About Donald Bueltmann

Retired, married 49 years, living in AZ-enjoying the beautiful weather, written and self-published 3 books

Departure

 Departure

Mark and I were very much alike. We were analytical, liked to travel, enjoyed art and statuary, and—oh yes, we both enjoyed the finer things in life. He had been to Europe after high school and now it was my turn.   

02_Don_and-Mark    01_europe-map-route

Map of my Fantasy trip

Departure day was finally here. We were finally on our way. Make connection at JFK and wake up in the morning in Athens. Sounds good doesn’t it?

Our intensive planning had not included a problem with the East Coast radar grid and our plane leaving without us.

There was a convention in New York and all hotels were full. I ended up getting a reservation at the Crown Plaza in White Plains. I had never been to White Plains and neither had our cab driver. So here we were on our first day of the trip in a cab driven by a foreigner to a place we’ve never been and we hadn’t even left the country.

Have you ever planned something extensively and then watched it fall apart? It reminds me of the oft-repeated adage, “When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your initial task was to drain the swamp.”

I guess since I retired, I forgot how to drain a swamp.

The next morning we returned to NYC and discovered that you can ride a train from White Plains for $10 instead of the $120 we had paid the cab driver.

We walked around NYC for several hours and returned to the airport. Since all of us had been rebooked the flight was really full and we were jammed into the “cough—cough” smoking section. Hopefully tomorrow would be a better day.

More to come

More Time

Going back to the start. “It was time.” Time for what?

I had retired early with the expectations of enjoying life, and with enough frequent flyer miles for two first-class tickets to anywhere in Europe.

One evening these plans were dashed when my wife told me she was afraid to fly that far. I pleaded, cajoled, threatened, — and gave up. Of course I managed to throw this at her occasionally.                                                                                                  Anger

Jackie could tell I was upset but she couldn’t overcome her fears.         .

Then she came up with a brilliant idea. She called my son Mark and asked him if he could travel to Europe with me. He said if he could sandwich it in with work and Law school he’d certainly go.

Mark was able to get the time off and we started our plans. This would be the best trip of my life! The fulfillment of all my travel hopes and dreams, “Fulfillment is a Place”.

So “What time was it? It was time! Time to Start, time to Plan, time to Do!

 

Have you ever wanted something so badly, it seemed that you could taste it?

Tell me about them. This a family blog so keep it clean 😉

It was Time

It was time!                  MC900019961

This is the opening sentence to an eBook I recently published on Amazon.

Fulfillment is a Place, is a travel narrative that I originally published with B&W photos; who can afford color printing costs? However, the technological improvements made to the Kindle Fire and other readers have now made it possible to use color photos in our publications.

I didn’t realize how much work I was getting into. I took advantage of the opportunity to workdo some editing and then went to the photo albums. After selecting photos I scanned them to digital format.

This little clip is supposed to represent Sisyphus rolling the stone up the hill (kinda poor isn’t it, best that I could do).

The next problem was identification; I knew what the pictures were but how do I tell you.

In a printed book the photos are inserted with a description that stays in place (with the photo). The flexibility of eBooks make this impossible. Fonts can be made larger or smaller thus captions can be separated from the photo.

So what’s the solution: Some people advocate creating a Table with the photo in one row and the caption in a row below this. The table consisting of photo and caption firmly attached is scanned as a jpeg and inserted into the eBook.

I prefer to increase image- canvas size. This leaves the picture the same size but adds space to the top or bottom. The caption can then be typed into this space.

Any other ideas?

Did you all know that you can use color pictures in eBooks? Of course you did.

More to come

 

A Little Help From My Friends

I’ve had a lot of stress recently, most of it self-imposed.

I’m not going into a lot of detail but it was caused by upgrading to a new computer and a new printer.

The first problem I encountered was attempting to print promo copies of my book cover. In the past I used PS Explorer 4 but discovered that it could not be used with Windows 7 X64. I tried various photo printing software packages; none of them would produce the desired size. I could resize the picture but when I went to print it I could not use that size.

Then I realized, I had replaced my old HP Photosmart printer with an HP Officejet printer. It’s a much nicer printer, but lacking some of the niceties for printing photos. I finally conceded and accepted the printers size choices.

HP Officejet

HP Photosmart

 

 

Next I realized I needed to print more business cards. I couldn’t find my business card template anywhere. I searched the hard drives on both of my computers. The file could not be located.

Where is it?

No problem, I back all my important stuff to Spideroak a cyber-backup company.

