Who I am on the day I post. Always subject to change.
|Posted on June 24, 2015 at 1:30 AM||comments (8)|
There’s a lot of catching up: details of the trip to and from Leicester, about which I did not blog daily, as I had intended to do; the discovery of the major goof in what I thought was the final version of KING’S GAMES: A Memoir of Richard III, duplicated in KING’S GAMES: The Commentaries – and the shepherding of both books through the review process one more time; then finding out the reason why I had slowed down and everything was taking so long: my health.
The Sleep Study I had no time for, before leaving the country – and then had to wait two weeks, after returning, before it could be done - was very enlightening.
Although I have no idea how in the world I could stop breathing on an average of 65 times an hour (one of which lasted 23 seconds) and still be around to type this, I am three weeks into CPAP therapy and actually staying awake most afternoons.
Staying awake is only now finally translating into, “literarily functioning.” I have spent more time being amusing and smarmy on Facebook than tending to business – because, for the last several months, I couldn’t face having to confess than I am no longer a Spring Chicken, that my spring has sprung, and that my concentration level was somewhere at the elevation of Death Valley.
However, last Saturday, I turned a corner and it was great. I may not be remanufacturing sleep-deprived brain cells, but at least am finally awake enough to know I’m not sleeping.
I can at last face the fact that Old is Not Yet Dead – and a definite advantage over the latter. It was a terrific day.
This afternoon, I actually sat down and created the title card for the PowerPoint presentation, “An Evening with Richard III,” which will include some Wars of the Roses background and a whole bunch of photos of the historic occasion, along with my modest adventures in Leicester. The whole thing has to be outlined because those of us who know me, know that if I wing it, we’ll be there until the following Tuesday, when I run out of photos.
It was a brilliant experience, and I look forward to sharing it at 7 p.m. on August 25 in Woodland Hills, California, but it’s going to be a semi-private event, by invitation only, as the venue has limited seating.
If you are interested in joining us, please message me here (or on Facebook with your email address) and I will put you on the invitation list. You will receive a proper Evite for a response. I’m not going to put up a Facebook invitation page, just announce it on each of my Facebook Author pages.
In the meantime, I’m aiming to set up a schedule of monthly blog entries, probably around the 20th of the month (which will be an easy date to remember) – and am considering casting around for a guest blogger or two.
|Posted on May 1, 2015 at 4:35 PM||comments (1)|
I can’t believe this.
I got off the phone with CreateSpace about an hour ago after a lengthy conversation.
I had forgotten that the final submission of a finished manuscript would show up on Amazon for five to ten days. Having promised the world availability today, it was an unpleasant letdown.
So I cleared the files for printing, ordered copies for myself, and went to play on Facebook while I let my subconscious figure out the next move: groveling was not a completely acceptable option.
Having worked my ire out with responding political rants on other people’s postings, I realized it was time to get to work on announcing the “Ooops” here, with a link to the Amazon placeholder page (which I knew would not display the second book for at least a week).
I discovered that, today at least for an hour, I am visibly beloved by Heaven.
Both books are posted! They are available! I just finished tying the link to the Home Page headline!
So here’s another link to Amazon’s listing for KING’S GAMES – both books!
And there’s another review for A Memoir of Richard III!
Can’t wait to see what response to The Commentaries will be.
God Bless Us! Everyone!
|Posted on April 30, 2015 at 3:30 PM||comments (1)|
I do believe Saturday's the big day! KING'S GAMES A Memoir of Richard III will again be available on Amazon! With a concurrent surprise! And, there's another 5-Star review on Amazon!
|Posted on March 26, 2015 at 12:15 PM||comments (1)|
I wasn't able to let an announcement about the previous blog into the ether, but it appears to be straightened out, now.
Exciting stuff - and I've been so blown out by the end of the day that there was energy only for pithy comments on Facebook, so if you and I are not friends on Facebook, or if I've not appeared on your feed, or you haven't gone to my FB page and checked, you have no idea what's been going on, other than the babble on the previous blog entry (which you probably didn't know about because my server has been wonky and I couldn't get the word to you - I know when you signed up I promised I wouldn't be at you every single day with minute updates, but didn't expect them to end up being so far apart).
Fact is, by the time I finished exchanging comments with my new Richardian friends in the last few days, I was in no shape to be writing intelligent reports. Not that I'm much better, now - but this is where the stubborn Scots grabs hold and insists I behave like a lady.
Richard III is being entombed as I write.
