Funny Thing …

THIS LOOKS TO BE ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE … don’t-know-what-to-write-about weeks. There are oodles of ideas pinging around in my head, but none will settle long enough to take root. Perhaps because I’m so excited about my upcoming book release, two blogs for my publisher (one already done and turned in … the other nearly done—not due till mid September) … and a very fun (I hope) event in early October for which I am still feverishly attempting to get my “costume” completed. And, on top of that, a writer-friend told me about two local Dr. Who events mid September, one of which that has a costume contest (am I going to be ready with my costume by then??).

Oh—and I cannot forget about the next book-signing event coming up this Sunday in Aromas during their annual Aromas Days event. I’m still recovering from the wonderful time I had at the West End Celebration, working both Saturday

Open Ground Studios Booth

The OGS booth . I was situated on the left edge on Sat, on the right edge for Sunday to hawk my books

Accordion Boooks

Community Pallette’s tent. OGS  art demos were done here—my set-up for demo of mini accordion books

and Sunday at the Open Ground Studios booth, first as an artist demonstrating how to create a mini accordion book (book arts), then as an author hawking my books to passers-by all weekend. Delightful—and exhausting. Oh, yeah … I forgot sunscreen on an absolutely gorgeous weekend—sunny and bright (with no hat). I’m now in the peeling stages of my major sunburn. Looks awful. Serves me right.

So, I am having issues with “settling” on any one thing to write about. Groan. Hmm. What to write about … well, I could tell you about the spending spree I

Clockwork Gears

Found treasures to glean for my Steam Punk Sarah Jane Smith outfit

went on over the last couple of days to acquire a few Whovian items to round out my Sarah Jane Smith persona for the Steam Punk conference in October (hmmm … wonder if I can write any of it off—sniggle). Or the stash of clock gears and springs I scored at my clock smith’s shop (Leon Hittner, proprietor of the Antique Clock Shop in Pacific Grove, has been the “doctor” for my old steel-cased Chelsea clock, inherited from my husband’s side of the family). “Smith” … “doctor” … how apropos!

And … whilst trying to hone in onto the one thing to write about (obviously not happening) I received an email from the “Boss Bean” at InknBeans Press. My first blog piece about me and my books will be posted the same day as this blog —TODAY! So if you are interested, here’s the link to A Fresh Cup at the InknBeans Press website. The second blog will be posted closer to the tentative release date—which by the way … she also told me (drum roll, please …) for Friday, the 25th of September. TentativeI’ll let you know when it’s for sure. I’m still a happy camper, indeed! But, she’s also given me a last minute assignment of adding a page to the book—”Previously in Secrets Beyond Scymaria …”—to catch up readers who may be starting with book three. Ought to be interesting trying to encapsulate the essence of the first two books without spoilers…

If you are interested, here’s the schedule of things happening over the next two months (as present)—or go to my Facebook authors page for a more detailed schedule :

Sunday 30 August 10-4   Aromas Days | Author’s Book Signing with Artists in the Park | Aromas CA

Tuesday 15 Sept 5:30-8:30  attendee (member) Central Coast Writers monthly meeting with dinner (open to public) | 77 Asilomar Blvd, Pacific Grove CA

Wednesday 16 Sept 7:30pm  attendee Dr. Who Event (at select theaters near you—I’ll be in Monterey)

Friday 18 Sept 6:30pm  attendee Dr. Who mini-con | John Steinbeck Museum, Salinas CA

Friday 25 Sept tentative release of The Scymarian It will be available in paperback and e-book formats only. Available through InknBeans Press, Amazon, and I believe also at Barnes and Nobles. It may be ordered through any local bookstore.

Saturday 26 Sept 8:30  participant Alzheimer’s Assoc. Walk to End Alzheimer’s | Monterey Custom House, Monterey, CA

2-4 October   attendee SteamHouse Steam Punk Conference | Modesto CA

10 October   Harvest Jubilee Author Book Signing (tentative) | First Presbyterian Church, Salinas CA (more info later)

Blogging and Writing

IT’S WHAT I DO, RIGHT? SO WHEN my new “boss” at Inknbeans Press said I needed to write a blog, I just flew right into it … wrong. It’s really quite funny what new things do to the psyche. I’ve written blogs about all sorts of things—even about me. But somehow, this feels different. And I felt a wee bit self-conscious.

