It’s An Author’s Life …


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toodles till next time!

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

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

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

Indie Author Day 2018
Monterey Public Library

625 Pacific Street, Monterey, CA 93940

Autumn Approaches

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sculptures at Missouri Botanical Gardento get some amazing shots of

Water Lilies

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

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

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

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


 

“Progress” On Republishing the Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Books, Books … and More Books

CreateSpace Dashboard

As always, click on image to see entire photo

I MUST BE CRAZY … REALLY. I CANNOT believe I’ve actually begun setting up my CreateSpace account—entering all of the titles I want to publish. It has me all jazzed about the possibilities (and ignoring all the hassles involved) … Honestly. And during the night last night (I actually managed a solid six hours sleep …) I had a eureka moment—I think there is a way around the cover/ISBN/publisher logo issues. That alone has me doin’ a jig. It looks like I can keep my covers, which is what I’ve been hoping for all along—IF (and it’s a big IF) what I came up with last night works. There will need to be a tiny bit of a redesign, but only for what surrounds the actual cover art. That makes me so happy, you would not believe it! And, if I can manage it, then all my promotional material remains the same and I can go ahead and order my supplies.

So, now … the most important thing will be getting the edit for book one complete, getting book two re-worked (shouldn’t require much, as I’ve mentioned before) and if I can finally get book three released from Inknbeans Press. All I need to do is concentrate on a cover for book four—Mischiefmaker. I think I can do that.

I still won’t have any of the books done before I leave on my trip—unless some miracle happens … and I’m not discounting that possibility (insert huge grin), since if He wants it to happen, it will. Just sayin’ … I’ll keep pluggin’ away, making sure all my ducks are in a row, all my i’s and t’s are dotted and crossed. Yup, I’m excited.

The next thing that needs to happen is to get my book signing schedule updated, so you know when and where you can find Joyce Oroz and me. Joyce and I had a little pow-wow over the weekend, looking at what dates/events we’d be available for and decided who would be responsible for completing which applications. I’ll be posting the information at the end of each blog, once I get it all typed up—perhaps by next Friday. There will be many “TBA” dates and other information for the events happening later in the year, but at least they will be available to see, especially for those we have done in the past.

DSL Speed

As always, click on image to see entire photo

So, on this delightful “up” note, I will close this blog so that I can get back to getting things done. There are still some travel arrangements to be made—I’ve had no internet at home (either completely dead, or so slow it’s unusable), so my time at Open Ground Studios has turned into “make-up” days … trying to catch up with things that need to happen. Hopefully that will be remedied soon!

Oh, yes … Saturday will be very busy for me. There’s a book arts workshop by Nicky Yeager—I would not miss one of his workshops … ever (this will make the fourth year he’s been coming to Open Ground Studios)! And in the midst of the workshop, I will need to disappear into my little studio to register for the 2019 Gallifrey One conference. I’ll have new books to promote. Such a lovely sound—new books! Yes! Praying I’m able to get passes!

May your Friday and weekend be gloriously fun … and blessed. See you next Friday. Enjoy. Toodles!

2018 Book Signing Schedule

Saturday May 6  Monterey Moose Lodge 9am-2pm Art and Crafts | Book Signing at the Lodge will include Joyce Oroz’s Josephine Stuart’s Mystery Series and some of her art and dj jameson smith’s Secrets Beyond Scymaria series along with her photography and art.

Thursday-Friday May 11-12  Watsonville Hospital 11am-4pm Craft Show | Book Signing with Joyce Oroz’s mystery series and dj jameson smith’s fantasy series. This is a tentative date—we will not find out if it’s a go until the last minute, unfortunately.

Saturday May 12  Aromas 10am-4pm Aromas Garden Tour | Arts & Crafts & Book Signing
Pick up the garden map at the Aromas Grange on Rose Avenue, then wander the streets to admire the gardens and art—oh … and don’t forget the books that Joyce Oroz and dj jameson smith will have available, along with some of their art.
There is a nominal “entry” fee for the Gardens map.

