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! With the passing of my publisher just before Christmas, 2017, I find myself scrambling to get the first three books republished, but must wait for my rights to be returned to me by the publishing company—apparently a painfully slow process. 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 another world, and their adventures lead to 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. A new schedule for 2019 will be posted soon. 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 a few of my images hanging on the back wall of my studio space at Open Ground Studios in Seaside, California.

I’m Back—Hello February!

I’M NOT GOING TO do this much longer … that is, I’m not going to keep linking my actual blog from this site much longer. Maybe at the end of February … or sometime in March. I’m still learning how to use the new site (and still have to set up a few links to other things), but I’m enjoying it so much more than this one. When that day comes, I will pin a notice on this site with a link to my new site. At some point, I need to move all of the data from this site to my new site—that is a scary proposition. And … all of that will be baby-steps towards ending my relationship with Yahoo (they are my host provider).

So, until then … here’s the new blog for February’s first Friday. Ooh! A wee bit of alliteration there <grin> … without even trying!

Have a grand Friday, relaxing weekend and delightful week—may it all be blessed. Cheers!

 

2019—Happy New Year!

WELL … I HAD A BLOG MOSTLY WRITTEN, but I was doing it from my iPhone and my klutzy fingers deleted it <pout> Then, I received an email from WordPress—a receipt for another year of my other blog account (it’s an automated annual billing—sigh) … which I’d completely forgotten about. Oh, bother.

So, my friends, if I’m ever to make the change to the new blog site, now would be a good time. For now, I’ll simply put a link in a post (here) that will take you to the new site’s blog post. I the near future, I will use it as my primary site. Until then … minor confusion may occur. My apologies. Please bookmark the new page so you don’t miss out on blog entries.

Here’s the link for the first blog of the year:
Creations by djamesonsmith blog

Happy New Year, folks.

 

There’s More to Me Than …


 

A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, I mentioned in passing the personalised story I’m writing. I’ve never really addressed that little talent in the past. That and my spontaneous storytelling done in the classroom (and libraries). I can’t imagine why I haven’t. Me thinks it might have to do with “time”… my two or three looming deadlines and what little spare time I do have is usually spent recovering from all my craziness.

So, why on earth am I bringing it up now? Now, when I should be diving even deeper into getting my already-published books republished and my needs-to-be-edited book published. Now, when I should be learning how to market said books—why now?

I believe that the time has come to begin marketing them so that when I finally have the first four or five books of the Scymaria series in the virtual bookstores, it will be time to get serious about reintroducing the storybooks and storytelling. Storybooks and storytelling cannot be mass-produced like my fantasy series. They take time—boy … do they ever take time! My storybooks are handmade, from the very first word, all the way through to the printing and binding. And I can only work on a few of them at a time. I think I’ve been a bit optimistic in promising a finished book in 6-8 weeks. And my current storybook’s deadline is hanging over my head. I may need to adjust that. I’ll see how I’m doing in a week before I notify my client—hmmm … perhaps sooner than that. I probably should not have started it until I had the edits done <insert eye roll … serious eye roll> but there’s nothing I can do about that now. I think future applications will be tweaked with an “8-10 week” production time …

The oral storytelling isn’t much different. About a half hour is carved out of a day to introduce the idea, to glean names, characters and descriptive words from my audience—anywhere from Kinders up to Middle Schoolers. Then the magic begins. For the younger ones, it’s simply a fun story. I take those element shared by my audience and weave them into a short story. For those beginning to learn how to create stories through classroom lessons, it’s an added teaching tool for the teachers, and for the students it’s a “learning diversion” from their usual class work. A win-win for teachers and students alike. For me? Well, whilst helping teachers and students, it’s just plain ‘ol fun! But, again … I cannot do more than one or two a week. I still have other creative endeavours waiting in the curtains. This is easier to keep manageable—I can schedule them on the calendar as time allows.

I can hardly wait to get this one I’m working on finished. It’s been so fun writing it—very different from my Scymaria series, since this one is for 4-7 year old age range. I am creating the art that will go on the pages also. This is what will take the most time. I am excited with the direction the story is taking itself. Yes—still seat of the pants writing <insert grin> with my all of my writings and storytelling.

I guess you could say that these storybooks are limited editions. One of a kind. And not many made within a years time. I think I like it that way. It keeps them sweet and charming … and fun to read—way beyond the day that they are received. Keep an eye out here and on my Facebook page for more information about when I’ll be making them available to the public!

I must get back to my writing, but before I leave you—three more days till we ring in the new year, so I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year. Out with the old 2018 … and in with the spankin’ new 2019. May it prove to be positively unforgettable. Stay safe and I’ll meet you here next week, in 2019 to bring you the first blog of the new year.

H A P P Y    N E W    Y E A R  !

 

 

 

Wishing You A Blessed Christmas

THIS YEAR, CHRISTMAS FALLS BETWEEN Fridays, so before I forget, I’d like to take this time to wish you, one and all, a very blessed and Merry Christmas. My humble gift to all of you is a wee bit of a Christmas song from Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer.
https://youtu.be/HGcgCxASg04
You can find out more about this musical duo at swan-dyer.co.uk/

For me, Christmas and Easter are the holidays for celebrating. Gift-giving, decorations, singing—celebrating the birth and death of our Saviour. All of this has become part and parcel to the season. I love gift-giving, decorating—no matter what the holiday is … but all holidays—especially Christmas and Easter—have become overly commercialised and that saddens me.

As the saying goes, “Jesus is the reason for the season”—from Christmas, all the way to Easter. For me, the accuracy of the dates on which they are celebrated is a moot point. It’s the simple fact that Jesus has been given to us as a gift from God. A precious gift that keeps on giving. He was born as a gift to us and He died for us—taking all of our sins upon himself in his death. We celebrate what God and Jesus did for us. We’re not celebrating a simply birth. Nor are we celebrating the death. We celebrate what those events represent. For me, these are wow-moments worthy of much celebration. It’s the Christmas Spirit—which should live inside of us all year long. Perhaps during the actual holidays the spirit explodes, but is that a bad thing? For me, absolutely not.

But … it can be overwhelming for some. Perhaps it’s due to the loss of a loved one, or maybe it’s for some other reason. Holidays in general can ignite memories, triggering an otherwise managed depression or sadness, pushing some over the edge.

So, my friends … when you find a “Scrooge” in your midst that cannot be dissuaded, it’s time to turn down your enthusiasm. No, you don’t need to shut it off—simply reign it in when you are around that person. I have a few friends that are triggered by the never-ending Christmas music—something I adore—that is pumped through speakers at the malls and offices, ice rinks and even on the streets. There is no escaping it and it is slowly driving them crackers-crazy.

There are things we can do for these fragile friends of ours. Find quiet places to spend time with them: take a walk—away from all the hustle and bustle, invite them over for a quiet lunch or dinner … and surround them with loving prayer, to help them through the holiday. Enjoy the holidays with them. Save the enthusiastic holiday cheer for your like-minded friends.

Until next Friday, I would like to wish you all a blessed and Merry Christmas. Have a fantastic Friday, weekend and a not-too-crazy week (unless you like that kind of thing <eye roll>). Now, I’m off to work on Christmas cards—better late than never—and persimmon pudding baking! Cheers!

