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Feeding Morena an apple and the dogs want some too

The cats know how to spend a rainy day

John, cooking breakfast on our propane stove during one of several Reco...

John, ready to go to our Pirate, pool and pig party

Pirata

Our two dogs, Theodore and Sophie, and a neighbours' dog

Brown Dog, trying to hump Morena while I ride her

Lisa and me, having fun at BJs Backyard

Donna Lay suggested I use a different color for each book -...

Blue for the blue, blue water of the Bahamas

Green for the jungle and the water in the Rio Dulce

John speared this lion fish beside the boat


I'm back in the saddle again - both figuratively and literally.

I'm more than happy to report that the third book in the Diamond Lil series, DL Does the Rio Dulce, is finally finished. The writing of it is finished, that is. One of my all time favorite quotes is "Anyone can write a book but it takes a genius to sell it." I can't remember who said it but it's so true. The easy part is writing the book. Then, the tough part comes.

When I finished the first book, I set to work trying to find a publisher. I googled marine and boating publishers and focused on them. I sent the manuscript(digital of course)to several of these publishers. I bought a book listing all the writer's agents and sent the manuscript to several of them. I discovered that most of the books for sale in West Marine stores were published by Paradise Cay Publishing, so I focused on that company. I could envision my books, lined up on the shelves in West Marine stores everywhere!

I was thrilled when Matt Morehouse, from Paradise Cay Publishing, replied to my email message and asked me to phone him. I called him in California and had a long chat.

He wasn't ready to publish my Great Loop Book but he was intrigued with our travels to the Rio Dulce and beyond. When you get to that book, he told me, we'd be very interested.

He suggested that I spend only six months trying to find a publisher and if nothing came of it in that time, I should self publish. Six months of rejections went by and I did exactly as he told me and self published the Loop book.

Book #2 came along and once again, I sent the manuscript off to Matt and talked on the phone. We don't want to publish it, he told me, but if you can make and few changes add running title at the top of every page, we may distribute it. I made the changes he requested and tried and tried to add the running titles to my draft.

By now, I was already well into the third and most fun to write book. I decided to forge ahead with this one and was able to add the running titles and Matt's other requests to this draft.

I wasn't spending nearly enough time on the book as I did with the first two. I was travelling to Canada more often - a good thing. We have so many friends here now that our social life was booming. We have a horse to keep us busy and all my plants to water and tend to. Well, I just wasn't get anywhere with the book.

Then one day, my good friend Lori, who proofread books #1 and #2, sent me an email message. Her husband, Mark, was away in the U.S. Her online job had slowed down and she was bored. How soon could I send her Chapter 1 of the book?

This was exactly what I needed. Some chapters were almost done, others not. I don't start with Chapter 1 but jump around from place to place each day, depending on my mood. Now, I had to buckle down and go from the beginning to the end, hopefully before Lori got more of her own work and Mark returned.

I started sending her chapters of the rough draft and she proofread and sent changes. I tried to keep up with her but it was tough - she's a workhorse. We made it all the way through and then I sent her draft #2, in it's entirety. She read again and I made more changes. She read it a third time and I made more changes.

At this point Rick Davidson dropped me a line to see how the book was coming along. He had done some great work proofreading book #2 for me, so I asked him if he had the time and interest to help with this book. He offered to help, so I sent off the draft to him. Then, I asked Donna Lay, who had made some great suggestions about my first two books, after they were printed, if she had the time and desire to help. She agreed.

I have realized over time that writing a book is a team effort - you just can't do it by yourself. After I made Rick and Donna's suggested changes/clarifications, I sent it to Lori and she read it one more time. Finally, we thought we had all the kinks out of it.

Finally, after a year and a half, on January 16, 2014, Diamond Lil Does the Rio Dulce was born.

I am still waiting for the kindle version to come out but it takes a little longer. The paperback version is on sale on amazon.com right now - but I still get my full royalties, so get your copy while the sale lasts. It will hopefully be available on amazon.ca and other online booksellers soon as well.

Matt asked to see chapters 1-3 in the digital form and wrote back to say, once again, that they were not interested in publishing the book, but may want to distribute it. I shipped him a book the first day it was available. I wrote a few days later, only to find that the book had been received and then disappeared. I hope someone is enjoying it. I sent Matt a second book, which is due to arrive Monday Feb 3rd.

I shipped a box of books to Suzanne's place in Barrie and it is there, waiting for my family and friends. I shipped a box to Roatan and it is sitting in Miami, waiting for the very slow DIP Shipping Company to send it on February 1st. Those books will be here when I return from Canada on February 15th.

I'm busy every day trying to advertise the book. That's the down side of self publishing. Nobody advertises for you, except for helpful friends and readers. Amazon sales are hard to make, but since the book went live I've sold 12 on Amazon - 7 of the new book, 3 of book #2 and 2 of book #1. Even one sale a day makes me happy.

Literally speaking, I am back in the saddle again, although for very short periods. I have been on Morena's back 8 times now, 7 times bareback and most recently, with the saddle on. It's a little frightening, to think of hitting the ground at my age, so I'm taking it slow and being very cautious. So far, she hasn't minded at all, except once, when our newest dog, Brown Dog, decided that she looked, or smelled, like a female dog and tried to mount her. That made for a quick dismount.

It's been a very rainy rainy season here in Roatan. The weather has been cooler, which is a nice change from the steamy summer. We enjoyed having Lisa here for two weeks. There is never enough time here for all the things we want to do, even though we have a lot of time. It is beginning to dry up and we are enjoying the nicest weather of the year.



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