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Conquering the Dragon – part II

IMG_4030As Genilee reported in her last blog, we installed a new program, Dragonspeak, on my computer to help me dictate. This is my first attempt at writing the blog on it. I began last night at 11 p.m. when I wrote the first draft of this column, and thought I had saved it.  To my dismay this morning I couldn’t find it anywhere. Oh well … on to draft two!
Last week Genilee and I had a book signing at Potomac Woods homes in Woodbridge. We deemed it a success because we sold eight books. My daughter and fellow author, Allyn Stotz, told us that it’s generally accepted that if you sell three books at a book signing, you are doing well. She urged us to be patient, but I’m glad for her encouragement because by those standards, every one of our signings has been a success! And selling eight books was a tremendous success!

Part of the reason is the people that help us out, as Genilee has pointed out in this blog. The same can be true at Potomac Woods. Mary, a resident there and a manager for Dress Barn, Genilee’s favorite shop, told her friends about this book signing, then went into work late just so she could pick up another few books! Anyway, her friends and quite a few residents showed up thanks to the publicity the community provided, and we are very grateful to them not only for buying our book, but also for answering our questions. We took advantage of the time we had to brainstorm about ideas on other places to hold book signings.  All of those in attendance were extremely helpful, and we want to thank them as well as Mary.

Book signings are really fun for us because the people who come are full of encouragement. This week, we are really excited because for the first time, we’re guest authors at a book club—the Scarlett Hatter Book Club. We probably won’t sell many books, but we get to talk about Twist of Fate and hopefully get their comments and suggestions. Part of the reason it was possible to do this is that our book is now in the Potomac Community Library and the Prince William County library system. That’s also an exciting development for authors, and we’re pursuing getting another nearby library to carry the book.

Our second book, Wretched Fate, is now at the publishers. We are hoping for publication soon (doesn’t everyone?), though we don’t know yet what corrections and changes we’ll need to make. We’ll keep you informed via this blog and our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/genileesharon.swopeparente. We also just found out that Allyn has her own facebook page at www.facebook.com/AllynStotz.author. Show your support for our fellow writer by visiting and liking her page, as well as her blog at http://allynstotz.blogspot.com/.

Meanwhile, we are also working on our holiday short stories. This will contain 12 stories for 12 different holidays, and I think our readers will find them both unique and heartwarming. We hope to get this published before next Christmas.

By the way, “Hi” to Verna, my very special friend.

Love, Sharon

 

F. Sharon Swope

 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Conquering the Dragon

Conquering the Dragon

My dear 85-year-old mom is caught up with this week in doing battle with Technology.

She bought a new computer and her kids bought her a new, higher resolution, flat screen, big bad monitor that we hope will help her with her failing eyesight.

I have to admire those my mom’s age who are brave enough to tackle technology (and yes, Verna, I’m including you!) It’s scary enough to have to face all the bells and whistles and foreign concepts that go along with cell phones and satellite technology and new operating systems. But to face it when you’re visually impaired like my ma and have no computer geek husband (my personal saving grace) to help you figure it out is beyond brave.

My mom knows the value of today’s technology, just as she knows the miracle of modern medicine (she’d be blind now if born 10 years earlier). Technology helped her reach this dream of becoming a published author. Of course, it’s also been the cause of many an afternoon of frustration such as a recent few hours spent trying to figure out how she’d turned her work upside down. And I mean that literally: her monitor showed a view that was flipped 180 degrees!

But thank goodness now for a free program my brother Mark found called NVDA (http://www.nvda-project.org/). It talks her through the commands on her computer and reads back what she types. And we’ve just discovered that Microsoft Windows has an access center provided with most computers that has a narrative aid (it reads the screen) and a magnifier. My sister in law Cindy also bought me Dragon Speak for Home, which allows you to dictate instead of type and works amazingly well.

However, having these wonderful technology tools available is one small step in the stupendously large task of learning how to use them. I am no great computer whiz myself, and I see just fine. But I can tell you that after playing with all of these in an attempt to set them up so that mom could get started just about drove me completely bonkers.

So we’ll check in with Sharon in a week or two and see if she still has her sanity as she tries to slay the friendly dragon.

Genilee Swope Parente

P.S.  We will be at Potomac Woods Apartments, 2001 Southampton Street, Woodbridge, VA 22191 Wednesday, March 20 at 11, and they have kindly invited the general public. Come see us, buy a book, get a book signed or just chat. We’ll be at Stafford Garden Apartments for a signing tomorrow at 1:30.

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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