Showing posts with label Finally Home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Finally Home. Show all posts

Creating 3D covers in Microsoft Publisher

Over the last week or so, I've been exploring my Microsoft Publisher program (it's part of the Microsoft Office group) to try to get some covers made up for my compilation and one other cover that I needed made up.  For a boxed set, a 3D cover makes sense.  It feels you are getting a box with four to six to even ten books, which you are, even if the stories are short stories. 

I've created two separate covers for my boxed set since iBooks doesn't accept 3D covers.  I don't like the flat cover for a boxed set because the titles just have to be placed randomly on the front and it doesn't look like you have several stories in there. 

So how do you go about creating covers?  It took several hours for me to figure out what I was doing but I've got it down to a small science now. 

First, open your publisher program (this is only for Microsoft Publisher as I don't know much about the other cover designer programs); open a new blank document.  It almost looks like a Word document but it's not.  Publisher was designed to be a picture tool.  If you have a picture you already are wanting to use for your cover, open it.  Once opened, you can stretch it to fit the page or make it whatever size you want it to be.  Add your text boxes (there is a tool on the home page that says "draw text box"; play around with your fonts, sizes, colors, until you get the look you want.  After you are satisfied with your text boxes, click off to the side of the page so no one particular item is highlighted.  Go to you home page and click on select (the drop down will ask if you want to select all objects or another choice); click on select all objects and then the box to the left of where the select button has a group, ungroup selection.  Click on group.  What this does is fuse all the items to make it one picture.  Right click on your picture and click on the line that says "save as picture".  Name your picture and go to the drop down menu below and save it as a JPEG file or whatever type is accepted where you are publishing your books.  Usually JPEG files are the most accepted, so it's pretty safe to save them all as JPEG files.

Now, open a new blank document.  Insert a template for a 3D book.  These are the two I've used for the covers I've created:



The boxed set obviously because I had four stories I combined into one.  The other because I was just playing around with single story covers.

After you pull up your template, then go back to insert and recall the picture you created of the cover.  Stretch it so that it matches the bottom and one or two of the "page" side corners.  Go to picture effects and scroll to the 3D section, play around to see which fits the angle of the book.  For the single story book, the perspective left works well.  Once it slants to the 3D look, adjust your picture until all the edges and corners line up.  Again, go to the select all objects and group them together and then save that file as your 3D cover.

Once you play around with your Publisher program and have the templates, you can do any cover you already have on file as a 3D cover. 

The boxed set is a bit different in that you have to do text boxes and turn them so they are like the spine and this was my first attempt at the 3D covers and it took me a few hours to get what I wanted.

My final 3D cover for the boxed set: 


But because iBooks doesn't like 3D Covers, I had to go with this:



For my Zombies story, again - no 3D for iBooks so everyone but kindle has a flat cover and kindle gets the 3D cover.


Same picture just added to the book template to give it that 3D look.

After I created these two covers, I then decided to take my previously created covers and came up with the following: 




That is how to use publisher to create your own 3D Covers.  Hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions, please leave a comment and I'll try to answer them as best as I can.

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Elysabeth Eldering
Elysabeth's Blog
Elysabeth's email

NYTs Best Seller's List or Book Club?

In this profession, they say you've made it when you are on the NYTs Best Seller's list, or at least in the top 100 on that list.  But what if you were to get your book or books as part of a book club discussion?  Do you think that is "making it"? 

I recently attended a "Reluctant YA Readers" book club (a group of adults who don't want to admit they read YA but do anyway - lol) at the local library.  I really enjoyed the discussion, even though I hadn't read the selected read for the month.  After the group left, I spent some time talking with the librarian who heads up the reading clubs.  My book, FINALLY HOME, will be either the book selected for the October reading or I may end up on a different day just to have my own book event with the ability of being able to sell my book.  The hope is that the second story in the series, THE TIES OF TIME, will be completed and published, so I can sell both books at the same time.

To me, it's not necessarily the NYTs best seller's list, but it means I have finally made it.  I'm making a name for myself, starting locally and building a readership and hopefully that will lead to word of mouth sales, which in turn will eventually lead to NYTs Best Seller's list, not that that has really been goal since publishing my first story.  It's a nice little perk.

Eight years from the first story being published online after taking a shared 2nd place to the present, putting my book out there for the librarian to put my books out in the face of the public.  I've not pushed my books in the last couple of years as much as I did when I first got published, but now I feel it is time to really step it up and put more effort into getting my stories completed and published and maybe shoot for the stars - the NYTs Best Seller's List.

This is an encouragement note, as Heidi's was a couple of days ago.  It doesn't matter the route you take to get there, just keep at it and persevere and you will get there.  Reach for the top rung!!

