Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Look! My First-Ever Book Review!

Yesterday, tempppo posted this comment:

The following is a comment from Mylorac:
"Great job with the book! It kept me up until 6 this morning. :) I want to know how successful it is, and I'll certainly be encouraging my friends (and various teenagers of my acquaintance) to spend the buck and read it."

Although I suspect this might be from her husband, I'm not quite sure.  Nevertheless, it IS my very first book review.
I feel so valid now.  :)

Feel free to keep posting positive reviews, folks.  Put 'em on amazon, too!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Famous Blog Follower

This is not my first blog; I've had several under pseudonyms for other purposes than writing.  Thus, I'm used to the whole business of attracting and keeping followers.  I know a blog as new as this one (not yet a month old) is not too likely to have dozens of followers right away.  But today I picked up a famous follower: Lisa Rosenberg of Smacksy.com.  Wow.
Let me put this in perspective for you: She's follower number seven on this blog.  I'm follower number 652 on hers.  She gets hundreds of views a day.  This blog has yet to top 30 views in one day.
And she signed up to follow me before I signed up to follow her (although I've lurked for months on her blog).
Gee, I feel like the cool little freshman who just got smiled at by the student-body president.

The only other blog I follow that has more little faces and avatars lined up as followers on it is Tonya Ricucci's at lazygalquilting, which has 770 followers (as of right now -- it'll have more by tomorrow).  But even if Tonya dropped over here to follow this blog, it wouldn't be quite the same.  After all, I've known Tonya since we were both 12; we were good buddies for years.  But I've never met Lisa Rosenberg except through her blog.
Well, this just brightened up my Monday for sure!

Wow! I Sold Five Books On The First Day!

I figured out how to check my sales on Amazon this morning, and I discovered that five copies of Half-Vampire have been sold.
Okay, one of them was purchased by me, one by Tempppo -- but I don't know who the other three people are.  They're probably all friends and/or family, but still....
Wow.  Five books.  That's kind of cool.
Still, keep in mind, people, that you're buying the version that is minus the italics.  I haven't been able to fix those yet.  You might want to hold off for a few days until I figure out how to get back in and edit the manuscript.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Half-Vampire Is For Sale On Amazon!! (And I Have Mixed Emotions.)

It's here!  It worked!
Okay, it sort of worked.
At some point in the multiple changes from Appleworks to HTML to PDF to Word, all the italics disappeared from the manuscript.  And I never thought to check for them.
I checked paragraph indentations (those disappeared when we switched to Word), page breaks, and for missing parts.  But I never suspected all the italics would poof themselves into cyberspace like that.  Oh, the words are still there, but they are now improperly punctuated.  And that really, really bugs the English teacher in me.  And, as far as I can tell, there's no way to edit it now.
What to do, what to do......  Hmmm....
Is it better to suffer the slings and arrows of those who may poke fun at the mistake (Thank you, Hamlet.), or to begin again and fix the thing.
I'm not sure I can stand to start the process all over right now.
I'll think about it.
But that's one more thing to check for when Max and I tackle the project with the print version.
And in the meantime, I've spoiled my own fun.  Now I feel like I have to apologize instead of celebrating the 8 years of work.
Anyway, here's the link to the kindle version.

UPDATE:  Apparently there IS a way to edit this, but I can't do it yet.  Although the book is available to buy, my "bookshelf" (which is sort of the control panel for publishing with Kindle) says it's not "live" yet, and I can't edit it until it's "live."  Only then will I be able to tell if I can edit it myself or if I have to camp out in Max's computer room and work between my laptop and his desktop (which has Word, which is how we published the thing).  In the meantime, I am (reluctantly) transferring the files of Brigid to Pages from my old, favorite Appleworks program and learning how to use it.  It appears there is a way to publish to kindle from Pages.  Perhaps I can make it work.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Almost There......

Today, my good buddy Max and I spent close to 6 hours trying to e-publish Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire.  We learned several things in the process:
1) Even though the Kindle publishing guidebook available from Amazon says that putting your document in html form is the best, it's not.  If you do this and upload it, the preview will show you html form.  No one wants to read a book in html.  Trust me.  (Max and I wasted nearly 3 hours in fixing up the html ms before we learned that it was pointless.)

