Teen/YA Novel In Final Edits

Hello Readers! I hope your new year is going well so far!

Well, I’d hoped to have this novel released by the end of last year. However, feedback from beta readers and Life prevented that. Mostly Life. Not only did I fall and break my left ankle and told to put no weight on it for eight weeks, but my laptop died, and it didn’t get fixed until my ankle was healed.

Yeah . . . very discouraging. I do not do well composing from the phone or tablet. Although the tablet is better.

In any case, the edits are going well, and so is the cover and title change. I was going to title it, as you might know, Devynn’s Dilemma. However, my readers and my cover design critiquers had some issues with the story and covers.

As far as the cover went, many dissed using real people on covers. They wanted to be able to visualize the character the way they wanted to see her. Plus, they felt the image of my Devynn model looked too young.

Now when I was a senior ( aged seventeen) in high school, I was told the reason the boy I liked wouldn’t date me was because I looked twelve. So, I didn’t have a problem with my model looking younger than fourteen. And some wanted to know what Devynn’s dilemma was, and although I thought the cover showed that fact with the two boys she liked and her mom in the background looking on with disapproval, they didn’t get it. So, I decided to change the focus to the two diaries. Hers and her mother’s. And I was thrilled when many liked it and said they’d pick up the book to check it out with this new cover.

Some wanted me to drop the series title or change it as it implies a Sci fi or fantasy theme. But one person loves it and gets the reason I chose it. So, I’m keeping it. I’m thrilled to have even one ally!

Here’s the new cover:

The issues with the story were mainly the names I chose for Devynn’s mom and aunt, and the spelling of Devynn’s name. I learned that some readers will stop reading a book if they aren’t happy with the names, and if the characters act differently than what they believe a girl this age would act in a given situation, they stopped reading.

As though every girl in every country in the world would act in exactly the same way in every situation. Really??? I don’t think so. So, those things, I am not planning to change.

Devynn isn’t every girl, and it isn’t just because she lives in the USA. I realize that many girls, in any country, being bullied by boys would have crying fits and throw things and whatever. I never did, and neither does Devynn. Looking for a place to hide or faking illness and going home for the day . . . or week, yes. I did that all the time. Sure, my feelings were hurt. It just wasn’t my thing to go into deep depressions and crying jags over it.

Sometimes, I got revenge. Sometimes, a sympathetic friend or sibling got it for me if they were incensed by how I’d been treated. Occasionally, a teacher put herself /himself out to defend me. But never to the extent that some go out for Devynn.

I realize most authors write to please the reader. And I hope my stories will please readers, but to expect me to write to a formula where girls always scream and cry over things . . . ain’t happening. Sometimes, maybe, but not always.

One person felt that spelling Devynn as I do was stupid. No need for two Ns. I’m not a celebrity, so I shouldn’t be choosing to name my characters with odd or exotic names. Hmmm . . . didn’t know we had to be famous to want to use unique names! Well, you know I’m paying no attention to that, and Devynn is staying Devynn.

I did modify Devynn’s mom’s name. Was X’Laena, but now it’s X’Leyna. Long A sound there. Had the mistaken thought that ae was pronounced as long A. I was wrong, wrong, wrong! So I changed it. Plus no one wanted to try to figure out how to say it. However, in sci fi and fantasy, they’ll let odd exotic names pass and finish the book.

The apostrophe means you sort of slur those first two letters together. I left that apostrophe in there, because I just couldn’t live with it spelled out as XaLeyna or XaLayna. Nor was I happy with it spelled XLeyna.

Her sister’s name is X’Lohna. Not hard to figure out when you rhyme it with Johna. Although the Johna I knew spelled it Johnna. Named for her father who ended up with four daughters.

Their mother is a fantasy author who had used these names in her novels and then bestowed them upon her daughters later.

There are other things I’m planning to change when I get that far. Most of those are my own decision. In any case, I’m hoping to release sometime between February and April. If all goes well, it’ll be sooner. I can’t wait! And I can’t wait to get started on the next one!

Hope you’ll visit again to find out how my progress is going!

