After the Storm

Things are finally back to where they were before the storm hit Texas. I listened to the weather broadcasts but none of them said I’d be without electricity for nearly two days. Fortunately, God took care of me and I had expert advice from a plumber who helped me avoid bursted pipes which so many friends and neighbors had to deal with. Give me hundred degree days! I’ll hate them but I know how to handle those. Handling single digit temperatures isn’t something I’ve had to handle before so it was definitely a learning experience.

In the middle of that, I was waiting for my author copies of Joanna 2: Prince of Thieves. Thankfully, I got the corrected cover and not the one with the error. It looked good when I first uploaded it but once it had been converted by Amazon, it had a white halo around the addition which just didn’t look good.

I’ve already started to edit and put together Dorian Book 1: Witch’s Brew and the sequel Secret Asasssin. I’m also hoping to get my next book, not in the Crestival series, uploaded and available before the end of February. With the storm and the catching up in housework and cleaning up the landscape, I did get a bit delayed.

No one may ever feel the same way about the books as I do. I wrote them primarily for myself. For that reason, having printed copies is really nice. I enjoy looking at them and learning a bit more about the publishing process with each one I put out. This is so much more fun than I imagined it could be!

Updating a Cover

I had fun designing the cover for Prince of Thieves. I chose a scene from the book and found an image to best match that then added a few Illustrator touches to make it more match the scene.

Some additions do better than others!

I’ll admit. I’m still learning Illustrator and there is a learning curve. More importantly is the processing that is done inside Amazon’s print process. After peeking at the Prince of Thieves cover today, I realized something which looked decent to me on my own laptop screen in Illustrator did not look good after processing.

Fortunately, Amazon makes it easy to upload changes which should be live in a day or so, removing the figure which looked okay in Illustrator but looked like a drawing I might have made when I was in third grade when viewed in Amazon! LOL!!

I’m thankful to Amazon for making it so easy to edit and make changes to my work as I go through the process of learning how to do all of this. I’ve certainly enjoyed making this cover much more than I did the first and I hope that the next book I put out, which will be unrelated to the That Girl From Crestival series, will be even more enjoyable to put out! It’s exciting to be able to do this and then to hold my books in my hand! My author copies of Prince should be here in a week and I’ll get to add them to my bookshelf and show them off to my friends!

Look for Million Dollar Challenge by the end of February! I’m excited to put it out and see it in print!

Drumroll please!

I spent most of yesterday pleasantly engaged in doing a final edit, uploading the document to the format conversion needed to publish and finalizing the cover art. So, without further delay, here is Joanna book two: Prince of Thieves.

The book is available as a Kindle and also as a Print on Demand. So excited to see the finished project come together!

Author Copies

They arrived yesterday! I was able to flip through the pages of my first published book. Being the perfectionist I am, I immediately noticed two errors! But I was very struck by that very physical proof I am now a published author! I’m currently working on putting out Joanna 2 as well as an unrelated novel. Getting the covers ready and also formatting the interior are still such fun! I hope it never gets mundane!

Print on Demand

I just finished uploading the Print on Demand version. It should be live in a day or two!

It’s been a long journey to get to this point. That I know of, I haven’t sold a single copy but then my goal wasn’t to be a bestseller. I wanted to hold in my hand the work I’d poured myself into. Like many kids, I had a vision of what I wanted when I grew up. Those visions tend to get lost along the way, replaced with versions of reality other hardened souls tell us to accept. With two parents who were chronically ill, one a former foster child dealing with trauma and rejection, the other profoundly mentally ill, my life never followed a formula. I had many voices telling me who I should be and I unfortunately listened to them.

Fast forward thirty six years and here I am, pursuing that vision again. Only, now, I’m not in it because I have visions of being number one. I simply want to publish and hold in my hands the books I wrote when things were so difficult. I wished for time to write and it was granted. That it was often at night when I was caregiving and unable to sleep didn’t matter. I put together a story that, when I look back at it now, still really touches me. Through soul-searching and challenging the reality others told me to accept, I pulled together fragments that inspired me. I don’t expect this story will ever speak to anyone else the way it speaks to me.

The vision I had of this book when I wrote the first word in 1999 is no where near what it became. I’ve been spending my downtime around my Wintermester class to reread the whole series, ironing out inconsistencies and helping it to flow better. I had to do that same thing with Joanna 1 when, while getting the POD ready to go, I noticed a spelling error I couldn’t ignore. This is my first time to publish and I’m still learning but the thing I look forward to most is being able to hold in my hands the printed version of the book with the characters I grew to love. Even today, two decades later, it feels like coming home when I read it.

After Christmas I’ll get to work on Joanna 2 so I can get that up and published before January 31. To be able to sit down and read through my books without having a computer on my lap will be the best gift ever. I’m old fashioned and still take joy in turning the pages. Don’t get me wrong! I love my Kindle, but holding a book that smells like new paper and fresh ink still makes me smile. And if I sell one or two, that’ll be great too! Thank you for going with me on this journey!

Like so many others, I’ll be spending Christmas at home. I miss the travel and being as active as I was. Hopefully, I can go back to that in 2021. But if not, I’ll spend it writing and learning. Those were the two dreams my 14 year old self cherished and I’m very privileged to be able to pursue them now.

