PleasantValleyPress.net Blog

May 4, 2010

More “book reports”

In my last post, I mentioned I had picked up four books the local library had ordered for me, and had begun reading two of them. Since then, I’ve started on the other two. Yesterday, I got an email notification from the library that a fifth book had arrived and, this morning, another notification for another book. I’ve definitely got my work cut out for me!

Maud (1883-1993): She Grew Up with the Country, by Her [ Maud’s ] Son Mardo Williams, was the first of the two as-yet-unread books I picked up and I feel like I really hit the jackpot. The only thing that could make it better would be if the story wasn’t about a farm family. But since there was one farm in our family where dad and his parents spent their summers, and since his family lived on at least one farm after they left Pennsylvania, I now have a much better idea of what those farms–and life on them–might have been like in the years between 1899 and 1912 or 1914. Of course, I’m not sure whether or not my family’s farms were working farms or if they just liked some distance between themselves and the closest neighbors–something else I need to research.

The book is fun to read. Maud lived to be 110. When she was 106, her son realized that if he didn’t get her story down on paper soon, he might never be able to do so. As Mr. Williams says in the Prologue,

…  And no one could know that it was the start of a 110-year lifetime during which Maude B. Allen would witness the most amazing transformation of civilization in history…  During her lifetime would come the telephone, radio and television, the automobile, airplane, jet planes, rockets and space vehicles, the typewriter, cash register and computer, all parts of the industrial revolution which transformed home and workplace. Candles and coal oil lamps became obsolete; new water services added to comfort and health (and in so doing eliminated the historic outhouse), and oil/natural gas explorations expanded the quality of life by making attainable both clean heat and efficient power.

I’ve thought about those changes for years, mostly about how much my dad would have loved the ones he didn’t live long enough to see. And I’ve thought about those just in my lifetime, the ones I was aware of. Reading Maud helps me understand how significant they had been to those who experienced the earlier ones.

The best part: it has everything I didn’t find in The Country Undertaker’s Wife–truly personal stories, beginning with Maud’s wedding, wedding night, and the “dreaded ‘belling'” from which no newlyweds (more…)

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April 30, 2010

More updates

Filed under: News & Updates, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Sunny @ 5:40 PM

First, the really good news: I have Sheree Zielke’s FINAL manuscript. I’ll get the formatting finished up (or begin to, at least) first thing in the morning and hope to send Martha’s Vine to the printer very soon. Check back for updates…

But maybe not here! I am considering a new blog host–not because I have any  problem with WordPress. I love almost everthing about it except that I can’t advertise on my blogs! I can easily import a blog to the new service, but am not sure whether or not it will wipe this one out in the process.

If you do try to look here for updates, excerpts, etc., and can’t connect with the site, please use the link on the publishing company Web site, PleasantValleyPress.net, for the new link. I’ll also post it on Twitter, Facebook, and other sites where we have a presence.

I’m sorry about any potential inconvenience this might cause, but would like to be able to add a select few ads to my blog and do a bit of advertising for the services available through PleasantValleyPress.net.

April 24, 2010

Missing sidebar & links…

Whoops! I just noticed that the sidebar and links vanished in the process of importing the blog to its new home. I’ll begin adding pages and reconnecting everything shortly. In the meantime, if you’d like

  • to read excerpts from Living on the Sunny Side,
  • read about the PleasantValleyPress.net authors,
  • and/or get more information about the services PleasantValleyPress.net has to offer

please visit our Web site and see the appropriate pages.

April 23, 2010

New URL for the PVP Blog

Filed under: News & Updates — Tags: , , — Sunny @ 6:11 PM

Not long ago, my Web hosting service notified me that they would no longer provide WordPress blogs as part of the price of my Web site. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the email that provided the deadline for exporting the existing blog to a new WordPress (or other) blog. Fortunately, I did print out the instructions on how to create a new home for the PleasantValleyPress.net updates, authors, and books, and how to import the existing stuff  to the new blog.

I put off doing the deed for a while… between car problems and computer crashes, taxes, and other day-to-day annoyances, I wasn’t exactly in the right frame of mind to try something new (to me) and technical, having spent so much time setting up software on my new hard drive and getting everything configured properly. But since I wasn’t sure if it had to be done by the end of April or if I had until the end of May… I took the proverbial bull by its horns and went for it. Piece of cake, really, and quicker than I expected. Thanks, WordPress, for the good instructions!

