A World Without … Books?

Sometimes I think about how awful it would be to live in a world without books. Usually it’s a result of watching TV and seeing old footage of people burning books.

But then I reach for my Kindle, admire the towering digital-to-be-read pile that awaits me there, and forget about my concerns. After all, even if every print book on the planet disappeared, we’d still have our digital copies to read and pass on to future generations. Right?

Thankfully, Jan O’Hara’s recent Tartitude blogawakened me to the truth and the worst possible scenario. No power = no ereader.

A world without books of any kind?

This realization comes while I’m in the middle of decluttering my house, so that in 30, 40, or 50 years, my boys won’t have to dispose of our treasures (or what they like to call our junk). I’ve been parting ways with my beloved books, something I haven’t done since we packed to move to this house 19 years ago. At that time, every book I set into the box to give away broke my heart.

This time, though, I’m a little older and a little tougher. With every box I cart out of the house, I tell myself that eventually all books will be in digital form and I’ll be able to buy them for my ereader.

But now my overactive imagination has taken over and I’ve decided it’s less likely I’ll have to fight zombies in the future than do without books.

So what would I do if I got rid of all the print books in my house and the power went out … permanently?

My first thought is that I’d find pen and paper and write stories to entertain myself. My next thought is … what if there is no pen and paper either?

Ack! I’m a lousy verbal storyteller, unlike both my boys who can tell tales off the cuff. I’d start and stop and think, then want to edit every word uttered. Best to leave the verbal storytelling to those who are good at it.

And so, to alleviate my bookless fears, my decluttering has come to an end. The shelves of books and stacks of magazines will have to remain where they are until my boys are moving their dad and me into a much – much, Much, MUCH – smaller living space.

Till then, I’ll hold my long time friends near and dear to my heart because let’s face it, even a three day power outage could cause a diehard reader without a book to go into withdrawal and shock.

So while you all prepare for the upcoming Easter holiday, I want you to take a break and answer these questions. Have you ever thought about giving up your stack(s) of print books? Or do you think zombies will attack you before you ever have to live in a world without books?

Happy Easter everyone!

(Originally published at Women Unplugged.)

Fool’s Gold Anthology with Baby Fever by Sheila Seabrook

Welcome to Book 15 in the Bandit Creek series, an anthology titled Fool’s Gold with the short story Baby Fever by Sheila Seabrook! Yep, that’s me. This is the book everyone’s been waiting for. Well, I’ve been waiting for it. 🙂

I loved writing the story BABY FEVER. The two middle-aged, baby-hungry mothers were so sweet and cunning. Plus, the story gave me the opportunity to introduce the heroine, Liz Templeton, from my upcoming story WEDDING FEVER. I’ll be posting the cover for WEDDING FEVER soon, so stay tuned.

Prior to publication, I had an opportunity to read the stories included in the anthology and they’re all super. If I had to pick a favorite … well, I can’t because they were all so good!

Included in the Fool’s Gold anthology are:

FOOL FOR LOVE by Louise Behiel
A woman is dragged from a contented, happy marriage to a life on the run.

Two boys play an April Fool’s joke on their employer.

WISHFUL THINKING by Alyssa Linn Palmer
CeeCee tells Ruth about her past, but how truthful is she?

On her way home from her tour of duty in Afghanistan, Dr. Abigail Westward discovers it’s not easy to leave her fellow soldiers or the memories of combat behind.

BABY FEVER by Sheila Seabrook
Baby cribs and baby swings and a winking, blinking doll. Oh my!

LUCY’S APRIL FOOLS by Brenda Sinclair
Will this be George Jack’s year to catch Lucy in an April Fool’s joke, or will his wife outsmart him again?

Not all the rabbits in the mountains of Bandit Creek are cute and cuddly. Some come with a warning label.

Read Carla Roma’s interview with the Fool’s Gold authors or the Fool’s Gold story blurbs or buy the book. And be sure to stop by for the Facebook release party where you’ll have a chance to win some terrific prizes.

On the first and fifteenth of the month, check back for more new Bandit Creek books. There’s something at Bandit Creek for everybody!

Stay tuned for the follow up story to BABY FEVER. Coming July 15, 2012, WEDDING FEVER is Liz Templeton’s story.

Fool’s Gold is available at: Amazon and Smashwords

WG2E All-For-Indies Guest Post!

(Originally posted at the WG2E blog. I’m talking about my indie journey, publishing The Valentine Grinch in the WG2E Viva La Valentine Anthology, and publishing Wedding Fever and Baby Fever with the Bandit Creek Group.)

It’s a chilly, foggy day here in my little part of the world. Up on the prairies of Canada, we’re waiting for spring to arrive. What does this have to do with my indie journey?

I’m one of those impatient people, always looking to the next season. Spring, when I get to shop for flowers and spend the sunny afternoons on my knees, digging the young plants into the dirt. Summer, when the flowers bloom and fill the yard with colors and scents, and I get to enjoy the fruits of my labour. Fall, when I put away the watering can and make notes on what worked and what didn’t. And winter, when I hibernate inside the house, quiet and warm in front of my computer.

This has been my indie journey thus far, seasons of hard work, pleasant surprises, evaluation, and of course, the writing.

When I discovered the WG2E blog, I instantly fell in love with the idea of indie publishing. In the spring of 2011, I ventured forth and indie published my mother-in-law’s Soups For All Seasons cookbook. I learned how to format an ebook, tried to design the cover only to learn I didn’t have an eye for design, and had to hire a local photographer to finish the cover job for me.

