Project Thankful: Reason #96

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being a writer.  I currently have two books, The Hunted and Darkness Calls, published on the Amazon Kindle store.  I am also currently in the process of writing the sequels to both of the books.  As I’m going through this process, I reflect back on the books and a list of things comes to my mind stating all the edits, changes, and just what I would have done differently back when I first wrote/edited/published them.

There will always be things I should have done differently.  That’s just life.  In regards to being a writer, I don’t associate the things I should have done differently with regrets.  I don’t have any regrets when it comes to being a writer.  No matter how scathing that part of me that looks at the books and says “Yeah, it would have been better…” is, if I had a time machine and could go back and re-do anything, I would still leave the books as they are.

Mistakes, failures, errors, misjudgments…they happen for a reason.  When it comes to being a writer, all of mine have made me a better writer.  I’d rather start weak and become strong instead of starting strong and turning weak. 

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I Made It!

I am doing a happy dance right now because I received an email from Amazon with great news: my books have amassed enough sales so that I have reached the required minimum $10 sales mark to get paid!

I have reached the minimum.  I’ll take it and continue with my happy dance.

Being an e-book author, you are pretty much your own team for the most part.  Marketing, editing, cover design, etc are fields you often have to take on yourself in addition to, oh yeah, writing the books.  So when you hear that you are making it, you are overjoyed.

It’s been a slow struggle.  I will be the first to admit that my sales are not phenomenal or that my books are not hotcakes flying off the e-book shelves.  But they’re great books I worked hard on and worth a read.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make this possible and continues to make this possible.  I’m talking about you, Reader.  A writer would be nothing without readers, and I thank you.

And resuming happy dance.

Help With Kindle Formatting For Your Manuscript

Last night, I was reading a post on thinkinglazy (thinkinglazy.wordpress.com) about how the blogger has decided to publish their story on Amazon Kindle.  As I was reading their post, I had a déjà vu moment because around this time last year was when I really thought more about publishing my books on Amazon Kindle.  After conquering my fear of heading out into the great unknown – the Internet – I published both books on Kindle the end of last summer.

When I decided I was going to publish on Kindle, I began doing my research on manuscript formatting.  My head felt like it was spinning worse than on an upside down rollercoaster.  There was no red, bolded section on the Kindle formatting guides I found that read: The Way You Wrote Your Manuscript Is the Wrong Format, You Will Have To Completely Reformat It This Way.  Instead, I was left searching for simple instructions that did not make me feel like a total tech loser on how to format my manuscripts so that they would not look extremely distorted on Kindles.

In all my research, I found one site that was the most useful.  It’s an article written on the site WOW! Women On Writing, and it is appropriately titled “How 2 Format Your Manuscript for Kindle and/or NOOK.”  This is the link to the article: http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/46-How2-FormatManuscriptForKindle.html

I hope it helps!  As always, best of luck with your writing!

Giving Thanks

I technically should have updated this blog with my Giving Thanks post on or before Thanksgiving, but I was the one to cook Thanksgiving dinner around my house and it is a lot of work!  But my attitude is that there should not have to be a designated day to remind us to give thanks; we should wear an attitude of gratitude every day.  So here is my Giving Thanks post:

First of all, thank you to all the people who read and follow this blog and/or my other blog, Living With Celiac Blog (livingwithceliacblog.wordpress.com).  I love logging on to my dashboard to see the bar graph go up to show how many people read the blogs.  It makes someone who was not the cool kid in school feel cool.

Going along with that, I am thankful for the people who follow me on Twitter.  I feel awkward calling them my followers because that makes me feel slightly cult leaderish.  Instead I like to think of them as individuals who choose of their own free will to read my tweets or at least include me in their list of people they like to read about on Twitter.

I am also thankful that some people have purchased not one but BOTH books either off of the Amazon Kindle store of the Barnes & Noble NOOK store.  You have made the effort put into The Hunted and Darkness Calls worth every second I was plugged to my keyboard, those late nights and early mornings worth the extra mug of hot chocolate, and made me feel all “You like me!  You really like me!”

I tried to be express this in the Acknowledgements page of The Hunted and Darkness Calls but I am not always the best when it comes to putting into words the thanks my family and friends deserve.  I love my family; thanks to them I am blessed to say there has never been a moment I have not felt loved.  I love my friends; they were my first readers, my first editors, and the first people outside of my biological family I felt comfortable enough to share my stories and story ideas with (I say biological family because I consider all my friends part of family).  If it wasn’t for them The Hunted and Darkness Calls would still just be files on my computer collecting dust (or would that be bytes?).  They encouraged me to get my writing out there for others to see because they made me believe my writing deserves to be read.

