Archive for June, 2012

Borrowing Alex Rights Reversion

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The English-language ebook and print rights to BORROWING ALEX revert to me today from Amber Quill Press. I will be reissuing the story sometime this summer under the imprint, Blue Orchard Books. I’d say it’ll probably appear again in August. Meanwhile, the audiobook of BORROWING ALEX remains for sale from AudioLark, Audible and iTunes.

Right now I’m still heavily editing and updating HEAD OVER HEELS. I won’t commission a new cover for BORROWING ALEX or even think about that book until I have the new edition of HEAD OVER HEELS off to my proofreader. I’m super glad I decided to update the story. It was first published in 2002 and reissued in 2005 with few changes. Essentially, that makes HEAD OVER HEELS a ten-year-old book. It feels right to update it, and I’m having a lot of fun doing so. I’m looking forward to it finding a new audience.

BORROWING ALEX released in 2005. It remains to be seen how much updating that story requires. The heroine “borrows” (kidnaps, with his consent) the hero and spirits him off to a remote lake cabin where it makes sense that cell phone service and the like would be spotty. Whereas, with HEAD OVER HEELS, I’ve had to get a bit creative in how technology changes could mess with my beautiful plot!

I’m not altering the plots of either stories, the basic characterizations, goals, motivations, and conflicts. The stories I reissue will be the stories that were available from Amber Quill Press until today. Just ramped up a bit.

By the way, I’ve learned that the number of “likes” on an author’s Amazon Author Central page can help in the algorithm computer number thingies for that author. Basically, whenever you see a “like” button and want to help out an author, click it. Using moi, for example, whether you’re on my Amazon Author Central page, or one of the pages for my individual books (the pages are still on Amazon, thanks to the Audible audiobook editions and also WHERE SHE BELONGS remains for sale in hardcover, too), clicking “like” makes me look good! So, if you’re so inclined, I would really appreciate it if you went over and clicked “like” (look for the button in the upper right hand corner) my Amazon Author page, and also the individual book pages, if the spirit moves you.

You do have to be logged into Amazon for clicking like to “stick.” Just keep that in mind (if the spirit moves you).


Galapagos: R.I.P. Lonesome George

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Yesterday, the last purebred Pinta Island giant tortoise, Lonesome George, died at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos. Seeing as I’ve been blogging about the Galapagos and had a chance to see Lonesome George in captivity at the beginning of June, here’s an R.I.P. photo homage. They say he was over 100 years old, although his exact age (while alive) could not be determined. He was found in 1971 and another of his sub-species has never been located.

Rest in paradise, Lonesome George!

Added: If you’d like to learn more about Lonesome George, the guide for my Cormorant Cruise, Harry Jimenez, has a new blog with a substantial entry about L.G. Click here to read it.

Galapagos, Day 9/4, Afternoon: The Appearance of the Mysterious Black Lichen

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Ecuador: Day 9.

Galapagos: Day 4.

The pirates do tell a tale of long-ago featuring the Mysterious Black Lichen. The Mysterious Black Lichen can be found in bathtub drains, on the backs of white coats, and wherever the Great Formidable Being (upon whose scalp lurks the Mysterious Black Lichen) happens to be walking around, dropping the MBL like fleas. One would think the Great Formidable Being would be bald by now. But the GFB grows the MBL at a rate usually only found in the wilds of British Columbia (think Sasquatch) or in Harry and the Hendersons starring John Lithgow. In the Galapagos Islands, the Mysterious Black Lichen is neither endemic nor in need of conservation. Indeed, the Mysterious Black Lichen is generally restricted to Those Dumb Enough Not to Bring Along a Bathing Cap.

In the afternoon of Day 4 of our Galapagos cruise, the Mysterious Black Lichen made yet another appearance whilst (nice British word) our group was snorkeling in Urbina Bay, Isabela Island (we had crossed the Bolivar Channel during lunch). The MBL has a brother and a sister, of the names Es (short for esquire) and T (short for T). Es and T happen to be married, which the MBL questions in this day and age. The MBL is not married to Es or T, but could easily be mistaken for a sibling of either—because of all that freaking dark hair all three of us possess. But Es and T were smart enough to: (Es) have short “man-ish” hair and (T) wear aforesaid bathing cap, or snorkeling cap, or swimming cap, or whatever she wants to call it.

