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.

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!

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?

 

Forward in February–CoronaLife Day 691

January seemed interminable, but like all things, it has come to an end! As we move into February, I am once more looking forward.

My illustrator for my middle grade book, The Witch of Zal, churned out more awesome illustrations, so we are moving closer to the finish line there.

I also got the e-proof of the genealogy book late Wednesday, so I will be perusing that. I’m hoping I can approve it and then order a print proof before setting it for production.

I mentioned the issues I had uploading files that passed validation. I managed to resolve all the issues, except the “graphic less than 150 ppi” error. I went into the PDF and replaced each one of the 70 illustrations with JPEGs of 300 ppi. Every. One.

Still didn’t pass validation. Since I could not figure out where the issue was, I went ahead and put it to publication. That’s why I will be ordering a print proof after the e-proof. I want to make sure everything looks good.

Still, forward progress, and soon I will have a new book published. First one in a lot of years.

How are you moving forward in February?

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