Category Archives: self-publishing

I Was Talking About the Gray Cells

The temporary cover is almost exactly like the one I ended up using.
The temporary cover is almost exactly like the one I ended up using.

In a recent post, I mentioned how my mind was starting to focus on things I might be writing next. Documenting America: Civil War Edition is finished. All except the print version, that is, but I think I’m not more than two days away from having that done and submitting it for checking by CreateSpace.  I have a few publishing tasks awaiting me that don’t involve writing, such as getting the Headshots print version done. And making corrections to the Smashwords edition of Preserve The Revelation so that it can be pushed out to other vendors via Smashword’s premium catalog. Yes, I have much publishing to do.

But that’s not writing. With one book finished, it’s time to work on the next. But what to work on? I have two obvious choices:

  • Seems like a long time since I wrote this, but it's only five years.
    Seems like a long time since I wrote this, but it’s only five years.

    The Gutter Chronicles, Volume 2. The first volume of what I hope will become a series, of workplace humor about the engineering business, has been out since 2012. It’s one of my five highest selling items, mostly to people who work where I do. A couple of years ago I started the next volume, and got into chapter 4 (of a planned 15 chapter book), when I set it aside to do other things. I have the book mostly planned out, the humorous stories pulled from my past or manufactured. All that remains it to decide to write it and get it finished. Hopefully, I can find my scattered notes.

  • This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and "Preserve The Revelation" will be the fourth.
    This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and “Preserve The Revelation” will be the fourth.

    Adam of Jerusalem. This will be a prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant. It’s been on my list of things to write for some time. A few plot elements came to mind early, but not how I’m going to get it done. How do you squeeze a prequel ahead of a book when you never planned on it when you wrote the first book? You can’t go back and unwrite, or rewrite the second in the series. But ways of doing this have been coming to me. I’ve figured out how I want to open the book, and what the inciting incident will be. A few other scenes have come to mind.

What to do? The Gutter Chronicles makes the most sense, and I suspect I’ll at least give it a try. However, the gray cells have been giving me more ideas for Adam of Jerusalem. What to do? I could wrap up TGC Vol 2 in 30,000 words; AoJ will take about 80,000.

As an example of what I mean by the gray cells activating, until recently I have having a hard time figuring out how to show Adam’s slide from Judaism to adopting Roman ways. As mentioned above, I had decided what would be the inciting incident for this, but how to make it work in the story without violating anything I’ve already written in Doctor Luke’s Assistant. Well, the way to do this came to me recently. I don’t have every scene worked out, but it’s clear how I can accomplish this. I’m not receiving similar clarity on The Gutter Chronicles—although I’m further along with that book. Perhaps that will be less of gray cells stimulation and more of in-the-seat perspiration.

While these two books are prime on my to-write-next list, they aren’t the only candidates. The next short story in my Sharon Williams Fonseca series has been coming to mind. It will be set in Paris. Also on my mind is a book about the Stephen and Elizabeth (Cheney) Cross family of Ipswich, Massachusetts, in the 1600s. Last year I spent a month of intense work on this couple. It is intended to be a chapter in a book about Elizabeth’s father, John Cheney of Newbury. When I finished the Crosses, I saw I had between 60 and 80 pages (formatted as 5.5×8.5 pages), and was shocked. John Cheney had ten children who grew to adulthood. The work before me seemed to massive to continue with, so I set the project aside. However, I have the Cross portion done, and, I figure, why not publish it as a small, stand-alone family history? It would take perhaps another month of tidying up, expanding the narrative a little, and doing all the publishing tasks. I may do that, but not as the next book. Maybe after I finish whichever one I choose to do next.

So, while the gray cells are active, and I can sense writing in the near future (such as in August, if not some in July), I don’t know which book is next. Today will be a day of publishing activities. Tomorrow, who knows? I may take some time at work to read what I’ve already written on TGC. If I like what I read, perhaps that will be next.

