Books Entry

Jan. 2nd, 2017 02:05 pm
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November 23, 2016

Warning, this book came from rage, so anvilicious you should probably wear a hard hat. Please take advantage of the ability to read the first few chapters before buying.

The war between Aldance and Amnisa has been dragging on for three years, and it is past time Aldance put a stop to it. The Aldench have their chance when they learn that the secret to the Amnisans' endurance is their bokra grounds, a rare soil that enhances the health of soldiers, crops, and livestock. Knowing that stealing these grounds will crush the will of the enemy, the military picks a team to perform that task. Edana Carver, charismatic and brash, has never led an expedition before, but such a simple assignment is the perfect opportunity for her to gain some experience. Manis il Havoc, with the ability to crack locks and get into places she shouldn’t be, is bitter over her recent demotion, but no one doubts her intelligence. Damohn Niles, young and pretty, is a talented medic with something to prove. Frayne, the foreigner, is a wonder on the battlefield and a little too secretive. Together, they were more than capable of striking deep into the heart of Amnisa, taking what they wanted, and destroying anything that got in their way.

Available through all amazons, Barnes&Noble, ibooks, Kobo, and other e-reading companies. Also available at smashwords through all e-readers:

October 20, 2015

no title

Alcina Noatak had grown up knowing she would one day be the High Scribe of Gydnerth, but that day was not supposed to arrive so soon. Responsible for drafting the laws that rule her country, Alcina must navigate intrigue and danger no one could have expected her to anticipate, and one wrong move could blow apart not just her life, but the lives of everyone around her.

Available through smashwords, which can accommodate any e-reader and provide pdf downloads, here and through amazon. I'm providing the US link, but you can get it at any Amazon.

Chapter One online:

Chapter Two online:


Catherine is a happy novelist, but a little strapped for cash, so the six-week job at computer software company Create and Conquer is a welcome chance to make some extra money. She meets the CEO, Lance MacCallan, on her very first day. He’s gorgeous, rich, admired by all around him, and a total bully.

But it’s not the attacks on her competence or the threats to fire her that have Catherine rattled. No, it’s when the CEO starts trying to convince her to go out with him that things get really unpleasant.

Available through Smashwords. The book can be downloaded to a variety of e-readers, including kindle, and can be downloaded as a pdf to your computer. $2.99 US.

Available through Amazon here:

A portion of the author’s royalties is donated to organisations working with survivors of abuse. Currently, the organisation is the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres. Please follow the link to see the kind of work they do.

Shield Dunleavy Mallorough and Source Shintaro Karish have lived in Flown Raven for five years, protecting its residents from natural disasters and enjoying the lack of interference from both the council of the Triple S and the Emperor. When they are unexpectedly summoned to Shidonee’s Gap by the council, Lee and Taro learn that while they have been living at their isolated post, there have been a lot of changes in the world, changes that will drag them into unimaginable duties and unprecedented danger.

E-versions are available through Smashwords and can be downloaded to a variety of e-readers, including kindle, apple i-pad, personal computers, i-phone, sony, kobo, android, and others. If you don't have an e-reader, you can download it as a pdf file. You have the option of getting it for free or paying if you want. If you choose to pay, you can pick any amount you want. It's here:

You can get it on Amazon for anywhere from 80 cents to 99 cents, depending on the day and time. This is the amazon link:

The list of short stories in the Triple S world is here:
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The Easy Expedition is available through all amazons, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, ibooks, and so on. It is also available through

Warning, this book came from rage, so anvilicious you should probably wear a hard hat. Please take advantage of the ability to read the first few chapters before buying.

The war between Aldance and Amnisa has been dragging on for three years, and it is past time Aldance put a stop to it. The Aldench have their chance when they learn that the secret to the Amnisans' endurance is their bokra grounds, a rare soil that enhances the health of soldiers, crops, and livestock. Knowing that stealing these grounds will crush the will of the enemy, the military picks a team to perform that task. Edana Carver, charismatic and brash, has never led an expedition before, but such a simple assignment is the perfect opportunity for her to gain some experience. Manis il Havoc, with the ability to crack locks and get into places she shouldn’t be, is bitter over her recent demotion, but no one doubts her intelligence. Damohn Niles, young and pretty, is a talented medic with something to prove. Frayne, the foreigner, is a wonder on the battlefield and a little too secretive. Together, they were more than capable of striking deep into the heart of Amnisa, taking what they wanted, and destroying anything that got in their way.


