April 16, 1905 – The Beginning of The Double Cousins Mysteries

Yesterday marked the beginning of my book, The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Missing Watch.  Consequently, it marks the beginning of the series! 

“What?  HUH?  What is she talking about now! ” Well, here it is.  On April 16, 1905 my grandpa, George Lee Jones was born in Kansas. 

So you might ask, “what’s the connection?”  The obvious answer is that if he wouldn’t have been born, I wouldn’t have been born… but it goes farther than that, much farther.

For those of you who have heard the presentation I use in schools, this will be review.  In fact you may be jumping in your seat, your hand in the air saying, “Oh! OH!  Pick me, pick me!  I know that answer.”  Unfortunately, this media doesn’t allow me to pick you but thanks for remembering. 🙂

When my Grandpa, George Jones was eight his family moved from Kansas to Nebraska in a covered wagon.  They went with two covered wagons, a spring wagon, eight horses, and six people.  It was October and it was cold.  It took 16 days to go the approximate 320 miles.  It was an experience my Grandpa never forgot.  In fact, when he was in his 70’s he decided there were a lot of experiences he had which no one else would remember if he didn’t tell them.  So, he did.  He not only told them but he wrote them down.  He wrote three books about his life.  He wrote simply but descriptively, using plain rancher talk.  The books were full of wonderful examples of his dry sense of humor. I can read those books and still hear my Grandpa talking in my head.

In December 1997 and January 1998 three of my grandparents died in a six-week period.  Grandpa Jones was the last one to go to heaven.  Understandably, I was rather wrapped up in  the memories I had from them, the things they had taught me.  My grandparents all had such an important part in my life, especially after my mother died when I was ten.  Now there are grieving camps and counselors etc. for children who suffer loss but when I was ten, there was my wonderful Daddy and our extended families, primarily our grandparents.  They were there for us, even from a distance.  They stepped up and did what families are supposed to do.  When my Daddy remarried my Mom, I got another set of grandparents.  Through the years these people were always there, teaching by example and there just aren’t words to say the impact they had on my life.  Through this time of loss I decided I wanted to take some of my grandparents stories, starting with Grandpa Jones’ books and put them into picture books for children.  For instance, maybe a story from the covered wagon trip.  That would make an awesome book. 

As I started to study how to write a book, I learned that you should write what you know.  That’s where the idea came from for the Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Missing Watch.  When I was a kid, one of my favorite places was the ranch where my Grandpa and Grandma Jones lived and worked.  We went there for a week or two each summer and often other cousins would be there.  As a way of honoring my grandparents, I wanted to write about this… and I did. 

So, now you know why it is that I can say…. my book series started 105 years ago yesterday.  Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

P.S.  If your Grandparents are still living, go see them today or call them.  Tell them just how much you love them and listen to them.   They can tell you all sorts of neat stuff!

Are you in search of a “good read”?

   It’s spring!  Before we know it will be summer break.  I know, I know, for you students and teachers it just can’t come soon enough.  🙂  I’ve been thinking this weekend just how quickly summer is coming and with it the one year anniversary of the launch of the Double Cousins Mysteries.  I’ve been thinking a lot about it this weekend because I’ve been focused on Book Two which I have tentatively named, The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Torn Map.  Yesterday I finished initial revisions and now I am going to write a synopsis, cover letter, and other pieces needed for a proposal which I hope will knock the socks off of an editor.  One of those “other pieces” is an endorsements page.  This is where people say what they think of my book… especially those comments that includes the question “when is the next book coming?”  I actually have quite a few on file but can always use more. 

Another thing that I believe will help me as I contact editors is a count of the number of books I’ve sold.  Obviously, the more I’ve sold the greater the chance that they will want to publish the second in the series.

So, here is my idea/suggestion/request. 

Maybe you are a home school parent looking for a book to finish the year with.  Maybe you want to have something for your child to read as soon as school is out! 

