Oct 202016
 

081215_1754_WW8Publishi1.jpgIt’s been a few weeks since I posted here.  Last you heard, I had just published  the short story, The Burning Land. Since then, I’ve been working like a fiend on my next two releases, Chucklers – Book 1, and Year 12, both of which are very close to being published.

CB1 – I have to admit to a bit of panic when Severed sent me the CB1 ebook file for approval.  See, I had requested a copy of the formatted .mobi file with the cover, table of contents, front matter, back matter, etc.  Basically, I wanted to see exactly what it was going to look like when a reader loaded it onto their Kindle.  I’m one of those readers who reads my Kindle with the nighttime mode on.  I find it easier on  my eyes.

If you don’t already know, night mode is the setting on most Kindles wherein you can invert the standard setting of black text on a white background, to white text on a black background.  There is even a sepia setting for those who prefer black text, but find the white background to tiring on the eyes.  However, I’ve run into documents that have formatting issues that only become visible in night mode.  Things like a bad tag on the text color that makes it black, even when the color of the background changes.  Yeah, try reading black text on a black background sometime.  See how well that works for you.  :dazed:

Another common problem is when certain parts of the work refuse to accept the night setting. You’re reading along, relaxing with your low light, white text/black background setting, when WHAM!  You click to the next page and there is a section that has black or gray text that is “highlighted” with a bright, white background, like in the picture above.

I’ve dealt with those, and other issues, either with my own titles, or in other books I’ve read.  As a result, I’m a little cautious.  I like to make sure my titles are as problem free as I can make them.  So when I opened the file they sent me, only to find no cover, no TOC, no front or back matter at all, and more than two dozen formatting problems, I have to admit, I began to panic.  I contacted the fine folks at Severed with a list of the issues and got a puzzled reply.  They weren’t having the same problems, even after testing on multiple devices.  They sent another copy of the file, and when I opened it, lo and behold, the cover, front matter, back matter… everything that had freaked me out when I found it missing in the first file, was there.  There were four minor problems, one of which was an error I had made in the original manuscript, that I didn’t catch until going over it again for this pass.

I have no idea what happened, but can only assume that the first file was somehow corrupted in transmission.  Whatever it was, Severed responded quickly, and I’m now confident that CB1 is going to come out as a fine product.  Better yet, it’s close enough to being ready, that I think it will probably be out pretty quickly.  So again, if you haven’t signed up for my new release mailing list, please consider doing so here.  I always make my first announcements and cover reveals there, before anyone else gets to see them.

 

Y12 Year 12 is off to Red Adept Editing.  I’ve used RAE for editing almost everything I’ve self-pubbed, and they’ve never disappointed.  They’re the people I always recommend whenever anyone asks for a good editor.  Since this is the beginning of the editing process, I know I probably have another month or so before Y12 is ready to publish, but believe me, I’m going to keep you all up to date as it winds its way through the process.  Besides, I still need to do a blurb, dedication, acknowledgements, and all the other finishing touches that go on a manuscript before it’s published, not to mention the cover.

And speaking of covers… I had a short conversation with Glendon at Streetlight Graphics that leads me to believe they’re already working on cover design for it.  To be perfectly honest, when they contacted me, I was so busy, that I don’t even fully recall the conversation.  But I do remember answering some of the basic questions they always ask before putting a cover together.  By the way, they’re another company I can recommend with the utmost confidence.  They do great covers and formatting if you’re in the market.

So, Y12 is getting close to publication, too.  I feel pretty confident that it will be out before the end of the year.

 

Other projects –

EPPEnd Point Pangaea is back on top as my priority WIP.  I hope to have the first draft done by the end of the year.

TBLThe Burning Land – But wait!  That one is already published, isn’t it?  Well, yes.  But I’m going to use it to try my hand at producing an audiobook.  I’ve already got a few titles out on Audible, but I’ve never taken the time to actually record one, myself.  But TBL, as a short story, is short enough that I hope to learn that process, and so open another income stream.

After those?  Well, I have several titles I plan on doing.  I just don’t know which ones will top the list.  I need to do Chucklers – Book 2, End Point Pangaea 2, the second Amber Payne book, or any one of several other projects.

But for now, I need to go fix dinner.  Sausage-stuffed portobello caps and salad.  Yum!   :-))  So stay safe, everyone.  I’ll talk to you next time.   :bye:

 

Feb 102016
 

It’s been a relatively mild winter this year.  By this time last winter, we’d had a few weeks of snow and plenty of freezing days and nights.  This year?  I think we’ve had two days of snow, and even then the temperatures didn’t stay low enough for it to stick for more than a day or so. We still have freezing temps at night and the high during the days is still usually in the forties and fifties, but it looks like we’re going to get lucky this year and hopefully end up with an early spring and a good growing season.

