Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Favorite Quotes from Bait: 1

"Somehow he always made her feel like a five-year-old with a wet sucker stuck in her hair."
                                       from BAIT

Available June 1, 2013

Interview with Brandi Salazar

This is a continuation of my previous post on Brandi's new book, Addicted to Magic.

2.  Is this book part of a series?
Yes.  Addicted to Magic is the first book in the Addicted Series.  The next installment, Crossfire, is currently underway with a tentative release date in mid-August.

3. Which is your favorite character to write for?
I love writing for Jessica's cooky best friend, Amber.  She's a complex and oftentimes hilarious character that   lightens the mood no matter what the situation.

4.  What are you reading now?
Crush from Nicole Williams' Crush Series.

5.  Do you outline?
I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl.  I do some light outlining to get started.

Additional links:
Websites: http://brandisalazar.weebly.com/ and http://jcvalentine.weebly.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Brandi-Salazar/e/B004TWZSS4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brandellavanela

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Addicted to Magic by Brandi Salazar

Here is my interview with Brandi Salazar:

1.  What is your book about?

Addicted to Magic is about a young woman named Jessica Warren who abuses her magic with dire consequences.  Here is the synopsis:

Jessica Warren comes from a long line of witches.  At the age of eighteen her ability to wield magic will intensify and she will be welcomed into the fold with open arms.  That is, until she risks it all.

Magic isn't something to be taken lightly.  With each spell cast the user suffers dangerous after effects that carry the potential of destroying their life.  After her parents' divorce, Jessica starts abusing her powers, but she really doesn't think she's doing anything wrong.--it's everyone else that has a problem.

When her best friend, Amber, informs her that she had a vision of Jessica's mother dying in a car accident, a victim of her own abuse of magic, Jessica is in a race against time to save her mother.  Her life in only complicated further when a boy catches her attention and she not only has to save the day, but keep all her secrets hidden.  


Saturday, April 20, 2013

What is a Fair Price for an Ebook?

This discussion is still going round and round in a variety of places online.  I joined the discussion on LinkedIn and then went to Kindleboards and found the same.  I am curious as to what YOU think.  Are there too many free ebooks available?  Do free books make you think less of them?

I found quite a few people who insist seeing a book for free turns them off.  They think this can't possibly be any good because if it was the writer would be charging a fair price.

So what is a fair price? What is too much for an ebook by an author you've never read before?  What is too little?

I am asking this as I am ready to pull my hair out because I am about ready to launch a new book, the first in a series.  I was going to make it free.  There are some writers who insist putting the first in a series for free is a sound idea and readers will return to buy the rest of the books later.

But others say it's a bad idea.  The readers who will take a free book will not return because they are just wanting free stuff. 

Should I put my new book for free for a short time?

Should I charge 2.99 like I usually do while giving away a few copies?


