Friday, July 30, 2010

My eBook went Live !!!!!


My eBook, Refracted, just went on sale with Gypsy Shadow Publishing.
Just click on the link and you can read all about it, read an excerpt, and maybe even buy it (please... pretty please... as my kids used to say). And look! Here's the cover. Isn't it gorgeous? I love the way there's a double rainbow in the writing; it's just perfect!

I have a feeling I'll spend lots of today running round feeling excited, sending excited emails, writing excited posts on my various nings and networks, and generally using way too many exclamation points. But WOW!!!! My eBook's really on sale!!!!

If this is a dream, then please don't wake me up.

Refracted, by Sheila Deeth
http://gypsyshadow.com/SheilaDeeth.html
The story of a man who gets lost in time and can't remember what he's looking for.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

There's something about "final"

I was going to write a really excited blogpost earlier this week. I'd just got the latest version of Refracted back from my editor (my editor!!!) and the document was labeled, "Refracted_Final.doc." "Final!" I felt like my book had passed it's driving test, or like I had. So I was running round the house with a smile and eager to get to the keyboard (or the champagne). But our son came home, keyboard got otherwise adopted, and the washing machine adopted me.

Okay, so now it's Thursday. It must be time for an excited blogpost. And indeed it is. But now I'm even more excited because I've seen my "final" cover and it's absolutely beautiful! I've read lots of those blogposts by real authors about their gorgeous covers (and felt suitably jealous) but this one's mine. I have a book cover, beautifully designed, and it's got my name on it, and I'm over the moon.

According to my new best friends at Gypsy Shadow, the eBook will be appearing on their website soon. I can hardly wait - Refracted, by Sheila Deeth. Cool huh! The cover even looks like I'm over the moon, but I wonder if I'm allowed to post it here... I'll have to email them and ask.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Accidental Book Reviewer - 2

If you post book reviews you'll almost always find you're asked to post ratings too. On many sites, they won't even take the review til you give them a rating. Not a problem, perhaps, unless you happen to have a thing about numbers. And being some kind of mathematician still, I kind of do.

Back in school, in England, we got percentages, not letter-grades, or 1 to 5s. 100% was perfection, no room for improvement, and the only place you might get it was in math. In science, the experiment could've been just a bit more clearly described. In english, the essay may have no grammar errors, but couldn't you have added some more emotion? But in math, the answer's wrong or right, and even if the score's split between stages, each stage itself is either right or wrong. (Of course, in college I learned that even math can't reach perfection, but that's another tale.)

So now I give grades of 1-5 to books. Actually, I give grades of 3-5: 5 means I love it so much I can't stop telling everyone they ought to read it. 4 means I love it enough to recommend it to anyone who asks. 3 means I'll recommend it to some people, but not everyone. If everything gets five there's no room for improvement, no room for Wow, no room for meaning, at least for me.

So if you ask me to write a book review, please let me apologize in advance for the possibility that I'll rate it less than 5. It doesn't mean I don't love it; just that it didn't make me force my family, friends and neighbors to listen to me rabbiting on about it. And anyway, the writer in me says it's the words that count.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Accidental Book-Reviewer

The high school I went to, in England, an uncertain number of years ago, had a policy of not teaching "English literature." The theory was we should learn to enjoy reading before being taught to criticize it. The result, of course, was I never wrote a single book review or book report until those uncertainly many years had passed. My first book review, on gather.com, was the cause of much personal anguish and trepidation as I wondered if I really dared press that "publish now" button.

Never having learned how book reviews are supposed to be done, I'd decided I'd just write what I'd like to read: include enough about the book so I can tell if it might be interesting; include enough about the reviewer so I can tell if their views might be vaguely similar to mine; and never, ever, ever, give away the plot.

After a while I gained more confidence. I started posting reviews on Goodreads as well as gather, and even on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Since I read fairly quickly, I can churn out a fair few reviews, and I enjoy doing it; after all, as an about-to-be-published writer, I should take my reading seriously. I even toyed briefly with the idea of applying to review books "properly." (Is that like wanting to be published "properly?") But the papers and magazines I looked at (except for NightsandWeekends.com, and Poetic Monthly) didn't seem to like my style. They pointed me, at last, to all those "rules" I'd failed to learn:

Include enough about the book... okay, I got that one right.
Never ever include anything about the reviewer - no "I" words, nothing that might deny the objectivity of your review? (But is anyone objective?)
And always(???) include a "complete" synopsis of the plot(!!!)