It only took three snorkel trips before Es and T took pity on the Great Formidable Being and advised her to wear her baseball cap backward while snorkeling. That would take care of things. And it did!

Confused yet? Me, too. But consider this Travel Tip: If you have hair long enough that it swirls around your face while you’re snorkeling, thereby obscuring your view, yet it’s short enough that you can’t put it in a ponytail, for pity’s sake, buy a bathing cap before you leave! Or bum one off T and let her mysterious black lichen obscure her vision for a day. She’s accommodating like that. Then, when she leaves at the end of Week 1, beg to borrow the bathing cap for Week 2, promising to return it upon your return to Canada. Then return it if you wish or keep it—it’s not like T is going to chase you into the wilds of British Columbia to get it back, is she?

Rather trusting, that T.

Snorkeling photos! Urbina Bay, Isabela Island!

Now you see what I’m talking about? I was forever holding back my hair so I could catch a glimpse of whatever everyone else was looking at. Yet, I also wanted to hold my husband’s hand, because I still found snorkeling a little freaky. No wonder! The Mysterious Black Lichen would not leave me alone! As soon as I began wearing a bathing cap or backward baseball cap, I could let go of My Liege’s hand and became much more adept in the water. Learn from me. Do not fall victim to the Mysterious Black Lichen. You are better than that.

Yes, my husband looks quite accommodating, holding my hand like that, doesn’t he? But he’s an adventurer, and there were times when he would just…let go. The nerve. So I was swimming along and at one point thought I saw an octopus. However, I couldn’t be certain because I had been conditioned growing up (by my imagination) to believe that octupi were huge monsters with 25-foot-long tentacles. Also, for those of you who’ve followed my recovery from laser eye surgery in December and have listened to me whine on my blog that my distance vision isn’t as good as it was supposed to be…well, I couldn’t quite be sure what I was looking at because my distance vision isn’t as good as it was supposed to be! And it hadn’t occurred to me to invest in a prescription snorkel mask because (a) I was told my vision might still improve and (b) I didn’t know such items existed.

Travel Tip! If you need to wear glasses in order to ascertain the existence of an octopus while snorkeling, get the proper equipment before you go.

When I was gazing quizzically at the octopus, no one else happened to be around me. This is because, left to my own resources, I will drift with whatever fish happen to be around, or I’ll splay my arms and legs and close my eyes and consider what it would be like to drown in the ocean. I can tell you that it feels like, once you’ve accepted your fate, it could be quite peaceful. And don’t look askance at this blog post. Writers are allowed to think about such things. It’s not weird. It’s research.

Thanks to BIL, I later realized I had been looking at an octopus! Here it is:


Tortuga!!! I could not help myself. I had to swim after these creatures. They simply fascinated me.

Here’s a funny story about Es (short for Esquire). Sometime during Week 1, the crew aboard the Cormorant came to believe that Es and I were brother and sister. This was not only due to our similar hair colors, but because I started heckling Es from Day 2. I am pretty sure I was nice to him on Day 1. Don’t ask me why I heckled Es. He seemed to deserve it. Next thing I knew, he started heckling me back. One snorkel trip, while returning to the catamaran, Es and I were sitting across the panga from each other and the guide was at the very front of the panga. The catamaran crew knew that (1) a brother and sister were traveling on this cruise, but they could not seem to figure out that my husband and my sister-in-law were the brother and sister. This was made worse by Harry J., the guide, asking Es and myself, “Are you brother and sister?”, to which I answered, “No,” and to which Es shrugged and said, “Yes.” You can see why Es annoys me just like an honorable brother should. “NO,” I had to repeat and then asked Harry, “Why?”

“Just trying to figure out the family relationships,” Harry J. said. “So how do you two know each other, then?”

“We met in the airport.”

Yes, I like to heckle practical strangers. If they take to it kindly, they are allowed, allowed, I say, to become my friends.

“Ah,” said Harry J. “Cormorant family.” To which Es and I nodded.

