Landing Page – Felipe Adan Lerma : My Site’s Pages

10 Jul

Going to SXSW in Our 60s medLanding Page – Felipe Adan Lerma : My Site’s Pages

Most recent posts follow below

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Pictured Left :

“Going to SXSW in Our 60s”

One of several titles available free from participating outlets.

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Search titles at major subscription, retail, and library outlets.

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“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


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Landing Page – Felipe Adan Lerma

My Site’s Pages

 

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Categories : Author Bio Info & Updates

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Pages

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Most recent posts follow below this landing page.

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Paris in 5 1-2 Weeks Day 14 med

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“One Night in the Hill Country” – First Page Critique, at Flogging the Quill

23 Sep

One Night in the Hill Country med“One Night in the Hill Country” -

First Page Critique, at

Flogging the Quill

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Pictured Left :

A novella, “One Night in the Hill Country.”

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Original fiction, photo-memoirs, and poetry by Felipe Adan Lerma

Available via subscription, direct purchase, or library.

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“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


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Site Areas

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Fitness ** Arts ** eBooks

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“One Night in the Hill Country” -

First Page Critique, at

Flogging the Quill

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Category – Thrillers

Related Articles :

“One Night in the Hill Country” – A Cozy Thriller?

I’m Experimenting Again : Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa – Short Chapter Shifts

Short Chapters – My Guest Post: Why I Like Them

Like Mysteries and Suspense? I Have These Short Stories on Scribd – Previews

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First Page Critique of “One Night in the Hill Country”

Tomorrow I get my first feedback (outside close folk and family) on my newest book, a suspense thriller, “One Night in the Hill Country, courtesy of Ray Rhamey on his site, Flogging the Quill.

If you’re unfamiliar with Ray’s site, he accepts submissions from writers who’d like their first page (17 lines I think) reviewed. It’s based on his popular monthly post, Flogging a Pro, on Writer’s Unboxed, where he does the same for top name best-selling authors.

Results, and the comments, can be pretty surprising :-)

Both Ray’s well-known writer, and less-known writer (smile), critiques, and the comments, are a fun learning experience.

I have no idea how he, or other readers will take to my first page of my new thriller. But if you have time, go by Flogging the Quill tomorrow, and check out my first page. Leave a comment, let me know. Like or dislike or maybe, it will help me a great deal – thanks so much (smiles).

For those who can’t wait, below is a link to my first eight chapters, 10% of my story content.

Tomorrow I’ll post the specific link to Ray’s post on my first page.

Thanks everyone :-)

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Sample

One Night in the Hill Country medFor an eight chapter, 3000 word sample, please see my post : One Night in the Hill Country, a Thriller : 3000 Word Sample .

This work is in Pre-Order for an October 19th release.

Links are provided in the above post to :

Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble for pre-orders.

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namaste´- con dios – god be with you

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Sheila & Adan

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Story Sample plus Links : Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa – Family Short Story

20 Sep

lunch with grandma and grandpa medStory Sample plus Links :

Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa – Family Short Story

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Pictured Left :

Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa

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Original fiction, photo-memoirs, and poetry by Felipe Adan Lerma

Available via subscription, direct purchase, or library.

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“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


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Site Areas

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Story Sample plus Links :

Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa – Family Short Story

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Categories : Story Samples plus Links

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Related Articles :

I’m Experimenting Again : Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa – Short Chapter Shifts

Poetry in Fiction, Samples – Grandma and Grandpa in the Latin Quarter

“Grandma” – Original Family Poetry

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Sample Chapters & Links – My Blog Series

Though each digital outlet usually has a preview capability, what is previewed to the reader varies tremendously.

Some outlets have pre-determined unalterable percents, and some, like Smashwords, allows the writer to set the percent, which then is passed on to where the book is distributed. But even then, the receiving retailer may have their own set limits.

What I want to be able to present to a reader, is at least 10% of the actual content.

Of the story. Or photo-memoir. Or photography. Or poetry.

This new series on my site allows me that.

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Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa

Synopsis

A fun touching family story involving grandparents and grandchildren.

Grandma and Grandpa initially take four of their six grandchildren to lunch. When that doesn’t work out as planned, with lots of quirky family and Austin moments along the way, they go back home, get the other two grandkids, and walk to a nearby restaurant. Where more family stuff happens.

The short story is broken into segments, allowing multiple point-of-views and scene change perspectives.

8900 story words.

36 standard pages.

Set in Austin Texas.

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Sample

Arturo had his youngest daughter’s SUV. Katarina didn’t mind. Arturo and Rosetta were taking her two boys, Buzz and Zilker, to lunch. With a promise, courtesy of Katarina’s husband, of freshly baked homemade bread and desserts on their return. He and Katarina would meet the returning lunch bunch at the tweens’ house.

Yes, Simone and Tabitha, her brother’s two tween girls, would also be tagging along; but, Katarina smiled, that was her parents’ good fortune, or problem, depending how the combined “lunch” with Buzz and Zilker went.

Katarina watched through a front window, the curtain discretely pulled aside, as Arturo began pulling out of the drive, looking both ways, more times, and much longer, she smiled again, than it would have taken to just pull out and go. One of the boys, then the other, saw her watching, waved, and they were gone, as Arturo finally, but swiftly, swung west onto the road and headed toward her brother Arthur’s house to get the tweens.