Usually, I write what I’m lead to write. I write when I want to write … and I have self-imposed deadlines, which if missed are not a big deal. But for this blog, I needed guidance. It wasn’t my blog that my words were going in and I wanted to do it right. And on time. As I did a little back and forth with “Boss Bean”—that’s what everyone at Inknbeans Press call her (love it!) … and waiting, I began forming the blog. It grew into a behemoth of a blog in no time—1300+ words. Yikes! Now, the task of a massive edit lays before me (now that I have perimeters to work with)—to divide and bring two pieces to a more manageable 500-600 word count. One is due next Thursday (panic mode engaging in three … two … one ...). The second one is due mid-September.

The cool thing is, these two blogs I need to do bring me closer to publication of my third book—finally. I know I’ve been saying … for a very, very long time it was just about ready to be published, but this time—thank God—it’s for real (insert monster grin … and Snoopy’s famous happy dance) and I am so excited.

Boss Bean has “forced” me into actually doing some promotion for it by requiring this blog. And, believe it or not, I kinda like it. The vanity press did no such thing—with a “we’ll do it for you … for a price” attitude (and yet, didn’t do much for me)—leaving me to grapple with how and when to do so. It’s all a learning process—but this is a whole bunch more enjoyable way to learn. Believe me!

But, because of this deadline—and the upcoming weekend event (WestEnd Celebration in Sand City … Open Ground Studio will be there with hands-on demonstrations) … plus another event I have next weekend—neither of which I have yet to finish preparing for, my blog post is limited to this little blurb (sniggle … just looked at the word count—I’ve managed to stretch into over 400 words already!)

So, my friends, until next week, I bid you adieu. May your week be blessed with delightful surprises to buoy you through the normal drudgery of your week.

 

 

It’s All About Books

NO … NOT MINE. THOUGH I’D CERTAINLY LOVE to push them, I know doing so too often turns people off. Did you know that Sunday (9 August) was National Book Lovers Day? I missed it. Drats.

So, to make up for that loss, I thought it would be a good thing to share a few indie authors and their “babies” (in no particular order). I’ve read some of their books, though not all—and most are on my To Read list. Some of these authors are “co-conspirators” at Inknbeans Press—my new writing family—and some are completely independent in their endeavors. All of these authors are worth reading. (please let me know if there are problems with any of these links—I’ve checked them all, but one never knows …)

Leland Dirks and his cohort, Angelo: Leland is an amazingly prolific writer and fantastic photographer. He lives in the mountains of Colorado (I’m so envious) with his three dogs (one of which happens to be Angel), finding inspiration all around him as he writes his amazing pieces and captures some beautiful photographic gems. He is truly an independent writer, publishing on his own, using CreateSpace as his publishing medium and Amazon as his store. Jimmy Mender and His Miracle Dog, Angelo’s Journey, Seven Dogs in Heaven, The Cat Who Thought He Was A Border Collie, Strange Savior—there are more stories, plus two wonderful photo-heavy books: Valley of Light and 100 Days of Gratitude. Please find his books on his Amazon Author’s page.

Joyce Oroz: Joyce is a local writer with a flair for mystery. As her stories are centered around this area (Monterey, Santa Cruz, Aromas and places not all that far afield), she steeps her mysteries with local bits and pieces, which makes it all the more fun for us locals. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed her Josephine Stuart Mystery series and am still reading, trying to keep up with the next adventure. Publishing through Cozy Cat Press, she is still considered an indie writer. Secure the Ranch, Read My Lipstick , Shaking In Her Flip Flops and Cuckoo Clock Caper are the books available so far. Please find information about her books at http://cozycatpress.com/joyce-oroz and some of her books (go about half way down the page) at http://cozycatpress.com/cozies/ You can also go to her Amazon Author’s page to see all of her books in one place.