Book Sales – 2nd Quarter 2017

Here’s the quarterly table:

………1Q…..2Q…..3Q…..4Q….Year
2011….2…….7……11…..15…..35
2012…16…..73……45…..22…156
2013…14…..22……16…..13….65
2014…..7…..48……25……2…..82
2015…11…..25……38……9…..83
2016…. 9……6…….10….17…..42
2017…17…..22
Total sales to date—502

So, the 2nd quarter was a little better than that 1st, and certainly better than the 2nd quarter last year. It’s a little deceiving, however. My sales by month were: April 13, May 5, June 3. So sales were trailing off. The April peak was due to my personally selling some print books to acquaintances at work and church. Once those were done, sales trailed off.

Once again, I did no advertising this quarter. My only promotions were a few Facebook posts, and talking my books up in person when the opportunity seemed right.

Here’s my sales table for the year. Note that I had one sale at Kobo. Kobo has reported that I had a sale, but not of which book. So that the table would be right, I applied the sale to “Growing Up Too Fast”. They should report for June in about two weeks. When they do, I’ll correct the table, if needed and edit the post. Click on the table to see it in readable size. Note: I did come back and edit this post to show one additional sale, but it’s not the Kobo sale. In June I sold a an e-book copy of Documenting America: Lessons From The United States’ Historical Documents – Homeschool Edition, to a library through Baker & Taylor Blio. First sale through that bookstore, and, so far as I know, first sale to a library.

At the end of June, I have almost as many sales as I had for all of 2016. With luck, I'll pass 2016 in July.
At the end of June, I have almost as many sales as I had for all of 2016. With luck, I’ll pass 2016 in July.

So, I still haven’t given you the post about the gray cells awakening. I plan on doing that on Monday. This last week I was working on getting Documenting America: Civil War Edition published. That took all my gray cells for a few days.

 

Almost There With My Newest Book

At the Pea Ridge National Military Park, canon are placed strategically, near where actual fighting took place.
At the Pea Ridge National Military Park, canon are placed strategically, near where actual fighting took place.

Yes, I’m almost there.

On Friday, I went to The Dungeon after supper and worked on formatting Documenting America: Civil War Edition for print. I finished it in an hour and a half. That is, I think I finished it. I still will proofread it. And I haven’t created the PDF file yet. But it’s there, on the computer, ready to go. In less time than I expected.

On Saturday, in the afternoon after a busy day of yard work, house work, and grocery shopping, I again went to The Dungeon, to see if I had enough energy to tackle the two e-book versions. Following the procedures I outlined in my previous blog post, I got started, one step at a time. I stripped out the headers and footers. I already had bookmarks at each chapter, so only had to put hyperlinks in the Table Of Contents. Got that done. Then put a link at the end of each chapter back to the TOC. That’s probably not necessary, but I did it. Then I saved it as both Kindle and Smashwords files, and did the final couple of touches each of these need.

That brought me to about 6:30 p.m. I had a meatloaf on, due to come out, so I left my documents. I think, however, they are done. All except for the covers, and the acknowledgement about who did the covers and took the cover photos.

The Elkhorn Tavern was a strategic objective during the two day battle, which involved close to 30,000 combatants.
The Elkhorn Tavern was a strategic objective during the two day battle, which involved close to 30,000 combatants.

Sunday afternoon, my wife and I took a drive to the Pea Ridge National Military Park, about 25 miles from us. We’ve driven by it many times over the years as we head to Ozark destinations east of us, but haven’t actually been in the park since around 1995. I won’t go into a lot of detail on the park, or on the battle. I don’t cover this battle in my book, but this is the closest Civil War site to us, and, based on my vague memory of past visits there, knew I would have places to take photos.

We spent an hour or so there, in the visitors center, then driving the loop through the park. I got a lot of photos, the best of which, and the ones I’ll likely use on the cover, are here in this post. I will likely begin working on the covers tonight: the e-book cover for sure, and the print book cover once that’s done. One problem I have is I may not have an editable file of the original print cover. I’ll have to look around on my old computer. My son did the e-book cover for me, and a woman at our church, who does graphic design, took that and made the print cover from it. If I find it, it will either be a PDF or, possibly, a Photoshop file. If the first, I might be able to load it into G.I.M.P. and do the necessary edits. If the latter, I’m not sure G.I.M. P. can use it.