She felt herself relax the grip she had on the kitchen towel, tightly gripped in both hands. Smiled more distantly, wondering what adventures they might encounter with their grandparents this time, and returned to her kitchen. This would be a good time, she thought, languishing in the quiet beginning to fill the house, to clean the burners.
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Noon traffic, from Travis Heights to nearby Bouldin neighborhood, was already dense with hungry drivers. Mostly students returning for the new fall semester at one of Austin’s many colleges. And Simone and Tabitha, the two young boys’ older tween cousins, still needed picking up. Though several restaurants and food courts were within walking distance of the girls’ house, the children had quickly decided, and declared, they’d rather “go” somewhere.

The kids’ parents thought it was a big bother driving elsewhere, the children thought it was an adventure, and Rosetta and Arturo thought it might be fun. It was like raising their children all over again, but without the day-to-day, minute-to-minute responsibilities. An aging gracefully cliché the two grandparents agreed was worth keeping.

Having learned to Skype the year before, while in Paris, the family had quickly conference called to arrange the luncheon outing. Arturo and Rosetta had learned in Paris, one noisy Skype call among the children, was worth a dozen separate pass-along, misunderstood, individual phone calls and texts.

“Walking to Mercado or Torchy’s is going some where,” Arturo had laughed, arguing playfully.

“Noooo, Grandpa!” Simone had protested.

“We live here, Grandpa, let’s go somewhere,” Tabitha had added.

“Tell him, Grandma,” Zilker had chimed in.

Buzz, who had been unusually silent, had given a little cough. He had just learned his two oldest cousins weren’t tagging along. Antone and Cherise, having learned in advance their four younger cousins were all going, seemed to have a sudden strange mixture of headaches, allergy flair-ups, not being hungry, and, “uh..other plans.”

“Why aren’t Cherise and Antone really coming?” asked Buzz, as Simone and Tabitha approached the vehicle.

“Hey,” Simone said, before either Arturo or Rosetta could answer. “We ride shotguns in the real seats. You guys get in the back.”

“No fair!”

Rosetta cut off the easily anticipated spat.

“Girls, get in the back. You can ride the middle seats on the way back.”

Simone frog-poked Buzz in the biceps, and bumped him with one slim hip as she scrambled over to the back folding seats with Tabitha.

“Where’s Cherise?” asked Tabitha.

“And Antone?” added Simone.

Rosetta half turned in her seat to glance at her four youngest grandchildren.

“You know where. They’re..busy.”

“Uh huh.”

“Yeah? We’re busy too!” added Buzz.

“Don’t sulk,” Arturo said.

Buzz shrugged, turning his head sideways then up, twisting his lips a mock effort of not sulking.

Zilker, watching, saw Simone and Tabitha share a smile, as Rosetta winked at Arturo.

“Maybe…” Rosetta said quietly, Arturo turning off Bouldin Ave and onto a very crowded Barton Springs Road, “…Buzz could be Antone. Just for today.”

Simone and Tabitha dropped their shared smiles.

“What?”

“Your kidding, right Grandma?”

Rosetta looked from girl to girl, then to Buzz and Arturo, and back to the girls.

“It’s ok, Grandma,” Buzz said. “No one can be Antone but Antone.”

She gave her second youngest grandchild a sad but firm smile.

“Maybe you’re right,” she whispered into the car.

Eyes firmly on the road, Arturo added, “He’ll come next time,” braking to avoid rear-ending a white car cutting him off. Glancing in the rearview, he saw another car tailgating him, the driver’s head bent down, as if reading something, and saw Tabitha and Simone turned toward him, waiting with wide eyes.

Arturo forced a smile, remembering, not to leave anyone out. “And Cherise.”

The promise of reuniting the six cousins seemed to calm everyone: the girls, the boys, Rosetta, and the traffic. Even the girl driving behind them, hair billowing toward her open window, seemed to have pulled back a touch and was looking straight ahead.

After the family’s extended stay in Paris the previous fall, and the six children’s robbery adventure on Sixth Street in Austin, the four younger cousins were clearly missing having Cherise and Antone, their semi-protectors, aboard.

A car in the lane to the left of them, honked, made a U-turn.

Arturo muttered but kept his eyes forward.

Traffic was slowly lurching forward.

#

End of Sample

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Links to : Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa

Note: Things digital seem to be changing more each day (vs settling down), and some online outlets have had sporadic problems with downloads, links, and accessibility. In addition, as events evolve, it may have become necessary for me to either remove an outlet, or settle on just one I can depend on.

If all else fails, please contact me for availability : yoga (dot) adan (at) gmail (dot) com .

Updates are also posted on my Samples Page on my site.

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Kobo

Oyster

Scribd

Smashwords

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Preview courtesy Scribd :

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Advantage Amazon KDP – Reporting Time to Authors

19 Sep
Reviews: Clear Sailing?

Review

Advantage Amazon KDP – Reporting Time to Authors

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Pictured Left :

Review Image Icon : Original photo by Felipe Adan Lerma

Photo, Lake Champlain, Off the Burlington Vermont Waterfront.

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Original fiction, photo-memoirs, and poetry by Felipe Adan Lerma

Available via subscription, direct purchase, or library.

***

“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


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Site Areas

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Advantage Amazon KDP – Reporting Time to Authors

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Category – Platform Advantages

Related Articles :

Advantage Scribd – Reader Data – 090214

Advantage Amazon KDP – File Size – 090314

Advantage Smashwords – Distribution – 090414

Advantage Amazon KDP – Ease of Publishing – 090514

Advantage Smashwords – Reader Preview Selection – 091014

One Night in the Hill Country, a Thriller : 3000 Word Sample

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Intro

This seems harmless enough, and obvious enough. Amazon reports quickly and cleanly, across all areas of its offerings and location outlets.

