About Creationsbydjamesonsmith

I am an entrepreneur. As an author, storyteller, personalized storybook creator, photographer, and artist (artist and freelance photographer), I juggle multiple professions that keep me very busy! I am presently nearing completion of the fourth in a fantasy series (first book released October, 2013) for ages 9 to 99—with book five "hovering" in the wings. Set in a small college town, the story revolving around two "tweeners" and their discoveries of a strange creature, a portal to the other side, their adventures and lessons learned at home and in this other world. A fun and fast paced read. I do make appearances at book signings and meet 'n greets throughout the year—the last one for 2017 will be December 7-8th. When not writing or storytelling, I'm playing with my camera and working on my artistic endeavors with occasional local exhibition showings. There's always one or two of my images hanging on the back wall at Open Ground Studios in Seaside California.

Perfection … ?

NOWHERE IN THIS WORLD WILL YOU find a person that is perfect. Nope. Not anywhere. One can strive for perfection. One can attain a moment of perfection—like a tear drop in the ocean of life—one tiny moment. That’s all. Life is too messy for perfection. Those that continually attempt to achieve the impossible can find themselves very unhappy because it always remains just out of their reach. Does that mean we shouldn’t try? Oh, absolutely not—we must realise it is not something to attain, but rather, something to use as a goal … to continually strive toward.

For me? Well, I think I love the “messiness” of life. It creates challenges, discoveries and life lessons. Of course, there has been only one being that managed to achieve perfection. Only one—and it was not just anyone. I use His perfection is a goal—a goal I know I will never fully manage in this worldly life. But He knows that. We are all damaged goods, but He knows we are worth salvaging … worth saving, if we ask …

The messiness. I’m trying to figure out why I’m writing about this. It’s as plain as the nose on my face, right? My life is messy. Beautifully messy. And since I seem so disorganised of late, is everything around me is too (insert goofy grin). My home, yard, cars, my art and writing … it can be overwhelming. Honestly. But for some reason, it isn’t—once upon a time, it certainly was … but not now. Back when I was incapable of getting out into the yard to do the tiniest bit of cleanup or lacking the energy to do a simple pick-up around the house, or even put words on a page—oh, yes. That was overwhelming. Emotionally and physically. Thankfully, now my energy and strength is returning—finally (aaah, insert Snoopy’s happy dance here!!) I have been in the yard and puttering around the house all the time. Creativity abounds. Words flow. Still messy, but delightfully so.

The mess created over the last two years is mountainous—but I’m finding as long as I keep going (and with the occasional help of a team of gardeners), it gets better looking, which encourages me to do even more. Weird, but it’s the visual accomplishments—improvements—that keep me at it. The pressure is off (but not forgotten)—where fire safety is concerned—rain has quelled that. I’m past the “ugh—I need to get out of this mess (read: MOVE!) and start over”—I’m so glad to have moved beyond that horrible feeling of frustration. And, finally, my mind is beginning to move beyond “what’s next/now what?” to “how can I improve/beautify?” Ideas are pouring into my mind from who knows where. It’s exciting.

My messy life extends into every corner of my creativity. I find myself (finally) back to seriously working on all three of my Writerly projects—book one’s edit (so it can be republished with Inknbeans Press), book four’s edit (so it can finally be published … and book five (I am progressing in it nicely—it is an exciting “chapter” in the series). The life lessons continue through the series … and I still don’t know what the final book will be—book six? Book seven? Only my characters know for sure. They’ll clue me in at some point—hopefully.

Even my Painterly side seems to be re-ignited. I’ve acquired a new, much larger printer so I can make larger pieces of art—that definitely excites me (still have to figure out out to set it up, but that’s half the fun, right?)—I can hardly wait to begin playing with it. The funny thing is, there are only two more events (one this weekend and one the second week of December), so there’s no way I’m going to produce any new material for this year’s events. The nice thing is, that doesn’t really bother me. The important thing is that I’m re-energised … on fire. And I’m loving it!

The end of November and the whole of December are times of renewal for me … I do have personal (fun) commitments—parties, family events and outings with friends, both day and night. I am so ready to get back to being normal … it has taken two long years. God is good … especially when I remember all things can be done and will happen—in His time, not mine. So … I’m not going to waste a moment.

In the meantime, my dear readers, try not to stress over the upcoming holidays … just be in the moment, take in the joy where you can and shake off the craziness that others try to foist upon you. There is so much to be thankful for. Start counting all of those little things that help you get through each day … have a blissful, blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends, and I’ll see you just after Thanksgiving—no Black Friday for me. Maybe I’ll wander around Point Lobos or venture down into Big Sur—it’s opened partway, so it would be nice to see the area again!

And readers—watch out. Keep an eye out for New Things in the New Year.

FINAL EVENTS:
Book Signings and Art at Craft Fairs

Saturday-Sunday 18-19 November 10am-4pm
Aromas Grange, Aromas CA

Thursday-Friday 7-8 December 10am-4pm
Watsonville Community Hospital, Watsonville CA

 

 

 

Keep On Keeping On …

LOOKS LIKE MY WEEKEND NOVEMBER calendar is filled to the brim. Between Joyce and me finding things, just about the only weekend without a book signing is the weekend following Thanksgiving Day (I’ve never been keen about taking part in the Black Friday/Weekend frenzy) … at least I think we’re not doing anything—insert eye roll here … haha. I’ve actually found one more—up in Morgan Hill (another new one for both of us)—for December 9th … but I’ve just realised I already have a commitment that day. So, I’ll be chatting with Joyce to see if she will be doing it. We’ll do it next year—each of us have personal things already on the calendar. Sigh (whew!)

October ended up not being as busy as anticipated—the events didn’t get us applications soon enough, so we missed the deadlines. In a way, that was good—it allowed me to work on getting the yard squared away … still not CalFire compliant, but getting closer.

We’ve already had a little rain (not enough to dampen the level of fire hazard, so I keep on keeping on … working toward full compliance. But life is going to get very crazy with the book signing weekends, so I’ll have to focus on working in the yard during the week … and hopefully not maim myself too bad (teehee)!

So, here I am—into the second week of November. This weekend event begins on Friday 1pm-6pm at Watsonville Elks and it goes from 10am until 4pm on Sat, and 10am-3pm on Sunday. You can always check the dates and times at my Amazon Author’s page.

Next week the craziness begins on Saturday at the Aromas Grange, 10am. Right now, I need to put some finishing touches on what to take to Watsonville.

This is a brief blog post—wow … what a change! Kinda nice change—the reason is, I spent all of yesterday doing everything but work on my blog. And here it is, nearly 9am PST—which, by the way, I am loving being back on standard time!—and I’ve not yet posted …

My friends … I hope your Friday is blessed beyond belief, as will your weekend and week to come. Have an awesome day!

Pollyanna

WHEN I WAS A YOUNG ADULT, ONE of my younger brothers was called a Pollyanna by some family members. I’ve even called him that (to others—not sure if I’ve ever told him to his face). I’m not sure how he is viewed by the outside world. He’s had plenty of hardships, but he always managed to spin them positively when we were talking with him—he still does.

