Guest Blogger: Ann Carbine Best

Please welcome Ann Carbine Best to Under the Tiki Hut. I've known Ann for a year or two, and she's a wonderful person. I have not read her memoir, but I have read her novella IMPRISONED and was quite impressed with the the way Ann was able to bring Svetlana's voice alive. So here you go,'s your turn to keep the cabana boys in line for a couple of days.

Thank you, Carol, for hosting me today….

A small press, WiDo Publishing, accepted my memoir IN THE MIRROR, back in December of 2010. It was a long and interesting process that took place at a time when the publishing industry began going through massive changes. It was a major change in my life in other ways, too. Because I was housebound with my disabled daughter, my only means of marketing was through the Internet, so I had to learn how to blog.

There were times when I felt like my seventy-year-old brain was stretched to the limit! So much so that I didn’t think I could ever self-publish. However, at my age, I didn’t want to wait years to publish something else; and I knew that a novella would be a tough sell, especially one that didn’t fall in one of the “popular” genres.

But I had a novella in my files, Svetlana Garetova’s story.

I met Svetlana in 1997 when she was a fill-in aide for my disabled daughter, for a week. On day one, I told her I was interested in miracles and angels stories for a book I was writing. After showering my daughter, she started telling me how she came to America. Instantly I knew she had a dramatically compelling story. I stopped her. “I’ve got to record this,” I said, and got out my tape recorder.

I spent several days transcribing what she told me into story form. But I never did the miracles and angels book, and so her story sat in my file for years. Then last fall when I got it out, I thought, This really is fascinating. IMPRISONED was born.

But I’m getting older by the minute, and don’t have the time or patience to query publishers. And so, because I’ve always enjoyed a challenge, I decided to self-publish it, partly to see if I could do it. I couldn’t do a cover on my own. I absolutely can NOT figure out PhotoShop. So a friend came to my rescue. She said she would do it for free, but I paid her anyway.

This was all I had to pay. From a lifetime of reading and writing, and with my editing and proofreading skills, I knew I could produce an error-free manuscript. I just needed some readers who would tell me if something didn’t make sense.

After they gave me their feedback, I went through the manuscript again and again to make sure everything did make sense, and then I had to figure out how to format it for uploading. It took time, but Mark Coker’s Smashwords guide is designed for dummies like me. Up it went on Smashwords.

However, getting it uploaded to Amazon was another problem. I finally used one of the programs suggested in Amazon’s style guide, Mobi Pocket Creator.

Through a lot of trial and error, it worked!

The last time I saw Svetlana in 2005, she said I could do whatever I wanted to with her story. I think she’d be pleased with the way it turned out.

Brief Synopsis: When Svetlana Garetova flies with her four-year-old son from Moscow in Russia to Salt Lake City in America for a visit with Jimmy Rafael, she becomes very ill. He nurses her to back to health, but when she recovers, she realizes with horror that she has missed the deadline in Moscow to pay protection money for her businesses. Her distraught mother tells her that she would be safer in America, and when Jimmy says he will marry her, she accepts his proposal even though she barely knows him and has some misgivings. On their wedding night, she discovers who he really is, and that she and her son are almost prisoners in his house. She must find a way to escape, and people to help them.

You can download a sample from the beginning of IMPRISONED from Amazon HERE. This link also takes you to my own memoir, IN THE MIRROR.

You can also read a sample of IMPRISONED on one of my blog posts. It’s a scene from the middle of the book, the most dramatic scene in the story.


Joanne said…
Ann, It's always fascinating how slices of real life inspire our stories and our words. Svetlana's moments in your life left you with so much more than she realized ... her story lives on.
Wonderful post Ann, made compulsive reading.

Anonymous said…
Joanne: I agree. Svetlana really is an amazing person and did give me and my daughter some wonderful memories.

Yvonne: Thanks for stopping by.