Elysabeth Eldering
Author
Finally Home (A Kelly Watson, YA, paranormal mystery) - available in print, ebook, and as an audiobook
The Ties of Time (A Kelly Watson, YA, paranormal mystery - coming soon)
Elysabeth's Writing Blog

ACX Update and a n audible.com Tutorial

The last known activity on both books - State of Successes and Finally Home - was that the books were submitted as finalized by me on June 4.  The note you get from ACX is that they have to validate the books.  I searched the site, al the FAQs and every place I could think of to search for the answer to the question, how long does it take to validate and go live with projects?, to no avail.  I finally emailed support and was given the answer of it takes 10 to 20 days to validate.  Suffice it to say, the process can be longer on their part than on the author's part once all the edits and revisions are made. 

Overall, if you are planning on going the audio book route with any or all of your books, expect the process from finding a narrator to approving and validation by ACX to take up to 3 months or longer, depending on the length of the book, the amount of editing/revisions needed, and of course the time you have to dedicate to get the book out there in another format. 

I did email my narrator for the state book to let her know that I had posted on my blog about the books, et cetera and she did get back to me stating that she has told all her friends and family, a good many of them who are teachers, and the responses so far has been that everyone is anxiously awaiting hearing/reading the books in the series.  I've also posted in several places about the books going live soon.  I hope this will generate some interest and that the series will start picking up.

I will start the process for another state book once the first one goes live, so hopefully before the end of June, State of Wilderness will be on its way to the narrator and by end  of August or the first part of September should go live barring any complications on my end. 

I know once the books go live they will be available on amazon.com, audible.com, and itunes.  Audible will set the retail price and the price will vary from all three depending on whether discounts are offered to members or if each site decides to price differently.  Remember that there is a good bit of work that goes into producing an audio book and that is why the price can be a lot more than print or ebooks.  The coolest thing about the audio books is that if you have a kindle (and this is true for all of them, not just the newer ones out) you can buy the ebook and the audio book and listen and read while the book is actually being narrated.  So for those of you who like both sensory stimuli, you can as long as the books are available in ebooks.  In the case of my state books, they are only available as print books and soon to be audio books for now.  Maybe when I get a sponsor or have more books out in the series, I will consider putting them up as ebooks.

How audible.com works:  Audible.com is a subscription service.  Basically, you sign up, start an account, pay the monthly fee (when I registered and started, my fee was $7.49 for the first 3 months and then will go up to $14.95 thereafter) and earn credits that are good towards the books available.  What I've seen so far in searching for various books in various genres is that no matter what the retail cost of the book you can get the books for 1 credit (which is basically your month's credit).  I picked up The Help which is an 18-hour+ recording for 1 credit while it retails for $26.60 and is available to members without credits for $18.62. As you can see, I got a $27 retail book for $7.49 or my 1 credit for the month of April.  Audible.com also runs specials like in April it was purchase qualifying books for $4.99 (I think you had to buy 4 during the 2-week period) and receive extra coupon monies (I don't remember what I purchased during that special deal but I have available to me 2 credits (May and June monthly member payments) as well as a $10.00 coupon.  I don't know if once my books go live that they will be automatically put in my library or if I have to "purchase" them or what, but once I know that, I will let you all know.

I hope my little bit of insight into the overall process of producing audio books has been helpful to all you authors out there who are thinking of going this route.  E :)

EARN TWO CHANCES FOR THE CROCHETED RED/WHITE/BLUE AFGHAN DRAWING:  For everyone who comments on this posting or any posting on either of my blogs (see below for links) between now and the end of June, you will receive 2 entries in the afghan drawing which will be done December 1, after all my events are completed for the year.  The chances normally sell for 2/$1 or buy a book and receive 5 chances, but I will put everyone's name who comments in the drawing.  Please make sure you provide me with an email address to be able to contact you for information on where to send your chances and/or afghan if you are the lucky winner.  Good luck to all.  E :)

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Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a middle grade/YA myster
Elysabeth's Blog
Elysabeth's website

Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series
Where will the adventure take you next?
JGDS blog
JGDS website

ACX Update

Last month I posted about the process of turning your print/ebook into an audio book using ACX.  I've now contracted a narrator or producer as they are actually called and she is perfect for the reading.  I've checked out her website and she looks exactly how I pictured Kelly looking so her voice and looks actually are a perfect fit for Finally Home.  I posted on my blog this past Sunday a bit about my narrator and links to her website and twitter as she has a podcast going and would like some followers. 

I will tell you  this, if you are considering putting your book(s) up as audios, the process is not a fast one because the narrators actually get offers during times they are working on projects.  If you plan on going this route, remember that the word of the day is PATIENCE.  If you don't get any auditions in the first couple of days, persevere and listen to more sample files and contact several narrators.  When contacting them asking them to audition for your book, mention what caught your attention on their sample files, tell them a little about your book and what you are looking for for the final book. 

