Category Archives: from Rebecca

From Rebecca: Four’s a Crowd is published!

Joe hit the button at CreateSpace.com at noon today and published Four’s a Crowd! The novel that Darren adapted from Joe’s play Kimberly will be on sale on Amazon in 3-5 business days. Joe was a little disappointed that Four’s a Crowd wasn’t available right away, but I guess Amazon needs a few days to get the product page set up.

If you are interested in what the book is about, here is the description we have on the back cover:

Lyle and Kimberly Detmore are a young married couple who have settled into a quiet life together. Henry and Alice Detmore are an older married couple who were having a good life before their health issues forced them to sell their home. They moved in with their son, Lyle, and the daughter-in-law that Alice has never liked.

It doesn’t take long after they move in for the two women to begin exchanging sharp words and the men to take cover. Battle lines are drawn. The house is filled with yelling, tears, slamming doors, misunderstandings, fears, secrets, and unexpected news.

Underlying it all is the love between husband and wife, child and parent. Can these four people figure out how to solve their problems and live in peace as a family before it is too late?

It took us all more than four years to get to this point, and here it is, even if there is another slight delay. Thanks for joining in our celebration. I am so proud of Darren and Joe for writings these characters and their stories. Hooray!

Joe will be back on Wednesday. Have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

Advertisements

From Rebecca: Joe just left our place

Darren and Joe had a good proof-editing session for their novel Four’s a Crowd. They didn’t change much, just a few words here and there. Joe came to our place with his laptop, and Darren was on our laptop. They each had a copy of the working file open on the computer and called out page numbers for the other to go over; mostly just the parts that were changed the most since the last ordered proof. They worked well together and agreed on a final version to publish.

We went to CreateSpace.com and uploaded the file for review. The self-publishing site will get back to us in 24 hours with their approval of the format. We expect the book to be published tomorrow, and then immediately available to buy on Amazon. Booksellers and libraries should also be able to order it by tomorrow afternoon. Whoo-hoot! Joe worked so hard on the play, Darren worked so hard on adapting it to a novel, and we have all worked hard editing the book, so this a very sweet moment. One more step!

After that, we will look into getting the book on Kindle. We know from putting two of Joe’s previous books on that service that we will need it re-formatted for the e-book structure, and that will take time and/or money to arrange. We will keep you updated.

Joe will be back next Wednesday with an entry, and one of us may possibly write a brief announcement here over the weekend after Four’s a Crowd is published and on sale. Until then, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: It is Thursday again

Joe is taking care of personal business today, so here is another Thursday blog entry from me. It is a gorgeous day outside with a lot of sunshine and a hint of coolness. Perfect.

We are so close to publication day for Four’s a Crowd and I am so excited. Darren has finished his final edits and put them into the manuscript file, and Joe is doing his final editing in the next few days. Next Thursday we will all get together, put in Joe’s changes, I will update the chapter of contents, and then we will submit the file to our self-publishing site, CreateSpace. Once they approve it, we will push the publish button. Four’s a Crowd could be on sale within two weeks! We will keep you updated.

I wrote last month about the construction noise next door driving Darren and me crazy. Well, it is still going on but a few weeks back the majority of the work moved down the road a ways, and we got a bit of a break from some of the beeps, scraps, bangs, and rumbles. We can still hear it, but it is easier to live with at the moment.

I’m just beginning to read the second book in a series I like. I read Binti, by the author Nnedi Okorafor, earlier this year, and was touched by it. It is the science fiction/fantasy story of a young woman from Africa who goes to another planet to study, and on her journey a tragic event leads her to be an instrument of peace between two species. Heartbreaking, but also full of hope. I look forward to diving into Binti: Home later today.

Joe will be back on Wednesday, and one of us will have an entry on Thursday. As Joe would say, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Getting Four’s a Crowd ready for publication

As Joe wrote yesterday, he is using a personal day today, and I am doing the blog post. Regular readers know that my husband Darren adapted Joe’s play Kimberly into a novel, Four’s a Crowd. They have been working on it for over four years now, and it is finally close to being published.

