A Perfect Ten – 2018

Continuing my countdown to this blog’s 10th Anniversary on the 27th September by revisiting what I was posting at that time each year. (here’s the post forA Perfect Ten – 2019)

Today we hit 2018.

The nearest post to the date was 30th September – my Birth Day, my 60th in fact! The post itself is a little bit of a celebration, but in it I referenced a post I’d written about five months earlier, wherein I ponder the upcoming event and what, if anything it meant to me.

At sixty-one I still feel much the same about the passing of years, but I want to add a bit more about the Days themselves.

If you’ve announced your birth day on the interwebs (and we’re connected in some way), you might’ve noticed that I respond with’Happy Birth Day’, and not the more traditional ‘Happy Birthday’.

There’s a reason for that.

I’m rather fond of ritual celebrations, the ones that are connected in some way to Mother Earth or the deeper substance of our lives, and the day we’re born is probably the most important one. Although recognised in our diverse cultures, I thought it deserved its own upper-case ‘H’, and ‘B’, and ‘D’. … just like Summer Solstice, (coming up soon here in the Northern Hemisphere) the Queen, (there can be only one) and the Fraser Valley. (where I live)

Language, (particularly the English language) is a very fluid entity, and although there are occasional ‘fluidations’ that gets up our noses, (we all have our pet peeves … or several … or many. Go on, admit it) that fluidity is a good thing. It stops us, and our culture, from stagnating. And while a little stagnation is OK every now and then, if we do it for too long we end up smelling like bog-gas.

I also talked about getting into the final rounds of editing ‘Prelude’, (for those who are new to my blog is the tale of how I gained some rather fascinating wisdoms) which led me into a bit of a blue funk about my writing efforts of late.

“What writing,” I hear you ask. “Exactly,” I respond.

Along with our proposed Wunder-Lusters adventures, I feel like every other project I had in the planning stages was torpedoed by the Plague of the 21st Century, (the first one at least. I have a sneaky suspicion that these kinds of global events are just getting started) including my writing, fiction that is.

I have story ideas, I have outlines, (I’m mostly a pantser, but occasionally, when the mood strikes me, I do a serviceable rendition of a plotter) I have research, I have scenes – with dialogue and everything, I even have some fantastic mock-covers I created with Pulp-O-Mizer, (you’ve never heard of Pulp-O-mizer? Oh, it’s such fun, even if you’re not a writer, you need to go over there right now and have a play, I’ll wait) but what I don’t have is all the words lined up in the right order and formed into (coherent) sentences, paragraphs, pages, and chapters.

It’s a bit depressing really … and frustrating.

I was OK shifting gears away from my writing to focus on getting the Wunder-Lusters up and running, but I can’t seem to find the right combination of gears to get back to it. I keep on grinding the clutch. (which incidentally, is why I love that our truck has an automatic transmission)

Sometimes you just have to keep grinding the clutch until all those bloody little gears line up again.

Mending a Broken … Journal

Now that Prelude is out in the stratosphere, doing it’s own thing, I’ve been concentrating on my next great adventure.

This is a fanciful cover I did a while back for it, even before I began Prelude actually. I used this wonderful software called Pulp-O-mizer, and it creates the most wonderful ‘golden-age’ pulp fiction science fiction covers. It’s not for commercial use but it makes a wonderful placeholder to wrap around my new work until I finish the story and have a clearer idea of what the true cover will look like;

Bel and the Knight Whiskey Runners

-oOo-

I’ve had this ratty old spiral-bound notebook that I use as my writing workbook for, (first entry is dated, 4th March 2010, and still going strong) so, for a long time, and it’s starting to show its age.

I have a few journals going, for all sorts of aspects of my life. They help keep my thoughts organized on the task at hand, otherwise I’d be haring off in a gazillion different directions.

My writing journal is probably the simplest of them all. It’s just an abbreviated list of what writerly things I want to achieve in a day, and whether I’ve managed to achieve them, with a brief note or two if appropriate – hence it’s longevity.

But opening and closing a spiral-bound notebook over three thousand times has a price, and this is the price …

Worn out corners

Worn out corners

I thought it needed a new cover too, so I decided to do a two-fer upgrade.

But how was I supposed to reattach the separated  bit of the cover inside the spiral to the rest of it and still have it open and close?

First I measured the distance between the spirals. Turns out they’re exactly 8mm apart.