I’ve always been an optimistic person—for as long as I can remember, so I think I’m a bit of a Pollyanna myself—none of my other brothers have called me that to my face (but then, I don’t know if they’ve ever told my younger brother to his face either—always was behind his back with other family members). I’m forever looking at things positively (yeah, I do grumble a bit now and then, but I usually turn it around to a more positive attitude—eventually). I can’t help but have a positive outlook—God is with me and no matter how bad it gets, there always seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel I can crawl towards.

I presumed, the way people used the term (usually rolling their eyes when said) that is was more of a negative thing—that the person had blinders on, not thinking straight—not looking at the whole picture. My computer dictionary defines Pollyanna as: “an excessively cheerful or optimistic person”. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I guess it really depends on what you consider excessive, doesn’t it? So, I went a wee bit further and clicked on the definition of excessive: “more than is necessary, normal, or desirable; immoderate.” Giggle … that led me to the definition for immoderate: “not sensible or restrained; excessive”. Then I turned to the online Merriam/Webster version. It defines Pollyanna as: “a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything.” I like that even more.

Well … I guess I’m found guilty. To the average person, I definitely fit into that category, but I do not see it as a negative—not one bit. Pollyanna (and all that the dictionary espouses) is just a worldly view of life. A view that makes many uncomfortable watching. For me, it’s more like I’m filled with joy. Cutting to the chase, my computer’s definition of joy is: “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Merriam-Webster’s definition?
“1 a :the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires :delight
b :the expression or exhibition of such emotion :gaiety
2 :a state of happiness or felicity :bliss (complete happiness)
3 :a source or cause of delight”

Merriam/Webster’s version is the true Me. I’m overflowing with Joy. When I’ve apologised to friends for the over-exuberance (especially my giggles and laughing), they tell me they love it—it leaves them feeling better, so please don’t stop! Knowing that has helped me know it’s not an irritant to others—I’m simply sharing my Joy with others!

There are always going to be good and bad days, but how I view each day … each hour is the big thing (at least for me). When I’m down, nothing seems to go right. The moment I lighten up and think more positively—the joyous feeling returns. The Bible’s got it right:
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Phillippians 4:8
When I do that, things start to turn around (insert glowing smile …).

… and, as usual, this is not where I’d planned on taking this blog (not sure exactly where I was headed, but not down this path …) But all of my writing is guided—it sure took me a very long time to realise that and I am very much okay with it. Apparently this is what I needed to talk about today. So, I do hope this has inspired you in some way. If nothing else, it’s been a reminder for me to be more focused on what really counts in life—not all of the people-bashing, doom and gloom, and nay-sayers that is permeating the media. I’ll stand firm in my beliefs, stay positive and spread my joy. How about you?

May this day, this weekend and coming week find you blessed with abundant joy.

Black and White

I’VE BEEN WATCHING FRIENDS ON FB posting black and white images as part of a 7-day black and white photo challenge. Beautiful images. Some telling. Some everyday life shots. So, I decided to do it on my personal FB page … and then decided to do it on my Painterly FB business page (didn’t plan that one quite right—wanted my pumpkins to appear on the 31st … but that’s okay).

Friday is the last day on my Painterly page. The personal page challenge was done on Monday. Now, so you don’t need to search my personal or Painterly page, I’ve decided to post the combination of personal and business images … and maybe add more—just for you. I’ve posted them in no particular order.

Please remember all of these images are my property. No copying nor sharing of any of them is allowed without my written permission.

Enjoy:

7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge

7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge

7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge

7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge

… and last, but not least and still six days away from 7-Day Black and White ChallengeHalloween (but it is now harvest time, so still works). Now, I need to add a few more from my archives … this is fun!

More Black and White More Black and White More Black and White More Black and White

More Black and White More Black and White

More Black and White … and that’s all folks.

I wish you all well this Friday … and over the weekend and the next week. Take time to pause and look around you. There is so much for you to see—whether it’s people watching, bird watching, savouring the beautiful flower in peoples’ gardens (or even at the local garden shop), feeling the wind in your face.

Take it in. Let it revive you. Enjoy. May this week be blessed and filled to overflowing with serendipitous (yes, I love this word) joy.

Yard Work and Accomplishments

ITS BEEN A QUIET WEEK, DESPITE the busyness of preparing for the book signing/art show at Harvest Jubilee in Salinas over last weekend. Sunday was supposed to be a “chill” day, but I had enough energy reserves, I decided to putter in my yard.

You really cannot truly appreciate the results of the work done in my yard by the three guys that worked their tails off a week ago. I’m embarrassed to post any photos to show how much was done, but let’s just say that all they had to deal with was the results of not being able to do much for about two years! There’s still tons of work to do, but things look so good, I’m thinking that alone has given me quite a bit of energy!

Our tinder-dry state (plus the urgings from CalFire to bring my property into compliance)—and the horrific fires we are experiencing both north and south of us are incentive enough to get things cleaned up. I need to call my gardener and find out when they will return to continue the cleanup process. In the meantime, I’m in the yard as often as possible, cleaning up what I can. And it’s nice to be able to really see the fruits of my labour. Gives me the incentive to get back out and keep working. Ooh, and it is a very good feeling. I’ve even taken the time to finally pot a few of the plants that have languished in their tiny containers. I’ve pulled others to safety from potential browsing by my resident deer (my bunny condo has been turned into a safety zone for my plants for now), placed a wire guard over a raised bed—after taking a ton of mulch and dumping it into the bed, adding a few onions that ended up “passed edible usage”, but were still producing greens (yum) and, well, in general I’ve been busy making the yard more presentable between weeding stints.

My yard is a work in progress—just like I am (insert huge grin …)—it will take many more trips to the dump (yard waste and trash), lots of fighting with poison oak (ugh … not me—unfortunately my gardener and his crew get that privilege). Oh—and there’s the pruning of trees (they must have no branches hanging down lower than 6-8 feet). Hand saw is not going to do the job—at least not in my hands (pout) …

I’m falling in love with my yard all over again. Wheeee! Even when I have it back to within CalFire’s guidelines … I’ll keep going, bringing it back to its former glory—including a koi pond … a real one, not the “temporary” small trough I have been using for sooo maaany years. That’s the plan … and I’m sticking to it! I’m so tickled with the progress that I’m still trying to decide—I’ve such a roller coaster of emotions about this—whether I put off traveling abroad one more year so I can get this vision of what the yard will be done … I’m so conflicted! I’ll have to decide soon. I will send my money in for the CIV tour and keep planning for the other parts of it. I’ll just need to keep an eye on the deadline for withdrawing from the tour so I don’t lose the money … again!

May each of you have an amazing weekend and may this upcoming week unfold serendipitously (sniggle … Word’s dictionary doesn’t like that word—too bad!)! Have a great week!

Don’t forget to check the updated events calendar (at the bottom of my Amazon Author’s page):
amazon.com/author/djjamesonsmith
Next event is Saturday, November 4, 2017 in Aptos, CA

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

THE INDIE AUTHORS DAY ON 7 OCTOBER 2017 was a great Indie Authors Day Program experience for me. When I signed up for it, I thought I was just going to be sitting in the audience taking in all the wisdom of others … I didn’t really realise I had signed up to be a panelist—to pass my wisdom (insert seriously huge eye roll) on to others.

