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!

 

At It Again … Book Signings and Art

I’M OF THE OPINION THAT MANY EVENT planners conspire against us humble vendors. Back-to-back weekends with a few events on Thursday and Friday, just prior to one of the weekend events can certainly be daunting.

Joyce and I have survived two years of that (or has it been more?), Joyce Oroz and dj jameson smithworking together in the fall/winter with all of the holiday events (Halloween, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas—am I forgetting any?). As we drag our way through the last few events of the year, we keep saying (every year) that we need to spread out our events more evenly throughout the year (adding to what we have), so that we can pick and choose which ones we do in the latter part of the year.

Teehee … Joyce managed to find a couple events for the new year already, so we’re already at it again. We finished our first event on 6May (a Saturday)—new to us … and absolutely great for a mystery writer, but apparently not so much for a fantasy writer. The winery seemed like such a great venue to catch people as they came out of their wine tasting and as the headed into the craft/vendor area. Guglielmo Winery Book SigningWe were placed in what should have been a prime location, but we found people skirting around us, not wanting to connect. Those that did connect bought Joyce’s mystery books, but not mine—I chatted with a quite a few people and did sell a few, so it wasn’t a complete loss. Some would listen to our spiel and say they’d think about it … and if they had money left over, they’d stop back and buy—but didn’t. Guess they spent their money elsewhere in the vendor’s fair.

The “background” music did not help. It truly was difficult to carry on conversations with those that did stop, whether their stopping was out of curiosity or an honest desire to purchase. It didn’t help that both Joyce and I no longer have strong voices to talk over the music. And my not having two of my three books on Amazon further damaged my ability to sell. I really need to get those two books republished with Inknbeans Press—soooon!

All of that aside, our next two events were literally back-to-back two-day, then one-day events. First up was the low-key and delightful craft event at Watsonville Watsonville Hospital Book Signing (and Art)Hospital in their conference room, from 10am-4pm on Thursday and Friday, 11-12 May. I had both Painterly and Writerly hats donned for that.

Next (and the finale for the very busy, long weekend) was the Aromas Hills Artisan’s event, Aromas Country Garden Tour on Saturday, 13 May from 10am-4pm. Attendees began at the Aromas Grange to pick up the Garden Tour map, then meander to the homes to admire the rich variety of gardens … and find AHA members displaying their Aromas Country Garden Tour/Book Signingwares—Joyce Oroz and I scored a prime setting to display and hawk our books. An amazing 2.5acre garden. We Scored A Fantastic GardenWe relished every sale, but knew people were there for the gardens, so it was more to get the word out … a PR day, so to speak—and to thoroughly enjoy the glorious day, as well.

We’ve had a quiet spell for a wee bit—time to spend with family on Mother’s Day before I begin chatting with a few business managers these next couple weeks to see if they’d be open to having two authors cluttering up their space for a few hours. We’re going to chat with the proprietor of Jardines de San Juan in San Juan Bautista—after we have a lovely lunch—to see if we can do a Restaurant Garden Delights Beautiful Garden at Jardines Jardines de San Juan's gardensigning in their beautiful garden … and check on a few other businesses in the town, also—especially since one of Joyce’s mysteries is set in San Juan Bautista. Slowly but surely, we will have events scattered throughout the year. And hopefully we’ll be able to keep them on the schedule for years to come.

In the meantime, I certainly hope those mothers, mothers-to-be—and those with a seed of an idea to become a motherHappy Mothers Day—amongst my readers had a memorable Mother’s Day. Though belated, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

I’ve been hunkered down working on the edit for the book that started the whole thing … Secrets Beyond Scymaria. Editing ... ... And More EditingThere may be a few changes, but it will not change the direction of the story. I can hardly wait to get it back into print. But please know that you can get both paperback and hardbound copies of the original printing via my SquareMarket store and I’ve decided to extended the sale for all three—if purchased as a trio, whether two hardbound and one paperback or all three paperback.

So, my dear readers … may this Friday and the week to come be one filled with delight, surprise and cheer …

 

 

A Little Shout-Out

WELL … I’M BUSTIN’ MY BUTTONS—Jackson Horvat did an excellent job of the interview with me. Thank you so much, Jackson! This young man is in high school—the interviews he’s been doing are part of a school project—but more importantly, he’s a published author with Inknbeans Press. A darned good one, too. His genre is science fiction and you can find his books here and at Inknbeans Press … and information about him here.

My interview—the first one in quite a while—can be found here. And along with that lovely interview, I’m finally getting the energy and my creative “mojo” back—sweet! I’m seriously diving back into working on editing book one in the Secrets Beyond Scymaria series so Inknbeans Publishing can publish it. If you recall, I withdrew the first two books from Xlibris last August and assumed I’d have the first book published with Inknbeans Press by January, 2017. Oopsie. I’m also still working on book four, editing it so it too can finally be published. And … my characters have started to breath down my neck, waiting for me to open the file up for book five. It’s time to get their newest story finished.

To celebrate all of this—especially for those of you that have yet to purchase any of the books (or wish to make gifts of the series to friends and family)—beginning Wednesday, April 5, 2017 I am having my first ever, honest-to-goodness book sale at my SquareMarket store! I’m still dotting all the i’s and crossing the t’s … but by the 5th, I should be rarin’ to go.

So my friends, Spring is here. It’s going to be a wonderful season in my life. I certainly hope it is the same with you! Have a wonderful day! May your day and weeks ahead be blessed … may you find serendipity around the corner. Oh … next week will be a photo-blog … I can feel it in my bones (insert mischievous grin here).

 

2016 … The End Is Nigh

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN … THE SAND FOR 2016 has almost run out. I’ve only a few more blogs to do before the closing of the year. I’m surprised I’ve managed to produce one weekly (well, almost). These last few months have been crazy. I knew they would be. I almost burned out—but not quite—from five-plus weekends of book signings and a lovely OGS Artist Showcase party (and a few personal and holiday fun things I squeezed in—I just cannot say no to fun with friends and family!) … leaving me with only one more event coming up tomorrow (that’s Dec 10th at Aptos Grange, Aptos CA folks)—and a mere three blogs to conjure after today before 2016 expires.

