The Eye Of the Beholder

 

Well, it is the day after. Always a bit sad for me, but I do look forward to the New Year’s Eve celebrations and the first day of the New Year. So it’s not completely over yet! And I always leave the decorations up until after New Year’s Day. It keeps that holiday feeling for just a little bit more.

I don’t do a lot of book reviews on here. I really don’t do much of anything on a consistent basis on this site. I mean, this is not a food, health or parenting blog. It’s a ‘whatever pops into my head’ blog. So for those of you that stop by, it’s always a surprise. Rather the way it is for my children when they stop by our house. They never know what project I’ll be working on! Back to this post…

I first began this blog back in May of 2015. One of my first followers/likes, and a blog that I did the same for was this one: https://eyedancers.wordpress.com/

I was intrigued by the cover of his book, The Eye-Dancers. I also enjoyed his posts, and insights into life, the stories he shared. It reminded me of my teenage years living in upstate New York and Vermont. But since I don’t read Young Adult, I really didn’t think of reading his book. Well, after a year or so of struggling with getting my own books out there, and understanding how very important it is to have reviews of any kind, I decided I would read it. I had purchased it a while back, and then I finally began reading last July.

I don’t normally take so long to read a book, but I’ve had several on my nightstand for a couple years now. I made it a personal goal to read 25 books this year on Goodreads. I reached that goal and reset it to 30. Now I’ve read 32 for 2017…and that feels really good! At one time I loved to read. It was better than watching a movie, or having friends over. But marriage and children put that love on the back burner. Unfortunately I’ve read some not-so-good books lately, and that makes it hard to forge ahead. Just a bit of advice if you are going to self-publish. If you don’t have a degree in journalism, etc., take some writing courses, attend some writing conferences, or have a really fantastic editor. The typos, bad research of a topic, head-hopping and boring plot-line really lose a reader’s attention…and quickly! 

On Christmas Eve morning, I finished reading The Eye-Dancers, and I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I literally went into it with the idea that it was a book for Young Adults, and just not my cup of tea. What turned it all around and kept me reading was the great writing, well-researched topic, well-developed characters, and the believe-ability of a time-travel book. Me, a 53 year old woman could enjoy the story, and look forward to more. Because I’ve heard there’s another one coming! 😉 Because of all the above, I wanted to share my thoughts here, and support a fellow author and their writing. Below is my review for Goodreads and Amazon:

I don’t normally read YA, but I do enjoy time travel-type books and movies. So I thought I would give this one a try. I rated it a 5-star because ‘it was amazing’ since it was well-written, very thought-provoking, and well-researched. That is saying a lot after some of the books I’ve read lately with the head-hopping, plot holes, etc. The author didn’t ‘dumb-down’ the characters as I’ve seen so many times in YA. The author also nailed the teen years of angst and thought patterns. It made me think of my own years and the struggles I experienced and felt. And somehow, the author made this story feel as though it could really happen…which is fantastic in my mind, considering the plot! It is what I loved about the Time Traveler’s Wife and Somewhere In Time. I read the books behind those movies, and I loved the books even more. Thank you for a very good read! 

You may purchase The Eye-Dancers right here: https://www.amazon.com/Eye-Dancers-Michael-S-Fedison/dp/0692262784/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514136399&sr=1-2&keywords=the+eye+dancers

From the reviews the book has received so far, readers are thinking the same as me.

 

*I purchased the book and wrote the review on my own with no encouragement from the author. These thoughts are my own. Did I cover all the bases? 😉
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Shifting Down

This is a post I’ve debated about writing for several months now. For the month of October, I tried some different things, just to see what that would result in. Some of you gave me feedback. A few people really liked the Monday One Liners and the Friday Trivia. A couple people said they would just rather read a post. To be honest, I’m rather lost in this blogging world. I just don’t know what works...for me.

I’ve blogged regularly for over two and a half years now. For those of you that blog, you know it is a time investment. Some bloggers seem to be able to take the world, (literally) by storm and within a few months they are off and running with thousands of hits and followers. That has not been the case for me, and I’m not really feeling that I’ve found my corner in the blogging world…or if I’m even supposed to.

