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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Beth Neff Guest Post + Getting Somewhere Giveaway!

So this is the last post for Dystopian Domination 2. We're coming to a close and I must say we had so much fun. But! We are saving the best for last so please welcome Beth Neff!

Wanna find out how it feels when a debut author is anticipating the release of her book? Beth shares to us her thoughts about it!

Follow Beth: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

They say it’s like having a baby – the initial excitement, the long wait, and eventual flurry of pain, relief, exhilaration, and exhaustion. I suppose this is as good a metaphor as any and yet, even though I’ve had four kids of my own, the best preparation I could have had for the experience of writing a book and having it published has been the nearly thirty years I spent as an organic vegetable farmer.

People I knew were pretty surprised when I told them I planned to quit farming, was resigning as manager of the farmers market and director of the not-for-profit I had founded, and that I hoped to become a writer. They were further surprised to discover that I had no intentions of writing about agriculture (at least, not directly!) or sustainability or community planning or any of the other topics I’d devoted my career to so far. What they really couldn’t have known, though – and I didn’t either – was that the experience of farming had, in many unpredicted ways, prepared me well for some of the things I would need to learn as a new author.

Like patience. Is there anyone who truly considers themselves patient? I certainly tried my best to be patient with my kids. And farming is nothing if not an exercise in patience. You know those gorgeous red-ripe tomatoes you love to buy at the farmers market? Well, we farmers plant those seeds in February, nurture baby plants along until they can tolerate the outdoors, weed around them for months, watch them carefully as they ripen, finally bring them to customers a good six months later. And none of this includes the months before spent perusing seed catalogs, selecting varieties, comparing records, crunching numbers, or the previous years dedicated to creating a fertile garden in the first place.

Writing a book is nearly exactly like that. It’s a whole lot of ‘hurry up and wait.’ All of your experiences have collided to create this book in the first place. You’ve spent varying amounts of time getting those perfect words recorded. And you certainly have an idea of what your ultimate goal might be (a published book!) But even once you’ve done the research to determine where to send the manuscript, even after you’ve found an agent and the agent has sold your book to a publisher, there are so many steps along the way and so many chunks of time when you are simply waiting for the process to unfold.

I guess that’s why they call it ‘practicing’ patience.

And still, for all your best efforts in identifying and pursuing all the necessary resources, you really have very little control over the outcome. Some of it certainly comes down to hard work, some of it is timing, and some of it is just simply dumb luck (sort of like the weather.) And though it may be kind of hard to believe, that’s actually a good thing – recognizing that all you can ensure is the integrity of the process, the quality of the relationships built along the way.

In many ways, that’s been the best part of becoming a writer and the part where my farming experience has turned out to be most relevant. It doesn’t matter how perfect that tomato turns out to be if nobody ever picks it up, admires it, savors the lovely flavor. Especially with organic farming, each vegetable is truly a labor of love. It matters who eats it, who shares with you a recipe they used to prepare it, who comes back to find more just like it. And writing is the same way.

Authors care what people think. A book is a special kind of relationship, characterized by the nature of the story, the voice chosen to tell it and the total vulnerability we risk to present it. In the same way that my farmers market customers wanted to be connected to the food they ate and the people who grew it, readers seek stories that will make them feel connected to something larger than themselves, that tell them something about the world of the author, the world as a whole, and, maybe more importantly, something about themselves. I am honored by the opportunity to give that to them. And of course, that’s exactly what authors want too and are willing to go to a whole lot of trouble to get it.


One of my most favorite posts in our blog event, Beth gives us a great insight on how authors feel whenever their book is ready to come out in the world for all readers to get their hands into. Thank you, Beth!

Getting Somewhere by Beth Neff
Add Getting Somewhere to your Goodreads list!

Four girls: dealer, junkie, recluse, thief.

