2022 Writing Heights Conference

It has been such a long time since I have been in person at any event, let alone a conference, that I felt quite giddy at the thought of attending this in person event. 

The 2022 Writing Heights Conference was hosted and organized by Northern Colorado Writers and held in my home city - Fort Collins. It was as if the universe was telling me something - this was an event I had no excuse to miss. 

I took leave, advised my colleagues that I was following my joy and attended my very first writers conference. 

For me, the conference started with a masterclass on Thursday, April 28th, 2022, a four-hour class on what it takes to successfully self-publish conducted by Kerrie Flanagan. The conference programming started at 9am on Friday April 29th and ended the afternoon of Saturday April 30th. 

Each night I came home with my brain humming, overheating with all the new, actionable information I had learned.

I love learning new things. 

It is going to take several weeks to digest everything that I learned. But in this moment, now, as I write this here are some of my key takeaways: -

  1. Author Website. I've been blogging since 2003, and my website looked quite frankly like an ancient relic. I don't have the budget to spend on author website design, so I decided to look at what other templates were available and try them out. I think I will continue to tweak until I am happy with this. 
  2. That it is ok not to write every day. 
  3. Every author whether they are self-published or with a traditional publisher is expected to do some marketing. That was an eye opener. I always thought that if one is traditionally published that the publisher handles all the marketing. Not true. 
  4. Marketing - you can't do everything, so try out different things, and find the things that you are most comfortable doing. 
  5. The importance of a critique group. I have been feeling very anxious about this. But I attended a wonderful session given by Kendra Griffin who explained the value of critique groups, and how to give and receive good critiques. I made a connection or two. So fingers crossed I can get started in a critique group. 
  6. Know, study and read your genre. 

 

 

 


Finding and following your joy

Follow your joy
I think that being able to find your joy and then having the luxury to follow it is a special gift. A privilege. 

My joy started in a place of sadness - after the loss of a beautiful kitten. That resulted in me writing the first book in the series - The Lost Colors. I self-published through Amazon (Amazon makes it very easy to do this.) That was at the start of the pandemic. During the lockdown and in the midst of such uncertainty these stories became my refuge. I designed the covers - ineptly using Paint 3d, and drew some "line art." I created five books in this series. I never gave much thought beyond the creative process. I thought that only family and friends would ever enjoy reading them. 

But I've decided to do something more. I am very excited about this. I am re-launching the series. I have found an amazing artist who I will be collaborating with, and who I know will create some beautiful art for the book covers. I want to elevate the series. I want to spread the joy around. This means I need to widen my distribution channels to target schools and libraries. 

Announcements relating to the relaunch, and upcoming books can be found on my Caitlin and Rio Series website. 

I am so grateful I have the privilege of following my joy. 


Peter Bosman 1935 - 2021 In Memoriam

My dearest Daddy passed away Saturday November 6th, 2021. I am devastated. 

Peter-bosman-head-shot-6912c

Dad gave me a wonderful, loving, and safe childhood. Only now as an adult do I realize how lucky I was.

I have so much to be grateful for. Dad taught me about family, the importance of working hard, of always doing one’s best, and of always trying. He taught me about respect. Not just respecting parents, and those in authority. But respecting people from all works of life regardless of who they are or what they can do for you. He taught me about honesty and decency.

I love you, and will miss you forever. 

Below is his obituary... 

Peter Barry Bosman, 85, of Fort Collins, Colorado passed away Saturday November 6th, 2021, under the care of Hospice, McKee Medical Center, Loveland surrounded by his wife and family after a courageous battle with prostate cancer.

Peter was born November 15, 1935, in Kimberley, South Africa, the only son of Lilian Agnes (Hamilton Hoskins) Bosman and Abraham Johannes Bosman. He was an only child. He lived with his Grandmother Judith while his parents served in World War 2.

He spent his childhood years in Kimberley, South Africa where he attended Kimberley Boys High School.

