Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Fun Facts: Two Emails That Made Me Happy This Week

I know, that isn't a very succinct blog post title, but I couldn't think of a clever way to condense it. Anyway, I got two so-fun emails from readers this week, I just had to share them with you.

One is from Judy, who read my novella Setting Sail as an early reviewer for the Passionate Kisses Boxed Set. She wrote to say, "Just finished Setting Sail this morning. Very very good. I hope everyone who buys it enjoys it as much as I did."

P.S. If you haven't ordered the set yet, you still have time before release day by clicking here!

The second was from one of my newsletter subscribers, who wrote in response to last week's Free Poem Friday issue: "Words cannot express - what an amazing poem!   Simply wonderful!  In fact, I forwarded it to my husband at work ~ thank you!"

P.S. You too can read these poems each and every Friday -- just sign up to receive my newsletter right here!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Writers' Wednesday: Events from Author Matthew S. Field

Hello local Hudson Valley writers!! Here's an event hosted by a colleague of mine who's published in both adult and children's fiction:

YOU have a story to tell. You may already have a manuscript or you may not yet have gotten your ideas on paper. Regardless of where you are in the process of writing your book, The Book Inside You Writer's Workshop will provide you with the knowledge, tools, and a plan to transform the book inside you into a book in print.

Bestselling novelist, biographer, and top inspirational journalist Sharon LinnĂ©a and award winning children’s book author and novelist Matthew S. Field have announced the next in a series of successful The Book Inside You Writer’s Workshops, scheduled for February 7 and 8, 2014 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Middletown, New York.

Authors who want more information or who want to register can visit the official The Book Inside You Writer’s Workshop website,, or call 845-987-2807.

Also from this author, if you're looking for a feel-good story in time for Valentine's Day, consider supporting his release day! 

The day before Valentine's Day is the official release on Amazon Kindle of 'Tiny Footsteps: A Short Story' written by my alter-ego, Matthew S. Field. It's my favorite among the short stories that I've published so far.

Chance is a business "road warrior" whose serendipitous meeting with Hannah, a pensive and melancholy auburn-haired beauty who drives a Jeep Wrangler and wears the cutest, smallest, and most "tricked-out" sneakers, appears to have changed his life. With a little cover from his executive assistant and a job that permits him to make his own schedule, something like a love, or at least a meaningful lust begins to flourish. Fate, however, is marching toward Chance as each day passes. Sometimes, Fate takes very tiny footsteps.

I'm asking all of my friends who are readers and/or who are readers of my work to buy, if you'd planned on buying, 'Tiny Footsteps: A Short Story,' on Friday, February 13, 2015 between 8 a.m and 5 p.m. at the following link: (It's more than an hour, but you get the idea.)

Thanks and Happy Valentine's Day . . . a day early.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Mentionables: Where Story Ideas Begin

So I've been thinking about writing a Christmas novella (more on the reason for this later this week), but I really had no idea where to begin. I knew I wanted to set it in the town of Pine Point, because that's where my novel Summer's Song takes place, and if all goes well, this novella will be a precursor to a series set in that town. Beyond that, I had no idea who the characters were or what was going to happen to them.


So I was reading the Best Friends magazine over breakfast last week (put out by one of the biggest and best animal rescue organizations in the country), and I came across an article on people and their "pet soulmates" -- you know, those pets that somehow were more special than the rest, that you just knew would have a special place in your heart for all time.

And I started thinking.

What if my heroine is an over-the-top animal lover? What if the hero doesn't want anything to do with them?

And the ideas sprang from there. I've spent the last 5 years volunteering at an animal shelter, and I'm good friends with both the past and present managers, so I have a pretty good idea of what's involved. Besides, who doesn't love a feel-good animal story around the holidays?

So there you have it. I've written the first two chapters, and I have a general idea about the conflicts coming up, so while nothing's concrete, I have a much better idea of this story than I did a week ago.
And that, my friends, is where story ideas come from.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Fun Facts: One Indie Writers' Income

TGIF! I have 2 great blog posts to share with you today, written by none other than one of my Passionate Kisses sisters, Jessi Gage. In the first, she chronicles her income of one title published through a small press and then re-released on her own, as an indie title. The results are truly stunning -- she made 3x the amount of money when she released this title on her own. She's a great author, so I'm not surprised!

In the second, she looks at her other titles along with the costs she put out to publish on her own (cover design, editing, formatting, marketing, other business expenses) as an indie author. Remember that publishers will absorb those costs for authors, which is why you will also make lower royalties with them. Please keep in mind that not all indie authors make this kind of money in their debut year -- some do, which is terrific. Many do not.

As with any endeavor, if you're considering venturing into the world of indie publishing, do your research first. And as part of that, read these blog posts!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Writers' Wednesday: How Many Beta Readers Do You Need?

Hi gang! Found this article thanks to a Twitter feed and thought I'd pass it along to my fellow writers. It's a good look at selecting beta readers and what to keep in mind when you're considering their feedback.

Write on!

How Many Beta Readers Do You Need?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Mentionables: A Review of The Orphan Train

Happy Monday, everyone! Today's blog post comes to  you from Allie the reader rather than Allie the writer. One of the (many) books I got for Christmas was The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Anyone read it? It's a beautiful story and a quick, easy read -- I highly recommend it. The book follows two heroines, Molly a 17-year old foster ward who ends up doing community service for 91-year old Vivan, who was an abandoned 10-year old in NYC when she was put on one of the "orphan trains" to the Midwest and her subsequent journey through 3 different adoptive families (two of which were pretty horrific). The connection between the two "orphaned" women is obvious but not done with a heavy hand, but what I liked most was this glimpse into history. I had no idea about these orphan trains or the circumstances these immigrant children faced if they lost or were cast out by the families in New York.

Anyone else read it?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Fun Facts: I Figured Out Jutoh!

Okay, this subject line may not mean much to you, but Jutoh is a software program that allows writers to format their own e-books. Formatting is one of the many areas where I had NO experience or expertise when it came to indie publishing, and as many authors do, I sought out formatters and paid someone to format my books for me.

What does this mean? Well, e-books need to be formatted in a particular file depending on the retailer/publishing platform/e-reader device. Kindles use mobi files, Nooks use epub files, pdf files are useful for other e-readers, etc.

The advantage of using someone else to format is that you can use that time to write. You can also be assured that the formatting will be professionally done and that the files won't be rejected when you upload them for publishing.

The disadvantage is that you're always paying someone else to do your formatting, and if/when you want to update the book files (like putting new links in the back), you have to pay that person again. And again.

An author friend of mine recommended using Jutoh, claiming it was very user-friendly  (and reasonably priced at only $39). Well, I was nervous. I had reservations even after I tried it. But! Lo and behold, after a few hours of tinkering and reading the User's Manual, I was able to produce a formatted file all by myself! This is huge. This will save me money and give me more control over updating my books whenever I want to.

Mac users, apparently Vellum is a great program for you to use -- check it out here.

I haven't mastered Jutoh, not by a long shot. But I have hope that I will become more comfortable using it and will save a great deal of money in the long run by formatting my own books (a typical novella can cost anywhere from $30+, and a full-length novel, $50+ for formatting).

What about you? If you're an indie writer, do you outsource your formatting, or do it yourself? Do you have a particular program you recommend?