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Through the Mist

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Popcorn Read for a Hot Summer Day

Looking for an easy, breezy summer vacation read? Might I suggest the "Through the Mist" series?

What's the story? Tilly Munro is a modern woman who suddenly finds herself transported back to 1800s Scotland. I know, I know - not another time travel romance in Scotland! Give it try.

The first book in the series - "Through the Mist: Restoration" is affordably priced at 99 cents on Amazon.com. A bargain!

After you finish "Restoration," dive into a novella, "Through the Mist: Adrift." Meant as a bridge between "Restoration" and its sequel, "Reunion," we learn more about Beth Hunter, Tilly's best friend, and the aftermath of Tilly's mysterious disappearance.

Yes, "Adrift" ends abruptly, because we are ready to jump into the action of "Through the Mist: Reunion." This book is a roller coaster ride. We explore Tilly's new life, travel to Tinberry Hall in Derbyshire, learn more about Malcolm Campbell, and immerse ourselves in a new romance between two unlikely people.

The novella is also available as an ebook on Amazon and is priced at 99 cents. "Through the Mist: Reunion" can be found there too. The ebook is $1.99.

Of course, if you prefer printed books, you can order those too. They are a bit more expensive but certainly available.

We all like a light read in the summer. I hope you enjoy the "Through the Mist" series.

And, yes, I am working on another book in the series right now. In fact, I have plans for at least two more books in the series. The story will continue!

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So, What's It About??

Whenever someone learns that you wrote a book, the natural question is, “So, what’s it about?” More questions may follow if people are interested.

I try not to ramble on too much. I wouldn’t have written the series if I was not passionate about the topic, but I realize that you can only hold someone’s interest for so long. Here are some common questions and their answers:

Through the Mist is a series. What’s it about?

It begins with the first book, Restoration. Tilly Munro is a modern woman who suddenly finds herself over two hundred years in the past, in Scotland. How did that happen? Who is this mysterious Benjamin Campbell? Will she go back, if she ever finds a way?

Then, I continued the story in a novella, Through the Mist: Adrift. Tilly travelled to Scotland with her best friend, Beth Hunter Madison. After Tilly’s mysterious disappearance, Beth’s life fell apart. In Adrift, we learn more about Beth and see the story come to a startling conclusion.

The recently published sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion, continues the story of Benjamin and Tilly. We learn what has happened over the last year since Tilly disappeared. We also learn more about Benjamin’s father Malcolm, and the lengths the man will go, all in an attempt to preserve the estate. We experience a new love story with two characters. How does that one end?

This sounds like a lot of time travel romances that I have read. How’s this one different?

It is true that the “Scottish time travel” romance story has been done many times over. In fact, that was my inspiration. I have read a lot of books in the genre. I never read one where the woman was older and has lived a life before she met our dashing Scot. And, the modern women usually don’t have any problem at all with the changes brought on by time travel.

Well, I need indoor plumbing, access to information, and freedom to speak my mind. I am not a twenty-something and would likely be viewed as a spinster. In short, I would have a serious problem with traveling back in time. That got me thinking - how would someone like me deal with time travel? What things would be different?

That’s how the Through the Mist series was born.

I hate the way Restoration ended. Why did you do that to us readers??

It has been my lifelong dream to write a book. Restoration was my first effort. I admit there are issues in that book with pacing, and yes, the ending could use a little polish. However, the story for me is over at that point. It was always meant to pick up in the next book.

Incidentally, the ending of Reunion is much better, in my opinion. Please give it a chance.

Why don’t you just fix the ending and republish Restoration?

I am a bit of purist. Aside from fixing typos, I don’t believe in changing the book once it has been published. Besides, I am afraid too many edits would spoil the sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion.

Why did you write the novella, Adrift?

For awhile, the material in Adrift was the first part of Reunion. I finally decided to cut it from the book. I was afraid no one would hang in there long enough to get to the real heart of the story that happens in Reunion.

I could not bring myself to leave the story unpublished, though. To me, the material in Adrift provides needed backstory into Beth’s life. Expect some callbacks to the novella in the third book in the series.

You have a few historical references in the series. Are they true?

Based upon my research, yes. I read a lot of material about the time period. I study online resources. And, for the next book, I can reference notes and pictures I took on my recent trip to Scotland. It is important to me that you are part of the story. Adding little details about food, customs, or clothing make the experience real to me, and I hope it does the same for you.