Books sales, sale promotion sales (or free downloads), Kindle Unlimited downloads and views, borrows, just about anything I can think of, gets reported promptly. And, as far as I know, accurately.

While true that Smashwords has vastly improved its reporting from several vendors, especially Apple and Barnes & Noble (we’ll hope their pmt and other glitches are transitional, not structural), their reporting from Scribd and Oyster and OverDrive is lagging lagging lagging.

So what? A legitimate, if abbreviated question :-)

After all, one could claim, the writer gets the figures eventually, gets paid, and that’s that.

Well…except for one very important thing that delay in reporting sales so far from when they happen (up to two months for portions of the reporting period) :

The writer can’t grab the momentum in real time.

Thus, Amazon provides real time opportunity for an author to hype his or her work, right then.

That can be big.

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Reporting Time to Authors, Why Important

This morning I saw that “Paris in 5 1/2 Weeks : Around Blvd St-Germain, Small Streets of Paris, Notre Dame – Days 1 & 2” sold another of its 99¢ copies.

I immediately went to the product page and sent out a “trending” tweet.

And Amazon even included a “sample” link.

If a selling trend built beyond a certain point, it might even warrant a blog post, a Google+ post, an email alert, etc.

But I wouldn’t, and don’t, know that about my sales at Scribd. They have the info. But something in their info-business-relationship doesn’t get that information to me. I won’t even speculate why. It doesn’t matter. I can’t hype sales that are gathering interest, to help that momentum, until four to eight weeks later. That’s often too late. At least for a small fry author like me :-)

So this is an easy one, but for much more important reasons than simply being able to smile about another sale – clear advantage Amazon on reporting sales (borrows, etc) to authors.

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Ready for Pre-Order -

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

“One Night in the Hill Country”

I now turn my attention to posts about my writing process and my new fiction interest, thrillers!

My first, One Night in the Hill Country, is now ready in PreOrder for release on October 19th, my birthday. :-)

A sample excerpt, approx 3000 words of the 30,000 novella, is available via Goodreads, and on my site.

Links to pre-order sites are listed.

I hope you’ll join me, and also take a peek at any my other stories that might interest you.

They are generally all available via major online etail outlets, subscription services, and libraries.

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namaste´- con dios – god be with you

Sheila & Adan

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“One Night in the Hill Country” – A Cozy Thriller?

15 Sep

One Night in the Hill Country med“One Night in the Hill Country” -

A Cozy Thriller?

Have I inadvertently created a new sub-genre?

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Pictured Left :

A novella, “One Night in the Hill Country.”

*

Original fiction, photo-memoirs, and poetry by Felipe Adan Lerma

Available via subscription, direct purchase, or library.

***

“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


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Site Areas

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Fitness ** Arts ** eBooks

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“One Night in the Hill Country” -

A Cozy Thriller?

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Category – Vermont

Related Articles :

Short Chapters – My Guest Post: Why I Like Them

One Night in the Hill Country, a Thriller : 3000 Word Sample

I’m Experimenting Again : Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa – Short Chapter Shifts

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Intro

I certainly didn’t (don’t) want to offend anyone. And I know mysteries already have a category called cozy mysteries, with lots of followers.

What’s happened though, is I’ve tried to peg my newest fiction piece, a novella titled “One Night in the Hill Country” – and what I’ve come up with is this:

I’m writing a cozy thriller!

Below, I show the process of how I (reluctantly) came to that conclusion.

I mean, really, isn’t it easier just being a thriller? (smiles)

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First, This is a Thriller, Not a Mystery

One Night in the Hill Country med“One Night in the Hill Country” features a woman protagonist, but also features the point-of-view of not only the villain, but supporting characters.

Even more essentially, as per this article, “In mystery novels the reader is only given information and clues as the protagonist learns them.”

As also pointed out in another article, “Thrillers have action.”

And, in a thriller, “the audience is waiting for something significant to happen. The protagonist’s job is to prevent the speeding bus from exploding, or the aliens from eating the crew.”

So I think it’s fairly safe to say, “One Night in the Hill Country” is a thriller.

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So Why is My Work a “Cozy Thriller” ?

Wikipedia has a nice general article about cozy mysteries.

Similarities :

1) Though sex and violence is in my work, “sex and violence are [definitely] downplayed.”

2) “detectives in such stories are nearly always amateurs..and frequently women” – Sam (Samantha) was a police officer handling children in trauma, but not someone in the field directly fighting crime.

3) “typically have a contact on the police force” – Sam make contact with Sheriff Mike Sullivan, but wishes, once she and the four children with her are in deep trouble, she could be in “more” contact with him.

4) “The cozy mystery usually takes place in a town, village, or other community small” – this story is set in a small family vineyard in the Texas Hill Country, a short ways outside a small town.

5) “generally members of the community where the murder [crime] occurs, able to hide in plain sight, and their motives—greed, jealousy, revenge—are often rooted in events years, or even generations, old. – definitely fits the antagonist and his sister.

6) “supporting characters in cozy mysteries are often very broadly drawn and used as comic relief” – ditto several, but not all, of the supporting characters. – this then applies, inversely, as support for being a thriller.

However :

“The precise boundaries of the sub-genre remain vague…”

And there are definite differences, which is why I think, in the case of “One Night in the Hill Country,” the work is Cozy Thriller.

Thriller Distinctions :

1) “The murderers in cozies are typically neither psychopaths nor serial killers, and, once unmasked, are usually taken into custody without violence.” – there is definitely a psychological thriller element to this work.

2) “supporting characters in cozy mysteries are often very broadly drawn and used as comic relief” – ditto several, but not all, of the supporting characters. – thus, this then applies, inversely, as support for being a thriller.