Nov. 3rd, 2016 07:25 pm
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My final typo check for the Easy Expedition is done. Finally. Ugh. I have contacted the woman I have hired to format my books in the past, and am waiting to hear back. I hope she is still doing this work. I haven't contacted her in two years.

I am now left with a choice about what project to do next. I could do the sequel to Expedition, but I feel like I need a rest from that world. I could do the Scribe sequel, I have a good chunk of the first draft done as well as an outline, but given how long it's been since I worked on it, I have to reread the first one, and I don't feel like doing that, either.

So that leaves the detective/urban fantasy/sci-fi like story, which I've also done a lot of work on and have an outline for.
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Finally got a review on Scribe in Shadows. That's right, it took almost six months, and that's sad. But hey, at least it's five stars. And even better, the first paragraph is basically a blurb of the book, a much better blurb than I wrote, so I've asked the reviewer if I can copy it for my posts on amazon and smashwords.

Here's the review:

Alcina lives in a land of subtle magic. She is a scribe and has prepared to take her mother's place as high scribe when her mother retires. When her mother is killed unexpectedly, Alcina must take her place. But her mother was not just a scribe; she was also working with a secret alliance to counter the plans of the principal councillor and had information that someone might just kill for. While battling her own demons of depression, Alcina must decide who she can trust and what to do with the information bequeathed to her.

This isn't my normal kind of book (political intrigue typically bores me), but I enjoyed Moore's heroes series, so I figured I would give it a go. I'm very glad that I did. There was a good bit of political intrigue, but the action and mystery kept me interested, and the pacing was good. I particularly liked the translation of current concepts of privacy rights to a renaissance-esque time period. It was easy to draw parallels, and I felt better able to connect to the characters and their politics.

Alcina was well developed as a character, but I would like to know more about her guards (sentinels) and Layt in future books.
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I just got what I consider an amazing compliment. A lot of the details in The CEO Can Drop Dead were influenced by a conversation I had with a mental health professional about workplace sexual harassment. I gave her a paperback copy to thank her and we didn't talk about it again. She just told me that she had read it over her December holidays and really enjoyed it, finding it quick-paced with the tension building throughout the story. But the best part is that she said it was very believable. That might not seem like much, but to me? Coming from an expert? That's amazing.
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I put it up four weeks ago and the lack of sales has been ... I want to say impressive, for some reason. I'm not sure why, that's just the word that comes to mind. I think if I were the type of person to guilt family and close friends into buying my books, I would have made significantly more sales. And then the chirping of crickets I'm getting now.

I am disappointed. It's my first foray into a new fantasy world, I put a lot of work into the book, and I like it. But I'm not nearly as disappointed as I would have expected to be. Maybe it's because I finished it so long ago. And I knew I was breaking a cardinal rule as I was writing it, which is that writers shouldn't get on a soapbox in their novels. I have described the book as one long scream of rage against Canadian politics. I knew that wouldn't be many people's cup of tea.

So, I'm in a state of, "That sucks, but oh well. Moving on."

I did get one review, and it was a complimentary one.

And I'm still writing the rest of the series, because I like the characters and the world. I've already written the first nine chapters of the sequel. I'm just lucky this isn't my livelihood.
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I've decided to have a new cover created for Heroes' Reward. I still think that cover is better than any of the others in the series, but I've grown dissatisfied with it. It's too sci-fi, among other things. Heroes' Reward was the book I ended up working harder on than any other of the series, with endless rewrites, and by the time I was finished, I hated it so much I wanted to get the thing out there as quickly as possible, so I could stop thinking about it. So, knowing little about how such things are done, I hired a cover artist who would do the work fast and cheap.

I've contacted the artist who created the cover for Scribe in Shadows, a cover I adore. We'll see what she comes up with.

