. That’s something I’ll determine with the help of the consultant who’s calling tomorrow. The finished product will likely be 250-300 pages, available in both trade paperback and e-book. The process takes about a week. I’m hoping costs don’t run north of $1,500. Too much more than that and I’ll have nothing for promotion.

To say I’m nervous about all this would be an understatement. I’m practically pissing myself. I’ve been talking this novel up since the summer of 2006. Professionally, I have a lot riding on it. But the Kid Rock-inspired, cocky attitude that carried me through the creation of this book has long since been replaced with frustration and doubt. What if no one buys it? What if no one likes it? What if – God forbid – Kid Rock finally reads it and doesn’t like it? What if, after all the hype, I finally put it out there and it bites me in the ass? What would that do to my writing career? What would it do to me?

Despite the doubt, there continues to exist a strong belief in this story. I was driven to write it and forced through one obstacle after another to finish it. Signs throughout the process – some more enjoyable than others – convinced me I was doing what I was supposed to do and, for lack of a better description, I’ve felt all along this project was bigger than me. CKR is a catalyst. What it’s a catalyst for remains to be seen, but the clock is finally ticking (and yes, you’re welcome to say, “It’s about fuckin’ time,” because it is); “Chasing Kid Rock” is coming soon…

(I picked a fine time to lay off the whiskey.)

“CKR” Diary Post No. 62
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Sitting here, wondering how Amazon feels about porn, it occurred to me that it might not have been a good idea to tell the world just now about my intent to publish CKR. “If you wanna make God laugh,” they say, “tell Him your plans,” or however it goes. I’ve already got Mother Nature kicking me in the nuts, I don’t need God’s harrassment, too. The cat’s out of the bag, though, so I might as well roll with it. If something goes wrong – and it wouldn’t be the first time – you’ll at least get to watch me fall on my ass. Again.

The cost to publish wasn’t as high as I thought it would be, and the rep I talked to yesterday made the process less confusing. I uploaded the manuscript this morning. They’ll call me in a day or two to talk fonts, formatting, and retail price. I’m leaning toward $12.95 or so for the paperback. By next week, CKR should be a real, live, click-here-to-order-your-copy book. Unless, of course, Amazon makes me write out the porn. And the irreverent scenes at Disney. And the cursing. And the frequent, unapologetic drug and alcohol use. And the underlying theme that threesomes are… Well, let’s hope they let me leave it all in, or this could take a lot longer than a week.

Yesterday, I took the “Devil Without a Cause” lyrics out of the manuscript (my only copyright infringement risk), tweaked my personal Facebook page to limit access, and created a “celebrity” page for Dawn Scovill – Author of CKR. I’ve always felt uncomfortable (excessively) marketing to friends, and I can’t imagine I’d be okay with strangers lurking around my profile and studying pictures of my house. And my dog. It’ll be a pain to have yet another place to check messages (in addition to email, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, ReverbNation, Kid Rock Community, Classmates…), but I’m deleting IB’s MySpace page and will eventually learn to incorporate it in my routine…whenever it is that I find one of those. Once the book’s available, promotion efforts will begin with and center around my author page. One of these days, I’ll get back to writing.

In the meantime, your job (should you choose to accept it) is to tell everyone you know who likes Kid Rock, Tony Stewart, NASCAR, talk radio, Daytona, Orlando, West Palm, Disney, Universal, hot, loose women, beer, whiskey, Skoal, or Burt Reynolds to run over and “LIKE” my Facebook page, because CKR is coming – and they’ve NEVER read a book like this.

I guarantee it.