Are you an author too? Do you use beta readers? How has your experience been using them? Do you write for readers, or for yourself, or a combination?

Dalton’s Last Stand On Sale For A Limited Time

Hello Dear Readers!

The summer is flying by, isn’t it? Kids will be going back to school very soon. Not that I have to worry about that anymore.

We haven’t done anything special this summer . . . except build an outdoor pizza oven in a friend’s backyard since we can’t do it here.  It’s not totally finished yet – rainy days are preventing the dome from getting done. Also, our house hunting days may be over! More about that later.

Speaking of moving – I’m moving the site to a new host, so if you happen to notice it not working . . . and I hope that doesn’t happen . . . that’s why. Some glitch has occurred which I hope would be fixed right off. Doing it mainly for the security factor. SSL being cheaper. Although I’ve learned I don’t need that really expensive certificate if I’m using PayPal or the like to process payments. Your personal info isn’t stored here on my site, but is kept on PayPal or whatever gateway is used. So, maybe I’ll offer the book/books for sale here again . . .

Book Cover For MalleyCat and Dalton's Last StandRight now, I want to tell you that MalleyCat and Dalton’s Last Stand is on sale at all online outlets until the end of September – or whenever I finally launch Devynn’s Dilemma. Still finalizing the cover and am now working with a graphics artist to that end. Also waiting on beta readers to get back to me.

So for the rest of the summer/early autumn, Malley is .99. After that the price will go back up to its original price of $3.75. I have some other changes in mind here, which I’ll post about when they’re ready to be revealed.

Well, I am off to visit my son and play the day away with my granddaughter. They spent July in Costa Rica, so we haven’t seen them for a while, except in photos.

Until next time, have a great day!

 

June Updates

Hello Friends!

Another cloudy day here and a bit chilly for June. Not that I’m really complaining mind you! But I wouldn’t mind it a touch warmer for this time of year.

I’ve gone through Devynn’s story another couple of times to make sure I caught most of the mistakes and such, and I think that I have. Yes, I know . . . get a professional edit. Well, my budget doesn’t allow for it, so I’ll take the time to keep at it until it’s pretty well polished. I believe it’s ready for beta readers. I’m hoping to have it up for launch by July or August.

I’ve reworked the cover and found the image I like for her mom, X’Laena.  When I revealed it on my blog at WritersForum, one of the members said she loved it which made me very happy! Here it is:

 

With this last run through, I realized I needed to do more fact checking for legal things so everything I’ve got happening is correct. The military mentions are correct as well. I spent considerable time on related web sites making sure what I wanted to occur actually could.

I’ve started to percolate ideas for the next book which for the moment is simply titled Daveenna. I’ll worry about a better one once I’m into the story for something better might jump out at me then. I’ve found a couple of images to represent her and who look as though they could be related to the girl I’m using for Devynn. Not sure if I’ll change anything but images on the covers of each story. I may leave everything about it the same except for images.

I can’t quite decide what sort of attitude she ought to have. She was given away at birth but not by her mom. So she might have mixed feelings if she was told anything at all about it. Or maybe she hasn’t been told a thing about it yet. Thinking her adoptive parents are going to meet with an untimely demise and none of the relatives want to be bothered with her and any other kids there may be. I haven’t decided yet if there are. I think there may be a couple others. In any case, they will all end up on the doorstep of Devynn’s Aunt X’Lohna and she and Daveenna’s dad, Zechariah Dzurilla will take them all in. I’m thinking that X’Lohna will likely be pregnant again at the same time, which will probably make for some conflict as well.

I want to figure out the back stories of some of Devynn’s friends so they can be the focus of the series after this story, although I might go back to Devynn for at least one more book. We’ll see. But I’ve decided I want someone to have a mom based on one of my friends who probably’d been a rather interesting mother. And I plan to have Tista’s mom actually get together with another of ZJ’s brothers, so the series will go on for a while.

