Archive for September, 2013

BORROWING ALEX Release Day!

Monday, September 30th, 2013

I’m tossing cyber confetti around! Because, finally, after nearly a 16-month hiatus, BORROWING ALEX is once more available as an ebook! The trade paperback release will occur in a few weeks on Amazon, and within about 6-8 weeks the paperback should populate on Canadian Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and be available for special ordering from your local bookstore.

I’ve posted the cover in previous posts, but you can get a look at a large version of the beautiful new cover by Kim Killion of The Killion Group (both the ebook cover and the trade paperback cover flat), or visit my BORROWING ALEX book page to read the story blurb and an excerpt.

The book is now available on Amazons around the world, Kobo, NOOK, and Apple!

Please celebrate with me. I need some chocolate. Who has some?

BORROWING ALEX Spotted on iTunes!

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Phew, BORROWING ALEX was finally cleared for sale as an ebook from the Apple iTunes store. The official release date is September 30, two days from now, but Apple allows pre-orders from Indie writers, so BORROWING ALEX is officially available as a pre-order from Apple for the next two days! If you pre-order from Apple now, the book will become available for reading on Monday.

Same thing with pre-orders from Kobo. You can order the book now and get it September 30th, or wait, the choice is up to you.

Amazon and Barnes and Noble don’t do pre-orders for independent authors. So I will announce those links as they appear. But it looks like everything is setting up smoothly for Monday, barring an unforeseen disaster.

By the way, if you’re over at Kobo checking out my short stories, Deceiving Derek and Catching Claire, please ignore the “fiction – religious” classification. They’re supposed to be categorized under “fiction – humorous,” and, try as I might, I can not, so far, get the classifications to change. They used to say humorous, so don’t ask me how Kobo suddenly switched them to religious. Kobo is working with me to try and fix the issue, but fixing it from their end does not seem to have any effect.

Now, I’m not saying religious people wouldn’t enjoy the stories. But if you’re looking for an Inspirational Romance read, you’d be disappointed. The stories don’t include love scenes, but Deceiving Derek involves a lotta lingerie and the hero of Catching Claire is a part-time stripper. Not exactly religious themes.

Why, why, do the Kobo gremlins dislike me so?

BORROWING ALEX September 30th Release Date!

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

I’m in the midst of a huge website update in anticipation of the Monday, September 30th release date of the Blue Orchard Books re-issue of BORROWING ALEX, which is currently available for pre-order from Kobo. It’s more than a re-issue, because I’ve not only updated the book to reflect 2013 technology, but I’ve edited it to reflect my current writing style (ie. I’ve tightened it a bit and reworked a lot of sentences), but I’ve also expanded the novel to include two additional scenes. If you were one of the 40 or so people who read BORROWING ALEX while it was with Amber Quill Press, or if you’ve listened to the audiobook based on the first edition, don’t let me stop you from downloading the new ebook when it’s available and trying to figure out where the two new scenes have been added. 🙂

Hint: near the end.

Please sign up for my newsletter to be one of the first to know when BORROWING ALEX is available next week at Amazon, Kobo, NOOK and Apple. I’m waiting for the proof copy of the trade paperback before I approve the print edition to go on sale, so if you want paper it won’t be available until hopefully the first two weeks of October.

Right now, I’ve updated the BORROWING ALEX book page, where you can read the new back cover blurb and an excerpt. If you want to get an even closer look at the ebook cover and also the cover flat for the trade paperback edition, you can do by clicking the cover on the book page or by clicking here. I also created a page for the (so far only) foreign edition of BORROWING ALEX, the Greek edition from Anubis Publications, which, as well as being available on newsstands in Greece and Cyprus in paperback form (yes, that’s Jimmy Thomas on the cover!), is available in the Greek language as an ebook from Apple.

Now back to updating my website! Next up is a revamp of my Books page and swapping book covers in the image rotator on the Home page. That last one always gives me trouble.

Oh, before I forget (I nearly did!), a reader alerted me that my email link wasn’t working for them on my Contact page. I have investigated the issue and had a bunch of people test the email link. It appears to work for about 80% of test subjects, because the link depends on the reader having JavaScript enabled on their computer. If you don’t have it enabled, then you might not see my link at all or you might not be able to get it to load an email to send to me.

