At the Halfway Point—CoronaLife Day 782

You know the old saying, “She doesn’t do things by halves?” Well, apparently I do…at least this week.

I am halfway through my edits of The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone. I’m moving pretty fast because this is a polish of a manuscript that has been edited multiple times. A tweak here and there, but nothing major.

The first chapter had more issues, as will another later chapter, but even those are relatively straightforward. Hopefully I will send it to my co-author early next week to settle on the final form.

Then we will decide if we want to try the traditional route again, or go straight to self-publishing. We have submitted earlier versions of this book to agents before, but not this version. The last time we tried was several years ago, and it’s a much different world now.

My other half-accomplishment has been the  public release of my mother’s genealogy book, The Campbell Family of New York City, New York, and their Ancestors. The paperback version is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, if you search by title on their websites. I am hoping that after a few more days it will pop up on Google searches or under my author name. At the moment neither listing has the cover, either. So I will check back on that in a few days.

The hardback version of the book is not out to the public yet. I am having technical difficulties with the distribution. The algorithm is flagging it as a duplicate title, rather than a different version (paperback vs. hardback) of the same book. I have never had that issue before. The other issue is that I want it to be US distribution only, but it is insisting on being worldwide (which I do not want to pay for). I have also never had that issue before. I am working with their tech support, so things should be resolved soon.

My projects are halfway done. Hopefully by next week both of these will be complete and I will be on to something new!

April 2022 Wrap Up–CoronaLife Day 775

Spring Break is over, and we are back to the hustle and bustle of life. For me, that means moving forward with a few writing projects.

I finished going through my co-author’s edits on The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone. It wasn’t hard, since I agreed with virtually all of them. Now I am doing a read-through, to see if there’s anything I see that needs polishing. After that, I will make my suggestions for the first chapter, and we will make final decisions on that.

I am also eagerly awaiting the print copy of the public version of my genealogy book, The Campbell Family of New York City, New York, and their Ancestors. It was mailed this weekend, so I expect it any day. Once I make sure it looks good, I will open it to distribution channels. My proposed On Sale date was always May 1st, so it seems it will be right on time.

With April coming to an end, several of my projects are also coming to the end of their current phases. But as with every ending, there are also new beginnings, and the progress continues.

Spring Break 2022–CoronaLife Day 768

So it’s been a fairly productive spring break, all things considered.

I am close to solving a genealogical mystery (or reaching a total dead end).

I am nearing completion of a document about a family Bible my husband’s family has. I will then post it on ancestry sites so others in the family can access it.

I am going to finish the first pass of the edits on The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone.

My co-author Jeff Pero sent me his suggested edits a few weeks ago. I was finishing up my genealogy book, so had to put off looking at it until this week. I imported his Open Office Document, and first Word said it was corrupt and couldn’t open it. Then it said if I trusted the sender, it would open it and see what we got. So I did. All of Jeff’s comments were there, but all his Track Changes were not. Sigh.

First I went through and read/addressed the comments Once that document was “clean”, I opened the original file I had sent to him. Then I merged the two into a new file that would show the differences between them, essentially replicating the Track Changes.

I’ve been working through them, and should finish tomorrow. Then I want to read through it myself, and see if there is anything I would like to polish, since it has been some years since I looked at it properly, and I have learned more about writing since then. I know we need to work on the first chapter, but I have a few ideas to talk over with Jeff.

The rest of the book we are happy with, so once we get that first chapter to where we are satisfied, we’ll move ahead toward publishing. Not sure yet if we want to try for an agent (again) or just move on to self-publishing. We shall see.

So, are you on Spring Break? And if so, what have you been up to?

The Madness of March–CoronaLife Day 747

The weather here has been crazy. Nice and warm and spring-like, then BOOM! Snow squalls and below-freezing temperatures. Is it any wonder that I am having trouble finding my rhythm, when Mother Nature herself is out of sorts?

In spite of it all, this has been a fairly productive week. I have completed the interior file for the public version of my genealogy book. After cutting out the living people, it was 5 pages shorter.

Next, I will get the cover templates for the hard cover and the paperback, and create those. With only a 5 page differential, the cover template size may not change. If that is the case, I can use the same files I used for the family version. Either way, it is not much work.

Then, all that remains is to order the print proof and then have it go live once I approve it.

I also received the latest edits to my middle grade novel The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone from my co-author. We have been trying to find a home for this book for years, but it is not in a “hot genre” so it has been a hard road. We are going to try the traditional route once more after this clean up, and if we cannot get traction, we will self-publish. We believe deeply in this book, we want to get it out to the readers.

