One of the good things about going through things is that you find surprises! Today's loot included a very pretty brooch, acquired in Alaska and never taken out of it's packet. I also found a photo of an adorable little toddler, identity unknown, but Liam thinks it's the grandson of an old friend in NY. The last surprise was also a photo - Liam with an Unknown Woman. He does not know her, does not remember the photo being taken, or anything...it was pre-me, anyway, so no need to worry...many other items of intrigue among the paid bills, explanations of benefits as nauseam, and paycheck stubs...a handwritten note from a little kid to Liam telling him his Dad loved to whump him at racketball; and he would like to play him sometime; a brochure from a fancy Hotel in Tokyo (ah, the days of Business Travel!).
All I found belonging to myself was a doctor report from 2005 in amongst all this stuff...I would never have found it, had I been looking for it. Not that it's of the smallest relevance now. I parted company with that particular organ some years later.
It's time to work on the above, but first, a few words about my successes...I love how, in the bathroom, I know where everything is at last.
I am not yet finished using all of my leftover bits of moisturing creams and hair products! Granted, one particular conditioner is really no good, so that's gone. As for others, I made a few nice discoveries, that oils for skin are as good as creams. Sesame seed oil (got used to the scent, anyway, can mix it with lavender oil which I have too).
I think I've saved $30-40 in the last three months, by collecting all of these little leftover bits together and resolutely using them!
The Paper Purge continues. That's quite a chore as some papers go back 30 years or more.
I have 3 books for Sale online. I used Amazon CreateSpace to produce them, Amazon and Nook Press (Barnes&Noble) and IngramSpark for Distribution.
Each marketplace has it's own Rules. Imagine renting space from different landlords in the Town Square to sell your books. In one, you have to purchase a special ISBN peculiar to them and no other Space. (NookPress). It costs $10 per number from Bowker. In another, there's $54 Hello Money (Ingramspark) for print and digital and your print edition isn't working cos they keep telling you you've formatted it wrong, or the metadata doesn't match, and when you ask them why, and what can be done, there's silence for several days followed by a cryptic response that makes no sense. On Ingramspark, I have to get software to convert my .docx to .epub. And - the interface hasn't got a Friendly look, though it assures you that they welcome the self-publisher. I've no doubt if you know your way around it, it's ok, but the support is slow. And what is Lightening Source anyway?
Over at Amazon, the landlord tells you that he's moving you from the Space you have occupied for some time to another, and you have to set up all over again. Actually, he has moved the books for you already, from CreateSpace to Kindle Direct Publishing. He's helpful, but tells you that you have to redesign your paperback covers - no matter - you can do it right there with their software. OK. the new Cover Creator is a bit limited, but then you can upload your own print-ready PDF. Fair enough.
Now here I am running between three Spaces. There are no sales from Nook or Ingramspark, but Amazon KDP is seeing some, and getting very good Reviews...I think about enrolling in KDP Select to reach a wider audience, but must first take my digital edition off sale in the others.
Which leads me to think that it would be far less complicated to vacate Ingramspark and Nook since there's no movement there anyway so I decide to at least take my digital edition off-sale in Ingramspark - but there is no way for me to do that on my end. That's a bit annoying. Nook Press - no problem, I can do it. Done in three clicks.
Three days after asking Ingramspark to take my Title off sale (in fact, I decided to end the relationship completely, though I'm down $54) they do it. (I'm a little offended they didn't even try to keep me, but I have zero sales and they have their Hello Money).
I now have digital edition exclusivity with Amazon.com, and all my Titles are in KDP Select.
It means I can also delete all the How-to and Guides related to Ingram Spark and Nook on my hard drive. Declutter that!
Now, let's think about Amazon Ad Campaigns.
I revised my opinion of earlier! This was to save myself the agony of whether to part with beloved books or not. However, I don't like EVERY book in my possession...looking for a particular title today I opened a cupboard at the bottom of the bedroom bookcase (yes we have a bookcase in the bedroom!) and came upon a stack of books in there, which I haven't examined in years maybe.
