“$$” – the Editing Game

My “How-To” book on making money has reached the completion stage…as of July 31st.

For those of you keeping score at home, that means 3 months ago.
But editing only began about mid-way through September.
Why the delay?
The strongest reason is that I was afraid to begin the process.

I finished my first book in 2007, and hadn’t done a thing with it, except editing and then failing majestically at finding beta readers who would not only read it, but also provide feedback.
So I definitely dragged my heels on Book #2, knowing that I was about to have TWO completely written, fully edited, just sitting there, projects.
But once I got into the swing of things and was busily writing queries for Book #1, that allowed me to start editing the second.

I am managing one chapter a week, and as it’s not a huge book, this won’t be a terribly long process.
Of course, the major difference between this book and my last one is that the first book was telling a story.
This one is explaining a process.
So, I not only need to make sure all the chapters match up in terms of readability…I also have to know the directions are easily followed!
Also, as I am editing the chapters already written, I am thinking of other helpful chapters to add into the mix, meaning the whole process takes longer.

Beta readers are going to be very important for this work.

That’s okay with me! I’m not on any kind of deadline (after all, I took 5 years with the first one!) and I want it to be right.
But I am curious to see how long it will take me to fully edit this book.

Update in a few weeks!

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Burleson Family Genealogy I

The Burleson Family

If you live in Texas, this is a family you’ve heard of.
I wish it was mine, but this family belongs to my Travel Buddy.
Still, I am including it in my genealogy series because I do the on-line genealogy research for both of us, and there are some darn good stories on both sides!

The Burlesons were originally from Anson County, North Carolina, but moved to Rutherford County, Tennessee.
Then future generations moved to Texas.

Great-grandmother was Mary Burleson (1843-1910), born in Marion County, Alabama, who married Captain William Whitehead (1835-1916), in Denton, Texas.
Her parents were Bennett Musgrove Burleson (1811-1863) and Mathilda Lowery (1813-1856), both born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, and both died in Denton County, Texas.
Bennett’s parents were Moses Burleson (1777-1836) and Edy Hobson (1779-1838). They were both born in North Carolina, and both died in Marion County, Alabama.
Moses’s parents were David Burleson (1755-1832) and Ursula Weatherford (abt. 1758-1835). They were both born in Lunenburg, Virginia, and both died at their home site in Rutherford County, Tennessee.

The old Burleson Cabin still exists in Rutherford County, Tennessee, though no sane person would attempt to enter it.
Land along the parcel holding the cabin was sold in the 1960’s, and houses along that side of the road were built and sold quickly.
Land on the opposite side of the parcel was built on in the 1990’s.

In a weird twist of fate, the land with the cabin itself is still owned by a couple of Burleson family members, who apparently live in New York.
I say weird, because clearly progress would have ordinarily dictated that the cabin be taken down and the land cleared for new houses to be built decades ago.
But instead, we have an anomaly: the cabin from the 1800s still stands…and no one will enter it.

It is clearly falling down…a true death-trap.
The roof has caved in.
The area surrounding has become so overgrown (Nature reclaiming what’s hers) that no one from the neighboring areas would dare venture in.

They only have “heard” of a cabin. None there has ever seen it.
Ticks abound, for one thing,  and spiders, and possibly snakes and other small creatures.
It is exactly like walking into a heavily forested area…which is what it has become.

We didn’t see the cabin until we were almost upon it.
After some time heading in the other direction, we found an old blacksmith’s shop.
Some of the tools were still there.

We also found the almost-overgrown grave markers.
David Burleson was there, and clearly marked as a DAR patriot.
Isaac Burlison was buried nearby, and evidently a War of 1812 veteran, from the markings.
Ursula must be buried nearby, but her grave has been lost.
We suspect all the folks who knew where she was buried are long gone.

What will happen to this property? I doubt  the New Yorkers will remove themselves to Tennessee, and if they did?
The whole place needs to be cleaned up and restored and put back the way it was, but without proper regular maintenance, how long would it be before it was all overgrown, again?
It is sad to see things that used to be, and to imagine them as they once were.
This was someone’s home and farm, once.
But sooner than later it will all be gone, and the people who live in the newly constructed houses will never know what used to be.

