Here you can follow the blow-by-blow account of my attempt to transform myself into a (regularly) published author.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Dubois Files at Storybook Village

Storybook Village logo
So, yesterday I was in Pentwater, and some book friends reminded me that I haven't been in to check out Storybook Village, and ask her about buying my books.

I got myself downtown and went in. Had a nice chat with the owner, Barbara Sims. She's created an amazing, enticing world of books, special toys, and a kids' movie theater (undersea film was looping when I was there) at the bend on Hancock Street.

It's truly an honor to have my children's books, the Dubois Files, for sale at this store.

Dubois Files Children's mysteries

This is how you must do it, if you decide self-publishing is for you... one bookstore at a time. Even if you find a distributor who will put your books in their catalog, they will no longer make the contacts for you.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Interlochen Mystery Writing Intensive Workshop

This past week, as the result of a generous scholarship provided by Ludington Writers, I was able to attend the Mystery Writing Intensive Workshop at Interlochen Fine Arts Camp. The instructor was Aaron Stander (author of the Ray Elkins mysteries).

It was a great week of writing exercises, writing assignments on our own works, guest speakers, networking, and playtime.

We began by hearing from a retired policeman who gave us a run-down of what the proper procedure is at a crime scene. Then we went and analyzed our "own" murder scene.

Interlochen Mystery Writers Workshop 2018

When we returned to the classroom, we split into groups and each was given a time period- say the 1930s. Then we had to group-write (not easy!) a scene incorporating the dead body we'd just found and place the story in that era.

We huddled up closer to share our samples with the whole group, and have discussion.

Interlochen Mystery Writers Workshop 2018

There were instructional segments about writing place, character, and showing vs. telling.

At the end of one of the days, Aaron invited us to his home, where he and his wife Mary Kay had snacks prepared and we all got better acquainted. I think this is a nice picture of Aaron (with Hamish!)

Interlochen Mystery Writers Workshop 2018

It was not insignificant that our workshop was treated respectfully! The music instruction group just down the hall from us was told not to disturb us.

Interlochen Mystery Writers Workshop 2018

In addition to the in-class writing, we had assignments every night. These were usually to advance our own works in progress, but focusing on the lesson of the day.

First thing each morning, we'd share our homework in the smaller groups, provide and receive feedback, and then revise our own work accordingly.

Interlochen Mystery Writers Workshop 2018

There were fun times too. Wednesday evening, most everyone went along for a walk on the Lake Michigan beach. Participants were not all local. We had people from as far away as Arizona and Maryland. Then we all went to dinner together.

Interlochen Mystery Writers Workshop 2018

We had a second guest speaker, Mardi Link, who has written true crime stories.

Those of us who actually have books done had a chance to tell a bit about our journey in publishing.

Finally, just a group picture without one of our folks who had already left to catch a plane, and with one of the guest speakers.

Interlochen Mystery Writers Workshop 2018

This was an awesome opportunity, and I'll be soaking in the positive effects for a long time to come.

See Blood and Tea

Sunday, June 17, 2018

James H. Hall Award from MOWA

I've been a member of the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association for a little more than a year, and I learned in January that they give out awards for quality writing. In addition to that (and a great move to my way of thinking), they've begun recognizing "non-consumptive" outdoor recreation. In other words, things other than hunting and fishing. Which is all I ever write about, eh?

So I figured I couldn't possibly win if I didn't enter, right? Actually got my stuff together and turned in by the due date. Here is one of the categories I entered:

JAMES H. HALL AWARD - For the best outdoor feature highlighting a non-consumptive activity awarded in newspaper, magazine or paid web.. The award recognizes features about "non-consumptive activities"; (such as travel, camping, canoeing, hiking). The award recognizes humorous,instructive subjects, natural history, or other such "soft" material written about non-consumptive activities.

Hey! I won third place. Not bad for a newbie. The article was "Martin Johnson- A Purpose Fulfilled."

