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

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

James H. Hall Award from MOWA

I've been a member of the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association for a little more than a year, and I learned in January that they give out awards for quality writing. In addition to that (and a great move to my way of thinking), they've begun recognizing "non-consumptive" outdoor recreation. In other words, things other than hunting and fishing. Which is all I ever write about, eh?

So I figured I couldn't possibly win if I didn't enter, right? Actually got my stuff together and turned in by the due date. Here is one of the categories I entered:

JAMES H. HALL AWARD - For the best outdoor feature highlighting a non-consumptive activity awarded in newspaper, magazine or paid web.. The award recognizes features about "non-consumptive activities"; (such as travel, camping, canoeing, hiking). The award recognizes humorous,instructive subjects, natural history, or other such "soft" material written about non-consumptive activities.

Hey! I won third place. Not bad for a newbie. The article was "Martin Johnson- A Purpose Fulfilled."

If you click the picture, it should show up large enough to read if you want.




Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Grey Wolfe Scriptorium Visit

authors Wendy Thomson, Diana Wolfe, Joan H. Young

In keeping with my apparent goal to take a bad selfie everywhere possible, here's one from the Grey Wolfe Scriptorium in Clawson, Michigan. I had an author event there this evening. Since only Diana Wolfe, the owner and author (center), Wendy Thomson author, and I showed up, we just sat around and talked author stuff.

They let me ramble on about my books for a while, but then we talked about writing styles and genres and books we like and all that.

Nice to get to know Diana and Wendy better.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Getting Paper and eBook Editions Linked on Amazon

Amazon editions not linked

Now that Kindle and CreateSpace are not altogether the same thing, your paperback and electronic editions of the same book may not be automatically linked. Does this matter? Yes!

If they are not linked, when people find your title, they will see one or the other editions but not both. Where that red oval is in the graphic under "see all formats and editions," it should have another box for "paperback." People are going to think you didn't offer both choices.

This can be solved. If you just published a book, wait at least three days for them to link automatically, but if they don't you can request it be done manually.

You have to log in to your Kindle Account and find a screen where the link for Help appears at the top. It's not on every screen! Click it.

Amazon editions not linked

Then find the box called Popular Topics, and choose Linking Editions, then Contact Us in the body of the text. There is a pre-filled list of questions for you to answer. Essentially, they want to be sure everything about the editions matches. They'll ask for the ISBN and ASIN numbers.

Submit the info. I've had to do this a few times now, and the links have been created within a day.

This can also be done if there are problems with audiobooks or multiple editions of a title not being linked.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Writing in the Car- Voice Journal App

Voice Journal app for Android


Yesterday was a long car day. I usually do some good thinking for books while driving, and wanted to be sure I didn't lose what I thought up, so I went looking for a free speech to text app. I tried the Voice Journal App for Android. It works, but right now, I'm giving it three stars and looking for something else to try.

I had the basic plot of then next Anastasia Raven mystery in my head. It will be Dead Mule Swamp Mistletoe, a Christmas mystery. But I thought I could flesh out the characters and their motives to dislike the person who dies. After a day of devious plotting, I think I'm going to like this book.

Voice Journal was pretty simple to use. Maybe too simple in terms of options. You can give entries a title. Then you just touch RECORD to bring up the text pad. You can actually do a text entry or touch the microphone to speak.

Voice Journal app for Android

There doesn't seem to be a limit to the length of file you can make, since I recorded on and off all day. The accuracy of what was in the text is better than marginal, but not great. I can figure out what I said, but won't be doing much cut and paste to save excerpts.

It seemed like all you could see of your input was in that little central slice, but learned later after I wasn't driving that you can see more, to be able to scroll and read by using the back arrow at the bottom of the screen (the phone triangle one).

The black arrow that says Entry Details takes you back to the screen with all your entries.

Voice Journal app for Android

Since the first one was a test run, I wanted to delete it. That doesn't seem to be a possibility.

You can email the text file to anyone in your contacts, send to dropbox, facebook, or lots of other choices in your own app list. Do this by touching the EXPORT label. I chose to send it to dropbox, where it appeared as a txt file.

I made this really small on purpose so you can't read it. It's full of spoilers, but you can see that it's just one huge block of text. There's a period wherever I paused, which was often. Odd names throw it for a loop.

