Tag Archives: book

2011 Was the Best of Times. It was the Worst of Times.

Yes, it was definately a year of tests and we’re happy to report …We Passed! We made our fourth dream trip with the latest book “RV Canada’s Far North On A Dream” but not without major upsets. We covered 18,129 km from June 15- Nov.29.

It all started May 26/11, when we took the camper van “Boo The Menopausal Van 2” which was loaded ready for the trip, to the mall so I could buy a new smart phone. Our cute little pup Pali went along for the ride. It almost was his last. In the 3o mins. it took to get the phone set up, the van caught on fire. We had no idea until a fellow came running into the mall, and hollered at Dave, “Come quick. It’s an emergency!” Still, I didn’t clue in so I finished what I was doing. I went outside to see the mall lot yellow taped off like a scene from a movie, crowds of people standing around, and flames and smoke leaping from the van. Dave’s first words to me was, “Pali’s ok.” Stunned, I just gaped at our little home. Pali had been rescued, taken to the vet, and pronounced healthy by the time I got out there. I was more shaken than him. It tooks months to get over that scene.

That was the beginning of our summer. It meant dealing with insurance; deciding what to do about the trailer packed ready to go but nothing to tow it with now, making arrangments and finding another unit. People suggested we cancel the trip and our answer was always no. This was just a pothole, albeit a rather smoky nasty one.

Short version of the story: We took the trailer to Vancouver Island, left it on consignment at the lot we bought a 32 ft motorhome from which was a rip-off. Our departure date got moved to June 15, and car in tow we left Powell River, and broke down on the peninsula(part way to Vancouver). Four days and over $2200 later we left Vancouver wanting to sue Upper Island Motors for misrepresentation. Again it was asked if we would stop the trip Again it was no.

The RV continued to break down for the 3 months we were on the road but we kept on. We cut out Yukon and NWT because the money was so tight by then and moved towards our next big dream to get to Churchill, MB to see polar bears. We made it there and stood in the Hudson’s Bay doing our traditional water pouring ceremony. Standing under a full moon in Churchill, we were ecstatic we hadn’t given up on our dreams.

But the tests weren’t over. Sept.7, while camped in Mancota, SK we got a message that our son Brent had been in a terrible car accident in the Yukon while up there working. He became a quadrapalegic and was in dangerous condition. Dave drove over 1900 km in 3 days to get us back to Vancouver where Brent was in VGH. We spent the rest of Sept, Oct. and most of November camped in Surrey, and driving everyday to the hospital to be by his side. I’m happy to say on this day Feb.11/12, he is doing very well with his mind as clear and determined as ever. He has new plans for a  new life. The prognosis is that he will never walk but Dave and I believe in miracles.

I feel like it was a summer book-ended by sorrow but in between its pages were wonderful stories, people, and experiences. It’s going to make a fascinating 4th RV Canada book due 2013 for the next cross Canada trip.

The moral to the story is that life is constantly changing, nothing is forever so don’t waste time, get out there and make your dreams come true. Love and appreciate your loved ones.


Toastmasters Improves Authors

You are the leader you’re looking for. Billy Jean King

I’ve been a member of Sunshine Speakers Toastmasters for almost eight years. It has changed my life in so many ways: increased confidence, better communication and leadership skills, and given me the courage to believe in myself so I can make my dreams come true.

But nowhere is it more valuable than in my life as an author. I know that writers typically would rather hide away in their room and write instead of standing in front of people talking. When the presenters at last year’s Festival of Writers both told the participants they should join Toastmasters, you could see the fear on many of their faces. Yet from that one brave lady/Donna who is serious about her writing took the plunge and joined. She gave an amazing first speech(Ice Breaker) last week.

If an author is going to sell their books to other than their friends and family then sooner or later they will be required to make a clear, passionate speech about their book. And I don’t mean just stand at the front with your head down and drone on reading page after page . . . boring! I’d rather eat glass than suffer through such a presentation. That’s where Toastmasters come in. I know I wouldn’t be speaking in front of hundreds of people milling around at an RV show were it not for Toastmasters. Yet for the third time that’s what I’ll be doing Mar.19-22 at the Chilliwack Humdinger RV Show, twice a day. Everytime I’m talking about my books, I give thanks to all I’ve learned from Toastmasters.

