Summer is for reading

I just spent 3 hours this morning in a Zoom meeting for the Democratic District Convention. It was great to hear from all the candidates, but I confess I felt myself nodding off about halfway through. I don’t know how you feel about attending large meetings in person, but I was happy to attend virtually — especially since it was set up so that no one could see me unless I asked to speak. Which I didn’t.

I also spent some time last night with my oldest son in a virtual meeting so he could help me with some computer problems. His Internet server kept dropping him, so we gave up.

Ah, technology. Wonderful when it works, right?

All last week I struggled to get my manuscript loaded in KDP. My goal was to have it ready by yesterday, but obviously that didn’t happen. My first proof copy had the font size and spacing wrong. I am not clear how that happened. I know it comes back to me doing something wrong. Formatting a book is definitely harder than writing it! Or at least, much  less enjoyable.

Second proof had the right font, margins, etc., but my little picture that divided scenes kept moving around. I finally got that fixed, saw a few other bloopers and fixed them. But when I uploaded, there was a blank page right between pages 9 and 10. So I do what I do best, I consulted Google. After a full day of trying every suggested remedy, I finally eliminated the extra page.

Another upload. This time things look good, so I am going to release “Bethann” on Amazon and the e-book on Smashwords  (which will distribute it to other markets) on Memorial Day. Because you have been following my journey on writing this book, I hope you take a look.

Speaking of Smashwords, their Authors Give Back sale is still going on. It has been extended to the eSmashwordsnd of the month. Have you checked www.smashwords.com for free and discounted books for your Kindle or iPad?

I was delighted many people took advantage of my free books. I hope they enjoy them and will be ready to purchase “Bethann” when it is available.

And, now that I have time to read, I plan on going there right now and load up. It looks like it is going to be a long summer.

Stay safe!

 

 

Zooming along

Just when I think I’ve figured out modern technology, something new comes along.

In the past two weeks, I have participated in no less than five Zoom meetings: two club meetings, one county convention, and two family meetings.  My son pointed out that Zoom is not exactly new, for we have had Facetime and Skype, but for some reason, Zoom has caught on. I love seeing everyone, once people catch on to how it works. You know, like how to turn on their mic or camera first. And I don’t mind people seeing me, for we all have bad haircuts. My granddaughter said she has “quarantine bangs” after a DIY with scissors.

I have tried to keep my person-to-person meetings to a minimum, but when I make a necessary trip to the grocery store, I am appalled by the number of people choosing to go maskless, refusing to obey the one-way signs in the aisles, or staying the recommended distance from other shoppers. I value my health and the health of others and it pains me to see how careless people are. If they don’t care about themselves, they should at least care about their older friends and relatives. I guess there isn’t enough technology in the world to cure stupid complacency.

Is it just me, or does this look like a dragon fell from the sky instead of a broken off tree-top?

 

My less rewarding technological effort has been with formatting my book. I have done it before, but somehow I got the page size wrong and from there everything went downhill. My proof copy was not at all what I envisioned, so here I am doing it all over again. I hate being tied to the computer on these nice days! I’d much rather be outside.

And, I need to be outside. In addition to the regular yard work, the high winds lately have contributed to my chores. First, three large limbs came down from the pine tree in the left corner of the yard. I think one limb struck the limb below it, and both then took out the third. Anyway, I managed to saw off the smaller branches and ended up with three logs I can hardly move. In fact, I got the hand truck out of the basement to move two of them to one side. I don’t know how many trips I made from the back of my property to the road with a wheelbarrow full of debris.

Then, just yesterday, high winds snapped a sweet gum in the right side of the yard “half in two” and I now have that mess to clear up. Luckily, neither mishap hurt any overhead lines.

Now that would have messed up my technology — as well as my neighbors’!

 

 

If it isn’t one thing…

Ah yes,  you recognize the quote. “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.”