For now though, it’s still cold and windy, and that’s led to some interesting times with the girls.  Our vet told us that Bella is a Catahoula, Husky mix.  She has some of the speckled undercoat of the Catahoula, as well as some of the herding instincts and other personality traits.  But she also has that thick coat of the various Husky breeds.  And she loves the cold weather!  It’s so much fun watching her run and play in the cold.  The down side is that with it as dry as it’s been, she also builds up a static charge.  For that matter, everything does.  It’s almost heartbreaking to see her as she comes up to me, wanting me to pet her, but laying her ears back and wincing as I reach down to do so because she’s learned that the affection comes at the price of the popping shock of static discharge.  It makes me feel almost guilty for wanting to pet her.

Cricket Cricket has other problems with the weather.  She’s a Corgi, Dachshund mix and she hates the cold weather. She would rather be lazing in the sun than playing in the cold.  So as the sun begins coming out more, like it has been lately, she goes out and finds a bright warm spot out of the wind where she can enjoy baking for a while.  But you know I wouldn’t be writing about it if there wasn’t a down side to this, too.

The cold weather and strong Oklahoma winds also do a number on the lawn.  Our nice green grass changes to a brown, prickly, yard full of dried straw.  And Cricket just loves to roll in it.  As a matter of fact, it’s gotten so bad that MBH suggested we might want to change her name to Grassy Grunt, or Haystack.  (I really like Haystack.)  :rotfl:

Now, her rolling wouldn’t be that big a deal if it was just once in a while.  But she does this several times a day, and it seems to be getting more and more frequent.  And the end result of all this rolling?  A very dirty trail of dried grass throughout the house.20160204_150521-1-1

And it doesn’t matter how many times you come behind her and vacuum it up, you’re almost guaranteed to have another one just like it within the hour.  As a matter of fact, yesterday she came into my office while I was writing and put her paws up on my leg the way she does when she wants to get my attention.  I reached down absent mindedly to pet her and felt the fresh coating of grass on her back. So I took her out back and brushed the mess off of her on the patio. Of course, Bella had to have her bit of attention, too, so I reached out to her… slowly, as she both wagged her tail and laid back her ears.

Zap!  Pop!  :shock:

And the more I petted her, the more static discharge there was, so every few strokes was accompanied by another pop of electricity, and another wince.  To make matters worse, as I was petting Bella, Cricket wandered off the patio and as I watched, rolled onto her back, wriggling back and forth in apparent ecstasy, gathering yet another coat of dried grass for me to clean.

I mean, I had just cleaned her thirty seconds before!  Sheesh!   :-/

MBH and I talked about it, and we came to the conclusion that I may be inadvertently rewarding her for bringing all the grass inside.  I mean, think about it… she brings in a bunch of grass and what do I do?  I take her outside and rub her down, giving her all kinds of attention.  As far as she’s probably concerned, I’m basically petting her every time she rolls in the grass!

20160208_151042-1-1But while I joke about our trials with the girls (and it really is comical to a certain extent), there is a much more serious side to this dry and windy weather.  Two days ago, the farm just to our south lost a hay barn and some trees at the back of their property.  Luckily, they had sold the last of the hay out of the barn just the day before, so their loss was limited to the barn itself.  I feel funny even saying that… they “only” lost their hay barn.  :eek:

Things could have been much worse than they were.  It was a very windy day, with gusts hitting 40 mph.  If not for the quick action of the local fire department, that fire could have quickly raged across the field and into the next neighborhood.  As a matter of fact, the picture I show here was taken from my back yard.  If the wind had shifted, that fire could have easily been pushed in the direction of our neighborhood, and my emergency bug out plans might have been put to the test.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen, so i suppose things went pretty well.  I’ll be seeing the owners of the farm later today (we buy our eggs from them, and they’ve become friends), so I’ll see if they need help with anything.  Knowing them, they’re fine.  Seeing something like that though, makes you realize just how quickly things can turn bad.

So as I say it this time people, take it to heart.

Stay safe, everyone.  And I’ll do the same.   :bye:

 

PS – Oh!  I forgot to mention it, but I’m featured in a YouTube “commercial” from the editing company I use.  Red Adept Editing is trying some new advertising and asked for some video testimonials.  They used mine as the first in their series.  Watch it here, and you’ll understand why I have the perfect face for writing.