Several folks have commented that the process has gone rather quickly for me, but in reality, I started looking for a narrator right after hearing Nina Bruhns from Entangled Publishing mention it at our local Sisters in Crime meeting, the 7th of February.  I listened to over 50 samples and contacted my top 3 choices (including the one I've actually contracted), and after getting their auditions, listened to a few more voice samples and contacted about 3 or 4 more before I actually got the audition from the producer I settled with.  By that time, I had already made a contract.  Before narrowing my choices down by genre, gender, payment type, the options were over 10,000 narrators.  When I narrowed it down by genre (teens), gender (female for obvious reasons - a male wouldn't be able to do Kelly and Emma Louise justice), and payment type (royalty split opposed to upfront payments),  I ended up with  79 voice files to listen to, but two of those were actually male (and how they slipped in there with me specifying female, I'll never know).  Of those 79, there were several samples by the same person or people, so I didn't really have 79 files to listen to.  Once I listened to the files and if something piqued my interest, I would then go to the narrator's page and check out  their other sample files and their credentials and all the other things in their profile.  Then I made contact if I liked what I saw and heard. 

I think this is a great route to go and if you  are not in the United States or probably  in North America (I think Canadians are included in the ACX process), I hope there are other platforms out there for you to get your books out as audios. 

For the release of the audiobook I've taken Finally Home off smashwords and Nook and put it in the KDP select program.  I will be offering the kindle version as a freebie on April 15 and 16 and again the end of May/first part of June (May 31-June 2).  I hope to have the audio released about the same time as my first freebie offering and hopefully more projects will be in the works by then.  I hope to get back to my state stories soon, trying to raise money via a funding campaign on IndieGoGo, to pay my illustrator so we can get the series completed in the near future, and maybe look into doing more of a series with my characters from Finally Home so there are a lot of pokers in the fire, I just need to get myself in gear and get to work.  I'm still looking for some story ideas to turn my character-driven story into a series, so if anyone would like to brainstorm some ideas for the characters, I'm open and can be reached at eeldering (@) gmail (dot) com. 

See you all in the postings - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home,  a middle grade/YA mystery very much like a Nancy Drew mystery
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series - Where will the adventure take you next?

http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
http://eeldering.weebly.com
http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com
http://jgdsseries.weebly.com

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Ms. Eldering is the award-winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series.  Her stories "Train of Clues" (available in print and as an ebook on kindle), "The Proposal" (available as an ebook), "Tulip Kiss" (available as an ebook), and "Butterfly Halves", all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and ... themed type contests).  Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (available as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review.  She also has written several other short stories for contests including the second place winning story, "Zombies Amuck", and "La Cave".  Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, read, cross stitch and crochet.  When she's not busy with grown children still at home, working her full-time job as a medical transcriptionist or participating in virtual classroom visits, she can be found at various homeschool or book events and festivals promoting her writing.

ACX - Audiobook Creation Exchange

As a member of Sisters in Crime and havig a fairly close local chapter, we have guest speakers each month, alternating mystery authors and "professionals".  This month our guest speaker was Nina Bruhns, Sr. Editor of the Entangled Suspense line.  Entangled Publishing (previously Dead Sexy) offers a variety of ways to get books with a romantic element in them, ranging from 20 to 80% romance to suspense/mystery/thriller/whatever line you choose, published digitally (they aren't doing print books because they believe that the print books and brick and mortar stores are going by the wayside).  Nina really only looks at suspense or thrillers but there are editors for each of their lines and publicists that go along with that.  While Nina was talking about publishing through entangled, she also mentioned audio books.  She said she listens to audio books all the time when she is traveling.  Of course Amazon is the forerunner in this area as they have bought out audible.com which is the leader in selling audiobooks.  I know several places audiobooks are used- the state libraries use them for the blind patrons but they are still using bulky cassette machines with the books being on tape.  Audible.com will now sell audiobooks on amazon.com and itunes.com as well as on their main site audible.com. 

I wasn't really thinking of doing audiobooks at this moment but I need some sales and I figure - adding audiobooks can't hurt.  So I went to the website and decided to see if it was a simple process, like the KDP is, or how much time it would take to get an audiobook produced.

So far, the process isn't that difficult but there are a few things you must do before actually set up  your profile and start putting your book out there for auditions and a finished product.

When you sign onto the website, the first thing you will see is a big search box kind of in the middle of the purple colored box.  You need to search for your book by title and if there is more than one book with your title, find your book.  Claim your book as your book (I own this book or This is my book - something to that affect).  Once you have claimed your book, you will be asked to sign in to your amazon account, which most of us alreadyh have established as we have posted books on the KDP program or we have made purchases on amazon.com.  After you sign in, you will be asked to set up the book's profile and to upload your sample for auditions.  I would recommend loading the first chapter, or if it is fairly short,  the first two chapters.  I uploaded the second chapter of Finally Home and the auditions I've asked for and gotten back I realized that my chapter 2 wasn't the exact chapter from the book (apparently I had used Chapter 2 for a workshop or reading of some sort prior to really completing the book).  It's okay  that this isn't the completed chapter as you are just giving them a sample to read from to see how they handle the content of your book.

