Friday, August 3, 2012

Breakthrough in indie publishing

Here's a quotation from a great article on indie publishing:

"This is a great time to be an author. The opportunity to reach readers has never been greater. The benefit of fully democratised distribution, negligible book production & distribution costs, the ability to reach a worldwide market instantly with low-cost ebooks is, to me, really exciting."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tubing on the Yellowstone - really?

I have to confess that I resisted the tubing expedition we put together for our family members, who range in age from 71 down to 4 months. The tubing was to include everyone four years and above. But I thought I could enjoy it just as much vicariously. What if it was too hot out there. Or sunny. Or bumpy. Or scary, or awkward for, you know, an old Grammy.

But a certain daughter cajoled and explained - not just once - that I would LOVE it and I MUST go and that this would create HAPPY MEMORIES for my grandchildren.

So despite feeling clumsy (how do you get into a less-than-ground-level tube anyway?) and fairly tubular myself, I decided to go.

Fortunately as we blew up the 20 tubes we'd rented, a STORM blew in! Thunder and lightning! No time to be out on the water! Full of real danger, foolish to venture out I explained to a lawyer son, a space-scientist husband, an adventure-nut son-in-law. They hoisted their tubes, encouraged their offspring, and trod into the water.

I was the last one in. It happened because that sil said, well, stay here if you're worried....

And leave my grandchildren to fry on the river?

So I waddled into the water, stepped into the vehicle (a poor excuse for a vessel for serious travel), plunked down, adjusted my posterior, stretched out my legs, grabbed the paddle-thingy, and shot out into the deep. About 6 feet deep was the Yellowstone, and I entered its current at a record-setting pace.

In fact I did shoot past the early-adopters, and took the lead in the casual, easy-going, non-race that constituted the braver elements of our progeny. (At least some had the sense to stay behind to carry our genes forward.)

The thunder boomed and the lightning was all too visible and a particular dark cloud rolled closer and closer. I paddled and paddled. Others floated and floated. Soon I was in the lead permanently.

Little children rode on the laps of their parents. Grampy and I rode in 'trackers', which are the LazyBoys of the tubing world, fully equipped with a cupholder as well as a comfy (relatively speaking) backrest.

The storm continued to brew.

The tracker leaked.

Some parents avoided the rocks that caused upsurges of whitewater. Others headed for them on purpose and provided early warning (through squeals) for the bulk of the party.

Soon we were quite spread out. The water (in the tracker) was sufficiently comfy that I felt no impatience for this adventure to be over. I tested the water outside my little vehicle and it was substantially cooler. The sky was cloudy so overheating was not close to being a problem.

At one point I saw a fair amount of whitewater ahead, and it spread from one shore to the other. How was I going to avoid it? I saw a break and headed for it, only to be swept into the chop broadside. I grabbed the handles so I wouldn't be thrown out, and was tossed wildly from side to side. Cold water poured in first here and then there.

It turns out that the best way to remove excess water from such a vehicle is to scoop it out with the scoopy tip of the paddle. I did not invent this technique, but after laughing at him who did (because in HIS case it propelled him sideways right into the bank of the river) I adopted it. And now it is in the public domain....

The storm passed behind us. Sometimes the sun came out. Certain of the children were done at an early pull-out. Three of us, through the good choices of the most rapid currents or judicious use of the paddles, were first to round the many bends that indicated we were approaching the end of the journey, some 2 hours down the river.

The end point was to be the vacation rental we have been using all week. As we approached I realized that the remaining issue was stopping in time. Once past our destination, we would find ourselves continuing down the river without a rescue plan. So once the house was in sight, I clung to the shore - and ran aground. The timely arrival of a son-in-law tubing behind me with his squeally 5-year-old resulted in my being biffed back into the current until it was the right time to paddle with all my might for the shore, where he - the same sil - hauled me out and even remembered to grab the tracker as it headed downstream.

Exhilaration! I made it. Gradually the others came into view around the last bend and as we hauled them out ('we' being a somewhat inaccurate term), they were all smiles. It took about half an hour till the last arrival.

(One grandchild did not really get the message that he should get out of the middle lane of the river, and one of our party jumped back in to bring him to shore, only 100 feet or so downstream. But that is only 1 of 20 grandchildren who participated, so we did pretty well, all in all.)

And then the skies opened up. It rained for the next couple of hours. Nothing will dry. Tomorrow we leave this reunion and we will all go home with soggy clothing. And sweet memories. And a few photos taken from shore as we arrived, which I will post as soon as they are sent to me.

