June 9th, 2008


Welcome to My Blog

 Welcome to my blog's new home.   Please bear with me as I recreate posts from another blog site that is no longer available.  Thanks for visiting my page and I hope to have you visit often.




January 21, 2007



Welcome to my blog, where I will keep you up-to-date with my publishing journey, answer questions from my web page, or chat about anything else worth sharing that happens to pop into my head.  Along the way I hope you will learn the power of my four "P" words:  passion, plan, patience and persistence.

Tomorrow my husband and I will board an airplane for New York, where we will meet my literary agent, Rachel Vater, at Lowenstein-Yost Associates, and my editor, Samantha Mandor, at Berkley.  To say I am excited is an understatement...I keep pinching myself to make sure it's true because it's been a sixteen year journey to get to this point in my publishing career.    

This morning I checked the web page for The Weather Channel....brrrr.  It's snowing in the city, and the highest predicted temperature for next week is a nippy 42 degrees F.   What's a California girl supposed to do?  Pack warm, think layers, and don't plan any outdoor activities like horseback riding in Central Park or jet skiing on the Hudson River

As I think about my journey, I am amazed at how far I've traveled and at how long it's taken me to get to this point.  In 1991, after my previous husband tried to murder me., I decided to write a book to help others....I found my passion.  I knew I would need to learn to write.....I developed a plan that started with reading a how-to-write book and contacting the author to be my co-author.   He was backed up with commitments, but he did say that based on my proposal he felt I could write the book myself.  Wow!  I was jazzed.  But I had to put my plan on hold as I continued to meet the challenge of divorcing a psychopath.  I found patience.  


Two years later I updated my book plan with my next goal - to learn to write.  I joined the International Women's Writing Guild and attended their summer conference.   The following year I attended another IWWG conference, then progressed to a new writing level that fall at the Writer's Retreat Workshop .  I found persistence.  I would need all four P's as my focus once more switched, this time to the state capitol and changing the no-fault divorce law of California.


After the law was passed, I once more focused on my writing plan and found my mentor Gail Provost, who patiently worked with me as I developed my writing voice along with the characters and plot of my memoir.   By now I had become adept at passion, plan, patience, and persistence and over the next ten years I juggled writing with dating, marriage, travel, house remodeling, charity volunteering and a full time job to maintain a balanced life. 


My writing journey has gone through several stages of query letters and proposals.  I've gathered at least forty rejection letters, rightfully so, because my manuscript was far from ready.  I was fortunate to sign with a mentoring agent four years ago but she found out that she could not sell my story as true crime because I wasn't dead....thankfully.  We amicably parted ways.  Last year I started my query letter routine once more, this time with a completed, professionally edited manuscript


Throughout my journey, I have steadfastly believed that my story would be published when it was supposed to be published, not a moment sooner or later.  My initial query to Rachel was in February.   A word to the wise....don't always assume an email query from a web page form will make it through cyber space and end up with the intended recipient.  Fortunately I had the good sense to follow-up with a snail-mail query.  Four months later Rachel requested my manuscript by email.  Why aren't all agents into using modern technology?  It would save a lot of trees. 


Another four months passed and it miraculously happened that Rachel read my manuscript in New York City on the same evening and at the same time that my husband was having emergency quadruple bypass surgery in San Francisco.  I say miraculous because God gave me an ultimate high to balance my ultimate low.  The next morning when I opened my email, I found Rachel's note.  I was astonished that she had sent it at 12:30 am, saying she had just finished reading my manuscript, it was well done and she wanted to represent me.  My mouth fell open.  Tears fell down my cheeks....and I thanked God....for Rachel's words and my husband's successful surgery. 


Working with Rachel has been a dream come true.  I feel like I am speaking to a long time friend and advocate as we work our way through the process of contracts, edits and submissions.  I try to be her dream client and not bug her.  Quite honestly I don't know how literary agents survive with all the mail and manuscripts they sift through, so I respect that any time we spend together on the phone is special.  After some minor edits, Rachel sent out the proposal and within several days she sold my manuscript to Samantha at Berkley.  Yippee.