Once you have  completed the profile and uploaded your sample for auditions, then the fun begins.  This can be a very time consuming part of  the production of the audiobook process unless you narrow your search down.  When you get to the "auditions page", you are informed that there are something like 10,930 narrator files to search from.  There are options to narrow the field down.  So for my book, I opted to narrow down to genre, gender and payment type - genre - teens - this is my target audience; gender - female (since my characters are basically female and are teenaged girls); and payment type - royalty split.  The payment type should be indicated when you set up your book's profile and you have 2 options - you can pay the narrator a straight fee (this is based on hours to produce the book and can range from $50 per produced hour on up the gamut to over $1000 per produced hour.  The second option is a 50-50 split royalty on every book sold through audible.com, itunes. com and amazon.com - Audible will set the retail price (there is a formula based on number of hours the book takes to produce to get the price).  Since I don't personally have over several hundred dollars to pay someone to narrate the book, I opted for the royalty split option.  To me this works out best.  Anyway, after narrowing down what or who I would like to narrate the book, I dropped from 10,930 to 79 options. The next thing to do is listen to the  sample narrations that are available.  I found four or five within the first 3 pages of samples (there are usually 12 per page and I only 7 pages to go through), and basically within the first couple of pages that I was impressed with. 

After listening to the sample narrations, then I started checking the profiles of the ones I liked and sent them each a message indicatig that I was looking for a narrator for my book, Finally Home, and if they would be interested in auditioning for me.  At the time of this writing, I had requested auditions from four ladies and had received two back.  The first one I received, she wasn't too bad but she read the main text very quickly - I almost felt like she was on a speeding bullet.  She did get Emma Louise's personality in her reading rather well, so that was a good thing.  The second one I received, I really liked how she got the gist of Kelly's character but she seemed a bit too southern (yes, I know Emma Louise is southern and all but she's not quite that southern).  Basically  I have two good readings of my sample text but neither are quite right.

After I get the other two back, I'll either search for more readings, maybe narrow it down to only females and payment type as opposed to genre and see what I come up with.  It may actually take the longest to find the right narrartor for the book than anything else.  I'll probably update the status on my blog as I get closer to getting an audiobook produced of Finally Home

That's my experience so far with ACX and creating an audiobook to sell and hopefully start seeing some profits on my book sales. 

Since it is almost Valentine's day and this is the last of the "giving holiday season", how about give your loved ones a good book to read or listen to.  Pick an ebook or audiobook or even a signed copy of one of the authors from this group and show them you love them.  I have one Melonberry bookworm left and can't find that yarn at any of our local Walmarts, so in honor of Valentine's day, I will do a drawing from the comments on this posting for that particular bookworm.  All you have to do  is comment and leave your email address in the coment (in the format of email addy (at) whatever (dot) com if you don't want to be spammed) and I'll do a random drawing on Friday, the 15th for the bookworm.  Don't worry if  you  live outside the United States as you a re eligible also since the cost of sending overseas isn't really that high.  Good luck to all and see you in the postings - E :) 

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Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a middle grade/YA mystery

Ms. Eldering is the award-winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series.  Her stories "Train of Clues" (available in print and as an ebook on kindle), "The Proposal" (available as an ebook), "Tulip Kiss" (available as an ebook), and "Butterfly Halves", all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and ... themed type contests).  Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (available as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review.  She also has written several other short stories for contests including the second place winning story, "Zombies Amuck", and "La Cave".  Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, read, cross stitch and crochet.  When she's not busy with grown children still at home, working her full-time job as a medical transcriptionist or participating in virtual classroom visits, she can be found at various homeschool or book events and festivals promoting her writing.

You can find more information about the JGDS series on the JGDS website or follow the JGDS blog.

You can find out more about Elysabeth and her other writings on her website or follow her blog.

Writing and Weather

Forget the April showers, May flowers and March coming in like a lion, because that's January's job.  Here in South Carolina, only 12 days in, we have had rain, freezing temperatures, warm balmy temperaturres and a few things in between.  I was watching the news the other night based out of Asheville, North Carolina, and they were mentioning the snow in California and the single digit temperatures in the Utah-Colorado-Wyoming-Montana areas. 

Our writing is somewhat like the weather - we have that perfect day where everything falls into place and the weather isn't too hot or too cold; we have those really cold days where we can't think of anything to write and then we have those really hot days where we are smokin' and accomplish a lot.

I've been a funk, like the weather, and haven't really been able to shake it and get back to writing anything, although I'm hoping that by the end of the month to have many new ideas for my middle grade/YA characters to make into a series.  I'd love for more of the balmy, perfect days of writing but for now, it's just not happening. 

Maybe I need a total getaway from everything and start over like my daughter did or maybe I just need to open a document and start writing again and forget about the perfect days, just do it.  Whatever it is I need to get back on track, I hope it shows up soon so that I can get more stories published. 