Please tell me what you think, especially if you are an avid reader.  What is the most you will pay for a book?  And do you like free books or look down your nose at them?
Blood Rose
By Jacquelynn Gagne
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="245"]Blood Rose Blood Rose by Jacqueline Gagne[/caption] It’s true no one can out run Death. But Death doesn’t always want your existence. In Lianna’s case it wants her mortality. Long have Lianna’s dreams been a window into another time. A place that is as magnificent as it is dark. Frightened and weary from the physical toll the nightmares take on her body she turns to her psychic friend for guidance, which results in prophetic visions of Lianna’s death. Mercenaries come after Lianna to stop her from fulfilling her fate. A destiny at her beloved’s side while rediscovering the real magic within her. Facing demise brought down on her by the hands of the mercenaries, the power of love offers her a new life as a vampire which ultimately fulfills the same epic fate the murderous villains fought to keep her from.
About the Author:
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="223"]Jacquelynn Gagne Jacquelynn Gagne, Author[/caption] Jacquelynn F. Gagne is an obsessive compulsive author of all things paranormal. When she cannot be found in the real world she is usually found covered in paint, pastels or most usually words. Among writing, photography and art, Jacquelynn is also the cofounder and Editor in Chief of Ambrosia Arts and Midnight Hour Publishing. Jacquelynn began working on her first novel in January of 2008. Though Jacquelynn has been writing most of her life, it was never her intention to become a professional writer but when obsession grabs you, it doesn’t tend to let go. In addition to writing, Jacquelynn enjoys reading everything she can get her greedy little hands on. She is positively click happy when handed a camera and often has acrylics coating her fingernails instead of polish from her most recent painting. Currently she lives in Rogersville, Missouri with her husband James and their two sons, though she has declared to one day build a library that will substitute as her house.
There was an alley to the right. Too small for the car, or could he follow? Would it be a dead end and he’d have me cornered? It was my only chance. I lunged for its opening. My knee gave as my foot twisted off the curb sending me stumbling forward. My arms thrust out instinctively. I landed snapping my wrist back. They hadn’t softened the blow to my face as I hit the cold wet concrete. Blood spattered from my nose and mouth. My lungs were too fatigued to even muster a scream. Instead this sickened pathetic whimper gurgled out through the stream of blood. As I lay there, trying to muster enough will to get up, the tires squealed to a stop right next to me. My ears rang in a high-pitched echo combined with the sound of my blood rushing in my ears. “Anna!” My whole body shook violently when I heard a rough baritone voice scream my name in an intense rage. There was no way I could run from him anymore. Would I die here? Would he take me somewhere else to prolong my suffering? How long would it take? Another dark thought. Is this what Neesa and her mother had seen? Futilely my eyes closed. If I had to be conscious, I refused to watch my own death. “Anna! Look at me!” One hand held onto my shoulder turning me slowly as another hand carefully took a hold of my chin, tilting it up and making me cough on my own blood. “No.” Worthlessly defiant. I gurgled coughing on the blood filling my mouth relentlessly. “Alright. Just hang on. I’m going to move you, okay,” his voice filled with laughter. Though weak and painful, it flooded with the sound of relief. “No!” The scream was weak and sprayed blood as I spoke. My hand shot up defensively swiping at his face to try to push him away from me. The hand at my chin released to take my wrist gently.
Author links:
To enquire about editorial needs please contact her at Jacquelynn@ambrosia-arts.com http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C50FKV2https://www.amazon.com/author/jacquelynngagne http://artofambrosia.blogspot.com/ http://bookblogs.ning.com/profile/JacquelynnGagne http://www.cafemom.com/home/jaelynn_faye www.linkedin.com/pub/jacquelynn-gagne/65/749/26b/ http://www.e-novelist.com/profile/JacquelynnGagneAmbrosiaArts https://twitter.com/JacquelynnGagne http://www.goodreads.com/jacquelynngagne http://www.facebook.com/AmbrosiaArts http://www.ambrosia-arts.com http://www.midnighthourpublishing.org/

Friday, April 19, 2013

EDITING: The Good and the Bad

At the Carnival this week we are discussing editing.  Where do you find good editors?  How much do they cost?  What should you look out for?

I honestly don't have much to say on this subject.  The editors I have tried have charged ridiculous amounts of money and still didn't fix everything.  When I was writing for Harlequin, there was a team of editors and they still missed stuff.  Editing is hard.  I was warned that every time a change is made in a manuscript there is a chance of messing something else up. 

My books go through several people, but none are professionals.  Most of the people who have read my books haven't noticed a problem, but if you are a Grammar Nazi and it drives you crazy to see the slightest mistake and you can't focus on reading, don't read my books.  :)

I'm not crazy about seeing mistakes either, but I can still enjoy the book as long as there isn't a major problem in every single sentence.  It takes months for my team to go through one of my books, and they do it several times.  Still, we don't catch everything.  It bothers me when I hear about a writer rushing the book to Amazon (or wherever) because you know it has to have problems.  You need to sit on it for a while, work on something else and put some distance between you and the book so you can read it with fresh eyes.