The Elkhorn Tavern has been restored to the condition it was in in 1862. The inside can't be accessed at present.
The Elkhorn Tavern has been restored to the condition it was in in 1862. The inside can’t be accessed at present.

And, of course, I’m not even sure I have the necessary skills to get this done. I’m going to try, but we’ll see. I may need outside help on the print cover. So, it’s down to the covers, and the acknowledgement of the cover on the copyright page. Get those done, and uploaded to the three sites, and it’s published. Oh, yeah, still have back cover copy to write, along with the description to put on the websites. So, a couple of days, most likely, to first publication.

Meanwhile, I promised to post about the awakening of the gray cells. That will have to wait till Friday.

The Gray Cells Are Activating

Mathew Brady did such a good job of capturing the Civil War in photos.
Mathew Brady did such a good job of capturing the Civil War in photos.

I’m in a bit of a slow period right now. Documenting America: Civil War Edition, is done. That is, the writing and editing of the master document are done. Today at noon, I went through my last mark-up of the manuscript, to see if I missed anything. I hadn’t. I thought I made a couple of notations where I wanted to add a couple of sentences, or perhaps paragraphs, but nothing showed on the manuscript. Apparently, such things were on my mind when I last read it, but I didn’t mark them on paper. Now, to re-read the entire work to find them seems too daunting to me. No, it will go to publication just as it is.

So what’s left? I need to create, from the master file, three separate files: one for Kindle, one for Smashwords, and one for CreateSpace (the print edition). I believe I will start to do that tonight. I could have done that anytime in the last week, but I wanted to wait for that one last flip through the marked-up manuscript. That now done, I’m ready to go on.

But, I’m really not ready. For some reason, the shift from writing to publishing tasks always seems to be a roadblock to me. I’d love to be able to turn this over to someone, pay them to do it. Alas, I don’t make enough on sales to afford that, so I won’t.

Cover - Corrected 2011-06What’s involved with publishing, you ask, that’s so daunting? To each of the three publishing files, I have to add a Table Of Contents. I don’t need to do this for fiction, but for a non-fiction work such as this I do. For the print version, that means inserting bookmarks in the text and cross-references to the bookmarks in the TOC. It’s not hard; just feels like busywork. For the e-book files, I have to add hyperlinks in the TOC to the beginning of each chapter, having first inserted bookmarks there, and then add hyperlinks at the end of each chapter back to the TOC, after first having inserted a bookmark there. Again, it’s not all that hard, but feels like busy work.

Next is putting information on the copyright page. It varies slightly for the three different versions. Next is adding a list of my published works to each version. For the print book, this goes in front, on the back of the half-title page (something you don’t use in an e-book). For the e-books it goes in back. And, for each version, it’s different since the list is really links to sales pages: Kindle links for the Kindle version, Smashwords links for that version. I have master files of these links on my computer at home, and can just insert them into the publication files. Normally I have to do a minor update to each file to add whatever my most previous publication was.

That gets me up to the cover. Sometimes I have another person help me with it, or even do the cover for me. This time, however, I’m determined to do make the cover myself. The cover of Documenting America: Lessons From the United States’ Historical Documents, established a series theme, a theme I like. I suppose it could be called a series brand. I’m going to use that theme, changing the text just a little, and superimposing a Civil War era photo over the old document text, leaving some of the text showing around the outside. This, I think, is something I can do, both for the e-books and the print book.

Print book covers are harder, because you have to have dimensions matched to the print size of the book. So, before I do the print cover, I’ll have to re-format the print publication file to the right size page, adjust the margins to a proper size for the smaller page, and check to make sure headers/footers are correct, and there’s no stray blank pages I don’t want. I then will know the thickness of the print book, and can finalize the cover.