David and the Goliath of Progress …


 

WELL, I MADE THE MISTAKE OF implementing the most recent WordPress update—prior to posting my last blog entry. Updates are supposed to be improvements. For this particular update, absolutely not. Even as I write this, I can see it will not be saved. Trying to manually update entries as I type is a fail. And it appears there are mixed messages as to whether it actually saves what I write in the automatic mode as well. It seems there are a number of features I liked that have gone by the wayside as well—like the tagging and advance posting abilities. I don’t see them anywhere! Still not sure how much of this new system works, or if there are some serious bugs that need vanquishing …

Maybe those features are there, I just don’t see them (that in itself is a negative!).

Sometimes progress is not progress at all. That is the kind of thing I have no time for—not at all. Facebook is always making changes in the name of “progress” and to make it more user-friendly—not! Well, there may be a few changes that have been positive, but I’d say that the majority make “life on Facebook” not nearly as fun. I’m beginning to feel the same about WordPress.

With WordPress’ new editor, it appears I’m stuck writing my paragraphs in “blocks”, which is weird. Is it simplified for dummies or is there some hidden reason behind it? I really don’t know, but this dummy sure can’t figure it out. Like I said before—I do have a problem with changes that don’t seem to have a reason—especially when the whole process is not explained sufficiently. If there was a tutorial somewhere, then that would be fine—but make it easy to fine, please! We’re not all Einsteins, after all …

I went into the Help arena and already—on day two of the change—a knowledgeable person is saying it’s a great step … backwards. That is as far from being “user friendly” Boy, can I agree on that point! I plan on doing more research in the help section and on my site, but not at the moment.

More research—that is exactly what I did. The above was written on Sunday. It took me a while, but I was able to figure out how to switch back to Classic Editor. Thank God! I’m not sure how long that will last, since these kind of changes (with options to use the “old way”) usually take away the fall-back option at some point. Unless they fix all of their glitches or have some sort of tutorial, I will be grieving the loss of a user friendly site for blogging. Whether I will move on or struggle to learn the “new way” is yet to be seen. As the old saying goes, “only time will tell …” Sigh.

This “David” feels overwhelmed and thinks the Goliath of Progress is about to take a win this time around. But the fight is far from done. Perhaps David will prevail yet.

<giggle … > Well, score one for Davif—an update came out yesterday—updated automatically. So, we’ll see how things go.  That doesn’t mean I’ll switch to the “new and improved” version anytime soon—but the update is a step (I hope) in the right direction.

In the meantime, on other technology fronts, did I ever mention that I acquired (for free) a behemoth of a printer for my studio? An Epson. I do love the Epsons. This one is not new—the date on the back is Dec, 2002—a dinosaur in technological terms. Hmmm. Maybe that’s why, once I rolled up my sleeves, it only took a couple days to figure it out. Lines in the printed image sorted out after four hours of tinkering—without having to resort to buying seven new, very expensive ink cartridges, nor an equally expensive service call. (It’s not a bad thing, since I paid nothing but sweat equity for the unit. I’m on a natural high—things are going my way for a change! Yay!

David-1, Goliath-0 in this round.

There are other tech issues waiting for me, but I’m going to bathe in this win for a bit before moving on to the next techno-problem.

And with that, I am going to bid you adieu.  May your Friday, weekend and week to come be filled with triumphs, no matter their size. Have a blessed week. See you next Friday!

Plan B May Be Plan A

I AROSE QUITE EARLY (for me) on Tuesday. I’m not sure what possessed me to do it … other than I wanted to catching the sun rise with a beautiful backdrop of clouds. I was sure the display would—should—be breathtaking. So, from the comfort of the house, looking east out my kitchen window, I waited. (Click on images for more detail.)Predawn image

As I waited, the predawn songs of the earliest risers floated to my ears, warming my heart. A singular songbird, then a scrub jay … then the roosters. Bit by bit the air was fillled with song, making me smile.

My Wunderground Weather app said “first light” was at 6:34. “Sunrise” was at 7:04. I waited. The last time I tried this, I was in place for “sunrise” and the display (if there was any at all) was completely done by the time I arrived at the window. I’ve tried to get myself going on many occasions so I could enjoy the lit-up sky, to no avail. Sandman kept pummelling me, telling me sleep was far more important.

Cloudy sky image“First light” came and went with only the moody monotone clouds. Beautiful, but not what I had hoped for. Patiently, I waited. I was greeted with birds of all sizes at my strategically placed feeders. Nuthatches, sparrows of all types, a solitary scrub jay … seeing them brought joy to my heart. Sunrise imageAs “sunrise” approached, only the faintest blush of colour painted the clouds. Nice. I waited. And waited—with great anticipation. A bit more of a dusting of colour painted the clouds … but nothing more. Sunrise imageMy heart sank. I was truly looking forward to God’s glory in the form of a robust, colourful blaze in the sky. Apparently there were far too many unseen clouds somewhere, obscuring what I figured should have been a spectacular sight. My wait for a broad stroke of beautiful colours was disappointing, but the sights and sounds of the morning waking dampened the disappointment considerably. Cloudy sky imageThen I remembered something a friend said at a church gathering the night before. She was talking about when plans go astray. To put it in a nutshell, what she was trying to say was our plan B (or C) may be God’s plan A. It’s a good lesson for me to hold onto, since my plans seldom go as anticipated. It’s taken a long time to realise, but now I seldom stress over it—always “chilling” and seeing where the new path will lead me. I’ve never thought about why the plans didn’t go as I wanted. I should know better—after all, I’ve tried to direct my story (series) the way I wanted and learned the hard way that I’m not in control … never was!

Christmas lights and trees imageThat Tuesday morning, I enjoyed the glory of hearing and seeing the first sights and sounds of an early morning … and enjoyed the subtle blush of the sunrise. Whether I find myself planning another early rise or not, I know I need to simply enjoy God’s plan A.

May your Friday and this upcoming weekend and week to come be filled to overflowing with wonderful, serendipitous plans—whether they be your Plan A … or God’s.

Me an’ Technology … and the Blessings of Family

WELL, I STARTED A BLOG POST EARLY in the week and due to one stupid stroke of my finger, it was lost forever. Usually WordPress will save, but apparently I wrote so quickly that it didn’t have time between writing and my errant finger stroke … and with my sieve of a memory, there was no way to replicate it. So sad … and it was a really good post.

So, instead …

Time with family is precious. I’m retired, so I should have plenty of time to visit all of my family, right? Well … I may be “retired” but that doesn’t mean my plate is lacking. My books, my art—and simply trying to rein-in Mother Nature in and around my yard keeps me more than busy. I try not to fill my time with busyness (spinning my wheels), but to actually accomplish things. I’ve had a whole lot of both in this season of my life. I think I’ve had more than my share of technology issues—still dealing with some new problems <insert eye roll> … both computer and car <grumble> so I am looking forward to resolution in all areas so I can get on with life. Life includes spending time with family and friends.

My trip to the Northwest prior to and during Thanksgiving was amazing. I left my home cold and dry … and heard that there was rain soon after. I arrived in Vancouver Washington, with threats of rain. Their airport is certainly set up for the wet weather—the waiting areas outside of baggage claim (for people and cars alike) are completely covered. No chance of getting wet until you drove away from the loading areas. Nice! Visiting with a once-upon-a-time neighbour (and her sister) was a delightful treat. We had an early Thanksgiving meal together. I only had part of a day to visit (arrived after 5pm, left next day at 11am)—entirely too short a time, so I will be returning. There was another friend I was trying to work into the schedule (but, sadly failed), so next time I will make sure it’s on the agenda! I was even able to see her son (and his family)—oh, my … all grown up! And his kiddos looked so much like him as a kid that it was spooky! Rain came and went, thankfully, as my next connection was by train.

