Book Review – That Moment When…

That Moment When: An Anthology of Young Adult FictionThat Moment When: An Anthology of Young Adult Fiction by Derek Murphy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

That Moment When… An Anthology of YA Authors is a collection of forty short stories and teasers from a variety of young adult authors. The book is divided into sections: Paranormal and Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Thriller and Horror, and Speculative. The stories were fascinating—I had a hard time putting the book down—and were good examples of what each author had to offer.

It wasn’t easy to narrow down my favorites out of all the displayed talent. Here are a few of the most noteworthy:

Reflection, by Katlyn Duncan, a masterful look at a young vampire who doesn’t yet know what she’s become.

Humanity’s Protectors, by David R. Bernstein, about psychic abilities and whether a person who had them would be used for good or ill.

Provisions, by Kira Lerner. This story had it all—vampires, werewolves, cannibals. I read it twice!

Running Toward Illumia, by Leya Angel, about a young misfit and a rather snarky unicorn. Need I say more?

More Than a Crush, by Kat Stiles, an eerie tale about a girl in love and what she’s prepared to do about it.

Learning to Fly, by Laura Diamond, about a boy who finally realizes a dream. With dragons. I love dragons.

That Moment When… introduced me to a bevy of Young Adult authors I might not have noticed. Their stories piqued my interest. I’ll be checking out more than a few of their books. If you enjoy reading Young Adult, I highly recommend That Moment When… You might find your new favorite author.

View all my reviews

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

This is the Secret to Book Marketing by @LoriCulwell http://bit.ly/2hzMe4E  Want some shortcuts? #writers #writingparty

Writing an Action Scene? 5 Ways to Add More Punch to Your Novel http://bit.ly/2i3u1zV  #writers #writingparty

8 Effective Ways To Write Page-Turning Tension For Your Novel http://bit.ly/2hzZir0  #writers #writingadvice

Thinking about Writing: Effective Dialogue, Part 6 (Accents and Dialect) #writers #writingtips

Writing Rules, Rejection: Ignore Them and Enjoy the Holidays! http://bit.ly/2iwSWwz  #writers #writingparty

4 Things You Should Know About Book Review Blogs http://bit.ly/2izKvwu  #writers #writingparty

Book Blogger Directory http://bit.ly/2ioGXxC  Here’s a useful site. #writers #writingparty

6 Tips For Getting More Traffic on your Author Blog http://bit.ly/2hsJqsL  Blogging do’s and don’ts. #writers #bloggers

Book Cover Design Fundamentals: Questions To Consider Before Hiring A Designer http://bit.ly/2iImabL  #writers #writingparty

Goal setting for authors – Don’t leave your success to chance. Plan for it. http://buildbookbuzz.stfi.re/goal-setting-for-authors/?sf=kylwvbk … #writers #writingparty

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

The Dreaded Book Description – everything boils down to these questions. http://bit.ly/2gN54nL  #writers #writingparty

Writing Dialogue | A Writer’s Cheat Sheet http://bit.ly/2hf9PaR  #writers #writingadvice #writingparty

Why the Reader Put That Book Down http://bit.ly/2hxbrQf  Interesting observations. #writers #writetip #writingparty

Guest Blogging How to Query a Blogger http://bit.ly/2gVxXyd  Ten tips for doing it right. #writers #bloggers #writingparty

How to Get in Writing Shape After a Long Break http://bit.ly/2i53Yca  Life happens. #writers #writerslife

The Three Habits of Successful Writers http://bit.ly/2i3azny  Writing is all about balance. #writers #writingadvice

Moving Print Book Files from CreateSpace to IngramSpark http://bit.ly/2hT8XtH  #writers #writingparty

Facebook 101 for authors http://bit.ly/2ibiq2f  You might want to bookmark it so you can refer back to it later. #writers

The Micro-Memoir | Start Your Memoir With A Moment http://bit.ly/2h1qldt  Where to start your memoir. #writers #writetip

How to Write Great Dialogue http://bit.ly/2h2LnID  Good points on dialogue. #writers #writingtips

Thanks for reading. I wish you and yours happy holidays and a wonderful new year.

Book Review – Christmas Eve in Bangkok

Christmas Eve in BangkokChristmas Eve in Bangkok by Morgan McFinn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Christmas Eve in Bangkok by Morgan McFinn is what you get when you take six diverse, well-drawn characters and lock them in a room together. The short story is told from the viewpoint of a cynical, snarky writer who has volunteered with five other people to answer phone calls from depressed Americans on Christmas Eve. Despite the solemn subject matter, the story is laugh-out-loud funny.

