Excerpt for From There to Here via Blogs by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

From There to Here via Blogging


Jean MacIntyre

Cover design by Jean MacIntyre

Copyright © 2017 by Jean MacIntyre

This is the story of my writing career, told through the medium of my blogs, which I began posting in 2013. My first book, Dream Lover, was published in 2011. My final publication was in 2017, and as of this writing, is the final one. But that could change someday…

Smashwords Edition License Notes

Thank you for downloading this free ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to Smashwords.com to discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.

Dedicated to those who read my books and short stories. Thank you!

Table of Contents

Blog One - Introduction

Blog Two - Dream Lover

Blog Three - Coffee to Go

Blog Four - A Puzzling Affair

Blog Five - The Marvelous Mistake

Blog Six - A Daddy for Robbie

Blog Seven - Breakfast for One

Blog Eight - Ode to a Planet

Blog Nine - Talking with Nature

Blog Ten - Huna: Your Power Tool for the Twenty-First Century

Blog Eleven - The Way It Was

Blog Twelve - My Health, My Way

Blog Thirteen - Rainbows Taste Yummy! Book One

Blog Fourteen - Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords

Blog Fifteen - El Error Maravilloso

Blog Sixteen – Smashwords Interview

Blog Seventeen – Branding

Blog Eighteen – Amazon

Blog Nineteen – Read an Ebook Week

Blog Twenty – Waiting…

Blog Twenty-One – Box Sets

Blog Twenty-Two – Photo Books

Blog Twenty-Three – Reunited

Blog Twenty-Four – Sweet Nothings Volume One

Blog Twenty-Five – Giggles in the Library

Blog Twenty-Six – Sweet Nothings Volume Two

Blog Twenty-Seven – Rainbows Taste Yummy! Book Two and Box Sets

Final Chapter in my Writing Career

Blog One - Introduction

The Universe has informed me over the past week that I should be writing a blog. (Like I’m not already busy enough!) Since I always do what I’m told – just ask my husband, lol – I will get to it. This first session will cover why I write books, and how I write.

Why? Because it’s the most fun I’ve had in seventy years. (Yes – I’m now seventy plus – but only in my body. My mind is stuck somewhere in the neighborhood of eighteen to thirty – a really great place to be!)

How do I write? I first go to a catalog and choose head shots of my heroine and hero. Sometimes I add other characters if they warrant that much attention. The head shots are taped to a profile sheet I created in the computer, where I fill in everything there is to know about their characters. I choose their names, ages, dates of birth, addresses, zodiac signs with characteristics, education, careers, family, marital status, medical history, a physical description, political leanings, pet peeves – you get the picture.

Once I have that completed, I sit down and put pen to paper. I prefer to write in longhand in a scribbler, then type up each chapter as it is completed. I don’t use an outline and I have no idea where the story will go. But once the profile is complete, the people become real and they ‘dictate’ their experiences to me. Often they throw in a totally unexpected curve ball and the story takes off in a different direction.
This process applies to the ‘sweet’ romances. The children’s books and non-fiction, I’ll deal with later.
Now I must go brush my teeth – off to get an impression taken for a crown. Oh joy!

You can see my books here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ShastaDaisy

Blog Two - Dream Lover

Today I’m going to talk about my first published ebook – Dream Lover. My first four romance novels were discarded because I was unable to find a publisher – with one exception. One of the books was accepted for publication as an audio book but the company went bankrupt. That was enough incentive to keep on writing, so Dream Lover was my next project.

We were living at a seasonal resort at the time and I was working in the office, taking bookings, answering questions, etc. while Don was working for an insurance company. Since our apartment was behind the office, I was able to spend my days off writing. With my husband as the technical go-to guy for insurance questions, it seemed the right fit for my heroine. The working title was Charly’s Challenge, but somewhere during the process it became Dream Lover. (Had I checked the number of books on line with that title, I might have reverted back to the original!)

While thinking about a cover, browsing through my file of ‘stock’ photos, I came upon the one I used – a stretch of road we travel to get to our cottage in the summer. Since there was a fluffy little cloud in the sky, it seemed the perfect spot for my nephew Jamie’s head. (I have several very handsome nephews, but he made the cut because his was the only photo in profile and I’m not interested in portrait photography so, with his permission, I used what I had on hand.)

I think my favorite part of the book is the section where Charly and McKinnon are recording and exchanging their dreams. She is able to teach him how to analyze them and discover what they are trying to tell him. But at the same time, she learns a great deal about him.

I first published Dream Lover on www./publicbookshelf.com where people could read it for free. From the reviews, I quickly learned that the story needed an epilogue because it ended too suddenly. From publicbookshelf I then discovered Amazon, published it on their site, but found them difficult to work with, for several reasons. When I discovered Smashwords, I closed the Amazon account and re-published over there. I particularly like Smashwords because from their site my books go to Apple, Barnes and Noble, Diesel, Kobo, Sony and into some library systems. The support their site offers is outstanding!

Back to Dream Lover – I have left this one free for anyone to read, so that they can discover what type of books I write. Here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/56961

And now I must go make some Kosher dill pickles, and then tap our two maple trees for the sap – a very healthy drink. We aren’t into making syrup – too labor intensive.

Next week I’ll talk about my second romance – Coffee to Go.