So here we are, set up and ready to go. Since it’s a fresh start, I’ll keep this site primarily for updates relating to the Indie publishing business, and start a new personal blog for opinions, essays, etc. I’ll post a link here soon, in case anyone actually wants to read my opinions on a variety of subjects.

Speaking of PleasantValleyPress.net updates, Sheree Zielke (almost) swore that the edit she’s finishing up now is the final, final edit, which means that in a reasonable length of time, I hope to be able to announce that the book is available for your reading enjoyment. Her long-time editor, Rob Christman, suggested a few edits and Sheree has done some additional rewriting. I thought the book–Martha’s Vine–was a great read when I got the first ‘final edit,’ but I happily admit that it has become even better now. Please check back for updates.

Sunny

March 30, 2010

It has been a long, cold winter . . .

… gray days, frozen and broken pipes, snow to shovel daily—and it finally got to me in the form of lethargy, low energy, and using any excuse to not do anything that didn’t have a hard deadline. It didn’t help that the winter Olympics gave me a good excuse to sit in front of the TV for hours on end. Literally, on end… playing solitaire on my laptop while I learned about and got addicted to Curling (Wikipedia has a good article that explains what’s going on and what all the  terminology actually means; I thought it looked like shuffleboard on ice… and on steroids!). Oh, and the car finally broke. That sent me into a mild, but temporary, depression. I’m happy to be rejoining the world now!

Updates on the status of Sheree Zielke’s book, Martha’s Vine:
Sheree and her husband got home from their adventure in Africa, followed by a week in London. It took her a while to get past the jet lag and (I suspect) exhaustion of what sounds like a fantastic photo safari. But she has almost finished her final edit of Martha’s  Vine, after going through a print-out of her manuscript for last minute corrections. She’ll have her long-time (I mean really long time!) editor, Rob Christman, take a look at her changes before I get the final version. I’ll finalize the printer-ready file soon as I get it. That shouldn’t take long, since 90% of the interior formatting is done. And Sheree’s very talented cover designer, Fred SanFilipo, will just need to tweak the cover to accommodate the final page count and it too will be ready to submit.

So keep your eyes open and check back here or on the PleasantValleyPress.net Web site. We’ll let you know when the book is published and available for purchase. It’s a good one, a real page-turner, with lots of adventure, complex characters, and plenty of unexpected twists and turns!

Also on the writing front, I’ve been working on my next book, mostly research. In the process, I was contacted by a woman  who, after viewing my dad’s family tree, emailed me to verify that we have a common great-grandfather. Turns out her grandfather was my grandmother’s younger brother. She was kind enough to send me the first photo I’ve ever seen of our great-grandparents, and my dad as a toddler on his grandma’s lap. Warning:  if you start getting into this ancestry/family history stuff, it can be exceedingly addictive.

My book,  The Notorious Mrs. Dauber, is probably about a year off. It’s a literary novel based on my father’s family history, and it’s a complex story. I need to learn much more about Civil War history; visit the primary places where the family lived; and be able to speak knowledgeably about everything from Typhoid Fever to how to kill off your (more…)

March 4, 2010

And I thought my next book would be easy to write!

All right, I never really thought writing a novel would be easy. I did, however, expect that writing The Notorious Mrs. Dauber might be easier than it could have been, since I had found pages and pages of notes and the drafts of two chapters—written by my parents before Dad’s death in 1942—about his family. The fictionalized story would be based on the notes. Piece of cake, huh?

Not so much. The reason it took me a while to get started is that I finally understood that I had no idea about where or how to begin. It was certainly an exciting story, and discovering the notes had been important for me: I was only fourteen months old when Dad died. I never had a chance to know him at all.

Yes, my mother talked about him occasionally. Their marriage was a very good one, and she idealized him beyond what even most kids could believe. But she had little to say about his family. When my older sister was ill and I understood that she wouldn’t be around much longer, I pleaded with her to write something for me about our father, just little snippets, memories. She grew up with him and loved him very much. Theirs was a happy, (mostly) normal family: full-time mother; dad with his own small business; and lots of fun, adventures, and happy times. Her response to my request? “What’s to write about? Nothing special; he was just Dad.” For the first time ever, she clammed up.

For a while, I thought it was sibling rivalry. I knew she was jealous of the advantages I had growing up, things to which she’d never had access. I believed she was denying me access to the normal family she had, preferring to be the sole owner of those memories, stories, and history, and take them to her grave with her rather than sharing them with me. At some level, I forgave her—a little. At another level, I simply couldn’t understand it, couldn’t understand why she felt it was necessary to punish me for the time and circumstances of my birth.