So here I am, getting ready to go back to meet Rachel and Samantha.  Because my husband and I are award winning home winemakers we plan on sharing some of our wine with them.  What a wonderful trip this should be!  Until next time.....thanks for reading.


Comments (5 comments)


As you can see, Barbara indeed found her passion with a steadfast belief that she could educate and prevent other women from becoming prey to the ultimate human predator and imposter.  She has changed California law and in doing so, realized she could further protect others by helping women understand the signs and deceit of a man who she thought loved her.  Looks like we don’t have long to wait to read her story....I for one hope Barbara has only begun her journey of further healing and, more importantly, education other females along the way.   Sheryl Sturges    2007-01-23  16:05:26 GMT 


Congratulations on living and getting this far into the publication cycle.  I’ll be more than interested to watch (read) about your journey and try to find the four P’s for my writing efforts.    rickWRW05,06    rick 2007-01-24  01:09:51 GMT 


Hello Barbara. This is Joyce,.  Rosanne Gully and I met last night at the Rue 57.   Again, congratulations!!! Have  a lovely time in NY!!      Joyce Schembri joyceschem@yahoo.com    2007-01-24 18:25:38 GMT :


Dear Barbara,
I ran across your site while researching literary agents. I am very impressed with your writing journey and I anxiously await your book! I am a former crisis intervention counselor and social worker and was physically abused during my first marriage. I am also a writer (humor) and a true crime buff, so, as you can see, I have all the ingredients for fascination with your story! Congratulations on your writing success! Is there any way to reserve a book or get notification when it is published?
Best Wishes,Crystal Wergin


Thanks for your post and your interest in my story. Release is currently set for May 2008. Congratulations on working your way past your personal tragedy. Please contact me through the Contact Us on the web page so I can have your email address. I will add it to my notification list. Remember, if you change email addresses you must let me know so I can update the list.


New York, New York


NEW YORK, NEW YORK (Days 1 and 2)

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Tuesday, January 23rd:    Our odyssey to New York to meet my literary agent and publishing editor began early when the airport service picked us up at 5 am (yawn, yawn).  We made it to the San Francisco airport without a hitch.....the San Francisco commute traffic was early-morning light and there were no traffic jams.  The flight was also flawless.  We landed at JFK on time, retrieved our checked luggage and climbed into a yellow cab for our half-hour ride through Queens into Midtown Manhattan.   My husband and I instantly became typical tourists with eyes diverting every which way to absorb firsthand what we had seen so many times on television or in movies.   Our cab driver provided the narrative and also a very good restaurant recommendation near our hotel....Rue 57 at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 57th Street, a French bistro serving delicious food.   We quickly settled into our suite at the Salisbury Hotel, an older establishment sans the glass and brass of more expensive hotels, and were glad we had booked through the Entertainment Card to get a fantastic rate for Midtown, right across the street from Carnegie Hall.  Later we took the cabby’s expert advice and enjoyed our first dinner in New York at Rue 57.  The waiter was friendly, as were Joyce and Rosanne, the two women who sat at the table next to us.   They shared suggestions for things to do during our visit, and I shared the news about my book.   After dinner Rex and I bundled up and took a brisk walk down Sixth Avenue where many of the trees and bushes were decorated in twinkling white lights.  Very magical. 


Wednesday, January 24th:  After breakfast we walked fourteen blocks down Seventh Avenue to the half-price ticket booth on 44th Street where we were fortunate to snag two good seats for the matinee performance of “The Producers” at the St. James TheaterMission accomplished, we gawked at the lights and sounds of a busy Times Square as we made our way to the subway station to go uptown to the AAA office.   We had inadvertently left our New York AAA book on the airplane.   I like to be prepared so I had previously checked the New York Transit Authority web site and knew about the seven day Metro Card, and the senior fare.  We entered the Times Square underground station, approached the man in the ticket booth and quickly became frustrated as we tried to understand what he was saying through the heavy glass partition and his thick accent as he spoke into a muffled microphone.  What the web page didn’t tell me was that in order to get the senior fare, you have to fill in a form and submit it for approval long before you need it.   The agent couldn’t sell us the one ticket we wanted on the senior fare.  Then he couldn’t sell us the regular tickets because we wanted to use a credit card.  As we tackled the ticket machine one frustrated man through his hands up in the air and stomped off because we were taking too long.  Oh well.......


