REUNITED

One year later, and I have finally finished the sequel to ‘Waiting…’. This one is called ‘Reunited’, and for the first time since I started writing, I ran into a major block. Whoever was feeding me the stories must have gone on vacation, or off to other more important things, because the ideas just weren’t there. One day in early April I sat down, put the pen on the paper and started to write. In a couple of weeks, it was finished, but this one is definitely a ‘sweet’ romance – no conflict, no crisis, and that’s why I was stuck. I just couldn’t come up with anything. Maybe some people have real lives like that? As if!!!
When I was thinking about a cover to represent ‘Reunited’ I really wanted to use the dragon image, but it didn’t make sense at the time. Then when I got to chapter seven, Robert asked Susan what kind of an animal he would be, if he was an animal. This came from a conversation they had about the names she had been given by the other lawyers –bulldog, rattlesnake and honey badger. She immediately told him he would be a Chinese dragon – spiritual, mystical, wise. So now I had a reason for the cover image. I have to give credit for the dragon drawing to my son, Steven. He had created it when he was in high school and I’ve used it as a logo, and now for my cover image, so he gets a small royalty from this one.
Because of the difficulty I ran into with ‘Reunited’ I had decided my writing career was going on hold for a long, long time. But as they say, ‘Make your plans and watch God laugh.’ He must be having a real chuckle right now, because I had no sooner published this one, than I was on to the next project. This one is a compilation of short stories – the kind that people can read while waiting for appointments or commuting to work.
And now I’m getting ready for my annual weekend away with my five sisters – back to Gananoque for four days. Fingers crossed the weather cooperates for us.
Enjoy spring – looks like it may finally arrive!
Jean.
Here’s the link to ‘Reunited’. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/536412
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Photo Books

I can’t believe I did it again – subjected myself to another exercise involving the utmost of frustration, patience and perseverance! This time, for some unknown reason, I decided to create two photo album ebooks using photos taken for our camera club meetings. When I began, I thought I was working with a limit of 5 MB per book, so I adjusted the resolution of the photos to meet that requirement. When I uploaded the first book for publication, I noticed that I was allowed 10 MB. So now, sometime early in the New Year, I will be going back to the original photos and re-publishing the books. At the moment they look good on my Ipod, but not so good on my Android tablet.
Back to the story – I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve re-sized, formatted and used Photoshop to make this work. When I thought I was finished, I noticed that some of the photos had borders around them and looked much more ‘finished’. So back to Photoshop I went and added borders to them all.
To complicate matters further, I had decided to create a Spanish version of the second book, since there was very little text involved. Using an on-line translation software, I added the translations and forwarded the results to my sister, Fran, and her Spanish study group. Apparently they had a few good laughs over my Spanish, but cleaned it all up for me – for which I am truly grateful!
Somewhere in the past few months I managed to add another three chapters to the book that is still a work in progress. I know what comes next – just can’t get pen to paper.
The three ebooks are now published (and will be enhanced later), Christmas is upon us and I am almost ready for it.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season, and a healthy, wealthy and happy New Year!
Jean.
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ShastaDaisy

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Box Sets

So – summer is almost over again, it’s 2014, and I have no idea where the time went. I wrote two chapters of a book about the two main characters in ‘Waiting…’ in the spring, but haven’t put pen to paper since. Having said that, I haven’t been idle either.
About two years ago, my grandnephew Myles (age seven at the time) saw a hard copy of one of the kids’ books that I had printed out and placed in the dentist’s office, and he expressed a desire to co-write a book with me. I was really excited by the prospect, so printed out a copy of the photos for ‘Rainbows Taste Yummy – Book Two, Veggies’ and sent it to him. He’s now nine, I met up with him at a family reunion, and he said he just had two more limericks to write. (The first bunch of limericks took him two years to write, so we aren’t holding our breath.) I took some photos of him for a bio page to be placed at the back of the book, along with mine. Can’t wait to see what he has written! What if he’s better at it than I am???
The past month has been a major lesson in frustration, perseverance and patience. I noticed that Smashwords was recommending ‘Box Sets’ of books with a pre-order option. Ready for a challenge and a process that very much resembled a puzzle, I began. The first box set is composed of ‘The Way It Was’ (my parents’ autobiography), ‘My Health, My Way’ (my experience with stage four cancer, healed without chemo or radiation), and ‘Huna: Your Power Tool For The Twenty-First Century’ (our experiences with the magic of the ancient Hawaiian Kahunas). The other two are six of my romance novels.
As to the frustration – picture this: a file containing the entire text of three books, with a section about the author, and a list of other available books. The first page of the new book contains a table of contents, which must show up outside of the book for a couple of retailers. Each of the three books has its own table of contents with links to each chapter. All of these links have to lead to the correct chapter in the corresponding correct book. The software creates ‘hidden’ bookmarks each time a chapter is clicked to make sure it goes to the right place. All of these hidden bookmarks must be deleted one at a time – and there are many. Having finally created three box sets and had them approved was a major accomplishment, and I will never again forget how to do it properly the first time.
I’m sitting by the lake writing this, with a glass of Chardonnay, and now that it’s finished, I have a date with a fishing rod. (We got our limit of ten trout!)
More later –when I have something to say…
Jean.