If you’ve been following my blog posts, you know that once I’ve committed to something, I will not back out unless I’m seriously ill or on my deathbed. A commitment is a commitment. That’s all there is to it. So, this deer-in-the-headlights panicked for a few minutes, then remembered something I’d told myself so many years ago—”I can do anything I put my mind to …” (later, I’d added “… with God’s help”). I’d always told people that I loved a challenge (and this definitely qualified). Taking a deep breath, I took the challenge and had a blast—even if I

Meeting Authors

Yours truly and Linda Lamb

may not have been the most knowledgeable person on the panel. I met plenty of people, was able to help (with info and advice) a young teen writer a bit, plus I handled most questions gracefully and with a reasonable amount of knowledge (yay!) …

When it was over, there was definitely a sigh of relief—I’d done it and was glad I’d stuck it out.

Since my husband passed away, I’ve found myself in many such situations like this and each one has helped me grow—in confidence, knowledge and self-esteem (I had come a long way from my very poor self-esteem as a child and young adult, but still carry doubts of my abilities). It also reinforced my integrity. In this last “experiment”, when asked where my ideas came from, I actually dared to step outside the safety of just spewing facts, to announce that “my characters run the show” (something I’ve obviously said before) … but that those characters are, in fact, God directing my story the way He wants it to go, not where I want it to go. That was the first time I’ve ever said that—outside the relative safety of this blog site or to friends. One of the other panelists came up to me afterwards and said she loved that I stated that my story is faith (aka: God)-driven, and that it took courage to say it in front of a crowd. A little growth spurt. And that this particular panelist, whom I grew to admire for her wisdom and skill whilst she passed along information to the audience, made the observation the proverbial “icing on the cake.”

Life is too short to not accept these challenges that are thrown before us. Stepping outside our comfy little world helps stretch our skills and confidence. I used to hate talking in front of people—we had to do it in my 6th grade class all the way through high school—I became a shrinking violet … stuttering, mixing up my words. Horrible. Yet, as a fourty-something mother, I finally managed to engage children by creating spontaneous short stories in front of them (prior to this, I had an awful time even reading stories aloud to my daughter—I didn’t want my dyslexia to show what an awful reader I was.) “Oh, they’re easy to talk and read to,” you say … um, I disagree. Some of them can be pretty tough critics. But I learned by challenging myself—one little stepping stone at a time, till eventually, I was able to stand up in front of larger groups … and larger … until I, heart in my throat, stood up in front of a bunch of seasoned authors a couple of years ago and read a selection from my first book. I was scared to death that I’d mess up in my reading and forgot to mention the title (such a basic—eye roll here) … and that my humble story wasn’t good enough for this awesome collection of people. I didn’t die, or even melt into a puddle on the floor. I made it through unscathed. Rattled, but unscathed. And, discovered many of them even enjoyed the story. Another little growth spurt.

So, my friends, don’t cloister yourselves—take on challenges. Perhaps small at first, but allow yourself the luxury of experimenting with larger challenges. And larger still. Try new things. Travel—with friends or on your own—it’s a awesome experience— and “grows” you in so many ways (check out the bogs I’ve written about traveling with people and on my own). Start writing that book you keep talking about.

As one shoe maker states, “Just do it” … never let failure of a challenge defeat you. It’s simply a learning tool to help you do better the next time.

So, until next week, I bid you adieu—have a blessed week. For the locals, perhaps you would be interested in stopping by Compass Church in Salinas on Saturday, 14 October for their annual craft fair—Joyce Oroz and I will be set up (against the south wall in the main building) with her mystery series and my fantasy series … plus my photography, photopolymer etched prints and other bits of art.

Harvest Jubilee 2017

National Novel Writing Month 2017

YES, IT IS THAT TIME OF YEAR again—literally just around the corner (yikes!)—well, four weeks away to be exact, but the way my timeline seems to fly, it might as well be  NaNoWriMo 2017 Projecttomorrow (sniggle). I’m wanting to get my book five finished pronto, so what better way than to be in a one-month pressure cooker? (click on image to see the whole thing)

I hope it works, because I’m so close to finishing the edit on book four (doing a happy dance—I know y’all are saying “It’s about time!”) and I’d like to have book five roll out (published) no more than six months after book four. I can’t say why (spoilers!), but there’s a good reason … honest.

For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo (the acronym for National Novel Writing Month), this is an annual online event held from November 1-30 and the goal is to write a novel—50,000 words—in that allotted time. It spills over into the real world in the form of writers and writer-wanna-bees (NOT meant—in any way, shape, or form—as a derogatory statement) meeting in groups to encourage each other, answer questions and create challenges to help move each person closer to the 50,000 word goal.

So many people have told me they’ve got an idea for a story—when they say that, I tell them to stop putting it off—get it on paper (or in digital form). A little bit a day. But I also tell them about NaNoWriMo, since it’s an excellent way to dive into writing.

For the uninitiated, 50,000 words seems daunting. But if broken down into smaller “bites,” that is 1,667 words a day, which is only a little over 208 words an hour (for 8 hours a day)—or 417 words per hour for four hours a day. Now, that’s not so hard, is it? And if you feel you have no clue where to start, NaNoWriMo has a page just for you—Pep Talks are inspirational letters written by well-known authors during NaNoWriMo just for you. They’ll be delivered to your NaNoWriMo inbox throughout NaNoWriMo season, ready to inspire you, motivate you, and keep you writing all month long. Sooo … stop draggin’ your feet and check it out!

NaNoWriMo changed the rules a couple of years ago, making it an awesome tool for those of us in the middle of a manuscript (a work in process—WIP) that needed a little boost to take it to the finish line. Instead of something completely new, they allowed writers to start where their WIP “ended” … and made it easier for those writing poetry, too—though I’m not terribly familiar with those changes since I seldom play with poetry.

For those of you that are interested in giving it a go—you do know … you do not need to make that 50,000 word goal to benefit from this month-long exercise—you can click on this link (to NaNoWriMo’s site) to check it out. The simple act of starting to put your thoughts on paper is an amazing feeling. You can create an outline, choose characters, situations, etc. prior to November first (that is permitted)—or like me, just start writing (I’m what they call a Panster—I write as the story comes to me … outlines don’t work with me), but don’t start to write the story until midnight of October 31st! Anything written before that time cannot be counted (that includes those of us with unfinished WIPs).

Sign up today. Start planning now. Read the website’s helpful hints … and above all, have fun with it—explore your mind for ideas.

Phases

LIFE IS INTERESTING. Especially the phases. You know … the phases you go through on the way to becoming an adult.

For example: I’ve always had a fascination with colours. Always. I think the fascination came from my mom—she was forever changing the colour of accent pieces in whatever house we lived in at the moment. Pinks and sky-blues were her thing. I have a lovely hutch that my parents took with them on all of their moves that has layer upon layer of paint (blue, pink … and white layers—I see it in the chipped spots). I’m reluctant to strip down that precious history to the beautiful oak woodwork … and it actually makes me giggle, because my parents (oh, lets be real—my mom) purchased a painted player piano that needed refinishing. Why the giggles? Because there was overwhelming and unsightly evidence of layer upon layer of paint. And when my mom started the stripping process, she couldn’t believe it when she found a few wallpaper layers amidst the layers of paint. Aghast at the thought of wallpaper and paint on a piano, she ranted about it. How could they?? But, I’ll ask how is that different from painting layer upon layer onto perfectly good oak wood?

