Monday, April 30, 2012

Fun With Ebook Formatting

I say “fun” with as much sarcasm as I can muster up. Yesterday, I spent the day converting First Visions to the various ebook formats available. Easy peasy I figured. However, what turned into what I thought would be an hour project became an all day thing. I think normally this process doesn’t take this long, but I believe my Kindle file for the book LOST ITS MIND. I believe inside the file was an evil little brain that decided to ruin my Sunday. Anyway, here are a few tips I figured I’d share with fellow newbies:

  • Take some time to go over the guidelines. I suffer from a mixture of ADD and impatience which usually causes me to jump into a project and decide that I’ll learn the process as I go along. Both PubIt and Kindle Direct Publishing have simplified guidelines (Kindle also offers a free downloadable book for more detailed instructions). Smashwords has a great set of guidelines with illustrations and an active Table of Contents.
  • Get rid of tab indents. This seems like pretty much standard across the board. If you’re using Word like I did, you instead assign a first line indent of approximately 0.3 to 0.5.
  • Page breaks for most formats except Barnes and Noble’s PubIt. This was one of these annoying things I had to go back and change before converting the book for the Nook. The Nook doesn’t recognize Page Breaks in your document and instead you must remove all of them and use Section Breaks. Another difference with PubIt is the cover image guidelines. They’re a little more restricted and require the sides to be between 750 and 2000 pixels in length.
  • Read over your book after the conversion. Some important things can be lost in translation. When I did the Kindle version, a lot of my bolding disappeared.

  • No matter how much you follow the guidelines sometimes things will not work. This brings me to my Kindle nightmare. Cleared all formatting, but indents were completely wrong. In some spots the indents were fine while in others second and third lines were incorrectly indented. No tabs, no weird formatting in the spots and it was still buggy. FINALLY, I did a forum search (aren’t forums the greatest? I have no idea what we did before they existed) and found that the indenting problem could be solved by saving the Word file as a HTML document. Say what? I hadn’t come across this one yet. But sure enough it worked and the indenting issue was fixed.
Glad, this part of over (at least I hope so). BIG DAY TOMORROW! Release day for First Visions!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Release Date and Cover Reveal

I am so very excited to announce the release date of my book: May 1!!! In only four days, First Visions: Second Sight Book One will be available in paperback through and as an ebook through Amazon and Smashwords. Right now, I’m setting up my blog tour which seems like a pretty cool promotional tool. For anyone not aware of how this works, you basically go from blog to blog and you’re given a review, interview or guest post.

And for the cover reveal (drumroll please lol):

As per my previous post about DIY book covers, I had a few different versions until I finally decided I liked this one the best.

Now that my book is coming out, time to focus on marketing (and somehow find time to work on the sequel and do my freelance writing assignments, yikes!).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Title Changes and Book Description for Second Sight

Here's some details about my upcoming book release. I officially changed the name from Second Sight to First Visions: Second Sight Book One. I also finished my final draft for the book jacket. After going back and forth, here's the final description I settled on:

Two years ago, 21-year-old Kate Edwards became deathly ill and slipped into a coma. While unconscious, she crept into the mind of a missing boy and awoke with the knowledge of his location. Friends and family were skeptical and wary of her new ability to see into the minds of others. Their fears prompted Kate to keep her psychic powers a secret. Feeling alienated, she dropped out of college and spent most of her days holed up at her mother's home.

Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters

On the Broke and the Bookish, the Roundtable for this week is your top ten favorite characters. These are my faves in no particular order. My boys have slept in, so I’m hoping that I didn’t forget anyone as I try to rush this post out before the little monsters wake up.
  1. Wanderer from the Host by Stephenie Meyer-Meyer’s depiction of an alien snatching soul who learns how to be human made this book one of my favorites.
  2. Becky Bloomwood from Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella-Her inner musings always leaves me hysterical.
  3. Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith-I was a teen when I started reading these books, so it was strange for me when it became a TV series a couple of years ago. Damon was always my fave over Stefan.
  4. Lula from One for the Money by Janet Evanovich-The Stephanie Plum series has been my go-to summer books since I’m also a Trenton girl. Lula is one of those crazy characters you can never forget.
  5. Jessica Darling from Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty-I love sarcastic and funny main characters and Jessica definitely fits the bill.
  6. Thomas from Helper12 by Jack Blaine-Although the protag was almost my choice as a fave, I had to go with Thomas. I felt he brought out what was best in her.
  7. Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins-Who doesn’t love Katniss? She’s badass and sacrifices herself to save her sister.
  8.  Fitwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Who doesn’t fall in love with Darcy during the course of this classic?
  9. Henry from the Goddess Test by Aimee Carter-Damaged, heartbroken and gorgeous, what makes a better love interest? Oh and his selected mate will rule the Underworld with him.
  10. Elisa from the Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson-It’s rare in fantasy YA to find such a relatable character that experiences so much growth in the course of a single novel.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Review of My Vacation Reads