Carol: Thanks for having me. I have to take my daughter to a counseling appointment this morning, but I'll be hanging out with you the rest of the day and tomorrow.
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs
Glynis said…
Great to see Ann sharing her books. An inspirational lady who never gives up. :)
Liza said…
This sounds like an amazing story. Ann, good for you for going after what you want! As an owner of a copy of In the Mirror, I can attest to the strength that lies within you.
Slamdunk said…
Thanks for inspiring us Ann. I love learning the back story to a final product.
Jennifer Shirk said…
Good luck with your new book, Ann!
Anonymous said…
On my reading list now.
LR said…
Wow, that sounds like a very interesting story.
I'm struggling too Ann to self publish and the older we get the bigger the struggle. I'm so proud of you for getting this one out! Congrats.
We're not finished yet Girlfriend. You keep going!
Blessings, Barb
Wow, sounds like an interesting read. Thanks!
Linda Kage said…
Wow, what a neat story. I hope Svetlana gets to read her memoirs. My biggest fear of self publishing is getting the book formatted correctly (I already know I'd have to pay for a cover and editing!!)

Thanks for sharing.
Wow! sounds like an amazing story. I'll be sure to check it out. Thanks for sharing this with us. Best of luck.
Thanks for sharing your story - in every sense of the word!
Clarissa Draper said…
Well, I've read all your books, Ann and they are all fantastic. Buy the books, people!
Johanna Garth said…
Ann, that sounds like such an interesting story. Thanks so much for sharing about all the behind the scenes though process that went into the making of it.
All from a conversation with someone you'd only known a week!
~Sia McKye~ said…
Wow, from seemingly safe haven to virtual prisoners. That would be a hard one to deal with.
Excerpt grabs you, that for sure.

Congrats on having the courage to follow a dream and make it a reality!

Anonymous said…
Joanne: Yes, her story DOES live on, as all of our stories do.

Yvonne: Nice to see you here at the Tiki Hut.

Glynis: YOU never give up either! I enjoy our friendship very much.

Liza: We all have our special strengths, don't we, that come from adversity in our lives. Thanks for stopping by.

Slamdunk: I, too, like to know the back story of a piece of writing. It's often more fascinating than the actual book or movie!

Jennifer: Good luck with YOUR Sunny Days for Sam. I know how well you write and hope it does well.

Delores: I really think you'll like it.

LR: I thought it was very interesting when I heard it from Svetlana.

Barb: YOU keep going too! Yes, the older we get, the more difficult it is to navigate these technological rapids.

Cynthia: Thanks for stopping by. As I said to another blogger, I think you'll find it very interesting.

Linda: For formatting, just follow Coker's manual. It's really very simple to maneuver. Even I was able to do it!

Andrea: Best of luck to you too!

Elspeth: Nice to see you again. It's been a while since I've seen you. Sharing our stories and helping each other is what it's all about IMHO.

Clarissa: Thanks for your support. And I am SO looking forward to reading your book!!

Johanna: I'm glad you found this post interesting. I have Carol to thank today for my meeting some new friends that include you.
Anonymous said…
Alex: I never thought of it that way. But yes, I've had experiences like this before, when I learn something incredible in a very short time. Meeting Svetlana was definitely serendipitous.

Sia: Yes, that WAS so startling. I was startled when she began telling me what happened to her. Thanks for stopping by so I could meet you!
Sounds like your determination served you well and you navigated al the uploading and graphic design perfectly (and with the help of a friend.) Best wishes for the release!
Ciara said…
It's amazing how real life can inspire great stories. This sounds fabulous, Ann.
Carol Kilgore said…
Very cool to see lots of friendly faces here today.

Ann, you're doing a great job with those cabana boys :)
BECKY said…
Hi Carol and Ann! Wonderful guest post, and two wonderful blog pals! BTW, to those who haven't read Ann's memoir yet, I highly recommend it! I left a very good review for it on Amazon as soon as I finished it. I loved it.
Julie said…
Wonderful guest post, Carol and Ann! I have Ann's memoir on my TBR list and now I definitely want to add Imprisoned to my Kindle right away. Sounds fascinating! And, I really admire you Ann for what you have accomplished, it makes me feel like it's never too late for anyone to achieve their dream of publishing. Best wishes and kudos to you!
Janet, said…
Congratulations, Ann! You have done something to be proud of. Keep writing.
Great post. The suspense book sounds like it has many plot twists which are just what I like. Thanks for telling us about them.
Carol Kilgore said…
Ann - It was a pleasure having you guest blog here. Thanks!
Anonymous said…
Thank YOU, Carol, and to everyone who commented. I am meeting some new people because of this. Always a great thing and so satisfying!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs