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My friends call me Elldee. And breaking the half century mark has been highly motivating: happy wife, mother, writer, teacher, day dreamer.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Stab at self-interview: question 2

When is the next Students of Jump book coming out and what is it about?

Puff - manufactured pet extraordinaire.
I am planning to begin writing book 5 in the Students of Jump series in August. As soon as all three of the Standing Stone books are out, then I'll shift back to SofJ. So I could start earlier.

If you've read book 4, That's the Trouble with Time, then you've met Puff and his friend Sarra Marsh. Puff is such a great character, entertaining and protective, and so unassuming. Seriously, with a name like Puff who would imagine the little guy could go into attack mode if Sarra runs into trouble? One of my beta readers made the comment that every student of jump needs a Puff with them. That statement hung about at the back of my mind while I redrafted and edited book 4. I had to admit that having Puff there for Sarra had added to the excitement of the story. Puff certainly did help her out quite a bit when she ran into sticky situations.

A few hours of brainstorming rounded out a cast of five engineered critters that could accompany students of jump. So potentially, there could be several more books with Puff-like characters.

As a result of that brainstorm, Lizzie and Samantha joined the jump team. Unlike Sarra and Puff, Lizzie and Samantha don't get along that well, and it takes some effort on both their parts to make the partnership work. And that is the easy part of Samantha's jump into the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italy, in 1703. I am hoping that At Any Given Time (tentative title of book 5) will be out by Dec. 2017 or Jan. 2018.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Thought I'd Take a Stab at Self-interviewing, a Question at a Time

When is the next Standing Stone book coming out and what is it about?

Book 2 in the Standing Stone series is in redraft right now and will be ready for the editing process very soon. I expect to have it uploaded to Amazon and my wide distributor Smashwords by the first of June.

Jahl Pratter, and siblings Donya and Rouen Marson will be off on another adventure when they travel to Carolan Faire, the city north of Chussen Faire on the main trade road that runs through town.

Now nineteen years old, Jahl has established his wielder school for boys and is recognized as the High Master Wielder of Chussen. With only three native wielders practicing, he views the title a bit sardonically. A new crop of wielders are in training, but it will be some time before they fill the ranks of practicing wielders. The honored position comes with certain demands. Master Tommlar, owner of the local chain of standing stone suppliers, informs Jahl that he must go to Carolan Faire to deal with some issues that have come up since the death of the northern city's high master.

It seems an easy task to head to Carolan and take custody of the deceased master's orphaned apprentice and close out his wielder home until the child is old enough to return. If only Tommlar hadn't left out some important details.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pulling up the Covers: How my book covers have changed over time

I've become more aware of the importance of covers. I like mine to have a connection to an important scene in the book. Keeping this in mind and doing some research by looking at covers by authors I enjoy reading who write in the same genre as I and checking out the suggestions of those better informed that I am, I have updated three of my covers this year. The first that I tackled was book 1 in the Students of Jump time travel series.

My first book's cover has three destinct evolutions.
Evo #1

Cover number 1: I thought this would be good because it has a representation of the nerg box and the meadow where it first appears. Now it looks very old school and not eye catching.


Evo #2
The second one shows two important scenes: the meadow where the time traveler arrives and the winter scene where a crucial event took place. Brent is living two lives, so a split cover seemed appropriate. I was also trying to brand my series with the title fonts and the bottom color pop behind the author name. It's not bad.

Evo #3
Here is the current cover. This is an initial scene in the book and one that gets revisited at the end. The vagueness of the time traveler is both representative of the process of arrival and the ambivalence Brent feels about how to live his life. This one catches the eye. And most importantly, it has been selling itself, which tells me it is a good match to the story.

