Thursday, December 05, 2013

Think before you turn the other cheek!

So, I'm conversing with my 10 year old son and he's told me to "kiss this!" ( as he points to his butt). I said "I beg your pardon? who taught you that one?" he replied "oh mom!.... The Grinch..." He evidently was joking.

I took a moment and thought how bizarre my mind was working at that moment. The thought I had in my head wasn't a pleasant one but when I realized his statement came from the movie The Grinch, I bowed my head and released my breath.  What is society really thinking out there? If scenes of a movie have so much control over our minds do we have to accept it? ignore it? don't watch it? forget about it?

It's amazing how words conjure up emotions that in turn conjure up reactions. I guess The Grinch won in that conversation I had with my son and now I'd like to take a lesson. Images come from statements that stick. In today's online world of flashing images, colors, sounds and god knows what else, a serious business needs to take notes on how to reach an audience with a statement that sticks in their mind for more than a nano second. The Grinch's green coat isn't as scary as the thoughts he planted in my child's head - I like to come up with a positive "statement" for any business I work with that would capture it's respective audience without insulting anyone and yes stick.....or maybe, I should insult....people seem to be immune to this way of thinking and like it.

Our immunity to insulting behavior is due to all of the slang utilized in posts, articles, blogs, talks and movies. Society has become immune to hearing truth in words and images. The reflection is evident in our way of thinking that it's ok to accept insults and laugh about it.  Complacency is our worst enemy but as I learned I can't turn the other cheek when asked to "kiss this"!

- Kristine Sheehan

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

After dealing with some serious health issues I'm back to say hello and Happy Thanksgiving! This time of year always rolls around so quickly that I have to remind myself there are only 33 days left to shop for Christmas... Holy cow! (or should I say Bull to my local readers?? poor thing!)

I have been tracking many authors hoping to catch them thinking about book cover design or to interview them about a latest novel they've written - It's so exciting to watch budding authors or master author works show up on the Amazon best seller list or find out a movie is in the making.  Thinking about movies, how many of you can't wait to see Catching Fire, Hunger Games? or better yet The Book Thief? I'm looking forward to both!

As the end of the year approaches I reflect on the awful status of our economy, the mickey mouse government and the nuclear option...well before I get blown to bits let me make you aware I am thankful for health, family, and friends and of course my readers! I'm researching other avenues to write about here and hope to post helpful, informative or friendly graphic, publishing or artistic idea's this coming year..... it can only get better! See you soon!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Today's Meet The Author - Tina Gerow

Glad to speak with you today Tina Gerow (aka Cassie Ryan)!

Tell us about all about you…as the non- author first then about you as author.

I have a varied background.  I’ve done many different things – band director, Dominos pizza manager, House manager of a 30-plex movie theatre, Business Systems Analyst, Technologies Project and Program Manager and Starbucks barista, but I’ve always wanted to be an author.  I live in Arizona with my hubby, my 19-year-old son, two feisty cats, one king snake, and several fish…
I'm a multi published author under two pen names. I write sensual paranormal romance as Tina Gerow and erotic paranormal romance as Cassie Ryan.

I'm also an experienced line editor and a public speaker on many topics both motivational and writing related and teach online writing classes several times throughout the year.

So basically I'm a slacker ex band director with an outgoing personality and an overactive imagination that I've put to work for the safety of myself and others :)

How long have you been writing?  

I’ve written something or other all of my life and always dreamed of a day when I’d see one of my books on the shelf, but I didn’t start writing seriously until 2003 when my husband encouraged me to stop talking about it and DO it J  I joined RWA and hit the ground running.

What inspires you to write in the style that you do? (what genre do you write in? does it vary?)

I grew up loving anything paranormal in both books and movies.  And when I hit my teen years I started stealing books off of my brother’s bookshelf – Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks and a whole host of others.  I actually HATED romance for a long time.  I had read a few of my mom’s Harlequins  when I was ten or eleven (she probably still doesn’t know about that!)  The heroines at that time were wimpy and whiney – or at least to me.  I wanted them to stand up for themselves, wield their own swords and kick some ass!  But then when I went on a vacation with a friend in my late 20’s and I ran out of books on the beach so she loaned me Nora Robert’s Born in Fire.  It wasn’t paranormal, but I fell in love with the characters, the vivid descriptions, and yes, the romance of it all.  From there, I read the rest of that series and began to branch out to other romance authors and found some paranormal romance authors like Cheyenne McCray and Sherrilyn Kenyon who became favorites.  Then I began to think I might actually be able to write in that genre, so when I joined RWA that’s where I started.  My first book Into a Dangerous Mind, was about a psychic serial killer and has gone on to win several awards and be published in Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish.  It will be available on audio book soon!  I only have one book out that doesn’t have any paranormal in it – it’s Take It Off and is a fun little contemporary romance with lots of snark – and snark is in ALL of my books.  I tried my hand at erotic paranormal romance several years ago and Kensington picked me up for a three book deal.  That’s how Cassie Ryan was born.  Those are all paranormal and all smokin’ hot J  I don’t see myself foregoing either the paranormal or the romance any time soon.  I love both writing and reading them, so I think they are here to stay, at least for me!

