The manuscript is finished and edited! Waiting on the illustrations from the author/artist and contributing artist Jennie Navarro Price, to schedule a publishing date. Look for it soon on Amazon: amazon.com/author/jamesoyoungcliff
While I live in terror of catching COVID-19 like most Americans, I remain hopeful and proud of the many who have had the common sense, to disregard the greedy politicians’ advice, to relax our concerns for this killer virus. As a Floridian, our state officials, as well as White House officials, have exhibited poor judgment when it comes to the lives of our people. We as a state, and nation must recognize and fight against these idiots’ lapses in what it means to be human!
Like most, I’m concern about our livelihood and our children’s future. But, we must be steadfast. Strong. And most of all, determine to overcome any and all struggles. Listen to the scientists in a pandemic, they are the last voices of reason. As a famous line we’ve all heard states, “Our colors never run!”
Be diligent, not only from the virus but from small-minded people who are easily manipulated and herded like cattle to do and act against their own better judgment.
Stay safe, peace with you…
James O. Youngcliff
As practical, mundane, and boring a task can be, Sunday morning laundry turned life upside down for Clare. No, she didn’t find a love note, or a hotel-motel rendezvous receipt in her husband’s pants pocket as she inspected his clothes. Undoubtedly, she’d welcomed a broken heart over finding a pair of socks soaked in blood in her laundry basket on top of the washer! And let’s say this right out, he wouldn’t dare cheat because she did all the laundry in their household.
Anyway: incredible that he’d dropped the stained socks ruining the rest of the clothes in the first place, but he did it, regardless of the trouble it caused, both to her with removing the stains or replacing the garments, not to mention the many unfolding questions of sanity, idiocy, and blatant, stupidity for such a mindless act, and to him, for not thinking she wouldn’t turn him into the authorities; in the event, he couldn’t give her a reasonable explanation for his actions.
Immediately and with utmost care not to drip any of the blood out on the white carpets, she rushed upstairs to their bedroom and opened the door to find Charley still sleeping the morning away. Now, left with the arduous task of controlling her temper and coming up with a straightforward question that conveyed her anger, she realized better to ask him right off, “Did you kill someone?”
Knowing her husband, and getting him to wake up early on Sunday and admit to anything, particularly anything incriminating, came with a ridiculous amount of, “I don’t knows,” or “Why do you ask?” or evasive excuses, many that would frustrate a moose’s bowel movements, stressed out on the first day of hunting season.
“Charley, wake up!” she shouted.
“Not now, dear…” he mumbled and turned over to avoid getting up.
“Get your fat ass up and explain these bloody socks in my laundry basket right now!”
As usual, nothing ever filtered through the accumulated amounts of dead brain cells packed into his head overnight, especially, after the midnight pilfering of the refrigerator in search of snacks, or Heaven forbid, he’d find the leftover chicken, she kept hidden with many obstacles in front to discourage his night raids. The cold, disgusting meal lay buried in his stomach, making him toss and turn and snore, keeping her awake, and for that very reason, she seldom made his favorite dinner of fried chicken, white rice, and gravy.
“Charley, wake up this moment!” she screamed at the top of her voice.
“What is it now, my sugarplum fairy?” Clare turned the light on in the room and kicked the bed with her knee to rouse him up. Granted, during the week, the man worked hard nights, and when doing overtime, he dragged his butt in, just as she was taking off to work herself. So on weekends, it seemed fair to let him linger a bit before getting him up to do his chores.
“Didn’t you hear me? What the hell are these bloody socks doing in my laundry?” she repeated, “And please, think about what you will say before you answer, or I’m calling the police!” she threatened.
With all the deliberate acuity of a possum perched on a chain-link fence caught prowling at night, Charley denied knowing anything about any bloody socks as Clare had expected.
“Clearly, they’re mine,” she snapped back, “I must be having senior moments now that I’m in my twenties. Look, Charley, I’ve had it with you! You don’t take anything seriously, and if they’re not yours, then someone broke into our home last night!”
Charley got up and put his pants on and checked the evidence. “Yep, they’re bloody, all right!”
“For Heaven’s sake, Charley, what’s wrong with you? I’m warning you, not one more fried chicken and white rice dinner for you. Understand me,” she poked him in the back with her finger, “Your matter-of-fact attitude about things has gone too far.” Clare’s frustrations with Charley went viral.
“Would you calm down, if I admitted they’re mine?” he said, walking over to the bathroom to brush his teeth.