Voice Journal app for Android txt file

At any rate, I made some good progress on a book instead of losing all that stupid driving time.

One really bad thing- I didn't push stop when I was finished one time, and Google Maps- which I was using for driving directions stopped talking to me. This was really bad in a traffic jam around Nashville! I discovered what had happened because all my comments (yeah, I talk to myself) made while trying to get the map to talk appeared in the text file for Voice Journal!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Concept Cover - The Bigg Boss

Yes, I'm already working on the outline for the 4th Dubois Files mystery. Title is The Bigg Boss. Mr. Bigg is the owner of the canning factory that Cora's father manages in Cherry Pit Junction. But the friends are about to get to know him better. That might not work out so well.

Here's the concept cover without lettering. I'll be delivering it to Linda J. Sandow tonight so she can begin working her magic.


Tentatively, The Bigg Boss will be available at the July 21 Writers' Rendezvous in Ludington!


Saturday, April 7, 2018

What Does an Author Do All Day?

alt text maps, photos, tape

At the event in Pentwater earlier this week I mentioned that while I was writing North Country Cache I had a nice disciplined schedule for writing. Someone asked me how long every day I spent writing. My answer was two hours. They seemed fairly appalled, so I then explained that meant sitting at the computer and pounding a keyboard for two hours. I was always thinking about what I would write next, figuring out ideas and all that.

Here's how I spent today working on North Country Quest. Time invested on authorly stuff-- 5 or 6 hours. Total words written-- 244, none of which may survive once I get this chapter really going.

However, here's what I did:
• Put away the files and stuff from writing Chapter 2- "Meanders and Undulations." Yes, this counts. I'm really bad at putting stuff away.
• Got out the file for Chapter 3- probably named "Chasing Nomad and JoJo Smiley"
• Found the tape of that hike
• Found the pictures of that hike
• Read the brief notes I'd made about ideas for that chapter
• Listened to the tape twice. The first time, I just had to get my head back into that adventure, the second time I began to formulate ideas.
• Re-acquainted myself with those maps, notes, pictures etc.
• Transferred the tape to digital format, which involved finding the right cord.
• Read most of Nomad and JoJo Smiley's online journal since the chapter involves their hike, at least psychologically
• called Marie to see if she remembered a piece of this puzzle. I hiked alone, but visited her on one end
• wrote those 244 words

And, not related to NCQ, I claimed the Dubois Files books on Goodreads, so people can find them to review.

That's how an author spends time. Now my brain will probably wrestle with ideas all night.

See Meanders and Undulations

Friday, April 6, 2018

Meanders and Undulations

Chapter 2 in North Country Quest is done. Title is "Meanders and Undulations."

Joan and Deb in East Fork State Park

This hike was East Fork State Park in Ohio (and a little more on each end). I had a lot of it written already, but as I said in the post linked below I was having trouble making it work. The problem was that although these first two hikes connected geographically, they were separated by several days, were different in character, and needed to be two different chapters. Now I've got it sorted out!

Here's how it starts:

Deb is excited about backpacking together. She is a friend from the Spirit of the Woods Chapter of the North Country Trail Association, our home chapter in Michigan. The NCTA works to build, protect and promote the trail, and there are thirty chapters along its length. Thousands of volunteers donate millions of hours to keep the pathway in good shape. But, to my knowledge, usually in the daytime.

Debbie meets me in Williamsburg, Ohio. We take my car to Batavia and I ride my bike back to Williamsburg. Deb sits outside a grocery store and waits for me to return. I recently asked her how she spent the time. “I read War and Peace, helped an old lady cross the street, and started writing a novel based on our hike,” she said.

Dang, that must be the slowest I ever rode eight miles in my life!

I ask permission to lock my bicycle to a post outside the store for the days until we return. Of course they won’t take any responsibility, but at least I can be fairly sure they won’t have the lock cut and take the bike to the police station as abandoned.

We adjust packs, distribute the shared parts of the load and set off for East Fork State Park. After only two miles we find our first obstacle, the East Fork of the Little Miami River. The map assures us it’s usually shallow but has very slippery rocks. We switch to sandals and carefully ford the wide waterway. Neither of us takes a dunking, but it’s always amazing to me how long it takes to walk a couple hundred feet under difficult circumstances.

