Monday, September 29, 2014

Word Woes

Microsoft Word Had a Mind of Its Own

OK, so I think I have finally formatted Kingdom Beyond the Rim the way I want it.

It has only taken me hours and hours of battle with MS Word 2007 to get it right. Even when I go into outline view I can't figure out what the program is doing to my files.

Try to force pages numbers and it won't cooperate. Try to set the margins with the proper "gutter" for a book...that means the inside margins near where the book is bound...and strange things happen. I must have revised the margins 20 or 30 times before I got them right.

Ah, well, all is a learning curve. Once I master all the techniques things should go more smoothly for future volumes.

I have ordered a proof copy of Honor's Way, the second book and already know I have to make some changes.

And I am currently proofreading The Wall Between so I can format that. I decided to fix everything first and then book format it afterwards.

Meanwhile, the Boys are just kind of standing around outside. It's gotten warm again and I put the fans back on, so they are tending to stay in their stalls. I get totally immersed in my publishing venture and just haven't tried to do much with Chance.

Then, I have an extended substitute teaching stint coming up soon and I need to create some lesson plans. It's an English class, so I am just fine with that. I've been in touch with the teacher and she is OK with my ideas. Should be fun. All I need to know for sure is how many days I will be in. That's a little up in the air right now. Either way, it's fine. I have plenty of ideas to keep the students engaged.

Meantime, it's back to proofreading.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Proof Copy is Here!


My proof copy of Kingdom Beyond the Rim arrived today. Days earlier than I expected.

There are some text spacing issues I need to fix, but otherwise the book is magnificent!

The cover looks great and simply seeing my writing in a real book is quite an amazing experience.

I have since published the second book, Honor's Way, as well to the print version and ordered a proof copy of it too.

The good thing about that is that I now have all kinds of experience getting the text set just right for publication and will be able to submit a revised interior of the first book using all my new expertise.

Formatting for publication is not as easy as it might seem at first blush. And MS Word has its own way of doing things which is not always the easiest if you don't know all the tricks of the trade. I am learning, little by little and hope to get the manuscript of the first book set just right for the final copy. Getting the margins set just right has been a chore.

Anyhow, at this rate, I will be a master of the techniques.

Regardless of the few formatting issues in my proof copy, it really is a good looking book. The cover art is terrific and I am a happy camper.

Now, my only puzzle is: Who do I know in India? It looks as if I sold several copies of the Kindle book in India.

I know about people in the UK, the US, and I think, Denmark. But India?

Ah well, at least someone wants to read it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Update

Print Edition

I have ordered a print copy of my novel. This is for me to proofread again.

It should be here by the beginning of October.

I will keep you all posted.

On the horsey front, I lunged Chance for a few minutes today and he looked really good. I opened up the end of his confinement pen under the run in shed and let him out. I'll see how he looks in the morning.

If all is well, I should be in the saddle by the weekend. I only say that because there is a pretty big rainstorm on the way for the rest of the week. I'll need to take the rest of the corral panels off the shed if that happens. The Boys like to hang out on that side of the barn when it rains.

What I don't know is whether Chance is sounder because of his new shoes, or because of treating that lesion on his coronary band. Time will tell.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Published Up On Kindle

Available in a Day, They Say

If all is well, Kingdom Beyond the Rim will be available on Kindle at Amazon sometime tomorrow.

Selling price is $2.99USD.  I expect future books will go for a bit more but we shall see. It should be available worldwide.

I am having a few issues with the cover for the print edition of the novel. Once I work that out, it will be available for about $16.00.  That is the lowest price I could set considering the book is over 600 pages long in the format I had to set.

It has been read by several people and I've gotten really good feedback, so I'm hopeful you will all enjoy it. It is the first in a series of four novels, with some shorter stories/novelettes in between. All of them are written and just awaiting another proofread.

I started writing Kingdom back in 1984 and somehow just kept on writing. I sent it to some publishers along the way, but it was almost impossible back then to get a book published without a literary agent. And agents did not want to take on authors who had not been published. Caught in the vicious circle, I wrote on anyhow, determined to finish the entire set of books.

Now with electronic publishing and self-publishing, it's no longer a problem. The only problem is getting people to read what you've published.

Here's the blurb on Kingdom.

Bred by Magic, born by Magic, blessed by Magic, and cursed by Magic, Jamus seeks his destiny in the enchanted realm of Magiskeep. There, in a world reflecting our own  where the sun rises in the west, the young Magician must face a tormenting nightmare and the dangerous ambition of Sagari, the powerful Master of Magiskeep.