Clare followed and planted her laundry basket in the sink, exasperated with her husband, “That’s it; I’m calling the police.”
“Yep, they’re mine; these are Alpine Swiss cotton dress socks, dear, they’re mine alright. If you haven’t forgotten, you bought them for my last birthday. A bit too pricey for my dogs, when I go hunting but don’t get me wrong, they’re appreciated,” he amused, trying to defuse her anger.
“Who cares what kind of damn men’s sock these are – they’re full of someone’s blood. My God, Charley, are you sleepwalking?”
“OK, look, if it makes you feel better, I’ll have a look around and check out the windows and garage to see if there’s been a break-in, and if someone’s been in the house, I’ll call the cops myself. But please take the body basket downstairs, and I’ll join you in a minute. OK, my sweet bun cake?”
Reluctantly, Clare took it back to the laundry room but not before saying, “‘Bun cake’ or ‘sugarplum fairy’ me one more time and I’ll send a fairy wand up your cupcakes, Sweetie pie!”
Clare didn’t wait for her husband to have a look around, she set the basket down on the kitchen table and cautiously entered the garage and inspected for anything suspicious. Continuing from there looking for red stains throughout the house, but kept coming up short on clues for the mysterious bloody socks.
She sat and watched as Charley make his way into the kitchen, looking for coffee and found the pot empty. “Make it yourself, Inspector Clouseau,” she mocked him for his easing going attitude.
“I guess you already had a look around yourself,” he asked her.
“Well, yeah, if I waited on you, Mr. Brave Heart, and I’d be dripping out of an intruder’s suitcase next.”
“That’s funny,” he smiled and kissed her on the forehead and started making coffee.
The phone rang, and Clare picked it up, “Yes, who’s this? He is, just a minute, it’s Joe for you.”
“Hi, Joe, what’s up? Ah, I see, well, let me get back with you on that,” Charley’s face lit up with a smile.
“What did he want?”
“Oh, Joe wanted to let us know that while we were away food shopping yesterday, he dropped off a couple of jars of deer blood, leaving them on the upper shelf in the laundry room. And he wanted to remind us to be sure and put them in ice. He also added to be on the lookout, some of the jars contain small cracks and bound to leak!”
Great family Holiday vacation without much of the usual squabbles, except for one: the dogs caused a bit of a problem. Much to do with them this year: barking, feeding, and stepping in s**t, perhaps it would have been better if we all had left them in kennels back home, but let me not digress.
Over halfway done with my latest novel, The Weeping Past: A Forbidden Legacy, the wordcount is climbing (40K), with the four-letter words stacking the deck I’m afraid to say.
Also needing attention: The cover of the novel wasn’t right, so I’ve changed it around again. I’m not able to post it here since I’ve not secured the rights to the photos yet; however, with this last cover, I think I’m getting closers to the final version.
As far as the story goes, a few issues keep annoying the hell out of me. First, I find that my fantasy resembles, it seems of late, a currently streaming media series, so I find my novel lacking originality in many areas by comparison. Secondly, and most importantly, with this novel, I’m so far from my true calling (of writing children’s books), that the words and plot are not flowing with the same vitality.
I’m not having writer’s block, for just recently I was able to break out of a corner that did have me stumped. Forgive me for lack of details and if I sound like I’m whining, but it’s a strange feeling and it is not that I just question whether this novel is worth writing, but if my writing is worth the effort anymore?
I set out to write BluBerrie stories I told my children, and now my grandkids, throughout the years; and that was fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing as much as I do painting and illustrating, its that with the visual arts I was able to let my imagination roam free, with the writing not so much.
Struggling with structure and plot and originality weighs me down. My broad brush strokes with the keyboard is painful at best, and devistating to my self forfillment at worst. But no worries my fans, I’ll finish this novel if only for the sake of disipline and determination and you, my fans. And I promise to do better with the sequel to it. (That novel is also halfway finished but requiring major revisions.)
Many before the grapes and cider come tonight, so I bid you all a fond New Years, and may life’s demands never bring your spirits down — whatever the percentage of alcohol they contain! 🙂
I can’t emphasize how crazy writing, promoting, and drawing can be when you’ve published four books: The CandyStore, The Pickled Man, The Golden Steed, and now, The Gallery!
By the time I get around to one phase of the work, I’ve forgotten the shortcuts on the different apps I use to get the job done. Just today, I had to upload one of my websites, and I couldn’t remember I changed my password a while back or how to add new images to the site.