Date and time TBA Summer Book Signing at Jardines de San Juan’s Mexican Restaurant 115 Third Street, San Juan Bautista CA. It was so fun to do this last year, that we’ve decided to try it again. We need to get permission and lock down a date—we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Saturday, July 28 LaSelva Beach Clubhouse and Lawn, 10am-4pm 314 Estrella Ave LaSelva Beach CA Books and Brew’s LaSelva Beach Summer Festival | Book Signing
dj jameson smith may not be ready to greet the world due to jet-lag, but she will be there. So will Joyce Oroz, with her Josephine Stuart Mysteries series. Lots of arts and crafts, lovely food and games. Come enjoy the day.

Saturday-Sunday, 4-5 August 2018 Scottish Games | Monterey Fairgrounds
Gates open daily at 9am, gates close after the ending ceremonies (5pm on Saturday, 4pm on Sunday)
Sshhh … don’t tell anyone, but since I’ll be manning the Gunn Clan booth (again) along with my Gunn Cousin all weekend long, I’ll have a box of my books with me for sale. Come and enjoy some wonderful Celtic music, watch the Games and taste the delicious, hearty food. Find the Clan Gunn booth and either Michelle or I will tell you about your Celtic roots (Gunn or not) … and I’ll offer up signed books for purchase.
There is an entry fee to the Games.

Friday-Sunday, 24-26 August West End Celebration—more details to follow

Saturday, mid-September Seascape Beach Resort 8am-12:30pm Alzheimer’s Walk—more details to follow

Saturday, 30 September Gilroy CA 10-4 Gilroy Street Fair | Book Signing—more details to follow

Saturday, 6 October  Compass Church 10-4 Harvest Jubilee | Book Signing—more details to follow

Tuesday, 16 October  Point Pinos Grill, Pacific Grove 6-8pm Central Coast Writer’s October BookFest | Book Signing—details to follow

Date TBA Friday-Sunday, November Watsonville Elks Holiday Craft Show | Book Signing—details to follow

Saturday, 3 November Aptos Grange, 12-4pm Holiday Craft Show | Book Signing—details to follow

Saturday, 10 November Casanova Oak Knolls Park Center, Monterey 9am-1pm Holiday Craft Show | Book Signing—details to follow

Saturday-Sunday 17-18 November Aromas Grange 10am-5pm Aromas Hills Artisans’ Holiday Fair—details to follow

December date TBA Kelly’s Book Store, Watsonville CA 1-3pm Book Signing—details to follow

Thursday-Friday, December date TBA 10am-4pm Watsonville Community Hospital Holiday Craft Fair | Book Signing—details to follow

 

Perfection … ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FINAL EVENTS:
Book Signings and Art at Craft Fairs

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

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

 

 

 

A Day In the Life …


 

MY FRIDAY BEFORE MEMORIAL DAY weekend was mighty busy. More than I bargained for, actually. It started with me wearing my “Homeowner’s” hat; taking a lawnmower in (hand to wrangle it into the back of my truck, then out again) for maintenance and then paying “bail” to get my weed eater/brush cutter sprung outta jail so I could do some serious work in the yard over the weekend.

Then I switched hats (after getting spiffed-up) and met my mystery writer friend, Joyce Oroz, for lunch up in beautiful downtown San Juan Bautista. Writerly hat donned, I was hoping to leave the grey skies behind as I headed inland, but apparently the grey extended its hand all the way into (and beyond) San Juan Bautista. As I walked the block and a half to the restaurant, I took inventory of my warmer weather attire, and I crossed my fingers, hoping we’d be eating inside at Jardines. Thankfully I didn’t find Joyce outside in the patio, but nestled nicely to one side of the Mexican restaurant’s indoor seating area. A pesky pain in my arm interfered with my high spirits a little bit, but after a lovely, filling meal, we chatted with the assistant manager about utilising their garden patio (dining area) for a book signing. He was quite sure something could be worked out, but would have to get back to us on Monday or Tuesday. We were happy with that and bade our good byes to the manager and each other.

