Book Cover Updates

Okay, here are the new cover designs. Plus a title update . . . That perfect title is eluding me, hiding just beyond the shadows of my mind so that I can’t grab it! So annoying! But I did finally find that perfect fluffy yellow cat I was looking for, and for a price I could afford. She’s a Maine Coon cat with the green eyes I wanted, plus that disdainful look Malley displays so often to poor Jeoffrey. This cat can certainly take on a bragging bully! If she decides to play, that is . . .

Keeping the series set at The Kingsley Twins. If anyone has a better idea for a title, I’m open to suggestions. If I use your title, I will rename a kid in the classroom for you, or use your favorite name, and give him/her a prominent spot in the story. The main characters’ names are not up for change, nor are the ones I’ve named for others already. Of course, if I absolutely LOVE your name choice, well–that’s a different story!

For the fun of it, let me show you the first two covers I did for this. Well, okay, that second one I paid $25 to have made for me. The designer was just starting out at the time.  There are others in between that one and the third one–which is the current cover. Maybe I’ll do a little slide show showing the evolution of the cover from the red one through to what I finally decide on.  And as I look at them all together, I think I might opt for a brighter yellow similar to the second cover. I’ve since been told by cover designers not to distort the lettering as we did in the first two, so I suppose I’ll listen to them! Not that I really want to, you understand, but they know best! I’ll post again with what I come up with next . . . Stay tuned!

Dalton's Last Stand cover; Yellow Cat batting an air hockey puck







Updates on my projects

Can you believe it’s July already? I was so sure I’d have all these thing finished by now. Buuuut, they ain’t.

The Babies & Toddlers & Other Little Ones vid-book is in the final draft mode. The two biggest things hanging that up is syncing the audio with the images. I’m not sure I like where each music segment ends and the next begins. But maybe I’m just too much of a perfectionist. So far, the video runs about sixteen and a half minutes. Features images of my kids, my grandkids, and the kids of friends and relatives. And me . . .  I’ve learned a lot about  making videos with PowerPoint, and am having a lot of fun doing it. Which is the main reason nothing else is getting done. It’s just so much fun! I want to work on book trailers next.

The other thing is that I’m debating changing the title of Dalton’s Last Stand. I’m thinking it needs to bring Malley to the fore so people get it better. But, I’m having trouble coming up with something I like. So far I’ve gotten The Kingsley Twins and Snowshoe Mal and the Dalton Challenge. The Kingsley Twins Snowshoe Mal and Dalton’s Last Stand. Hmmm . . . Snowshoe Mal Meets the Dalton Challenge.

I’ll post the covers here. If you feel like voting on one or have a suggestion feel free to email or leave a comment. I’d ask my family for feedback, but since I’ll mostly get, “I don’t know . . . what do you think?” not much of a point to it.

Because of the title issue, this also puts the print version on hold. I would really like a different cat image but so far I haven’t found what I wanted, and finding an illustrator, well, that’s going to put the book further back. Partly for the expense, and partly for the time. Course, that part is just me being impatient. So, we’ll see. First, I have to settle the title issue.

Marooned is slowly getting edited. I had hoped to have that one done as well. If only I were twins . . . or triplets!! If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I did change the title on this one from The Scoville Tragedies to Devynn’s Dilemma. And I’ve started to brainstorm the next story in the series.  No working title as yet.

Then, of course, there’s my time travel novel . . . Should I just go with the original story, which would take less time to finish, or run with the expanded version, which adds a lot more action? Decisions, decisions, decisions . . .!’

Probably will run with the expanded version.

Well, I hope you’re all having a great weekend and a wonderful summer!



New Video Book Project

Thought I’d hop in here quick to say, I’ve a bunch of irons in the fire, and so many projects waiting. Now that I’ve gotten into making videos with PowerPoint, I’m spending a good deal of time with it–addicting fun! I’ve learned more of the features of the program, which makes me wish I had experimented more with my first video. But, hey, this one will be great!

It’s a video story book, of about 50 frames or so. Four frames are intro and end matter. You know, where I thank you for watching the video, ask you to visit my site and go check out my ebook, Dalton’s Last Stand, at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Kobo Plus. And then I tell you my print edition is coming out some time this summer or early fall. The story is called Babies and Toddlers, lasts about 22ish minutes. It’ll be up on YouTube in a day or two. I’m still playing with timing and pictures . . . text.