3) The murders take place off stage, and frequently involve relatively bloodless methods such as poisoning and falls from great heights. – violence is on-stage, though of a muted nature vs many thrillers.

4) The antagonist is known, and the problem is stopping that character from inflicting more harm.

5) Pace is quick and propelled structurally via short chapters, shifting locations, and multiple point-of-views.

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Conclusion

I think there’s enough variation that, possibly, it’s quite valid to think a new niche may be in the works.

One that blends some of what’s a thriller, with what’s in a cozy mystery.

Or at least it’s interesting to think about (smiles).

Thanks so much!

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Sample

One Night in the Hill Country medFor an eight chapter, 3000 word sample, please see my post : One Night in the Hill Country, a Thriller : 3000 Word Sample .

This work is in Pre-Order for an October 19th release.

Links are provided in the above post to :

Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble for pre-orders.

*

namaste´- con dios – god be with you

Sheila & Adan

Sheila & Adan

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YouTube Videos

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Header # 20 – Vermont, Lake Champlain, View From Our Window

13 Sep

lake-champlain-091314.jpgNew Header : # 20 -

Vermont, Lake Champlain, View From Our Window

A state of mind, a way of being.

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“a beginner’s view: the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


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Header # 20 -

Vermont, Lake Champlain, View From Our Window

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September 13, 2014

Related Categories : Header Art

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Vermont

Well. It’s been awhile since my last header change. Since February 6th of this year, it looks like!

Sheila and I are about end another wonderful stay in her home state of Vermont.

Seems extra hard to say good-bye this time around.

This image, taken from the upstairs bedroom window of our apartment, carries a lot of what I feel about this small state, one so much like my own, Texas. A ruggedness and strong sense of independence. A sincere attempt to be fair. Though my own state of Texas was a bit better at this in the more recent past, I think. :-)

There’s steadfastness in the mountains, and borders of living foliage changing with the season. Mist obscures yet softens the distances. A lighthouse stands guard, rebuilt upon protecting lines with a place to pass. And what seems to pass, day in and day out the most that I’ve seen? The playfulness of small sailboats upon a wide long stretch.

A nice thing to take away and put up as my next header. (smiles)

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Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge Image

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namaste´- con dios – god be with you

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Adan at Thompson Park Bridge Vermont

Me at Thompson Park near Stowe, Vermont, Fall of 2012.

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Related Articles :

Love’s Travels – Vermont Paris Austin : For Valentines

One Night in the Hill Country, a Thriller : 3000 Word Sample

Review: Zoo by James Patterson – Pluses Minuses & the Cost of Reading

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List of My Author Pages


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Advantage Smashwords – Reader Preview Selection

10 Sep

Reviews: Clear Sailing?

Review

Advantage Smashwords – Reader Preview Selection

***

Pictured Left :

Review Image Icon : Original photo by Felipe Adan Lerma

Photo, Lake Champlain, Off the Burlington Vermont Waterfront.

*

Original fiction, photo-memoirs, and poetry by Felipe Adan Lerma

Available via subscription, direct purchase, or library.

***

“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


***

Site Areas

*

Fitness ** Arts ** eBooks

**

Advantage Smashwords – Reader Preview Selection

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September 10, 2014 : Category – Platform Advantages

Related Articles :

One Night in the Hill Country, a Thriller : 3000 Word Sample

Short Chapters – My Guest Post: Why I Like Them

Advantage Scribd – Reader Data – 090214

Advantage Amazon KDP – File Size – 090314

Advantage Smashwords – Distribution – 090414

Advantage Amazon KDP – Ease of Publishing – 090514

I’m Experimenting Again : Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa – Short Chapter Shifts

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Choosing My Own Preview to Show Readers

I figured I was done with my short series, identifying which self-publishing platforms had the best feature in certain areas, at least for me.

But while posting my sample chapters for my new thriller, “One Night in the Hill Country,” I was reminded of another: being able to choose how much preview to show a potential reader.

Even via a subscription program, especially using Scribd’s embedded preview feature (which I should also include as a platform advantage soon) the amount of preview embedded is determined by the amount of preview I initially select at Smashwords (example below).

The only thing better, is choosing my own length of preview on my own site, as I’ve done with “One Night in the Hill Country.” But my site doesn’t get the exposure of my book’s page on the multitude of outlets like Apple and Barnes & Noble etc.

And unless I’m missing it (very possible) I don’t seem to be able to choose my preview selection on Amazon.

So this is a clear advantage to Smashwords.

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Smashwords Sampling FAQ

For information, including precautions such that some vendors may or may not allow the percent of preview you would like to show, go to : https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq#pricing .

The link includes “pricing” but info on sampling is in the same area.

There’s still a wide latitude to choose from.

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My New Thriller

Pre-Orders and sample on my page, at : One Night in the Hill Country, a Thriller : 3000 Word Sample

 

Preview on Goodreads

Click to Enlarge

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Preview, courtesy Scribd:

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namaste´- con dios – god be with you

Sheila & Adan

Sheila & Adan

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YouTube Videos

List of My Author Pages


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Full Harvest Moon – Vermont 2014

9 Sep

full moon a 090914Full Harvest Moon -

Vermont 2014

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Pictured Left :

Full Moon, Two Views, September 09, 2014

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full moon b 090914Original fiction, photo-memoirs, and poetry by Felipe Adan Lerma

Available via subscription, direct purchase, or library.

