“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.

 

 

 

 

Aaah, Well … Photo Journaling

IT’S NOT THAT I FORGOT … well, maybe for a couple of days, but “It” is upon me—Blog Day … and I’m nowhere near finished with any of the ones I’ve started. So, today will be a photo blog day—a photo journal, if you will. Pictures I’ve taken over the last week or so, documenting what’s going on around me.

I’ve plenty to choose from. I nearly died when I saw how many (nearly 1300!!) I had on my iPhone that needed to be off-loaded onto my Photo Drive. Yup, I’ve got one external drive almost exclusively dedicated to my photos. Dangerous, I know. At least my phone is functioning faster now … lol.

So without further stalling … here we go with my photo

Fresh Produce

Fresh produce at our local farmers market in Monterey

WestEnd Celebration

Part of Open Ground Studio’s booth (and my books) at the annual WestEnd Celebration in Sand City

journal of the last few weeks:

Greens at the Farmers Market

Love the fresh veggies here!

Reductive Wood Cut

Alyssa Endo working on her current project at WestEnd Celebration

Demos & Creativity

OGS had demos all weekend long of the different things available at the studio

Photopolymer Printing Demo

Susie showing the print she just pulled from the press

Gearing Up for Alzheimer's Walk

Very soon (24Sept) I’ll be walking in Aptos for the Alzheimers Association, to bring awareness to the disease and to help raise funds.

My Goofy Sebastian

Always entertaining—Sebastian plays (very noisily) every night … just as I’m trying to get to sleep (of course)!

Sunrise in the Dale

One morning I actually was up early enough to catch the sun before it was visible!

A Visitor

It’s not often a mallard duck (or any animal) comes to take a look into Open Ground Studios …

Preparations for an Opening

Alyssa Endo loves to create geisha images. Her opening on 9September will showcase her beautiful woodcut prints of various geisha images she has created over the years.

Sunsets Make Me Smile

Actually captured a sunset recently … which really made me smile!

More Sunset ...

Another view of the same sunset

Gardening at OGS

Gardening at Open Ground Studios … making it pretty for Alyssa’s opening!

Whether it’s going to a farmers market, playing or working at Open Ground Studios or events, I always find time to do things that are dear to me … like getting ready for a walk on 24September to bring awareness to Alzheimers … or enjoy time with my critters … or watching the sun set—or on occasion, actually see it rise.

There’s plenty to do to keep me busy. These shots are only a very few of the ones I’ve taken in the recent past. Perhaps, someday I’ll even get a chance to get them onto my Flickr account and you’ll be able to see them all …

Until then, enjoy this little window into my life and have a wonderful Friday and Labor Day weekend!

Blessings to you all …

There's even a place to sit!

There’s even a place to sit!

A Selfie

Snort … never been very good at this sort of thing …

Designs In Nature

Discoveries while cutting up cabbage for a meal—design is beautiful, don’t you thing?

Life’s Stages

SOMETIMES I FIND MYSELF STUMBLING through life, taking falls, picking myself up, dusting myself off and plodding forward, hoping to make it to the end of the day in one piece. Other times, it’s as if the seas part—there’s not one obstacle in my path and I’m almost flying … with exuberant joy through the day.

As a young adult, I must confess, I was pretty myopic. Very unaware of anything that didn’t directly impact me. Completely naive of the terrors in the world, seeing only the good in everyone. A flower child if there ever was one, wearing rose-coloured glasses.

I’d like to say that I’ve held on to that glass-half-full optimism about most people and the rose-coloured glasses aren’t too far out of reach, but some skepticism has crept in, bit by bit as I’ve gotten older. Thankfully, still not bad, though.

Even as I aged (gracefully, I hope), I still found most people could be trusted and I’d willingly give my all to support them, whether friends, strangers or employers. I’m glad that helping others seems to come naturally. Doing what needs to be done. And I love doin’ it—even now. I’m not driven like some (who I admire for the fire in their hearts), but I will not waiver from the standards set by my parents. No compromising. No cutting corners. And if I promise to do something, my word is my bond. It will happen—unless I’m on my deathbed … it will happen (as long as I remember that I’ve made the commitment—I’ve taken to writing them into my calendar so I won’t forget!). There have been times that I wonder what on earth I was thinking, but since I said I’d do it, well … I did it—no backing out.

I don’t think that will ever change, no matter how old I get—at least, I certainly hope not. Things happen slower these days—that makes me laugh.  Yup … I’ve slowed down. A lot. Still getting things done … just a whole lot slower. Maybe a little too slow for some people, but that’s okay.

To steal a saying my daughter “coined” when she was just five (when we were pushing her to finish her food—she was such a slow eater … sniggle) … “I’m savouring it”, she’d say (where on earth does a five year old come up with a response like that?? LOL). I’m savouring it. Yes, indeed. I am savouring life with all its intricacies, ups and downs … and surprises. Serendipity at its best.