Evidently, I didn’t recognize the missing template as being important. All of my other files were there except for the one I needed.

That must be somebody’s law like Murphy’s Law or The Peter Principle.

Does anyone know of a law that deals with finding something that is lost?

I almost forgot my biggest catastrophe, the one that brought me to my knees.

In order to improve my Branding efforts as taught by Kristen Lamb in her book “We Are Not Alone” , I attempted to move my web domain from goldentreebooks.com (my company) to donaldbueltmann.com (me). As a result, I lost access to my old web page and my new and improved blogpage.

I immediately sent a 911 call to my EMT Laird Sapir.

Laird threw all of my information into a virtual blackbox, turned a crank a few times, said a few hocus-pocuses, and sent me a message that it was all fixed. Talk about your Supermoms—.

I mentioned my stress problem to one of the people in my Bible discussion class. He gave me a copy of a book by Charles Swindoll, “Stress Fractures”. It’s an excellent book that uses Bible passages to apply to stressful situations. In addition it explains what caused the stress in the Bible passage and how it relates to life today.

The first chapter cited Exodus 18:13-26. Moses is told by Jethro that he has assumed too much responsibility and it will tell on him.

24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.

Why do we think that we can handle our troubles alone. It is so easy to ask for assistance from those more knowledgeable or thinking more clearly.

Before I retired, I delegated responsibility frequently and the results were far better than if I had tried to do the work alone. Since these people reported to me it was natural to delegate to them. But today I have no one reporting to me, ergo no delegates.

What to do?

What else? Turn to your friends.

As the Beatles song goes, “With a little help from my friends “.

So I did, and my stress melted away. At least, for a day or two.       

What do you do to relieve stress?

The Importance of Knowing What’s Important

The Olympics have brought many surprises.

First the number of World Records that have been broken. Can you believe it.

But Second, the mean and nasty comments that have been aired to the world at large.

Gabby Douglas was attacked by African Americans because her chemically straightened hair did not represent the natural condition that God had given her.

Lolo Jones was the subject of an unwarranted attack by a New York Times writer who thought that she was more concerned over her appearance than winning.

These criticisms gave no credit for what was important, their accomplishments. The years of training and sacrifice that brought them to the Olympics as designated representatives of the USA; the very best that we had to offer.

Then there is the political scene with the GOP demanding that Obama show an official copy of his birth certificate and the Dems insisting that Romney produce his tax returns.

While I would like nothing better than to discover that Obama is an alien, maybe even from Saturn or Uranus (no pun intended, yeah right), does it matter?

No, what matters is that the country is suffering. Suffering from ideological and economic divisiveness. What is important is to work together to heal our wounds actual or imagined, and bring our country out of its doldrums.

I won’t discuss who are the winners and losers, only that the arguments are so deeply ingrained into our mentality and the chasm so deep that there must be some losers and some winners.

Again, what is important is Knowing What’s Important!

I don’t often get on my soapbox but I’m really tired of the fighting.

What do you think?

 

 

Doing “Writerly” Things

I’m back. Did you miss me? You probably thought I gave up on blogging.

With all deference to Kristen Lamb, who has taught me, “Blog several times a week”, I’m guilty and I have no excuse. I allowed myself to get ensnarled in a myriad of projects, anything but writing.

I thought that if I wasn’t going to write, I could do other “Writerly” type things.

What kind of things? Oh, you know–er–um.

  • Take out the trash
  • Buy a new battery for my Dana
  • Build a new website or
  • Improve the present site

The following item provided a push: I got an email from GoDaddy telling me that my Hosting fees were coming due. I was paying for hosting fees on both my website and my blog, and I thought

“Hey, this looks like the perfect time to eliminate my website and move it to my blog. That shouldn’t be too difficult for a techie like me.”

 

In my early days before the dawn of the PC I had worked as a programmer using Assembler language for the S360. I must have done a fairly good job as I was paid well.

 

Having said that, I sadly confess, (hides face in shame  and murmurs) “I am totally inept at WebPages”.

You ask, “Why”.

(Said in total FRUSTRATION)! “Because, I have no CONTROL!

At my age CONTROL becomes very important. My wife wants to CONTROL me; the government wants to CONTROL me. You have to fight for every last thing that YOU could possibly CONTROL, and I can’t even CONTROL where a picture is going to be placed.

I insert the cursor at the point where the picture should reside, I Insert image; it appears, filling the entire page. Oh well I can handle that. With great skill, I shrink the image to the desired size, yes that looks good.