Now, I will say this - I do not have a team of people behind me. I do the best I can, and it takes me longer to complete my research. I have a day job. If you find a glaring historical error, I always welcome comments. You can DM me on Facebook.

The books are affordably priced, compared to other e-books. Why are they so cheap?

With my first book, Through the Mist: Restoration, you took a chance with me. It seemed rather rude to ask you to spend $10 on a writer’s first book. I priced it at 99 cents so you would give me that chance. If you liked it, you got a deal. If you hated it, well, you only spent 99 cents.

The novella Adrift is also priced at 99 cents. It is not essential to the series, but it is a “nice to have.”

Both Restoration and Adrift are now free to read on Kindle Unlimited, if you have it.

I have struggled with pricing for Through the Mist: Reunion, the sequel. I try to keep the price in an affordable range, yet, to be completely honest, it would be nice to make more than 35 cents on the book. (Yes, literally that amount.) Hey - we all need a side hustle these days, right? At the current price, it is still less expensive than some ebooks out there. I hope the story is enjoyable enough for you to spend your hard-earned money.

When can we expect the next book?

Restoration was published in 2016. Adrift and Reunion were published in 2018. I seem to be on a “every two years” track. The story in the as-yet-untitled third book is much, much larger than the other books in the series. I hope to complete it within two years, but I don’t want to make any promises.

Keep an eye on this blog and Facebook for updates.

Have more questions?

Find me on Facebook or Goodreads. You can leave a comment here. I love feedback and questions. I really want to know what you think of the story, the characters - anything.

As always, happy reading!

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Lower Price for "Through the Mist: Reunion"

The sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion, will continue to have a special ebook price. The original price was $2.99. I have lowered the price to $1.99.

The first book in the series, Through the Mist: Restoration, and the companion novella, Through the Mist: Adrift, are each priced at 99 cents for the ebook. If you have Kindle Unlmited, you can read both for free.

The series gives you an opportunity to escape for a few hours to Scotland. Experience a little bit of romance and intrigue entwined with a wee bit of time travel and history. Where else can you find such inexpensive (and hopefully fun) entertainment?

Happy reading!

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About that ending....

SPOILER ALERT!!! If you have not read Through the Mist: Restoration or Through the Mist: Adrift, you might want to refrain from reading this blog post. While I will not reveal the endings, some comments that follow might. You have been warned.

Seriously - be careful with the comments.

Alright - I tried to warn you.

I have read the reviews for Through the Mist: Restoration. I think a lot of people were disappointed with the ending. In my defense, it was my debut novel. I have learned a lot about how endings should be a little bit…different.

Also, the ending felt right to me. The story reached its natural conclusion.

If you read Adrift, you will be disappointed with the ending. It is abrupt on purpose. I knew exactly what I was doing there. Adrift is meant to be a bridge between the first book, Restoration, and its sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion. It is a quick read, though, and you can jump right into Reunion without waiting years for a resolution.

Those chapters stayed in Reunion for awhile, as I tried to determine whether or not they belonged in the sequel. Ultimately, I decided to spin it off into a separate novella. I felt it weighed down the sequel and was a bit distracting with the jumps in time. Still, I wanted the story to be told, because characters in Adrift appear in Reunion, at the end.

I fear that the endings with the first book and the novella have put off some people to reading Reunion. Well, without revealing too much, Reunion has a better ending. I tie off a lot of loose threads, so you are not left wondering what happened to favorite characters. I do leave a couple of exciting, happy things to explore in the future.

I have an idea for a third book in the series - or 3.5, if you count the novella. I am still researching it and sorting through some ideas. In the meantime, I hope you can enjoy Through the Mist: Restoration, Through the Mist: Adrift, and Through the Mist: Reunion, despite the controversial endings in the first two.

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"Through the Mist: Adrift" is here.

Drum roll....

The novella, Through the Mist: Adrift, is available on Amazon. And, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free. If you don't, the ebook price is affordable at 99 cents. The paperback is a reasonable $3.99.

Since it is a brand new entry, you may need to search for that exact title. It could take Amazon a few days to catch up.

So, why would you want to read the novella instead of waiting for the sequel? The novella is meant to bridge the gap between Restoration and Reunion. A lot happened after Tilly Munro disappeared.

When Beth Hunter Madison and her friend Tilly embarked on a road trip in Scotland, it was meant to be a fun romp in the Highlands. As we know, the trip took a tragic turn when Tilly disappeared into the mist.

Beth is haunted by her part in the tragedy. Her marriage collapses. Her career is in ruins. Desperate to save her career, she jumps at an opportunity in Scotland. She must return to the place where Tilly disappeared. In doing so, she finds a new purpose for her life.

She also discovers love in an unexpected place. Unfortunately, the man lives in a different time.

You may be asking yourself, "Do I really need to read this novella?" Well, I will be brutally honest - no, you don't. Then again, do you really need to order dessert? Do you need chocolate?

The novella will add an extra layer to the sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion. My goal is to release the sequel later this month, so you won't have to wait long.

Happy reading - and thank you for your patience while I finish the sequel.

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Exciting news about "Through the Mist: Restoration"

I wrote Through the MistRestoration as a bucket list item. I always wanted to write a book, and I finally did it! Since I did not want to pour a lot of money into something that might be a lark, I did all the formatting and other work myself.

Now that I have the "writer's bug," I am prepared to spend a little money on formatting. I am happy to announce that Restoration has been cleaned up! Polgarus Studio polished the novel, making it look SO MUCH better. I corrected several typos and removed the excessive use of certain words.

Don't worry - the overall story did not change. It just looks pretty now!

Here's the really exciting news. If you have a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, you can now read the book for free. Tell all your friends. Even if someone does not have a subscription, the book's 99 cent ebook price is affordable.

Wink...wink...you might want to re-read the book because something exciting is happening soon. Check out tomorrow's blog or Facebook post for details. 

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Bring in the New Year

I am ready to bid 2017 goodbye. What a year! I always try to look for the positive and present it to you here and on my Facebook page. I figure you have enough bad stuff to read. Why add to the dark cloud of negativity? The year 2017 was a doozy, though.

As I look ahead to the new year, I am excited for the challenges to come with the book. I am putting the finishing touches on the sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion.  I know I have said this many times. If you are a writer, you know how tough the process is. Just when you think you are done, you spot something that is not quite right and want to change it. At some point, though, you must say “Enough!” I am nearing that point.

I plan to try advertising with the novella, Through the Mist: Adrift, and the sequel, Through Mist: Reunion. I did not advertise Through the Mist: Restoration. Frankly, I was thrilled that I finally wrote a book. It was a huge personal accomplishment. If anyone read it, it would be a small miracle. Several of you did, and I am eternally grateful.

I encourage each of you to find something this new year to bring you similar joy and gratitude. I felt as if I wasted many years saying “someday, I will....” If we learned anything from 2017, it was that “someday” may never come. Do not put off living your life.

You don’t need a grand gesture. Sprinkle in a few attainable goals like eating half a donut instead of a whole one or taking the stairs today instead of the elevator. We should celebrate the small victories as much as we do the big ones.

Here’s to a new year filled with health and happiness for all!

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A Tease

As I have mentioned on Facebook, the beta readers finished reading the novella, Through the Mist: Adrift. I have a few tweaks to make before it is ready for publication.

In the interim, I thought you might like a peek at the opener. I am not calling it an prologue. It's just a few paragraphs that will set the tone for the story that follows:

Beth would never forget the morning when Mrs. Douglas opened the door to Tilly’s room. It was almost 11:00 a.m., far too late for her friend to be sleeping. They found the garden doors wide open and dying embers in the fireplace hearth. A half-full glass of Scotch rested on a table.

She searched Tilly’s room and found her friend’s wallet, passport, and cell phone. No sign of the woman herself though. Where had she gone?

Mrs. Douglas rang the police straight away. They refused to do anything until Tilly had been gone for a full 24 hours. They told Beth that her friend could have gone for walk and would be back before nightfall. She knew better. She waited in agony as the hours ticked by on the grandfather clock in the parlour. When the clock struck midnight, she felt each ring like a blow to her body. Something was terribly wrong.

The police scoured the area. They found footsteps leading to the forest. Then, the trail abruptly disappeared. She remembered hearing one of the police officers whisper fey. Later that evening, she looked up the word and laughed aloud. It was preposterous to think that a supernatural creature could have kidnapped her friend.

Months passed with no hint, no trace. Beth privately wondered if the police officers were right. Sometimes, the most extraordinary theory is the only logical conclusion.

So, what do you think? 

