Living (and writing about) the Law of Attraction!

Posts tagged ‘writing’

Award Winning Indie Novel – A Great Summer Read!

Check out this press release for my latest novel, A Brief Moment in Time!

http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release-service/289648

Award-winning novel

CALGARY, AB, July 03, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ — Novel Ink Publishing is pleased to announce author Jeane Watier as the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Award gold medal winner for visionary fiction. A relatively new genre, Visionary Fiction has been defined as fiction in which the expansion of the human mind drives the plot.

“I’m thrilled to be included in this exciting, thought provoking, and potentially life-changing genre,” says Watier, who has been writing visionary fiction for 6 years and has published a trilogy as well. “I’m proud to stand with others on the leading edge of thought, because thought is powerful; it is the stuff that creates worlds.”

A Brief Moment in Time delivers all that a reader might expect from this type of fiction. An elusive romance, shifting realities, and paranormal twists entertain as subtle truths confirm the reader’s deep inner knowing. “My readers expect a story that incorporates metaphysical concepts,” Watier says. “They expect a romance novel, but it’s fun surprising them with twisted plot lines and shifting realities.”

Awards were presented at the 16th annual Independent Book Award ceremony on June 4th, 2012 in New York. The “IPPY” Awards, launched in 1996, were designed to bring increased recognition to the deserving but often unsung titles published by independent authors and publishers. Established as the first awards program open exclusively to independents, over 2,500 “IPPYs” have been awarded to authors and publishers around the world. It is now the world’s Largest Book Awards Contest.

Praise for A Brief Moment in Time: “I’ve just finished reading your latest masterpiece and am speechless. I’m not sure if it is the similar experience I had emerging from a coma, but this book touched me. I resonate with it so much!” – Cristy Lynn Hayden, author of Love and Accept if All, A Journey from Near Death to Bliss.

“Finished your book (A Brief Moment in Time) last night. WOW! I loved it. Many golden nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout a brilliant storyline.” – Lisa Francis, Bright Lights Marketing.

About the author

Jean Watier lives in Calgary, Alberta with her family. She has been studying metaphysical concepts, particularly the Law of Attraction, for many years. Her desire to share what she’d learned blended with her love of fiction and her passion for writing. The result: powerful novels that teach while they entertain, and transform lives as they captivate readers. All of Jeane’s books – including her latest novel, A Brief Moment in Time – are available in paperback and e-book formats through Amazon and other major online booksellers.

Visit the author’s website: http://www.jeanewatier.com
Follow her on Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/jeanewatier
Enjoy her “Novel Insights” Blog: https://jeanewatier.wordpress.com


Press release service and press release distribution provided by http://www.24-7pressrelease.com

A New Take on Channelling

I’ve heard the term channelling often in recent years, but what does it really mean? The dictionary has various definitions of the verb channel when used of a person:

1) to serve as a medium for (spirits)

2) to emulate or be inspired by, as in: The actress played the part as if she were channelling Bette Davis.

One website I came across defines it in much more specific terms: “Nonphysical mediumship in which the channeler goes into a trance, or leaves their body and becomes possessed by a specific spirit, who then talks through them. In the trance, the medium enters a cataleptic state marked by extreme rigidity. The control spirit then takes over, the voice may change completely and the spirit answers the questions of those in its presence…or giving spiritual knowledge.”

I know of people who channel nonphysical entities and I’ve never heard them describe their experience in such a way. Leaving their body? Being possessed? Extreme rigidity?  Esther Hicks describes her experience with Abraham as the most natural thing she’s ever known. The most complete sense of connection with Source she’s ever felt. To watch her, she’s very relaxed and comfortable and also very aware of what’s happening in and through her.

I know several people who have written books, channelling messages from departed teachers, ascended masters, collective consciousness, etc., and  I’ve even been told, after having described my experience in writing, that my books are channelled. I wouldn’t have used that word—not based on my understanding of it. Downloaded, maybe. Received, definitely. But not channelled.

That is…until yesterday. I was listening to a recent Abraham-Hicks workshop. An artist was in the hot seat and her issue was that sometimes she could create wonderful pieces easily and sometimes it was hard work. Abraham’s response (as always) was brilliant. It was also the first time I’ve heard them use the term channelling in this way. They told her that a vortex version of her painting is already complete and when she’s in alignment, she’s channelling, or allowing the vortex version to flow through her on to the canvas.