How many words per day do you like to write? Is that a daily goal or weekly goal?  

I like to TRY for at least three thousand words a day, but since my brain blowout a few years ago, that goal has been a tough one to keep up with.  Since then on a good day I can get in a few thousand, but that involves at least a few naps.  Sometimes instead I’ll give myself a time goal – things like “I’m going to write for two hours today” and then depending on how I’m feeling when that two hours is done, I can always extend it.

What is the name of your first book? How long ago was
It printed? Where did you market it and did you have a good sale number?

Into a Dangerous Mind was my first book.  I published it originally with a small press publisher who has since gone out of business.  Its first release was in 2005.  For marketing I took out ads at several review sites like Romance Junkies, Fallen Angel Reviews and took promotional items to Romantic Times convention and RWA Nationals.  That’s back when My Space was the big social media outlet, so I did promo on there as well.  It didn’t hit the market with a huge bang, but over time it is still my best selling Tina Gerow book to date.  In the last few years my agent has sold the foreign language rights so that now it’s available not only in English, but in Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish.  And I’m finally putting my audio book rights into play and should have that available before Christmas of this year.

I understand you have a book series. How many books are in the series (or will be in the series when completed)? How did you come to write a series?

I have a few series under both pen names.  As Tina I have the Maiden series.  There will be four in that series when it’s done.  The only reason there are four is that there are four sisters in it and each one of them will get their own story.  I wrote the first two and then that publisher went under so I never got to publish the last two in that series.  I still want to go back and finish those and publish them on my own.  People ask me all the time when I’m going to do that so I need to make it happen in the next few years. 
As Cassie Ryan I have two series.  The first one is the Seduction series – Ceremony, Vision and Trio.  I sent in a partial of Ceremony and when Audrey LaFehr called to offer me the contract she asked me if I could make it into a three book series.  To be honest I had no idea how I was going to do it when I assured her that of course I could!  But I did it and Ceremony of Seduction is my best selling Cassie Ryan book to date and is in its second printing.  My second series for Cassie is the Sisters of Darkness series.  There were supposed to be two more books after Seducing the Succubus and The Demon and the Succubus, but Berkley didn’t pick up the last two books in the series.  So I need to go back and write those two as well.  Fans are already asking for those so it’s definitely on my To Do list.  When I pitched the overall idea for the book they asked me if I could write it in such a way so it would be a series, so that’s how that one ended up as a four book series.

How do you feel about online book reading? Do you have a book that you’ve written for a digital shelf like ibooks or kindle?

I love reading both online and in paperback.  Ebooks are really convenient and I have a kindle reader on my iPhone that I use quite often.  And sometimes the e versions are cheaper than the print, which is nice when it happens.  All of my books are available in e-formats – pretty much any e-format you can imagine, in fact.  If you go out to your favorite ebook site and search by Tina Gerow or Cassie Ryan you should find them all.

Do you think it’s worth to ask buyers to purchase a digital novel for the same amount of $ as a print novel?

I, personally, think that’s ridiculous.  An electronic book should definitely be less expensive than a print book.  I know there is labor involved in both versions, but electronic doesn’t have printing and storage and postage and all of that involved.  Authors normally get less royalties on those versions as well, which I also don’t agree with.  But unless we self publish them, we don’t get a say in how much the books are offered for.

How do you think the change in the publishing industry affects authors today?

I know more and more authors are self publishing.  I even know several New York Times best selling authors who have said they will never publish another book through New York or small press.  It’s going to be self pubbing all the way for them.  They have more control and they make more money that way.  Since they already have a solid reader following, they can make quite a good living at it, as they are already proving. 

Authors have more choices but with those choices comes more work on the author’s side.  If we choose to self publish, not only are we now writing the books, but we are finding ways to get them edited on our own, finding and working with cover artists, figuring out marketing, copyright filing, distribution and a whole host of other things that a traditional publisher usually deals with.  There are definite plusses to both traditional publishing and self publishing and I think authors owe it to themselves to stay educated on both and choose the best path for them, which sometimes involves BOTH paths.

If you could give a budding author advice what would it be?