Although I didn’t get through all of my vacation reads, I did finish four and a half books. Crossed by Ally Condie will have to unfortunately wait until I put a dent into my packed DVR. The books definitely eased the boredom of a sixteen hour car drive to Florida. Here are a few quick impressions:

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter-This was better than I expected, but still suffered from middle book syndrome. Since it’s a trilogy, the second half felt like mostly a set-up for the final novel. Plus, I didn’t get why Henry was hung up on Persephone. I think the author should have made her a bit more likable.

Expel by Addison Moore-God, I am so torn after this book. It was fast-paced with plenty of love angst, but oh god the ENDING! Not sure how everything is going to work out and who Skyla could possibly end up with. Can’t wait for the next book to see how the author brings everything together.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi-This book has been super hyped, so I started reading it with a lot of preconceived notions in my head. I’m glad I gave it a shot because it was sooooo good. I love stories where the two main characters hate each other at first, but then fall in love over the course of the book. The setting was so different too from other dystopian YA entries.

Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux-After some heavier reads, I was definitely ready for a beach read. This book was just what I was looking for. No heavy conflicts, cute love story and a fun setting. Can’t wait to read the upcoming sequel!

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire-Hey, I can dig bad boys just like most girls. But Travis was way too unlikable for my tastes. I got about half way through and gave up on it. Was very disappointed since I liked that the main characters were college-aged.

Now that my book marathon is over back to getting Second Sight ready for publication. Plan to do my final edits this week, hooray!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

YA and New Adult Vacation Reading List

Although my hubby thinks I’m nuts, I have a very ambitious vacation reading list. I really want to devour as many books as possible while I’m away because when I return I plan to do marketing work for Second Sight and start on my first draft for the sequel (gulp). I pretty much have the story in my head already and an outline, I just hope it translates as well to paper. For research and enjoyment purposes, I’m keeping my list mainly YA and New Adult.

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter-When I saw the first book was from Harlequin Teen, I almost didn’t read it. I have such a love/hate relationship with the books from this publisher. There’s been a few that I’ve had to throw across the room because I’ve been so disappointed. However, the Goddess Test was REALLY good which makes me have high hopes for the sequel. (I also saw there’s an ebook novella out as a bridge story. Some of these for series books are cool, but I typically only download the freebies.)

Expel by Addison Moore-The Celestra series has been one of my faves lately. Love the mix of humor and action. Great twists too that will get you excited about the next book. I’ve read mixed reviews on this latest entry, but I’m sure I’ll consider it fabulous.

Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux-I’m such a sucker for 90s movies and this book description makes me think of the Cutting Edge. Plus, it is new adult (upper YA) which I’m trying to read more of.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi-I’ve heard AMAZING things about this book so I’m definitely looking forward to checking it out.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire-Another New Adult genre book I’m hoping to get to. This book has also received a mix of bad and good reviews, so I’m wondering if it will end up in the chuck pile.

Crossed by Ally Condie- This is in my maybe pile. I read the sample chapters and it’s not sucking me in just yet. Wondering if it could get better?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving

The new top ten topic this week over at the Broke and the Bookish is the top novels you find deceiving. It could be the cover or the summary that threw you off. Here's my list of books that I find best fit with this distinction:

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto-I hope the cover artist got a huge paycheck because I know a ton of readers who purchased this novel based on the gorgeous cover. The book was a major letdown.

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr-After Wicked Lovely, I tried again and again to give this series a shot. The description of the conclusion and the gorgeous cover suckered me in again. Just never came together for me.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher-The book summary sounded so good with praise like a “modern classic” and thrilling and addictive.” I found it implausible with no connect to the characters.

Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty-I never liked the covers for the Jessica Darling series. Although some of the novels went off-course for me, this one had me cracking up.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin-Nice cover, but never saw how it tied into the book.

Pulse by Kailin Gow-The description sounded interesting enough and the reviews on Amazon were very positive. By the middle, it completely fell apart and then abruptly ended.

Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine-The covers always seem cheesy and immature to me. The series is anything but.

Branded by Keary Taylor-Both the cover and the description drew me in. Although the premise was great and the afterlife descriptions were captivating by the end of the book I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes.

Helper12 by Jack Blaine-The book cover was completely bland, but it was an amazing and exciting dystopian YA entry.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson-The cover and summary didn’t really appeal to me, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. Wow is all I have to say. Not your typical damsel in distress story at all.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Overhyped Books-Novels I Find Baffling

My post last week on my top ten books to read in one day got me thinking about other book categories. One that I kept going back to was popular books that I JUST DON’T GET. You know the ones I’m talking about. Everyone and their mother are raving about them. You run out and buy them to see what all the fuss is about. However, when you read the book, you’re left wondering what the hell the big deal was all about. Here are a few of books that came to mind while I thinking about the topic. Before I begin, a little disclaimer. This is only MY personal opinion. Many of you may find these books fantastic and wish to name your firstborn after the characters in them. I have eclectic tastes and I’m sure many books I love don’t exactly have huge fan bases.

  1. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James-To be honest this is the book that inspired today’s blog. You can’t turn on the TV or open a magazine without hearing about the book for scandalized housewives. I really had high hopes for this one. First of all, I heard it started off as fan fiction and I think that’s AWESOME. Secondly, I’m all about watercooler books. I’ll admit to running out and buying Twilight and the Hunger Games when everyone was talking about them. Loved them both and read the sequels. It’s not even the subject matter that bothered me about this book. It was everything else. The British slang when the book takes place in Seattle. The cringeworthy lines: “I want you to become well acquainted, on first name terms if you will, with my favorite and most cherished part of my body. I’m very attached to this.” The “holy crap!” inner goddess heroine Anastasia Steele. It’s heartening to see a fanfic writer do so well, but the book just isn’t for me.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Top Ten Books to Read in One Day

On the Broke and the Bookish, they host a weekly Top Ten Tuesday where book-themed blogs all post on the same topic. This week’s theme is the top ten books that you were so excited about that you couldn’t put it down. Who needs to eat and bathe when you have a good book in your hand? I’m sure I’ll remember later other faves, but here are the ten off the top of my head.
  1. The Host by Stephenie Meyer-I looove this book! I actually prefer it to the Twilight series. It’s amazing how she was able to create a sympathetic character out of a body snatching alien.

  2. Delirum by Lauren Oliver-I read this right after Crossed by Ally Condie and I could not put it down. And Oh God the ENDING!!!

  3. Ethereal and rest of the Celestra Series by Addison Moore-If you have not read this YA series about angel bloodlines on earth, do so right now! Plot is fast-paced and the MC is hysterical!

  4. Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien-This book may be another YA dystopian novel, but it’s a cut above many of the others I read. Features a teen mid-wife who delivers babies that she must hand over to a tyrannical society.

  5. Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman-If you’ve never read anything by Hoffman, this is a good one to start with. It’s a series of short stories interconnected through a New England cottage. Her language is hypnotic and she’s such an amazing storyteller.

  6. Lothaire by Kresley Cole-After reading a lot of YA paranormal romance novels, I was kind of hesitant to try out a few adult versions. This book was one of the first I read in the genre and I don't think I slept until the book was finished. Plenty of action and some very STEAMY love scenes.

  7. Fever by Lauren DeStefano-This is a YA dystopian novel with an interesting twist. Genetic engineering has produced a virus that kills you before you reach the age of 25.

  8. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins-I’m afraid to see the movie because I love this book so much. Once Katniss heads into the games, you won’t be able to stop reading.

  9. The Night Villa by Carol Goodman-Goodman is another one of my faves with standouts also including the Drowning Tree and the Lake of Dead Languages. A murder mystery and Italian setting drives the story.

  10. Confessions of a Shopaholic and sequels by Sophie Kinsella-This book I couldn’t put down because it was so freaking funny. I love books that make you laugh so loud that your husband looks at you as if you’ve lost your mind.