My First Nonfiction Book: “Fluid of Life”

I’ve published many fiction books under my pen name and I’ve had countless nonfiction articles published in newspapers and magazines under my given name, but I’ve never had a nonfiction book published. Until this spring.

I have many nonfiction books in the works, but the first to see light will be Fluid of LifeWhat doctors never told me about my blood. I wouldn’t call it a memoir. I’m sharing my experience of living with anemia, and I hope to provide information to others inflicted with the same condition, information doctors never told me. This is the information I would have loved to have had in my 20s.

I’ll talk more about the book as launch day approaches. Here’s a clip from it.

Fluid of Life by Diana Tibert

I WAS A healthy child and teen, so my parents saw no need to take me to the doctor’s office for a check-up. We didn’t go unless there was a problem. After all, it cost money to visit a doctor back then, and we were poor. The two dollar-service fee could buy a lot of food in the 60s and 70s and with 12 mouths to feed, every penny was needed.

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Amazon Publishing Tip: Author Name

When  you publish your book on Amazon, be extremely careful with your author name. Be certain of the name you want to use before you publish your first book. Don’t use a slightly different name for your second book.

When you complete the details of the book during the publishing process, enter the name exactly as you want to use it for the rest of your publishing career. While you can jump through hoops and spend time discussing the matter of changing it with Amazon, save yourself the hassle and do it right the first time.

When I say enter the name exactly, I mean exactly. Understand that Amazon sees your name as it would a file name. Diane McGyver is not the same person as Diane Lynn McGyver or Diane L. McGyver or Diane L McGyver or Dr. Diane McGyver. No, I’m not a doctor. I’m using this as an example.

When you use exactly the same name, the computers at Amazon automatically link your books and create an author page with your author biography and a list of your books. Readers will find all your stuff in one location.

Amazon will not link Diane McGyver with Diane L McGyver. Readers will click on Diane McGyver and see books only published by her, not Diane L. McGyver.

If you make a mistake or tweak your name, you cannot change it in the detailed information. It, like your title, is permanent. Unless you go through the hassle of explaining the situation to Amazon and hoping they will understand and change it.

The easiest thing to do is use the same name from the start.

Author Interview: Sandy Totten

During the process of publishing The One We Forgot to Love, I interviewed Sandy Totten about her first novel. Here’s what she had to say.

1. What inspired you to write The One We Forgot to Love?

I have always wanted to write a novel, and I find my best writing comes from personal stories and emotions I have felt in my lifetime. The family in the story mirrors my family in some ways, and I wanted to share a story with others that lets people know they are never truly alone in their struggles.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to understand?

I think there are different messages throughout the story that readers will relate to. One message I really wanted to convey is that you are never truly alone despite how you may feel. There is always someone who cares for you and is willing to help you. There is no shame in needing help.

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Book Review: “The One We Forgot to Love” by Sandy Totten

The One We Forgot to Love by Sandy Totten was written from the perspective of a mother who watched one of her children suffer with a silent enemy. While this is a fictional story, like all writers, Totten injects real-life experiences into it.

The members of the family – Addie, Dexter, Seri and Ivy – tell their version of events, and all four perspectives intertwine to give readers an excellent view of the big picture. Readers are left knowing more than the characters of how relationships can suffer when communication breaks down.

After a few chapters, you might think you know the full scope of the problem, but Totten weaves in hints throughout to provide a different view of family members that will change your mind. The ending was a twist I hadn’t expected.

What else does it contain? Hockey. The family is a hockey family, and Dexter coaches his two daughters in the game of their life.

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Kindle Create Issues

On April 1st, I wrote a post about using Kindle Create for the first time. You can read it here: Using Kindle Create to Create eBooks.

The first eBook I formatted with Kindle Create came out exactly as I thought it would. At all stages, the formatting was what I made it to be. There were no surprises. I even bought the eBook as a customer would and opened it with my Kindle App for laptops. All was well.

Yesterday, I used the program to format the eBook for The One We Forgot to Love by Sandy Totten. She hired me to create it and while I could have manually made the eBook, I decided to use the program because it had a few features that made formatting easier and the text more pleasing to the eye.

One benefit of using this program is, the eBook is live within hours, not days. In truth, I usually see an eBook live within 24 hours, but I think it can take up to 72 hours.