I designed my Contact page with the email script as a way to help stop non-humans from accessing my email address and sending me emails for various enlargements, etc. You know what I mean. However, if 20% of browsers can’t email me from my website, that’s no good, either.

I’m looking around now for some good email form code that I can embed on my Contact page, and then readers can fill out the form to send me an email. But, until I get around to finding the code and installing it, for now, if you can’t get the email link to work, either (1) ensure Java is installed on your computer (sorry, don’t know how you’d figure that out); or (2) message me from my Facebook page. Or Direct Message me from Twitter.

I’d rather not force folks who are not on social media to join social media just to email me, so sooner or later I will get the website email annoyance fixed. Aiming for a mid-October delivery date on that promise.

NOW back to updating my website!

 

“A Galapagos Journey, Day 2” at Galapagos Eco-Lodge Blog

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that last Tuesday marked the inaugural post for my 15-week guest blogging adventure over at the Galapagos Eco-Lodge Blog. If you missed that post, you can check it out now.

Today I’m blogging about Isabela Island and our group’s journey, along with our naturalist guide, Harry Jimenez, to the Sierra Negra volcano.

While you’re at the blog, you can check out accommodations for the Galapagos Eco-Lodge, which is situated on San Cristobal Island. You can also like Galapagos Eco-Lodge on Facebook!

Click here to view my post.

BORROWING ALEX Cover Reveal!

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

I’m working hard to meet a September 30th release date for the re-issue of BORROWING ALEX. I just sent my files to my Apple Upload person, but Apple is running around 10-12 days to approve new listings, so I can’t be guaranteed at this point that the new ebook will be on Apple come September 30th, particularly as Apple is also unveiling a new operating system right now. But the ebook will be for sale on Amazon, NOOK, and Kobo on that date! And, as soon as I get the interior print files from my formatter, I will begin the uploading and proofing process for the new trade paperback. It should become available in October.

For now, if you click the link to the BORROWING ALEX book page on my website, you won’t see a nice new cover or even a new blurb or new excerpt! Yes, I need to update my website, but getting the book into queue for publication takes priority. That’s when a blog comes in mighty handy. Here’s the new cover!

 BorrowingAlex_Cover

Want a blurb?

Okey-doke.

~~~

Nikki St. James wants to get married more than anything. But what’s she to do when her fiancé spends his days sucking up to her rich father instead of helping with the simple task of, oh, setting a date? Why…fake a fling with the best man, of course!

Nikki is the first to admit that ambushing Alex Hart and whisking him off to secluded Lake Eden is a tad desperate. But maybe pretending she’s hot for the handsome history professor will kick-start the attention of her future groom. Besides, a sojourn at a lakeside cabin is exactly what uptight Alex needs. Not that Nikki cares what he needs or how sexy he is….

Alex is not on-board with Nikki’s plan. Yeah, he’d love a break from his quest to achieve tenure at warp speed, but getting kidnapped by a crazy blonde hardly tops his to-do list. If what he’s heard is true and Nikki is perfectly happy with her “open” engagement to his former college roommate, why bother getting married?

Quickly, he realizes Nikki isn’t a wild party girl at all. She’s cute, sweet—and faithful. Against his common sense, he’s falling for her. Should he spill the beans about her cheating fiancé? Or will he ruin his own chance for a happy ending?

~~~

Whatcha think?

Deets:

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Length: 50,000 words

Edition: Second edition. Updated and Revised Author’s Cut. Includes two additional scenes! That’s right, more of Nikki and Alex to love!

Current State of Mind of Author: Befuddled

“A Galapagos Journey” at Galapagos Eco-Lodge Blog

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

As I mentioned yesterday, beginning today my travel posts about my two-week Galapagos Islands cruise in April 2012 on-board the Cormorant Catamaran will be appearing every Tuesday on the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog. The posts will appear for the next 15 weeks, one post to represent every day of the cruise. On my own blog, sometimes I had two posts in one day, but those posts will usually be abridged into one post for the purposes of the Galapagos Eco-Lodge Blog.

Today, please click through to the Galapagos Eco-Lodge Blog to read all about Day 1 of my journey, where Harry Jimenez, owner/operator of the Galapagos Eco-Lodge, was the guide for our entire two-week cruise.

You can learn all about the Galapagos Eco-Lodge here and like them on Facebook here.