I hope it goes viral! Big dreams, big dreams!

I’ll be working on some book trailers after this. But I plan to do a few of this picture book videos for the younger readers. Maybe I’ll do A Purrfect Napping Spot as one . . . Hmmmmm!

Stay tuned!

Sharing a video on writing descriptively . . .

Here’s a video I recently viewed on YouTube on writing your stories. I liked it, but there are a few who didn’t appreciate it. I see their point, and no doubt, Mark Twain would have agreed. Okay, I’m not saying I agree with the author of the video about the word usage, but again, I see her point. My advice is, just don’t overdo it. Simple, clear and to the point is fine, but the occasional use of more “flowery” words is okay too. Just make sure they make sense, and don’t make your reader flop out of the story, crying out loud, “Whaaaaaat??? Are you kidding me here???

Watch the video and see how you feel about it.

While you’re here, check out the Reading Room and my video! Read a chapter of Dalton’s Last Stand! Better yet, buy the book and get the whole story!

Getting My Baby Ready To Go To Print

I’m finally going to take the plunge and send my story to print. And since print is so final, unlike an ebook that is fairly easy to revise and republish, I want to be very, very sure that it is the best it can be.

The process has made me decide that I will do my version of how to DIY. And I hope I can be more informative and understandable than many of the books, manuals, and websites I’ve used to get this far. I will absolutely show HOW to do it and not just TELL what has to be done. Listing steps is only a teeny slice of the process.

Anyway, I need to get back at it, as I also want to finish the edits on Marooned – Devynn’s Dilemma. Have I mentioned I changed the title of this book? I’m also starting to plan the next book in this series, and in the Kingsley Twins. So, lots of activity going on!

Here’s a new memes I came up with using the same guy. I just love him! Think I’ll have to name him . . . hmmmm . . . Have to think about this a bit . . . and work on this meme. I see where it can use a tweak or two . . .!

Writing is 3% talent & 97% not getting distracted by the Internet!



Question: What Would You Do Differently If You Could Start All Over?

What would I do differently with making my stories into ebooks if I could start all over? Hmmmmm . . . .

I would listen to those telling me that ebooks time has come. Get going on figuring out that whole process.

But, nope, I did not listen to anyone in that regard. I dragged my feet. I didn’t believe it could be true. Ebooks? You mean, like reading books off a Star Trek tablet? Are you kidding me?

And writing them that way? I want my paper and my nice pens!

Okay, actually, by that time, I had my first desktop PC, and from that moment on, I never looked back for my paper and pens. Kept a notebook for emergencies and vacations.

Most importantly, I was rid of that miserable typewriter! I loved my paper and pens. I did. I loved buying them, and I loved getting new notebooks. But–I hated typewriters. Hated them! Hated the ribbon changing, hated having to rip a page out if a mistake was made, and starting over. Auggggghhhh!

My new PC made all the difference in getting those stories written. And I could print out a copy of my manuscript in a jiffy! Well, it wasn’t such a jiffy if I had to print out more than one copy. Printed twenty-six copies for Quenton’s fifth grade class . . .

Anyway, instead of jumping into learning how to get started with ebooks, I spent another year and more playing the “send it out and wait for months game” with agents and publishers. All to no avail. I could have papered my walls with my rejections. In fact, I did. Rejections for the books and rejections for short stories and articles I’d written while waiting from those agents and publishers.

Just so you know, I did sell a couple of short stories and an article or two.

Helping a friend get a family history book self published finally fired up my motivation to self publish my own stuff. The POD publisher I was working with for my friend’s history book gave me his used copy of  Adobe Acrobat 4 so we could work together better on the book. With his help, I learned how to get a decent PDF created. I also sprang for an ebook creator for making HTML ebooks. Was fairly easy, and I liked that I got to create the total look of the book. And it worked really well for picture books.

Eventually, I was led to check out Amazon, and found I could sell my stories as PDFs there. I applied for and got my publisher’s contract with them. However, filling out the metadata really messed me up. I never did get a story in PDF up on Amazon.