So I’m slower. That’s okay. It allows me to take more in. To savour everything I see. To stop and “smell the roses” …

Have you ever zoomed down the road, completely unaware of the things happening along the road side? Well, perhaps it’s time to slow down, take a look now and then to see just what is happening around you. Yup. To quote one of my favourite songs … “slow down, you’re movin’ to fast—gotta make the mornin’ last. Just kicking down the cobble stone …” (insert dreamy-eyed smile … yeah, love this song!) …

 

Hmmm. This is sounds vaguely familiar. Well, I’m not even going to check to see if I’ve already done a blog on this. Just enjoy my thoughts … and find the time to slow down. It will be worth your while. Believe me …

And, as I write this, I’m thinking ahead to the end of this month and into next month—life is going to get really busy, so I need to take my own advice and figure out how to keep chilled as I zip through my activities! WestEnd Celebration in Sand City CA 26-28 August (I’ve only committed to the 27th and will have my art and books there), then gear up for The trip to Memphis Tennessee for the Mid-South BookFest 9-11 September (I’ll be there with other authors from Inknbeans Press—it will be lovely to meet them all!), a women’s retreat (much needed personal time), Alzheimer’s Walk in Aptos CA on 24 September—something I try to do every year in memory of my dad … then October begins super craziness. Won’t even go into that. Yes. I need to make sure I slow down and smell the roses along the way through the remainder of August and all of September!

May your weekend and the upcoming week find you taking time to enjoy life, finding serendipity in your life. Peace to all of you.

 

 

Adjusting to Life—day by day …

I AM OVER TWO MONTHS POST-OP (wheeeee!) … I know this is an odd thing to be writing about, but it is a very real part of who I am at present.

For most of those two months, I’ve been relatively pain-free … which, for me is quite phenomenal. And deliciously delightful. At first, I didn’t realise it was the “cocktail” given to me during the operation that created this euphoric, pain-free state. For two months! Two. Whole. Months. Even with the burdensome restrictions—which have been a thorn in my side—it’s been a heavenly wonder. At first, I was waiting for the spasms to hit me … but when then didn’t, I started to embrace this new feeling. One I haven’t had in … oh … such a very, very long time. And, hoped that it was permanent (my neurosurgeon said he couldn’t take credit for me being pain-free, but wouldn’t say anything more).

Now … the pain is beginning to return. The problem is, my “pain memory” appears to be zero. The reset button on my pain tolerance appears to have been pressed … so, I’m feeling rather “wussy” as it re-establishes itself. Ugh. Once I figured out the why (none of my docs were willing to tell me anything—I had to figure it out myself)—medications given during surgery relaxed my body so profoundly that it appears things stopped causing undue pressure—I wondered if I could get this miracle “medicinal cocktail” quarterly, to keep me pain free … but those obnoxious restrictions would probably apply also. If I was an under-active individual, I guess it would be fine. But I’m far from that. I’m fiercely independent and very active (some would say overly so) … so these restrictions would be stifling to the point that I’d eventually do my body injury … (they are stifling, but because it is a temporary thing, I’m doing my best to be a good girl—minding my P’s and Q’s … so I can get back to normal life).

My body is beginning to wake up as I become more active—random muscle spasms (none that are painful … yet) that noticeably yank at muscles and occasional sharp, momentary twinges of pain were the first things to knock on my “door”. Such weird sensations. Little aches and pains—nothing serious. But with each new day, more harbingers of “the old days” appear to be settling in, hanging around rather than simply playing tag and dashing off. If it progresses slowly, I think I’ll be able to re-establish my wonderfully high pain tolerance, but if the floodgates open, I’m going to be one wussy gal. Maybe the doc knew something I didn’t when he gave me such a large number of pain pills … (I hope not). So I’m praying for a slow—very, very slow—progression of pain.

Another issue I’m having (as I work on trying to maintain a stream of thought to get this written …) is an increase in my memory deficit. A medication I shouldn’t have was given to me post-op, whilst still in the hospital. Snort. I think I mentioned it before, right? Sigh—I can’t remember … that, I think, is harder on me than relearning how to deal with the pain. Well, maybe. Perhaps they are close to equal. The good news is, my memory will slowly—very slowly—improve. Eventually (we’re talking years, folks). So, my friends, if I repeat myself, please forgive me … please. If I’m slow to get my next book done—please forgive me (I’m nearly in tears about this). This delay not only means you don’t get the next story in a timely fashion, but it delays me transferring my first and second book in the series to Inknbeans Press. And it delays my working on an anthology of short stories … and—you can see the domino-effect in play here … right?

Memory will improve but, the pain will inevitably (but hopefully gradually) increase. Back to what it was before. Sigh. That’s life …

And in life, things must go on. In one weeks time, set-up for the Monterey Scottish Games begins. I have a helper—bless her—who has offered to do all my heavy work as Michelle and I prepare our clan tent for the weekend event. At the end of August I’ll be able to not only sell books at the WestEnd Celebration in Sand City, but my art also—which means I need to crack my own whip and get ready for that. A week later, I plan on driving back to Tennessee for the Mid-South Book Fair (then fly home—or maybe I’ll fly both ways … don’t know yet). I’ll finally get to meet up with some author friends I’ve met through Facebook and Inknbeans Press—I’m excited about that. Plus, I’ll finally have put my books out there beyond my little corner of the world. That makes me happy!

… And then, life gets really crazy through the holidays with book signings—all local, from Salinas to Watsonville to Gilroy and Monterey. I look forward to all of it—with mixed feelings. My energy will be back by then, but what about the other stuff …?

My next post-op visit to the doctor (mid August) will include x-rays to see how my neck is healing. I look forward to that visit, as I will—hopefully—get the weight restrictions lifted … or at least improved so I can actually begin doing productive things around the house and in my “work” life. I’ve been a “good girl” so things should be just fine (insert huge grin).

So, on with life … one day at a time, as I readjust to the new me with all that it entails.

May your life be blessed serendipitously …

Blogging and Writing

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

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

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

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

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

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