After my day-long ride (arrived at 8:30pm-ish), I was greeted in Chemalt with freezing (really!) temps and no place to wait for my ride. I wandered over the four-lane highway to the Pilot station—thankfully they had a Subway sandwich shop attached to it. I ordered my very late dinner and nommed on it until my brother arrived (bought a sandwich for him, too, as he hadn’t eaten dinner). The last time I saw him was at my niece’s wedding in the late summer, but out of his “element”. It was our little brother’s daughter’s wedding. Now I was going to see this brother’s dream plot and his daughter (they are living in two RVs on the lot until his dream home is build) and spend two nights in his RV—I loved every minute of the bohemian living! Just the basics. Delightful! And toasty warm compared to the 28-32F temps outside. Warmer clothes would have been good, but … layers worked too <giggle>—I really think I could do this winter camping experience all by myself. I may have to investigate getting a small trailer to do some exploring …

On Thanksgiving Day, I switched from Dave’s RV to his ex’s home—she is very much still part of the family, and I’m glad!—just down (hmmm … or is “up”) the river from him. A beautiful and toasty warm home right on the river in Sunriver, Oregon. We had snow—big fluffy flakes <grin>—with our Thanksgiving Dinner. Lovely. Absolutely lovely! The next day my daughter and her hubby showed up and stayed up in the loft of Kathy’s house (I was on the first floor). Family together-time was perfect. On Friday, the first thing we did (after breakfast) was to go for a walk around a lava flow—Lava Butte in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. I told myself—and my family—I would not be climbing up to the top of the cinder cone … nope. Yet, after they had left me behind to goof around … I decided to go up high enough to get a few photos. Then, when I realised I was nearly to the top, I decided to keep plodding on. I was congratulated by people descending the “hill” (base was nearly at 4000ft, top of cone was above 5000ft and the road was a fairly steep 8% grade … closed with the snow and ice on the ground)—I was leaning heavily on my cane to put one foot in front of the other. I made it. I was so glad I kept going. It was a spectacular vista.

After a well-deserved rest back at Kathy’s, we spent the rest of the day at Dave’s Sunriver VR store, playing with virtual creations.  I wish I had pictures of me playing. It was so much fun—I need to see if I can find a local VR store to experiment more. Our evening was spend dining out together, adding Dave and Kathy’s son (and his girlfriend) to the mix. A great way to end the day.

My daughter, son-in-law and I left on Sunday morning, timing our departure so the roads wouldn’t be too icy … and we had a nice, long drive back to Monterey County. I was glad to be home, but already missed the family time we’d left behind.

A week to remember, with friends and family. Those are the memories we all want to put into our back pocket to pull out and reminisce over. I want more of them. To do that, I need to figure out how to balance my “work” and “play” at home with my need for family time. But right now … I need to do a little troubleshooting to find out what is wrong with two computers and wait for a friend (God bless her) to come over to troubleshoot my car problems.

Now that it is December—and as we truly head into the Christmas season—my wishes for you are to find the balance needed to spend quality time with family, to make lasting memories and to find peace amidst all the flurry of activities. Until next week, be safe, find joy and serendipity to ease you through the weeks to come.

Photos are not quite “in order” but that’s fine. Enjoy:

 

Thankful for Family …

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all.

‘Tis a day early, I know. And not much to say, except I am so thankful for family get together! Time with family has taken precedence over a blog this week—my apologies. Next post will be 30 November 2018.

Until next week, stay safe; be kind; be thankful.

Autumnal Life Along the Coast

WELL … TUESDAY I BROKE DOWN and turned the heater on. I’m such a cheapskate (I’m part Scot, after all ) and figure I can handle the cold—not! In the house, the temp has only made it up to 57F all week … and temps outside have been relatively low.  With my wonky thyroid and the chilly temps not making it much over 60F, it was time. Oh, so time!

I still don’t have it turned up a huge amount— it was on a 55F hold and I only popped it up to 62F for now (… well, maybe it went up to 65 a couple of times). The set-back kicks in around nine AM (to around 59F), so I’ll be manually tapping it up every day as needed. If I’m not here, I bring it back down to the low setting till I get back.

So … our cold weather has begun. Not that far into autumn and the nip in the air has definitely settled in. That means my persimmons will ripen before Thanksgiving Day, which is a big “YAY”! My trademark persimmon puddings will begin showing up. That makes me happy! I’m hoping that rain is not far behind. There have been taunts in the forecast of 50% chance of rain mid- to late-week on Thanksgiving week. It keeps getting moved back, closer and closer to the weekend. When it does that, it’s almost guaranteed to peter out to nothing but a drizzle at best <pout>.

No rain forecast for this weekend, so we should have a good turnout for the Aromas Hills Artisans’ Holiday Arts Festival. I was hoping to take my lattice display so I could hang my framed work, but the location we (Joyce Oroz and yours truly) ended up with does not allow it. All I can manage is my bin art and note cards scrunched down into one small space—along with my three books, hopefully only taking up about 1/3 of an 8 foot table. Joyce has thirteen books in her Josephine Stuart Mystery series. plus her husband’s historical fiction tale, Okinawa Moon … and her new childrens’ book—it is a series (of one, so far, but she is working on the second in the series) about problems children might encounter—from a dog’s point of view. Definitely cute, definitely helpful. But we are outgrowing sharing a table at the rate she’s writing—and by next year, I should have my fourth (Mischiefmaker) book published and ready for reader-consumption. Maybe I’ll even have book five (The Catalyst) if I do things right! I’m progressing nicely on book five—using November’s NaNoWriMo to keep me motivated <insert huge grin> With all of these books, we may need to consider our own tables for future events.

Not to boast, but this weekends event is definitely a quality-affair. The artisans participating are excellent—if not masters—in their craft. I try not to compare myself to any other artisan … I always feel their work is so much better than mine, but they keep reminding me comparison is not the proper way to judge one work over another. I’ll keep telling myself that (this is a good example of how authors, artists and crafters feel about their own work—always trying to compare to another persons’ work).

In any case, with Thanksgiving nearly upon us and the last two events (for me) looming, I wish you a delightful weekend and Thanksgiving feast … enjoy time together, find things to be thankful for. Be sure there is gratitude in your attitude. Until next week … gobble-gobble-gobble <wink!>

Upcoming Events

Sat/Sun 17-18 November 10am-4pm both days
Aromas Hills Artisans’ Holiday Art Festival
400 Rose, Aromas CA
This is an event you won’t want to miss. Aromas Hills Artisans’ annual Holiday Art Festival, held at the Grange features quality hand crafted items, arts/craft demonstrations, raffle and food, plus a warm fire to sit by as you nibble on your purchased items.
Joyce Ororz and dj jameson smith will have their mystery and fantasy books for sale, plus dj will have her photography and art available.
Free Entry

Thurs/Fri 29-30 November 10am-5pm both days
Watsonville Community Hospital Emergency Dept
75 Neilson Street, Watsonville
Larger than ever with a few of the AHA members selling their wares for the first time, this will be a fun event to explore all of the arts, crafts … and books. Joyce Oroz and dj jameson smith will be there with their mystery and fantasy series.
Free entry.