After we figured out we were on the wrong side of the tracks, we went back up the stairs, crossed Broadway, and descended down the stairs on the opposite side.  We were learning fast.   We successfully found the AAA office and with our tourist book in hand, we caught the Red Line #1 downtown and rode it to the last stop.  We walked through Battery Park, past the green human statues posing for a photo opportunity, and found a vantage point for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  As we huddled against the chilly air and exhaled foggy breath, we watched the ferry heave to-and-fro and we decided that we would save the harbor trip for our next visit....in more favorable weather.   As we left the park we paused near the entrance for our first encounter with a 9/11 artifact....the twisted artwork ”The Sphere” that once sat in the World Trade Center plaza.   It was conceived by the artist as a symbol of world peace and still endures as an icon of hope and the indestructible spirit of this country.  Tears trickled down the cheeks of many as we silently stood and watched the eternal flame burn in honor of all those who were lost.


We consulted our map and decided to walk to Ground Zero.  When we were almost there, we were startled by four fire engines, sirens blaring and lights flashing, as they tried to get through the snarled traffic.  A lump filled my throat.  In desperation, five firemen with air tanks mounted on their backs jumped off one of the trucks and walked in front of us to a building in the middle of the block.  It could have been a scene out of 9/11 as it turned out two of the trucks came from the station house directly next to Ground Zero.  We didn’t see any smoke and quickly walked on. 


Ground Zero is bustling with activity.    It’s fenced off and the few vantage points provided do not give an unobstructed view.  It looks like a common construction job in a city that constantly rebuilds itself.  But looks can be deceiving.  One can only imagine the horror of that terrible day as screams, smoke and debris filled the air.  And as we looked closer, we stumbled across tell tale signs, like the makeshift memorial near the job office that honors the responders who lost their lives trying to help others and the marble relief on the side of the firehouse with burning and exploding twin towers.  The taxi driver who brought us into the city the day before had told us that on 9/11 he had just dropped off a fare at the World Trade Center five minutes before the first airplane crashed.  He said he had to leave his cab when traffic came to a stand still.  Thinking back, I wonder if this is a story all cab drivers now tell or if he in fact was near the scene.  We didn’t have time to go through the special exhibit set up in a building on the south side of the site; it will wait for our next visit.


Now one thing we learned quickly about the subway....we still had a lot to learn.  This time we got on a train heading in the right direction, uptown towards Times Square, but it wasn’t the red line train.  Our instant panic quickly subsided when a fellow passenger pointed out that we were on the yellow line and that we would, indeed, be able to get off at Times Square.  Whew!  And who said New Yorkers are unfriendly?  We made our way to the St. James Theater and popped into a nearby pizza restaurant for some soup and roasted vegetables (yum, yum) before the show. 


If you need a good laugh and like fantastic acting and singing, then go see “The Producers” starring Tony Danza.  We needed something uplifting after Ground Zero and this fit the bill.  Afterwards, we walked into Sardi’s for dinner and I immediately asked if we could be seated in the upstairs dining room.  The host waved us to the stairs.  Inexperienced us could have used the special entrance on the street but what did we know?  Anyway, the staff seated us at a nice table, near the drawing of Carl Reiner.  The whole room is filled with drawings of famous people but there were many that we didn’t know, even when we read their names.   Halfway through dinner we noticed that there was someone famous in the room and he was not a drawing on the wall.  Tony Danza was having dinner with two older couples only a couple of tables away.  Wow!  Fortunately no one bothered him asking for autographs or photographs.  We all respected his privacy.  After a delicious dinner and a bottle of white wine, we walked back into Times Square and took lots of pictures of the bright flashing neon signs and the five-story Ferris wheel in the Toys R Us store.   The evening air was fresh and crisp.  We decided to walk back to the hotel and absorb the sights, sounds, and smells of New York.   Then we crashed for the night.     

