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My second book, The Captain's Log - Diamond Lil Does the Bahamas

It's been a year and two months since I published my first book - The Captain's Log - Diamond Lil Does the Loop. Thanks to everyone who supported me by buying a copy, and in some cases, more than one copy.

As soon as John and I returned to Roatan from our summer trip to Canada, I dug out my Bahamas logs, photos and video tapes and began work on book #2. This one is called The Captain's Log - Diamond Lil Does the Bahamas.

I worked religiously, from Monday to Friday and half a day each Saturday, week after week, trying to bring our Bahamas adventures to life in the form of this book. At times it felt like my work would never be done.

Every day, at approximately noon, John would yell out of the boat, "MEL - LUNCH!" This made me chuckle each and every time, for in Roatan it is mostly the women who do the cooking, calling the men in for lunch. Sound carries across the water and I'm sure the fishermen and townsfolk think that a man calling his wife in for lunch is strange.

After lunch I went back to work, usually until I heard the telltale sound of John dumping a bucketful of ice from our icemaker into the cooler we keep out on our aft deck. This sound meant that the captain was getting ready for happy hour. My goal each day was to write 1,500 words and a frosty Salva Vida was my reward - not every day - but more often than not.

Slowly but surely, the book took shape. The proofreading began, with first Lori Soule and then Joe Berta taking a crack at it. Each time I went through the book, from start to finish, making the changes and corrections that these two wonderful friends sent me.

One day I was sitting with another friend, Marcia Quinn, a retired writer and editor. "I don't know why you don't let me proofread it," she commented.

So began my first experience with working with an editor. This was a humbling experience. I had to chuckle when John and I sat with Marcia and her husband Dennis at Cal's one evening. "You DO know the rules of comma use, don't you?" she asked me, quite tactfully. "I guess not," I had to admit, for I realized that this was one of my weaknesses. Grade school punctuation lessons are a distant memory to me.

So began my third re-write. Many, many commas came out, and a few were added. My compounds words also took a beating - one word, two words, hypen, no hyphen - it was another lesson learned.

"YIKES - long sentence" - she would write, "You don't need to make your readers work so hard," beside the bright yellow markings on my digital draft. She was correct, of course, and I went back through the book and attempted to correct these long, run-on sentences.

I was desparate to finish the book before John and I flew back to Canada for our summer visit, but this did not happen. I worked on the book at Lisa's while she was at work. I worked at Suzanne's, with children and grandchildren surrounding me. I worked at Dave's house in Aurora. I worked at three different libraries.

One day I realized that I had lost many of my word documents, including the book. So, after considering plunging to my death from Lisa's 8th floor balcony, I talked on the phone to John, who was back in Roatan. As usual, he talked me through my crisis and I set to work attempting to recover my lost files.

I had no luck, so my good friend Lori tried for me. She spent several days at this, but in the end we had uneditable files. Rick Davidson suggested a couple of downloads, but again, I had no success. My son Donald tried, and when he thew his hands up in the air, I knew I was beat. So, I began the laborious task of re-doing all the changes to a version that I had from about 2 weeks earlier.

At this point Rick offered to proofread my draft. His sharp eyes caught another dozen or so errors. Once I made all these changes, Lori proofread the entire thing for me AGAIN and once again, I went through and made all the changes.

Finally, I had a printable file. I ordered two sets of paper proofs and several digital proofs.

This morning, at 6:48 am, I clicked the button on the createspace book publishing and printing program that made my book go live! The message warns that it could take 5-7 days to show up on amazon's list of books for sale. Last time, this happened within a day, so I sit here, with fingers crossed, waiting to see my book become available.

I placed an order for my first 30 books. I was hoping to have them for this Saturday, August 25th - to take to Donna and Steve's annual corn roast. The message I received says they are due on Tuesday August 28th. Will I be watching my door for the courier to come before that? HELL YES!

I'll place an order for books to ship to Roatan very soon - since it takes several weeks to ship from Miami to the island.

To those of you who supported me by buying my first book - a big thank you. Hopefully you enjoyed it enough to order this one also.

When I return to Roatan I will resume work on book #3 - DL Does the Rio Dulce. Hopefully my missing file will be on the old hard drive that is stored down there. It was definately on the hard drive that was stolen when John and I were robbed as we lay sleeping one night. So much for backing up files!

I am enjoying a wonderful, long visit with my family and friends here in Canada. I miss my hubby terribly, and cannot wait to wrap my arms around him when I get back. I couldn't have done any of this without his support.

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