I’m ready for it—for all of it! I still have my initial edit for book four to finish (then begin the re-writes) and my publisher will be sending me a first “re-edit” (actually, first truly professional edit) of book one for my perusal—gotta get that back asap so we can get it back into publication! And for my event tomorrow, I worked my fingers to the bone all week trying to get the Christmas cards done—I was so excited that I was able to use images taken two nights in a row at the Christmas at the Inns in Pacific Grove. The Bed and Breakfasts and Inns were splendiferously dressed for the occasion. Beautiful. And yummy goodies to nibble on, too. My favourite was the Jaberwock Inn … for obvious reasons. And I had so much fun turning a slew of photos into lovely faux watercolour images. They all turned out very nice (insert huge grin).

I did not reach the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I was about 20,000 words short, but that’s okay. I’m super excited about where the story is headed. I was going to the NaNo TGIO (thank God it’s over) Party last Sunday, but was too exhausted from a combo of some personal fun and work-related stuff on Friday and Saturday. Sunday turned into a day of rest. I had printed up an excerpt to read—re-reading it was fun … oh, yeah! So sad I didn’t get to share it. Maybe I will later … maybe. Book five is going to be suspenseful. Definitely.

Tomorrow, Joyce Oroz and I will be in Aptos at the Grange—along with quite a few other vendors—hawking our wares: Josephine Stuart Mysteries series (I think she has eight) for Joyce and my Secrets Beyond Scymaria series (books one-three). I think we’re the only ones with books, but I will also have my art. I was told “no photos—we’ve already got three photographers”. I was given permission to sell art and my photopolymer prints (plus … well, I haven’t talked to the contact about my Christmas cards … but I’m sure they’ll be fine because they are “watercolour” vs straight-up photos).

Don’t freak out but … do you realise there’s only sixteen days till Christmas (eeeek!) and fifteen days till the beginning of Hanukkah? Sniggle … on that note—before I close, I want to wish you a blessed Friday and week ahead. Try to stay focused on the reason for the season rather than the craziness all around you.

Moving Along

WOW … THE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND dust has finally settled and I’ve had an opportunity to have a little chat with my neurosurgeon (post-op visit). Everything is looking good on the health-front … progressing nicely, albeit way too slow for me—but the doc is happy and that makes me happy and he doesn’t want to see me for a whole month. That’s a good thing … right? (insert Cheshire grin)

So, now I can get back to business … well sorta. I am healing slowly but surely and am trying to not rush back into “business as usual” since that usually means I’ve done too much. So, bit by bit. Slowly. I’m revamping my schedule to accommodate. Usually I use my Tuesdays and Thursdays to work on all things writing—instead of saving those days for art. I am, after all spending time at Open Ground Studios on those days for a reason. And, I’ve been looking at cover art from other authors’ books and an idea struck me. I’ve been tinkering with the idea of doing my own, but had absolutely no clue where to begin or what the subject would be—other than I’d most likely use photography and then attempt to stitch together a cover image. Ha! Not likely with my Photoshop skills (can we say Total Beginner …?)

I’ll not give it away yet, but know that I will be keeping an artsy aspect to my cover. I just hope I’ll be able to achieve what’s in my mind’s eye …

What I will do is to give you a snippet from my upcoming book four in the Secrets Beyond Scymaria series: Mischiefmakers—if I do things right, it will be ready by Fall, 2016 (depends on my healing process). So, this too will be a longer post than usual—sorry. Please remember, I’m still in edit mode, so this little tidbit is not what you’ll see in final print … but fairly close. Also remember that this is my intellectual property. Please do not copy in any form without my permission:

Secrets Beyond Scymaria: Mischiefmaker … somewhere into chapter two.
Grabbing her backpack, she tippy-toed into her mom’s room to find it empty. Shrugging her shoulders, she spun on her heels and flew down the stairs into the kitchen—her mom’s sanctuary. There she was, back to her, busily preparing breakfast.

“Mom,” Amy protested, “it’s only half past! What on earth are you doing up so early?” She slid up behind her mom before she had a chance to turn around and she gave her a hug.

“Oh, I’ve got my reasons,” returning her hug, her mom avoiding answering the question directly. Amy smiled, wondering if she knew something.

“Um, wouldn’t by chance have anything to do with a request from, um…the Guardian, would it?” She knew all of the adults that were aware of their friend preferred referring to Rocky as the Guardian. She had a hard time remembering to use this “formal” name.

“Well, just maybe. With that backpack, I think you might be in for a busy day, so a hearty breakfast would be perfect, don’t you think?” She slid a plate of bacon, eggs and toast onto the table as Amy slipped into her seat. “Oh—and what about a picnic lunch for you to tuck into your backpack?”

Laughing at the thought of carting an entire picnic lunch in her backpack, she teased. “Mom, I won’t have time—or room for that, I’m sure. Not the way you put together a picnic!” Remembering the feasts they’d found in the past in picnic baskets in her “resting place” on the other side, she added, “Besides. Rocky seems to think of that every time we visit, remember?” She giggled quietly at the thought. “But … maybe a few PBnJs and a couple apples would be good. That’d tide us over till we get back, in case he doesn’t. Rocky has asked us to meet him at the portal. I’m assuming he’s got another little lesson for us. That’s okay, isn’t it?” As an afterthought, she added, “You don’t need me for anything today, do you?”

“No, sweetie, I’ll be fine. I’ve got plans of my own for the day.”

Amy could have sworn she saw a twinkle in her eye as she said that before turning back to gather ingredient for her snack. It’s good to see her so genuinely cheerful. Dad’s death hit both of us hard, but mom seems to be hardest hit. “Want any help putting that together?”

“No, you eat your breakfast. I’ll have it done before you know it.” Already busy working on the lunch, back still turned, Amy’s curiosity was peaked. There was something about how she said it that had her wondering.

