Tag Archives: formatting

One of those kind of days

I woke up this morning to the mellow tones of Otto barfing on my bedroom floor. That’s one of those sounds that wakes you completely up. It was 4:00 AM. He’s fine, sometimes he gets snotty and chokes. I’ve woken up coughing more than once myself.

Since I was up, I had some quiet time and spent it reading. I don’t often get to read these days, and relished the opportunity. As a young man I could devour a book per day. These days it’s more like a book per month.

I’m currently writing two stories at once, and intended to devote some time to both of them. I had a pile of critiques to address on one of them, and did that this morning. If I don’t do anything else, at least I got that done.

I looked to the other one and discovered a problem. This is me, being anal, but it completely stifled me. I’ve been working on it using two different computers, one Apple and one PC. (We get a lot of hour long lunches during January and February due to the holiday weeks.)

Specifically, I’m using Microsoft Word and Apple Pages for iPad. My problem involves straight quotes vs curly quotes. Shouldn’t be a problem, right? Some whizbang formatting trick and all should be well. (Apostrophes are the same way.)

I tried the help link in Pages to no avail. I Googled what to do, seemed like some reasonable suggestions, except they didn’t work. I found instructions to try on a Mac. Okay, I have a Mac. I opened my manuscript and went through the step by step instructions. Very easy to follow… except it didn’t work.

I fiddled around myself, and if I delete my paragraph marks, the entire super-paragraph takes on the format I want. Then I can hit return again, make the quotes the way I want them before moving to the next paragraph.

This is possible, but I’m not going to do it just yet. I’m going to see if I can fix it using Word. At this point I gave up completely.

This is my short weekend, and I have other things that need tending. I got a haircut, paid the bills, and we have some errands in town. We’ll probably go out to dinner while we’re out.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, and I’m not going to address it then either.

I have some decent time coming up, and I’ll take up the keyboard then.

I hope you are having a better weekend than I am. Boise is covered in snow and ice, but it’s pretty shallow. More freezing than anything else. Maybe some beef and beer will improve my outlook tonight.

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Time for a new plan

My goal this weekend was to work on Lisa Burton Radio interviews, and work on a few advance blog posts … at a leisurely pace.

This is the busiest couple of the weeks of the year at my office. This means we’re changing the flex schedule temporarily. Which mean I don’t get a flex day for two weeks now.

Then I got The Yak Guy Back from the formatter. I need to check it, and turn it back around. I also need four more advanced blog posts. On top of that, the posts I already have are too short. Maybe with a book blurb it will look better. Oh yeah, I have to write a book blurb.

I decided to set my alarm clock for 4:00 AM. The first mission will be to proof the copy of my book. After I get it sent back, possibly with changes, I’ll work on the advanced posts.

Maybe I’ll schedule in some def-con three grade panic around 10:00.

I actually am ahead of the game on the interviews. The only problem is in the final phase, because my guests aren’t turning them back right away. I have a couple more weeks scheduled, so I can float a bit if I have to. I’d still like to prepare a couple and send them out this weekend.

I should explain the reason for my state of mind. My experience with Summer releases is dismal. In my mind, it isn’t Summer until school lets out. Right out wrong, that’s my position. I’d liked to have gotten this done a month ago, but it was a matter of funds.

If everything happens according to my new plan, I’ll dig out my email list and send inquiries to my traditional hosts. It could work that I’ll have everything I need next weekend. These are folks who have larger followings, because the goal is to spread the word.

I usually leave an option of custom writing something for a couple of my hosts. Once in a while, they have a specific idea and I try to help them. Again, tempting fate, but I might be able to write those next weekend.

Hey, if everything works out perfectly, this could happen.

Disclaimer: I always freak out at book release time. Better have a beer tonight.

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All authors need help

I’ve wanted to bring you guys some folks who provide auxiliary services for a long time. We’ve been able to bring a few of them out of the woodwork, but these are usually folks who shun the limelight. There are any number of people who will take your money, but deliver questionable results if they deliver at all.

We write the stories, but we can’t do it all. We need cover artists, beta readers, editors, formatters and more. One of my goals is to introduce you to folks who can get the job done and done right.

Today, Michele is here to give us an idea of her services and provide all of us with some contact data. Make her feel welcome.

Thanks for having me, Craig.

