Time Stops For No One …

WATCHING MY DOG AS SHE ages can be hard sometimes. In people-years, she’s surpassed 86. The vet says Kaeli is relatively healthy for her age (other than elevated liver enzymes that are slowly returning to more “normal” every time she is tested). Arthritis has her panting—or is it the abnormal tests? Either way, it distresses me. I hate to see her in pain.

I sure wish she could speak to help us out in trying to help

Waiting ...

Chilling whilst mom works on her blog.
2016

her through this time in her life … I do wonder at times if she is truly enjoying life. Am I being selfish, prolonging things? I’d rather not think about that at this time … denial, maybe?

Kaeli’s definitely not the tail-wagging sweetie I knew a few years ago. Only occasionally do I see the tail-wag I long to see and even less frequent is the trot with a spring in her step. Both

Kaeli chillin'

“… I didn’t say I was comfortable.”
Kaeli resting, 2015

happen, but not as often as I’d like to see. Her walk has slowed to a stiff gait, more often than not dragging one rear foot as she pads along. Her head hangs low, as if too heave to hold erect; tail tucked in painful submission. I hate that I live in a two-story house and she feels obliged to follow me up, tripping on steps as she plods after me whenever I need something upstairs or am heading to bed. Then, there’s the awkward “oh … I need to come back down, don’t I?” look as she stands at the head of the steps, staring down at me. Usually, I let her come at her own pace. Sometimes immediate, but more than likely it’s after a bit of courage-mustering … she’ll then treads carefully down the steps. I love multi-level homes, but this is a huge disadvantage—as much for me as her.

I think Kaeli’d rather be at my side than wander around in the yard freely all day—or perhaps, she’s simply resigned to the fact. I am working (slowly) on creating a smaller compound within my 3/4 acre yard that deer cannot get into (hopefully, as she noms on their droppings and this may be the reason for the abnormal labs) … and in an area clear of

Chillin' With Mom

Kaeli chillin’ with me at Open Ground Studios
2016
(Sorry it’s sideways—can’t seem to remedy)

poison oak for her to roam freely. The later is so I will feel more loving—hard to get all snuggily when I know I’m apt to end up with poison oak. Hopefully she will want to wander—she really needs to build up her muscle mass. All the “shadowing”—snoozing whilst being at my side … or sleeping in the car whilst I run errands has given her very little exercise and I feel guilty for thrusting that upon her. Getting back into the yard will be good for her. She just needs to stay on level area so she doesn’t tumble down the hill.

She’s not the only one aging—but she’s certainly doing it far more gracefully than I.

Me an' My Mom

Kaeli and I at the beach, 2015

Groan. She and I have a disability in common—arthritis. She never complains—oh, you can see how it’s effecting her gait and demeanor, but not verbally. She’s quiet as a mouse. I try not to complain. I’ve gotten pretty good, but occasionally fall into my old habits and find myself grumbling now and again … and hosting a pity party once in a while. I try to remember that I have it so much better than many others. That usually humbles me right there … and pulls me back to reality—thinking about quite a few of my friends and their struggles. Their trials and tribulations are far greater than mine. I find myself realizing how blessed I am. And blessed to have an awesome group of friends and family to lean on—they keep me accountable … and shake me loose from my pity parties. A good thing for someone living alone, don’t you think?

With all the daily reminders that time time waits for no one,

Ready to Roll ...

In my Miata, waiting for me to stop taking photos.
2014

sometimes I worry a little about being away from my furbabies for so long when I go on holiday. If only I could bring Kaeli with me (Sebastian would be fine … so independent, but he’s certainly glad to see me upon my return)—a selfish thought, really—that would be even worse for her.

I will simply continue to count my blessings. My days with my sweet little Kaeli are numbered and I chose

Sebastain and Kaeli

… we’re friends—really.

to cherish them all. I will hurry back from each trip away, ready to snuggle with her and celebrate my return with her—and Sebastian.

They are both great companions.

Have I mentioned, I am blessed? Indeed!

 

Joy


I LOVE LIFE. JOY IS A LARGE PART of me — my natural state. Joy seeps into almost everything I do, think, create. I am the proverbial optimist, with my view on life being half full, rather than half empty. In life, I countered my husband’s “half-empty” attitude. We balanced each other in so many ways: my sometimes impulsive, energetic, adventuresome curiosity to his restrained, analytical reserve. We were quite a pair. To this day, I wonder how we managed to stay together “until death do us part” … but we did.

So, without him as a “governor” to reign in some of that enthusiastic energy, I seem to have higher highs … and lows that I don’t recall being there before. Maybe it’s simply my faulty memory playing tricks.

In any case, I love my half-full attitude. And this week I find my cup of joy overflowing. I’ve got pressures to meet some deadlines, NaNoWriMo is afoot and I haven’t even started … yet, I’m filled with joy.

On November 1st, I decided to begin posting my gratitudes—things I’m thankful about and for. That—and playing with my photography, using canvas to lay the image onto—seems to have pushed my joy button even more (insert giggly smiley face here). I was downright euphoric on Monday when I produced my first image. Some of my images will make their way into the Open Ground Studios show at the end of the month (through mid-January, 2016) … some will be at the book signing/art event that Aromas Hills Artisans puts on annually in November (21-22 of November this year) … and another unrelated event this weekend (Yikes! Where did the time go??). I’m tickled to be involved with both organizations … and finally have something new to show at all events (aside from my books).

So, this post… and the next several weeks (or more)—since Thanksgiving comes near the end of the month—will be about being grateful … and joy filled. We all find ourselves fretting about so much. How often do  you take a moment to think about all that you are thankful for? For me … well, I know I should be spending far more time being thankful. Here’s part of the list I started at the beginning of the month:

I am thankful for …
•met deadlines, with more to come (yes, thankful for even more pressure)
•food in the cupboards and fridge
•my dog snuggled at my feet
•the cat curled up, purring in my lap
•rain rain rain. Thank God for rain in parched California!!
•the sound of rain on my roof, running down the downspouts
•warm dry clothes on a wet day
•muted light from an overcast sky–easy on my aging eyes
•a friend’s relief from pain … and finally after so long, a diagnosis so they can move forward to manage her pain
•hot tea to sip on chilly mornings
•automatic thermostats that knows when to take the chill off the morning air
•that first long rain of the season, when everything around me is painted in deeper, richer colours
•being able to share my abundance with others
•visitations from my local deer. They are so beautiful

May your day … and the coming week be blessed with a multitude of reasons to be thankful and joy filled.

