Sunday, June 8, 2014

What's Under Your Cape?

Howdy from Barbara at The Corner on Character. Since last I stopped by, life has taken a few twists and turns, one of which found me recovering from a head-on collision that totaled my car and left me broken and bruised. But the blessing in that burden was learning, by necessity, not only to slow down, but to savor. With encouragement from family and friends, I decided that it was time to publish that book I'd always dreamed about and talked about writing. Now it's with great pleasure that I share that I became a published author at one of that detour's destinations and it's with pride that I introduce  
What's Under Your Cape? SUPERHEROES of the Character Kind. 

Released on May 30,  2014, this 120-page handbook is filled with inspirational stories and innovative strategies from my thirty years in public education that will help you help your SUPERHEROES soar. Click the book cover graphic for more information on ordering the book; thank you for your invitation to talk a little bit about the publishing process from idea to rough draft to editing to printing to delivery of the final product.

It was at the end of October, 2013, in Washington D.C. at the Character Education Partership National Forum on Character Education when, dressed in my Queen of Hearts dress, I delivered my Character Is Our Super Power workshop that attracted about 70 participants . One of those audience members was Marian Nelson from Nelson Publishing and Marketing. You might recognize her imprint, Ferne Press, from Carol McCloud's Bucket Filler booksAfter my session, Marian asked me one simple question: Why don't I have a book? I told her that basically I do, but that I've posted it online for free at both my school's website and on my blog. Being a book publisher, Marian wasn't satisfied by my answer. If I had enough content for a book, then it just made sense that I would compile my best stories and strategies into a book. To extend my character outreach, she added. 
Well, who wouldn't want that? 

So Marian explained how her company, a small independent publisher, helps authors get their work into print and onto book shelves and she sent me a quote within the week. {Remember that car collision I survived? It left me with a slight ankle impairment on which insurance had paid a small stipend and ... get this ... that book quote came within $40 of that amount.}  The planets were in alignment and I had my God wink. So I started writing. My editor, Kris Yankee, called within the week to walk me through the process. If we wanted to debut my book in June at the Character Conference in Wisconsin, my home state, then she'd need a final draft by spring break. To be safe, I set a goal to be finished by New Year's Eve. I sent an outline that first week of November, then I wrote and I wrote and I wrote some more. I sent off chapter after chapter though Kris wasn't going to start the editing process until she had the entire draft. I actually finished my rough draft at 7:30 pm on December 31st. 
On January 2nd, 2014, my editor went to work on my manuscript.

Libby & I designed bookmarks!

Now here's what I learned:  Be committed to your content, but not too tightly stitched to your syntax. I had to detach myself from my personal stories enough to accept the suggested changes that my professional editor knew would improve the clarity and quality of the overall product. I had to entertain her questions, clear up confusion, and re-focus on my audience more times that I care to admit. But in the end, the benefit of front-loading and then being flexible {insert stretchy visual of Mrs. Incredible from The Incredibles} far outweighed the cost. We went back and forth all springtime long with editors and proofreaders and layout and more proofing. 

Then, on April 7th, I got my first glimpse of {and absolutely fell in love with} the cover. Soon afterward, it was time to ask for endorsements. I sent about ten copies of the book's interior and kindly requested feedback from other educators. Their reflections put me in orbit and brought me back to earth all at once ... to be called "the Harry Wong of character education" is an honor and incredibly humbling. It was a dream coming true; I actually had a book on its way. On May 5th, we had our sign-off meeting and my book went to a printer in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, just 20 miles away from the school where I started my career in education 30 years ago in 1984.

If you're still with me, thank you for your interest in my circle story. The book, which was delivered in bulk to my home on Monday, is now available from my blog at The Corner on Character. Order through PayPal and I'd be happy to sign it for you before I pop it into the mail. 
You can also find it at other online bookstores.
I've been blessed to do three interviews; check them out at

I blog almost daily at the Corner on Character, so visit me there for more stories and strategies to help in your character building. Oh, and the first two readers to comment below just won a personalized copy, so leave a way for me to contact you so we can connect.

The Corner on Character


  1. Wow what an awesome accomplishment and a very important topic. Can't wait to read it! Congratulations on fulfilling your dream- that is an inspiration:)

  2. You have been busy! What an accomplishment. What an exciting turn of events for you and your career. Thanks for sharing.


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