But now, my inaugural guest post!

I’m Going Into Cindication!

Monday, September 16th, 2013

No, I’m not becoming a member of a cindicate. As in, the mob. Beginning tomorrow, and for the next four months, my Galapagos Islands travel blog posts will be appearing at the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog! I am going into cindication as a guest blogger!

I can only claim the cindication because the posts were published here first. They are now getting reprinted, I suppose you could say, but I prefer to say they’re now cindicated. Wouldn’t you, if you had the chance?

Every Tuesday, a new post about my Galapagos journey will be posted to the Eco-Lodge blog, and I will add a corresponding post here, at my own blog, to point you to the specific post over there.

In the meantime, why not pop over to the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog now and have a gander at the vast array of information naturalist guide Harry Jimenez has put together? Harry was my guide for two weeks on-board the Cormorant Catamaran, and, along with his wife, he also runs the Galapagos Eco-Lodge boutique hotel. A busy guy, that Harry.

You can also like the Galapagos Eco-Lodge on Facebook.

Under Pressure

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Oh, gosh, I’ve had a busy weekend. You see, my husband spent his summer building us a beautiful new sundeck. In the process, our yard turned into a construction zone. Usually, he or I (or a son if they’re home) “blow/s” the driveway with the leaf blower following the municipality’s annual spring street cleaning. But this year, because my mother-in-law passed away and then My Liege began the deconstruction of the old sundeck, we didn’t get around to cleaning the driveway. Therefore, it was a huge mess. Not just your typical leftover winter gravel, dust and grime, but grime and dirt and gunk and sawdust and composite-board dust and you-name-it was all over half of the driveway (it’s a two-ended beast) and also in a little patio/courtyard area where My Liege had set up his “workshop.” Clever moi, I thought I could just blow the courtyard clean of the grime encrusting the…not concrete, but whatever you call it when it looks like rocks. There’s a name for it. They create it by washing off the top layer of cement or concrete or whatever. I’m too worn out to try and remember what it’s called.

At any rate, I thought that the leaf blower would get rid of the grim in the courtyard. But it couldn’t get rid of it all. I spent 3.5 solid hours in the hot sun (with a break to suck back four mini yogurts), blowing the courtyard and both sides of the driveway, then scooping the waste into a garbage can for My Liege to take to the dump next time he goes. Except I…didn’t realize there was a hole in the bottom of the garbage can. So God knows what will happen when M.L. tries to move it into the back of his pick-up. For now, it’s sitting under a maple tree with a tarp over it, because it’s going to rain tomorrow, and wood on top of the tarp to hold it down.

During this whole process, I had to move leftover construction stuff out of the carport and then put it back IN the carport, because (1) I don’t know where it goes and (2) it’s going to rain tomorrow, the weather man says, and he’s pretty darn sure. So that created more back-breaking work.

I collapsed on the couch and then woke up this morning uncertain if I wanted to give the courtyard a second attempt…this time with my new pressure washer!

The day wore on, and I did everything I could think of NOT to get out the new pressure washer and see if I could get it to work. Considering I was the one who put it together, there was no guarantee it would do anything. So I bathed the dog, did the laundry, washed the floor, did some computer work, then finally realized that if I did not test out my new pressure washer today, before the rain comes, I’m just postponing the construction clean-up (which no one but me volunteered me for; not sure how that happened).

As it turns out, I put the blasted thing together properly, but if I turned on the outside water full force, the hose would blast off the pressure washer at undetermined intervals. I am rather proud that it only took two blast-offs for me to recognize the problem. But I created a huge mess in the interim. Once I started washing the AGGREGATE, that’s what it’s called!! Once I started washing the aggregate, one thing led to another and I washed the vinyl siding in that area of the house, too. And, all right, took a bit of white paint off the door frame. That wasn’t my fault. I think a chipmunk had gotten there ahead of me.

So now the courtyard looks wonderbar! And this week, once the sun comes out again, I will proceed to wash the rest of the house and the new sundeck. It was on my job list, anyway. And this time, the pressure won’t get to me. I am almost certain I have the machine figured out.

Oh…you know how I spent yesterday cleaning the driveway? Well, of course today the leaves started falling off the trees. The driveway will need blowing again before the first snowfall. I knew that when I decided to do the job yesterday. But I just couldn’t stand the construction mess anymore.

