Monday, December 14, 2015

Print Book Formatting and Disney Christmas

I am posting at the The Insecure Writer’s Support Group today: Print Book Formatting Programs - Which One Should You Use?

And this has been an interesting year for me. I’m back into fiction writing, speaking less, and business stuff has gone in so many new directions. I’m going to have some amazing things to share with you next year.

In the meantime, I’ll just share some amazing pictures from our trip to Disney World two years ago!






Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Insecure Writer's Support Group - Publisher-Author Responsibilities

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Publisher - Author Responsibilities

In working with a writer recently, it occurred to me that not everyone understands how publishing works. (I know, shocking. After teaching publishing seminars for 8 years, I’ve discovered most unpublished writers don’t know.) But there is a system in place and publishers and authors each have their responsibilities.

If you’re self-publishing, then it all falls on you. But how do things happen when a traditional publisher takes on your book?

First, it helps to know how the relationship works. The author is not hiring the publisher to produce the book - in essence, the publisher hires the author to produce a marketable manuscript. Since it’s the publisher’s time, expertise, and money going into the project, they make the decisions.

The author’s responsibilities are:
  • Produce a marketable manuscript
  • Perform all revisions as per the publisher’s timetable
  • Market the book online and in the real world before and after the book’s release

The publisher’s responsibilities are:
  • Editing, light to in depth
  • Cover design, either in house or through a regular freelancer
  • Book formatting and production
  • Printing and distribution, both outsourced
  • Minimum marketing or better
  • Scheduled royalty payments to author

There are a lot more responsibilities, but those are the basics.

Note that everything to do with book production is the responsibility of the publisher and in their control. With smaller presses, the author might have some input on the cover, but usually they have little to no say in the final design. They also have some say in the revisions, although refusing too many suggestions might result in being dropped completely.

For writers who want more control, self-publishing isn’t their only option these days. There are numerous small presses arising that are formed by authors who get to control their work. There’s also the issue of low royalties, which some small presses like Freedom Fox Press counter with much higher royalties. And of course, expertise and clout factor into it, something a publisher, big or small, can offer that one might not possess when self-publishing..

My advice to writers is pick the path that best suits his or her needs. There’s traditional publishing, self-publishing, and a lot now available in between!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Unicorn Hunt Winner, Upcoming Events/Posts, and Rocko & the Shoe

The Realms Faire has now ended. Many thanks to M. Pax for hosting it.I had fun putting together the Unicorn Hunt.


Only four people guessed all five images correctly. (Alex, Holly, Yolanda, & Cherie.)

Those four were given numbers and I visited Random.org.

The winner of the Unicorn Hunt is...

Cherie Reich!




My heartfelt thanks to those who hosted the unicorn images last week: Medeia Sharif, Jo Henderson, Chrys Fey, Bish Denham, and Heather Gardner.


I’m taking the next two weeks off. I will be back December 2 for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group posting. I’ll also have a couple posts in December dealing with formatting for print books.


In the meantime, Rocko really loves my shoes!




Friday, November 13, 2015

Fianl Day of Realms Faire and the Unicorn Hunt!


The last day of the Realms Faire! Dozens of games with a ton of prizes. Visit the Realms Faire page at M. Pax’s site for a full list. Join the fun this week!

I am hosting the Unicorn Hunt this week.

You are charged with tracking down the unicorns.

Every day, a new blogger will host a photo. You will have to find the unicorns in the image, much like the famous “Where’s Waldo?” Leave a comment stating how many unicorns you find in that image. The most correct guesses wins.

Grand prize:
Ebooks -
Hot Pink in the City by Medeia Sharif
30 Seconds by Chrys Fey
One Good Catch by Heather Gardner
A Lizard’s Tail by Bish Denham
The Circle of Friends Series by L. Diane Wolfe
And -
$20.00 Amazon or ITunes gift card

Five images - many unicorns - only one winner!

Start tracking the unicorns at today’s host blog - Heather Gardner


And I leave you with one final image:


Many of my images are for sale as stock photos at my site, Spunk On A Stick.
I’ve also just opened a Zazzle Store and you can purchase several items boasting my images.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Realms Faire and the Unicorn Hunt Continue!


The Realms Faire is underway! Dozens of games with a ton of prizes. Visit the Realms Faire page at M. Pax’s site for a full list. Join the fun this week!