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“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”

***


Site Areas

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Fitness ** Arts ** eBooks

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Full Harvest Moon – 2014 Vermont

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September 09, 2014  : Categories – Vermont – Full Moon

Related Articles :

Yoga Full Moon Challenge – Biggest Moon Since 1993

Visiting Vermont 2014 Art Hop

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View from our AirBnB-located stay in Vermont.

full moon a 090914     full moon b 090914

Click Images to Enlarge

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Sheila and I Will Co-Create a New Vermont Photo-Memoir Book

She will talk about the feelings evoked, visiting sites she grew up in and been away from most of the last thirty plus years. And I’ll have lots of pictures. :-)

We’ll be working on it this fall (2014).

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namaste´- con dios – god be with you

Sheila & Adan

Sheila & Adan

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YouTube Videos

List of My Author Pages


*** INTEGRATING YOGA FITNESS AND THE ARTS

About Me

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One Night in the Hill Country, a Thriller : 3000 Word Sample

9 Sep

One Night in the Hill Country medOne Night in the Hill Country, a Thriller -

3000 Word Sample.

30,000 word thriller novella.

Mature material.

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Humorous, touching, suspenseful.

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Available via subscription, direct purchase, or library after release.

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“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


***

Site Areas

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Fitness ** Arts ** eBooks

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One Night in the Hill Country, a Thriller :

3000 Word Sample

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Categories : Pre-Orders – Story Samples plus Links

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Pre-Order Sites

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MXGMN68

Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-night-in-the-hill-country-felipe-adan-lerma/1120257940?ean=2940046134278

iTunes (Apple)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/one-night-in-the-hill-country/id913799952?mt=11#

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Sample

Below is approximately the first 3000 words in my 30,000 word novella, “One Night in the Hill Country.”

Humorous, touching, suspenseful. Written in short chapters, with changing point-of-views.

Mature material. A woman is trapped, with four children, in the Texas Hill Country.

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One Night in the Hill Country – Approx 10% Story Sample

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Chapter 1

Parked in the shadows of a line of one and two story western style wood buildings, Tara spied the young girl, barely a teen, if that, start and stop to cross the small border town’s roughly paved street.

Hesitant. Fearful. Hearing the protestors down the street like a funeral procession.

Yet, hiding it well, thought Tara. Remembering to flick her hair, gaze upward, as if unfazed, walking about. Definitely a girl with her bearings about her. Definitely someone the right age her brother would want. Rolf will be proud of me, Tara smiled.

Down the flat street, dusty as a barren riverbed, just a few blocks down, the immigration rally picked up momentum. In a spurt, bullhorns chanting, it began heading their way.

Tara stepped out and shoved the old pickup truck’s door closed. Just loud enough to catch the young girl’s attention, yet not alarm her.

Sharp dark eyes, wary, yet unafraid, peered back at Tara. The little girl looked like a Mexican version of a young Shirley Temple. Pixie, full head of curls softening the wide bright eyes. Stretching slightly, Tara mimicked the young girl’s practiced motion, also glancing upward, feeling the hot blue sky, unwavering as ice, above them. Peripherally, she saw this set the young girl somewhat at ease. Like a bluster, settling into a breeze.

The child grinned, then hid it, hearing the marchers, a slow motion flood of bodies, now half the distance from where they stood – the street, otherwise, nearly deserted.

Tara grabbed the kitten through the truck’s open window, its eyes wide below the striking white on black starburst on its forehead. Walked directly to the child. Looked back to the crowd approaching the next block, the chorus of protest becoming strident voices, abrupt shouts – Tara giving the young girl the hint she was afraid also – and thrust the wiggling kitten into the small girl’s hands, the protestors crossing the intersection into their block.

Smile,” Tara smiled to the little girl.

She smiled.

Wave if anyone looks at us.”

Both girls waved. Big sister, little sister, it must have seemed, to the passersby intent in shouting their meaning. Like thunderclaps rumbling away, the marchers passed. The dust settled back where it’d always been. The young girl choked a sob, and flicked a tear, as if clearing an errant strand of hair from her vision.

Silently, she offered the kitten back to Tara.

Tara began walking. “Keep smiling. Talk to me, pretend I am your sister.”

The child reached for and grasped Tara’s hand, tugging it.

Your kitty -”

You like him?” asked Tara.

Oh, si -”

It’s yours. If you take care of him.”

The girl nodded.

Tara felt relief. Yes, her brother will be proud of her. Another illegal for them.

Tara gazed down at the girl – staring at Tara’s childhood whelp on her arm. Dry and gnarled as the land around them.

No matter how hard. Or, how much..it hurts…” Tara said, eyeing the wiggly kitten.

But Tara already knew the girl’s answer. It was in her gait.

Child-like, she’d pressed the kitten to her chest.

Si. Con todo mi corazon.”

Chapter 2

One Week Earlier

Zilker, off to a frequently visited garage sale site near his home in Austin, peered into the empty cardboard box in disbelief. All the kittens were gone. Especially the tiny black and white one with the star on its head. He’d already named it, he moaned. Starhead!

Quickly he glanced at all four sides of the thick but worn box. There it was. This was the box. Stamped on the backside of the oblong homemade kitten bed, stamped with red white and blue markers – “Made in America.” He choked back a sob.

Nine years old, having spent two whole days convincing his mom he could have a kitty, just like two of his older cousins, Simone and Tabitha, had now left him with nothing. Worse than nothing. The girls had three, sometimes five, kitties at their house!

Starhead. He and his year older brother Buzz had already started making their own box bed for it. Decorated it. Big yellow starburst, with red flame tips. Right next to a giant smiley face.

Are you sure he’s gone?” Zilker asked the man again.