Hoping all your writing days are balmy and perfect and not the super cold or super hot days - see you all in the postings - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Elysabeth's blog
Elysabeth's website
JGDS series blog
JGDS series website

Twelve-Twelve-Twelve

As I write this posting, I realize I'm scheduled to post on a significant date or supposedly a significant date - 12/12/12.  According to the Mayan calendar, it will be a day of rebirth or the end of times as we know it.  The world will not end this day or this month, but the collective of society will go through a transformation, or being reborn.  Many religions around the world are also prophecizing this same thought pattern. 

On that note, this past week or so, I've been trying to recreate stories featuring my protagonist, Kelly Watson, and really make her a series like the Nancy Drew series.  I've printed out the winners of the MysteryNet's contests from all the months they actually held the contests; I've printed out several postings of tips on writing mysteries; and I've printed out a few "mystery story prompts/starters" to help me along the way.

The biggest problem I'm up against is having set my first tory, Finally Home, in a small town, population of under 1000, in South Carolina, which is even smaller than the town I live in which has a population of around 3500, and that my girls are only 13 or 14 - upper middle school, about to enter high school aged.  They aren't driving age and therefore can't zip over to the big town to "solve mysteries" and there probably isn't much in the way of things happening in the town to be a mystery.

So, I'm looking to my readers to give me some suggestions on how to bring Kelly and Emma out in several mysteries - shoot me some ideas by way of comment and if I use your idea, I'll send you an ebook copy of Finally Home for Nook or Kindle along with an authorgraph.

See you all in the postings - E :)

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Ms. Eldering is the award-winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series. Her stories "Train of Clues" (available in print and as an ebook on kindle), "The Proposal" (available as an ebook), "Tulip Kiss" (available as an ebook), and "Butterfly Halves", all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and ... themed type contests). Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (available as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review. She also has written several other short stories for contests including the second place winning story, "Zombies Amuck", and "La Cave". Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, read, cross stitch and crochet. When she's not busy with grown children still at home, working her full-time job as a medical transcriptionist or participating in virtual classroom visits, she can be found at various homeschool or book events and festivals promoting her writing.
For more information about the JGDS series, please visit the  JGDS blog or the JGDS website.

For more information about Elysabeth's other writings, please visit her general writing blog or her author website

Earth Day 2012

We've been celebrating earth day for quite a while now. The motto has always been reduce, reuse, and recycle. All very good advice. In honor of earth day 2012, I kept thinking to myself, how could I reduce using trees in my book marketing endeavors, and the idea came to me. Instead of passing out paper bookmarks (which I still do, but my bookmarks are multi-factorial in that they serve as my business card as well as a bookmark) for giveaways on my blog or anywhere else I am a member, why not use yarn bookmarks (my bookworm bookmarks are perfect for this).

I know I'm not recycling the yarn but they are reusable and do reduce the paper floating out around there.


So, in honor of earth day, I decided to do a drawing between now and 22nd, the actual date of earth day, both on this blog and my blog. The drawings will be an Earthworm (Woodsy) bookworm bookmark.

How to be entered in the drawings: (possibly between 17 and 20 bookworms to be given away)

1. Leave a comment on this blog from the 12th through the 22nd to be entered in the drawing. There are 11 scheduled blog postings between the 12th and 22nd, so that will be 11 drawings from comments on this blog. Each day's comments one winner will be randomly picked.
2. Leave a comment on my blog on any of the scheduled postings between the 122th and 22nd and you will be placed in the drawing. There are six scheduled posting plus a possible 2 or 3 unscheduled postings during that time frame. This means you need to stop by my blog every day to see if a new posting is up and leave a comment.
3. Leave you email addy in the comment in the format of eeldering (at) gmail (dot) com so if you are the winner you can be contacted so I can send out your bookworm.

Winners will be announced in the comment section after the winner has been contacted.


Simple to be entered, and remember if you don't win that day's drawing, there is always the next day or the day after that through the 22nd. If you are interested in the bookworms for gifts or if you don't win one, they are available on both my personal author website and my JGDS series website under the gifts tab. They are only $1.50 each plus shipping (anywhere in the United States). See you all in the postings - E :)

The Secret

What do you do when a big secret just happens to come to light and you aren't even thinking of your story? How do you keep that secret from exploding to a full-on reveal?

This happened to me just recently in my wip - Imogene: Innocense Lost. I discovered a secret, not about Imogene who the story is supposed to be about, but about her mother who is on the quest to save Imogene. The secret has blown up in my head and I'm very anxious to get it written but I can't. Once the secret comes out, the dynamic of the story changes drastically. It will no longer be about saving Imogene but saving Sarah Beth and the story is about finding Imogene first and foremost.

