Success At Last!

Yippee! I got the Kindle Creator Beta Kindle Direct Publishing to convert the eBook Chanceversion I went over with ProWriting Aid ( https://prowritingaid.com)  and formatted with The Book Designer interior template and cover template and got the book accepted on Kindle!

For eBooks to everybody except Amazon, I’m going with Pronoun ( https://pronoun.com/). I used Jutoh ( http://www.jutoh.com/index.htm) to convert my interior files to EPUB and do the verification check…it took me a while to get it adjusted right and fix the errors (EPUB doesn’t like ANY dashes). And cover files, boy have I been ’round and ’round with the cover files being high enough DPI, low enough kbytes, good enough resolution on all elements and even the proper physical dimensions.

Speaking of cover mayhem, I got Ingram Spark (ingramspark.com) to accept my cover changes and VIOLA! VIOLET! VOILA! Sentimental me, I put the eBooks on instant sale but the print version doesn’t go live until my birthday on July 9th.

I have learned just about enough to bust open in the last few months – good thing I have a good sewing machine. Now that I’ve bought and downloaded and learned and studied more, I should be able to get the next volumes of the  series on the billboard much more efficiently. BTW I think each subsequent book is brighter than the sparkling gem that went before it.

What could go wrong now? I already bought a boatload of ISBNs from Bowker  (http://www.myidentifiers.com) and have the Library of Congress as a favorite. I have the templates for formatting and the lifelong subscription to the editing program.  Oh crap, I didn’t knock on wood….

 

Your EPCN application for a Library of Congress control number for

Title: “The might of defiance”

ISBN:  “1945937009”

was successfully transmitted to the Library of Congress.

 

 

 

Cats with Clothespins

t'Hoot Book ListLest you think my writing muse escaped to the hinterland, I assure you folks I have been diligently working on the word. The stories that have been eating up my time are the ones I trying to publish! I’ve written a series of ten books about space and an exile planet and aliens and  about how a furtive refugee becomes a real leader. All hinges on the first one getting all the way through the process.

This time I’m attempting to run my own publishing imprint, with my own cover design and everything. You see with my last book, I farmed out nearly everything. The covers for those books are beyond sorry. Those first books were not a waste of thousands of bucks (not totally anyway) because I learned much in many areas. I thought I was doing pretty well this time.

These books are much tighter and better edited than the last ones. Instead of 500 brick-weight pages, these are about 250 pages each, more straightforward. I designed several covers and settled on one for the series that I think is striking. I bought interior format and cover templates ; that’s my words and design on their layouts. I bought my own ISBNs.Might of Defiance cover

You cannot snap your fingers and make an EPUB or MOBI file for an eBook. It took time to research programs, get one, find out it wouldn’t do what I needed, get another one, learn it, go to Amazon and get the book for it, yippee I have an EPUB and MOBI file! Oh the cover template is a Word file… it took a while to figure out how to turn that into a jpg.

Somehow using high resolution pictures and a bona fide professional template I still got the low-res gavel ponding when I submitted my print cover to the printer/distributer. I spent some more time on the cover and resubmitted it. I set off the ‘it’s too big’ siren. They said use OUR template. I downloaded it. It’s a PDF and I can’t do anything magic with a PDF unless I spend more cash every month as it’s a stupid subscription. That’s like a cow with the milking machine always hooked up and sucking. Poor cow – MOO.

I fixed the spine width and resubmitted the cover; the cover should be perfectly sized now. Three days later, SIRENS. “Your file is 12×15 and it should be 6×9!” Please account for the cover being on a 12 x 15 white page. I verified I signed up for print and the standard 6 x 9 with the typical front and back. I asked via customer service what the hay? A week later, no response except for another copy of the PDF template I cannot use.

Frustrated, I left that for a weekend and started putting the next volume into the Barto short legstemplate. It took all weekend. Using a template does not mean the works will trot into place into the correct spot all on their own like obedient little doggies. It’s more like cats with pinchy clothespins on their tails. Put you hand in there and see feel what you get.

