New Book on the Horizon!

The new book is finished! Whew! I just now sent it to a couple of people to read and then off to the publisher to see if it works for them. It’s a trip back to Salisbury Junction, re-visiting some of the characters of Maya’s Gold and A Place to Land. The hero is an FBI agent looking for a terrorist and the heroine is restoring her family’s motel. No name for this baby yet.

Self-Publishing 4

aHauntTRILLIUMfallsCVR01Do it yourself self-publishing can be a scary thought, but if you can write a book and get it ready to publish, then you do have enough skills to get that book out there. I took the plunge and so can you.

What made me change my attitude from scary to possible? Sure, I talked to others who had done it, but I was still hesitant, until I came across a book by Lucinda Moebius called Write Well Publish Right. First of all, I was interested in reading a book about writing from a high school and college teacher. Her book is what she teaches her students from beginning to the end at publishing. Mainly, I thought maybe I could implement some of her concepts into ideas for teaching language to small groups. Moreover, what I really took away from this book is that it is possible for me to self-publish a book.

Lucinda states that it is easy with the use of the formatting guides available through ePublishing platforms. She hired a formatter for the Kindle version of her science fiction books, but formatted the Smashwords version on her own. Also, she had help with her cover, hired an editor, and went through Amazon CreateSpace as her printer. Many times she states that it is up to you to do your own research and do what is best for you.

Yes, she inspired me, so I went to and got started. There an author can put in the title and paste in your manuscript and cover. Remember you have to have an ISBN number for your e-book, another one for your print book and CreateSpace can provide them for you. I did have to hire help with the e-book, my son did the front cover work, then I hired Fiverr for the spine and back cover for which I paid a little extra. Instead of five dollars with Fiverr, it was ten dollars and I’m very happy with their work.

I learned that the CreateSpace process for me was somewhere between adding art and print to a Vistaprint writing advertisement to doing my own taxes (on an easier year).

Yesterday, I went to hear multi-published author, Joanne Pence, give a talk about self-publishing at my local writers group in the Boise area. After already using CreateSpace, I learned the following information:

For those of you that want to add a publishing name to their self-pubbed books, Joanne says that you can go through SBA.GOV for your assumed business name. Registering a name will cost you $25.00. For my writing business name of Melland Publishing, LLC, I went through the Secretary of Idaho and paid $100.

Joanne also says that off-white or cream is the paper color of most fiction books. The 6 x 9 inch book size is becoming the industry standard and costs less than a book sized 5 ½ x 8 1/2 inches. You can buy a cheaper, older version of Adobe Photoshop on eBay for making your own covers.

Finally, Joanne adds that, especially for multi-published authors, the value of going to and using them exclusively to sell your e-book for your first 90 days can give you five free days on Amazon. It’s a way to get your name out there in hopes of readers choosing to buy and read your other books. After 90 days you can renew with them, or you can put your book into an .epub format and download it to other bookselling sites.

Yet, as Lucinda says, you need to do your own study and then decide what is best for you.






You can find it:


Distribution to the following retailers and partners…

Amazon Kindle

All Romance


iTunes (iBookstore)


Barnes & Noble Nook

Sony –

It’s also at Overdrive Content Reserve (distributes to libraries and various retailers)

Another Reason To Buy An E-book

Recently, my husband said I should get a new Kindle Fire, the one with the larger screen and the capability to be online anywhere with a reasonable distance to a cell tower. I knew phones could do that, of course, but I didn’t know a tablet could, so in a few days I held one in my hand. The 4G Kindle Fire takes a little time to get used to, at least for me, but once I have it figured out I should be able to do just about anything with it.

At work, I looked for some vocabulary curriculum that I could use with my high school students, and came across a reading comprehension sheet from Read Theory, LLC. The paper didn’t have a title or a mention of the author who wrote it, but it was about books becoming relics, and how e-readers are superior. Obviously it was a persuasion essay, and I’m not here to tell you to throw away your books. I will always love an actual book I can hold in my hand, too.

I have heard several of the author’s arguments before, but one thing really opened my eyes. E-books are environmentally friendly. Of course they are, I have no argument with that. Further he/she stated how many trees it took to print a book.

80,000 pieces of paper in a tree.

If your book is 300 pages long, printed 1000 times, it will take 4 trees.

If your book is a bestseller, selling 20,000 copies a week, it will take over 300 trees per month.

If you are J.K Rowling, with the Harry Potter series, you have sold 450 million copies and have used 2 million trees to print your books.

So, here is another reason to buy E-books. I, personally, love trees and am rethinking the value of a book held in my hand.

I have postcards and rack cards and you can have some of each!

Rack Cards

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Tell me what you want. If you are a reader, you can have rack cards as a book mark for your keepers, and I’ll send you postcards along with them. If you have a bookstore or a readers’ group and would like multiple postcards or rack cards, just tell me.

2. If you want the card(s) signed, please tell me who they should be signed for.

3. Tell me where to send them. I need a complete snail-mail mailing address.

You can send me an email ( If you email me and don’t get a reply in 48 hours, then the spam filters ate it. Please try again.