We soon join the Perimeter Trail of the park, and the map informs us that the trail “meanders and undulates generally, more-or-less...” Deb and I have a laugh at the terminology, but we should only consider ourselves forewarned.

In other good news, the local bookstore took six sets of my Dubois Files children's mysteries today.

See Too Fast at Car Speed- chapter 1

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Pentwater Library Program

author Joan H. Young discussing her books in a small group setting

Hanne Kelley (holding book, left of center) is turning out to be a fantastic moderator for author events. Having someone to ask questions and say nice things without the author always being the one to harp on the good qualities of one's books is priceless as far as I'm concerned.

There were about ten people at this gathering, which was a good sized group for the discussion. Not a disappointing evening at all, given the venue.

And afterwards, I was invited to Hanne's house to visit, and we got better acquainted. I think we have quite a lot in common. Fun times. (and her dog likes me too).

See previous Pentwater program

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Signing Books with Linda

 author Joan H. Young and cover artist Linda J. Sandow holding books

If you have signed copies of the first three Dubois Files books coming your way, they are one step closer. Linda and I spent two hours today signing books. Single sets are in mailers. If I'm hand delivering to you, you'll get yours tomorrow or Thursday depending on how long work is on Wednesday. Others will be in the mail, ditto.

Thank you so much for this early support! If you read the books (as well as your kids or grandkids), a review at your favorite book site would be much appreciated.

I also worked on North Country Quest a bit today, too.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Too Fast at Car Speed

swamp at sunrise swamp at sunrise in East Fork State Park, Ohio
(photo by jhy)

I'm sitting here surrounded by maps, files and a box of photos. Yes, I'm working on North Country Quest again. There have been several false starts, over the past seven (yes 7) years, but I'm hopeful this won't be yet another of those misfortunes. That said, I'm leaving town for three weeks on April 23, and this is not a good project to work on while away from home base. But at least I'll get a few chapters done before then.

I figured out what was wrong with my previous opening chapter. I was trying to force it to be something it was not. Of course one can tweak a chapter to give it a certain flavor, but above all, my account in North Country Cache was honest, and I want to continue that plan.

So the previous first chapter will now be the second chapter, and the new first chapter is "Too Fast at Car Speed."

And, except for tweaks, I think it's done. Here's how it starts:

“The world moves too fast at car speed,” I grumble into the tape recorder, the annoyance clear in my voice.

North Country Cache ended with an eagle “seeing” the whole trail. North County Quest begins with a grasshopper who can’t see where it’s going.

Two heavy green thighs push out, then thrust backward in unison, propelling the slim body of the grasshopper through the water with a frog kick. I laugh out loud at the absurdity of its cross-species motions. Who knew that grasshoppers can swim? He has taken on a daunting task, this little summer insect, to swim across a creek hundreds of times the length of his body. I wonder if he is even aware of the far bank, or is he just responding in desperation to an unintended watery landing after a careless jump?

I feel a bit like a grasshopper myself. Here I am again, sitting in the damp vegetation on the bank of some unnamed creek, soaking my hot feet and eating a crackers-and-cheese lunch in the middle of a hiking day, in the middle of a hiking life, in the middle of a hiking trail.

The trail is, of course, the North Country National Scenic Trail, and I’m beginning a theoretical second half of my quest to hike the whole thing. It’s theoretical because this trail will be under construction for many more years. The exact length changes every year as new sections are built and taken off road, or previous routes changed for various reasons. Just two weeks ago my distance hiked-to-date totaled 2300 miles, half of the 4600 estimated miles of trail which stretch from New York to North Dakota. Thus, I’m now, like the grasshopper, past the point of no return. Every step and every day on the trail from this point forward will be a countdown to completion. It looks as if the grasshopper will make it across the stream before I finish eating. My journey will take longer.

In fact, I’ve already been working on hiking this trail for thirteen years. Mine is not a race to the finish line. Rather, I choose to sample the seven states of the NCT in smaller bites, savoring the local flavor of each piece. However long it takes is not the issue for me. Instead, I want to know this trail: its moods, its secret places, its windings through history and the local cultures. If it takes another thirteen years, so be it.