So getting to those edits is the next project after the genealogy book is done.

Speaking of genealogy, my mom’s DNA sample is “processing”. Fingers crossed our unorthodox method of collection doesn’t cause problems!

How is March wrapping up for you?

The Proof is in the Printing—CoronaLife Day 698

Last week, I mentioned that I had gotten the e-proof for my genealogy book. There is a reason we get proofs prior to going to print. I found a mistake on the first title page! While it was a bit disheartening to have to resubmit the fixes and wait another 4-5 days for a new e-proof, I was happy that I had caught it. Also, it allowed me to polish up a few other pages that I had been willing to live with but would have liked to change. So I got the chance to change them, and now the only thing bugging me is the index, which I just could not get to cooperate no matter what I tried. The index is 99% fine, though, so I feel okay with it.

I got the revised e-proof and found nothing to worry me. So I approved it, and ordered myself a print proof. This will allow me to see the colors and quality of photos in reality, because colors in e-proofs are not always spot on, and resolution can look fine on a screen but not in print. I expect everything to look fine, as it did the last time I printed a book through this company, but I will be relieved when I see it in person.

The company estimates 15 days to print (perhaps longer) and then however many days of shipping. So it will be a while until I have it in hand. Still, it’s exciting to be so close!

My illustrator for my middle grade book has been turning out some wonderful work, so that project is also moving forward.

Progress!

How are your projects coming along?

 

Genealogical Proof—CoronaLife Day 670

Ask and you shall receive! I got my proofreading copy for my genealogy book back last weekend, so I have been diligently making or rejecting changes.

There’s a lot to look at.

Some are genuine mistakes. Some are things perfectly clear to me that confused readers who have not been immersed in this for 20+ years. Some are things I decided not to change because they weren’t actually mistakes.

One thing I should have explained to the proofreaders is that ages and spellings are elastic until after 1900, and even sometimes then. Many people were illiterate, so spellings were at the mercy of whoever was taking the dictation. I once had someone write an ancestor’s name as “Eva Murray”, leading to a long chase for an Irishman in early 19th century Germany. Turns out her name was Eva Marie, and her immigrant husband’s heavy German accent was misheard by the clerk.

Ages floated a lot, too. People lied to go to war, to get married, to appear younger than their husbands. Many people honestly didn’t know their exact birth year. Until Social Security, it really wasn’t necessary to know. So genealogist get accustomed to a certain amount of drift in ages. Ancestors are simultaneously 40 and 37 and 52—it all depends when you look.

Schrodinger’s relatives.

Still, the proofreaders did a fantastic job. I am inching my way through. I have 4 more chapters to do, then all the photo and graphic captions. I hope to have it completed by Monday.

I will still have to go in and edit it severely to bring the page count down. I hate to lose so much fun historical stuff. So I am considering keeping the longer version and making it available as a PDF giveaway with purchase of the book. We shall see.

How is your new year kicking off?

A Wild Start to September—CoronaLife Day 537

Today (Wednesday), I awoke to an alarm for the first time since school ended in June. One of the perks of having an older child is that I don’t need to get up with her in the summer. She can get herself up and make herself breakfast. So I have not set my alarm for a couple of months.

This morning I did, and I didn’t care for it. Too dark out. But I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed, downed a fruit cup, and was off to the races.

Setting up for the teacher’s breakfast to welcome them back to school.

Running home to feed my broken-ankled child and myself breakfast.

Going back to school to clean up after breakfast.

Coming home and going for my 2.5 mile daily walk before the bad weather set in.

Vacuuming most of the house.

Running to the store for grocery pickup, then unpacking and putting it all away.

Finishing vacuuming the house.

Making and eating dinner.

I finally got to sit down and relax and…

Tornado warning! Tornado warning extended! Flash flood watch! Tornado-in-immediate-area-take-shelter-now-did-you-not-get-the-first-two-warnings?!

So, some time in our under-the-stairs closet, since we have no basement.

Lots of texting with my folks, who were alternately hiding in their crawlspace and sweeping water that was coming in from their patio out the garage.

The worst has passed, although it is still raining, so the flood watch is still in effect.

What a wild way to welcome in September!

In other news, I now only have 2 chapters of my genealogy book to proofread and index. My daughter hopefully will be off her crutches tomorrow. And Zippy the fish is still alive, but I am just waiting for him to pass, as he is not looking or acting well at all.