Then, too, I would like to get that time travel finished. I’m not sure I’ll make that a series. Maybe. I’m not one of those authors who wants to churn out a book every couple of hours. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, obviously, but even if it’s every two or three weeks, can’t do it. I don’t feel the story turns out as well. Characters aren’t developed enough and the story often isn’t as tight as it could be. I wish it were that easy for me, but I’ll take my time and make sure I’m putting out a quality story. Can’t call it a masterpiece otherwise!

I’m thinking of reviewing some books here that I’ve read both recently and my past favorites. I’ll be a bit more frank here with that than I will be at Goodreads or Amazon. So look for that to come sometime in the near future.

I guess that’s it for now. Mundane household tasks call to me . . . if I decide to get up for those. My guys are off helping a friend with car trouble so I have the place to myself. I could decide the house can wait and toy with creating my first podcast. No one’s here to disturb me.

Hmmmm . . .

 

 

 

 

Chapter One of Marooned Posted

Maooned on Planet EARTH Devynn's Dilemma Cover

I’ve just posted Chapter One of Marooned on Planet EARTH – Devynn’s Dilemma. But I also want to say, titles and book covers are tentative, and subject to change. Also, just so you know, the story has nothing to do with sci fi or aliens. It’s just how Devynn feels about her life right now. I’m sure most of us know that feeling!

I am in the process of preparing to launch the story in the next two or three months. I really want to just do it; you know – just get it up on Amazon, iBook, Barnes and Noble, and all those other places just as quick as possible. But, I guess I’ll try it the right way this time. See what happens.

At the same time, I’ll be relaunching Dalton’s Last Stand to see if I can generate new interest in that book.

So to prepare for those events, I have to contact reviewers, put together a media kit with press release. do up a book trailer, and maybe see about blog tours. Some places want only a paperback, so I may do a mock up at Createspace to generate preview copies. Nothing fancy, because I haven’t finalized the cover or finished these last edits.

I sort of get some anxieties at this stage.

Should I change the title again? Does this one really say what I need it to say? Am I really sure of all of my names? Am I happy with the spellings? The families of my characters and their personalities, are they developed enough? Should I cut someone, and who? Or, should I add someone? Is the town what I want it to be? Will it be consistent with other stories I may set in this town or have already set in it?

And I have set another story in this version of Northfield, as Jerrianna and Jeoffrey Kingsley also live here. Different part of it, though. The twins live on a street set up like one I used to live on years ago. I reference some of the places, like Cooper’s Diner, the bowling alley, and Northfield Supermarket. It’s a small town. Not quite as small as the Northfield I lived in until I was six or seven, but not a bustling city either. I should map it out, get it on paper and out of my head.

I’ll go into more detail about all this stuff with my Creating the Story page for Devynn.  For now, I just want to get the word out that she’s finally going to be coming out. The cover pictured is just to represent the story for now. It’s not the final one, although I’m okay with it. I have a different one I wanted to use, but as I use stock images from iStock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, StockUnlimited, Pixaby, Depositphoto, and other similar places, it’s tough finding just what you want and need. I wish I could draw, so I could do my own awesome covers, but alas . . . I cannot. I would outsource them, but my budget is tiny, and I am hesitant to reach out to illustrators or cover designers for fear of having to pay for something that doesn’t make me happy.

Stock images are great if you know how to use them effectively. I love this image. She has just the right expression I was looking for. Wasn’t looking for a teen girl all dolled up. Just a girl being herself. My first cover had other people in the background. I found the perfect image for Rodney, but for Thayne and Devynn’s mom, X’Laena . . . still looking. Those I had at the time have been removed by their respective owners. So, although I bought a license to use them, according to iStock’s new rules, I can no longer do so. So, I’m out that money.

Yeah, I wish I could draw!

Then, I have to hit upon a price for the book. While I’d like to set it at $3.75, it will likely be $2.99, with a launch price of .99 cents. I’ve already repriced the twins book at $2.99. My sources say a launch is a four day event. So, I need to wrap my head around this stuff so I can launch in March or April.

Really . . . I just want to toss it out there . . .

I know, I know . . . I’m going to suck it up and do it right . . .!

 

Bye, Bye eBook Shelf

Yep, bye, bye eBook Shelf.