I am hosting the Unicorn Hunt this week.

You are charged with tracking down the unicorns.

Every day, a new blogger will host a photo. You will have to find the unicorns in the image, much like the famous “Where’s Waldo?” Leave a comment stating how many unicorns you find in that image. The most correct guesses wins.

Grand prize:
Ebooks -
Hot Pink in the City by Medeia Sharif
30 Seconds by Chrys Fey
One Good Catch by Heather Gardner
A Lizard’s Tail by Bish Denham
The Circle of Friends Series by L. Diane Wolfe
And -
$20.00 Amazon or ITunes gift card

Five images - many unicorns - only one winner!

Start tracking the unicorns at today’s host blog - Bish Denham


And each day I will leave you with a new image:


Many of my images are for sale as stock photos at my site, Spunk On A Stick.
I’ve also just opened a Zazzle Store and you can purchase several items boasting my images.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day Three - Realms Faire and Unicorn Hunt. And Happy Veterans Day, Daddy



The Realms Faire has begun! Dozens of games with a ton of prizes. Visit the Realms Faire page at M. Pax’s site for a full list. Join the fun this week!

I am hosting the Unicorn Hunt this week.

You are charged with tracking down the unicorns.

Every day, a new blogger will host a photo. You will have to find the unicorns in the image, much like the famous “Where’s Waldo?” Leave a comment stating how many unicorns you find in that image. The most correct guesses wins.

Grand prize:
Ebooks -
Hot Pink in the City by Medeia Sharif
30 Seconds by Chrys Fey
One Good Catch by Heather Gardner
A Lizard’s Tail by Bish Denham
The Circle of Friends Series by L. Diane Wolfe
And -
$20.00 Amazon or ITunes gift card

Five images - many unicorns - only one winner!

Start tracking the unicorns at today’s host blog - Chrys Fey


And each day I will leave you with a new image:


Many of my images are for sale as stock photos at my site, Spunk On A Stick.
I’ve also just opened a Zazzle Store and you can purchase several items boasting my images.



Since we are also celebrating Veteran’s Day here in the US, I’d like to give honor to my father, Carl W. Wittmeyer.

He was around for the first eleven years of my life and had a huge impact on me. He was reserved, dedicated, gentle, a great carpenter, and an excellent photographer.

My father served in the US Navy during World War II. He never spoke of it, so photos and a few pieces of Japanese planes are all that remains.

Thanks for defending this country, Daddy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Realms Faire is On! Let the Unicorn Hunt Continue


The Realms Faire has begun! Dozens of games with a ton of prizes. Visit the Realms Faire page at M. Pax’s site for a full list. Join the fun this week!

I am hosting the Unicorn Hunt this week.

You are charged with tracking down the unicorns.

Every day, a new blogger will host a photo. You will have to find the unicorns in the image, much like the famous “Where’s Waldo?” Leave a comment stating how many unicorns you find in that image. The most correct guesses wins.

Grand prize:
Ebooks -
Hot Pink in the City by Medeia Sharif
30 Seconds by Chrys Fey
One Good Catch by Heather Gardner
A Lizard’s Tail by Bish Denham
The Circle of Friends Series by L. Diane Wolfe
And -
$20.00 Amazon or ITunes gift card

Five images - many unicorns - only one winner!

Start tracking the unicorns at today’s host blog - Jo Henderson


And each day I will leave you with a new image:


Many of my images are for sale as stock photos at my site, Spunk On A Stick.
I’ve also just opened a Zazzle Store and you can purchase several items boasting my images.

Monday, November 09, 2015

The Realms Faire Begins! Join in on the Unicorn Hunt


The Realms Faire has begun! Dozens of games with a ton of prizes. Visit the Realms Faire page at M. Pax’s site for a full list. Join the fun this week!

I am hosting the Unicorn Hunt this week.

You are charged with tracking down the unicorns.

Every day, a new blogger will host a photo. You will have to find the unicorns in the image, much like the famous “Where’s Waldo?” Leave a comment stating how many unicorns you find in that image. The most correct guesses wins.

Grand prize:
Ebooks -
Hot Pink in the City by Medeia Sharif
30 Seconds by Chrys Fey
One Good Catch by Heather Gardner
A Lizard’s Tail by Bish Denham
The Circle of Friends Series by L. Diane Wolfe
And -
$20.00 Amazon or ITunes gift card

Five images - many unicorns - only one winner!

