Thursday, September 27, 2012

Finished First Draft of Reincarnated Lover

Yep, another first draft done. For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, the book's working title used to be The Case of the Old Acquaintances. I changed the title for three reasons.

1. It was boring
2. It didn't say much about the book, though technically, it is true. Several old acquaintances of Paul do show up in the book.
3. I can't spell "acquaintances." It took me four tries to get it right above. No good for a book title I'll be typing a lot.

Anyway, it's renamed (much cooler title), and it's finished. Now I'm going to let it sit for a few weeks before I start editing. I know it needs work. I don't quite have the Paul/Dafydd dynamic right. I struggled with their relationship through most of the book before it finally clicked, near the end. I need to go back and smooth all that out. It's an important book for both of them, and I want to do it right.

I already know three scenes I need to add, and the final fight scene still needs some work. At almost 8K words, it's the longest fight I've ever written, and I'm sure it needs lots of editing, though I'm fairly happy with it. The darned villain refused to die, but that's okay. He was supposed to be tough.

The ending completely changed. I actually wrote the last scene a couple of months ago, and I'd been planning the end since I started this book. Once I got there, though, I realized what I'd been planning didn't take into account the growing Dafydd had done through the book. While Reincarnated Lover is an important book for Paul (we finally find out who he is), Dafydd really comes into his own, especially as a warlock. I started to get a handle on how to use him in battle, and I think you'll like what I came up with. He's still not a "battle mage," but he handles himself well.

As I was writing the ending, I realized I'd set it up in the previous book. Kind of funny how that works. There's a scene in Werewolf Puppy that I hadn't planned on, but Paul kind of drove it. I introduced the vampire subculture a book early, and that scene is still my favorite in the series, so far. I also inadvertently set up the ending of this one. You'll have to tell me how I did.

It's an odd feeling ending this book. I'm excited to be finished, but it's also left me a bit empty. This book was the one I've been wanting to write for more than a decade (more on that in a future blog post), and I'm kind of sad it's over. Glad, but also sad.

I do know what the next book will be about, so no worries about leaving these characters any time soon. But for now I have two short stories to write for a couple of anthologies. One will be a Paul and Dafydd story. The other will be something completely different, which might turn into a longer work. Stay tuned. Of course I'll talk about it here first.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paying For Reviews

The interwebs have been abuzz with this for more than a week, following the New York Times article about self-published authors paying for reviews.

Well, since I'm doing some social media marketing (in my day job) for a website whose mission is to "bring together readers and books," and one of their services is paid reviews, I decided I'd throw in my two cents worth.

No, just to be clear, I don't think paying for Amazon reviews is worth it, and I think it's borderline fraud since readers go to Amazon for reviews by people who bought and read the book. Not paid shills who read a summary or a couple of pages and then wrote a fake 5-star review. Yes, that's bad.

But not all paid review are like that.

Reviews are a valuable tool for authors. Self-published authors have limited options to get quality reviews. I'm not talking Amazon reviews. Those are valuable, and I'm not discounting them, but some reader want to see "professional" reviews. (Please don't start an argument about the meaning of "professional" here. You know what I mean. Reviews by people who make it their business to write reviews.)

When you publish your book on Amazon or on B&N (and presumably also on Kobo, though I haven't done that yet), there's this intimidating box marked "Reviews." I know the value of having profiles filled out completely, so I wanted to fill in that box too when I published Haunted Vampire. But guess what? No one from the New York Times, Washington Post, or any other publication had offered to review it.

I could have asked one of my friends to write something, but that's known in the business as a "sock puppet," and readers see through that immediately. So no good.

Along came a friend who was starting a website called ReaderRap (launching in October). I could get the pre-launch special of a listing on the site and (whoo hoo!) a review by someone who didn't know me or the book. She didn't promise that it would be positive, but I was okay with that. Hopefully, it would be honest, and if it were critical, I could learn from it. I said, "Sign me up."

I can't reveal the pre-launch price right now, but trust me when I say it was very reasonable.