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Business with Small Presses

In an effort to grow my Quarter Castle Publishing business and publish books by more authors, I’m looking for help from authors who have been published by small presses. I want to be fair to authors while still being able to operate a successful publishing company that can expand and stand on its own two feet without government assistance.

I have never received nor will I ever request any money from government sources to publish books. You’ve seen those little notes of acknowledgement in the front of books, where publishing companies thank the government for funding. Getting  money from government means following their rules and fitting into their mould. Government money always comes with strings, and I don’t want them.

As more manuscripts arrive in the proverbial ‘slush’ pile and my assistant and I review them, I’m thinking about contracts, treating these authors with respect and wondering how their stories will perform.

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Using Kindle Create to Create eBooks

Let’s allow our minds to go drifting down that dusty road to years past when Kindle and CreateSpace worked together. One need only create a paperback book at CreateSpace, click a few buttons and allow Kindle to transform that paperback into an eBook.

Many writers took advantage of that, and the eBooks created by this ‘transformation machine’ did a decent job.

However, the control freak in me couldn’t relinquish control of such an import factor in my life, so I manually created each eBook I published.

Things have changed, and so has Kindle KDP/Amazon. Gone is CreateSpace and its clunky transformation machine. Now we have KDP Print and Kindle Create.

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“The One We Forgot to Love”

This afternoon, I met with local author, Sandy Totten. She contacted me the last week of January about her book, The One We Forgot to Love and hired me to walk her through the steps of publishing it. I also edited the manuscript and designed the cover and interior.

The proof arrived from Amazon yesterday (Tuesday), so we got together to discuss it. She had ordered the book last Wednesday. That is the fastest delivery time I’ve ever seen with KDP Print. CreateSpace used to be this fast, but I thought that luxury was gone when KDP Print took over. I was wrong. At least for this shipment.

The One We Forgot to Love Description

Will a mother’s love save her family or destroy it?

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Movie Review: Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy (2020; never seen before)

Starring: Glenn Close, Amy Adams, Gabriel Brasso

Elegy: a poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead

This is a modern day story about rising above your raising to make a better life for yourself through the decisions you make. I’ve said this before, and the story emphasis this: there has never been a better time in history when someone can go from nothing to being financially stable. Living in North America has given everyone the opportunity to be a better person regardless of their start in life.

Obviously, it’s easier if each generation works towards that goal. My grandparents lived in poverty, but they worked hard, gave their kids what they could, then my parents took the opportunities presented to them (for my father, that was enlisting in the army to fight in the Second World War when he was 17; for my mother, that was leaving her family at 17 and travelling alone from Newfoundland to find work in Halifax).

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Movie Review: Captain Fantastic

Movie Description from an Online Source

Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen), his wife Leslie and their six children live deep in the wilderness of Washington state. Isolated from society, Ben and Leslie devote their existence to raising their kids — educating them to think critically, training them to be physically fit and athletic, guiding them in the wild without technology and demonstrating the beauty of co-existing with nature. When Leslie dies suddenly, Ben must take his sheltered offspring into the outside world for the first time.

My Impression

I didn’t know what to expect when I watched the film Captain Fantastic (2016). I’d never heard of it, and I hadn’t seen the trailer. All I knew was the snippet given on Netflix, which stated a family living off-grid reconsiders their disconnection from society after an accident.

Or something like that. Given I plan to live off-grid one day, the film piqued my interest.

In the opening scenes, a father and his six children are exercising, hunting, training (for what, I never really found out unless it was the imagined attack if they happened upon a member of society) and living the life of a family who had abandoned society and all its luxuries.

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“Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind” by Darlene Foster

Amanda in New Mexico is an ideal book for children who are ready to read chapter books. It’s not too long or too complex that a mid-elementary student won’t be able to read it. My daughter would have been able to read this book by mid-way grade 2. Certainly, grade 3 students will be able to read it.

This is one of many books Canadian author Darlene Foster has written in the Amanda series. Foster has sent Amanda to several places on the globe, including England and Holland. In fact, there’s a sneak peak of Amanda in Holland – Missing in Action in the back of the paperback I read.

Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind has just enough spookiness to intrigue children but not scare them or give them nightmares. Foster leaves the ending open in the way she doesn’t confirm or deny the existence of ghosts, which I think is an excellent way to do it because . . . sometimes I believe in ghosts and sometimes I don’t.

Foster shares the New Mexican culture through food, history and language. Children will learn new words and about the Day of the Dead, an old Mexican tradition.

