My Publishing Journey

When my publisher retired, I had 4 books at retail outlets online, POD at Amazon, and distributed by Smashwords. Changing over to self-publishing would be easy, I thought.

Not so easy. At CreateSpace, the POD arm of Amazon, I began the process, submitting PDF’s for each book and cover, getting new ISBN’s(free at Library and Archives Canada) for each version and making sure that no vestige of the old publisher remained in the documents. These were then uploaded, assessed and if passed, a proof available on line and if wanted, in paper(for a fee). It’s taken longer than I thought it would and the books aren’t available on Amazon as yet. Along the way I  used Acrobat Pro DC, a terrific program. I’m proofing No Motive for Murder and The Child on the Terrace, while en route to visit my family in Bermuda. I started at the end of the series rather than the beginning because I am making changes in the cover art.

Karen Phillips, of Phillips Covers, is designing covers for all 4 of the published books and for the as yet untitled fifth book in the Dangerous Journeys series. The covers will have common fonts and set-up and a logo. When the latest book is ready to go to press, I’ll present them as a boxed set wherever that is possible.

That brings me to Smashwords, the company set up by Mark Coker, that publishes and distributes e-books to all the major retailers except Amazon, unless one has sold $2000US of the title at Smashwords.

The initial process to change over to me was easy. Arline Chase, at Write Words Inc. turned over the files to me and there they were, all set up to go. Except, her publishing company’s name was in all the books, and I wanted to change that. I also wanted to add a chapter of the preceding book to the next one in the series. That meant getting the original files, adding matter at the end, learning about the page numbering system at Smashwords, and then uploading.

The page numbering? It has to be consistent with their’s and changing it, with my rudimentary knowledge of the finer points of Word, meant hours spent learning and then renumbering. Finally, both cover and content were through the Meatgrinder(that’s the name) and on to Autovetter. This program found errors that at first I didn’t even understand that were left-over ghosts of a pdf file in the Word document I was using.

I’m at the end of the Smashwords process for No Motive for Murder and it and The Child on the Terrace are available under my new imprint From The River Publishing, at Smashwords. The older books are there as well, and at Kobo, Nook, and many other fine e-book retailers.

Oh, yes. The first of my series, Murderous Roots, is free online at all those retailers. No time limit on that and I’ve developed new lower pricing for Volumes 2-4.

One final thought. I’m working on a new web site for my imprint From The River Publishing. It will be available at fromtheriverpublishing.ca. I’ll post the news when it goes live.

That’s it for a sunny Sunday in March.

 

Book Sale

Smashwords. com, the company that distributes my ebooks has a promotion coming on March 5 through March 11. I have enrolled all my books. Murderous Roots will be, as always, free, and the others 50% off. Coupon code, active only at Smashwords on those dates is RAE50.

As many of you know, my publisher, Arline Chase, of Write Words Inc., has retired from the business and I am in the process of revising and republishing under my new imprint From The River Publishing. The books will continue to be available at Smashwords in the meantime, but not at Amazon until the process is complete.

I’m excited to be working with gifted designer Karen Phillips on new covers for Murderous Roots and The Facepainter Murders. She designed the covers for No Motive for Murder and The Child on the Terrace.

 

Too long away

There are few excuses for neglecting a blog but here are mine.

2016 was a difficult year for us. My husband’s cousin, a youngish man of 64(young from our perspective) died in the late Spring, a shock to all his family. Late in the summer our beloved dog Charlie became ill and died of a small tumour in her great heart. Health issues, since partially resolved, both our own and those of close friends, occupied the rest of the year.

But we are in a new year, and the pain of those losses is receding. Not to say the world is comfortable with a man with a clear personality disorder in the White House, but one can carry on.

My plans to become a writer of non-fiction have faltered, mainly because I write fiction and that seems to be that. However, there is a good deal more to learn about writing fiction and I am looking forward to a retreat in April with the kind friends of Writescape. Before that, I  will travel to Bermuda to visit my sister and her family. One of my journeys there resulted in No Motive for Murder, the third in my Dangerous Journeys series.

Another book, currently titled Painting of Sorrow, is under consideration by an agent. Fingers crossed.

Bad news is that my long-time publisher, Arline Chase of Write Words Inc. has closed up shop. Soon I hope to republish the books under my own imprint. so many thanks due to Arline for taking a chance on a beginning writer when she published Murderous Roots. All best wishes to Arline going forward.

Because of Arline’s retirement, I’ve been studying self-publishing both at CreateSpace and at Smashwords, where my books currently have a home. When I’m ready, I’ll reissue all four plus in the fall, the fifth in the series.

Of course, I read. Today I finished a book by a writer friend, Crozier Green. His novel of the early days of the Cosa Nostra in Sicily, titled The Little Wagons, was a terrific read. Please see the review below.