Talk to successful writers and make good connections.  A LOT of this business is about networking, so take the time to make good connections, not only with other authors, but librarians, book cover artists, editors, agents, readers and everyone else you can.  Not only is it a great way to keep yourself sane by surrounding yourself with other people who “get” the fact that you constantly hear other people “talking” inside your head, but when you need it, your network is a great place for information and support.

Beyond that – ALWAYS read and follow ALL submissions guidelines.  It will save you a LOT of pain AND rejections J

And write.  Write lots and write even more.  And don’t forget to read!

And last – don’t ever give up on your dream.  Don’t let anyone steal it or talk you out of it.  Grab it with both hands, invest in it and go after it!  I fulfilled my dream of being a published author, then my dream of being multi published and even award winning.  My next one is to be a #1 Best Selling Author on the New York Times list.  Hey – go big or go home, right?  And I’m not giving up until I get there!

Can you recommend our readers a publisher that you like to work with?

There are several great publishers out there but I’ve only worked with a few.  Both small presses that I worked with are no longer around, but I’m also published with Kensington (their Aphrodisia line as Cassie Ryan) and Berkley (which is part of Penguin – also as Cassie Ryan)  My best advice is to get plugged into a writing network like RWA or even friend lots of writers on Facebook and pay attention to what’s said, and what’s NOT said.  Ask around and form your own opinions.  Also, read books from those publishers and pay attention to the quality of their products. 

If you could be a famous author, who would it be and why?

While I don’t want to be long dead J I think I would choose Jane Austen.  I love her books, but I also love her spirit.  Think about the spirit she had to have to be a female writer during the time she lived in.  I think she and I would’ve been good friends since neither of us are wilting flowers.  I love that all of her stories delved so deeply into characters and themes that they are still beloved today.  I would love to leave that kind of legacy behind when I go.

Tell us where we can find your book(s) and provide a link!
Thank you!
Tina Gerow books:
Into a Dangerous Mind –

Stone Maiden: 

Fire Maiden:


Take It Off:

Vortex Blues:

Hansel & Gretel’s Real Estate Ventures: 

Fantasy Quest:

Books written as Cassie Ryan

Ceremony of Seduction

Vision of Seduction:

Trio of Seduction:

Seducing the Succubus:

The Demon and the Succubus:

  The Pleasure Project (an Anthology with other authors)

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Changing Times: Children's Books and Cover Art

All summer long I encouraged my children to read, “Yes, please read this, please read that, whatever is of interest to you Sam I am”. Of course that excitement lasted all of about the first week of summer and then it was onto video games, swimming, volleyball, playing with pals, vacation or just hanging out became their norm.  This drove me nuts since I really enjoyed my down time as a kid with a good summer book, why shouldn’t they?  Isn’t that what summer is for? I mean the sunshine on my back while laying in the grass, the whispering wind through an open window, a rainy day on the patio, in my room or a tree house hideaway….. ahh nostalgia.  What made reading those books so appealing? (I’m not even that old!)
This got me thinking about children’s books and cover art… isn’t the old adage don’t judge a book by its cover? After all, content is important! With the shift in the past decade from manual illustrations to computer graphic design, books and the covers surely reflect the NEW times we now live in. No wonder my children didn’t want to read a “book” as I know it, they were reading them on the computer. Here are a few differences I found intriguing.

Comparisons: Now and then

Drawing vs. computer graphics – cover art now is just different than it used to be. Shapes are bolder, images are morphed, touched up, digitally sketched, pigmented, blurred etc. FONTS are amazing… no graphic tape needed here, neither sharpies or pencils make a difference… nah! Instant graphic design!

Color then vs. colors now  Color back in the hay day of printing wasn’t as thrilling or it took allot of work to mix to make the color you wanted your images to have, not to mention the price tag of production. Pantone colors are easily accessible today, making it much more palatable to the eye. Not to mention the extensive graphic programs that make color creativity and placement easy. 

A Page turner indeed: No more paper cuts, no more folding corners or book markers to save pages. Digital book pages turn with a gentle glide, a page is marked with touch of a corner, closing a book with the touch of a button and putting it back on a shelf, tucked away on a digital page. The cover can later be found twinkling on a surreal bookshelf... waiting for one click. It seems that tangible ownership of a book collection isn’t as important to kids as the visual “collection” of them now. BUT, the main thing my kids enjoy is book Interaction. One could “Click here” and hear the character speak, or “click there” to see an animation. FUN!

The scent of a good book is lost – I never realized the scent of ink made me as happy as it did until I couldn’t smell it anymore. The kids will miss out on this point! For sure!

Check these links out for an interesting view of then and now children’s cover art for books – some of it is downright hilarious while others are quite offensive!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Today's Meet The Author: C.M. Fields

Glad to speak with C.M. Fields today!