My only complaint is that it ended rather abruptly. I would have liked to have seen the group breakfast together on Christmas morning and make their farewells–but that might be because I didn’t want the story to end.

If you would like a quick read from a masterful author this Christmas, I highly recommend Christmas Eve in Bangkok. (And although the author never said so, I totally believe the story is true.)

View all my reviews

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

 

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

Amazon Now Offers Paperbacks Through KDP — Should You Use It? http://bit.ly/2hmTIM4  #writers #writingparty

Best Writing Articles: 15 Favourites of 2016 | A nice roundup from Now Novel http://bit.ly/2gDmMxj  #writers #writetip

How to Be Your Own Book Doctor http://bit.ly/2hhy37I  A solid plan for examining your novel. #writers #writingtips

How to Write a Prologue (and whether or not you should) http://bit.ly/2gsYuHM  #writers #writerslife

1 Top Tip for Author Facebook Pages http://bit.ly/2gTMKKG  Increase your reach with very little effort. #writers #writingparty

Improving Your Story’s Protagonist and Creating More Realistic Characters http://bit.ly/2gTfanS  #writers #writingtips

Making It Worse for a Character: The How and Why http://bit.ly/2hphSEJ  #writers #writingtips

What Editors Want; A Must-Read for Writers Submitting to Literary Magazines http://bit.ly/2hl8mm8  #writers #mustread

The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Long Tail Keywords http://bit.ly/2hmniP1  All about keywords. #writers #writingparty

Your Novel’s First Scene: How to Start Right http://bit.ly/2hxheWK  What’s your story idea? #writers #writingparty

Book Review – The Purloined Pictograph

The Purloined Pictograph (The Adventures of Tremain & Christopher #2)The Purloined Pictograph by Terry Marchion

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Purloined Pictograph, by Terry Marchion, is a marvelous adventure for middle-grade kids. The story takes place on a colonized planet similar to Earth. The main character is a bright boy who proves he can act responsibly and bravely when facing a crisis. His uncle, a brilliant inventor, brightens each page with his eccentric antics—as does the rotund professor they follow to an archeological dig. (In contrast, the villain was not well rounded, and the reason given for her nefarious deeds was weak, even considering the target audience.)

The Purloined Pictograph is second in a series. As I have not read the first, I did not learn until mid-book that the protagonist was, in fact, a young teen. Due to his numerous giggles, I pictured him to be a precocious ten-year-old. This belated revelation did not detract from the story, however.

I love the title of this book—it’s very Lemony Snicket-ish—and the cover perfectly depicts a major scene. Overall, I found The Purloined Pictograph to be exciting and engaging, and I recommend the book to even the most reluctant reader.

View all my reviews

Format Your Book for CreateSpace

How to Format Your Book for CreateSpace

(updated 12/10/16)

Persnickety

I get a lot of formatting questions, so I thought I’d put it all down in one place. If you find it useful, let me know.

Note: I use Word 2016. Your version of Word might look a bit different, but it should be similar enough for you to figure out.

And now, without further ado, here is how I format a book for CreateSpace.

Ready, Set, Go

  1. Open your Word .doc
  2. Set the margins. Go to PAGE LAYOUT –> MARGINS –> CUSTOM MARGINS.
    1. Under the Margin Tab, make the top 1″, the bottom 1″, the inside .9″, and the outside .6″.
    2. Orientation should be Portrait.
    3. Multiple Pages should be changed to Mirror Margins. That’s it for the Margin Tab. Don’t close the box yet.
  3. Then under the Paper Tab, change the Paper Size to the size of the book you are planning to publish. I like my books to be 8″ by 5″ so I change:
    1. Width to 5″
    2. Height to 8″. Then click OK to close the box.
  4. SELECT ALL (it’s over in the top right-hand corner.) Delete all tabs by using REPLACE (also in the top right-hand corner.)
    1. Go to the Replace Tab
    2. Click More
    3. Click Special
    4. Click Tab Character
    5. Leave REPLACE WITH blank
    6. Click REPLACE ALL (Don’t panic.)
  5. SELECT ALL
    1. Click the corner box next to Paragraph.
    2. Under Indentation, go to SPECIAL
    3. Select FIRST LINE
    4. Under BY type .25 (Now you’re indented without tabs.)
  6. SELECT ALL
    1. Change line spacing to 1.5
    2. Click both REMOVE SPACE BEFORE and REMOVE SPACE AFTER so both read ADD.
  7. SELECT ALL
    1. Change your font and font size. I usually use Georgia 12pt.
  8. SELECT ALL
    1. Justify your margins. (Yes! Don’t argue with me.)
  9. SELECT ALL
    1. Under PAGE LAYOUT, click Hyphenation and Automatic.
  10. SELECT ALL. Make sure you don’t have any double spaces after punctuation. (This is for all us older authors because we were taught that in high school.)
    1. Go to the Replace Tab
    2. Under FIND WHAT, hit the spacebar twice
    3. Under REPLACE WITH, hit it once
    4. Click REPLACE ALL
  11. Make sure the end of every chapter/short story has a new page character.
    1. Go to PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS
    2. Under Section Breaks, click NEXT PAGE (One caveat to this is if you are publishing a book of short stories. You want each story to start on the right-hand side, right? Or some people want each chapter to start on the right. In that case, you would click ODD PAGE.)
    3. There should be no page numbers, headers, or footers on blank pages.