Enough! I just wished to explain my bloggish absence! Perhaps next week I’ll have a spiffy new book to wave around with a cheesy grin. I did go to Wisconsin last month and came back with a couple pounds of white and orange parcels of wonder.  I have the cheese, will I have the published books?

The Severing

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Might of Defiance. The Elise t’Hoot series (including this volume) will come out in the New Year, but you can get a sneak peak now.Enjoy!

As much as Marta wanted to explore Kuiper 3, her sponsor obligated her to supervise each load as robots hoisted and carried them over to the Franklin’s shuttle; both Cartier and Bloom were frightened stiff of the robots mishandling their precious equipment. To her initial dismay, there were no people, only the mechanical-looking robots. She quickly discovered the vital import of tagging each pallet completely and legibly, learning that the extra lines on the tags designated what storeroom or cabin it went to and details like ‘place on top’ and ‘store at -20 C’. She wanted to ride a load over to scope out Dr. Cartier’s storage area to better understand what kind of directions they needed and how much room she had to work with, but found it forbidden.

She annotated and verified the tags on the remaining equipment and went back to the waiting room where Dr. Cartier glared at her. She shrugged and hop-sailed carefully over in the very light grav, using the handholds as taught and taking care of her ankles and wrists.

Cartier wagged a finger at her, “You have missed both the crew transports! They’ve gone on ahead without looking back.”

“Alain, don’t chide the child, she only did the shepherd bit you assigned her,” Naomi reminded him, neglecting to note her own part in it. “Marta, dear, I do wish you had come back in time; they did send that second transport back but it timed out and scuttled away. This looks ominous.”

Marta looked at the downcast faces; even Thao looked more glum than usual. “I’ll go with you guys, there has to be enough room, right?”

They all turned at a noise on the left and boarded a tram that took them to a small auditorium or theatre with just enough stools arrayed in a semicircle around the screen. Each victim took a seat with care in the scant gravity, lifting his or her magnetic shoes gently with every step. “Hon, that’s not the point,” she replied, sniffling. “This dog and pony show is for us outcasts.”

Cartier gruffly told her, “Don’t get snot in the air!” He sniffled, red-eyed, chose a stool and slumped back slack into his depressed reverie.

Barto slumped onto a stool, lost in another mental place and didn’t seem to notice her presence, his hair uncharacteristically ruffled, mumbling what she thought might be a catechism; his fingers seemed to be counting invisible beads and his head bobbed with the rhythm of it.

Thao motioned her over and quietly murmured something about severance. Then he also drifted into his thoughts. She sat carefully on the stool between him and Barto and pulled the strap across her lap to hold herself down as the others had. At the click of the last strap buckle, all of the stools shot up a couple meters or more, getting everyone’s attention, ratcheting up the anxiety.

The door she’d entered through closed and the lights went out, leaving no reference point except the cold, high, hard stool she clutched. Marta’s heart thumped hard and unevenly; picking up the mood. Blinking to accustom her eyes to the darkness, she yearned to keen like an unanchored soul, a wretch cast aground on a treacherous reef, shivering; she missed the ministering touch of the absent Cedric. She uttered no sound, no moan nor whimper nor shriek. The word ‘severance’ richocheted around her skull.

Abruptly, the giant screen on the wall across from the stools lit up with a bald man magnified a hundred times. He scowled, pale as a ghost with inky black eyes and a grim red scar-like mouth, a Patriot Official according to the seal on the podium. He stared malevolently into each person’s eyes for a total of several minutes, wresting each of the exile’s awareness, and Marta’s.

He suddenly thundered, “Attention!” Before the reverberations subsided, he blared, “Two doors will appear and open before you.”

The voice suffused the room, inundating the matte black space, the bright light from the screen failing to illuminate the coal sack blackness around them. They had no visual clues to hang onto, no visual at all except the executioner himself.

“If you choose this door (the one on the left glowed for a second), your case will be reviewed.”

All eyes riveted to that door as the only alternative to the screen.

He went on relentlessly, “Choose this door only if there is a creditable reason for your plea. The penalty for error is death by expulsion.”

