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So, as many of you know, I help my mom with her publishing needs, too. Last week, she asked me to help her publish an illustrated children’s book. I have actually been sitting on it for a couple of years not really sure how to start, but I finally decided to face the task head on and get it done. Fifty to Sixty hours of work later, I am mostly there.

I’ve talked to many people who had no trouble creating illustrated ebooks before. For some reason, that luck was not with me on this project. A little background: I generally self publish through Createspace.com (for my paperbacks) and Smashwords.com (for my ebooks). I also recently learned how to use the Kindle Direct Publishing services to upload a kindle version to Amazon. I’ve made several books that were mostly text with just a few pictures, a logo near the title, my author pic at the back. No problem. I followed all the formatting guidelines on Smashwords and Createspace and never had any trouble getting my word files to upload and view correctly.

So for this book I knew it would be different. First I created an InDesign file to do the layout for the paperback. I normally start with the ebook and then format for paperback, but since I was more confident in doing an illustrated paperback, I started there this time. I created my page layout and then exported my Indesign file to a PDF. I uploaded to Createspace and all was good. The online proof looked great. I just had to tweak the pictures to make them a higher resolution. They recommend 300 dpi, but no less than 200 dpi to keep the images from looking blurry. Basically I just went back into photoshop with each of my images, changed the resolution from what it was to 200 and then saved, went back into inDesign, updated links and re-exported to pdf. Uploaded new file to Createspace and problem was solved. The only other thing I had to play around with was the bleed on the pages. If you want your color paperback to have the pictures go all the way to the edge of the paper, you have to create the file with the images extending at least and 1/8 inch past the border and then change the bleed options in the export to pdf (print) options box. I changed the outside and top bottom to 0.25. The inside I left at 0.00.

Okay, so now I had my paperback. I just had to wait for the automated review process to finish and then go through the proofing stage.

On to the ebook. I tried using my same inDesign file and exporting to epub. The file was horrible. Pictures were floating around everwhere. Borders were on pages all their own. Nothing looked right. I tried exporting to PDF and uploading the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Uploaded but the preview was the same problem. Nothing appeared right. Following the advice of others I saved my inDesign file as jpegs and placed my jpegs in a word document. Tried uploading that to KDP and Smashwords. It looked okay in the kindle viewer (if a little small) but it didn’t view right on my kindle for pc app and it didn’t work at all through Smashwords for my nook. (Smashwords makes ebooks available in all formats – for those unfamiliar with the service) Only half of each picture was showing up. The bottom of each picture was cut off, like it was zoomed in too far and couldn’t zoom out. So I tried recreating all the pages in photoshop from scratch, saving the new jpegs and then placing in word document (also tried combining them in a pdf). Same problems.

About to give up, I saw a Kindle Comic Book Creator program you can download on the KDP website. I tried it. Uploaded my page jpegs I created in Photoshop. Saved as a Mobi file and uploaded to Kindle. It looks great on my Kindle for PC app. I then took that file and tried to convert the Mobi file to ePub to upload to Smashwords. The program I used, calibre, couldn’t even do the conversion. It gave an error message. I tried two or three other online converters and got a ePub file, but it had the same problems as my earlier attempts.

I emailed Smashwords and they told me they only accept documents that have the text seperate from the images. In other words, I can’t create an all illustrated book. Their instructions were to create a letter sized word document and insert all images with a paragraph return after each of them. So I went back into each of my original page pictures again, put their resolution at 100 and width at 5 in. (constrained proportions). I saved them to a new file, so they wouldn’t save over my old images. I opened a blank word doucment in landscape and started working. On each page I put the image on the left and formatted it so the text would wrap to the right of the picture. I lowered the page margins to 0.25″ so that there wouldn’t be so much white space around my pages. I left some margin so the text wouldn’t run into the edge of the page. Then I uploaded to Smashwords. Lo an behold, it uploaded without a problem. Viewing it as a pdf, the images stayed to the left of my text as I intended. On my nook, though the didn’t view in landscape. So I redid the word document AGAIN and put it all in portrait. My new file was too big to upload to Smashwords (file can’t be over 10 MB) so I had to compress my photos. Right click on one photo and click on compress. You can select to do it to all photos or just one. Compress for web and it will dramatically reduce your file size.

