Sunday, August 18, 2013

Switching Gears - Another Benefit of a Portfolio Career

For the past few weeks, I've been working hard on the edits for my contemporary bodyguard romance Unwritten Rules. It's now with one of my beta readers for what I hope will be a last read-through before I publish it later this month. Even when I'm satisfied with the text, I still have a major hurdle ahead. I'll need to format the manuscript for ebook publication--something I've never tried before. I've read articles on the subject and taken an online course, but I know I'm in for several days of hair-pulling frustration. 

To give myself a break before tackling the challenge of formatting, I decided to switch gears and work on cover designs. After living, breathing, and dreaming words for weeks, spending time with visual images was a welcome change. I came up with a couple of preliminary options for a Christmas novella I hope to publish this fall. If I don't finish it in time for the holidays, I'm not going to beat myself up. It will still be a wonderful story next year. That's one of the best things about self-publishing--I write to my own schedule.

I also started work on samples for pre-made covers I hope to offer through my new business, Creative Author Services, once I get it up and running. Although I expect to custom-tailor covers for each individual author, I want to give potential clients an idea of my artistic vision and graphic style. Ebook covers need to make a strong visual statement to attract readers even in thumbnail format, so I've tried to put together simple, striking images. By the time I open CAS for business, I hope to have a full array of examples. Here are a couple of early mock-ups.


Some people create a portfolio career from multiple jobs out of necessity, as a way to achieve full time employment. That wasn't my objective. After retiring from my full time job, I was looking for a satisfying variety of pursuits. I love being able to switch gears and engage both sides of my brain, and I expect to continue to enjoy it for years to come.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Progress at Last!

I promised to keep you updated on the progress of our mammoth remodeling project, and I'm proud to report that I finally have something to report! After weeks of delays, Monterey County approved our building permit for the additions last week, so work on the master bath and family room additions has begun. The contractor had told us he planned to dig the footings yesterday, but when OG and I went out to the house Sunday afternoon, this is what we saw:

Here's a picture I took yesterday of the foundation guy jackhammering into the rock for the footings for the family room off the back:

And here's my new office:

A big mound of lumber has been delivered, the roof has been removed, and carpenters were framing the skylights this morning. The contractor assures me they will now make record progress, but he tends to be a very optimistic fellow. We're a few weeks behind schedule, but I plan to remind him regularly how much I'd like to be in the house by the first week of December. After 24 years of living in Minnesota--where no one in their right mind would consider moving in December--it sounds funny to even talk about it. However, as long as I have time to unpack the Christmas ornaments and decorate the tree before our daughter arrives, I don't care.

This week is Car Week here on the Peninsula, and our daughter is flying out from Chicago this evening to attend several auto-related events leading up to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on Sunday. She and OG are both car nuts (I have minimal interest), so they should have lots of fun together.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I'm Not as Young as I Think

How can that be? I'm pretty active, and like all baby boomers, I think I look younger than my age. Why do I feel like an old woman today?

You may recall I reported I'd taken up yoga a couple of months ago. I loved it, and things were going well. For some unknown reason, this week has been different. Tuesday, I couldn't stretch as far, and my hamstrings were unusually tight. No problem, I thought. I'll just stretch them out, and they'll be fine. Thursday, they were a bit tighter and threatened to cramp when I did the same routine I've been doing painlessly for two months. Today I couldn't even make it the whole thirty minutes. The muscles and tendons felt like they were tearing loose from the bones. Yeow!

Fortunately OG is an old hand at athletic injuries as a result of running track and playing football in high school. He diagnosed over-stretched hamstrings, slapped an ice pack on the worst one, and prescribed ibuprofen. Ever the good patient, I complied and it seems to be working. I can climb stairs, and I successfully managed to shave my legs in the shower. I'll take a couple of days off to heal and see how I do.

I have no experience with sports injuries (can you count yoga as a sport?). I've never broken a bone or even sustained a serious sprain. As a result, the pain took me by surprise. At first I simply chose to ignore it. I'm used to discomfort going away if I ignore it. After all, I'm young, fit, and flexible. Right?

Not so much. For the first time, I have to face the fact that my body is aging and learn to listen to it. I need to accept it--maybe even learn to like it. More important, I need to learn to take care of it. One of the most sobering realizations of reaching the mid-century mark is that we only have one body, and we have to live with and adjust to whatever happens to it. I'll keep exercising every day because I want to remain as active as possible for as long as possible, but I'll treat my body with the kindness it deserves. We have a long way to go together.