He let the thought of a body cast into space sink in.

“If you accept your lawful and just exile from Earth and the Solar System that contains it, choose this door (the right door glowed).

You have one minute to decide and act if you choose the review.”

One minute ticked away and Marta, dazed, tried to understand what he said and what it meant; at enough volume, words are difficult to distinguish. The left door opened to an inviting pale light.

“I’m not convicted of anything!” She quickly decided to use that left door and let them know she was in the wrong place. She released the restraining strap and leaned forward, forgetting her height. She drifted quickly toward the terrible screen. Barto grabbed her ankle. He arrested her momentum and held her there like a balloon until the door on the left closed.

He pulled her leg gently to get her moving toward the stool and held her down as the lights came up with a dull red glow and the stools dropped precipitously back to the floor. He stood holding her hand on his right and Naomi’s on his left. Naomi’s far hand grasped Alain’s. They all stood in grim anticipation and she had fallen in with them. So be it. Marta reached around and took Thao’s hand; he gripped it hard.

The guillotine-like, unforgiving voice resumed. “You have pleaded guilty to your crimes and acknowledged just punishment. Once through this door (it opened to blackness, a wan yellow frame defining it) you will have no further contact with any person on the face of the Earth, no breath of Earth’s breezes, no taste of her waters and shall not partake of her beauty or bounty except at the mercy of the countrymen you have despised.

“You shall not communicate in any way to the birthplace of mankind, nor will any bit of data reach you forever more except by mercy. You are cast away from the cradle of humanity and land of your forbearers. You shall never return.” He hit his podium with a gavel that banged like a steel drum dropped ten meters to a concrete floor, striking it three times, echoes overlapping. He continued to flare at them until the aural effects dissipated, then said in deep bone-chilling chords, “You shall never go home.”

A great sob broke out when the screen blipped out, from the way he jerked, Marta knew it was Barto. A ruddy near-darkness replaced the utter blackness, punctuated by a sallow glow of the right-hand doorframe.

Naomi yelled, “What a steamin’ pile of horseshit! This melodrama has not changed ONE SINGLE THING!” She made a mucous-sucking snort that started deep in her throat and fought its way up noisily. She spat the accumulated gobbet toward the screen and the gushy splat of it shook the mood, pulling them back from the ugly echoes. No one complained about contaminating the atmosphere.

Thao led the way to the horrid door. Angrily, Naomi pulled the listless and pushed Barto. Marta fell into step. Soon they all filed through the dark doorway. When Alain cleared the door, it clanged shut making everyone duck and cringe. Then pale yellow lights along the floor showed the passageway that led to the Franklin. They shuffled apart in silence.

A Cabin-ette?

Instead of cleaning up the cabin as I planned to do and really intended to do, I have been writing more Otto Socks blueOtto and Socks stories. It’s slow going, especially when I deviate from the outline for the series. How can I not let the characters do what they want? I can’t force them, bend them to my will. Now I have to see if I can merge then latest one back into the outlined sequence.

With that frustration, I went out to enjoy the sunshine. I looked up the ridge behind the house and the image of a tiny cabin part way up popped into my head. I pictured the wide steps leading up to it. How would I get electricity up there? With juice, I could move my audio recording up there and Ma’s radio would never interfere again! I am on the edge of phone reception that far up (not at the cabin!) and could do even better with a 4G antenna for Download 090915 054WiFi! Then I could have internet, which I need to upload books to Abe Books. Did I mention I have a storefront there? ‘Old Lady Who?’ is the name, and is something I can do with a few hundred of my excess books. It would be great for uploading manuscripts, voiceover recordings, looking up references and tutorials!Science Books

Glancing back at the cabin, I noted the front gutter and the facing board it is hooked to are falling off. I am plagued by big fat boring bees. The well needs a protective shed, and has needed it for a couple decades. I looked back up the hill and the mini-cabin, the steps and the antenna had vanished. The concrete barrier to keep the ridge from encroaching on the back porch collapsed. I can’t turn on the front porch light because it trips the freezer circuit. The garage doors don’t work without brute force.