I'm trying to act more like a serious writer... writing nearly every day, not just when the muse is hot. I've managed that amazingly well for the past three months, actually getting the first three Dubois Files books out on my planned schedule. Now it's time to keep that going.

And, yes, I'm glad you noticed, this picture is the one used for the cover of News from Dead Mule Swamp. I took it at sunrise after a night in the car at East Fork State Park, in SW Ohio.

See Picking Up the Quest

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Arrivals - Part 3

I now have 100 copies each of The Secret Cellar, The Hitchhiker, and The ABZ Affair.

case of books The ABZ Affair

Now I can show you all three. I love how cover artist, Linda Sandow, used different palettes for each one and yet kept the tone similar and the wonderful intensity of the colors! Here are the fronts together.

covers of the first three Dubois Files children's mysteries

And the backs:

covers of the first three Dubois Files children's mysteries

I even like the spines together. How about a whole shelf full of these volumes? Maybe someday. I have plots for two more in my head already.

covers of the first three Dubois Files children's mysteries

I also ordered padded mailers today. Linda and I will have a marathon signing session early next week and get these out to you if you've pre-ordered.

Only three more days at the reduced price and guaranteed autographs. Pre-order (through March 31) the set of the first three Dubios Files books for $24 (no discount after March 31), they will be signed by the cover artist Linda J. Sandow, as well as by me. Signed sets can be pre-ordered at Books Leaving Footprints

See Arrivals - Part 2


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Graphics and EPUB - JPG vs. PNG Formats

I've been beating my head against a wall for two days now trying to get the Dubois Files books to pass the EPUB check. This is the format needed for ebooks at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks and Overdrive. I do this through Smashwords.

Let me say right away that the Smashwords Style Guide is impressive. If you follow its excellent and careful directions, you are likely to have very little trouble getting books through the formatting checks. It can be used by anyone, whether you publish through Smashwords or not.

However... When I got to the part about adding images to the file some of the language seemed to have changed. I've always used jpg images (also jpeg extension- Joint Photographic Experts Group). But the guide said that png formatted (Portable Network Graphics) images seem to work better for EPUB. So I thought I'd go that route. These children's books have a lot of graphics and I wanted to minimize the headaches, right?

There is a difference in the formats. Jpg is "lossy," which means that some of the detail is lost when the file is compressed. Png is "lossless," which means it should withstand being moved across platforms with better resolution at the end point.

For an ebook on an average sized reader, tablet or phone, however, it's kind of a "who cares." These two images are jpg on the left and png on the right. Screens like these only support 96 pixels per inch anyway, so it doesn't matter if you've got an image with 300 ppi- it will get downshifted to 96 for display.

sketch of a boy talking on an old fashioned wall telephone from the book The Hitchhiker sketch of a boy talking on an old fashioned wall telephone from the book The Hitchhiker

Anyway, I was still stuck on the wording that said png is the better choice. I spent all day yesterday and part of the day before trying to figure out errors like this one: The file 'tmp_f0de42d4eb6865730fa0631fca336cc0_9P8O4M_html_5895aa02.png' does not appear to match the media type image/png, as specified in the OPF file. (ERROR)

Yikes! Well, it turns out you can find out which image this is (I certainly didn't name any file like that!) with some maneuvering, but that just got tedious when the images were rejected over and over again. There seemed to be nothing I could do to correct the problem. I tried using two different converters in addition to my own graphics program. Still got the same errors.

Finally, I decided to go back and put the pictures back in as jpgs. Guess what? The whole thing passed on the first try.

So... if you, too, are beating your head against a wall some day over this, try the other format!

You can still pre-order (through March 31) the set of the first three Dubios Files books for $24 (no discount after March 31), they will be signed by the cover artist Linda J. Sandow, as well as by me. Signed sets can be pre-ordered at Books Leaving Footprints

covers for the Children's mysteries the Dubois Files

Formatting and more

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Arrivals - Part 2


I guessed these might arrive today based on when I received notice that they had shipped. 100 copies of The Hitchhiker have joined those of The Secret Cellar. The spines look really nice side by side. I'll wait till I have all three to show that. But those won't be here tomorrow. There was a time lag while I got the formatting done on the third one.

case of books The Hitchhiker

Today I got Library of Congress Catalog Numbers assigned to the books. They won't be in this first printing, but that's ok. It's pretty easy to tweak files on CreateSpace.