Two chick-lit novels, one of which I threw in the recycling cos of a porny scene, the other going to Goodwill.
A Mary Higgins Clark mystery (I know who did it, don't I?)
A few how-to-make-money-from-writing books from the same period, now obsolete, as being before the Tech Age; in any case I kept my Day-Job and am now retired and receiving a pension. For 40 years I longed to write for a living because I didn't want to go out to work. Issue resolved.
A book I kept was: 'Organising for the Creative Person.' Published in 1993, a note tells me the date I read it - I was engaged (how did I find the time?). I remember those months as happy but frantic! Maybe I thought it would help me then!
I wonder if it's worth reading again.
Another book I kept was Molly Keane's novel 'Taking Chances' first published 1929. I read it before but all I remember of it is someone who doesn't like the Hunt and who ate an orange before going to bed, which is acidic.
Worth another read. As is the novel by Robindranath Tagore, 'The Home and the World'
When am I going to read these? They're now cluttering up my bookcase instead of being hidden away!
Am I not too attached to my books? Is there a spiritual issue here?
A TRIP TO IMPERIAL CHINA
I can't sleep these nights. I'm getting exercise, and fresh air, so what's stopping me?
It's a Drama I found on Amazon.com called 'Empresses of the Palace'.
It's very complelling and I'm hooked, it's very involved and has numerous characters and plots and subplots, plenty to keep wondering about. (but thankfully I have watched all 6 Episodes now).
This came out in China as 'the Legend of Zuan Huan' with a whopping 76 episodes! It was a huge success. The International version is only 6 episodes and subtitled. The latter are done very well, no grammatical errors or odd phrases.
It's about three girls who enter the palace of the Emperor in 1700's China as concubines. (This would be before the British discovered opium and tea and the riches to be plundered from the East). The story centers on Zuan Huan (everybody seems to change names several times, very confusing), an intelligent, discerning girl who wants the best for everybody but who finds she must protect herself from other concubines. There's a lot of jealousy, plotting, scheming. Even of her two friends, one deserts her. The Palace doctor is in love with Zuan Huan, as is the brother of the Emperor.
The score is beautiful, the costumes also. Headdresses very elaborate. And what is that long item like a cylinder they wear on their fingers?
Very involved and not easy to keep up with it. So that's my Head Clutter. That's why I couldn't sleep. Also probably staring at a screen isn't that good for your brain. I spent ages last night wondering who the mother of the Fourth Prince was - how could I have missed it? It turns out that the Fourth Prince was fathered by a lowly palace maid and I don't know if she's even in the Series.
I'm so glad Hollywood didn't get their hands on this. They would have ruined it. China closed the bedroom door (or curtain) and though horribly cruel punishments were decreed and alluded to - one never saw them. I really appreciated that. I'll never forget what HBO did to 'Rome' some years ago. It was a good historical drama ruined by nudity, vulgarity, graphic sex and violence, I gave up on it.
'Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace' is a sequel - dare I?
Empresses in the Palace
Catholics understand that we have to go to Reconciliation every so often, cos those sins they pile up! We need the Grace that comes from confessing and being granted Absolution.
In recent years I've taken this Sacrament more seriously and put more thought into it beforehand. Because I have a little anxiety about becoming tongue-tied, or because my memory isn't as sharp as it was before, I began to write down my sins and faults and struggles on a piece of paper.
I didn't realise at first how good this is! It's very private of course, and I always destroy it afterwards. Now, here's the great bit!
Instead of tearing it up and throwing it away, I often hold it under running water. Then I see my sins dissolve - go - they aren't there anymore - they don't exist!
What began as a memory aid has turned into a powerful spiritual gesture, my sins washed away in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
I went to Confession today. It's good to get the soul cleared of all that accumulated clutter.
The image is from Healthycatholics.com which I came by today. if you're anxious about Reconciliation, it's a great read.