They went on to say that a great painting (or a great book, or a moving song, or a brilliant performance) is simply a revelation of alignment. Our Inner Being isn’t holding some image (or message), trying to get our attention so that we can deliver this long-awaited masterpiece or message to the world. It’s not about the result; it’s about the process.

“Collectively, creatively, and cooperatively you are allowing Source Energy to flow through you and the creation is revealing itself right before your eyes. You get to be the first one to witness the evidence of alignment coming on to that canvas.”

“The true art is the feeling of flow…It is the moment of connection that this is all about for you.”

This is exactly the way I feel when I write! I’ve felt it, but never been able to describe it.

My vortex is full of wonderful, delicious experiences. I’ve sifted through life’s contrast and put the best of the best of the best in there. I’m a creative person and I love to fill my days doing creative things. I love to be productive. I’ve long wanted to combine my creativity with a source of income. I didn’t just want to do something (as in a job); I wanted to be something (as in an author). Writing satisfies all those desires for me. But it is also the greatest source of alignment I’ve ever known. When I’m in alignment, I become a channel in which words and ideas flow through my fingers and on to the computer screen. I’ve had so much positive feedback from people. When they read my books and are touched by them, I believe they are feeling the same alignment that brought those books into being.

In that sense, we’re all channels. Anytime we’re in alignment we’re allowing the best of ourselves to flow through us for others to receive and be affected (uplifted) by. It may be in a tangible way that those around us can see and touch (and be touched by). But I believe the true gift of channelling is the connection it produces. This connection can be felt in the moment of alignment, and for years to come by those who enjoy the paintings or books or songs—tangible evidence that is nothing more than a lovely side effect of that alignment.

Visionary Fiction – A New Genre?

I’ve heard this term before, even listed my books on Amazon under this genre with a general understanding of its meaning. But this past week I came across an article that defined it more specifically. Michael Gurian does a great job of not only defining, but promoting the genre, which for many of us is new.

He describes it asfiction in which the expansion of the human mind drives the plot.’

Mystical experiences, visions, telepathy, hallucinations, dreams, paranormal experiences, channelling, intuition, NDE’s, a sense of unity with ALL that IS, profound insight that brings joy…these are not just inconsequential things that happen to the characters, they are the essential elements without which there would be no plot.

Gurian goes on to say that ‘Visionary fiction has been integral to human storytelling, whether secular or sacred, since the beginning of our historical record.’

The reason is that the human mind keeps expanding. Our desire for knowledge and understanding never ceases, and storytelling is often the easiest way to convey new ideas to one another, thereby expanding consciousness.

Classic examples of visionary fiction could include: C.S. Lewis’ novels, The Celestine Prophesy (James Redfield), The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho), and Illusions (Richard Bach) to name a few of my favorites.

The term was coined by John Algeo (at the suggestion of Renee Webber) and can be found in an article published in the American Theosophist, May 1982. He describes it as a ‘kind of story generally set in our own world—cornflakes for breakfast, eight hours at the office, and an evening with friends or in front of the television. But visionary fiction reveals aspects of this world that are sharply at variance with the common assumptions of the man-in-the-street about what his world is really like. It helps the reader to see the world in a new light, to recognize dimensions of reality that we commonly ignore. It transforms our vision of ourselves and our environment. For this reason, it can be interpreted as one of the signs of spiritual revolution in our time.’

As a writer, I’m thrilled to be included in this exciting, provocative, and potentially life-changing genre. I’m proud to stand with others on the leading edge of thought, because thought is powerful; it is the ‘stuff’ that creates worlds. A simple thought can become a belief which can become a belief system which inevitably becomes a reality (however you choose to define reality).

Author, Monty Joynes claims that a ‘good novel has penetrating power to individual awareness because it involves the reader in the deep process of human character. The good novel is more than information, more than entertainment. It is a pathway to the reader’s subconscious mind. If the reader has immersed himself or herself in the process of the character, the experience is more than vicarious. It is profoundly real; and within the subconscious mind, the reality is not separate from feelings that actually occurred to the reader in his or her physical domain.’