I did a lot of research this week online, and what I found was lot of other people frustrated, trying to create illustrated ebooks and running into similar and different problems. Most of the tutorials and instruction videos I found showed how to create a text heavy book with a few images in them. The other sites I found that may have had useful info were heavy in technical speak and html code (which I am not strong in). So at the end of the week, I wanted to post my journey and my findings for those who may encounter similar programs. As with all technology, my solutions won’t work for everyone, but hopefully they will help someone.

How I created and illustrated children’s book

Step 1. Write the book

Step 2. Create/Gather any pictures or illustrations needed. Need to be at least 200 to 300 dpi for use in print. You can also start work on cover for book. You will need a full cover for paperback and front cover for ebook. Size of full cover will vary depending on what size you decide to make the book. a 6×9 book usually needs around a 9 x 13 cover, give or take depending on size of spine/thickness of book.

Step 3. Decide how to do layout.

You can either do paperback in a program like inDesign and ebook in Photoshop and Word or do it all in Photoshop and Word, but you will need three seperate files either way. They require different canvas/page size and resolutions.

For paperback you select what size the paperback will appear in. Most of mine are 6 x 9, but there are others to choose from. See createspace for options. Image resolution higher than ebooks.

Ebooks are usually 1024 x 600 pixels and resolution needs to be around 72 dpi (I just set mine for around 100 resolution in photoshop)

Step 4. Create paperback PDF. The easiest way I found for doing the illustrated paperback was to create my layout in inDesign and export to PDF (print) with bleed set at 0.25 outside, top and bottom. 0.00 inside bleed. Upload file to Createspace with full cover jpeg and continue through that process, checking proof, correcting any errors, etc.

Step 5. Create ebook

Some people have absolutely no problem just putting their jpegs in a word document and uploading it to KDP or Smashwords. I was not one of them. My alternative:

Download Kindle Comic Book Creator

Recreate your page layout in Photoshop with 100 resolution and canvas size 1024 x 600 pixels

Upload your jpegs to the Comic Book Creator.

Save/Create your Mobi File

Upload to Kindle

Check preview or view file on your kindle if you have one.

Step6. Convert to epub for Smashwords or create new Smashwords file.

There are a lot of online converter programs. For most conversions, you can download calibre. I’ve also tried Zamzar, an online converter. It didn’t work for me on this file but helped when I was working between two different computers and versions of software and couldn’t get my tiff file to save as a jpeg I uploaed the tiff to Zamzar, selected jpeg as the output and they converted it and emailed me the link to download the new file. It’s a good site to bookmark for things like that.

If that doesn’t work . . .

Create a new word document. Type in all your text, including your copywrite page Format text according to Smashwords guidelines, available on their website

*(remember to always put a different copywrite on all these version. One for Createspace, one for Kindle and one for Smashwords. * always remember to double check you have the right copywrite page on a file before you publish to any of these sites)

Save all your jpegs you will need for the book in a smaller format.

I used 100 resolution with 5″ width so they would be roughly half the size of my pages. You don’t want to have an oversized image and resize in word. It will not convert right and the picture will be too big. You want the image to be the same size when you place it as you want it to view. If it is too big, go back and save a smaller image (different file name, of course)

Insert Picture in the word document, remembering to include paragraph return after each picture. Save and upload to smashwords.

I know this is complicated, but hopefully one day they will update their process to allow fully illustrated children’s books and comics. One benefit is that at least I can add hyperlinks to the text. Until things change, at least I got the book the way I wanted it to be viewed on Kindle.

If any of you know of a different way or other free program that works for any of this, please leave it in the comments section. Thanks.

For anyone who is interested you can read more about my mom’s children’s book “The Adventures of Snooky Snail” on her website, www.BettyJeanMcLain.webs.com

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–A.D. McLain

http://www.wotpast.com

www.facebook.com/wotpast

http://pinterest.com/wotpast/

Scam alert: If someone calls saying a relative is in jail in Sarnia, Canada after being involved in a car accident near Niagra Falls where the driver was drinking, and needs $1000 wired to them so the judge will let them leave and come back to the USA, it is a scam. Courthouses do not have a Western Union in them, and Sarnia is not that close to Niagra Falls. It is about 3 to 4 hours away. Anyone arrested near Niagra Falls would be taken to neared jail/courthouse, probably Saint Catherines.

The attorney calling claimed to be Daitalin Eisner with Johnson and Johnson law firm in Canada and gave a Vancouver number: 778-239-9035.  Sarnia courthouse had not heard of this attorney or lawfirm. Lawyer claimed relative was being held, but not formally arrested, pending the payment of the fine to release him. Thus, the police and courthouse had no record of him. Attorney refused to provide any proof of who she was or where she worked. Could not provide name of judge, number or courthouse or police station (I had to look those up online), website for lawfirm, proof she was even a lawyer, and we were given one hour to pay fine or he would have to go to jail.