Yeah, it was nerve-wracking. I didn't know what the guy would say, and when Beth sent it to me, she prefaced it by saying, "Well, it's not completely positive, but I think it'll be okay."

She was right. It was good where it needed to be good, and the critical elements just showed the guy wasn't a real fan of vampire/warlock books. Whew! I figure that people who like books in the genre will be confident that it will be something they'll like, and people who aren't fans of the genre aren't my target audience anyway.

I was able to snip the parts I liked for the aforementioned "Review" section:

"replete with tongue-in-cheek first-person comments by the narrator, sometimes deftly interrupting the serious account with Am-I-really-talking-to-a-vampire? quips."

and left off the parts I didn't like as much:

"Paul can’t go into anyone’s house without being specifically invited, for some unexplained reason."

Dude! Really? Have you never read a vampire book? That's like, staple material. (I think I just channeled Dafydd there. Hope you don't mind.)

Anyway, it was a good review and definitely worth what I paid for it. As soon as Werewolf Puppy comes out, I plan to do it again. I'm eager to see what having a sample and the review on the ReaderRap site will do for sales. Exposure in more places is all good.

So don't think that paying for reviews is always bad. Sometimes it can be exactly what you need to get some additional exposure.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why Is Dafydd Gay?

It's the other common question I get.

The short answer is "because he is." When I conceived the character, he was gay. It wasn't a conscious decision. He just is.

Now for the longer answer.

I've been a fanfic reader/writer for well over a decade, and I enjoy slash (male/male stories). Always have. It's not just because the idea of two guys getting it on is hot (though it definitely is). I like the different push/pull dynamic of love between two men. Men can be all about the sex, but they can explore feelings as well. The trick as a female writer is to let them explore emotion while still being men. It's a fine line, and I love writing it. I love reading it when it's done well.

I'm not so in love with explicit sex scenes. Again, when they are done well, they are great. But most male/male sex (and most male/female sex as well) is all caught up in how body parts fit together. Boring! As are the endless attempts to come up with yet another word for penis (which is one of the least romantic words in the English language).

So I wanted Dafydd to be gay because I could play around with some of this. Slash fanfic writers LOVE stories where one guy is gay and the other isn't. It gives lots of room for "is he interested in me?" "why the hell is he interested in me" and "what do I do about the fact that he's interested in me?" None of that requires sex, by the way, at least not written out in blow-by-blow fashion.

Dafydd is gay. Definitely. Not even slightly attracted to women, though he does recognize beauty when it crosses his path. I've got a scene in one of the books where Dafydd notices an attractive woman and then jokes with the reader that he can appreciate it even if he doesn't want to go to bed with it.

Paul is the question here. In Haunted Vampire, we learn that he was in love with a woman 30 years ago. And in good vampire fashion, killed her. Watch out, Dafydd! But there are hints that may not be the end of it. And always remember, gentle readers, that the fun part about writing in the first person is that your narrator can be unreliable. Dafydd may be seriously in denial. Or not.

In Book 3, which I'm currently working on, we learn Paul's historical identity. I will say that the historical figure who "became" Paul was married and had kids. I've also tried to be sensitive to the descendants of that historical figure. I haven't messed with the real Paul's sexuality. I didn't have to. He's had more than 100 years to change, in any direction I'd like.

When I started writing the series, I knew I wanted to have fun with sexual tension, and I've done that. Not as much as I thought I would. Fanfic can be endless examinations of emotion. Commercial fiction usually needs a bit more substance, so I've focused on the action and character development (non-sexual). But I've tossed in some tension. I finally decided whether or not they are getting together (and no, I'm not telling now).

When I started writing, Dafydd was a bit more defined in my head by his sexuality and what I wanted to do with that. I wanted to write a story where a gay character was noteworthy for something other than being gay. I think I've done that. Actually, I know I've done it. By the time I finished writing the second book, I just loved both of them. Gay, straight or in-between didn't matter. These guys are great. I love them, and their sex lives, or lack thereof, are secondary to everything else about them. Maybe even tertiary.

So there's the long answer. Maybe more than you asked for, but I've never quite written it out like that, and I'm glad I did.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why These Characters?

People ask me all the time why I started writing these characters and where I got the idea.

Well, the seed of the idea was from this music video. We'll wait while you watch it.

I'd had the two guys from the video knocking about it my head for years. I knew I wanted to write about them, but I didn't really want them to be ghosts, like here. I'd been studying social media and reading various blogs on self-publishing, and I decided "Hey, I can do that." I just needed the characters and the story.

One day, driving to meet a client, I remembered the video and the two guys, and I decided to use them in a book. The one in white was easy. He was my vampire. (By the way, the artist's name is Paul van Dyk, and yes that is the origin of Paul's name.)

Then I decided the one in black would be a warlock. Not a wizard, but a warlock. Everyone writes about wizards. Not so many people about warlocks. Originally, Dafydd was supposed to have a day job as a stage magician, but I never quite got into the idea, so he became a multi-level marketer instead. Because that is so much cooler. ;) Oh, the singer in the video is Wayne Jackson. I didn't want my main character to be named "Wayne," so I named him after my son instead. But one of Dafydd's favorite singers is Wayne Jackson, so I do keep the connection, after a fashion.

Once I had the basic character ideas and worked up a bit of their background, writing them was easy. Well, relatively so.

There's where I got the idea for the characters. Tune in next week when I answer the other common question. Why did you make Dafydd gay?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rituals. Why Does It Have To Be Rituals?

I just finished crafting another finding ritual for Dafydd. This time he was trying to find a place, not a person, so it was similar to ones I've done before, but just different enough that I had to go research more magical herb properties.

I keep thinking these will get easier as I write them, and I suppose they will, but not yet. Fight scenes are so much simpler!

Why are rituals so hard? I think it's because of the research. I haven't found a good source for herb properties yet, but one of the sites directed me to a book on Amazon that I'm going to buy. It's supposed to be a good encyclopedia of herbs and their properties. And luckily, it's on Kindle, so it'll be searchable! Hooray.

I know of the author (Scott Cunningham), and he's good, so it'll be a good addition to my library. And if it makes ritual writing easier, it'll be worth every penny!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Working on the Next Book

As I said in my last post, Werewolf Puppy is with my editor. While I wait for her, I've gone back to the third book, which I set aside to finish edits to Werewolf Puppy. Unfortunately, writing is more fun than editing, and I had to discipline myself to put time into the editing phase. But now that it's done, I can go back to writing.

Of course, first I had to reread the third book (still without a good working title), and it was an interesting reread. I caught some inconsistencies (whew!), and I noticed some of the writing was rougher than in the previous book. I had been writing very fast, and I think it showed. Nothing that can't be fixed in a good rewrite though, so I'm not worried. I deliberately didn't do any rewriting because I didn't want to get bogged down. The important part is moving forward.

I was farther along than I'd thought. I'd vaguely remembered being around 40K words, so I thought I was half-way finished. Try more like 60K, so assuming about the same length as Werewolf Puppy, I'm about 3/4 done. Nice!

I'm experimenting with new technology. My netbook is just painfully slow, so I was looking for an alternative. My husband kindly offered to let me use his iPad, since he doesn't use it during the day. I downloaded a Markup app (Markup language easily converts to HTML), bought a Bluetooth keyboard and set everything up. So far so good. Writing at Panera really is better for me, so I needed a portable option, but my Nook Color didn't quite cut it. The screen is too small, and the Bluetooth keyboard only sort of works.

I'll keep you all posted on how the iPad works as a writing tool. So far I am loving Markup. It's basically a plain text file with a bit extra for basic formatting. Perfect for writing fiction, and it means I don't have to mess around with conversions. iPad to Word apps mostly work, but for me that "mostly" can cause problems later when cleaning up the file for conversion to Kindle.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Werewolf Puppy With Editor!

Another milestone. Werewolf Puppy went off to the editor yesterday. Now I'm re-reading the third book. It's been a while since I worked on it, and I need the refresh.

