Cover Reveal – Snippets of Suspense Anthology, #1 #RSSOS #Suspense

Launching Next Week!!!

Snippets of Suspense LRG

Shaken and Stirred…

Spine-tingling suspense with a steamy side of romance, written by ten award winning authors. The Sisters of Suspense Anthology, #1 is a collection of snippets from their favorite Romantic Suspense stories. Chilling and thrilling. It’s guaranteed to spark your interest, stir your senses, set your imagination on overdrive and introduce you to new authors you’re going to love.

Snippets are written by: Veronica Forand, Melissa Keir, Jo-Ann Carson, Jacquie Biggar, Marian Lanouette, Jacqui Nelson, Pat Amsden, Marsha R. West, Kathryn Jane and McKenna Sinclair

Award Winning Suspense

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been collecting snippets (i.e., the beginning chapters of novels) from my Sisters, and formatting them. If all goes well <fingers crossed> the anthology will be available next week. I’ll let you know as soon as it goes “free.”


My Ancient Danger Proof has Arrived

image (2)
April 21, 2015, My Proof Copy of Ancient Danger arrived

Today I received the Proof of Ancient Danger from Amazon.

I don’t think anything is more exciting than holding the first print copy of your book in your hands. There’s really no words to describe the feeling. It reminds me of the first moments holding my newborns. Pure joy.

Now I’m checking each page for errors. Of course there are some… many. So far this is what I’ve found:

  1. I got the page numbers on the wrong side on even pages,
  2. I have the words wrong on the header of the odd pages and,
  3. for some reason two of my chapter’s headings sank to the nether regions of the bottom third of the page.

And, of course, in fixing these errors on my master copy I have made more errors. But it’s fun. It’s lots of fun.

I’ll spend the rest of today looking for more errors. Who knows what I’ll find.

Formatting a book for print on demand through Create Space is a formidable process, it is also deeply rewarding.

I had to share.

What’s your favorite part of creating a book? Or, if you haven’t published yet, what do you imagine it will be?


My 10 Steps to Indie Publishing


1. Write the best story you can.

Take a deep breath. Publishing your own work requires a leap of faith. Do it anyways.

You’ll find there are many writers out there willing to help you along.

2. While you’re writing your story create, or enhance, your Social Media Platform (i.e., create a website that links your blog, public email, Facebook Page, Pinterest, Google plus…you get the idea). Interact with people. Grow a community.

3. Edit. Edit. Edit. There are basically three editing stages: content editing, copy editing and proofreading. You can pay others to do any, or all of these stages. Many writers hire different editors for each stage. I send my work to a copy editor (All-Read-E), because that’s what I need most, a line edit by a person who understands The Chicago Style Manual better than me.

4. Create a cover. Make your own or hire someone to do it. There are many designers out their. I chose to crowdsource my first cover and came up with a design I love (by Nina French). You can read more about that here.

5. Create an E-Book. To format for ebook platforms I use Jutoh software. You can see my post explaining how to do it here.

6. Create a Print Book. I use Word to format for Amazon Create Space. My first experience was a bit like putting my head through an old-fashioned washing machine ringer. I think it’s worth doing at least once, so you understand the process, and so you have complete control over your product. You can read about my experience here.

7. Upload formatted files and check the proofs. There’s nothing more exciting than getting your print copy delivered to you. My delivery man couldn’t believe how happy I was to see him. His eyes widened and he took a step back. I think he was worried I was going to kiss him.

8. Try to build a sense of anticipation. Set your books up for pre-order and start a Goodreads Giveaway (mine starts on Tuesday).

9. Consider promotion opportunities that fit for you. For example, I’m working with Book Partners in Crime Promotions on a blog/review tour.

Take another deep breath.

10. Launch.

I wish you every success with your artisan book, a unique creation from you.


Jo-Ann’s Law

Jo-Ann’s Law


You know Murphy’s Law:  “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Which relates to…

The Law of Entropy: Systems move towards disorganization, chaos… randomness. Not a pretty sight.

Let me tell you about Jo-Ann’s law. It’s a caveat to the others:

“The nastiest obstacles lurk in the shadow of the finish line.”

You know the feeling. You’re almost there. Your goal is in sight. You can see the end, your book in your hand. You can hear the end, the wine cork popping. You can smell the end, dark chocolate on fresh strawberries. Your dreams become dreamier, because you think you are getting closer.

And then there’s a glitch. You fix it and there’s another… Then another… That’s how my week’s been.

I’ve been playing Wackamo with formatting a file for Create Space. So close.  So close… Yet so far.

After I complained loudly to my husband, PJ,  he told me that it’s always like that with programming, which he has done for years. So I realized I’m not alone and decided to make a Law of my experience.

I repeat: “The nastiest obstacles lurk in the shadow of the finish line.” I think it’s a bit wordy, but I’ll work on that.

How about you. Do you have any favorite laws? Or have you made any new ones?

Newsletter Reminder

If you’re interested in receiving my newsletter click here to sign up.


The Mata Hari Series launches April 1st!!!

covert14Book #1 – Covert Danger – Amazon pre-order linkborn of magic cover small2

Short Story #2 – Born of Magic – Amazon pre-order linkancient danger small1

Book #3 – Ancient Danger – Amazon pre-order link

great value at only $2.99 USD

34 days and counting



Indie Rambles #16 – DIY Formatting for Amazon Print Books (Create Space)

Using Word to format for Create Space

Ever had an experience that was excruciatingly difficult, but in the end you enjoyed it?

A bit like giving birth to quadruplets.

But I did it! It took about ten hours, which were spread over several days. With the help of India Drummond’s You Tube clip below, I used Word to create a PDF, to upload my story to Amazon Create Space. Phew. I will have a print copy!!!

