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Through the Mist: Restoration

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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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The Joys of Self Publishing?

I have written in the past about the highs of self publishing. They are many - no one to tell you what to do, when to do it. No one to tell you what to write. Are you picking up on the theme here? You are the boss, which can be exhilarating.

It can also be frustrating. Without someone to nudge you along, you can take your time with the book. That can be a negative. I doubt anyone reading this blog has the privilege of writing full-time. Most of us juggle our “real” jobs with all the deadlines and stress to go along with it. After a difficult day at work, the last thing you may want to do is work on that book. Without a nudge, it could take YEARS to complete your novel.

And then there’s the issue with promotion. What do you do?? Do you place ads? If so, where? How much do you spend? Do you record a podcast? Should you have a giveaway on a website? Can you get someone to publish a review? If you decide to do any or all of these things, how do you actually DO it?? How, I say? HOW???!!!

I admit that I have little patience. I just want to write my story and have someone else take care of the business side of things. Hmmmm….sounds a bit like a traditional publishing relationship, doesn’t it?

Well, I don’t have any publishers beating down my door, begging to publish my book. And, I just don’t have the desire to send a manuscript to 100 publishers, only to be told “no, thanks” or worse, “you suck, your book sucks, you should stop writing for the good of humanity.” OK - that last bit may be harsh, but who hasn’t felt that way?

I have written two and half books in the “Through the Mist” series - “Restoration,” “Adrift” (a novella), and “Reunion.” The first book did well, in my opinion. The novella’s sales were meh. “Reunion” has flatlined, which is a shame. I felt as if I hit my stride with that one. The pace is better, and the ending is really good, in my less than humble opinion.

Let me be clear - I know none of these books will be number one on ANY chart. I want somebody to read them, though. Why else did I take the time to transfer the story from my head to the page? If you are a writer too, you know exactly what I mean.

I feel that I am at a crossroads. I just don’t know what to do to draw readers to my books. And, I have at least two more to write in the series as well as a great idea for a standalone novella. What should I do?

At this point, I have considered hiring a book launch coach. I need someone to pick me up by the bootstraps, so to speak, and tell me what to do. I just don’t know where to start. Let’s see if someone else can help me. As long as the endeavor does not cost a fortune, it might be the kick in the pants that I need. Sometimes, that’s what it takes. Wish me luck!

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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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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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Gratitude

A couple of weeks ago, I asked if 3 people would submit ratings on Goodreads for my first book, Through the Mist: Restoration. I was just shy of 100 ratings. I realize some people may consider that amount to be small. It means the world to me because I never thought anyone would read the book, let alone 100 people pick it up. If I received those 3 ratings, I promised to donate $100 to the Avery County Humane Society. I am happy to say that I now have over 100 ratings on Goodreads. Thank you so much!

I have said many, many times that writing a book was the fulfillment of a dream. What’s your dream? You don’t have to pick something grand like skydiving or starting your own business, although go for it if you feel empowered. Try to accomplish something small, just to prove to yourself that you can do it. Then, build on it. Try something a little harder. Soon, you’ll move mountains.

It is easier to sit on the couch and complain about everything and everyone. It is much harder to get on your feet and try. You will feel better for the effort. To hell with anyone who says you cannot/should not/could not do it. Remember – it is important to you. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

Go for it!

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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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Get On With It!

Walkies with my dog require paying attention. We begin the walk with a run, then come to an abrupt halt for a tinkle. Her nose dictates the speed of the walkie – from slow strolls where every blade of grass is sniffed to brisk walks on the scent of some beast who dared to cross the pee line. Eventually, I grow weary of the manic pace and ask her to pick a speed – run or walk. Nothing in between. (She ignores me.)

An element of writing is the same for me. Setting the right pace makes all the difference. As I edit the sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion, I watch closely for scenes or even sentences that grind the story to a halt. I am much more aggressive in this book than I was with the first one. With Through the Mist: Restoration, I held tightly to certain scenes until the very end. At long last, I cut them, and the story was better for it.

At this point, I fear the first section of the book will meet a similar end. It just isn’t working. Since this section determines whether or not you will keep reading, it must have the proper pace. Otherwise, you will stop reading and will not get to the juicy stuff that happens later in the book.

Of course, the real challenge here is that the first section of any book usually lays the groundwork for the story. The reader needs basic information. Who is this person? Why is she acting this way? What happened in the last book, because I don’t know why I should care about this story? I must give you as much information as I can, yet at a pace that will keep you interested.

Solving this problem is much more fun than the silly stuff that happens at my day job. Thank you for your continued patience as I continue to edit the sequel. I have said it many times. I want to give you something worth your time and money.

If any fellow writers are reading this post, I would love to hear your thoughts about how you tackle this problem.