The biggest problem is that not even Sarah Beth knows the secret yet and I'm afraid once I put the secret on paper (or on the computer in the story somewhere - writing scenes as they come to me this go round since this is not like anything else I've ever written) that the story takes on a completely different meaning. I need to get Imogene's story written before entangling her mother's story and therefore, the secret will have to just keep niggling me until it's finally right to write it. The secret actually reveals a good bit about Sarah Beth that I didn't know before (my characters were still a bit two dimensional as the story really hasn't taken hold in my head and gotten to the point that I can just write from beginning to end). Maybe if I do a character chart for Sarah Beth, the secret can be put there for now and when it's time to work it in, it will be fine.

I just don't know what to do with this secret and this style of story now since I'm exploring new waters for me. If you've had a secret just pop up in your writing and have kept it a secret until just the right moment, please drop me a line and let me know how you handled it. See you all in the postings - E ;)

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Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
"The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
"The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
"Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
E's blog
E's website

Square credit card reader

Do you do a lot of in-person events? If you do any events where you sell your own books (not like a book signing where you sell on consignment or the bookstore actually does the selling of the books) and you aren't taking credit cards at said events, why not?

Did you know you could get a free device that reads credit cards and is connected to your checking account? It's called Square. You can sign up for a free account and receive a free card reader here. What does it cost to use? Just 2.75% of the charge when you swipe a card, which basically comes out to 3 cents on the dollar being taken out before you receive your money. You can also manually key in a credit card number but the percentage is higher - 3.75% plus 25 cents for each transaction. The pay out is the next day. The other device you will need to use the card reader is an iphone, ipod touch, ipad, smartphone or any android based type device that the Square app can be downloaded to and need to be in an wifi area.

This was a big issue for me when I was at the Savannah Children's Book Festival in November; a lot of people asked if I took credit cards or stated they didn't have any cash on them. I've had my Square since last summer but haven't had a device to use the card reader on until last month. My daughter got a new Pantech Crossover phone through AT&T and it has an Android 2.3 OS and she was able to load the Square app and we tested my Square out and I now have the capability of taking credit cards at my events. So now, until I can afford a device of my own, when I have an event, I will have to borrow her phone for the purpose of taking credit cards (not into using her phone for phone purposes). Each Square is programmed to your account only. Do I feel safe using it? Yes. Am I worried someone might keep swiping cards and trying to take my money? Not really. I get notices when the card reader has been used and if there is a dispute on a charge from a customer and I can refund the charges, I don't feel fraud or identity theft is a problem. I can't wait to put my sign up for display at my first event of 2012, Geofest, February 18.

For more information, check out the Square here. May you have lots of sales at your in-person events. - See you all in the postings - E :)

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Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
"The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
"The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
"Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook
"Butterfly Halves", a YA fantasy ebook
http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
http://eeldering.weebly.com

Ma America, The Travelin' Maven
Author of the JGDS, 50-state, mystery, trivia series and "Train of Clues" (a mystery destination story and predecessor to the JGDS series)
Where will the adventure take you next?
http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com
http://jgdsseries.weebly.com

Kindlegraph

What is a kindlegraph?
by Elysabeth Eldering

According to the website, kindlegraphs are a way of making ebooks a little more personal. As an author, no matter what type of event we do, we usually sign our books and personalize them for the person buying the book. So what about those folks who don't have the opportunity to visit us in person at these events? How do they go about getting something e-autographed? Kindlegraph.

This is an easy-to-use site and is free to all authors and readers. All the instructions on how to set up your own author page are on the website. To explore the site, one does not need to sign in via their twitter account but to request a kindlegraph or to set up your own author page, you do need to sign in with your twitter account.

What does one need to list books on the site? A Twitter account, a valid email address and your books' AISNs or 10-digit ISBNs (AISNs are exclusively amazon's numbering system). Can one only list ebooks on kindlegraph? No. You only need your 10-digit ISBN to list any title you have available for sale.

Do readers need to have a kindle to receive kindlegraphs? No. As long as they have a twitter account and a valid email address, they can request and receive kindlegraphs from you. The kindlegraphs are PDFs sent to either a kindle email addy or a regular email addy as set up by the requester of the kindlegraph.

At the moment, Evan is working on making kindlegraphs available to other ereader systems but that is in the works. He has many changes and updates planned and is working on them as fast as he can. Evan used to work for amazon.com and felt something was needed to connect readers to authors when they are purchasing books other than directly from the author.

Why would an author want to promote kindlegraph? for this author, it is a way of trying to get in touch with readers and followers who purchase copies of my books from an online source and would like a personalized message and a signature of some sort. Technically they are electronic signatures and I haven't really signed anything, so I'm not concerned about others using these signatures to forge my name on any documents. I haven't had many online sales or requests for kindlegraphs but keep hoping that one of these days, I will have many requests. If you have purchased any of my state books from an online source or my YA paranormal mystery, Finally Home, or even my other ebooks available ("The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook; "Butterfly Halves", a YA fantasy ebook; "The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook; or "Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook) and would like a personalized e-signed message from me, please check out my kindlegraph page and request yours today.