No sword for Taro.
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I broke my own vow and decided to buy more paper copies of The CEO Can Drop Dead from CreateSpace. There are some people close to me who would like hard copies, and I'll use some as attempts at advertising.

What I've done so far is send copies to university professors who focus on gender in the media. There are surprisingly few. There are many professors who research gender and women's issues in a whole lot of areas, but very few on the media, and I think that's odd. We are shaped by media every single day; I would think that worthy of more attention.

So far, I've limited myself to Ontario, but I'll start sending them farther afield. I have no idea if that will bear any fruit. It hasn't gotten any response yet.

I wonder how much CreateSpace will gouge me for this time. I'll tell ya, while writing books isn't nearly as expensive as some of the hobbies out there, it ain't free.
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Today I am looking over a book I started between finishing the scribe book and returning to the team book. It's the beginning of the first typed draft. As I've probably mentioned before, I write the first draft longhand, but once I've done a few chapters that way, I start typing the second draft. I clean things up and that has an impact on what I write later in the longhand version. That's probably a weird way to do things, but it works for me. On that other book, I had written just over 80 pages and typed just over 86. Typed pages have far fewer words than my handwritten pages.

In order to properly remember what I had done before, I'm rereading the typed pages. I took notes while I was writing it and had an outline and all that, but it's best to reread to catch throwaway comments that may be significant later.

It is interesting reading it, and seeing the flaws with new eyes.

The benefit of having three different editors - maybe more at ACE, they never told me the names other than the principal editor - is that they all have different preferences, and they correct different things. This last one pointed out a new flaw and I can see it all over the draft.

It makes me wonder if I drove the readers of previous books crazy with that flaw.

I'm having a hard time fixing this draft. I sternly tell myself that's not why I'm reading it. Then I say, "Well, it's just a little fix. That's ok."
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Sometimes, awful writing advice is passed around. I'm not talking about writers saying, "The worked for me so it's a universal rule." I'm talking about advice that wouldn't work for anyone.

The following is called "200 Ways to Say "Says" on a site called The Writer's Handbook.

It's awful. There are some entries I use, such as "mocked" and "jeered." I can't imagine anyone using "made known" or "sermonized." Using "believed" in this context makes no sense.

I remember getting the advice to find replacements for "said," and striving to do so. I hated the effect and went back to "said," or tried to find ways to avoid using dialogue tags at all, through sentence structure and context.

The general consensus is that "said" is invisible while something like "chortled" is disruptive to the reader. I used "chortled" as an example because that word always makes me think of turtles. I have no idea why, but I doubt any writer wants my mind to go off to that place instead of staying with the flow.

This is where reading books is an important part of writing them. If one gets writing advice that isn't reflected anywhere in books one enjoys reading, that's a warning that the advice isn't spot on. That doesn't mean one can't try it, but one should be aware they are breaking a rule of thumb.
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This weekend will be dedicated to editing the team book. It may have taken the editor forever to get the manuscript back to me, but I can't say she isn't thorough.

It's hard to get my head back into this world as I was absorbed in the CEO and also the Ottawa 2025 book until now.

I have a title for the team book but I'm having the hardest time coming up with a name for the series. I have a plan for four books - the last one is already written, though it will need enormous rewrites, and that's a long story - and I want the series to have a decent name. Actually, my lazy inclination is to call it Team Book One: The Officer's Daughter, but that gives no indication of the nature of the team, or that the story takes place in a fantasy world. So I'm stuck.
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Finally got the proof for The CEO Can Drop Dead. After I complained the last time, they expedited the copy and I got it in two days. The book looks pretty good, but I won't be recommending anyone buy it through createspace. My plan is to buy a bunch of copies and then try to sell them through the café and wherever else I can think of. Maybe I'll hold a contest for a copy.

Here are photos to show the size. I have no idea why one is sideways and I'm not in the mood to fight with it.