My shoulder and arm kept hurting (I couldn’t figure out why) and by our departure was quite bothersome, so, before leaving San Juan Bautista, I rung up my family doctor to see if I could—by some miracle—be squeezed in … no such luck. They didn’t like the sound of the symptoms and since I could not be seen by them, their automatic (CYA) response was to recommend I go to the emergency room.

Sigh. Not happy with the recommendation, I did comply. But calculating the timing and my itinerary, I chose the hospital on the Peninsula over Salinas because it would be closer to my next destination … and if the worst happened (which I doubted), I’d be closest to my daughter—so much more convenient for her (and I prefer CHOMP to SVMH anyway). Another reason was I’d be more likely to make it to the event at Open Ground Studios since it usually took less time at CHOMP than at SVMH. Even with CHOMP being busier than usual, I made it out in under three hours—just in time for the event.

So, I spent some “quality” time at CHOMP, admiring the paintings hanging in their waiting room as I went through the “triage” of care, then was led into the inner sanctum for further evaluation. Kinda wished I’d brought my edit with me—time would have passed faster (maybe). I always feel like I’ve wasted the staff’s time when it’s a false alarm—but I am thankful it wasn’t the worst-case scenario (heart attack—I always have to consider it since I’m on blood pressure meds and have a wonky heart that likes to skip beats, then add an extra now and again). Instead, it was most likely a neck/nerve issue that I’ll have to address at a later date. (Drats!) Well, with Memorial Day weekend upon us, it was put into the back burner. I can’t read a crystal ball, but I do foresee more doctor appointments in my near future—several, in fact … plus a stress test (ugh). Sniggle and sigh … all in one breath.

With that out of the way, I was finally able to switch hats (Painterly) one final time and enjoy (mostly, since my arm still hurt) a wonderful evening with my fellow artist friends and the public that came to see the exhibition of art created in classes and by OGS members. I didn’t participate this year. It felt kind of weird not having any work displayed—other than the piece on the Co-Op Member’s wall at the back (along with my books), but I’m glad I didn’t—I would have been scrambling the last month or so, even more than I already had been! Time to let other artists get the spotlight—well deserved, too. I’m so proud of the amazing things that are created with the OGS walls.

By the time I got home, I was ready to crash and take some medicine that would work better than the Aleve (which gave me zilch relief). Saturday I awoke to no pain (the cycle was broken—yay!) and the day was spent recovering from the busyness of Friday. I didn’t even touch the weed eater—I’d planned on spending the day whacking away at my burgeoning weedy yard, but recovery was more important. The weeds could wait for another day. Monday was the first day I attempted using the weed eater … oh, my. I am so far out of shape—the vibrations did not feel good on my neck, so I laid it to rest in front of the garage … and have yet to pick it up again.

I think I’ve finally resigned myself to not doing any of the heavy work needed to bring my yard back into a more tidy form … instead, I’ll be making a call to have someone come in and do the work for me—this is a very hard thing for me to let go of. I love my gardening—even the hard stuff. Maybe I’ll have him out to work this weekend. Maybe I’ll have another story to tell. We’ll see.

I cannot believe it’s June already (insert serious eye-rolling here)!! Until next time, I’ll say adieu. Have a fantastically blessed Friday and weekend.

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.

It’s A No Blog Blog …

I’M GOING TO BE UPFRONT WITH YOU. My writerly brain has turned to mush. And because of that there is no blog for today … or will there be?

I’ve tried taking a number of draft blogs and expounding upon them but I am so entrenched in getting ready for the Open Ground Studios Co-op Member show that I cannot concentrate. I’m still scrambling due to some very strange circumstances on Thursday. It exhausts me to even think about the craziness that became Thursday.