And maybe that’s all for the best.

If you are related to this line, shoot me a comment, and I’ll connect you with Travel Buddy, a Burleson relation!

The Ice Cave — sprechen sie Deutsch?

If you find yourself in another country, preparing to take a local tour, often you will discover that different languages are assigned different time slots.

For example, if you are touring a weaponry museum, the French language tour may be at 11am, the Spanish Language at 12pm, and the English tour at 1pm.
Why is this? Because that’s when the translator tour guide for that particular language shows up.
Sometimes you find guides who are willing to take people of all languages on their tour, either because they speak many different ones, or they are just more flexible.

But if you show up for the tour at 11am, and your language-oriented tour isn’t until 3pm, you have a few choices.

You could opt to go on the tour anyway, and run the risk of not understanding anything specific about what you are seeing.
You could just hang around and wait for the right translator to show up (maybe there’s something else you could go see and then return later?).
Or you could just not go on the tour and miss out on that one.

We’ve done all three, but it’s a tough choice. We usually opt to just give up if the tour is particularly detailed and we know we won’t understand a darn thing.
Or, I know some rusty Spanish, so we can take a Spanish or Italian tour, and I will get the general gist of the talking.

But these were not available options when we faced our tour of an ice cave in Germany.

First, I should state that I really love taking cave tours.
I have seen the big ones (Carlsbad Caverns and Mammoth Caves) and the pretty ones (Oregon Caves and Kings Canyon Caves) and really unusual ones (most of the Texas Caves and Hermanshole, in Germany).
But I had never toured, nor even heard of, ice caves! What a great opportunity!
So when we found one by accident in Germany, we knew we had to go.

But we were only there for a short time, and the English tour of the day had gone first thing that morning.
Other languages were not available for the rest of the day, so that meant German…or nothing.
This was not a casual situation. Though we have traveled to Germany a few times, we really know next to nothing in that language.

But, Ice Caves!!

Also, all the lighting was done using lit strips of magnesium, instead of electric or battery lights.
We had to go.
And in this instance, I am 100% sure we made the right choice.
True, we had no idea what the nice tour guide was saying, but when his voice rose in enthusiasm and he enthusiastically pointed at one form after another, we generally figured out when we were looking at something special.

The ice caves were absolutely spectacular and gorgeous beyond mere words…translated, or otherwise.

I would not have missed the experience for anything.

Private 101 – to publish traditionally or self-publish?

Private 101

I love the idea of traditional publishing…searching for an agent..finding that match…searching together for the right publisher…getting to hold a copy of your beloved book-child in the palm of your hand.

But I greatly fear that this scenario is not the one for me…at least, not with THIS book.

You see, I have written a story…a story that I think needs to be told…a story that describes a particular time of my life that was exactly 8 weeks long…a story that others could relate to, and enjoy, even without having had the same experience…a story of humor, and strength, and struggle, and anguish, but of eventual success.

But this story, written with as much detail as I could muster, yet devoid of fluff and extemporaneous wordage, taps out at 17k words. No, I can’t add more. It would ruin the effect. It’s actually very well done, if I and my beta readers do say so ourselves.

But it is undeniably just not going to find a place in traditional publishing.

So what am I to do?

I am afraid that although traditional publishing is my first choice, I am going to have to forgo that idea if I am to ever get it out to folks, and instead look into the annoyingly futuristic-feeling self-publishing.

I’m not giving up easily…in fact, my current game plan is to contact 50 agents who indicate that True Narrative is their interest and query them. I know the odds are strong against receiving any reply at all (though at the time of this writing I have already received four rejections. So there.), so for every rejection/reply I receive, I will send out one more query.

But at the end of this experiment (I am forced to consider it as such, since I am feeling in my heart this book may not be publishable under the current requirements and perceived traditional market) I am planning to research more about e-publishing.

I will keep you posted.