Blog Three - Coffee to Go

And now for Coffee to Go: this was my second ‘sweet’ romance, and the first one to come about because of a photo I had taken for a camera club assignment. The assignment was ‘motion/fluidity’ so I spent some time with the camera on the tripod, the coffee pot filled with water and the cup and saucer in place. After taking several photos while pouring the water, I added the coffee to the pot, poured it, and got my photo. Then I went into Photoshop and focused the spotlight on the stream of coffee.

I knew I wanted to use this photo for a book cover and the idea of a disastrous run-in involving take-out coffee just came to me. The story followed from that thought.

The house Russ built for himself very much resembles the layout of our home, though on a smaller scale, and without the lake. But that came about as well when we found our summer getaway on a stocked trout lake in a private campground. One of my favorite places to write is in a hammock strung between cedar trees by the lake, and I’m always anxious to get back there every spring.

Like Melanie, my husband and I have studied the practice of the Kahunas extensively, and like her, we sometimes forget to use what we’ve learned. We do use ‘grumbling’ when necessary, and we always find parking spots without thinking about it. I have altered the weather on several occasions (still wondering if it’s coincidence). The most memorable time was when we were living in the apartment at the motel. This was situated at a high elevation with a lake behind, and the bay below on the other side. Don was away, and a severe thunderstorm was moving in. I meditated a bit, and visualized the storm moving out over Lake Ontario to a place where there were no boats. It disappeared as quickly as it had come in, and the next day a friend commented that she had never seen a storm move so fast. Once I realized that I could move a storm, it no longer seemed necessary to do so.

Back to Melanie and Russ – I really love the way their relationship developed slowly over time, and the way Russ was willing to be patient until she was ready for more than friendship – just like my husband!

On that note, it’s time to get back to writing. I’m working on a third kids’ book, this one about fruits and veggies. I have taken all of the photos – just have to write the limericks.

Until next time, which will be about A Puzzling Affair – keep on smiling!

Coffee to Go Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94172

Blog Four - A Puzzling Affair

Here we are again – another week has gone by and no writing accomplished! I did, however, get crowned – on a tooth, not the head. The topic today is my third sweet romance, A Puzzling Affair. (AND I just realized that was my fourth – my third was The Marvelous Mistake. I’ll talk about that one next week.)

It seems to me, on re-reading A Puzzling Affair, that some of my life experiences are creeping into my books. For example, Kristy is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse, as was I. She’s into photography, writing and illustrating kids’ books, just as I am. And she’s camping at Bon Echo Provincial Park (a beautiful get-away) as I did – years ago. She also loves puzzles – one of my major addictions. I had to delete several games off of the computer because I was wasting time with them. The experience she describes to Ben about the six months she spent on a Sudoku book is one that I actually went through. I even received a pin that says ‘I Cracked the Sudoku Code’. Besides this pin, I also acquired several messed up vertebrae in my neck, for which I still do exercises to keep them aligned. But it was worth it!

Back to A Puzzling Affair – when I started writing this one, I had no idea what I would use for a cover image, until I came to the part where Ben takes Kristy out to get photos of some deer. The deer didn’t show up at the stream, but she still got her picture when one appeared on the road later. Taking a look through my files of photos, there it was – my cover image – a deer standing in the road, looking right at the camera. Lucky me!

While I was writing about the tornado warning, we experienced some severe microbursts between home and our cottage, so it became easy to describe the damage.

I think my favorite part of this story is a scene when Ben and Kristy take shelter in a motel during the tornado warning. Here’s a little sample:

Back in the room, she climbed into bed, pulled a pillow down, the blanket up, and curled on her side. Ben was soon settled in his bed on his side, facing her. The lights were out, but there was a faint glow from the streetlight, so they could see each other, though not clearly.

Eyes closed, Kristy began to grin, then to chuckle.

What’s so funny?” Ben was staring at her.

What did the virgin nurse say to her husband on their wedding night?”

Haven’t got a clue, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.”

You can’t put that thing in there. It’s not sterile.” Kristy was laughing as she spoke and Ben soon joined her.

On that note, it’s time to say goodbye. Next week I’ll talk about The Marvelous Mistake – my third romance. And how was your week?

A Puzzling Affair Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/237083

Blog Five - The Marvelous Mistake

Writing the first two chapters of this book was a little bit painful because of what Shelley had to go through. I could hardly wait to get to chapter three. But a funny thing happened early in chapter one. Right out of nowhere the pen wrote in a stalker who was following Shelley around. Then another really strange thing happened as the story unfolded – I began to feel sorry for him and to almost like him. Weird!

With this book, the ending came to my mind very early in the process. This made it rather difficult to write the middle because I just wanted to get to the good part. And the good part for me was the Leap Year proposal of marriage that Shelley gave to Jake. The original proposal is framed and hanging on our bedroom wall. I just had to change the names and dates for Shelley. We still chuckle about the reaction of Don’s co-workers when he got his copy. His signature was witnessed by one of them.

As the book progressed and Katy and Logan were introduced, I had to go on the Internet to discover what sort of language skills a two and four year old would have. Although I grew up with eleven siblings, eight younger ones, that was many years ago and I am currently not in contact with any little kids on a regular basis. I don’t think I could write these books so easily without the Internet for research.

Coming up with a suitable cover proved to be another challenge. I couldn’t find a yard with a suitable little pine tree. I even considered digging a hole in our yard and transplanting one from the nearby woods, but the yard is hilly and wouldn’t lend itself well to a photo of a little tree. I finally took a picture of the branches of our pine tree, against the sky, and then added the rabbit – a shot taken at the cottage several years ago.