I wonder how much it would cost to build that little cabin-ette studio marvel?

 

Dynamite That Word Dam!

I could stand it no more! The quiet, patient laptop won me over Saturday. I made a pot of inky coffee and made a batch of oatmeal cookies so I could be up there in Sci-Fi land for the long haul. The cookies were made with very expired flour, expirOtto Socks anded oats, expired eggs, elderly, rock-hard sugar and crystallized sorghum in lieu of the brown sugar I didn’t have. They turned out fine and went upstairs with me to the writing closet. That was after I’d guzzled a cup and a half of the black brain-cleaner. With the coffee cup topped off, I fired up the computer and opened “Otto and Socks – Mama’s Big Fat Clue” and read through what I already had.

Then I stared at the screen. The term ‘writer’s block’ wafted through my head…NO! I am stronger willed than that and shall never succumb to a word-dam. I gulped some more java and imagined it etching big gaping holes in the word-dam, eroding it until it washed completely away.

I had the loose draft and had used it as an outline before. This time, I saw the great insufficiency of the draft; it didn’t account for the actual characters! Pfft! Write, write, slurp, write, gnaw, hours went by. I only wrote six pages in that multi-hour span, but they were so satisfying. That included two rounds of editing, and changing the title to “Otto and Socks – Mama’s Fat Packet of Clues”. Of course, that could change again, who knows.

I have over a dozen stories drafted that follow that story arc with the same main characters. I naturally would prefer to compile them into a single, cohesive novel. Yet the desire to try something different, to accept the Cats at My Deskchallenge of writing succinct stories instead of sprawling sagas, is very appealing to me. The main driver isn’t wanting to try the art form, per se, it is more related to how I present what I wrote to the world. Short stories will be much easier to record. They’d be short enough to post. Maybe. Dunno, they may morph into a contiguous book after all. My wild ideas that seem so cool and innovative at the cabin pale a bit by the time they reach the outer planets.

An example is the idea to take my five published Elise t’Hoot novels (and the last one not published yet) and split them Tenembrasinto at least two books each. A 400 page book is $15, and nobody wants to pay $15 for a paperback by an unknown author. I even thought up new titles and World of Our Ownimagined new covers. Download 090915 078I only went for the 400 page thing originally because I wanted to hook up with Baen Books and that was their requirement. Then picture a big BOXED SET!

Distant Trees

After reality sank in, I wanted the rest to match. Hmmm, most have a good division point, but they would need a bit of rewrite to have then each stand alone. NeighborsSince they’re self-published, I can do what I want with them. I think they would be much more accessible and easier to work with. At least I thought all that was fabulous this weekend. Now I’m very hesitant to mess with projects I completed when I have so many in queue, wanting me to hurry it up.

A Reader from Sentience to Senility

Mouse readingFrom the time I was a wee tot, I have loved BOOKS. Sure, at first I actually ate them, leaving slobbery gnawed scallops in the covers of my Little Golden Books. When I started READING them, I was so sad I’d eaten Mama Cat’s head (The Three little Kittens). You know, the three little kittens lost their mittens and they began to cry, “Oh Mother dear, we sadly fear….” Yup, I ate Mama’s head so she couldn’t hear them cry.

The funnies in the Courier-Journal newspaper were great to learn on because they were illustrated. Peanuts was good because Schultz used a good variety of words. Andy was a bald kid who never spoke – phooey! Beetle Baily was okay, and it was funny all the ways the Sarge would yell at Beetle. I remember I would cheat and sneak at look at the puzzle answers, then pretend I’d solved it myself. When I could really solve it myself, it was too elementary and I found harder puzzles.Science Books

Ma had a small plant stand with a bookshelf underneath. The only books I remember being there at this moment were Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell) and The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck). Other kids were watching Spot Run, Run Spot Run while I was reading about Scarlett making a dress from her curtains. Gosh, I thought that was neat. Not our curtains, though, they were from the Dollar Store. Dad was on a minesweeper in the Korean War, so I thought the Chinese were bad because of some of the things I’d heard about the war. Ms. Buck showed me another side of China, something much more human than a gun.