“Relative” claimed to have a cold to cover up the fact that he didn’t sound exactly like the real relative.

–Amanda

Zombies, zombies everywhere

* update 6-7-12 – More face biting . . . this one in Louisiana. They don’t know if drugs were involved.  More here.

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So we have drugs that cause people to go mad and start growling and eating people, flesh-eating bacteria in Georgia (where the cdc headquarters is, by the way), a “zombie gun” in Russia, and a zombie parasite that may be in your brain right now that causes schizophrenia. Oh and let’s not forget the CDC released that “zombie apocalypse” survival guide almost exactly one year ago. What is going on? We don’t need some out of control virus that sweeps across the globe in less than a week turning everyone into mindless zombies. The truth is so much worse. We have five or ten things that can make us act like zombies and we are doing it to ourselves. People are voluntarily taking those bath salts and developing “zombie guns.” That Canadian cannibal wasn’t high when he killed and ate his lover. Those twilight cultists, i.e. idiot teeny boppers, voluntarily bleed each other and drink the blood to be like the “fake” vampires they worship. (pardon me a moment while I channel my inner old person – What is wrong with kids these days? In my day we watched Dracula, the Wolfman, even Silence of the Lambs, and guess what? We didn’t try to drink each other’s blood afterwards. Ewww!) People can be so dumb, it’s a wonder we’ve lasted this long.

Yes, I know there’s always been the random psychopath or cannibal running around. But the usually don’t run around naked, growling and eating off people’s faces in broad daylight. I’m just saying. If we are so willing to give away our humanity for a few hours high, do we even deserve it? At least a virus can be quarantined, treated, cured. You can’t cure idiots who decide on a whim to take some new drug to have a good time. What is to stop one of my neighbors from taking that crap and attacking me or my babies when we are taking a walk. All it takes is one moron to ruin things for everyone else. unfortunately, that is the truth, and we have all lost just a little bit of our complacency, at least for a while. Maybe it’s a good thing, because whether it’s a flesh-eating zombie, psycho cannibal, drugged moron, a virus or parasite, or even a drunk driver or run of the mill killer, there are threats everywhere. We can’t let fear run our lives, but those of us who are parents have the added responsibility of caring for the well-being of those who can’t take care of themselves. All we can do is prepare for whatever may come so we can be ready to defend our families, should the need arise.

-A.D. McLain

www.wotpast.com

www.facebook.com/wotpast

Sqeezable Fruit

I’ve noticed lately an abundance of fruit puree in squeezable pouches. It started out as a toddler snack on the baby food aisle. First came the name brand, then the store brand knock offs. Yesterday I found that they have made the jump from baby/toddler food to the fruit isle. I often get fruit cups for my older son. The diced fruit makes a good snack, and he likes it. I try to get fresh fruit and berries, but inevitably they go bad before we can finish them. I don’t know if is our grocery stores down here or what, but I often find food that is either at or past its expiration date still sitting on the store shelves. I’ve bought macaroni and cheese that was expired for two years, cookie dough that was stored at improper temperatures and didn’t cook correctly (twice), and tried to get some bottled water only to see that it was best by six months ago. Fresh fruit and veggies don’t usually last very long once I buy them, making me wonder how long they have been on the shelf, too. Fruit pouches don’t go bad as quickly and have a couple other advantages as well. They are easy to take with us on the road and they usually have a good variety of different fruits and berries that aren’t as easy to come by in the cups. But they do leave me with one observation. Feeding my 10 month old son, I’m excited he is transitioning to more solid foods. He is moving away from baby puree and eating more table foods. As parents this is a fun time. Yet my four-year old is now moving back to puree for his snacks. Strange how things work out.