Darren and Joe are going through the second proof now, making the final changes. When they are done, probably in the next week or two, we will submit the updated file to CreateSpace and then the book will be available to the public. It is so exciting to be this close.

We have all three put so much work into this book. Joe created four unique characters in his play, and with his feedback Darren expanded them and their world in a novel. I gave advice and edited as best I could, and, plugged everything into CreateSpace’s formatted template. My main correction for the second proof has been to fix indent markers on two chapters that didn’t get done the first time I tackled that problem. Technology grrr. It looks like I got that problem fixed now.

CreateSpace will automatically put the published book on Amazon for us, and we have high hopes for selling it, but we aren’t sure yet how to reach people other than our friends and family to see and buy the novel. Joe and Darren have worked so hard on it, and written a great story of a family overcoming personality conflicts and challenges from aging to find unity. It would be so disappointing if it didn’t sell. I guess the only way to find out is to go forward, do our best, and hope.

Watch this space for updates, and our big announcement once we do publish Four’s a Crowd. I can hardly wait.

From Rebecca: Construction next door

As Joe wrote yesterday, he has an appointment this morning, so once again I get to do the blog post. I decided to talk about the construction project that my husband Darren and I live next to, which has been ongoing for years now and is scheduled to continue for some time now. Sometimes the activity is heavier, sometimes it is less so, but it is constant.

I wouldn’t mind it so much, but it is loud. There are back-up beepers that sometimes go off all day long, amid sounds of banging, scraping, and machinery moving. I grew up on a busy street in town, so the sounds almost become background noise to me, but Darren grew up outside of town where it was a lot quieter. All this noise drives him mad. He gets stressed, then I feel stressed. We play the TV or music up loud to cover the construction sounds, which works for the most part, but not completely. I will say, considering how much he hates back-up beepers and noise, Darren is actually doing well managing his nerves and anger. I’m proud of him. He has had a lot of practice at not flying off the handle with this going on so long.

Half of the construction area we can see is a spot that used to be a rolling green space beside a driveway outside the old building. The structure is being built on and renovated. We watched them cut down the trees, put up a fence, tear up the grass, and move the dirt around from place to place over months. They put a new road in through where the grass was. Then they moved it over a few feet. Months later they moved it again, to where it stayed. The road went back and forth between being one-way or two-way for periods of time, and now it appears to be permanently two-way. They finally stopped moving the dirt around in seemingly random patterns about six months ago, and put in a retaining wall, then a small parking lot.

The rest of the area is still being dug up and moved around. The inside and front of the building is done for the most part, but the back part is still in progress. They also have supplies along the fence, and it looks like a dump, which I find particularly annoying.

Darren and I cannot wait for this ordeal to be over. We deal with it the best way we can and hang on to the knowledge that it will over at some point. It could be worse, and it will get better.

This turned into a real rant, didn’t it? Thanks for letting me get it off my chest.

Joe will be back next Wednesday and Thursday with blog entries. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great week, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Time alone in the apartment

Joe is writing alone today while I write this post from home, and my husband Darren had an appointment this morning, so I had a few hours by myself in the apartment. Because of our schedules, this is an unusual luxury for me. The whole place is mine!

I got up, took a shower, made coffee, and ate cereal as normal. Then I spent the rest of the time watching shows that Darren doesn’t like. First I enjoyed Father Brown on Netflix streaming and then I watched The View on ABC. I haven’t been able to watch The View much in a decade or so, though I have watched it off and on since it began in 1997. Where we live, it is broadcast opposite The Price is Right, which both Daren and I love, so that is what we usually watch together – with the exception of a segment or so when he is in the shower.

It is a little embarrassing that my ideal plan for time alone is watching television, but there you go. Darren and I have shows that we both like and watch together, but we also have shows that one of us likes and the other one doesn’t. I go to bed a couple of hours after Darren, and that is when I usually watch stuff that he absolutely doesn’t like. Darren gets up a couple of hours before me and he can watch stuff I really don’t like, though he has time alone in the apartment when I am at work or on Sunday afternoons. It is a system that works for us, for the most part.