It wasn’t until the third read-through and first dissection of the notes that I began to understand why she might have chosen to let his family story die with her. She might have known that if she told me about Dad, the whole story might have spilled out.

Or maybe she knew about the notes and hoped I’d find them some day, rather than being responsible herself for telling me about our roots. In one of the stranger places my mind regularly travels to, I have even wondered if perhaps (more…)

February 8, 2010

Fun Times in the Central Ohio Snow

Yes, we got hit and no… in reality, there was very little about it that was fun.

It started to snow about 11:30 AM on Friday, February 5, and had pretty much stopped by around noon on Saturday. During that time, the power went off and then on three times. In the 24-hours period, we got about fourteen or fifteen inches of snow and twenty inch drifts in places. Fortunately, the winds were somewhere between non-existent and very minor, so it didn’t get as cold as it might have and did not officially qualify as a blizzard. But what was–for three or four hours–a winter wonderland quickly turned into an “Oh my God, we’re all going to die!” and an “I HATE SNOW!” event.

The two positive aspects: there was almost no traffic on the two-lane road in front of the house. It may be only a two-lane country road, but it’s also the primary route from Zanesville and State Route 16 to Mt. Vernon, about twenty miles to the north of my house. There’s normally lots of truck traffic but, a month after we were all singing about ‘silent night,’ we got it for real–except, of course, for the sound of trees falling in the woods, branches breaking, and large clumps of wet, heavy snow falling off the roof and the trees.

Moderate temperatures and a bit of sunshine Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning melted a bit of the snow. Today, the temperature is still in the single digits but the sun is very bright and more snow is melting. Good thing too: another five-to-eight inches of snow is expected tonight–this time, though, it will be colder and blustery.

The second wonderful part: my neighbors up the lane, the ones who bought my sister and brother-in-law’s house, plowed the lane, shoveled a path through the snow to my house, then took me to their house to warm up (gas heat), and have some lunch. The power finally came back on and stayed on, so I got to take a nice hot shower before they brought me home. They are wonderful and caring people. He (Bill) is fighting cancer, and not for the first time. If you pray for people, please add ‘Bill on the Hill’ to your list. Equallywelcome: healing thoughts, gold or white lights of protection… whatever your style may be, aim a few in Bill’s direction.

Sheree is home from gallivanting around Africa and London and her manuscript is ready for its final edit before we complete the interior design and send it off to the printer. She has some serious jet-lag to get past and a couple of other urgent matters to attend to as well, but I’m still hoping we’ll go to press this quarter.

Comments on Living on the Sunny Side on the Authonomy.com Web site have been encouraging–largely very positive. It was just listed in the POD catalog, so we are moving along…

January 23, 2010

First Two Reviews for Living on the Sunny Side

Review from ReadersFavorite.com–4 Stars: Sometime during the week of January 25, 2010, this review will be posted on the ReadersFavorite Web site. I’ll provide a link as soon as it’s available. The review will also be posted on Amazon with the book listing.

J. Timothy King Review–4 Stars: Tim King grabbed a copy of the free ebook (available on Sunny Side book Web site), read the whole book, and posted it as the Tuesday Teaser for January 19 on the J. Timothy King’s Blog. He notified me yesterday that a longer review will follow on another blog.

I just finished reading Sunny Deuber’s independent memoir, Living on the Sunny Side. (BTW, she’s made the PDF ebook available for free download from the book’s site.) My brief review:

Her adventures excited me, though the story often felt bitter, and it seems each one ended in crap. In the end, the story is about the thrill of the adventure, that the adventure is worthwhile for its own sake, no matter how it turns out. I will definitely continue searching for more independent memoirs, like this, to read, because it (like other similar works) gives a privileged view into the mind of someone so much unlike myself.
4 out of 5 stars: I liked the book, and want to read more like it.

And here’s my two-sentence teaser, from p. 143:
I didn’t shower before they arrived; didn’t put on any makeup,
didn’t even take my hair out of its pony-tail or change out of the
sweatshirt and hideous green pants I was wearing… Almost
immediately, Mary’s new [boy]friend began throwing small, harmless stuff
at me—crumpled-up gum wrappers, little paper balls from the soggy
napkin under his drink, and anything else close at hand.