A near neighbor, the older man knew both Zilker and Buzz, and had been holding the kitten for them. But the cats had disappeared the night before. He’d left them out late, the “Free” sign still on the box and, well….

Zilker moved to slink away, drained like a party balloon before anyone had even seen it.

Hey,” the neighbor called out, morning coffee in hand, “want me to get you another?”

No, that’s ok. I know a police lady. Well, she was. Anyway, she can – ”

Police!”

She’s a friend. She’ll help me look for it.”

The old man shook his head in sympathy, and sipped his coffee. Then nodded and smiled.

Ok, then. Hope you find him.”

Me too.”

Chapter 3

Tara felt the air thin as she drove.

How could such a dry barren place along the border be so humid, she wondered.

She knew, but could not help but be amazed, feeling the brisk air through her open window. The landscape yellowing in the morning light, hardening each minute of each mile into the glare of another day. Scrubby. Like her brother’s beard after only a few days. She had quit telling him how bad he looked, he got so angry.

A fresh wind whipped her hair against her face and the small girl stirred, asleep again.

Peppered with salt and sand, the winds from the Gulf of Mexico brought her the waves’ sweat, but not its rain. Unless it flooded, she laughed, waking the child.

Tara could see her eyes open to slits, registering the rumble of the old truck, the shock of the morning air. The girl’s eyes paused, remembering. She saw her reach out quickly, gathering the kitten. Scooping it onto a makeshift towel-bed. The young girl’s eyes grew distant, hurt as she sniffed the young fur. She set him down on the truck’s rough bench seat.

You name him?” Tara asked.

Surprised, to be given this power, the young girl pulled the kitten back to her.

Twisting, tiny-meowing, the fist size creature let its legs drape off the young girl’s hand, stretching like a starfish.

Si. Luz del Sol.”

That’s a long name.”

The two girls grinned.

Tara liked this girl. She could harden her. Yet keep her soft. Inside. Hidden. Safe. Like herself, from her brother.

Chapter 4

Sam balanced on one leg.

Fell.

Re-grounded with both feet.

Fell again.

I’m a lumberjack to my own tree pose, she half giggled.

The full length mirror on the wall revealed her slim body back to her.

Definitely not heavy, she judged. But not fit, toned enough, she decided.

She pulled at her over-size heavy white t-shirt. Austin, everyone here told her, was dry. Drier than Houston, they added, if she squnched her face, disbelief in her eyes. But Vermont – where her brother Matt had returned for a week, finishing their move to Texas – that was dry.

Slowly, then in a swoosh, she slipped the t-shirt off, catching her angles and curves in the mirror. Felt the sticky soft sweat on her skin. Turned left, then right, first holding her hips to the front, yoga style, then slipping, dipping her pelvis as she twisted ever so slightly.

I look like a pieced together mannequin, she mused, working her bottom lip, amused at her own thought. She pulled at a roll beneath her ribs. Took a deep slow steadying breath, raising her arms as she filled her lungs, bottom to top, and lifted back into tree pose.

Caught a glint of the flyer taped to her mirror : Hill Country Wine Festival!

Don’t think! Don’t plan! Breathe…stretch…slowly….

I can go for the afternoon, she thought -

Swayed, almost fell…

Caught herself.

If those kids’ grandfather can do this -

Sam lifted. Held…

Easy..easy….

Chapter 5

Tara’s eyes widened as she inhaled, catching the scent of mowed medians between the double lanes of state highway. Low, wide, dust-covered tractors clawed the ditch-like, shallow dip separating north and southbound lanes. Dust from the desert air clung and dissolved in the new moisture. Tara took another breath. Soon they would be home.

In the distances, the horizon formed a bowl around them. Arid bleached earth, packed hard as stucco, spotted with shrubs dotted the ground, like architect lines, vanishing nowhere. Outcroppings, tables of solitary plateaus, shimmered in the distance. Faded watercolors created patiently by nature.

Like sound to a silent movie, small trees, then ridges the length of the horizon, woke the landscape and pointed the two girls north.

Wine country, the Texas Hill Country, wasn’t far now.

It was a lot of work, Tara thought, finding children like this one. Anxious to disappear into a new world, familiar with loss, with pain, and easy to give purpose to. And not get caught.

Yes, this young girl, thought Tara, was a lot like herself.

One, of only a very few, Tara noted.

Just as her brother had said.

The little girl, Tara noted, looked nervously out her window, the landscape morphing into the fairyland she had dreamed about and had been told of back home, south of the border.

It was time, Tara decided, to make better friends with her.

So you gonna tell me your name?”

Ja-nee.”

Silence

Then the girl relented.

Lupita.”

Janie is a good name, Lupita. You did well.”

The girl nodded absently, her eyes seeing things far away.

You have a friend named Janie?”

Lupita shook her head no. Said, “No. It was a book. For children.”

A book?”

She nodded yes. “Each girl who leaves, leaves the book – for another….”

Tara waited.

So you liked Janie.”

Lupita petted her kitten.

It is bet-ter,” she said, “than Spot.”

Chapter 6

We found it! We found it!”

Buzz and Zilker burst upon their mom reading by the light of her bedroom window like lightening – bright, sudden, and unexpected.

Katarina, the boys’ mother, patiently put her iPad down. The flurry of her boys’ entrance told her they were water over a cliff. Not stopping. Not til they reached her anyway.

See?” Zilker thrust a fresh laser color print-out of a black and white kitten.

Starhead!” hollered Buzz.

Katarina made a mental note: cut Buzz’s sugar back again.

You sure?” she asked her youngest son.

Zilker nodded. “Yep. See?”

Buzz finger-outlined the star on the small kitten’s forehead.