My top tip for editing?  Get Y-Writer.  You can download it for free.  This thing will read your book to you.  I copy and paste a scene at a time.  I will listen to it with my eyes closed.  You'll catch a lot of problems this way.  Then I listen to it while following along with me eyes.  It's awesome and I couldn't do what I do without it.

Check out what the other Carnies have to say.

1.Laura A. H. Elliott 2.Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series4.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter8.Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9.Ella James10.Maureen Murrish
11.YA Sci Fi Author's Ramblings12.A Little Bit of R&R
13.Melissa Pearl14.Terah Edun - YA Fantasy
15.Heather Sutherlin - YA Fantasy 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: Entice by Carrie Jones

As you may know, I read and reviewed the first book in this series Need and loved it.

Summary:  This book takes up where the last one left off.  The pixies are locked up in a house in the woods, but they desperately want out, and new pixies are coming to town every day and killing teens.  That's bad enough, but then Zara has to deal with her boyfriend Nick dying.  Although he may not be dead for real.  There's a chance she can get him back.  In the meantime, she gets pixie-kissed.  Is she going to turn into a pixie now?  If she does, will Nick even want to be with her anymore?

Review:  One of the things I loved about the first book is missing in this one.  Zara loves to recite phobias when she's scared or nervous.  The first book started each chapter with a phobia.  This one starts with Pixie tips instead.  I don't like it as much.

The relationship between Nick and Zara was just getting interesting.  Now he's dead.  Sort of.  I was not pleased.  Enter a new guy, a Pixie king by the name of Astley.  As much as Zara denies her attraction to him, it's painfully clear she likes him.  So where does this leave Nick when he returns?

I still recommend this book, but not as much as the first one.  The writing is the same, simple and easy to understand, written in first person from Zara's pov.  I like the characters.  I just wish Nick hadn't been killed and Astley hadn't been so attractive to Zara.  It reminded me a bit of New Moon. 

Score:     B-

Saturday, April 13, 2013

WIN a $25 Amazon Gift Card! It's EASY!

I have thrown together contests in the past and not many have participated, but this is so simple even I could do it. 

What do you have to do to win?

Send out an email?  That's it.  I will even write the email.  It will contain information so that your friends/contacts can also enter to win if they would like.  Just email me at kblake234@hotmail.com with the subject headline Email Blast, and I will send you the email.

Then you will send it to at least 20 people including me so I can see you've done it and if you send it to more than fifty people, you will be entered twice.  Send it to at least a hundred and be entered three times.

What could you win?

A $25 Amazon gift card (I'm not kidding) and an autographed copy of my latest book.

When will the drawing be held?

The drawing will be on September 15th and a post will be made on this blog with the identity of the winner.  If it is you, you will have to provide a physical address.

So why are you waiting?

Come on! Send that email now!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Author Spotlight: Melissa Pearl

Author Bio:

Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan... not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. "Best. Year. Ever!!" She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has produced four more books and has a YA fantasy trilogy coming out this year.

"I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love."

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/melissapearlauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelissaPearlG
Blogs: http://melissapearl.blogspot.com/ and http://yalicious.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Pearl/e/B0064I6S26/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5314516.Melissa_Pearl
Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/melissapearl
Newsletter subscription: http://blogspot.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ab5a6cb228dc9203d6c179eaa&id=481344857f
Website: http://www.melissapearlauthor.com
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/melissapearlg/

