Introducing “Ysolde” from my novel, Abysmal Canyon

Ysolde cropped brightness -15 and contrast 24 smaller

I’ve been working on a sketch of “Ysolde,” the 18-year-old protagonist from my novel. I think I have her face pretty much how I envisioned it. I’m going to try to do sketches of some of the main characters and post them here as well as some scenes from the book. Also started doing serious plotting for book 2 in the series, which will be a fantasy medieval setting. Lots of fun! ūüôā

Ysolde Nightingale Hartmaan is a dowser who becomes the Domina Lumen (Lady of the Lumen or Light). She has long dark blonde hair and a fair complexion. She’s a little shorter than average height and slender in build. She dowses either with¬†the crystal pendant she wears or body dowses. She’s kind of a solitary, free¬†spirit until she becomes burdened with her new title.

*I updated the drawing just a tad and added my name and date, which I’d forgotten to do before.


Perfection is overrated…but I still want it!

     As I stated earlier, the print version of my book recently came out and is available along with my Kindle version (which came out in August, 2015) on Amazon. I wanted to write just a little more about this first experience in self-publishing.
      Abysmal Canyon is my first book and because I chose to design the entire printed version myself, inside and out, I have experienced quite a steep learning curve. I thought creating the Kindle version was a challenge, but that was nothing compared to the print! I used templates from CreateSpace for both the interior and the front and back cover. Those were extremely helpful. Then, after several months of knashing my teeth and lots of curse words, along with moments of sheer happiness when I had finally figured something out, I began the process of ordering proofs to polish the book.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† It is amazing how differently a book reads from the digital version to the hardcopy- hold-it-in-your-hands printed book. Suddenly you see things you had totally missed¬†–¬†“orphan lines” are left dangling all alone at the bottom and top of pages, a chapter ends with just a few lines on an otherwise empty page, line spacing is different, indentations are different, font types, size of fonts, margins, pagination, you name it – the list goes on and on. Some of those things I had dealt with before I ordered proofs, but not all. After a lot of research on what to do, then adjusting all of the above, I finally reached a point where the book appeared to be perfect and I said, “Enough!” It was time to release my creation into the world!
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I nervously gave the okay to Amazon to release the print version publically and ordered several copies of the finished book. When the books came in, of course, as the gods would have it, there were still 3 minor grammatical dings! These were so inconsequential that they had slipped right past me and my editor numerous times. There was more cursing on my part. It irked me to no end. But, life must go on! After all, it was only a comma and a few apostrophes and ? But, I wanted so badly for my book to be perfect. I knew I would no doubt be getting some criticism for my writing style or the story line, but I didn’t want to be criticized for grammatical errors, of all things! Still, it was going to be a monumental task to go back and fix those #@*$!!%* errors and my printed book was already for sale on Amazon, so what was I to do?
¬†¬†¬†¬† In the end, I¬†followed the Zen path. I took a deep breath and decided to just let it go. I have read books published by major publishing houses that had errors and that didn’t bother me or keep me from reading the book. Although I¬†have always been a bit surprised to see them,¬†I won’t be¬†anymore! I have a feeling most readers will probably never notice those in my book, but if they do (if you happen to be one of them) know that I am well aware of the little demonic darlings and please forgive me.. and enjoy the book anyway! Thank you! ūüôā

Book is in print, finally!

My book, Abysmal Canyon, is now in print and for sale on Amazon.¬†It took¬†longer than I had anticipated to review, edit (once again for the umpteenth time!)¬†and polish 2 separate proof copies¬†and make the¬†necessary adjustments. To make sure my older Kindle version matched the print book, I made the changes to it as well.¬† The story is the same as when the Kindle version first came out in August, but I did¬†add/change/delete some¬†minor content. After a few months of working on¬†my labor of love, I finally came to a point when I had to stop being such a helicopter mom and let my “child” fly on its own. So there it is and now it’s time to start working on book 2. ūüôā