 ...Thanks for reading.  I meet my literary agent and publishing editor in the next blog.

Signing Contract with Penguin USA


Signing My Contract with Penguin USA

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter.  The publishing process continues to move along.  I signed my contract with Penguin USA in March and yesterday I received my copy of the completed contract, along with my first check.  Yippee!  I can officially say I've earned money as a writer.   I'll have to dig up all my old receipts so I can be prepared for next years taxes.  The manuscript has been submitted to my editor.  Right now I'm working on obtaining permissions for the photographs that will be used in the book -- from both the person who took the photo or people in the photo.   I also have to get permissions for some of the quotes in my book - I have three of the four granted.  So it's time to take a break and go to Washington, D.C., to see the cherry blossoms. 


Comments (1 comment)


Hi Barbara, Best wishes from Chris and Dick in Gosford Australia. So glad to see your book advancing,and look forward to a good read when published. I thought we had lost you but are happy to know you are both well.  I will get onto your own E-mail site soon and bring you up to date with thins in Aussie.
                         Best wishes,  Chris & Richard


First Check & New Editor


Got My Contract, First Check and a New Editor

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

 It's official -- I'm a paid author.  Yippee.   The first check from my advance arrived in the mail along with my copy of the publishing contract with the signatures of the president and senior vice-president of Penguin USA.  I'm working feverishly on getting the permissions for the photographs that will appear in the book. 

 While I was on a three week trip to Washington DC and the adjoining states Samantha, my Berkley Books editor, advised me that she was leaving the publishing business.   I've talked to my new editor Katie Day and she is just as committed to and excited about my project at Samantha.  I'm waiting for her to edit the manuscript.


New Direction for My Book


New Direction for My Book

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Here I am in Washington DC in April during the time of the editor change-over.  My new editor Katie finally got around to reading my manuscript a couple of weekends ago.  She sent me an email that said I was off to a great start but that she had some ideas she'd like to pass by me.  To say the wind was taken out of my sails is putting it lightly.  I didn't know where Katie was going and it sort of bothered me.

 Well, where she wanted to go is in an absolutely wonderful direction.  She sees the story more like I see it - as a memoir to help others learn about psychopaths.  What's more, she wants to see the book come out as Trade Paperback, not the mass paperback that was the original thought.  This means I'll get a better chance at reviews and interviews on my way to making THE ADMIRAL'S WIFE a best seller.  Yippee!

Title of the Book Is Changing


The Title of the Book Is Changing

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gettysburg, PA..

Here's a toast to my publishing journey as it twists and turns every step of the way.  My literary agent Rachel changed agencies and has taken some of her clients with her but since my signed contract is with Lowenstein-Yost, I remain behind.  Also, it's great fun to be working with my Katie, my new editor at Berkley Books.   It's interesting to see what the next phone call or email will bring.  The next BIG change is that the title "The Admiral's Wife" is going...going....gone.  Katie feels it had too much of a military appeal and would not attract our target audience.  But she does like "A Memoir of Love, Lies and Surviving A Psychopath."  I've come up with several possible titles including "Like a Phoenix Rising" because I feel that's what I've done.....I've risen from the ashes to go on and create a beautiful life based on my experiences.    The next step for title selection will be a phone conference with the publisher, editor and copy department.  I feel like I'm running with the big dogs and still can't believe I'm in the pack.  Have a great day and keep smiling.  This photo was taken during our visit to



Comments (2 comments):


Delays, delays, delays. Keep the faith. The book will eventually, inevitably be published. My daughter, whose novel was supposed to hit the shelves this September, has been rescheduled for November 2008. And so it goes. Nice to hear from you. You look happy (why not?) and well. Have fun and don't let whatever glitches lie in the road get you down.
--Lois W.