1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
Man - that is such a tough questions. One? I'm only allowed one? LOL.
One series that I have read over and over in my time is the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Those books have it all - awesome romance, excellent action and tension, amazing descriptions, plus a deep message running through the books (if you're into that kinda thing - which I am). They made me laugh, cry and fall in love. Haha :) Just my type of story. 
2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book's characters could relate to and why?
Hmmm - how do you answer that question without coming across as pretentious? My Time Spirit Trilogy has been compared to Twilight in the sense of an intense love story. I wouldn't say my writing is super fancy, but I know how to tell a fast paced story with lots of emotion and tension. 
3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
Ooo - I have so many. Little moments between my characters are so precious to me. I can feel everything they are feeling and I love it. Here is a favourite of mine, which has also received some highlights. It's a quote from Golden Blood (Book 1 in the Time Spirit Trilogy). 
“How are you okay with this?” Gemma took a step back. “I can travel through time!”
Harrison shrugged and closed the distance between them. “Hey, I was cool with alien, this isn’t much different.”
“I’m a total freak!”
“Yeah.” He grinned as he threaded his fingers through her belt loops and pulled her towards him. “But you’re my freak.” His breath tickled her skin as he leaned towards her and whispered, “Face it, Hart, you’re stuck with me. I knew the second I touched you my life had changed...and you knew it too.”
It always makes me smile. Harrison's reaction to Gemma's revelation is perfect in my mind. Those two are made for each other and I love that he figures it out so early on. 
4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
I get my inspiration from all over the place. Movies are huge for me. I would love to see my stories on the big screen one day. I picture them that way in my head. I always get a tingle running through my body when I watch a movie with a really great kissing scene or an excellent action sequence... anything that makes my emotions start to bubble. 
I am inspired by music as well - everything from movie scores to punk rock to country to alternative. I love it all! I even love my toddler's music, although it's not that inspiring, just fun to sing along to :) 
5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
I get up an hour before my family each morning to work on my social media stuff. It takes that long to clear my e-mail, do any blog post stuff I want to do, work through my Facebook notifications and my Twitter news. Time zon wise, it's the best time for me to do this as there is more traffic around the sites I use. 
As soon as my son goes down for his midday nap, I race to my computer. Four out of five days, I spend my time working on my writing and usually one day a week or at least half of one of those sessions is used on admin type things - numbers, blogging, extra marketing stuff. I also get a two-hour sleep in every Sunday morning, so I use that time to write as well. If my husband ever goes out in the evenings, I write once the kids are in bed. 
It takes every spare moment I have to keep up with my writing. Thankfully I adore doing it, so it doesn't feel like hard work. 
6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you're writing?
I never eat when I'm writing. It would slow me down too much. I drink a lot of water, but if I'm really tired, I allow myself a small Coca Cola. The caffine boost can be useful sometimes. 
7) Can you tell us what you're working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
I am working on a Young Adult Fantasy Trilogy. This is my first attempt into this foray and I'm having SO much fun. The first book has been edited, the second book has been written and the third book is in the planning stage. I'm aiming for June, July and August releases for the three books. 
Here's the cover and blurb for the first one: 