“Anything I’d be interested in?” She shoveled in a few bites of egg and bacon, savoring the flavors, waiting for a response.

“Hmm? Oh. No, dear. Grace and I are just going to go into town to do a little shopping, that’s all.” She continued to work at the counter, back to Amy.

Ty! What’s your mother doing today? Is she going with my mom into town? I’m getting a little bit suspicious. She chuckled to herself as she threw her question out to Ty. She’s obviously hiding something—why keep her back to me?

Hmm! Ya know, you’re right. It just dawned on me that something might be going on—just a sec …

The next thing she heard was a gale of laughter in her mind. Her fork clattered onto the floor, along with her next bite of egg. What was that for? “Oops. Sorry Mom. I’ll clean it up.” She quickly grabbed a napkin, cleaning up her mess, wiped off the fork and finished her meal, listening to Ty’s explanation.

I just caught my mother packing a lunch for me. She even pulled out my old backpack. Did your mom pack one too? She’s skirting my questions. So transparent, it’s not even funny. So, what’s going on?

Yeah, she’s making it now, while I finish up breakfast—which was all ready for me when I came downstairs. She let a laugh slip, which caught her mom’s attention.

“Honey, what’s so funny?”

“Mom, it’s okay. I know you’re hiding something. Obviously Rock—I mean the Guardian has talked to you about our little trip. Looks like you know more than we do at this point. Wanna share?” Picking up her plate and fork, she brought them over to the sink and did a quick rinse before slipping both into the dishwasher, then gave her mom a lingering hug.

As her mom slipped the sandwiches and apples into her backpack, she replied, “Dear, I really don’t know much. ‘Make a lunch, they’ll be gone for a while’—really, that’s all he told me. And Grace and I are going into town to shop.”

As she passed the information on to Ty, she nodded in agreement with her mom. That’s too easy…too convenient, but oh, well. It’s not that important. We’ll find out when we get there, right? As she grabbed her backpack, she concluded her conversation with her mom, “Okay, mom. I believe you. Have fun with Mrs. Graeagle. We’ll be back later.”

She called out to her mom as she opened the front door, “G’bye, Mom. Love you!” She could hear a faint “Love you, too!” in reply as she shut the door behind her.

Ty saw her come out the door, calling out her usual “good-bye, love you” to her mom as the door closed. I like how she does that, every time—ever since her dad died. He jumped off the porch swing, leaving it to its cockeyed swinging and sauntered down the stairs two steps at a time, waving to Amy as she looked over, smiling. Cheerful. Good. Well, hopefully she slept better than she’s been sleeping lately. She hasn’t said anything about it yet. She looks like she might have had a good night.

Hey, Amy. How’d you sleep last night?

He could hear her groan in his mind. Don’t ask. Talk about anything else, okay?

Ty scuffed at the ground as he met her out on the sidewalk. “Okay. Whatcha got in yer backpack? Looks awful heavy.” Leaning over her, he started to unzipped the pack to take a peek. She swatted at him.

“Keep out, nosey! That’s a surprise. Mom was gonna put the kitchen sink in there if I hadn’t stopped her. C’mon!” Laughing, she dashed off, with her backpack thumping along in beat to the rhythm of her jog as she headed for the park. He could hear a chinking and sloshing sound as she moved away from her, peaking his curiosity.

“Are you sure she didn’t sneak it in? What’s that noise?” When she didn’t respond, continuing to move away from him, he called out, “Fine!” He let her get a bit more distance between them before slinging his backpack into place, and jogged after her, easily overtaking her with his long stride before she reached the park entrance. He grabbed at her backpack to stop her, then playfully yanked one of her pigtails. She twirled around glaring at him. He could see she was ready to rip into him. He smiled and gave her a wink, pointing forward.

You are not taking any precautions anymore, are you? Keep walking, but not into the park, okay? Let’s go to the Main Street Park for now. I’ll explain later.

So, my friends, that’s it for now. My meds are kicking in, so I know better than to attempt any more writing. Hope you enjoy the tidbit. It’s not—by any means—the nail-biter that I am presently working on. Perhaps I’ll reveal part of that the next time I give you a peek into book four.

Until next week, have a wonderful Friday … and a blessed weekend!

Back in the Saddle

OH, IT DOES FEEL GOOD TO BE writing—and editing again. Moving forward in life—finally. I’ve finished the first edit of Mischiefmaker—I resorted to printing out the manuscript for my edits (I know—paper waster!!—but this is the best way for me to get things done). I did it when I first started this writing-a-book thing and found it to be so much easier for me than sitting in front of a computer, tethered to (or reliant upon) an electrical/electronic source.

I’ll take the written page over a digital screen any day—whether for editing or reading for pleasure. And, yes … I must eventually come back to the computer, but it’s to input changes and for a quick read-through before I print it out once again for the next round. Occasionally, I find myself forgetting about the written page and discover I’ve read ahead four or five pages without editing/correcting my work. I’m obviously still enjoying reading this story of mine. That’s a good thing, don’t you think?

As I was saying before I sidetracked myself (sniggle) … I am working on inputting the corrections for round one. I will read the whole story again with corrections in place, making notes of where I need additional changes as I go. Then, on to round two. Depending on how awful I feel round one was, I’ll do one of two things. Print it out, and dive into it once again … or, if it’s reasonably sound (not too sure it is at this point), I’ll print out copies for my beta readers to get input from them as I am working on taking the rough edges off in round two—it’s usually round three that goes to the beta readers, but maybe I’m improving enough to speed up the process (finally catching the newbie mistakes in the initial writing or round one) … so, we’ll see.

Maybe it’s the upcoming book signing that has me so jazzed about my editing (which I usually dread), or the upcoming surgery that has me up against a deadline … (yeah, probably the latter—teehee), but I’m thoroughly enjoying the time with my manuscript.