If you click the picture, it should show up large enough to read if you want.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Grey Wolfe Scriptorium Visit

authors Wendy Thomson, Diana Wolfe, Joan H. Young

In keeping with my apparent goal to take a bad selfie everywhere possible, here's one from the Grey Wolfe Scriptorium in Clawson, Michigan. I had an author event there this evening. Since only Diana Wolfe, the owner and author (center), Wendy Thomson author, and I showed up, we just sat around and talked author stuff.

They let me ramble on about my books for a while, but then we talked about writing styles and genres and books we like and all that.

Nice to get to know Diana and Wendy better.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Getting Paper and eBook Editions Linked on Amazon

Amazon editions not linked

Now that Kindle and CreateSpace are not altogether the same thing, your paperback and electronic editions of the same book may not be automatically linked. Does this matter? Yes!

If they are not linked, when people find your title, they will see one or the other editions but not both. Where that red oval is in the graphic under "see all formats and editions," it should have another box for "paperback." People are going to think you didn't offer both choices.

This can be solved. If you just published a book, wait at least three days for them to link automatically, but if they don't you can request it be done manually.

You have to log in to your Kindle Account and find a screen where the link for Help appears at the top. It's not on every screen! Click it.

Amazon editions not linked

Then find the box called Popular Topics, and choose Linking Editions, then Contact Us in the body of the text. There is a pre-filled list of questions for you to answer. Essentially, they want to be sure everything about the editions matches. They'll ask for the ISBN and ASIN numbers.

Submit the info. I've had to do this a few times now, and the links have been created within a day.

This can also be done if there are problems with audiobooks or multiple editions of a title not being linked.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Writing in the Car- Voice Journal App

Voice Journal app for Android

Yesterday was a long car day. I usually do some good thinking for books while driving, and wanted to be sure I didn't lose what I thought up, so I went looking for a free speech to text app. I tried the Voice Journal App for Android. It works, but right now, I'm giving it three stars and looking for something else to try.

I had the basic plot of then next Anastasia Raven mystery in my head. It will be Dead Mule Swamp Mistletoe, a Christmas mystery. But I thought I could flesh out the characters and their motives to dislike the person who dies. After a day of devious plotting, I think I'm going to like this book.

Voice Journal was pretty simple to use. Maybe too simple in terms of options. You can give entries a title. Then you just touch RECORD to bring up the text pad. You can actually do a text entry or touch the microphone to speak.

Voice Journal app for Android

There doesn't seem to be a limit to the length of file you can make, since I recorded on and off all day. The accuracy of what was in the text is better than marginal, but not great. I can figure out what I said, but won't be doing much cut and paste to save excerpts.

It seemed like all you could see of your input was in that little central slice, but learned later after I wasn't driving that you can see more, to be able to scroll and read by using the back arrow at the bottom of the screen (the phone triangle one).

The black arrow that says Entry Details takes you back to the screen with all your entries.

Voice Journal app for Android

Since the first one was a test run, I wanted to delete it. That doesn't seem to be a possibility.

You can email the text file to anyone in your contacts, send to dropbox, facebook, or lots of other choices in your own app list. Do this by touching the EXPORT label. I chose to send it to dropbox, where it appeared as a txt file.

I made this really small on purpose so you can't read it. It's full of spoilers, but you can see that it's just one huge block of text. There's a period wherever I paused, which was often. Odd names throw it for a loop.

Voice Journal app for Android txt file

At any rate, I made some good progress on a book instead of losing all that stupid driving time.

One really bad thing- I didn't push stop when I was finished one time, and Google Maps- which I was using for driving directions stopped talking to me. This was really bad in a traffic jam around Nashville! I discovered what had happened because all my comments (yeah, I talk to myself) made while trying to get the map to talk appeared in the text file for Voice Journal!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Concept Cover - The Bigg Boss

Yes, I'm already working on the outline for the 4th Dubois Files mystery. Title is The Bigg Boss. Mr. Bigg is the owner of the canning factory that Cora's father manages in Cherry Pit Junction. But the friends are about to get to know him better. That might not work out so well.

Here's the concept cover without lettering. I'll be delivering it to Linda J. Sandow tonight so she can begin working her magic.

Tentatively, The Bigg Boss will be available at the July 21 Writers' Rendezvous in Ludington!