I hope it's not the sin of theft to 'take' the image, after I have been to Confession (!) but no, it's in a good cause and I'm not making money from it...
Where does all the paper come from?
All I know is, it piles up and up. Some years ago I persuaded my husband to buy a shredder, and he did - one supposed to be suitable for home use. I think I used it about twice. It's too slow! Heats up and then you have to stop and wait for it to cool. I understand many do this.
It's much easier to shred only that part of the document that refers to our personal information, and just toss the rest into the regular recycling.
What's the point of shredding an entire document when my identifying information is only on the first page, so much easier to tear it off, and tear or cut it into tiny pieces - quicker too.
It can be a boring job so I often listen to a documentary on YouTube or something.
I was the only car at the Recycling Center, it took all of 5 minutes to drop several bags in.
Only a con-artist should have several aliases. I find myself with Three Names on Amazon, which makes my Author Page unworkable.
Here's why - let me go back to 1956, when my legal name was entered into the birth register as Mary (a hangover from British Colonial days no doubt) and my parents decided I should be 'Máire' (Mara) the Gaeilge for Mary.
So - I move to the USA in 1995, and Mary is on all my personal papers.
I published my first book in the 2012, under the name 'Máire Flannery' because I identify as Máire, to use a modern phrase.
But Máire causes all kinds of problems in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland. It becomes Marie. Or - people understandably pronounce it 'Mare'. Which I do not like. I don't identify as a Mare! People also pronouce it Maury, like the TV personality Maury Povich. Not to keen on that either. Also it's a bother to enter the accent every time I write it, like now.
Back to Mary I went.
My next book was under Mary T Flannery.
My next, evidently forgetting the above, was Mary Flannery.
So when setting up my Author Page on Amazon, I enter the name Mary Flannery, only ONE book shows up.
So I have to decide on one version of my name and stick with that!
I used to dream of a Pen Name but that's too troublesome when filling out Tax Forms etc. Not that my income from writing brings me in anything...it's a hobby.
There is another writer named Mary Flannery, and then there's Mary Flannery O'Connor, the famous Southern writer, who I should admire (everybody tells me) but her stories only depress me.
I thought fleetingly of changing my name by deed poll to Mary Mara Flannery. It has a nice ring to it, and nobody can mispronounce it! It's not worth the trouble. And putting that on book covers would take up too much space, believe me, this is relevant.
I have to go back and alter my author name on the cover of 'Melody in Tea'. A good thing I'm handy with Photoshop. Then there's the bother of uploading all the new versions, getting them approved and going live.
This self-publishing process is very involved, but it's very stimulating!
Is there any way, when you are working with multiple Graphics, to cut down on outdated Photoshop and PDF files?
I have a habit of doing 'Save As' for many changes I make, with the current date in the name, so I know which one I'm working on. This is handy because I may not return to this file for months, so I just pick out the latest one from a list.
Should I not delete all of the other, outdated ones? It would make my life simpler...in th example, I had to update Author Name. This is because of - I hate to admit it - Name Clutter! How many names, versions of names can you have?
I don't know how I wandered into my Junk Mail folders in 4 email accounts. All I know is that going in there felt like I was confronted by a screaming mob.
Why do I get emails from SilverSingles? SeniorSingles? AIG, Fidelity and other Insurance Companies? Walk-inBathtubs? Someone wants me to go back to work as a Lyft driver. I thought I blocked the pompous clump of words called 'the Irish Times'. 'The Guardian', too, to whom I once donated 5 pounds and instantly regretted it.
Thousands of them, like stinging bees.
It took me an hour to block them all.
I remember why I opened up the folders, to look for something from BooksGoSocial about Kindlepreneur. I get so many emails from the former I marked them as Junk, as most of them are ones I'm disinterested in. But occasionaly, there's a Gem. However, I didn't find what I was looking for.
It's my birthday, having a glass of wine now...here's to writing!