The musings of an aspiring writer – Kim Shatteen

A word about the title of this site…

I became blind in my left eye at the age of twelve due to a battle with ophthalmic shingles. A cornea transplant at the age of twenty did not bring back the desired vision that I and my family hoped for, and thus I have lived a life through one good eye. Join me as I discuss my adventures in being a wife, mom, daughter, sibling, co-worker, and friend in my crazy, fun, active, and lovely life in beautiful Colorado.

There is book in me somewhere…

In January 2018 I embarked on the journey of writing a book based fictionally of my account with shingles in the spring of 1978. I visited my local library to find books on how to write a novel. I came across 90 Days To Your Novel by Sarah Domet and as I was new to fiction writing, needless to say it took more than ninety days to write. I read and highlighted Ms. Domet’s book and started an outline as she suggested, only to be bested by pesky left thumb arthritis and right-hand tenosynovitis. I took the summer off from writing and by the fall of 2018 I put fingers to keyboard and knocked out my book. By February 2019 I was “done” or at least so I thought. I needed to tackle edits. I let my sister Theresa and my mother read the first draft. But unfortunately, my left thumb arthritis worsened. My sister gave a copy of the book to a high school English teacher that she knows, and I received very good feedback. However, it was the talents of my daughter Alena and her multiple revisions that got the book over the finish line. I had to have surgery on my left thumb to rebuild the degenerated joint. I was doing revisions up until the day of surgery in October 2019. Finally, by late November the book was complete.

The Checkers Club

The book is loosely based on my account with shingles in 1978. I tackled it as fiction as I wanted it to be a book that young adults in middle school could relate to. The main character is Missy Romo, a twelve-year-old sixth grader, who is outgoing and friendly but is stricken down with an unknown virus towards the end of the school year. By the time Missy returns to school in the late spring, she is fifteen pounds lighter and her left eye is completely closed. She spends the summer wondering how she is going to fit in seventh grade. Upon returning to school, she spends a great deal of time in the library. The young librarian befriends her and plays checkers with her on her lunch hour. However, Missy is eventually persuaded to play checkers with Marjorie and Pat, fellow seventh graders. They girls become friends over their games of checkers as they discuss classes, TV shows, and first crushes, all while adjusting to life in middle school.

Now What?

As 2020 approached, I knew that this would be the year to publish. I went to the Mountain of Authors conference in the spring of 2019 put on by Pikes Peak Library. In a discussion panel, a literary agent discussed the benefits of having an agent, but also discussed the benefits of self-publishing. If going through a major publisher, an author’s work can take fifteen to eighteen months to get published, that is if a publishing house is even interested. While at that conference I picked up a flyer of another library meeting called How to Self-Publish Your Novel. It was there that I decided that I would self-publish The Checkers Club. Not that I didn’t think my work would be picked up by a publishing house, I do think there is a place for it in a big five, young adult division. I just wanted to see this published quickly as I feel that this story can help young people find their voice and realize that they do matter.

As spring 2020 approached, the corona-virus bared down on Colorado. By March, as the state shut down, one by one my son, daughter, myself, and husband, came down as “presumed positive” because we were unable to get tested. As we healed, I knew I had to get the book out as soon as possible. I used my niece’s design for the cover art. Next, I purchased the ISBN number, and then uploaded the finished product to be self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing. As of April 2020, The Checkers Club is available in E-book and paperback formats at

Start writing. I don’t mean to sound dismissive, but START WRITING. There is NO SUCH THING as “too late” in the arts. Trust me. START!

Patton Oswalt

Kim (Missy) at age 13. I have lived a full life through one good eye.

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