Now it’s back to writing the limericks for the kids’ book I’m working on. The photos are finished, some limericks are written, but coming up with rhyming words without being too repetitive, is a real challenge.

Next week I’ll talk about A Daddy for Robbie – my fifth romance novel. (Got the sequence right this time!)

Have a great week and I’ll TTYL – as the kids say.

The Marvelous Mistake Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/162985

Blog Six - A Daddy for Robbie

A Daddy for Robbie – my fifth romance – came about because of an old photo that just showed up one day. Needing permission to use it for the cover image, I sent an email out to my many siblings, but none recalled taking the shot. Since I didn’t do it, I have to assume my mother took it. She would be most pleased to see it used on this cover because she loved reading romances about babies and little kids.

And yes, that’s yours truly in the photo, with my son, Steven, and our dog Rex. I was a single mother at the time and when Don came into our lives, I’m not sure who was happier – Steve or myself. Apart from those minor details, the rest of the tale is pure fiction.

It constantly amazes me when a story just seems to tell itself without any effort on my part, with the exception of holding the pen, or touching the computer keyboard. The opening paragraph came into my mind one morning just as I was waking up, so I immediately wrote it down, knowing how quickly these things can slip away. Here’s what I wrote:

Sitting quietly at the table, head down, crayon in hand, he appeared to be coloring in his dinosaur book. But he was really listening to the man who was talking to his mommy. The man wasn’t here to fix anything because nothing was broken. He didn’t have anything with him, like a briefcase, so he wasn’t trying to sell something. He just seemed to be talking.

When Mommy introduced him, she said, “Robbie, I’d like you to meet Mr. Conlon. Brad, this is Robbie.”

The man had stooped down, and shaking Robbie’s hand, said, “Hello Robbie. I’m really happy to meet you.”

The thing Robbie noticed first was that he had very kind eyes, and they crinkled at the corners when he smiled. His eyes were brown and he had a really nice face.

The next thing he noticed, after he went back to coloring, was that his mommy was acting funny – different from normal. She was talking a lot and she even giggled, something that she hadn’t done in a long time. Not since before.

This past week has been taken up with my new Asus Transformer tablet. (I love technology!). I was using an Ipod for email and checking on links, but the small print cancelled out the benefits of the speed with which it connected to the Internet. So the new tablet, being Android, was a bit of a challenge, until I learned its differences from Windows and Apple. Funny how there always seems to be something interesting to keep me away from writing!!!

Until next time, if you have a smile, give it away.

A Daddy for Robbie Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/254726

Blog Seven - Breakfast for One

Breakfast for One – my sixth sweet romance. Just got home from a wonderful weekend with my five sisters, one sister-in-law, and a family friend. Our hangout was at The Cove in beautiful Westport, Ontario – great food, shopping and visiting. But I digress…

Breakfast for One was another story inspired by a photo. We were given the word ‘soft’ as a camera club assignment and I immediately saw a soft-boiled egg in my mind. After setting up the dishes, I placed the boiled egg in the eggcup and cracked it open, watching in dismay as the yolk ran down over the egg, the cup and onto the plate. My first thought was that I would have to clean it up with Photoshop, but when I downloaded it on the computer and had a good look at it, I realized it was perfect just the way it presented itself.

Once more, the opening scene flowed into my mind, and I quickly wrote it down:

Sitting at the table, boiled egg in front of her, Michaela carried on a one-sided conversation with said egg: “So, where is he? Where’s the handsome, witty, intelligent, honest, industrious, besotted husband who should be sitting across the table from me? Where are the little boy and his sister? They should be sitting here as well, squabbling over the jam jar. This isn’t what I pictured my life to be at twenty-eight, or even at twenty-five, for that matter. You know something? You are no help!” She dashed some salt on her silent partner, ground some fresh pepper and added a dab of butter. Four spoonsful into her mouth, and there was nothing left but the shell.

After writing the above, I realized Michaela worked from her home, but had no idea what she did for a living. A quick search of the Internet gave me many options, but having worked in our own home office for many years, it was easy to decide she was a ‘virtual’ secretary.

Then a strange thing happened while I was writing about Jason in Chapter One – out of nowhere he became an ex-police officer, and I knew right away how the story would end. (Love it when that happens!). It still amazes me the way a story can take a sudden turn in a completely different direction with no input from me. I’d love to know who is really writing this stuff!

Now I’m off for an early night – hiked about two miles over Foley Mountain today, took some great photos, and ate too much at lunch.

Have a great week everyone – looks like the weather is going to be lovely.

Breakfast for One Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/288901

Blog Eight - Ode to a Planet

Ode to a Planet – my first children’s book. This was written just after we built our house and moved in. Because the house is sitting in the middle of the woods, surrounded by rocks and trees, with lots of windows facing south and looking out on a meadow ringed with pines, cedars, white birch, maples, butternuts, and other assorted trees, we feel very close to nature. Perhaps that’s the reason this book came into being.

The first version was written in 1993, long before ebooks were a reality, so I self-published it, printing it on colored paper, with hand-drawn illustrations. (I am definitely not an artist!) I sold a few copies, but decided marketing wasn’t my thing. The original sat in a box until I discovered Smashwords, and joined the camera club. What I learned there allowed me to take photos for the illustrations, but it was a long process.