 

 

Killing Time and Art

IT’S BEEN “ONE OF THOSE MONTHS” (and then some) … as I waited for technicians to show up, I keep trying to get into Facebook to post a Friday blog. I made the mistake of starting an update for Facebook on Thursday. Unfortunately, without WiFi, it apparently hung up and I’m not able to get out of the update process on my iPhone (believe me—I tried everything I could think of … pout).

Anyway, whilst I waited (they weren’t due till a 3-4pm window) … I found things to keep me occupied (not things on my “To Do” list, of course <giggle> but things that bring me joy). I’ve a ton of photos on my iPhone, so I decided to go into it and play with one of my apps.

It really is amazing what the different types of watercolour applications do to a photo. The app I usually end uo using is called Waterlogue—I’ve talked about it before. There are quite a few different styles to chose from: Vibrant, Natural, Bold, Luminous; “It’s Technical” and “Streamlined” (basically “It’s Technical” without the graphed background); Travelogue, Rainy; Illustration, Soaked, Shallow; Color Bloom, Fashionable and Blotted. I find that, depending on the photo, not every technique “works” the same. Some I love, some do absolutely nothing for the image and others … well, there’s always the middle of the road, eh? Here are examples of each with one shot of a succulent—you be the judge. Which do you like:

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Blotted
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Fashionable
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Color Bloom
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

I’m glad I’m slowly getting my creative juices flowing again <insert warm fuzzy feelings>. In my playing around, I managed to accumulate nearly 200 altered images—images I will eventually download onto my desktop (it has a ginormous screen so I can easily see things in great detail—but even that one is having problems … I am feeling so technologically handicapped—so, so much, that it is starting to wear me down). Each will be scrutinised to determine whether they will end up as note cards, framed photos, photopolymer prints or tossed in the art bin. Sigh—I know, I know. I still have all of my travel photos to go through. I am working on them, but need to

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Shallow
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Soaked
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Illustration
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Rainy
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Travelogue
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Streamlined
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Luminous
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Bold
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Natural
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

settle several communication issues between my laptops and the printer at Open Ground Studios—and now I’m wondering if there might be a virus that I’ve spread to ALL of my computers.

Sigh. I may try to snag my daughter or son-in-law to help undo something I must have done … or get them to a computer doctor!

At least, in the meantime, I’ve figured out a way—for now, at least—to work around the glitchy problems. But … my friends, if you do not hear from me on a Friday via a blog entry, it may be because I’ve registered myself a room with padded walls <insert severe eye roll> … seriously!

Oh, my—can’t forget that I’ve got a three-day event this weekend, starting later today:

 

Watsonville Elks Lodge’s Holiday Craft Show
121 Martinelli Street, Watsonville
Friday-Sunday 9-11 Nov
Fri:    1-6pm
Sat:  10am-6pm
Sun  10am-3pm

I will be among many vendors at the Elks Lodge for this three-day event. I will have my fantasy series (Secrets Beyond Scymaria) available for purchase along with my bin and framed art and a variety of holiday and general blank note cards. Mystery author, Joyce Oroz will be available on Sunday only with her Josephine Stuart Mysteries series, including her just-released addition.
Please do drop by and check the vendors—and don’t forget the authors!

There will be only two more book signings/art events after this one—one before Thanksgiving and one after.

Sat/Sun, 17-18 November
9am-5pm both days
AHA Holiday Fair in Aromas
400 Rose Avenue

Thurs/Fri, 29-30 November
9am-5pm both days
Watsonville Community Hospital’s Holiday Craft Fair
75 Neilson Street

Hope you enjoyed my little artsy show-an’-tell. My days are blurring into night and I find myself waking in the wee hours with my mind going full-tilt with neat ideas—for plots and storylines, for art work … and even for yard designs. I do believe my “mojo” is back! Now … if I can figure out how to juggle everything. Mmm-hmmm. <insert huge grin …>

Have a blessed Friday and weekend—only two weeks to Thanksgiving Day. I’m getting excited. How about you?

 

Fall … And All That Entails!

FALL, AUTUMN … WHATEVER YOU prefer to call it—it is definitely here. And, with it comes chillier weather, an urgency to complete outdoor (and some indoor) chores before the rains come—hopefully they will (one never knows whilst living amidst a drought), a countdown to the Holidays … and a writing frenzy.

Halloween came and went quite unceremoniously in my home. I did dress up in my Celtic garb, but did not do the usual trunk-or-treat festivities at my church—didn’t think I’d be up to it because of a tooth extraction and a few other health issues. By the time I realised I’d be okay, it was too late. So, I snuggled up on the couch, buried under a quilt and heated blanket to watch the Hallmark Channel—yeah … I am a sucker for the sappy shows they air every year around this time.

Heated blanket, you say? Yes, we’ve past our Indian Summer—which never really happened here for some reason … we went straight from summer to chilly autumn weather. Well, we did have an occasional warmer than usual day, but mostly chilly to mild days. But it’s definitely chilly—especially in the mornings and evenings, so that heated blanket gift I received last year has come in quite handy. Oh, definitely!

Hmmm … I’m good at getting off track, aren’t I ?

Waterlogue 1.4.1 (116)
Preset Style = Fashionable
Lightness = Auto-Exposure
Size = Medium
Border = No Border

These last couple weeks of no blogging have had me quite the busy girl—mostly dealing with medical issues and trying to get my photography turned into art (I have over two hundred images I’ve tinkered with) for my upcoming book signing/art events—first one is on November 4th in Monterey—the date of the time change <UGH>. Then the craziness begins, because between events, I am up to my eyebrows in NaNoWriMo— that annual, crazy writerly event where writers around the world attempt to create a 50,000 word novel in thirty (30) days. That

National Novel Writing Month

Pencils sharpened, computer charged…ready to go!

requires me writing 1670 words daily … or an accumulation of that if I miss a day or two … or more! I’m going to use this time to attempt to finish book five.

The troublemaker—long and skinny, Word and my computer are not liking it and refuse to cooperate. Sigh

Right now, my primary focus is getting my computers and printer to communicate properly! The printer I took to Open Ground Studios doesn’t seem to like the written word. It will print images, no problem—let me take that back … it doesn’t like one long and skinny image I’m trying to print <pout>. The computers will write words (I’m so glad), but have decided to be stubborn about how—and where—I put images into a Word document (haven’t figured out if I’ll be able to print those words out on my OGS printer). It’s driving me up a wall—of course, all of this happens as I’m trying to come up with new material for the Painterly side of my events <pout> Sigh. I think I simply need to take a step back … breathe … and allow my mind to sort things out. On Thursday—in the wee hours—I came up with an idea. But I’m also wondering about the possibility of a virus of some sort. Only time will tell. But, you do remember how much I like electronics, right? <insert dark grey cloud over my head … raining on my parade!>

Until next Friday, have a delightful time this weekend and through this next week. Hope you survive the time change! Have a blessed weekend!

Event Schedule through November, 2018

Sunday, 4 November   9am-2pm. DON’T FORGET TO SET YOUR CLOCKS BACK !
Book Signing/Art at Holiday Fair
Moose Lodge, 555 Canyon Del Rey Blvd, Monterey

Friday-Sunday, 9-11 November 1-6pm (Fri), 10am-6 (Sat), 10am-3? (Sun)
Book Signing/Art at Watsonville Elks Holiday Craft Show
121 Martinelli Street, Watsonville CA

Saturday-Sunday, 17-18 November  9am-5pm (both days)
Art/Book Signing at Aromas Hills Artisans Holiday Fair
400 Rose Avenue, Aromas CA

Thursday 23 November HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY!