I also updated my list of events where I'll be wearing my author hat this summer. You can see the full list at Meet the Author

If you want to pre-order (through March 31) the set of the first three Dubios Files books for $24 (no discount after March 31), they will be signed by the cover artist Linda J. Sandow, as well as by me. Signed sets can be pre-ordered at Books Leaving Footprints

covers for the Children's mysteries the Dubois Files


Formatting and more

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Arrivals - Part 1


This doesn't need a lot of explanation! It doesn't matter how many books you've put together. Receiving that first case is always a rush! 100 copies of The Secret Cellar in my house. 30 sets of the three books are already sold. Is one or more coming to your house? Ten more days to pre-order.

case of books The Secret Cellar

The life of a writer has variables. Today I thought I was going to give myself a break. Instead, when I got home from work I learned that a man who was a good friend to the North Country Trail had died, and I was asked to write his obituary for The North Star (magazine of the North Country Trail Association). I write for them fairly often, but it's all volunteer, of course.

If you want to pre-order (through March 31) the set of the first three Dubios Files books for $24 (no discount after March 31), they will be signed by the cover artist Linda J. Sandow, as well as by me. Signed sets can be pre-ordered at Books Leaving Footprints

covers for the Children's mysteries the Dubois Files


Formatting and more

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

That One Tiny Thing- Ha!

 
Remember, I said I had one tiny thing to do and The ABZ Affair would be ready to be sent off for approval. Ha!

I started by proofreading the crafts, and as I suspected, it was a good thing I didn't try to do that last night. There was a fair amount more to do on those.

This lengthened the book by a few pages, and that changed the size of the cover, so I had to fix that.

Then I remembered that I wanted to find a better font for the map. I didn't like the one I was using, but the commercial use was free. Did you know that you can't just use any font you want in a book? For a lot of them you are supposed to purchase a commercial license. But I found one I liked that has no restrictions, so I redid the text on the map. I like the results much better. I'll swap them out in the first two books before I order more copies.

Then I also remembered that I wanted to tweak the illustration with the forklift just a little bit, so I did that.

After that.... I did the one tiny thing, which actually took a couple of hours, a general floor plan of the canning factory.

Then, the cover file had to be converted to a pdf, which took forever for some reason today.

But.. ta-DA! By 4:30 I had the whole thing uploaded to CreateSpace and proofed. Clicked the button to have it approved. Hoping everything goes well, and I can order these books tomorrow.

But, I just did one tiny thing, right?

Cases of the first two, The Secret Cellar and The Hitchhiker, have already shipped!

map of the East South River Road Neighborhood for the children's book <I>The ABZ Affair</I> map of the East South River Road Neighborhood for The ABZ Affair


Illustrations for The ABZ Affair

Monday, March 19, 2018

ABZ Affair - Almost There

 
So close to being done with The ABZ Affair! I got the two craft/skill sections done today, but that's about all. It takes a long time to describe things so that a ten-year-old can read and follow the directions. Hope I've succeeded! This is a coder/decoder for a simple substitution code.
alt text the substitution coder/decoder wheel craft in The ABZ Affair

alt text the template coder/decoder craft in The ABZ Affair

This one is a lot more complicated, but it's also a lot tougher to crack. This book was aimed at kids who like a challenging puzzle, and since there are two crafts per book, anyone who doesn't want to try this still has the other one to make.

I illustrated these two crafts with photos.

Wrote the Acknowledgements section. Now I think there is just one tiny, tiny thing to do, and I can send it off to be approved.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Interior Illustrations - The ABZ Affair

 
drawing of children sitting on a playground merry-go-round for the children's book The ABZ Affair
the friends eat lunch sitting on the playground merry-go-round

drawing joe-pye weed and boneset for the children's book The ABZ Affair
Joe-Pye weed and boneset

drawing of a boy driving a forklift for the children's book The ABZ Affair
George drives the forklift

drawing of a hand sliding a deadbolt for the children's book The ABZ Affair
Cora slides the deadbolt

The interior illustrations are now complete, but I still have two secret code graphics to do for the craft/skill pages. Those will be tomorrow.