-TimK

January 22, 2010

Tell The Truth Thursday January 21 response

Tell The Truth Thursday

The Question for January 21: – “Do you feel that advice from older people carries a special weight because of their greater experience?”

I’ll answer that the way I responded to a topic on Helium.com. The topic was something about whether or not people become less interesting when they get older. My response, in a nutshell: if they’ve never been interesting to begin with, they still won’t be interesting when they’re older. On the other hand, if they’ve always been interesting, they’ll probably be at least as interesting when they’re older… or maybe even more interesting.

In this case–and being almost older than dirt myself, I speak with some authority–some of us experience life as an ongoing learning experience. I am very observant, very analytical, and compulsively examine almost every mistake in my life to figure out where I went wrong, so I will know better next time. I usually refrain from giving unsolicited advice (depending on the circumstances–sometimes I simply cannot keep my mouth shut!), but when asked, will do my best to provide useful feedback.

On the other hand, I have known a ton of people my age and older who seem to have never learned much in their lives and can be counted on to either give really bad advice, or have no idea how to think ‘outside the box’ and come up with something that answers your inquiry! I mean, why do you think scam artists target ‘senior citizens’ so much? They already know that there are a lot of sweet and naive little old ladies and gentlemen out there who will buy whatever they’re selling. And this in a world where there are a thousand ways to quickly check and see whether or not the so-called offer is legit!  Like… “You are the grand prize winner in our xyz contest and have won a gazillion dollars. Just send us $5,000 to claim your prize!” They send the money, then find out later they’ve been had. Big time.

When I moved to California in September 2006, some guy in a gas station about forty miles east of Winnemucca, Nevada told me that if I didn’t buy four new tires from him immediately, I’d probably die before I made it to Winnemucca. He saw:

  • a woman with gray hair, traveling alone
  • no wedding ring
  • driving a car with Ohio license plates, and
  • a car piled full of household goods.

In his book, I was a perfect mark for his scam. I thanked him for his concern, promised to go into ‘little old lady’ driving mode and drive as far right as I could get, at forty miles an hour on I-80 with a seventy-five mile an hour speed limit, with blinkers flashing, until I could get to Winnemucca, get a hotel room, have a nice dinner, have a drink or two, play the slots for a while, then get a second opinion on the condition of my tires in the morning! The manager at the tire store in Winnemucca told me I could finish my drive to central California, drive back to Ohio, then return to California–at least!–before I’d need new tires. Got two new ones in the spring of 2009. The other two? Still going strong!

So… just like in anything else… you have to pick the people (of any age) you ask for advice rather carefully or, at the very least, verify what they tell you before you make any major decisions based on what they say. Some of us go through our long and happy lives learning from our mistakes. Others can’t even admit they’ve ever made a mistake, seem to remain naive and gullible forever, and will simply teach you how to make the same mistakes they made.

Me? I really had fun with that guy in the gas station and love telling the world how I messed up the scam he tried to pull on me! Boy, did that dude not know who he was messing with!!

January 17, 2010

"Living on the Sunny Side" available on Amazon

Living on the Sunny Side is now listed on Amazon and available for purchase. It’s kind of a lonely-looking listing, as there are no reviews yet and I haven’t updated my Author Profile.  The profile should be updated later today, and the reviews. . . well, I suppose that a few people will have to purchase, then read, the book before they have anything to say about it! I’ll wait. . .

On Amazon, I was unable to locate the Living on the Sunny Side listing using the author name, but it popped right up when I used the ISBN (978-0-9825758-0-2). It’s easier to just use the link to Living on the Sunny Side.

And remember that you can ‘try before you buy‘ by reading the excerpts here (see the menu on the right) or on the PleasantValleyPress.net Web site.

The listing may have been there for a week or more, but I’ve been working quite compulsively on Sheree Zielke’s book, Martha’s Vine, formatting it and preparing it for a final edit and publication. I promised myself I’d take Sunday off to check on the progress on Sunny Side and I’m glad I did! From the time I put in on Martha’s Vine, I can tell you that it is truly a page turner. I think part of the reason I couldn’t stop working on it is because it is a very good story and is very well-written. Sheree is an experienced writer, and that ‘s obvious in her first novel. I think you’re going to like this one . . . a lot!

To learn more about Sheree’s book, visit the Martha’s Vine official Web site. And watch this blog for status updates!

Thanks to our readers for your ongoing support.

Sunny

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