I fear that ever since Amazon did away with its Give-Away program, my sales have tanked! I promoted heavily, giving away many free copies. I guess I have to start advertising more now. Although I do have some followings, it seems that’s not enough to improve sales. With my next book, The Weeping Past: A Forbidden Legacy, I plan on going after adult readers. For now, The BluBerrie Series will have to wait for its next book.
It looks like I’m definitely on my way with this new manuscript: The Weeping Past – A Forbidden Legacy. Dear readers, no worries, I plan to keep things tasteful, however, the subject matter and ideas in this coming novel, will be outside of my comfort zone. Way outside of my comfort zone! And thus, it doesn’t look like I’ll be finished until the later part of the first quarter of next year, trying to make sense of the plot and characters. So, things from me will dry until then…
One more thought on this subject: I did have some concerns that such a move might affect my readers — particularly, parents who buy my children’s books — I can only say, forgive me, I need to do more serious writing, at least for now. I promise once I get this “bug” out of my system, I have plans for another Young Adult novel: Into the Bowels of the Sea. I so much loved The Oldman and the Sea that I want to see what I can come up with this subject matter (apologies to Hemingway).
Got to go and work on, ahh… ahh… damn it! I forgot what I wanted to do next… 😉
I have a good reason for not posting: I’ve been finishing up on my latest novel: BluBerrie: The Gallery. The only thing left to do on it is to replace certain illustrations with better artwork and then, it will be done. Jacabo Studio, my publisher, is shooting for November 29th as a release date. However, anybody that wants to pre-order, it’s available now.
What do I mean by that? Well, with all the other crazy stuff going on (more on this another time), I’ve also started another manuscript. I have this wonderful idea to use some of my earlier ideas from a previous book (unfinished) and use them in a smaller novel (60K – 65K in length). I’d like to reveal my current title here, which I personally love, but my publisher said, “No,” for now. (If the suspense is too great [I only hope] email and on an individual basis I might be persuade to tell.)
I just found out that back in August of this year, my ranking on Amazon rose from a possible pool of approx. 1.5 million writers to 97K. I’m not too sure if I should be boasting about that, but I feel it shows some merit, what little it may be. Sales of my books are dreadful! But I have hope, things will change soon.
What really helped boost sales was Amazon’s Giveaways or so I’m told. And of which, Amazon is now retiring. Either way, I’m not into it for the money (really?) and most of my reward comes from leaving some measure of who I am as a person behind with my stories. Simple enough, and probably not a very original thought — oh, well…
I have two copies of my original book, BluBerrie: The Party to giveaway (that means free) to the first two fans that email me. I will pay to ship within the United States. Also, I will have to put a limit as to how long. Let me think, let’s say to November 28th, 2019 is the deadline to get your request in. Please email me at email@example.com (please remove the 1,2, 3) and provide your address. (I will not sell or use it for any other purpose than to send your free copy of my book.)
OK, got to go…
I have not heard from Amazon Kindle Tech, so I had to release both the digital and paperback versions of my new children’s chapter book, The Magical, Mystical Golden Steed to capture the Labor Day Holiday benefits. Unfortunately, Hurricane Dorian got all eyes glued to the news and weather forecasts, and I lost alot of readers. I havn’t had time to check reports but I don’t think sales are moving on this book.
On a positive note: you still have time to win a chance to get a digital copy of three of my books: The Pickled Man and BluBerrie: The CandyStore. Don’t miss it.
BluBerrie: The Gallery is off to the editors — hurray! Also, I started illustrating the book here is a sneak preview of the cover. Don’t fail to follow me on Amazon.com.
Oh, yes, stay safe, I understand Dorian is still hitting the eastern coastline. Take care.
It seems I can always find an excuse to avoid writing on my blog. And here comes another: We’ve been preparing for hurricane Dorian. It is just now that I found the time to mention a few things going on related to my writing career. One important item, Amazon Kindle Support has not figured out why I can’t publish my digital copy of The Magical, Mystical Golden Steed with edge-to-edge images (I have over 12 in this children’s chapter novel).
And so, I decided to go with what I have but had to upload the entire manuscript up to the Kindle website because of an error; a lengthy process. BTW, it was ready to go before, so I don’t know what happened to the file to cause an error. Now, I’m waiting on them to release the book, in hopes to gain some marking advantage for the Labor Day holiday.