Katarina held the print in her hand. Made another mental note: change out photo paper in printer for general purpose paper.

Uh,” she began, pressing her lips so as not to blurt her first thought –

Uh,” she began again. “The caption says, Turku Finland.”

The boys bent over the edge of the bed, peered closely at the image and its caption, looked at each other, and climbed into bed, each boy pressing lightly, but firmly, to one side of their mother. Their silence, broken only by faint whimpers, hurt Katarina’s ears.

She gasped a breath, saying, “It’s ok, boys. Keep looking.”

And without a sound, the boys were gone.

Soon their footsteps faded.

Their house, in an older neighborhood of Austin, was not huge, or even what she considered big. Yet, her children had walked but a few rooms away, and seemed to have disappeared.

She shook her worries away and raised her iPad to read again. A mystery set in Spain. And set her tablet down on her lap again.

Debating with herself only long enough to hear the whirr of the photo printer working, and the boys chatting – “No, not that one, print this.” — “Already did!” – “Didn’t take, do it again!” – she dialed Sam from her tablet.

Chapter 7

Like an auto-command, Lupita heard Tara tell her to put her smile on.

She did. Felt the ends of her lips curl up. Her eyes crinkle.

Tara explained it was Vineyard Festival Weekend. The roads were filling with gawking tourists. They looked as if expecting to find something new, something different. Pointed at the protestors with bright signs flashing light from the sun.

No Camps Here!

Go Home!

USA!

Lupita smiled, but her eyes drooped with memories she didn’t want.

Tara tugged at the girl’s shirt, keeping her hand low.

There’s Sheriff Sullivan -”

Glanced sideways, where Tara had pointed with her eyes.

Tall man, suit straight as boards, a star on his chest.

A good man,” Tara said. “Smile.”

Lupita smiled broader.

Stay clear of him,” Tara said. But if you get in trouble – ”

Tara shot Lupita a look.

Real trouble – ”

Lupita swallowed.

Go to him.”

But, he is, po-lice.”

Tara nodded.

I know. But trust me.”

Lupita nodded back.

They stayed silent as Tara made two turns and exited the small town, cresting a small hill, and ambled the old truck down a rough-topped road. If drivers were careful, two cars could pass.

The land rolled in tight mounds, obscuring all but the next mound when they dipped. Revealing a wide horizon each rise.

Rising and falling and rising again, Lupita couldn’t tell where she had been or where they were going. But she had learned, from her father before she had left, look to the stars, look to the sun. And she felt their movement. Angling. Away from the town.

From the town, with families smiling inside cars as big as her old house, and weaving round lines of signs and shouting, she knew they were driving east-northeast with the arc of the sun.

Around a bend, after a left, wired fences strung between sticks, twisted with lines like her grandmother’s face, appeared. Another left, two lefts she told herself, and a barn appeared. Then a house and small cabins.

The light brightened in Tara’s eyes. She sat up, straightened, waved out the window at a man by the barn.

Lupita saw the man’s face. A young man, a grown man. He smiled also. But only his lips. His eyes, Lupita saw, were focused on her.

Chapter 8

Sam had just found a sweet spot in child’s pose, one that stretched a tiny tight back muscle, releasing ice cream smooth scoops of pleasure, when she got the call. Her Kindle, propped up by the mirror under the wine flyer, beeped an alert.

Rolling on her back, she sighed a lip puckered breath, and opened her eyes.

Tapping her phone, which was closer, she voiced it to messages.

Sam, this is Katarina. So sorry to bother you. The boys and your brother Matt have been, well, communicating – they didn’t tell me til now! Anyway. They think they found that lost kitten, the one with the star on its head. Your brother thinks it’s in the Hill Country. Call me. Please.”

Sam dressed. She could already tell this would entail a visit.

She called Katarina and told her she was on her way.

Calling her brother Matt in Vermont as she drove, Sam found out he had helped the boys narrow their search from everywhere in the world, to Texas. Then found, via the embedded IP addresses, three kittens with recent images online, one near Fredericksburg west of Austin. By the time Sam reached Katarina’s house, she had a plan.

The boys already liked and trusted her. Ever since she had helped them recover Zilker’s camera after it was robbed near Sixth Street. At the time, she had just gotten a job with Austin’s police department, as a consultant with children’s trauma. That was before the six young cousins she had helped after the robbery, which included brothers Zilker and Buzz, convinced her to buy a Texas Lottery ticket. And won. Not too big. But big enough to say, “I’m gonna take some time off, a year or two, and see what happens.”

Her trip to the Hill Country Wine Festival was her first planned trip in her new unplanned life. She could take the boys with her. Pretend to look around for the lost kitty, get some ice cream, then head back.

While Katarina considered the six cousins, including her two rambunctious boys, Sam’s “adopted buddies,” she was not sure taking them with her that afternoon was “necessary.”

They have soccer tomorrow morning,” Katarina explored, wondering if she might have a quiet afternoon to herself.

Well, I -”

And of course, you know I trust you totally with the boys, but…”

No, I understand, but yes, it’s no problem.”

Katarina looked at the boys, thinking.

Only real problem,” she began, “they were supposed to go my brother’s, and some place or other with their cousins.”

Simone and Tabitha?”

Yes.”

Such sweet girls,” Sam grinned at the boys.

The prospect of going out to the hill country for the day had the two boys wide-eyed and leaning slightly forward. Even with the chance their two tween cousins would also be along.

Yes,” Katarina said again.

Actually,” Sam said, sensing the deal was done, “they’d be a great help, with the boys.”

Buzz and Zilker made faces, but kept quiet.