No, I want it a little closer or farther from the text, it doesn’t matter which. The damn picture won’t move!

After throwing a minor tantrum, I realize that I have not activated text-wrap and therefore the picture is locked in position, I change the setting and move the picture to the spot where I want it. Success

 

So now I have a Word document to copy to my Blog site. I do a Copy and Paste from Word to WordPress.

Looks pretty good but where are the pictures. Oh right, I have to Insert them, No you can’t Copy and Paste them.

Okay, I find the jpegs and upload them to WordPress and then insert them into my Page/Post. The picture magically appears–but it’s not where I want it. I try moving it, nudging it, backspacing it, nothing works—-I go to edit the picture to see if I can set the location. Oh, yes there it is, Left, Center, Right.

How about 1/8 inch to the right of the text?

What do you mean I can’t do that! I used to manipulate individual Bits of a Byte, and you’re telling me I can’t do that. Programmers can do anything!

(With profuse apologies you say), “I didn’t realize that you had this extensive technical background; you can do anything you want using CSS.

What the Hell is CSS? Oh it’s another language like HTML, XML, Java, and Pearl?

Languages, what kind of languages are those? What happened to Autocoder, Assembler, Cobol, and Fortran?

You never heard of those. What’s the world coming to?

Back to your languages, I know where Java is, do they speak Javanese? What about Pearl is that short for Pearl Harbor? I thought they spoke English?

Oh, you say it’s a programming language. Well, I should be able to master that.

I bought a book, WordPress Web Design for Dummies, I looked through it, I slept on it but it wouldn’t sink in. I needed a Rosetta stone to make sense out of this.

I sent a message to my mentor Laird Sapir who suggested a marvelous website W3Schools.com with tutorials and opportunities to practice the lesson. W3Schools.com was a big help.

Armed with my new knowledge I added fonts to my blog, changed font size, changed colors…..

But I still couldn’t place those pictures exactly where I wanted them.

In desperation or frustration over my inability to CONTROL I emailed Laird who readily agreed to help me. I felt an immediate sense of relief the moment I turned the problem over to her. In a week the pages were ready for publication. Her rates were very reasonable and I was very pleased.

 

So here I am writing this blog post to announce the new pages added to my blog site Donald Bueltmann

What do you think of it? Please let me know.

I have now been able to return to my WIP a trilogy about a parallel universe.

So what’s the purpose of all this rambling…?

You have to choose your role in life. Are you a writer, a publisher, a web designer, etc? Do what you excel at and give others a chance to demonstrate their skills.

One of my other mentors Harvey Stanbrough said this on his blog “I’m a Little Annoyed”

I think I’m going to listen to Harvey and remember this last experience and stick to what I know I can do and give others a chance to show what they know.

 

 

Stumbling Through Self-publishing

This blog hopes to make the reader/writer…since most of you are readers and/or writers aware of some of the steps necessary to self-publish. I am not criticizing; and would not consider going any route other than self-publishing.

**************************************************************************************************

My second book “The Gift” brought a few more challenges to self-publishing.

It was not written by me… but through me under the guidance of the Greatest of all Muses, God. Lest you think I am mocking God, let me say that many of my friends who purchased and read this book asked, “Did you really write this book”.

I replied, “Yes I was inspired; it just flowed

The story is about a baby donkey that was present when Jesus was born. Jesus has many conversations with the donkey talking about his Heavenly Father, why he was sent, and being reborn. The little donkey Atiya becomes very confused.

Writing the book was the easy part deciding what to do with it was more difficult. Self-publishing presents many opportunities to expand your knowledge and talents. That’s a euphemism for…

“What the Hell made me ever think I could do this”.

Find a Publishing Company:

I researched many of the publishing companies, Lulu, Wheatmark, etc. They all offered services that I felt I could handle,

After all, I’m a computer savvy kind of guy … said with a strut and a flourish of feathers

 

Find a Mentor:    

I was breaking unfamiliar ground and needed guidance…

Where do writers get guidance? Why of course, from other writers.

I joined the Society of Southwestern Authors

The president Penny Porter took me under her wing and guided me along much of the way.

Keep a Record of Revenue and Expenses

Self-publishing is a business and you are the owner. You must keep track of all monies that pass through your hands.

I established a company Golden Tree Books for reporting income and expense and applied for a license to conduct business.

