I’m an ebook wizard

Christine M. Grote

Well, maybe I’m not quite a wizard, but I’m certainly more proficient than I was three days ago.

Smashwords, an online multi-format ebook publisher, uses a “meat-grinder” to process book files. The author submits a word document; it goes through the meat-grinder and out comes a variety of ebooks that can be read on many types of platforms. You’re probably familiar with pdfs. Other formats Smashwords can produce, and then publish, include but are not limited to mobi for the Kindle, and epub for Nook.

This whole ebook business can be pretty complicated. But it’s all about what file types a particular software can open.

For the past two days I feel like I’ve been in a meat-grinder.

I used Scrivener, a terrific writing program and file system, when I wrote Where Memories Meet. Files in Scrivener have to be exported into a particular file type to…

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It’s a red-letter day

Where Memories Meet CoverWhere Memories Meet — Reclaiming my father after Alzheimer’s is online and available as a Kindle book on Amazon. My print book will follow in the next week or two, the universe willing and the creek don’t rise. And later I hope to reformat it into a word doc that can be used by Smashwords for other ebook formats. I’m a one-person show (with the help of many others), so I’m finding it challenging to have all the courses prepared on time. (I don’t do it well on Thanksgiving either.)

I hope if you plan to purchase and read WMM, you will consider leaving a short review on Amazon for me. It really does help me. I’d love to see your comments and answer your questions here too.

Now I’ve got to push through the print version. I’ve got the corrections made, my second proof copy ordered, and my book description and author bio posted online.

I’m going to take some time and reread my self-publishing blogs, over at Random Thoughts, from Dancing in Heaven and see if I’ve got all my t’s crossed and i’s dotted.

So far I feel only excited and happy, not sad as I had anticipated, about the release of this project I worked so long on with my parents.

Now. Where is my marketing director when I need her?


I have a cover

I’m excited to show you the cover for the soon to be published, Where Memories Meet – Reclaiming my father after Alzheimer’s. My daughter Anna designed the cover, as well as the interior of the book. Anna is an experienced graphic designer, having graduated from the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning with a degree in Graphic Design. She worked several years for McGraw-Hill designing layouts for text books, and presently works for Humana in their Design Research Department. I’m very proud of her, and grateful for her talents and help on this project.

Where Memories Meet Cover

I’m very pleased with Createspace for my publishing service. I sent them files early last week and had two print proof copies on my doorstep by Friday. I had to use a temporary cover because we hadn’t decided on a final design yet and I wanted to proof the text. Who knew there would be so many things to correct, even after all the editing and proof-reading?

Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to order a second, corrected proof copy. And hopefully I’ll give myself the publishing green-light after I see it. Soon.

Piqua, Ohio

The early years of Dad’s life story, as told in Where Memories Meet, occurred in Piqua, Ohio. Dad gave me this map to use and mark on as he was telling me his childhood stories in 2008. Black dots and other markings on the map designate Dad’s homes and other significant locations in his childhood.

Map of Piqua, Ohio city streets..

Map of Piqua, Ohio

Map of Piqua, Ohio – (Source unknown)

A brief history of Piqua Ohio can be found here at Touring Ohio.com.
More information about Piqua’s history can be found at the City of Piqua site.

Map of Ohio showing the location of Piqua.
map-of-ohio-cities(Source http://www.american-number-plate.com)



Stepping ever closer to launch

You might think that I’m excited about launching my next book, Where Memories Meet—Reclaiming my Father after Alzheimer’s, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But you wouldn’t be completely right. I’m feeling a lot of ambivalence.

As I get closer to finishing what my dad, and mom really, and I started more than seven years ago now, I realize I am crossing the finish line alone. They are both gone and will never see the book that Dad wanted me to write, and that Mom encouraged every step of the way.

Things like this propel the deep-seated, scarred over grief right up to the surface.

Gosh, I miss them.

So it makes me sad to finish this book, but I’m doing it anyway. Life is like that.

My daughter Anna, graphic designer extraordinaire, worked with me yesterday on the layout. She’s done a beautiful job with it. I can’t wait to see it in print. I hope to order a copy (with a temporary cover) today or tomorrow to proof. I remember the day I first received a print book of Dancing in Heaven in the mail in 2011. I video recorded it.

I’m probably not going to video record my self this time, but will be certain to have tissues at hand.

Next time, I’m writing a happy, whimsical, fictional book.

Member of the Post-once-every-two-years club

Here’s my first cliche: Time flies.

My last post here was May of 2013. I’m surprised I was able to string four words together at that point in time. It was only four months after both of my parents exited this life within two weeks of each other, under rather chaotic conditions. It took me a while, nearly two years, to recover.

I have been writing, editing, and revising my next book, Where Memories Meet – Reclaiming my father after Alzheimer’s. I’ve been up, down, and around the block about this book. Back in 2008, or maybe even earlier, my father asked me, “When are you going to write my story?” As this was well before I wrote Dancing in Heaven, he must have gotten the idea from the rather large and bulky family history books I had written, printed on my computer, and bound at Kinkos.

Sadly, Dad, and Mom, both are gone now and will not be able to reap the rewards of their patient responses to my questions about Dad’s life. It was not an easy task for me to listen to Dad’s voice on tape once he was no longer able to speak. I can tell you that.

Mom was my number one fan. She believed in me, as most moms do, I suspect. Continuing on with my writing became a lot more difficult in the absence of my loudest and most faithful cheerleader.

Well, the long and short is that I bullied my way through finishing Dad’s book and intend to self-publish it, as I did with Dancing. I tried something new and a little unusual in the telling of the story. Some have found it confusing. Maybe you can leave me a comment if you read Where Memories Meet and let me know whether you liked the choices I made in the telling of the story, or not.

I hope to make Where Memories Meet – Reclaiming my father after Alzheimer’s available in the fall.

The red on a blackbird’s wing

I’m finding it hard to write. My mind is so full of things it wants to say that it has created a logjam like the drainage stones I sometimes put in the bottom of a pot for a plant, the pressure of one against the others keeps them all captive and unable to slip through the hole.

So I make attempts to organize the information:

Letters to my mother—

Why did you have to leave when I wasn’t ready for you to go? Why was there so little time at the end, and that taken up by the necessities of life drawing down to an end like the last stingy trickle of shampoo squeezed from a bottle held upside down? I wish I would have known thirty years ago what I know today and then maybe I would have taken the time to really know who you were.

Observations on how the world has shifted, and why nothing seems the same.

Deliberations on what to do next to find meaning in what often feels like a purposeless life.

I could do a whole study on “things.”

Why do we have so many things? How can we just exit and leave everything behind? Should I begin to get rid of my prized possessions now so that my children won’t have to make heart-wrenching decisions as to whether my books get sold, donated, or stored in a box in someone’s basement? And is someone walking around today in my mother’s green spring sweater?  So many things. We buy because we think we need. We keep in case someday we might need. Or someone gave to us because they thought we needed or would like to have. Poof. We exit. And yet every thing that we kept, bought, were given, held dear, or merely tolerated, is left sitting on its shelf, in a cabinet, or in a drawer. Unclaimed freight.

Why do the things we leave behind plague me so?

Contemplations on the age-old question, what is it all about?

My world has shifted and my mind is full, yet I remain largely speechless.

But the crimson on the wing of the blackbird shines red in the sun to me. Still.