-A.D. McLain

www.wotpast.com

www.facebook.com/wotpast

I came to the realization the other day that jobs are like death. I don’t mean how some jobs can be soul crushing, time consuming wastelands that serve only to suck up all your time and joy and keep you away from your family and friends. I actually have a more optimistic point to make. Now, if you’ve ever watched or read a ghost story you know the plot where said ghost has unfinished business and has to fix something or learn something before he or she can move on to the great beyond. Jobs can be a lot like that. But just like the ghosts in these stories, you have to be open to learn something, or you just end up haunting the same place for all eternity, a wisp of your former self. I’m a writer, so my dream job is of course to write. But darnnit if life doesn’t like to get in the way with those pesky little bills and need for food and such. I’ve had my fair share of jobs on my quest for my dream. I’ve worked in accounting, physical therapy, marketing and sales. One thing every job had in common was that I had them for a reason. They taught me skills, helped me meet people and even helped me move to somewhere I needed to be. Without my first job out of college, I would never have moved when I did and avoided having my home destroyed by a hurricane. I found my first publisher from working at a physical therapy clinic. Whenever I needed a new job, I found one.  I have always been where I needed to be when I needed to be there. And once I learned what I needed to learn, I moved on. I never knew going in what I would get from any of my jobs. Most of my experiences were unexpected and life alterring. I may not always be where I want to be, but I am always where I need to be. Realizing that can make it a little easier to handle difficult times. Ten years ago I never could have predicted where this decade would take me, but I know I have been blessed. I just need to be where I am and let the future take care of itself. I have faith I will reach my dreams and goals one day. In the mean time, I will learn what I am meant to learn and take full advantage of where I am, now. If I hunker down and learn everything I can as quickly as I can, I will be one step closer to where I am meant to go.

-A.D. McLain

www.wotpast.com

The Princess and the Pea

You know those things that make you question your sanity or wonder if you’ve somehow stepped into an alternate reality? The story of “The Princess and the Pea” is that for me.  Everyone knows the basics of the story: A princess is so sensitive she can feel a pea under her mattress, even if you put it under a stack of many mattresses. In the story, a prince is looking for a bride. The prospective brides are tested in this manner to see if they are princesses.  And here is where the story gets interesting. Everyone I’ve asked in the past twenty years has told me that the princess wakes up complaining about how she couldn’t sleep, and everyone knows she is a princess, since she could feel the pea. But that isn’t the story I heard as a child. In the version I heard, the princess doesn’t want to be a rude guest and tries to hide the fact that she couldn’t sleep. She is so tired, she ends up falling asleep at breakfast. The queen is livid. How dare a guest fall asleep at the table? The prince interrupts her rant and says that the princess showed true sensitivity. Not only did she feel the pea, but she showed sensitivity of heart by not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings or be rude.

I can not find this version of the story anywhere. It is like it never existed. No one I know has ever heard it. It leaves me to wonder where I heard it, did I imagine it, or what? If anyone out there has heard this version of the story, I welcome your comments. If not, I also welcome a discussion on the merits of each of these stories. I am partial to the story I know. It teaches a lesson and shows that it is good to be polite and care about the feelings of others. I would love to find it in print somewhere, if only to know I’m not crazy. Until then, I will be content to share it with my children.

-A.D. McLain

www.wotpast.com

Fast Food Memories

I just had one of the best anniversaries ever. The best part was the simplicity of it. We grabbed some food from Sonic and had a picnic on the lakefront with our two little boys.

There have been a lot of attacks on fast food in the past few years. People complain about the high calories, marketing to children or even how they need to warn us that hot coffee is hot. (Don’t you wish we could return to the days when people actually had to have a brain to survive?)Most disturbing to me is that the fast food places are actually starting to cave to this pressure. I don’t mind them offering menu options so people can chose healthier foods, but the day when a fast food restaurant forces me to accept half the french fries I would normally get, while they replace the rest with apple slices in the kid’s meal is the day I stop going to that establishment. Sure, eating fast food all day every day is not good for you and can make you fat. But guess what, kid’s aren’t the ones buying the kid’s meals. Their parents are. So who cares if they are marketing to children? It is the parent’s job to say “no” and set the rules and boundaries.
But I digress. The real reason I am writing today is to lament what may soon be the loss of a very important element in our lives. While fast food restaurants are a business and have their problems, they have also been an intrugal part of many of our lives. I remember having a joint birthday party with my best friend at McDonald’s when we were in first grade. On long road trips to visit my family in other states, we would stop and get pancakes and hashbrowns for breakfast. Sometimes I would eat it in the back of the car while we drove. There were impromptu family reunions held in fast food parking lots and over a few combo meals. It made the perfect stop after a long trip to meet up with family or friends so they could lead you to their home, or to exchange Christmas gifts when driving all the way to one person’s home was too far, and you needed some place in between to meet. I would grab some fast food after school, before band practice, and share it with my classmates. I learned to eat without much salt back then, as they would always forget to put salt packettes in my bag for some reason. 🙂