I have decided to ditch the eBook Shelf because encrypting the site is expensive, and I’m sure people want their info secure. So, there’s no point in keeping it live when no one will actually purchase anything from it.

Since the book, and any I publish in future will be available in all the bookstores online, and from DreamWynd Publishing which is a more secure site, there’s no sense in offering them from my author site. I’ll post links to the various book sites when I get a free moment.

Should you decide to purchase a copy of the book at Amazon or iBooks, Nook, Barnes & Noble, or any other place, simply search for the book’s title, or for my name. Or you can use this link, and search this list.

Also, I would be so grateful if you would also leave a review once you’ve read the story (or stories). If even a few people would be so kind as to do that, it would be awesome. But so far, just one person has opted to take the time to do that.

The reason reviews are important is, of course to persuade other readers to take a chance delving into an author’s world. In this case, Mine! Too, when writers are trying to promote books and would love to use say, BookBaby or some other similar service to help with that, authors with less than ten reviews on Amazon will not be welcome to start a campaign with them. I don’t know if reviews from other sources count, I would hope so, but right now, there’s just the one on Amazon.

So . . . Dalton’s Last Stand needs 9 more reviews. So, I do beg of you dear readers . . . please, leave a fairly detailed, well thought out, constructive review for not only my work, but for any book you’ve read. It would be so much appreciated!

Until next time, have a great day!

 

 

Babies and Toddlers Video Added

I’ve finally finisheBabies & Toddlers book cover with 4 pix of little onesd my vid-book as I’m calling it about babies, toddlers, and other little ones. I’ve always thought of four year-olds as toddlers, but I’ve recently changed my view on that. So, I changed the title of my video and the ebook to BABIES & TODDLERS & Other Little Ones so I could include some cute pics of kids older than a toddler, but under five. Thinking I might try to do a vid-book for each age group as I find and/or take pictures for those.

In any case, find BABIES in my Video Den. It’s about 17 minutes long. It’s internet quality, and comes from YouTube. I’ve discovered that that can mess up your video somewhat. So, expect some bumps in the music track, and possibly some image distortion in at least one place. None of that showed up in my originals. If ever I can find a fix for it . . . one that I can understand enough to make those fixes . . . I will attempt to do so.

I also will have a PDF of the Babies story for purchase shortly on the eBook Shelf, so watch for that!

I am intending to do more vid-books in the future, but they won’t be offered in their entirety for free as this one is. I’ll post a teaser version and list the full on the eBook Shelf along with its corresponding PDF.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned for new things coming!

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Yet Another Design . . .

And a new title idea, plus another revamp of the original title . . .

As I was studying the cover design – which I design in RealDraw Pro 5 – I began to wonder about adding a human element in there. Since I have no artwork for that, I thought maybe in a pinch, I could use silhouettes. So I found a couple that could work, I think. Folded arms and an arrogant stance which would be the look of Ralph Henry, our charming bragger boy! The other a boy with his hands on his hips. Decided again adding a third kid, which would have represented Jerrianna.

The other reason I decided to go with silhouettes is because it’s less cluttering and I don’t have to figure out how to make the title fit around images of real people. Adds some drama to the cover which I felt was lacking in the others. My husband doesn’t think so; he likes the cover with only Malley on it. If one doesn’t help sales, then after a time, I’ll try the other.  Or I could go with one of them for the ebook and the other for print. Hmmm . . .

If I go with the Dilemma cover, I’d have two titles with the word dilemma in them. Marooned on Planet EARTH – Devynn’s Dilemma is the other. But . . . now that I’ve added the boys to the original title . . . maybe I’ll stay with it. Yeah, sometimes that happens! All that work and agonizing over it, and you just come back to the original after all!

Cover for MalleyCat and The Dalton Dilemma

Cover for MalleyCat and The Dalton Dilemma Cover for MalleyCat and The Dalton Dilemma Save

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Cover for the vid-book

Since I’ve been posting covers, I thought I’d post the cover for the vid-book, Babies and Toddlers. I ended up subtitling it, & Other Little Ones as some of the kids I used weren’t toddlers anymore. But, they were small enough to be in my VB, so that’s how I got around that issue. Someone at some point is bound to say, hey–that kid in in the last slide ain’t no toddler, and those two girls on the trike aren’t, either! Nope, but they are all under five, and that’s what counts for this project!