The book signing is a joint venture with my author friend, Joyce Oroz—a mystery writer. The Aromas Country Garden (and Art) Tour is on Saturday, May 14th from 10am-4pm (pick up maps for a small fee at the Aromas Grange)–date was recently changed due to rain. We will be joined by other Aromas Hills Artisans (AHA), peppered along the streets of Aromas in various gardens, waiting for people to venture in to admire the area flora—and our various art forms. Most of the AHA members are oil-acrylic-watercolour painters, ceramic & metal sculptors, jewelers, stained glass specialists, etc … whilst Joyce and I use our talents honing words. If you happen to be in the area—northern most portion of Monterey County, come visit Aromas and admire the flower/veggie and xeriscape gardens. Please take the time to see what the artists will have on display. I’m sure they will appreciate your visits to their booths. Joyce and I will be chatting with those that come through our chosen garden (pretty close to the center of town) and of course, we will have books to sell/sign.

From another page in my life, I’ve just given an okay to my publisher on a revamp of the cover of The Scymarian (and made a few corrections to the interior—errors that none of us caught the first time around) and that will head to production soon. Once I get this manuscript polished and wrapped in a bow for my publisher—and finish up with book four, I’ll begin to reclaim book one (and maybe book two) from my first publisher so Inknbeans Press can proceed with publishing it/them under their name. But that won’t happen until I’ve had a real professional edit done on book one (I do not consider the edit done by that publisher as professional by any means—I ended up going back through and correcting all their mistakes and found many more they’d missed). It’s all coming together … slowly, but surely.

After that, I’ll be able to get back to working on book five. It’s exciting, time consuming, stressful and challenging—all at once. Life keeps me busy—and motivated … … that’s for sure.

Folks, I want to thank each and every one of you that have hung in there and kept faithful in reading my blog and following my business pages (my Writerly and Painterly pages) on Facebook. I’m always open to any feedback you might have to make the pages more interesting, so please feel free to comment—either here or on the Facebook pages. I want them to be interesting for you and can only guess if I do not have your feedback.

Have a blessed day—and weekend.

Mine was going to be busy, as you know … and possibly a little wet—but we need the rain, so I’m not complaining. Though it has been rescheduled, if you’re local, no matter the weather next week, don’t let a little rain stop you from getting out to enjoy the beauty of the gardens … and the art. Hopefully we will see you there!

 

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’ …

I’M ON A ROLL … AND IT FEELS GOOD! (Sniggle … that title immediately makes me think of the old western tv show, Rawhide … that wasn’t the plan.) The fog is lifting and energy is finally returning. I wonder if it’s residual from all my walking on Wednesday of last week (I think I managed three miles in one day—that’s a lot for me). On Thursday (last week), I made good progress on the edit of book four—and had fun face-to-face interacting with two other “writerly” NaNoWriMo members. Or maybe the awesome evening I had at Open Ground Studios for their Social Paint Night (if you’re in the area, you really need to check the next one out … not sure there’s a date yet—I’ll check)—oh, yeah! I was able to get a tax extension, so that pressure is off (whew!). Or maybe it’s the fact that, on Saturday, I miraculously scored four hard-to-acquire tickets for the 2017 Gallifrey One event in February and made room reservations for half of us—a friend will make the second room reservation.

I’m on a roll, aren’t I? Well … I did miss the Sunday’s Paint Out with the Aromas Hills Artisans at Point Lobos. They changed the time last minute and I wasn’t able to make the new time work. It would have been great—they paint and sketch whilst I usually wander around with my camera capturing images. Oh, well. There’s always next time.

I even worked in the garden over the weekend. Spring is here in spades—actually, over the weekend, it was more like summer with temps in the high 70s and low 80s! Gorgeous day to play in the garden, even if only for short bits … there’s so much to do. Even though I spend a good hour toiling, it’s hard to see much progress—but I can now walk pathways without getting attacked by thistle plants (yay).

Buoyed by all this wonderful stuff, I walked in on Monday to hear the doomsday lecture from my neurosurgeon. I was prepared for it (plus, I had my extended church family praying for me—thank you—you know who you are). I knew (kinda) what was coming and was prepared with lots and lots of questions. It went smoother than anticipated and there was no lecture (yay!). It took a few more days, but now I’m on the cusp of having a date for my surgery—and the daunting task of cancelling my trip to the UK (that’s the only sad part, really). Air fare and rooms … with the aid of the doctor’s office, I should get most of my money back … I hope.

My week continued to be pretty darn great—a walk in a cute little park, a bit of editing on my work in progress, then a wonderful speaker at Central Coast Writers (perfect for me … she spoke about writing a series). Though I’d already grappled with many of the things she spoke of, I learned plenty. CCW has terrific speakers!

And, after a busy Thursday of talking with doctors, juggling non-painterly things at Open Ground Studios and getting zapped in a “nerve conduction test”, then working on editing with writerly friends, here we are again … at Friday. There’s still plenty on my plate, like the ongoing editing project, finishing and confirming the cancelling of all my flights/rooms and an upcoming book signing in May—May 7th to be exact … in a garden setting—lovely—in Aromas! I’m praying for good weather, but I will take whatever is thrown at me.

Oh … and there’s that pesky “major surgery” near the end of May. God’s got my back on that one (along with all my friends—bless each and every one of them!!), so I’m not going to worry unnecessarily. There may be a few weeks where I’m in hibernation, incoherently babbling from pain medications (grin) so, no blog during that time (I’ll give you warning) … but I’ll be back to my old self soon enough.

I love my life … with all it’s ups and downs—it’s pretty darn exceptional. I am blessed. Indeed.

May your day … and weekend—the whole week, really—be gloriously and serendipitously blessed.

Too Much To Do …

OOPSIE. THERE’S BUSY … THEN THERE’S WAY too busy. It looks like October is just one of those months … filled with a mix of business and pleasure, leaving very little room for quiet time. I’ve been so darn busy trying to get ready for the release of my third book in the series, the book signing next week and the upcoming Steampunk convention—and failing miserably to get my costume the way I envisioned it (insert huge pout), that I have put aside my blog responsibility to the very last second. Literally. Yikes.