Okay, I guess I'll never be a "serious" book reviewer, not by their definition. But I love to read and I love reviewing books, so if you like my reviews and are looking for a reviewer, well, here I am:)

You'll find lots of my reviews by going to my Goodreads bookshelf. I'd love to hear what you think.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's editing time!

I got my "first edits" back from Gypsy Shadow, so now I'm preparing to hide in my hole, reading and rereading the manuscript. I've learned that I use "was" and "that" way too much, and "until" is abbreviated "'til" in American, rather than "till" as in English.

Meanwhile it's my first time writing the minutes for our local writers' group and guess what! I really do use "was" and "that" too much. So, thank you Gypsy Shadow. Even my first ever edits are helping me improve what I write.

I open the document and I'm sure my fingers glow just as much as the computer screen. This is my story, Refracted, with a real illustration for it's cover. It will soon be a book! Hurray! And editing's really quite fun when you can see the improvement straight away and hear it in your head. I may be feeling seriously overworked (those minutes, those member lists, that website that I'm still not sure I know how to navigate), but I'm definitely happy.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yellow


I think our new printer doesn't like yellow.

Of course, technically, our printer's not new, but it's newer than the old one which requires frequent man(or woman)handling to get the print heads to move. It's big. It's smart. It sends faxes and photocopies vital documents. And it doesn't like yellow.

Our writing group's planning a display of self-produced books at the library, so I thought I'd try my hand at producing some. This meant printing them first, of course, in color because I like pictures. But yellow birds and orange sands don't look right when they come out in stripes.

"Try cleaning the heads," the trouble-shooting software said. The ink, originally three-quarters full, rapidly sank to one-quarter. "Did that help?" I searched the internet to find out how to print the test page and see. The answer was no.

"You can try a second-level cleaning," said the software gleefully. "But be aware it will use a lot of ink." I wasn't sure I had a lot left, and pretty soon I had none. The yellow turned white and the rest of my pictures came out a sickly purple.

So now I've bought and installed my new yellow ink. The test page had feathered yellow stripes which wasn't a very good sign. But I crossed my fingers and hoped the ink might flow if I printed some more. My home-made books and my calendar look sort of okay now (just don't look too closely) and at least, they're not as purple as my first attempt.

Who would have guessed how many colors need yellow to make them work?
Who would have guessed printing a twenty-page book could take so long?
And who would guessed how hooked I'd get on self-producing my work?

I think it must be time to start writing again.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Reading, writing, housekeeping and catching up on yardwork as fast as I can

Reading: It seems like ages since I listed linked to my book reviews for That Reading Journey. In fact, it really is ages - almost a month! So, what have I read in the last month? Click the links for my reviews on Gather.

Eclipse: I liked it better than the first two Twilight books, so I guess I'd better try to catch up with the fourth one day.

Anansi Island: A fascinatingly creepy lunch-time read with an intelligent female protagonist.

Fall Asleep Forgetting: Truly wonderful, and one that sticks in the memory, Fall Asleep Forgetting tells the stories of a loose-knit trailer-park community coming to terms with joy and tragedy while beautifully nurturing the rhythms of life.

Mean Streets: Well, I am a Harry Dresden fan, and the other novellas here are great introductions to other paranormal mystery writers.

Widow's Walk: Another memorable tale, this one has a light touch in dealing with emotional pain, a sure hand with the timing, and an odd and enduring sense of hope.

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab: A fun mystery for young readers, with some excellent historical background on Egypt, exciting adventures, and very pleasant and plausible young protagonists.

A Woman Called Sage: Another strong female protagonist, this time working as a bounty hunter and seeking her husband's killers. A really good read.

Payback in Wayback: A fun short Texas romance, perfect lunch-time read or bedtime story for weary Moms.

The Partnership: Think John Grisham, or Scott Turow. A fascinating look at the rising tides of a powerful legal firm, and an intriguing mystery.

Harry, A History
: I'm a Harry Potter addict too, and this was a fun look into the background to the Leaky Cauldron and the various book and movie releases.

Excuse Me Miss: I only read the first chapter of this (because it was free), but it's definitely worth reading more.

Immortal Outlaw: I read the first in this series a while back - romance, history, Vikings cursed with immortality, Robin Hood - could it really all fit together? Indeed it could, and I'm really enjoying these books.

Stone Totem: This is the one I got from the author after whale-watching in his boat. A really enjoyable adventure set in the Pacific Northwest (Canada) leaving the reader with lots to think about.