As a child, every weekend, my mother and I would go to the store together. We made a day of it, went to eat at Dairy Queen or Sonic, went to the movies, shopped for awhile, got groceries, and would sometimes grab a pizza on the way home. It was wonderful. In college, I would grab some fast food between classes, and my first date with my husband was at a McDonald’s. We drove around for over an hour looking for somewhere to eat before I finally decided to go there. I’d never been to real restaurants before and felt comfortable with that choice. We recreated that first date a few times on anniversaries. We did so again this year with our Sonic picnic by the lake. I will always remember my time at fast food restaurants fondly. I only hope that my sons will have an opportunity to build those same kinds of memories, unmarred by political agenda and stupidity. May we all learn to appreciate our own fast food memories, before they are gone forever.

-A.D. McLain

www.wotpast.com

Support for Israel

I find myself wanting to write about what is happening with Israel but not knowing what I should write. I’ve never been a great student of history. I’ve learned more in the past few years than I ever learned in school. It is amazing how much history we aren’t taught, how little most of us know. But one thing always seemed clear to me. The Holocaust was bad. People were murdered. Hitler was evil and killing the Jews was wrong. It was something everyone seemed to agree on. In a world of grays, this one issue was black and white. So how can so many people be so quick to turn their back on Israel, now? How can everyone be so quick to disregard hate speech calling for the death of the Jews? How can people shrug and say it could never happen? It has already happened within the past century. Are our memories so short? Are we that easily led? When children’s programs in Egypt talk of Jews being evil and how they should all die, how can we turn a blind eye?

As a child in school, I wondered how the world could let the Holocaust happen. There have been countless studies trying to explain how the German people went along with the death camps. Yet when faced with the same prospects again, we do the exact same thing. Instead of standing with our brothers and sisters in Israel, we would stand with countries who harbor terrorists bent on our destruction. We support countries where women are stoned to death and children are used as suicide bombers. How can we be so blind? And for those who do see, how can we remain silent and ignore what is happening? What will be our excuses to our children for why we did nothing, why we did not act? Regardless of the price we must pay, the sacrifices we must make, some things are black and white. Some choices are clearly good or evil. And doing nothing is the same as being complicit . Remaining silent because we are afraid of who we may offend is the same as carrying out the atrocities ourselves. I for one will not remain silent. I support Israel. May others stand with me in their support, but even if they do not, I will continue to stand for what I know is right.

If you would like to show your support for Israel, please take a look at the following links:

Restoring Courage Facebook Page here.

Stand with Israel – Show your support for Israel with a Facebook or Twitter badge:  http://t.co/IVaC5wn via @Twibbon

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

 

–A.D. McLain

www.wotpast.com

It has been eight years since I graduated from college with a BA in Liberal Arts. Looking back on that time I find I learned a lot, but most of it wasn’t in text books. I was an English major, but I can’t quote too many famous authors. I barely remember any algebra or calculus, despite the years I spent studying it. Every now and then I pull out some random piece of info I learned from a professor or class, but that happens just as often with things I saw on Discovery Channel. Honestly, I’ve probably retained more from Mythbusters and the various nature and science shows I’ve seen throughout the years. Whoever said you can’t learn things from television wasn’t watching the right shows. You can learn things everywhere. You must simply be open to learning.

So what is the point of college, anyway? I studied English for four years only to get jobs in accounting, physical therapy, marketing and retail sales. Every job I’ve had, I was forced to learn as I went with little to no prior experience in that field or profession. I’ve learned things from each of my jobs that I then carried over to my next job or to my writing. Every experience I’ve had was important in some way. That includes college.

In high school, I was completely excited by the idea of college. I wanted to be out on my own, in charge of my own destiny, free to make my own decisions and mistakes for the first time. I packed six months early and moved in the dorm the first day I was allowed to move in. My first lesson was others were not filled with the same sense of personal responsibility and motivation to be their own person that drove me. And honestly, who could blame them? Every time I turned around I found more rules and restrictions designed to treat us all like children who couldn’t make our own decisions. We were coddled and shepherded to make the choices our teachers or the school administrators thought we should make. I angered me a great deal. I was an adult. I could fight and die for my country, but I couldn’t have a co-ed study group after 9 pm. (if we are being completely honest, it is actually easier for boys and girls to enjoy alone time during the day when roommates are gone at work or class than at night when they are all in the same room, but I digress). The point is, I did not understand the discrepancy between how I was raised, how my opinion mattered at home, and how my school gave me far less credit for being able to make decisions than my parents did. If you treat people like irresponsible morons long enough, they will learn to become what is expected of them. It is easier to be a dumb kid. No one blames you for your actions. It’s never your fault. You were just doing what you were told, following hormones, etc. I encountered much of this in elementary through high school, but silly me, I thought things would be different in college.