UPCOMING EVENTS (hopefully I’ll see some of you that live locally):
November 1-30 24/7
(starts and ends at midnight)
National Novel Writing Month
Write with abandon all month, aim for 50,000 words by midnight on the 30th
You can still sign-up online: NaNoWriMo.org

November 14   Saturday  9am-1pm
Craft Show w/Book Signing (and some of dj’s art)
dj jameson smith w/fellow author (mysteries), Joyce Oroz
735 Ramona Avenue, Monterey CA

November 21-22   Saturday/Sunday 9am-4pm
Aromas Hills Artisans Holiday Art (and craft) Fair w/Book Signing & art
dj jameson smith w/fellow author (mysteries), Joyce Oroz
Aromas Grange, Aromas CA

December 4   Friday 5:30-8:30pm
Co-Op Members Art Exhibition Opening and Christmas Party
Open Ground Studios, 1230 Fremont Blvd., Seaside CA
dj jameson smith will have her art on display for sale in various forms (framed, matted & unmatted pieces along with note and post cards), plus her books will be available for purchase
(the exhibition will be available for viewing from Nov 25, 2015 – Jan 20, 2016)

 

I’ve Been Pondering … Deeply | Part Two

YES, I’M STILL FREAKING OUT OVER THIS decision of cutting myself off from overseas travel—well … maybe not as much as I was when I first started thinking about this. I did promise two friends I’d visit their country … no, make that three friends … and now it looks like I’m going to have to renig on my promises. That’s something I seldom do. If I make a promise to do something, I like to keep it. But, sometimes, things get in the way … like finances—and, in the case of the three locations (India, Australia and Hong Kong)—distance plays heavily into the decision.

I’ve been trying to figure out how I could physically manage about 18 hours in the air. With my body’s slow meltdown after October, 2013 (I’ve had good times and not so good times—I never know when each will hit), there’s no way. Finances … well, I could probably figure that one out eventually (pull from “Peter” to pay “Paul” …), but the time spent in the air is a biggie. Even for a trip to/from across the Pond. I’m not thrilled about the travel time required for my 2016 visit to the UK and beyond, but I’ve already committed myself to this trip. And if I do decided to go business cla$$ (haven’t decided as yet), it’s going to eat into what I will be able to afford in the future.

A couple of friends have suggested to make the decision on a trip-by-trip basis: plan it, see how I’m doing … then if I’m doing well, make the commitment to go. If not, then … well obviously, don’t. Hmmm. I may have to take that under consideration. But in the meantime, I think … since I have time before my next big planned trip (after the 2016 trip … pattern is every two years or so), I think I will play with the shorter, on-my-continent trips to see how I do. There’s plenty to see in the States … and I have yet to make it up to Alaska, which is on my bucket list (actually, was on my husband’s list, too … and I still have some of his ashes destined for—hmmm … maybe Anchorage … or Denali National Park?) so, I’ll just have to see how that pans out. Right?

Looking at things in the short term is appealing, too. Long range planning is hard. Doable, but hard. Planning ahead a week, a month … even a couple months out is so much easier. Forking out deposits nine-plus months in advance, then paying the balance six-months out (to get the best discounts) for the delightful Celtic Invasion Vacations tour does have it’s drawbacks. With closer to home, shorter trips, costs should be more manageable also, allowing for more travel (insert huge grin here).

So, this is what I’ll do. For now. Hmm. Now, if I can just find the time … and solve Kaeli’s scrounging/scarfing issues, I’d be set.

Well, folks, I’m back to diving into last minute planning and creating art for my upcoming—yikes! It is just over a month away—painterly exhibition at Open Ground Studios. Deadlines loom (Sunday!!). Prior to the opening, I’ll have all of the art documented and live on my SquareMarket website for those of you unable to make it to the event due to conflicts (excuses like distance or prior commitments are allowed—wink).

 

Open Ground Studios showcases it’s Co-op Members artistic talents in an exhibition from November 25, 2015 – January 20, 2016
Debra Jameson Smith’s art and fantasy series will be on display
The Opening and Holiday Party 5:30-8:30pm will be December 4, 2015
1230 Fremont Boulevard • Seaside California

 

 

Steampunk … Here I Come!

AAAH. IT WAS A “QUIET” … YET BUSY WEEKEND for me—and my friend, Pam—as we made our way (separately) to the outskirts of Turlock for the steampunk conference. About two hours from home, Turlock is nestled between Modesto and Merced on Hwy 99 (which is east of Hwy 5). It really is a beautiful drive, if you like the stark beauty of naked mountains (which I do). Not one green blade of grass or leaf anywhere … well, except in the almond groves or other cultivated produce.

The shadows played beautifully with the curvature of the mountains and hills, creating some lovely contrasts. Unfortunately, I was “driven” to driving to my destination … and did not stop—not even once (unusual for me). I did not bring my good camera (foolish!), so was not as inclined to stop. I just visually soaked up all the undulations and shadows and stored them in my (faulty) memory. I believe this drive needs to be done again, without a destination or deadline planned so that I can stop at a moments notice … on a whim … and take photos.

Because of our allergies, as the time drew near both of us were concerned about air quality due to the fires blazing in surrounding areas. Fires were out and beautiful, clear skies greeted us—thankfully! And, although it was much cooler weather for locals (they’d been suffering with 116° heat until recently), the 89° was a bit toasty for us—especially in costume. Thankfully, it continued to cool down a wee bit more over the course of the weekend. But was still too warm for me to wear either the London Fog rain coat or the knit shell sweater—or even the 4th doctor’s beautiful trademark scarf for any length of time—to complete my Sarah Jane Smith costume. Oh, well.

I arrived at the hotel and unpacked before heading over to the Stanislaus Fairgrounds for the convention. Nice accommodations at the Comfort Inn at the convention rate. Yay! I had less than an hour left before they closed down for the night, so I simply drove over, picked up our passes and meandered through the venue to see what was there. I had to remind myself that it was their first year and it should grow quickly, so it was nice to see it in it’s “infant” state.

The SteamHouse Steampunk Convention will grow. I’m sure. There were vendors of all sorts: selling handmade steampunk clothes and accessories ranging from jewelry to goggles, to fun movable clock-gear pendants and cool pens made from bullets (I thought about getting one for one of my brothers … but forgot! I hope I grabbed his card). Two Whovian clubs were

The War Doctor and "Sarah Jane Smith"

San Diego’s War Doctor and I posed with K9

represented: San Diego Whovians (with a War Doctor cos-player) and Central Valley Whovians, plus more than a few steampunk Star Wars actors—I managed to not get their photos, but Pam did: the “steam Star Wars

Steampunk Star Wars characters

Courtesy of Pam Leja, a nice shot of the steamy Star Wars Steampunk crew.

crew. Star Wars Steampunk. They even have permission from the creator to use the Star Wars name! There was a video producer—though I was not interested, so I cannot tell you what he was trying to sell.

It was fun. I did have my cell phone camera, but found that I was having too much fun poking around and asking questions to be bothered with many photos. When I looked at the ones I did take, I had to shake my head. Mostly generic, vanilla shots! I’m embarrassed!

Vendors of All Kinds

Costumes, accessories, clockwork gearing were only a few things you might find.

The nice thing about new venues … they are small, not as well attended (which is a bad thing for the vendors), but it allows more time to chat. This group of vendors was delightful … talking about their wares, about little things—and I found two from my area … plus, the whole affair was far more intimate. That’s a good thing for a first-timer like myself. I had misgivings about attending, but shouldn’t have worried. The intimacy of the venue gave me time to warm up to the cool things I was seeing. And gave me ideas on how I could better steampunk my character for next time. Yup … there will be a next time if dates don’t conflict with my schedule.

