Local woman’s longtime dream of publishing book becomes reality

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 10, 2002

For 20 years, &uot;An Ax in the Sandbox&uot; sat idle in Linda Portz’s Albert Lea residence. The book, fictional but based on true events, tells the story of a child who survived a late-term abortion from the child’s perspective.

Portz shelved her dreams of publishing the book all those years ago in favor of raising her own children. It was a dream on hold that has turned into a reality.

Recently, through a process called print on demand, Portz has gotten her book published by a partner of the major publishing company Random House.

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Print on demand is an option for many unknown writers who would otherwise go unpublished.

Portz has to act as her own promoter and vendor, soliciting stores to stock her book.

&uot;It has been a lot of work and I keep really busy, but it is all worth it,&uot; said Portz.

Under the pen name Jill Holmes, &uot;An Ax in the Sandbox&uot; tells of the circumstances of the child’s birth, subsequent life and finding its parents.

&uot;I wanted to turn the issue around so that people could look at it from another angle,&uot; said Portz.

Portz explains that her reasons behind writing the book weren’t politically or religiously motivated; it was her simple love of children. Portz brought the book out now because she feels women need to be more aware of the options in birth control and what actually happens in some procedures.

Born in the western Minnesota town of Ruthton, Portz moved to Albert Lea in 1979. She recently finished another book, &uot;There Should Have been Roses&uot; and is working on a third. Somewhere between hours spent waitressing at Trumbles and promoting her book, Portz finds time to write poetry which she mats, frames, and sells in several locations.

&uot;Poetry was my first love,&uot; said Portz. &uot;And for as long as I remember I wanted to write a book.&uot;

But the going wasn’t always so smooth for Portz, who had difficulty learning to read as a child and was tutored by her mother. Portz mostly writes about women’s issues now and classifies her style of writing as minimalistic.

&uot;I think of writing as practice in perseverance,&uot; Portz said, talking of the effort it takes to keep a story going and mountains facing authors who try to publish their books.

Portz’s book is available at the Constant Reader, and online from Barnes and Noble, Borders Book Stores, and Amazon.com.