Robin Owens: Robin grew up as a military brat and is married to a military “lifer” with children of her own, so she knows about the military life from nearly all aspects. She currently lives on the East Coast. She has a wonderful collection of books to help today’s military families’ children deal with all that moving and getting acquainted in their new towns, in addition to a number of other children’s books. All of her books are published through Inknbeans Press. Some of them are: The Dabby Project series, The Wand, Three Children and A Blessing and God’s Soldier (these last two are also in Spanish)  You can find all of her books at her Amazon Author page and nestled into the Inknbeans website (link above).

Hugh Ashton: Hugh has a diverse collection of published books, from his excellent Sherlock Holmes books to historical fiction and thrillers. Another InknBeans Press writer, he’s an international bloke, splitting his time between Japan and the UK. I’m partial to his take on Holmes. Very well done and in keeping with Sir Conan Doyle’s writing (I love a good Holmes mystery!!). Some of his books are Sherlock Holmes: The Dispatch Box, The Untime, Leo’s Luck and Beneath Gray Skies.  More information about Hugh and all of his books can be found at http://hughashtonbooks.info/ and his Amazon Author’s page.

Sharon Ledwith: Sharon has a flair for fantasy—and I loved her two books! Her publisher is now Mirror World Publishing. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of her third book. Sharon lives in Canada … and some day I will be knocking on her door for a visit—and perhaps we will do a book signing together. The Last Timekeepers Time Travel series: Legend of the Timekeepers and The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis. You will find more information about these two books and the author at http://www.sharonledwith.com and on her Amazon Author’s page.

Vickie Johnstone: Another great writer/author with a wonder flair for children’s books. A true indie author, she and I have traipsed through her downtown London—she’s a delightful person, as well as a terrific writer. I’ve read at least one of her books, with more on my To Read list. Great fun … even for an adult! Her Kiwi Series is about a cat. Not an ordinary cat, mind you. There is magic involved, of course! This lady is definitely multi-faceted: you’ll find poetry and other story lines—some children’s, some more for YA and older (I have not read any of these as yet, though I have seen snippets … I’ve only read one Kiwi book so far). You can find information about her, her books and poetry at http://kiwiincatcity.com/ and http://vickiejohnstone.blogspot.co.uk/ and of course at her Amazon Author’s page.

There are so many more writers out there that I want to share with you, but I think this is enough to get started. I’m hoping this will be a monthly or quarterly thing–we’ll see.

I think next round may include writers/authors like Greta Burroughs, Rosanne Dingli, Ey Wade, Dan Mader …

I would really love your feedback. Have you heard of any of these authors? Have you you read any of their books? Do tell, please!

 

 

Always Something Happening

MY LIFE IS FAR FROM QUIET. MATTER of fact, of late, it’s been entirely too busy. Scheduling quiet time into my busy schedule is an ongoing struggle for me. Sometimes, when I don’t … well, nature takes it’s course (or perhaps it’s God intervening—insert winky face). I get “sick” enough to have to put things on hold. Allergies flare, aches and pains become more pronounced … couldn’t He just tap me on the shoulder and tell me to slow down? Um—would I listen? Probably not. (Snort) Sometimes I get a wee bit too focused on what’s happening around me, to things I’m doing … to notice things happening to me.

I get invested in activities—like this last weekend. It was wonderful. Truly wonderful! Very full of hard work setting up the Gunn Clan tent on Friday at the Monterey Scottish Games and Celtic Festival, then busy engaging with everyone coming through on Saturday and Sunday … answering questions about our clan and Scottish heritage in general, and then tearing down our little home away from home on Sunday at the conclusion of the Games. I did have a chance to wander a wee bit, to take in all the fun and competitions ongoing throughout the weekend. Those were nice little breaks. But at the end, both my clan member buddy, Michelle, and I were tired. Very tired. We said our farewells and headed home. The plan was to unload everything in Monday morning before I went in to get a manipulation from my osteopath doc.