Editing

I’ve heard it said that editing is one of the worst jobs ever but I personally find it wonderful. Not all the time, mind you. I’ve written secretly for decades and used a variety of word processing apps and programs which can mean the text, opened in Microsoft Word, has a ton of unnecessary formatting. While I’ve tried to make these disappear in a wonderful way Word can sometimes manage, often it comes down to just removing them manually, which is the definition of tedious.

However, now and then there are wonderful edits where I can unkill someone I really never wanted to die anyway. I just change a word or two, alter a sentence, and that person lives on!

Character development is when the main or a supporting character learns or chooses something that alters his course, alters his viewpoint, alters them forever. Losing someone is one of the main ways that occurs but in the same way saving someone can also alter a character. Did they realize they’d put themselves in danger? Did they realize they had the power to alter another’s course of life?

It’s an interesting situation to ponder but I didn’t save that character for any of those reasons? I saved him so the main character can get used to not losing so often. So he can have more hope. Blame it on 2020 when life has been so difficult for so many. Blame it on a pandemic that has altered our nation, we hope, forever so that freedom and liberty really do apply to all! Well, it applied to Olozcho who will quite possibly die in a sequel somewhere. The real challenge here is, in future edits, I’ll need to remember that Olozcho isn’t dead anymore!

Thanksgiving prompted me to do the housework so now I just have a ton of homework to complete as the semester nears the end then decide what I want to take next semester. I’m considering a marketing class since that is certainly a part of writing I know absolutely nothing about. I also need to continue renovating the house, getting rid of all the things my Dad refused to throw away. Lots of things on my To Do list but I’m still on target to get the Print On Demand of Joanna 1 out before Christmas and also get Joanna 2 out by the end of January! As to the editing, I’m currently working on Dorian 1 and 2, getting them closer to being done so I can start the copyright process.

I love writing!

Coming Soon!

Publishing my first book was a revelation. I was introduced to a very new concept of self-publication/marketing/promotion/Graphic Design/Career Management. When I wrote the book, I honestly never considered any of those things so this has been a learning opportunity.

I decided to go back to school for Graphic Design which has kept me quite busy! Still, I think about my ultimate goals. The Print on Demand Joanna 1 will be available before Christmas and, I’m hoping, to have Joanna 2 up in a digital version in January.

The copyright came through for Joanna 2 so I’ll be designing the cover and managing the content for publication. Then I’ll start to work on the Print on Demand version of Joanna 2 while also focusing on getting Dorian 1 ready to submit for Copyright!

Whew!

As my first semester of studying Graphic Design nears the end, I’m also looking forward to next semester and planning the release of a whole new series next summer!

Saying Goodbye

It was my mother’s idea to get a brother and sister after my Mitsey died. We adopted and got Sadie and her brother Joey. They will be 15 in January of 2021. Sadie won’t see 2021.

My mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia shortly after we adopted Sadie and Joey so they pretty much became my cats. All these years later, after traveling with me through my Mom’s dementia, her brother (my uncle’s) heart failure and losing my Dad to complications of diabetes, I had really hoped we could settle in for a few years and just enjoy the time we had left.

Sadie was diagnosed with advanced lymphoma 3 months ago and she came home on medications, basically on hospice. The time has come to say goodbye.

It’s so odd how it’s harder to say goodbye to my furry friend. I hated losing family members but for some reason this loss feels so much worse.

Listmania

1. I love lists. When life is complicated, lists allow me to break life down into manageable bits.

2. The kitty in my profile pic was my Mom’s cat. A year after we adopted her in 2006, my mother was lost mentally to vascular dementia. Sadie became my kitty and was diagnosed with cancer this month.

3. Cancer sucks.

4. Done writing and editing Joanna vol. 1 book 2 and it’s off to the copyright office. I’ll be working on the cover next month as well as preparing the first book of my new series for publication!

5. Regarding the national change shortage, it’s my Dad’s fault. Still going through their house, living here too, and continue to find tons of loose change in pill bottles. I’m sure he’d tell me it’s a Great Depression thing.

6. I got my first royalty payment and am so excited about writing and publishing. Eagerly waiting for my first review!

7. Be well, everyone!

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Mass Communications

I have always been eager to learn more. While I was caregiving for my mother, I took at least one class at the local community college whenever I was able. This year’s lockdown and quarantine has given me a lot of time. I love renovating but some days I just want to sit. What better way to spend that time than on a telecourse?

Mass Communications was the choice I made for this short summer semester and it opened my eyes to so many things. I would very much recommend taking a course in Mass Communications for anyone who likes telecourses and for anyone who wishes to broaden their minds. Stanley Baran’s book was a great read, one of the few textbooks I really enjoyed, and included so much about communications on a mass scale as to be truly informative. The instructor then pulled out even more information in the assignments which included the Black Press and many documentaries including Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In.

In a world where all of us are exposed to communications on a huge scale day after day, often without our permission, it’s always good to be able to look at an ad or anything and be able to see the messages which might not be what the communication is primarily trying to promote. In fact, the way I write will be better informed now and when I’m editing, I’ll have a better idea what needs to be altered to be more inclusive and more progressive.