Happy 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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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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In Case You Missed It

If you do not follow me on Facebook, you may have missed it. This week, I finished the first draft of the sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion.

The story took me in some interesting directions that I had not intended for the original plot line. It will be interesting to see if some of the events make the final cut. At this point, I will start at the beginning of the story and fill in all the details. The current version is dialogue heavy in spots. A few threads are not fully developed so they seem wildly implausible as written. Also, the beginning is just stupid, to be blunt.

I am glad the first draft is done, though. That’s a big part of the battle. I still have a goal of publishing the sequel this fall. I will continue to provide updates here and on Facebook.

In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. Let me know if you have any questions about the first book, Through the Mist: Restoration; the writing process; or any other topic. Thanks for reading!

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Read My Book - Pretty Please

For the last two weeks, I have talked about the challenges of self-publishing. I shared that writing the book was actually the easy part. The business side of things opens up a whole new world of challenges. Today, I would like to share my experiences with advertising.

Since I am a frugal person and had no idea if I would sell one copy, I looked at available resources at little to no cost. I have three tips to offer as well as some thoughts about what I will do differently with the sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion.

First, pick the right category for the book. In the description on Amazon, I used certain keywords that were relevant to the genre. It is a Scottish historical romance with a time travel twist. Some people love those sorts of books; I do! I looked at bestsellers in the genre. What keywords did they use? How were the descriptions phrased? I then crafted my book’s description so that it would garner attention from other lovers of the genre.

Second, develop a social media profile in advance of the release. I created a website, but I did not have a Facebook profile. That was a mistake. Many readers are accustomed to finding and engaging with their favorite author via social media. While the website was nice, Facebook is better. And, it is free! I post to Facebook when I want to discuss the book, scones, or any random thing. If someone leaves a comment, I respond. I have already learned a great deal about scones from an Australian reader. I never expected that!

Third, set up an author’s dashboard on Goodreads. It is free! I took a webinar about social media resources prior to my book’s release. Goodreads was mentioned in the course. It is a website for book lovers. Readers can start discussions about various books or themes as well as leave reviews of books. They can create their own profiles and list their favorite books. It was simple to add my book to the mix and create a profile. I have had a few questions from readers about my book, which was cool.

What are my plans for the next book? I feel a little more confident about the experience, so I plan to launch the next book on a broader scale. In the coming months, I will research the cost for ads at Amazon, Goodreads, and other relevant places. I want to explore what is necessary for certain sites to review my book as well how to set up giveaways of the new release. Are there other resources that would “get the book out there?” Hopefully, I will learn more about that soon.

In the end, I learned a valuable lesson with everything – formatting, design, and advertising. Writing the book is a difficult task. Once it is done, I need to put away the writer’s brain and think like a business person. I should “farm out” what I can afford and direct my attentions to projects where I can make the most impact. With a little luck, the sequel will reach more readers. For those of you who are on the same journey, good luck – and keep writing!

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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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Budgets: Editing

As I work on the sequel, Through the Mist: Reunion, I am already thinking about marketing the book. The first book was a real eye opener about all the extra work required in self publishing. I thought writing the book was the hard part. Oh, no, the business side is even more difficult.

Writing is such a creative process. I found it a bit difficult to switch off the creative side of the brain and turn on the business part when the time came. I would like to avoid the same mistakes when the sequel is released.

I have talked in the past about the importance of setting a budget. I do not consider myself an expert on the topic, but I can offer some insight into the kinds of things that weigh on my mind right now. For the next three weeks, let’s explore three items that should be considered for your budget: editing; formatting and design; and advertising.

Once the book is complete, you might ask yourself whether or not you should use professional editing services. A person can edit your book for everything from grammatical errors to story problems. It is up to you how far you want that person to go. More importantly, how much are willing to spend for the service?

In my case, I paid $100 to have the first 25,000 words of my book reviewed for content only. I am so glad that I did. She identified a major problem with the opening and suggested a different approach to the prologue. As a result, I completely rewrote the prologue and scraped the first eight chapters of the book. In my opinion, the end result is better than the original.

The Internet is filled with people who offer editing services. Do your research carefully. How many books has this person edited? Have you read any of those books? Exactly what services are offered for the fee you will pay? How quickly will the person return the edited work? Do they provide a contract stating that your work is your own? This last question is important. You don’t want someone to steal your idea!

So, what are my plans? Honestly, I am still undecided. I read the first book, Through the Mist: Restoration, and found a few typos. If I had hired an editor, I would like to think that he or she would have found those mistakes. I plan to follow my own advice and see what’s available and how much it costs. Check this blog. I am sure I will write about it when I make the decision.

I plan to devote some amount of my budget to editing. After all, loads of grammatical errors or a sluggish story will disgust readers. I want people to read my book and feel happy, not angry at the mistakes! Consider adopting the same strategy when you publish your first book. Keep writing

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