Brawley Family Genealogy I

The Brawley Family

This family line is particularly exciting personally, because it’s still new to me. This is my paternal grandmother’s grandmother’s family, and although I learned of the Brawley name a few years back, I knew nothing of the family members, themselves.

So Grandma’s grandmother’s name was Frances “Fanny” Brawley. She was born in March 1855 in Grundy County, Tennessee. Grundy County is one of those that changed names quite a bit as the State of Tennessee  was getting organized, but the bit where Fanny was born was Grundy County by 1855.

I went through Grundy County last year, hoping to sniff out some more details regarding the family, but I was largely disappointed. It’s still a sparsely populated area, which means the county has precious little to offer in terms of paperwork, and the library…well, we didn’t find a library. Neighboring Coffee county had a small library where I located information on a Braley (alternate spelling) cemetery that I hoped we’d find, but despite following exact instructions, we did not locate this particular cemetery. In the end, it didn’t matter…who I thought was Fanny’s grandparents, turned out to be her great-uncle and great-aunt and family.

Fanny married Richard Jabez Fletcher in 1881, Arkansas. They are both buried in Rule, a small community in Northern Arkansas.

Fanny’s mother, Mary “Polly” (Hitson) Brawley (1814-1907) is also buried in Rule, but Fanny’s father, Alfred “Fred” Brawley (1814-abt. 1870), is buried in Grundy County, Tennessee. Mary “Polly” Hitson Brawley’s father was Richard Hitson (1780-1826), who evidently served in the War of 1812. He was murdered by his son-in-law in Claiborne County, Tennessee according to a story on ancestry.com, but I don’t guess we’ll ever learn the reason why.

Alfred “Fred” Brawley’s parents were Leroy Brawley (1788-1867) and Sarah “Sally” McSpedden (1785-1861). The McSpeddens were from Virginia, but Leroy Brawley was born in Rowan County, North Carolina, as were his parents, Walter Braley (1761-1824) and Honor Prudence Carson (1771-1820). I visited Rowan County and their wonderfully laid-out genealogy section of the public library last year, as I was doing some research on another family that I never was able to prove was mine. Now that I know the Braley/Brawley Family is from there, I have an excellent excuse to go back!

Leroy had a brother, Alfred, who married a woman named Mary. This is why I was thinking my Alfred and Mary might be buried in that Braley cemetery I could not find. Leroy and Sally moved to Texas, and died in Cherokee County. I have not yet visited where they lived and died, but I am sure looking forward to it!

Are you related to the Braley/Brawley Family? Let me know, and let’s compare notes!

Riches to Rags: My Alaskan Adventure, part 2

We really did enjoy the cruise and all, but I can’t deny we were both really anticipating our second half of the adventure: Alaska and the Al-Can! Once we got off the ship and rode the train to Anchorage, we couldn’t wait to pick up our U-Haul.

As soon as we had it, we drove to the local Sears for the kinds of camping gear we couldn’t take with us on the cruise ship. Serendipity was with us, and Sears was having a sale, a big anniversary sale! So we picked up an air mattress, boom box, ice cooler, and two camping chairs. Next, we headed to another Alaskan department store, and they were having a sale…an anniversary sale! So, we bought a bed cover, couple of towels, pillows, pillow cases, and a small rug. Finally, at JC Penney’s, we walked in and they were having a sale! An anniversary sale! Now I was finally wondering what the heck was going on, so we asked. The stores themselves weren’t celebrating anniversaries…it was the anniversary of Alaska entering the union! Oh. Anyway, we enjoyed some great bargains on stuff we had to buy, anyhow!

The only thing we bought and didn’t use was mosquito netting. Apparently, the mosquitoes in Alaska are quite legendary. I say apparently, because the year we were there Alaska was having a mild summer…we only saw two mosquitoes the whole time we were there, and they were literally many, many miles apart!

Actually, JC Penney’s had the best overall souvenir section of any place we had visited so far, and that’s including stops from the cruise ship. So we decided to go ahead and buy everybody’s gifts…after all, we had plenty of room in the U-Haul! How much room, you ask? Even with all the luggage, inflated air mattress, firewood, cooler, and flat of bottled water, we had plenty of  room to put our two camping chairs inside and relax undercover the few times it rained! Closer to the front, we also had ample room to put our shopping bags, etc.