It's been interesting so far. I had enough time away from it that I've got some perspective. The writing is a bit rough, and I'll need to do some work. But that's for another day. Right now I'm just refreshing my memory on the plot and specific events. I've already caught some inconsistencies, so having some time away has been valuable.

This book has a lot about Paul in it, so look for an upcoming post where I interview him.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Typography is a Dying Art

Nope. Nothing to do with writing today. Just a rant on how paper books are starting to look really crappy.

I was in Barnes and Noble recently, and I flipped through some paperbacks, just browsing for something interesting. I don't read paper books anymore, for a lot of reasons, but I still enjoy browsing. That day I added one more reason to my list of "why I don't read paper books." The typography was horrible. The printing was blurry, and the lines were so close to the binding I'd have had to break the spine to read the first (or last) word on most of the lines.

Come on, publishers. I know paper can be expensive, but you want us to buy the stuff. Make it look good. I downloaded a sample of the same book to my Kindle, and it looked good. Easy to read. Not blurry, and the margins were crisp.

I'm sticking with my decision to continue to exclusively read ebooks. The "look and feel of a paper book" argument doesn't work when the books are so cheaply made (and overpriced).

Getting off my soapbox now.

Werewolf Puppy is almost ready to go to my editor! Just a bit more to work on.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Getting a Kindle

I decided to finally buy a Kindle and decided on the Touch model. Why buy a Kindle when I already have a Nook Color (which I do love)? Several reasons actually.

1. I love gadgets and frankly was looking for an excuse to buy one. A Kindle Touch is a pretty inexpensive way to scratch that itch.

2. Camping season has started, and I've been wanting an eInk reader for both the battery life and the ability to read outside in direct sunlight.

3. As a marketing tool. This was the reason that finally convinced me to fork over the money. I've known for some time now that the Kindleboards were a great community to participate in. I've heard of plenty of authors whose only marketing is hanging out on the Kindleboards. I've been wanting to do it for some time now, but the informal price of admission is a Kindle. Like any good community, they want authors to be active participants who do more than market their services. Without an actual Kindle, that was going to be tough.

In my day job as a networking coach, I wouldn't hesitate to pay $100 a year to join a networking group. Buying a Kindle is like paying that, plus I get a cool gadget to play with. Made the decision easy.

Why not join the Nookboards since I already have a Nook? I tried that. The forum was pretty dead. Kindle is still the major ebook reader, and they have the most active communities. Go where the people are.

Are you thinking about digital publishing? Do you own a Kindle? If not, seriously consider purchasing one. It'll get you into the party too.

Look me up on the Kindleboards. I intend to be an active member of the community!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Writing Magic, Part Two

Last week I talked about what went into creating Dafydd's aura sight. I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. This week, I wanted to talk about ritual magic.

Dafydd's rituals follow a modified Wiccan formula. The modification is that he gets to skip most of the visualization steps. When he closes his circle, it magically happens. He doesn't need to visualize the magic first.

Using a Wiccan formula means I get to cheat and use various rituals I find in online Books of Shadow. Saves making it all up myself.

His rituals do use ingredients, and I need to research those. He buys his stuff in Chinatown, so sometimes he (and I) need to find substitutes, but that's part of the fun.

He also uses time of day to power his rituals. Sunrise and sunset are particularly powerful times, and I often time his rituals to happen then. Which means he always knows the exact time the sun rises and sets, which he notes is a cool party trick but makes sleeping in kind of tough. In later books, I plan to use solstices and equinoxes to power some seriously potent magic.

My beta readers told me the rituals read well and sound right, which is good. They are a serious pain to write. In fact, the first one I accidentally wrote completely on present tense, which I then had to rewrite. Not hard, but tedious.

Now I'm going to give you Dafydd's own words on rituals. Enjoy the excerpt and feel free to tell me what you think. I'm still editing, so changes are easy to make.