Leave the title as "the Admiral's Wife", it has an appealing lure to it.     –Anonymous

Publishing Date Moved


Publishing Date Moved to November 2008

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


The publishing release date is now set for November 2008 because the manuscript is to be released in trade paperback (approximately 6" x 9").  I am elated with the choice as I was originally disappointed when I was first told the story would come out as mass paperback.  In the new format I will be able to have the book  reviewed  the book will make great presents for the Christmas 2008 market.   While it seems like a long time from today,  it will be here before we know it.  I have always said this book will be published when I'm supposed to get my story out to the public.  So I will use my patience and persistence to move me forward, one step at a time.  I am waiting for my literary agent to review the last edits that I did at the request of the publishing editor.  This is definitely an interesting process.  Hope you're having a great day.  The flowers above are from my trip in April to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C..


Comments (1 comment)

Barbara, I am so proud of you. You are truly an inspiration. You will help so many people through your writing.
--Margaret Johnson



The Changeable World of Publishing


The Latest Progress in the Publishing Journey or

What an Exciting Changeable World

Monday, February 25, 2008

Publishing - what a wild and wacky world to get my book on bookshelves.  I'm now on my second literary agent as Rachel changed agencies and my signed contract is with Lowenstein and Yost Associates, Inc..  I'm on my third publishing editor.  Samantha and Katie left the business for exciting new adventures and Shannon is now guiding my manuscript through the publishing maze.  I feel blessed as each editor has added to the future success of the project.  My manuscript was accepted in September 2007 but I have gone back at Shannon's request to tidy up a few loose ends.  The book changed names from THE ADMIRAL'S WIFE to A DANCE WITH THE DEVIL: A TRUE STORY OF MARRIAGE TO A PSYCHOPATH.  Negotiating that during my trip to China made me feel how small the world's become with the Internet. 


The publisher's lawyer reviewed the manuscript and I had some minor changes to attend to as well.  I've been involved in the evolution of the book cover and respect Berkley Books for listening to my concerns and recommendations.  The copy for the back has been written along with my bio information.  Rex took some portrait shots of me and we've selected the one that will be inside the back cover with the bio.  I have yet to see the photo insert but I did provide one more photo of the Inaugural Ball that may be used inside the front cover.  So what's left?  Approve the photo insert.  Review galley of the completed book.  Get a publicist from Berkley Books assigned to me.   Start planning my marketing strategy including book signings.   Each step of the way is a wonderful learning experience.  I'm so grateful to all who have helped my publishing journey.  I look forward to the hustle and bustle of book signings and public appearances. 

Copy Editor at Work


Next Step - Review the Copyedited Manuscript

Friday, March 21, 2008

The email arrived on Monday, March 10th,  to tell me that the copyedited manuscript would arrive via FedEx the next day.  I was instructed to review the edits and answer Author Questions from Amy, the copy editor.   Not bad, except that I had to have the manuscript back in the publisher's hands by March 24th and my busy schedule meant I had to scrunch my review into two days.  Fortunately, I made it with time to spare.   To show you how much the manuscript weighs, it cost sixty-nine dollars to send it back overnight with a 10 am delivery by UPS.  Ouch!  The photo above shows how the copy editor reviews the manuscript and marks it according to the changes that she feels are necessary.  I marvel at her attention to detail and appreciate how each step continues to improve the manuscript for clarity.  Special thanks go out to all my editors along the way.

I still have to review the photo layout and will have a publicist assigned somewhere down the road.  This is an exciting journey and I am so pleased I can share it with you.

Here's wishing the Easter bunny brings you lots of chocolate!

Welcome to My Live Journal Blog

Hello, and welcome to the new home for my blog. Yahoo!360 was eliminated and for the life of me I cannot get my mind around the other two choices from Yahoo! Some time back I signed up for LiVEJOURNAL to view my literary agent's blog http://raleva31.livejournal.com/ . It's a great site to get an inside look at what an agent looks for in a proposal and manuscript. I just realized today that I also can use my account to compose my own blog. It’s amazing what’s available if we are only patient enough to discover it.  So welcome to my publishing journey and sharing whatever's on my mind.

To begin with, I'd like to share the posts from my original blog.   Since the information exceeded the size limit per post, I have added each as they were originally done elsewhere.  I hope to provide useful information and encourage your comments.  Welcome aboard!