Tuesday-Wednesday 27-28 November Christmas at the Inns 5-8pm
Pacific Grove sponsored event: visit 3-4 Inns/B and Bs in Pacific Grove to see their beautiful Christmas displays whilst enjoying hot apple cider, cookies and music of the season.
I will be wandering through each location, taking photos for next year’s Christmas card selection.
Pick up your tickets at the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday-Friday, 29-30 November    9am-5pm
Book Signing/Art at the Holiday Craft Fair at Watsonville Community Hospital
75 Neilson Street, Watsonville CA

 

When Things Don’t Go Your Way …


 

LIFE KEEPS MOVING forward but I’m not so sure I’m ready to … there are too many things not going the way I’d like. Can I get a mulligan on this last month? Well … it’d probably have to be a few years with my luck and I’d rather not go back that far.

My author friend, Joyce Oroz, and I finished up a lovely book signing in Salinas  on Saturday—if was fun and we both sold some books. That’s always a good thing.

But, as I mentioned before, there were more not going my way than the things that did. Among them: more health issues. I’m so finished with all of that. But apparently they aren’t done with me. So, I’ve been doing lots of “popcorn prayers” to get me through. And I move on (mostly)—despite the problems.

I finally have a few half-days (or more) of “clear” time to work on being productive … well, now I have a few less than desired, but I’ll take what I can get at this rate. The list of “Must Do” items is awfully long, yet all I want to do it hit the trails—at Point Lobos—to clear my mind. I need to listen to my body if I want to be productive.

Sigh. Even trying to get this post done is becoming a royal nuisance—I’m still having electronic issues … wifi still on the fritz and now my only source of internet (my iPhone) is acting up. Can’t even get photos loaded <pout>

I think I’m going to take a break (yeah … I know—I just did that) to try to sort things out. I’m so sorry. I’m thinking that trip to Point Lobos may be a necessity—to help me figure things out in my head a wee bit so I can get things back on track.

So, again … my apologies, but I’ll be back after Halloween on November 2nd. Have a blessed two weeks. Toodles!

Spinning My Wheels …


 

THAT WASN’T THE PLAN” … SEEMS like  a reoccurring theme these last few weeks. <insert eye roll> Plans have been going wonky—off kilter for some time now. This week has been no different. Actually worse.

This week has turned into one that is very doctor-centric: appointments, phone calls—and physical therapy (in the office setting & trying to find time to do “homework”. The therapy will be on-going until (at the-minimum) the first week of November. The way things are going, I can easily see it stretching out to near Christmas which is not making me very happy. First week wasn’t too bad, but with this second week, I feel like I’m going backwards. And … I’ve a tooth that’s requiring a new root canal, so I’ll be bouncing back and forth between endodontist and my general dentist for a while. So much fun …

In the meantime, my weekends are set aside for book signings, I even have one event where I’m a panelist (wheee!) instead of selling books and I’m still scrambling to get any photography off the computer and into print form with any success for the Painterly/Writerly events. Have I mentioned I’m beginning to hate technology (even more than usual)? Great when it’s working, but a nightmare when some little thing goes wrong … sigh. I’ve got lots of little things sproinging all over the place <giggle—what else can I do …>

With all that’s happening, time for art seems to have taken a back seat since it’s hard to concentrate and editing takes even a bigger allotment of focus. I couldn’t even manage a blog post last week. I actually took one day to not do any of the things I needed to be doing and let my day flow naturally. It felt good.

I need more days like that. Many more days like that! I need to unhook from technology and get my hands dirty, playing in the yard and in the house. So, if my blogs seem shorter for a while, or my online presence is a shadow of its former self, it’s because I’m taking care of myself for the long haul.

Sigh. The glorious life of a writer … <giggle!>

Have an amazing and blessed Friday and weekend—if you’re a local, please consider dropping by at Compass Church in South Main Street and check out the great event happening (9am-3pm). See you next week.

A Jumble and ScurryMorning in ParadiseHarvest Jubilee at Compass Church

It’s An Author’s Life …


 

FOR ALL OF MY SCURRYING, I’M NOT SURE it really accomplished much (well, certainly not everything I’d planned, that’s for sure). Now that the dust has finally settled, I look back and am glad that week is done. Hopefully, never to be repeated again.

This week has been far more leisurely, yet plenty busy. My calendar is full—with a new weekly bible study (finally … and yay!), doctors appointments, physical therapy (ankle’s getting taken care of at last!), and playing with things that involve my camera and paintbrushes. Oh—and getting my Miata back up to snuff—replacing the back bumper that had a couple holes punched into it by a semi … and finally fixing the scars (down to bare metal) from the large aluminium ladder that, in my absence, fell across its hood a couple of years ago during a very windy storm. It will be nice to have it back—I’ve been driving my truck till it’s fixed. It’s a nice work-horse, but not so nice for around the town driving.

There’s a nice balancing act to keep me in my happy place. A little fun, a little work … and I must not forget the down-time to help keep this energiser bunny going strong.

But, it looks like I’ve left something out—as a writer, shouldn’t there be some writing happening somewhere in the mix? Yes, there should be some writing happening—beyond writing these posts … but I’m still in “putting out fires” mode from my vacation, which means the most important thing is sidelined. And that saddens me immensely <insert teary-eyes …> especially since I’m trying to get all of my books republished.

There have been tiny bits of writing—well, actually editing, but who’s quibbling? I finally spoke with the editor helping me with book one’s rewrite and apparently he was unaware I was having a devil of a time with the PDF edit—he’s offered to turn it into a Word doc so I can be more productive (bless his heart!!!). Now, all I need to do is send the PDF back to him and wait for it to come back in a workable form—yay! <insert happy dance!>

I do have a friend helping me with possible cover ideas, and my head is nearly ready to explode if I don’t get back into creating book five soon … so, all is not completely quiet on the writing front—just not as busy as I’d like it to be. But, things are progressing. Painfully and slowly …

Saturday was my first book signing of the Fall season, and it went fairly well—all except the heat … oh, my! Ninety-one degrees was waaay too hot for yours truly. Joyce did just fine since she runs a bit on the cold side (how I wish!) … we both made sales, though she was Annie Gets Her Bounce by Joyce Orozdisappointed that her newest book—a children’s book—did not have any sales. It’s a cute story, helping children understand seperation anxiety—but, perhaps unintended, I see that it’s also about what happens when a pet doesn’t get the love and attention they deserve. I hope it starts to sell at future events—it deserves a reading audience.

There is a book signing respite for a couple of weeks, as the Monterey County Studio Tour Image of Open Ground Studios Artworkwarms up—Open Ground Studios will be in the line up Saturday and Sunday—we’ve got plenty of our artists with their work on display in the studio (mine included), so if you can make it, 1230 Fremont Street in Seaside is where we’ll all be both Saturday and Sunday!

I get some personal fun-time the next weekend (<insert massive grin …> because I’m all for play-time)—cosplay time for the RenFaire at Casa de Fruta in Hollister. I can hardly wait to don my Celtic attire (I just hope it’s not horribly hot …). Then, back to a book signing and a meet and greet with Harvest Jubilee at Compass ChurchHarvest Jubilee Craft Fair in Salinas and Authors Day at the Monterey Library—a wonderful way to begin October. By the time I’ve gotten back into the book signings, I’m hoping to have at least some of my art (photos from my trip turned into hangable art and blank note cards) squared away and I can concentrate on writing when I’m not doing book signings and sharing my art.