IMG_0033[1] IMG_0034[1]

Also finally, I got the edits back for the team book. One thing I realised already: always plot out the exact miles travelled, not just time. My first editor called me on it with Heroes' Reward, but it wasn't necessary for the scribe book, and I didn't think it would be necessary for this one. I was wrong. Having done that, I caught a glaring flaw. Yay! Also caught another flaw while listening to a boring presentation tonight. Anyway, I'm so glad to put the team book back on the front burner.
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I've been looking, a little bit, into the possibility of selling the CEO in bookstores. Long shot, I know, but some independent bookstores are willing to sell self-published books. Unfortunately, the cost for that is too high. The bookstores I've investigated want both a set-up or maintenance fee and a large portion of the price of the book for commission. I agree that the bookstores should get something out of selling the book, but I have to buy the books from createspace and pay for shipping and handling, and the only way I could meet the demands of the stores is to a)put a horrifically high price on the book or b)lose money with each book sold.

There is a café I go to every time I go to a particular city, which is at least twice a month. The staff are incredibly friendly and they remember me even though I am an irregular customer. The café sells paintings and books, and yesterday I asked the owner if that was something she did only for friends. She said no, it depended on the project. Great, so I asked what she required as a commission. Nothing. I was shocked. She displays the works, she collects the money, and she wants nothing in exchange. She seemed surprised at my surprise.

I didn't want to take too much of her time right then, so I asked her if I could contact her through her Facebook page to tell her more about the book. I did so, and she says she loves the idea of it. It's only a small café, and it will be only a couple of copies, but I'm enthusiastic about it.

Now if I can just get the copies made. I'm still waiting for the proof to be delivered to me, so I can make sure the book looks decent before putting it up for sale.
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I got a lot of work on Ottawa:2025 done this weekend. I think this might be a short book, around 60,000 words. One of the freedoms about self-publishing is that I don't have to aim for a particular word count, usually 100,000. I can just let the story be as long as it should be.

I've started notes for a sequel, but it's going to take a massive amount of research, so it might be a couple of years before I get to write that one.
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Grrr. Working on creating the trade paper version of the book. In an early stage of reviewing the interior, to make sure everything looks fine, it all looks good, but at the final review before actually printing, there are screw ups. How can I fix it if I don't see it in the earlier version?
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I have the final e-version covers, and if everything goes as it should - it's been a couple of years since I've done this - the e-book will be available through smashwords and amazon this Thursday, April 23. I should probably have at least a one-week build up of some kind for marketing reasons but I don't feel like it.

I'm planning on charging $2.99 US and I will be donating 25% of my royalties to the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres. I'm still waiting on the final print wrap for the trade paper version, which will be offered through CreateSpace. I don't have the final price for that yet because they don't let you finalise that until you actually upload it - imagine me rolling my eyes - but I will be donating 25% of my royalties from that as well.

Payments for self-publishing are fun! Amazon sends me my royalties for e-books within 90 days of their acquisition. I get money deposited directly into my account every month, but it's from royalties three months earlier. Payments from smashwords are sent to me via paypal every three months, January, April, July, and October. CreateSpace sends payments via cheque - owned by Amazon, but for some reason, doesn't have direct deposit in Canada like kindle does - the month after the royalties are accumulated, but only if the royalties are at least $100 US. It's all pretty messy.

My plan is to send the donations on the months I get royalties from smashwords. It's a reliable schedule and I get a nice reminder email. I will send to the Ontario Coalition 25% of whatever royalties from whatever source has sent money, unless the amount is less than $25. It's too sad to send them less than $25 at a time. If the amount is less than $25, the amount I have gotten will be held over until the next smashwords payment. If I hit the end of the year and haven't acquired $25 through royalties, I'll round the amount up to $25 and send that, and start over again in 2016.

