!Now Available!

Clandestine, the first installment in the Young Adult Paranormal series Bound In Blood is available in both Print and EBook. It can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Create Space

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Technology Bites But Daddy's Rule

Okay, so I seriously almost had a complete and utter meltdown yesterday. I went to get on my computer to continue the fantastic work of editing my book and… NOTHING!

Now first I should mention that when you’re blind and an error message comes up when you start up your computer, it’s a little difficult to know they are there. I didn’t know what was wrong with the lap top but I new something definitely wasn’t normal. The usual comforting start up music just wasn’t playing. My text to speech program (JAWS) wasn’t loading telling me to enter my password. I gave it a while and still… NOTHING! I took a deep breath and decided it wasn’t time to panic yet.

I waited for my ten year old daughter Princess to get home. when she arrived she let me know that there was a message on the screen that she had never seen before. It said that my computer could not be started up and measures could be taken to restore my computer. It went on to promise that none of my personal information would be tarnished. I let my daughter click the “OK” button and we waited.

It said the process could take up to a few minutes to complete. Thirty minutes later a new message popped up. It said that my computer was unable to be restored. It said that if I had recently plugged in an external device to unplug it and restart the computer. If the problem persisted then I would need to contact the manufacturer of my computer. There was just one little problem…

My lap top is a declining hunk of machine that I love because it’s all I have. But, the USB ports are broken and the CD drive won’t open. Therefore, I had nothing plugged into it that could have caused this problem. So my mind automatically turns to mush and I’m paralyzed. If nothing was plugged into it to cause the problem then there must be something else wrong! My youngest daughter Peanut rushes to my side and says, “Oh mommy yer puta… what’s wrong with yer puta?” I pat little Peanuts head but don’t realy respond. My mind is too busy spiraling downward like a broken elevator plummeting twenty floors to the bottom. My stomach began tying itself into a million and five double and triple knots.

This just can’t be happening. I have a book that I’m nearly finished editing and several that I’m working on. The Universe must be out to get me. I couldn’t save them to outside sources because of the USB port and CD drive complications. Basically in a nut shell, I am screwed! I hate this day! So I did what any reasonable, mature and fully independent woman would do.

I made a frantic call to Daddy…

After work he came over. I admit I wasn’t very hopeful. I was already crushed and resigned to the fact that my work was gone. I didn’t want it to be true of course but come on… you heard what that error message said to me and Princess.

My wonderful dad turned on the computer and again we waited… Before I knew it, the normal comforting start up music was coming on. I sucked in a breath. Could it be true? My dad punched in my password and we crossed our fingers. The desktop loaded up as per usual. Everything seemed to be in working order. He did an update that was flashing at him and then shut down the computer as requested. When he restarted it the glorious machine powered right up again.

It took everything I had not to leap into my dads arm screaming things like “YOU MIRACLE WORKER!” Or things like “YOU ARE THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS!” I did ask him, “Are you kidding me?” I had been in a state of emergency all day and that’s it?

We have no idea what caused the error message or what made it start working again. I maintain that my daddy’s got the electronic touch and that he’s like a Shawmen reincarnate. But he wouldn’t agree with me. He’s sorta modest.

The moral of this story is BACK UP YOUR WORK! It doesn’t matter if your USB ports and your CD drive are broken. It doesn’t matter if you already saved it with the normal parameters of Microsoft Word. BACK UP YOUR WORK! Attach it to an Email and send it to yourself or someone you trust. Don’t be like me and hope and pray your daddy can swoop in and save the day. This time that worked. Next time, I might not be so lucky.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

How To Create The Copyright Symbol

Have you been pulling your hair out trying to figure out how to create the ridiculous little copyright symbol for your book? Have you stared at your keyboard for infinite amounts of time only to find that the only character similar is the @ symbol? Well have no fear Nicole is here! I am going to show you how unbelievably simple it is to create the © symbol for the copyright page of your masterpiece.

You don’t need any special programs or any specific gadgets. It’s not even a matter of copying and pasting. All you need is a standard computer keyboard. Just make sure you are using a keyboard that has a number pad. This is the numeric key pad to the right of your keyboard. NOTE: The number keys directly above your letter keys will not work for this!

Have you breathed a sigh of relief yet? Do you have the proper keyboard? Great! Now follow these easy steps…

1. Make sure your number lock key is turned on. This allows you to press the numbers on the num pad and actually achieve numbers.

2. Press and hold the ALT key. You can find this key on either side of the space bar key at the bottom of your keyboard.

3. While still pressing the ALT key, press 0169 on your num pad. REMEMBER, it has to be your num pad and NOT the number keys at the top of the keyboard!

4. Release the finger that’s pressing the ALT key

!****TUH DAH****!

Hopefully you are now looking at your very own © symbol. ENJOY!

