Becoming a Self Published Author

I have decided to take the plunge and become a self published author.  I made this decision based on a couple of things rather than going the traditional route.  I like the fact that I will be in control of my work, I can publish what I want and not what someone else wants and the profits will go to me.   There are some downsides, not knowing the industry, distribution of physical copies and connections that going the traditional route can offer,  That being said, I am going ahead and I will be publishing my first short story soon.

I am going to publish a short story to learn the ropes so to speak.  I may publish a few and then publish a collection of short stories later.  I do not want to publish a full volume until I make a few mistakes and know what to correct on the final version.  By the time I publish my collection of short stories I hope to be a pro at self publishing and will go on to publish more.

Currently I am in the first step of the process, writing the manuscript.  I have written a short story but it needs revision.  Once that is done I will begin the process of publishing on Amazon.  One can publish an ebook and have it available to consumers within a few days.  i will be chronicling the process along the way.

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Would You Like to Swing on a Star (Part 3)

I wondered if any happy news was ever reported.

I was nervous on the first night of the show.  A woman helped me into my costume and then I went on to the next station where a woman put clips in my hair.  I was pulled to the next station where a woman began applying powder to my face.  I had never worn make up before and it was something I was not allowed .  I enjoyed the feeling of being a little more grown up.  I was then showed to the next station where a woman applied eye liner, mascara and lipstick.

Several groups and individual skaters had performances prior to us and we had to wait four our turn on the ice.  After the group before us finished the lights were turned off.  I made my way across the ice in the darkness and sat down on a swing that hung over the ice.  Butterflies filled my stomach as the spotlight beamed down on me and the music started.  I began making the swing rock back and forth as “Oh would you like to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar,” blasted from the speakers.  I stepped off the swing and my class carried out the routine we had been practicing for weeks.

The last night of our performances all of the skaters lined up in a circle around the arena and began to skate for our encore.  There were a large number of skaters and we had to skate close together.  The woman skating behind me got too close and I felt her blades entangle with mine.  I lost my balance and began to fall.  I felt the sharp edge of the blade enter my leg, as the woman behind me could not stop.  I was taken off the ice and brought to the medical station where my leg was bandaged up.

Sitting in the car on the way home the news came on over the radio.  There was a cease fire in Viet Nam and the first man had walked on the moon.

Would You Like to Swing on a Star (Part 2)

My skates had marks and creases all over them and were well-worn.  I would have to wait until I outgrew my current pair before my parents would agree to new ones.

A young woman with long blond hair approached us as Shelley’s father entered the building.  We got in the back of the station wagon in the very back where there was a seat that faced backwards.  Darci and I were invited to spend the night at Shelley’s house.  We had to return to the arena the following morning anyway.  The three of us went down to the basement to watch television.  On the shag carpeting on the floor record albums were scattered about.  Shelley had an older brother and two older sisters who were in high school.  Darci picked up an album cover and took the vinyl record and placed it on the turntable.  The needle automatically set down on the outer edge of the disc as Simon and Garfunkle began to sing about bridges and troubled waters.  We sat on the floor, mesmerised by the music.  That was the turning point for our taste in music.  It was not the Partridge Family or Bobby Sherman, it was something much deeper.That night we placed  sleeping bags in front of the television and watched the tube until we fell asleep.

The next morning just as Saturday morning cartoons were beginning, we piled back into the car after having a large breakfast of pancakes, and made our way back to the ice arena.  This was our routine between the ages of 5-9.  Our group lessons were much more difficult now.  As we stood on the ice waiting for our instructor, she showed up with a clipboard and a pile of papers in her hand.  She took the stack of sheets and handed us each one.  It was explained to us that the ice arena was going to put on a large ice show and our group was toing to be performing in it.  I glanced at the paper and saw that it listed two weeks worth of performance dates and times.  The young girls were all a buzz with excitement.  We were told we would be in costumes and people would lbe applying makeup each night we performed.  We all placed our papers on the bench behind the wall and returned to the ice.  We began learning new spins, jumps and twirls that we would be doing during the show.