Crozier Green has written an engrossing, action-filled novel of the beginnings of the Cosa Nostra in Italy, seen through the eyes of three men and the woman they all desired. Two of the men rose from sulphur mines, graduated to the prison of Palermo and battled for supremacy in the nascent crime families of nineteenth-century Sicily. The woman, a wild and wildly-intelligent daughter of one of the bosses, manipulates both men and the officer of the Carabinieri who loved her, to gain power of her own.

The Little Wagons is suspense-full, fast-paced, well-written book that deserves five stars for its vivid characterization. Even minor characters are well-described. I won’t forget any of them soon.

The plot, involving as it does the entwined lives of four different people, is handled well. The opening description of the sulphur mines brings the reader into a hellish, claustrophobic world. The setting alone is sufficient to explain why men would do anything, including murder to escape from it.

The Little Wagons is a great read and terrific history.

That’s about it for a sunny and warm Saturday in the Kawartha Lakes.

 

 

 

 

How to structure a novel

I’ve neglected the blog for many months, mostly because of the pressure of work on my now-completed novel, titled Painting of Sorrow. It has started its journey to various agents.

Several years ago, I wrote a (unpublished) book titled  Stolen Children. Three books later—No Motive for Murder, The Child on the Terrace and now Painting of Sorrow—and needing to begin again, I resurrected the manuscript. The major problem with it for now,  is structural.

An interesting article on structure from Randy Ingarmanson appeared in his website. You may know him as the Snowflake Guy, from his method of writing a structured novel, called, yes, The Snowflake Method.

The current article, Writing the perfect scene, gives a quick overview the structure of scenes and sequels,  covered however, in more extensive detail in Elements of Fiction: Scene and Structure, by Jack M. Bickham. Randy’s article is useful as a quick reminder and I store it under research in my Scrivener binder for Stolen Children.

Cheryl Freedman, writing to me about the Bony Blithe min-com this coming Friday, suggested the books by Karen Elizabeth Gordon as “grammar with a twist…or perhaps, twisted grammar”. I took a brief look and thought hers would be a sound (and fun) addition to my library of craft books.

That’s it for Monday, May 23, 2016. Forty-six years ago this afternoon, George and I married in Kingston, On. Forty-six years of love, partnership and friendship.

 

New Directions

WORK-IN-PROGRESS

My work-in-progress, a novel, occupies most of my time these days. I’m revising. Last fall, I won a prize at The Book Promoter: an editorial review by editor/agent Svetlana Pironko of the Author Rights Agency.

After talking with her and reviewing the changes she suggested, I began a revision, this time on paper. I’m eighty pages in.

BUSINESS WRITING

As well, I follow a course from Susan Anderson — Freelance Writers Bootcamp — on writing for business, either business to business or business to client. Some of the types of writing she teaches — blogging, content writing for web-sites, white papers — are interesting to me. Her course teaches how to do those and about 10 more.

WORDPRESS

Yes, I have a WordPress blog and even my own domain name at Wordpress —ginny200.com — but I set it all up with only rudimentary knowledge. An article on Mashable, 13 cheap(or free) online classes to boost your digital skills, led me to a course called WordPress for Beginners. I’m taking it now.

EDITING

I have an extensive library of books about editing, everything from Self-editing for Fiction Writers, by Rennie Browne and Dave King, to the most recent, The Frugal Editor by Carolyn  Howard-Johnson. A favourite is Revision and Self-Editing, by James Scott Bell.

All this to explain that I’ve been busy this winter.

Visiting Paris

In my last post, I told about our visit to Paris, a Paris in which we walked, felt secure, visited monuments and museums, some guarded, some not, ate in restaurants, one of them in the Marais, and strolled in a soft evening along the Seine to Notre Dame. In a heartbeat all that changed for the people of Paris and for us too, watching the armed presence in the streets, the check-points, the searches, the bodies carried away on stretchers, so many of them young.

But Paris has seen carnage before, and lost her young before, in world wars, in revolution, and endured, recovered, and become Paris again, symbol of art and reason and enlightenment. So she shall this time.

In the remote past, Roman legions lived there, marched and conquered, and now old men play boules where gladiators fought. We walked across the arena when we visited Paris.

IMG_0445.jpg

IMG_0445 (1).jpg

The old men will play boules, the young will go to concerts and they will all sit in cafes and drink wine and laugh.

Paris will endure and so will what she stands for.

 

 

October

October and the first (slight) frost. A perfect fall morning today: intense blue sky, leaves changing, especially the small shrubs, Euonymous scarlet.

We spent two weeks in France in September, the first week in Paris and the second in Honfleur. We stayed with our friend Nancy Pratt( read her blog and see her photos from around the world at https://nancyhereandthere.wordpress.com) in Paris. For a week we lived more like locals than tourists, shopping in the streets of the Jardin Des Plantes quarter and the market on Rue Mouffetard, walking, taking the bus, or the Batobus on the Seine. Our friends, Anne and Alan Simpson and Hazel Hamilton found a lovely apartment a twenty minutes walk away from Nancy’s and a block from the Seine at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

market on Rue Mouffetard, Paris

Rue Mouffetard

Paris at night IMG_0613

For the second week, we rented a car and drove to Honfleur, Normandy and stayed in The Stables at Le Fond de la Cour, a charming bed and breakfast with some self-catering apartments. All of historic Honfleur was within walking distance.