If you want to pre-order (through March 31) the set of the first three Dubios Files books for $24 (no discount after March 31), they will be signed by the cover artist Linda J. Sandow, as well as by me. Signed sets can be pre-ordered at Books Leaving Footprints

covers for the Children's mysteries the Dubois Files

Illustrations - The Hitchhiker

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The ABZ Affair - Full Cover for Paperback

full cover for print edition of The ABZ Affair

My goal is to get the third Dubois Files book, The ABZ Affair, fully formatted and approved this weekend so I can order copies. That will keep me busy for sure! Today I got the cover completed.

This is not as simple as it sounds. In order to get the correct size template to design it, I had to know how many pages the book was. To get that number I had to know how many illustrations I was going to use. So that had to be decided, and temporary placeholders put in the text. I also had to write the text for the back cover.

It says, "George Harris liked writing messages in secret code. In August of 1953, he learned one that was tough to crack, and taught it to his sister Ruby, and then to his friends Jimmie Mosher and Cora Dubois.
When the four of them were offered a job picking up trash at the Cherry Pit Junction canning factory, someone listened in on their conversation and stole a coder.
The children were playing games, but what were the adults up to?"

That took a while to write. The plots of kids books are not too complex, so by telling these details, we're almost halfway through the book! Have to keep some secrets.

Meanwhile, my brain just continues to spin. I have the basic plot for Dubois Files #4 worked out. Thanks to some brainstorming with my friend Ester, she solved the problem of how to keep the kids in the ending.

I came up with the singular event that sets the plot for my potential technothriller in motion. That idea's been cooking for a long time, and it's certainly not on the front burner, but now that I have a key piece of the action... my brain won't let it rest.

So, tomorrow will be all about illustrations for The ABZ Affair. That's the last big project. Oh yeah, and headers/footers and page numbers.

The Hitchhiker - Full Cover for Paperback

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Painful Expenses- Or Why I Buy ISBNs

"If you want to make an omelet you have to break some eggs." I'm sure you've heard that before.

This is a week of painful expenses. All of them are good and necessary, and are almost certain to be recouped. But right now, things are tight and it hurts to break those eggs!

I have ordered 100 copies each of The Secret Cellar and The Hitchhiker, and will do the same for The ABZ Affair as soon as the proof is approved. But the big expense is a new block of ISBNs. Those are International Standard Book Numbers. You have to have them if you want to sell your book anywhere except maybe out of the back of your car. They assign a unique number to every edition of every book.

I've previously purchased two blocks of 10. Yes, that's 20 numbers, and I've used them all. Needed two more for The ABZ Affair. When you buy a block of 10, they currently cost about $30 each. When you buy a block of $100, they currently cost about $6 each. Yes, you read that right. It's a HUGE difference if you can afford the larger block and think you will use them. I know I'll need more then ten almost instantly. If I manage to get each of my mysteries in audio format, that's 8 more right there and I'll be out again. So I did it. Bought 100.

But why not just use the free ISBNs provided by CreateSpace if you print through their service?

Here are my reasons.
1. I object on principal to Amazon ruling the world- they own CreateSpace.

Now let's be a little more practical.

2. You can only print at CreateSpace with one of their ISBNs. Right now, I'm content with their service, but they aren't the only POD printer in the universe. If I change my mind, I don't have to use another ISBN.

3. If I use a CreateSpace ISBN it will show them as the publisher. I have my own legally registered publishing company, Books Leaving Footprints, and I want that imprint to appear in my books

Back to work! That's my big accomplishment for the day. Oh, I did get Bowker (the service that lists your ISBNs and the info about each title) to add the Anastasia Raven Mysteries and Dubois Files series to my info, and I've started the formatting for The ABZ Affair. I know it's not much, but today was a full work day as well, and I'm going out this evening.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Interior Illustrations - The Hitchhiker

drawing of a boy using a wooden crank wall telephone for the children's book The Hitchhiker
Jimmie calls Cora on the phone

drawing of a locket for the children's book The Hitchhiker
Veli's locket

drawing of a boy and girl in a wheelbarrow race for the children's book The Hitchhiker
The wheelbarrow race- Beth and Laszlo


The interior illustrations for The Hitchhiker are done. In fact, the whole book has now been sent through the CreateSpace approval process. Maybe it will even make it through on the first try. I can always hope.

Did some computer graphic things for The ABZ Affair, and some flyers to hand out to people.