Also, in trying to make sure all my ducks were in a row, I completely forgot about book marks for my new book (groan … head/desk!). So … if I’ve time, that’s on my agenda today so I’ll have something for the weekend. Otherwise, it’s on my to-do list for Monday (for next week’s event).  Now I’m wondering what else I’ve forgotten. What was initially planned as  a low key event where I would meander through the vendor tables, etc. to distribute business cards, con ribbons and chat up attendees has become … um, well, almost a circus—with me running in circles, trying to get things to work out correctly. I keep misplacing things, only to find and misplace yet again (and, in most cases, find them again). Some things remain MIA, sadly … so I’m not able to do a few things I’d planned. But, I should be ready. A “scaled-back” ready.

At least, I hope I’m ready.

… And, I now have an added responsibility of trying to recruit interested Steampunk artists to teach at Open Ground Studios. I don’t mind—it’s kind of an honor, really … but I don’t want it to take away from any other aspect: having fun, passing out my con ribbons and chatting with attendees about Dr. Who, steampunk and my ever-growing series. I’ll figure it out.

So, as short as this blog is, I’m sure next week’s will be just the opposite … and should be filled with photos from the conference. Until then, I’m off to have some fun, so have a blessed weekend and week to come.

 

Secrets Beyond Scymaria series (books 1-3) available now at my SquareMarket (signed copies)
Inknbeans Press (book 3 only … at some time in the future, they will have all of the books in the series)
Amazon (book three)  (book 1-2) … having issues getting Amazon to recognize all are by same author.

 

It’s Almost Time

OKAY … I’M COUNTING THE DAYS NOW—I’VE JUST HEARD from my publisher, verifying that we’re on schedule … and it looks like it’s just one week away before The Scymarian will be released—on Friday, 25 September, 2015. Wheee!

To say that I’m excited is a gross understatement. Can you see me doin’ a happy dance? … ooh, big time! It’s truly a mini-event for me, since this is the last bit of the initial story that I wrote, then split into three to create the Secrets Beyond Scymaria series. The story line has only just started to unfold, with new discoveries on each page … in each book.

Now the real challenge begins.

I’ve already managed to accumulate over 45,000 words for the next couple books. Right now I’m trying to find a good spot to slice the book … and then dive in, to add a few more elements to the first of the two books to create book #4—The Mischiefmaker. Then it will be time to do a serious edit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

For now, I’m simply going to bask in the joy of knowing that The Scymarian is just about ready for you to read. I’m hoping to have some of the books in my hands for my little foray into Steam Punk at the convention in Turlock—my publisher has promised I’ll have them. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be “steam-punking” the Dr. Who’s Sarah Jane Smith character (still working on it) that I plan to cosplay as … but I’m certainly going to have fun trying. So, if you happen to be attending the SteamHouse Steam Punk Conference, you just might see me there. Hopefully with a few new books …

My second Inknbeans Press blog piece is out today, to give you a bit more information about the new book. Short but sweet … and with a link for pre-ordering books (with free shipping). You can find the link to the blog piece here.

Have a blessed weekend. Stay cool—or warm, depending on where you are. And enjoy your weekend.

#SecretsBeyondScymaria (twitter)
SquareMarket-Creations by djamesonsmith

 

 

Funny Thing …

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

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

Open Ground Studios Booth

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

Accordion Boooks

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

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

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

Clockwork Gears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogging and Writing

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Always Something Happening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big News

I’VE KEPT THIS KINDA HUSH-HUSH for a very long time (been dying to tell you), but now I can finally make it public. It’s a hodge-podge of good news and sorta bad news—depending on how you look at it. However you may look at it as a reader, as a writer I am filled with relief and anticipation (well … maybe a touch of anxiety, too).

The Good News is that I’ve been trying to find a real publisher (not a vanity press publishing company) to accept my books since I’ve become so displeased with (but tolerant of) the shenanigans of Xlibris—yes, I know they are a vanity press and I cringe at paying through the nose for every single thing, but I feel they should be professional about how they handle their business (especially for the kind of money laid out).

Recently, I approached InknBeans Press, a small company in So. California and they were kind enough to bump my request to the top of their pile of books to review because of my situation (thank you so very much—I truly appreciate what has been done for me). Those of my fellow writers that have books published through InknBeans speak highly of them.

I finally heard back on Wednesday—they are interested! Enough so that they even mentioned talking about contracts. Squeee! Later that day, I sent of a positive response to their letter to address their questions and concerns—pretty much agreeing with all they had to say, except for a few minor points. Now, I’m hovering over my email account, waiting for a response.

Perhaps I’m jumping the gun—well, yeah … I am jumping the gun—but I’ve been so completely dissatisfied with Xlibris that on Thursday, I sent my letter requesting immediate withdrawal of The Scymarian from their grips. We’ll see how long it takes them to release me from their contract.

In the meantime, there is no contract with InknBeans Press (yet). Which means, my book remains in limbo. So, the bad news is, even if I get that contract signed soon, it will be a few more months before the book is published. I have to go through submitting the artwork, their corrections (if any) of the manuscript and then the reviewing and authorization of the interior and cover galleys again (I’m sure it’ll be just fine this time). But, if InknBeans Press decides those few minor points I mentioned in my letter to them are too much, I may be forced to resort to CreateSpace to publish my book. I’ve never done it before, so a huge learning curve is before me. Plus, CreateSpace has no hardback copies for those that want them. InknBean does not usually do hardbound, but are able to provide it and will do so if ask (I will ask if enough people request it).

Lots of ifs and whens, but I feel this was the right move. The good outweighs the bad. Whichever way it goes, please know that it’s because I am trying to do the best thing for my readers—to provide a quality product. I know it’s been a very long time since my last book (nearly a year), with lots of hiccups causing delays, but I ask for your patience—yet again.

Whilst I wait for the response from InknBean Press and the acknowledgement from Xlibris about my book, I will concentrate heavily on my next endeavor … book four: “Mischiefmaker”. I’ll keep you informed.

Until then, have a blessed weekend and enjoy the weeks ahead as summer busts out into its full glory.