Rituals can be tricky things. You have to set everything up just right, use the correct ingredients and apply your will appropriately. It's not strictly necessary to have magical talent to perform a ritual, but if you don't have talent, you need to substitute something for the missing power. Certain times of day and days of the year have inherent power, and the non-talented can perform working rituals at those times. Why do you think Wiccans do their magical workings at Samhain or the solstices? There's power at the turning of the seasons.

There are other ways to create ritual power, but I don't recommend blood magic. Sure, it works, but blood magic is dangerous. Someone or something has to die to create enough power for big workings, and as a white warlock, I'm duty bound to hunt you down and bring you to justice. Besides, killing is just wrong.

If you're like me and have magical talent, you can perform rituals any time, and they will work, assuming you did everything right. But I can take advantage of powerful times too. The ritual will take less out of me and probably be even more effective. So there was every reason for me to take advantage of sunset.

Why are sunrise and sunset powerful times of day? They are times of change. During times of change, the barrier between our world and the world of spirit is weaker, allowing energy to seep through to our world. Ritual magic allows us to harness that power and direct it to do what we want.

Laura once asked a good question when I was telling her about rituals. "If rituals are just a way to direct power, and you've got power available, why do you need all the ingredients?"

It was a good question because it was one of the first ones I asked my dad when he started teaching me magic. Great minds think alike and all that.

My dad told me that technically, the ingredients aren't needed. If you have enough power, a strong will and complete focus on the outcome, you can do ritual magic without all the trappings.

Very few, maybe only a handful in history, have ever been strong enough and sufficiently focused to make that work.

For normal ritual casting, the ingredients have symbolic meaning. For example, I'd be using a magnet to symbolically link me to what's missing, St. John's Wort is a good herb for divination (in other words, it's good for helping to find stuff). Mugwort helps enhance magical power, and sandalwood chips are the best thing I know for granting wishes. It's not that any of the ingredients have power in and of themselves. It's their symbolic meaning that gives us the means to focus our will to make things happen.

I'm probably not explaining it well. Laura gave me some pretty odd looks when I tried to tell her about ritual magic. What can I say? Teaching isn't in my blood. It was one of dad's gifts that he didn't pass on to me.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

On Writing Magic

Writing magic is hard. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It's even harder when you decide not to have your protagonist use flashy elemental magics. Nope, Dafydd never throws around fireballs or lighting bolts. I decided I wanted him to use more subtle magics. Paul handles most of the physical stuff.

Of course, as I discovered when I started writing the second book, that made it awkward to have Dafydd participate in fight scenes, but I think I've handled it well. And in book three, I'm going to pull out something really cool.

Anyway, Dafydd's magic basically falls into three areas:
1. Ritual magic, usually in the area of divination (finding stuff)
2. Potion brewing
3. Aura reading

So far the potion brewing has happened off-screen, though Dafydd and Paul quaff plenty of them, especially in fight scenes. I suppose I'll have to show a potion brewing scene sometime. but I want to save it for one that advances the plot.

Dafydd does a bit of aura reading in Haunted Vampire, and there's a much longer scene in Werewolf Puppy. He also explains how it works in that book, and it was a fun scene to research and write. I spent a lot of time looking up the meanings of various colors and figuring out what they mean in an aura. I tried to mix obvious stuff (black and red are vampire colors) and some less obvious color meanings. Here's an excerpt I particularly like as Dafydd explains aura colors to Paul.

Dafydd and Paul have just left Lounge 201, the vampire bar. Paul had asked him to read a particular vampire's aura.


I frowned, still not completely sure what I had seen. "Okay, mostly his aura was like the rest. Red and black. Some dark green."

"What's that mean?"

I smiled. "Jealousy. Almost everyone in that room had it to some degree or another."

He snorted. "Not a big shock. Jockeying for position and companionship are practically a way of life for my kind."

"But not you."

His eyes widened. "What do you mean by that?"

I shrugged. "Just what I said. There's hardly any of it in your aura."

I watched his face. Even in the deflected light of the passing streetlights, I could see his brow furrow. His fingers tapped the steering wheel. Finally, he said. "I left that behind a long time ago. But that's not all you saw."

