Here you can follow the blow-by-blow account of my attempt to transform myself into a (regularly) published author.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Recent Promotional Upgrades

I finally got my act together and consolidated some useless single book pages I had created on Facebook long ago into one author page. You can like it at Joan H. Young, Author.

And, amazingly enough, I also managed to put together a video about Dead Mule Swamp, in which I also read chapter one of News from Dead Mule Swamp. Enjoy!

The flurry of accomplishment is spurred by the fact that I'm doing an author takeover for an hour at 8 pm in the Facebook Group "Cozy Mystery Friends." Free to join if you are interested.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Play MYNCT Bingo and Win Books

There are SO many wonderful places on the North Country Trail!

Play MYNCT Bingo and WIN A BOOK. Send me pictures that complete any row of 5, and your name will go in a drawing. 1 copy of North Country Quest, and 1 copy of North Country Cache will be awarded. You do NOT have to have visited these places or taken the pictures personally. You can hunt up pictures on line. However, if you can make a line of places you have actually been to you will get two entries for that card. (Just be sure to tell me.)

Enter as often as you want, as long as you complete a different line (that makes 12 possible entries per person, upped to 24 if you've really been to all those places!) Send entries to Label the pics somehow with the card location. For example T-1 is the Crown Point Bridge, and I might enter this picture for that square. But now you can't steal this one for your own entry- that would be too easy! Deadline for entries April 30, 2020. #myNCTbingo

alt text space T-1, Crown Point Bridge (photo by jhy)

North Country Cache and North Country Quest together tell the stories of my end-to-end hike of the North Country National Scenic Trail. I was the first woman to complete the 4600-mile trail on foot.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Secret Cellar Interior Illustrations Redone

I decided that the interior illustrations for the Dubois Files children's mysteries need to be done over in ink rather than remain as pencil sketches. The actual result of the printed pencil sketches is that they are pale and muddy. This decision was made before I published The Bigg Boss, so those were done in ink on the first time around.

Here are the new pictures for The Secret Cellar. They will also be larger. I decided that the horizontal ones would be turned so you have to turn the book sideways to see them. This isn't my favorite plan, but in a 5.25 x 8" book the pictures have to be very small if you don't do this. I'd rather have the pictures larger.

I've left them full size here so you can click on the picture and see them better.

Picture #1- Laszlo's father drives the truck over a railroad bridge, but a train is coming! Jimmie and Laszlo hadn't planned on that much excitement.

Picture #2- Jimmie and Cora dig up a treasure in the crawlspace under Jimmie's house.

Picture #3- Laszlo uses the post-hole digger to make a foundation hole for their clubhouse.

Picture #4- The secret cellar- but it doesn't seem to be the hiding place for the papers the kids are trying to find. I made a major change to this picture by adding Ruby, who is tired and discouraged. She sits down in the corner to rest.

There are currently four books in the series, and I'm working on the fifth. Age range 8-11; chapter books. All are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from me. Ebook formats also on Smashwords, Kobo and iBooks.

Visit Books Leaving Footprints for synopses and samples.

original pencil illustrations

Sunday, January 26, 2020

North Country Quest - Cover

cover North Country Quest

After almost 9 years of working on North Country Quest, it's ready to go to the printer! The writing was sporadic for about 7 years, as I branched off into fiction. In 2018 I began to get more serious. In 2019, it's essentially all I've done. Even so, I didn't manage to finish until 2020. But here we are.

This book is even better than North Country Cache. The writing is better. There are more pictures. Hopefully, the printing quality of the cover will be better (long unhappy story that I have to relive every time I look at a copy of NCC).

cover North Country Quest

Today, I'm sharing the cover of the new volume. The design is the same as for the first one, but with pictures that go with these stories.

The image above is the front and spine. Here is the back cover with recommendations by Frida Waara, Polar Adventurer, and Jennifer Pharr Davis, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

The book will be first available, publicly, at the Quiet Adventure Symposium in East Lansing, MI, on February 29.

See Too Fast at Car Speed for a sample of the first chapter.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Accidentally Yours Available as Ebook

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Accidentally Yours, a collection of short stories, poems, and essays, by Joan H. Young is now available as an eBook from Amazon and Smashwords. It should appear on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Overdrive in just a few days. The paperback edition will also be ready in a few days.

The volume contains 30 poems, 16 short stories (several of which are micro-fiction), and 9 non-fiction essays. Thematically, they are all over the map. That will keep you from getting bored. It also gives you a glimpse into my chaotic mind. Enter if you dare. All this for $3.99 in the eBook format!

Diana Kathryn Wolfe-Plopa, founder of Pages Promotions, LLC, and an author in her own right, says, "This collection of short stories, essays, and poetry feels like a Literary Advent Calendar. Each time I turned the page, I was given a little gift of story, perspective, and art. It was impossible to take it slowly. Remarkable in this writing is the flash fiction pieces sprinkled throughout. The art of writing a complete story in just a few short lines is a difficult skill to master. Joan does it here with an acumen and comfort that reveals the true nature of her outstanding writing gifts. The balance between shorter and longer pieces creates a natural ebb and flow to the writing."

And Jean Davis, author of speculative fiction writes, "A delightful collection of poetry and prose that will make you gasp, laugh out loud, and fondly appreciate days gone by."

After a frustrating day of formatting woes (I usually don't have many problems, but the issues probably stemmed from culling the pieces from many different files, created in various versions of several different software packages), both major platforms (Amazon and Smashwords) have approved the files, and they look pretty clean. I don't see a bunch of formatting oddities in the previews.

You can find Accidentally Yours at Amazon and Smashwords.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Accidentally Yours Anthology

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One of my goals for the year was to bring out an anthology of my varied short writings-- stories, essays and poems. However, the amount of effort required to finish North Country Quest has put all of my other goals into a tail spin.

Getting a collection of my short works together really doesn't require a lot of effort. Everything is written. Some final editing is needed, compiling things and maybe adding a little text about some of the stories, but most of the work is simply formatting the book.

So, this week, I got my act together and tried to come up with a title for the book. I read some articles about how long an anthology should be. While researching that, I learned that anthologies are often given the same title as the lead story.

I'm not usually one to ask what other people think about titles and cover art. In this case, it's probably a good thing I did. I came up with six possible titles, and my first choice only got one other vote, from an engineering friend.

The overwhelming choice of the people who participated was Accidentally Yours, which is also the first story. I'd really like to have this title and cover be appealing enough to attract people to buy it, so I'm taking the advice I've received.

One person said, "Accidentally Yours reflects a mystery of a first encounter." That said a lot to me. The collection will be eclectic, to say the least. Themes are all over the map-- very much like my brain. That first story is set on the frozen North Sea, so I went looking for a royalty-free photo I could use and put together a possible cover. What you see above is only tweaked a bit from that first effort. I like it! Others seem to like it!

This could be a winner. One author friend of mine says her short story collection is her best selling book. Maybe I can have this ready to go in a month... in time for Christmas. That's not out of the question, without taking away from the time I'm working on North Country Quest.

So far, it includes flash fiction, literary fiction, entertaining short stories, essays, and quite a few poems. The list includes, at this point, nine stories, five essays, 14 poems and a few two-sentence stories. I'm aiming for about 200 pages. Formatting has begun.

If you helped in the title decision, thank you!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

3288 Review

alt text 3288 Review
This summer, I had a short story accepted to the literary magazine, 3288 Review. My complementary copy arrived today. Sweet stuff.

The story is titled, "The Valley."

I wish I could tell you this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship, but sadly, the publisher of the magazine has decided they can't make a financial go of the project and this is the last issue.

alt text The Valley by Joan H. Young