Pam and I spent most of Saturday morning wandering around and

More Vendors

It’s a large space and in the future, it will be packed with vendors and attendees.

investigating what was available, chatting up the vendors. We even went into the next building where there was a holistic/crystal show going on (spend very little time there) … and we had a lovely lunch from the catered trucks (no “roach coaches” here—gourmet food, indeed!). Some came as far a San Francisco to cater to the crowd … including a cupcake truck from San Jose.

Clockwork Heart

Movable gears on this sweet little pendant. May work it onto K9 to Steampunk him a bit more.

Sunday, we came back over to the convention to find that many of the vendors had abandoned the show (remember … sadly, low attendance can mean low income for vendors). I had hoped to find a few things to buy, plus get permission to take a few photos. Oh, well. I did get a photo of me with the War Doctor and my dinky little K9. My little guy was quite a hit, by the way! Everybody wanted pictures of K9 with or without me. That made me happy. I even got a few compliments on my costume. Pam, on the other hand, had plenty of compliments … but then, she definitely dressed the part.

I was going to add more photos … but for some reason, they load into WordPress sideways (tried rotating the originals, but it was a no-go—insert extremely grumpy face) … and unless you’re game with side-ways photos, I’d rather not add them. They were so cute! One of K9 with his Steampunk hat and one of Pam with a few nicely dressed Steampunk vendors. Drats.

So, folks … it was quiet, but fun. Lots of cool outfits that I managed to not take photos of … good food and fun, chatty vendors to pass the time of day.

It does sound like the date is set now in stone for next year … and it’s the same weekend, so I won’t be able to attend—prior commitments at the Big Trees Scottish Gathering and Highland Games in Ben Lomond CA with the Gunn Clan tent will keep me away—always on the first weekend of October … sigh.

Now … a quick apology for the monster-long blog entry, then I’m off to prepare for the book signing that’s happening Saturday in Salinas! Have a great Friday plus a beautiful and blessed weekend, folks. Until next Friday … cheers!

 

Secrets Beyond Scymaria Covers 1-3

click on for full image of the first three books

 

 

Facebook Author’s page Upcoming Events
The Scymarian at Amazon
Secrets Beyond Scymaria series at my SquareMarket

 

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)

It’s All About Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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.

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.

Calling All Tweeners and Teens (MG/YA)

I’VE HAD AN AH-HA MOMENT AND CANNOT believe I hadn’t thought of it earlier.

Here I am blogging my little heart out with my personal musings, photography, art and information about my books, some of which might—just maybesome of the time—be of interest to my focus group (the middle- and high-school readers). Though the things I write about are always “clean”—wholesome and viewable by any age (I want to maintain my “G-rated” status), I must (much of the time) seem awfully boring to the middle grade and young adult readers.

That’s not my intent.
Honest.

So, to rectify that, I am looking for young writers, ages 10-17, that might be interested in using my blog platform to show off their writing and artistic skills. I know you are out there. I’ve seen evidence of it! Some truly awesome writing and art by so many young people! Depending on the number of submissions received, I will post on Wednesdays, at least once a month—I only need four to five regulars to post weekly. Submitted work will remain anonymous (if you wish, use a pen name)—unless you choose to reveal your true identity to the readers, but either way … when submitting, I will need real (legal) name, age and a verifiable email address and parents phone number (you are under-age…I need permission to do this).

What qualifies? Things that kids can related to, connect with … here’s the requirements:

Submissions may be poetry, prose, artistic or photo-journalistic in nature, about:

Excerpts from a story or poem you are writing
•Photos, artwork or sketches that tells a story
•Short stories about problems you encountered and have—or are attempting to—overcome
•Short stories about awesome teachers/instructors/adults that have help you overcome an issue/obstacle
•Tell us why you like to read—and what type of books you like to read
•Tell us why writing or art is a passion—and what types of writing or art you do
•What are the passions in your life?
•Let us know what kinds of things are lifting you up or dragging you down

You could even give us a book review of your favorite/least favorite book/poem. Show ’em how it’s done right, without putting the author down. This is not a school book report, don’t worry. Why did you like/dislike it? What made you pick it up to read in the first place? Did the book cover catch your eye or a friend recommend it? Or did a teacher force you to read it and you discovered it wasn’t so bad?

Other types of submissions will be considered on an individual basis.

Submissions should be (I will consider exceptions to this rule):
•No longer than 800 words
•Use less than ten photos (JPEGs no larger than 10mb)
•Verbiage must be clean—that means, think and write about what you want to want to say without vulgarity. No swear words. It is possible. (Submissions will not be automatically rejected, but I may return for re-writes with suggestions.)
•Photos must not be vulgar—I know … that is in the eye of the beholder, but please consider that my site is pretty much G-rated and I do not want to violate my readers’ trust. I will have the final say—I may choose to use it with a cautionary note to readers if I feel it is appropriate to what you are trying to convey.

Pass this link on to others you think might be interested in participating. As soon as I get materials from a few of you, I’ll begin posting on Wednesdays—I’ll announce the first post the Friday before. Together, we can make things work.

All In Good Time … Patience

WAITING. PATIENCE. QUEUES. How are you at waiting? I think, once upon a time, I had an over abundance of patience—kinda necessary when raising a child (or working with children), both of which I’ve done. Friends would say I had “the patience of Job”—took me awhile to realize what they were saying. What a complement. But … I think, when my daughter reached fifth grade and I was a co-coach (for the fourth consecutive year) to seven kids on an Odyssey of the Mind team … with all their new-found hormone-spewing emotions, something happened to that unending supply … it kinda got up and went. Escaped, really. Fled, screaming and yelling into the night. I loved each and every one of them—we’d become a close knit family—but I swore never to coach again. Never.

After that, well … I had a “normal” level of patience (what is “normal” anyway??). It would ebb and flow depending on the situation. As I grew older and wiser (insert sniggering grin), patience was easier to muster. It was almost like the “old” me had regained some of that youthful reserve. There are still times where I find myself pushing when I could be chillin’, but not as bad … definitely.

Waiting in lines? I actually have found it fun. I use the time to people watch. Watch their impatience or passivity—how they handle waiting. I decided to look up some quotes about patience and this one by Joyce Meyer fits in here perfectly: “Patience is not simply the ability to wait—it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” Perhaps they need to be somewhere five minutes ago (oh, I do remember that)—getting agitated, trying to make things go faster, complaining, maybe even making nasty comments. Sometimes it can be quite comical (not their intention, but that’s how I see it that way) and I need to squelch a giggle or smile.

Watching people, like I said … but also interacting with them. I’ve found striking up conversations while in line helps pass the time, too. Once, while “suffering” through the summer heat and l-o-n-g lines at Disneyland, I pulled out a bag of freshly washed string beans and we three (father, very young daughter and yours truly) started munching. Cool, sweet and perfectly healthy. People in line would stare and then comment on how smart it was to bring such an easy and nutritious snack (and wishing they’d thought of it). Then the conversations began. Time flew. Stress flew out the window. Perfect.