The basic instructions aren’t hard, but I needed to pay a lot of attention to details (which isn’t a strength of mine) or I’d make mistakes that I later had to go back and fix. The next ms should be a lot easier <fingers crossed>.

Basically there are 4 Steps. Here is what I did:

1. Page Layout

  • created a file I called “Covert Danger formatted for CS”
  • deleted headers
  • changed page size to 5 by 8 inches
  • went to Page Setup – selected more sizes – entered 5 in wide 8 in high
  • set new margins – custom size (multiple pages, mirror image, top .5 in, Bottom .5 in, Inside .75 in. Outside .5 in. , but I had to change the last two numbers, no gutter)

2. Formatting Text

  • used Styles (top of the Home page in your word doc)  to format text
  • Heading 1 for Chapter Names (which I later changed to black ink and a different font)
  • AaBb – I called Manuscript and chose the font for my text
  • highlighted and reformatted the first few words in each chapter for effect
  • made sure all scene breaks symbols, ***, were centered
  • Sunk the beginning of chapters to part way down the page, by going to style – modify 2 in (or 144 pt) before and .5in (or 36 pt) after (Note: I had a lot of difficulty with this stage because my page breaks weren’t all, shall we say perfect, and I had to go back and make sure a proper break had been made)
  • reformatted special before and after pages (e.g., copyright) to make them look the way I wanted them to

3. Adding Images

  • I didn’t

4. Inserting Page Numbers

  • made a header, inserted page, made odd and even different, changed the font

The fun part – Being able to make it look the way I wanted it to, a true artisan product.

The difficult part – hours of clicking mouse work.

To see these steps in detail, watch India Drummond’s You Tube video below:

I’ll be setting up my print book for pre-order as soon as the cover is done.

I hope these notes help. Enjoy your Monday.


Indie Rambles #15 – DIY Formatting Stories for Amazon ebooks

When it came time to format my stories for ebooks I asked around for advice. Initially I intended to pay someone else to format my work, but my coffers are close to empty and I have a passionate desire to have as much control over my “artisan product” as possible.

My wonderful friends gave me lots of suggestions. I looked into each and decided on Jutoh.

 Using Jutoh to Format for Kindle

Jutoh is a user friendly, inexpensive piece of software that allows you to take a Word document and compile it into ebook and mobi formats.

I used it to create .mobi files for my three books. .Mobi is the Amazon Kindle format. Here is what I did:

Step 1 – Getting Ready

1. I formatted my Word manuscript (i.e., 1. removed headers, 2. used “headings 1” for the title of each chapter and each section that I wanted to have a separate page for e.g., copyright page, acknowledgement page etc. This formatting gives you a page break.)

2. I had my “blurb” ready. (I used my back blurb)

3. I had my Cover Art jpeg ready.

Step 2 – Opening my New Project in Jutoh

  • open Jutoh, open “new project”
  • used Romantic Suspense as the subject
  • uploaded blurb
  • used the standard style sheet
  • used split by style
  • uploaded cover
  • uploaded my story

To create the project I hit “compile.”

Step 3- Checking my Project in Jutoh

  • scanned chapter by chapter to make sure the formatting looked right
  • removed titles I didn’t like the look of

Step 4 – Checking my Project in Kindle

  • I exported the project and the Kindle app on my PC opened automatically
  • My book had arrived! I scrolled through and made notes of things I wanted changed. For example I had made the font on the title page too large, so the title page actually took 2 pages on Kindle. I went back and made changes.

I learned all of this from a You Tube by India Drummond  (below). She takes you through each step and explains it in depth.

The process took me less than an hour in total and the cost was $39.00 USD.

My next post will be about formatting for Amazon print books (Create Space). A longer process, but doable.

Newsletter Reminder

If you’re interested in receiving my newsletter click here to sign up.


The Mata Hari Series launches April 1st!!!

covert14Book #1 – Covert Danger – Amazon pre-order linkborn of magic cover small2

Short Story #2 – Born of Magic – Amazon pre-order linkancient danger small1

Book #3 – Ancient Danger – Amazon pre-order link

great value at only $2.99 USD

41 days and counting


Cover Reveal – Ancient Danger

ancient danger big

Ancient Danger – Back Blurb:

A single woman – A complicated life 

International, super-model Sadie Stewart meets her Dutch lover, Sebastian Wilde, in Venice to celebrate their six month anniversary. But having lived a double life as a CIA operative for ten years, her life is never simple.

During a costume ball in an ancient Venetian palace, an assassin tries to kill her. As a result Sebastian gets ridiculously, over-protective, which drives her crazy. Her old boss offers to help her, but wants something in return.

Bakari al-Sharif, an arms-dealer with an insatiable thirst for power, is planning to steal King Tutankhamen’s scarab from Highclere castle near London. Sadie is the only person who has ever gotten close to al-Sharif and lived. The CIA wants her to stop him.

Or at least that’s what they say. When it comes to the world of espionage, the true motivation of the players is never clear.

Can Sadie return to the life of a spook and maintain a relationship with Sebastian? Can she nail the arms-dealer? And why did the masked man try to kill her?

Life is complicated for Sadie Stewart.


 a cross between Covert Danger and Indiana Jones

Smart, Sexy Suspense

by Jo-Ann Carson


I love the cover. Nina French hit it out of the ball park again! I’ll have the book up for pre-order this week. What do you think?


Newsletter Reminder

If you’re interested in receiving my newsletter click here to sign up.


The Mata Hari Series launches April 1st!!!

covert14Book #1 – Covert Danger – Amazon pre-order linkborn of magic cover small2

Short Story #2 – Born of Magic – Amazon pre-order link

Book #3 – Ancient Danger – Amazon pre-order link

great value at only $2.99 USD

41 days and counting