Let me introduce myself. I’m Michele Jones, and I own a small company, Articulate It Write, dedicated to helping authors with all of their publishing needs. Craig and I have worked on an anthology together, and he has invited me to talk about the services that I provide.

I have been writing, editing, and proofreading for over thirty years. I caught the bug in high school when I worked for the school paper, and I have been writing and helping others with their writing projects since.

Many authors have the ability to create great works but don’t know how to produce a finished product. After the final draft, several edits, many revisions, and beta reader feedback, the work needs to go to an editor who will check it for POV, plot holes, repetitive words, grammar, and flow.

You’ve made your edits, now it’s time to format your work for print and eBook. But you have questions.

• How do I add a header?

• Can I put page numbers on the right and left sides of my page?

• Can I add a table of contents?

• How do I add pictures?

• Can I use the same formatted document for a print book as I use for an eBook?

These are just some of the questions you might be asking. Professional formatters know the answers, and they can help you prepare your document for publication.

Creating a document that your audience can read easily is the key. You don’t know how to adjust kerning and spacing to create a smooth flowing document. You become frustrated because you are wasting valuable time formatting when you could be writing. Using a professional to format your document will allow you to move on with your writing and give you that professional look you desire.

I’m also an indie author, and as such, I am aware of the costs associated with publishing. I work with my clients to produce the best product possible, at a reasonable cost, within the desired time frame.

For information and reviews on my professional experience, view my resume on my LinkedIn profile. My experience in editing and formatting electronic and print media covers, but is not limited to, the following:

• Fiction

• Cookbooks

• Technical documents

• User and training manuals

• Newsletters, brochures, ads, direct mailings, and annual publications

• News releases and media kits

Some of my clients include:

• Individual authors

• Church groups

• Public safety organizations

• City and county governments

• Engineering firms

• Consulting firms

If you’re interested in discussing a writing, editing, or formatting project, please feel free to discuss them with me. You can reach me via the contact form on my site: LINK HERE.

Connect online:

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram| Published Works | Goodreads

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It’s a flex day, not a vacation day

Yeah, really, what’s the diff. I am out of the office until the Second of January now. Technically, today is part of my ending work week, and is my assigned flex day. Beyond that, there is no difference except I don’t have to use vacation hours today.

I want to keep a few projects moving forward, and I want to do some writing of my own too. I refused to hit it too hard, because I wanted some me time in the mix.

I started my day with a beta reading project I took on for some friends. I don’t know how many chapters I worked through, but I’m about 1/3 of the way finished. It’s a fun story so far, and I want to get it finished before I have to report back to the office. I know what it’s like at the other end waiting for the report, so I also don’t want to keep the authors hanging.

I scheduled one blog post for Monday. It’s nothing too fancy, but it’s also out of my hair now too. Then I went over what I have so far for my 2017 wrap up post. I’ll share it sometime prior to the new year. It may need a bit of polish, but it’s pretty close.

Finally, I received what I think is the final version of The Hat from my formatter. I’m waiting for one more email from her, but I have a few weeks before I want to publish it. One of the important things to dedicate my time to will be some blog tour posts. They don’t have to be long, but it would be nice to be ready for a whirlwind tour of the blogging world when I publish it. Gotta say, I’m pretty excited about this one.

On the goofing off front, I binge watched a television show I’ve wanted to see. I deserve some goofing off time on occasion, but I also studied the story line as an author. Our daughter loaded her Netflix account on our television and invited us to try it out. We’re probably old timers, and this is really new to us. Hey, I got my first X-Box for Christmas last year and it’s taken me months to get comfortable with it.

Anyway, about the show. See once upon a time, I had to choose what to watch and there was a conflict. I really wanted to check this one out, but it was either The Flash or Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD that conflicted with it. I watched a couple of seasons of The Flash and gave up on it. I never really connected with the characters even though Flash was one of my favorite comics. SHIELD is still fun and I want to get this posted before it comes on tonight.

The one that got left out is called iZombie. It’s on Netflix and it’s wonderful. I watched about six episodes today, and can’t wait to get back to it. This has more of a superpowers vibe about it than other zombie tales. The premise is a nearly finished medical student with a bright future get’s turned into a zombie. We jump forward and she’s taken a job at the morgue so she has access to a supply of human brains to eat.