Other times, as I stood in the grocery store lines, with my daughter in tow, I’d strike up conversations with people. My daughter used to look horrified as I talked with complete strangers (after all, hadn’t I taught her not to talk with strangers?)—only to find out the horror was not caused by that, but the fact that is was so easy for me to chat with a complete stranger. She finally asked: “How did you do it?” Hmmm. I honestly couldn’t tell her—at least not at the time. I know now. Having faith and simply allowing it to happen. Make the first move, say hi or simply make a positive comment about something happening while we are waiting or compliment/comment about something they are wearing or purchasing (“oh … my, that cake looks yummy!”). It’s easy. Doesn’t require any thought, really. Then let nature take its course. It may stop right there, or in may evolve into a complex discussion about something totally unrelated. I love it (insert grin).

As a writer, photographer and artist, I have found that patience is, indeed, a virtue. I’m not as too good at being patient whilst waiting for the “right” shot—many times I give up just before the optimal opportunity arises—and kick myself in the rear for not waiting just a wee bit longer, missing an extraordinary shot or two. I have garnered an abundance as a writer, but it has been a long, painful haul. One does not rush writing or art—and obviously, taking pictures if you want to catch the “perfect” shot. But, especially with writing and art, when it happens, it happens. It is so obvious—at least to me—when things get rushed. This is why, even though I’m way past my self-imposed deadline for my book, I am not rushing. I want to get it right. I want it to be the best it can be.

Patience?

Definitely a virtue and one to hold close as we navigate through this life.

I’ll leave you with some little gems I gleaned from my search on patience. Have a blessed day, filled with love and patience for your fellow man and in all the things you run up against, both big and small.

  • Patience is a virtue: “Only Patience has the strength needed by all the others (virtues), from Psychomachia (Battle of spirits) by the Late Antique Latin poet Prudentius, during the early fifth century A.D.
  • “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
    A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
  • “A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”
    Henri J.M. Nouwen
  • “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
    Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
  • You can learn many things from children.  How much patience you have, for instance.  ~Franklin P. Jones
  • Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience.  ~George-Louis de Buffon
  • Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.  ~John Quincy Adams
  • Have patience, my friend, have patience;
    For Rome wasn’t built in a day!
    You wear yourself out for nothing
    In many and many a way!
    Why are you nervous and fretty
    When things do not move along fast;
    Why let yourself get excited
    Over things that will soon be past?
    ~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, “Patience” (1940s)
  • Patience is the companion of wisdom.  ~St. Augustine
  • Patience is also a form of action. ~Auguste Rodin
  • One moment of patience may ward off great disaster.  One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.  ~Chinese Proverb

Fandom

YEAH … IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY FIGURED IT OUT, I’m a Doctor Who fan:  “FAN noun | a person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport, art form, or famous person : football fans | I’m a fan of this author. DERIVATIVES fandom |ˈfandəm| noun
image  ORIGIN late 19th cent. (originally U.S.): abbreviation of fanatic.”
I’m not as — hmmm … how do I say this without offending? — not as crazy about it as some … like I was as a Trekkie when I was a teen. The über enthusiasm. Willing to queue for hours just to get an autograph and/or photo — with my Swinger camera — of my fave actor (Spock aka Leonard Nimoy). The encyclopaedic facts … I knew everything about the program, about the actors, wanting to attend anything remotely connected to Star Trek … about … well, everything. I just loved it. A lot. A true fan(atic). As a Doctor Who fan, image I can’t tell you all the minute details, or even remember all the Doctors (they are adding up — there are twelve of them now). I don’t feel as vested as I did as a young adult. I’m sure this change has to do with my age. At least, I think (though I do know a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan that is at least my age that borders on fanatic — both my daughter and I were a bit creeped-out at his level of interest). In addition to the hundreds (thousands?) of youngsters in attendance — infant through teen and young adult, there were quite a few in and around my age (older and a wee bit imageyounger than I). I was completely surprised at the age span of attendees that were there for the entire weekend, milling about, attending the seminars, getting their photos taken with the writers, production crew and the actors … and generally, having a terrific time. Now, had River Song (Alex Kingston) been

David Tennent Lookalike

Pretty good look alike of David Tennent, the tenth Doctor. Kinda fun to see such a good impersonator. Very quite guy…

there, I might — just might — have taken the time to queue up and pay for a photo and autograph with her. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get away from a imagecommitment in NY (weather & production delays) — insert huge pout, so I’m hoping she’ll be at the Gallifrey One convention next year — and hopefully, I can get a ticket. Apparently, it’s a tricky thing getting tickets — they are gone in a flash. Sure hope I can. I have such great plans!

(Sniggle) Oh, I can see this is going to be one of those blogs that have a myriad of tangents … and is super long. I’m going to apologize now image(insert impish grin). Oops. Just try to follow along.

Now … I can go without it — the tv show — without knowing all the minute details, not being current with the ongoing series — without going bonkers. As a teen watching Star Trek, and even as a young adult following the antics of the at-the-time current Doctor, I never missed a weekly episode — and agonized when we went on a trip or when  they went into their annual hiatus. Now, it’s not such a big deal. When I could, I’d go onto the internet (when it was finally an option) and search for any new-to-me episodes. But I am so far behind it isn’t funny. I don’t have NetFlix … just Amazon Prime (and have just figured out how to use it). And it doesn’t really matter. I love it when I can watch it, but I don’t get bent out of shape when I cannot.

After this weekend, I am now “current” … I saw the last Christmas Special and it was good — except there is a huge gaping crevasse with only a few

Lighted Hat with the TARDIS

Had to laugh…this guy had a harness at waist level (hidden under the outfit he was wearing) that he used to either light up his hat with a solid image, or flashing (as in when it slowly disappeared) or in off mode.
Loved it!

stepping stones (some episodes of the newer Doctors) in between linking me back to the classic series where I began the Doctor Who journey.

The “old” fan me (is that grammatically correct??) would dress to the nines, wearing and buying all the “stuff” from the conventions and from PBS’s quarterly pitches for money when they offered up Dr Who swag as incentive to dontate. I still have quite a bit of my Trekkie stuff and even some old books, etc from the Classic Doctor Who series. Somewhere in storage. Maybe, before next year, I’ll have to see if I can find it.

The TARDIS at Marriott Hotel

Someone brought a TARDIS to put on their balcony. I love it!

That may be a monumental task not worth taking at this time. I do know (not knowing the value at the time) that I gave away some of the Doctor Who books and goodies (gasp) to my daughter and friends. Sadly, at my age, they really are just things.

The “new” fan me did purchase a bunch of little inexpensive goodies to give to my more avid Doctor Who friends…gifts to be dispensed at the weekly NaNoWriMo writers meeting. It was fun seeing who wants what. I love to gift things. So much more fun than hoarding things, don’t you think? I did buy a Fourth Doctor scarf (Tom Baker was my introduction to the series through the local PBS stations … and my favorite of the Classic series. I think David Tennent, the tenth Doctor, is my favorite of the newer Doctors) — I’ve been wanting one of Baker’s scarves from the very beginning, but I was too much of a scrooge to justify the cost. It was expensive, but well worth it. The weather back home is not frigid like the Midwest or East Coast (thank goodness), but for us, the mornings are pretty chilly — nearly year round! And it’s great to wear when I have the top down on my Miata. So, I’ve already enjoyed wearing it in the mornings and when I’ve taken the Miata out for a spin. Snuggily warm (insert grin). I also (last minute) purchased one of the cute little dresses — really made for teens, right? It has many hand-drawn TARDIS, Cybyermen, Daleks and Weeping Angels (in black, on white). It’s cute — but if I wear it in public, it will definitely be with leggings … or pants — it is a wee bit too short for this old fogey — don’t want to damage anyone’s eyes. Oh, yes. I also bought a Sonic Screwdriver (tenth Doctor’s, I think), but it’s a bit wonky. Works when it wants to (even changing the batteries didn’t help).