Writers' Group tonight!

If you want to pre-order (through March 31) the set of the first three Dubios Files books for $24 (no discount after March 31), they will now be signed by the cover artist Linda J. Sandow, as well as by me. Signed sets can be pre-ordered at Books Leaving Footprints

covers for the Children's mysteries the Dubois Files

The Hitchhiker- full cover for paperback

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Hitchhiker - Full Cover for Paperback

 
full cover for the paperback edition of The Hitchhiker

I had to work at the paper a couple of hours in the middle of the day. That's ok... I'll take all the money I can get between now and the end of that job.

After having the cover for the paperback of The Secret Cellar rejected twice (!!) I was getting frustrated. But, the fault was mine. I wasn't paying attention, and the bottom of the g on my name was hanging into the area where no text is allowed. It's been submitted again, and hopefully this time will be good.

As you can see, I got the cover for the paperback of The Hitchhiker ready to go as well. This time, I'm pretty sure I haven't made any dumb mistakes.

Also, I submitted my entry to the contest I mentioned.

Got the second craft/skill for The Hitchhiker written up- the cherry soup.

And, I did another illustration. Just one more to go for The Hitchhiker, and then I think that book will be complete. I'd like to get it done tonight. Earlier, it felt like my brain was turning to mush, but I may have gotten my second wind.

If you want to pre-order (through March 31) the set of the first three Dubios Files books, they will now be signed by the cover artist Linda J. Sandow, as well as by me. Signed sets can be preordered at a discount at Books Leaving Footprints

covers for the Children's mysteries the Dubois Files

See The Secret Cellar - Full Cover for Paperback


Sunday, March 11, 2018

The ABZ Affair- Color Cover

 
cover for the Children's mystery the ABZ Affair

I am trying really hard to get these three books all formatted for paperback by the end of Wednesday. Still not sure if I'll make it!

Today, I received color cover art from Linda J. Sandow for The ABZ Affair, so although it's not the full size scan, I can show you what that cover will really look like! Don't you just want to know what's going to happen to George and Jimmie when the man comes through the door?

Also, I tried the Hungarian Cherry Soup recipe that will go in The Hitchhiker (It's good, but then... I like pretty much anything with cherries.)

One illustration for The Hitchhiker is done, and I'm actually pretty happy with it. Another one is researched and reference pictures ready to print.

Struggled with more formatting for the cover to The Secret Cellar. I must have used the wrong template by accident because it was rejected. I usually get covers through on the first try. Oh, well. Now I wait again.

I got the ISBN numbers for the paperback and ebooks of The Hitchhiker registered with Bowker. I have to buy another block of numbers. Yikes. Those are a big expense, but one has to have them. And every format has to have its own number. It's significantly cheaper the more you buy, but coughing up the money for 100 of them would really hurt. I'm sure I'd eventually use them, though. Once I start putting books in audio format that will gobble up a pile right there. Might bite the bullet.

If you want to pre-order (through March 31) the set of the first three Dubios Files books, we've just sweetened the pot. They will now also be signed by the cover artist, as well as by me. Unless you are local, this may be your only chance to get copies signed by both of us. Signed sets can be preordered at a discount at Books Leaving Footprints

covera for the Children's mysteries the Dubois Files

Oh, and I did another writerly thing that involves a contest and a deadline. Will tell more when the time is appropriate.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Formatting and More- The Dubois Files

 
illustration from The Hitchhiker of how to tell time with your hand

I'm into crunch time! There is so much work to do on these first three books beyond writing that I sure hope I can have them available on March 31. For sure, they will be out as e-books by that date, and available to order paperbacks from Amazon. But in order for me to have paper copies in hand on that date I need to order them in the next week.

Today, I formatted the text of The Hitchhiker (without any screw-ups on the page numbering or headers and footers. I may have tamed that learning beast).

Also, I did the illustration above for the craft/skill in The Hitchhiker.

Found some reference pictures for another illustration in the same book.

There was also one more big craft/skill graphic to do in The Secret Cellar, and I got that done, too!

I also tweaked one of the interior illustrations for The Secret Cellar. I just have to insert that in the text, and that book will be ready to submit for printing approval. That was a big goal of the day... so I'd feel like I'm getting somewhere.