 

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September Progress Report

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the publication of my first book, Through the Mist: Restoration. It was a proud moment for me. As always, thank you so, so much for taking time to read it.

Many of you have wanted to know what happens next. After all, we don’t see the “happily ever after” when the book ends. The epilogue hints that something happened with Beth, but what?

Things are progressing very well with the sequel. The novella, which tells Beth’s story, is in “beta” mode. So far, the feedback has been good. The consensus is that it was right to spinoff this part of the story to a novella. Also, Beth is a very different character from Tilly, and it shows in the story. My beta readers are not fans of the genre, so I trust their feedback. If I can hold their attention, then the story must okay.

I am putting the finishing touches on the sequel before it goes to beta. I do not foresee major changes. We shall see once the betas get their hands on it. I am still pushing for a release before year’s end. I have some exciting marketing ideas, so stay tuned. I think you will be pleased on that front.

I still have some work to do with the original, Through the Mist: Restoration. The cover for the eBook needs a tweak – the title is too small in the thumbnail. The paperwork’s cover has an annoying problem with the spine – the font is tiny! I found some typos in the text as well as a few formatting glitches. Before the novella and sequel are released, I must make these improvements. Don’t worry – I will not change the story. Good or bad, it is set in stone. I do not believe in changing the fundamentals after publication.

In fact, all of this work on the first book is on my Labor Day to-do list. I hate the less creative aspects of the task, but I have put them off long enough.

Thank you for reading. Keep an eye on my Facebook page too. I will provide more frequent updates as well as share my adventures with G and cooking.

Slàinte!

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Life Gets in the Way

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to win the lottery? I do not regularly buy a ticket, which makes it hard to win. Still, on those rare occasions when I do, I always fantasize about walking into the office and quitting my job so I could stay home and write full time. In fact, I have made it publicly known that, if I win the lotto, I am out the door. It was written (in jest) into a project plan once – what would we do if she won the lotto? It made for much-needed bit of levity in a tense situation.

Until I win the lotto, I must squeeze in writing time whenever I can. We have a massive project ahead this month. At the same time, I have made the decision to change directions for the sequel (more on that in a bit). So, it comes to this – work on the book or work on the blog. Since I doubt anyone waits with bated breath for the next blog post, I chose the book. For the month of August at least, I will only post to the blog when I have something really important to say.

I encourage you to visit my Facebook page. I will regularly post there because it does not require a lot of effort and has a more relaxed tone. If you have not visited yet, you will find a lot of pictures of food. A girl must eat!

Now, about the sequel….

It’s big - too big. As I mentioned recently on Facebook, one criticism of the first book involved pacing. When I read the sequel, I see the same pacing problem. It takes 16 chapters before something big happens. Those 16 chapters are critical to the story, but do you really see that when you are slogging through them? Probably not. I fear that, if left as is, you might toss the book from sheer boredom.

I have decided to take that section of the book and turn it into a novella. Then, when Through the Mist: Reunion begins, it will be maybe a chapter of material, and – BOOM –the action starts. Of course, I will mention a little bit of the back story from the novella but not much. If readers really want to know the full story, they can read the novella first and then start the sequel. The detail people get the whole story. The folks who want action can skip the novella altogether. Everybody wins (I hope).

Could a better writer find a different solution? Sure. If you have suggestions, I would love to hear them. Seriously –I really would.

So, until my next blog post – see you on Facebook!

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Sequel Progress

How’s that sequel coming along?

If you follow the posts on Facebook, you know that I am in revision mode right now. I completed another read-through this week. I am not satisfied with the opening section. It is too long. I just don’t think the average reader will stick around until the “good stuff” happens in the middle.

The sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion, is meant to pick up around the time of the epilogue in the first book, Through the Mist: Restoration. Beth has returned to Scotland. Why? What happened, because the epilogue sounds ominous? It does not sound as if life has turned out well for her.

Also, Benjamin and Tilly’s story ended with what seemed like a “happily ever after.” A few threats to their happiness remained, though. Did their love story end well?

I would love to hear any questions you have about the book, either the first one or the sequel. Maybe you have a question I had not considered. Feel free to comment here or on FB.

In the meantime, thanks for reading!

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The Goodreads Challenge

As of this post, I have 97 ratings on Goodreads. I am astonished. Through the Mist: Restoration is the realization of a long-held dream. I worked really hard to write and self publish the book. The fact that even one person bought the book is amazing. That 97 people would take the time to give my book a rating on Goodreads, well, that’s just unbelievable.