That’s the way it’s been for the past two weeks. Or I could have quoted Robert Burns and wrote: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

My October calendar page started out nice and neat. No penciled-in notations. Well, a few. A meeting here and there. My annual mammogram. No big deal.

Then another meeting was called. And then Matthew came and went, so those meetings were put off until the following week. Which already had meetings penciled in. Some were church and community business meetings and some were fun meetings such as book club. I had to take minutes at three of them. And write them up before I forgot what my scribbled notes said.

Plus visits to the vet: my calico, Spooky, for her  annual exam and shots and Frenchy to check out her ears because for eight weeks I have been putting drops in twice a day. And she HATED them and ran whenever I even glanced in her direction. Fun times.

But it worked and her infection cleared up. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know that, so the little gray cat is still running, casting accusing looks over her shoulder.

I volunteer at the animal shelter every Wednesday morning, which I enjoy. They held a fundraiser, a chicken plate luncheon, so said I’d make a cake. I make a really good Orange Crush pound cake. So you can guess … I left the first one in the oven too long and it dried out. I trashed it and mixed up another. This one looked and smelled wonderful, but when I went to take it out of the oven, it had fallen. Disaster. Not on a par with Hurricane Matthew, but still…

I bought a cake at the grocery store and explained that I HAD baked a cake, and apologized for the substitute.

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to format my novel to upload to Smashwords. I got up Saturday morning thinking I would have all day to work on it, and found my right eye inexplicably swollen almost shut. I could manage, but I can’t wear my glasses because of the swelling.

I debated going to the ER (which they now call ED for some reason) but the last time I went after being stung by a  hornet near my eye which then swelled to epic proportions, I was told to just let my body absorb the swelling.

So there we are. This week on the calendar — and how can it possibly be the last full week in October? October just started! Anyway, this coming week looks pretty clear except for a routine doctor visit.

I can’t wait to see what happens.

 

 

 

 

 

Ain’t nothing easy

Formatting is such a frightening word. When I hear it, I think of some guy in his room, window shades down, typing away on his computer and generating strings of mysterious code.

I recently formated Riverbend for submission to Smashwords. In case you don’t know it, Smashwords sells books in every available format so readers can download their purchased book on a Kindle, iPad, Nook, telephone, or even, I suppose, their watch if they like to read books on their wrist. Moreover, Smashwords uploads your book to other outlets such as Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Scribd, Overdrive, and I don’t know where else, saving the author the trouble of individually uploading each book in a different format.  You only have to do it once and they do the rest.Image result for hacker images

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. I spent two entire days formatting my book. But, and here is the kicker, all I had to do was follow the instructions in Mark Coker’s guidebook. And the book is free and very user-friendly. If you follow it precisely, your book will be readable with no deep paragraph indents or inches of white space. I’ve read other books with a table of contents and buy links at the back and wondered how they did it. Now I know! Never too old to learn new tricks.

The other thing I’ve been working  on is converting Riverbend to Audible. I put up the info and a script, but so far no one has auditioned. I’m not very hopeful as an experienced reader can charge up to $500 an hour to read a book and ACX calculated it wold take 7.9 hours to read my book. That isn’t just reading, but editing. I can’t afford that, so I went the second route, which is to share royalties 50-50 with the reader.  Because I don’t have a large “platform” or following, I really can’t expect anyone to take the chance that their hours of work will pay off.

I thought of reading it aloud myself and making a file to upload. I like reading aloud and am told I have a pleasant, if soft, voice. That might be just right for Riverbend, whose main character is a genteel Southern woman. But where would I go to record? I’m afraid any recording I made would be interrupted by barking dogs, meowing cats, cars honking, birdsong, and me coughing when my throat gets dry. The birdsong might be a nice touch if I knew how to edit everything else out.

So that’s what I worked on this week. And you thought writing was only about thinking up a plot and inventing characters to act out the story.

I did too, once upon a time.

Commercial: If you want to read an excerpt from Riverbend, here’s the link: www.sandrazbruney.com

 

 

 

 

 

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