Release date March 31, 2018. Signed sets can be preordered at a discount at Books Leaving Footprints

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Secret Cellar - Full Cover for Paperback

 


Closing in on finishing all formatting for The Secret Cellar. Here's what the full cover for the print version will look like. Cover art by Linda J. Sandow.

I paid money to get my scanner to talk to my computer again, but it was well worth it. The scanner is a pretty good one, and I wasn't willing to call it a dead lump of plastic again.

I'll get it hooked up soon... maybe tonight, and then I can scan the illustrations and get them finalized.

Release date March 31, 2018. Signed sets can be preordered at a discount at Books Leaving Footprints


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Secret Cellar - Interior Illustrations

Here are the four interior illustrations that will go in The Secret Cellar. The drawings are done, the digitalization is not. I'm having no luck with scanner communications. So, just to get a feel for how they would work, I took photos. But this makes them look smudgier than they will be. Nevertheless, they give you an idea. The full color covers are being done by Linda J. Sandow, but I'm doing the interior illustrations.

Text that goes with this sketch: "The truck was bouncing so hard they lay down with heads cradled on their arms and their feet braced against the cab. The damaged bicycle bounced too and kept jabbing the boys in the ribs and legs. Jimmie wanted to hide his eyes, but he couldn't stop watching "

illustration for the Secret Cellar children's mystery

Text that goes with this sketch: "Cora loosened some more dirt and brushed it away with her hand. Carefully, to keep from getting cut on its sharp edges, she tossed another can aside and then pulled a beautiful dark blue bottle from the hole."

illustration for the Secret Cellar children's mystery

Text that goes with this sketch: "Meanwhile, Laszlo began digging one of the corner holes. He was a barrel-chested boy and very strong for his size.
He would thrust the post-hole digger into the ground, then pull the two handles apart. This made the shovel ends pinch together. He had to lift the tool out of the hole while holding the handles tight, or the dirt would drop out."

illustration for the Secret Cellar children's mystery

Text that goes with this sketch: "He set the lantern on a sturdy keg so it couldn't easily tip over and start a fire."

illustration for the Secret Cellar children's mystery

Release date March 31, 2018. Preorder for a discount and signed copies at Books Leaving Footprints


Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Secret Cellar- First Draft Complete

alt text concept cover for The Secret Cellar
Here's the introduction, followed by the chapter titles for the childrens' mystery, The Secret Cellar. It turned into 22 chapters instead of 20, and a total of about 12,500 words. It's a little longer than my target length, but I'll let my test readers tell me if it's too long.

The picture is a very rough concept sketch for the cover of this first book in the series.

CORA INTRODUCES HERSELF

My name is Cora Caulfield, and I'm an older lady now. But when I was a child, my last name was Dubois. That's French, pronounced dew-BWAH. I lived on the east side of the Thorpe River in Forest County, near where the Thorpe flows into the Petit Sable River. The year I turned nine, in early 1953, Jimmie Mosher moved into the house his grandfather had built on the west side of the Thorpe.

We became friends immediately. He was in the same grade at school, we rode the same bus, and we liked to do a lot of the same things. Things like exploring and trying new activities—if there was a puzzle to be solved, we were an unbeatable team. Friends who lived nearby sometimes joined our adventures.

I've been looking back on those years, and writing down our stories of the many mysterious happenings so they won't be forgotten. I hope you'll enjoy them.

Our first big success at solving a mystery was just after school let out for the summer that year. Jimmie's family had a big problem!


1. JIMMIE AND LASZLO
2. A NARROW ESCAPE
3. THE TENANT FARM
4. HAZEL'S TEARS
5. GRANNY MAY'S SONG
6. JIMMIE AND CORA
7. BASEMENT OR CELLAR
8. CRAWLSPACE
9. A BURIED TREASURE?
10. CORA'S DILEMMA
11. GEORGE AND RUBY
12. MARGIT'S PRESENTS
13. KING OF THE HILL
14. THE SECOND CELLAR
15. DISCOURAGED AND PURPLE
16. FORTY-THREE CENTS
17. THE ACCIDENT
18. THE SECRET CELLAR
19. THE HIDEOUT
20. LIGHT AND SHADOW
21. SOMETIMES SMALLER IS BETTER
22. SAVING THE FARM