I hope my latest novel, A Brief Moment in Time, will do just that. My desire is to entertain, to inform, and ultimately to immerse my readers in experiences so ‘real’ that they are profoundly changed. If I can help them to see the world in a new light, to view reality in an expanded way, and to deepen their understanding and awareness of All that Is, then I have succeeded—touching lives one story at a time.

A Brief Moment in Time is now available in both paperback and e-book  (Kindle) formats on Amazon and other online bookstores.

 

SELF-PUBLISHING TIPS

1.  Determining your target audience will help you to decide which mode of publishing is best for you. (e.g. Can your audience be reached best via the internet or will you most likely be interacting with them personally in workshops, seminars, individual coaching?) I learned with my first book that selling it myself, trying to reach my audience in person, was exhausting and definitely not my cup of tea. Consigning it in bookstores was a lot of work with very little return. I’ve found that the internet is the place for me. No more stocking books, shipping them, following up on consignment stock, etc. And marketing online vrs in person is much more suited to my introvert personality (but that’s a whole other subject)

2.  A word about companies that offer to publish your book for a fee (often called Vanity Publishers): While some publishing companies are set up to assist self-publishers and do offer valuable services, others are merely a money pit. Find out exactly what you will be receiving for your money, what services they provide (or expect you to provide). Get a detailed quote up front and definitely ask for references!! With my first book, Life’s Song, I was glad to have someone hold my hand through the whole experience, but the overall cost was considerable. With A Song of the Heart, I went with the same company, but just made use of their editing services. Now I’m my own publisher and do nearly everything myself, but I still call on a professional when needed for graphics or final proofreading. Know your strengths, be willing to learn, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

3.  Why self publish? The bottom line…control. You decide what and when and how. You have a vision; you know what you want to say and how you want the finished product to look. Sure, you’ll get advice along the way, but the final decisions are yours. And you get to choose how quickly you get your book to market.

POD companies such as Ingram’s Lightening Source http://www1.lightningsource.com/ 

or Amazon’s Create Space https://www.createspace.com/

can take your book from finished manuscript to major online bookstores in a few short weeks. You can still order a quantity of books to have on hand and sell yourself, but the beauty of Print on Demand is that a book is not printed until an order is received, and then it is shipped directly to the reader, or the retailer that orders it. Finally, you can earn the right to be noticed by a traditional publisher.

Hay House’s POD division, Balboa Press http://www.balboapress.com/Packages/CorePackages/Compare.aspxclaims that their titles are monitored regularly by the parent company in hopes to find new aspiring authors to add to their catalogue.

4.  If you’re planning to order books to sell/market, shop around. The cost of printing can vary significantly. While the benefits of POD are great, the cost to order a quantity of books through them can be higher than regular digital or off-set printers. My first book was printed through a local printer and the cost to print was nearly $7/book for 500 copies. I changed printers for my second book and paid just over $4/book for 250. Even though the books had to be shipped across the country, it was worth it. These printers, however, didn’t give me the link I needed for online exposure (one of them claimed to but it ended up costing me money just to sell a book on Amazon). So a combination of the two methods may be the best solution. I find that Lightening Source gives me the best online exposure and if I want to order books to have on hand, I do a print run through the less expensive printer I found. There’s no difference in appearance or quality, just price. When you’re getting quotes, know your book size, # of formatted pages (the number that shows up at the bottom of your Word document), desired paper weight (typically 50 or 55lb for B&W), cover weight and finish (matte or gloss). Then clear a space in your house, 500 books takes up a fair bit of space and a cold garage or damp basement isn’t the best location.

5.  There are getting to be more Print on Demand companies all the time, so check out what they offer. The differences can be subtle, but important. I’ve found Lightening Source (LSI) great to work with. They don’t hold your hand (as a publisher, you’re expected to know a thing or two) but when I asked questions they were friendly and answered them fully. With Ingram as their parent company, LSI’s distribution channels are the best I’ve seen, and the process of getting your book online or in their catalogues is easy. A friend of mine published with Create Space initially and then switched to LSI because she couldn’t get her book on Amazon.ca. Another SP author mentioned that while Create Space was created to cater to new authors and does “hold your hand”, they are, in essence, your publisher and hold certain rights to your book. Lulu and Balboa are a couple of other contenders I’m aware of. Check out their websites. All of the POD companies can provide ISBN and barcode. Most offer packages that provide basic proofreading services all the way up to completely editing your book and designing your cover.