As a writer, I love to write. I have written most of my life in some form or another. I will continue. But right now, I feel as though I should concentrate more on my novel writing, and those stories I need to tell. And I need time to do that.

So, I will be doing some reconstruction with my social media. My goal is to have more of a website, maybe a section that I blog in once a week, or once a month. I might offer a newsletter every three months or so for those that are interested in my books, and new releases. I have four books written several years ago that are badly in need of edits and covers. So, I want to make those a priority. I also have a little bird whispering to me about a fifth book in the Rubyville series. I also need to concentrate more on events, and speaking engagements.

The most difficult part of this decision is not having the daily contact with those of you that have become a part of my life on here. I so appreciate you! For sharing your lives with others, for the encouragement you have given me, for all the interesting stuff I’ve learned from all parts of the world.

This is not good-bye, but a pulling back and regrouping. I will still be here, and I will still share my life with all of you, just at a slower pace. You can still find me on Amazon right here: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Ann-Dykeman/e/B01B2BYPK6/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1509656300&sr=1-2-ent and my author’s page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deborahanndykeman/?fref=ts

I check Goodreads daily as well. It’s a great place to encourage others, as well as authors. If you’ve read a book of mine, or another author, please leave a review there and follow them. You don’t need to purchase their book to do those two things. Every little bit of encouragement helps an author get their stories out there. It’s not only about purchasing their books, which is wonderful of course…but about getting that author’s name known around the world.

Until next time…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOY0C5F8dfw

 

 

Thanks to Editors

Editing, a very slow and painful process in my opinion. But it is a very needed one. It gives the writer and the editor a chance to find all those little mistakes and typos. Some that would have been read over by a reader engrossed in the story, or others that would have caused a person to come to a screeching halt.

I appreciate my editor. She is also our oldest daughter, so that is unique in the editor/writer experience. We are able to sit down together, and she reads my book out loud. Those mistakes jump to attention then. We are able to rewrite, correct, and talk about changes immediately. And that is also unique. I have a very good set-up for my writing, but it is still…slow.

And all of the above is the easy part. After we finish going through the book, reading it out loud, Britta Ann will then spend hours going meticulously through each page, checking sentence structure, word usage, and spelling. She will format and make the interior look pretty. Yes, I have the easy part!

Thank you to all editors out there. You are greatly needed by us writers. We appreciate you, even if we think you are a bit crazy with the red pen at times!

So, just a quick note to let you all know that I am here…just a little overwhelmed right now. Have a great evening!

Self-Publishing and Formatting Quick Tips

I have just returned from a fantastic writer’s conference in Pittsburg, Kansas where I had the privilege to be a part of workshops taught by Kathy Ide and Twila Belk, or Twila Belk and Kathy Ide. (Now they each have first billing!) If you’ve been around writing, editing, publishing groups at all, you’ve heard their names. I learned so much! I am very thankful that editors, authors and speakers are willing to teach these workshops. So, when I read this post this morning, I just had to share it. More great information and so many helpful tips. Get out your notepad!

Lit World Interviews

One of the biggest challenges to Indies is getting a professionally published looking book when up against the costs of editing, proofreading, formatting and cover designs. If you can afford these services then foregoing them is not a good idea, but when you really can’t afford them they can mean the death of some really great literature. There are a couple of things that can help though.

Editing or Proofreading Swopsies

Rather than simply asking for Beta readers, offer to swop proofreading services. Writers have a different kind of eyeball when reading. I’ve just finished a Joanna Trollope book, professionally published by one of the big houses, professionally edited and put together, but so far I’ve found a couple of typos and instances of poorly strung together sentences. As far as the cover design is concerned, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was specifically looking for and wanting…

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Expression of Who You Are

Do writers feel more than other people?

Do they have more pain, more emotional trauma, more joy or excitement in life?

Do they have more difficult lives, or easier ones?

No, to all of the above! Writers just have to express it more than other people.  It is a need within them, almost as much as eating or sleeping. Although when I have a story in my head, sleep takes a back seat as well.