Tell us about all about you…as the non- author first then about you as author.
I am 42, an engineer and working for the high tech industry. I have more than 15 years of experience in this career and for a while I was sort of burned out, gained weight and had lost my mojo. As I don’t have a family yet and wanted to be prepared to have one, I took it upon myself to get in shape, live a healthy life and I educated myself on nutrition and exercise. With a mix of nutrition, regular workouts and yoga, I went from 220 pounds down to 165. Although I still want to improve and stay fit for the rest of my life, I am comfortable with the goals I have reached so far.

As an author, one of the things that drive me is a passion for traveling and experiencing new cultures. This passion has taken me to many different places and has helped me expand my views of the world. Working in the high tech industry with virtual teams gives you an access and a view to the world that opens your mind and gives you a bigger picture. My first novel is a project that I kicked around in my head for about two or three years. I would start writing something and then would stop. Then I would start something else and stop again. Eventually I realized that I simply had to plan my story and write it, so I did. I put together a rough idea of what I wanted to have in each chapter. Once I had this, things just flowed. I would come back from work, play some music and things would just happen. As a self-published author, I realized soon the road is long and there’s no easy way to make your message known. Just like everything, you have to be persistent and believe in your message, stay at it and keep going. So, this is where I’m at. I believe in the overall message of my story and will continue trying to spread it.

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since my early twenties. First I started with essays and short stories. Over time, I realized friends and classmates liked what I wrote. So, it eventually evolved into a desire to write a book. Off and on, it has been all this long… approximately twenty years. Looking back, I gotta say, it’s a long time!   I guess I have to start upping the gears and be more prolific.

What inspires you to write in the style that you do? (what genre do you write in? does it vary?)
This is my first novel. What inspired me to write in this style is that I wanted to give an overall message. There is a story in the book and I try to share my view of where things might be heading to; I felt I had to make it more generic, hence I chose this style.
In my next book, I will most probably choose a story in the first person, it will be a way more personal story and so will have to be in this style.

How many words per day do you like to write? Is that a daily goal or weekly goal?
I approach writing as a way to open your mind and your heart, as a way to pour your heart out with what’s bouncing around in your mind. It’s a sort of therapy, if you will. So, being that it’s something somewhat emotional and whimsical, there are days when I was close to writing an entire chapter, and there were other days where nothing came and I simply spent my time correcting things in the story, adding and removing little things here and there.

What is the name of your first book? How long ago was
It printed? Where did you market it and did you have a good sale number?
The name of my first book is “A Life as a Stock”. It was first printed in September 2011. I published it and marketed it through iUniverse and it’s available in, Barnes and, Sony books, and other major online retailers.

My sales have not been what I expected and I think it’s one of the things about self-publishing. You have to try different formulas and find out what works and what doesn’t. Right now, I had read different posts from successful authors that a low price for the electronic version of a book is something that has worked for them. So, I’m right now working on finding out how to lower the price of the electronic version with the major online retailers. I have gotten overall good reviews (you can find one at The Urban Times online: though.

Will your novel become a series?
Right now, I don’t have a series in mind. And it’s funny, I have been asked about this before. Maybe I should consider it.

How do you feel about online book reading? Do you have a book that you’ve written for a digital shelf like ibooks or kindle?
Even though I did not write my book specifically for the electronic version, I think it’s a great new platform. Everything I have read tells that it’s a growing market and platform. I’m all up for it!

Do you think it’s worth to ask buyers to purchase a digital novel for the same amount of $ as a print novel?
I don’t. When I first went into this I went with the same price thinking that that was the way things were done. As I have learned more about it, it’s clear that you can’t. And it makes all the sense in the world. With an electronic version you’re not using paper or ink to produce a physical product. You’re simply selling your story, that’s all.

How do you think the change in the publishing industry affects authors today?
My perspective is that with every major change, you have to focus on the big picture. It’s great because now everyone who has a story has access to publish it and have a shot at doing so. It’s not so great because anyone who self publishes has to go through a learning curve, has to try different formulas and find what works and what doesn’t. That assumes that your story is good and has potential; if it’s not, then that’s a different story.

If you could give a budding author advice what would it be?
Make it look professional. Proof read a lot, polish your message and don’t give up. Nobody’s going to do the work for you, you have to knock doors, try different formulas and, most importantly, you have to realize that most successful authors became successful until their second, third or later novel.

Don’t spend your money unnecessarily with publishing packages that promise you the stars. There’s a lot of cost effective alternatives. Look for those. Reach out to the book clubs and introduce yourself to them, give books away. At the end of day, it’s about making connections.

Can you recommend our readers a publisher that you like to work with?
The only one I have worked with is iUniverse.