If you’ve followed these steps and you still have questions please feel free to leave them in the comment section of this post. Don’t forget to read about my upcoming novel Clandestine that will be released in the near future. Stay tuned more teasers for Clandestine!

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Just A Few Pearls For Newbie Authors

There are a lot of things to consider when you decide to publish a book. Do I want to go traditional or Indie? This is an important question a lot of authors find themselves pondering these days. The taboos of independent publishing are long since gone.

Back in the day an author who decided to go the Indie rout would submit there text and graphic material to a printing department. They had to pay a fairly hefty price up front. They would receive a truck load of their books that they had to find a way to sell. For a lot of authors this meant umpteen boxes of their masterpiece sitting in the garage next to the Christmas decorations collecting dust. This can be a very gut wrenching prospect for some. This book is something you put your heart and soul into. Not to mention all the sleepless nights you spent finishing and fine tuning it to the sheer perfection that it is. Many gave up and went back to querying. Others may have given up all together deciding it wasn’t worth the hassle.

Don’t worry my friends, those days are over. Self publishing a book is easier and more affective then ever. Thanks to companies such as Create Space and Smashwords (just to name a few) it is actually possible to get your book in front of public eyes for purchase and consumption for nothing. That’s right notta, zilch ZERO DENERO.

Of course, this is assuming you can handle every aspect of the publishing world all on your own. This means you are not only an author, but a graphics designer, editor and marketing expert.

Don’t let this throw you off the trail though. There are several ways around this problem if you are currently a starving writer as most are when they first start out.

Editing: If you know someone who is proficient in the editing process you can see if they would be willing to scour your manuscript for all the nitty gritty errors. If you know of an amazing English teacher that inspired you tremendously growing up, it’s possible they would be willing to take a peak at your work. There are editors for hire but in SOME cases, they can be quite costly. I looked into one that said they would be happy to edit my manuscript. They gave me the figures and when I worked it out on a calculator, it was going to end up costing upwards of $1000. This isn’t the going rate for all editors though. A search on the internet or advice from a friend could bring to your attention a diamond in the ruff. I have heard there are editors that can cost as low as a few hundred dollars. While this is much better then the price I was given it still isn’t in my budget. I am doing the best I can on my own and having as many people as I can go through my manuscript with a fine toothed comb.

Graphic Design: The cover art for your book is probably one of the most important parts of getting a sold sign on your book. While it might be true in other life situations that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the publishing industry just isn’t that way. Your book is going to be up against big name authors with a solid reputation. Let’s face it, if your cover doesn’t catch someone’s eye when perusing the shelves or results page on Amazon your sunk. You could have written the most eloquently written piece of literary art imaginable but people aren’t going to take a chance on it if the cover is mediocre. A lot goes into designing a book cover. It’s really not as simple as finding some clip art attaching a title and author name and calling it good. Graphic design is a very detailed intricate process. This is the one thing I decided to find a professional for. I am a BLIND writer. I’m pretty sure my cover art wouldn’t appeal to most except maybe my fellow Blindy’s. Some cover artist charge an arm and a leg… literally. This really is a problem for newborn Indie authors. Most aren’t going to have $500 or more to fork out on cover design. Have no fear newbie’s there are cover artist that cater to new independent authors and no what it’s like to be just starting out. I personally found an amazing cover artist and for my particular cover am being charged $100. Of course not all of her covers are that price. Nevertheless, she doesn’t have any covers that are outrageous at all. They look just as good if not better then the high priced designs and the customer service is phenomenal.

Marketing: Many companies promise that if you hire them you will be a best selling author. I have one word for those companies… HA! No one can predict or manipulate book sales to make you the next James Patterson or Stephanie Meyer. In my personal opinion, the best thing you can do is WORK WORK WORK! This means be the King or Queen of social media. Network daily. Utilize Good Reads and other book related sites. Get as many of your friends to tell their friends. Have book marks made and pass them out to local book stores and libraries. Know who your target audience is and reach that target. Do contests on your site or blog with your book as the prize. Once sales start rolling in do book signings. Find a way to connect with your readers and build a relationship with them.

Getting a store to purchase your book on face value alone is tricky. Many are put off by a self published book. In the past, they didn’t look quite as professional as they do now. Some will give your title a chance but prefer to do so on a consignment basis. This means they sell your book and then they get a cut and give you a cut. They don’t give you any money up front. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is possible that once their customers realize what a brilliant author you are that they will tell their friends and then you’re golden. The store will be happy to do more business with you and you’ve just established another networking relationship that will hopefully last for when your future books are released. Try and make your book look and feel as professional as possible. If it looks like one of the big boys hopefully it will be picked up as many times as the big boys.