 Obtain an Illustrator:

Penny referred me to a fabulous illustrator Marilu Savage. I provided her with a copy of my manuscript and she performed her magic. Just as a sculptor would evoke an image from clay or marble, she translated my words into marvelous drawings. I was thrilled, although it seemed a little expensive to a neophyte. I was assured by others that her price was very reasonable.

I had bought several books on Self-publishing. I’m a sucker for books, too bad I don’t remember what I’ve read. (Grin) the books provided me with information on scanning resolution and pixel size to use for digitizing the drawings.

Pixel size! I thought Pixel was a studio that made cartoons. Didn’t you?

I set up a folder to hold my images and scanned all of the sketches. I scanned them twice, once at maximum resolution in case something happened to the originals and once at the suggested resolution.

Doing the Layout:

Now that you have the manuscript and the illustrations, it’s time to do the layout work. I opened the Ms. in Word using a 2 page view and started a layout of the book. This is very time-consuming; You have to pay close attention to where paragraphs are breaking and determine where to place images and what size to make them. A lot of resizing and trial and error.

Next I had to create the Front matter; the information at the front of the book. There’s a standard format for this but you can just look at any book as a model

  • Publication date
  • Copyright
  • Dedications
  • SBN
  • Library of Congress Number – this isn’t a requirement but I obtained one

The next item was to complete the cover. I had to add the Front cover text and the blurb on the back. This required selecting a text color and font style that fit the appearance of the illustration. This provides an opportunity to delve into the world of Hex and HTML designation for colors.

The hardest job was expanding the cover. I had received it as a 9×12 image in landscape format. This had to be resized and padded to accommodate the cover size requirements. I learned a lot about Photoshop in the process.

I now had a finished product of my book….At least I thought I did.

This blog will be continued in the next epidode…

Can you identify with the story thus far?

Wait until I get into publishing the book….

The Trials of Self-publishing Part 1

Why Self Publish

The first book I wrote was a travel narrative about a trip through Europe that my son and I took “Fulfillment is a Place”.

It was a fantasy trip, my fantasy, to see all of the places I had always wanted to see. Since my son lived in Columbus OH, the trip was planned over the internet, deciding what we wanted to see vs. what we realistically had the ability to see, the logistics of travel, etc.

We visited Athens, Rome, Florence, Venice, Munich, Salzburg, Dachau, Colon, Paris, Monaco, and London. Most of the trip was taken with Euro rail Pass. We visited museums, churches, enjoyed great food and had an unforgettable trip.

I had planned on writing a book when I returned, so we took several cameras, a micro-cassette tape recorder and a note pad.

The trip fulfilled all of my hopes and I returned with a collection of museum books, about 500 photos, 14 cassettes, and a journal full of notes. Now all I had to do was put the book together.

It took about 2 years of research and editing and required a lot of time to review photographs, scan the selected ones, and determine on what pages they would look best.

I attended a presentation at a Senior Citizens computer club meeting given by the owners of a short-run printing firm. They were hoping to appeal to people who wanted to convert their genealogies to books.

This sounded like an ideal way to publish my book. I provided them with my manuscript and photos in digital format and the material I wanted used for a cover.

For $1000 I got 10 hardbound books with removable covers and 75 paperbacks. I was very pleased with the results. I gave the hardcover copies to my family. The paperbacks were mine. I sold about 50 copies at $14.

This is amusing; several years later I googled the title of my book “Fulfillment is a Place” and got a hit on Amazon.

At this time I had not released my book for sale anywhere. The listing on Amazon offered a copy of my book for $150 as a rare 1st edition signed by the author.

Of course it was rare, I only had 75 printed.

What were my advantages in self-publishing?

  • I had total control of the preparation process
  • There was no one to stop production
  • I had control of the number of books printed, I wasn’t stuck with a garage full of books

What were the disadvantages:

  • Since I was the publisher I had to purchase SBN numbers and an SBN barcode scan .
  • This was before the publication of Kristin Lamb’s  book “We Are Not Alone”  WANA; I was alone. I had no one to go to for assistance.

That was my first experience at self-publishing.

What kind of experience did you have?

What are your arguments for or against self-publishing?

