Elizabeth Aquino writes. Then she writes some more. She writes daily for her blog a moon, worn as if it had been a shell, with some 4,000 posts online, sometimes generating two in one day. She has published stories and poems, has written for the LA Times and magazines. She writes her heart out, and in doing so lures your own heart into her orbit, where “parenting, politics, disability and poetry intersect.”
As mother to a 20 year old daughter with severe epilepsy and two growing sons tromping into their teenage years, the Orange Drive resident shares her struggles and hopes with readers from all over the world. Some followers face similar experiences raising a severely-disabled child, and others, like me, who enjoy her clear, sometimes caustic, view of life in Los Angeles. She augments this with lively imagery and some fine photos she shoots herself.
Shebooks was co-founded by three women publishers who saw the need for more women authors and journalists to get published. In looking at the book industry the trio realized that the majority of people reading books, magazines and blogs are women, yet the majority of authors published are men.
Shebooks publishes short fiction, memoir and journalism e-books written by women, for women, in digital format that may take only an hour or two to read. “We think of ourselves as an e-book boutique, the kind where you’ll always find a story to fit your busy life,” they state on their About Us page.
“Hope for a Sea Change” is about the first years of Sophie’s life, when as a baby she developed terrible seizures, and Aquino and her husband the chef Michael Beglinger, began their search to understand Sophie’s disorder. “Epilepsy is so common and yet so devastating,” Aquino told the Larchmont Buzz in an interview. “Epilepsy affects 2% of our population, and within that group some 30% have a brutal seizure disorder such as Sophie. It can happen to anyone at any time.”
Aquino has accumulated an active following, many of them parents who are trying to balance caring for a severely disabled child while trying to live a normal, balanced life. She is also on a crusade to make medical marijuana more available to those with seizure disorders. For the first time in her life, Sophie’s multiple, daily seizures have subsided to only a few over many weeks due to daily doses of Cannabidiol oil. The oil is extracted from marijuana in a process that is highly regulated and hard to obtain.
Aquino hopes her and Sophie’s story will now move beyond the blog, into the world of books.
“As a writer, Shebooks has been a wonderful opportunity for me to pursue my dream of getting a book published,” Aquino told the Larchmont Buzz, noting that this first short book is the first “installment” of a longer memoir. Plus, Shebooks actually pays writers for their work, something not very common in this age of digital explosion and free materials. “Shebooks pays authors a generous fee upfront, and we also receive 50% of net sales on our work. It also gives writers great exposure, as industry editors and publishers scan and sample the work, hoping to find their next big book.”
All Shebooks titles are offered for only $2.99 each, and can be downloaded into the Shebooks app, or into your Kindle or iPad. A subscription-based $7.95/month program allows readers to sample as many titles as they’d like every month.
I subscribed to Shebooks, downloaded and read “Hope for a Sea Change” and found it a compelling page-turner of a memoir that I read in just a few hours. Now I’m headed back to the Shebooks homepage to taste some of the other great titles they have on hand, which can be in my own hand in a matter of minutes, ready to read.
Shebooks: “Hope for a Sea Change”
Aquino’s blog: a moon worn as if it had been a shell
Pasadena Star News: Parents in world of children’s cannabis fear, desire regulations