I did have fun with the fandom’s ribbon thing … many, many participants and attendees came with bags full of ribbons (with an adhesive strip so you can stick them together) that had not so random things printed on them  most referencing something said in an episode. My favorite was:

Ribbonated

Some of my collection of ribbons

“Permission to Squeee” — I love to squeee, right? I loved it … that is, until I saw the episode at the convention where the character asks permission to squeee, then he gets vaporized (insert frown). LOL. I received my very first one at the registration table (since it was my first year) and was told I’d been “ribbonated” as she handed me a black ribbon with gold block lettering: “THING”. I laughed. At first, I thought, “right…I’ll probably get two or three of these…” but found it was quite addictive. I found myself keeping an eye out for either clusters of people swarmed around a person, or people with little baggies in hand — both clues that there were ribbons for the asking. My hotel roomie, Renée is a wee bit bashful and in past years has collected only a few. With my help — I just politely asked for two … one for my roomie and one for me (99.9% of the time, they said yes) — she ended up with enough requiring her to clip them up so she wouldn’t trip on them. I plan on bringing my own next year so I can hand out and exchange (some were only available as an exchange, so I missed out on those). Renée and I put our heads together and figured out a phrase for one of them … something to do with books being dangerous. I think I may

Secrets Beyond Scymaria Swag

There were multiple tables participants/attendees could leave brochures, bookmarks, etc. I couldn’t pass up the chance to do a little advertising…
Next year I’ll be prepared with ribbons!

try to come up with one more. I’ve got a year to figure it out. And cross my fingers I am able to get a ticket (they are sold out within ten minutes, I think, and in 2016, there are no transfers … which is how I acquired mine for this year). Here’s hoping…

My apologies that some of the photos have captions/descriptions and some don’t. When I loaded them, I filled in all the important info, but I’m not seeing it on the first ones, as I insert them into the blog. I’m really not sure why. I will hopefully have this resolved before I post this, but in case I can’t figure it out, there should be a description when you click on the individual photos. We’ll see.

To say I had fun was an understatement. Not staying at the hosting hotel was not a negative — with it about two blocks away, I got a good amount of walking in, which for me is a very good thing. Especially with my poor choices in food, it helped to keep me from adding unwanted pounds. And the walking was good for me. I’m just glad that the smog wasn’t bad — the weather was actually quite excellent … blue skies, temps in the 75-85 degree range. In fact, terrific! I’m only sorry I didn’t venture out to the outlying area (which happens to be my old stomping grounds) — I didn’t want to lose my parking space … a very precious commodity in the city. I would have had time, but I’m not complaining. There was plenty to do and see at the convention. Next time, I’ll plan time before or after the convention to visit the various places I grew up in and around.

Wow. Time to close this rambling post. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. Even as I’m polished this one, my mind has begun pondering the next blog — triggered by memories. (Insert huge grin…)

I wish you and your family a week filled with discoveries and memories — big and small, precious and heart wrenching — they make us who we are.

 

 

 

Painterly Endeavors

PUTTING ON MY “PAINTERLY” HAT THIS month…I’ve been having fun at Open Ground Studios lately. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Denese Sanders, teacher and owner, has classes of different sorts going each month. Crazy me jumped in with both feet … taking classes both Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Denese’s Tuesday Creative Habits is dedicated to getting into a creative groove, so to speak. A potpourri of artistic mediums are used—a different one each month. January is graphite drawing. I’m not that good as a line-drawing artist (I know I may be better at some, but consider myself

graphite drawing

Graphite drawing of my dog at Creative Habit class at Open Ground Studios

far worse than many more), but figure it’s not going to hurt dabbling, working on improving my skills. Kaeli (my dog) was a great model, even if I don’t do her justice. There are times I think I

Kaeli, my model

My model for some graphite drawing

might have ADD since I find myself getting distracted about half way through the class. But, even with my doodles—and Denese’s guidance, I can focus and accomplish

Doodles

Doodles when I get distracted…

the task at hand. I think I may play with drawing my cat’s eye next time (see below)…so amazing to see the detail in his eye.

Cats Eye

My cat’s eye up close and personal…

The first Thursday class for miniature book binding was postponed ’till this Thursday—last night— which was a good thing in disguise (at least for me). Starting up with two night classes in a week might have been my downfall.

Miniature Books

A collection of the little books made on the first night. The business card is for size comparison.

I was excited to get my hands on a miniature book (insert grin) … guess anything concerning books gets me going. Teehee.  Though a small class (a good thing for us students), we had a blast, learning quite a few forms…creating quite a few in the process: accordion (two types), pocketed folio, mini books with three- and five-hole threading.

Mini Accordian Book

My slightly modified mini accordion book, with a flap to enclose the whole book (or it can lie flat at the back)

I think my favorite for the night was the teensie-tiny (only about an inch and a half square) accordion. I modified my cover slightly to make it a bit more artsy. By the way…after last night’s class, I think the “ADD” I experienced at the Creative Habit class is more from it not being something I’m “in love” with doing…line drawing apparently is not my thing, but still, a good way to explore the different things out there. Three hours time flew by so fast last night … I didn’t want it to end (well, I was getting blurry eyed from the hour, but was having so much fun). I can hardly wait for next Thursday. Denese has some interesting structures for us to “build” … wheee!

For those of you that are local, there’s still time to join in on either night’s activities. Simply sign up at their website: Open Ground Studios

In between my art-focused classes, I’ve been wandering around with various cameras (iPhone, my little Canon point ‘n shoot and my Pentax)—snapping shots in different settings. I find myself in awe of our area, taking pictures along the coast and in the woods at Point Lobos—both flora and fauna, in my yard (there’s always something to capture my interest), and on the road (or along side the road)—or even in nurseries (see below)

Deer grazing.

A young deer, completely unafraid of me, posed as I took photos of it grazing. (above)

Path through forest

Path through the forest at the south end of Point Lobos

 

Broken Plaster

Unfinished plaster display at a nursery caught my eye (center)

The Central Coast of California is an awe inspiring place for photographers — and plein-air artists…you can find them set up, perched on a chair or rock or standing, painting or drawing the landscape almost any time of the day.

In between all of the painterly activities, I am working on the edit for The Scymarian—trying desperately to get it done and returned to my editor for the second go-round so my readers can dive into the third book … and then there’s always the weekly, last-minute scurry to get the blog finished and published. Well, honestly … it’s only sometimes that I’m doing that last-minute thing. I do try to have it done by the end of the day on Thursday and have been pretty successful of late (yay). Right now, I’m begrudgingly yielding to the need to work on the blog instead of editing—I know taking breaks from editing helps get it done with less fatigue … but I am certainly pressed to complete the edit as soon as possible.