A few months later, Tawny Stokes (who also writes as Vivi Anna), introduced indie publishing to my local RWA chapter. Thirty two authors joined together to write and indie publish a series of books set in a small fictional Montana town. The stories ranged from contemporary to historical to erotic, from horror to suspense to mystery … or as the logo on the Bandit Creek Books website states Everything Happens in Bandit Creek.

I have two contributions to the series, a short story in the Fool’s Gold anthology, titled Baby Fever, which will be available on April 1, 2012, as well as a novella, titled Wedding Fever, which will be out July 15, 2012. Both stories are humorous women’s fiction.

While working on my Bandit Creek stories, D.D. put out the call for authors interested in contributing to the WG2E All-For-Indie books and my contribution to the Valentine Anthology edition, titled The Valentine Grinch, became my first story to enter the indie publishing scene. Essentially, I’m still a newbie in this business, but I’m fortunate to be surrounded by people like D. D. Scott and Tawny Stokes.

Thank you to the WG2E blog for inviting me to share my indie journey today. If I have one piece of advice to share, it’s to write, write some more, then keep on writing.

I’d like to say a special thanks to D.D. Scott for her commitment to the WG2E community. This is my go-to place for all things indie and I’m filled with gratitude for DD’s enthusiasm and devotion to the indie community.


The Gift of Sight

My mother has macular degeneration, a medical condition which results in the loss of vision at the center of the eye. Eventually it spreads outward and causes blindness. This condition makes it difficult or impossible for her to recognize faces and read the newspaper. Although she still has enough peripheral vision to allow her to perform the daily activities in her life, there are many other limitations.

She cannot drive, nor can she check her grocery bill to ensure the charges are correct. If she uses magnification, she can read the headlines in the newspaper, but she is unable to read the tiny print in the article. Needless to say, when my dad was alive, we would often find him at the kitchen counter with her, reading the ingredients of a recipe out loud, and helping her get the right measurement in the cup. Gosh, they made such a cute couple, the memory makes me smile. 🙂

During mom’s annual visit to the eye specialist, she asked him if removal of cataracts would help her vision. The doctor thought it might and immediately set up an appointment with another doctor to have the procedure done.

As the day of the surgery approached, my mother started to get nervous. She’d heard that cataract surgery could worsen the macular condition. Since she already had one eye on the verge of being declared legally blind, and the doctor was going to start with her good eye, she feared she could come out of the procedure not being able to see at all.

The surgery was performed on March 16th, the day of her 84th birthday. Mom left the hospital with cloudy vision, then fretted for the rest of the day that the cloudiness would remain, leaving her worse off than she was before. The next morning, we went to the doctor for a checkup and he reassured us that the cloudiness would pass.

That afternoon, as we prepared food for a small family gathering to celebrate her birthday, mom asked me to read the wrapping on a package of ham because she wanted to know if it was smoked. As I silently scanned the label, she started to read the ingredients out loud.

It was a miracle. She read the package ingredients, the numbers and words around the stove dials, then brought out the cookbook to see if she could read it, too. And she could. She immediately called her sister to share the good news. When I called her the next day, she had been sitting on the couch with her magnifying glass, reading the articles in the local paper.

I never would have expected the removal of a cataract to give my mom the gift of sight, but it did. Now she can’t wait to have her other eye done.

Do you know someone who might benefit from this information? If so, please pass this story along.

For more information on macular degeneration, click here.

(Originally published at Women Unplugged.)

Walking on a Tightrope

I’m rewriting a story. I’ve been rewriting this story for the past two years. Every time I pull it out, I stare at the words on the screen, then decide I’d rather become a tightrope walker without a safety net. Instead of writing, I fold laundry, walk the dust bunnies, and stare out the window at the still falling snow.

I tell myself I’m thinking. Yeah, deep thoughts are good until they turn into the question: What if this story can’t be fixed?

So I put it away, only to pull it out a few months later. And the process begins once again.

Stare, think, jump in the truck and go visit my mom.

I’ve finally figured out that there’s an invisible wall between my current thought patterns and the way my brain worked when I first wrote this story. Back then, I wrote angst. Oh, how I loved to torture my characters, putting them into a world filled with emotional pain. Thumbscrews to the wall. Such writerly fun.

But then I went through a rough patch, a year when I desperately needed laughter in my life and couldn’t dredge any up. So it came out in my writing efforts.

I drafted four romantic comedies, relishing in the snark that showed up on the pages. Laughing with my heroes and heroines as they dealt with family and each other. I discovered a new home for my writing and a new voice to go along with it.

Still, this story drew me back. I loved the hero and heroine and desperately wanted to share them with the rest of the world. Soon laughter spilled onto the pages and my new voice crept into the manuscript. Every time I pulled it out, I bounced back and forth between the old story and new story, between my old voice and new voice, attempting to reconcile the two and find some balance between them.

I’m back at it again, torn between the angst and the humour, attempting to find a structure in which I can incorporate them both. Or maybe I’m just procrastinating, putting off the inevitable difficult work ahead or the realization that this manuscript can’t be fixed, that it needs to go into the deep dark recesses of my computer hard drive and vanish forever like a fugitive on the run.

What do you think? Have you ever decided to rewrite an old manuscript, only to discover you’ve changed and can’t change back? Have you ever had your voice change midstride, then tried to incorporate the new with the old? Have you ever read a book where the author seemed to struggle between two very different author personalities?

Come share your experiences with me. I’m walking on a tightrope, hoping someone will toss me a safety net.

(Originally published at Women Unplugged.)
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