Front Matter Matters

In order:

  1. TITLE PAGE
    1. Use a larger font and make it bold.
    2. Type your book title about halfway down the page.
    3. Type your name at the bottom. (This should give you plenty of room to sign at book signings.)
    4. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  2. COPYRIGHT PAGE
    1. Type in your Copyright Notice.
    2. Example: This is a work of fiction. The characters and events described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or to living persons alive or dead. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods without the prior written permission of the publisher except for brief quotations embodied in critical reviews.
    3. Copyright © (date) by (your name)
    4. ISBN (Type in your own or the number provided by CreateSpace.)
    5. You can also add your publisher’s name, state, website, and logo if you have started your own company.
    6. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  3. DEDICATION PAGE
    1. This is optional. If you are dedicating your book to a loved one or to an organization, type it here.
    2. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  4. TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. You should have a table of contents to list each chapter or short story.
    2. Go to REFERENCE and click Table of Contents.
    3. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  5. NOTE!
    1. If necessary, add a blank page at this point (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE) so that the first page of your story starts on the right-hand side.
    2. There should be no page numbers, headers, or footers on the FRONT MATTER (or the back matter either for that matter.)

Back Matter Matters Too

  1. Add a page for Your Author’s Bio, headshot (I mean a photo, not an actual… although if you’re writing horror and you’re good with makeup…) website, and email address.
    1. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  2. Add another page for a list of your previous works and where to buy them.
    1. End the page. (PAGE LAYOUT –> BREAKS –> NEXT PAGE)
  3. If you are writing a series, you can put an excerpt of an upcoming book here.
  4. Remember, there should be no page numbers, headers, or footers on the front or back matter (unless you want to use Roman Numerals.)

About Your Headers and Footers

  1. Go to the first page of your story. (Story, not Front Matter.)
    1. Click INSERT.
    2. Click HEADER.
    3. Choose your Header Style. (I usually use Blank.)
    4. Type the name of your book. (I recommend using a smaller font.)
    5. Highlight what you just typed and Right align it. (On the Home Tab.)
    6. Under HEADER & FOOTER TOOLS click ODD & EVEN PAGES.
    7. Make sure LINK TO PREVIOUS is not selected.
  2. Now go to the second page of your story.
    1. Click the Header and type your name.
    2. Highlight what you typed and Left align it.
  3. You should now have your Title on the right and your Name on the left on alternating pages.
    1. Check to be sure the header hasn’t shown up on your Front Matter.
    2. If it has, delete it and de-select LINK TO PREVIOUS on each page.
  4. Go back to the first page of your story.
    1. On the left-hand side of the HEADER & FOOTER TOOLBAR, you will see Page Number. Click it.
    2. Choose Bottom Of The Page.
    3. Choose your style. I use Plain Number 2.
    4. Note: You will have to do this twice—once for the right-hand (odd) side and once for the left-hand (even) side.
    5. Note: You may have to format the page numbers to get them to run consecutively. To do that, click Page Number again and scroll down to Format Page Number.

Easy Peasy

Kill the Widows and Orphans

Widow

  • A paragraph-ending line that falls at the beginning of the following page/column, thus separated from the rest of the text.

Orphan

  • A paragraph-opening line that appears by itself at the bottom of a page/column.
  • A word, part of a word, or very short line that appears by itself at the end of a paragraph. Orphans result in too much white space between paragraphs or at the bottom of a page.

Word kills your widows and orphans by default, but the result makes a ragged bottom margin. I’m one of those persnickety people who feel that when you open a book, the bottom margin on both pages should match up. So I kill them manually.

  1. Click the corner box on PARAGRAPH.
  2. Click the LINE AND PAGE BREAKS Tab.
  3. Uncheck Widow/Orphan Control.
  4. Go through each page of your 500-page book and look for Widows and Orphans, adding or deleting words until the page looks right.