Day of the Dead

At the end of the story, Foster poses eight questions to readers, which teachers can use if the book is read in class.

I won’t answer any questions except the last one: Would you enjoy a class trip like the one Amanda and her classmates went on?

ANSWER: Yes! Without hesitation.

Amazon Review

Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind is a delightful story about Amanda, her friends, Cleo and Caleb, and seven of their classmates who travel for a class trip to New Mexico. While there, strange things happen, and Amanda isn’t so sure if she still doesn’t believes in ghosts after possibly seeing one…or two. The group explores local museums and historical locations, including a cemetery, and learn about local customs and sample traditional foods.

This book is suitable for children who are able to read chapter books. It’s a fast-paced adventure that may even keep the attention of reluctant readers.

Where Can You Buy the Book?

I picked up my paperback copy at Amazon.

Learn more about Amanda’s adventures and Darlene Foster by visiting her website: Darlene Foster.

Book Review: Magicians of the Gods – Graham Hancock – Audiobook

I’ve never listened to an audio book but when I saw the audio book for Magicians of the Gods by Graham Hancock posted to YouTube, I had to take a look… I mean listen. I had borrowed the book from the library more than a year ago, but I hardly put a dent in the pages when my three weeks were up, and I had to return it. If I had almost finished, I would have renewed the borrow, but life was extremely busy, and I knew it would take me a few months to finish.

The bonus of listening to the audio book was hearing the names I would never be able to pronounce myself pronounced correctly by someone who had not only heard the names spoken by others but had visited the places.

The other bonus of the audio book was I could listen while I worked around the kitchen washing dishes, making meals, baking and painting new signs for the garden.

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General Update and Book Reviews

To say the first 2 1/2 months of 2022 have been extremely busy is an understatement. It’s a good busy, so I can’t complain. While I organise my week and spend my Sunday listening to Kris Kristofferson and the wisdom on life he shares in his many songs, I’m looking at the book reviews I’ve started and created notes for.

I’ll start posting this week. I wrote a few movie reviews, too, so I might get them up. My intentions are good but when I get busy, I lose track of a lot.

In other news, Allan Hudson of The Miramichi Reader reviewed Natural Selection. The review was posted January 24th. It’s available here: Natural Selection by Diane McGyver.

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Echoes from History

I stumbled upon this video yesterday and as I worked around the kitchen, I listened to it. Several times I froze in disbelief, listening to what Dr. Robert Willner had to say. If we replaced ‘AIDS’ in this lecture with ‘COVID’, we see the same thing is happening. Everything from the media not reporting obvious facts to Dr. Fauci.

If you have an hour, this is certainly worth your time. I heard very little about AIDS as a teen in the 1980s. Here in Nova Scotia, it was no big deal, too far away, but I’m learning it was major headlines in the United States.

The video is on YouTube here: What is the truth about HIV, AIDS? Dr Robert Willner Injects HIV into himself on TV

The lecture by Dr. Willner appears to have taken place in the late 80s or early 90s. Those conspiracy theories about the AIDS virus are circulate today with this flu virus. Funny how those who wouldn’t have believed this doctor then won’t believe doctors such as Dr. Robert Malone today. Oh, well, maybe in 20 years when they become conspiracy facts.

History Lesson in Real Time

If you still believe this is about health, congratulations. You are part of the 30% who will believe anything authority tells you. You also know what you’d do in 1930s Germany.

Oh, what a history lesson we are being given by the Canadian government.

What 30%?, you ask. Read this post (A Solid Explanation of Society’s Behaviour and Mass Formation), and watch the video I discuss. You will learn more about people in that short time than any university course has taught in the past 30 years.

How do you break the spell if you are under it?

Turn off the news. Stop watching all government-controlled media for one week. Veg -out on movies from the 80s, or listen to music you enjoyed as a teen. Take a walk in nature, do a craft, read a favourite book or exercise.

After a week, find alternate news sources. That might be a podcast or news from another country. Listen to those you disagree with.

However, just turning off the news will break the spell. Don’t talk to others about what is going on because they’ll only repeat the lies given by media.

I know, I’ve heard ‘them’ say: If you don’t listen to the news, you’re uninformed.

However, the important part is: If you listen to the news, you are misinformed.

Which brings me to: It is easier to believe a lie than be convinced you’ve been lied to.

Conclusion: It is better to be uninformed. Which is why, ignorance is bliss.

Stay wild and free out there. Canadians are in for a bumpy ride.