Don't forget to visit my website! Jackie Coleman - Author

Monday, September 30, 2013

Princess Consuela Bananahammock

Funny story, too ... the author portal on the Kobo website is not as easy to navigate as other book outlets. After I uploaded the required files, filled in many screens of information on the books and myself, it told me it would be 24-72 hours before the books were available on their website. No problem!

The next day I checked and didn't see any of the files I had uploaded. So, I uploaded them both again, only to realize I had to click someplace else to see them ... why I have no idea, because it's the only time I had to click someplace else to see them!

So, I tried to delete the duplicate entries. It wouldn't let me. So, I removed the cover image from one and put a picture of my son wearing a pair of moccasins he (me!) made when he was in 6th grade, and on the other I uploaded a  picture of my daughter (from her neck to her knees) modeling an apron she had made. I removed the content, descriptions, categories, etc, but it makes you fill in the author's name. I certainly didn't want my name associated with such stupidity, so I put the author down as Princess Consuela Bananahammock (if you're not a fan of Friends, that won't be funny!), and I gave them both a price of $500 (to make sure that someone wouldn't accidentally buy a book with only a cover!). I emailed their tech support what I had done (it's the only way to contact them), and asked them to remove them.

After 24 hours, I checked their website ... nope. After 48 hours, I checked again ... nothing. After 72 hours, I checked yet again ... nada!

I emailed them again, and before I knew it, Boomerang was available ... but not A Summer in Ocracoke. Okay, I'm nothing if not patient.

After 24 hours, I checked their website ... A Summer in Ocracoke was still not available.  After 48 hours, I checked again ... nothing. After 72 hours, I checked yet again ... nada!  And, they still hadn't deleted the "books" by Princess Consuela Bananahammock!

So ... I emailed them again asking to either pull the trigger on A Summer in Ocracoke or inform me if there was a problem ... and to PLEASE delete the two "books" by Princess Consuela Bananahammock!

I checked this evening, and A Summer in Ocracoke is now available on Kobo! Hallelujah!  BUT, so was a "book" by Princess Consuela Bananahammock!! I'm not quite sure what they thought they were selling ... I removed the content, so I can only assume they were selling a picture of an apron my daughter made ... for the low, low price of $500!!

I quickly de-listed the book, so sadly, you can no longer buy a picture of an apron my daughter made that Princess Consuela Bananahammock was selling on Kobo ... but both Boomerang and A Summer in Ocracoke are available!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Enter to Win a FREE COPY of A Summer in Ocracoke is giving away four copies of A Summer in Ocracoke. The contest is from September 20th through October 20th.

For those unfamiliar with Goodreads, it's a website community for people who love to read. You can rate books, recommend good books to your friends, find out what everyone is reading, discover great books you might otherwise never know of, etc., and enter to win a free copy of a multitude of books from all genres. It's free to join and free to enter as many book giveaways as you want!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Heart

In my heart, I am a writer. It's all I've ever wanted to be, and it's who I am deep down inside. I would continue to write books even if no one ever read them. There were at least a few people anxiously awaiting my second book and it made me smile every time they inquired as to when it would be done.

When I'm not wearing my writer's hat, I'm a Network Specialist for a large school corporation. It can be chaotic and frustrating at times, but I seem to have a knack for computers, so it's fulfilling (most days!). No one goes into the technology field expecting things to work ... and if they do, they're in for a rude awakening! Very rarely are updates flawless, and many times "upgrades" cause more problems than their deployment was intended to fix. But, I work with some pretty good people who will pitch in and help anyone who sends out an SOS.

I have been helping out at one of the high schools for a while now, and I've come to know the teachers, staff, and students very well. I wasn't hired to be a school tech, and they need me back "downtown", so I'll be saying farewell to my school family tomorrow ... and I'm really going to miss them.

A few of the students are spoiled, disrespectful, and smart-aleks, but most are kind and polite, and I enjoy them. I like watching them laugh and cut up with each other. I like walking into a classroom and seeing them paying attention and working hard. When I watch the kids walk down the halls or come into my office with a problem, I'm aware that despite whatever mask they have on, their life at home could be a living hell. Statistically speaking, a certain percentage of those kids have been or are being molested. Some are beaten. Some are abused emotionally. Some are neglected. Some are taking care of siblings and drug-addicted or drunken parents ... and some really have no one to count on.

When they come to see me, I try to be as nice as possible. I treat the kids like I want people to treat my children. There is one young man who is one of those people who could sell ice to an Eskimo! He's always happy and smiling and gregarious. He's such a neat kid, and I know that his charisma and intellect combined will take him wherever he wants to go. I picture him ten years from now with a pretty wife and a couple of adorable kids that are just as charming and silly as their father.

There is another student that has worked her way into my heart. She's a good student and all of the teachers love her. A young lady who is as sweet as she is pretty. I don't know all the situations she's had to deal with, but what few I do know of break my heart. Even so, she's always smiling, always sweet, always studious and obedient. Last year her family situation deteriorated to the point that she was put in foster care. Her father lives out of state, and I expected she would go live with him after school ended last May. All summer long I wished I had taken a few minutes to pull her aside and tell her what an amazing young woman she is, and that she has the drive and intelligence and determination to become whatever she wants to be. She's stronger than a lot of adults, and that her childhood does not determine who she is ... she does. And most of all, that I'm proud of her spirit, and to keep working towards the life she wants, because she's got what it takes to succeed. Children don't pick their parents, and it's never a child's fault when their parents make bad choices. A child can't make a parent misbehave any more than they can make them behave properly. I don't know if she's harboring any guilt about her parents choices or not, but she likely is. Kids always blame themselves for their parents failures.