So, instead I will simply be thankful. Thankful that Thursday has come and gone; that it is Friday and I will be setting up the table this afternoon for the Aromas Hills Artisans’ Holiday Art Festival that is happening this weekend. Thankful that the pressure will be off (mostly). Thankful that there are only a few more pieces of art to prepare for this weekend—and for the Open Ground Studios show, which opens on the 25th … and goodies to gather up for the OGS Artists’ Reception and Holiday Party happening on Friday, 4 December.

And … I’ll leave it at that. Short blog. Perhaps next week my brain and thoughts will gel better. Until then, have a blessed weekend!

AHA Holiday Art Festival

Come one, come all to this delightful event! (click on picture for more detail)

Holiday Art Festival: November 21-22 10:00-4:00 at the Aromas Grange
Art of all kinds, beautifully crafted items, books by
dj jameson smith (fantasy) and Joyce Oroz (mystery). Both authors will be available to sign their books.

Co-op Artist Showcase Exhibition: November 25, 2015 – January 21, 2016

With Special Guests:
Monterey Peninsula College Drawing Students
Presented by Instructor Bob Lamp

Artist Reception & Holiday Party: December 4, 5:30-7:30pm
Free and open to the public
Open Ground Studios Gallery
1230 Fremont Blvd. Seaside, CA 93955

The evening festivities include a raffle with beautiful holiday prizes, hot cider, refreshments and community cheer!

For More Information:
Denese Sanders, OGS Artistic Director
Tel: 831-241-6919 | Cell: 861-236-8636
Email: info@opengroundstudios.com
Website: opengroundstudios.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/opengroundstudio

 

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!

 

 

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.

 

My Marchin’ Papers for the Week of 14-19 October

AM I EVER EXCITED!  I HAVE FINALLY BEEN GIVEN my assignments for the Teen Read Week Blog Hop!  I’m still filling out the paperwork that came with the assignments so the blogger hosting me will have my information.  One thing I have noticed, our Blog Hop for the week starts a day after the official Teen Read Week, which begins on the 13th — so, our Blog begins on 14 October, not the 13th as I’ve been advertising.  My bad…I apologize.

Here we go:  On Tuesday, 15 October, I will be the blogger hosting a fantastic YA author, Sharon Ledwith.  On Saturday–not Thursday as I’d been told previously (sorry, but they needed some flexibility as they tried to juggle all of us)–that’s Saturday, 19 October, I will be hosted as a YA author by blogger (and author) Donna Dillion.  All week long, YA authors and bloggers will  come together at Books by Greta Burroughs, a link set up specifically for this Teen Read Week Blog Hop.  That’s 35 authors and 27 bloggers converging together to make sure the teens (age 12-18) around us are able to tap into some good sources for reading.

Teen Read Blog HopI’ll have more information the week before the event, but right now, I’m trying to carve out some time to blaze through Sharon Ledwith’s latest book: Legend of the Timekeepers.  I just finished The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis and loved it…so closing for now so I can dive into the book.

I’ll keep you informed as we get closer of any breaking news.


 

SEEK THE UNKNOWN: 13-19 October Teen Read Week Blog Hop

YES, INDEED.  I’M SURE, IF YOU CHECK your local library, you will find that it will be hopping on the week of 13-19 October!  And, if not, ask why not!?  Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has dedicated this week to teens (whether avid or reluctant readers), ages 12-18, so they can learn about books of all sorts that they will draw them into the world of reading.  Their tag line for this event is Seek The Unknown.  So fitting!

A Facebook group–specifically for parents, kids, teachers & authors–that I belong to (Inspiring Children…One Book At A Time) is planning a Blog Hop, featuring authors and their books, specifically written for this age group.  Each blogger will host an author.  There will be contests, giveaways and links to other blogs to find out about other books.