I was going to use another pen name for these picture book/video projects. Was a toss up between Neta Marie and Aneta Marie. My grandmother used to call me Neta – which at the time I hated, but I let her, and only her, get away with it. I happen to like the e for my name, and wish my father had thought of it since he liked the uncommon. Guess that’s where I get it! Just wish he’d used some of that creativeness back then!

After a soul search, though, I elected not to use a different name for stuff for little ones and early readers. Saves me from a few hassles – like a new website and domain name . . . Time and money there! I’ve got little of either to spare! So I’m keeping everything from babes to teens right here. And am keeping the common spelling of Anita. Mainly because I didn’t think to use it years ago when I started sending my stuff around to publishers . . . or uploading same to Amazon.

I’m getting a call to supper! Chicken and rice with chicken feet on the side so my son, Brett the Chef, says . . . Thinking not a chance to those toes! And new baby zucchini!

Here is the revamped cover:

 

 

Babies & Toddlers book cover with 4 pix of little ones

More Covers – And a New Title!

Hello Readers! How are you all, today?

I’ve been working the afternoon on tweaking my middle grade cover, and have narrowed it down to these three. I like elements of each of these, but I’m not sure which I like best overall. So, likely, yet another version will pop up shortly! And as you see, I’ve decided to run with MalleyCat and the Dalton Challenge . . . unless a better title pops up before I take this to print.

With this design, I changed the width and height – well, really, the height. I think I had the width the same.

Without further ado . . .

Dlalton Challelnge Book Cover - cat on an air hockey tableMalleyCat book cover - fluffy cat on an air hockey table

 

I believe I am leaning toward the last one as I stare at them all together here. I decided to use Baskerville Old Face with the ChunkFive font. So hard to pair them up sometimes. But my eyes are tired, so I should quit for the night.

Since I bought my book layout templates from The Book Designer–Joel Friedlander, I’ve studied his articles to get ideas for fonts. He uses free ones a lot, so I trust him when he says a font is free to use for commercial projects. I have fonts I bought, but I don’t always remember which ones they were. I need to organize them better so I know it. Also, I’m a font junkie, so my font folder is packed with them. I should weed them out, so I know what’s there is fine for me to use on my covers and book layouts.

I’ll get to it . . . . someday . . . maybe . . .!

Hmmm . . . looks like I have to redo my site’s header!

 

 

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Book Cover Updates

Okay, here are the new cover designs. Plus a title update . . . That perfect title is eluding me, hiding just beyond the shadows of my mind so that I can’t grab it! So annoying! But I did finally find that perfect fluffy yellow cat I was looking for, and for a price I could afford. She’s a Maine Coon cat with the green eyes I wanted, plus that disdainful look Malley displays so often to poor Jeoffrey. This cat can certainly take on a bragging bully! If she decides to play, that is . . .

Keeping the series set at The Kingsley Twins. If anyone has a better idea for a title, I’m open to suggestions. If I use your title, I will rename a kid in the classroom for you, or use your favorite name, and give him/her a prominent spot in the story. The main characters’ names are not up for change, nor are the ones I’ve named for others already. Of course, if I absolutely LOVE your name choice, well–that’s a different story!

For the fun of it, let me show you the first two covers I did for this. Well, okay, that second one I paid $25 to have made for me. The designer was just starting out at the time.  There are others in between that one and the third one–which is the current cover. Maybe I’ll do a little slide show showing the evolution of the cover from the red one through to what I finally decide on.  And as I look at them all together, I think I might opt for a brighter yellow similar to the second cover. I’ve since been told by cover designers not to distort the lettering as we did in the first two, so I suppose I’ll listen to them! Not that I really want to, you understand, but they know best! I’ll post again with what I come up with next . . . Stay tuned!

Dalton's Last Stand cover; Yellow Cat batting an air hockey puck

 

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