The most fun was using Photoshop to add little faces to some of the pictures – like the earthworm and the daisy. Some of the characters were created out of plastic from pop bottles and then painted with fabric paint – like the fairy, the cloud and the dolphin. The little elf was made from flour and water paste, then baked and painted, and his house was a painted stone. Lots of fun!

When one of my brothers-in-law read the original, he said, at the last page – “Is that all there is?” Made me feel good, because he was in his fifties at the time. I figured if he enjoyed it, maybe the kids would as well.

Writing the limericks was a bit of a challenge but I created the images first and that made it easier to give the characters a voice. The skunk proved to be a problem because to find one for a photo was a major challenge. It didn’t occur to me to just change the skunk to a rabbit or a raccoon – no idea why. Then one day I was talking to my sister, Marilyn, and she showed me a photo she had taken of a skunk walking down the side of the road – exactly as it said in my limerick. With her permission (and many thanks from me) I was able to add it to the story.

The process for putting together the kids’ books is very different from sitting and writing a romance, but still fun in a different way. I’m currently working on the third (and probably final) book – this one about fruits and veggies.

And on that note, it’s time to go write some more limericks.

Ode to a Planet Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94141

Blog Nine - Talking with Nature

Talking with Nature came about by accident. I was trying out a new macro lens for my camera in a park one day and spied a rather strange-looking knothole in a cedar tree. I took a photo of it, but had no idea what was in the camera until the pictures were downloaded to the computer. And there it was – a face in a tree! Almost immediately I knew what the story would be about, so I began taking photos of all kinds of bugs, worms, frogs and insects, as well as some photos of domesticated animals.

Once I had all of the photos, I spent hours working on them in the computer until I was satisfied with the way they looked. Then came the fun of giving them all a voice to tell their story. The difficult part of writing that many limericks is avoiding repetition. Once the limericks were written out in longhand, it was back to the computer and Photoshop – my favorite program. The text was added, and then the proofreading began. It always amazes me how many typos show up!

In reviewing this story in order to write this blog, I have discovered some things that will be improved upon with the next book. And before I forget to mention it, the last photo of the face in the tree at the end of Talking with Nature is untouched – the way it looks in the back of the book is exactly as it came out of the camera.

I am always amazed when I look into the eyes of animals, birds, fish and insects, at the intelligence that is so obvious there. For over twenty years now, in different homes where we have lived, one or two wasps have wintered inside with us, sleeping somewhere out of sight. They come out a few times during the season for some honey and water, and then appear again in the spring. When I notice them, I hold out my index finger, the wasp hops on and I carry him to the door and let him go. I have no fear of them and have never been stung.

It has only taken our cat, Little Bud, about three years to teach us how to understand him, but once we figured it out, life became much more enjoyable for all three of us. And speaking of him, he came in Friday morning limping badly, with a long gash on his back leg. We applied a good dose of tea tree oil, and were then trying to decide if he needed to see the vet. He immediately disappeared, probably because, in his opinion, it wasn’t necessary. Two days later – he’s fine, so in this case, he knew best.

Time to go, so Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!

Talking with Nature Link (free): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94160

Blog Ten - Huna: Your Power Tool for the Twenty-First Century

How to condense over three years of intensive self-discovery into a five-hundred-word blog? That is this week’s big question and one that I am having great difficulty answering. The topic of Huna is so vast and covers so many experiences that we have had since we were first introduced to it, that I don’t know where to start – or better yet – to finish!

This book was first compiled in 1985, was sent out to various traditional publishers, and rejected by all of them (something for which I am truly grateful now). It then sat on a shelf for twenty-six years, until I discovered Smashwords. Working together with my husband, it was updated, formatted, and finally published as an ebook.

I guess the most important thing I learned during our three years of study was how important our relationship with our subconscious is to us. The Kahunas refer to it as our low self, who works along with our middle self and high self. From studying Max Freedom Long’s books on the subject of Huna, I learned how to get in touch with my subconscious and work with it. Once a relationship was firmly established, through various means, the fun began. We were able to find parking spots where and when we wanted them, play with the weather, ‘grumble’ to others at a subconscious level to change situations to our advantage, heal ourselves, remember and analyze our dreams, and many other small ‘miracles’. This made our lives very exciting and a constant challenge to find out what was coming next.

The cover on this book is my version of a Huna magic staff or stick. I found it on a beach in Prince Edward County and was told by a trance medium that I could work with it to create magic. It is simply a tool to assist in focusing the mind, but entails a large commitment of time and effort so I haven’t done very much so far. The Kahunas made their staffs using the elements of animal, vegetable and mineral, so I did likewise. The stick is vegetable, the leather band around the neck is animal (a deer hide bracelet) and the mineral is not visible in the photo but consists of a separated twin Herkimer diamond, the largest part inserted in the middle eye position and the smaller one embedded in the tail. These sticks were used for healing, for communication, and many other things. Writing about this makes me want to take some time off, work with it and see what I can accomplish!

I have two children’s books to complete and another romance novel (only in my head so far) and then maybe I will take a sabbatical…

Time for some spring cleaning, gardening, and baking, so adios amigos until next time.

Huna: Your Power Tool for the Twenty-first century link:


Blog Eleven - The Way It Was

As writing stories goes, this was an easy one – mainly because I didn’t write it. Years ago, a woman was putting together a book about early life on the concession where my dad grew up. She asked him to contribute some memories, and during the process, he got hooked on writing. He delivered the requested information to her, and then proceeded to write a book for his grandchildren. When it was completed and edited several times, I printed and bound copies for him. He signed them all at Christmas in 1994, and then passed away peacefully at home just seventeen days later.

