Written as a Guest Post during the latest NaNoWriMo. Thanks, Chris, for giving it house room on your blog. BTW, looks like I’ve opted for the prefab option for the work-in-progress.
Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:
So I’ve finally started writing another novel. (No, it’s not a NaNoWriMo project; you can’t get word-count updates when you write longhand). To date I have 20 pages of scribble, and when I look at them from a certain angle I get a feeling of total futility.
The thing about writing with a pen on paper is that I’m not tempted to go back and read what I’ve laid down so far and either start tinkering with it or give up. As I push the pen, though, I keep thinking, “This isn’t going well. In fact, I think this might just be crap.” I compare the plodding feel of the writing with my plot aspirations and get that “Let’s crumple now” feeling.
But wait! I tell myself. This is a first draft. It’s supposed to be imperfect. In fact, it’s not so much the novel I want to write as…
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The first book of the Herbert West Series, The Friendship of Mortals, is now available in print!
Arkham, Massachusetts, 1910. Charles Milburn, a cataloguer in the Library of Miskatonic University, meets Herbert West, a medical student with compromised credentials.
Herbert West can restore the dead to life, he says, and he persuades Charles to be his assistant. Their secret experiments achieve success, but with a taint of disaster. Charles finds himself caught between the demands of his fascinating friend and his growing attraction to Alma Halsey, daughter of the Dean of Medicine.
In 1914 West joins the Canadian Army as a medical officer to pursue his grisly research on the battlefields of France. His letters to Charles reveal a disturbing mixture of cynicism and black humour. Left behind in Arkham, Charles catalogues the books of an eccentric professor and develops an interest in alchemy – a process to transform the base into the excellent.
Returning from the War, West becomes a surgeon, utilizing techniques perfected on the maimed, dying …and dead? Rumours of illicit experiments overshadow West’s spectacular public successes. With his career in shambles and showing signs of mental imbalance, West appeals to Charles for help. Charles is sympathetic – until West reveals the details of his plan.
Caught between horror and hope, Charles must draw on his knowledge of alchemy and his tottering faith in powers beyond himself if he is to save his friend’s life. Only his conscience stands in the way.
If you’ve always wanted to read this book, but aren’t a fan of ebooks, here’s your chance! Get thee to my Amazon page and enter the adventure.
And if you still don’t have the ebook, you can download it for free!
Mere weeks after revealing the new cover for Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight Into It, the industrious Michelle Proulx is about to do it again — this time for the sequel, Chasing Nonconformity.
Michelle’s successful IndieGoGo campaign (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/book-imminent-danger-ya-sci-fi/x/1220764) has made it possible to commission splendid covers from designer Ravven (http://www.ravven.com/)
Chasing Nonconformity will be published in Spring 2015. In the meantime, read the teaser, admire the gorgeous cover and make sure you’re up on all the details by visiting michelleproulx.com
Still reeling from accidentally marrying an exiled alien prince named Varrin, and from almost getting her head blown off by a six-armed lizard man with anger management issues, seventeen-year-old Eris Miller is ready for a vacation. But Varrin is desperate to rescue his beloved spaceship, the Nonconformity, from the clutches of the galactic government, so her vacation will just have to wait.
While Eris and Varrin chase after the stolen ship, they’re unaware that trouble is brewing on the other side of the galaxy. The villainous Emperor of Rakor has assembled a task force, led by the commander of the deadly Skin Slicers, to hunt Varrin down. With enemies closing in and the Nonconformity slipping further and further from their grasp, Eris must ask herself: how much is she willing to sacrifice to ensure her happily ever after?
Fourteen years after I started writing it, my first novel. The Friendship of Mortals, is about to appear in print! It has existed as an ebook since 2010, but suddenly the time seemed right to turn it from electronic blips to a physical object. It should manifest on Amazon within the next week.
It’s been a bit of an adventure making the transition. Other authors reassured me that the document formatting would be a snap. If I had successfully negotiated Smashwords’s “meatgrinder,” I would have no trouble at all turning my Word document into something acceptable to the equivalent program at CreateSpace.
Not. It was a struggle of epic proportions.
When you want your Word document to become an ebook, you strip out all kinds of details — page numbers, headers, footers, section breaks, etc. You want the thing to become liquid, so it flows along like a scroll. A Word document destined to become a printed book needs all that stuff, in the right places and combinations. Page numbers go in the footer. There should be two headers, one with the book’s title, the other with the author’s name. They should appear on all pages except those that start a new chapter or other section with its own title; on those pages, you want a page number only. And of course headers, footers and page numbers must be absent from blank pages and front matter (title page, dedication page, contents page, etc.)
