Tag Archives: New-Year

Achievements, failures and RESOLUTIONS!

In a fond farewell to 2017 I thought I’d list my achievements:

I worked out how to use CreateSpace [after years of thinking it was too hard] and created print versions of 4/5 of my sci-fi novels, including all four covers for:

  • Miira
  • The Godsend
  • Nabatea
  • The Vintage Egg

I used the CreateSpace experience to write, produce the cover and print a non-fiction book called How to Print Your Novel with CreateSpace.

Then I got all ambitious and decided to do one for more complicated books. I am enormously proud to annouce that How to Print Non-Fiction with CreateSpace was uploaded to the CreateSpace website at 9:50pm December 31, 2017. Yep, I just scraped it in. The Non-Fiction book is not available yet as I want to road-test it a bit first, but at least it’s up there. 🙂

As for the failures, most were small – like trying to replace the bulb in my rangehood and failing miserably – and some were just plain enfuriating. I mean, I’m a grown woman, right? I eat well, stay fairly healthy, I even do a bit of physical exercise out in the garden…so why can’t I lose weight? I don’t want to lose a lot, just 5 or 6 kilos…grrrrr.

Anyway, let’s not talk about the past. 2017 is DONE. It is over, finished, consigned to the trash heap of history. 2018 is going to be a lot better and for me it’s already started…Ta Dah

You are looking at the ebook version of How To Print Your Novel with CreateSpace!

Remember that poll I ran a short while ago? The one where I asked you which screenshots were easier to see? Well the results were overwhelmingly in favour of the coloured screenshots, but that left me with a terrible problem as I knew the print version would be seriously expensive [around about $25 USD for the longer how-to].

And then I stumbled across a new-ish Kindle app called the Kindle Textbook Creator. Could this be the answer to my problems?

Before I continue I have to send Chris McMullin a huge thank you. Chris is a publishing guru who writes textbooks and wonderful, clear blog posts about all sorts of technical things. One of his posts became my ‘bible’ as I researched the Textbook Creator:

Optimizing Amazon’s Free Kindle Textbook Creator Publishing Tool

If any of you have thought about writing say, a cookbook, but were put off by the tech, I strongly recommend that you read Chris’ post and get to work.

Anyway, I took Chris’ advice, optimised a copy of How to Print Your Novel for the Kindle [Fire only] and went to work. I finished turning it into an e-textbook just about 2 hours ago and uploaded it straight to KDP. It was a breeze!

The Textbook Creator uses PDF files just like CreateSpace, and basically makes each PDF ‘page’ one page for the Kindle. But the thing that really makes it standout is the clean, efficient interface that makes everything intuitive and easy. Amazon definitely got it right with this one.

So there we go, two days into 2018 and I have an e-textbook to my name. 🙂

And finally to those resolutions. First up, I’m going to convert the How to Print Non-Fiction book into an e-textbook too. Then I’m going to take the Offspring’s advice and re-visit the cookbook I started a few years back. But mostly, I’m going to focus on the Vokhtah saga. Because I’m turning 65 in 10 days and I can feel my creative clock ticking. I’m a slow writer, and there are still a lot of stories I want to tell.

Oh…and that diet thing? I’m determined to win that battle too!

So, what about you? Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you manage to keep any of them? Should I just shut up now? -giggles-

Happy 2018 my friends,


Resolutions – yes, no, maybe?

I know my northern hemisphere friends are still busy bringing in the New Year, but here in Australia we’ve been there, done that. And no, I’m not bragging. It’s just that I’ve already let my New Year’s resolutions slide, and it’s only January 1. 😦

What did I resolve to do? Just two things, both ‘completers’ that have been hanging around the house for over six months.

The first is a flat pack, mini-greenhouse [apologies for the terrible photo]:

I did make a start...

I did make a start…

I bought the greenhouse off the internet in the hope that it would be easy to assemble. You’d think I’d know better by now. The damn thing has a million parts and the instructions are, as you’d expect, rat shit. But I can deal with all that. What I haven’t been able to deal with is the sheer physical effort involved in making the parts fit together. And before anyone asks, yes, I am trying to put the correct parts together. Those two things that look like small windows are panels for the greenhouse. Unfortunately, there are so many more to assemble. 😦

The problem seems to be one of gender. I’m reasonably strong for a 5′ 3.5″ tall, 63 year old woman. Unfortunately, everything seems to be designed for a 6′ tall, 30-something man.