Just when I thought my head would explode trying to break in on Amazon, they rolled out the Kindle and Kindle Publishing Direct. PDFs were abandoned while I learned next how to create a decent .mobi file. And learn I did! I also found software to create other formats like Hiebook, MS literary, and some others I’ve forgotten since they don’t matter anymore. Publishing to KDP and other places like Draft2Digital and Smashwords is easier. D2D is my choice now to convert my books and stories into the preferred ebook formats. They let you convert and use the resulted ebook wherever. Smashwords doesn’t. But I digress . . .

In March/April of 2010 I finally published Dalton’s Last Stand to the Kindle. Had I listened to those in the know years before, I would have had all those learning curves behind me so much sooner. Although, times change . . . new technology rolls out every day. I’ve taken advantage of some of it, ignored some, and am still scared of a lot of it. I’m more open to learning, though, than I was at the start.

My advice now?

Take a risk! Try something new! It just might work for you!

Please take a reading risk, and purchase Dalton’s Last Stand today!

Poetry & Other Thoughts . . .

I have an AuthorsDen account that I hop into once in a while. I pay for Gold membership, so you would think I’d be there more often. Thing is, I have these social anxiety issues . . . yes, and they carry over to online forums, chat rooms, and the like. So, I post once in a while, get overwhelmed by the sheer size of the place, and log out . . .

Just the same way as I go to a store, sit in the car a while, and then slowly drive back home without getting what I came for.  Perhaps you can maybe understand why promoting and marketing my work is difficult for me! A very overwhelming process, indeed!

Anyway, I have published on there and at one other such site–, some poems. Only on those sites are they.

Until now.

Why? Because I’ve never considered myself a poet. So, I’m going to bring a couple of them here.

I went with the belief that I was not cut out to be a poet until I was forced–yes, forced–to take a poetry class at a writer’s workshop I signed up for years ago. Bridging the Years Writers Workshop. Signed up too late to get one of the classes I really wanted to take, so they tucked me into this poetry class. Didn’t find it out until I got to the workshop that morning. Yeah, I wasn’t a happy camper, but I sucked it up and didn’t make a fuss over it.

To that date, I’d only written one poem I was proud of. It’s a romantic piece so I won’t be posting it here. One poem, though, didn’t a poet make, so I thought. Was a fluke, just a lucky coincidence that I came up with it. Of course, it took me a while to perfect it. But, hey . . . I’m not a true poet, right?

So there I sat at our round table with Real poets, young and old, and hoped I could get through this thing without anyone knowing I really shouldn’t be there. Alas, it was not to be! Our instructor, whose name I’ll remember after I post this–if we’re lucky–gave us a challenge. We were to take pen and pad in hand and walk through the building,  jotting notes on what we observed, heard, smelled and even touched.

And write a poem about it.

And read it aloud to the class . . .

I warned them all, right then and there that I was NOT a poet, so don’t expect much. On that note, we all ventured out of the room into the halls of the Fort William Henry Conference Building. I’ll let you read the poem to discover a little of what we/I experienced that afternoon.

Once we’d been properly inspired we were free to head back to our room and get to creating our rhymes . . . or whatever type poem we were comfortable with. I rhyme. Of course, when it came time to read what we’d written thus far, I let everyone else go before me, hoping the class would end before it was my turn.

But . . . no . . . I was not let off so easily!

So, resigned to it, I read my little creation, which actually ended up being rather a long one. Although I wasn’t particularly pleased with what I’d come up with, I read it with feeling. At the end of it, everyone just sat there in silence. Didn’t quite know what to think at that moment. Was pretty sure I’d proved my point. I had no business writing poetry! After a few seconds, one of my writing friends slapped my arm, and said accusingly, “You lied to us! You ARE a poet!”

The rest of the class enthusiastically agreed with her, and the instructor encouraged me to keep at it. I was a poet, and I should know it! Well, who’d’a thunk?! Once in a while, I am a poet!

So, give me a little bit to get them pretty on the page, and if you’re so inclined, you can let me know what you think. I’ll post some of the feedback I’ve so far gotten for them. One review quite recently. From a poet . . .!


How’s everyone on this winter day?

I’m getting over some stomach bug. I hope you all are doing well!

I know it’s been a while since I last posted. And I had said Marooned was nearly ready to roll out. But . . . I caught a few mistakes in the manuscript, and then I decided I didn’t like some of the last names I’d chosen, and THEN, some plot changes came to mind that are better than what I originally started with. And then, I had to finalize the cover, and find new images for it as I couldn’t get one of the ones I wanted.

