SAILING CHARTED WATERS

October 22, 2012

Back in the days when the Earth was flat and there be dragons beyond the edge of known waters, intrepid sailors set out in wooden vessels, dependent on wind and currents, to explore for new lands. I’d like to say that I’m a rightful descendent of these bold explorers, but, alas, I’m not. Or at least, I’m a very pale copy of them.

Of course, the bold new world I’m speaking of is e-publishing. I’m not a TOTAL newbie. My first ebook, BROKEN PLEDGE, came out in 1999 from Hard Shell Word Factory, one of the first e-publishers; it’s still in business though now they are an imprint of Mundania.com. This was followed in 2000 with COMING TO TERMS and by the time it came out, I pretty much had a handle on how to market my electronic books.

Back then, BP & CTT came our on “floppy disks” (for my younger readers who might not know what a floppy disk is, it was a 3 1/2 inch computer disk, now made obsolete by CDs, flash drives, and The Cloud). We did have print books. Because both of my titles were 50,000 words, they were both printed in one book, back to back, like the old Ace double-back SF books. The only difference was the Ace books were mass market, cost around $0.75, and were distributed by the publisher. Because the early print books were produced in smaller quanities and as tradebacks, they cost a heck of lot more. That’s when Print On Demand got it’s roots, from us early explorers.

In the case of the early eBooks (as they were called back then), the publisher DID sell the books by disk, download, and print, but because of their size, the author had to do a LOT more selling of their own book. To be honest, that’s when I did most of my book signings. I even talked a bookseller in Bartlesville to put the disks on sale at their store. And the bookseller was encouraging, placing the books at eye level, up front on the shelves behind the cash register. But after six months, not one sold.

All that is history now. With the onset of cheap, electronic readers (my first one, the Rocket eReader cost $350 and weighed in at a whopping 10 oz.), electronic books took off like a…well, like a rocket. Readers got cheaper and easier to handle. Authors have a lot more choices on how to publish their books and more control over selling.

So far, I have only dabbled in the waters. I got back all my rights. I’ve had covers made for half my stories. I even laid out the bread for my own private ISBNs. But I can’t say that I’ve surged into production like I should have. I always thought it was because I didn’t have time. That’s somewhat true, but now that I’m retired, I’m still not as far along as I’d hoped I would be. Part of that isn’t so much fear of dragons as it is experience.

When I first entered e-publishing, I was new, dumb, and excited. It didn’t take long until I learned all the handicaps, all the ways e-publishing could work against you. So this time around, I’m being more careful. I’m watching what new authors are doing. Most of them are young authors who grew up with computers, so they aren’t afraid to make mistakes.

Me? My days as an explorer are over. Now, I just want to pack my ship with quality goods and settle for sailing the charted waters these pioneers find.

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THE WRITER IS A READER WHO WRITES

October 11, 2012

Yes, I’m late this week. I should be ashamed to admit I’ve been on a reading binge, but can’t honestly do that because reading is the first skill of a writer. Never mind what Ms. Schellberger in fourth grade taught you; cursive is NOT essential for a literate writer. Reading is.

I can’t even remember when I started reading. My mom always said by the age of three, I was reading on my own.  By the age of ten, I had read almost every book in my school library and became the proud possessor of a library card. ‘Course, my mom had to actually check out some of my books because I was too young for some of my choices. Tulsa Public Library had a policy of restricting books to age groups…and I was already reading way beyond my age.

All through life, I had one major dream. To be able to read as long as I wanted to read. When I was doing housework, I wanted to be reading. When I was at my job, I wanted to be reading. And, if I’m totally honest, there were even times with my kids, I’d rather be reading. Sorry, guys, but you enjoyed the soccer far more than I did! But I was always there, cheering for you, wasn’t I?

Now that I’m retired, I find myself wanting to sit in my recliner and do nothing but read. Just finish one book and immediately start another. I know, I know! I can’t do that. In the first place, I’d die of starvation. But I have to admit, the temptation is strong. Meanwhile, my writing suffers. No, it’s as sporadic as when I was working. I haven’t even done any more on Kindlelizing my backlist than buying my ISBNs from Bowkers.

Part of the problem is getting a consistent schedule set up. I thought it would be simple to institute a work schedule of up at 0800, on the keyboard by 0810, write a minimum of two hours, then spend the rest of the day in various ways, depending on what needed to be done. Didn’t work. Then I tried up at 0800 and spend my day as needed as long as I got a minimum of 1000 words done. Didn’t work.

So today, I’m going to try something else. I’m going to do what I did when I got my first three books completed. Since I worked 7AM to 3PM, I got up at 0400, wrote an hour, and then got ready for work, This is the first morning I’ve tried it and I have to admit, writing my blog may not be in the spirit of what I wanted to accomplish, but it feels right.

There is just something about the early morning that releases my creative juices. I don’t know if it’s because it’s an hour when the world is slowly coming awake. Or maybe because there really isn’t anything on TV that interests me.

Or maybe it’s just that this is the time meant to be my writing time. I hope so. I’m ready for routine in my writing. I’ve been soooo long without it.


CLEAR THE DECKS!

September 30, 2012

Who knew that going into retirement involved so much? I thought once I was retired, I would be able to just zip along and slide into a new routine. Uh, no! The first week alone, I was catching up on my sleep. I Didn’t even realize how tired I was. Then came the two weeks of setting up my finances, replacing appliances (which I admit I probably should have done while working), and setting up a new routine.