If you could be a famous author, who would it be and why?
Gary Jennings. He had a way to transport you to the world he was describing. You could see and smell the world in the story, you could feel the dust in your feet.

Tell us where we can find your book(s) and provide a link!
Barnes &
Kobo Books:
Sony eBooks:

Thank you C.M.!

Monday, June 17, 2013

P.O.D Preference?

How many authors like the option of POD or Print on Demand today?  According to “The Economist” in February of 2010:
About 6% of books in America are now printed on toner-based or inkjet machines—a rough proxy for print-on-demand (POD)—as opposed to on offset presses, estimates InterQuest, a market-research firm. Over the next five years, it predicts, this figure will increase to 15%. In 2008, the latest year for which data are available, about 285,000 titles were printed on demand or in short runs—132% more than in 2007 and for the first time more than in the conventional way. Amazon, the world's biggest online bookseller, uses POD machines, although it does not reveal how often.
With all of us saving the trees, the atmosphere and time, a POD option is a novel idea! (no pun intended)  As more people turn to their e-readers for book purchase, the POD option is equally tantalizing for those that like to have a book “in hand”, to turn actual pages. For authors this is a great way to control printing costs. With POD, purchases can be “on call for print”.  A customer online can simply click purchase (ie AMAZON) and the printing process begins for the book they have chosen. For the Author this means the novel sits on a computer server until someone clicks purchase.  Now books are printed on demand. There is no “out of stock” or two week waits for replenishment.  But just a few years back an analysis was made that claimed large print runs won’t go away for any novels that are in high demand….hmmm, in 2013 it seems you can get your e-book and read it now, regardless! So times are changing…and FAST! I wonder what will happen 5 years from now in the POD realm. I'll check back with blogger with statistics when they become available.
For now, all is good. Authors take note when considering POD:  the better the quality or durability of a printed book, the more expensive it will be to print and sell. If there are edits or changes to a book, POD allows the simplicity of loading a new e-file to the server to make easy alterations to the book. Now books that have errors or additions can be altered immediately with almost no repercussions.
Authors must know that cover choice is important as well. Output of book covers and how the book will be perceived by the purchaser depends on the kind of paper stock chosen.  Smooth finish may look like quality but may not be durable. Glossy finish may not look like quality but has durability.  (as noted in an article here: )
I guess the question remains… do you prefer e-book or printed style reading?
Kristine Sheehan – Designs

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Lead Generation Tools: Truth or Dare

Anna Campbell, mother, author and business guru gives her take on lead generation. After reading her article let me know how you feel about purchasing leads for business. Does it work for you? Are you playing truth or dare with lead generation tools?

Remember playing truth or dare as a kid at a friend’s house? I personally hate this game because I am a control freak and I don’t like to share too much personal information about myself or be forced into doing something that I normally wouldn’t want to.

So, how do lead generation tools work and are they playing truth or dare with you, your time, and your money.

While in the real estate world, I unloaded a great deal of money to wipe away years of time my fellow Realtors had already put into their businesses. As a newbie, I needed to play catch up and there were two very large lead generation companies that provided statistics, answers and huge potential dollar signs. I learned very quickly and painfully how to understand which companies were telling the truth and which were asking me to dare.

When a company forces you into a 3 month, 6 month or annual contract; they are daring you to invest your money into their product or service with very little truth. Zillow and Trulia both force you into a potentially expensive and long-term contract with very little return. In fact, their goal is to have you upgrade, upgrade, and upgrade even more, so that you are so heavily invested in their service/product you feel that you can’t afford to go anywhere else, because your cash is tied up into their dare.

These two companies promise you quality business leads. What they forget to mention is that 50% or more of real estate buyers and 75% or more of real estate sellers are only going to use someone they know or someone they are personally referred to. You can’t buy quality leads, because they aren’t for sale. Quality leads are breathing human beings with needs and fears. You must earn the opportunity to serve quality buyers and sellers.

Another choice many business owners need to make is about a website. This will be one of your biggest online lead generation tools available to you, when you know how to use it properly. The way to tell if a website designer is telling you the truth or asking you to dare, is when they present you with a cookie cutter template price, with a cookie cutter style and service. When a website designer is not able to answer your questions, doesn’t have time to help you understand how to use your website, or what it takes to get your website ranking (without you paying them to list it), then you are talking with someone that isn’t able or isn’t interested in providing you with a business service that will actually help your business long-term.
Business websites are your virtual face, business sign, and basic first impression. How your website looks is very important, attracting people to your website is just as important. How will people find you? Why will people want to visit your website? How often will they come back? Is there any reason why someone would want to share your page with others? These are all questions your website designer should be able to help you understand. Once you understand them, then you will know what type of website is best for your business, and what you will need to do to build traffic to it.