Well … More Delays

LIFE LOVES TO THROW ME CURVE balls … all the time. I’ve gotten used to it.

This newest one is more of an announcement … sorta.

But I’ve had a very hard time focusing on the galleys—there are so many formatting errors it isn’t even funny. I’m afraid, if I ever manage to get through them all, it will be late Summer, 2015 before The Scymarian is available.

So, instead of wading through the galleys like a good little author … I have turned my attention to my artistic side. I have a one-day workshop to help permanently (hopefully) burn the multi-stepped process of creating photopolymer plates from my photographic images. I spent all day downloading and sorting through photos, looking for images that stood out as exceptional—ones I want to turn into special works of art, rather than simply enlarged, framed photos. It was exhilarating. I had so much energy—even after spending some time weeding the raised garden beds at Open Ground Studios. I do love gardening—even weeding, but usually I end up rather spent when I’m done. Not today (insert huge grin). I was having entirely too much fun to be tired.

Tomorrow’s workshop will hopefully be the last one I need to take to feel proficient at this plate-making process. I want to be able to come in, decide on an image, play with it in Photoshop to make it “proper” for the process, then confidently create the etched metal plate so I can play with ink colors for my prints.

I’m thinking that I may take the images I’ll be using tomorrow to create large framed photographic canvases to hang along side the photopolymer etched prints so people can see the difference. And perhaps, this fall I’ll have my very own exhibition at Open Ground Studios, displaying my photography, my photopolymer etchings and other artistic endeavors—plus of course, a display of my books (…hopefully three by then!) and books to be signed and sold.

Teehee … so, that was the announcement—well, two I guess. Short an’ sweet. Relatively speaking.

Please enjoy your Friday and the upcoming weekend. May it truly be a blessed weekend for all of you. I know mine will be (wink).

Branding …

I’M PUTTING ASIDE A NUMBER OF BLOG ideas to post this one … time sensitive and all. Sorta.

Branding is a “thing” in many fields. I’m not really sure there is a field it’s not important, but that’s not the issue.

Businesses have their logos, musicians and artists have a certain way they create their masterpieces, whether spoken (or sung) or visual. Some even go so far as to dress, act (their mannerisms) or even talk a certain way. It is all a form of branding.

As I tippy-toe through this minefield of ideas, trying to determine what I want to do—how “far” I want to go—with the branding for my books, my business and myself, I wonder. My business is very direct: “God Inspired” is in the title because I know I could not have achieved what I’ve done without the talents provided by Him and he deserves the credit. But, do I create an alter ego that is the writer and businessperson? Do I anchor myself in who I am (sometimes a bit crazy, goofy), blowing off the staid norms of the industry, or find a balance somewhere in between?

I am inclined to lean heavily on being myself. Lighthearted. Joyful and full of life. A follower of Christ (at least, doing my best). In doing so, I am going against what I see as the norm in the writing industry. Will that hurt my chances of succeeding?

One “struggle” I had was whether to stay with the simple, conservative author’s photo for my book—my first two were relatively simplistic. Static photo of me with something in the background. But, a few months ago, friend and I were out “shooting” the scenery when I caught her taking a picture of me. I got goofy, pulled my hat off my head (it was very, very cold and blustery that day—we were well bundled … and still freezing) and pretended to throw it up in the air. She caught it on camera. When I saw it, I immediately felt like it captured the real me—others have said the same. Yes, I can be serious. But mostly, I am what I’d call a free spirit—even more so now that I’m older. I knew this was the photo I wanted to use as my official author’s photograph.

Crazy, right?

Am I dooming myself by doing so? Will people take me serious when they see this crazy photo? All of the articles about succeeding in the writing business say to keep it professional, to keep the “artsy” photos on Instagram, etc.

Well, I’ve spent a better part of a week grappling with this one issue and finally made my decision. Along with all the other legal bits and my manuscript, I attached a jpeg of my joyful photo to be used on the back of my books. I am relieved at finally making the decision to use it—in addition to the immense relief of finally having everything out of my hands as I pushed the send button.

My third book, The Scymarian is now in the hands of my publisher. I am excited, relieved and just plain ol’ joyful. The cover art will follow shortly, but they have everything that they need to get the inside galley and the marketing begun.

I’m going to place an order soon for some “con ribbons”—those lovely little self-adhesive backed ribbons with sayings and art on the front that is handed out at ComicCons, DrWhoCons, etc. I’ll use it when I attend any of these conferences—attending as myself (most likely … though that may change), wandering around passing out the ribbons and wristbands to interested attendees. The one definite exception will be the Dr. Who conference in February … I’m going to go as Sarah Jane Smith—insert huge grin—(one of Dr. Who’s companions in the Classic series and leading lady in her own series before her passing). I’m gathering the costume slowly, even now.

Back to branding. Companies switch out their brand—why, I’ve no clue. It’s disruptive to my poor little brain. If I like a company, I settle into it, logo and all. When they change things up, I get confused. Can’t find their products. Maybe it’s not their logos that need changing. Quit trying to please everyone in the world so much. That’s an impossible task and requires changing more than a logo. Perhaps they need to work on keeping their ethics intact. I don’t know.

I just know it’s so much easier simply being myself. I won’t have to switch back and forth, turning on and off my alter ego. I like who I am. So, I’m going forth as me … a person who also happens to be a writer, a photographer and an artist. I’m not going to change just so I fit a certain perceived peg. I am who I am.

So, be assured I will stick with my “me” brand. It may take some time to polish, but … what you see is what you get (insert huge grin) …

Just so you know.

 

Secrets Beyond Scymaria

Book one

Secrets Beyond Scymaria

Book two

Secrets Beyond Scymaria

Book three

 

Secrets Beyond Scymaria series, book three: The Scymarian coming soon!  The first two books in the series are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and signed copies at my SquareMarket website. The Scymarian, available soon.

Drawing A Blank…

WELL, THIS IS UNUSUAL. MY BRAIN SEEMS to be blank—at least where my blog is concerned. Well, I do have fleeting ideas, but none manage to take root. Often, when I’m driving around town, an idea comes to me and churns ’round in my mind till it forms into a line of thought. But this week, nothing. Nada.

