As it turns out, the most fun part of writing (other than the act itself) is being a part of the writing community. I’m sure the niches and pockets of the larger community are nearly infinite, but we’ve wedged ourselves quite nicely into a little corner of the internet where lovely, book-minded, word-loving writers and artists dwell. It’s been amazing so far. And it would have been anyway, but I’ve found that with the heat wave we’re having here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s been my lifeline to humanity. Because I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) when Holly was an infant, I have a ridiculously hard time with the heat. In fact, we left Florida because for a good portion of the year, even living a totally air-conditioned life wasn’t enough to slice through the pain, numbness, tingling, and the OH MY GOD I FEEL LIKE TOTAL CRAP AND WANT TO VOMIT sensation. Yes, move back to the Northwest, my neurologist said. It’ll be mild–perfect for you, he said. And truly, for most of the year it is. But in this beautiful season of wild, green gardens; of sunlight flinging rainbows through sprinklers; of driving with the top down and baking in the sun; in this season I’ve become a bit of a prisoner. Loosed for summer from the bonds of a full-time job (as most teachers are, come mid-June), this heat has instead shackled me to my curtains-drawn, air-conditioned house. And I can’t lie: as lucky as I feel to be able to stay inside and manage the pain, it does get a little lonely. So this wonderful community of people has acted as a bridge to life outside of my house this summer. I’ve had so much fun talking on the phone with Shayla of Curiouser Editing, exchanging emails and Google docs with Shelly of Keystrokes & Closed Doors, collaborating with Natasha Snow on cover design, and joining the Women in Portland Publishing group. I also stumbled onto a site where people who love to read offer to review books if you send them a copy and it aligns with their interests, so I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some people that way, too. Because of this cool network of humans who support writers, in the near future we’ll also be featured on The Howling Turtle, and on an excellent blog called She’s Novel. When you decide to indie publish, everyone warns you that your chances of becoming a huge success are small. They tell you to manage your expectations, to prepare for a slow slog towards visibility (if you even get there at all). I’m okay with all of that, because we know that the bigger picture here for me is doing something fun and positive with my daughter as she enters those oh-so-prickly pre-teen years, but there’s still a part of you that feels like you’re shouting into the abyss when you only sell a few books a week. Writing (even with a partner) can be a pretty isolated affair. And all of this is really just to say that I’ve had a wonderful summer so far getting to know and collaborate with lots of interesting people. Their dialogue and the back-and-forth chatter about all things writing-related has given my days purpose (beyond sitting around in my pj’s, trying to meet word count goals), and has broadened my horizons to include new friends from around the country and around the world. Being able to reach out into cyberspace from my dark, cool cave and chat with people about something I’m passionate about has meant more to me than they even know.