I know many writers that hunker-down and write daily—I can’t seem to master that. I write when words come. They flow better when I do it that way. So, sometimes there’s quite a “desert” when other things overpower my writing, and other times when there’s a word-fest, with a plentiful garden filled with words …

For now, I’ll be happy with the words that create the blogs until I can settling into the “garden” and enjoy the aroma of a bountiful selection of words for my stories.

Until next week, I wish the best for you and yours—may your weekend and upcoming week be blessed.

Toodles till next time!

Saturday and Sunday, September 29-30, 2018
Monterey County Artists Open Studios Tour (including Open Ground Studios in Seaside)
11am-5pm both days
Map and Information about tour

Saturday, October 13, 2018
9am-3pm
Harvest Jubilee
Compass Church
1044 S. Main Street, Salinas CA 93901

Saturday, October 20, 2018
12:00 pm to 5:15 pm

Indie Author Day 2018
Monterey Public Library

625 Pacific Street, Monterey, CA 93940

Coincidence? I Think Not …


 

I RAN INTO A FRIEND, AS IT OFTEN HAPPENS, whilst shopping at Safeway. I haven’t seen her since I was at her house—about a month before I left for my trip to the UK, so it was a delight to find time to chat. Aaannd boy, did we chat! There was so much to talk about.

It wasn’t a chance meeting. Nope. There’s no such thing in God’s world. We were meant to bump into each other. It’s never just a coincidence. There’s always a purpose. Discovering that purpose can be a challenge at times, but I’m never disappointed when I delve deeper to find it. This time, it was easy. In our long conversation, I kept hearing a specific word used again and again—one I felt like I needed to embrace.

Sustain
Suh-steyn
—verb (used with object)
•to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure.
•to bear (a burden, charge, etc.).
•to undergo, experience, or suffer (injury, loss, etc.); endure without giving way or yielding.
•to keep (a person, the mind, the spirits, etc.) from giving way, as under trial or affliction.
•to keep up or keep going, as an action or process: to sustain a conversation.

There were at least ten definitions in my iPhone dictionary, but the first five were the point of the discussion my friend and I were having—as in, God sustains us. It was like having a mini-bible study in the middle of a very busy store. It was kinda cool. And a blessing—for both of us.

We all have problems—whether personal, financial, health, or whatever … and we juggle the rest of our life around them. Some of us feel we must “marshal on”, doing the best we can with what we have—and feel the burden is ours alone to carry. We whisper to ourselves, “I can do it myself”. Like my recent ankle injuries … my stupidity (not paying attention to my surroundings, so I twisted my ankle and fell), my problem—right? “I’ll manage.”

Then, there are those that know from the get-go that they have someone very special they can draw upon—dare I say lean upon—to help them get through any situation. Not unlike each time my husband was rushed by ambulance to the ER. I never hesitated—I wanted Him to be in control of the situation, so I prayed. And gave the entire situation to Him.

Personally—and usually without realising it, I see-saw back and forth between those two very real “attitudes”—and sometimes somewhere in between. In most cases, it finally dawns on me and I eventually hand it over to Him—but not always (and sometimes I steal it back …). He waits—waits for me to realise he will gladly take the burden and carry me through. He wants to sustain me. But, I must remember to ask—to willingly give it to Him; to turn over the problem to Him. Until I do, I’m literally on my own.

Perhaps, by remembering that phrase—”He will sustain me”—making it a mantra until it is ingrained in my mind, then it will be second nature to give all of my problems to him in the first place and not waste a lot of unproductive time trying to do it by myself. This is a good week to practice, that’s for sure. I’m juggling way too many things, and in the process, some of the “balls” have been dropped, creating a poorer-quality than desired result. I didn’t give it to God … <insert severe eye-roll> … when will I learn?

Two events loom—Friday night (tonight!) and Saturday—and I am ill-prepared. It’s never too late to ask for help, but I must also be prepared to take on the consequences of my fumbling. I am willing. The events will go well, just not as well as I envisioned, God willing.

Have an amazing Friday and weekend … and may you find a balance between “doing it myself” and giving it up to that higher power in your life. May it be a blessed week … and if you are local and have time, please do drop by one or both events:

Open Ground Studios: Making Our Mark
1230 Fremont Blvd, Seaside
Friday, September 21  5:30-7:30pm
Artist collective group exhibition. Featured work by:
Alyssa Endo
Bonnie Rose
Cindy Davis
Deb Burke
Denese Sanders
Dora Lisa Rosenbaum
Helen Sakkaris
Koko (Donna) Kooyman
Kristin Peterson Guertin
Linda Lay
Noriko Constant
Paul Richmond
Renata Carettoni Abma
Susie Berteaux
Terese Garcia
Yvonne Gorman

Book Signing and Art at Gilroy Sidewalk Sale and Craft Fair
Downtown Gilroy on 5th Street between Monterey & Eigleberry Streets
Saturday, September 22nd. 10am to 4pm
Books • Art • Crafts
 Authors dj jameson smith and Joyce Oroz will be participating in the craft fair portion of this event. They will have their fantasy and cozy mystery book series available for purchase. Joyce Oroz has a new children’s book available—and she just finished another mystery (location is in Gilroy and Morgan Hill), which will be available very soon—find out details on Saturday. Author dj jameson smith will also be wearing her Painterly hat on Saturday and will have photographic and photopolymer prints on display, along with blank photo note cards—all for sale.
Come join the fun, poke around all the booths along 5th Street—we’re sure you’ll find something to your liking.
Event is free; family friendly.

Autumn Approaches

(This was last week’s post, but technical issues kept me from posting it. Sorry—djs)

Mmmm … AS EACH MORNING DAWNS, the chill in the air becomes more evident. I revel in the coolness that wraps around me. Even when the days intermittently manage to heat up beyond my comfort levels, and the nights have me wishing I had air conditioning, I know.

I know that the early hours of the new day will bring a cool, crispness to the air, preparing me for the deliciousness that is Fall. And, with this change in the season—which, to my dismay, is not nearly as noticeable on the Central Coast—comes the changing of the leaf colours then the dropping of leaves on the trees revealing a lovely scaffolding of dark branches against the sky.

As I wait in anticipation, the weather flip-flops back and forth between mild and barely tolerable, making predicting the weather a challenge. What to wear? Well, on the Central Coast, it’s easy—layers. It’s a safe bet that they will be shed, then most likely re-layered as the day progresses to evening, but it’s always the best way to plan in our little “Camelot”. The flip-flop weather (as I like to call it) always puts a smile on my face. Then, the mid-to late September and October are the hottest months—off and on, with Autumn and Indian Summer in full swing. This weather is not my favourite, but the knowledge that it is the harbinger to cooler (and hopefully wetter) weather gives me hope.

It’s an exciting (and very busy) time of the year for me, though I’m thinking this year may be a little crazier than most. On top of my normal preparation for book signing and/or art events, I’m scrambling to get books edited and preparing them for publishing; creating art for the book covers; climbing that steep learning curve on publishing … and, in addition, creating some new art and cards to sell. And everything has a deadline … oh, joy <as she rolls her eyes> Well, I mostly say that in jest. It really isn’t all that bad. Just a lot on my plate to contemplate at the moment.

