400 pages

Yeah, a pretty good day. I was in bed at midnight. I have an Alexa dot in my bedroom. When I first got it I used it for a lot more, all the lights in the house and honestly some mild amusement from time to time. Now I only use it for bedroom light (there is another Alexa dot downstairs, but that is a different story.) A few times before, and again the last week or two, I’ve been using it for ‘sleep sounds’, to play the sound of the ocean.

Going back to find the post where I really remembered the sound of the ocean, I found it… and found that I didn’t write about it. I started to at the beginning of the post and for probably two reasons didn’t get that far, 1) I was cramped up typing in my car that night, the car fully packed (and it was still, so full then,) and 2) I don’t think I had really come to terms with where my life was at that night.

I had camped and slept on the beach with a three day County pass on a quiet stretch of beach a local had given me directions to, Mustang Island. You can camp six days per month, however no more than three nights in a row. I ended up staying (living?) on the beach for a week and on the fourth night I had to leave. The friend I had met there usually drove up the the Walmart to sleep each night, whereas I needed to put out my tent in order to lay down and sleep.

I had decided to stay on the beach, yet in order to comply with my county pass, I had to leave the county. Back out access road 6 and onto the main highway, a few miles up to light, then a left (to stay on the highway down the string of beaches, or right up into Corpus Christi proper,) then down a few miles to access road 3, another left down to the beach. The comes a price with certain County services, down on the Gulf of Mexico, some counties have beach passes, and some do not. Some beaches have maintained beach roads, with a daily plow to scrap them down, wide parking areas hundreds of feet from the high tide mark, and patrolling County officers making sure the beach rules are followed.

The unregulated beach is free. Much narrower, enough solid ground to drive on- if the tide has been out long enough, and no porta potties. I’d barely gotten off the County beach by six or so, almost dusk in January, and it was dark by time I was able to drive down the beach far enough past the mile marker and the “welcome” sign indicating I’d crossed the border (of the county.) Just past it were another dozen campers or or so over the next few hundred yards.

Pulling down to the end of the line, I pulled up as close to the dunes as I could and I still wasn’t sure that I was far enough away from the water. I got out and gave a full walk around and decided it would be good. Back into the car, I was about to turn in off, then thought my first move in the morning would need to be a U-turn to head back north. Instead, I went ahead and turned the car around and parked back up to the dunes. It only took about ten minutes to setup my tent, yet a very frustrating ten minutes.

The wind was blowing off the gulf that night, as the the tide was starting to come in. It might have been raining a bit too, yet it was salty and full of sand. I got the tent popped out and staked down. After looking around, there wasn’t anything very flat or level, I just did my best to find a place in the dark. Once that once done, I got back in the car to type my words that night. Once inside and dried (I was pretty comfortable in my car by then, my fourth day on the road after my first two weeks in the Lake Corpus Christi State Campground an hour inland to the north,) I ate and tried, as I do each night, to think about my day and what it meant for my life.

Sometimes, it is hard to know what to type. As warm as it was, I had the windows half down on the drivers side and just a slit on the passenger side by the Gulf. Yet as the tide came up that night I was engulfed in the sound of the “ocean”.

So… back to my Alexa in my bedroom. I set it to the ocean sounds and set a timer for an hour or two. I just want to be asleep before it turns off. A few times, I’ve turned it on and forgot to set the timer and it runs all night. Last night, I tried sometime new. I had gone upstairs right at midnight and I wanted eight hours sleep (always a goal.) Usually I wake up, roll over to check my phone, see the time and then go back over or another hour, depending on the time. Last night I set the time for eight hours. When I woke up this morning, the ocean was still going and I just laid and rolled and dozed in and out until it turned off. Eight hours, if not fully sleeping, in bed.

The cut into the morning routine a bit, yet I can lose the first hour of the Today show. Still back upstairs at 8:30 and then the morning as usual. The day ended up a bit more productive. I was at my desk at nine working on the final manuscript of the first book. Iteratively, I’ve gone over to make sure I got the formatting laid out as best as I could. Mostly, just adding line breaks. The way the default spacing worked, just mushed all the paragraphs together for my liking. As many words as I write, I need to at least make them easy to read.

I stopped for lunch at three, and really, at that point it was done. I ate and thought about my next steps for tomorrow. Now with the file complete, it was just a matter of uploading the the kdp site, finishing the covers and… cleaning up lunch I went back to work, this time at the standup desk (change of scenery,) and had to back and forth a bit. From Pages on my Mac I was able to export the 6 by 9 sized PDF and also an ePub (with its table of contents now automatically created.) Both uploaded fine, yet the previewer flagged 26 spelling errors (that I’m leaving in, some may indicate my state of mind,) and also an issue with the gutter margin.

I had it set just over the limit 0.625 inches with the Mac’s measurements of 1.6mm, adjusted that to 1.7mm then re-exported and moved the new file over to the Windows machine. Then back to the Amazon process (so much nicer to see the previews on my 42 inch screen.) It went faster than I thought, and now? Now it is done and another a three day wait.

Up to 72 hours in the ‘review’ process before my book should be available via Amazon ebook for $3.99 or printed in 6×9 softcover and shipped free (if you’re a prime member,) for $14.99.  By some time next week, I will be listed as an Independent Publisher and Author of my first printed and bound book. A book. I’m an author.

But… will I sell books? For an ebook sale I’ll earn about two and quarter, for a softcover three dollars and eighty cents. I’m almost embarrassed to have goals.. hopes.. dreams… at first, I’m almost afraid someone will buy my book! Ha, reading it back and forth so many times today was, almost out of body. It’s a good story, I even figured out how to put the montage scene into the book. It all just worked out. Yet, the way the book starts… everyone will get that far and I don’t know if they’ll read to the end of the trilogy to figure out why it had to start that way.

The goal is to live and work as an author. I need to sell four hundred books or almost double as many ebooks per month at my current margins. How wide is the world? In 350 million people in the US, will my book sell?

Will the book turn into a screenplay? A full budget film? Will people ask Keanu Reeves if he looks like me? Or will they just assume he just looks like me as he plays me in the movie? My friend Patrick Micheal Collegian will be playing himself and also narrating the movie- very Morgan Freeman style.

Trilogies sell right? I’ve even got bonus material ready…  This, this will be interesting. I could publish (from my currently prepared manuscripts,) part two at the end of August, and part three at the end of September. Oddly, that is also the same as the deadline for me to renew my USPA membership and my AFFI rating. The membership is easy, just whatever the new annual fee is (more than worth it,) probably $65 by now, plus another $40 I think for the Ratings. However, I would also need to show proof of 15 student skydives for the year, of which I currently have 0 and am 18 months uncurrent.

Buy some books, please? I could use some tunnel time, a repack, and a few jump tickets. 1) save the house. 2) save the rating.

That has been the day. After I click the last buttons I made a post on the Facebook book page. Then smoked a ‘real’ joint for the first time in a month or so. 20% THC and no CBD to speak of. I bought it on my last trip to Stone Depot as a little carrot to make sure I got the job done this week. Since then, just relaxing and a few hours of typing.

Time to rest.

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