"No." I hesitated. "He had some orange mixed in with everything else."

He nodded, as if he'd expected that. His shoulders slumped slightly, and I guessed he'd expected it but hoped he'd been wrong. "And that means?"

"That's hard to say. It's not something I've seen much." I struggled to put something that was pretty subjective into objective terms. "Yellow usually means a connection. If two people are dating, you'll see the yellow in their auras approach the same shade. The closer they are, the closer the colors. The darkness of the shade will tell you how solid the relationship. Darlene and Damien had a lot of dark yellow in theirs. And their shades were practically the same, so I knew they were together."

He nodded. "They've been an item for most of a century. So the other one's aura was yellow?" His voice sounded doubtful.

I shook my head. "No, not yellow. Orange. And I've not really seen that color before."

He frowned. "Orange? But wouldn't that just be yellow and red, like you just said."

"No. Aura colors don't behave like paint. Each color is separate. So red and yellow aura colors don't make orange. It's like green. Yellow is a connection color. Blue is a good color. It generally indicates positive emotions. If auras were like paints, yellow and blue wouldn't combine to make dark green, jealousy."

He nodded. "Okay, but it does make sense that green is a mixture of yellow. It's hard to be jealous if you don't have some connection to someone."

I paused, never having looked at it like that before. "I guess you're right. My aunt never mentioned that."


It took me a couple hours of research to pull together material for the colors in that scene, and the earlier scene in the bar.

By the way, that bit where Paul says that yellow and blue do make sense combined as jealousy? When I wrote Dafydd's line, I honestly hadn't gone there. But as soon as I started writing Paul, I made the connection. That's one of the coolest parts about writing fiction. You really do start seeing things like your characters. If one has a blind spot, you've got it too, until you switch roles.

Next week, I'll talk more about ritual magic and what goes into writing those scenes. And yep, I'll have another excerpt.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Indie Authors Don't Edit

This is a common thing to hear when people say they won't read self-published books. Traditionally published authors tend to say it the most and the loudest, usually when they are defending their traditional contracts.

Is there some truth to it? Sure. But it's easy to find and avoid them. Just read the reviews on Amazon. Readers are quick to point out books that needed the help of an editor.

So where can an Indie author get editorial help? And how much will it cost? Let me use myself as an example.

Haunted Vampire went through the following process. When I finished the first draft, I let it sit for a couple of weeks before giving it a read-through (on paper), pencil in hand. Then I gave it to a couple of beta readers who gave me excellent feedback. One of my readers said he liked the book but it lacked dramatic tension. I went back and did a thorough rewrite to address that.

Then I sent it to an online critique group for feedback. About ten people responded, with various comments. I incorporated the comments in another rewrite.

Then I had it professionally line-edited.

How much did it cost me? Actually nothing in dollar terms. The beta reading and critique group were free (although I had to critique in return to "pay" for the group's services). The line-editing was a barter service, so that didn't cost me any money either.

See, it doesn't have to cost a lot to get good editorial guidance. The critiques in return did take some time, but it actually helped me as a writer. Nothing teaches you your craft faster than critiquing others.

The next book is going through a similar process. I've done the beta readers and critique group, and now I'm working with all the comments. My rewrite this time is less intense because it's a better story than the first one, and I learned a lot through writing and editing Haunted Vampire.

If you're thinking about self-publishing your own book, don't think you can't turn out a polished product without spending a fortune. You can!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Technology of Being a Writer

Editing on Werewolf Puppy is going well, thanks to my Nook Color tablet. I've been out and about so much lately that taking it with me on the go is the only way to be sure it gets worked on.

My tablet doesn't handle the entire manuscript well, so I've broken it into parts, and take the current part with me. Syncing the file through Dropbox means I always have the most current version with me, no matter if I'm on iPhone, tablet or netbook.