Instead, I unloaded some of it (even though completely exhausted) Sunday when I got home. Fool that I am. And by Monday morning, the idea of doing anything other than get ready for my appointment went straight out the window. I made it to the doc in time—just. Boy, was I needing the work he did on my back…

When I got home … after one quick errand, I collapsed. Yup. Overdid. Again. Not sure I’ll ever learn my lesson. I do know we need more hands-on help with the set up and tear down. That will make the weekend more enjoyable for all concerned. Wanna come stay the weekend and help out? I’ve got free tickets to the Games for you if you’ll help set up and tear down … honest. First weekend in August. 2016. Come on … you know you wanna come join in on the fun! (wink) Seriously.

So, I ended up “forced” to relax not only Monday, but also Tuesday (well … I did do a bit of work—finished unloading the truck … but that’s it). Now, here it is Wednesday and I’m finally back to normal. Yay. And the day has been marvelous. As I write (whilst sitting under the umbrella on my back porch), I’ve got blue jays calling out … earlier today two red tail hawks were talking back and forth and I’ve heard quail, lots of little twitters from wrens and the like … and the weather has been spectacular these last couple days. Sun shining, gentle breezes keeping the heat reasonable. Then the chain saws kicked in (insert  h u g e  frown). I know things have to be done, but darn it.

I’m getting off-track here—and way over my usual word count (oops … and sorry). “Hanging over my head” are quite a few commitments: this weekly blog, my WIP (work in progress), an upcoming workshop for “Under the Surface Mixed Media”—I’m really looking forward to this … I think we get to play with paint and a wood block. I need to come up with images to work with in the class. And there’s book three that finally has a publisher (yay!), so I start from scratch there. Once I receive the edited work from them, I need to make whatever changes that are required, submit/approve, then wait for the galleys (cover art and interior) to arrive, to be reviewed and approved … then off to the printer for publishing.

By the way … sounds like they are hoping for a late September release, but we’ll see—but I am excited…

All of that, plus the “normal” household chores that I keep putting off. Yard work, rooting through all the rooms and garage to sort and clear out to make room for stuff I have in storage … oh my. Yes, my life is full. To overflowing. Some mundane (and oh, so boring), some exciting. Some just plain ol’ fun!

Oh, yeah … and then there’s the planning for my trip to the UK next year. First on the list is renewing my passport—and making sure I’ve got my driver’s license renewed, too so I can acquire an International Drivers License—I’ll be renting a car again! I’m definitely going to Cornwall with the Celtic Invasion Vacation group, but plan on making sure I include Scotland and Wales (remember … missed out on the Dr. Who Experience last time ’round—not going to miss it this year!). Planning starts early with me. I’ll actually post a blog on what I do to plan at a later date—when things quiet down (if ever). Promise. This trip will be exciting, as we CIVers will be taking in a lot of King Arthur lore—sites that he and his troupe visited. The area is beautiful—and vast (been there on previous trips with my daughter and as a single traveler). Plus, of course, plenty of music—pubs and personal in-house concerts. Love those. If anyone is interested in joining, click on the link above to get more details. Marc Gunn only takes 8-14 “Invaders” with him on his tours.

Ooh. I have to chuckle. I had a meeting I nearly missed last night (Wednesday) because I forgot to put it on the calendar … and I’ve “over-committed” myself for the weekend. The art workshop is Friday (day) and Saturday. I’ve (without blinking an eye … or thinking) added a trip down to Julia Pfeiffer State Park to do some night-time photography, which I haven’t done much of—and will have several seasoned photographers available to assist me, so hard to pass up. Multiple late nights and an early morning on Saturday. This ought to be fun.

Talk about “always something happening” … I’m giggling whilst shaking my head. What do you do in your life that has you shaking your head, knowing full-well that you’ve over-committed yourself?

Finding that balance is tricky. Saying no. Deciding which activities are more important. So hard.

Here’s hoping that you are able to find that balance in your life, blessed with good decisions.