One day one of my sisters decided it would be great if Mom would write her memories as well, gave her a ‘life journal’ with leading statements at the top of each page, and she filled in most of it. We were really happy to have her stories recorded, because she eventually developed Alzheimer’s and we could no longer ask her about her early years.

To call the nineteen-twenties and thirties ‘the good old days’ doesn’t make much sense when reading about some of their experiences. Here is what our dad had to say about work:

‘Many of the old farmhouses would be desperately cold if we got several days of really hard weather. I remember sleeping in one bedroom that was so cold, when I went to bed, instead of removing my clothing, I put more on. I would go to bed with heavy winter underwear, a heavy lumberjack shirt, a pair of tweed breeches, two pairs of woolen socks, plus a pullover sweater, and on top of that, another sweater. The bed would have several blankets on it, but all that bedroom did was keep out the wind and snow. My rubber boots would be frozen so hard in the morning it was almost impossible to get them on. I could hardly wait to get my breakfast so I could get my axe and go to the bush to get warmed up. It was a very cold day if a man couldn’t keep warm cutting wood.’

And from my mother:

When my Uncle Rob MacFarlane needed someone to help on the farm, he hired a man from Lanark County where Rob and my Dad grew up. The first time he sent Alan to our farm next door with the horses and wagon to borrow something, I was upstairs helping Mother, but I made an excuse to come down so I could look out the window as he passed, and get a glimpse of him. The next Sunday he sat in church with Uncle Rob and Aunt Nellie and since I was singing in the choir, I had a better look at him.

He just worked there from May first to the end of October, then back home for the winter where he cut wood for neighbors. He worked there four years, just in summers.

It was the second summer that we started dating and wrote to each other for the next two winters. One week he was sick in bed with flu, so had his sister Isobel write instead. I kept all his letters, tied with a ribbon, for years after we were married. When Alan died suddenly on January eleventh, 1995, we had spent fifty-six happy years together.’

When I had transcribed and edited the two books, I decided to ask my ten siblings and their children to send me some memories of life with our parents. These have been added, along with a transcript of my mother’s funeral service, conducted by my brother Bruce, because it was really funny, and was talked about for weeks afterwards.

So that’s it for today. I have almost completed the first children’s book about fruits. There will be a second one about veggies, but probably not any time soon.

Yesterday we joined the march against Monsanto in Kingston, Ontario, Canada – not that we are activists, by any stretch of the imagination, but because we are really concerned about the state of the planet and what we are leaving behind for future generations.

Signing off until next week!

The Way It Was Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/170612

Blog Twelve - My Health, My Way

I have a yellow t-shirt that says ‘Don’t wanna, don’t hafta, ain’t gonna!’ and that’s exactly how I feel about writing this blog. This story was written as a mea culpa and apology to my family. I hadn’t planned on publishing it, but when it was completed, I decided my experience might help someone else. Over fifteen years ago, I told a whopper of a lie to family and friends, with the intention of confessing once our mother was no longer here to be upset by the truth. She passed away in April 2012 so I had to get on with it, like it or not.

The lie I told in 1997 was that I was having surgery for a large mass of polyps in my colon. The truth was very different; the surgery was to remove a large malignant tumor. I knew I couldn’t deal with the fears of everyone else, as well as my own, so I lied. The surgery went extremely well, but five of eight lymph nodes tested positive for malignancy. I refused the recommended chemo and radiation, went home and then began the real work. What I knew but didn’t tell anyone, including my doctors, was that there was a small malignant tumor in my right breast, which made my diagnosis stage four. Fortunately for me, I had studied alternate healing, recorded and analyzed my dreams, learned to go deep in meditation and do creative visualization – in short, I had all the tools I needed to heal my body. I had also been introduced to rebounding (mini-trampoline) by our chiropractor and this played a very significant role in my recovery.

The whole process took about five years, with bouts of horrendous nausea to deal with. Having been a nurse, one would think I would know enough to take some Gravol, but I dislike taking medication of any kind, for any reason, so it just didn’t occur to me. The problem was solved when I was with my sisters for an annual weekend away. I was taking antibiotics for an infected fingernail, so I let them assume that the nausea was a result of taking the pills. One of them got me some Gravol and from then on, life became much more pleasant.

This story is so complex I couldn’t just tell my family about the lie and why I told it, which is why I wrote it out and sent it to all of them at the same time. Their reactions were quite interesting – lots of support and understanding from some, no comment from others, and anger from one for keeping it from her, which meant she couldn’t be there for support. But after thinking about it, she admitted that she understood why I did it. I have included their emailed reactions at the end of the book.

My husband was my biggest supporter, and asking him to tell no one put a big burden on him. My method of healing myself was denial – so that required avoiding any mention of the subject in the newspapers, on television, but mainly in conversation. We didn’t talk about it, and for the most part, didn’t even think about it. For me, it just didn’t exist – and five years later, it was gone.

So I am happy to be here and to be healthy. I am also extremely thankful for all of the help I received from many different people, but most of all to my husband. He is an amazing healer!

Now it’s time to finish the kids’ book. With a helpful suggestion from a friend, it has been divided into two books – the first one about fruit. (Thanks, Allison!) The second one will be about veggies, but I have to take some more photos for that one. Meanwhile, the next romance is trying to write itself in my head…

Until next time, keep on smiling!