I happen to like collecting moose-themed items, and my Travel Buddy likes bears.
Inside the JC Penney’s souvenir shop, after walking around awhile, I had found a bobble-head moose, but Travel Buddy had not found a bear. Finally, we walked up to the counter and holding up the moose, I asked the guy if they had any bears. His eyes bugged out, and he exclaimed, “You found a moose?! Then, he walked to the rear of the store, around the back of a fixture we had somehow skipped, and wordlessly pointed to dozens of bears, both brown and black. Turns out they had plenty of bears, but they had run out of moose weeks earlier! Or so they thought. Heh heh heh.

So that’s the Alaskan Adventure in a nut shell…from cruise ship cabins to sleeping in the back of a rented U-Haul.
You can see why we called it our Riches to Rags tour.
We loved every minute of it.

Riches to Rags: My Alaskan Adventure, part 1

One of my all-time travel dreams was to take a cruise to Alaska along the inside passage.
Another of my all-time travel dreams was to drive the Al-Can (apparently now named the Alaskan Highway. Not nearly as fun to say, but whatever. I don’t make these decisions).

It is not necessary to travel with someone, of course, but if you have a Travel Buddy, it makes travel all the sweeter. You have someone to talk to, you have safety in numbers, you have someone to reminisce with once you return, you have someone to share the cost of travel, and a heck of a lot of places are cheaper if two are splitting the cost, vs. one alone.
For example, cruise ships. If you are traveling alone, you must pay a single-supplement fee when booking your cabin. If you have a Travel Buddy, you don’t.

It really helps if your Travel Buddy has a taste for adventure, and a strong willingness to think outside the box. Luckily, mine has both these qualities, because of what happened next.

You see, we decided to combine both of these wonderful trips (cruise, road-trip) into one glorious Alaskan adventure.
But we had trouble figuring out the logistics.

Part One was easy: book a cruise, sail from Vancouver to Alaska, get off the ship, but don’t fly home.

Part Two was harder: find something to rent that we could camp in and drive back to Washington State on the Al-Can Highway. It wasn’t meant to be harder, but we ran into a snag: everything we tried to rent was not possible to drive home. Why? Because driving home from Alaska would entail driving through Canada. Which meant we would be crossing international borders. Evidently a big no-no as far as rentals are concerned. We tried cars, vans, RVs, nothing.

This was a big bummer, because by this time we were both really excited about the trip and making lists of all the parts we wanted to see, such as Denali National Park, the Kenai Peninsula, the Fairbanks State Fair, etc.

Then, unexpectedly, I had an epiphany.

I know who will rent to us, and let us cross Canadian borders!
Who?
U-Haul!

We called them that day, and sure enough, they were willing! So we booked our cruise, booked our U-Haul, and waited.

We packed a little differently than most folks for the cruise: one suitcase each for the voyage, and one large, over-sized duffel bag for all our camping gear on the way back.

I won’t load you up with a lot of stories about our cruise, odds being great that you either have heard someone else’s story, have seen pictures, or have even taken the cruise, yourself. But everyone has their own tale to tell.

I guess one way ours was a tad different was this small event: our wonderfully attentive waiter was named “Indy.” No, nothing like Harrison Ford. Anyway, on the last evening Indy stated that he hoped our journey had been a pleasant one, and asked if there was anything more he could do for us. I said, well, Indy, there is one thing. At dinner every night, the whales have appeared and everyone has been excited to see them. But they are always on the opposite side of the dining room, and we can’t ever get a look. Could you just once, for tonight, have them come on our side of the ship? Indy hung his head a little and said he would see what he could do.  We all laughed and forgot about it. But at the end of the meal, darned if the whales were there one last time, but on our side of the room! As we were pointing and laughing, amazed at the site, suddenly there was Indy, jumping up and down, yelling, “I did it! I did it!” Best. Waiter. Ever.