I'm going to be doing this forever.
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As I have decided to offer The CEO Can Drop Dead through CreateSpace, and the price of those books won't be quite as horrific as I thought, I ran Scribe in Shadows through the royalties calculation just to see what the price would be like. Now, the scribe book is almost three times as long as the CEO book, but the weird thing is that when I enter the CEO in the CreateSpace template, it ends up with fewer pages, while when I enter the scribe book, it's considerably longer. I have no idea why there's such a huge difference. CreateSpace won't print books at a price that puts the royalties I get in negative digits. Just in order to end up in the positive in the sales channel I can't avoid, I have to put the price for the book at $19.99. Is that freaking crazy or what? So, when I put the scribe book out, it will be only through e-books.
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I have sent the timeline to the editor. She also wanted all the tabs removed from the manuscript, which no one has ever asked me to do before. Of course, I had no idea how to do it, and of course, the instructions online from every source about how to do it flat out didn't work. The editor had no idea how to do it. She just never uses tabs when she writes. I was looking at having to go through over four hundred pages manually deleting each tab and about to tear my hair out over it. A general plea on Facebook resulted in one of my lovely friends giving me a series of steps that actually worked. Most of the time. Sometimes the software still threw a fit and I had to do it manually, but it took only fifteen minutes or so to do the whole thing, so that's great.

The editor has estimated that a manuscript of that length would take her about thirty-five hours, which she would do in a week and a half. I don't know how many hours my original editor put in, but given that all the reasons for the delays in the last book had nothing to do with working on my book and included her taking on more work in her private life, I have a feeling she just worked on the book for a spare hour here and there.

So back to Ottawa 2025. I decided to ask one of the businesses if they minded being included in the book, given what would happen later. I have no idea whether I'll get an answer. If I don't, or I get a 'no,' I won't use their restaurant, which would be a shame, because I love it.

I've ordered a new back-up hard drive. Here's hoping that both my original hard drive and my laptop don't have meltdowns.

Update on the Sun News Network but it's still sort of writing-related:

Everything we're hearing from the head honchos of Sun News Network is that it's all the government's fault for refusing to give them a licence they didn't qualify for. They take no responsibility for their failures, and refuse to acknowledge that the last four years represent one disastrous business decision after another. Their cancellation got them far more attention than their programming ever did, and now, two days later, no one really cares anymore.

And their failure makes one of the important sub-plots of the scribe book obsolete. I won't be changing it, because I never want to look at that book again, but it makes my book out of date. Still, at least they won't sue me if they recognise themselves in the book. Their reputation can't get any worse.
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I've heard back from the new editor about her proposal for cost, and it's quite reasonable, so we're going ahead.

It's the team book, which people who have been reading this blog a long time might remember. The team book has a long history with me. I started it back while I was still working on the heroes series. During the lags when a heroes book was being edited by whoever, I'd work on the team book. I'd "finished" it once and sent it to a friend for her feedback, but due to other stuff going on, I didn't get an editor and push on to publication. When heroes seven was done and published, I looked at the team book again and realised that it needed a lot of revisions, and I started on that. Then, Stephen Harper made me furious and I just had to put the team book aside to work on the scribe book.

Once the scribe book was done, I decided to create and work on Ottawa 2025. My friend asked when I was going to work on the team book, but I wasn't inclined to go back to it. However, after a few weeks of working on 2025, I looked at the team book, just to see where I was on the revisions, and I realised I'd been almost done. Given that, I got excited about the book again and decided to finish it.

One thing I learned from the editor of the scribe book was to note the precise passage of time within the story. In the past, I'd vaguely referred to weeks and seasons but that was it. My new habit was largely a defensive measure, because the editor would say, "Why isn't she more proactive here?" and I'd say, "There are eight hundred things going on and it's been four days! Geez!" No, I never said that, I just thought it, so in the later revisions I noted the exact days on the top of the chapter - not to be used in the final draft, just for my own reference - and then I made the character obsessive about keeping track of the days. It's been so many days since this happened. What's taking them so long, it's been so many days since that happened?

As I said, I'd already done most of the major reworking of the team book - pre-editing, of course - but once I was done with the major stuff, I went through it again to catch smaller problems, and at that time I noted the precise days and made adjustments where necessary.

And a good thing, because this new editor wants a precise timeline of the book. Ha ha, already done! I have to type everything, because the original notes are all handwritten, but that's no big deal.

She also wants me to create a timeline for events leading up to the book, even though this book isn't part of a series, and no one's ever asked me for that before. This, along with other communications I have had with this editor, makes me feel confident that she's thorough and takes the job seriously. I can't know for sure until the job is done, of course, but so far there are no warning bells in my head. Picking a freelance editor is scary because you won't know if it will be a nightmare until you're in the middle of it.


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