Such a marvel is a Bookmobile! Ma and I walked to the grocery every week and I convinced her to visit the Bookmobile that parked in the broad parking lot between W. T. Grants and Woolco Department Store. I got books on her card until the driver finally said I could get my very own. Victory! The first book I ever checked out using my own card was The Jargoon Pard by Andre Norton. Wow! I got the limit every week and read them all.

Ship BooksI still have the first set of The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit (J. R. R. Tolkien) I got, paperbacks. Then I got a book club set in hardback. That edition has what I believe is a typo, where Gollum has a griping hand. Come on, it has to be a gripping hand! About ten years ago I got a Folio Socity set; posh, precious, read multiple times.  I also have the calendars, Leaf By Niggle, the elven lore books, the commentaries, all I could find. Then everything by C. S. Lewis: All seven Narnia stories in boxed paperback , in hardback and in Spanish, plus Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength, The Screwtape Letters…get an author I like and I must acquire them all! Very frustrating about Dune. I had all of the original books by Frank Herbert. Then his son and another guy started making more. And more. And more? The idea of it being a franchise mill wars with my desire to have ‘the whole set’.

I have two sets of Encyclopedia Britannicas, one is from a guy’s trunk 30 years ago, paid him $200 (they were recent then). I have about 50 books on sewing and textile crafts. I have all David Brin , Arthur C. Clarke, Greg Benford and Ben Bova ever wrote as well as all of Richard Adams, Anne McCaffery and Ursula K. LeGuin. I have four feet of shelf space for Physics, six for Navy, andScience Books another eight feet for repair-fix it-construct it-design it books. There are about 200 cookbooks in the kitchen, all cooking methods and many ethnicities. That doesn’t count the 30 or so on growing and using fruit.

All together, that makes about 5000 total now on all subjects in all genres and I still devour books.

 

 

A Poem by Elise t’Hoot from Hate All Around

Tug of the Leash

 

I never knew the loneliest word was home

Home

That’s where you are and where I feel I’ll never be again

What do you think and do you want this wandering wreck to come home?

Home?

I go to bed and miss your touch

Do you miss me all that much?

I feel undressed without your kiss,

I’m wrapped in plastic, apart from what’s true

I want to go home,

to home and you

I never knew the loneliest word was home

Home

Like a dog tied out to post stuck in the yard, straining at the end of her chain

aching to chase the rabbits, to smell the smells,

the unbending limit of her well-defined circle puts her under a spell

Escape, run free, it fills her head

But what about that tree, where the good man came to rattle the food bowl,

fill the water, to check the collar?

He’d rub my ears with such strong hands, with such suave words

Was that home?

I never knew there was a word so lonely as home

How can I claim I’ll change my ways if you let me back to stay

to raise the kids, to make the cakes and search the sky until my poor heart breaks

Darling, does that mean I can’t come home?

I’m a trillion miles from you

How empty does it echo, that warm and sweet idea,

of toys underfoot and books on the shelves

of the shelter and the permanence of home?

Mate or master what does it matter?

I cry for you

and Home

Bark 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Have A Few Books

Ship BooksBread cookbooksI cannot seem to take a picture aound the cabin that does not include BOOKS. I’ve been obsessed with 071415 022books since I chewed up my Little Golden Books so long ago. I take a shot of a dress I made and there are a few hundred fiction books to keep it in style.

Cookbooks? How could I not have more cookbooks than I could ever consult?

BWBooks Order 122915
Buy Books By the Box

 

If you ever need a reference on Mesoamerical cultures, I got ’em.

Indian Books

 

Are we travelling somewhere? I cannot plan a trip without getting a country Insight Guide and  a Lonely Planet Guide, and maybe some city or feature specific ones too.

 

Travel Books 2 Travel books 1

Language books with scrabbleYou’d want to know the languages there, wouldn’t you?