But, I never got the chance to tell her any of that before school ended. More accurately, I never took the time to seek her out and tell her. Shame on me.

I was surprised when I saw her back at school this year, and when I found out I'd be leaving the school, I determined to find the time to talk to her and let her know I was proud of her and in awe of her strength. I found that opportunity today. She was sitting in the office, waiting for something, and I sat down beside her and told her what an amazing young woman she is. It was a short talk, and I walked away wishing I could have said something more profound.

When school ended, she came in and gave me a hug, and handed me a letter ... and it brought me to tears. I know there are good and bad foster families. The best ones make the kids feel loved and part of the family. The good ones take care of the kids, provide for them and keep them safe. And who hasn't heard horror stories of the bad ones? She seems to be taken care of, but I don't think she feels loved there. Every child deserves to be loved and to know that there are adults who care about them. Every child needs to know there is someone they can turn to if they need help ... and I wanted her to know that I care and that if she ever needs an adult to talk to, or finds herself in a dangerous situation that I will be there for her. I hope she never finds herself in a situation where she's afraid or needs rescued, but if that ever does happen, I hope she thinks of me ... I hope she knows my offer was sincere. She may not realize it, but all of her teachers think the world of her and would really do most anything for her.

I plan on staying in touch with her, and in ten years, I expect her to be highly successful and happy. My hope is that she meets a man who protects her and gives her the security denied to her for so long ... and I know she'll be a wonderful mother, giving her children all the love and attention and encouragement she never got. I wish for her the fairy-tale life she dreams of.

And I'm going to keep her letter. It makes me feel good to know I made a small difference in a child's life. I may have lifted her heart today, but she has lifted mine infinitely more.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Summer in Ocracoke was released yesterday!

I had a blog prepared ... all I had to do was login and it "post" ... and I forgot!! I've been so busy that I'm walking around in a fog these days. That's no excuse, though. I should have remembered something that important!

It's currently available as a paperback and Kindle book on Amazon, but an eBook suitable for all other eReaders is available for download on my website.  It will be available at Barnes & Noble and other online retailers shortly.

For a limited time, you can get 15% OFF when ordering through the website eStore.

So, with A Summer in Ocracoke behind me, I can get back to working on the next one!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I've been super busy with college classes

I've been super busy with college classes ... but not classes I'm taking. I'm teaching them! Now before you congratulate me on my new professorship, you should know that I'm not being paid to teach the classes, nor am I on staff at any institution of higher learning. Rather, my daughter was forced to take three online technology courses and the teachers refuse to help any of the students.

The state-of-the-art software used in these classes is clunky, doesn't work correctly, and/or doesn't score correctly, and the instructions can be very confusing ... even for me, a technology professional! I guarantee you I know more about these programs than her teachers, and I find the instructions confusing at times.

My daughter is very conscientious and has a fear of bad grades, so she comes over several nights a week for me to show her how to do things the cryptic software requires her to do but doesn't tell her how. One of the classes she's taking requires you to understand some pretty in-depth concepts that are difficult, if not impossible, to grasp just by reading about them. It didn't take me long to explain them to her, but they make little sense when you simply read them.

Her teachers are pretty much worthless. At one time or another, she has asked each of them to meet with her to explain something she doesn't understand, or to clarify what she it is she is supposed to do on specific assignments.  Despite her repeated requests, none of them have ever offered to meet with her.  One of them told her to read the book. Another one told her to refer to the "Help" section in the software. The other teacher simply ignores her emails altogether.


I don't mind helping her, and I love spending time with my daughter, but this has been eating up three nights of my week! From the time I get home until 10:00 or 11:00 at night, I'm helping her understand her lessons. She doesn't need my help on all of them, but a good many of them phrase things in such a way that if you Google the exact wording of the instruction, you get zero hits!

So, I have to give up a good deal of my life from August through May because these teachers refuse to meet with students needing help. They won't meet with students and the software grades the assignments, so what exactly are they getting paid to do? As far as I can tell, all they are doing to earn their money is sending an unhelpful email reply to the students to read the book or click on the "Help" button.      

I am very angry that these lazy teachers are getting paid to "teach" my daughter. I understand online learning can be a good thing, and many people prefer online classes, but my daughter didn't have a choice. When she signed up for the classes, they were in-class, instructor led classes ... then they changed them to online. I have no problem with these classes being offered online, but I definitely have a problem with teachers refusing to meet with students who request their help. I don't think it's asking too much to have an hour or two one a week where the teacher is available at the school, in person, to actually do some of the teaching they are being paid to do for the students wanting their help!

On my nights off from teaching, I've been finalizing all the details on A Summer in Ocracoke, which is coming out this Tuesday (September 10th). There is still time to pre-order or purchase an autographed copy and get freebies with each order!