As a bonus thanks, I am throwing in the fact that I survived shopping at Walmart on Black Friday during the wee hours this morning.  Thank you, Jesus, for not letting anything bad happen to me.  And thank you to the kind employee who saw that I was struggling to carry all my items because they ran out of carts by the time I started shopping, and who hunted down a shopping cart for me to use before my arms fell off.  Let’s just say shopping during Black Friday without a cart gave me a weights workout.

To give thanks and to get more into the holiday season, I decided to take part in another holiday tradition other than posting about what I am thankful for; I wrote a letter to Santa.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I wrote a letter to Santa Claus.  Every year I see the Macy’s commercials asking for Letters to Santa; letters can be dropped off at a mailbox in the Macy’s stores and for every letter received Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation up to a million dollars.  It’s a great way to give back and to get in touch with that part of you who stayed up as late as you could on Christmas Eve to try to hear Santa on the rooftop.  Help those in need hear hope this holiday season.

Hello There!

Hello there!  I just looked at the posts page for this blog because I figured “Hey, I probably haven’t blogged in a while.  I should probably do something about that to let people know this blog is still alive.”  When I saw that I haven’t posted in almost a month, my mouth fell open and I put my hands on my cheeks in a very Macaulay Culkin Home Alone expression.

This has been a very busy month for me which explains why I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to.  For one, I went back to work (I currently work as a substitute teacher, so things have been starting to pick up the past couple of weeks).  I’ve also been drafting Book 2 of the Darkness Calls series while brainstorming ideas for Book 2 of The Hunted series while drafting a yet-to-be-titled non-fiction book while writing ideas/outlining ideas for future books/series that randomly pop into my head while praying people buy more of my books on the Amazon Kindle and/or NOOK store.  I know that last part sounds very capitalist and money-hungry, but I like to think it’s not considering if you look at the current sales rank of both books on either store, they’re not in the top 100,000.  Heck, right now they’re not even in the top 250,000.  Don’t mind the sales ranks; they are both pretty awesometastic books if I say so myself.

*A disclaimer on the last paragraph: when I say I’ve been drafting while brainstorming while drafting while writing ideas while praying, I don’t do all these things at the same time.  That would require Hermione’s actual Time-Turner, not the replica necklace I bought at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.*

Since I last updated this blog, I changed the cover of Darkness Calls to one that won’t stress me out that it doesn’t look good.  I love the new cover, and I hope you do too.  Here is the new cover:

I have also been doing a lot of reading.  Whenever I’m drafting, it’s like I build a mental cocoon where I read a lot and write a lot in turn.  Since it’s Halloween season I have been reading horror (not that I need an excuse to read horror).  I read Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendra Blake, a YA ghost story that puts a spin on the boy-meets-girl love story.  I also read The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, a YA novel that is told first-person by Mackie, a changeling, and tells the story of Mackie and the odd town he lives in.  I really enjoyed both, and I thought they both stood for the stories they each told as well as because they are more different than anything I have read in YA.

Okay I just checked how many words this blog post is turning out to be, and I think I have sufficiently let you all know that the blog is still alive and has not morphed into a zombie, eating up space on the Internet.  Mission accomplished.

Updates, Updates, Updates

I’ve updated both The Hunted and Darkness Calls pages on this blog to include the first five chapters of each book.  You can check them out by clicking on the tab with the book’s title on the left of this blog.

I say this on the pages, but I’ll say it here too.  I hope you like the chapters, and I hope you like them enough to read more.  I’m biased because I’m the author, but I really do think they’re two great stories that are both worth a read.  And the bonus is that if you’re like me and kind of wimp out over long books, then the good news is that both The Hunted and Darkness Calls are on the shorter side.

Right now I’m in the process of writing the first draft of the second book in the Darkness Calls series.  I know I’m slightly messing with the order because I wrote The Hunted first, but Book 2 of the Darkness Calls series is just the direction my imagination decided to go.  Thankfully my imagination is also aware that both books do need sequels, so there have been some ideas popping up about Book 2 in The Hunted seriesas well.

I talked about it in my last post, but both The Hunted and Darkness Calls are now available through the Amazon Kindle Store as well as through Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Store.  I’m excited that they’re available through both places.  I’m also excited because that means the books are available in time for Fall, my favorite time of year as well as the time of year the stories take place in.

As always, thank you so much for reading.  I think that’s all the updates I have for now.  Oh, except that I don’t know if I can wait until October for the new season of American Horror Story.  Other than that, in the words of Porky Pig, until next time, “That’s all folks!”