On his journey of self-discovery, Jamus travels from the Way of Mirrors, to the illusion-filled mountains of the Rim and into the mortal lands of Turan’s Provinces. Along the way, he encounters lords and commoners, Sorcerers and Seers. The world opens before him in the inescapable prophecies of Turan’s Way as the turbulent waters of Magic’s River sweep him along on an epic adventure. 

There are horses aplenty and some are very significant in the story's development. 

If you like fantasy, I think you will enjoy my novel. I'd love to have you read it. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Almost There

With the Book, At Least.

I have the book uploaded to Amazon for the print version, but I still have to figure out how to format the cover. I have some more computery friends looking at the template I downloaded to see what I need to do. I have a feeling I don't at the moment have the software I need to format it.

Took me all day to get the text formatted to fit the page sizes and all that stuff. One version of the book had 780 pages and Amazon only accepts 760 as a max. I tried to edit things out, but everything I take out impacts something significant that happens in the plot. It makes it hard to delete things. Anyhow, by going to a smaller font size, I managed to end up with 634 pages. It worked.

So, I am every closer to publication. Tonight, if I can stay awake long enough, I hope to see what I need to do to download the Kindle version. I will keep you all posted.

On the horse front, Chance is now sporting a pair of very elevated wedge pads under some bar shoes. Scott, my farrier, found a lesion above Chance's coronary band which we thought might be making him lame. But when my vet came out, he didn't think it was a problem. Still, I am medicating it and wrapping it. Chance is currently penned up in his stall and the run in shed roof on the west side of the barn.

He's a good boy about it, and it's keeping the bandage on pretty well. The current plan is to keep him confined until the injury heals. The next step is to put him on a daily dose of Previcox and start some light riding.

Guess it's another case of wait and see. I haven't lunged him with the new shoes yet. With such a radical change, I'd much rather let him get used to them first and the confined area lets him to do that gradually.

Meanwhile, I had new roofing put on the garage to satisfy my new homeowner's insurance company. My neighbor and I spent the week before clearing bushes and tree branches away from the house and garage. I also did a lot of painting to satisfy the underwriters. I hope they like the roof.

On another front, I had an allergy blood panel done for food allergies and I am at least slightly allergic to nearly everything I like to eat. The saddest thing on the list is tomatoes. Jersey tomatoes are wonderful this year and I can't eat them. Can't eat lettuce, celery, mushrooms, green beans, milk, wheat, ....the list goes on. Trying to find what I can eat is an adventure.

I only show a slight allergy to many of the foods, but I decided to try to stay off everything to see of it makes any difference in either my joint pains or my sinus allergies. So far, no difference.

Another case of wait and see.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Jury Duty

There Must Be A Better Way

I was called to serve jury duty day, or one trial.  I was an interesting and tedious experience.

I arrived about 15 minutes early at the courthouse, to wait in line for my notice/number to be processed. Then we all--close to 300 jurors--herded into a big assembly room for orientation. There was a bit of speechmaking, a video explaining how juries worked, and then a judge came in to swear us all in.

After that, we sat and waited for our names and numbers to be called as part of a jury panel to go before a specific judge for selection.

I was called in the second group. I was actually quite pleased as I figured that would be a most interesting experience in the courtroom. Ushered in, we found about six jurors already seated in the jurors's box. I think they had been selected last week. That left our "pool" of perhaps forty more people who could be selected.

The judge explained the basics of the case. It was a medical malpractice suit which would be very interesting, but the catch was that the trial was going to be long--nearly a month, with an ending date of October 3 or so. That was a worry. I have a doctor's appointment to get some surgery on my eyelid on later in September and I'd already waited for a month to get that scheduled. When I tried to change it earlier, there was nothing available until well into October. Until then, I can't wear my contact lenses and it's driving me a bit batty already. OK, so that was a problem.

Then as well all sat in complete silence, the judge began to call up potential jurors. He and the two lawyers went to the side of the courtroom with each juror, turned off the microphones and began talking. Sometimes this when on for ten minutes. Then the juror was either dismissed or sent to sit in the jurors box.  After about two more jurors were seated up front, the judge started asking questions aloud for all of us to hear, quizzing each of the seated jurors about: employment, family, what TV shows they watched, where they got their news, what bumper stickers they had on their cars, and what they did in their spare time. All this, apparently gives the lawyers for each side a chance to decide if the juror will be fair to his side of the case. Every now and then, the judge would ask one of the lawyers if he objected to one of the jurors and over and over, jurors were dismissed and a new name and number was called up for the private quiz.