I don’t think I remember much in the way of colour preferences before middle school—or maybe it was high school. Not sure. I had a phase where just about everything I possessed (even the walls of my room) was lavender. Then, I kept the lavender walls and accented with orange. And I mean bright, eye-blinding orange. Then I mixed a psychedelic checker-board black wallpaper onto a tall dresser (no squares or even rectangles–all parallelograms) with all of that—it was the sixties, after all …

Orange stayed with me for quite some time—even as a young adult. Orange and brown tones dominated my space. Then suddenly (well, it seems that way in my recollections) … pinks overtook and replaced the orange tones. Then purple, then back to pink.

One day, I sat back and looked at the collection of colours around me—pinks and blues—and I developed a serious case of the giggles. Had I finally become the “mother’s daughter”—taking on her preferences? No, I don’t think so, but those colours do dominate my surroundings—with splashes of red, browns … and purple.

My flower gardens blooms are pinks, reds and blues. Pots are blue, burnt red-orange … and green. It has to be the “right” green to set foot in my life. I tolerate oranges, but only little splashes—though I do find I like earthy tones more around Halloween and reds—lots of reds—around Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

So, are my phases becoming seasonal? I’m not sure … and I’m not sure it even matters.

I watch one of my very talented cousins, Elaine Dunham, play so freely with colour—very abstractly—and am so amazed at her final products. I’ve not been a fan of abstract art, but watching how she gets to the finished image has be appreciating it a bit more. And most of them (in my opinion) are lovely! If you are interested in abstracts, here’s a link to her work. There’s some amazing stuff there! 10/11/17 Note: She’s just added another link to her ello account.

So … I’ve started to pay closer attention to what I’m doing colour-wise—I’m still a seat-of-the-pants artisan … whether in Writerly or Painterly mode, but now I see that I need to be more mindful, even when I’m being spontaneous.

This little spontaneous trip down memory lane was fun! I find it fun to walk some of the corridors of my mind and peek through doors and windows to see what’s there. How about you? Can you tell me—and please be honest—what some of your phases were as you navigated life?

Oh … by the way—autumn is here (well, if in southern hemisphere, it’s spring, isn’t it?) and I’ve been glass pumpkin hunting to add to my collection. Enjoy the season!

Waterlogue-Glass Pumpkins

Click on it to see entire image

Secrets Beyond Scymaria—Books Four and Five

AAAH … I PROMISED YOU A SNEAK PEEK, didn’t I! Well I’ve got goodies for you—two snippets from two different works in progress (WIP). One is from Book Four, Mischiefmaker. I beg you … please remember—I’m still editing, so neither is perfect. But it’s getting there … very quickly (which makes me a happy camper). The other is from Catalyst (a working title … not sure it’s right—but then again, the story’s not done yet either. It may be perfect! Time will tell). Please remember: it is a work in progress, so no editing has been done.

So, without further delay, here are the snippets:

Mischiefmaker
“Oh…be quiet, Amy. No, I didn’t know,” he sputtered between coughs, trying to clear his lungs of apple juice. “I’ve never had that happen before. I’m sure I’ve eaten one lying down before … I’m sure.” His coughing fits settled as he asked if she had any water bottles in her bag, remembering the sloshing sounds he’d heard as she ran off.
“Yeah. I was just about to grab one.” She passed a bottle to him as he cleared his throat.
“Thanks.” He closed his eyes and shook his head, thinking how stupid it had been. Great way to impress a girl … he took a chug of water and immediately felt better. Clearing his throat once more, “Thanks. Okay. I feel better now.” He could still feel a bit of heat under his collar and wondered if his face was red. “How embarrassing. I’m sorry.”
“For what? That was a great mood lifter. Really. I haven’t laughed much since … since our graduation night, so it felt good. I should be thanking you.” Ty could see a twinkle in her eye and a hint of a smile register on her face then it turned somber. Watch out. Somebody at eleven o’clock!
Pretending to shift his backpack to his left, he looked up to see a man headed for them, waving. He didn’t recognize him at all. Do I know him? Wonder why I didn’t feel his presence? Who could this be? He started to call out for Rocky, but decided he needed to handle it himself, after all, he thought, we’re supposed to be dealing with everyday life on our own, right?
Right…oops. Wasn’t that directed at me? Sorry.
Well, yeah. Sorta. No apology necessary. Who do you think he is?
No clue.
The man continued to walk across the Green, with very deliberate strides and with purpose, toward the two as the sat on the grass, watching him approach.
“Hello, there! I’m new in town and just found this amazing park. Isn’t it beautiful?” The two kids stared up at him, dumbfounded. “I’m sorry—my name’s Ian—Ian Woon.” Bending down, he held out his hand, waiting for one or both to respond to his handshake.
Only the boy responded, politely parroting his name. “Hullo, Mr. Ian Woon.” Stealing a glance at his friend, he said no more.
Perhaps I’m being too forward—maybe I shouldn’t press the matter. Clearing his throat, he decided a correction was in order. “Actually, it’s Professor Woon. I’m going to head up the Biology Department at the college. A friend of mine told me this town is ripe for the picking—I mean to say, as a biology professor, there’s plenty of parks for me to use as a lab for my students, so I thought I’d check them out.”
He couldn’t understand why the girl went pale. “Are you okay, young lady? You’re not looking very well.” The boy turned to check on her again and then they politely excused themselves, quickly packing up their things and giving a polite, but distant good bye before disappearing into the bushes.
As they walked away, he chuckled. “Hmm. Wonder what I interrupted.” He looked around and sighed. “Which way do I go next? Two parks down. The professor said this town had an overabundance of parks and ponds. Now, where’s that map?” As he searched his pockets, he pondered what he’d found so far. The peculiar flora and fauna he’d seen fascinated him. Nothing extraordinary, he thought, but not the normal things you’d expect to see in the region. No wonder Professor Larkin was so obsessed with the parks. Too bad he’s losing his job. Well, his loss is my gain. Wonder what else I’ll find next. He studied his map for a moment, and then folded it up neatly, returning it to his pocket. There should be a pond just beyond these bushes …

Okay. That’s all of book four. Sound interesting? Hope so. Now on to book five:

Catalyst
“Y-yikes! What on earth was that?” Shaking her arm, she then examined it for any physical damage and shuddered at the pin-prickly feelings that lingered.
“What’s the matter?” Ty’s face was furrowed with concern. His hands immediately took hold of her arm.
“I … I thought something was raking up against my arm—like it was trying to keep me from going through. Like it was … was trying to grab at me with something sharp. I was almost through before—when you pulled me back a few minute ago and it was fine—what changed?” Her mind was in complete confusion. That insistent urge to go across to Scymaria was still present pressing at her very core of her being, but the reaction by the portal made her question if it was that smart of an idea. “I dunno. Maybe it’s not such a good idea to go, but I still have an overwhelming need to do it …” Looking at her friends for advise, she continued. “I don’t think Rocky would pull a stunt like that if he didn’t want us to use the portal … but, well, maybe?”
“No, the Guardian would not do that. He would never harm anyone.” Raf stood tall, with shoulders squared, facing them as he defended his mentor. “No. There is something else at work here. Something that we must investigate. I cannot sense the Guardian any longer—it is as if something is blocking his communication with me.” He screwed up his face in determination. “This … this is very hard for me. I have always sensed his presence. Always. The moment we pulled Amy back, I began to feel his presence ebbing—becoming very hard to hear. There was no warning from the Guardian.” His hands, palms flat, pressed against the portal, searching this way and that. “There must be a way.”
Amy felt Ty’s gentle pull on her still-tingling arm, guiding her away from the portal as Raf explored its surface. She stepped back, allowing their friend more room to probe with hands and mind—she could hear him imploring his mentor to intervene, to give him guidance. In her minds eye, she could see everything he did. Surprised that he did this openly, she watched and listened, observing in silence as she stood next to Ty, hoping he would succeed. But, what then? What are we to do once we can get to Scymaria? These thoughts repeated themselves, over and over as she watched Raf try to break through.
Now! Come now. We must go through together, quickly! The thought exploded in her mind as she grappled with her own thoughts. She could feel hands grabbing her as they all plunged through the portal. Again, she could feel the raking against her body as they made their way through. Perhaps not as noticeable, but it made her shudder, nonetheless. Will we be able to get back through? She broadcast those thoughts for both her friends to hear. Not wanting to think about the dire consequences if they were unsuccessful, they plowed ahead into Scymaria, anxious to see the bright blue skies and the colorful flower-peppered fields with the magnificent forest and mountains arching around and over them. Even if they are dangerous, I have a feeling, what I’m sensing is far …
She wasn’t able to finish her thought. Every sense was slammed with an overpowering feeling of dread as she broke through into their wonderful world of Scymaria. A place where nothing but beauty abound. Ty’s mother had called it Eden and she had agreed.
Her breath caught in her throat as she took in what lay before her. “Oh no—it can’t be.”

So … I’ve gone waaay over my usual word count, but it couldn’t be helped if I was to put both into one blog post. I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed these little snippets.

That’s all for now. May your Friday, weekend and week to follow be blessed.

Books, Fairs and A Bit More …

OH, MY. A BUSY AND INTERESTING week with a new venue for Joyce Oroz and I. The Cesar Chavez Library’s Joyce Oroz and dj jameson smith's tableFirst Salinas Book Fair was a hit with the locals—mostly Hispanic, with the two of us sticking out like sore thumbs. All announcements were made bilingually; most of the authors spoke Spanish, and many of their books were written in Spanish. It took us very little time to realise it wasn’t exactly the best fit for us, but we made sure we had dj jameson smith at the First Salinas Book Fairfun and each of us did make a few sales. It was fun meeting many of the authors—and quite a few of them, including yours truly and Joyce, had to read from their books. Aaack! I’ve only done that once before—in front of a bunch of teens (tough audience). Well, I did okay … and Joyce did too. Reading a selected bit from the book gave the audience (aka: readers or parents of readers) a chance to hear what many of the books were like, then come to the booths and get more information … or better yet, make a purchase.

Now, Joyce and I have a bit of a respite from our books—well, at least I do. I’ll be taking some “personalOne Big Pile of Weeds To Go Please ... time” for the next two weekends. On the week days, I’m trying to fulfill CalFire’s requirements to make my property fire safe. I’m making progress … slowly. Weeds, dead trees and branches … ugh. I’m looking forward to my weekends—I’ve decided to pop over to Carmel Valley to check out (and probably purchase) a few glass pumpkins. I’ve found myself collecting them (insert eye-roll)—just what I need! They are so gorgeous—I want to buy, buy, buy—but they are also a little on the pricey side.

Anyway, not only am I doing that stroll amongst pumpkins, Tiger Lily and Peter Pan from Forest Theatre, Carmelbut I’m also going to see the play, Peter Pan, at the Forest Theatre—an outdoor theatre (a very cool theatre)—in Carmel with a friend and her kids. I know I’ll have fun—no matter what the weather (I always come prepared)!

The following weekend will be another double-header for me. On the calendar for ages is the Alzheimer’s Walk—the only one I’ll be able to attend will be held in Aptos at the Walk to End Alzheimerslovely Seascape Resort. Depending on how I feel, I’ll either walk the full 2-3 mile walk—which includes a bit of a walk on sand with Taiko drumerss at the turn-around point (love, love, love Taiko drums!!) or I might do the short circuit if I’m not feeling up to par. Either way I am going to have a wonderful time, walking for a cause that is near and dear to me. For those of you that don’t know, my dad had Alzheimer’s Disease. To find out more about this devastating disease, go to my personal page or to the Alzheimers.org page.

I did say it was a double-header, didn’t I? Well, after the walk, I’ll be jumping in my car and traveling up to Los Gatos for their annual Magical Glass Pumpkin Patch event (yes, My Glass Pumpkins Are Lonesome ...more glass pumpkins!). I’ve never been, but one of my friends brings home a number of exquisite pumpkins for me to choose from. I decided this year, I’d go there in person. I just hope the drive up will be enough to re-coup my energy, because I believe there will be plenty of walking involved!

Next week, I believe I’ll be giving you a sneak peek—snippets from two stories in my series: Book Four, Mischiefmaker and Book Five, Catalyst (working title). I’m all excited about these two books. It’s hard to edit my first book, knowing I’ve got the edit for book four waiting (I have been working on it, but bouncing back and forth between two edits makes my head spin) and book five wanting completion.

With that said, I do believe it’s time to say Belladonna Lily (Naked Lady)good-bye for the week … I’ll leave you with one last photo. A beautiful pink flower (Belladonna Lily—aka: Naked Lady). I wish you all a wonderful and blessed Friday and weekend. Enjoy!

 

Things That Go Thump in the Night

I’M ALL TOO FAMILIAR WITH restless nights, whether I’m in the throes of an over active mind—a story begging to be let out—or it’s due to my “normal” aches and pains … or due to overly warm nights, or even my falling asleep too early and the middle of the night is when I’ve fulfilled my sleep quota.

Despite all of this—or perhaps because of it—nights hold a magic all their own for me. But, only if I take the time to listen. And imagine. Normally there is some sort of activity that will catch my attention—seldom is the night completely still and quiet for long. My cat, Sebastian, is excellent at this “game” of listening. He may be snuggled in, obviously dead asleep when a noise I cannot hear awakens him with a start. He then launches himself off of me (bringing me to full consciousness—sigh) and is off to investigate, returning only after he is satisfied the thing is gone or no threat.

The sounds I hear are usually include my hoot-owl—occasionally a screech owl, an occasional confused rooster, or the footfall from my resident deer—oh (insert huge, dreamy grin … I love my deer)! And my various mocking birds that do not confine their vocalisations to daytime. Always playing a “solo”, they will wander their territory enchanting the air with their song. I’ve grown so accustomed to hearing all of these sounds that when they are absent, it’s literally deafening. Like on the last day of August. It was very strange. There were no bits of white noise from traffic (I live near a freeway, with only a hill between us), no dogs barking, cats yowling, or even roosters announcing some unseen threat. No footfall or music from my feathered friends. It was strangely silent, which pulled me even further from my sleep, leaving me wide awake to wonder why.