Windy, drizzling, vigorous winds were not in the game plan, this morning. Not mine, anyway. The hotel is within walking distance of the Cathedral for normal people, but not for this bee's knees - the left one, at any rate. I've been cabbing it everywhere possible - but even then, the area around the cathedral is pedestrian space, which means walking. Done my share, thanks, until I can get back to Sts. Lara and Jane's home in London, where I'm told Jane knows a guy who can bash my back (and knee) into place. This will happen asap, before slouging off to Windsor for the day.
I've got lots of pictures, but my camera and I are barely on acquaintance terms, at the moment.
And I've got to run because I just found out from my new friend, Trish (who came down to knock on the door) that we're due at the Memorial Requiem performance earlier than we thought - have to be there before the Duke of Gloucester arrives (I wonder if he and the Duchess are as exhausted as we are).
Going to actually wear a long skirt. Hopefully, the new shoes fit. At least there won't be too much walking.
I and four others saw the complete service on the telly in the hotel bar.
|Posted on March 24, 2015 at 12:35 PM||comments (2)|
Online publishing does count. I say so.
This has got to be brief. There'll be a cab waiting for me in 14 minutes, to take me to the Visitor's Centre so that I can charm them into carrying KING'S GAMES: A Memoir of Richard III. I've been neglecting you and I'm sorry - it seems I'm so exhausted in the evenings I have little energy, except for Facebook, where I can make pithy, smarmy comments and flee. Cohesive thought has not been my strong point after 9 p.m. GMT.
I have discovered how to effectively start my day in a half-hour: five minutes to get up, and twenty-five allotted for bumping into walls.
Taxi's waiting. Gotta go!
|Posted on March 18, 2015 at 7:45 PM||comments (3)|
Sunday, March 15, 2015
3:30 p.m. PDT
Here I am at LAX, having been treated like the queen. After a delay caused by someone not checking the waiting area thoroughly (and not calling my name), I was briskly wheeled to a tram stop for the final jaunt to the plane. After what was promised to be a short wait (I was apparently forgotten for an hour), somebody realized the flight had been completely boarded and I was missing.
Another tram ride on the order of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (including tram in elevator) and another Indie 500 wheelchair to the boarding ramp, where all kinds of handsomely suited gentlemen with brilliantly colorful neckties (none of them the Captain, but all looking the part) and I was escorted through first class (curious stares), Economy Premium (fewer stairs) and to seat 44, on the aisle, near the loo.
The rest is silence because I wish to be remembered as inordinately brave (since there was no one to whine to, it was the better choice). I sort of slept through three movies. A gentle landing at Heathrow, followed by a patient wait as the other passengers disembarked, and I was met at the door by a less aggressive wheelchair driver.
Heathrow is a blooming big place. Miles, I would guess, between me and my goal: Jane and Lara at the Arrivals gate.
At that point, I realized that I had brought neither their phone numbers nor their address.
With this shocking moment came the realization that, if they had not got to the airport (were stuck in traffic, dead on the highway, or otherwise mis-engaged) I was flat s**t out of luck. Since my brain seemed to be working at even less capacity than usual, I began to mull over the possibilities which might ensue.
We turned the corner, I scanned the crowd of well-dressed gentlemen holding up hand-printed name cards, and there, Lo! Saw the familiar face.
Being the perfect American Tourist in a wheelchair, I raised my hand in desperation, waved madly, and shouted, “Jane! Jane!”
She saw me and grinned and came toward the entrance to greet me.
i was warmly greeted (I do not take pictures while being hugged) and taken for a nice cup of coffee in the airport at Cafe Nero.
(Lara, L, and Jane, R)
The rest is too complicated, but I did get a phone -
Phone Salesmen Patrick (L) and Joey (R - who was our actual salesman, and put the sim car in )
Patrick was so sweet and we had such a delightful conversation with him about his upcoming visit to counsins in America, I asked him to be in the picture, too.
- and then we were on the way to their house, my home until Friday.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
11:47 p.m. GMT
I’m in London and it’s taken two days to get properly awake. Yesterday, Lara and Jane Hart drove me on what amounted to an architectural tour of south London – Wadsworth to St. Mary Margaret Church cemetery with its memorial to the Huguenots who fled French persecution (although what they’re doing buried in a Roman Catholic graveyard has not be fully explained, yet - but it’s a great guessing game, so far), then on to Brixton for the view to the East end (more on that later because there wasn’t one; Lara was right) – then on to Windrush Square, which is the name of the first boat that brought the major wave of West Indian immigration in the early 1950s. A lovely pocket park.
I was introduced to Argos, a catalogue store – just pick your item from the catalog, pay at the kiosk – or, if your new pinned debit doesn’t work in the machine (guess whose?) take it to the counter and give it to the lady. She will happily and effectively swipe it through, gladly receiving your money while softening the blow with charmingly endearing “Luvs,” and “Dears,” and “Darlin’s.” Then it was off to Sainsbury’s for groceries and home for more of Lara’s delicious dinners (prawn linguini and salad), then catching up with 157 emails, too many hours trying to reach David, a hilarious Skyping with Patti and off, too late, to bed.