It would be a thrill to have 100 ratings on Goodreads. I am only 3 ratings away! Therefore, I am issuing a challenge to my readers. If I can get 100 ratings on Goodreads, I will donate $100 to the Avery County NC Humane Society. I adopted G from the organization, so it is a tribute to both you and her.

How do you make it happen? Creating a Goodreads account is free at goodreads.com. Once you log in, search for my book, Through the Mist: Restoration. Then, below the picture of my book’s cover, you will see a drop down menu. You can click that you have read the book. You can give a simple star rating, which is all I ask. If you want to leave a review as well, you can. I humbly ask for constructive criticism, though. It is the only way I can become better as a writer.

Even if I do not hit 100 ratings, I am so, so happy. You made my dream come true just by reading my story. Thank you so much!

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Inspiration? Not So Much

It is summertime here in the States. It has brought scorching temperatures and bad thunderstorms here in the South. It has also prompted a bit of laziness on my part. How do you find the time to write when all you want to do is drink a glass of cold lemonade and relax?

I tried to spark creativity by visiting the Biltmore House yesterday. You can read all about that on my Facebook page. I am a passholder so I can visit as much as I like without buying a ticket. Visiting the Biltmore House gives me a peek into refined living and conjures images of scenes in my upcoming book, Through the Mist: Reunion.

Yesterday, though, it was so crowded that I only spent about 15 minutes in the house. I got a late start, thanks to an unusual power outage at home. I don’t like heavy crowds so it was not as inspirational as visits past.

What do you do when you struggle to find inspiration?

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Rank is Rank, Part II

“Rank” has been on my mind a great deal for the last few weeks. I have been struggling with a scene in the sequel, Though the Mist: Reunion. The first draft needed revision in certain areas of the book. This particular scene did not work. To be blunt, it never would have happened that way. (OK – yes, time travel itself is pretty far-fetched, but still….)

When I compare the different ways we preserve the distinction of rank in society, I am struck by how certain details have changed. The customs are different, yet it is still clear that expectations are set for all classes of society. I doubt that will ever change.

As I work on this scene, I must be careful not to apply the 21st century customs when speaking from the viewpoint of a 19th century person. For example, we might think nothing of calling someone by his or her first name. A couple of centuries ago, that was a shocking breach of etiquette unless one was on very intimate terms with a person.

No matter in what time period we live, rank will always be rank.

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Rank is Rank

If you are a fan of Jane Austen, you know Sir Elliott utters the line in her novel, Persuasion. As a modern person of no real consequence, I thankfully am not subjected to the mechanization of high society. In the 19th century, proper form seemed to be of paramount importance. Thus, when I create certain scenes in my book, Through the Mist: Reunion, I must hit the books and determine if something would have actually happened. I do exercise a writer’s license to tweak some things for the sake of the story. In other aspects, though, I want things to be accurate.

Without giving away too much about the sequel, I would like to talk a bit about introductions. In today’s time, let’s say your next door neighbor has more money than you. Would it be shocking to walk up to that person, who some would say has “superior rank,” and introduce yourself? In most cases, no. You would only be prohibited by shyness and would definitely act in a respectful manner. However, this sort of behavior would be unheard of in the 19th century. One must wait to be introduced to persons whose rank is above one’s own.

Think of the scene in Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Collins approaches Mr. Darcy at the Netherfield Ball. Eliza and Jane are stunned because the men have not been “properly introduced.” Viewing the scene with a modern eye, I am shocked that people behaved that way. Now, I am not saying that we should interrupt a conversation and shout, “Hey, how the hell are ya?” when we see someone. Let’s do be civil. Still, the concept of being so rigid is foreign to me. It would not have been to someone in previous centuries.

As I read the first draft of my novel, I discovered this flaw. I am in the process of completely rewriting a scene in the book. It was all wrong. Would you have noticed? Maybe. Maybe not. It actually works better if I rewrite it. The strict adherence to such proper behavior illustrates a particular individual’s character. I believe it adds depth to the scene.

My research prompted me to consider something. While we may not engage in the same practices, “rank is rank” still exists. Think about your daily life. Are there people at work with whom you do not “speak unless spoken to?” If you encountered the CEO of your company in an elevator, would you engage in idle chit-chat? Or would you stare at the floor?