“CKR” Diary Post No. 63 
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Writing IMMORTAL BONDS was a selfish thing to do from my perspective. Our youngest was 10 or 11, our oldest was struggling in high school, my husband had a long commute and a full time, white-collar job, and I worked part-time at an art museum. Sitting home at a desk for hours at a time meant a lot of housework got neglected. Not that I minded not doing it. At my core, though, I believe I exist to serve, to make the people around me comfortable. Seeing Scott come home from work night after night to needy kids, no dinner or clean clothes, and a messy house made me feel guilty and useless. I broke down more than once and declared I couldn’t do it anymore. Scott wouldn’t let me quit. Then the hurricanes came. By the time IB was finished, a year and a half after I started it, I’d grown to believe writing a book was the hardest part of being a novelist.

After nearly killing myself (literally) to promote my debut novel, I altered my opinion. Being my own manager, setting up book signings, ordering supplies and signage, sending out invites and thank you’s, took its toll. Traveling around the country and looking bright-eyed and interesting when all I wanted to do was curl up in a corner somewhere and sleep for a week was exhausting. Writing, it turned out, was the easy part.

The frustration that accompanies every step of the process pales in comparison, however, to the anxiety of the holding pattern I’m flying in now; writing, blogging, editing, promoting – after five years of pouring my heart and soul into something, NOTHING is harder than waiting for a publisher to say, “Here’s your book.” Last week, they confirmed receipt of the manuscript, and we chatted about interior and cover design. They said they’d get back to me in 7-10 days with two versions of both the interior and exterior. Once I choose, we’ll edit content, then hit print. Waiting for this phone call is…excrutiating. It doesn’t help that I’m not sure if 7-10 days means business days or calendar days. Today marks the 8th calendar day since we spoke, which puts them within calling range and suggests I could be editing CKR before the end of the week. It’s only the 6th business day, though, so my phone might not ring until next Tuesday. If they’re behind, it might not even ring then.

Since a week ago Monday, and completely out of character for me, I’ve been carrying my cell everywhere. When I notice I don’t have it, I panic and worry I’ve missed the call. At night, I lay in bed wondering how long it will take me to scan CKR for errors, and if I’ll be able to resist making changes, and thinking about all the stuff I need to do to prepare for the launch, like create still ads and a book trailer. I need to write a press release and send BBQ invitations to friends and family in Washington with info about where they can find the book. I need to decide if I’m bringing copies with me to Seattle or waiting ‘til next year, after interest’s gathered some momentum. I need to do a lot of things, some now, most after CKR’s released. It’s hard not to think about all of them while the minutes tick by as I wait for this call. (And I wonder why I’m not sleeping well.) I’ll get back to you once I have news…and lower blood pressure.

~ Dawn

“CKR” Diary Post No. 64
Monday, June 27, 2011
It wasn’t a phone call. It was an email…that sat in my inbox for two days before I saw it Friday afternoon. I immediately dropped what I was doing (if I had a nickel for every time…), logged on to my CreateSpace account, reviewed their interior and exterior layout concepts, chose the cover design (they obviously didn’t read the book, but … that works in my favor), and provided back cover text. Now I get to wait another 5 to 7 days for them to respond. This time, I’m checkin’ email.

Next comes the full manuscript edit (whenever they’re ready). I expect it’ll take two or three days to get through it. First thing I look at is overall presentation and format, making sure everything lines up the way it should, then I dig in and read from page one to “THE END,” hopefully catching errors (if any) that managed to elude five years of re-writes. I’ll also have to decide on retail price soon. Lucky for me, I stumbled on a Facebook post Anne Rice put up this morning, linking an article from the LA Times that discussed pricing for Amazon’s self-published books. Can’t say it enough: Facebook rocks. I feel more confident now heading into the next phase.

We had houseguests and a wedding over the weekend, and I’ve been busy working on a 30-second trailer, so I’ve kept my mind occupied with other things as I (again) wait for the publisher to proceed to the next step. Blood pressure’s still holding; my chiropractor made it official this morning. I didn’t care for the disapproving look on his face. Looks like I’ll be adding more to my daily routine than a cup of dandelion tea and a quick swim with the dog. Whoever thinks working from home is stress-free should consider spending a day with me…

Stay tuned.

~ Dawn

(to be continued...)