I am excited to be involved with this event:  I will be hosting an author on Tuesday, 15 October–I don’t know which one yet…and I will be hosted by a blogger as an author on Thursday, 17 October.  I also do not know which blogger as yet.  I will let you all know as soon as I find out!  I do know I will have a book to give away, along with bookmarks–and maybe a few other goodies…not sure about that yet.

If you are a teen, or if you are a parent or relative of a teen, this is a week you do not want to slip away without investigating.  There are some talented authors out there, many you probably have never heard about.  I’ve read some of their work and can tell you–it’s amazing how many gems exist in that forest of authors!

Mark your calendar: 13-19 October.  Start at the Inspiring Children’s Facebook site for the Blog Hop!   Make sure to find the time to check it out–you won’t regret it!

Blessings to you all!

Technology dinosaur

SEEMS I’M ALWAYS HOPPING onto the train as it’s pulling out of the station. I guess I’m one heck of a dinosaur.

It took me forever to start using a pager for communication, beyond the land lines, and only because my ailing father needed to be able to reach me no matter where I was.  I finally “graduated” to a cell phone long after all my friends.  My poor daughter was relegated to old fashioned phone lines until she was in high school–until then, when she begged, I’d explain that all her friends (they were pretty much attached to her hip anyway) had phones, so why did she need one?  And the computer?  My husband was quite adept at using it.  When I got in front of it, it froze–especially when I tried to get onto the internet.  I hated it.

It was another age or two before I used a computer for anything more than a glorified word processor.  After my husband died, I had to be trained by my daughter in the art of the using the internet, as she rolled her eyes (like ‘tweeners’ and teenagers do).   It helped that we switched to the more user-friendly Macs.  My husband–an IBMer– was an avid PC user and to use anything else was sacrilegious.  But, with the change, we got through it.  She still has to give me advice now and then…she’s 24 now.

When my young daughter wanted to get a Facebook account, I got one too & knew her password, so I could monitor activity on her account (little did I know that she’d ever think of opening another account–sigh).  She was a very smart kid.  But also prudent, careful, and didn’t do the stupid things you hear about less fortunate kids, thank God.  At least I taught her well.  But, as she became more mature & able to deal with it on her own, without my monitoring, I fell away from Facebook.  The account remained, but I never visited it and forgot it even existed.

Once she went off to college, one way to keep in touch was via Facebook (and texting–her favorite way of communicating, so I upped my texting plan to unlimited so I would not go broke).  I revisited my FB account and began accumulating friends.  Only a few.  I built in a “50-friend” limit — I’d seen some people with hundreds and hundreds of people as “friends”.  Goodness!  That is ridiculous.  Now, my friend base is a bit more and my “limit” is gone, but I maintain it for relatives & friends I want to keep in touch with.  It is a love-hate relationship with this creature called Facebook.  But I won’t go into that–I’m sure you are aware of the issues.

I love the feel & heft of a book in my hand…snuggling up on the couch, or even in bed, with the book, turning pages and reading.  I just recently discovered (after a trip to the Trinity College Library in Dublin) how much I love the smell of books, too. So, it’s only within the last three years that I switched to actively using my computer to initiate my stories.  I love the action of writing, too.  So, before the switch, I would hand write, then transfer onto the computer.  I’m struggling with the fact that I am in the minority on wanting to read hard bound books.  I must seriously consider, as I work on getting my book published, adding the e-reader option as a necessity.  Personally, I have tried reading e-books, but it is just not the same.  For some reason, I lose interest.  I don’t know why.  I will stick with the “real deal” as long as I can and leave the e-books for those that don’t want the paper.

It’s only been since this year that I have embraced my blog completely. I doubt I’ll ever use Twitter.  Why would anyone want to tell the world all of these mundane things–and how on earth can I limit my tweet to so few words?  I’m content to blog away into cyberspace, not knowing who might see it.

I guess I’ll never be a “cutting edge” sort of person.  And I’m fine with that.  If it’s something that will help me in my endeavors, then I’ll check it out.

…as soon as that last car of the train is nearly ready to leave the station.