Book Description: Many people pick up a book for its cover. From there they flip to the description on the back to see if it’s something they want to read. Make sure your description is perfect. Make sure it’s catchy and doesn’t give too much away. If your description tells all the major events then people will lose interest. If a book description tells them everything it will leave them feeling like they’ve already read it. If that’s how they feel, why would they want to buy it? They’ve learned all they need to know by reading the back. The key is to keep them wanting more. Give them just a taste. Leave them feeling desperate to know what happens.

All of these tips are things I’ve been learning through out my own publishing experience. I’ve done a lot of research and talked to a lot of people to compile this wisdom. Honestly, I’ve probably learned a lot more but this post was getting never ending so I’ll bless you with those pearls another day. I am getting ready to publish my first book Clandestine very soon. It is book one in the Slayer Saga series for young adults. If you haven’t already, please check out the description by clicking the link “Clandestine” to the right under the heading “Pages”.

Stay tuned for future posts where the topics you found here are discussed in more detail. There is also a post coming up next that will teach you to make your own copyright symbol (©) using nothing but your own keyboard. This will make your copyright page look more official and professional.

I hope that you all found something helpful in this post. I also hope that you will decide to sign up to be a follower of this blog and show your support of a newbie author. Please use the share links below to show your friends on Facebook and Twitter this post.

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you come back soon!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Character Q&A With Emily From Clandestine

Today you will have the pleasure of reading a fascinating interview with the main character of the highly anticipated paranormal fiction novel Clandestine. This will give you a deeper look at the character that you are bound to fall in love with once you read the book after it’s released. She is a multi faceted girl with an intriguing story to tell.

Me: What is your name?

Emily: My name is Emily Jameson, and I’m eighteen years old.

Me: Where do you live?

Emily: I live in a small hole in the wall town called Lakeview. It’s really boring there. Well, it used to be.

Me: When you say, “It used to be”. What do you mean by that?

Emily: It’s hard to explain, but I can tell you a little. Lakeview is a town where everyone knows everyone. They all are pretty friendly for the most part too. I can’t even walk to work without at least three people saying hi to me. But lately, it’s like the town of the dreaded sundown or something No one really talks to anyone anymore. They seem like they’re just goin through the motions or something.

Me: Has anyone else noticed the odd behavior?

Emily: If they have they’re not talking about it. The only one I know of for sure is my best friend Lucy. She has really heightened senses about things because of her disability. Plus, she’s just freakishly intuitive anyway.

Me: What is Lucy’s disability?

Emily: Oh, sorry I forgot to explain. She’s blind. I’m so used to it now I forget other people might not think of it as second nature like I do.

Me: That’s really interesting. What’s it like having a blind person as your best friend?

Emily: She acts like anyone else so it’s not really like anything having a blind friend. It’s honestly no different then having a friend who can see.

Me: So, do you have any theories on what’s going on in Lakeview?

Emily: I don’t know but I’m going to find out.

Me: You seem like a very brave young lady. I bet your parents have influenced that trait about you.

Emily: Who Sam? Yeah right. No, my dad hasn’t influenced me to be anything. We aren’t… close.

Me: Why is that?

Emily: Well, ever since my mom died he’s been in a funk. His drinking is out of control. We’ve never really been all that close but now our relationship is nonexistent. Well, unless you count him telling me when he wants dinner done and how I did the laundry wrong.

Me: I’m sorry to hear about that. And your mom… that must be so hard for you to have lost her at such a young age.

Emily: It’s really hard. I miss her every day but I’M still moving on. She got sick about five years ago and the next thing I knew she was gone. Before she got sick she was totally healthy. It still doesn’t make sense to me. The doctors couldn’t figure it out either. Sam wouldn’t let them do an autopsy though.

Me: Didn’t he want to know what really happened?

Emily: Apparently not. He said that an autopsy wouldn’t bring her back. I get that but it would have at least given us some answers. He’s the one who still can’t let her go but then in the same breath he’s all the past is the past. Now that I’m older, I told him if nothing else it would have let us know if she had some disease that I might be predisposed to inherit. He just told me some nonsense about not letting my future be tainted and then he left.

Me: Wow, it sounds like you do have a lot to figure out. For an eighteen year old you seem to have a good head on your shoulders. I’m sure you will get it all sorted. Do you have plans for your future?
Emily: Right now? I’m trying to figure out what’s taken over my town. For the future? Yeah, I’m getting the heck outta Lakeview as soon as possible.

Me: Hopefully things will get straightened out soon.

***This has been a fictitious interview with Emily Jameson from the paranormal fiction novel Clandestine. This interview as well as the book is written by Nicole Rae. None of the things talked about in this interview are based on true events or people. Anything resembling true events or people is simply a coincidence. NO ONE has the author’s permission to use part or all of this interview for profit. Plagiarism is strictly prohibited! In other words, these are Nicole Rae’s words not yours so don’t steal them. ***