December 09, 2015

Pack it in, Pack it out!

Guest Post by Jan Bono

Well folks, Crabby has messed up post-scheduling yet again. (Shocking, right?) She should have run this guest post by Jan B much sooner. Why? Well because it contains a December 10th deadline for ordering what could be a nice little Christmas present for a loved one, or hell, yourself! At least if you're the sort who actually aims to give Christmas presents on or before December 25th.  There's still time, but alas, not much. Crabby hereby apologizes and swears she will try not to be such a nitwit in the future.  --Crabby

In Crabby McSlacker’s recent Checkin' In blog post, she invited us to let her know what we’ve been up to, what we might be planning, and what’s on our minds these days.

Yes! She actually wrote that! So I’m taking her up on her invitation and telling you all how I’ve managed to abandon my daily fitness regime, immerse myself in a pool of self-pity, and resent the everyday exercise opportunities that have been forced upon me.

But wait! There’s more!

Regular readers of this blog will remember that Rick, my travelling companion, tech guy, and "forever fiancĂ©," died of congestive heart failure last April.

What followed was a horrid downhill spiraling of emotional and physical pain, and an eventual abandonment of any semblance of healthy food plan.

Rick, as my Tech Guy, had been responsible for setting up my website, making my entire house a wifi zone, and doing the internal hyperlink formatting necessary for getting my eBooks into the “Premium” distribution catalogs.

Without him, I didn’t know if I could even continue writing, and if I did, how would I get my books out there for others to read?

But way back in the farthest, darkest, cobwebbiest corners of my mind, I begrudgingly remembered I had made him a pinky-swear-promise just days before he passed. I had sworn that this was the year I would get the first two books of my mystery series published and available in time for the dreaded “Holiday Bazaar Season.”

Technically, the mystery books were finished last year. But last year, as Rick’s health deteriorated, he pushed me to put “Back from Obesity: My 252-pound Weight-loss Journey” on the front burner. It was a huge undertaking, and just one day before he went into the hospital for most of the final eight months of his life, we completed the book.

But what about the mystery series?

In 1985, I had an idea for a cozy mystery series set along the SW Washington Coast. Write what you know, right? I had the main character, a few secondary characters, and the general plotlines of 8 or 10 books pretty much figured out. But life intervened, and I stuck them away in a file folder in my desk for “sometime later.”

With the advent of computers, and with Rick’s help, I resurrected the dream, and completed book one in 2011, and book two in 2013. But try as I may, I couldn’t find an agent or publisher looking to get behind another cozy mystery series.

“Cozies” are a specific type of mystery. They have an amateur sleuth who works with the police department to solve the crime. They take place in a small town. There’s a quirky cast of characters, and lots of humor. What they don’t have is graphic violence or blatant obscene language. In other words, they’re like “Murder She Wrote,” only on paper.

So after a full year of trying to land my books in the mainstream, Rick and I decided just to do it ourselves. We worked together and came up with what we considered fabulous cover ideas, and we were so close to holding these books in our hands, we could almost taste it. (Sorry for the mixed metaphor, but you get the drift.)

But this time, death intervened, and I just didn’t know if I could, or should, power through it all by myself.

In July, I cleared the deck of every other iron I had in the fire and gave myself the gift of one full month to either “crap, or get off the pot.” I was either going to take these books through one final edit and get them to the printer, or I was going to put the file away forever, and renege on my promise to Rick.

As you can see by these photos, I got the job done. Amazingly.

And now I’m hard at work, and working much too hard, for 10 weekends in a row, to haul the books out of the house, load my vehicle, haul the books and display stands in and out of the bazaar venues, set up, take down, and pitch them to eager, and maybe not-so-eager, readers.

Marketing like this ain’t for sissies, that’s for sure!

But I’m hoping that somewhere, somehow, Rick is smiling, knowing how responsible he was for this turn of events, and I’m grateful for his insistence that I follow through “for him.”

It’s been a tough year, and I’m tougher for it. I’m even building back my muscle strength by carrying all these boxes of books up and down stairs.

And I’m eating better and getting my life back on track in baby-step increments.


So.... If you’ve read this far, and you’re interested in purchasing either/or Back from Obesity, first two books in the Sylvia Avery Mystery Series, or all three in paperback form, I will promise to get them into the mail the next day if you order by December 10.

You can go to my website for more details,, and order them there. OR, if you message me directly through my JanBonoBooks Facebook page, I’ll give you free shipping just for being a loyal Cranky Fitness Reader!

Meanwhile, I’ve invested in a hand truck, but wouldn’t you know it, the darn thing doesn’t navigate the stairs!


  1. Great job! Hope the books are selling well.

  2. The boxes in that van are packed in there so uniformly. It pleases me greatly.

  3. Love the ATTITUDE. That is how I feel after 10 days of soup.

  4. Jan,
    Super job, that sounds like it was really tough, but you still did it! What I strong spirit you have! Congratulations, and I hope the sales go well!

  5. Congratulations Jan! Best of luck with your book sales!


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