6.  Ask yourself, “What do I want out of this?” Do you want your books in bookstores, online, or both? To be attractive to the big bookstores, you’ll need to price yourself right and set your commission at 50% or less or they won’t even look at you. You also need to make your books returnable (Stores want to be able to send your books back for a refund if they don’t sell within a certain time) so keep that in mind when you’re filling out the forms. For example, with LSI, I set the discount for my books at 20% and I check “no” in the returns box. It means the big brick and mortar bookstores won’t look at me, but it gets me on all the major online bookstores with 80% of the cover price coming back to me. The checks I’m getting regularly now from Lightening Source prove I’ve made the right decision.

7.  Within the publishing world you hear talk of agents and distributors. Most traditional publishers have a filtering system in place and generally speaking, agents are that filter. A good agent can get your book in the hands of an editor at a big name publishing house, but that’s just the first step. It has to go through many channels before it’s accepted. A distributor is necessary if you want your book in bookstores. Most bookstores, especially chains, will only buy books from their distributor’s catalogues. Again this is a filtering system. With POD publishers, you don’t need an agent and in many cases, they become your distributor. Ingram – Lightening Source’s parent company – claims to be the world’s largest distribution channel of book wholesalers and retailers. You pay a one-time fee to be listed in their catalogue and voila! now the big box bookstores will look at you. Keep in mind  you still need to make your book attractive to them with price, discount, and return policy, but that’s very doable. You also need to market your book. Even if your books get picked up by Barnes and Noble or Chapters/Indigo, they’re likely to be returned to you after a few months because most people won’t buy a book they’ve never heard of. This is where I find online marketing to be the way to go. In the last couple of months (since my Law of Attraction trilogy has been complete):

I’ve created a Fan page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jeanewatier  and spent time there creating a presence and making contacts.

I’ve done some inexpensive advertising – PRWeb: http://www.prweb.com/Facebook adverts, and a magazine that is running my ad for two months.

My sales have already increased dramatically and I’m just getting started!!

8.  Whatever route you choose, if you decide to self-publish, you’ll need to make some basic decisions:

Pricing your book right means finding the balance between profit and saleability (too high and people won’t buy it; too low and you won’t cover your own costs). Generally people will pay more for information than for pleasure when it comes to books. They see nonfiction as an investment whereas a novel or a book of poetry is an indulgence. Spend some time in a bookstore and take note of prices (as well as size, design, cover layout, etc).

Size matters. Check with your printer or POD company before settling on a size for your finished book. PODs have a range of cover sizes for you to choose from. Printers can trim your book to any size, but some sizes are cheaper to print than others.

An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is essential if you want to sell your book. In Canada, they are free and as a publisher you register with CISS: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ciss-ssci/index-e.html and receive a block of numbers.

In the US, go to: http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp.

Cataloguing in Publication, CIP, is not required,but including that information on your copyright page will allow you to sell your books to libraries. In Canada go to: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/cip/index-e.html .

In the US, go to: http://www.loc.gov/publish/cip/

You’ll need a barcode on the back cover of your book if you plan to sell in stores. Barcodes are created using your ISBN and (optional) the price of the book. Most printers and PODs will provide this at no cost or for a small fee.

Finally, if you’ve written a book that you plan to self-publish, market and sell, then you are your own publisher. Come up with a name for your company and incorporate.

9.  Preparing files for print: Your manuscript is edited and proofed. Your book-size format is complete with title page, copyright page, index, preface, etc (called front matter). You’re ready to upload (or submit a hard copy of) your book to be printed. Most printers now accept pdf files of both your text and cover. If you do this yourself, keep in mind that when you print to pdf (from Word) or share -> export (from Pages), you need to choose the highest quality setting. Your cover file needs to be in CYMK color format, with all fonts converted to curves (outlines). If this sounds too complicated it’s best to have a professional review your files. Most printers and POD companies such as Lightening Source standardly review files to make sure they’re acceptable for print, but they also have in-house design people that can help you with any necessary changes. Finally, always, always request a proof. It’s your last opportunity to catch any errors in formatting, see how the cover looks, and hold the finished product in your hands before you order a large shipment or give the go-ahead to distribute on Amazon. It’s worth the extra cost!!