Again, at some random point, the judge had each lawyer introduce himself, his clients and other members of the firm there. Then the judge gave a brief overall explanation that the trial was about a patient suing a doctor over some kind of treatment for a bad back where the client was claiming the doctor had been negligent and the doctor claimed it was the patient's fault for not following instructions or something like that.

After a few more jurors were called up for the "white noise " sidebar conferences. (They turned the mike off and replaced it with the sound of static.)  The judge then asked one of the paneled members a series of questions designed to test their impartiality.  "Have you ever had reason to sue a doctor? Have you ever had steriod injections?" Now my ears pricked up again. Not only am I under a chiropractor's care, but I have had numerous steroid injections in my knees. Then he asked if the juror's decision might be influenced by having sympathy for another's pain. my hip muscle cramped up just about a minute later, I knew I'd fall short on that question too.

This all went we sat in complete silence...until about 1:45 when the judge gave us a one hour lunch break.  I went out with a fellow juror--a young nursing student who was starting her first brand new job next week. We had a nice time at a neat little pub having hamburgers and then headed back for....

More of the same. My young friend was called up just a bit before I was, and she must have explained about her new job, because the judge dismissed her soon after.  At about 3:15, my name and number were called.
When I got up there the judge--a youngish guy with a really nice, friendly and open personality, by the way--asked if I had any problem with the duration of the trial. I explained about my scheduled eye surgery. He laughed and said, "Wouldn't you rather be here than having surgery? You'd learn a lot." While I agreed with that, I also told him I really did want the surgery and had already been waiting too long for it. He grinned, as did the two lawyers and I was excused.

Off I went, back downstairs to the nearly empty assembly room. There they took my juror's badge and told me I was free to go home. I didn't need a letter of proof of service, to I headed all the way down a few blocks to the parking garage, put my validated parking ticket in the machine only to be told I owed $19 for parking. Something was wrong since jurors were not supposed to have to pay.

I hiked back to the courthouse to find out that the machines at that garage had been acting up all day. They gave me a letter and told me to buzz the attendant on the way out of the garage and he'd let me out.

I hiked back to the garage--well at least I got my workout in--finally found my car--just a little tricky as I don't quite recognize my new car easily yet, hopped in an began driving the maze to the out gate. There the attendant didn't even bother looking at my letter. He too knew the machines had been acting up and trusted me.

Off I went out into the streets of New Brunswick trying to remember how to navigate my way to some street I knew....used to go to college there. Vague memory and my GPS got me back out onto the highway home only to find traffic backed up for miles. They have been doing construction on one stretch there for well over a year and it's a real mess. Not sure why as there is no construction going on at the moment, but the lanes are all fouled up and it is just a mess. Fortunately, there is a side road I could get off onto without too much trouble, so I did and wound my way back home through country roads. It's slower driving, but not at all congested.

Now, all that questioning in the courtroom and the long sidebars, while 40 people sit in silence with nothing to do? The questions are posted on the judiciary website. Might there be a way to get jurors to answer them ahead of time? In this age of computers, I would think answers could be scanned and sorted somehow, allowing judge and lawyers to eliminate people who do not meet their standards and whittle the pool down to those who really would make good jurors.

It would have been interesting to see if the lawyers or judge would have accepted me as a juror. I watch and listen to liberal news stations, watch lots of crime/detective shows on TV, and I have a fairly substantial understanding of many medical procedures/medications, etc. I also have back issues of my own, so I know how painful that can be and how debilitating. I am honestly not sure I would have been a good member of that jury as I might have been too informed about the issues.

All I do know is that I came home totally exhausted from doing almost nothing all day except sit silently in a chair for nearly 6 hours,

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

New Wheels

Sprung for a New Car

Hope I sell a few copies of my books...I just bought a new car. It's a Chevrolet Sonic. I wanted a little economy car in a hatchback. There were some pretty good Labor Day deals going on, so I went for it.

My Toyota Matrix was 11 years old and starting to develop some issues that would cost some good money down the road. My only regret is that I just spent too much money trying to fix it. Then, decided to look at new cars. Should have done it the other way around and not bothered to do the repair and learn. It would have given me more money for the down payment. Ah, well.....

Anyhow, some pics of the new wheels:

On the other side is my truck, the Dodge Durango I use to pull my trailer and get horse supplies. It is a 2003 with only about 8000 original miles on it. So I can keep that for a long while yet.