Check out Elysabeth's blog for an upcoming Christmas special on three of her stories. The special is good only for the week of December 17th through December 24th. For any of the books available, please don't forget to stop by my kindlegraph page and request your free e-signature.

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Ms. Eldering is the award winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series. Her stories "Train of Clues" (shared 2nd place story), "The Proposal" (third place winning story, now available as an ebook), "Tulip Kiss" (1st place winning story, now available as an ebook), and "Butterfly Halves" (runner up, now available as an ebook) all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and ... themed type contests). Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (now available as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review. Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, read, cross stitch and crochet. When she's not busy with teenaged children still living at home, she can be found at various homeschool or book events promoting her state series and her YA paranormal mystery, Finally Home.

For more information about the JGDS series, please visit the JGDS blog or the JGDS website.

For more information about Elysabeth's other writings, please visit her general writing and family blog or her website.

Rewriting Completed Stories?

Rewriting Completed Stories for a Totally Different Audience
by Elysabeth Eldering


Once a story is written, is changing the story from one genre to another or from one audience to a completely different one a good idea?

When I had a vision of a house one day a few years ago, I wrote two pages of a story that was supposed to be a past lives/metaphysical story for adult readers. I put the two pages aside for a couple of years. When I came back to it, the secret passages and the secret messages kept urging me to write the story. I created secret coded messages and urged my character to follow the paths and find the clues as to why the house was so important to her. I finished the story. I had worked long hours and many nights on the codes and secrets of the house. When I felt it was ready for my editors to give me their feedback (at the time I had two friends who are also writers who were big sources of encouragement as well as being great editors), I sent them the story. The first comments I got back were, "The story is too complicated; I stopped reading about a third of the way through." "I got bored with the details of the codes and all that stuff you had there." The second editor said I needed to turn the story into a children's story, in other words, completely change my thinking on the story and rewrite it. When I got those comments back, I felt like the story wasn't worthy of being told. So, again, the story went on the back burner for a year or so.

During the time the story had been brewing or maybe it was stewing, I started on my state stories. I was at the beginning of my publication route when I decided to pick Kelly back up and think about rewriting her story. I had been participating in NaNoWriMo as a cheerleader and source of encouragement for my friends for several years, not really tackling the task of writing my own novel during that time. (And for those of you not familiar with NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month, it is basically the month of November where the goal is to crank out 50,000 words of a novel or several stories in 30 days. We are almost halfway through the month at the time of this writing and there are some impressive numbers being posted on the NaNoWriMo site. This is a time when writers from all over the world keep their heineys in the chair and just write like the dickens during the month. But don't let that 50,000 word goal throw you off, you can set your own personal goal, which can be less or more, but you will not receive the winner's certificate at the end of the month if you don't write at least 50,000 words during the month. This isn't my reason for participating in NaNo; rather, my thinking is to hobnob with other writers and hope to be inspired to write a novel one of these days.) In November of 2008, after having had my first state mystery published and taking on my big promotion task (this meant traveling to different events trying to get my name out there) and sort of participating with Mr. Hughes' class during the little bit of time I could spend with the class at the beginning of November, I decided to rewrite Kelly's story.

I didn't start rewriting the story until the middle of November and completed it 30 days later, with the awesome cheerleading skills and encouragement of my two editors, topping out at about 56,000 words. Wow! I wrote a novel or 50,000 words in 30 days. That was a major accomplishment for me since all my previous stories for contests and even my state stories had not been longer than 10,000 words, and maybe not even that long (I think my longest story at the time was just over 8,000 words). I was very proud of how the story turned out. Yes, I totally started over so none of those 56,000 words were part of the original story other than the character's name staying the same and the house being full of secrets and enticing Kelly to find out what the secrets were. The theme was there; it was no longer a "past life" story but it did involve a ghost of sorts. And I totally went from a story geared for adult readers to a story geared for the young adult reader.

What, you may ask, did I come up with? A YA paranormal mystery called Finally Home. I took Kelly from being a 30something-year-old going into a house that she had been in before in a previous life to a 14-year-old who is uprooted when her father's company moves them to a podunk town and she is immediately attracted to a house across the street from where they are living. There is something in the house that beckons Kelly and with the help of Emma, the nosey busybody neighbor kid, Kelly finds out all the secrets. The house is more than an eyesore that needs to be torn down and Kelly finds out why. Did I make the right decision in rewriting my story for a totally different audience? I feel I did.