Checking out how it looks BEFORE I glue anything

Checking out how it looks BEFORE I glue anything

I had some business-card-weight sheets of paper stashed away, (we don’t throw away anything in this household!) that I measured up and cut into strips like this ….

Card strip on cutting board - I used a large needle to perforate the mid-point and cut and trimmed each bit where the spirals would go

Card strip on cutting board – I used a large needle to perforate the mid-point and cut and trimmed each bit where the spirals would go

Then, starting on the back cover, I carefully, and very patiently threaded the strip inside the spiral and pulled it in-between each turn of the wire spiral, and glued it in place with some PVA glue, thusly …

Back cover - Shades of dentistry

Back cover – Shades of dentistry

Having practiced on the back cover, I turned my attention to the front …

Front cover - The tricky bit was getting the completely separated bit of cover the old cover to stay in place while I glued it

Front cover – The tricky bit was getting the completely separated bit of cover the old cover to stay in place while I glued it

And here she is, all shiny and refurbished, albeit with well-worn pages within.

Final cover - Ready to go for another nine years

Final cover – Ready to go for another nine years

-oOo-

It seems that this week I’m all about D.I.Y. because I have a post up on my Widds The Shaman blog about making salves.

Snow And Prelude

Prelude is up and running!!! Herewith be it

-oOo-

When last we hear from our intrepid SNOW!!!™ reporter she had discovered that snow really does form ‘snowflake’ shapes.

Alas, her joy was not to last.

The -20C gusty winds blew most of the fluffy snow away to parts unknown, and our sad SNOW!!!™ reporter was sad …

Sad Widder

Even the windsocks were sad

Even the windsocks were sad

But, lo and behold, the very next day …

Happy windsocks

Happy windsocks

Our SNOW!!!™ reporter and her spouse shoveled the snow off their paths and driveway and then wandered down to the lake to see what had become of it …

Frozen and covered in snow

Frozen and covered in snow

Our SNOW!!!™ reporter was last seen ambling up the road, looking for further snowy adventures.

Last seen heading north

Last seen heading north

Proof!

Look what came in the mail today …

Looking good! (the shaded strip across the top is just there for this proofing copy)

Looking good! (the shaded strip across the top is just there for this proofing copy)

 


Words, and everything

Words, and everything

 

 

I need to give it the once-over and if nothing’s out of place  it’ll go ‘live’ in a matter of hours, although Amazon does say it can take up to 72 hours to appear on their website.

SNOW!!! … Finally!

This week was our turn to have our very own arctic outflow. The temperature dropped from +10°C, to -10°C with a windchill of -18°C, in 24 hours. Gusts of wind added their own special flavour to the mix, and we engaged all our ‘lost power’ procedures … topped up the water dispensers, made sure the generator had enough gasoline, got a big pot of soup going in the slow cooker, that sort of thing.

Thankfully none of our measures were needed. (touch wood, because another cold and snow wave is immanent) Like most of North America, our electricity is in dire need of an upgrade, so it’s better to be prepare everything and not need them, than freeze!

Herewith be a bit of snow …

A light dusting

A light dusting

… that got a bit heavier and blew about all over the place. I tracked one poor little snowflake as it tried to get down to the ground at least three times.

I ducked out the front door and got this shot in between ginormous gusts of wind

I ducked out the front door and got this shot in between ginormous gusts of wind

By the time night fell  the air was full of snow, blown about like dust …

The white streaks are the slower moving bits of snow

The white streaks are the slower moving bits of snow

Mrs Widds and I valiantly braved the wild weather to shovel and salt our paths. Although there wasn’t much overall snow, I did my artistic duty and hastily swept a design into the driveway …

Smiley Face is looking a bit concerned

Smiley Face is looking a bit concerned

-oOo-

In other news, I finally managed to upload a print version Prelude onto KDP and order a proof copy that should arrive on our, chilly, doorstep sometime around the end of the month.

I’d put the whole process with KDP on a par with my Smashwords experience. Not overly complex, but hard work. Once I’d formatted my manuscript for a printed page, rather than a scrolling page (ebook) the rest was fairly straightforward.

So, as soon as I’ve perused the proof copy, all things being equal, it’ll be live on Amazon!

-oOo-

Now back to the snow …

As I was sweeping off the back stoop I came across the most amazing sight. Tiny star-shaped bits of snow. I dashed inside for my camera, (which I occasionally use as a phone) and tried my best to capture the wee things before they blew away.