Oh, yeah, at this point I also need to strip the headers/footers out of the e-book files. Running headers/footers have no meaning on an e-book, which has free-flowing text.

This isn't the cover—just a temporary mock-up graphic for this post. the final may be close to this, or somewhat different.
This isn’t the cover—just a temporary mock-up graphic for this post. the final may be close to this, or somewhat different.

A final step for the print book cover is to write some back cover copy. I don’t know that I do a very good job on this. How do you condense your 70,000 word book into a couple of paragraphs? Or, rather than condensing, what do you write that will make people take notice and want to read the book? Once I figure that out, I might get more sales.

Then, and only then, do I get to upload the three files to their respective sites. Actually, the e-book steps will most likely come together quicker, and I’ll have them done about a week before I have the print book done. I struggle with graphic arts software so much, that could actually take longer than a week.

But this post was supposed to be about gray cells starting to be activated. By that, I meant that ideas for specifics in the next book are starting to flow. However, since publishing tasks took me so many words to describe, I’ll have to save more on the gray cells for another time.

The Last 5 percent of this Book Eludes Me

This isn't the cover—just a temporary mock-up graphic for this post.
This isn’t the cover—just a temporary mock-up graphic for this post.

That’s about all that’s left to be done on my current book: 5 percent.

Even less, in fact. I’ve completed three rounds of edits. I heard back from my beta reader. I brainstormed the cover and think I can pull it off on my own. I’ve even set up a mock paperback edition, so I would know how big it would be.

All that’s left is for me to find two or three hours of computer time to type the edits and do some last minute formatting changes. But, since I got home from vacation last Saturday, that time hasn’t materialized. Saturday and Sunday were mostly taken up with the return home and continuing to help with the grandkids. They left Sunday evening. For that evening and until I went back to work Wednesday morning, I completed my reading of the manuscript and marking edits. I did find about an hour of computer time to type some of those edits, but have much more to go.

Wednesday afternoon, I had a wisdom tooth pulled. The reasons why would take too long to explain. I figured I’d be up to some computer time that evening. I was wrong. I really didn’t feel like doing anything, so be watched a bunch of episodes of The West Wing, season five. That’s where we left off three or four years ago, and we wanted to finish the series. That continued Thursday evening, and I suspect it will continue this evening. We have several more discs/episodes to go. Still, it would be nice to get at least an hour of typing done tonight. I’m planning on it.

Just looking at this photo, is it any wonder I left writing for a while? Elise, posing as a Chines opera performer, at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.
Just looking at this photo, is it any wonder I left writing for a while? Elise, posing as a Chines opera performer, at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.

That’s one of the beauties of self-publishing. Deadlines are self-imposed. So if Life prevents you from meeting a deadline, no one is waiting for you. Just reschedule and go on. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m sure that, between Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I’ll find enough time to type all my edits. I also have three places marked where I think it would be good to add a little more narrative. I don’t know that those places are critical, but, as I read through this last time, I thought more narrative would be beneficial. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find those pages again as I flip through the manuscript.

I was quite pleased with the comments my beta reader made. He’s a fellow writer who has a great interest in history, especially in the Civil War. Like me, he’s a northerner who spent most of his adult life living and working in the South, more years than me, actually. He confirmed to me that my goals for the book had been met, in that I:

  • was informative
  • brought out facts not commonly known
  • had a good mix of documents to be examined
  • struck a good balance between Northern and Southern interests as they were expressed at the time of the war
  • correctly showed slavery was the main reason for the war
  • didn’t gloss over Southern interests other than slavery
  • and did a good job linking the issues then to issues we face today.

That’s exactly what I’m hoping for this book, and for the series, so I’m glad for those comments.

Now, on to typing! On to publishing! I might yet get this done in July.

Book Sales: 1st Quarter 2017

My best 1st quarter so far, one sale better than in 2012
My best 1st quarter so far, one sale better than in 2012

Well, I had my best first quarter ever in terms of book sales. I sold 17, which is one more than the first quarter of 2012. Of course, then I had four items for sale, now I have twenty-four. So it’s a lot fewer sales per title.