The key to truth and dare is information and working with people who are not afraid of sharing information with you without a contract. We earn our clients, and our clients should earn us as well. Take your time, build a relationship, learn about the person you are working with because it is a lot less stressful and a lot less expensive to take your time and work with one honest person than to hurriedly blow through thousands of dollars on all the wrong people.

In truth, patience is very hard. However, you and your business are worth the time.

Now it is your turn, what have you found to be truth or dare while running your business?

Written by Anna Campbell with My Monthly Business Journal. Anna uses many ways to share the tools her clients need to grow their business. She has a published business journal workbook, notes and feedback on her facebook page, articles and information on her website, small group time at her monthly Coffee Breaks, and very in-depth break through sessions with clients on a one-on-one basis as needed.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Get ready, set, publish your ebook!

The self-publishing world is ever expanding. The once coveted novelist that was chosen exclusively by the likes of Simon and Schuster is able to throw caution to the wind and self-publish her own works. It's as easy as diving in, writing and publish. TA DA!

Yes, it is a faster way to get your book out there but alot of work goes into the sef-publishing angle. Authors must not only write the book, they must take the time to edit, format, create, and choose the way a book will be acknowledged out in cyberworld. After a book is written it must be formatted in one of the following file extensions, .epub, .mobi , .azw and most recent epub3.  These file formats allow a book to be published on Nook, Kindle, Ibooks, or any other book readers available:

.Epub, or electronic publication is a popular, standard format for ebooks. With the exception of Amazon/Kindle (unless it has been changed recently), it is the format utilized by major retailers.

Mobipocket or .Mobi is an ebook format that makes room for blank pages at any point in the text for images, notes etc.

Kindle or .azw is the format chosen by Amazon with digital rights management protections.

And finally, ePub3. This format allows video, audio snippets, interactivity, global language support, multi-column layout, Embedded Fonts (a big high five for graphic designers!) improved accessibility and more.

Once your book file has either been converted to a file format listed above (contact BookBaby for conversion help) the task continues. Choose the self publisher you want to work with, Lightning Source is a great place to go! I've heard good and bad things about AuthorHouse but it depends on your $pocketbook.

Cover art can be worked up by an in-house self-publishing artist or you can have more control and have an independent designer (like Designs) do it for you to create what YOU need and want on the cover of your book.

Final tweeks by an editor and you are ready to publish, price and follow sales. This takes time and work so don't think your job is done! You've just begun to manage your promotions, marketing and distribution of your ebook!

Now, get, ready, set, GO publish your ebook!

Fly in for Book Cover Design: Designs


Monday, May 13, 2013

Today's Meet The Author: Diane Tegarden

Diane and I have been networking for many years online. She is extremely energetic, thoughtful and creative!
I am happy to have interviewed Diane, here is what she has to say about herself, writing and publishing today.

Thank you for taking time to answer my questions Diane - I'm looking forward to working with you again in the future!

Tell us about all about you…as the non- author first then about you as author.

My name is Diane Tegarden, a freelance writer living in Pasadena, with my husband and furkids.  My hobbies include: planting flowers, trees, vegetables and herbs (whatever I fancy for the season). I love to write letters and compose cards to friends and family, and do crossword puzzles to relax. My husband and I watch lots of movies; we have a large collection and are constantly adding to it.

I've been a print journalist since 1992, writing on a wide range of subjects including; renewable energy, environmental concerns, holistic health, women’s issues, and Native Spirituality. My work has been found in: The Pasadena Star News, Security Sales Magazine, The Pasadena Weekly, The Solar Flare, The Feral Forest, Earth Luvyrs Calendar, The Daily Sundial, the West Coast Well Being, Yahoo Content and Health Breakthroughs.

My publishing company, FireWalker Publications, was formed in 2004 to promote my passionate, original written works, ideas and creations. Since 2005, I’ve written for two online content producers, Yahoo Content and The 

In April 2004, I published my first book, “How to Escape a Bad Marriage– A Self Help Divorce Book For Women,” which provides step by step instructions on how to achieve financial and emotional independence in preparation for a divorce. 

I released my first poetry e-book, "Light Through Shuttered Window" in December 2007; it’s a compendium of my poetry about life, love and the creative process.

In February 2008 I completed my third book, “Anti-Vigilante and The Rips in Time”, a science fiction novel set in the distant future, involving Senselles,
MagicoMathematicians and the MOB. One of the scientific highlights features OTEC, a renewable energy that dynamically changes the face of the planet.

My second self help book “Budgeting on a Dime: 10 Steps to Financial Independence” was completed in October 2012, and is available both in paperback and ebooks formats.