I have absolutely nothing against 6′ tall, 30-something men. I think they’re gorgeous…but they have these very strong hands. Wait. That doesn’t sound right.


Things that come in flatpacks seem to be designed for people with lots of muscle and very strong hands.

But what about me?

I don’t want to beat the feminist drum, but really, would it be that hard to design flatpacks for the other half of humanity? You know, the women who have small hands and don’t look like plumbers?

At the risk of sounding sexist, all the gentlemen out there can go do something macho now while I talk about project number 2.

So…my second incomplete project was to turn a lovely sarong into a simple top. I do know how to sew, but this project has proven to be more challenging than I thought.

Mistake number 1 was that I thought I could whip something up without a pattern. Mistake number 2 was that I neglected to test the fabric before reaching for the scissors. Sadly, that lovely fabric frays like you would not believe, so every seam has to be hemmed first. Plus the fabric has a pattern that should match up…

Anyway, these two projects have been lingering like a bad smell for a very long time, so last night, as the minute hand neared 12, I resolved to complete them…first thing in the morning [January 1st, 2017].

So far today, I’ve mowed a great swathe of the back garden [because it was nice and cool]. I’ve also done some washing, tidied the kitchen, made a start on the floors, had multiple coffees and spent some time on social media. Now, I’m writing a blog post. In short, I’ve done anything and everything except what I swore I’d do last night.

-sigh- I am so tempted to throw both the top and the flatpack into the nearest bin. Why are New Year’s Resolutions so bloody hard to do?

Or in my case, ‘not happy, Meeks!’

Am I alone?



Vent – the worst New Year’s Eve ever

Here in Australia the countdown to the New Year has begun – 14.5 hours to go if my arithmetic serves – but my mood is anything but festive. I just learned that my car is ‘cooked’.

For the mechanically challenged, ‘cooked’ is a technical term that means the engine is cactus, dead-as-a-dodo, finito. 😦

Apparently some part of my radiator broke off completely as I was driving home yesterday [in the heat with a car full of perishables]. The engine immediately started to overheat but I didn’t notice because…the engine was making a very worrying noise. Totally focused on the engine noise, and desperately trying to calculate whether I could limp home regardless, I didn’t notice the temperature gauge rocketing off into space. By the time I finally pulled over and the engine ‘stopped’, it was all too late.

I know all this because I have a wonderful mobile mechanic who checked the car out once it had cooled. He gave me the bad news just moments ago.

What happened to me and the shopping yesterday? That’s the fortunate part. I’d bought a bag of ice in case we have another blackout tonight so I was able to perch most of the perishables on the ice until The Offspring could come pick me up. My poor old car is still sitting by the side of the road though.

Once I hit publish on this post, I’ll have to ring the RACV [roadside assist] and get the car towed home. Then I’ll have to do a lot of grim thinking, and more sums. I’m not quite destitute, but the dog needs her –cough– anal –cough– glands removed so that’s an unbudgeted expense, and now I’ll either have to fix the car somehow, or buy a rust bucket that may end up being far worse.

Just for the record, I’ve had Jimmy [my Corolla] since it was 5 years old. Jimmy is now almost 28 and we’ve grown old together. I don’t want another car…unless it’s a Toyota Prius, but even second hand that aspirational vehicle is waaaaaaay out of my reach.

So, at this point it looks as if I’ll have to wait until the wreckers open up again in early January. Then I’ll have to cross my fingers that my mechanic will be able to find a decent second-hand engine. Then the actual wait while the work gets done. Finally, I’ll probably have to pay between 3 – 4? thousand dollars and I’ll be mobile again. All during one of the worst bushfire seasons we’ve had in a while. Not great.

All things are doable if they have to be done, but juggling everything with just one car in a fringe area like Warrandyte where public transport is…minimal…will be a challenge. It will mean racing out to do the shopping at the crack of dawn so I don’t leave the Offspring alone in the house with no way out for too long. It will mean feeling just a tiny bit fenced in. It will be unpleasant.


If this is fate’s way of hitting me with the small stuff so I can avoid the great, big fiery elephant in the room then so be it. I can live with that, but I’m not going to enjoy the first couple of months of 2016 and that is the honest truth.


And now enough of this belly-aching. Thank you for letting me vent. My online friends have been both inspiration and consolation on more occasions than I can name. Thanks guys. Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve but stay safe, okay?

Much love,


December 31, 2015

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