The Queen of My Self

It is now over ten years since the publication of The Queen of My Self. This anniversary has sparked introspection, provoked evaluation and evoked some amazing memories.

Seizing My Sovereignty Back From Hostile Capturers

I was, of course, thrilled when The Queen was sold to a prestigious publisher with an advance that would allow me to write full time for several months without worrying about the rent. The best part was that they committed to a vigorous promotion plan — rare in publishing even back then.

My deadline was brutally tight, but necessary in order to have a big launch on Mother’s Day as they had planned. I handed in the completed manuscript exactly on time. And then waited for six weeks with no word whatsoever.

Something was wrong. They could never keep to the schedule at this rate. Finally I received a twelve page, single-spaced, eight point type letter critiquing the book. Not the writing so much as the premise, the title even. “’The Queen of my Self.’ Isn’t that selfish?”

Uh oh.

This was odd and extremely frustrating since they bought the book based on a detailed outline and a full chapter synopsis, title and all, which they loved. And I delivered them precisely what I had contacted to.

The criticism was contradictory: on the one hand the rituals I described were too personal, too spiritual. And on the other hand, my private life wasn’t personal enough. What are the names and stories of my lovers and my son? Basically, they wanted me to be identified by my relations to the men in my life. Please! A Queen is Her Own Self.

My editor was a man, not yet 40. He was palpably threatened by the concept of the midlife Queen. He finally said, “I just can’t relate to this book.” Duh! No kidding. But since when do you need to have diabetes to publish a book about diabetes?

It was clear that there would be no support for The Queen whatsoever.

I could not just sit back and let it die on the vine. Besides, how could I deign to write a book about empowerment if I let that little twerp stand on my neck?

The Queen takes charge. She steps up to the situations of Her life and takes back the reins of Her power.

So after much research and soul searching, I paid back the advance and bought back my rights. My first three books spanned the spectrum of publishers: one with Astro Artz, an obscure, now-defunct California house; one with Avalon, a distinguished mid-level consortium; and one with Putnam, a huge publisher with many imprints. My experience with them all led me to believe that I could not do worse!

No sooner did I make the terrifying decision to establish a publishing company and publish the book myself, than I received an amazing affirmation of the correctness of my decision. On my way home from filing the registration papers for Monarch Press, I stopped at the post office. There in my box was a handwritten blurb for the cover of The Queen of My Self sent in completely unsolicited by Dr. Christiane Northrup:

Finally, an archetype of midlife power and maturity that I can relate to — The Queen. Thank you Donna for providing this much-needed missing piece of women’s wisdom.

So, with my partner Daile Kaplan I founded Monarch Press and assembled a Dream Queen Team. Daile generously shared her resources and business acumen and came up the name, Monarch Press. Deirdre Mullane, my literary agent, supplied wenty-five years of publishing experience and know how as well as brilliant editing. Patricia Smith created the gorgeous, elegant book design and branding logo, as well as the template for The Queen’s Chronicles. Janet Fish designed the website and keeps it running. Janice Pemberton and Sarah Reynolds took on the administration and distribution.

Together we made a book that has won a very wide audience, critical acclaim and awards and bestseller status. But most important, we operated out of our ideals and we learned invaluable lessons in the process. We were all empowered in our personal lives in one way or another by having chosen to do what we believed in.

The Queen chooses always to involve Herself fully in the process of Her life and living, and to actively direct the drama of Her own myth.

Now over ten years, seventy-eight issues of The Queen’s Chronicles, six hundred and forty-five blogs, hundreds of gatherings and countless letters and emails later, I can see the rewards of my determination to take the Queen to the women, at whatever cost — You! You are the reward. You all. Us. You and me together, mature wise women changing the world from the inside out.

Knowing through Her personal experience what is true and valuable, and having learned, usually the hard way, to be proactive, She pledges Her royal Self to defend and promote all that is precious.


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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to


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