I finally finished the revisions on Finally Home (see last month's posting on this blog about revising) and submitted to my illustrator/graphic designer for her magic and received my first proof copy two days ago. I have gone through the proof copy and made some requested changes, sent them back to Heather and she has done her magic fixes. The ms is now back at the printers (I use createspace to self-publish my stories now) for review (usually within a few hours or a day or so, I get a notification that the book meets their specifications or not and then have Heather fix, if necessary, or go ahead and order a proof copy). I am now waiting for the review to be completed so that I can order the second proof copy, and barring no errors that I can detect on the read through (I will find them after I release the book I'm sure, so if you order a copy and find any errors, it's okay to let me know - lol), Finally Home will be released to the public, just in time for the gift giving season. I am taking preorders now so that as soon the book is released I can just place the order and have copies in your hands before you plan to give to someone as a gift. Orders may be made on my website. Copies are just $15 and that includes shipping.

See you all in the postings - E :)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ms. Eldering is the award-winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series. Her stories "Train of Clues," "The Proposal", "Tulip Kiss", and "Butterfly Halves" all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and ... themed type contests). Her story "Bride-and-Seek" was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review. Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, read cross-stitch and crochet. When she's not busy with teenaged children still at home, she can be found at various homeschool or book events promoting her state series and her YA paranormal mystery, Finally Home.

Elysabeth's everything blog
Elysabeth's other writings website
JGDS Series blog
JGDS Series website

Manuscript Revisions

Manuscript Revisions
by Elysabeth Eldering

How does one go about revising a first draft that is several years old, has been sitting on the back burner for a while?

When working your manuscript to a final draft or completed manuscript, one must revise, revise, revise and then revise some more. Since this author is currently revising her YA paranormal mystery, Finally Home,she thought this article was necessary. (By the time this post is up, Finally Home should be in the final stages of being published.)

Steps for revision:
1. Reread your manuscript before starting any editing or revising.
2. Utilize a critique group or a critique partner - someone you trust that is giving you sage advice. Remember that not all the comments given will be used nor will they be your way of doing things but if the comments are consistent throughout the story and they do help make the story stronger or better, then, by all means, you should use them. If you feel the comments don't have value as that may not be the way you write (your voice) or it will change the meaning of the story, then you are not obligated to use the comments. Just be consistent when reading through the comments and make sure to use the ones you don't feel strongly against.
3. Edit your story - go through looking for missing words, typos or misspelled words, checking grammar along the way (paragraphs are all in place, punctuation is correct, et cetera).
4. Jump in after receiving your edits/critiques/comments from your editor or person with whom you have established a rapport and trust to give you the sage advice needed to polish the manuscript.
5. After finalizing those comments, go back and reread the story to make sure you have a story that flows and makes sense (you want to make sure you didn't delete something or change something in the middle of the story that would affect something later or earlier in the story).
6. Send your manuscript back to friend for copyediting - checking all your words, punctuation, and flow of story.
7. Re-edit/polish.

You can repeat steps 4 through 7 as many times as you feel is necessary to make your story the best piece you can publish, but be careful. If you do those steps too many times, you will lose the content of the story and it will no longer be "your story." Revisions are a necessity when it comes to writing; everyone, fiction and nonfiction writers alike, has to revise their manuscript. Don't skip this very important step.

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Ms. Eldering is the award winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series. Her stories "Train of Clues" (soon to be re-released), "The Proposal" (soon to be released as an ebook), "Tulip Kiss" (soon to be released as an ebook), and "Butterfly Halves" (soon to be released as an ebook) all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and .... themed type contests). Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (soon to be released as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review.

Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, write, cross stitch and crochet. When she's not busy with teenaged children still at home, she can be found at various homeschool or book events promoting her state series (JGDS series) and soon to be released YA paranormal mystery, Finally Home.

For more information about the JGDS series, please visit the JGDS blog or the JGDS website. For more information about Elysabeth's other writings, please visit her general writing and family blog or her website.

BSP - Finally Home cover available

Thanks to Heather Paye, illustrator, book layouter and cover designer extraordinaire, I have a cover for my YA paranormal mystery (front cover at least), Finally Home. Check out my blog for the cover and leave a comment to let Heather know what you think of it.

BOOK DETAILS:

Back blurb: It isn't just history against progress - it's daughter against father, or is it? Find out what secrets Kelly learns as she works to preserve an historic house in a small town that will help her bring her father Finally Home.

Final book should be between 200 and 250 pages. It will be self-published using createspace as well as in all ebook formats (kindle, nook and smashwords). Release date is tentatively around the 25th or so of October.

Elysabeth's bio: Ms. Eldering is the award winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series. Her stories "Train of Clues" (to be re-released in the near future), "The Proposal" (no longer available in print), "Tulip Kiss" (no longer available in print), and "Butterfly Halves" (no longer available in print) all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and .... themed type contests). Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (also no longer available in print) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review. Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, cross stitch and crochet. When she's not busy with teenaged children still at home, she can be found at various homeschool or book events promoting her state series and soon to be YA paranormal mystery. For more information about the JGDS series, please visit the JGDS blog or the JGDS website. For more information about Elysabeth's other writings, please visit her general writing and family blog or her website.

Honoring Your Voice

As a writer, your voice is one of your most powerful assets. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, novels, screenplays, marketing copy, y...