Is it still Thursday?

ho ho ho

This. In a Bah! Humbug! kinda way. I’m not talking about Christmas. I’m lamenting the frustrations of working with technology. Can that be my excuse for not posting my usual “Thursday Walks” yesterday?

If the truth be told, my tardiness is due to two adventures that side-tracked me this week: 1) formatting my manuscript for print publication using CreateSpace (hence the tech issues); and, 2) trying to capture a king (the fun stuff).


I found too many great posts this week, but these hit home:

Alex Beecroft writes A pseudo-medievalist’s guide to fire at The Macaronis.
My crusader knights, who are attempting to thwart King Richard’s arrest in a tavern on the outskirts of Vienna, have been eluding enemy soldiers in the mountains during the winter of 1192. They’ve found barns and a few inns for shelter, but may find themselves camping under the stars. I’m going to pass along Alex’s words of wisdom to Sir Henry & Sir Stephan.

Bethany Lopez on Laura Howard’s blog has tips for Publishing with Createspace.
Very timely for me as I’m working on formatting Keeping the Family Peace for print right now! I attempted to format my original, clean Word .doc. Does Word for MAC have fewer capabilities than Word for PC? I’m pretty savvy with technology but ran into all kinds of issues with margins, headers & footers. I decided to download a formatted template from CreateSpace. And I’ve still been frustrated. Headers and footers are doing interesting things. Section breaks, section ends, Word for MAC that tells me a footer (that doesn’t exist) is outside the print borders when I attempt to convert to .pdf. There are a half dozen other issues that I’m hoping to work through. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get everything resolved this weekend.

KM Weiland talks about Options for Disasters in a Scene.
I love this quote from KM: “At the end of every single scene, you should be looking for a way to thwart your character’s hopes and make his life miserable… The point is to keep the pressure on and never let up.” Poor protagonist! I’d read a scene  from Battle Scars to my writers group last week that came across as the infamous “info dump.” Conflict! We want conflict. I keep repeating that to myself while working on the scenes leading up to King Richard’s capture. With any luck, that will be done this weekend, and yes, there will be conflict!

Thinking Around the Corner: Five Reasons You Need a Critique Group by Jonathan D. Allen at Shaggin the Muse
I’ve mentioned my own experience with my critique group here, here, and here. I’m very fortunate to have 3 great writers provide me feedback week after week. I hear the good and the bad. They are honest with their critiques – and they don’t always agree – and I don’t always agree with them. But that’s okay. When I’ve struggled to write a scene and think its crap, when I question whether I should be writing at all, they remind me that I’m a good storyteller. I still have a lot to learn, and they are helping me along the way.

What have you been reading?  Happy Friday to you! Have a great weekend.


Walks on the Blog Side…

Conisbrough CastleOh look! It’s me over at Black Lilac Kitty! Thanks, Cindy, for inviting me over to meet your readers.

We’re taking a very short walk through the blogosphere this week. Does my photo from Conisbrough Castle make it look like I’m locked away? Well, close. *wipes brow* I’m slaving over the final edits to my novel. (Yes, still.) These 90,000+ words will be shipped to ebook formatting guru Jaye Manus by Monday. I’ve been pointing to Jaye’s wonderful posts for months and had planned to do the work myself. But, I’m exhausted, and I want it done right. Jaye will do a wonderful job, and I won’t be nearly so stressed.

How to Edit Your Book in 4 Steps 
4 steps, eh? I think I’ve done a bit more than that. And guess what I’ve been doing for the last week. Do you know how long it takes to read 90,000 words out loud? Time for more tea with honey…

Promoting your book on your blog — how much is too much? « Michelle Proulx Official
Is there a fine line between drawing interest & blatant self-promotion?

Raji Singh has another fun & whimsical tale: No. 19: THE LINCOLN-DARWIN STUMP DEBATE OF FEBRUARY 12, 1809. PART I.  at Tales of the Fiction House

Have you read any good posts lately?

E- and Print, That is the Question…

Dean Wesley Smith asks indie self-publishers to think about publishing their works in print. He reminds us that we’re ignoring 65-70% of the market (see shot #9), and has a cool graphic showing trends in book reading & buying.

garden - June 2006 Hey – I’m the first to admit that I love the feel and smell of a book in my hands. And there is nothing so thrilling as seeing your name on the cover (or in my case, in the tables of contents) of a real live book that you can hold. When one of my short stories appeared in print¹ in a mass-market edition back in the dark ages, er, the 90s, I went looking for it on the shelves. Did a little rearranging so the book cover faced out for passers-by to see. Ahem. 🙂 Opened up to the contents and stared at my name, sitting there along with Timothy Zahn and Michael A. Stackpole.

I’d decided to go electronic only with Keeping the Family Peace months ago when I’d heard of the expense involved in setting up print-on-demand services through Amazon. But last week, a colleague at work mentioned the DIY portion of CreateSpace. Guess what I’ll be investigating over the next couple months…

I know many people don’t own e-readers, but you can get Kindle for PC and Kindle for MAC – for free, folks – yes FREE – and read e-books on your computer. All right – I get it that you can’t curl up in bed with your computer but I do a darn good job of it with the Kindle app on my iPhone. And all one-handed! I’ve read more than 2 dozen books that way, including some that are 900+ pages.

So…e- and print? Smith’s argument is a bit too hard to ignore. But will a newbie novelist’s $4.99 e-book look more attractive to the buyer than a paperback priced a good bit higher? One writer commented on Dean’s blog that he produced both versions. He sold 3 copies of the print book – to relatives. 🙂

Dean tells me I’ll sell more books going E+P. Is he right? Oh my dear readers – which would you buy? I’ll be delighted to report sales of e- and print here and hope you can make them look halfway decent.²

Self-publishing indies out there – how are you handling this conundrum?

¹From a kind Amazon reviewer: “A Certain Point of View-this is the third-best story because of the severely melancholy tone. Read it in a house with all the lights off on a rainy Saturday afternoon for the best effect. Stalemate. Excellent.”

²Reminder: Keeping the Family Peace is in the red-lining hands of my editors at the moment as I mentioned a week or so ago. I’ll be working on final – yes, final – revisions in October and November, and hope to be sending you off to Amazon & other retailers in December for your e- or print copy.