This is when I consider going through my photos to come up with a pictoral blog. Usually, about half way through rooting around all the pictures, I come up with a nice blog—one of prose. It’s only Tuesday. We’ll see what happens…

And now…it’s Thursday and I’m still drawing a blank. My edit has my mind fully engaged in the story. Working on making it better—with the help of my awesome editor, David Antrobus—with each pass. Surprisingly, I’m having fun going through the edit and re-reading what I’ve written (this does not mean it’s not hard to make the changes needed—unfortunately, it seems that will always be a challenge). I will never get tired of this story I’ve created and the characters (especially the two protagonists) that have evolved. They each have such a distinct persona. I love it. I find myself giggling and/or shaking my head at their antics, actions and thoughts. And, thankfully, they are still developing. Growing. My children (insert huge grin here).

I’ve read somewhere that the characters in a writer’s story are usually bits of that writer’s own persona. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I have drawn characteristics from people around me—and, yes…I guess some from me, too—to make them real, to give them depth. I certainly hope I have succeeded.

Working concurrently on both book three’s edit and the creation of book four has helped keep the continuity of their character…but at the same time it has slowed my progress on each one—trememdously. In addition, writing/editing has made it difficult to concentrate and create this weekly blog. I certainly don’t want to discontinue the blog…but it may get a bit spotty now and then as I struggle to juggle so many different things. For this, I am apologizing in advance. Though I hate to just fill the space with “fluff”—I’ll endeavor to avoid this—at the very least, I’ll try to post a few photos of what life has thrown my way during the week. You may (insert wink) get tired of my dog and cat…and Point Lobos…

I’ll keep you posted on my writing/editing progress, for sure. But, I do have a visit to Gallifrey One Convention in LA at the beginning of next month, so at least one blog will be about my adventures there. For those unfamiliar, I am a Doctor Who fan. It’s a on-going science fiction tv series from the 60s…still going strong. Gallifrey is the Doctor’s home planet, hence the name of the convention event. I stumbled upon it in mid-70s when Tom Baker portrayed the Doctor. I haven’t been to a convention is a zillion years, so this event aught to be interesting…. I’ll probably be one of the oldest attendees (giggle). Like I said…interesting.

Trying to sneak in a book signing whilst I am in LA was on my agenda, but it looks like that’s not going to happen. Perhaps in March—I’ll be back down in Southern California then for a family reunion…I just have to see if I can round up critter sitters for the extended time I’m gone.

So, this has been a mish-mash of thoughts, ideas and an apology. I’ll try to keep my future blogs a wee bit more focused. In the meantime, I hope this next week is filled with amazing discoveries, good books to take you far afield and blessed with friends and family to share your life’s adventures.

 

 

Upcoming Book Signing

JUST A QUICK NOTE: for those of you local to the Monterey County area, the last book signing of the year is coming up on the 20th of December at the Salinas Baptist Church, 1130 San Vincente from 10am to 2pm.

I will have my Secrets Beyond Scymaria sci-fi fantasy series and sharing the table with Joyce Oroz, murder mystery author of the Josephine Stuart Mystery series. We will have our autographed books available for purchase and will answer questions you might have about the making of each series.

Please join us and spend a some time perusing the other delights for sale…there’s still time to find a last minute gift to put under the tree…whether a book or craft item.

Salinas Baptist Church
1130 San VincenteSalinas CA 93901
Saturday, December 20th
10am-2pm

Hope to see you there!

Timing…

I HATE IT WHEN I STOP WRITING mid-sentence/mid-thought…I guess, at the time, I thought I’d easily be able to pick up where I left off. I began a blog entry a month ago, laid it aside in the ‘draft’ pile and figured I’d use it at an appropriate time, but without changing tenses, timing…well, it was very time sensitive. And now, one month later, after scanning through my previous blogs, I realized I actually did finish it and posted it. It seems WordPress has been having issues saving thing…and letting go of old (published) drafts, too. I was relieved that I hadn’t made a huge mistake. But, it made me think—I had done nothing more on this entry (or so I thought), I’ve done very little on my edit for book three—my editor has probably forgotten all about me since I haven’t communicated with him, I haven’t been communicating with my publisher and I have done nothing on book four (other than think about it), which is my NaNoWriMo project this year.

I’ve been hibernating…It’s not that I’m “burnt out” from all of this, it’s just that I’m dealing with some health issues—with my dog and my own health. I think I’ve mentioned some of it in a previous blogs. I’m not looking for sympathy (just statin’ the facts, ma’am….) So, now that Kaeli is better (finally!) I’m trying to recuperate from my own issues. Trying to get some energy back so I can plow ahead with all that needs doing.

The lack of editing on The Scymarian has been a huge negative. Not only does that mean the completion and publishing of book three has been pushed back to the beginning the new year, which has me feeling like I’ve disappointed my readers—big time (I am so sorry), but I seem to be in a time warp with the Holiday season nearly upon me.

There is so much to do and so little time to accomplish it. In a little over a week, Thanksgiving Day will be here with my merry little family over for the day. I do have a turkey and menu planned (whew!), but my house looks like a tornado blew through it—no counter space for cooking, no room for guests to sit…oh, my! In less than a week (aah…by the time this is posted, it will be imminent), I have a two-day book signing, which will take two precious days away from cleaning up my disaster. Then, a month later, Christmas—with all the decorating and preparations. Yikes. Don’t get me wrong…I absolutely adore both holidays. They are very special, close to my heart…but I want to enter into each with my head and heart in the right place.

And, life seems to be getting in the way of writing, which makes me sad too. I love writing. Beyond my weekly blogs, I’m not doing much. Let’s just say this year is one fraught with frustrations. I know, with God’s help, I’ll get through it all. But, I’m going to have to make decisions–which is more important. Prioritize. You, my dear readers, may not be happy with me, but family trumps my books and writing, so there will be delays in the release of book three and perhaps a few missed blogs. I’ll be less stressed and the final products will be much better. Please be patient. It’ll be worth the wait.