 

And how about some cultural and geographic background? Or some fiction based on whatever locale? Or even something on the

Science Booksexploits of that country’s most famed paleontologists or physicists?Dinosaur

 

Lab Dog by Keeping Watch

3 sheep on books

 

 

 

 

Gargoyle Winged
My Library Guardian
Laptop with Ale
As if there aren’t enough, I must MAKE MORE BOOKS!

 

 

 

 

The Netherlands, Happy Memories

We have lots of Dutch genes in our family and I always wanted to go to Holland. My Sci-Fi series stars Elise t’Hoot, a Dutch girl escaping from calamity that destroyed her family, then winds up with a relative in rural Kentucky. Frustrated with college problems, she signs onto a military colony ship…headed to check on colony planets. Memories of her Dutch home sustain her through many tribulations and razor-close calls. So you see, I’ve had the Netherlands on my mind for quite a while.

Elise’s Mother was a renowned horticulturist:

Holland Ke canal garden Holland Ke Keukenhof ticket Holland Ke parrot tulips on water Holland Ke tulip pot wall

Holland 406 Holland 419

Elise’s Father worked at the huge sea gates that protected lowland Holland from the wrath of the stormy ocean:

Holland Nelltje JansHolland NJ sea wall Holland NJ great sea wall    Holland NJ seawall detail

We had a wonderful trip, three glorious weeks! One cannot go there without visiting the iconic windmills…they don’t figure in my stories but how can I show Dutch photos without them?

Holland 107 Holland 110 Holland 112 Holland 117

Resolution Update

For anyone curious about the outcome of my big places to record my reading a story as a test run last weekend, I did set all up and give it a try. I have so much clutter in my little home office that I don’t Feb Cabin audio setup lighthave the optimum noise abatement, unless stacks of old college papers and piles of paper detritus collected over the years are acoustic help. That makes me perch my laptop and microphone on the edge of the spacious but largely inaccessible desk. Lucky for me, the cabin in the woods has no traffic noise, no noisy neighbors, no sirens.

All I have to beware is Ma with her radio. I have to wait for her to go out on the porch or fall asleep so I can have the noise turned off. Last weekend she wasn’t feeling well, so she slept lots (no, I was not happy she was sick!). Now that’s she’s feeling better and this weekend will be warm and sunny, I can probably get more recording practice in. I shall make her lounging on the porch as comfortable as possible!

I must not forget Barky, Feb Cabin mutated barkyeither. Mostly she barks at night but if a strange person or animal gets near it sets her off. Once she gets started, Fudge joins in. If it’s a distant hound, they’ll bay back and forth and give me the urge to take a coffee break. I do not holler at my watchdogs for barking!

Okay, what happened: I got the Sony  Sound Forge program registered and working and did the tutorials that don’t require internet as the cabin is off-line. I plugged in my Blue-brand Snowball microphone. I recorded reading the first half of Otto and Socks in Outpost 1 and had some inevitable mistakes. I was pleasantly surprised her hear my reading sounded like a real narrator, to me at least.

That’s where I got in trouble. I thought I could make a new file, snip the correction and paste it in the original. Not so easy. I finally got so tired of trying to edit the first file, I started over. The second try went better, and when I made a goof I stopped, backed up Outpost Snipand started from that point. That seemed to come out better. I was marginally encouraged, so I went on to read part 2. The entire sound file is just over an hour. It is in a ‘wav’ file and I didn’t know what to do with it. Obviously I needed more education in production, so I accessed the ACX Audiobook site help from my work computer (over lunch, of course); they have lots of info on making a sound file good enough to be an audiobook. This weekend I’m going to apply some of what I learned there and see how that turns out.

One thing I discovered when I tried to listen to my file is that the volume is way too low, and that is covered in the ACX Audio Scientist files. Thus, no samples this week, no voting. I have purchased a Feb Cabin audio setup darkgood pair of headphones and now know how to test for acceptable background noise. One really annoying thing was having to use the on-screen audio controls at the same time I had to scroll through the text of my story…cumbersome and the source of most of my needed corrections. I have printed out my stories now, so that is solved. I have hope! Wish me luck!