 Maybe you are a parent of a child who responds well to goals.  Maybe their goal for getting awesome grades would be this new book. 

 Maybe your child needs to read a certain number of books for their school this summer and you want something that has good values and morals!  Have I got the book for you!

Maybe you are an aunt or an uncle, a grandparent, a friend, looking for a great birthday present!  Here it is.  Maybe you want to stock up now on gifts for Christmas!  Have I got a deal for you!

Perhaps you are planning the family vacation and want a book to read out loud while you drive from Pennsylvania to Yellowstone.  Just imagine the miles flying by with this book in hand!

Maybe you are an adult who has never given up his/her love of simple mysteries and you need something to take your mind off of all the stressors out there… this is even for you!

I think you get the idea here.  At this point I have sold over 500 copies that I know of.  I will be getting my report for Jan-March from Winepress soon and I’m hoping to be somewhere near 600. 

Here is my dream!  I would love to be able to reach 1000 copies by the one year anniversary, August 1st.  I really don’t think that is unreasonable.  I have an advertisement coming out in May in the Homeschool Enrichment Catalog, and a book signing set up for May 15.  If you know of someone who might be interested let them know.  If you’ve been planning to get a book and just haven’t done it yet, GO FOR IT!  Now’s the time. 🙂

Here are just some of the ways you can order…. from me, check out my website at www.doublecousins.net.  You can order directly from my publisher at www.winepressbooks.com.  The books are also on most of the online bookstores.  If you ask your local bookstore to look me up (Miriam Jones Bradley – The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Missing Watch) they should be able to order it in for you.  It’s as easy as that!

For those of you who have read clear to the end of this “shameless self-promotion” piece, THANKS!  I LOVE YOU!

Spring… a time of change and fresh starts…

I am presently sitting on the swing in my front yard listening to the birds chirp, the neighborhood dogs bark – the sounds of spring.  I can look around and see absolute beauty in the trees .  My street is undeniably one of the most beautiful in  town.  Of course it’s compact, only one block long but we have an abundance of beauty here.  I sat here this morning in awe of the color “spring green.”  There is a feel of beginnings in the air.  The winter is over and now we get to enjoy warmer weather, new growth, fresh starts.  Of course with all of the new growth, the flowering trees, the blooming flowers comes the yellow haze in the air, the film covering cars and everything else left outside… pollen!  For those who suffer from allergies it is certainly a double-edged sword.  Everyone, it seems is ready for spring.  Everyone loves the flowering trees.  But at what cost.  Ah, there it is, the cost of change and new beginnings.  Always a catch.  (For instance, the dirty sock smell coming from those lovely Bradford Pear Trees that are in bloom all over town.)

I find myself in the midst of a new beginning, an exciting change.  I accepted a job offer today to go back to patient care.  I will be working in a surgical ICU.  I am thrilled and I can’t  wait to get started.  But, at what cost.  I will be leaving not only my job at Newberry Hospital, but my friends.  Sure, there will be new friends at the new hospital, but I hate goodbyes.  I try to remember that I had to say goodby to friends in Florida in order to move here and meet the friends here.  And before that, I had to say goodby to all of my family and friends in SD to get married and move to Florida… and so it goes.

One of my reasons for changing jobs is the book process.  I find that I need blocks of time open to do the promotion necessary to sell this book.  Then there is the time necessary to write, edit, and market the next book.  Today I had an opportunity to do a little of that promotion.  I had the privilege of being interviewed for a live radio program on station CHRI in Canada.  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have come to the conclusion that I MUCH prefer radio to TV!  Of course, anyone who knows me will realize that kind of fits with my love of talking on the phone…

My husband, Bruce has been an invaluable part of this process and today he taped my interview.  He has updated the website (http://www.doublecousins.net) and you can go there to hear the interview in its entirety! 

So, whatever you are experiencing this Spring remember… change can be good.  It might be hard, but in the hard times and through the changes we grow… and you just might meet some new friends.