There’s One Born Every Minute–Conclusion

There’s One Born Every Minute—Conclusion 

The purpose of this blog has been to show how serious addictions can be. I don’t think I ever heard of a 12 step program for car addicts. LOL

In my last post I said that I had to get rid of the MGA. In a very short time it would need major surgery and the government wasn’t providing insurance coverage on vehicles.  LOL

What to buy, it couldn’t be just any car, I had to make a statement. These were the days of the foreign car; there were Skodas, Maicos, Anglias, Gogomobiles, it was a veritable potpourri of imports. But these were all too common—and then I saw it:

A 1960 Hillman Minx Convertible, the colors were Moonstone (an iridescent blue with a light lavender cast), blue vinyl top, and blue vinyl upholstery. So why did this car meet my standards:

It had a 4 on-the-column shifter.

Did you ever hear of this?

The convertible top could be lowered completely or

(ready for this)—

it could be retracted so that only the front seat was open the back was covered.

How cool is that?

I kept the Hillman for about four years until my wife and I decided we needed a more suitable family car, a 1964 Chevrolet BelAir. This behemoth had a manual transmission, no power steering, no air conditioning. It was very Spartan but it had a huge trunk that would hold a 4×8 sheet of plywood.

I won’t bore you with the remaining litany of vehicles but over the next 34 years 11 new cars passed through my hands. That’s an average of 3 years per car.

In 1996 I was driving a beautiful Toyota Cressida and when it was time to trade, I was informed that Toyota had decided to stop making the Cressida.

There wasn’t enough difference between the Lexus ES300 and the Cressida (other than price) so they hoped to move drivers up to the Lexus.

I wasn’t happy about this decision, I figured there was no way I could afford a Lexus but an eager salesman showed how I could.

I’m a sucker for a salesman!

I found myself behind the wheel of a beautiful ES300.

Strangely enough I kept this car for 12 years. Buy quality and you’ll be happy.

In 2008 I was ready for a new car. Every time I took my Lexus in for an oil change they gave me a loaner car, a new ES350 (such evil people).

My wife told me that since I was going to be 70 I could buy one for my birthday. I looked at all the options, sunroof, heated and cooled leather seats, (hey, I lived in the desert), GPS, Bluetooth, Headlights that swiveled, automatic wipers, power rear window sunshade.

Do you think that was enough, no I didn’t either. I added chrome wheels.

Do you have any idea what the price tag on this boat was? I’m not going to tell you.

Was I happy now? What do you think?

Yes, for a while. But two years later I realized that the car was too big, the payments were killing me, taxes were atrocious—and—it just wasn’t fun to drive.

You won’t believe my next move. I took my beautiful Lexus and drove to the Honda dealer and bought a bright red 2010 Honda Fit Sport. This is a really fun car to drive and is very flexible. And a lot less expensive in all respects.!

 This is the end of my car chronicles, at least I hope it is; but who knows?

Tell me about your vehicle adventures.

 

There’s One Born Every Minute Part 2

So I was 20 years old and I had a new 59 Plymouth Belvedere. It was beautiful, bright shiny red, sparkling white vinyl top. Was I happy?

No         .

What did it take to make me happy?

 

 

First, it wasn’t the car I wanted, it wasn’t the beautiful bittersweet car with the 8 cylinder engine and the pushbutton transmission.

The beautiful red Belvedere with a 6 cylinder engine was  so underpowered a 49 Ford could take me leaving a stop sign.

So what?

This was very important to a 20 year old.

About this time some of my friends were buying sports cars, one had a Jaguar XK140 convertible, another had a Karman Ghia.

What did I have     ?

A crummy 6 cylinder Plymouth!

One weekend several of us went to the Road America sports car race in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin. It was an unbelievable experience Jaguar introduced a new car, the XKSS. Briggs Cunningham was testing a new Osca, and a new class of race car the Formula Junior was introduced.

I was totally intoxicated by the roar of the engines and the smell of the nitromethane.On the return trip I made up my mind to get rid of the Plymouth.

I really wanted a 1959 Austin Healy 3000 MKlll but just couldn’t make it happen. Then I saw an MGA roadster, black, red leather, wire wheels with knock off hubs, beautiful.

 

 

I had to have it.

 

They were willing to take my 59 Plymouth in even trade for the 57 MGA.

I’m sure I lost out on the deal but I didn’t care. It was mine..

I didn’t even notice that the spare had most of the spokes broken and that the tires were worn badly.

I had a lot of fun with the MG I’m surprised I didn’t get more tickets or kill myself.

I kept the MG for less than a year because the clutch needed to be replaced. This was extremely expensive.

Bye bye MGA.

I may have been a sucker, but I sure had fun.

Did any of you have a sports car that you will never forget?

Write me let me hear what kind of cars you had. I love to talk about cars.