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?

A Willy-Nilly Week–CoronaLife Day 761

I’m having one of those weeks where I’m doing a little bit of everything. Makes it hard to focus.

Attended a Township meeting.

Visited the library.

Went grocery shopping.

Got my daughter a new passport.

Was close-contact exposed to Covid.

And I still have a ton of things to do.

Why do my to-do lists never seem to get smaller?

I did manage to approve the online proof of the public version my genealogy book. I ordered a printed copy, and if that looks okay, the book will be available May 1st.

Next week should be quieter (spring break), and my intent is to get through the edits of Pharaoh’s Stone my co-author sent me.

Hopefully I won’t have Covid!

What have you accomplished this week?

On the DNA Trail—CoronaLife Day 754

The long awaited day has arrived! My mother’s DNA successfully processed, and her results are in.

I dove into them the last few days, sorting and organizing. I was particularly on the lookout for my Sutton line, as I have not yet found any matches to it.

After the initial sorting, I tried the Leeds Method, which sorts matches into your four grandparent lines (except in cases of endogamy). As you can see, the first pass generated 3 clear lines…and one blank one.

The Sutton line.

This is not a surprise. As I have said before, matches to this line will be farther out, since my great-grandfather was the only one of his 5 siblings known to have children, therefore any matches will be generated by brothers and sisters of my mother’s maternal great-grandparents.

I was not deterred. I went down past the recommended lower threshold, and finally found 2 matches that were maternal but did not match the maternal grandmother matches (the yellow highlight). Could these be the elusive Suttons?

Maybe. After working through the cluster map of these matches (below), I now have 42 maternal matches of unknown origin. Some may be other Hayden matches that simply don’t match our known Hayden matches. But some are undoubtedly Suttons.

The next step is trying to build trees for these matches. This may prove difficult, as Irish records are sparse. But I will give it my best shot!

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?

BOE, PTA, & DNA—CoronaLife Day 740

I really don’t have much to report on my writing adventures this week. Much of my time was taken up by Board of Education and PTA duties, which left little time and energy for writing projects.

The weather isn’t helping my motivation. We have a had a few very nice days, but the past few have been gray and rainy. Great for napping, not so great for writing.

On a positive note, my mom’s sample was received by Ancestry. Now we need to keep our fingers crossed that her DNA can be extracted and processed successfully. Ancestry is a “spit-test” where you fill a tube with saliva. My mom has trouble with that, so we followed directions to make artificial saliva and use brushes to swab her cheeks and put into the solution. Many people have used this method with great results, so I have my fingers crossed that it works with her as well.

Having her DNA on Ancestry will help my research a lot. She has lots of matches to her Scottish Campbell side, but her Irish Sutton-Hayden side is elusive. I managed to find a group of matches from the Hayden line, because one of my great-grandmother’s brothers came to America and had a large family. However, I have not found a single Sutton match.

Given that her grandfather Sutton was the only one of his siblings to have children that we know of (there is one sister that we do not know her fate), all the Sutton matches would be farther out. So my mother, being one generation closer, has a better chance of stronger matches than I or my brother do.

I am also hoping that her being one generation father back can pry open the brick wall we have one her Campbell line. I have many matches that trace back to Hugh Campbell, born about 1787, but we lose the trail with him. I am hoping my mom’s DNA pulls up some matches that are one generation farther back. DNA is really good for about 5 generations back, which is where Hugh is to me. So I look to my mother to get one past him.

But first we need a good sample! It will take some weeks before we know if it’s successful.

So that’s where I am this week. Where are you?

Marching Ahead–CoronaLife Day 733

After a couple of rather hectic weeks, it’s back to the routine grind.

The good news is my mother’s genealogy book arrived prior to her surgery, so I was able to give it to her before.

Allow me to introduce The Campbell Family of New York City, New York, and Their Ancestors:

That edition is the “family” edition, which contains details down to the present generations. My next step is to trim out the information on living people and create a “public” version. That version will be for sale through the usual distribution channels, same as my other genealogy book, The Warren Family of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Their Ancestors.

So that is my March project. Hopefully I will have that done by the end of the month.

Sometimes I lament at how slow my progress seems to be. I need to remember that slow progress is still progress, and learn to accept that this is the best i can do at the moment.

With that in mind, I choose to celebrate the publishing of the family version and enjoy sharing it with my Campbell clan!

RIP, Aunt Carolee

Aunt Carolee had perfect pitch in a dissonant world.

My aunt was a masterful musician. “No one ever really appreciated how brilliant she was,” my father said. “Everyone jokes that I am the smart one, but the things she could do…She was a genius.” She could play any music you put in front of her, on the piano or organ. She sang beautifully. She was a conductor and ran numerous church choirs. As a teen, she stepped into the lead role in a school production with only hours notice, and was flawless. She made a living with her music, which is a miracle in itself.

Carolee had the classic artist’s temperament. Sensitive, passionate, mercurial, her feelings ran deep and strong. She had an intense love for her family. I saw it often in her respect for her parents, her faith in her husband, the joy she had in her sons and grandson, and the pride she showed in the accomplishments of her siblings and nieces and nephews. The few times a year I saw her (usually on her way to or from a reunion at her beloved Westminster Choir College), I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her, one creative spirit to another.

For someone with her sensitive soul, the dissonances of the past few years grew heavy. She and her husband battled COVID in January 2021, a battle her husband lost, and which exacerbated her own health issues. Losing her sister only a few months after her husband was a crushing blow, and sparked an unstoppable decline. After months of struggle, Carolee slipped peacefully away in her sleep.

As sad as we all are to lose her, we take comfort in knowing she is reunited with her parents, siblings, and the love of her life. Although we will miss her here on Earth, I am sure she is already singing with the Heavenly Choir, and her ears are joyfully hearing only harmony.

Finishing February–CoronaLife Day 712

We’ve just come off a four day weekend, so not only do I not know what day of the week it is, but I am finding it hard to get out of vacation gear.

I never lack for things to do, of course, but sometimes the motivation to do them is hard to find. It doesn’t help that, like most of us, my To Do list never seems to get smaller no matter how much I work.

I am chipping away, though, because time doesn’t stop and things still need to get done.

So I am working on taxes, and Board of Ed stuff, and waiting on getting the hardback of my genealogy book. If that one looks good, I can approve the paperback version, since it’s the same interior content file.

It’s hard to believe February is nearing its end. January seemed to last forever, while February has sped by.

How are you finishing your February?

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