I wish I were an artist, but alas, I draw about as well as a five-year-old. Maybe worse. I’d love to be able to draw extraordinary covers for me and the world! 🙂 But–for now, I’ll have to outsource them when I can afford it, or do them myself with help from the pros.

In any case, it will be a little longer for the book to come out. I have really big hopes for this one. And for those that follow. I’m trying to decide whether to change the viewpoint with each new book, or keep it with Devynn. I kind of want to keep it with Devynn because I’ve grown to really care about her and her family. So, although I want to do stories that feature the lives of her friends, I think I’ll make those a subplot of whatever is the main plot with Devynn. I have so many ideas swimming in my idea pool right now, it’s hard to decide just what I want to create in the next one. I have one firm idea, and have decided on a name for the character to be introduced in it.

Funny how a name can change everything. I’d sort of thought to name her Amanda Joy, but wasn’t really happy with it. Then, I met a woman who’d named her first daughter, Daveena. Not sure if that’s how she spelled it, I haven’t asked her yet. But it’s how I’m going to spell it . . . I think. Always subject to change right up to the last second! I tried the spellings out: Davina, Davena, Daveena, and even Davyna, Davynna. Going with that double e. When I made up my mind to go with Daveena over Amanda, suddenly my creative juices started flowing, and I was excited to get started.

I’ll outline it a bit first. Just to get a bit of direction. I’m actually a write first and see where it leads me type writer. I write down ideas as they come, but rarely organize anything until I’m forced to. I’ll likely do a timeline outline for whatever I write for this series. I’ve had to do it for other stories in other genre I write in. If the stories will overlap in any way, a timeline help keeps things straight.

I do have new ideas for the Kingsley Twins. One has to do with relationships with grandparents. I have several ways I want to approach this idea. Whichever way I go with it in this series, I’ll go another way in Marooned. Being a Gramma now myself, this is a big thing to me. Actually, it’s another hitch in Marooned right now. I have to iron out exactly what sort of person Devynn’s maternal Gramma is. Not sure I’ve kept her true to character as I described her as a mom. Rather strict in her younger years with two teen daughters and a toddler boy. I suppose she could have mellowed with age. My mother-in-law certainly did!

Anyway, back to the Twins series . . . I want to feature Malley’s ability to bond with people that others might not take the time to do. So maybe Gramma or Grampa has Alzheimer’s or some other problem. And possibly Malley was abandoned because she is pregnant, and so we’ll have some kitten fun into the mix. I’ve been casting my brain back to my kidhood, looking for things I struggled with back then, and events that I can draw upon for both these series. I should be making a list . . .

Finally, there is the time travel I’ve been working on forever and two days. I have been asked to make that story into a series by the kids for whom I wrote it. We’ll see! I wish I were twins myself at least, or even triplets! I could get all these stories out of my head and onto the screen–and ultimately into readers hands so much faster!

While the stories are in ebook format right now, I am considering print publishing . . . POD, of course. Some pros and cons with that, but I guess I should wade into the ocean with the sharks, and hope I don’t get bitten. I say that because I did so with a book in another genre, and it didn’t go so well. Been quite a few years since then, so I shall hope for a better outcome this time!

Well, I’ll say see you later for now. Being called to supper! Have a great day!

P.S. If you do purchase any of my books from any store or my website, please let me know what you thought of them. Would help me in writing the next one . . . or even prompt me to make a change in the existing book. Yes, I can do that and have. Thanks for dropping by! Visit again soon!

Marooned On Planet EARTH almost ready to roll out to the world!

I’m in the final stages of editing Marooned, and finalizing the cover. I’ve changed the title from The Scoville Tragedies to Devynn’s Dilemma. Also, since I couldn’t get the image I wanted to represent Thayne, I’ve changed his description in the book. Name finalization is in progress. I don’t know if I’m happy with everyone’s last names, or the spelling of some first names. I need to be happy with them now, or I won’t want to do a story using a character whose name I’ve decided I can’t live with.

I’ve taken a new interest in Goodreads and hope to find some readers there for the book and for Dalton’s Last Stand. I hope to be doing some promo for both books in the near future. Budget is on the skimpy side, so we’ll see.

I’ll be posting an updated first chapter here as well.

The Purrrfect Napping Spot is still getting attention. So thrilled about that! It’s a pretty popular download!