Start tracking the unicorns at today’s host blog - Medeia Sharif!


And each day I will leave you with a new image:


Many of my images are for sale as stock photos at my site, Spunk On A Stick.
I’ve also just opened a Zazzle Store and you can purchase several items boasting my images.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The Insecure Writer's Support Group and Stories with Personality

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

I’m still revising my four novelette length stories. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between the vampire and alien ones while still toying with the idea of writing the one about the shark. (Especially since so many of you noted that you’ve never read a paranormal romance story with a shark.)

I’ve also been reading. A LOT! The IWSG admins are going through the entries for the anthology contest and noting the best ones. (Once we’ve pared down the list, they will be sent to the official judges.)

I’ve found this has really helped with editing though. In reading these stories, I can see what works and what doesn’t. What makes one compelling but not the next? While it’s all a mix of storyline, characters, and good writing, I’d boil it down to one word - personality. Or, as most writers call it, voice. The best ones are where everything comes alive. The story doesn’t even have to be the greatest in the world. If it has a strong voice, it grabs you right away.

One story has already grabbed me completely. I hope it makes the cut, Regardless, once I find out the author, I’m going to let he or she know it was an amazing story with a great voice.


The Realms Faire starts next Monday! I’m hosting The Unicorn Hunt, and there are almost a dozen games with tons of prizes. You don’t want to miss it.


And for new releases from Christine Rains, Karen Helene Walker, and Denise Covey, please visit The Circle of Friends.


Have you read any stories lately that just sizzled with personality?

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Listing Hop - Best Theme Parks

Hosted by Bish Denham to celebrate 8 years of blogging and co-hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

My list is of favorite theme parks, with three dream parks thrown in, and their roller coasters.

Universal Studios’ Island of Adventure

Located in Orlando, I’ve been there twice now and get to go again next year. We’re staying on site with fast passes for all rides. The park boasts two great coasters - Incredible Hulk and Dragon Challenge (which I still call by its original name, Dueling Dragons.) I almost fell asleep on the
Incredible Hulk once while waiting for it to launch! With seven inversions, it’s a smooth B&M coaster.

Add in Universal Studios itself, and there are three more coasters - Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, and Revenge of the Mummy. (Technically not a coaster, but close.)

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Tied with Islands for my favorite, I’ve visited this park four times! It’s the most beautiful park in America, with shows and animals along with the rides. It now boasts seven coasters - Loch Ness
Monster, Alpengeist, Apollo’s Chariot (my most favorite coaster!), Griffon, Grover’s Alpine Express, Verbolten, and Tempesto.

It was also home to several now defunct coasters, including the Big Bad Wolf and Drachen Fire. The latter was the first coaster I ever fell in love with and I’m glad I got a chance to ride it before they tore it down.

Paramount’s Kings Island

Home to the world’s longest wooden roller coaster, The Beast, this is Paramount’s best park. Located in Ohio, it is home to 13 coasters - Banshee, The Bat, Invertigo, Backlot Stunt Coaster, Vortex, Firehawk, Flight of Fear, Adventure Express, Flying Ace Aerial Chase, The Great Pumpkin Coaster, Woodstock Express, Diamondback, and The Beast.

Its most famous defunct coaster was Son of Beast, the first wooden coaster with a loop. Not sure why it failed, but I was fortunate enough to ride it before they tore it down.

Sea World Orland

If you love animals, Sea World is one of the best parks. You can see orcas, feed the seals, and pet the dolphins. We’ve been twice and seeing or foster daughter Ashely pet a dolphin was the greatest joy.

It’s home to two coasters, Kracken and Manta, with a third, Mako, opening summer of 2016. With seven inversions, Kracken is probably the most intense B&M coaster you will ever ride.

Paramounts’ Kings Dominion

Located in Virginia, this park has some unique coasters, including the Anaconda, which dives underwater, and the Rebel Yell, which you can ride forward or backwards.

Its 12 coasters are the Dominator, Grizzly, Hurler, Rebel Yell, Ricochet, Anaconda, Avalanche, Backlot Stunt Coaster, Flight of Fear, Volcano the Blast Coaster, The Great Pumpkin Coaster, and Woodstock Express.

