Thursday, April 28, 2011

Epub Format: Friend or Foe

Celebrating number twelve of my early books, now up at Amazon and other places.The Wedding Gamble is one of my favorites and stuffed with great reviews. I designed the cover, learning as I go.

But who said epublishing was easy? Not so, my friends.

There's much to learn, different formats and many different ways to apply everything at Kindle, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords, a popular aggregator.

I've just done my first workshop on introducing this tangled stuff and learned a lot from the small group of my lab testers. I've wiggled into my own comfortable eformat, thanks to Alison Kent and Nadia Lee's CSS guide.

It's been about a year now, testing, buried in code, futile attempts at perfection, and trying to write a bit along the way, but what a journey.

I learned more from the workshop's attendees and am going on record to say that any writers' group that has not addressed epublishing is not doing its best job for members. (Mm. Maybe I've stressed that earlier.)

Factoid: Love paper books or not, epublishing is here to stay. MS Word is the software in business and formatting (Or OpenOffice), and the standard space between sentences is ONE.

Factoid: WordPerfect Lovers, all I can say is a great big Hug to you.

If you're just starting out, be prepared to dig in and learn quite a bit of software, including Word 2003, Calibre and Mobicreator, all free software, plus Adobe Digital Editions. The last three are good "testers" and all I can say here is test, test, test. Also test on Kindle for PC and Nook for PC and other applications.

If you are NOT prepared to learn a big wide list of how-tos, you might consider services, i.e. cover designers, formatters, ad/promotion services. However, you are probably going to spend over your profit. And that comes down to what you really want. The more you can do yourself, or you can barter for services, the more your profit has potential.

Notepad and Find/Replace are my biggest tools while creating .html necessary for Nadia's version of CSS format.

Judith Tramayne has great tools over at YouTube. And she makes a point in her videos about the heavy html coding in Word and OO (OpenOffice, also freeware).

Her mission and Nadia Lee's is to get clean code. You can see just how dense Word and OO's coding is by opening Notepad and then at File, open your html file.

However, I differ with Judith's method of transferring paragraphs by copy and paste each individual paragraph, and came up with another method. This because my books are 50-100k, and I'd go numb with copy/pasting paragraphs. Watch for that how-to at a later post.

Of all the methods I've tried, all the tips and headaches, Nadia's CSS code produces the cleanest html to insert into Mobicreator for Kindle or Calibre for Barnes and Noble.

I'm still learning and just picked up a tip from Judith Tramayne.

And after all that, any beginner has 2 choices: 1.) either decide to work demon-hard and learn, chipping away at a mountain of info and software tips, or 2.) hire services.

And guess what? At this date, my calculations are that formatting, cover design, etc. is just 40% of the journey. 60% is marketing, something I'm learning now.

And loving the journey.

A Lady's Choice now on sale until 5/1/11 for .99

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


While A LADY'S CHOICE remains on sale until 4/20, THE WEDDING GAMBLE will soon be available for your ereader.

First published by Dell Books, it's one of my favorites and others, as you can see by the following reviews.

More about THE WEDDING GAMBLE when it's actually epublished, but here's the blurb:

1881 Montana
Top billiardist Cairo Brown owns her own elegant parlor and she's on her way to her dreams. But she takes a down-on-his luck gunslinger as a challenger and the game is on. Solomon Wolfe needs a grubstake to give his not-sweet six-year old niece the home he's promised. And she's needing a temporary "Ma". When he bets a battered wedding ring and a run-down ranch against everything the lady has and wants, Solomon and Cairo are in for a collision of sexy, humorous surprises against a backdrop of deadly revenge.

The backstory on the research for this book involved antique billiards cues, balls, tables, let alone the game. Mike Shamos of The Billiards Archieve helped with technical points of this historic game. More about that later. Meanwhile, here's the reviews:

Publisher's Weekly
The unusual twist on the "marriage of convenience" device provides an extra dollop of delight while the carefully detailed background adds richness to a satisfying story about two survivors surprised by love. Complex family entanglements and revenge culminate in a rousing finish to this thoroughly enjoyable western romance.

Romantic Times, Frances L. Trainor
Though an emotional read, THE WEDDING GAMBLE is not without humor. On the surface, Solomon is a hardened gunfighter and Cairo a driven lady. Ms. Logan [London] one of the most popular writers in the genre, delivers reading pleasure while peeling away the layers to expose Solomon and Cairo's true worth.

More reviews. I hope you read them all:

Affaire de Coeur, Laurel Gainer

I just couldn't put the book down! The plot was just full to overflowing with wonderful characters, hilarious trouble and tempestuous passion!


Feel and understand life in the old west as Cait Logan [London] takes you on this adventure in a great detail. Call the shot--every turn of the page is another match you do not want to miss. And all for the love of the game.

B. Dalton's Heart to Heart

This sexy, captivating historical romance is filled with unforgettable characters, so The Wedding Gamble is no gamble--it's a winner all the way.

THE WEDDING GAMBLE was closely edited by Mary Ellen O'Neil, and thank you again, Mary Ellen, for one of the best books of my career.

Watch for more soon...

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Featuring 2 Western Historicals

Since April is my birthday month, I'm celebrating with a sale price for A Lady's Choice until April 20, 2011.

Also April 7 at 5p Central, Daily Cheap Reads will feature two of my historicals, NIGHT FIRE and Wild Dawn, western historical romances.

I've been working for awhile to get my backlist up and running and now I'm learning a few of the cornerposts in selling. Daily Cheap Reads is one of them. If you visit at 5p April 7 and read her reviews, I would so appreciate your comments on her blog, which is widely read.

I'll also be posting the time on Twitter to several hash marks. Retweet if you would, please?

Formatting, learning the processes of epublishing, self-publishing is not easy, and it's taken me a while to dig out places like Kindleboards and learn places on Twitter.

Meanwhile, my new stories have had to wait. I'm currently working on another historical, widely reviewed and garnered a great review from Publisher's Weekly. That is The Wedding Gamble.

This is a great book about an 1880s professional lady billiards player, and I'll be writing about how I researched the historical game's rules, and on site at Fort Benton Montana, the historical society there, plus Interlibrary loan newspapers of the time.

Dell did an exceptional job on the rose cover, and reknowned Elaine Derillo was the artist who PAINTED the stepback, complete with historical detail.

I'm working on that cover now and using my own rose photographs, but nothing could compare with that high gloss, gold embossed font.

I'm hoping to get that up soon, but meanwhile, please note my sale price of A Lady's Choice until April 20,11, and Daily Cheap Reads April 7 at 5p CDT.

Quite the little adventure getting these books back into the stream of a new readership. Oh, and you Goodreads people, watch for my books there, too?