Eating the brains gives her a limited view into the person’s life and some of that person’s skills and quirks. One example is that she developed kleptomania for a period of time. She uses her newfound insight to fight crime by passing herself off as a psychic. She helps solve the murders of whoever provided her last meal.

There is also a visible transformation that happened and the producers made sure it was dramatic. The fun part is that Liv, the zombie coroner, is really hot as a zombie. Her style and hair reminds me a bit of one of the Research Sirens I named Wiki. Wiki isn’t nearly albino and has a bit of color in her cheeks and her hair is red, oh and she’s a siren and not a zombie. I’m talking style here, not status.

Episode one includes a great character arc and some nice revelation and acceptance at the end. You can bet I’ll be watching more of this one. Even my wife started paying attention. I laughed out loud at a couple of points, so it’s one of those with drama and comedy mixed in. I love stories that do that.

We’ve also been watching Stranger Things and it’s been a lot of fun too. It was recommended by someone who read Will O’ the Wisp and said my style reminded them of this. Heck, gotta check it out after something like that, right? It’s fun, but I feel Stranger Things is getting kind of tired in season two. It seems kind of repetitive on many fronts now.

Gotta run, SHIELD will be on soon. Probably beta reading and my own writing tomorrow.

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All things updateish

I worked this week, kind of. I managed Monday and Tuesday, but couldn’t do it on Wednesday. My back is getting better, but there have been setbacks. I worked all day Friday, so there is that. These ten hour shifts get rough in my office chair.

On the blogging front, I managed to send off two shticks for Lisa Burton Radio, so I assume there will be one for next week. I don’t plan on having one the week of Christmas. People are doing better things, and I wouldn’t be helping my guest author out by posting their promo that week. I’ll come up with something else for that slot so it isn’t dead airspace.

I hired my formatter and sent off the manuscript for The Hat. Last night I paid the invoice, and today I looked over the formatted book. I’m sorry to say the only mistakes were my own. I found a missing space, and a typo even after all the beta readers and my own efforts. That’s what always happens though. Even books put out by major publishers have errors. I’ll fix these, but none of it is the formatters fault.

I also decided to include the Lisa Burton promotional posters as back-of-the book material. I did this with Enhanced League and they were well received. There is a link to my Amazon page if folks want to check out my other work.

The good news is I could publish The Hat tonight. I won’t though. 2017 has been a sucky year for me, and I’m not donating this cool story to the 2017 gloom and doom. I’ll release it sometime in early 2018. This means I need to get on the stick and write some blog tour posts. Then when I ask for volunteers I’ll actually have something ready for them.

The Hat is a novella. It can be read in one afternoon. I think it’s a ten on the fun meter, so I’m struggling with the price point. I priced my short story collections at 99¢. I intended to do the same with this book, but now I’m not so sure. My novels are only $2.99, and I’m seriously considering pricing the novellas at $1.99. You get more involved with them than a short story, but not as involved as a novel. It’s like a novel, only fun size. It’s either that, or publish it at $2.99 and jack the price of my novels to $3.99. Honestly, this shouldn’t be that big of a decision. I can’t believe we don’t sell our novels for eight or nine bucks each. I’m open to suggestions here folks.

Tomorrow, I’ll probably assemble and schedule one of the Lisa interviews. Then I need to add some new words to my other novella. This has been slow going, but I have the week between Christmas and New Year off, so I hope to make the electronic ink fly then.

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Tuning up a manuscript

I woke up at 6:30 today. Hey, my wife had to work, and I'm on vacation. If the puppies let me sleep that long, I'm taking advantage of it.

I made it out to the writing cabin about 7:30. I had three dogs to feed, and forced Otto into a short, slow walk around the park next door. He's been pretty sedentary, and I wanted him to move around a little bit.

Lisa is still gone, having scheduled her own vacation right after she finished up posing for Sean Harrington. Right now, it's just me and Doubt the raven. A little bit of that New Orleans chicory coffee and I went to work.

I opened up The Enhanced League and started into my reading. My beta readers all pointed out things I used, and I wanted a final reading to make sure everything still flowed. They all had some ideas I didn't use too, but that's kind of how beta reading works. These wonderful people helped me make the book so much better.

