One of the most annoying things about my brain surgery recovery is that I’m not allowed to drive. That will end at some point, but I have no idea yet when. So, for the most part, I must get where I need to go on foot.
This is a mixed blessing. The brain tumor itself had weakened my body to the point that doctors were surprised I could still walk when they finally discovered it. Now that the tumor is gone, walking is actually the best thing I can do for my recovery.
But I need to rebuild my muscles and stamina as I go, so I can only walk so far.
As a result, I need to confine my walking to a limited radius from my house so I don’t wind up accidently stranded somewhere or way overdo it getting myself home.
As I was figuring out where I could and could not go, I realized something that having ready access to a car had robbed me of: my house, which I bought 13 years ago, is in the best possible location one could ask for. Who knew?
From here, I’m within 2,000 steps of the following (and this is not an all-inclusive list):
- My office
- A grocery store
- A natural foods store
- My doctor’s office
- My salon
- Urgent care
- A dentist’s office
- The police station
- A fire station
- A pharmacy
- The post office
- City Hall
- The local library
- An outlet mall
- The cultural center
- My daughter’s karate dojo
- Beach access
- Lake access
Oh, and add to that a good dozen restaurants, including a coffee shop, pizza place, two Thai food places, Mexican food, high-end seafood place, a fish ‘n chips place, barbecue place, ice cream shop, two fast-food places and more.
Plus, the two nonprofit boards I’m on hold their board meetings within that same radius.
Ironically, I can also walk to the car wash, but, you know, not so useful…
I had no idea until I needed it how very close I am to just about everything.
And if I truly needed it, I’m just a block away from a bus stop.
That proximity to so many things has made what could feel like a very restrictive part of my recovery into something kinda cool.
And once I started back to working in the office, I pretty much walk everywhere. I’m on a streak now. I’ve hit at least 5,000 steps every day since June 8. And I’ll make sure I have enough rain gear so that doesn’t have to stop once the weather turns all Oregon Coast again this fall.
It’s amazing what close proximity will do for you.
But sometimes, proximity (albeit of a different variety) is not your friend. I discovered that recently, too, when we were alerted to a problem with our newest release’s books cover.
We mostly use stock art for our book covers. We’re not alone. The big trads do this a lot, too. But sometimes you wind up in a situation where another cover looks far too similar to your own. This happened with Hidden Charm. A reader alerted us to this fact. I had conducted a search prior to using that particular art, but Amazon shows different things to different people, so the cover at issue did not come up for me at that time. This is not unusual.
Normally, I wouldn’t stress out about another cover having the same art. This is a known quantity when it comes to using stock art for cover design. But in this case, the topic of the book (also an alternative take on the Rapunzel fairy tale) was too close for comfort. The other author released her book first, so we redid ours. It’s more about common courtesy than anything else, frankly.
So, here’s the redesigned cover of Hidden Charm. I used the same model but she’s in a different pose. This was important because we’d already launched the book, and done a lot of sales and marketing, and we didn’t want to confuse the readers who had already bought the book. That would be even worse than an unfortunate coincidence.
This is not the first time we’ve run into another book using the same art on the cover as ours (although it’s not common). But it was the first one where we decided we had to redo ours. This time, it exceeded the proximity threshold.
Oh, and one final note about proximity: You’re running out of time to buy the Space Travelers Storybundle, curated by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Click here to learn more about this bundle—which includes WMG books Duplicate Effort, A Retrieval Artist Novel by Kris, Sector Justice: A Seeders Universe Novel by Dean Wesley Smith, and Fiction River Presents: Space Travelers.
As for me, I’m off to the post office—on foot, of course.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.