Busy Week – CoronaLife Day 530

Summertime is hard when you don’t have a 9 to 5 job, because it is so easy to lose track of what day it is. I forgot yesterday was Wednesday, and I hadn’t written this blog!

It’s been a crazy busy week for me: two meetings in my Board of Education capacity, plus a financial review with the local PTA. Lots of preparation time for those, plus the time for the meetings themselves. After so many months at home, these bursts of activity (especially in-person/social activity) exhaust me quickly.

Because of those other commitments, I have not gotten a ton of work done on my genealogy project, but I did make some progress. I now have three chapters to finish proofing and indexing. Then I will need to fix the formatting in the compiled book, and start working on the photos and other inserts. So I am edging closer to the finish line.

Going shopping for school supplies for my daughter tomorrow. We combed through her “art room” and found lots of things on the list, so it’s much shorter than it was originally. Biggest thing will be her backpack, which I waited far too long to order online and will now not arrive here until later in September. We will have to make do with the older backpack, which is still serviceable, but too small for everything she will need to carry.

In other news, Zippy the fish, although still with us, is probably not long for this world. He has been expanding with some sort of internal tumor for a couple of months (we had another fish that died of one), and although he still eats every day and swims, his behavior makes us think he is winding down. He rests a lot and “pastes” himself against the walls sometimes, as if for support. We thought he was dead yesterday, but he wasn’t—just hanging out at the bottom of the tank.

My crazy week is at an end, and hopefully I can push through those last (fairly long) chapters in the genealogy book this coming week.

I hope the last few weeks of summer are treating you all well!

Indexing Headaches—CoronaLife Day 523

I have spent the entire day with the Norwegians.

One line of my mother’s family goes back to Norway. The connection is very far back, so far that much of it may be more properly classified as “lore” rather than provable fact, but it’s fun any way you look at it.

The Norwegian chapter is a long one, spanning some 200+ years, and is an epic adventure of the Orkney and Shetland Islands, as well as vast reaches of northern Scotland. Between the Norwegian names and the many places touched upon, it is enough to make any proofreader’s head hurt.

I am familiar enough with these people now that the spelling is not much of an issue for me. What really hung me up was the indexing. I spent pretty literally the whole day on it. Some of it was my own fault, because I forgot what I had done in previous sections.

For instance, I forgot I had put the kings of Scotland under the heading “Scottish Royalty” because I was also placing their children under that heading. So today I entered them all as “Kings of Scotland” and then had to go back and change them.

Or I forgot that when I indexed a woman as the wife of someone, I put that info in parentheses, not just offset with a comma. Luckily there were not many wives, so it was not as laborious as it sounds.

Then there are just the crazy indexing errors that are basically typos. When entering the index coding in Word, if you don’t do it exactly the same each time, it will show up as a separate person. For example, “Gans:Kerry”, is not the same as “Gans:Kerry ”. Most of the time I avoided having issues by simply copying and pasting the same code for the same person, but occasionally I’d run across someone I’d missed and have to re-type it from scratch. Or it would be a person I had entered far earlier in the book, and had forgotten exactly how I had entered him (but THOUGHT I remembered), and then when I would check the index there he’d be, twice.

I have gotten all the Norwegians indexed now, however, and can move on to my next chapter. Seven chapters left to wrap up the summer with.

Nuts and Bolts—CoronaLife Day 509

I am progressing on my maternal genealogy book, getting into the nuts and bolts of putting it together.

I realized many of my trees were too large for the page size, and some of the tree would be lost in the binding. So I resized all of them to fit properly.

Up until now, all my chapters were in separate files. So now I am compiling of them into a single file. I proofread one more time, then paste it into the compiled book file. Because the margins are slightly different (I need a wider margin on the binding side), there is usually some minor cleanup of each chapter.

I then make sure each chapter is a new section, and add the chapter header. Then I go through the laborious project of tagging each person and location for my indexes.

The indexes are driving me a bit crazy. While the Name Index is fine, the Place Index refuses to wrap into two columns, thus leaving half the page blank. As far as I can tell, both indexes were set up the same, just referencing different tags.

I did multiple indexes successfully for my father’s book, so I know it can be done. I will look back at my father’s book and see how I did it there. Perhaps that will give me the answer.

As painstaking as this part of the process is, I feel like I am making decent progress. Five chapters down, twelve to go!

After this, I need to do the artwork for the book. Cover, chapter pages, any photos I want to include. Those will also be painstaking, but fun to do.

Onward!

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