The only downside since my arrival has been being unable to reach David through the int’l phone I bought at Tesco immediately after arriving. More on that later, as I’ve got to sign off – Lara’s waiting.
Will catch up with the tour of the B.M. (British Museum, poppets) tomorrow, because I am just reminded that I have to pay to get into the Tower and want to get every penny of my pounds’ worth, which means I should probably be awake during the experience.
I love Barry Humphries and every salesperson who has taken my money. What a town!
11:40 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, 2015
|Posted on March 5, 2015 at 10:05 AM||comments (2)|
It’s been a while. There are several reasons, but the most pertinent has finally become obvious to me:
I was raised to be a good Flemish housewife.
On reflection, this may be the answer to the question I have seen in others’ eyes when I am expounding on some subject or another: “If you know so much, why ain’t you rich?”
Well, it’s hard to get rich when you’re busy scrubbing down the front porch steps, tending to the laundry, the children, the pets, the shopping, preparing meals, and working full time at someone else’s typewriter.
I have never been able to work in disorderly, unattractive personal surroundings.
I have laid more linoleum tile, hung yards of wallpaper, painted enough walls to equal the interior area of Versailles, refurbished or physically designed more gardens and yards (including creating railroad tie stairs without help), than most people of your acquaintance.
When the new domicile was completed and ready for company, I have finally felt free to sit down of an evening with a guitar, or pen & paper, or typewriter, or at a computer, to be creative.
Of course, that was before arthritis in feet, lower back and upper neck, sixty extra pounds, a disappearing mouth (but few crow’s feet), and orthotic shoes.
No excuses, just not enough energy throughout the day, sleeping in hour-and-a-half chunks at night, and, recently, the need for lengthy naps after midday. My serious concentration level seems to have peaked at two hours, which is why KING’S GAMES: A Memoir of Richard III has taken so long to get out into the big world. It may also be the reason that, when I opened email on January 19, 2015, and saw that, out of something like 14,000 entries for a total of maybe 600 seats at two reinterment services for the King in the Car Park, I had received a ticket, I began to weep.
I also knew I could not afford to go.
I had filled out the ballots on whim, never for a moment thinking that it could happen. With some kind of screwy prescience, I even booked a hotel for the week of the celebrations, not knowing if I would have to cancel.
I had not been able to respond to the Richard III Society’s appeal to match suddenly withdrawn funds just as the dig in Leicester was about to begin, but when the reinterment service was announced, I knew that the one thing I could give was my talent. David and I have long been lectors at our church and, with the encouragement of our pastor, I called the office of the Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles. He agreed to send a letter to the Dean of Leicester Cathedral on my behalf. I figured it was the only reason I could have for asking others to help with the funds to get me there.
There has been no response from Leicester. (I’m not surprised. With BBC 4 covering it live, not to mention the announcement of the attendance of Royals, they’d have no time for Dame Judy’s chubby, younger American pseudo-sister-look-alike.)
And now, here I am with a ticket to the event of a lifetime and no way to get there without help.
Daughter Patti has created a GoFundMe campaign with a wildly optimistic headline.
Of course, there are a couple of caveats.
Even though GoFundMe goes live the moment the initial connection is made, it was not possible to get the site completed and up and going until five days ago, so it’s a very short campaign. Right now it’s important just to get me there and know there’s going to be money available to get me through to a return flight on April 1st.
Monies collected are deposited daily in the designated account, but are not available until the following Friday.
I am advised by my doctor that my ancient-er body clock fully needs the four days of acclimation flying that far East requires. Basically, that means I need to leave on Sunday, March 15.
The price of a plane ticket increases closer to departure. However, GoFundMe allows Offline Donations to be credited online; no fees are deducted from an offline donation, so if enough folks participate directly, or someone gives an outright gift of the cost of a plane ticket or hotel room, it will make a huge difference.
Jane and Lara Hart have offered the kindness of a roof and eats in London – but there’s the train to Leicester - a hundred and fifty miles away - the hotel, cabs and busses, entry fees for some of the events, and general what-ever-may-turn-up funds.
It’s probably too late to hire someone to arrange book signings for me in London or Leicester, but if there is the miracle of extra funds, I will apply them to public relations representation for KING’S GAMES.
The best of bonuses in all this is that Lara Hart is an Egyptologist and has offered to guide a tour through that section of the British Museum. This I would do if I had to crawl.