My fans have a special treat (and anyone else for that matter): I’ve got several Amazon Give Aways going starting today. And for two different chances to win digital copies of The Pickled Man, and BluBerrie: The Candy-Store. Here are the links respectively: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/063daf7b8e93dc93 and https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/7c802bc5cffdc98b
These giveaways prove helpful, although I only sell a few copies right after the giveaway is over, however many decide to follow me on my page: https://amazon.com/author/jamesoyoungclif and that’s a good thing…
Let me think… Oh, yeah, I just sent the fourth chapter manuscript for BluBerrie: The Gallery to the editor. That little tiny, tiny, tiniest of them all turtle, BluBerrie is up to her usual mischievous adventures, so be on the lookout for it. I think it is scheduled for publication sometime in November of this year. It looks like Jacabo Studio will be publishing it. (They better — LOL — I own the company.) I’m glad to say that the editor I used on my past two novels, decided at the last minute to edit The Gallery. I trust her to make my garbled up prose sound intelligent. (Youse can tell the mess I make here on my blog.)
I started to draw the digital illustrations for The Gallery, but I’m having a hard time with them. I got so used to the coloring pencils that the BluBerrie kids are not turning out at all as I want. I may have to retrain myself using SketchBook and my Picasso drawing table. (© by their respective owners).
Well… that’s it for now. Make sure when you visit me here, to leave me a comment or question you may have regarding my work.
Sorry, for not posting sooner. I’ve been putting to “bed” my latest novel for children, The Magical, Mystical Golden Steed. It took me away from my posting because I illustrated the book. By the time I was finished, I had over 14 drawings done for it.
They are 9 in. x 12 in. in full color (BTW, they are for sale if anyone is interested. Please contact me and I’ll give you details and prices). One big side note: It was my first crack at colored pencils, so naturelly they took longer to do. In fact, over three weeks, and over nine hours for each drawing.
I must confess, my beautiful daughter turned me on to coloring pencils. I normally draw in charcoal pencils and only with two colors. i.e. https://www.jacabostudio.com/charcoal-pencil-drawings.html
Did I mention that besides authoring children’s books, I’m also a surrealist artist? My work as a painter gets heavy, and I noticed that it spilled over to my current illustrations for the new novel. One can see the influences in several of the drawings (see image below). I tend to like the simple use of media for my drawings. I like charcoal and in only two flavors, that is, till now.
Oh, yes: If you missed a chance to win a free digital copy of my earlier book, The Pickled Man, go over to https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/2855d30a7bb4447d . The contest is well on its way, but you still have time to enter: August 18, 2019 11:59 PM.
One more item to report: I’m working on something new and exciting in my next novel, Into the Bowels of the Sea. (Interesting title, isn’t it? Please let me know what you really think.) Why is it “new and exciting”?
Glad you asked. Well, for starters, it takes place at sea and I don’t know the first thing about the sea — yes, I swim — but it’s exciting to be able to plunge in, “sink or swim” so to speak. But I digress. The story is about a teenager who must survive at sea by himself after his father dies… and that’s it. I don’t have much more, just that the idea of learning on how one survives at sea could be very fun.
One thing I do know for sure, I don’t plan on writing it “straight.” You know, the typical TV or movie script boring fashion… Oh, Oh… I got to go… I just got an email from Amazon support that they are working on resolving my issue. And they need more info in order to help me out.
Til’ we meet again, “CYA!”
James Oliver Youngcliff
The chance for a Giveaway is over for the children’s book, BluBerrie: The CandyStore with two winners. It took two weeks for the prizes to go but the exposure was great. I like to thank the many folks who signed up. Anyone who missed out can have another chance to win a copy of BluBerrie: The Pond now on: click here. This is the second book in the BluBerrie Serie.
Sales of BluBerrie: The CandyStore are on the upturn again. I guess it is due to the promotions currently going on for the July 4th celebrations. BTW, don’t forget to check out the sale price on our latest horror novel for young adults, The Pickled Man.
One free proof copy of The Pickled Man goes to the first person who comments below and requests it. (Sorry, I only have one to giveaway, must be eighteen or older to participate.) I will provide an email to send in your info once I receive notice of your request. (*Free book and shipping available only within the continental US only. Offer expires July 15, 2019)
I’m having trouble with forms and video, so, please be patient. I’ll eventually get it right. There’s a lot more “stuff” I have to get around to getting done first. Writing is easy. Promoting is NOT. But I’m getting a good handle on it. Anyways… that’s it for now. Hope to hear from a lucky participant. — j.o.y.