I’ll sign off now so that I can get some editing done before heading off to run errands (and attempt a short walk—all this sitting will be the death of me!).

Cross your fingers—those Secrets Beyond Scymaria readers amongst you—hopefully I will have this edit completely done before the end of this month and have it submitted to the publisher by the end of February.

Until next time, may your day be blessed with wonderment, good health and joy.

A Cornucopia of Thoughts…

LIFE HAS BEEN AMAZINGLY GOOD for me over the years. Even when I look back and recall the trials and tribulations that have popped up again and again. They have shaped me, tempered me into who I am today.

As a child, I felt ostracized. Different from others because I was such a “dummy”—and danced to a different drum. I loved art, read voraciously (once I learned to deal with my dyslexia), and was just coming into my own both artistically and as a writer. Sadly, school did a great job of squelching my artistic side and my peers squelched my writing.  I learned to do any art or writing “in secret”, not showing anyone, until it finally faded into distant memories, lying dormant for what felt like ages. I did continue to read though, and in my subconscious, my painterly and writerly sides were preparing themselves.

It wasn’t until much later in my life that I started to do both again.

I did manage to keep playing with my cameras. First (as a middle schooler) a Swinger—the kids version of the Polaroid camera and a Kodak Instamatic…then a neat little video camera–prehistoric compared to what’s out there today. Sadly, I never developed the last roll on it from my days at the original Pepperdine University in Watts during the civil unrest. Sometimes I wonder if there is someone out there that could salvage it. Then, as an adult, I graduated to an Olympus SLR. Together, my husband and I would go camping and take copious photos of our trips. I have many, many wonderful years of memories from that camera. My husband purchased it for me–selling an old collectable camera to get this new one (and several lenses) for me. So sweet. I didn’t realize it at the time, but those were pretty sweet treasures he gave up for me. I wish I’d known (insert serious guilt here).

That Olympus saw some serious usage—and abuse (well, mostly the lenses, but the body as well). It was responsible for scooping up the frosting off my nephew’s cake (I don’t think his mom ever completely forgave me for destroying her beautiful creation…)—for some reason, I had to reach over to the other side of the table while I was wearing the camera around my neck…oops.

And, was never the same after my little ‘incident’ in a helicopter that couldn’t stay in the sky…all the dings left in the body jostled the mirrors big time. Even though we sent it in for repairs…it just wasn’t the same. I never sold it…just finally retired it to a drawer. Perhaps some day, I’ll pull it out and give it a go—if I want to try my hand at film again (I am so over-the-moon sold on digital)…

I have drawers…many drawers filled with little boxes of negatives and packages of photos—both mine and my husband’s. Many of them are from before we even knew each other. Memories of his I’ll never fully understand without him there to explain the photos…where and why they were taken, the subjects in the photos—things like that. I haven’t taken the time to go through any of them (his or mine)—sorting the good shots from the bad…and the multiples. Maybe because there’s still too many memories attached to most of them. When my husband and I went on a trip, many times we ended up capturing the same image. Sometimes, it was interesting to see if there were any differences—little nuances that one might have seen that the other did not. Occasionally, yes.

At some point, when my daughter was beginning to show an interest in photography, we ended up with two Pentax K-100 digital cameras—one for me, one for her—plus matching tripods…and accessories (insert huge grin here)—lots of accessories. I don’t even know how long ago that was—middle school? Freshman in high school? We’d go out on little photo walks, taking pictures and—sometimes the three of us, but usually, just the two of us. I loved those times. All too soon, she grew up and away, spending more time with friends, taking photography classes and spreading her wings in preparation of flying off into her own life. We both still own our Pentax cameras. I’ve added a few lenses plus different sizes of tripods while she has stayed with the original equipment that came with hers (though, she is thinking of upgrading—I’m glad to see that). I’ve also purchased several other cameras (Canon and Nikon), but always find that I fall back on my Pentax for trips or when I just want something comfortable and familiar.

My pivotal year for writing was probably 1999. My storytelling in the schools was winding down to just a few a year. I’d started scribbling thoughts onto paper the year before, with the idea of doing personalized short stories—perhaps even transcribing the taped classroom stories and creating an anthology of those, but when my mom died suddenly in the spring of ’99, that all changed. That’s when I took on the responsibility of watching after my dad, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and I had more time on my hands—so I wrote…and wrote. I found myself getting more serious with it and it started to become what I now fondly call my “never-ending story” that is still unfolding, even today. I did create some personalized short stories for some people, but it never took off, even though I do still offer the service.

Then, it was about four or five years ago that I seriously started tinkering with art, taking classes at one of our local community colleges. As my skills improved, I had this grand idea (when the Fort Ord area opened up and the housing went up for sale) to purchase four of the barracks and turn them into an art haven of sorts…yup—a grand idea…that never came to fruition.

Whilst I mulled over that idea, I became aware of a new venture proposed by one of the teachers at the community college I attended. Being lazy, and far short of the needed capital to begin my own venture, I turned my energies over to this lovely, creative lady, Denese Sanders. Her ideas and plans were sound and, though less grand than my own (and therefore, far more doable financially), would be more likely to make it off the ground! Open Ground Studios came into being almost two years ago and I have loved every minute there—being part of this creative community, making friends, taking classes/workshops, learning and creating art. OGS fills a much needed niche in the community and I’m glad I’m part of it. I’ve turned into the unofficial photographer for events too—capturing people being creative—and I love that.

Just the other day, in my busy rushing around—running to Open Ground Studios to work on my writing and then onto a sundry of little chores, I stopped off at my daughter’s home and we chatted for a bit. At the end, we discussed her upcoming birthday—deciding when to celebrate with the traditional birthday dinner. And as I left, she asked if I was free on the Friday before to go to Point Lobos with our cameras. I imagine my face answered the question quite easily—I probably had a grin from ear to ear. The thought of a simple walk in my favorite park is delightful, but to include my daughter and cameras was more than perfect. Of course, I said yes. Wheee!

Art, in whatever form one chooses—and writing, can create a very insulated, quiet life. It is very easy to become a bit of a hermit. So, finding ways to interact becomes important. Time spent with my daughter, chatting, tromping (hmm…maybe we should tippy-toe if we want to capture any wildlife) through the underbrush, trees and over rocks is a wonderful way to socialize. I can hardly wait for that Friday! Another is to spend time at Open Ground Studios, where I can, of course, find time to spend alone to work (whether it be art or writing), but can also find other artists to engage in conversation, to observe them working on their art form. Plus, there are always workshops and classes going on at OGS, so I get to learn and improve my skills as I socialize. The best of both worlds.

I know this blog has become quite inelegant…rambling hither and yon, but these are thought that needed to be sung out in this new year. The joys of art, of photography, of writing—of life…the frustrations that accompany growing up…trials and tribulations—and joys of life.

It’s what makes us who we are, don’t you think?