Some writers may also be great talkers, sharing everything. Other writes may be quiet, having the need to express only on paper/computer.

I definitely communicate better on paper/computer, and always have. When I was a child, I always had a pen pal, or someone I was writing letters to. I could be who I wanted to be, who I felt I was in those letters. Meet me in person, the two might not mesh so well!

Don’t be afraid to express yourself or let others see who you really are. Writers, photographers, artists, musicians…anything you can think of with creativity is a way of expressing yourself. We all need that outlet. I personally believe it makes you a more well-rounded person. God gave us the ability to communicate, and it isn’t only through our lips.

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Part Two Rabbit Trail

It’s hard to let go. Does that sentence sound familiar? I’m going to try this again and see if I can stay on track. And speaking of rabbit trails, isn’t that a cute little guy, hanging out in the dunes by the sea?

The Rubyville series is finished. Some say it shouldn’t be, and they want the story to continue. And a very huge part of me agrees, because it’s hard to let go. The Barton family became my family. I lived with them fictionally for 100 years, but in reality, for the past year or so. I was a part of their dinner conversation, what clothes they chose to wear for the day, where they wanted to live, and I prayed with them. I laughed at their antics and I cried along with their losses. And now they are gone! And I feel a huge hole in my life. For those of you that don’t write, please don’t call the white coats. I’m really not crazy…just a writer.

Before I began the Rubyville series, before I wrote that first book of 65,000 words the month of March in 2015, I had another series. This series was near and dear to me for almost twenty years, at that time. I couldn’t even fathom starting another series. I didn’t want to be that close to another group of characters. I couldn’t stop thinking, or talking about that other series. And then along came the Barton family.

So that’s why I began my post yesterday with that sentence. I’m having difficulty letting go, and getting back to that first series. I haven’t visited with that other family in a long time, and I’m nervous about what they are going to think of me. Will I know them like I used to? Will we be friends again, close family that shares everything? Right now, it seems hard to believe. And it’s even scarier to think that this other series may not connect with my readers as the Rubyville series did.

But I have knocked on their door, and I’m waiting on the front porch, exchanging polite conversation until they invite me in, and include me in their lives once again.

I really need to say good-bye to Rubyville. Maybe not forever, but for now. So I’m going to share with you, my visions of the little town in Kansas that became so dear to me. I painted a picture of Rubyville and the Barton home. I used this to construct a little town using my village pieces. With the help of the paint program on my computer, I designed my proof covers for Rubyville. Each book depicts a new season. Here is winter and spring:

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And summer and fall:

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I absolutely love the covers that http://www.DesignByJulia.com did for my books! They are beautiful and I’ve had so many compliments on them. Julia captured the Barton women, and the fact that they were Rubyville, not the town. But I will always have a soft spot for what I picture Rubyville to look like.

Thank you for sticking with me for these two posts! I really appreciate you, my readers. Change is difficult, but I will survive, and I’ll work on being patient in the process. Until next time…

Indie Publishing

I absolutely love that I am self-published! For a control freak such as myself, it fits me wonderfully. I can write, design, book release, and write what I would like all at my own pace. And it is mine! I have had some amazing help along the way…couldn’t have done it without those two ladies…but I’ve still had a sense of control. And for me, that is huge!

So, when big-name companies are recognizing indie authors, that’s even more amazing. There are so many writers out there that have wonderful stories to tell, and now they can.

During the month of October, Amazon will be celebrating great writing self-published via Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace and Audio Book Creation Exchange.
Share why you love being an indie author in social media and on your blog. Feel free to create videos, photos and posts about your experience! Remember to use the hashtag #PoweredByIndie so we can share your stories as well
Visit the official landing page www.amazon.com/poweredbyindie to discover great indie titles and learn more about indie authors – share the page with fellow authors!Like the KDP Facebook page so you can join author Q&As, stay connected to the campaign and get tips on publishing from AmazonLet’s celebrate great writing together!

I received the above from the Kindle Direct Publishing team and wanted to share it on here. It’s been a pleasure working with CreateSpace and Amazon to get my manuscripts into book format and available to the public. And now I’m very privileged to be participating in several events this fall where I can have my books available to the public, and meet my readers.