On another subject, I met Joe’s new cat Princess Josie yesterday. She is bigger than I thought she’d be for some reason, though obviously still a kitten. She took a great interest in my shoes, and in my armpit – in a way that reminded me of Keekee because she did the same thing. PJ also tried to get on the work table we set up with the laptop on it, but we had to stop her; that is a habit we don’t want her to get into, in case she accidently erases a day’s work with one paw on the keyboard.

Joe left me a voicemail message earlier, saying that he has written a lot today with the voice recognition program. He also remembered that he might have promised a short story for his blog readers as yesterday’s entry, did I remember that too? I looked up last Thursday’s post, and sure enough he did promise that. Joe does like to finish a post with a promise for next week’s content, and then by the time the next week is here he has another topic in mind. Oh, well. The short story, based on a dream Joe once had, is written and might need one edit, so it will be posted here one day soon. Stay tuned.

Next Wednesday Joe will be back with a blog post. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Hi, having a quiet day

Greetings, Joe’s readers. I am having a low-key day, hanging around with my husband Darren, doing some apartment cleaning later, some book work, an hour or so of playing a board game later with Darren, and waiting to hear an update from Joe. He has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon about his heart, and hopefully he will find out what is going on with it soon, without needing more tests first. If I may speak on his behalf, knowing Joe, he will probably let you know any definite news the week after he gets it. Good luck, Joe.

Darren, Joe, and I have been working on Darren’s novel Four’s a Crowd based on Joe’s play Kimberly for the last half decade. We’ll make progress on it for a while, then it will stall, then we will pick it up again, and so on. Right now I am doing work on it before we send it for the second proof. We all wanted the book to be ready to publish by now, but it stalled on my watch. I picked it up again, then ran into problems that took a bit to figure out. The other day, I was sitting here frustrated because the formatted software I was working with did something that I needed to undo and didn’t know how yet. UGH! Darren listened to me groan and moan for a while and then said it wasn’t worth it, maybe bag the whole thing. No, I can get this, don’t give up on it when we are so close. I think I have everything figured out for the moment. I need to change a bunch of tabs by moving the margin line, update the chapter page number index, and add the front cover attribution, then it should be ready for the second and hopefully last proof. So close to publishing it!

In other news, I need a new coffee maker. My late mother gave me the one I have now, almost fourteen years ago when Darren and I moved into our apartment. I use it once a day, don’t let it stay on past half an hour, and vinegar is regularly, so it has held up a long time. But it needs to be cleaned with vinegar every month now instead of every six months, steams a lot more when brewing, and it takes twenty minutes to make four cups. I don’t like change and I don’t want to lose something my mother gave me, but every time it makes a series of loud hissing sounds like it is demonic or a giant angry cat, I know the coffee maker is on its last legs and I need to replace it. I’m bummed, but I know that I will get used to the new coffee maker. I usually come around in the end when things change.

Not much else to say today. I had a few topics I thought about writing about, but I couldn’t get any to gel and develop enough for a blog entry. I will say I was really impressed by last Saturday’s (3/24/18) March for Our Lives, the rally in Washington D.C. for gun reform laws, and the other rallies across the country that joined in. There is a lot to despair in the world these days, but seeing the youngest generation be so strong, focused, and vocal about a shared goal gave me a lot of hope for the future.

Joe will be back next Wednesday, and probably Thursday as well. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Schlow Centre Region Library revisited

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Back in October of 2013 I wrote a post on libraries and Schlow Centre Region Library. I said a lot of good things in that one, so here is the link you can follow if you want to read it too. Since I wrote it I got faster internet at home and stopped using the library for their computers and internet, but I still go there once or twice a week to check out books and CDs. It is still one of my favorite places in the world.

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that my mother-in-law might enjoy audio books and I wondered over to that section. Sure enough, Schlow has a large collection to choose from, including a lot of the J.D. Robb series that we both read. I knew about this section before, but until I was looking into them I didn’t appreciate it. It impressed on me one of best features of libraries, that they offer so many different resources and we might not need them for years, but when we do want something, there it is.