2) Just use Word.  It's faster.
3) After 4 hours of working with a document, apathy sets in.  This is a good time to take a break.
(Max and I chose Ruth's Diner up Emigration Canyon.  I highly recommend the portobello mushroom sandwich. Superb.)
4) Apathy sets in faster when the sweat is literally running down your face and chest.  (We're experiencing a nasty heatwave in the valley this week.  When I went to get in my car upon leaving Max's house, the car temp read 121 F.  Yeah.  That was the external temp on my car, facing west into the setting sun, with a reflective sun screen in place.  The outdoor temperature was actually 95 F., but my car was even toastier.....  Ugh.)
5) Amazon has no obvious method listed for setting the price at "free."
I really want to have my prologue available for free, and Max and I got the whole thing set up, but the site won't let us charge less than 99¢.  I've e-mailed Amazon to find out what to do, but they have not yet responded.
6) Kitties get jealous when you spend too much time talking to a computer and not enough time with them.

So, as things stand, the full-length text of Half-Vampire is being reviewed for publication by Amazon and should be available for purchase in about 2 days.  (The price is set at 99¢.)  The prologue is in draft form at Amazon, awaiting a reply from their higher ups.  And Max and I think we might just be able to face another stint at self-publishing in 2 weeks to try Create Space and make a POD of Half-Vampire so it'll be available in paperback.  (Neither one of us could stand to try it today.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Best-Laid Schemes O Mice An Men Gang Aft Agley......

And Robert Burns didn't even have to deal with computers.
You'll notice that it's been 10 days since I last posted.  That's 10 days since I said that Half-Vampire would be e-published "tomorrow."  Well, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow has crept in its petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of MacBeth, and I still haven't published the e-book.
The short version of the explanation would be "technical difficulties."  The long version involves a hard drive, an external hard drive, a flash drive, glitches in Kindle app for Mac, missing John Denver mp3s, a very nice fellow named Tyson, a really looooong meeting at school, a blue tote bag, una paloma blanca, and very possibly a small and dainty poodle.  Trust me; it's been a heck of a week.
The good news is that it may be one week from today that I get the book up on Amazon.  In the meantime, I'm going to work on the Nerissa material and the new, unnamed project (which may eventually amount to nothing but scribbles in a notebook, which is all it is right now).  And book marks.  I want to design Half-Vampire bookmarks for swag.
In fact, maybe I'll go and do that right now, as there are no papers to grade yet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A New Page!

I've added a new page or tab to the top of the blog today.  I thought it'd be nice to show my WsIP.
My current "to do" list for writing is as follows:
1) Publish Half-Vampire and the prologue as e-books (tomorrow!).
2) Publish Half-Vampire as a physical book (we'll work on that tomorrow).
3) Revise and edit Brigid (only part of the ms has been returned by my latest beta reader buddy who's been touching up the overly-wordy spots for me and having a look at the antagonist).
4) Get Brigid out for copy editing (I have a victim volunteer in mind for this).
5) Publish Brigid as an e-book and as a paperback.
6) Revise Half-Vampire Family.
7) Finish Nerissa MacKay.
8) Edit Half-Vampire Family.
9) Revise Nerissa and get beta readers.
10) Begin sequel to Nerissa.
11) Copy edit Family.
12) Publish Family as e-book and paperback.
13) Continue work on Nerissa.

Yeah, I know.  That's pretty ambitious.  But that's the PLAN.  To be honest, I'm just hoping everything goes well tomorrow when Max and I try to format the first book.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Mysteries Of Blogging