Writing: I've written a few other things besides book reviews. Click on Writing to catch up on my daily drabbles. I'm trying hard to fulfil the Hundred Drabbles of Summer Challenge, but more time to write would help.

Housekeeping
: Yes, I'd better empty the washing machine again, and refill it. The boys kept house fine in our absence, but there's lots to catch up on now I'm back.

Yardwork: I cut the grass this morning, and pulled out some small part of the grass that wasn't meant to be there. I found flowers underneath, and herbs. There's lots more to do.

So that was my month. How was yours?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Even More Versatile?

I just won another Versatile Blogger award, this time from my friend Ruth at Abitosunshine Love and Writing. It seems like there's more than "a bit" o' sunshine today, so maybe summer's finally on its way. But I really haven't found any new blogs in the last couple of days since I'm still catching up on blogs and friends that I already know. Maybe I'll let my last post stand as an acceptance of the award, while still thanking Ruth. And if your sun's being slow to wake up to the season, go visit her; it's always shining at Abitosunshine.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I'm back, and I won an award


I'm back from our trip, and I just won a Versatile Blogger award


Many thanks to Donna McDine at Write what Inspires You (http://donna-mcdine.blogspot.com/) for the surprise welcome back from my vacation. In accepting this award I have to thank the bestower (done), share seven things about myself (hmmm, I’m sure I’ve done that somewhere before), and pass the award on to fifteen newly discovered or followed friends.

Fifteen! Help! I have a feeling I’ve done this before too, but I’m not sure I’ve newly discovered another fifteen yet.

Anyway, seven things about me:

1) I’ve just been on vacation to San Juan Island.
2) I enjoyed a wonderful cooked gluten-free breakfast every day of my stay at Argyle House while we were there. Absolute luxury. If you’re gluten intolerant you’ll know what a wonderful treat that is.
3) I saw whales, lots of them, courtesy of Bill Carli who so expertly guided our boat—great commentary, great company, great fun.
4) I got a copy of Bill Carli’s recent novel, Stone Totem, which I have just enjoyed reading and will plan to review soon. What an amazing coincidence to find that the owner of the boat is a published writer! (And what a fun read.)
5) I heard whales, courtesy of the whale-watcher at Lime Kiln Point who told us they were there and told us what to look and listen for.
6) I had a wonderful time.
7) And the journey back took lots longer than the journey there because of traffic round Seattle. Note to self, travelling on Tuesday mornings is much easier than Friday afternoons.

So, onto those newly discovered blogs…

1. As I Grow In Faith – lyrical, beautiful prayer journal: http://www.asigrowinfaith.com/
2. Authors And Publishers Self Help Group – This one’s not got going yet, but looks like it will be interesting: http://anpshg.blogspot.com/
3. Barbara's Bakin N Bits – spiritual and food-flavored recipes for every day: http://bakinnbitsbarbara.blogspot.com/
4. Fiction With Faith – great interviews and book reviews. It’s where I met Tracy Krauss (see # 12 and 13): http://www.kararhunt.com/
5. IFB KJV Blog Directory – great Bible studies: http://ifbkjv.blogspot.com/
6. Katherine's Corner – more cool recipes (I think I need a gluten free recipe blog): http://goaskkatie.blogspot.com/
7. Lorilyn Roberts – The John 3:16 marketing Network. It sounds wonderful. You should really follow this one up if you’re writing or trying to network with Christian books: http://lorilynroberts.blogspot.com/
8. Marketing Your Book – lots of excellent advice: http://marketyourbookwithprogressive.blogspot.com/
9. News Blog for Wild Child and Freyas Bower – they publish good books, and they’re blog’s fun too: http://wcpfbnews.blogspot.com/
10. Notes From the Writing Chair – more book reviews. More giveaways. More fun: http://notesfromthewritingchair.blogspot.com/
11. Random Ramblings – randomly displaying beautiful July 4th pictures if you go over there right away: http://randombookishramblings.blogspot.com/
12. Tracy Krauss's blog: And the beat goes on is now available in e-book! Go find out about it: http://krauss.aegauthorblogs.com/
13. Tracy Krauss - Expression Express – and try to win a copy here: http://tracykraussexpressionexpress.blogspot.com/
14. 1st BOOKS: STORIES OF HOW WRITERS GET STARTED – that title’s kind of self-explanatory. A great blog: http://megwaiteclayton.com/1stbooks/
15. A Fiction-Filled Life – excellent interviews with writing advice: http://amberstockton.blogspot.com