Variety Box Set – Non-Fiction https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/466567
Box Set One – 3 Romance Novels https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469232
Box Set Two – 3 Romance Novels https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469235
These are available for pre-order and the prices are discounted.

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Waiting…

Finally, the ‘Waiting’ is over! I started writing this book in late October of 2013, but got sidetracked by many different things. When I picked it up again last month, the words came quite quickly. I knew all along what was happening in the story, but just couldn’t get it on paper.
This is a sweet, romantic fantasy, taking place partly on the earth plane and partly on the ‘other side’. The fantasy parts have been taken from reading I have done in the past, and from some of my own experiences. But some of the information came out of nowhere. One day I was sitting at the computer, thinking about all of my relatives who have gone over to the other side. An image of my maternal grandmother, Jenny, popped into my head, so perhaps she was telling me things I needed to know. I barely knew her – she passed away when I was only about five (many years ago!).
One year at Christmas, a psychic friend was visiting, and told me he saw me working with a grandmother figure, at my sewing machine. I forgot all about it until my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer disease. As her condition progressed, one of my sisters gave her a life-like doll, and that became the whole focus of her attention. She had written in her biography that her proudest moments were when each of her eleven children was born, so the doll was another baby for her. From out of nowhere I had an idea to make the doll some clothes, which I did. It wasn’t until much later that I recalled what the psychic had said, and I also remembered that my grandmother had been a seamstress before she was married. It is really good to know that she is around and helping me.
When I was proofreading ‘Waiting…’ I realized that I would like to know what happens to Molly and Jeremy, and Joelle and Jonathon in their next incarnations. That would require writing two more books – and I had thought maybe it was time to retire from writing!
This book is free for the month of April and can be found here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424237
Now I must go and feed the little fishes. They earn their keep by feeding our beds of lettuce in the aquaponics system my husband set up in the basement. There are four aquariums with nine trays of lettuce, Swiss chard, parsley, and spinach. Today I am planting basil, chives and oregano. It’s a real pleasure to go downstairs, pick the salad fixings, and walk back up again. The best part – knowing that the food we eat is organic. Now if the snow would just go away so we could put our little greenhouses outside and get the cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and peppers started!
Enough said – until next time,

Jean
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Read An E-Book Week

I have another funny thing to report – but not so amusing. It was a mistake to publish on Amazon over the holiday season. I encountered technical difficulties and finally unpublished my books, however I may try again some day. Work on the current book is progressing very slowly. I am at the halfway mark, I know what happens next, but am having difficulty getting to it. There are many excuses, but fewer reasons. We live on homemade bread, homemade soup, and homemade salads based on the lettuce we grow in an aquaponics system – fish below and plants above. The lettuce is organic and tasty, but requires time to harvest, wash and dry the leaves. This is a relatively new project and hopefully we can add spinach, Swiss chard, and herbs.That’s excuse #1 – but I love creating new soups, salads and breads.

Excuse #2 – My husband had cataract surgery in November and February, each time requiring four trips to Ottawa, with a travel time of three hours round trip. It’s a miracle – he can now see to drive without seeing double. (There are now about a dozen pairs of reading glasses, scattered in every room of the house, used by both of us.)

Excuse #3 – Little Bud (cat) rules our household. He used to have a girlfriend who lived somewhere in the neighborhood and visited him quite often, but we haven’t seen her in over a year. During the winter he sleeps all night (thank you, Little Bud!), but he then wants to play for half the day, and we’re it. If he could talk, he would be saying – ‘get me a treat, put some water in the bathtub so I can lap it up, let me out to the garage for mouse patrol, let me outside unless you want me to use the litter box’, etc., etc., etc.