College can be a wonderful place to cultivate personal responsibility if it is allowed to flourish. It can be a buffer between childhood and full adulthood, where one can take on a few new bills at a time, learning to budget with a safety net. But this is only the case if responsibility is the ultimate goal. If you never take off the training wheels, you can never truly learn to ride a bike. You have to take charge of your own life. It may be hard, but it is worth it. If you always allow others to make your decisions for you, you are never truly free. You must try things that may not work out and be prepared to live with the consequences.

But my college experience was not all bad. I am the type of person who is motivated by my goals to the exclusion of many other things. Once I am focused on something and know what I want, I can not be distracted from that path. I went to college to learn to improve my writing. Throughout my college career I continued to work on my books, and three and half years after I graduated I published my first book, “Wolf of the Past.” I may have learned more to improve my writing through a brief consult with a literary critiquer than I did in college, but ti did help lay some foundation for my skills.

I also learned a lot about dealing with people. Living with someone will teach you a lot. For instance, live with anyone for long enough, and you will probably end up hating them just a little. It’s inevitable. The second a roommate does one thing to upset you, if it isn’t resolved quickly, every little thing they do will instantly become a horrible reinforcement for your bitterness and anger. Of course, you can work past this, and close friendships do develop and grow in a roommate environment, but it is not easy. It is a valuable lesson to learn that can help with future relationships. Once you know what you are doing and understand that it wasn’t really such a terrible slight that the roommate turned out the light while you were reading, or turned on their cd while you were watching tv (or any number of the stupid, little things that just add up over time to make one big thing) you can move past those things and focus on the big things that are really important. Developing this skill set is crucial for dealing with a spouse, as marriages are often prone to the same problems as roommates in general.

Of course I would never had learned any of these things if I had not lived on campus during college. I truly believe living in the dorm was one of the best things I could have done in my life. It helped me grow as a person, take on responsibilities at my own pace and learn to be self-sufficient. I had to learn to budget, pay bills and get myself up for class on time. I had to work my student job, plan my own schedule and balance classwork with fun activities. There was no one looking over my shoulder to make me do my homework. I had to do that all on my own. There is no substitution for experience and hard work. That is what I took from my college experience.

-A.D. McLain

www.wotpast.com

What a week. So, my in-laws rescued a turtle from their dog last week. Thus, we now have a pet. I figured, at least it won’t tear up my house and my son would be thrilled, so okay. Then starts the endless trips to the pet store.

We get a starter kit, told it has everything we need for our turtle. It had lamps and a filter, but no bulbs, and we had to get our own tank and basking area. Trip two, we get a tank with lid and bulbs. (you are supposes to get one UVA and one UVB bulb apparently). Well, the UVB bulb was too long for the lamps that came in the starter kit. So, we go back. Trip three. Spend about a half hour trying to find a bulb that  has UVB light. Pick out a basking dock that attached with suction cups and get some more food. Told which bulb to buy and go home. The dock doesn’t have the suction cups in the box, so we stay up past midnight trying to figure out a way to attach it to the tank. Oh, and we start to notice that the filter isn’t really working that well. Let’s say we’re totally loving the starter kit at this point. So, we give it a couple of days and drive back down to the pet store. Trip four. Return the starter kit and dock. Get a new filter with basking area and a new thermometer to replace the one that came in starter kit. Get home only to realize we left one of the bulbs in the lamp we returned. Call back so they will hold it. While looking at the box for the bulb, realize the one they sold us that was supposed to be UVB light is actually UVA light. Meaning, we had two UVA bulbs and no UVB bulbs. Urgh! Go back to petstore next day, trip five. Get light bulb (didn’t return it. Only five bucks and figure I will have replacement when other bulb goes out).  Get some replacement cartridges for filter to keep on hand and order the UVB bulb we need online (they didn’t have it in the store).

So all in all, we had five trips to the petstore. Two trips to other store to get things petstore didn’t have. One online order for lightbulb neither store had, and three items that had to be returned. Wow, and I thought a pet turtle would be simple. Hopefully this will end the pet store trips for awhile and we can just enjoy the turtle and save the gas and time. Here’s to hoping.

-A.D. McLain

www.wotpast.com