My Health, My Way Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240633

Blog Thirteen - Rainbows Taste Yummy! Book One

At last, this one is completed and published! Making these children’s books is a great deal more time-consuming than writing a twenty-five-thousand-word romance. First step is the idea that pops into my head from somewhere. In this case, the image of the rainbow with the little old couple sitting beneath it, and then the first lines of the first limerick. From there, the process of taking the photos began. Each time I went shopping for groceries, I selected a couple of items I wanted to include, took the photos of them, and stored them in the computer. My original intention was to combine the fruit and vegetables in one book, so I had a great many photos taken when I came up against a major roadblock – no blue vegetables to be found anywhere. So the project was put on hold for several months. Then one day I noticed an ad for blue potatoes on the flyer from our local grocery store, but alas, when I got there, they had been discarded due to a recall. Again, I set everything aside, this time for over a year. But miracles do happen!

One day my husband was shopping with me, picked up a bag of tiny potatoes, and when it was opened – there they were - several tiny blue potatoes. Back to the drawing board – in this case – the computer.

I had started cutting open some of the fruit, like the pomegranates, because their insides are quite interesting and colorful, but the whole project just felt really intimidating. Then my friend Allison suggested splitting the book into two (many thanks!), one with fruit and one with veggies. It only took me a few days to write up the limericks, polish the photos, print out a few copies and assemble them into books. These copies were then delivered to the children’s corner at our dentist office, medical center and other local places where kids could enjoy them.

Thanks to my sisters for their valuable input – Fran for correcting my spelling on cantaloupe, Marilyn for telling me to change the font to something more easily read by kids, and Mary for suggesting I add the progressive rainbow over each photo. Now it’s back to the veggie photos for book two. I have no idea when it will be completed, because I just decided I want to cut open some of the veggies to show the insides, so that means taking, and editing, more photos. This will be my last blog until book two is finished, so have a great summer, everyone, and I will talk to you later.

Rainbows Taste Yummy! Book One Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/322894

Blog Fourteen - Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords

Just a quick blog for those who like to read, and love a bargain. This is the beginning of the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale, July 1–31, 2013. Books are discounted 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% (free) available at Smashwords only. (The sale is called summer/winter because the northern hemisphere is enjoying (?) summer, while the southern has winter.)

My books are discounted 50%, with the exception of the children’s books, which are free. Here’s the link to mine: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ShastaDaisy. The discount code for my books is SSW50.

Now is the time to load up your e-reader, tablet – or whatever technology you use – for the summer.

Trout fishing has been great, the two times we’ve managed to get to the lake. Hopefully the calendar will stay empty for a few weeks now. June was really busy!

My sister Fran has just finished translating The Marvelous Mistake into Spanish for me – and for the group she works with – so it’s back to some proof-reading (not for Spanish errors!), just a check on formatting. I suspect if I print out the English and Spanish versions, and compare them side-by-side, I could become somewhat fluent, or at least familiar with, the Spanish language.

Looks like the weather is going to co-operate this week, so it’s back to the lake and some more trout.

Blog Fifteen - El Error Maravilloso

This blog is dedicated to my sister, Fran, and her Spanish study group for the ‘marvelous’ translation of my book ‘The Marvelous Mistake’ to ‘El Error Maravilloso’. A funny thing happened when I was doing a few scans of the text looking for extra spaces between words and sentences; I realized that I could tell exactly where I was in the book, with just a few words here and there which closely resembled English. Who knows – maybe someday I’ll decide to learn Spanish…but I doubt it.

A little research showed me that there are just 30+ books out of 3,400+ in the contemporary romance category on Smashwords, so this addition is probably quite timely. Time will tell. I have discounted this one ‘free’ until the end of July to see if there is any interest in it.

And now it’s back to housecleaning and gardening – too wet to go fishing yet!

Hasta la próxima. (Until next time...)

For those who read Spanish: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/334169

Blog Sixteen – Smashwords Interview

Here’s a quick update on what I’ve been doing this summer. Smashwords introduced a new feature – question and answer interviews. Mine can be viewed here (for the curious): https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ShastaDaisy.

The summer has disappeared so quickly! We managed a few fishing trips and caught a reasonable number of rainbow trout – so far. I’m really hoping that September gives us some more warm weather. It’s always a sad day when we have to close up our summer getaway.

Don has completed two small aquaponics setups with goldfish, and we are now growing lettuce and spinach above the fish tanks. The ideal is a large tank with edible fish that feed the plants. The plants feed the fish, and they both feed us. We’ll see!

Back to writing-related matters – I did a quick survey and discovered that my books have been read in thirty-three countries to date. Many more countries have yet to discover them, but it’s a good start.

Over and out!

Blog Seventeen - Branding

Summer is gone, fall is rapidly disappearing, and Christmas is just around the corner. And what do I have to show for it? Not much! We had a few trips to the lake, caught some trout, took some photos and read a great many books. As far as writing goes – very little has been accomplished, except in my head. I took a few days and created a branding logo (image below), using a drawing of a dragon our son Steven (who appears on the cover of a Daddy for Robbie) had done when he was in high school. I just made a mirror image of the dragon and added the text. I love the way the two create a heart! Once the logo had been added to all book covers, I uploaded the revisions to Smashwords.

