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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Helping New Authors Publish

I just had an e-mail from someone who has written a book and is looking for a publisher. It's an exciting moment in an author's life when they realize they are ready to share their work with the world. I wrote back to her, and I'll share here with you what I shared with her:

I use the self-publishing that is offered by, which is a subsidiary company of Amazon. There is no cost to create your book with them, and you'll have a choice of paperback, Kindle or both. They have a cover creator which is also free and offers many designs to choose from. They offer word templates that are all ready for you to add your text, and will number the pages and put headers at the top for you (left and right pages are different from each other ... maybe the title of your book on the left, and the author/editor name on the right. They also offer free telephone consultants who are here in the US and speak English. I've found them very easy to work with.

What they don't offer is proofreading and editing for free. They offer it as a paid service, but I haven't checked into that.

I would suggest that you start by proofreading your content for grammatical and spelling/punctuation accuracy.
Have a friend or co-author do the same. Next, hire an editor to go over the book and look for consistency, tone, sequence (if that applies) etc.

Then take a look at CreateSpace to see  how comfortable you are with their site. Don't hesitate to use their free telephone help line if you don't see how and where to get started. I have a lot of fun beginning with the cover creator. Once I have that done, my books begin to feel real, and I add the content into their word templates. Their step-by-step guide is easy to follow. When they receive all of your content, they will offer you an online "Proof" and also offer a hard copy (paperback) at a very reasonable price (mine are usually between 2 and 4 dollars, plus shipping. Having that proof copy in your hands is an exciting moment. Finding more errors as you read through the hard copy is inevitable - but that's why a paper proof is so important. To fix the errors, you simply open your online proof copy and edit, and ask them to run it again for another proof copy. I've done that with some of my books three or four times until I finally get it right. And then when I am satisfied with my work, I tell them to publish. I order any number of copies to sell (or give) locally to friends and family, each at the same low price of the proof copy.

 You'll set the price for you book using the guide that is on the site. CreateSpace will also invite you to send the copy through another format to produce the e-book copy for Kindle. Amazon will have both your paperback and kindle edition posted on their site within a day or two's time.

Lots to do - get started, and know that I'm here to answer any questions that come up - or just be a cheerleader for you. I also do proofreading and editing, but I have to charge for that, as I'm retired and that is my new job. You can check out my prices at my website. Here's the link to my services page:Terry's Thoughts and Threads Services

Wishing you confidence and good outcomes! Happy Thanksgiving.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Melodie Starkey's View from the Closet Doorway

Melodie Starkey is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. I've read and reviewed a few of her books now, and each one is different. Yet they all carry a true sensitivity to people who have differences ... people who face the same questions and worries and goals that most do.

View from the Closet Doorway tells of the lives of three teenagers finding their way through high school. Two are twins: a sister and brother who could not be more different. The third is the best friend of the brother, a girl whose family lifestyle is remarkably different than that of the twins.

Starkey handles the differences among the adults as sensitively as she does those of the teens. At the age of sixteen, the teens are just beginning to peer ahead at what follows high school; presumably in their late thirties, the adults are finding that 'happily ever after' may not be what it once seemed.

There are grandparents with differences as well, but they play a minor role in this story. The real focus is on Sullivan, the brother who wishes he was a part of the family next door, his friend Kate's family. For in her house, Sully is comfortable in his own skin ... he enjoys the laid-back role that her father takes, playing his music, cultivating his life-long friends, who seem like holdovers from the sixties. Casual, creative, and musically-inclined, Steve (Kate's father) and his buddies play in a band late at night, and sleep in late in the day. Kate's mother works outside of the home and is quite comfortable ordering pizza for the gang's supper most evenings.

Sully's parents are not happily together, having divorced when the twins were young. Sully's mother is a good cook who provides a nutritious meal at every opportunity. The twins are both good students academically, but socially travel in different circles. Sully is into the theatre group with Kate, but his sister is more into keeping up with the in-crowd, with make up, clothing, and hair the focus of their conversations and attention.

When Sully faces a potential 'swirly' hairdo in the boys' room, courtesy of the tough guys, and is saved from that humiliation by the handsome senior whom both he and his sister find attractive, he begins to question his gender orientation. Sully's is disappointed in learning that his dad has brought a woman in to his apartment, replacing all of the familiar furniture and many of Sully's own belongings; tensions increase.

What happens following Sully's decision to leave home and find his way in the city is enough of a surprise to  keep the reader focused on how all of the characters in this drama respond.

I give another strong five stars to this story. And if you haven't read Starkey's other novels, you will find her style of writing relevant, compelling and heartwarming, and no doubt will want to find her stories online or in the book stores.
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Darcie Nuttall's Premier Children's Book

Yipper and his Journey of Mindfulness is a new book for children, written by a new author, Darcie Nuttall.  Ms. Nuttall is a licensed mental health counselor and her first book is written with calming phrases that repeat throughout the story. 

Darcie has included photographs of cuddly stuffed animals to add a visual component of reassurance and caring. The pace of the story and the frequency of illustration will help any adult reading to a child engage the child in discussion around the story.

With gentle rhymes opening the story, and a reassuring adult dog accompanying Yipper on his journey, Nuttall takes the young pup on a physical journey and through the mother-dog's voice adds a nurturing component of emotional awareness.

By traveling safely with his mother, Yipper learns that fear will pass as he moves through whatever situation is causing it. And he learns to keep the memory of overcoming fear, as that will help him address fears as they arise.

This is a very thoughtful and thought-provoking book, attractive both to children and to the adults who love and care for them. I'm looking forward to more stories of Yipper, and am sure they, too, will evoke helpful conversations between children and adults.  

Yipper and his Journey of Mindfulness is available at Amazon in print and in Kindle editions.   

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Evan Katy has added her third book to the Sam Rialto Mysteries. A Violet March picks up where Sam was left following the destruction of her home in February.  She is sharing temporary rental space with her life-long best friend Maxie and with Olivia, the sister of Sam's current paramour, Ben.

Sam's role as the middle school's music teacher is more the basis of the plot than in the previous two books of this series. Sam's student, Violet, comes to her for help; Violet's father is missing and the police seem to have given up their search. Violet is convinced that he can be found, and believes that Sam is the one to find him.

But Sam instead turns to Skipper, a private detective with whom she has worked in the past. Skipper's strategies and tactics are at times on the edge of the norm, but he does have a good track record in finding people, and in getting to the root of a story.

When Sam, Katie and Olivia find a dead body in their potential rental house, the story gets more complicated. Ben, formerly a local police officer and now a federal agent,becomes involved in the investigation of the death. Sam's abusive ex-husband (and Ben's former partner and now nemesis) is also in this story, as he is living with Skipper's fishing shack manager, Birdie. This mix of characters encounters many hazardous situations involving the missing parent, as well as his two ex-wives and two unknown (to Violet) sons.

Evan Katy continues to write mysteries that are wrapped in webs of comedy and drama. This one includes an abandoned home called "The Convent" (for ironic reason.) Thugs, gangsters, stun guns, pepper spray and real weapons are all a part of this story. A character familiar to readers is unexpectedly killed toward the end of the book, leaving Sam bereft and unsure of what is to come in her future.

This series and the main character Sam continue to hold my attention; I give this one five stars as well. To read the reviews of Evan Katy's earlier Sam Rialto Mysteries, click the links below:

      Terry's review of January Kills Me

      Terry's review A Bomb in February
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