Believe it or not, I started to get some new writing done last week and realized it isn’t a good idea for me to sit in my new recliner and work from my laptop. In the first place, it’s too easy to fall asleep; my recliner is sooo comfy. Then there’s the matter of writing in a weird position on my laptop. Way too hard. So I decided since my writing is my new career, I’d do better to work at my desk. Only one problem…I couldn’t find my desktop. Here’s what my desk looked like last week.

Where’s the mouse???

To say the least,  I had some work to do. But now. my desk is all cleared off and I’m ready to work. Isn’t it pretty? My candle is ready to light. My music is to the right, all my Celtic CDs, and my paper stand clean ready to hold the next section I’ll be working on.

Full steam ahead!

Ready to write!


ANOTHER YEAR WITH THE MAN!

September 17, 2012

88 years ago, David Scott Jones, Sr. was born and the world got an awesome guy. Okay, I’m a little prejudice since he’s my dad, but still, he’s pretty cool. I have so many memories of him and, if you’ll forgive me, I’m going to share a few.

On of my best memories is my daddy singing…especially in church. He was a natural tenor, not world-class, but strong and on key. He firmly believed when the Bible said “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”! When he began singing, anybody around him who was mumbling the song would smile and up their game, so to speak. Nothing like his joy in singing praise to God to pull everyone around him into the song.

Another thing I remember was his dancing. He actually is a great dancer…for waltzing and foxtrotting. After all, he didn’t grow up with rock and roll, but that’s the kind of dancing I wanted to do. And because I was socially delayed, he would often be my partner. Now he didn’t keep up with all the new steps; instead, he would stand on the dance floor, bounce around in rhythm, and just be there for me to dance around him.

Don’t want you to think he was perfect. He was a pack rat; probably what started on my hoarding though he wasn’t as bad as I am. He was also a very patient man; it took forever for something to aggravate him, but,  once he was provoked, you’d better duck. He would go up like a volcano…fast, furious, but short.

He has loved only two women and treated both of them like queens. As a Boy Scout leader, he provided mentoring to hundreds of young men. Even at this age, he’s willing to change; note the new beard! Happy birthday, daddy! And may we have many more!


ALMOST READY!

September 11, 2012

Okay, new appliances bought and installed. Check! Plumbing needs noted and fixed. Check! Car in repair shop for long-planned repair. Check! Spending day catching up on home chores that got behind because of above chores. Check! Only thing left to do is finish setting up financial stuff and I’ll be ready to “start” my real retirement!

I guess I didn’t have a realistic idea of what retirement involved. Oh, I knew I still had my de-hoarding to do. I also knew I’d still have my house chores to do. But somehow, I had this dream that from day one I’d be writing in the morning with the afternoons spent with this other stuff. Too bad my plumber couldn’t/wouldn’t commit to that!

Oh, well, I AM getting closer! And I did get one thing done toward my new career. I got some new pro pictures made.  I haven’t decided which one to use, but thought I’d let you see all of them. What do you think?


THIS WASN’T WHAT I SIGNED ON FOR!

September 2, 2012

Back in March, when I decided to fully retire, I started planning all aspects of my new life. Since some of my appliances were getting old, I decided to replace them while I was working.  My hours, bluntly, were the pits. Depending on the season, I might not get to bed until 3:00 or 4:00 AM and up just in time to go back to work. So I needed to adjust my life schedule to regular hours. And my writing schedule had become hit and miss totally. Not good.

So in the months prior to R-day, I bought what I needed, saved for the big stuff I didn’t have time to hunt for, and started re-arranging my budget. I had a list of things I wanted to do during retirement, but started feeling pressured at all the plans I made. The last two weeks were kind of hectic, so I decided I would give myself two weeks “off” to ease  into retirement. The only goals I set myself was to adjust my hours and write FIRST thing every morning.

Almost two weeks into retirement, I’ve only made one goal…my hours are adjusted. I now go to bed at midnight and up by 9:00 AM. These are my “normal” hours; these are the hours my body likes to function. I haven’t yet settled into my writing hours, but I HAVE written more than I had in the previous 6 months, so I’m not totally unhappy.

What wasn’t supposed to happen is the complete chaos my first 10 days of retirement. That wasn’t what I signed on for! Between running my car over a curb and doing $425 worth of damage to my right front tire and wheel and my washing machine dying, my financial plans had to be readjusted. And I didn’t take into account all the people who love me and wanted to celebrate my retirement.

Luckily, I have family who love me.  My brother took over the laundry I do for my father. My beautiful DIL took matters into her own hands and ran me around buying all the appliances I needed. Her motivation was the sooner these things were out to the way, the sooner I could get to writing. My awesome #1 son stayed in my house, awaiting delivery of my new recliner, and while he waited, decided to dust and vacuum my living room and hall as well as sweep and mop my kitchen floor. Are they awesome of what?

So maybe things are going exactly as I planned. After all, what is retirement really about? I now have the time to do things the way I want and WHEN I want. So maybe, this IS what I signed on for…life on my time schedule.


I’M BACK!!

August 27, 2012

It’s been 18 months since I last posted, but it was because as they say “Life happens”. I won’t drag you into the details; suffice to say, my writing got pushed further onto the back burner than I wanted.

But now, all family things have settled back into a smooth rhythm. I’m four days into retirement after 33 years as a pediatric nurse. And I’m picking up the writing reins again. As of now, I have a lot of exciting plans, including the promise I made on my last blog to share my adventure into self-publishing. There have been so many advances and I know you’ve probably become aware of the rocket ride of eBooks in the publishing market.

While I won’t blog everyday, part of my new schedule is to blog more regularly. I’ll updating my website and other exciting things like Facebook and Twitter. Once I learn how to use them, of course. So, stay tuned to this channel, as they say on TV and share this wonderful new challenge to my life.