What’s your least favorite autumn clean-up job? (I assume no one reading this is nuts enough to have a most fav, but if you do, fire away).

Close Encounters of the Bambi Kind

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

By Bambi, I do not mean the character in the Disney movie, but a generalized Bambi, as in a little deer, as in the book from 1923, Bambi, A Life in the Woods. Any young buck that you might by chance encounter in the woods, a provincial park, your back yard, or your driveway.

I had my Close Encounter of the Bambi Kind in my driveway just the other day! And I have the bruise and scratch on my thigh to prove it. No, I won’t post a picture. I won’t even take a picture. You’ll just have to believe me.

A couple of summers ago, My Liege and I had a Close Encounter of the Bambi Kind while walking Allie McBeagle in a provincial park that has deer, rattlesnakes, cougars, bears, and other varmints. Back then, Allie was not on a leash on this particular trail we had walked on dozens of times. We came upon a doe on the left side of the path. Now, Allie was 9 or 10 at the time, and now she is 11 going on 12. Had she been 2 or 3, considering she’s a beagle, we might have been in real trouble. Because this doe was not little, and a two-year-old beagle would have been very interested in her. The doe was a mom, and somewhere in the vicinity, nowhere that we could see but we knew it was there because of her behavior, she had a fawn. We were pretty darn certain about this because when she saw us, as we passed by her, she began pawing the ground, lowering her head, and her nostrils were flaring. In other words, she wasn’t too happy.

My Liege immediately got the dog on a very short leash and I was to advance very slowly away from the deer. Because he’s a professional forester by training, he knows very well that deer are wild animals and, despite that they can be tamed or found in petting zoos, in the wild you are not, under any circumstances, to treat them like a friendly little Bambi. A deer can really hurt you or your dog, or your goldfish.

This first Encounter, once there was a respectable distance, the doe leapt over the path and into the brush. We thought we were okay at that point, but she wasn’t certain we didn’t know about her fawn, and she wound up stalking us the rest of the way along the path, until we reached the point where we could exit the park. By stalking, I mean that she followed us on the path and/or in the woods, NOT happily twitching her tail, but with the same pawing of ground and nostril-flaring. Warning signs. My Liege found a large branch to keep her away from us. We finished the trail (because we could not leave the trail at that point without going into the brush, which would have really irritated her) and left the park.

Now, just the other day, the dog escaped out the front door, and I thought she was after the mailman, who gives her a dog cookie every day. So I run down the road after her, and there he is, but also there are also several neighborhood members and this fairly tame young buck trying to get the neighbours to scratch its head. According to one of my neighbors, this is the same young buck that has been seen in the area and in the park all this summer. When he lowers his head, he just wants you to pet him. And he likes dogs. He wants to play with them.

Um, yeah.

I gathered my dog together el pronto, and I must say the deer was not interested in my dog. He was interested in lowering his head and having my neighbor pet him between the antlers. But the antlers, they are sharp!

Fast-forward to day before last, and My Liege and I are getting ready to go out for a family dinner. We are both in the driveway when we see a couple walking a young Basset Hound. They’d popped into our driveway because Young Buck had been following them. Basset hid behind our fence, and Young Buck’s tail twitched. Yes, actually twitched, like he wanted to play. You could say his tail wagged, and I wouldn’t stop you. He wasn’t being territorial in the least, but, according to my forester husband, he was still a wild animal and therefore best to give him a wide berth.

So don’t ask me how this happened.

I wound up on one side of the truck, by the passenger door, because that’s where I was to sit. M.L. went back into the house to get something, and the couple with the dog were on a bordering road by now. But Young Buck decided it was time to approach me. Maybe he recognized me from the day before! He lowered his antlers, his rack or whatever you call it, and slowly walked toward me. But I was maybe ten inches from the truck. So I backed up, and next thing I know I’m against the truck door and Young Buck’s antlers are pressing into my thigh. My Liege shouts from the door of the house, “Cindy, get in the truck!”

“The truck’s locked!” I yell back.

Yeah, good plan, M.L. Lure the buck to your wife and then lock the truck doors on her.