It is with grateful thanks to his stepfather, Carl Allekotte that Peter was able to attend St. Andrews High School and was able to go on to college. He attended the University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa where he graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Sciences – Civil Engineering. Whilst at University he met the love of his life and mother of his three children, June Elizabeth McIntosh.

They met at a dance. Legend has it Peter asked June, “Where are you from?” And then June replied, “I am sorry, but we don’t farm.” The rest, as they say, is history. They were married in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 14th, 1960. Peter was a keen photographer. June’s father, Brian was delighted that his daughter was marrying such a wonderful man. Of course, Brian was a keen photographer too. Peter was welcomed and loved as a son by June’s parents, Joyce, and Brian. Peter and June were looking forward to celebrating their wedding anniversary of 61 years this December 2021.

After graduating College and marrying, Peter worked for Robert Leslie, Consulting Engineers in Cape Town, and then for South African Railways, during the design and construction of Johannesburg Station.

Peter was awarded the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) Scholarship, and he and June spent approximately 2 years living and working in England. Their eldest son, Mark was born whilst they were in England.

On their return to South Africa, Peter started work at Gerald Stoch who designed filling stations before Peter joined WLPU (Watermeyer, Legge, Piesold & Uhlmann) in 1964.

In 1964 Peter bought half an acre plot of dirt and sand in Parkmore, Sandton, South Africa. They built a single-story modest home in a largely underdeveloped neighborhood. Soon after Andrew was born, the young family moved into their newly constructed home. Peter and June turned this house into a home – a home where they gave their children a warm and loving childhood. They transformed the dirt and sand into a thriving, verdant garden. Over the years the children brought in various pets – birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, and ducks. They even had a chicken called Henny Penny who was a fixture at evening dinners. She loved to perch on the shelves in the dining room to keep an eye on the guests.

The house would be the family home for nearly 40 years and where Peter and June raised their three children – Mark, Andrew, and then later their daughter Sally.

Over the years, Peter used his engineering skills and the skills taught by his step-grandfather Orson (his beloved Grandmother Judith’s second husband) to add to the house – a garage, a playroom, a master bedroom, and an outdoor patio. The outdoor patio was built to host Joyce’s 60th surprise birthday party.

He taught Lazarus Kgali, who was employed initially as a gardener, how to build. Together they expanded the home. He also mentored Lazarus and helped him with his own home.

Peter loved family. He loved to take his family on vacations – safari self-drives to Kruger National Park, where all the children learned to drive, and the wildlife were scared away by “big Bertha” a big lens that Peter “engineered” using PVC pipes and a bellows focusing mechanism. The lens came off an old aerial survey camera.  He loved the Drakensberg Mountains. He would go on hikes with his camera and photograph the scenery, the flowers, and the people he loved.

He loved to travel. He and June toured some exciting locales – Thailand, Japan, China, and Russia with their friends. He loved to photograph and videotape his travels. More often than not Peter was to be found behind a camera and not in front of it.

Peter built up his career and reputation and became a world-renowned expert in natural draft cooling towers. He would often delight his children and amuse his neighbors by building cooling tower experiments in the back garden.  He filed several patents over the years. He worked on numerous projects whilst working for WLPU.  His first project was determining the best route for the pipeline to supply the town of Phalaborwa including the mine with water. His first power station was Hendrina, located on the Highveld in South Africa. He worked on projects in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Turkey, Australia, and India.

Peter rose through the ranks of WLPU (later known as Knight Piesold) and became partner of WLPU in 1976, and director of Knight Piesold in 1996. (In 1995 WLPU become Knight Piesold.)

In 2000 he transitioned out of his leadership role. He and June moved to Denver, Colorado with the goal of pursuing cooling tower projects in the USA and India. Eventually he set up his own company, KP Energy LLC to continue his consulting work, but still retained close ties to his old company and colleagues. During this time, he formed a close relationship with Paharpur Construction Company in Kolkata, India. Over the years Peter worked on numerous projects in India with Paharpur.

Peter would always joke that “Engineers never retire.” This is accurate because Peter only started to wind down his business activities when he was well into his 80’s, when he needed to devote his energies to his family and to fighting his illness.