Sarah, Jenna, Lauren, and Cassie may look like ordinary girls, but they’re not. They’re delinquents whose lives collide when they’re sent to an experimental juvenile detention program on a farm in the middle of nowhere. As the girls face up to the crimes they committed, three of them will heal the wounds of their pasts and discover strengths they never dreamed they had. And one, driven by a deep secret of her own, will seek to destroy everything they’ve all worked so hard for.
Getting Somewhere is published by Viking Childrens Books, released January 19th 2012.
Order your copy at Amazon or The Book Depository


Beth was kind enough to have the copy signed and guess what? It is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!

As always, all you have to do is fill out the form below and answer this:

What's the lowest point you've ever been in your life and how did you overcome it?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I will be posting my review for this fantastic book tomorrow so watch out for that and goodluck!


  1. my low point is not really anything like the characters in the book. it's nothing that i really had any control over, but this is really the only one i've had.
    it was about a year and a half ago when i was in a really bad car accident. my injuries to my face were so severe that i begged to be put in a coma just so i wouldn't have to suffer through all the pain and surgeries. i was doing good just to make it from one day to the next.
    i got through it because i have the best friends and family that were there with me the entire time and helped talk me through it : )

  2. My lowest point was in my last two years in elementary school. I was being bullied all the time. Thinks got better when I started middle school with new people. I found great friends.

  3. I think I'm trying to overcome it right now, along with my family - this year started pretty rough for us, both in terms of health and money. But we're still a loving family and I believe it can conquer everything. :)

    Thanks for this amazing opportunity to win.

    As a person who writes her own book right now, I enjoyed Beth's guest post as well!

  4. Last year was a rough year for me, and I'm just now coming out of it in one piece. I'd rather not get into specifics because it is very personal. The thing that helped me get through was just knowing that the end was in sight. This too shall pass. Sometimes all you can do is hold on as tight as you can and hope you emerge on the other side.

  5. Last year was pretty bad for me. The landlady basically kicked me out the apartment and I had to live with friends for 2 months because I had to go to university. I had to find a job for a few months... I'm still having apartment trouble, but I guess my family and my friends helped me through this.

  6. The lowest point I ever hit was after the guy I dated off and on through high school and afterward (five years) died suddenly in a car accident. It took therapy, time, supportive friends, and hard love from family before I was able to emerge from that darkness. When you sink that low, there isn't just one thing that will bring you out of it.

  7. My lowest point was right before I got married. My personal life was in turmoil. I don't want to go into details. But every aspect was just in shambles. I had no permanent home. Every day was a struggle. But I came together with my now husband, and we worked through the tough times. It's been 7 wonderful years since.

  8. My lowest point.....was after graduating from high school when I had no idea what to do next. Thanks to my friends and parents I've managed to find a new path, and even went to uni the next year.

    Thank you for the giveaway.

  9. I am a compulsive over-eater, and my lowest point was when I found out that my "lifestyle" was severely affecting my health, and that if I didn't make a significant change, I wouldn't live to see 30. I am still struggling to overcome it, but I have gotten to the point where my health is manageable.

  10. The lowest point in my life was when I realized I had clinical depression. I knew it ran in my family but didn't realize that was what it was until I had been depressed for months. I went to the doctor and got medication and have never felt that low again in my life!

  11. My lowest point in my life would be my suicidal attempts, cause by pressure in school (bullies) and depression. My parents decided to get help by calling a shrink and taking some anti-depressant. It cost a lot of money, with my shrink session, but my parents says its for the best, so I needed to get better for them.

    Thank you for all the giveaways!

  12. My lowest point would be at school. I wasn't bullied. I was delivering my oratorical piece written by my friend and I forgot some lines so I have to ad lib. I was so frustrated because out of the six contestants, I was the one who delivered poorly and obviously got the sixth place. I was so sad. I kept comparing myself to them until now I could still remember the disappointed faces of the people listening to me.

    To summarize it all, I tend to pull myself down but thanks to books and Jesus Christ. They keep me from falling on knees even though I'm still struggling. I still need to get better.

  13. My lowest point in my life was when in 7 grade and I lost "my friends" because of a stupid thing. I'm very shy, before i was even more, and having friends was always an important thing. And then I was all alone, this I also carried it through high school. It's very difficult open up to people, because I don't know if they are gonna be in my future. But I have my family, they love me and I love them
    I wouldn't know what to do whiout them,especially in a time like that

    thanks for the giveaway.