… And it left me to reminisce of times when there were very strange sounds haunting the night. Whether due to a vivid imagination (yeah, writers do have to deal with that …) or perhaps some late night movie leaving a lasting impression, I imagined dark and scary things were lurking. It could have been a coyote or some nasty beast of the night making strange noises—not a bark … nor a howl. It was somewhere between. I imagined a mad animal wandering about, looking for prey. I certainly didn’t want to meet up with it. Don’t get me wrong—I didn’t see it as encountering a nightmare, but it was just spooky and made me curious … and my mind took off with ideas. So that August night was like that … I anticipated some strange occurrence—perhaps an earthquake (we haven’t had many recently—we’re actually due for a good shaker). We need a really “good” shaker—one that will take the pressure off so we don’t have to deal with The Big One for a bit longer.

In any case, I’ve missed my normal night sounds … and any chance at a good nights sleep—I’ve had about a week of extraordinarily hot. Ugh. Freakishly hot of weather (no a/c)—aaah! Perhaps that was the calamity that befell us … all the animals knew to escape the heat, leaving us behind to cope. The evening temperatures have slowly dropped, and by Tuesday night we were supposed to be pretty much back to “normal”—not. The one good this is, my night sounds have begun to return to normal.

Now, with things returning to normal—even my health is finally returning, so yes … perhaps now I can get a good nights sleep. I am wishing each of you the adventure of nighttime magic, without the things that go thump in the night. Have a blessed weekend and week to come!

Please go to my Amazon Authors Page to see my upcoming events. Next one is First Salinas Book Fair this Saturday, 9September17 at Cesar Chavez Library.

I’m Back!

IT’S TRULY AMAZING WHAT A little vacation will do for you. Well … not"Hello September" by djamesonsmith exactly “little”—an entire month. The respite from blogging has allowed for a bit of creativity and energy to creep in. Lovely. Honestly … a wonderful Yours Truly ... Well Restedchange of heart, mind and body. And, it doesn’t hurt that I’m finally nearing the end of the “healing” mode for all the “traumas” that have happened in the last two years. Have you ever heard the saying that getting is old is not for faint of heart? Boy … is that ever an understatement.

(As always, clicking on photos will give you a larger, full view)

So, I guess a little bit of a catch-up is in order. I’ve a couple book signings under my belt, had a few cancel or become a no-go, managed to keepOpen Ground Studios muddling through on the edit for book one, get half-way through my book four’s first edit (mostly done at Open Ground Studios) … my imagination has been kick-started by seriously getting into the edit—which is a very good thing, and finally … I’ve rolled up my "Before" Weedingshirtsleeves and started the daunting task of rescuing my property from mother nature’s grips and serious cleaning and purging of all the unwanted stuff in and around my home. Gardening and housecleaning! Fun …

In my absence from the blog-o-sphere, a “once-in-a-lifetime” solar eclipse happened (have to giggle over that one— there’s another one in 2024 in the eastern US, but I guess they said that because it made a path that crossed the whole of the continental US). Though I did not see anything Solar Eclipse 2017 by Ken Pitts 2017 Solar Eclipse by Ken Pittsdue to high clouds and fog, one of my cousins up in Oregon did—and I was given permission to share Ken Pitts images.

My photography may not have profited that much from my respite, but I certainly have been able to enjoy the wildlife in my yard more. The result has been lots of quickie shots A Few Deer Gathering No Fear of MeBuckeye Butterflyof my resident deer … and plants. Lots of flora and “fawna” (teehee). I haven’t done much  trudging around anywhere to specifically take photos.Lupin on Cloudy Day at Point Lobos I’ve finally enough energy to take walks at Point Lobos again … now I simply need a time when there aren’t a ton of events on the Peninsula drawing tourists to my favourite spot. Once that happens, I know I’ll get back to a physically fit state.

These last two years have made me seriously question what I’m physically capable of doing (in a negative way) … and in this last month, I’ve been allowed (mentally) to realise I am still very capable of so many things—but, that’s another blog post entirely (insert smiley face). It’s been an eye-opener and has lifted a burden of doubt.

It has been quite a journey—made in about a months time—and I’m still trekking towards the finish line, so now that I’m back at my blogging (and a few other things I’ve thrown to the side whilst taking my vacation), I’ll be able to keep you in the loop as to my progress.

So, though this first blog entry is a wee bit late (I was having way too muchFor Me ... HOT! fun yesterday to clean it up and get it ready—I nearly forgot to add all of the photos!—waaay too much fun … teehee), I am back in the saddle. I wish you a blessed and wonderful weekend—ours will be unseasonably warm. Stay safe, stay dry … and/or cool, depending on what’s happening in your corner of the world.

Respite

ITS BEEN ONE OF THOSE weeks … lots of weird stuff, plus just plain ol’ busy–and I’m having problems with saving my blog. Again.

Drats. I really am getting tired of fighting with my website nearly every week. It’s the same ol’ thing every time. And my poor addled brain simply does not remember, so it happens again and again.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are other issues that pop up when I’m trying to actually post also, but it’s most irritating when I start it–grateful to finally get those first few hundred words on “paper” then clicking on Save (without first performing a highlight all and copy–which should not be necessary, by the way) … only to find the prompt saying “could not perform the task”. So, all of those hard-fought first words are lost. Like I said, irritating. Frustrating.

I love writing. But things like that suck me dry; leave me wanting to do other things. Anything other than working on my blog. Or any other kind of writing. I do like that I’m able to work on it even whilst still snuggled under my covers, at any hour, whether I have my laptop with me or not. My smart phone makes me lazy that way. But it’s the smart phone that is creating all the angst.

Ha! Another reason for me to shed all these fancy electronic devices. Sigh. I’d love to see it happen. But I’m so “hooked”.

Well, the reason for this post is to tell you I’m taking a break. I’ve been trying to decide how many weeks … and I do believe four weeks will help me sort things out (personally, health wise and of a writerly nature). Sure hope understand I’m not abandoning you … I simply need time to sort my life out and get some writing done.

Have a blessed weekend and month. Enjoy your summer and I certainly hope you find serendipity right around the corner! I’ll be back–maybe even sooner than planned. You can always find some posts on my Facebook dj jameson smith-author page.

Toodles for now …

Time And . . .

RELATIVE DIMENSION IN SPACE. Ummm … my weeks seem to be running together. Day after day, week after week simply skitter by with no hope of reigning in their vanishing. It’s all very strange. It makes planning my activities difficult. After all, how do you schedule things when the allotted time sucks into nothingness?

Plans are concepts. So is time. Oh, wow. I think I just opened a can of worms with that–I took a moment to google “is time a concept” and came up with this article, written in 2012.  “Time does not exist …” A bit radical, but it’s exactly how I’m feeling about time right now.