Darkness is covering the land. As the city of Mezrah grows with power and greed, the rest of the world can only stand by and wait for their inevitable destruction. The only hope against this growing power is an ancient prophecy that people have stopped believing in. 
Then a star begins to fall. 
Princess Kyla of Taramon stopped believing in the power of light the day her father died. Trapped in a city she does not care for, under the watchful glare of her mother, the queen, she struggles to accept her fate. 
Then a star begins to fall. 
Jethro has loved Kyla for as long as he can remember. Learning that she was to marry his cousin drove a wedge between him and the feisty princess. Watching her from a distance is a torture he is unable to free himself from. 
Then a star begins to fall, sparking an ember of hope and sending two seekers on a treacherous journey into the unknown. 
Excerpt from Unknown (The Elements Trilogy: Book 1): (keep in mind this book still needs a final proof read)
“Jethro!” Kyla slapped him on the arm and leaned against the grate, patting her chest. With narrowed eyes, she shot him a glare. “So this is how it is now? You don’t have the decency to talk to me in public, but you do take time out of your precious day to come scare the life out of me down in this foul-smelling tunnel.”
A slow, easy smile lit Jethro’s face. “Where have you been?”
“Why do you even care?”
Jethro’s brawny frame leaned against the stone wall behind him. His eyes glimmered with a knowing smile. “Let’s see, a bow slung over your shoulder, a quiver full of arrows… so not hunting then. I’m guessing target practice,” he clicked his fingers, “in the clearing by the waterhole.”
Kyla bit back a smile.
“How’d you do?”
She raised her chin. “I would have split your arrow in two.”
Jethro’s dark eyebrows jumped up with approval as he nodded his head. “Is that all you got up to?”
“Jethro, what are you doing here?” Kyla snapped.
“I just came to warn you.”
“Of what?”
Jethro frowned, making Kyla’s stomach clench.
“Queen Elaina is wondering why she saw her daughter being chased out of the forest by a guard of Ashan when she should have been studying world history with her tutor.”
Kyla stood up straight and swallowed. “My mother did not see. She’s always at prayers this time of day.”
“She was delayed.” Jethro winced.
The blood drained from Kyla's face. Biting her lips together, she pulled the bow over her head and cleared her throat.
“You might want to present yourself to her before she has every man in the castle looking for you.”
With a child-like groan, Kyla gripped the end of her bow and rolled her eyes. “Fine.” Slumping her shoulders, she spun away from freedom and started stomping towards the dungeons.
“You may want to go past your chambers on the way. Perhaps tidy up a little?”
She came to an abrupt stop and slowly spun back to face the boy she’d known since birth. “Excuse me?”
Jethro’s lips fought with a grin as he pushed himself off the wall and sauntered towards her. “Just because you hate wearing dresses doesn’t mean she won’t expect to see you in one.” He pointed at the attire she had stolen from her brother years ago. She kept it hidden in a trunk at the end of her bed and only pulled it out when she was sneaking from the castle. If only her mother knew how comfortable they were, she wouldn’t insist on mountains of material that were impossible to run in.
“You’re already in for her wrath.” Jethro tipped his head. “You will only antagonise her more by appearing like this.”
Kyla pushed her tongue against the side of her mouth then huffed. “You know I hate you.”
“With the fire a thousand suns?”
Laughter burst from her mouth before she could stop it. “And more!” She punched him on the arm, missing the familiar banter they used to share as children. The amount of times he had driven her to screams of rage with his playful teasing, but a few punches later and they had been best friends again. She often wondered what had happened between them and wished they could return to past days.
As if Jethro could read her mind, he stepped back from her, the playful smile replaced with a new seriousness she did not care for. “You should get moving.”