Can’t You Just Picture It?

elizarmada[1]The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, c.1588.
George Gower. Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, UK.

About once a year I try to sit down and read a writing reference book. This year I picked, The First Fifty Pages by Jeff Gerke since I have the hardest time putting together the first part of a manuscript, but once I get through this section my characters come alive and I sail through the rest of the story. Below I share some of Gerke’s thoughts.

During the Renaissance period a person’s portrait included items that conveyed much about his interests, background and life. For example, look at the picture above of Queen Elizabeth I.  See the globe, and her hand resting upon it? Perhaps she wants to rule other countries besides England. Is she pointing at a particular land that she wants to have? Why does her crown sit beside her and not on her head? Look out the window on the left. Looks like the queen is in favor of a large navy or, perhaps it symbolizes her power. What’s out the right window? I’m thinking maybe it symbolizes the fate her opponents faced in battle. Your guesses are probably as good as mine.

I started to think about myself. What would be a representation of me? A typewriter or computer, a cat, my books, a teacher’s bell, something like a rosary to symbolize my faith in a higher power, a picture of my family on the table and a pecan mud slide from Diary Queen. My setting would probably be in a forest, or at least be out of one of the windows. Think about all the things that make you who you are and put them in your picture (at least mentally).

If your hero had a portrait done such as this, how would he want to appear? How about your heroine? What would be the setting? What will he/she wear? What would be in his hands? On the table? Out the window? If you know your hero in his essence you can figure out how to display it.

Further, if your hero/heroine could be anywhere else in the world what would she be doing, wearing, or talking about? How about putting her/him into a different time? How would your character get around if there wasn’t a car? What would be the ultimate-for-him activity?

Designing this portrait will help you figure out who your hero is. When he is tossed into trouble how will he handle it? Come back to this picture and look for clues.

Gerke says the most important thing to consider: Why would this be what the character chooses? How is this the ultimate expression, or revelation, of the person’s core?

What would be in your portrait?

More about Jeff Gerke:

He says, “Please point people to, which will be my site for online video training when we go live later this month.”

You can find Jeff’s book at:

Selling Digital Only

Back in 2005, I had the opportunity to have two of my favorite authors’ sign the books I’d purchased. To be able to stand close to Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Nora Roberts was a dream come true for me. I can picture the scene in my mind’s eye to this day.

Since then, I’ve watched writer friends get “The Call” and then I joined the ranks of the published, too. Being able to hold a book in your hand and actually sign it for a reader is something a writer hopes for, even if my reader isn’t as smitten as I was when I approached Phillips and Roberts.

To be able to hold a hand is not as easy as it once was. The midlist is vanishing and it is harder to sell the manuscript you’d worked so hard to produce.  I have been able to have both print and e-book publications with a small press. In this economy, mixed with the demand for e-books, a smaller publishing house may only produce e-books. Further, a larger house may want to turn your manuscript into an e-book only format as well.

Yes, e-books are convenient and the future of publishing, but technology has a hard time satisfying the public’s desire to personally connect with the author. So, the question is: Can a digital only author participate at a book signing and/or connect with their readers?

First of all, there are a few ways to get yourself noticed. For example, sign bookmarks, or rack cards, and leave them at the book store to pass out (you’ll need to check with the book store’s policy). Or, pass them out anywhere you can.

Authors can do readings and Q&A sessions, which can be even more valuable than a book signing. Here you can meet the author, state your appreciation for their book, shake their hand, and take their picture.

When there is a group book signing, think about printing, then displaying, a booklet with a chapter included, or with photos and an interview with the author about how he/she wrote the book, etc. When shoppers pass by your display, you will have something to give them.

I have heard of people getting the back of their e-readers, or iPads signed by an author with Sharpies, and some say this will become more popular. How about signing associated merchandise? See what Vista Print, or your printing house, has to offer.

We should never underestimate technology. I imagine with it will come more and more marketing ideas and a way to connect. Perhaps you’ve heard of companies such as Autography and Kindlegraph that have come up with ways for authors to digitally sign electronic books. In the case of Autography, they’ve actually come up with a way to add a page to your digital book that contains the author’s inscription.

The creator of Kindlegraph, Evan Jacobs, says, “…the connection between authors and readers is the important thing and the signed book is simply a memento of that connection. The move toward digital books doesn’t mean that these connections will no longer exist or no longer be important. On the contrary, I created Kindlegraph as an acknowledgment of the power of personal connections even while people become more anonymous because of technology.”

Here are a few thoughts about selling e-books at a book signing:

If you don’t already know, check to see if your publisher has an author discount, and download them into a CD to sell.

If there’s an internet connection, bring your laptop and sell to those through your Amazon (Smashwords, B&N, etc.) account. Remember, you would have to have an account at each site.
Follow the author’s link to the book then gift the book to the buyer’s email address. You’d receive a royalty for the sale. This idea is from author, Delle Jacobs.

I’ve heard of a credit card scanner that attaches to your phone. I’m not techno savvy with phones these days, so you’ll need to research to see if you can use PayPal with a phone.