Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And then what happens?

The Perils of Pauline, a 1914 movie series, featured a pretty young lady who somehow managed to get herself into predicaments with no way out.  Tied to railroad tracks with a steam locomotive bearing down on her. Lashed to a wooden post while flames licked around her. Strapped to a table while spikes descended from the ceiling. At the moment when the audience excitement reached a peaked because poor Pauline would be killed, the film stopped with the words “To Be Continued…” And the cliffhanger was born.

Today’s authors can take a cue from Pauline, although perhaps with less melodrama.  End a chapter with a well-planned cliffhanger and the reader will be certain to turn the page to see what comes next.  The end does not need to be some threat of loss of life, but it needs to pose the question in the readers mind: “And then what happens?”

Here’s the end of chapter twenty-seven from Penelope and The Ghost’s Treasure.

  Ploop. Clunk. Phizz.
  Short pushed his pincer glasses on and leaned close to the boiling, seething liquid. “Something has gone wrong.”
  “Should I stir harder?” Penelope picked up the pace.
  “No, it’s too late for that. Best we hit the deck.” He grabbed her, pushed her under the lab table and crouched down next to her.
  “Maybe it’ll be okay.” She leaned forward from their cramped quarters under the table and tried to catch a glimpse of the experiment.
  He pulled her back. “Best to let it run its course.”
  Ploop. Clunk. Phizz. KABLAM!

To Be Continued…

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Ghost's Treasure...almost there!

The past week or so has been busy.  Although a bit behind in my schedule, I've gotten Penelope and The Ghost's Treasure out on both Smashwords and Kindle. For anyone not familiar with publishing on Smashwords, the process takes a few weeks to reach other markets like Barnes and Noble, Apple, Diesel and so forth.  I am still not certain that Smashwords has its act together yet with Amazon and hence I went the direct route on the Kindle edition.

Next comes CreateSpace for the paperback edition.  I spent last three days creating the interior of the book on Word.  This poses a unique challenge to get it formatted correctly. For someone contemplating doing this on their own, I expect that a skill level of at least intermediate on Word is necessary,although advanced or even guru level is advantages. 

The real challenge with Word (I use both 2007 and 2010) is not to mess it up, especially with respect to headers and footers.  At one point all my even number pages vanished!  Another time, when I saved as PDF (which is needed for CreateSpace), I ended up with extra blank pages that didn't show up on the Word version. So much for WYSIWYG.

Next step and yet to be done is getting the cover design finished. Then marry everything together on CreateSpace and order the proof.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Penelope and The Wake County Library

PENELOPE AND THE BIRTHDAY CURSE is now available at the Wake County Library.  I am happy and proud to have my book on their shelves. What's also exciting is when PENELOPE AND THE GHOST'S TREASURE comes out, it too will be available at the Wake County Library. I expect that should  be in about two months.

Penelope sends a big thank you to Cheryl and Tracy at the Wake County Public Library for making this possible. She throws her hat into the air and shouts, "Hip-hip-hurrah!"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Duality of a Writer…Writing and Promoting.

My heart wants to write.  My brain says promote and get the second book going.  I’m beginning to realize the day does not have enough time to do it all, especially while working full time, which actually pays the bills.

Already I lag a week behind getting the second book out on Smashwords and Kindle.  So close and yet I’m not ready.  I also wanted to have the paperback done by month’s end with hopefully a proof coming.  Getting PENELOPE AND THE GHOST’S TREASURE out on ebook and paperback before Halloween would be ideal.
Promoting a tween book is tougher than I expected. The trick is to get the book in the hands of young people, but they are not the ones that most promotion techniques reach.  One local bookstore owner suggested getting parents to put the books in their kid’s hands is the challenge.

Finishing the first draft of the third Penelope mystery is equally important, especially with a deadline to get it published next spring.  I already foresee many rewrites to get the book polished.
Maybe congress could pass a law to give me more time to get things done. Fat chance that happens.  The President and Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on anything.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Interview on Bittersweet Enchantment

Check out my Interview on Bittersweet Enchantment. I am excited about it for a number of reasons.  First, it gave me a platform to talk about my book PENELOPE AND THE BIRTHDAY CURSE. Second, if you scroll down to the end of the article, there's a place to enter a drawing for two free copies of the book to be given away in a few days. Finally, the blog and interview are by daughter Beckie.

Beckie has done a fine job on developing her blog, reviewing books and making friends in the literary world. I have a great respect for book reviewers after seeing how busy she gets.  Almost every week someone sends are a book  to read and review.  How she keeps up with it is beyond me.

If you have time, stop by and check out her blog Bittersweet Enchantment, checkout my interview and enter the contest to win a free copy of the PENELOPE AND THE BIRTHDAY CURSE.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Indie bookstores are like snowflakes. No two are the same. I made a trek around my home territory in Raleigh and looked for places to peddle my books.  I figured there’d be a strong synergy. “Me indie publisher. You indie bookstore.”
One store looked like garage sale with wall-to-wall books. They’d display my books but had lost their lease and feared my books would get lost in the move to their new location, if there was a new location.
A few only dealt in used books and were only steps above the garage sale motif.  Pretty much these were no-goes based on past experiences of trying to sell local author books. I wanted to scream my books are different, but I understood their point.
One store worth mentioning is Quail Ridge Books. They truly have their act together with a nice layout and a steady stream of writers coming through for signings and readings.  They took a copy for consideration and will let me know in about a month.

Then I found All Booked Up in Apex, NC, and felt like I’d come home.  The shop is small but the ambiance is big.  The proprietor Janice makes everyone feel like they belong. My book got a prominent spot on the local author book shelf.  Below is a shot taken with my camera phone. If you get to Apex, check out All Booked Up, tell Janice I sent you and pick up a copy of Penelope and The Birthday Curse.