BOGO Book Fair–CoronaLife Day 810

Normally, our school librarian throws a Summer Reading Send Off, where kids come into the library, borrow books for the summer, and get some ice cream. It is a TON of work, but our librarian goes above and beyond to foster love of reading.

This year, we had the opportunity to do a THIRD book fair, at the end of the year. So we jumped at the chance, to get books into kids’ hands for the summer that they could keep. It was easier for the librarian, and it allowed her to take a much more accurate inventory over the summer.

This third book fair has a twist, though. It is a BOGO, buy one get one free. Which means the kids get twice the books for their money. The book fair was smaller than the others, but the selection was good. The only drawback is that we cannot reorder books we sell out of to restock. However, there is an online component, so parents can order any book they really wanted from there.

The excitement from the kids for this book fair has been tremendous! I’m not sure if it’s the BOGO aspect, or just end of year enthusiasm, but books are flying off the shelf. Thursday is the last day of the fair, and we should just make it, inventory-wise.

I love that our school encourages and supports reading so much. I love the enthusiasm of our librarian, and of the PTA volunteers who run the fairs. And I LOVE the kids’ faces as they buy their books, with huge smiles and shining eyes.

Happy reading!

May’s End—CoronaLife Day 803

It’s funny how getting out of your usual schedule can mess you up so badly. First thing was that the flu hit our house over the past two weeks. My daughter got sick, so I took her to the doctor. Never thought about flu this late in the season, but her doctor said they had been seeing a lot of flu in the kids, so tested her for strep, flu, and Covid. Flu came back positive.

I caught it several days later, and my husband followed the next week. This is my first time in my life having the flu, and I was not a fan! Since we all had the flu shot this year, none of us got terribly sick, but it was enough for me. I am not a good patient, I get frustrated with being ill, especially when I am just sick enough to be out of commission but not so sick that I really don’t care about anything.

So after recovering from that (I’m still rebuilding my exercise regimen), I dove into playing catch-up with everything I had missed. It’s exactly like returning to work after a vacation, except I did not at all enjoy my time away!

I am happy to be back on my feet now, though, as our third and final Book Fair of the year starts today! I’ll be helping to set up today, and the kids will start coming through on Tuesday, after the holiday.

It’s hard to believe that June is on the horizon, and school will be ending in a few weeks. The end-of-year craziness is upon us, with many events and wrap-ups to take care of in the coming days. I do look forward to being able to sleep in once school is done. My child is old enough now that I do not need to get up when she does, so maybe I will finally get more than 6 hours of sleep a night.

So how are you wrapping up May?

The Merry Month of May–CoronaLife Day 789

Last week, I was in the middle of several projects.

My genealogy book, The Campbell Family of New York City, New York, and their Ancestors is now available in both paperback and hardback! The cover thumbnail is still not showing up, but I have been informed that it can take up to 6 weeks for everything to show up on the retail sites properly.

I realized I had been procrastinating on editing The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone because I was reluctant to make the edits in the chapter I was facing. But I finally pushed through that chapter and the rest was easy. So I finished that and sent them off to my co-author.

It’s been a busy week for me, with multiple school-related meetings to prepare for and attend. I have also been deep into a genealogical puzzle helping someone locate their biological family.

It’s hard to believe that in just a few days we will be halfway through May. The end of the school year is always weird. Days can seem long, but the weeks often seem quick. It is a strangely “bumpy” feeling this time of year.

Bumpy or not, the weather is finally feeling like spring!

Onward!

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?

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