How long have you been writing? 

I’ve been writing creatively all my life, and remember creating verses to cards for my family’s birthdays and holidays.
Professionally, I’ve been writing since 1992, writing for various newspapers and magazines.

What inspires you to write in the style that you do? (what genre do you write in? does it vary?)

I write in several genres, from newspapers and magazines, to blogs and online social media. I’ve also written, produced, published and promote four full length books; 2 self help books, a poetry collection and a full length science-fiction novel.

How many words per day do you like to write? Is that a daily goal or weekly goal?

When I’m writing a book, I write every day, but don’t set a word or page goal.

What is the name of your first book? How long ago was it printed? Where did you market it and did you have a good sale number?

My first book was titled “Getting Out of Limbo- A Self Help Divorce Book for Women”, which was released in 2004 and is now in its second printing with a new title “How to Escape a Bad Marriage: A Self Help Divorce Book for Women”. It’s for sale at, Barnes and, CreateSpace, available in libraries and is listed on the Ingram Book List so that brick and mortar bookstores can stock it.  Thus far it’s my best selling book.

How do you feel about online book reading? Do you have a book that you’ve written for a digital shelf like ibooks or kindle?

All my books are available as ebooks, because I want to give my readers as many options as possible to access my books.

Do you think it’s worth it to ask buyers to purchase a digital novel for the same amount of $ as a print novel?  

No, digital readers expect to pay less for their books, and as the cost of producing ebooks is less than print. I agree with that thinking.

How do you think the change in the publishing industry affects authors today?

Authors must now be more than just writers, they must be savvy about the marketing and distribution of their books and have a hand in the decision making process for their business as well as the creative process.

If you could give a budding author advice what would it be? Be prepared to be involved in the marketing of your book, and educate yourself on the process of producing your own books.

Can you recommend our readers a publisher that you like to work with? 

I publish my own books, so I’m not knowledgeable about using the big publishing houses.

If you could be a famous author, who would it be and why?

I want to BE the famous author in question! I dream about having one of my books on the New York Times Best Seller list!!

Tell us where we can find your book(s) and provide a link!

My new book “Budgeting on a Dime- 10 Steps to Financial Independence”, which was published October 2012 and is available on at:
or Barnes and at:

Thank you for including me in your article Kristine!

Thursday, May 02, 2013


Writing a novel takes a lot of discipline, research, passion and TIME! The same goes for the cover art that don’s the store shelf or kindle view. I’d like to offer some advice on how to create a book cover yourself but then offer even more important advice, HAVE A PROFESSIONAL create one for you.

To start, you (the author) should have a “blurb” from your novel that epitomizes what your novel is about. The “blurb” you choose should be descriptive of characters or places. It should capture the essence of the story without giving away the ending! It should make your reader want to know more. You can find these blurbs usually on the back cover of a book. It is what makes the reader interested in reading more. The cover design is based on this blurb and is used to bring the eyes of potential readers to read that “blurb” and see what they’ve just read on the cover.

For example, I will use The Dark Ship by L.M. Sherwin and create a new cover to show a new perspective of a paranormal feeling. I utilized the “blurb” on the back cover.

“Lyra has always felt too plain and uninteresting to be a part of her parents’ social sphere, the upper class of Juneau One. Now, they expect her to act like a proper lady at one of the moon’s most prestigious girls’ schools: St. Xavier’s. On the voyage to the dreaded school, Lyra discovers an enchanted mirror in the lower decks of the ship. Whenever she looks at it, her reflection appears beautiful, mysterious, and otherworldly. Something about the glass draws her in; time, thought, and emotion fly past when she gazes into its depths. Could there be something dangerous about this simple golden mirror? Does some sinister force lurk within, drawing her into its clutches? Find out in this thrilling novella by L.M. Sherwin!”

Say you’d like to use a photo (a hand drawn illustration will be another article!). Begin your cover by finding an appropriate image or images. Try Big Stock Photo or upscale Getty Photography Archive.  Let’s open up Photoshop! (Do you have Photoshop? Most professional designers do!) Take the image you would like to work with: you have choices to make. To simplify ask yourself if you want to use the image as is or do you want to alter it? Photoshop is a powerful tool that can change image, color, shape or even take pieces of an image to create a new image altogether.  Be sure you understand the printing process too all these settings are important for a perfection in actual printing.


Ok – I found an image, I altered it to give an eerie feeling. The same feeling I get from The Dark Ships author “blurb”.

After I find, alter and take the image to the point of desire, I move the image into Adobe Indesign. (do you have Adobe Indesign? Most professional designers do!) Know your spine width, font(s), and don’t forget your barcode if you self publish! Do you own your barcode? You will need to purchase one if not.