Katarina tried one more time. “Really, Sam. You should go out there and,” she smiled, “who knows, maybe,” she whispered, one hand cupping her mouth, “meet someone.”

Sam merely shook her head. Not something she would plan.

Ok,” Katarina teased, “your funeral.”

Traffic remained dense most of the way, city changing to stretches of dry rolling scrub land. Close to noon, the two boys and two tween girls, each chatting with Sam, arrived at a small gift shop in a tiny Central Texas town, and waited patiently to park.

End of Excerpt

One Night in the Hill Country

#

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I hope you have enjoyed this sneak preview, and will pre-order a copy at Amazon, iTunes, or Barnes & Noble.

Also, please forward this link, for folk you know who may also enjoy this preview.

Thank you so much, sincerely,

Felipe Adan Lerma

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Pre-Order Sites

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MXGMN68

Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-night-in-the-hill-country-felipe-adan-lerma/1120257940?ean=2940046134278

iTunes (Apple)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/one-night-in-the-hill-country/id913799952?mt=11#

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namaste´- con dios – god be with you

Sheila & Adan

Sheila & Adan

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Visiting Vermont 2014 Art Hop

8 Sep

IMG_2879Visiting Vermont 2014 Art Hop

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Pictured Left :

Vermont Jazz Ensemble at Art Hop 2014

Click-able image and link – below in article.

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Original fiction, photo-memoirs, and poetry by Felipe Adan Lerma

Available via subscription, direct purchase, or library.

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“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


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Visiting Vermont 2014 Art Hop

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September 08, 2014

Category – Vermont

Related Articles :

Art Hop, Burlington Vermont, Sept 9-10 ‘2011 – At the Festival

Photo-Poem : “Magic at Art Hop 2011″ Burlington Vermont

Visiting Vermont 2014 – First Photos

YouTube Video – music and night scenes after the initial art

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Intro

Last night Sheila’s brother, Kerry, once again took and guided us into, through, and back out of Art Hop :-)

I’ve tried to provide a sampling of what art events used to be like in both Houston and Austin, accessible, approachable, and lots of fun. Though, gotta admit, SXSW is still a lot of fun, most the time (smiles).

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Art Hop 2014

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

Right in the midst of Art Hop, along Pine Street is a tiny street with places like Myer’s Bagels and, seen above, Speaking Volumes. We loved going there when we were here a couple of years ago, and were thrilled to see this area again. It’s literally a few feet from the Barge Canal and Lake Champlain.

I’ve a YouTube video I took 2011 of the inlet.

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

One of my favorite parts of Art Hop each time has been Sambatucada. Percussions and fun galore :-)

They’re fabulous just listening and jamming to them, but when they burst out marching into the crowd, wow! A video I took back at Art Hop 2011 is available on YouTube. It begins with my art at one of the installations, and progresses into the crowds at Art Hop.

And Sambatucada itself has a nice YouTube video.

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

Across the street, manned with male and female traffic guards with glow-batons to direct people and cars, situated my the Maltex Building (which is packed with several large floors of art work) is the Vermont Jazz Ensemble.

My YouTube video from 2011 also has some footage of them playing.

Totally different spectrum of energy from Sambatucada. Yet just as enjoyable and refreshing.

From here, we wandered onto several cordoned areas of music and movement.

One was a Kate Bush installation.

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

She has a nice You Tube video also.

Well, this enticed both my wife and I to join in :-)

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

Sheila’s brother, Kerry, did a nice patient job of trying to capture the moment.

I’m not familiar with the job putting this on, ArtsRiot, but they seemed to have a really nice group of fun stuff to do, all grouped close together.

This particular music-art-dance was labeled the Kate Bush Wuthering Heights Dance Marathon.

Other than stopping for me to buy and eat an organic peach-cheddar-cheese wheat bread, we headed back home, getting to see one of the metal works installation lit for night time.

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

It was beside the Conant Metal and Light building.

Continuing back home (we walked!) we came across several homes that, at night, lit up, turned into fabulous art places to stop by. Here, Sheila and Kerry are back on the sidewalk waiting for me as I took yet another picture :-)

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

Click to Enlarge © Felipe Adan Lerma

All in all, a great time.

The next night, Sheila and I returned for Art Hop’s fashion show, Strut.

I’m not sure what images I can use for a post, but I may end up just doing a short piece with some links. I’ll have to see. :-)

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Sheila and I Will Co-Create a New Vermont Photo-Memoir Book

We are co-creating a combo text and image memoir ebook of our five-week stay in Vermont this year.

It’ll have lots of original pics from this trip, plus commentary from Sheila reflecting on growing up here in Burlington Vt and being back.

Don’t miss my previous post, with some first days’ images of Art Hop 2014.

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namaste´- con dios – god be with you

Sheila & Adan

Sheila & Adan

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Happy National Grandparents Day! – 2014

7 Sep

lunch with grandma and grandpa medHappy National Grandparents Day!

2014

With much thanks and gratitude to our five granchildren :-)

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Pictured left, “Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa”

Available by subscription, retail, and libraries.

Sample below.

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“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


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Happy National Grandparents Day!

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Nothing much defines a grandparent as well as the grandchildren they interact with :-)

For  more information and history on the holiday, begun by Marian McQuade, check out the site grandparents-day.com.

And I’d like to say I remembered this holiday on my own, I didn’t. But I was reminded by my email alerts from National Day Calendar.

Below are two previews, courtesy of Scribd, for two of my favorite grandparent short stories of mine.

Have a great day everyone (smiles)


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namaste´- con dios – god be with you

Sheila & Adan

Sheila & Adan

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