Surefire guide to selling non fiction much better than I do

‘Chicken Little’s Issues’ 48x60” acrylic by Mernie + back stock

Slugs are winning the race against sales of my memoir. It’s engaging, well written and floats far out there in a vast ocean of reading material. Not unusual when you consider that 2.5 million titles are released worldwide each year.

Then consider I indie-published as a first-time author… and at a time when in-person bookstore events couldn’t take place. Thanks again, Covid. A grand total of nine Goodreads reviews praise The Incompetent Psychic with 45 stars. A few dozen more readers have written lovely emails and said nice things…

Thriving as a creative: Skill, passion & uncountable hours are not enough

‘A Wing and a Prayer’ from the Baroque co co series by Mernie 2000

I know how to freelance. My last regular paycheck was in 1982. I still miss those like I miss the palm trees of California. It’s a fruitless yearning that needs occasional snapping out of.

How? Maturity has rewritten my priority list to be realistic, and I learned to be okay with that.

The other morning I was on the front porch of my home in a northeastern forest chatting with the 19-year old who rents a room from my neighbor. Zoe is an aspiring musician who works in…

I was triumphant. I broke even in three months… but not from book sales.

I have made my living as a freelance artist and designer since 1982 and still do. Two years ago I wanted to be a writer as well, so penned my memoir. The Incompetent Psychic turned out pretty good — funny, profound, helpful and hopeful. It is set both on Earth and in the Celestial dimension because our spirit guides talk about us, and occasionally jump in to be our dogs. Then I had to figure out how to publish. There are two choices: Traditional or Self.

Traditional would be ideal. However…

Finale of this illustrated companion to my memoir

Tulip Display 2013

Everything worthwhile is the connection each of us has with love. All the rest is matter that doesn’t matter so much, no matter how

Ah hem…

We interrupt this conclusion for a moment with a gentle reminder.

Yes, Mernie does have a committee of beings who help her out.

You do as well. You very possibly have an entire chorus of angels and sprites who act as your guides. Some are connected to infinite wisdom and power. Some are impish. Their practical jokes aren’t always funny, but they do serve to keep you humble. It’s okay to laugh at them, and certainly okay to ask questions. Making sincere requests for aid is possible anytime, anywhere. Mernie hollering up at the moon with her checkbook is not perhaps the best example to emulate. We hear her. Your guides hear you. We are all here to help each other.

Grab a crystal, stick a rock in your pocket or just find that calm space between noises and ask. We are always here.

We will help how we can, even though not all the lessons are gentle.

With Forever Love, All of us over here, and right next to you.

— The End

In the Beginning:

Every book starts with the title, and often that is all we read before moving on to a more intriguing cover. I can read a novella of just titles in any trip to a bookstore. Early on I was vehemently advised to come up with a less self-deprecating title by the retired NYC publishing house editor who facilitated my writers group here…

Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic

‘You Are Here’ 2016: Topographic Map of Benicia CA, the Carquinez Strait and Bay Trail

I’ve come to believe that what makes great art timeless is a creator’s intention to convey the highest good. (I’m still practicing. Slowly. Over lifetimes.)

By now I had hit my vitriol limit. To make Winny and Gaby shut up and leave, I asked to be reimbursed for having 2,000 postcards reprinted. I needed to remove Gallery First after being dis-invited to join. They refused, but were inspired to leave quickly. Amazingly, I didn’t have a teary little breakdown after it was over. I actually felt pretty good — almost like I…

Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic

Hudson River Sky 2019

I had been beating my little boat upwind for some time now, slowly gaining distance from that frightening start-line on the day I stopped drinking long ago. I had rounded the far mark and eased the tension on all the sails. At last I was cruising on smooth water under a sky of gentle clouds. Of course there are always crazy gusts out of nowhere. When you can’t see them coming, the trick is to react with calm sanity and make deft, precise adjustments. This keeps a boat upright and moving forward…

Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic

‘Let’s Go for a Walk’ series: Morning Coffee with Molly 2015

Ongoing optimism and no credit card debt had finally made being alive a wonderful place to be. More people were able to buy art again. Fruitful commissions were coming in so regularly I could pick and choose. There was a core group of amazing women who showed up at my Michaels acrylic class every week, and we had become buddies. Teaching a week-long art retreat in the Sierras was coming up. Festivals had become lucrative enough that I could drop the iffy and difficult ones where you couldn’t easily drive a trailer…

Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic

Marilyn O’Rourke Gallery at the Benicia Public Library 2016

Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic

West K Shore by Nancy Freeman & First St, Thursday Evening by Mernie Buchanan 2015

Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic

Dog Friendly detail 2015

The style of painting I teach to emerging artists is quicker and freer than the more exacting, commissioned work that earns my tofu and potatoes. Painting in my loose instructor-style is more happy, joyous and free. In my kitchen storage area were piles of larger, odd-size frames people had given me over the years. They needed to be filled with lots more paintings with more verve.

My new chihuahua had forced me out of the studio, and opened up a brighter world along the Bay Trail on our daily walks. There were…

Mernie Buchanan

Mernie paints and writes in Woodstock NY. A signed copy of her memoir The Incompetent Psychic available via

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