Golden Blood:  FREE 
Gemma Hart never knows when her father is going to whisk her back in time. Her toes start tingling and she has a few minutes to find a secret haven where she can disintegrate and appear in another time and place. While “across the line,” her training and skills are put to the test as she completes a mission that will change history for the lucky few her father has selected. 
Gemma's parents are adamant that secrecy is paramount to her family’s safety. If people knew what they were capable of, they could be "used and abused", as her mother always says. Afraid she might accidentally utter the truth and break the ancient oath of her people, Gemma spends her school days as a loner. Only one thing can throw her sheltered life askew... Harrison Granger. 
Harrison never expected to talk to the strange Hart girl, but after a brief encounter he can't stop thinking about her. He begins a campaign to chisel away her icy veneer and is met with unexpected consequences. As he slowly wins this girl over, he enters a surreal world that has him fighting to keep his newfound love and his life.

Black Blood 
The second book in the Time Spirit Trilogy 
Pure Blood 
Third book in the Time Spirit Trilogy 

Forbidden Territory (co-authored with Brenda Howson) 
Mica and Lexy have been best friends and next door neighbours since they were eight years old. They share everything and have no secrets from each other until... Tom arrives on Mica's doorstep - a gorgeous exchange student from England. And Lexy is smitten. 

Suddenly both girls are keeping secrets. Mica is hiding news about Tom's English girlfriend and Lexy hasn't got the heart to tell her best friend that her brother Eli, the guy Mica is mad on, thinks of her as only a friend.   
After a massive fight, the girls decide the best way to mend their friendship is to spend some quality time together. And what better way than to go camping away from their parents and why not invite along the guys they are crushing on.  
So the four teenagers embark on a geo-caching expedition into New Zealand's native bush expecting a long weekend filled with flirtatious fun; instead secrets are exposed as they stumble across a hidden marijuana crop and its gun-wielding watchmen. Forced apart they spend the next forty-eight hours racing blindly in opposite directions as they fight to find each other before the hunters do.  

Beautiful, wild-child Nicole Tepper is hit by a car and left for dead. But when she wakes the next morning, Nicole finds herself in bed without a scratch. Perhaps she was more intoxicated than usual, as her mother is giving her the silent treatment and her friends are ignoring her as well. 
Things take a turn for the weird when Nicole soon discovers she is actually hovering between life and death. Her body is lying in the forest while her spirit is searching for anyone who can hear her. Unfortunately the only person who can is Dale Finnigan, the guy she publicly humiliated with a sharp-tongued insult that has left him branded. 
Desperate, Nicole has no choice but to haunt Dale and convince the freaked-out senior to help her. Will he find her body before it's too late? Or will the guy who tried to kill her with his car, beat him there and finish her off before anyone finds out? 

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I am only now learning how important reviews are on places like Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads.  They not only help others to decide if they want to invest their time and money in the book, they are of major importance if you want to list your books on certain sites.  Because Vampires Rule is FREE at Amazon and other sites, I wanted to list it as free in certain places and found out there are restrictions.  You have to have (?) amount of reviews and (?) number in ratings to be listed.

Fortunately, Vampires Rule has a rating of 4.2 and over 25 reviews (just barely). 

Reviews also help an author to know what is working in their books and what is not working so they can create better stories in the future. 

So PLEASE review my books on Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads (choose one or all), especially if you enjoyed it.  I am giving away Vampires Rule and the upcoming Bait even though I put a year into both.  If you enjoy reading them, you can show me some kindness by reviewing them.  You don't have to be a great writer to do this.  I know some people don't want to review because they have no idea what to say.  Believe me, anything is better than nothing.  You can just put that you enjoyed it and can't wait to read the next in the series or make a short list of what worked for you and what didn't. 


Monday, April 8, 2013

Cover Reveal: WITCH HEARTS by Liz Long

Hi everyone! I want to thank the amazing authors and bloggers who volunteered to help with today's cover reveal. Indies wouldn't be here without their help and of course, you guys. I am so excited to show off the cover for my new book - I've been looking forward to this for weeks!
Witch Hearts is my second novel, an adult paranormal thriller meant for those who liked to be a little creeped out and also enjoy a murder mystery. My first book, Gifted, A Donovan Circus Novel, is about a murder at a supernatural circus, and is available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback.
Now without further ado, the cover for Witch Hearts! WHCoverWeb
Witch Hearts Synopsis:
How does a witch stay safe if a killer can get through her protection spells? Witches like Ruby and Courtney can take care of themselves. So when Courtney is murdered, Ruby’s world crashes to a halt. The only thing keeping her grounded is the return of Courtney’s brother, Cooper. He seeks revenge, but Ruby wants to help other witches stay alive. To do that, she’ll have to reunite with her old coven’s High Priest, who also happens to be her cheating ex-boyfriend. If that wasn’t awkward enough, when the killer gets too close, Cooper temporarily moves into Ruby’s place while a police officer tails her every move. Cooper’s presence distracts Ruby as they fight their desire against their need to stay safe. Then Courtney begins to haunt Ruby’s dreams and secrets are spilled, things from Cooper’s past that could get them both killed. The killer continues to stalk Ruby and the more she discovers, the more she fears she won’t be able to keep her heart in her chest.
About the Author: DSC_0089 Liz Long is lucky enough to have a dream career in magazine publishing as an editor and writer, yet still have time to create adventures on the side. If you catch her staring off into space or talking to herself, don’t worry – it’s just her imagination at work. Liz graduated from Longwood University with a BA in English, though her professors might be disappointed to hear she reads more fantasy fiction than literary novels. She also loves action and thriller genres. This book probably won’t change your life, but she hopes it steals you away from reality for a while. Her first book, Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel, is also available for paperback and Kindle on Amazon.
To learn more about Liz, visit her website: http://lizclong.com