Thirteen books came in two batches. An internet friend bought six of my short stories in one shot, and a woman in my office bought seven short stories in one shot. The other four were on-line purchases by people I don’t know. Actually, that’s not true. I’m sure the one person who purchased the newly released Preserve The Revelation is an online writer-friend.

The table below shows how they are distributed among my publications. Note also that this shows a sale in April. So I know the second quarter won’t be a goose egg. You’ll have to click on the chart below to enlarge it enough to read it.

DAT Book Sales 2017 Table on 2017-04-07

 

2017 Writing and Publishing Plans

So, as stated in my last post, 2016 was a dismal year for book sales. And, actually, I had only one new item published in 2016, plus a couple of re-dos, and one print book added to an e-book that was already out. But now it’s 2017. Time to make new plans to feed old hopes. We’re 16 days into 2017, and I’ve already made progress.

I’m going to give two lists. The first is the new material I hope to work on this year, without regards to priority. The second is a sort of to-do list for the first few months. I can’t really see beyond that right now. I’ll need to update that to-do list based on what I actually achieve. I might do that quarterly.

Here’s the first list.

  • Finish my novel-in-progress, Preserve The Revelation, and publish both as an e-book and in print. When the year started I was about 80 to 85% done (best guess).
  • Finish my non-fiction book-in-progress, Documenting America: Civil War Edition, and publish both as an e-book and in print. I believe I’m about 40% done with this.
  • Finish my workplace humor novella-in-progress, The Gutter Chronicles: Volume 2, and publish both as an e-book and in print. I think I’m around 30% done with this.
  • Write a new story in the Danny Tompkins short story series. I think this will be the last. But, then, I also thought that about the last one. I’ve put a few words on paper, but haven’t yet typed anything.
  • Write a new story in the Sharon Williams Fonseca series. While this series hasn’t sold, I want to stick with it for a while. I know where in the world the next story will take place, but a plot hasn’t yet come to me.
  • Finish Carlyle’s Chartism Through The Ages, a non-fiction work. It’s close to 80% complete, but the last 20% is going to be a killer.
  • Continue working on Thomas Carlyle Chronological Composition Bibliography. I’m not sure how close I am to finishing. I plan on working on it a little each morning at work. Perhaps I’ll finish it some day, perhaps not. I’m going to plod away at it for a while.

Here’s the second list. Some of these will have target dates, some won’t. The order is approximately first to last, though with plenty of overlap.

  • Jan 1: Begin reading for research for Documenting America: Civil War Edition. I achieved this. I’m reading a little almost every day for this.
  • Jan: Complete the first draft of Preserve The Revelation. I actually did this Saturday, Jan 14, at 8:10 p.m. It’s now with a beta reader while it simmers for a week or two before I tackle the edits on it. However, don’t think I’m ahead of schedule on this. My original goal was to finish it in 2016. I came close, but missed it.
  • Jan 31: Edit Doctor Luke’s Assistant and republish it. I re-read this in 2016 with an eye toward making edits in it. I’m ready to go with typing. This schedule should be doable.
  • Feb 15: Edit Preserve The Revelation once
  • Feb 28: Edit Preserve The Revelation again, which I hope will be the final edit.
  • Mar 15: Publish Preserve The Revelation. Much must be done for this to happen, some of which I’ve already set in motion.
  • Apr 1: Publish Headshots as a print book. I’m unclear of where I stand with this. In 2016 I edited and re-published the e-book version of this. I don’t remember how I did my edits, whether to a master file or to the e-book file. I’ll know more when I get back to this, probably early to mid-March.
  • Apr 2: Resume writing on Documenting America: Civil War Edition. Actually, I hope to write some on this much sooner than that. But I’ll be satisfied with not doing so until early April. My guess is I’ll have two months of writing to do on it.
  • Blog on a regular Monday and Friday schedule. I’ve already missed a couple of those. I’ll be satisfied if I have 40 to 50 blog posts for the year.