My mother picked us up and we piled into the giant yellow and white 1956 Ford.  We were exhausted from practice and sat in silence.  The news cam on the radio; Patty Hearst had been kidnapped and someone named Ted had murdered another woman.  The hippies had done another sit-in and Nixon was sending more troops to Viet Nam.

Would You Like to Swing on a Star (Part 1)

I stepped onto the ice and the blades of my skates glided across the smooth surface.  I turned my body and began crossing one foot over the other as I rounded a corner.  I was five years old and warming up before my group lesson.  My neighborhood friends Darci and Shelley followed behind me.  As I approached the other end of the arena hockey players pounded onto the ice and hit a puck back and forth at that end of the arena.  That area was reserved for their practice,

At the group lesson that day we were learning how to perform the camel.  I lifted my right leg until lit was parallel with the ground while keeping my torso straight, all the while balancing on my left leg.  My first attempts were wobbly, but eventually I got it.   After the lesson the three of us stepped off the ice and made our way to the cafeteria.  We sat on a wooden bench and watched the hockey players practice while sipping our hot chocolate.  My legs hurt and I wanted to take my skates off.  I got up and clomped to the locker room where I took my skating leotard and leggings off and changed into my street clothes.

As we left the building the Zamboni was making its way around the arena, smoothing out the ice.  The noise from the machine was loud and I did not hear Shelley say that we needed to wait for her sister.  Her arm reached out and tapped me on the shoulder, “We need to wait for Heidi.”

“Ok,”I said and stood against the window of the pro shop.  I glanced at the display in the window,  A pair of brand new shiny white skates were placed upon a stand underneath the latest style of skating leotard in purple. Oh how I wanted that pair of new skates.

 

 

 

 

Living Life as an Artist

This year I am living outside of my comfort zone.  After losing my job I needed a way to earn an income quickly.  I had several watercolor paintings I had done and decided to try and sell them.  I set up a stand on Venice Beach and to my surprise I have sold all of the paintings I arrived with.

I have since expanded to acrylic paints and I am exploring abstract ideas and concepts.  Venice Beach is a great place to begin as an artist.  It does not cost anything to have a stand and the weather is usually pretty nice.  The locals and tourists act as a test market for what an artist might experience off the beach.

The downside of supporting oneself as an artist is the money is not great.  One has to learn to live on very little.  Life as an artist is not for the faint at heart.  One has to be willing to go for long periods without money, but it eventually comes.  The waiting is the hardest part, to quote Tom Petty.

Life at the beach has been an amazing experience.  I have grown as an artist and I have met some good friends.  I am always inspired by the other artists I meet here.  There is definitely a creative spirit in this town, and I think there always has been.  It also inspires me to write.  I have never experienced writer’s block, much to the dismay of some.  Hopefully life as a starving artist will be short lived and I will become well fed.

My Time in Latvia ( Part 9)

I stared at the bull and he stared back at me.  I was afraid he would charge at me if I moved.  I stood still for a while and he continued to look at me.  I decided I couldn’t be late for my class and quickly walked past him.  He was actually tied to the ground with a post and a rope.

My host family in Ugale took me on some outings that I will never forget.  One of the trips they took me on was cranberry picking.  I love fresh cranberry sauce and was excited to be able to go picking.  However I did not know that cranberries grow in bogs.  Bogs are swampy water-filled flatlands with mosquitoes and flies everywhere.  The berries grow in the marsh close to the ground.   We each had a wicker basket that we filled with the berries we picked.   Each time I bent down to get a handful of berries the mosquitoes and flies swarmed around my face.  The picking of the cranberries was not fun but it was worth it.  We were able to pick quite a few cranberries that we ate ate several meals.

Another outing I was taken on was a sailing trip.  We went to a lake with an island in the middle and the only structure on this large lake was the dock.  I boarded the boat with the other members of my host family and we set off sailing a course around the island.  The island was a dangerous place I was told by one of the men in charge of our trip.  It was said to have wild boar inhabiting the island, such as the one the grandfather had shot and killed.