Doubt spotted a spelling error and a formatting issue too. For these short stories, I usually start off with a date followed by a colon. Some of them had a location immediately after that, and some didn't. I revamped everything, replacing the colons with periods, and made sure they all had a location. This involved my fictional broadcast team being in some places where the location isn't relevant to the story, but that's how I did it. If nothing else, it helps define how big the league is.

I sent off an email to my formatter. I last contacted her in late April, and feel bad for taking so long. Life has a way of interrupting my writing career, and that isn't all bad either.

I decided to break up the work by assembling and scheduling a guest post for tomorrow. This is pretty simple to do, but it takes some time. I emailed the advance link back to the guest, and checked that off my task list.

Then I decided to start writing blog tour posts of my own. I only managed one, about something new in this book that I call anthems. I wrote about my inspiration to create them, and how I used them in the book. I still have more posts to write, but it feels good to get started.

That's when the phone rang. “Hello.”

“Hi, this is Lisa. Just wanted to see how you're getting along.”

“Oh, fine. It's the first day of my vacation. How's your vacation?”

“It's good, I finished up with Sean yesterday and grabbed a bus out of town.”

“A bus?”

“You know robot girls can't pass through TSA machines. It's a bus or come home to get the rocket-pack.”

“Oh yeah, from the second Notebook. Where did you decide to go?”

“I'm in sunny Southern California right now. There are cruise ships operating out of San Diego, and I may decide to play a little blackjack.”

“Hardly fair with your card counting skills.”

“It isn't illegal to be smarter than they are. Besides, it's my main source of spending money.”

“What about your paycheck?”

“That's cute, but it doesn't provide the kind of wardrobe I'm used to.”

“Well, try to have a good time. Then I need you to help me with a time travel story. Right after that I need to polish up The Yak Guy Project. Before you know it, we'll be starting on The Hat, and Estivation. We need some Macabre Macaroni stories too.”

“It all sounds like fun. The posters are going to be awesome.”

“With you and Sean, I never have any doubts. Can't wait to see them. Do you think I need to find a bus depot and pick you up eventually?”

“Um, I'll keep you posted on that. Bye.”

Research Note: The Henderson Motorcycle Company was an American company. If it were still around, it would be revered right alongside Harley Davidson. They were part of the Schwinn Bicycle company. The Henderson Streamliner is an Art Deco masterpiece.

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Writing today

I managed about 2000 words of short fiction today, but I really don’t know how I pulled it off.

Otto let me sleep in until about 4:20 AM today. Hey that’s about ten minutes longer than my alarm clock demands the rest of the week. I took him outside to potty, then insisted we go back to bed. To my surprise, he was okay with the idea. He woke me up again about 6:30, and that was all I got.

He went outside a few times, then came in all swollen up. All of the dogs have gone through this since we moved to Idaho. They decide bees or wasps are fun to catch. They’ve all learned after one, but I’m not so sure Otto will. He was pretty needy after that, insisting on getting in my lap.

It’s hard to see, but his left lip is much larger than his right. I felt them both and it was about a half inch thicker and very tight. You can’t tell from this photo, but this is in my lap. There isn’t much room for my keyboard. I actually waited for him to fall asleep and left him in my chair. Being portable allowed me to keep working.

Otto is at the stage where he’s all puppy in mind, but not a baby in body. I really don’t need a sixty pound lap poodle, so we have some work to do. Still, new words are new words, so yay.

I chose to work on short stuff because I knew there would be interruptions. It’s easier for me to work on short stuff than to keep all the story arc and character arc in order on a novel. I need to work on the novel, and will when the situation allows.

In other news, I have two new Lisa Burton posters to promote the second Experimental Notebook. She will share these on my blog and other blogs depending on the invitations she gets. I also have a professionally formatted book, thanks to the efforts of Jo Robinson.

What a pleasure to work with her. She’s affordable, fast, and easy to get along with. If you need some help with your book you really should click that link.

I’m shooting for release on the last day of August. This is when my book club visits on our blog tour, and I intend to take full advantage of the extra traffic. I really don’t know if I should do another pre-release type of sale. I made sales every time I’ve done it, but who wants to wait for a 99¢ book? I’m open to suggestions here. If I do it, it will probably be a short time period.

Now it’s time to check out the Rio Olympics. Otto is un-swelled now, and pizza just came out of the oven.

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