About blank pages — in a scroll-like electronic document, they don’t exist. A printed book, however, is printed on paper, and a sheet of paper has two sides. Brainlessly obvious, you say, but this physical reality is hard to envision when you’re looking at your Word document, even after you’ve selected Mirror Margins in Page Setup. In a book, each page has a front and a back (or, as cataloguing librarians and bibliophiles call them, a recto and a verso). Odd-numbered pages are the ones on the right hand side (recto, get it?) and even-numbered pages are on the left. But an even-numbered page is the verso of an odd-numbered one. Getting confused yet? Just wait.
When you’re looking at your document, now with two pages on the screen, odd and even are reversed. The odd-numbered recto page is the one on the left, the even-numbered verso is on the right. You have to think of those two pages as the front and back of a physical piece of paper. That’s why the page numbers appear to be on the wrong side of the page. You want them on the outside corner, but there they are on the inside. Ah, but once that odd-numbered page is on the right side, the page number will be on the outside. So will the even-numbered verso page’s number.
Once this particular light bulb comes on, you can confidently go ahead and divide your 500+ page novel into (in my case) 18 sections, each with its own combination of headers (two of them, remember!) and footers. Oh, and there’s the matter of the difference between odd- and even-numbered section breaks. I’m amazed I have any hair left.
Once I figured out the above, formatting went fairly smoothly, except for Word’s inexplicable tendency to forget some details until reminded of them, firmly, three or four times. I uploaded my document to CreateSpace and was pleasantly surprised when it passed through with only one “issue” noted.
Now I’m just waiting for the final version of my cover. I had professionally designed cover images created for all four of my ebooks earlier this year. The talented Alisha at Damonza.com has now created a print cover for The Friendship of Mortals. It will look like this:
I can hardly wait for all the components to come together!
Anyone who has missed out on reading The Friendship of Mortals because ebooks aren’t your preference, here’s your chance to remedy that. Look for it on Amazon later this week.
I love autumn for its colours — some subtle, others spectacular, always fleeting.
A windstorm last week blew most of the leaves off the maples. Raking awaits!
And the Change Agent?
The garden won’t be the same…
Michelle Proulx is reissuing her novel Imminent Danger and How to Fly Straight into It with a gorgeous new cover. Which is being revealed — right here and now!
First, the story behind the new cover:
Now that you’ve seen the cover, here’s something about the book:
Here we are in the middle of literary awards season. The Nobel, the Booker, the Pulitzer, and here in Canada the Giller, the Governor General’s Awards and many more. (Just in time for Christmas.)
Why are there so many of these awards? And why are most of them for so-called “literary” fiction? There are a few awards for genre fiction, such as the Nebula Award for science fiction and the Golden Dagger Award for crime fiction, but they don’t have the profile of the literary prizes.
I think the answer has to do with a fundamental difference between literary fiction and genre fiction. Genre fiction is self-serve. Everyone knows what to expect from a book labelled “mystery” or “romance” or “science fiction,” but literary fiction is random. It can be about anything or nothing. It’s idiosyncratic and nuanced, full of symbols and allusions, and often ends ambiguously. A degree in creative writing may be useful for reading as well as writing it. Lit-fic is popular among book clubs whose discussions use words like Zeitgeist and oeuvre.
However intimidating, literary fiction has the allure (for some) of the Higher Arts. One cannot swim in this rarefied sea unaided. Readers need expert guidance in the pathless country of lit-fic. Newspapers and mainstream magazines such as Time or Maclean’s used to have book sections, but they are becoming scarce. More and more, the critics’ seal of approval takes the form of the literary award. Once the annual crop of awards is out, those who wish to be known as “well-read” know exactly which books to buy and read (or at least skim). A recent clever development is the announcement of long-lists and shortlists in the run-up to an award, so the benefits of the awards may be spread among more authors (and their publishers).
But what about self-published literary fiction? Most successful indie authors write and publish genre fiction. Is being “literary” the kiss of death to a self-published book? In the world of indie authors, there are no high-profile awards, backed by financial institutions and bestowed by panels of Eminent Writers. No one is telling the reading public, “This is the indie book everyone should read,” condemning to eternal obscurity many an artfully-written work expressing the anomie of a disaffected protagonist in an indifferent world.
Yes, I’ve done all five of those things. Good to know I’m not alone. And I have every intention to start on my next book, any day now.
Originally posted on Suffolk Scribblings:
Congratulations, you’ve made it. You’ve uploaded your ebook and cover, entered a sales blurb and selected your product categories. You’ve decided on a price, agreed to the terms & conditions and finally, with no small amount of trepidation, pressed publish. Within a few hours an email arrived to confirm your book is live. You are now a published author. The next thing to do, of course, is let everybody know. So you spend a few hours promoting your launch on your social media of choice, phoning friends and family, sending emails and mentioning it to everybody you meet. This is great. Enjoy the moment. But then what? What should you do next? Well here are five things I recommend you don’t do.
Constantly check your sales stats
While the sensible advice is to write the book you want to read, in reality most of us write books we hope others will read. When you publish your…
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