A side benefit is the warm circle you find yourself in where you can promote your book. I gave a speech last week about our trip to Newfoundland, using my latest book as background. I know I will have sales from it.

Bottom line: If you’re uncomfortable speaking in front of people or  reading your story or book, you need Toastmasters. It’s a friendly, safe and fun environment to grow up in. Check out: www.toastmasters.orgfor a list of clubs near you. And check out our fun club in Powerll River, BC: http://sunshinespeakers.wordpress.com

Is Self-Publishing For You?

Have you dreamed of seeing your writing in book form?Does it seem so very far away? We’ve moved past the old stigma that said the only way to be a “real” author was to send out your manuscript endlessly until someone somewhere decided you were good enough to publish. Those days are gone as we’ve moved into the era of quick, quality digitally printed works.

This is my third self-published book in seven years so I figure I’ve learned a thing or two about the process. But let me tell you right off the bat: It’s NOT for the faint-at-heart or the uncommitted or the lazy. If this describes you, stick to writing for pleasure . . . nothing wrong with that. But if you’re willing to leap off the cliff of dreams coming true and have the faith you will grow your wings on the way down, then read on.

My first book “Lessons From the Potholes of Life”:I knew nothing about publishing and little about how to lay out a book so I hired a local desk-top publisher to do the whole thing. All I had to do was type and give him ideas and he made it look pretty. I didn’t know I needed an editor. I thought he did that . . . wrong! Although people loved the book, there are many errors in it and it wasn’t cheap to produce. But the worst was finding out he never kept the files. Now it’s out of print, I have no files from which to produce another printing . . .grrr!

Lesson #1: Always use an editor to clean it up after you’ve had several people read it for you. Always keep your files. You own them, not the person you hired.

Lesson #2: Shop around for the best publisher or print on demand company. Ask other authors for their experiences.

My second book “RV Canada On A Dime And A Dream:” By this time I decided I needed to learn how to format my own book , really self publish, which I did using onlyMicrosoft Word. I hired someone for the cover design and had the manuscript proof read before going to an editor. I produced a professional looking book that sold well in a niche market.

Lesson #3:Unless you have Photo shop or some other fancy program, hire a cover designer. It’s the first thing people see and can make or break a sale.

Lesson #4:Find your niche and work  it. Because I’m an RVer and speaker, I found my niche at RV shows and writing for RVers.

My latest book “RV Canada With Boo the Menopausal Van:”I’ve progressed to being able to layout photos in the book. I found a great editor, Lewis Mattox online because I joined Linkedin site. I networked with anyone I could talk to so I found an old school chum, Ole Neilson who does cover design.  In my writer’s group Susan Litke, a wonderful illustrator did the cartoon for the cover. Because I was looking for the best price for printing I met Craig at Island Blue Print who gave me a fabulous price, excellent service and quick turn around time.

Lesson #5: Network everywhere and all the time. Join a writer’s group. Go to writers’ festivals. You never know where your support or business link will come from. Hand out cards everywhere, and keep cards for referrals.

Lesson#6: Both RV books are 6×9″ , 240 pages and under 500 grams so they fit through the mail slot that keeps them under the parcel post rate. They ship for $2.78 anywhere in Canada. That would be closer to $8 if they were over. Besides it keeps the overall price down so I can sell them for $20, a breaking point where people don’t have to think too hard about purchasing.

Lesson #7:Once you start on the manuscript, set yourself a timeline with set dates to reach for. Without a goal date, you could wander around the forest of procrastination and fear forever. I set myself a time line that worked back from when we wanted to leave(June 1) on the book tour. I knew I had to have the rough draft of the book done before Christmas08 and I did. The result? My book will be launched Mar.19 at the Chilliwack RV Show, a full two months ahead of schedule. To be out from under the stress in a short period of time feels soo great!

Can you produce your own book? Of course you can if you really, really want to make your dream come true.