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Donating Plasma and Words: What To Do When the Ceiling Spins, and Other Reflections From Ten Years As An Author

The other week, our friend Louisa here from church in Elkhart told us that she has been donating plasma. The plasma center was offering a special deal where you could make $600 by donating eight times in 30 days, if you started in April.

“I don’t know if $600 would pay for the ambulance ride I had the last time I donated plasma,” I told her.

I basically wrote it off because in September 2009 I tried donating plasma. I literally thought I might die, judging by the looks on the faces around me. The ceiling swam. My blood pressure dropped. My hands grew numb. I struggled to breathe. Finally they sent me to the ER by ambulance. I was fine in the end, but my dreams of making money effortlessly while studying evaporated.

What does this have to do with ten years as an author? Well, for one thing, how many writers or creative entrepreneurs have had those same dreams – effortlessly make lots of money while reading a book? Instead, something happens. Their energy evaporates. The ceiling begins to spin and they feel like death is near. An ambulance pulls up, and they think they hear a hearse behind it. What to do?

I’ll finish this plasma story in a bit. But I have some things to encourage you in whatever endeavor you find yourself in this May. Learning from my mistakes will be so much more painless than making them all yourself!

I’ve prepared two divisions of this 10th Anniversary celebration. You might even make some money effortlessly!

  1. Triumphs and Tragedies: Ten lessons I’ve learned from ten years in Christian publishing. Free series of 10 posts and podcasts. (May 1-16, 2020) I think you will enjoy these even if you are not a writer. Since I don’t have any brand-new books available, I thought I would help you learn from all the mistakes I’ve made! Try out the podcast version (available in each post) if you would like to hear my interviews with lots of cool people. Also, since I’ll be posting almost daily (May 1- May 16), you might find it more convenient to listen. It’s easier to listen than read while folding laundry! Read on, or listen to this post instead via the audio link.
  2. Grand Opening of Online Store. You may know I’ve started a simple online bookstore so people can buy directly from me if they wish. However, for this grand opening I am offering new downloads, a free leather bookmark with book purchase, a 10% sale, and a $100 cash prize drawing! More details below.

Triumphs and Tragedies – Projected Topic Outline

Do you like to know what’s coming so you can pick and choose? Here is the tentative outline for the next two weeks.

  1. 2010- Don’t Avoid “Small” Assignments – They Might Matter. On the Winning Side. With audio interviews with my sisters regarding Mom’s death. Scheduled for Saturday, May 2, 2020.
  2. 2011- Write Down the Moments that Touch You – Immediately. Blue Christmas. With special interview with Bethanie, NP from Bangladesh! (Monday, May 4)
  3. 2012- Don’t Criticize Until You’ve Tried It. Shatterproof. Audio interview with my 2011 research travel partner, Sarah. (Tuesday, May 5)
  4. 2013- Focus on the Best Voices. Inferno in the Lost Pines. Audio interview with fire survivor Debra. (Thursday, May 7)
  5. 2014- Be Grateful for Criticism. Really! The Heart Memoir (not published). Audio interview with my friend and reviewer Sharon from Ontario. (Saturday, May 9)
  6. 2015- Find a Great Project Partner. Faces of Syria. Audio interview with my project partner Rosetta. (Monday, May 11)
  7. 2016- How to Define the Mission of A Creative Project. Voices of Syria. Interview with Reagan, owner of Bronze Bow Media. (Tuesday, May 12)
  8. 20—- Three Reasons to Let a Project Rest. The Other Side of the Glass and Amish Millionaire (not published). (Wednesday, May 13)
  9. 2019- How to Lift Characters Out of the Dust of History. Captain Garrison. Interview with Rachael Lofgren, author of 8 TGS books in the last 10 years. $100 cash drawing which anyone can enter who has read or purchased Captain Garrison. (This is a second drawing, separate from the grand opening drawing.) (Thursday, May 14)
  10. 2020- Research Tools: Other Authors, the Telephone, and the Road trip. Forget the Internet and the CIA! Thomas E. Kirkman: Artist, Spy, Amish Man (projected fall 2020 through TGS International). (Saturday, May 16)

Also, at the end of the posts for each published book, watch for “Trivia for readers.” This is for those of you who have a copy of my published books in your house. Be the first to email the answer to the trivia question at the end of the blog posts, and you will receive a packet of Captain Garrison coffee for free! What’s Captain Garrison coffee? Read on!

Online Store Grand Opening and New Products

Any purchase you make from the online store (March – May 2020) will automatically enter you into a drawing for a $100 cash prize! You can pay with any credit card or PayPal, or mail a check.

Here are the items currently available:

  1. Katrina’s books. The list above links to each book in the store. Check out reader photos in the book descriptions! All book purchases May 1-May 16 will include one free leather bookmark, so if you don’t have one of my titles, this is a good time to get one. Not to mention the chance to win $100 cash!
  2. NEWDownloads. I have compiled three collections of favorite blog posts: Holding the Heart and other Stories from Heart Surgery, What-Not-to-Do-Wednesday Samples of How Not to Live, and 7 Reflections on Depression in Ministry. These are $3 each and can be instantly downloaded to print or read on your computer or phone.
  3. NEW!Captain Garrison coffee. Woo-hoo! I’m so excited about these. A coffee flavor inspired by a country that Captain Garrison visited often: Jamaica (page 117, page 211). The packets can be purchased here for $2, although you will have a chance to win a free packet by being the first to answer trivia questions in 7 of the the upcoming 10 posts.
  4. NEWHand Cut Leather Bookmarks. I am quite pleased with this handiwork from JMC design. I am using several of the bookmarks myself as I read and I absolutely love the smell of the leather! You can purchase them for $3 each here, or get them free with the purchase of any physical book in my shop until May 16, 2020.

Yes, I’m stupid enough to have all of this going WHILE preparing Voices of Survival podcast. I think many writers operate on extremes, either paralyzed with depression or overloaded with trying to do too many things at once.

Now, the plasma story. Yes, I did get up my courage to try donating plasma again. I did survive! I’ve donated five times now, ambulance-free. I realize now that I can do it!

This is the most important trait of a writer, or any creative person. You may have struggles and blood loss, exhaustion and discouragement. But patience, persistence and time will work wonders.

Come back tomorrow night for post/podcast 2010!

P.S. Are there any questions you have that you would like me to address about publishing or writing? Comment below or email me at and I will try to address them in the upcoming posts and podcasts if I possibly can.

Larry and Leo presiding!

2 thoughts on “Donating Plasma and Words: What To Do When the Ceiling Spins, and Other Reflections From Ten Years As An Author”

  1. Do you ever hear from the people you have interviewed for book material? Has anyone ever gotten angry at you for supposedly “not telling the story like they said it”?

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      Good question, Sheila. I will be posting an interview this week with a fire survivor, so yes, occasionally I hear from someone. I don’t recall ever having someone complain that I misrepresented them. I might be forgetting!

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