I did have a “respite”—or sorts—from this craziness. For weeks I was dashing about to be ready for my trip to St. Louis for the wedding. I knew it would be hot. But, I’d forgotten just how hot (and humid) it could be. The melty-wish-you-were-in-a-refrigerator kind of hot. A sticky mess kind of hot. I’m so glad it was only for four days. I’m not sure I could take more. I was ready to kiss the ground when I returned home to our blessed climate. I did manage Water Lilies, Bobbing Glass Sculptures and Blooms

Sculptures at Missouri Botanical Gardento get some amazing shots of

Water Lilies

Reflections and Pond Lilies  their botanical garden, zoo and miscellaneous items, plus had a delightful time visiting with relatives as we celebrated Elephant statue at entrance to St. Louis Zoothe wedding of my niece and her sweetie (a very nice fellow—and he loves dogs, which makes him perfect <grin>). So, despite the weather, it was a fun and fulfilling trip.

I returned home, fully intending to dive into the editing/publishing bit … but I’ve Waterfall at St. Louis Zoobeen sidetracked, trying to get an estimate on my four-wheeled baby—a semi “kissed” my bumper (a slow-motion kind of affair, so I’m fine) at a Butterflies at the St. Louis Zoo!stoplight. The bumper needs replacing. Oh, bother! At least it’s “minor”—no frame damage, thank God! That’s a very good thing. And, the fact I need to have work done on the car prompted me to think I may get the damage my ladder inflicted Hole in bumperupon it fixed while I’m at it (that damage, of course, I get to pay for …) so when it’s all said and done, my little baby will be beautiful again. Hmmm … now, what about the old cracked leather seats—nope. Those will stay as is <giggle> for now.

Appointment has been scheduled (end of the month) and now I can concentrate on my creative-side activities. Books, art … yup, here I come! Diving in head-first with abandon to keep my mind off of other things.

Enjoy the photos, have a blessed weekend and week to come and I’ll see you next Friday! Cheers!


 

Personal Connections

“CHECKING OUT” FOR A WEEK has done wonders for my creativity. Shedding responsibilities for the short term is great! I’m feeling far more relaxed — it was delightful to see family members that I haven’t seen since the last major family “events”. Way too long between visits, that’s for sure. It’s sad that—for our family, at least—it takes a big event to get family together.

Staying connected on a personal level (not the electronic kind—that’s another thing altogether … grumble) is such an important aspect of family—at least, that’s my feeling. In this day and age, it’s getting harder and harder to do that. With our family—my parents and all of the kidlets (including me), it always seemed to be an issue. Dad’s work took him away from his family (business trips) and extended family—parents, brothers and sisters, and many cousins due to his many transfers as he climbed the corporate ladder. There were plenty of transfers, taking us mostly to different parts of California, but one biggie—my dad’s last business transfer—took us to the Midwest. While we lived in California, we would make “pilgrimages” three to four times annually: New Years in Pasadena (for the Rose Bowl Parade and family time (mostly the “male population” watching football on the tv, the kids playing and the wives … doing what wives did back then ), Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas in his home town, where all the families would “migrate” to celebrate the holidays together. Once we lived out of state, these pilgrimages ended (or at least happened far less frequently)—costs became prohibitive to travel so far with a large family.

By the time my grandparents passed away, many of the grandkids had grown up and moved away … and the coming together as one very large family gathering slowly died out. Individual families celebrated with their own children and grandchildren—possibly even a few of their brothers’ and sisters’ families. Our family was no different—but our together-time became less structured as time went by. We scattered to the four corners of the States—no different that my cousins, but they somehow managed to keep a tighter, closer relationship with their siblings—and for us, visiting became insurmountable by most of the family members. Even funeral and wedding events were a hardship, so our family unit became even more fractured. I mourned with each degree of separation because I love my brothers and their families so much and cherish our times together—yet … even I found myself unable to justify a two day trip across the country—both financial and time-wise.

When my parents moved back to my dad’s hometown, he and his siblings tried to resurrect the tradition in the form of a progressive dinner or alternating the hosting family. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a roaring success.

Since then, there have been two large family reunions—and everyone loved them, but they were labour-intensive (especially the first one, since it ended up being a combination reunion/memorial—sadly, my aunt, the “grand-organiser” of the event, passed away shortly before the reunion!), so there’s been quite a gap between them. I love and admire my cousins for stepping up and taking the challenge on! It was definitely a team effort on their part—God bless them!!

So, any “reunion” I manage to attend (whether filled with sorrow or joy) is very sweet, indeed—no matter the size, no matter which family members are able to attend. I cherish the family time. My niece’s wedding was no exception. Though only one of my siblings from the west coast plus my daughter, her husband and yours truly were able to fly in, it was wonderful to see my younger brothers and one set of nephews—and the bride, of course. She was absolutely radiant—and not flustered one iota by any hiccup that came her way. Cool as a cucumber, as the saying goes! After the wedding, she and her hubby could relax and began their new life together by celebrating with friends and extended family. Lots of family! It was delightful to be introduced to the new branch of our family tree—trying to remember everyone I met is another thing entirely, but they have been forewarned of my forgetfulness … it was wonderful.

Both of my younger brothers are wanting to close the gap between visits—I want to renew my commitment to put a priority on family and extended family. I keep promising to visit, but time, prior commitments and/or finances hold me back. I need to find a way to create some dedicated family time. Now … to figure out how to manage that with upcoming book signings and the frenzy to republish my books with my brand-new publishing company.

It will be quite the balancing act. Oh, I do love a challenge—at least, that’s what I keep saying.

Scurrying, Plotting and Planning …


 

I WOULD LOVE TO TELL YOU that I’ve been über productive this last week, but I’d be lying through my teeth if I did. I managed to finish last week’s post—that was an accomplishment in itself. I’ve done the tiniest bit of editing, but I’m finding my head is not in edit-mode and the moment I bumped up against a paragraph that the editor didn’t like (neither did I), I was stumped for a solution. I just closed the computer and attempted to turn to other things.

There’s still a fair amount of “whilst-you-were-gone” stuff on my plate. I’m not sure if that’s pulling me away from my creative side or not. I know my mind has been busy thinking both Writerly and Painterly thoughts, but the moment I roll up my sleeves to dive in to wrestle with those ideas, they are gone. What’s that all about? Talk about frustrating!

On a more personal level, I’m scrambling to get things lined up for one of my two nieces’ wedding—I’m excited for her, but my invite was lost in the mail, so there’s been a lot of last minute scrambling to get reservations settled. And I seldom do fancy-attire things, so when it dawned on me that my closet could not produce appropriate attire for the event, more scrambling happened <giggle> (with the help of a dear friend) … but now—finally—I’m all set. I’ve even managed to half-pack my carry-on suitcase <grin> so I won’t misplace the clothes I’ve decided to bring—a couple pieces will have to wait for packing since they are getting some minor alterations taken care of. Oh. And I guess I’ll be expected to wear makeup <groan> (you have to understand, I don’t wear that stuff unless I’m “forced” to <insert eye roll> … well, kinda). When my daughter got married (I think that was something like five years ago …?), I wore some … previously, well I’m not sure when I last wore makeup <giggle>. Part of the reason is my allergies … and I’m just not a fancy-dancy dress up kinda girl, so my makeup sits in a drawer, unused. Hope it’s still usable …

I’m assuming that part of the reason you follow my blog is to learn about who I am—who it is that’s behind the author’s facade. This is me. The unvarnished truth. Hehe—maybe some day I’ll quiz you on what you’ve learned about me <wink> <giggle> Just kidding.