Friday, April 5, 2013

YA Indie Carnival: Formatting

This is probably the hardest task when it comes to self-publishing a book with Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, etc.  I know it gives me a major headache.  The process is so difficult for some that they pay others to do it.  The first time I ever formatted a book it took hours.  I started at three in the afternoon and was up past midnight.  Since then, I am happy to say, it hasn't taken me nearly as long, but every time I start to think I have the process down, new problems crop up.  It also doesn't help matters that each place has different things they want, so Amazon wants your cover to be this size and Smashwords wants it another size.  Smashwords has a thing that changes your book into several different formats while you wait, but you have to get it ready first. At least there is the awesome Smashwords Guide (for free) to help you on your formatting journey.

Here is my process every single time I have a book ready.

1.  Format for Smashwords:  I printed out the Smashwords Guide to make things easier on me, and I put it in a binder. So now is the time to crack it open again.  I certainly can't remember all the steps.  Because programs embed codes into your manuscript, I do the Nuclear Method.  This part is simple enough.  You copy and paste your entire MS into a program like Notepad to remove codes.  Then you copy and paste it into a fresh document on Word.  From there I follow the guide, setting style and indents and wiping out extra spaces and other problems.  After an hour or two it is ready to upload.

2.  Format for Amazon:  I use the same document that I already prepared for Smashwords, but I have to turn it into a mobi file, so I use Mobipocket Creator.  You can download it for free.  It's a great tool.  This part doesn't take that long, but I have tiny problems with it each time, just enough to frustrate me to the point of wanting to grab the local employment ads and give up writing for good.

3.  Format for Createspace:  I use Createspace for print copies.  Not because I think they are going to sell well or wind up in my local bookstore, but primarily for me, my family and friends, and a few hardcore fans.  Also, they are great giveaways when I want to do a contest.  Now my first book Vampires Rule has been picked up by a couple of libraries, so that is awesome.  Anyway, back to formatting.  This is the MOST difficult part.  I use Open Office to make my copy for Createspace.  Luckily I found someone online who knows what they're doing and I printed off everything they said to do and put it in the binder with my other formatting guide. 

    It's kind of cool because you set it on mirror formatting and you get your first look at how your MS will look as a real book.  You can do cool things like have a drop letter or a fancy letter at the start of each chapter.  I did this for Vampires Rule, but it's difficult so I only did it the one time.  Maybe it was twice.  Can't remember.  There are lots of cool features on this program, but it is a GIANT hassle.  Every single time I do it I have a new set of problems and can't figure it out for hours.  Last time it was trying to get the page numbers on each page. 

Check out what the other carnies have to say about formatting.

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author's Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun - YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin - YA Fantasy  

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This weeks Question:

Q:  Have you ever read a book that you thought you would hate — ? Did you end up hating it? Did you end up loving it? Or would you never do that?

The first thing that pops into my head is Twilight.  It was my first YA book since I was a teenager so I was leery to pick up a copy, but the avid readers in my life were telling me I should try it.  I'm glad I listened to them.  It inspired me to start writing YA again instead of the adult romances I was into at the time.  To be honest I am one of those people who are sick of hearing about Twilight now because of all the hype and the movies which I did not watch. 

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