The upper level of Schlow contains the audio books, CDs, large print books, young adult novels, graphic novels, books for sale, public computers, helpful staff, non-fiction books, fiction books, a wide range of newspapers and magazines available to read, tables and chairs, two rooms with doors that close to use – one includes materials for crafts, and desks with plugs for people with laptops or who want space to study. The lower level contains the children’s section with computers, fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, helpful staff, graphic novels, and games. Thinking about it, I am amazed by the variety.

Last year, I was looking at books on a return cart and picked up the first novel in an unusual series, Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham. The main character, Fiona Griffiths, has a rare mental condition that she struggles with to do her job on the police force in the U.K. I would never have found this series without seeing it at Schlow. I wanted to read more of these books, so I looked him up in the catalogue, and the library only had the first one. So I did an interlibrary loan request for the second book in the series once I looked up the title (my first time doing an ILL) and waited about a month for it to come in. When I picked up the book, I noticed it had Schlow Centre Region Library identification on it, and looking through it I realized it had the signs of being a print-on-demand book. They might not have been able to find a copy in other libraries. I realized that Schlow bought the book to fill my request and to put in their collection. Wow. I know at least one other person read the first one because it was on the return cart, so I hope that my request helps someone else read the second book, and now the third book. I want to read the rest of the series, but knowing that Schlow would buy the book instead of borrow it, I waited a few months before requesting the third one, and will wait a few months before asking for the fourth one. There are six books in the series and I would feel guilty asking for so much of their resources in a short period of time. I don’t have the space on my shelves or the money to buy the series on my own.

I had already noticed some books on the shelves that looked like print-on-demand (Joe’s books from CreateSpace are print-on-demand so I know the specific look of the back page) and was impressed by the many ways that the library supports all these industries in publishing and entertainment. Yes, we the public use it for free, but the library bought it all. That is a lot of money going into the world, and libraries are constantly having to raise that money – from government sources, from selling books and items donated to them or off their shelves, from local fund drives, from business donations, and from patron donations. They also need to keep the lights on and pay the staff. It makes me proud that I donate two dollars a week; I couldn’t afford to give Schlow a hundred dollars in one go, but by the end of the year my two dollars adds up to that. They do some much for me and the community.

I want to close with one paragraph from my October 2013 post, which sums up what I want to share about libraries in general.

Libraries do so much for people. They are sources of information on government agencies, how technologies work, and they have manuals, non-fiction works, plus entertainment materials too. Often the local history archives for the area are in a reference section. They can provide a meeting place for organizations, and often put on events of interest, in a community room. The staff is usually able to assist people in finding information, on databases and websites, as well as navigate through the library system. They have newspapers and magazines available to read on-site, which may be especially helpful to someone looking for a job who cannot afford to buy a newspaper every day. I don’t know about other libraries, but I know that Schlow has made free downloads of ebooks available to patrons, something that costs the library a bite out of their budget for each e-book copy. On top of all that, they provide the latest books by popular authors, sometimes with multiple copies for books with long waiting lists, so that more people can read them sooner. They provide older books too, including the classics. Many people discover authors new to them in the stacks. The libraries have photocopier machines at either the same prices or cheaper than other places. They might also have printing available from the public computers, perhaps with a small fee to off-set the paper and ink costs. A community without a library within an easy visiting distance is poor in ways beyond money.

Joe will be back next Wednesday with a new blog entry. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: The luxury of a good sleep-in

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Joe took a personal day today, so I am writing today’s post from the comfort of my own home, which makes me lucky because it is raining outside right now. Since I didn’t have to get up at my usual time when working with Joe, I was able to sleep in late. I have a habit of going to bed about seven, sometimes six and a half, hours before I get up, so I rarely get a full eight hours of sleep. This morning I decided to get all eight hours in bed, and though I did spend the last hour drifting in and out of light sleep and checking the clock a bit, it was good. It was relaxing, almost decadent, and nice. Hours later, I am still feeling rested and satisfied.