A few weeks ago I began working on my next project – a romantic fantasy. It takes place on the physical and the non-physical planes and I’m relying on my mother, who is on the other side now, to feed me the information I need. So far, she’s doing a great job. I had the first three chapters completed and was ready to start working on the fourth, when Little Bud (our cat) decided to take me for a walk around our yard. (He does that at every opportunity). Noticing a couple of dead hay stalks by a rock, I reached down, gave them a yank, and embedded a ¼ inch piece of dead straw deep in the pad of my right thumb.

I had no idea how important a thumb was until I felt the extreme pain every time I touched anything. My doctor, who is a really great fellow, was not anxious to cut open my thumb and start digging around in it, so I went on antibiotics for a week, and next visit he suggested I soak it in salt water several times a day. No change. Third visit, when he walked into the room, I said, “Get your scalpel.” He was still very reluctant to cut into it, but he gave in and froze my thumb. I told him where the straw was, he made the incision, and found it right there. His response – “I think I’ll go and buy a lottery ticket. This is my lucky day!” (I used this event in ‘Reunited’ – too good to pass up!)

So now – no more excuses. Time to get back to work. I would really like to get this one finished and published before Christmas is upon us. I have the cover created and ready – mainly because that’s even more fun than writing.

My books are available at Smashwords:


They are also available at Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Diesel, Sony, and more recently at FlipKart in India and Oyster in the U.S. Both of these are similar to Netflix with a monthly fee that allows a person to download and read as many books as they wish. Once I decide to quit writing I’ll be looking to join Oyster as soon as they are available in Canada.

Until next time, I’m signing off for now.

Blog Eighteen - Amazon

A funny thing happened on my way to finishing my romantic fantasy novel. Put up the Christmas tree and decorated it, attended our camera club Christmas party, finished two more chapters on the book, and was on my way to do some more writing when out of nowhere came the thought that I should publish my books on Amazon as well as on Smashwords.

There then followed a couple of weeks of intensive proof-reading, setting up and checking the table of contents hyper-links, and generally making sure that the books were as perfect as I could make them. My original plan was to only publish three or four books, but I quickly decided if I was going to do it, I might as well do all but the children’s books. (They may be published later…).

Once the books were ready, it was an easy matter to upload the text and the cover images to Amazon. Next was setting up an author page on the U.S. site, as well as the U.K., France and Germany. The first two were easy. Looks like I’ll have to use a translation service to process the other two.

In a totally unrelated topic, we have been having one or two wasps wintering indoors with us every year for the past twenty-three years. This year our resident wasp (name of Harvey) came out of hibernation on Christmas day, hung around on the kitchen window sill and counter, had a drink of water, and then disappeared as soon as the kids left to go home on Friday. Had we been able to hear him, he was probably singing, ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’. Lol!

And now perhaps I can get back to writing in the next couple of weeks!!!

In closing, I would like to wish everyone a new year filled with good health, happiness and prosperity.

Blog Nineteen - Read an Ebook Week

I have another funny thing to report – but not so amusing. It was a mistake to publish on Amazon over the holiday season. I encountered technical difficulties and finally unpublished my books, however I may try again someday.

Work on the current book is progressing very slowly. I am at the halfway mark, I know what happens next, but am having difficulty getting to it. There are many excuses, but fewer reasons. We live on homemade bread, homemade soup, and homemade salads based on the lettuce we grow in an aquaponics system – fish below and plants above. The lettuce is organic and tasty, but requires time to harvest, wash and dry the leaves. This is a relatively new project and hopefully we can add spinach, Swiss chard, and herbs.

That’s excuse #1 – but I love creating new soups, salads and breads.

Excuse #2 – My husband had cataract surgery in November and February, each time requiring four trips to Ottawa, with a travel time of three hours round trip. It’s a miracle – he can now see to drive without seeing double. (There are now about a dozen pairs of reading glasses, scattered in every room of the house, used by both of us.)

Excuse #3 – Little Bud (cat) rules our household. He used to have a girlfriend who lived somewhere in the neighborhood and visited him quite often, but we haven’t seen her in over a year. During the winter he sleeps all night (thank you, Little Bud!), but he then wants to play for half the day, and we’re it. If he could talk, he would be saying – ‘get me a treat, put some water in the bathtub so I can lap it up, let me out to the garage for mouse patrol, let me outside unless you want me to use the litter box’, etc., etc., etc.

Working on the computer is not allowed when he wants something. He just walks back and forth on the keyboard until we give in.

Excuse #4 – Attending funerals, birthday lunches, visiting the kids to see the new-to-them house they are moving into this weekend (nice digs!), lunches with my nursing school buddies, dental appointments, and so on.

Reason #5 – I’m hooked on Sudoku, crosswords and solitaire games, but I finally deleted Mahjong from my computer. My bad!

Having said all that, I’m going to do my best to have this one completed by the end of the month. There’s a murder mystery (a genre I haven’t attempted before) trying to write itself in my head. I have to keep shutting it down, but the plot is there – just no people yet.

On that note, the soup pot needs stirring, this needs to be typed and proofed, then published. And I almost forgot to mention – this is Read an EBook Week on Smashwords, so fire up your e-readers and load them. There are many books free and many more discounted – and all are formatted for most e-readers. I have three free and eight at fifty-percent off.

Here’s the link to mine: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ShastaDaisy

And the link to Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/category

Happy reading, everyone!

Blog Twenty - Waiting

Finally, the ‘Waiting’ is over! I started writing this book in late October of 2013, but got sidetracked by many different things. When I picked it up again last month, the words came quite quickly. I knew all along what was happening in the story, but just couldn’t get it on paper.