Swimming to initially get there has become too much of a challenge.
Going to spend the majority of the day trying to let my immediate world know about all this and hope most everyone helps and shares the information everywhere possible.
If you stuck with me, this far, Thanks and God Bless.
|Posted on November 24, 2014 at 1:10 AM||comments (0)|
The headlines say it all. DRAGON SOLSTICE is finally on its way to Audible.com!
KING’S GAMES is getting cleaned up for publishing and the new Preview! page has a sample.
I’m very curious as to your response.
|Posted on September 16, 2014 at 8:00 PM||comments (1)|
Taking a little time away from KING'S GAMES to record DRAGON SOLSTICE. Deja vu.
First time was right after I wrote it - sat in the upstairs hall in the rented townhouse talking into a boom box cassette recorder - for a Christmas gift for family members. Lots of loud clicks where I stopped & started for corrections. I know, for sure, that at least one person listened to it. Thank you, Patti.
Second time was a couple of years ago, in more favorable circumstances, in the back room here, one of my quilts hung over a shoji screen behind me, for a baffle, in front of a better mike and David turning the dials in the next room - for podcast format, when the book went on sale on Amazon (the Podcast is still active, until the recorded book goes on sale). People have been finding it, but it really doesn't meet industry standards so, once more into the booth!
The second-time-around experience inspired David to start recording the public domain Tarzan books (and other Edgar Rice Burroughs – the joy of his youth!), and he found a new career.
He put a real sound booth together in the back room . . .
Pay close attention to the man behind the shojis
. . . and, two years later, he’s recorded 35+ books . . .
. . . that are selling like hotcakes on Audible.
He’s really good at it. (And he keeps his lady love in the booth with him, where she's forever young, bless him!)
So my third time around with Ashley Noel and Sarai is happening in the real booth, when David isn’t using it. I am being taught to be professional.
These days, most readers work in their homes, and do the editing themselves. A home studio can be very idiosyncratic. It can’t be completely isolated unless it’s built as a room within a room – and that is not going to happen in the hottest end of the San Fernando Valley until a lot more books are in the pipeline – which means that the next door neighbor’s gardener’s gas blower can really ruin the day.
Really an experience. I did not know frustration until I was in the middle of a sentence and the (ubiquitous) LAPD helicopter showed up – in and out, in and out – for what seemed like forever. Can’t hear the doorbell when I’m in the booth, can’t hear a catfight in the living room – but let any kind of a motor vehicle (including, I swear, sometimes on the freeway, five miles away) go past, and it’s retake time.
With the wind at my back (but not pounding tree limbs against the building), the Good Lord willin’ and the creek not rising (I’m ahead, there – we’re in a drought), there will be books and an ebook and a record (more on that, later) available for the upcoming holiday season!
If you’re curious about it now, the podcast is free. The professionally recorded book won’t be. My favorite chapters are Three and Four. A real gold mine for an unabashed ham.
Gotta go. Richard, Lovell, Stillington, Cecily, and all, are undoubtedly feeling neglected.
|Posted on August 22, 2014 at 12:20 AM||comments (3)|
This is also in the nature of response to Tracey, Pookie, Sue R and Karen, who sent loving greetings after reading the most recent blog post. I haven't had time to individually respond because what I'm doing with KING'S GAMES is far more challenging than I anticipated.
The first part of the book will be the text of the play.
I am now at work putting together the second part of the book, which will have essays, including the history of the development of both the plays (yes, there are two versions), the tale of how they came to be written, my initial fear of Shakespeare, in addition to more academic materials, hopefully more entertaining than your usual academia.
My usual 2 - 5 page daily rough output has slowed to 1 page, as I try to explain "Who Did What and When" in narrative, without falling into a muddle of historical side issues. What a chore! The only reason I'm managing to slog through is because I'm already including a yearly timeline that includes only the more important dates - and it's 20 pages, in draft! Goodness knows how many pages that will turn out to be, in the book.
The whole purpose is to present an accessible account of the background of the play, so that it won't be intimidating to the reader. I'm not a historian, but I figure I'd better share what I learned in forty years of living with the endeavor and, in that regard, it may actually turn out to be a textbook, of sorts (but keep that to yourselves - textbook is a really scary word, these days).
As to getting to London in March, that's in the Lord's hands. All I can contribute, at the moment, is putting one foot in front of the other, and a word at a time on a blank page.
Tomorrow (today, GMT) is the 529th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth Field - and, in three days, the anniversary of the paltry burial of Richard III, after being exhibited for the edification of the populace of Leicester. Perhaps, since he has at last been found and will, next March, receive the formal obsequies he deserved, it can be said that he will truly Rest in Peace.