It's not a perfect solution. One of my beta readers practically wrote a book's worth of comments, and I need to go through those while I'm editing. Android isn't good at quickly switching between documents, so I've been viewing her comments on my iPhone while editing on the Nook. It also works best if I have a WiFi connection when I'm working, so I can sync updates right away, but that isn't a deal breaker, as long as I remember to update the version on my tablet before I leave the house. (Guess what I forgot to do yesterday? It should have been okay, but Cosi's WiFi was down. Oh well. I downloaded it to my phone and worked on it there.)

As far as editing on the small screen, it works for me. I'm actually finding it easier to focus and find things  to fix. I've become a big believer in viewing the manuscript in different media. What I miss in one, I'll catch in another. Like a typo yesterday that I missed in the printed version and on my netbook screen. I finally caught it on the iPhone.

The more I use technology for writing, the more I marvel that authors like Dickens managed to write and edit at all!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Challenges in E-Formatting

I'm going to go off topic for fiction today and talk about my experience with formatting The Enthusiastic Networker.
This poor manuscript went through too many formats. It started life as a series of Constant Contact newsletter articles that I cut and pasted into a text document. Those ended up in Open Office, and eventually into Word, where they went through at least two rounds of track changes. One last trip to text so I could format the HTML.
It shouldn't have been a problem. The last conversion to plain text should have cleaned it up, but no. I still had odd quotes and apostrophes that didn't convert well to ebooks format. Some research and global find and replace finally got it cleaned up, and it converted well to Kindle. I think. If you buy the e-version and find problems, let me know, okay?
What did I learn from this? Only one word processing program per manuscript. That makes it so much easier. I guess I could also have decided to pay someone else for the conversion, but where's the fun in that?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Making Some Progress

As I said last week, right now I'm using this blog as a way to hold myself accountable to moving forward on the books. And it's not going as well as I'd hoped.

Thank goodness for my tablet. I used to think of writing as something you do sitting at your desk, on a computer. I know, for other people, it's legal pads and a pen or a typewriter, but I'm rubbish with both of those, and I've done almost all my writing on a computer.

Right now, it's when I can, where I can. On Monday, I was sitting in my truck, 15 minutes early for a meeting, writing a new scene on my tablet. It's not as fast, but that day it was the difference between something and nothing. I opted for something.

Now I need to get my draft broken up into tablet-sized pieces so I can edit on the go to. The way my life is going, I think that's the only way this'll get done.

Good news is I'm liking the new scene and character, and I think Pat, who won the contest to be the character, will like him too. I expect we're going to see a lot more of Father Eyler. :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Update on Writing

I know I've been inconsistent with updating this lately, but my goal is to change that, no so much for you readers but for me. When I neglect this blog, I also tend to neglect my writing.
My reasons are kind of good. My coaching business has picked up, and I'm doing more and different work than last year, much of it some sort of writing. But I love this fiction series, and I don't want to abandon it.
So, my goal for the next few weeks? I need to get Werewolf in shape. All beta reader feedback is in. I have a new character to add from the contest on my Facebook page. My editor is lined up and ready. Time to get something to her.
Watch this space. This will be where I hold myself accountable.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Formatting for Kindle

I've been busy working on getting my non-fiction book ready to put up on the Kindle store, so working on fiction has been on the back burner, but The Enthusiastic Networker is almost ready. As soon as it's up, I will get back to working on editing the next installment in the Warlock Case Files. I want to have it on sale sometime in the spring.
Formatting for Kindle was a bit of an adventure, but I finally found a great resource, Format Your eBook for Kindle In One Hour. Not only does he walk you through it step by step, but he includes an HTML template. Do some basic formatting in Word, drop it into the template, follow the rest of his steps, and you're done! It took me a little longer than an hour, but most of the was Word's fault. Boy does it add a lot of extra, stupid stuff that you need to get rid of to create a clean copy, ready for HTML.
It is designed for fiction, but it looks like I will be able to make it work for Enthusiastic Networker since it's mostly text. If you have lots of graphics or tables, it's not sophisticated enough to handle those, but there are other resources out for that
If you are in the middle of formatting, try the book. And feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Glad to help fellow authors!