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This one was at the Wichita Public Library back in September.

I never dreamed of being a writer, and I’m still in awe when I think of all that has transpired on this writing journey over the past year! I’ve written a four-book series and self-published five books. That’s incredible to me! And it all took place in this little corner:

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I do love to sit down and write, and I love to design. But as I’ve said so many times before, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. These two ladies, one a very dear friend and the other our oldest daughter, step in and take care of all the hard parts. Julia Ryan at http://www.DesignByJulia.com has created amazing, beautiful covers for all my books. She has been invaluable help to my daughter in showing her the ropes of editing, typesetting and making that interior look fantastic! I can get the words strung together, but that’s about all it is without those two. Britta Ann Meadows is beginning her own journey with Peas in a Pod Editing and Design. Thank you both so very much!

So join me in celebrating great, self-published writing!

 

 

Book Edits

I didn’t want to just disappear and come back to an empty blog. So for all of you that are so diligent about stopping by here, liking posts, and commenting…I will be gone for a few days. Please feel free to check out my other posts over the past year or so. And as always, I love to hear from you! It really does make my day!

No, I’m not going on a vacation, which I would dearly love. My daughter and I are editing the fourth book in the Rubyville series and we hope to have my part in it done by the end of the week. Then she and Julia Ryan, (the lady that has designed my absolutely gorgeous covers), will do their work of making it all look beautiful. It has been a real privilege to work with these two and I literally could not have done this past year without them! I think I have the easy part!

So, please don’t give up on me…I’ll be back!

The Top 50 Sites for Indie and Self-Published Authors

This post was very helpful to me, so I wanted to share it with you! Indie authors are coming into their own. As a self-published author, this list was very interesting. I have used Smashwords and CreateSpace. CreateSpace is a bit more user-friendly in my opinion. If you are thinking of publishing your own book, check out this list and read all that you can on the topic. I would highly recommend it!

Future Self

I stumbled across this fantastic resource and wanted to share with you. I’d love to hear any feedback.   # URL Category 1 KBoards – Writers’ Cafe ALL 2 The Newbie’s Gui…

Source: The Top 50 Sites for Indie and Self-Published Authors

This Life We Live

It seems that people that are creative are usually creative in many different areas. For example, if you play a musical instrument, you may also sing. If you can draw or paint, you probably have a good eye for photography or landscaping. Of course those are general observances. In my opinion, your brain just works along certain lines. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to appreciate music, art work or photography if you only sing in the shower, and color at the kindergarten level.

Sometimes it’s been hard for me to narrow down what I wanted to do with my life. When younger, I loved to draw and I loved art. I talked about this in another post. I also wanted to be a  ballerina, a famous singer, famous artist and maybe dabble in photography. As I grew older, modeling appealed to me and then an interior decorator seemed the way to go. At one point I even thought of being an architect.

So, I became a wife and mother! At times through the years, I thought of all those exciting careers and lifestyles I could have had. Of course I would have been extremely successful with all of them. Because in your dreams…you always are! That’s what’s fantastic about dreaming…you can make it whatever you want.

But you know what? Because I became a wife and mother I was able to do all of the above. I played the piano for church and sang in the choir. Our children and I had a singing group for awhile and we were asked to sing at several places. I’ve ‘designed’ and decorated so many of our homes over the years. Landscaping our yards was always fun. I’ve created an English garden at our current home…on a bleak Kansas driveway. I’ve had the privilege to attend several balls, wearing the gowns that I designed and made. My children have endured me singing to them at night, and dancing with them around the room. I’ve fulfilled all my dreams.

Have I been successful? Well the score is still out on that one. I have one more child at home and several grandchildren. And yes, they will have to endure all my interests. Someday, I will stand before my Heavenly Father and I hope to hear, “A job well-done, my good and faithful servant.”

Life isn’t about the career you choose or all the goals you set. You can have a career and have goals. But life is what you do along the way…the life you live. Have a Blessed Sunday!

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