My dream parks are:

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Located in California, Magic Mountains shares the title of Roller Coaster Capital of the World with Cedar Point in Ohio. (Sadly, I’ve been to Cedar Point and was very disappointed.)

Its 19 coasters are Apocalypse, Batman: The Ride, Canyon Blaster, Full Throttle, Gold Rusher, Goliath, Green Lantern: First Flight, Magic Flyer, Ninja, The Riddler's Revenge, Road Runner Express, Scream!, Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers, Superman: Escape from Krypton, Tatsu, The New Revolution, Twisted, Colossus, Viper, and X²

PortAdventura

Located in Spain, this park has seven coasters - Dragon Khan, Furius Baco, Stampida, Shambhala, Tomahawk, El Diablo-Tren de la Mina, and Tami-Tami.

Shambhala is Europe’s tallest roller coaster at 249 feet with a 256 foot drop. However, the coaster I most want to ride is Dragon Khan. Boasting eight beautiful inversions, it’s been dream coaster of mine ever since I got a coaster video featuring a ride on the beast.

Nagashima Spa Land

Located in Japan, this park features 11 coasters: Acrobat, Children Coaster, Corkscrew, Jet Coaster, Looping Star, Peter Rabbit Coaster Shuttle Loop, Steel Dragon 2000, Ultra Twister, White Cyclone, and Wild Mouse.

The top coaster is Steel Dragon 2000. When it was built, it was the tallest (318’) and the fastest (95mph), just beating out Cedar Point’s Millennium Force. It would be my first ride of the day if I visited!



Have you visiting any of these parks? Which park is your dream theme park?


The Realms Faire is coming in just two weeks! I’m hosting The Unicorn Hunt, and there are almost a dozen games with tons of prizes. You don’t want to miss it.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Marketing Outside the U.S. with Author Stephen Tremp

In the past I’ve made the mistake of going solo with KDP Select (through Kindle Direct Publishing) for my e-books. KDP Select is an optional program that allows you to reach more readers and gives you the opportunity to earn more money in addition to sales of your book. The downside is it’s an exclusive program, meaning your book(s) cannot be sold digitally with any other publisher, including you and your blog, as long as you are enrolled in the program.

If you live in the U.S., you may not know other regions of the world use companies other than Amazon Kindle to purchase and download books. The Kobo (a rewording of the word book) e-reader and app are popular in Canada and Europe. Slowly, but surely the European market is opening up to self-publishing, and Kobo, with its partnerships with local retailers in each country, is intent on making the platform as user-friendly as possible.

According to Book Bub, Kobo is the market leader for ebook sales in Canada. The majority of our Canadian subscribers use Kobo, so we would recommend including Kobo in your Canada Featured Deal.

Two ways to get your book on Kobo: use Smashwords or publish your e-book directly with Kobo where you can track your sales. It’s free to use, and they’ll even convert your Word, OpenOffice, or Mobi file into an ePub for you for free.

Publishing Translations: Have you thought of publishing your books in French, German, Japanese, or Mandarin? But how would do you know if another culture would like your books? For me, I can go to the beach and sell my physical books. Lots of tourists from around the world visit year round, and the Japanese love the concept of wormholes. I sell a lot of books to Japanese tourists. So I’m looking hard into translating a condensed version of my Breakthrough series into Japanese. I’m thinking I can shave off about thirty percent of the word count and have new art professionally done specific for the young Japanese market.

To translate into a different language, you’ll have to look at your stories from different angles due to cultural differences. If you have humor, it may not translate well. And what about the setting? I’ll need to decide if I keep them “as is” or make Tokyo the main setting.

Question: Have you considered translating your books into another language?

Short Blurb: A four hundred year old evil is unleashed when the daughters of those killed during the Salem Witch Trials find a new generation of people to murder at a popular modern-day bed and breakfast.

Stephen Tremp writes Speculative Fiction and embraces science and the supernatural to help explain the universe, our place in it, and write one of a kind thrillers. You can read a full synopsis and download Salem’s Daughters by Clicking Here.

Stephen Tremp posts weekly blogs at his website Breakthrough Blogs.

Next Stop: Wednesday October 21st Jo Wake at Food Life and a Scent of Chocolate. Hope to see you there!