A great resource is Dan Poynters Self Publishing Manual http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Poynters-Self-Publishing-Manual-Write/dp/1568601425

10.  eBooks: Wow. There’s so much to be said on the subject! If you want maximum exposure for your book, this is one market that can’t be overlooked. There are various ways to make your book available as an ebook. Ask your printer; they may offer this service. Lightening Source does. However, you can do it yourself without to much difficulty. Starting with a basic (unformatted) manuscript, you can have your book available on Amazon Kindle in a few easy steps. And it’s free.

Go to Kindle Direct Publishing:https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin.

If you want your book available on iPad, Nook, Kobo, and Sony Reader, to name a few, you can have your book converted into the necessary formats and have complete coverage. Having said that, consider that Kindle has almost 70% of the eBook market and offers free reading apps to use on a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone and Blackberry (so your readers don’t even need to own a Kindle device to download and read books from the Amazon Kindle site.

Go to: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_ipad_mkt_lnd?docId=1000493771

EDITING TIPS

1.  Get the best editor that you can afford. If that happens to be you, learn all you can, refer to reputable sources in print and online, and always have people around you that can read your work and offer you feedback. Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned through trial and error about the editing process.

2.  Editing practices have changed over the years. There are way too many so-called experts out there. Editing manuals even disagree on some of the specifics. So it can be a confusing, frustrating experience at the beginning. By listening to too many different “advisors,” I’d make changes to my manuscript based on one piece of advice then hear something conflicting and change it all again. I finally put together my own editing guide/style sheet – general rules, specific examples, and a watch list of common mistakes I’ve made in spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. The Chicago Manual of Style has become my bible. My work is consistent now. I’m no longer second guessing myself. I feel more confident as an author. Doing it yourself isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a perfectionist like I am, if you have a love of the English language and a desire to learn, you can become your own editor.

3.  I use a five step editing process. The first is a quick read through to check for consistency of thought, general flow, and readability. I say quick because it’s tempting to start fixing every little mistake. Don’t. Highlight things if they need attention, but the main goal here is to get an overview, a sense of how the book reads. I highlight sections and make notes as I read. Afterward, I add detail if necessary for clarity, move sections around for better flow, create (or add to) my character profiles, and often chart relevant events on a timeline. I may do further research or verify specific details at this point.

4.  The second step is a thorough paragraph by paragraph edit. It can take me weeks to get through a 400 page novel, but the result is a much more polished manuscript. If I was an artist creating a sculpture, this is where I would smooth out the rough edges, refine specific details, get rid of any unnecessary bits. I look at a sentence and ask myself, “Can this be stated more clearly, more concisely? Is it in the active or passive voice? (Which would work better here?) Do I need to add more detail to get my point across? Is it properly punctuated?” In this edit, I go over my watch list (using the find feature on my word processing program, I search for commonly misspelled or misused words). This is where a tool like Cliche Cleaner

http://www.cliches.biz/clichecleaner/index.html

would be useful. (I haven’t tried it; it’s not available for Mac.)

5.  My third step is audio editing. It’s using your ears instead of your eyes to pick out mistakes in your work. This can be accomplished in various ways. Simply reading aloud will expose many of those sneaky little errors or omissions that your eyes miss. I use my computer’s text to speech capability. On Mac, highlight the section you want the computer to read (or it will start reading from the beginning of the document) and right click. Then click speech -> start speaking. (I have mine set as a shortcut key, so it’s convenient and fast.) When I used Windows XP it was in the tools drop-down menu. You even have a choice of voices to choose from and you can adjust the speed. A third option is downloadable software. I’ve heard good things about NaturalReader.

http://www.naturalreaders.com/index.htm,

It’s free, but check out your options. This is something I use daily – even to edit a Facebook post before I press enter! I’ve come to trust my ears – especially after my eyes have been staring at the screen for hours and really need a break.

6.  Formatting is an important part of my editing process. Formatting the book allows me to see it in a new way. I go through the book page by page, but rather than looking for errors, I’m lining up the pages (I like all the bottoms to be even), removing orphans (single words by themselves on a line at the end of a paragraph), tightening up lines (using character spacing and/or manual hyphenation), etc., and as a result, I often find things I’ve missed in the previous edit. Just a word or two here about formatting. It can seem like a daunting task and you may want to have it done by a professional, but if you’re up for the challenge you can create a professionally formatted book using Word (or Pages on Mac).