This is a sweet, romantic fantasy, taking place partly on the earth plane and partly on the ‘other side’. The fantasy parts have been taken from reading I have done in the past, and from some of my own experiences. But some of the information came out of nowhere. One day I was sitting at the computer, thinking about all of my relatives who have gone over to the other side. An image of my maternal grandmother, Jenny, popped into my head, so perhaps she was telling me things I needed to know. I barely knew her – she passed away when I was only about five (many years ago!).

One year at Christmas, a psychic friend was visiting, and told me he saw me working with a grandmother figure, at my sewing machine. I forgot all about it until my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer disease. As her condition progressed, one of my sisters gave her a life-like doll, and that became the whole focus of her attention. She had written in her biography that her proudest moments were when each of her eleven children was born, so the doll was another baby for her. From out of nowhere I had an idea to make the doll some clothes, which I did. It wasn’t until much later that I recalled what the psychic had said, and I also remembered that my grandmother had been a seamstress before she was married. It is really good to know that she is around and helping me.

When I was proofreading ‘Waiting…’ I realized that I would like to know what happens to Molly and Jeremy, and Joelle and Jonathon in their next incarnations. That would require writing two more books – and I had thought maybe it was time to retire from writing!

This book is free for the month of April and can be found here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424237

Now I must go and feed the little fishes. They earn their keep by feeding our beds of lettuce in the aquaponics system my husband set up in the basement. There are four aquariums with nine trays of lettuce, Swiss chard, parsley, and spinach. Today I am planting basil, chives and oregano. It’s a real pleasure to go downstairs, pick the salad fixings, and walk back up again. The best part - knowing that the food we eat is organic. Now if the snow would just go away so we could put our little greenhouses outside and get the cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and peppers started!

Enough said – until next time.

Blog Twenty-One - Box Sets

So - Summer is almost over again, it is 2014, and I have no idea where the time went. I wrote two chapters of a book about the two main characters in ‘Waiting…’ in the spring, but haven’t put pen to paper since. Having said that, I haven’t been idle either.
About two years ago, my grandnephew Myles (age seven at the time) saw a hard copy of one of the kids’ books that I had printed out and placed in the dentist’s office, and he expressed a desire to co-write a book with me. I was really excited by the prospect, so printed out a copy of the photos for ‘Rainbows Taste Yummy – Book Two, Veggies’ and sent it to him. He’s now nine, I met up with him at a family reunion, and he said he just had two more limericks to write. (The first bunch of limericks took him two years to write, so we aren’t holding our breath.) I took some photos of him for a bio page to be placed at the back of the book, along with mine. Can’t wait to see what he has written! What if he’s better at it than I am???
The past month has been a major lesson in frustration, perseverance and patience. I noticed that Smashwords was recommending ‘Box Sets’ of books with a pre-order option. Ready for a challenge and a process that very much resembled a puzzle, I began. The first box set is composed of ‘The Way It Was’ (my parents’ autobiography), ‘My Health, My Way’ (my experience with stage four cancer, healed without chemo or radiation), and ‘Huna: Your Power Tool For The Twenty-First Century’ (our experiences with the magic of the ancient Hawaiian Kahunas). The other two are six of my romance novels.
As to the frustration – picture this: a file containing the entire text of three books, with a section about the author, and a list of other available books. The first page of the new book contains a table of contents, which must show up outside of the book for a couple of retailers. Each of the three books has its own table of contents with links to each chapter. All of these links have to lead to the correct chapter in the corresponding correct book. The software creates ‘hidden’ bookmarks each time a chapter is clicked to make sure it goes to the right place. All of these hidden bookmarks must be deleted one at a time – and there are many. Having finally created three box sets and had them approved was a major accomplishment, and I will never again forget how to do it properly the first time.
I’m sitting by the lake writing this, with a glass of Chardonnay, and now that it’s finished, I have a date with a fishing rod. (We got our limit of ten trout!)
More later – when I have something to say…

Variety Box Set – Non-Fiction https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/466567

Box Set One – 3 Romance Novels https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469232

Box Set Two – 3 Romance Novels https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469235

These are available for pre-order and the prices are discounted.

Blog Twenty-Two - Photo Books

I can’t believe I did it again – subjected myself to another exercise involving the utmost of frustration, patience and perseverance! This time, for some unknown reason, I decided to create two photo album ebooks using photos taken for our camera club meetings. When I began, I thought I was working with a limit of 5 MB per book, so I adjusted the resolution of the photos to meet that requirement. When I uploaded the first book for publication, I noticed that I was allowed 10 MB. So now, sometime early in the New Year, I will be going back to the original photos and re-publishing the books. At the moment they look good on my Ipod, but not so good on my Android tablet.

Back to the story – I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve re-sized, formatted and used Photoshop to make this work. When I thought I was finished, I noticed that some of the photos had borders around them and looked much more ‘finished’. So back to Photoshop I went and added borders to them all.
To complicate matters further, I had decided to create a Spanish version of the second book, since there was very little text involved. Using an on-line translation software, I added the translations and forwarded the results to my sister, Fran, and her Spanish study group. Apparently they had a few good laughs over my Spanish, but cleaned it all up for me – for which I am truly grateful!

Somewhere in the past few months I managed to add another three chapters to the book that is still a work in progress. I know what comes next – just can’t get pen to paper.

Continue reading this ebook at Smashwords.
Download this book for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-27 show above.)