January 30, 2012

Curling Up With A Good Book - Ryder Islington

Ultimate Justice by Ryder Islington.
For those of us who love to read, there is nothing like curling up with a good book. Sometimes I’ll choose a book according to the weather. In the sweltering late summer, I love reading women’s fiction. Devine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Secret Life of Bees, or Jane Eyre is perfect. I really love the old classics, as well as the new classics.

In autumn I really enjoy romance and love stories, especially the big thick books like A Rose In Winter. The spring is perfect for those coming of age stories. I really love John Irving’s, Snow Falling On Cedars or Forrest Gump right about then.

But in the dead of the winter, when the wind is blowing cold, beating against the house, and it’s not fit out for man nor beast, it’s time to pull out the scary stuff. This is the time for Robin Cook, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris. These men can scare the hoo-ha out of readers. These are some of the men who have influenced my writing. I like the surprise, the one that gives you chills, the one that makes you sleep with the lights on.

While I worked on Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, I scared myself! I remembered my own close encounter with a serial killer and realized I was writing from experience. It’s easy to get over extraterrestrials, ghosts, and monsters. It’s not so easy to get over serial killers, sick and twisted pillars of society who are evil inside, eviscerations by those whom you’d least expect. These are common place in our world. And yet, they are scarier than the unknown.

The scariest book I ever read was Helter Skelter. At the time, I lived in a townhouse style apartment and refused to go upstairs after dark. I slept on the couch for weeks. I think the book was published about ten years after the actual killings. The book brought back all the news about the Manson girls, and their leader. Seeing Charles Manson and his ‘family’ on the news, hearing the gruesome details over and over was bad enough. But the book brought it all right into my own head. That’s what good books are all about. They make the reader feel things that they might not ever feel in their own lives.

So really, there is no bad time to curl up with a good book. Find something that makes your hair stand on end, or moves your heart, or makes you laugh, and let the author take you away to a whole other world. And don’t forget to take a cup of coffee or tea with you, 'cause you may be gone for a while.

Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery is receiving rave reviews from readers.
The small town of Raven Bayou, Louisiana explodes as old money meets racial tension, and tortured children turn the table on abusive men. FBI Special Agent Trey Fontaine returns home to find the town turned upside down with mutilated bodies. Working with local homicide detectives, Trey is determined to get to the  truth. A believer in empirical evidence, Trey ignores his instincts until he stares into the face of the impossible, and has to choose between what he wants to believe and the ugly truth.
About the Author
A graduate of the University of California and former officer for a large sheriff’s department, RYDER ISLINGTON is now retired and doing what she loves: reading, writing, and gardening. She lives in Louisiana with her family, including a very large English Chocolate Lab, a very small Chinese pug, and a houseful of demanding cats. She can be contacted at RyderIslington@yahoo.com or visit her blog at http://ryderislington.wordpress.com

The full blog tour schedule can be found at http://is.gd/8PcVDa

January 27, 2012

12 Steps to Self-Publish Your Book - Mimi Barbour

Mimi Barbour - My Cheeky Angel.
Because it took me hours of 'How-to' video watching, bombarding my friends who helped me get started with questions and more questions, and then multiple times to finally get my work uploaded cleanly, I decided to write these steps for myself in case I ever decide to self-pub again. Then I wondered if these steps wouldn't save others the frustration and desk pounding that I suffered when I tried to do it without the proper knowledge. Now, having said that, I have no idea if a professional would agree with this guide as I've written it. Maybe there's a better way to describe the procedure, or I might have missed something that didn't affect my work, and if so I apologize. But I wanted to write it in such a way that, if months go by and my memory dims, (more than likely) these 12 steps will remind me clearly and concisely.

1 - Take a copy of your manuscript and clearly rename it so you know which copy you're working on.

2 - If you've gotten the word doc from your Editor, and there are red edits showing, once you have finished making all the changes, go to 'Tools/Track Changes/Highlight Changes' and unclick the box at the top that says 'Track Changes While Editing'. This should clear your document of editing suggestions and changes.

3 - Check for spelling errors…even if you've done this before, it's best to go over it one last time.

4 - Go to 'View' and click off the 'Ruler'.

5 - Go to 'Edit/Select all' so that your document is highlighted, and then go to the toolbar above and make sure that you are using the 'Normal/Times New Roman/ 12 Font'.

6 - Now you will put on the 'Show/Hide' paragraph option that's on your toolbar and looks like a backwards-P. Once you do this, your spaces, new paragraphs, line breaks and all the inner workings of your document will be visible.

7 - In case you tab the 5 spaces in to begin a new paragraph, (as I do) these must all be cleared. Go to 'Edit/Find/Replace' and on the top line that says 'Find What' hit the space bar five times (nothing will be visible). Then leave the 'Replace With' line empty and go to 'Replace All'. Then do the same thing again for 4 spaces, 3 spaces and 2 spaces. DO NOT do this for 1 space.