Many of the Impressionist artists and modern ones painted in Honfleur. Something about the quality of the light drew them to the little town, which is still very pretty, in spite of thousands of tourists who descend on it every day.

Le Fond de la Cour, Honfleur

Le Fond de la Cour, Honfleur

We took day trips from Honfleur. Bayeux and its famous tapestry and Juno beach were the most memorable for me.

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur street

Juno Beach

Juno Beach

Now we’re back at home and I’m editing(still) my work-in-progress. I’m closing on the end, I think, or is it the end of the beginning!

August Thoughts

August, 2015

August, 2015

Sunday morning, half way through summer. Lately we’ve been having a lovely stretch of weather, so hot the mosquitoes have packed it in and sadly, so have heat-sensitve roses. The day lilies are blooming though and so are the phlox.

I’m still working on my novel. Doing a long outline showed me where there were a few holes, not needing new material, but scenes moved and connections made.

Recently I’ve been reading Ursula K. Le Guin, Steering the Craft, an excellent short book on the craft of writing from a terrific writer and teacher.

The critiques arrived for the entries into the University of Winchester’s writing contest. My flash fiction piece, The Gulls Soared, placed third in its category and the reviewers had kind words to say and one piece of advice. The reviewers of The Empty Room, on the other hand, suggested a rewrite in first person. I have a first draft of that and may lengthen the story.

I also submitted the first three pages of a novel. The reviewer, a senior editor at Little, Brown in the UK, wrote, in part, “I’ve very much enjoyed reading this. You have a very assured writing voice”. 

Of course she also had areas of concern and advice but closed by saying, “I do think this is a very unique and interesting idea and hope you keep working on it”.

Encouraging to receive such kind words from someone whose business is evaluating writers. The novel in question is not my work-in -progress but one I have “in the drawer” for the next time.

Other news: George, my husband saw an Indigo Bunting in our back yard this week. In fact, it saw George, and hovered outside the window for a time before it flew off into the Sunburst Honey Locust. One of our few blue birds. I’m envious although I did see a flicker this week, although not well enough to tell if it was yellow or red-shafted.

Our plans for France are proceeding. We’ve been debating getting a Paris Pass vs a Museum Pass. All four of us loved the vaporetti in Venice and have almost decided to use the BatoBus on the Seine for most of our transport, that and walking.

That’s about it for this first Sunday in August.

Writing workshops and Contests

The first day of summer will arrive at today, bringing with it the longest day of the year. So far, the garden is happy although a little confused with roses—outstanding for the first time in years—blooming with the peonies. My favourite blue clematis, struggling up from the depths of fern garden, climbs over the rock wall and up a support.Peonies and Clematis I’m a bit behind in planting. My terrace pots, most of them, are still empty. If the rain holds off, maybe I’ll get to them today.

Good news from a contest in the UK: a piece of flash fiction that I have worked on from time to time for years, The Gulls Soared, placed third in the Winchester Writers’ Festival. The prize is a selection of books, but I don’t know which ones as yet.

Contests are a terrific way to get your name out, earn a little(sometimes) and receive feedback on your work. Aerogramme Writers Studio lists contests by closing date every two months.

June 6 and 7 I spent at Barbara Kyle’s workshop “The First Thirty Pages”. A terrific two days, sharing writing with only 8 others plus Barbara, allowing an in depth look at everyone’s work. A one on one with Barbara was the highlight for me although her advice has me working diligently on an outline for my all ready completed novel. That process is ongoing and should help me sharpen the focus. Check out Barbara’s website for news of a terrific Writer’s Symposium she’s organizing for the fall.

A tip for writers: A cheat sheet for writing body language can be found at Body Language, written by blogger Amanda Patterson.

That’s about it for this Sunday morning in June. I’m back to my outline.

Master Class

Spring in Ontario—from a humid 29C to a rainy 7C this am.

A Rainy SundayThe burst of growth in May astonishes me, every year. In April I despair of ever seeing the ground again, and here it is, sprouting hosta and Korean lilac and early leaves of daylilies. What a country. The long, ice-riven winter gives way to this glory.

I’ve been working on some technical aspects of my booklaunch.io page for The Child on the Terrace, including adding a trailer. You can check it out at the link above. The trailer was produced by The Book Promoter group in Dublin, Eire.

Next weekend takes me Barbara Kyle’s First Thirty Pages Master Class. Preparation includes reading and critiquing the first 30 pages of all 9 other participants. 80-90 thousand words all together, a good-sized novel. I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with all these talented people and Barbara, who is an excellent teacher.

That’s about it for today. No blog next Sunday as I shall be away.