And Another Thing…

The first paragraph of each chapter and after a drop should be flush left, meaning don’t indent. Also, the first letter of the first word of that paragraph should be fancied up. I’m sure you’ve all seen the first letter in a different font with scroll work, etc. The problem is that it messes with the line spacing of the paragraph. I’ve seen books that just bold the first letter and leave it in the same font as the rest of the paragraph. I’ve also seen books that bold the entire first line of the chapter (Lemony Snicket does this.) If you wish to have a drop cap, go to Insert then Drop Cap. You can change the font under Drop Cap Options.

Easy Peasy

When all looks good, you need to save the book as a PDF. Word can do this for you.

FILE –> SAVE AS –> PDF

Now you are ready to upload the .pdf to CreateSpace.

See? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3… 4, 5, 6… Oh, you get the picture.

An expanded version of How to Format Your Novel for CreateSpace is available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook formats.

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

 

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

Did you know you could gift the paperback and get the ebook to keep for free? The Amazing Wolf Boy. http://bit.ly/2h1a1Lz  #YA

The 6 Emotional Arcs of Storytelling, Why You Should Use Them, and Which One is Best http://bit.ly/2fWkR3n  #writingparty

Writing First Drafts and After – 7 Tips for Stronger Rewrites http://bit.ly/2gwgxsM  #writers #writingparty #writetip

9 Effective Tips for Blog Posts that Grab the Attention http://bit.ly/2gJXH42  #writers #bloggers

10 Tips on Landing an Agent at a Writers’ Conference http://bit.ly/2gLbyax  #writers #writingparty

Faith in Your Writing http://bit.ly/2gQfk28  A simple formula. #writers #writingparty

Helping Your Characters Make a Great First Impression, a guest post from Colin Cannici http://bit.ly/2h6H7Jt  #writers

How To Survive Naming Your Characters #Writers #AmWriting http://bit.ly/2h6QUzp  #writingparty

15 Ways to Make Readers Hate Your Book – XterraWeb http://bit.ly/2g8AIM7  #writers #writingparty

If you want to land a publishing deal, shy away from writing in 3rd person omniscient #pubtip https://blog.reedsy.com/third-person-omniscient-vs-limited … via @ReedsyHQ

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets

 

I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

Book Promotion Tools that are Working NOW http://bit.ly/2fMgtad  Tips and links for growing your email list. #writers

10 Free Screenwriting Software Choices For Screenwriters http://bit.ly/2fQ0Lsd  #writers #screenwriters

9 Agents Looking for Horror Writers http://bit.ly/2fDG311  All from reputable agencies. #writers #writerslife

Avast! Piracy and the Self-Publisher http://bit.ly/2g3va6C  A few words about piracy. #writers #indieauthors

What Agents & Publishers Want and Why http://bit.ly/2gfjctg  A bit of insight. #writers #writerslife

How Indie Authors Can Sell Their Print Books at Local Bookstores http://bit.ly/2g7YYio  #writers #indieauthors

7 Simple Hacks to Get Writing When You Just Can’t http://bit.ly/2fMKgj3  #writers #indieauthors

How Authors Can Use Guest Blogging To Sell More Books http://bit.ly/2gkKf6H  #writers #bloggers

5 Key Ingredients All Young Adult Novels Must Have http://bit.ly/2fWt9LW  #writers #writingadvice

The Problem and Solution to Writing Book 2 of a Trilogy http://bit.ly/2gFzCJI  #writers #writingadvice

 

 

Congratulations to everyone who participated in Nanowrimo this year. Whether you made your goal or not, you rock.

Do You Know What You’re Capable Of? http://bit.ly/2gEQCj9  What have you accomplished? #writers #nanowrimo2016

NaNoWriMo Tips – It Isn’t About Winning. It’s About Writing. http://bit.ly/2g3G9Nf  #writers #nanowrimo2016

What Happens Once NaNoWriMo Is Over? 5 Tips For Preparing Your Manuscript http://bit.ly/2ggpiXF  #writers #nanowrimo2016

 

Book Review – Brain Trust

Brain TrustBrain Trust by Joe Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brain Trust is like reading two thrillers at once. You have the technical side with Dr. Wheeler who is running for his life after questioning the ethics of a secret project he was assigned to. And you have the emotional side with Maggie who is trying to protect her young son by investigating eerie happenings at his school. The two stories are skillfully interwoven, and the back-and-forth action increases the tension. In the end, the plotlines combine in a white-knuckled climax that will stick with you for days. Brain Trust is a good book for thriller readers and would make a nice gift.

View all my reviews