8 - Now clear any spaces before the paragraph mark by going to 'Edit/Find/Replace/More/Special/Paragraph Mark' and then hit the space bar once. Then click on the next line 'Replace With' and go to 'Special/Paragraph Mark'. This will clear away the extra spaces once you click on 'replace all'. I would do this same routine again in case there were two spaces.

If you tab in for new paragraphs, do this same manoeuvre for 'tab characters' and clear them. And once again for 'manual line breaks' only clear each one of these manually instead of using the 'replace all' feature.

9 - Formatting paragraphs – you will go to the toolbar and click on 'Format/Paragraph/Alignment' and click on left. Then on the same page go to 'Special' and click on First line, and then go to 'By' and set in 0.5" and last go to 'Line spacing' and click on Double.

10 - Now go to 'Edit/Find' and type in the word Chapter. Starting at the top of your document, make sure that each of the chapter headings are either centered by clicking on the center function on your toolbar, or if you prefer the chapter headings to be on the left, reposition them now so they are no longer indented.
At the same time check to be sure there is a page break before each new chapter. To do this, position your cursor just before the 'C' of the word Chapter and go to 'Insert/Break/Page Break.

11 - Fix any scene breaks (***) by centering them.

12 - Next, go to 'File' and then to 'Properties/Summary' where you should fill in the information—especially the line that asks for the key words for your manuscript such as Romance, Paranormal, etc.
At this point add your cover and centre it, then the copywrite page, and if you want, a dedication page it can be put here at the beginning of your document. Make sure to keep the lines spaced so the writing will fit on one page. Put in page breaks where you wish to have a new page. Remember, if you leave too many empty lines (more than 5) Kindle will automatically leave an empty page.

Now it's time to go to Kindle Direct Publishing and get started!
Find Mimi Barbour here:

January 24, 2012

Ten Things I’d Wish I’d Known - Melissa Lopez

Hi, Kayelle, everyone. Thanks for allowing me to visit. I’m Melissa Lopez. I’m an author of contemporary and dark paranormal stories. I write for myself and I create my worlds for my characters. I’m setting new career goals and taking a look back at what I’ve learned so far in my writing journey.

Here are ten things I’d wish I’d known before I’d gotten published:

  1. Writing is a business. Each story is a product. Your backlist increases your inventory. You’re CEO of a brand that’ll hopefully attract repeat customers. You’ve got to market, promote, and know about trends and statistics. You’ve got to build a platform of friends and readers to support your business. 
  2. Networking is extremely valuable but it’s not all about social media. A writer’s career is a solitary endeavor, so face-to-face meetings are important as well. Conventions offer discussions, information, and opportunities. Networking helps build your business. That said, writing your next book is priority one.
  3. There’s turnover at publishing houses. Editors come and go so it’s important to remain positive and roll with the changes that come your way. Remember your writer’s journey doesn’t end with your first contract.
  4. Self doubt is your enemy. You have to believe you’re a great writer. You have to believe you’ve something worth sharing. You must believe in yourself. You must, you must, you must! You must be strong when facing criticism. Some criticism will be offered gently, some will be harsh, some criticism will be unnecessary, some worthwhile. With each story criticism, will be dished and doubts will rise…Stay positive.
  5. Know who your true friends are. Now where did I hear that? Oh, Jenny Cruise at a New Jersey conference. She was so right. These are the people who’ll give you a swift-kick when self doubt has you in its trance. They’ll be honest during their critiques. They’ll challenge you to be a better author. They’ll curse and rant with you when you receive a rejection. Writing is a lonely business but they’ll be there for you.
  6. If you like an author’s work, tell her. Connect with her.  It’s important to make these kinds of connections.
  7. Writers spend a-whole-lot of time waiting. We wait for acceptance letters (be positive.) We wait for edits, and more edits, and even more edits. We wait for covers. We wait for release dates. We wait for reviews. It’s always best to put all the waiting out of your mind and write.
  8. Once you’re published writing doesn’t get easier. In fact sometimes writing gets more difficult as you stretch and challenge yourself. In your writing journey you discover how tough the road can be to navigate. Writing stories takes a huge effort and an enormous investment of time. You need to make sacrifices and be committed to the job.
  9. People (some friends, some family, some acquaintances, and some complete strangers) will expect you to give them a book. It still surprises me how many individuals have asked me to give them a book. It’s so awesome —it’s a true privilege—to have readers. But it’s vitally important to a writing career that—especially those who care about you—buy your work.
  10. Writers have to combat E-piracy. Writers have to contest thievery of their copyrighted material. Writers strive to protect what is theirs. Piracy of books has cost authors their livelihoods. E-piracy has cut short the careers of some authors.
I hope this gives aspiring authors ahead-start on their journey. And I hope I’ve given readers a peek at the business end of storytelling. To my fellow authors, please let us hear something you wish you’d known before you published.

Melissa Lopez
Journeys of Love Every Woman Needs To Take.