So what could I do? The point of one of Young Buck’s antlers was digging into my thigh—and it hurt! If I didn’t do something quickly, soon another might bruise my abdomen (I have quite a bruise on my thigh, and he barely poked me). So I calmly grabbed his antlers in both hands, looked him in the eyes (he was looking up at me) and, as gently as I could given that he was hurting me but I didn’t want to make him mad, pulled his antlers and head up and away from my body, earning myself a scratch as well as a bruise. That caused him to back up a bit, but he hadn’t gotten what he was after, we think (or the neighbors think), the scratch between his antlers. So he went back to following the couple with their dog down the road, My Liege once more gave me heck for not getting out of danger’s path quickly enough, and I once more reminded him that the truck door was locked.

Meanwhile, Allie McBeagle watched all of this from the house doorway. Good pup!

It sounds like a funny story, and even a cute one, but the reality is that the future does not look rosy for Young Buck. He appears to be surviving in the park and in the neighborhood by eating whatever he can. However, reports say he has also been nudging kids at the local elementary school. No matter how friendly he appears, he is still a wild animal, and if he gets perturbed, who’s to say he couldn’t hurt a child or a person or a small dog? Deer have been known to get very territorial about the back yards they inhabit in certain areas of British Columbia, and small dogs have been charged and killed. In the case of our first Encounter, that with the doe, we were in her territory. But this poor Young Buck is now very accustomed to humans and encroaching on their territory. How this happened, I don’t know, but the best thing to do with such a wild animal is not interact with it so it will hopefully head back into the park. But how can it truly become wild again now that it seems to be tame? What will happen to YB?

I would love it if he went to a petting zoo, but there are none in my area.

A hunter might decide to take him down by the light of the moon, when no one is looking. Yes, a rifle makes too much noise, but people in this area also hunt with bows.

Young Buck might dart into traffic and get hit by a big truck.

Or Young Buck might get too friendly with the kids at the school, and then Young Buck will probably be put down by the wildlife service. So sad.

Or Young Buck might continue to wander the area, but eventually winter will come and his food source will deplete. And then he’ll get really, really hungry…

There are also coyotes in the park. No, Young Buck’s future does not look bright.

Have you had a Close Encounter of the Bambi Kind?

 

The Life of an Indie Writer

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

I originally tried writing this post on my iPad several days ago, when I was deep in polishing and proofing BORROWING ALEX for re-issue. But the iPad kept putting the entire post in as the title, so I wound up whining on Facebook instead.

I actually came here today to write about something else, when I saw this post still in draft. Clever moi, on my desktop I was able to cut and paste the post from the title to the body of the post. So I figured I might as well post it and you can come back tomorrow for Close Encounters of the Bambi Kind, the post I sat down to actually write!

The Life of an Indie Writer

It’s not all glamor and quaffing chocolate!

You know when you run your manuscript through a program that’s supposed to help you spot errors and then the next time you open the manuscript in your word processor all your italics have switched to a different font, and, by the way, so has some random text? And no matter what you do to update the styles, the irritating font that you don’t want keeps springing up seemingly at random? And then the font keeps backtracking and eating your italics? So you have to save your file to Notepad and do a “nuclear purge”? Which necessitates earmarking all the italics in the manuscript through some stupid method you dreamed up? Then you have to open a new document in your word processor, cut and paste the nuclear purge into it, and reapply all your styles meanwhile continually making and remaking a dumb mistake until you finally recognize your non-brilliance?

And THEN you have to painstakingly re-do all the italics before re-reading the manuscript, emailing it to your Kindle to read again, before you can hope to listen to said manu on audio software, because listening on audio catches mistakes your eye can’t see? And all through this process, you become addicted to question marks?

THAT.

~~~~~

That was where I was several days ago in the process of re-issuing BORROWING ALEX, my romantic comedy that was originally published by Amber Quill Press in 2007. I have now moved through that process and read and re-read the manuscript countless times. Despite that the book was professionally proofread by Amber Quill Press and that the only couple of errors that crept into the published version were caught while proofing the audio edition by AudioLark in 2011, I had done a lot of heavy editing plus written two new scenes, and, in doing so, had introduced new errors. I thought some of you might find my proofing methods helpful, especially if you’re a writer yourself. But that’s a post for another day. For now I’m getting this one out there and on to writing Close Encounters of the Bambi Kind.

P.S. I am at the cover design and formatting stage for the BORROWING ALEX re-issue! Woot!