 

 

Ho-Ho-Ho! Holidays…

Oh, my…the Holiday season is nearly upon us and already I have two craft shows I’ll be at to showcase and autograph my books (along with at least two other authors). The crafters will be hawking their Christmas wares, holiday music will be playing and scents of yummy food and pine will be wafting in the air.

Here’s that time sensitive plug for both events:

LOCAL AUTHORS Meet and Greet/Book Signings

14-15 November from 10am-5pm (both days) Holiday Craft Show at the Watsonville Elks Lodge at 121 Martinelli Street, Watsonville

22-23 November from 10am-4pm (both days) Aromas Hills Artisans Holiday Festival at the Aromas Grange at Rose Avenue and Bardue Street in Aromas. 

Yours truly, along with several other authors (Joyce Oroz—murder mystery writer, Giselle Roche—a 17-year old fantasy writer), and possibly Pat Hanson—author of Invisible Grandparenting will be signing purchased copies of their books and answering questions you might have at both events. If you are a local, perhaps I’ll see you there!

It’s hard to keep the Christmas spirit at bay until after Thanksgiving when getting involved with these events. I’ve found myself humming Christmas carols already—also watching (off and on) the Hallmark channel’s Christmas Countdown, which started on Halloween Eve. I’m dying to grab a truckload of persimmons (I will need to resort to purchasing them this year as my tree wimped out this year) and begin baking—I seldom, if ever bake…except during the Holidays. I love, love, love persimmon pudding. There’s also my mom’s sour cream mashed potatoes (with a whole cube of butter and carton of sour cream…well, I have lightened it up somewhat, but it’s still decadent).

I think I’m more excited than usual, which is a good thing! But I need to reign myself in until after Thanksgiving—at least while in public, so I don’t irritate my friends (insert huge grin and a chuckle here)…

As far as I’m concerned, I could celebrate Christmas all year ’round. He is the ‘reason for the season’ and since He is with us all year long, why not.

May your holidays hold the blessings of the season…joy, peace and love.

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.

 

 

I’m Struggling Here

THIS IS HILARIOUS. I WONDERED WHEN I’D RUN out of ideas to post each week. I think this is the week—it’s already Wednesday and I’m stuck. It’s not even October yet. And November is going to be horrible…(read: busy with NaNoWriMo). I’ve started three different posts and I’ve deleted each one. Arg. I’m actually hoping, as I ramble on here that something will come to mind.

Struggling. Okay. Now it’s Thursday and my deadline looms (at least I haven’t deleted this one yet).

My life is so full, yet I am struggling. There are so many things I could draw from to write about, yet I find it hard to get things ‘on paper’ at the moment. Yes, there’s plenty to write about, but I don’t want to bore you—too often, and I seem to be a wee bit restless—not wanting to sit still long enough to get things written. My mind is going is so many directions right now.

I am excited about all that’s going on in my life. And loving the chaoticness (is that even a word?) of it. Both my writerly and painterly side will be busy in the coming days and months (forget about the basic daily things that should be done…) with my third book’s final two-rounds of editing then publishing, book four begging to be completed, a book signing (October 25th at Open Ground Studios—I should be working harder to line more up of these), NaNoWriMo looming in the near future (Nov 1-30) and a number of fun workshops at Open Ground Studios just waiting for my participation (squeee!).

Okay…I think I’m on a roll, don’t you?

Open Ground Studios is so amazing, and as it passed it’s first birthday this summer, it continued to grow and change—for the better. Membership packages have been revamped, as have the costs of classes and workshops, all making joining and ‘playing’ a more enjoyable experience. Working in this environment, whether (for me) simply to write or to finally let my painterly side free, is wonderful. Peaceful. Friendly. Can’t say enough about this place. Really. Check it out for what’s coming up (see link above).

I, for one, will be attending the Medieval Book Binding workshop with Nicolas Yeager (November 8th)—I’m really excited! I love the first book that I made in the workshop…so much so that I’m having a hard time ‘breaking-in’ the interior—it’s so beautiful, I don’t want to spoil it! I know—the wrong frame of mine. USE IT!

Then, there’s the exposure unit (for photopolymer printing) that has been patiently waiting…waiting to be calibrated so it can be used. I am thrilled that someone (Bob Rocco) is finally coming in—very soon—to do just that. Then he will have a class for those of us interested in using it. I can hardly wait. I’m on the list, waiting for a time (date is known—October 14th—well, it is changeable, depending on availability for those interested)—I’ll make the day work, no matter which one is chosen.

Okay…I’ve said enough. Please enjoy your—and the gloriously beautiful weekend that is nearly upon us. May your days ahead be blessed and joyful.

 

 

Mucking About

“MUCKING ABOUT: BEHAVING IN A silly or aimless way, esp. by wasting time when serious activity is expected…”

That’s what the dictionary has to say about it. I’ve just started (and not completed) four blog posts. I’d say I’m definitely mucking about, especially since it’s now Friday and I’m supposed to have something for you. Now. Yet, I keep “mucking about”, not finishing anything. My thoughts do seem aimless — well, aimless where writing is concerned. My mind is definitely elsewhere. I have ongoing, ever-evolving lists rolling around in my mind right now and I cannot concentrate on writing a decent blog.

You see, tomorrow — that’s Saturday, 23 August, I have my very first book signing at a real book store. (wheeee!) I’ve never been so nervous. I’ll be up in Gilroy at the Barnes and Nobles’ “brick and mortar” store — the closest big-box book store since all the stores in Salinas and on the Monterey Peninsula closed down (very sad, indeed). All that is left are a few little boutique book shops, some with new, or new and used or some with only used books. So, from 2-4pm on Saturday, I’ll be signing books, chatting with BN customers and passing out book marks. (There’s a little treat for anyone that buys either or both books.)

Then, the busyness continues (even more so) on 24 August, Sunday, as I spend an entire day (9-4) in Aromas (I’ll be there at 7am setting up) at their annual Aromas Days, doing more of the same — book signing and chatting, answering any questions about my books. But this time, I’ll have a bit of my art work to show off (for sale) as well, so hopefully all of that will keep me busy…but not overly busy.

There is one more event, but not until 27 August at 11am, at the San Juan Bautista Library, rubbing elbows with patrons and the SJB Library Axillary members. Depending on the time, I’m hoping to have time to do a reading from one or both of my two books that are now available, but at the very least, there will be time to answer any questions about the books.

If you live in the area, please come by either of the events this weekend, or the one on Wednesday at San Juan Bautista’s Library. I’d love to take some time to chat with you. Honest!

Blogging for today is pretty much consisting of an infomercial. My apologies. To make up for the blatant plugs, here’s an excerpt (it has not seen the red pen of a final edit yet) from the latest Secrets Beyond Scymaria series (book three), The Scymarian:

… he was ready to attack them if necessary.  But they advanced no further.  Weapon at the ready, he slowly moved forward, his mind racing with questions and strategies.  The music that surrounded him put him at ease once again, but his defensive stance remained.  He stared curiously at the three women and one boy standing before him.  The smaller woman, a girl not much younger than he, stood behind the other three, protected.  Very slowly, she raised an open hand, perhaps to show she had no weapon.  She raised her other hand in the same fashion.  He could see nothing concealed. Scanning the hands of the others, he saw they had no weapons. He had an advantage over them, perhaps.
He brought his stick to his side, again using it more to lean on than as a protective weapon. The pain at time was searing, but he tried to ignore it.