Like or not, “rank” will always be “rank.” To paraphrase Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged

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Book Report

So, where do we stand with that darn sequel??

Progress is slow. To be honest, it is difficult to find time to write right now. We have some big projects at work, so I pretty tired after hours. I will offer some tidbits, though.

Some have criticized Through the Mist: Restoration for having an abrupt ending. The book is almost 300 pages long. I never meant for it to be a deep dive into every detail. Instead, I purposely ended the story where it felt natural to me. The point of that story was Tilly’s decision at the end. Once resolved, a new story began - in another book.

Through the Mist: Reunion will cover a lot more ground than the first book. We have a lot of story in this one since it involves more people. Don’t worry –you won’t need a list of characters to keep track of all the people. (I hate stories like that.) Hopefully, though, the journey will take us to a place where each character’s story is resolved. Well, maybe "resolved" is a strong word. After all, I still want to do at least one more book in the series.

Since it is a lot of story, it is taking longer to write the book. I am still pushing myself for a fall release. I want it to be worth your time, though. If I miss the deadline, know that it is for the good of the story.

Thank you for your patience. I would be happy to answer any questions you have and hear any feedback you would like to offer. Feel free to leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.

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Popcorn Fiction

I love to put M&Ms in popcorn. The combination of salty and sweet is irresistible. Sure, it makes a great snack, but I need more than that for a satisfying meal. Sadly, candy and popcorn are not part of a balanced diet.

I view fiction the same way. Some books are meant to uplift, to challenge a reader’s pre-conceived notions, to educate – you know, the kind of book that ends up on Oprah’s book club lists. These types of books often win prestigious awards and may be described as life changing. Books of this type certainly have a place in a balanced diet of the brain.

Then, you have what I call “popcorn fiction.” Like a snack, it is meant to satisfy a craving and may not provide life-sustaining sustenance. Still, it sure is fun to read, isn’t it? Who doesn’t like a snack every now and then?

I plant my books solidly in the "popcorn fiction" category. I frequently read these types of books because I have enough reality in the real world. I love to escape into a story that may not challenge me on an intellectual level but will be fun.

If you are looking for an escape and possibly a laugh or two, please pick up my book, Through the Mist: Restoration. I am currently working on the sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion. While it does have a few serious moments, the overall story is meant to be fun.

Then, when you are ready for fulfilling fiction, check out any number of serious works on Goodreads or any other reader site. I envy the writers who can dedicate themselves to such amazing work. Their writing is far superior to anything I could ever hope to do. And, that’s perfectly fine. In life, we cannot live on candy alone. Sometimes, we must eat a salad.

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Make it Look Purdy

Writing the book seemed like the hardest part of producing Through the Mist: Restoration. Oh, I was so wrong! After I finished the book, I still needed to format it for publishing and design a cover for the book. In this blog post, I’ll share a little bit about my experience and offer some insight into what I plan to do for the sequel.

Let’s tackle formatting first. In a nutshell, your “publisher” will want your book to be submitted in a format that fits their format. I published  eBook and paperback versions of my book. I used Amazon for the eBook. I used CreateSpace for the paperback. Both vendors had different formats, so I had to create two different versions.

In both cases, the vendor provided a template and instructions about their preferences for margins and other things. When you produce your book, ask the vendor if they offer similar information. It will make life easier for you and hopefully allow you to quickly publish the book.

For design, I decided to produce the cover on my own. I think I have fair design skills, so I used Adobe InDesign to create the eBook cover. The knife and tartan blanket are mine. I took the photo on my sofa. I then loaded it into InDesign and did a little work to produce the final image, which I uploaded to Amazon.

The current cover on the paperback was a template available on CreateSpace. I used the previously-mentioned photo and tweaked it a bit for the paperback.

Now, how do I really feel about doing all that work myself? Well, here’s a succinct answer: it sucked! It felt like torture. After spending so much time writing the book, I just wanted to publish it. It was agony to spend endless hours on the format, to submit and resubmit the work again and again. Ugh! Torture!

The cover design was somewhat fun. I enjoy photography and design. I just didn’t like flipping through templates and trying to find “the one.” And, let me say – I am not satisfied with the template for the paperback. There is a major flaw on the spine of the book that annoys me every time I look at it. I will fix it one day, just not now. The memories of that tortuous process are too fresh.