Peter was a kind, generous and loving husband, father, and grandfather. Peter was deeply loved and will be missed forever. He will always be remembered for his sense of fun, his humor, his smile and his infectious laugh.

Peter is survived by his wife, June, and his two children, Mark and his wife Cheryl of Green Point, NSW Australia; Sally and her husband, Kevin of Fort Collins, Colorado; his granddaughter, Natasha of Coogee, NSW, Australia; his step-grandson, Billy of Birmingham, England and step-granddaughter, Chantelle of Hilton, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; as well as many devoted friends and family members.

He was predeceased by his son, Andrew of Denver, Colorado.

Due to COVID we held a virtual celebration of life and Zoom reception. We set up a Tribute Wall 


Author Q & A

How did you begin?

The first book, The Lost Colors was first written about 20 years ago. In 2019 when we lost our 10-month-old kitten, (who is the inspiration of this series) I was devastated. I was cleaning out my study and came across the manuscript and computer disc. I reread the manuscript (it was such a long time since I had written it, I could not remember what happen.) I thought it would make a great story of a girl, Caitlin and her cat Rio (based on my Rio.) We had to scrounge to find a computer old enough to download the files. My husband, Kevin unearthed an old computer from our basement. I was surprised when I found that the disc contained a number story outlines, and character outlines of a couple of other story ideas – including a murder mystery.

I wanted to write the kind of stories that I remember enjoying reading as a child. For this series, I wanted to create a world where anything is possible. I also wanted to create a story with strong female characters. I want the central characters, Caitlin and her best friends, Molly and Trudie to solve mysteries and defeat evil. Of course, they are helped by Caitlin’s extraordinary cat, Rio.

Can I read the books in any order?

I have tried to make each book stand alone. However, for your maximum enjoyment I think reading the books in order is the best way to read the entire series.

Are your books based on real life characters?

These stories are a work of fiction, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. However, I do take my inspiration from real life events, experiences and inspirations. For example, the Rio in the series is inspired by my kitten Rio. The Missing Cats was inspired by a walk around the neighborhood and seeing the lost cat notices. Mr. Brewster’s dog, Angus is based on a Jack Russell terrier called Angus that I had growing up.

Who is your audience?

This series is for ages 8 – 12 years.

Why did you decide to write for this age group?

I want to write the kind of stories that I remember loving at that age.

Where do you get your ideas for your stories?

Ordinary suburbia is my inspiration. I like thinking about how I can take something normal and turn into something interesting and different.

How many books are in the Series?

I am not sure. When it feels right, the series will end.

Are your books available in Kindle?

Yes. All the books in the series are and will be available in Kindle.

Are your books available as audio books?

No. Currently the books are not available as audio books.

Why can’t I buy your books at Barnes & Noble?

My books are only available for sale through Amazon.

How can I find out when the next book will be released?

There are several ways – you can follow me on Amazon. Or check the blog, www.sallyalexander.com for announcements. Or email me at sally dot alexander at comcast dot net to be signed up for author announcements.

What does it mean to be an independent publisher?

Thanks to Amazon, independent publishing is easy and accessible. This means I can publish my work, without having to try and find a corporate publisher. The decision of when and what to publish is my decision.

Another name for independent publishers is self-publishing. Before deciding to publish through Amazon, I did investigate several self-publishing companies. I was not prepared to spend the money they were asking to self-publish.

Why are the books only available in American English?

For my readers in Australia, New Zealand, UK and South Africa you will no doubt notice and be quite annoyed that the books are written in American English with American spelling. I am an American now, and I write in the USA, and so I write in American English. I am also an independent writer and publisher. If I had a corporate publishing contract, the publisher would handle the publications of different editions for different markets – that is American English for the USA market, and British English for the other English-speaking markets. Thank you for supporting independent writers and publishers.

I love your stories. I love the Series. Is it available as a computer game?

What a great question. Thank you. Currently I have no plans to release the series as a computer game

If you have other questions?

Email me at sally dot alexander at comcast dot net.