Anyway … as the week wound down, I did manage to get a decent walk in—with my shopping friend. She and I are talking about traveling together … yup <giggle> could be up to four weeks … but not till 2020. Today’s walk was over 3.5 miles—the most I’ve walked since returning from my adventure across the Pond. I did pretty well, considering the state of my ankle. She and I have already planned a walk date for next week. This is a good thing for me—getting back into some healthy routines. A healthier me is a more productive me.

A warning—next week is going to be crazy, so there may be no time to work on a post. So, there will be no post next week—I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, have a blessed day today, this weekend and two weeks coming up! Fall is in the air—can you feel it? <grin>

Now … before I forget, let me get this posted.

Just a reminder of upcoming things:

Sat, 22 September, 2018 10am-3pm – ART AND BOOKS (and much more)
Fall GDBA Sidewalk Sale in Gilroy
: On 5th Street in Gilroy, Joyce Oroz and Debra J Smith will join a multitude of vendors—the two authors with be there, sharing a booth with their mystery and fantasy series books for signing and for sale; Debra will also have some of her art available for purchase.

Sat/Sun, 29-30 September, 2018 11am-5pm – ART
Monterey County Artists Open Studios
: Open Ground Studios’ artists (including Debra J Smith) will be participating, sharing their work—and work spaces—with the public at Open Ground Studios at 1230 Fremont Street in Seaside CA.

“Progress” On Republishing the Series

My CreateSpace Title ListSunday, August 12, 2018: HONESTLY … SOMETIMES I WONDER if I’m cut out to be an author. Sure—I love to spin a yarn … and do a pretty darned good job, even if I say so myself. I find myself doubting I can get it done … and don’t get me started on the other aspects of getting the writing out there for the public. Frustration talking, I’m sure.

One of my last real book blogs was done in April, I think. In any case, it’s the one I’m going to be referencing, so here’s the link. The above photo (click on it for larger image) shows all the books I currently have that need tweaking (including covers), books in the series yet to come—and even a couple books I’ve been contemplating (and discussed with Jo before her passing). Most of the stories are actually done, I just need to transcribe a bunch that are in audio form <groan> and write a few more for the Christian fantasy anthology.

I keep reminding myself not to rush through any of this writing/editing/publishing process. It’s going to take time and I don’t want to bulldoze through, missing something important. So … one step at a time. “Slow and steady wins the race”—as the old saying goes. Yup. As much as you and I want to jump to the “published” point (you have been so very patient—thank you from the bottom of my heart!), I know you would want it done right. I know that’s what I want—I want it done right. No sloppy job allowed—I’ve learned my lesson with book one. No shortcuts. No rushing.

August 13, 2018: Oh, my. In my absence (during my ten-week vacation across the Pond), the official letter from Inknbeans Press finally arrived in my e-mailbox—and I could do absolutely nothing. Now that I’ve been home two weeks (yikes!), I’ve still done nothing. Well, not nothing—there’s been plenty of brain-work and wrestling with ideas going on. I still have a few things from my trip that need to be ironed out before I dive into the task of re-publishing. I can start tinkering with things, but no serious work till I’ve managed to clear the table of the dust and clutter that gathered whilst having fun in Ireland and the UK.

I’m still planning on publishing on my own (aka: self-publishing) … but one of the Inknbeans Press authors has gathered a team together and created a new publishing company (now that I’ve paid for my ISBNs, of course). So … what to do? Flounder on my own as publisher of my own work, with 100% control over my work, or join Boch Publishing—their brand-new publishing company—with their own unique growing pains that any new company must deal with, and let them do the “hard work” of publishing, marketing, etc? I do love that Boch Publishing uses a phoenix rising from the ashes as their logo—some of the Inkinbeans authors have signed up with them (hopefully more will), so they are rising from the ashes of their deceased publisher to be published once again with Boch. Like I said—I’ve been doing some serious wrestling of late. No matter which way I choose, I will need to finish getting the body of work editing properly, artwork for covers organised (for all four books) … so, there’s plenty for me to do before I actually decide one way or the other.

On the book-signing front, I’ve a few set up—I did post that a few weeks ago. The spacing of events was perfect—well, a bit busy in November, but I’ll survive. Now I’m being inundated by new opportunities. Many of the events from last year have been slow to get their information out to their participants—I simply thought we (Joyce Oroz and I) had been forgotten. Nope. The event planners have been slow to get organised. Now, I need to do triage—which ones are the most important to attend, which do I decline due to my pressing publishing schedule? I only have so many books left to sell. I don’t want to sign up for an event and not have any books. Personally, I think that would be bad—or … is it a good thing? I could do marketing for the new editions at the events. That means getting my act together very, very quickly and produce some marketing items pronto. I really need to start thinking more like a marketer. Sigh. This is one area I’m not terribly good at … <insert panicked deer-in-headlights look>

August 15, 2018: Finally starting to get “old business” off the table so that I can start to seriously dive into my new adventure of publishing. Definitely a nice feeling. I even managed to find and frame (still a few things to do before it’s ready to go) a lino-cut print for one of the art events coming up (though, honestly … I was not even sure which one—oh, my) <insert nervous giggle> Well … I’ll know soon enough.

August 16, 2018: I was able to finish up the framing of the lino-cut print. The simple act of prepping and framing the print put my mind in the right place—creativity started to flow! Yes! So, though not finished with all of the old business, I decided to pull up the edit for book one of Secrets Beyond Scymaria and dig in. Future edits will not be so brain-sucking complicated. It’s still going to take some time to get this done. I’m only half way through it. Once Hugh (my editor) gets the edited manuscript and tweaks things (then returns it to me …), I’ll have one more edit before it’s ready to publish. Then, on to book two and three (simpler tasks, but still—plenty of work to do). And then <sigh> there’s book four which needs its first edit completed—and book five needs to be finished. What have I gotten myself into …?

Oh, my. Guess I’ve lost all sense of brevity … <giggle> this is another  l o n g  post. I promise to get back to shorter posts soon—honest. Scout’s honor. <wink>

In the meantime, here’s an abbreviated list of what’s happening in my community in the near future. Until my next blog, I wish you a blessed Friday, weekend and upcoming week. Toodles until next Friday!

Events (books and/or art) coming up soon:
Fri-Sun, 17-19 August, 2018 7-11pm (Fri) 11am-6 (Sat) 11am-5pm (Sun) – ART
(and much more!)
WestEnd Celebration in Sand City: Open Ground Studios will have a booth with artists’ work on display—including one of Debra’s prints.

Sat, 22 September, 2018 10am-3pm – ART AND BOOKS (and much more)
Fall GDBA Sidewalk Sale in Gilroy
: On 5th Street in Gilroy, Joyce Oroz and Debra J Smith will join a multitude of vendors—the two authors with be there, sharing a booth with their mystery and fantasy series books for signing and for sale; Debra will also have some of her art available for purchase.

Sat/Sun, 29-30 September, 2018 11am-5pm – ART
Monterey County Artists Open Studios
: Open Ground Studios’ artists (including Debra J Smith) will be participating, sharing their work—and work spaces—with the public at Open Ground Studios at 1230 Fremont Street in Seaside CA.