Now, I can hear a certain very knowledgable individual spouting off all kinds of rubbish (well, to this brain, at least—insert eye roll). You know … it’s a “timey-wimey” thing. Honest. I think there is something to this and perhaps the Doctor would agree …

I could certainly use his assistance to assure that my blogs are done on time these days. Too many doctors appointments or physical therapy, book signings, meetings of one sort or another … sometimes I wonder if time is standing still and all of these appointments and meetings are just backing up like the over-packed freeways on a holiday weekend, leaving absolutely no room for anything else. Or, as I said before … vanishing before my eyes! My sieve-of-a-memory certainly isn’t helping (eye-roll here) …

Oh! But now he’s not going to be a “he”—or at least won’t be fairly soon! I am looking forward to the Doctor’s new regeneration in the annual special at Christmastime. Our illustrious Doctor will be changing gender—to a beautiful and quite intelligent woman! When Missy and the Doctor next meet, it’s going to be very interesting! Yes, indeed! And, since I’m not doing it justice, here’s a blog piece that did! (Well done and thank you, Mark, for letting me use your blog post!)

Doctor number four (Tom Baker, with his wonderful, deep speaking voice and crazy curly locks … and that scarf—yes, I love that scarf!) will always be my First and Favourite Doctor, but I will be cheering for the new one—for a change. The series has been around since the 60’s—don’t you think it’s high time for a new change?

I wonder if the new Doctor would be interested in helping me juggle my time issues …

Aah, well. Probably not. Probably for the best, really. I’ll need to sort it all out on my own—well, at least it appears I’ve managed a decent blog for this week … well, perhaps.

Would you like a jelly baby?

Next Saturday (the 29th of July) will find me in LaSelva Beach at a summer festival with my books! Until then, have a blessed weekend and upcoming week, my friends.

 

Editing, Book Signings and Life

OH, MY. THIS WEEK HAS flown by without me even realising it! I’ve been busy working all week on annotating the PDF for my editor, doing a wee bit of advertising and gathering everything I’ll need for the book signing at Jardines this afternoon.

I’ve had a few doctor appointments peppered through the week and am heading out for some fasting blood work in a moment. I hate the “fasting” part … I’m always ravenous by the time they draw the blood! Teehee—usually a great excuse to fudge and eat out, but today, there’s no time. Sigh. Oh, well. I’ll be devouring some yogurt when I get home!

I have a “drama queen” for a neurologist. I do say that in a loving way—he is absolutely hilarious at times … like the other day when I told him I had two events coming up that required me to set up a pop-up tent (well over his 20# limit restriction). He sent me into stitches with his comments, overdramatising of course, to make his point. Fine—I need to scramble and find someone to set the tents up … sigh. I knew what he was going to say, but it never hurts to try a little cajoling to change his mind, right?

So instead, he’s setting up a referral to a specialist up in Daley City (South San Francisco)—that’s an hour and a half drive from where I live (probably more with the crazy traffic up there). No worries. I am a patient driver, but I may try to find a place to stay the night before (or the night of) my appointment, depending on the timing.

So … I am waiting for that referral call, to set up the appointment and I’m also waiting for a call from the local MRI place—he wants to do a repeat MRI. Guess he wants to see if I still have a brain (sniggle).

In the meantime, thinking about today’s book signing: it will be a piece of cake—well, as long as you don’t count sitting outside for four hours in 80 degree weather as a problem. I’m hoping the location of the tables (Joyce and I get two) and the umbrellas will keep the sun off of us. I love that we have been able to find venues to sneak in book signings without having to be part of a larger group (though, those do have a tendency to draw more people … but then, we are vying for attention with a larger group—lots of pros and cons to this book signing stuff.

Well, I do need to get underway, so I’ll leave you with a fond farewell. May this day, this weekend and all of next week be blessed and joyful.

Now, off to visit the “vampire” …

 

 

Nature’s Colour

IN ORGANISING FOR THE UPCOMING book signing in San Juan Bautista—it’s coming up fast … 14 July, I found myself out and about, enjoying the early summer colours. Though our book signing location—Jardines (a delightful Mexican restaurant)—has many Beautiful Garden at Jardinescacti in their gardens, there’s also an abundance of other plants that flourish. Some blooms have already come and gone, but there are many still going strong. (please click on the individual photos to get better, larger images)

Seeing all of the abundant beauty there put my “radar” on high alert (subconsciously) and I started to see flowers

Carmel View

Looking south from Mission Ranch Restaurant

Pink Everywhere You Look

Flush with Pink!

Loads of pink!

and beautiful leaf formations everywhere. A dinner in Carmel (near the Mission) with an out-of-town friend

yielded some lovely blossoms. And some I haven’t seen since I was a much, much younger person.

Yellow Straw Flower

A straw flower—I haven’t seen these in years!

Spider Alert ...

I knew I saw something … had to wait till I got it on the screen—tiny guy!

Definitely a weed …

Not sure if it’s a weed …

 

 

 

 

All around my yard, as ragged and unloved as it is at present, yielded some faithful bloomers. Even some of the weeds were fascinating.
(Oh, my … these went all wonky—well, at least you can still see them …)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst shopping for sundries in Target, I wandered down their dollar aisles and found some cute little blue flower pots—little flower kits—for a flower I’ve Forget-Me-Not Kitalways meant to put into my garden: forget-me-not. Teehee … a little ironic what with my memory and all (insert eye roll and a quiet giggle here). They’ve taken off—they’re still at the two-leaf stage, Forget-Me-Not Seedlingsbut that will change quickly … and I don’t have a place to put them yet that will be safe from the deer. But I look forward to their blooms.

So, as I gear up for my next two book signings, I am keeping nature’s gems on my radar. It’s calming—all things natural are calming, but flowers and forests are top on the list. I certainly hope that you will find some serendipitous blooms in your life, whether they be of the flowering kind or life-events. Have a wonderful weekend and week to come.

Two Book Signing with Two Local Authors
Friday, 14 July, 2017 4-8pm
in San Juan Bautista, California
Jardines de San Juan Mexican Restaurant
in the Garden
and
Saturday, 29 July, 2017 10am-4pm
at Books and Brews Summer Festival
314 Estrella Avenue, LaSelva Beach California
LaSelva Beach Clubhouse and Lawn

Join us!
Additional events listed
here

 

Staying On Track … and Memories

SUMMER SOLSTICE HAS come and gone, which means our long days will start to shorten once again. We still have delightfully long well-lit evenings and I should be jumping at this opportunity to dust off my camera and catch some twilight shots down by the ocean and in the hills. But instead, book deadlines have me tethered.

I dream of traveling–it’s been two years … waaay too long for me. This craving for travel is problematic, as it muddles my mind with lovely visions of Ireland, Scotland–and takes my focus away for the task at hand: editing and spinning my story further. Recently, there was news that the train that connects much of the western coastline is on the chopping block which made me yearn for traveling (by train) even more. It is so sad that train travel in California does not even get a second though from people.

Once, as a child, my poor mom was in charge of me (and my siblings) as we traveled by train to our new home in Southern California. My dad had to rush down there to start his new job, leaving mom with all of us–I think there were four of us at the time. I think they chose wisely and I am thankful this was the mode of transportation chosen. Putting all of us on a plane might have been faster, but I’m not so sure I could have contained my energy for even that short a time. The train experience was mesmerising for me. The rhythmic clickety-clack and gentle motion of the train made the trip more tolerable.  That, and the fact I had row after row of strangers to make friends with or that needed entertaining–oh, my. I couldn’t have been too bad, since we were not put off the train (giggle). It is a fond echo of a memory in my mind.  I’ve always enjoyed train rides and I made sure my daughter learned to enjoy them too. She was a lot more well behaved on the train rides we did with her than I was, I’m sure!