If you are lucky, you will form bonds with your traveling companions. These bonds might not extend beyond your trip, or they might. Hopefully, Es and T are still speaking to me after this because I might be in need of a room at their place sometime next winter. Ahem.

Oh, and honorable brother, thank you for the secret bottle of wine you and T bought My Liege and Moi (even though I don’t drink red wine, still kind of you) your last night on the boat. I know you bought it because when I went to pay our bar bill for Week 1 and asked the bartender why the bill wasn’t as large as we were told it would be that afternoon, his response was, “Your brother paid for a bottle.” Yet my biological brother was, all along, esconced safely back in British Columbia. Agh!

After the snorkel, we hiked along Urbina Bay, which has this cool dark sand. I’d show you a picture, but the one I have, of 3 of the Group of Four sitting with our guide, really, and I mean really shows off SIL’s legs. Good thing she has great legs! Just to show you the sand (keep your eyes off the legs):

Off. Eyes OFF!!! Lovely sand, no?

She was wearing a bathing suit beneath that cover-up. It is decent. Don’t tell me it’s not. And it’s not like you can see her face. For all you know, she’s from Australia and is named Midge.

During this hike, we encountered a few giant tortoises in the wild:

Interrupted mid-snack. He is ready for his close-up:

Tortoise spittle. Endemic to the Galapagos.

Or you might encounter cool yellow land iguanas. Apparently, the largest in the Galapagos can be found at Urbina Bay.

“I am yellow because I am a Land Iguana, and I reign supreme. You want Marine iguanas? Come back next time.”

Honestly, I apologize for the Dr. Doolittle effect. It’s not like I have any control over it.

Flycatcher! Who would take such a beautiful photo? Why, Moi, of course.

Our next Galapagos blog post, appearing sometime during the next millenium, will take us to Espinosa Point back on Fernandina Island. Yes, we crossed the Bolivar Channel yet again. And if you think the appearance of the Mysterious Black Lichen is weird, just wait until you meet the Marine iguanas. It is a “Take Me to Your Leader” Spec-Tac-U-Lar.

Galapagos, Day 9/4, Morning: Mangle Point, Fernandina Island

Monday, June 18th, 2012

I’ve reached another level of brilliance. I know, hard to imagine. But note the new titling method of my Galapagos posts. It’s Day 9 of our Ecuador trip, but Day 4 of the Galapagos cruise. That should help those of you are easily confused. Or at least help me!

The first week of our cruise pretty much went back and forth between the back side of Isabela Island and Fernandina Island. We would make a stop in the morning on one side of the Bolivar Channel, and, in the afternoon, we would be on the other side. This is truly a gorgeous area of the Galapagos, and we saw so much in one day that was unique to the Western Islands (Fernandina and Isabela) that it deserves two blog posts. This entry, you’re just getting the morning of Day 4.

But first, I forgot to include, from Day 3 of the cruise, the wonderful meal we were served after our morning snorkel. Usually, we would take our meals in the dining room, and those meals were always amazing, thanks to the “Gastronomic Engineer,” Javier. But on one day of each of the two weeks, we enjoyed a barbecue on the upper deck. I”m not a seafood lover, but these barbecues are incredible. It is said that when planning your Galapagos cruise, to choose the best boat you can afford, because it can make a difference in the food, among other things. I can’t imagine the food being any better than that which Javier whipped up for us, along with his helpers in the kitchen. There was always so much to choose from, but the barbecues were something special.

From Day 3:

Javier working his magic on the upper deck. To the right is the bar, and to the very right of the bar is the door leading to the upper deck cabins and also to the bridge. One long dining table was set up right in front of the barbecue, and the rest of the food was sitting on the bar, buffet style.

Repeat after me: “Yum.” Photo credit: BP. This I remember.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled Day 4 of the Galapagos Islands. If you can tear your eyes away from BIL’s plate, that is.

Our panga trip to Mangle Point was very similar to our Panga ride at Elizabeth Bay, Isabela Island, from Day 3. Both trips were incredible. You don’t get out of the pangas. Ie. you don’t “land” anywhere. The drivers and guide take you into the red mangrove forests via panga. Click on red mangrove forests (previous sentence, dippy) to find out more about them. It’s great fun, and because the water is so shallow, before you know it you’re standing up and taking pictures and videos. Our guide, Harry Jimenez, was great about letting us know when it was safe to stand up and when it wasn’t.