7.  FInally, I print out the formatted manuscript and proofread the paper copy. At this point I like to get feedback from a few close friends and family. This is also where I’ve had to learn to let go (I could keep on tweaking forever!) and allow others to be a part of this production. A qualified proofreader is a valuable investment and hiring a professional is a good idea at this stage.

8.  Lists: Compile lists of synonyms for common words such as “amazing,” “awesome,” “nice,” “beautiful.” These descriptors are often overused in fiction. Another handy list you can create and refer to is alternatives for “he said.” Consider descriptive words like, “he barked,” or “she grumbled.” Or better yet see if you can omit those tags altogether. Create a watch list of common mistakes you make in spelling/grammar/usage and use the edit -> find feature on your word processing program to locate all the occurrences of a problematic word or phrase in your manuscript. Here is a great article I cam across:

http://ajbarnett.hubpages.com/hub/400-Alternative-words-for-said

9.  Tools: Keep your online dictionary and thesaurus open in the background and refer to it often. Check words to make sure you’re using them in the right context. A dictionary will also show you how to properly hyphenate, how to use the word in various tenses and even list common phrases. As for your thesaurus, use it if you find yourself repeating a certain word, but keep in mind that clear and concise is better than pretentious, so avoid words that sound pompous or grandiose. Other editing tools I’ve come across: Cliche Cleaner and Natural Reader (as mentioned) and ErrNET to proofread your work.

http://www.errnet.net/product_information.html

ErrNET takes only minutes and runs on their server so there is no need to install software. The program uploads documents through your web browser and calculates price based on total number of pages. Once payment is received, ErrNET checks for errors, marks them in your document, and generates an error report. My latest book in it’s unformatted form is 120 (8.5 x 11) pages, so the cost was $50.

10.  Allow time to be your friend. A week or two between edits clears your brain and rests your tired eyes. Things you missed before will pop out as if they were highlighted. And one final tip: stay connected and enjoy the process. Life is supposed to be fun!

Insights from Italy (and beyond)―Day 19: Nice

 

Enjoying Nice

 

I wish I had paid more attention in high-school. I know six years of French classes must be stored in my subconscious somewhere, but I’m sure it would take weeks or months of being submerged in the culture for me to remember it. Fortunately, the basics have come back easily enough and most people we’ve encountered speak at least some English, so we’re doing fine.

For the first time in our three week holiday, Ron and I went our separate ways today. He wanted to hike to a point of land we could see from the waterfront area and I wanted to meander through the old city, check out the morning markets and then find a bench by the sea to read and/or write.

I enjoyed the old city with its narrow streets lined with tables of pottery and racks of clothing and shopkeepers standing in the doorways having a cigarette (okay I didn’t particularly enjoy that part, but it does seem sooo French!)

Walking down the long narrow market street, I was greeted with the most amazing array of smells. The herbs and spices in cloth-lined baskets filled my nostrils with their bold earthy scents. Home-made soaps and bags of lavender offered a delicate fragrance. Ripe fruit and vegetables gave off a pleasing aroma. Freshly baked panini and pizza made my mouth water.

 

Market in Nice

 

I had to walk quickly by the fish table. The odor was so strong and flies landing on the uncovered fish made it very unappetizing.

Fresh flowers, homemade jams and preserves, embroidered towels and aprons trimmed with delicate lace added visual appeal to the market.

 

Mediterranean blue

 

Now I’m staring at the endless expanse of water before me. I know now what color Mediterranean blue is! A color so cool and fresh that it lures bathers—even on this windy cloudy day. I’ve seen pictures of this stretch of beach completely filled with chairs and umbrellas, but today only a handful of diehard sun-worshipers lay on striped towels, hoping, I guess, for the sun to penetrate the cloud cover and add color to their already bronzed bodies.

It’s actually a great day for pictures. With breaks in the cloud, the sun peeks through, illuminating bits of the city here and there. I glance over at the high-rises on the curve of the bay to my right and see them gleaming. On my left just minutes ago, the rocky point of land where Ron is hiking was lit up. Now its my turn. I close my eyes to breathe deeply as the sun caresses my skin and wraps me in a loving embrace. J’amour la soleil!

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