Monday, August 25, 2014

Meet My Character

Today we're getting a little off track as I participate in a "Meet My Character" blog tour. My thanks to Ariella Moon for inviting me to participate in the blog tour. Ariella is not only a dear friend who I met a RWA conference, she' also the author of a series of awesome young adult books.

Ariella Moon is the author of the Teen Wytche Saga, a sweet Young Adult paranormal series. Ariella writes about magic, friendship, high school, secrets, and love in Spell Check, Spell Struck, and Spell Fire from Astraea Press.
Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred her youth. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. Ariella is a Reiki Master, author, and shaman. She lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and an enormous dragon.

Now I'd like to introduce you to a character from my upcoming novella release Susannah's Promise.

What is the name of your character?  Is she fictional or a historic person? 

Susannah Warden, a fictional character, is the main character in my novella Susannah’s Promise. 

When and where is the story set?

The story is set in a small town of Tassanoxie, AL in present day. I patterned the town on my hometown circa twenty years ago. And for fun I’ve thrown in things I like from other small Southern towns, like a square in the center of town and a river flowing beside the town.

What should we know about her?

Susannah is not living the life she wants, but the life her mother wants. She’s a visual person, with a good eye for color, which helps her in the retail dress business, but she’d rather apply it to textile history. She’s exudes a polished, poised exterior but beneath it all she is miserable.

What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

The untimely death of her mother and a deathbed promise have combined to change Susannah’s life. She dropped out of college when her mother became ill and took over running her mother’s dress shop. Bit by bit, she stepped into her mother’s life until she can barely remember what she wanted. She even takes her mother’s poodle, Cuddles, with her wherever she goes. Her strong sense of duty locks Susannah into keeping her promise even though it means giving up her dreams.

What is the personal goal of the character?
To somehow fulfill both her promise to her mother and her own dreams. This is the quote that kept me on track while writing this novel.

Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

This novella had several titles during it’s life, but we finally settled on Susannah’s Promise. Most of the Tassanxoie stories include the heroine’s name. It doesn’t work all the time and if there’s a better title that appeals to me and my editors, we use it. That’s what happened with the short story, Love to the Rescue that was recently released. We just couldn’t figure out a way to use the heroine’s name in the title and it make sense!

If you want to meet Susannah right now, she’s a supporting character in another Tassanoxie story, Feather’s Last Dance, available in e-book and print at The Wild Rose Press.

When can we expect the book to be published?

SP is undergoing it’s last set of revisions and I plan to have the 
e-book available by the end of August. When Susannah’s Promise is released, there will be two novels, a novella, and three short stories about Tassanoxie available. 

Here are two authors from The Wild Rose Press you'll want to know about. They'll be blogging on September 1st on their blogs about their characters.

Fleeta Cunningham

 After a career as a law librarian for a major Texas law firm, writing a monthly column for a professional newsletter and other legal publications, Fleeta Cunningham returned to her home in Central Texas to write full time. When she isn’t writing, she teaches creative writing classes, speaks to civic groups, serves as the wedding coordinator for her church, and keeps house for her feline roommates.

A fifth-generation Texan, Fleeta has lived in a number of small Texas towns. Drawing on all of them, she created the vintage 1950’s town that is the setting for her Santa Rita series and its inhabitants. After the five book Santa Rita series, Fleeta followed a long-time dream and wrote the historical romance, Bal Masque, the first book in the Confronting Destiny series. 

She’s also released several short stories and is contributing a vintage story to the Wild Rose Press Christmas box set, The Twelve Brides of Christmas. A novella, Double Wedding, Single Dad, will be featured in the Dearly Beloved series later this year.

Shirley McCann

Shirley McCann’s fiction has appeared in Woman’s World, Alfred Hitchcock, The Forensic Examiner, and many other publications.  Her first contracted novel, Anonymously Yours is now available from The Wild Rose Press. Her second novel, The Scarry Inn (a series) will soon be published from Black Opal Books.

She lives in Springfield, MO with her husband of 34 years, two grown children, and 3 grandchildren.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

EPUB, MOBI, HTML…what were these things? The Road to Self or Indie Publishing Part 4

Since these blogs are titled, the road to indie publishing, it’s pretty obvious I decided to take the indie plunge. But as you’ll see later, I wasn’t finished with trying the small publisher route.

Baby Steps to Indie Publishing

All the research I had done in 2003 on self-publishing was now out-of-date. I’d learned about print publishing, not e-book publishing which meant I had to go back to square one. I had to learn about e-publishing from the ground up.

To reach that goal, I decided to take a month long class at Author EMS. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in any aspect of self-publishing. Amy Atwell and Kelli Finger have put together an information packed workshop. Plus, their website is a treasure trove of information for writers.

The Lingo

Right off the bat, I discovered a whole new vocabulary. EPUB, MOBI, HTML, ISBN, metadata…what were these things? That was on the publishing side. What about setting up a business? Would it be a sole proprietorship or LLC? I needed to make a lot of decisions about how I was going to do it.  

And here, I thought the hardest part would be a name for my fledging publishing company. And I did come up with a pretty neat one. Saderra Publishing is named after our two dogs, Sadie and Sierra. I was glad to have that hurtle behind me!

On the plus side, I already had plenty of experience with print and digital promotion. My small publisher experiences had taught me to write blurbs, author bio, and design bookmarks and banner ads. On top of all this though, I would need to continue to write because I would need content to publish.

Setting Up A Business

The information Amy and Kelli provided helped me when I set up my publishing company, established accounts with distributors, and purchased ISBNs. It was time consuming, but I had a good idea why I was doing what I did. Per their advice, I looked at my abilities and decided what I could do and what I wanted to subcontract. For example, I knew I wanted professional cover art and already had someone lined up to do that for me. And I had a content editor and a copyeditor ready to go. The biggest stumbling block in the publishing process for me was formatting.

Sure, it doesn’t cost much to pay someone else to format your book, but what about updates? if I couldn’t do it myself, I’d have to pay someone every time I wanted to update an e-book. I decided that if I was going to publish my work digitally, I wanted to know how to format it.

Although I’ve used computers since the Ice Age, I’m a Mac person. From the get go, Mac people did not have to learn much to use their computers. My first Mac came with a tape that I popped into the tape recorder and it walked me through the set up and basic instructions on how to use the MacIntosh. Meanwhile, my friends who had bought PCs were going to college computer classes to learn how to turn their computers on.

Like most people who use computers, I know squat about HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). Sure, I’d heard about it. Had a vague idea it was used to make computers do what they did, but I didn’t really know how it worked.

Now, it seemed I’d have to learn it because EPUBS are written in HTML, the language of the web. I really got sidetracked on this one issue and spent hours, days, weeks and money researching how to format an EPUB. I’d finally decided I’d have to find a college class and learn HTML. 

Storyist Software
Then, quite by accident, I discovered I had a software program called Storyist that converts text to EPUB and MOBI. By the way, EPUB is a popular format used by most of the e-book distributors–Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Kobi–while MOBI is the format Amazon decided to use for the Kindle readers. (PDF formatting is still available, too.) So you can see why I was so excited to discover I owned software that would handle this part of the publishing process for me.  

Breath a huge sigh of relief here.

Of course, learning how to create a clean manuscript in Storyist that would be pass validation by the an open software program called epubcheck proved to be yet another long learning curve.

And yes, your EPUB and MOBI formats needs to be run through a software program that will validate it which basically means all your files are in the right order. If your EPUB passes muster with this program, you shouldn’t have any problems getting it accepted by the various book distributors.

The journey will continue…

Visit me at

To learn about Amy and Kelli’s workshops, visit them at Author E.M.S.