The title of the book should also be shown on the spine of the book. And don’t forget the publisher icon. It is placed on the spine and back cover.  It’s all in the details for printed covers! Kindle cover layouts differ in that the front cover image is all you will need. For Kindle cover art, specifications are necessary to be followed. Again, research what you need – it’s all the details that make it happen! Or call a professional graphic designer – they know the ropes!

Taking on cover design may seem easy at first, but your imagery is just as important as your “blurb”. So sit back and let a professional design your cover. It is the only way to ensure you have proper settings, imagery and finished product to impress your potential audience. It will make or break your book sales!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Today's Meet The Author: Nina Lewis

Nina and I met on Facebook. I learned that Nina's book The Englishman is presently being published and will make it's debut on May 7, 2013. Read on to learn about an official new romance novelist on the market!

Glad to speak with you today Nina Lewis!

How long have you been writing romance novels?

I have been writing stories, on and off, since I was nine or ten. Mostly in imitation of the stories I was reading, so I started with versions of The Famous Five and Malory Towers, imagining myself and my school friends in exciting adventures. Then I started reading my Mum’s romance novels (secretly, obv.), and my own writing became a little more, um, adult.

What inspires you to write romance novels? Is that the only genre you write?

Romance (writing it and reading it) is like a holiday from reality, and I find I need a lot of holidays! We are taught to feel guilty for not functioning efficiently 24/7, in our families, in our jobs; but that is actually unnatural, and also unhealthy. People need down-time, and people need to tell stories about their lives that allow them to go back and face reality again.
Although The Englishman is contemporary fiction, I feel most at home in historical fiction and historical romance, and that is what I will be writing in future.

How many words per day do you like to write? Is that a daily goal or weekly goal?

I am extremely undisciplined, so I have no daily or weekly stints. But I am fairly obsessive, so when I am in a ‘flow’, I write a great deal in a short time. Other times, I merely polish or edit; and that can be both rewarding and frustrating.

What is the name of your first book? How long ago was it printed? Where did you market it and did you have a good sale number?

I have published non-fiction, but The Englishman is my first published fictional text. It will be published by Omnific Publishing in May 2013 as an ebook and a paperback – and here’s to hoping it will sell well!

I understand you have a book series. How many books are in the series (or will be in the series when completed)? How did you come to write a series?

I do not plan to write a series, although I’ve lately thought that I may want to. But because I am interested in a number of different historical periods, the novels that I hope to write next will variously be set in the French Revolution, late fourteenth-century Oxford, and twelfth-century France and England.

How do you feel about online book reading? Do you have a book that you’ve written for a digital shelf like ibooks or kindle?

I do not own a Kindle yet, and I am reluctant to get one, because I stare so much at a screen anyway. But I expect I will get one within the next twelve months, or so. It’s the future.

Do you think it’s worth to ask buyers to purchase a digital novel for the same amount of $ as a print novel?

Authors and readers are likely to have differing opinions on this. You’d think that an ebook costs less to produce, so it should be cheaper. But authors must live, too, and what price would you put on creativity? In the end, supply and demand regulate the market.

How do you think the change in the publishing industry affects authors today?

Self-publishing  and indie publishing put established publishers under pressure, and that is a good thing. At the same time, there is a glut of ebooks, and while some are outstandingly good, there is a lot of stuff that’s not so great. Dividing the wheat from the chaff can be time-consuming and frustrating. I dip into so many novels to decide which one I want to buy, that at the end of a couple of hours’ surfing and reading, I am frustrated and bored and end up buying nothing.

It obviously makes a huge difference that you can pick up a paperback and browse through it, while you can typically read the only first few pages of an ebook. The shape of stories changes if you know you must hit the readers between the eyes on page two, or they won’t buy it. 

If you could give a budding author advice what would it be?

Keep at it. Learn to stand back and look at your writing as if you were an editor.

Can you recommend our readers a publisher that you like to work with?

I have worked only with Omnific, and I have found them helpful and professional.

If you could be a famous author, who would it be and why?

The ideal situation, I think, would be one in which I could be proud of my novels because I feel that each of them is the best I was able to write at that time, and at the same time one in which I am able to make enough money to live by writing. I envy all writers for whom this is the case! If you want names – in the romance genre, I admire Georgette Heyer, because she is a restrained writer, both in language and in emotion. And she writes brilliantly witty dialogues.

Tell us where we can find your book(s) and provide a link!
The Englishman will be published by Omnific Publishing on May 7, 2013. The cover, blurb and an extract were revealed on subclubbooks.
Please find me on facebook!
Thank you!

Happy to speak with you Nina - Thank you for sharing your journey as an author, as well as  The Englishman, your first novel!