I haven't touched the branding, but my covers for the other books in the series are starting to drift away from it, and I will have to make adjustments to this cover to fit the changes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

16 Actions You Can Do to Improve Your Memory

Be the Butterfly - Enjoy life and remember
I've been studying memory and what I can do to maintain and improve my own. My mother and father-in-law have both suffered from Alzheimer's related dementia and memory loss. It has been heartbreaking. What has been even more an issue is the effort those around them go to looking for ways to hold back or even turn back the loss of memory our loved ones suffer.

My father-in-law's memory of all children, grandchildren, friends and even his wife was completely gone in the last year, and his death in late last year was gut-wrenching. For all of that loss, we kept reminding each other that it was his last three years that were the most troubling. Not such a long period of time when we remembered that he lived to 93 in good health and gleeful about life and family.

What did he do that probably helped stave off a disease that had been diagnose early in his 70's?
  1. He was active all his life and played competitive tennis into his 70s, practicing daily when not competing in seniors tennis.
  2. He played tennis into his 80s. Then played vicariously via watching the US Open and other major tennis meets. Did you know your muscles will actually be stimulated if you watch a sporting activity with interest and interaction?
  3. He watched his diet, eating balanced meals and taking appropriate levels of vitamins, minerals and herbs.
  4. He treated everyone respectfully and with kindness.
  5. He was strongly involved in his church and spent many years with his wife as a marriage-encounter teacher.
  6. He wrote his children letters often (not typing or email).
  7. He maintained a positive attitude and encouraged others to as well.
But as I said I've been studying memory. And there are numerous ways to maintain memory even against debilitating diseases.
  1. Stay active - tennis, walking, indoor skydiving, yoga, jogging, jumping rope, ping pong - get your heart rate up and move around. Physical activity and Risk of Cognitive Impairment and Dementia in Elderly Persons
  2. Eat intelligently and selectively. There are numerous foods that are said to help your body combat illness and disease - blueberries, cranberries, cherries, coconut oil, olive oil, fish, garlic, oatmeal, broccoli (I'm one of those people who think broccoli is nasty tasting, but broccoli spears don't seem to bother me) Can blueberries assist in maintaining memory?
  3. Listen to music, classical, instrumental, music from your favorite memories, jazz, new age, etc.
  4. Learn to play a musical instrument - kazoo, harmonica, guitar, flute, piano - anything that forces you to learn the musical language and reproduce it with sound. Heck, play your armpit. How Music Affects the Brain for the Better
  5. Reduce stress in your life and develop ways to combat and deal with it when it arrives - exercising maybe or the next suggestion Chronic Stress Can Hurt Your Memory
  6. Get enough sleep, not too much nor too little too often. Routine sleep habits that provide the amount of sleep your body needs can help deal with stress, reduce stress and even help you not approach stressful situations as stress inducing Too Little Sleep, and Too Much Sleep, Affect Memory
  7. Hang around positive people who care about you and enjoy your positive company Optimism and Your Health
  8. Marry the person that makes your life complete and whose life you bring happiness and security to
  9. Take vitamins (cautiously, of course. Do your research) Vitamin Bible
  10. Challenge yourself daily to recall memories important to you The Effects of Aging on Memory
  11. Write a book - you'd be surprised how demanding it is to create lives for several other people, plot out the difficulties they are going through and figure out how to get them out of the inescapable corners you back them into. Write flash fiction if you want the same challenge but on a much tighter scale
  12. Meditate - you don't have to turn your legs into a pretzel. Lay down on the couch and decompress for fifteen minutes. Meditation Benefits
  13. Simplify - I don't mean sell everything and move into a tiny house. Just remove some of the complications in your life
  14. Research your family history - keeping track of all those ancestral lines is going to work your mind and give you an alternative to think about when life is handing you tough stuff.They got through it; you will too.
  15. Garden, keep a bonzai or raise koi - being involved with something that takes time, and takes it slowly will give you time to reflect and gain strength in watching your efforts create beauty in nature
  16. Don't do everything listed above - pick out a few to add to your life (activity) and a few to alter your life (diet)