First Print Proof Reviewed, Now Waiting for Second Proof

My first proof of my book, Abysmal Canyon, arrived last week. I cannot tell you what a mind-blowing feeling it¬†was to hold it in my hands. The end result of three years of work.¬†And while¬† I know I am new to writing novels and have a¬†long way to go, the feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming. The down side was that¬†it had a few errors.¬† I reviewed¬†the¬†text¬†along with another reader and we found¬†a margin that was off and a few¬†typos¬†that had slipped past multiple reads and edits.¬†¬†The cover needed work, as well. It came out way darker than the image I sent in. You could not tell there was a canyon image on the front at all. ¬†So, I researched the best way to lighten the cover and did that (at least it looks lighter…we’ll see how it prints), then fixed the text errors and re-uploaded the book this past Friday. Now CreateSpace is reviewing it again for formatting, which it should pass, then they will send me a link to the book online which I will review. THEN, if all goes well, I will order another proof. The proofs are not very expensive, but the process is time consuming. My new goal date for the printed book to be up and for sale on Amazon will be no later than mid-November. And at that time, I will update the Kindle version so they both match. I’ll keep you posted!

Vulture Vortex

Vulture Vortex

A sketch from my morning walk when I saw a huge vortex of black vultures spiraling into the sky. There was a stiff north wind and the column of vultures was being pushed southward rapidly, churning in a circle like a black tornado. I watched until they disappeared into the distance and tried to imagine what it must feel like to be  part of such a collective natural event.

Book Proof is On the Way!

Day before yesterday I uploaded my book cover files and interior text files for Abysmal Canyon to CreateSpace for review. I did all the designing and formatting myself, which was a real chore, but¬†using the¬†CS templates helped to keep me sane. This was my first time to go through this process.¬† I know (hope) it will get easier. I took copious notes…

Yesterday my files were approved by CS and I saw what my book will look like, which was exciting! I ordered a couple of proof copies for myself and another reader to review. They should arrive in the mail sometime next week. If the proof looks good, then I will give the okay for the book to be put on Amazon for sale. It will appear on the same page as the Kindle version, which is already up. I’ll update when the book is actually up for sale.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison – The inspiration for my book, Abysmal Canyon


another view of v black canyon

This is the canyon that inspired my book, Abysmal Canyon. I took these photos while hiking there. The canyon is a national park near Gunnison, CO. It is one of the steepest canyons in North America. When you stand on one of the overlooks (if you dare!), your stomach goes to your throat as you look straight down at the sheer canyon walls to the Gunnison River below. Strong wind drafts from below could pull you into the abyss if you leave the protection of the railing. Black gypsum and tall, jagged rock formations like sharp fangs rise up from the bottom and give the canyon a sinister feel. Peregrine falcons swoop through the canyon leaving their trailing screeches echoing in the wind. It is a magical, mysterious place with a strong negative energy vibe. I highly recommend it if you are ever in that area.


Book is Almost Ready for Printing

I am almost finished formatting and designing my book, Abysmal Canyon, for print. I thought formatting it for the Kindle version was hard – Ha!! The print version is completely different as far as font, spacing, margins, pagination, size of the book, book cover design, etc. I’m using CreateSpace, a print-on-demand company owned by Amazon. They have templates, tutorials, forums and there are lots of videos on the internet to help, but¬†it is still crazy stressful trying to do it all yourself and hope by the grace of the universe that it looks halfway professional. I believe I have it all in place now.¬†I used books of the same genre as guides. I’ll be putting my interior files and book cover both in the required¬†PDF form today, which is a little unnerving because¬†I’m hoping that doesn’t just throw everything out of whack. It’s not supposed to¬†IF done properly… *sigh…¬†Then, if all goes well and it still looks good, I will upload the PDF files to CreateSpace and wait for their approval. When that comes –¬†and I don’t know how long that takes assuming they give me the green light – I will order a proof copy of the book to see it in my own hands, read it¬†and make sure it looks good -THEN if that is a go, I’ll put it up on Amazon with my Kindle version. If not, I’ll make the changes and re-upload it. I’m thinking the book will be a little easier to market when I have actual copies to show, although marketing for me will never be “easy.” So – Whew!! Cross your fingers, toes, arms and¬†legs that it all goes well. I’ll keep you posted.