Here is one of our two pangas venturing toward the red mangroves:

A close-up of the incredible root system:

There is so much wildlife in the water by the mangroves and also birds flying everywhere above you, it’s incredible. Rays swim alongside your panga, and sea lions follow you around. Evidence:

Spotted Eagle Rays right beside our panga. Photo Credit: BP

But you can’t look in the water all the time or you might miss something, like this fellow:

Pelican! Photo Credit: Moi

Next thing you know, someone’s telling you to look down!

Sea lion! Photo Credit: BP. It’s easy for me to tell who took the picture when it’s an underwater photo, because my brother-in-law (a.k.a. Rembrandt) took all the underwater photos I’m featuring in these blog posts.

Look at his shadow? Isn’t that cute? Also gives you an idea of how shallow it was. BIL just stuck his camera underwater while sitting in the panga to capture this great shot.

Now, you already know I love sea turtles. They were also in abundance. Honestly, if you love wildlife, the panga trips around Fernandina Island are not to be missed.


And here’s another sea lion:

“Hey, humans, how’s it shaking?”

Well, I don’t have anything that necessarily shakes, S.L., but thanks for asking.

“De nada.”

And off he goes to tussle with his buddies.

I’m pretty sure this is a Lava heron, which is endemic (unique) to the Galapagos:

Note: when googling “lava heron,” do not type “lava heroin” instead. The results might not be what you’re looking for (travel tip!) (or maybe “moron tip”.)

I am not kidding. all these various forms of wildlife were spotted during ONE panga ride. “Wandaful!”

Finally, the Galapagos Penguin, a cute little guy:

“I am not a giant penguin. Live with it. I am cute. I am endemic to the Galapagos Islands. I wear a tux. I do not need to be big! And it’s not my fault!”

Travel Tip: Don’t give your guide trouble about the small size of the Galapagos Penguins. The penguins get quite incensed and might report you to the Galapagos National Park Service for size discrimination.

You want giant penguins? Go to Antarctica. (Travel Tip!)

Head Over Heels Cover Reveal, Third Edition

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Thanks to Kim Killion and Jennifer Litteken of Hot Damn Designs for working with me so patiently on the new cover for HEAD OVER HEELS. I love it, and I hope you like it, too.

The re-issue through my imprint, Blue Orchard Books, will mark the third edition of HEAD OVER HEELS. I think I still have the original NovelBooks, Inc. cover on my hard drive somewhere. When I have a chance to breathe, I’ll post all three covers (NBI, AQP and BOB), which will give you an idea of how cover design trends change over the years.

For now, the cover reveal for the upcoming reissue of HEAD OVER HEELS! Drum roll….


Head Over Heels Rights Reversion Date

Friday, June 15th, 2012

The rights have now reverted to me from Amber Quill Press for HEAD OVER HEELS. Which means I need to update my website! Tomorrow, I will reveal the new cover for the upcoming re-issue of the book. I love it, and I hope you will, too.

Pending Release Date: before the end of June. That’s my target for the ebook uploads to Amazon and Smashwords, at any rate. Smashwords will then distribute to Nook, Sony, Apple, etc. Being Canadian, I can’t upload directly to PubIt, the venue for Nook. However, I can upload directly to Kobo. Kobo is undergoing a transformation of its self-publishing arm. It should be ready by the end of June. So I’ll wait.

The trade paperback will most likely be available from CreateSpace in July.

I am halfway through heavily editing and updating HEAD OVER HEELS for the re-issue. I’ve been talking to a formatter, as I don’t have the time right now to learn how to format for the various ebook venues. I’ll learn at a later date, like when I begin publishing my short story series in August or so. For now, I want to get HEAD OVER HEELS and BORROWING ALEX back on the market as soon as possible after the reversion dates, and that means not wasting my time learning Smashwords and Kindle Direct.

Meanwhile, Amber Quill Press is still selling various ebook formats of BORROWING ALEX, the 1st edition.

I am excited about updating these books and (hopefully) finding new readers for them. Wish me luck!