Random Thoughts

Today’s post is a list of random thoughts, unrelated to art, things that one of my tens of readers might be interested in.

  1. Crocs shrink if you leave them in the sun. Mine are too short to wear now. Isn’t that weird? Rubber shoes shrink in the sun! (maybe it is related to #2. . .))
  2. After it has been 107º for a week, 97º feels balmy.
  3. I’m editing a previously published book about the Visalia Electric Railroad. It was first published in a hurry, the Tulare Co. Historical Society is ready to re-order, and author Louise Jackson and I know we can do a better job of both the text and the photos. So, we are working on it and hope the TCHS will agree to publish it in a real book format instead of 8-1/2×11″ with dark photos, “Foreword” misspelled, the stock market crash happening in 1939, and someone joining Pancho Villa’s cantina band, as if he were a guitar player. Intrigued? I’ll let you know if this turns into a book.  
  4. What I’m reading (or recently finished): 41:A Portrait of My Father by George W. BushBritt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik BackmanMornings on Horseback by David McCulloughAlone Together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other by Sherry Turkle (If you click or tap on any of the book titles, you’ll get to the Amazon page that sells the book. If you buy, I might earn 15¢ or something. . .)
  5. Samson still bites.
  6. What I’m listening to: The Smartest Person in the Room, Brian Buffini, Gretchen Rubin, The Road Back to You, What Should I Read Next
  7. No memorial services this week for me. 2 in 2 weeks is 2 too many.
  8. I think white flowers are boring. Did you think this post was boring? (Go ahead–tell me the truth; I can take it!)

Ranger Buttons, a white wildflower

Testing a Coloring Book

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 in coloring book, Publishing and Editing | 4 Comments

Designing coloring books involves drawing, my favorite thing. Coloring the pages is for other people to do.

But, I got curious. So, I gave it a try in the ag coloring book, Heart of Agriculture: Celebrating Tulare County Farm Bureau’s First 100 years.

This is as far as I got on the title page. I filled the letters in with blues, because there is very little blue in agriculture unless you drive a New Holland Tractor. (Cats are yellow, Massey-Ferguson are red, John Deere are green: I don’t know about Kubota or Mahindra or International Harvesters.) Couldn’t decide on the cow – dairy? beef? Reddish? Black Angus?

And this is the beginning of the citrus page, one of my favorite designs in the book. I don’t know why I started at the bottom of the page. Look – more blue! It makes the yellows and oranges look brighter.

This stuff is time-consuming. I think it is probably the most fun for people who don’t draw or paint (or knit). It would be a fun group activity – a bunch of friends sharing conversation, ideas and colored pencils or markers. A bowl of M&Ms would be appropriate too. . . dark chocolate, if I’m there.

You can get the Heart of Ag coloring book at the Three Rivers Mercantile, Rosemary & Thyme or the Mural Gallery in Exeter, or on my website here. And, of course, if you see me around somewhere, I almost always have some in the trunk of my car, along with many of the other books I’ve published. (coloring books and The Cabins of Wilsonia)

Self-publishing Trail of Promises

Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 in Publishing and Editing | 4 Comments

Looking up to Bishop Pass. Louise A. Jackson photo. This will appear in Trail of Promises in black and white.

Looking up to Bishop Pass. Louise A. Jackson photo. This will appear in Trail of Promises in black and white.

It used to be that self-published books were the poor cousin of traditionally published books. They looked and read as if they needed some serious editing and design help. My British friend has a phrase for such projects: “Loving hands at home”.

The quality and success of self-publishing depends on how much work the author wants to put into the process.

Louise A. Jackson and I want Trail of Promises to look completely professional. Completely. Our goal is perfection, or as close to perfection as we can get with our current level of skills and knowledge.

There is self-publishing and then there is assisted self-publishing.

The folks whose story Louise is telling planned to do assisted self-publishing. When I got involved, I suggested real (unassisted?) self-publishing so they would not have to pay for a package deal that cost an arm and a leg in addition to buying the books to sell.

In all this wrangling and deciding, we decided that I am the publisher!

So are they traditionally published by Cabinart Books? Or is it Louise who is getting traditionally published by Cabinart Books? Or are Louise and I self-publishing together?

Who cares? Trail of Promises promises to be a beautiful book that tells an intriguing story of 3 people who packed the John Muir Trail with mules. It didn’t turn out the way they planned.

I’m hoping the book will turn out the way we planned, as we continue awaiting the proof copy.

Coloring books will be available again on July 1, 2016. You may order, but it will involve a wait.

Having a Book Baby Named Trail of Promises

Posted by on Jun 15, 2016 in Publishing and Editing | No Comments

mules in a meadow by water

A good meadow with sufficient water for the animals was not always easy to find at the end of a long day’s ride. Collection Mike McGinnis from upcoming book Trail of Promises

This photo will appear in the book in black and white. It is one of my favorites. The photos are really quite amazing, and all 144 photos and maps are necessary to make the story come alive.

Louise A. Jackson, traditionally published author of 5 books mostly on the history of the Sierra, has a new book coming out soon.

We don’t have the exact release date for Trail of Promises. There are a few more details to hammer out, a proof copy of the book to get made and then to be read through by Louise, the 3 people whose story she told and by me, probably a couple of last minute changes, then more waiting.

Louise likens writing a book to having a baby. She used the words “throes”, “labor” and “delivery” multiple times throughout the process. I haven’t had a baby, but I have published 2 hard cover books and 2 coloring books, so I agree with her choices of words.

I think it is like having a baby and then not being allowed to see it until it is an adult.

Together we chose photos, edited those photos, edited chapters, rewrote paragraphs and sentences, struggled over the right way to phrase things, scooted paragraphs and entire chapters, named the book, examined minutiae of the design, struggled with misbehaving technology, and laughed our heads off.

It was a privilege and a pleasure to spend time with this very dear friend, making this book come to life, working out all sorts of difficulties.

I hope it is a pleasure for all to read this story, Trail of Promises.

More details to follow tomorrow.

Coloring books will be available again on July 1, 2016. You may order, but it will involve a wait.

Book Cover Revealed

Posted by on Jun 13, 2016 in Publishing and Editing | No Comments

Hours, days, weeks, and months of book design, and at the end I said to myself, “SELF!”, I said. “YOU HAVE NOT FINALIZED THE COVER DESIGN!”

Yes. I was shouting at myself in my mind.

We judge books by covers. How else will we decide whether or not to pick them up and read the words on the cover, the back, the flap or the interior?

Presentation is EVERYTHING.

DRUM ROLL. . . . . . . . . . . *********!!!!!!!!!


Trail of Promises

The border looks a little rough and wonky due to my inept attempt at a screen shot. Please don’t judge this cover by that stuff!

Trail of Promises back cover

Ditto to the disclaimer from above.

Doesn’t this look like a real book?? ISBN, bar code, publisher name. . .

More will be revealed in the fullness of time. . .

Coloring books will be available again on July 1, 2016. You may order, but it will involve a wait.