So, that’s my first quarter to-do list. How close I’ll come to achieving it the posts of this blog must tell. Stay tuned.

2016 Book Sales

All markets have not reported for December 2016, but it’s time to report sales for 2016. Here’s the table.

2016 Book Sales
2016 Book Sales

So, you can see that sales were dismal in 2016. The fourth quarter picked up a bit, mainly sales of In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People. I published the print version in October, and promoted it on Facebook. Sales of it were dismal, but less dismal than my 21 other published items.

25 sales were at Amazon, 11 were through other stores where I sell via Smashwords, and 5 were self-sales. So my sales at Amazon were where the big drop occurred. Ever since they rolled out Kindle Unlimited, my sales there have been dropping.

I also had four or five e-books/stories bought and returned. In other words, fully 10 percent of all the books I sold were returned. That’s really depressing.

But, I shall be carrying on, writing and publishing, in 2017, in the hopes that someday, someway, with someone(s), my books/stories will catch on.

Writing and Publishing

ftsp-createspace-cover-2016-10-14

Publishing and writing tasks have been proceeding apace. No, that’s passive construction. Let me rephrase. I’ve been able to spend a decent amount of time on writing and publishing tasks of late, with some positive results. No, I’m not where I’d hoped I’d be, not even where I’d planned to be. But I’ve made progress, and that will have to suffice.

I’ve been able to spend time every day working on Preserve The Revelation either writing or researching. Yesterday I added over 2,000 words, and my word count is somewhere around 23,700, I think (my count is at home; I’m writing this at work). If I’m correct that it will take about 90,000 words to tell this story, that means I’m about 26% done. Is that good news, or bad news? If I average 500 words a day, I’ll be done in 133 days (very doable), around the end of March 2017. That seems like a long time from now. If I can bump that up to 750 words a day (doable), I’ll be done in mid-January. If I can do a little better and average 1,000 words a day (a stretch based on all that the world expects me to do), I could be done just before Christmas this year. That sounds so much better. It’s what I need to shoot for.

Apart from that, I continue to work on Thomas Carlyle: A Chronological Composition Bibliography, or whatever exact title I eventually give it. Why? I’m not sure, except I can’t let it go. Most days I spend a little time on it, rarely more than thirty minutes. I’m looking through Carlyle’s letters for references to his publications, checking reference materials for the same, reading a few works by or about Carlyle, and typing/reprinting as I have enough changes to warrant doing so. I have no schedule for completing this. I’m past the most difficult years of Carlyle’s literary life, it seems to me, so maybe this will go fast henceforth. I still have significant editing to do in the years 1823-1832. Right now I’m in 1836-37 and moving forward. I’ll edit those earlier years later.

In late August or early September I wrote a poem for an anthology and submitted it. I found out this morning that the anthology fell through. I still have the poem, a villanelle, that perhaps I’ll do something with. It’s submissions season for many literary journals. What the heck, might as well submit it and see what happens. I’ve written one other poem since, a tanka, that needs some work.

As far as publishing tasks, in September I published the fourth short story in my series Sharon Williams Fonseca: Unconventional CIA Agent. Titled “Hotel, Whiskey, Papa: Sharon Williams Fonseca in Salzburg”, I’ve had one sale of it, no reviews. That’s about par for the course. I had a mere nine sales in 3rd Quarter 2016, and zero sales so far in the 4th Quarter. Since I added to the series, I republished the first three books in the series to include the reference to the new one. All of this was on Amazon. I haven’t done the same on Smashwords yet.

The other publishing task was getting into print my baseball novel, In Front Of Fifty Thousand Screaming People. I was ready with the interior of the book in August, but have had trouble finding a cover designer who could work me into their busy schedules. I plugged along at doing it myself, and finally, with some help from a man in our office, got it done last Friday. The full cover “wrap” is at the start of this post. I uploaded the book the same day, and within six hours had word back from CreateSpace that it met their criteria. I accessed the online proof, and saw only one place that needed a slight tweak in format. I then tried to order a proof copy, but, somehow I hit the wrong button, and the book was published! This was last Saturday. There was one change I wanted to make to the title page, but figured I’d do this after viewing the proof. Oh, well, I’ll republish it with the correction before too long.

