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!


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




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!













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







Updates on my projects

Can you believe it’s July already? I was so sure I’d have all these thing finished by now. Buuuut, they ain’t.

The Babies & Toddlers & Other Little Ones vid-book is in the final draft mode. The two biggest things hanging that up is syncing the audio with the images. I’m not sure I like where each music segment ends and the next begins. But maybe I’m just too much of a perfectionist. So far, the video runs about sixteen and a half minutes. Features images of my kids, my grandkids, and the kids of friends and relatives. And me . . .  I’ve learned a lot about  making videos with PowerPoint, and am having a lot of fun doing it. Which is the main reason nothing else is getting done. It’s just so much fun! I want to work on book trailers next.

The other thing is that I’m debating changing the title of Dalton’s Last Stand. I’m thinking it needs to bring Malley to the fore so people get it better. But, I’m having trouble coming up with something I like. So far I’ve gotten The Kingsley Twins and Snowshoe Mal and the Dalton Challenge. The Kingsley Twins Snowshoe Mal and Dalton’s Last Stand. Hmmm . . . Snowshoe Mal Meets the Dalton Challenge.

I’ll post the covers here. If you feel like voting on one or have a suggestion feel free to email or leave a comment. I’d ask my family for feedback, but since I’ll mostly get, “I don’t know . . . what do you think?” not much of a point to it.

Because of the title issue, this also puts the print version on hold. I would really like a different cat image but so far I haven’t found what I wanted, and finding an illustrator, well, that’s going to put the book further back. Partly for the expense, and partly for the time. Course, that part is just me being impatient. So, we’ll see. First, I have to settle the title issue.

Marooned is slowly getting edited. I had hoped to have that one done as well. If only I were twins . . . or triplets!! If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I did change the title on this one from The Scoville Tragedies to Devynn’s Dilemma. And I’ve started to brainstorm the next story in the series.  No working title as yet.

Then, of course, there’s my time travel novel . . . Should I just go with the original story, which would take less time to finish, or run with the expanded version, which adds a lot more action? Decisions, decisions, decisions . . .!’

Probably will run with the expanded version.

Well, I hope you’re all having a great weekend and a wonderful summer!



New Video Book Project

Thought I’d hop in here quick to say, I’ve a bunch of irons in the fire, and so many projects waiting. Now that I’ve gotten into making videos with PowerPoint, I’m spending a good deal of time with it–addicting fun! I’ve learned more of the features of the program, which makes me wish I had experimented more with my first video. But, hey, this one will be great!

It’s a video story book, of about 50 frames or so. Four frames are intro and end matter. You know, where I thank you for watching the video, ask you to visit my site and go check out my ebook, Dalton’s Last Stand, at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Kobo Plus. And then I tell you my print edition is coming out some time this summer or early fall. The story is called Babies and Toddlers, lasts about 22ish minutes. It’ll be up on YouTube in a day or two. I’m still playing with timing and pictures . . . text.

I hope it goes viral! Big dreams, big dreams!

I’ll be working on some book trailers after this. But I plan to do a few of this picture book videos for the younger readers. Maybe I’ll do A Purrfect Napping Spot as one . . . Hmmmmm!

Stay tuned!

Sharing a video on writing descriptively . . .

Here’s a video I recently viewed on YouTube on writing your stories. I liked it, but there are a few who didn’t appreciate it. I see their point, and no doubt, Mark Twain would have agreed. Okay, I’m not saying I agree with the author of the video about the word usage, but again, I see her point. My advice is, just don’t overdo it. Simple, clear and to the point is fine, but the occasional use of more “flowery” words is okay too. Just make sure they make sense, and don’t make your reader flop out of the story, crying out loud, “Whaaaaaat??? Are you kidding me here???

Watch the video and see how you feel about it.

While you’re here, check out the Reading Room and my video! Read a chapter of Dalton’s Last Stand! Better yet, buy the book and get the whole story!