This is the best shot …

Of all the red deck-chairs on the whole island, this little beauty fell into mine

Of all the red deck-chairs on the whole island, this little beauty fell into mine

And these lined up like a constellation in the night sky. The Mother (Nature) never wastes a pattern! …

Hello there, little stars

Hello there, little stars

-oOo-

No-one sings about the cold like Annie Lennox …

 

 

Oh Bother! I forgot to …

… let you know that Prelude is now available as an ebook at Amazon and Kobo, as well as Smashwords.

You can follow the links here,  …

SMASHWORDS in mobi, (for Kindles) ePub, etc, formats

AMAZON – USA (.com) … CANADA  …  UK  …  AUSTRALIA

KOBO 

… and just about everywhere else eBooks are sold …

-oOo-

A couple of weeks ago I did a ‘Bon Voyage’ post for Carol Channing, and I couldn’t find a video that epitomized her. I went with one I liked, but it wasn’t quite ‘it. Today I found ‘it’.

I give you the stupendous, the magnificent, the quirky, Carol Channing … take it away Carol …

I Smashed the Meatgrinder

I spent most of yesterday (17th)  formatting the new and improved ‘Prelude’ in accordance with Smashwords Style Guide.

It wasn’t as bad as I feared. I think a great deal of the ‘shock and horror’ about ‘the meatgrinder’ is based on fear of a steep learning curve, and a certain amount of preciousness about one’s own formatting.

The steep learning curve is indeed steep if you’ve never formatted using ‘styles’, (in Microsoft Word) which I never have, but now that I know about ’em, they’re my new best friends!

And the formatting – well, us writerly types do tend to cling to what we’re familiar with and like to use, with a grip of Adamantium. (think Wolverine’s claws) Smashwords formatting is basically my-way-or-the-highway, and the good news is, I was able to duplicate all the formatting quirks I’d evolved as I wrote, using Scrivener, on the Word Doc, which is the software Smashwords requires.

In fact it was the ‘compile’ function on Scrivener, that gave me the greatest headache. (but only because I had no idea, and still don’t, about how it worked)

So, I am very pleased to announce that Prelude is now available as an eBook. Click on the cover, over there on the right and have a peek at the first bunch of pages. (I haven’t got to Amazon yet, but it is available in mobi format so you can side-load it onto a Kindle reader)

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a bit of a blurb …

… Shamans come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, from all the continents of the Earth. We’ve been around since the human race realized there was more to existence than just the physical, and we’ll be around long after the last star has died, when the Wheel turns to renew All.

Becoming a Shaman is not for the faint-of-heart, or the timid-of Spirit. It is not an easy Path, nor should it be. The responsibilities are great and require harsh testing before one is judged capable of shouldering them.

There are many Pathways to becoming a Shaman, and I came to understand mine through my Earth-based, Goddess Spirituality, She who is the First Mother of Us All, in all Her forms.

‘Prelude’  is the story of my very first steps along that Path. It is part memoir, part Shamanic adventure, and part guidebook, with a dash of dire warning on the side.

From the moment I came across a giant statue of Bast, I knew my life would never be the same. There were times I froze, bled, burned, raged, and cried.  My life, my past, the shadows, and the shining moments, all the things I believed defined me, were challenged, until nothing but a truth, my Truth, remained.

Join me as I confront my monsters, discover my true Name, and come to understand that the Physical world I grew up with was just a tiny corner of a much vaster Cosmos.

The Missing Symbol

Scrivener has had me all hot and bothered all afternoon, which, given that it’s currently 34°C (93°F) in the shade today, is a very dangerous thing for all beings within a hundred meter radius of my Self.

No cranky feelings here!

I’m doing the ‘front bits’ for ‘Prelude’ and I wanted to insert a copyright symbol into the text. I couldn’t find it so I went on-line and asked pertinent questions … and found answers that were all for the Apple version of the Scrivener software.

I get that Scrivener was first developed in Apple-ese, and PC’s were the poor cousins who had to wait at the kiddies table until the grown-ups were sated, but  I thought we were all growed-up now.

Eventually, buried in the furthest depths of page ninety-eleven of my google search I found what I was looking for.

So, here it is, if you’re using Scrivener on a PC … first make sure your cursor is where you want the character to be on your document … and go to … Edit  > Character Map (no idea why it’s called that) then ‘select’ which character you want to use, then ‘copy’, at which point you’ll have to manually (using your keyboard) insert or paste (CTRL/V) the character where it needs to be.

Phew!

Scrivener is wonderful, but perfect it ain’t.