So, why did I do all the work myself? Again, another succinct answer: money. I did not want to sink a lot of money into a book that might not sell a single copy. I am careful with my spending. I could not justify it.

What are my plans for the sequel? I will probably hire someone to do the formatting for me. I feel more confident that the sequel will sell enough copies to justify the cost. With the first book, I devoted entirely too much time on something that did not fulfill me. I could have used those hours to work on the sequel! The trick will be to find the right person at the right price. I am sure you’ll hear all about it on the blog.

For the design, I am still on the fence. I enjoyed working on the process. I could hire someone to create the cover art for me, though I already have the picture in mind. We will see. For me, I see more value in paying someone to format the darn book.

I have said it a million times. You must set a budget for publishing your book, or you will needlessly spend thousands of dollars. Self-publishing is supposed to be fun. It is okay to hire people to handle the aspects you find boring or beyond your technical abilities. Just be prepared to pay for it.

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Book or Blog?

This week, I had a choice. Work on the blog...or work on the book?

As you can probably guess, I chose the book. I am in the thick of the last section. Our cast is back at Castle Fion. Far from being a wrap up, more action takes place there. With luck, I will pull all the pieces together.

Stay tuned!

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Is it a Hobby? Or, Is It a Business?

We are fortunate to live in an age when you are no longer dependent upon a publishing house to fall in love with your manuscript and publish it. You can use a myriad of online resources to publish your book, in eBook and/or paperback format. It can be an incredibly daunting experience. It is important to decide upfront if the project is a hobby or a business. The answer to the question will lead you down two entirely different paths.

A hobby is something that you do at a leisurely pace. You are not specifically seeking profit. If you do make a little money, that’s great; it just isn’t your goal. You might spend some money to participate in this activity. Depending upon the hobby, you might spend a little – or a lot. Still, it is discretionary spending. If you must decide between your hobby and feeding your family, you would give up the hobby.

A business, on the other hand, requires time, money, and energy. Your goal is profit. You devote hours to create and market a product. You make the investment because you want this endeavor to be a success.

Now, some would say that you can have both when it comes to writing. If that is your passion, yes, in theory. The old adage “find something you love, and you will never work a day in your life” is a wonderful concept. How many people do you know who have actually achieved that goal? Not many.

The brutal truth is that, while you can self publish your own work, you must decide how you will treat the task. There are literally millions of books out there. I compare publishing my first book to casting a pebble in the ocean. I always came to my original question: is it a business or a hobby?

When I published Through the Mist: Restoration, I quickly realized all the work was on me. I didn't have a publishing team behind me that would market the book, schedule interviews, create advertisements, maintain social media outlets, et cetera. I had to decide how much work I was willing to do.

The process was filled with a lot of uncertainty. Through the Mist: Restoration was my first book. I had no idea if it was good or if anyone would even buy it. I did not want to invest a lot of time or money into the “business” side of things. After all, my main purpose was to finally write a book.

I have not sold millions of copies. I haven’t even cracked 10,000 yet. It is a tremendous success to me because I have sold thousands of copies, something I never imagined would happen. I am amazed that even one person bought the book!

I have spent some money to create a website and buy books for research. I devote time to posting to my website and Facebook in addition to the hours spent writing the sequel. I have not spent any money on advertising , though. I have not contacted various parties to write reviews for the book or sought other means of promotion.

Why? Because I am still learning! I am trying to sort out what I did right, and what I could have done differently. I am researching the various outlets for promotion. In short, I am learning the business side of the endeavor. It turns out that writing the book was the easiest part.

So, what is the takeaway from this rambling blog post? If you are a writer who wants to self publish, I suggest you take a hard look at it. You can spend a ton of money and get no results. You should prepare yourself for that possibility. Then, decide how you want to approach this. If it is a hobby, don’t sink thousands of dollars into it unless you can lose that money.

If it is a business, research, research, research. Most of us do not have a marketing background, a wealth of industry contacts, and unlimited funds. Design a plan. Figure out how much time and money will be needed to execute that plan. Then, be prepared for a long road. If you are very lucky, the plan will work brilliantly and quickly. Do not get discouraged, though, if it takes time to gain traction. Remember, your book is one of literally millions out there.

Before I end this post, I do want to mention one thing I did right. I became a Goodreads author. It was free and easy. My sales jumped after I did that. I don’t understand why but am so glad!

Good luck to everyone out there. Remember, writing is meant to be fun!

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