There will be no blog entry the day after Thanksgiving—unless I’m unusually productive, so I will wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving Day now. Take time to be present with your family and friends. May you find many things to be thankful for on this special day.

Have a blessed week.

Gratitudes and Attitudes

AN AUTHOR FRIEND OF MINE, Leland Dirks (an amazing author), has put together a wonderful book entitled 100 Days of Gratitude. The seed for his project began with his Facebook friends nudging him to join in on the ‘Thankful’ thing that’s been floating around for a bit: list three things you are thankful or grateful for—or blessed by, do it for seven days, and tag x-number of people to join in.

So, he did. And because he enjoyed it so much, he is still doing it (and I love seeing both his prose and photography posts)—as are many of my friends. It is, for a lack of a better word, addictive. Leland has taken his love of photography and paired it with his thankful thoughts to create this awesome book, blessing his readers with a work of art!

At first, I resisted jumping on the bandwagon because I give voice to my blessings daily to God, so I felt it would make my them less valuable by announcing them on Facebook. I kept getting a nagging feeling, like it was something I needed to do, even though nobody had specifically tagged me. I laughed when, on the day I finally decided to do it, I was officially tagged—by my daughter.

I started mine the day after she began hers and faithfully posted my gratitudes daily for seven days. It turned out to be very freeing, this public announcement of my blessings. And, like I said before, it is something that I want to continue, though not as frequently. Besides, who wants to hear from me every single day? I’ve cut back my postings on Facebook (sometimes it still seems like I’m on there more than I should be)—I get so little done when I try to keep track of everything on that social media site. That and my blogging once a week is probably all (probably more than) I should be doing (giggle—and I won’t mention all the other stuff that ends up getting put off because of it…)

Recently I attended a photo exhibition at Open Ground Studios (of course—wink), celebrating the sunrises from many locations over the course of a week from January, 2014. Many of the pictures were stunning. All captured a moment in time as the new day dawned. I liked the concept. Short time period, making it more doable than the 365-day challenge—which I failed at miserably after about two weeks: take a picture (any picture) daily and post it at a specific web address—I decided to post on my own photo website. Like I said. I failed. So, this sounded much better.

The new sunrise challenge began on 6 October and ran through 11 October. I managed to be up for the first sunrise, failed the second day, but was determined to make it for the remainder—made it, but the sunrises were somewhat boring (ordinary)…apparently I needed to be up almost an hour before sunrise to catch anything memorable. I just couldn’t manage—lazy me!

Then, I had a idea: combine two things I love. My photography and my blessings. I figured I would combine my sunrise photography with my gratitudes (blessings). I don’t mean to step on Leland’s toes…he did originate the idea using the views from around his home and the mountains at all times of the day, but I’m putting my own personal twist on it. I decided to expand the Sunrise Challenge idea a wee bit to include sunsets—and wait till I had some awesome sunrises and sunsets. I’ll be accumulating them and posting here and on my Flickr page sometime in the near future. No book for me—that’s Leland’s arena…just the photos and blessings.

But for now, I’m focusing on my two books…the one I’m supposed to be editing in preparation for a December release (may have to push that to January, 2015) and book four. It is now November and I’m up to my eyeballs in NaNoWriMo fun: 30 days of writers’ abandon…trying to accumulate 50,000 words to create a novel…

This year, they are allowing writers to participate with works in progress (WIP). I am 20,000 words into it. Officially, I only need 30,000 more words but would like to add 50,000 more. Hmm..we’ll see if I managed it—on December 1st.

Until next week (hopefully on schedule this time!), check out the links and have a blessed week.

Upcoming Events

WELL, IT’S BEEN AWHILE SINCE I’VE let you know any specifics about my schedule, including my fundraising fun and upcoming book signings/readings, so here goes:

Yes, I know—these are not business related, but very dear to my heart:
Sat, 27 September from 8:30-12:30
Walking for Alzheimer’s at Aptos Seascape Resort.
Sat, 11 October from 8:30-12:30 Walking for Alzheimer’s at Monterey’s Custom House Plaza.

I know…two walks? Am I daft? No. The Santa Cruz walk is the one I started with—Monterey didn’t have one. When Monterey finally did start up their walk, I felt since my dad had Alzheimer’s Disease and I felt fully invested in the cause, I chose to do both. Sometimes it is a bit much, but I will always support one or the other in some form.

Alzheimer’s Disease hits straight across all the demographics and does not discriminate—it hits the rich and famous, poor, average joe, intellectuals. You or a family member could be its next victim. There’s a higher risk if someone in your family has had it. Right now, there are some good drugs that will slow down the progress of the disease, but the end result is the same: loss of memory—not just memories of friends and families, but the basic functions to be a productive person, and then, eventually death. Wouldn’t you want research to be trying to find a cure? You can help raise awareness and help fund research for this cruel disease by supporting Alzheimers Association, either through the walks or direct donations to the organization.

If you are interested in supporting me in either event, click on one of these links—donations received up to a month after the events will count toward my total (Santa Cruz or Monterey). If you choose to make a general donation to Alzheimer’s Association or simply want to find out more about the disease, that’s fine with me.

My Secrets Beyond Scymaria series book signings and sales:
Sat, 25 October from 2-4 Book signing at Open Ground Studios 1230 Fremont Blvd, Seaside CA. Come and meet me, ask questions about the series and have your purchased copies signed.
Sat-Sun 14-15 November (times TBA) Holiday Crafts. Several authors (including yours truly) will be available to answer questions and sign purchased books at Watsonville Elks Lodge, 121 Martinelli St, Watsonville CA
Sat-Sun 22-23 November (times TBA) AHA Holiday Crafts event at Aromas Grange, Corner of Rose and Bardue, Aromas CA. Again, several authors (including yours truly) will be present to sign books and answer questions.

Check back for more details (times) as they become available.

I’m working on getting some events for out of town, but not sure when they will happen…still in the works.