I'm not new to blogging, even though this is a brand spanking new blog.  I have several other blogs, and I've been doing this for years.  As you long-time blogger users know, the "stats" tab is only about a year old.  And some of the things about the stats still mystify and/or amuse me greatly.
This particular blog, for example, was made public at 6:00 PM Sunday evening, approximately 38 hours ago.  This morning, the stats tab shows my first international views, one from Germany and one from Indonesia.  And one of those people got here from this link.
Okay.  Sure.  Because, uh, the connection of this blog and a Dallas Cowboys website is so, uh, clear and obvious.  Right.
Last spring, one of my older blogs kept getting traffic from a  porn site in Asia.  (No, I didn't click through. The link's URL had words in it that made it clear what type of site it was.)  And last year, my personal blog had months of traffic from a golf website.  (Folks, I don't golf.  And none of my blogs have ever had anything to do with either porn or golf.  Or the Dallas Cowboys.)
So, well, uh, hello to Germany and Indonesia this morning.  I have no idea how you found this blog from a football news link, but, hey, c'mon back often!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cover Problems

As I put the finishing touches on the Half-Vampire manuscript, I run into more and more problems.  Sigh.
Last night I spent a couple of hours getting the chapters positioned correctly and writing up the copyright page (with all the threats about "Don't even think about suing me for using your ears/hairstyle/mother's maiden name in this book"), trying to contact my formatter and two copy editors to see if/how they wished to be acknowledged, and fixing up a table of contents (which I hope will actually LINK in the Kindle version).  I finally got to bed around midnight.
I was just dozing off when it suddenly hit me that I'd never made a full cover for the actual printed book.  Somehow, I'd forgotten that actual books have a back cover.  Duh.  Well, that kept me awake for an extra hour (that and the fact that some obnoxious person was having a LOUD cellphone conversation within window-distance of me.  ugh.).
This evening I sat down to create a "full" cover for the printed book, then found that I could not do so with either iPhoto or picnik.com.  I tried downloading pixelmator (which looks wonderful), but I found that my 2-year-old laptop is not sophisticated enough for the program, and it won't run.
Here's hoping that Max has the right stuff on his computer, as he's much better at this sort of thing (messing with computers) than I am.  He and I have Thursday set aside to tackle all this, so I may have books available to sell by next week.  *fingers figuratively crossed*
(Note: To see the e-covers, just click on the "The Books" tab at the top of the page.)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Half-Vampire Is Ready To Format

In October of 2003, I created the character of Eric the half-vampire -- before Vladimer Tod was published and before Edward Cullen sparkled anywhere.  I gave it a very long title, now shortened to Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire.  But the title was inspired by James Hogg (The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner), not by Sherman Alexie (Part-Time Indian was not published until 4 years later).
The manuscript was first handwritten in a Mead spiral-bound notebook, then typed on an old, non-internet Mac.  (I had a Mac with internet capabilities, but it had a lousy printer, so I used the older machine.)  In 2005, I re-typed the entire manuscript yet again, this time onto an iBook.  After that, I lost track of how many times I revised the story.  Last spring, I had to update it to include cell phones and texting, the latter of which didn't exist when Eric first did, but without which kids can't seem to exist themselves these days.
Finally revising it to solve the problems created by the fact that I originally had Eric follow in Dracula's footsteps, with no reflection and no shadow -- things that bothered scientifically-minded readers, I asked a fellow teacher to proofread it this June.  He finished early last week, and TODAY -- darn near 8 years after I began the thing -- I finished what I hope is the last revision of the manuscript.
Tomorrow I will contact another teacher friend of mine who is good with computers, and we will set a date to format the thing.
My current plan is to e-publish the prologue and then the whole book on Amazon, the former priced at free and the latter at 99¢.  Once I get the sequel revised (oh yes, there is a sequel!), I intend to price it at $2.99, following the pattern set by other successful folks who've self-published.  I also hope to get both Half-Vampire books formatted for the POD paperback form eventually.
And what else is in the works?  Well, Becoming Brigid went through thorough beta-reading this June and is now in the hands of yet another capable teacher for editing.  Once she finishes, I will revise again and format that for e-publishing and POD as well.
My current WIP is a novella with the working title of The (Dis)Appearance Of Nerissa MacKay, and the twinklings of a sequel idea for this have already appeared in the far recesses of my mind.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A New Blog Begins!

I began blogging under a pseudonym several years ago, but I made the mistake of mixing writing with travel, school, and general rants.  I eventually realized it would be better to diversify all of these, and, now that I am ready to self-publish several of my YA novels, it seems wise to begin a new blog devoted ONLY to the writing part of my life.
And thus I begin anew.