Traveling by train is something everyone should experience at least once in their life. Then you will understand the sadness I feel at the news of them cutting service to our area. I will not be able to take the train up the coast to Oregon or Washington to visit friends (um, I don’t mind planes, but if I am given a choice, I’d much rather travel by train due to the huge queues and all the waiting–things my body doesn’t like–when traveling by plane).

Trains allow you to wander around–truly stretch your legs out, chat with quite a few people as you move from your seat to the dining car or the observatory car … and there are no seat belts, no “air turbulence” that will keep you cross-legged if you need to use the facilities. It is a far gentler form of travel.

I’m praying that the train routes are saved from The (governmental) Ax … and now, I need to put aside these travel desires for a bit so that I can get my books edited and written.

Tell me, though–what do you think of train travel? And have you done any adventures on a train–or plan to in the near future?

I bid you adieu for now. Have a blessed Friday and weekend. The Fourth of July is literally just around the corner–what are your plans?

Blogging, Writing, and … Creativity

OH MY. BLOGGING IS FUN, but there are times … I want to make sure it’s not all “moans and groans” or so boring that you are unable to get through without dozing off. I certainly hope neither has been the case since I got serious in my blogging.

This week has been filled with challenges to carve out any time to write. It’s already Friday and the above is all I’ve managed to write in a week (insert eye roll …). I’m finding my brain is resisting any cohesive thoughts that can be strung together for a blog—there’s just too much “stuff” filling my head. I’ve been trying … I’ve resorted to taking my binder with my edit for the first book with me wherever I go in a feeble attempt to do some writing, whether blog related or not. The funny thing is, in the places I figure I’ll have plenty of time to work (the usual long waits at doctors offices, etc), I’m finding that I just get settled and I’m interrupted. Maybe I should bring work more often (giggle) since the wait times seem shorter when I have something I’m trying to accomplish. And places I “know” I’ll never have time, but bring it with me anyway … well, it seems I’m the most productive then. Go figure.

So … my first run-through of book one in my Secrets Beyond Scymaria series is finished (finally!), but I need to go through at least one more time (I’ve already begun) before I turn it over to my editor for a “second-pass” professional edit. This book did not get a real professional edit before it was published and I apologise to those of you that read it and found the errors. Now that I’ve a new publisher, Inknbeans Press will be republishing the “new and improved” edition—hopefully by this fall and book two (which has had a professional edit) should follow closely on its heels. This means all of my books will be with one publisher. This is a very good feeling for me and makes me want to do a happy dance. Perhaps by spring of 2018 I’ll finally have book four published—it was put on hold so I could get the first two books pulled from Xlibris and republished by Inknbeans. Sigh, and to be honest, it was on hold because my brain wasn’t working right for so long that I couldn’t muster any true creativity. That is now a thing of the past and I am finally eager to dive back into books four and five. I’m definitely doing a happy dance (insert humongous grin).

And, on top of all of that, Joyce Oroz (my mystery writer friend) and I have already begun doing book signings. Friday night we spend three hours at a local Starbucks hawking our books to coffee drinkers. It was fun. In the quiet moments, she and I strategised for upcoming book signings, fine tuning what was on the current agenda and adding yet another potential event to August.

So … seeing as this blog is already two days late, I’d better get it posted. Here’s the schedule (the link will take you to my business Facebook page):  2017 Book Signing and Appearances Schedule  Have a good Sunday and a wonderfully blessed week. I’ve got a quiet week so I’m hoping for a creatively productive week of writing! Until Friday, cheers!

 

Patience …?

HHMMPH! DWELLING ON THINGS you have no control over is terribly counterproductive. My Friday visit to the ER a couple weeks ago left me with tons of questions, some of which are being sorted out with a scheduled test and upcoming appointments. But I’m finding myself very impatient, wanting answers NOW. Ugh. Yes, I AM part of the “now” generation. I’ve tried very hard to shed that “layer” but it rears its ugly head now and again. Especially when I am frustrated.

I even had another visit to the ER a week later. A different “problem”, or so I thought. Turns out, probably the same issue: my spine is finally protesting all of the abuse I’ve given it over the years. The frustrating thing is, many of the symptoms are so close to what one would experience with a heart attack or stroke—so it’s not like I can simply brush it off and just get on with my life. It requires a trip to the ER (well, I’m getting a stress test to see if I really need to do that every time symptoms pop up—like I had on my last two visits).

It really is a nuisance. In the meantime, my neurologist has me doing physical therapy to help with the pressure on my spinal cord and he has me on a lifting restriction (no more than twenty pounds). Ugh. That certainly puts a crimp in my working around the yard. Well, I keep saying I need to hire a gardener … I do believe it’s time to make good on that “threat”. A housekeeper may be a wee bit more tricky since they want to come in and do a deep cleaning before they do routine weekly stuff. I’m going to need to have a little chat about tossing that requirement out the window from the get-go … (giggle) we’ll see how that flies.

With all my doctor visits and PT, I almost forgot to finish up this blog (oopsie). Matter of fact, I seem to be more forgetful (if that’s possible) of late—I forgot to take all of my usual meds yesterday. I think that’s a first. But, thankfully, even if the PT will be continuing, my doctor visits are slowing down and I can get back to living normally. Well, as normally as as one can expect for me.

In the meantime, I think it’s time I hone my “patience” skills (insert eye roll here). And, I need not forget who is truly in charge. I need to remember to “give it to God” …

Summer is just around the corner and this week looks like it’s going to be quite warm. May this weekend and the upcoming week be a blessing to you all.

 

Upcoming Events

Joyce Oroz and dj jameson smithWELL, IT HAS BEGUN … AND I’M NOT sure I’m ready for it (what’s new). Friday, June 23rd begins our (Joyce Oroz and yours truly) book signing and appearances. This first one is a low key event at the “new” Starbucks in Prunedale—in the Prunetree Shopping Center. We’ll be set up inside at one of the tables (yay … since weather has been awfully fickle lately. It was drizzly on Thursday—don’t want to get our books wet!). The next one will be up in San Juan Bautista at Jardines Restaurant in their beautiful garden, possibly on July 15—we’re still negotiating that one. Then over to LaSelva Beach at the library on July 29th.

Unfortunately, the Inknbeans Press’ annual get-together and “across-the-country” book signing (in September) in N. Carolina has been cancelled. Sounds like we out-of-town writers messed up and didn’t get our confirmations in on time. Our bad … and our loss. That one would have been fun. We’ll give it a go next year. And … the application for the October Harvest Jubilee in Salinas just came in, so I’ll be getting that filled out and sent in very soon—I’ll be able to display my art along with my books. I love it when I can combine the two loves of my life.

I’m trying to keep the Facebook business page up to date—in Notes, I’ve got a note titled: 2017 Book Signings and Appearances that has all of the dates, whether confirmed or still negotiating. I do need to update the list with the above mentioned items, so give me a couple of days to do that.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get all my ducks in a row (business & personal), mind my p’s and q’s (health-wise 😳)—trying to follow doctors’ orders … and survive another week (sad that it’s come to that, but hopefully “that” situation will be short-lived).

So, my dear friends, enjoy your Friday and the ensuing weekend and I’ll see you next Friday. May it be blessed abundantly!!