Saturday, February 26, 2011

Publishing an ebook

Whew! I put a novel, NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE, up on Amazon as an ebook. It won't actually show on their site for 2-3 days.

Launching it was actually quite easy. That being said, it took me four tries to do it right, but it wasn't their fault. I misunderstood a few terms (contributor = author's name) and I accidentally clicked on the wrong thing in my directory and I thought I had completed the full KDP account information, but I hadn't. The third time, when I thought I had totally done it right, I hadn't, and finally resorted to the help line. I got an answer and the right help within half an hour! And the answer was written in English!

You know what I mean if you've ever received a help response that goes something like this: "Time happens 'Save' not be nice, return two times to option recipe and once time more execute empty cartons."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I'm outlining the sequen to NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE. Working title is NICE GIRLS ARE ANGELS, but that's a little passive, so it will surely change.

Outlining is rough going. You have to conceive the whole novel. No sooner do I get the events lined up with explanations of what's happening, than I go back and discover D has to happen before B or it won't make sense, and L is actually two different events, needing to be split, and M is actually the inciting incident and should be moved up, and then I have no seque between P and Q and will have to think up another scene between the two. And THEN, just when I think I'm done, I go back for one last perusal, putting a time sequence to events, and discover that things will have to be moved around again because K has to occur before Thanksgiving and R has to happen after Christmas.

And meanwhile, through the whole process there are moments when I say, "Wait, wait! The police can't rule this a suicide; they have to immediately suspect the son of murder if the plot makes sense." And back I go to rewrite and adjust.

When I get to actually writing, it will be soooo easy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Getting A Play Published!

Good news! One of my plays, SOUTHERN SURRENDER, is going to be published by Eldridge Plays & Musicals. It will appear in their fall catalog. It's a one-hour farcical melodrama placed in Civil War times. The nice EP&M people said they fell over laughing.

This play was written close to 30 years ago. It was originally a full-length melodrama. I dug it out of the trunk recently and read it with eyes and a mind that had gotten 30 years more experienced in writing. I discovered that it still hung together and remained quite funny. It was, though, in the ways that melodramas can be, very wordy.

So I took a "mean pen" to it and re-wrote it to conform to an hour's production time, losing a lot of the melodrama, but keeping the farce. I feel it turned out well.

Back in the day, there were two productions of it that still stick fondly in my memory. Lyle High School's over-the-top delightfully funny Gardenia Galsworthy, and Pacelli High School's athletically comic Beauregard Burnside.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What am I? Chopped liver?

I'm disappointed by my theatre friends and acquaintances who ask to read copies of my plays and then--nothing. Several have done that to me. There's an investment of about $8.00 in materials and postage to send a script anywhere. That's just a fact, not a whine. The cost is nothing when compared to my desire to get the play known and my hope for maybe a helpful comment. But--nothing? Not a peep? People don't have to like my plays. In fact, if they don't and can express why, the comment is immeasurably more valuable than compliments. And from theatre people? Hoy, chihuahua, their opinions would be the best! But nothing? Even a responding email that said something like, "Sorry, I think it's pretty boring; there's no real conflict." Or maybe something like, "I think you need to sharpen up your dialogue skills." Those comments would be helpful. To my way of thinking, common courtesy demands some reponse, even a lie if that's the best a person can do. But nothing? So I'm left with... What am I? Chopped liver?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Job of a Book Cover

For my book cover contest for NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE on 99designs, I was focusing on a cover that had bright color contrast and could be easily read in a tiny Amazon icon. A writer friend of mine wrote that she thought none of the submissions said, "Pick me up and read me." Hmmmm. Food for thought. I was satisfied with a cover that was readable and reflected that the book was a hoot, not a horror. I was assuming my "compelling description" would say, "Pick me up and read me." Anyone have any thoughts on that subject?

Ebook Cover

I'm running a contest on 99 designs for a cover for my campy paranormal mystery, NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE. So far I have 50+ design submissions. There are some truly good ones and the decision will have to be carefully thought out. On the other hand, there are a large number that miss the boat---some even getting the title and/or my name, wrong. Mostly though, I wonder why, when I have explained over and over in the comments for all to see, that I'm looking for bold color contrast, big title, and a sense of fun, I don't get that. Don't give me dark and murky, I say, this book is funny. It's a hoot not a horror. But still I get serious, dark, murky and bloody submissions with titles that blend into the background. I assume that some designers think that despite what I think I want, when I see their out-of-the-box design I will be won over.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


After researching the differences between Kindles and Nooks, I bought a Kindle. Got it straight from Amazon as local stores didn't have the version with global reception. I look at it this way: I go through maybe six books a week--tossing aside three after 80 pages, reading three totally. I pay $2.50 each for those books at a second-hand paperback store. Assuming I buy cheap books on Kindle (I look for genre classics, not new bestsellers), I could hypothetically recoup the price of my Kindle in six months.

And actually, that isn't why I bought the Kindle. I bought it simply because I wanted to experience the new technology. A nice afterthought is that I could promote my friends' ebooks by reviewing them.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I was talking to a tech support guy yesterday who mentioned that his weather was uncomfortably hot. He was in Manila. I was in Minnesota, ten below. You know how it is when you're a writer? That immediately made me think of characters in a novel. If I write one character as being thus-and-so, how exciting it would be to make another character the total opposite--but neither one of them totally good or bad. Or both totally bad? Now there's a concept. What's the difference between a gang of violent muggers beating a prostitute to death and a gang of loving Christians stoning a whore to death?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Poetry Out Loud

---I judged a Minnesota State Arts Board Poetry Out Loud regional competition yesterday. Seeing the extraordinarily talented readings was wonderful. It's a tough challenge. Competitors must put full meaning in their selected poems, without sliding into dramatic interpretation. There are two rounds, the contestants delivering a different poem in each round. For the first time in my life I heard someone do Poe's "Annabel Lee" without being trapped by the poet's horrible doggerel and without making it sound like a total dirge. It wasn't all roses, however; one competitor missed the boat on Frost's "Mending Wall," seeing it as a very sad occasion as opposed to a wry observation on long-held customs.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Whoa! What's this?

I paid $45.00 for a one-year subscription to a writers' trade magazine. Although it looked slick and colorful on the web site, my first issue was 15 stapled pages of black print on white 8 1/2x11 paper. I'm hoping the material therein is solid gold. It may be, I say to myself. After all, I've been to all-day multi-session writers' festivals which were almost not worth my time.... except for that one little thing a presenter said that opened my mind to a world of possibilities. So... for a while I'm not going to judge the book by its cover... er, the magazine by its cheap, photocopied, unimpressive look.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kindle covers

While going through NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE, tweaking out the little pieces of over-writing, I find a few word choices that aren't right. Isn't it amazing/wonderful that after leaving a work alone for a while, when you come back, the "wrong" words leap out and smack you in the face? "Whoa! Did I write that? Louise would never use that term!"

I'm shooting for a Kindle launch and just got word from my potential cover designer that the four weeks I calculated for his design services may be more like eight weeks. What to do about that? Patiently wait because he's very good? Or switch over to 99designs?