Working on the computer is not allowed when he wants something. He just walks back and forth on the keyboard until we give in. 

Excuse #4 – Attending funerals, birthday lunches, visiting the kids to see the new-to-them house they are moving into this weekend (nice digs!), lunches with my nursing school buddies, dental appointments, and so on.

Reason #1 – I’m hooked on Sudoku, crosswords and solitaire games, but I finally deleted Mahjong from my computer. My bad!

Having said all that, I’m going to do my best to have this one completed by the end of the month. There’s a murder mystery (a genre I haven’t attempted before) trying to write itself in my head. I have to keep shutting it down, but the plot is there – just no people yet. On that note, the soup pot needs stirring, this needs to be typed and proofed, then published. And I almost forgot to mention – this is Read An E-Book Week on Smashwords, so fire up your e-readers and load them. There are many books free and many more discounted – and all are formatted for most e-readers.  I have three free and eight at fifty-percent off.

Here’s the link to mine: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ShastaDaisy

And the link to Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1

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Happy reading, everyone!

Jean.      

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Wrapping up 2013

A funny thing happened on my way to finishing my romantic fantasy novel. Put up the Christmas tree and decorated it, attended our camera club Christmas party, finished two more chapters on the book, and was on my way to do some more writing when out of nowhere came the thought that I should publish my books on Amazon as well as on Smashwords.

There then followed a couple of weeks of intensive proof-reading, setting up and checking the table of contents hyper-links, and generally making sure that the books were as perfect as I could make them. My original plan was to only publish three or four books, but I quickly decided if I was going to do it, I might as well do all but the children’s books. (They may be published later…).

Once the books were ready, it was an easy matter to upload the text and the cover images to Amazon. Next was setting up an author page on the U.S. site, as well as the U.K., France and Germany. The first two were easy. Looks like I’ll have to use a translation service to process the other two.

In a totally unrelated topic, we have been having one or two wasps wintering indoors with us every year for the past twenty-three years. This year our resident wasp (name of Harvey) came out of hibernation on Christmas day, hung around on the kitchen window sill and counter, had a drink of water, and then disappeared as soon as the kids left to go home on Friday. Had we been able to hear him, he was probably singing, ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’.  Lol!

And now perhaps I can get back to writing in the next couple of weeks!!!

In closing, I would like to wish everyone a new year filled with good health, happiness and prosperity.

Jean.

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Branding

Summer is gone, fall is rapidly disappearing, and Christmas is just around the corner. And what do I have to show for it? Not much! We had a few trips to the lake, caught some trout, took some photos and read a great many books. As far as writing goes – very little has been accomplished, except in my head. I took a few days and created a branding logo (image below), using a drawing of a dragon our son Steven (who appears on the cover of a Daddy For Robbie) had done when he was in high school. I just made a mirror image of the dragon and added the text. I love the way the two create a heart! Once the logo had been added to all book covers, I uploaded the revisions to Smashwords.

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A few weeks ago I began working on my next project – a romantic fantasy. It takes place on the physical and the non-physical planes and I’m relying on my mother, who is on the other side now, to feed me the information I need. So far, she’s doing a great job. I had the first three chapters completed and was ready to start working on the fourth, when Little Bud (our cat) decided to take me for a walk around our yard. (He does that at every opportunity). Noticing a couple of dead hay stalks by a rock, I reached down, gave them a yank, and embedded a ¼ inch piece of dead straw deep in the pad of my right thumb.

I had no idea how important a thumb was until I felt the extreme pain every time I touched anything. My doctor, who is a really great fellow, was not anxious to cut open my thumb and start digging around in it, so I went on antibiotics for a week, and next visit he suggested I soak it in salt water several times a day. No change. Third visit, when I walked into the room, I said, “Get your scalpel.” He was still very reluctant to cut into it, but he gave in and froze my thumb. I told him where the straw was, he made the incision, and found it right there. His response – “I think I’ll go and buy a lottery ticket. This is my lucky day!”

So now – no more excuses. Time to get back to work. I would really like to get this one finished and published before Christmas is upon us. I have the cover created and ready – mainly because that’s even more fun than writing.

My books are available at Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ShastaDaisy

They are also available at Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Diesel, Sony, and more recently at FlipKart in India and Oyster in the U.S. Both of these are similar to Netflix with a monthly fee that allows a person to download and read as many books as they wish. Once I decide to quit writing I’ll be looking to join Oyster as soon as they are available in Canada.

Until next time, I’m signing off for now.

Jean.

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