Ordinarily, I trade a full night’s sleep for other pleasures. It will be eight hours before I need to get up, but instead of going to bed then, I’ll want to watch one more TV show, or to look at just a few more websites, or to read one more page/section/chapter in my book. The next hour slips away and then it is really time for me to get ready for bed if I want at least seven hours of sleep. I take my blood pressure medication and my multi-vitamin, brush and floss my teeth, use the bathroom, turn out the living room lights, and go join my husband in bed.

Like Joe, who gets up early in the morning and goes to bed before midnight, my husband Darren gets up a few hours before I do, and goes to bed a few hours before I do, too. This arrangement gives us each time to ourselves when the other is sleeping, and I think we each enjoy the chance to do private things, like watching shows the other spouse doesn’t like, or having our own thoughts without interruption. He enjoys the early morning time, and I enjoy the late night hours.

This is a bit off topic, but since I have mentioned bed a few times, and when is the next time that happens in this blog, there is one thing I will add. Darren and I have said for years that there is one bit of advice that we would give to couples if we had the chance: Have separate blankets. We have never shared a blanket and it has worked wonders for us. I run cooler than Darren, so I use a sheet and two comforters in the winter, a sheet and light blanket in the summer. Darren uses one comforter in the winter and often a light blanket in the summer. Except on very hot nights when my bedding gets on his side too much, this arrangement works year in and year out. We are not fighting over them. I slip into bed, and I am moving just my covers and not his. He gets out of bed, and he is shoving his covers off to the floor and not mine. Paradise. We highly recommend separate blankets.

Back to the main topic. I hope you all have a chance for a well-rested day, or even more than one! I like my other pleasures too much to start getting to bed earlier on a regular basis, but I will remember this feeling and choose eight hours in bed more often. It is nice.

Joe will be back on Wednesday. Until then, I hope you end each day dry and comfortable and safe, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Ugly day outside

Greetings, Joe’s readers. It is a snowy, rainy, icy mess outside, though I am surprised that the few cars I can see on the road outside my window are moving okay. Joe and I are not working together today, because of the bad weather. Pennsylvania had a storm overnight that is continuing all day, as those of you who live in this state already know. Northern PA was forecast to got more snow, southern PA to got more ice, and central PA, where Joe and I live, got a mix of snow and rain. Yesterday, authorities asked anybody who could stay off the roads today to do so. A lot of people still have to get out and about, but for the rest of us it is a Snow Day! No school, no work, stay home all day!

The schools, a lot of businesses, and  Schlow Centre Region Library are closed for the day, adding to the feeling of a shared community experience and a holiday. Although there are a lot of people who still had to go for important commitments or to go to work, and they didn’t get to share the holiday. I know that I could have gone to work today if I chose to do so, since the bus system is still working. (A big shout out to the drivers and staff of CATA – Centre Area Transportation Authority – for always getting me to and from work no matter how bad the weather is. The bus might be running late, depending on the conditions, but it always comes. In fact, their buses are running today.) And I have better balance when walking than Joe, who really cannot go out in snow and ice because he might fall and injure himself, so I could have made it to his apartment to work. Joe arranged for me to stay home today, to not have to slog through the cold, snow and icy slush, and I am grateful to be able to sit in a warm room, snug with my legs in a blanket, typing this on my home computer.

I decided to stay home last Sunday too, instead of visit my family as usual. We had a snow storm that day which gave us about three inches of snow, and now I am home during this one. I am wondering if I am getting more timid as I get older. As long as it was snow and not ice, three inches didn’t intimidate me before, even when it was falling while I drove. Although, looking back, I did drive in some bad road conditions when I was younger. There were a few times I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to the bottom of a certain hill and stop safely. Age is supposed to give us wisdom, but maybe that is what shutting down options looks like. We decide not to eat a super hot pepper and now we are wise because we didn’t burn our mouth like a foolish young person. Put like that, refusing to try new things looks noble, doesn’t it? It is true that older bodies don’t heal damage as fast, and a fall can take us out for days instead of hours. Maybe being careful is wisdom.

I hope you are all warm and comfortable, if not right now than by the end of your day. Joe and I will be working in the same room tomorrow, and he will have a new blog entry up. Until then, take care, have a safe day, and happy reading.