  14. My mom was a single mother with 3 children. I am the youngest and I was the first of her children to ever do well in school. Both of my older brothers made some poor life decisions and dropped out of high school. My graduation day was all my mom could talk about. Three months before my graduation day she was told she had 6 months to live. Lung cancer. She passed away on the morning of my graduation. It has been and will be the worst moment of my life. It is something I have come to live with but doubt I an ever accept. The lowest point in my life has been every day after.

  15. I think it was around middle school when i actually didn't have such friends i'd like to all friends. They made me their laughing stock and now in high school they're scared to even come near me ;)

  16. My first love wasn't my first relationship, but the break up was extremely painful. I've overcome it by re-evaluating what's important in my life and concentrating on small steps that make me happy. Now I'm so glad it happened, this new appreciation of life led me to my husband and we're very happy together :)

  17. My lowest point is too personal to air publicly. I was strong for my children. That's how I overcame it.


  18. Wow that's a tough question. I guess it would be right after college. My girlfriend and I had broken up and all my friends had moved on to other jobs. I was having a hard time getting a job and was all alone, broke and drinking too much. Finally an opportunity in a small town up north came up. I jumped at the chance and never looked back.

  19. My lowest point was when I got divorced and I had two small kids to raise and was in school trying to get a degree. I got through it by pushing through the tough times and relying on family to help out :)

  20. My lowest poin was when I didn't get to medical school. It was all I have ever dreamt about. So I didn't know what to do with my life next. My mother help me overcome it and I found something I love to do)))

  21. My lowest point was when I was 13- early 15; I had a really hard time with people who I thought were my friends and got quite sick- my whole world changed and it took me ages to get to the point where I was just like one day- I'm happy. I'm happy now and many things helped me, my writing, buying my pet rabbit Hugo and blogging + my family.
    Things were tough and I got really down and felt terrible about myself and everything, I was hardly happy at all. Now I'm happier then ever.
    And I'm doing what I know I want to do for a long time!

  22. My lowest point was last year, I got left behind one year in collegue, for one course! I'm studying to become a doctor and they're like 8 years of collegue and I felt so sad that I lose so much time! But my parents are my rock and strength and they are soooo supportive!

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  24. My lowest points were all due to be being bullied in high school - for being in a wheelchair, for liking a boy another girl was always something and it occured on and off throughout my 5 years there. In the end I overcame it by working hard to get the grades to move to another city and go to Uni...where I made the best friends I ever had and really came into myself.

  25. Probably when I was being bullied.. Overcame it by not giving those who bullied me any attention

  26. I've always been an anxious person, but the anxiety got out of hand my freshman year of college. It was the first time I was away from home. Amongst 30,000 other people- holy cow. I'd just broken up with my first boyfriend EVER. And about a myriad of other things. I experienced panic attacks for the first time, and I got involved in self-destructive behavior. But, two things changed. I found myself pretty solid friends who helped me keep my mind off the things that made me anxious. And, I started seeing a counselor, and that helped me to confront and overcome the things that made me anxious.

  27. Secondary school was pretty hard. I just kept going and eventually graduated and left it behind me!

  28. I can't believe I'm writing about this.. I was 16 and naive enough to think that when a guy said he'd love you forever, he really meant it..not that he'd lie to you, take advantage and then hook up with another girl. I got depressed, did some stupid stuff and kinda got emotionally damaged..I'm not over it completely yet..but my family helped me through the whole mess. They're amazing like that.

  29. When I was bullied because of how tall I was. I even had thoughts about suicide, though I never acted. Now, I,M happy and have great friends!

  30. Probably when I was being bullied.. Overcame it by not giving those who bullied me any attention/ you rock roro=me


I love getting comments from my readers and fellow bookworms, and I try my best to respond to all of them. Feel free to give me a piece of your thoughts. Also, this is an award-free blog. I simply don't have the time to highlight them anymore, but thank you for thinking of my blog!

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