As Amy stepped forward, in line with the others, she could see he stiffened slightly.  She paused, not wanting to frighten him.  He relaxed to the music again.  Slowly, she stepped in front of the rest, bringing her outstretched and weaponless hands to her sides as she came forward.  She was now outside of Rocky’s protective cave, face to face with her would-be assailant.  The others remained just behind her, shielded.
She spoke softly, with an even tone, “I’m not going to hurt you.  I am unarmed.”  She paused to see his reaction. He cocked his head to one side for a moment, not taking his eye off of her.  Trying desperately not to reveal the fear welling up inside, Amy drew in a deep breath, expelling it slowly and steeled herself, to console this would-be friend, “I –I want to help you.  Do you understand me?”
She waited for an answer, or some other clue that he understood her.  When there was no response, she continued, “My name is Amy.  I don’t come from this world.  I am from–” she paused again.  She really didn’t know how specific she should be, since his people had been trapped for so long and probably had no recollection of where they originated.  Quickly, she made the decision to be very general.  “Um, I am from Earth.  Do you understand that?  Not from here.  From the other side.”
She saw a flash of recognition in his eyes when she mentioned the other side.
While she spoke, she kept an eye on him.  She had observed his frailness from the safety of Rocky’s interior, but now, as she stood before him, she could see he truly was nothing more than skin and bones with only the faintest outline of thin muscle barely holding him together…..

So, I hope that appeases you for another week. The story is still evolving, and once it passes over the red pen of my editor, I’m sure there will be further changes. Please feel free to pass this on to friends, either via Facebook, or as a link in an email.

Until next week, may your days find purpose, filled with unexpected blessing and joy.

 

 

An Excerpt

I’M NEARLY READY TO TURN IN my manuscript to my editor for the first of his critiques (I keep saying that, don’t I? I keep getting sidetracked—teehee)…but before I do so, I thought I’d give you a taste of how the third book begins (in the unedited form). In it’s final form, it should be ready for publication by late Fall, 2014 if everything falls into place as planned.

I did have another post nearly ready when my website ate it (is that like when the dog eats your kid’s homework?)—I should have it reworked and ready for next week—so, to take it’s place, what follows in an unedited excerpt from The Scymarian:

Secrets Beyond Scymaria: The Scymarian (book 3):

The new morning brought renewed hope. The sun, still low in the sky, just beginning its ascent coupled with an unusually warm breeze, flowing from the northwest, created excitement for everyone. An excellent Saturday. As Amy stepped out on her porch, she could see Ty, already sitting on the swinging bench on his porch. She waved and grinned as she took a long deep breath, savoring the warm woody breeze brushing against her face.

Ty jumped from the bench, leaving it to its cockeyed swing, returned her wave and thought, Good morning, Amy. Still able to read my thoughts? He stood there, staring at her, concentrating.

She smiled, cocked her head curiously, but no reply. He shook his head, sighed and heavily trod down the steps, punctuating each step with a pause, until he reached the bottom.

He turned to face Amy, you can’t hear me, can you?

Amy continued to watch him. She lightly flew down the steps, barely touching them as she went. Before he could get to the sidewalk, she was there, waiting. Staring intently at him for only a moment, Amy flashed a smile as she reached over, tousled his hair and snatched his hat. Before he could react, she was flying down the street to the park, laughing all the way, holding the hat close to her. She could hear him as he followed close on her heels, shouting for her to return his hat, laughing almost as hard as Amy. As they approached their park’s entrance, Amy slowed momentarily, glancing behind her and realized that Ty was within reach but had yet to grab at her. Scrunching her face, she turned back to focus on entering the park. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a figure climbing out of a car. Her laughter caught in her throat when she realized it was the professor. No! No…not now!

My amazing cover artist is working hard to create an awesome cover for me—I’m guessing I’ll get to see it fairly soon. I’m definitely anxious to see it. I’ll make sure to let you get a sneak peek, but just a peek…

Hope your week is filled with hope. Have a blessed week ahead.

Breaking News…

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN–AND KIDS of all ages…I am breaking into the regularly scheduled post about my trip to make an announcement (patience…I’ll continue the story of my trip next week). I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know that my second book in the Secrets Beyond Scymaria series is finally available for your reading pleasure. Perfectly timed for a good summer read.

Secrets Beyond Scymaria, is an engaging read for all ages, with many unexpected twists and turns. Second in the MG/YA sci-fi fantasy series, Secrets Beyond Scymaria: Warriors of the Forest continues the adventures of Amy and Ty as more problems crop up with their classmates and the professor returns to add even more grief to their lives. Their new-found friend invites them on an adventure through the portal into his world, but events unfolding could trap them in this new world if they don’t act fast.

Warriors of the Forest

Just released-Secrets Beyond Scymaria: Warriors of the Forest, second in the series

The discoveries unfolding within…

The Series:
Book One: Secrets Beyond Scymaria
Book Two: Warriors of the Forest
Book Three: The Scymarian – coming this Fall/Winter, 2014
Book Four has a working title of “Redemption” and will be released sometime in 2015.

I must say, I am excited that Warriors of the Forest has finally made it through the grueling publishing process. My talented cover artist, Michele Luccketta, created a delightful cover for the book. Soon, she and I will sit down to come up with the cover for book three–and that book is gearing up to begin the publishing process…but what has me über excited is the fact that book four (with a working title of Redemption), which I started in January, 2014 is growing into an amazing addition to the ongoing story that makes up the Secrets Beyond Scymaria series.

Unlike many writers, I do not use an outline, nor do I have any concrete ideas of what the beginning, middle or end will be when I sit down to write. I jokingly call it ‘seat of the pants’ writing. I solely depend–and have faith in whatever God provides. And He has never failed. It makes the story as exciting for me as it does for you, the reader. The only difference is, you can sit down and finish the book within a day or two. I must agonize for weeks or months over what will happen next. What I do know is, it appears that book four will be introducing a few more characters. I was surprised to see them pop up–will they be friend or foe? Honestly, I don’t know yet. I’ll find out as they unfold their story.

Enjoy Secrets Beyond Scymaria and Warriors of the Forest–and be ready for the third one, The Scymarian, to come out before the end of 2014.

Here’s where you can find them (don’t forget, you can always ask your local book store to stock them!). Both books are available as eBook, paperback and hardbound–and can be purchased internationally, for those of you outside of the USA:

(hardbound) ISBN: 978-1-49902-586-6                 (paperback) ISBN: 978-1-49902-587-3                             (eBook) ASIN: B00LF917AK

SquareMarket (my business store-you may place an order after 21July, 2014): http://mkt.com/creations-by-djamesonsmith

Amazon: http://goo.gl/J83ob3

Barnes and Nobles:  http://goo.gl/VZVRpJ

Xlibris:  http://goo.gl/Jw5suD

Please feel free to let your friends know about the new book! I’m lining up dates for book signings and will let you know as soon as they are confirmed.

May your day be filled abundantly with joy and peace.