Friday, September 26, 2014

My 2nd book, Ghosts and Skeletons is now online.

I'm happy with this, my second work, and hope you like it too.  It is the second book in the "A Time Before Facebook" series, and there are a few more books to come.  If you are already following Jimmy James Jr. on facebook or have 'liked' me, there is a discount available on the site to save 25% off the regular retail price.  This discount is only available until October 25th, so download soon.

Also, make sure to download your free copy of the 1st book, "A Time Before Facebook".  It will be changed from FREE, to the regular $3.99 price next week, so get your copy ASAP.

This second book has a couple of stories that I had actually started quite a few years ago, but with the demands of career, family and playing music, I wasn't able to finish them until now.  "Alfie" and "The Meterman" are a couple of my favorites.  But I must say, the Ghost and Skeleton Trails on the Southside hill have fond memories for me also.

Enjoy reading my books, and thank you for your support.  I am an almost starving retiree.  Just joking.

I had to come to Mexico a little early this year to renew my Resident Card.

I'm glad I did because I was, for the first time, able to wish my landlord and friend, Raul, a happy birthday.  I was quite excited about this.  I had purchased him a new cigar lighter, the kind with three flames (more like jet burners) and a few of his favorite cigars - White Owl Grape.  We had a nice dinner and small party.  Tomorrow would be Mexico's Independence Day celebration, and that would be the big party.

We booked our seats at a Cantina in northern Cuernavaca, and arrived about 8:30 PM.  Parties seem to get started a little late here in Mexico.  We were lucky and were seated right next to the Mariachi Band.  Now, although the entertainment was advertised as Mariachi, the band was not wearing the traditional Mariachi attire.  You know, the Mexican Sombreros, and pants with gold stripes down the side, and those smart looking jackets.  The lead singer wasn't even wearing the real (unloaded) 45 caliber gun and holster.

Their instruments weren't quite Mariachi either.  Instead of a guittaron, the bass player had a 5 string electric bass.  The guitar was played by a keyboard player, and the horns came from another keyboard player.  There was also a drummer playing a full set of drums.  The lead singer was hilarious because he had a fake moustache that kept falling off all the time.  He did wear a sombrero at times though.  I must admit thought, they put out some pretty good Mariachi Music.

The price for this extravaganza was a total of 175 pesos each.  This included about a 5 course meal, and everyone had to pay the minimum price, but it was based on how much you drank.  If you drank only 100 pesos of drinks, you paid 175 pesos; and it you drank over 175 pesos of drinks, you paid that amount.  I found it extremely difficult to drink my full amount because they recommended we drink Michalada's that were in mugs that held one full litre.  After two of these, and all the food, I absolutely couldn't drink another drop.

About 10 PM, the band took a break, and all the TV's in the Cantina were turned on to watch the opening ceremonies.  At this time, everyone was given a treat that I wish I could one day see in Canada.  All of the Parliament, including the President, were on-screen yelling "Viva Mexico" and acting like a bunch of idiots.  Just like regular people.  I thought this was really neat.

While the band was taking a break, a rather large transvestite entertained the crowd for almost an hour.  She/he wandered throughout the crowd and sang traditional Mexican songs.  It still always amazes me that everyone here knows all the words to so many traditional songs.  Even though the entertainer was large and not very good looking (even for a guy), he/she was a fantastic singer and entertainer.  She joked with the crowd constantly.

We decided to leave around midnight, just before the band was getting ready to start again, and headed home in the Cuernavaca rain.  Oh, did I forget to mention, coming to Mexico early this year has given me the opportunity to experience the rainy season.  It should be over in a few weeks, but I'm enjoying the clean air and also the thunder and lightening shows every evening.  Only two downfalls.  Some of the streets are getting washed away and driving is trecherous.  My morning walks can be dangerous walking on wet pavement/rocks/gravel/slime...

As we left the Independence Day Party, people were just starting to get wound up.  I guess they planned on welcoming in the sun the next morning.  Hope they didn't get too rowdy without us....

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

One of the most difficult things as a writer, is to accept cuts from your editor.

OK, I admit it, I have an ego when it comes to my writing.  I think every word and every sentence that I have written is important to my reader.  If it wasn't crucial, why would I have written it anyway?  However, my editor sees things from a different light.

I am the kind of writer that likes to ensure that my readers have enough background information regarding certain scenarios in my books.  I like to describe how a certain situation arose, and give intimate details of my characters, so you know why they did something.  My editor feels that much of this is either repetetive, or even redundant.  How could do this to me?  She has struck some very fine lines from my first two books.

As the writer in charge of my works, however, it is my prerogative to either listen to her suggestions, or to ignore her and leave in the passages I want to.  This, of course, is at my own discretion and any repercussions are mine, and mine alone, to deal with.  Needless to say, I usually adhere to her suggestions and cut the segments she has identified.

But I must say, when I re-read the edited works, I realize that she was right.  I guess that is why I pay her the big bucks.  Thanks Linka.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

When did I first know that I wanted to be a writer?

I was almost 20 years old and was moving to Vancouver from my little hometown in SE British Columbia, Creston.  I was starting my Business Degree at BCIT, and decided that I wanted to seriously learn to play the bass guitar during the few minutes I had available to me between living, studying and making new friends.  It was also about this time that I knew that I wanted to write song lyrics.

When the inspiration would hit me, I would jot down poetry in the form of song lyrics.  I had written about 50 songs during this period in my life, and somehow, this led me to writing something more substantial then song lyrics.  For god's sake, I hadn't even learned to play the bass guitar well yet, so what would I do with my lyrics?

After I received my Business Degree, I soon moved back to my hometown, got married and started raising a family.  On top of this, I began a new career with the BC Government, and my writing career was put on hold.  I did, however, start writing down a few titles of books I would like to one day write, and they all centered around my time growing up in Northern Idaho.

Fast forward 39 years, and I am now retired, the children are raised and I am spending most of the year in sunny Mexico.  My writing career has finally begun.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I love writing and love my editor....

Safely back in Mexico to begin another round of writing after a very busy summer in Canada.  I faced numerous family challenges, while at the same time maintaining and upgrading my yacht.  I must say it is nice to live on the water on Vancouver Island each summer.

I made two trips to Bellingham, WA to visit my editor and drop off my second book "Ghosts and Skeletons" in the "A Time Before Facebook" series.  My editor is one of those old fashioned gals that likes to edit works 'hands on'.  This means that I can take my work to her in electronic formats such as zip drives, etc., but she likes to print out the document and make corrections by hand.

In the past I have used my home printer to print the documents (usually around 250 pages), and this gets rather expensive as far as printer ink goes.  We decided to try Office Depot to see what they would charge, and the cost is about 1/2, and they printed it out in seconds.  I felt so good about this, I bought my editor a 32 Gig Zip Drive.  I can now email her my finished first draft of future books in the series, and she can simply download them to her zip drive and take it to Office Depot to print.

Of course, I am trying to get her modernized, and hopefully one day soon, she will make all corrections to my manuscripts online and simply email them back to me.  Oh, that will be a wonderful day.  Then I won't have to physically make all the updates and corrections to the electronic documents myself.  But on the bright side, she has told me that the number of edits in my second book are far less then my first work.

Oh well, at least the second book is almost ready for online publication through Smashwords.  I love these guys as my publishers.  Now onto writing Book 3.