Family reunion on the Yellowstone

We are enjoying a family reunion on the Yellowstone River about 35 miles north of the park. There have been 45 of us (all our descendants, plus various spouses) in a lovely ranch house this week. The days have been sunny and warm, the evenings cool - couldn't be better. Today we are tubing down the Yellowstone. The families will use a calm stretch for a 'float' of about 2 hours. Then in the afternoon the more athletic among us will do a 'bumpy' ride down some white water. I'd recommend this vacation site to anyone. Contact me if you would like to find out more about this vacation rental. I'm going to write a review for the owners so others will know it's a great place.

Interestingly, we're not far - only a few hours - from Triple Divide itself!

Sites like this inspire me to write stories. What would my character do here? What trouble would Sharlie or Sissy get themselves into, what romance would Annie Skye find here, musical or otherwise? What would Sally do and who would she rescue? Or maybe there's a new character I haven't met yet. There's nothing like a rugged setting and rapidly changing conditions to stimulate those story juices.

Meanwhile I am looking forward to No Adventures Today. As the grandmother of this clan, the Grammy of all of them, I look forward to a calm float with maybe just a few bumps into a grandchild here and there. I'm fine to have the adrenalin limited to my characters - leave my grandkids alone!

We'll see, we'll see. The only thing we know is that there will be surprises.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New review of "Haymarket"

"Haymarket" is just a very short short story. So I am surprised by all the media attention on it. I just found this review on one of my favorite blogs. Here's the link:

"Haymarket" Review

Maybe if you like this review you could leave the author a comment. I know that as a blogwriter myself, it can get fairly lonely even while reaching out to all of mankind. (You can leave me a comment too - I would love it!)

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Comment on "Haymarket" by a granddaughter

Kate Lewis

I was delighted to see this little review of "Haymarket: A Sharley Adventure" by our granddaughter Kate Lewis, who is shown in the photo. The review was originally published in this article.

I loved this short story. Very captivating to read about an accident from the point of view of a 5 year old. Although she shows no fear, we all worried for her and this short story pulled me right in. I hope to read more short adventures like this from Peg Lewis in the future!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Haymarket Square: My first real trip there

Back in about 1972 I took my three very small children to Haymarket on the subway on a Saturday morning.

That was quite an adventure.

First there was keeping track of them, ages 6, 4, and 2, while I shopped. I was looking for bargains on veggies, which didn't fascinate them in the least. So they grew bored, whined, wandered....

And then there was the issue of carrying all I bought in the big cloth bags I'd brought.

And it was a rather hot day, and a crowded one.

It had taken us probably 40 minutes to get to Haymarket on the Green Line from the parking lot at Riverside. And of course it would take us that long to get back. And after half an hour the children were very tired of it in every way.

I had expected to scout around much more. But it was not to be. I gave up and we started off toward the Haymarket subway stop.

It took forever to get there! I had to carry bags loaded with all the veggies I had succumbed to, and some bread, and the two year old. And I recall having to drag, herd, and otherwise 'encourage' the other two. And I was hot. And we were all hungry.

Finally we made it to the stop, and through the turnstile, and down the stairs, and after a long wait onto the Riverside train, one of many branches of the Green Line.

We made it to the car, we made it home, we had far too many veggies.... Or else I probably wouldn't remember it all now, 40 years later.

Haymarket: A Sharley Adventure is a tribute to that Haymarket day. Her's ends very differently from ours, as you will see. Download it to your device - it's free - and leave a comment here. It will help make the next Sharley adventure better.

And meanwhile, since "Haymarket" is only a few pages long, you might like to read Triple Divide, a novel about an adventure Sharley had as she was entering her teen years.

Haymarket: A first review

Noah Reeves
Our grandson Noah Reeves, who will be six in August, has just read my new story, Haymarket: A Sharley Adventure. And he has approved it.

He's a fast reader, not just 5-year old speedy but a faster reader than his grandmother. I asked him what his favorite part was, and he told me right away. I asked him to find out if he got anything out of it, since he read it so fast. He did! His answer was right on! But I'm not going to tell you what he said.

What is your favorite part?
What do you think of Sharley?
And what do you think of her adventure?

Haymarket: A Sharley Adventure is a prequel to Triple Divide. And I will keep it free forever - that's the plan. It should be available on all media by Monday July 16.

This prequel is a short story. It is suitable for children 5 and up if their parents read it to them. It is an adventure story about a brave little girl and what happened to her when she went to Haymarket Square in Boston with her dad.

Haymarket: A Sharley Adventure is dedicated to Noah. You can reach him by adding a comment to this post.