One other item of significance was a contest I ran, through my Facebook timeline, to give away copies of my poetry book, Daddy-Daughter Day. Contestants had to guess the name of my [then soon-to-be-born] latest grandson, which would begin with E, as have the names of his brothers and sister. I allowed two guesses. Seven people got it right. The books have been ordered (it’s only available in print) and should be here Thursday. My hope is that somewhere among these seven will be people who will like the book and leave a review on Amazon and other sites. We’ll see.

So, I’m busy and productive, if not productive enough. Alas, the day job and life in general get in the way of full writing productivity.

Staying Busy

I’m a day late with this post. The last two months, since I established my Monday and Friday posting schedule, I normally try to write my Monday post on the weekend, or at worst on Monday morning before the start of my workday. I’ve missed a couple of times, but I’ve been doing better about regular posting.

This weekend, however, I did nothing concerning a post. By the end of Sunday I realized that, but it was too late in the day to write it. I decided I’d do it Monday. Monday came and went, and alas, I did nothing on it. Shame on me. I’ll do better going forward.

So what’s keeping me so busy that I didn’t do my blog post? On Saturday it was first work around the house, followed by writing on Preserve The Revelation. The house work included a major cleaning job on the refrigerator, thinning the blackberry vines, cutting a lot of low hanging branches, and weeding in our back yard. I also had chair set-up at church, and trips to Wal-Mart and Home Depot. Sunday was Life Group and church, followed by lunch at a community event. That put me home around 1:45 p.m. I should have written.

Instead, I began work on the print cover of In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People, using G.I.M.P. to assemble the graphics. As always, G.I.M.P. defeated me. I was able to create a palette the size of the cover, and add and size the front and back covers. But on the back cover I needed to hide three corporate logos. I had planned how to do this, and got two done quite easily. However, when it came to the third one, I stalled. I was using the same procedure as for the first two: cover it with an opaque layer. Only on this one I had to add text. Somehow the layer that is the back cover was deselected, and I couldn’t add the opaque circle. Without the circle, the text was meaningless. I worked more than three hours on it, and finally quit in frustration. I went back to Wal-Mart to pick up one thing I hadn’t the day before, then spent the evening reading.

Yesterday was the normal busyness of work and house. In the evening I went to The Dungeon, intending on writing. But there, on my work table, was the box of photos from our time in Kuwait, with several batches of photos out on the table. I had dug into the box last Wednesday to select some photos to scan and post on Thursday. In the box I found batches of photos not in envelopes, hence not matched with their negatives. I decided getting those photos matched was a better use of my time than writing. I don’t say that facetiously, either. Some day we’ll pass those photos on to our children, and having them properly organized is critical. It was a good use of my time—not that I finished, but I made significant progress. But by the time 9:00 p.m. came I wanted to be about my evening reading. No time to write the blog.

So here I am on Tuesday, writing Monday’s post, and it’s about nothing but why I didn’t write on Monday. But it lets my few readers know what’s going on in my world.

Since the weekend, one of my cover designers contacted me, saying he’d done work on it. We discussed it. Hopefully he’ll complete it very soon. In case not, I’ve contacted a third cover designer and am in discussions with her. Today I sent off a letter to an influencer, a seminary professor, concerning Doctor Luke’s Assistant and things he’s written that dovetail nicely with it. This is by snail mail, as the seminary doesn’t post faculty e-mails. We’ll see what comes of it.

Tonight, when the work day is through, I plan on staying about an hour after to do some research and typing on our fact internet and computer. When I get home, I have one small task to do in the yard, then I’ll heat some soup for supper, and descend to The Dungeon. No photos tonight. I need to add at least 1,000 words tonight, and 3,000 in total, before I will allow myself to return to those photos and finish that big task. I’m looking forward to it.