FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: A Thousand Years

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Now on Tuesdays…at least for the foreseeable future…welcome to Flash Fiction Tuesday. In case you don’t know what flash fiction is, it is an extremely short story (sometimes created in 100 words or less) with a beginning, middle, and an ending.

But in my case, I write flash fiction with an open ending. I allow my readers to draw their own conclusion as to what happens. This week there is smoke rolling off Dragon’s Breath Island…

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A thousand years. That’s how long Logan told her their love would last. For as long as the old tree stood just inside the castle gate. But he never warned her about the price to be paid for the wishing of it. Never warned her about the undeniable thirst driving her to search the night like a wild animal.

She should have known there was something unnatural about Logan when she first met him all those centuries ago. Twirling ball gowns and elegant gentlemen in dapper suits moved across the dance hall floor, but there was something special about him. Something mystical in the way his spirit called to her until she felt herself crossing the room to be by his side.

“You are not like the others,” she could hear him whisper in her ear. “I have waited a long time for you to come to me and now we will be together for a thousand years.”

She giggled at first, feeling the blush rise up to stain her cheeks. She should have broken the light hold he had on her wrist, should have returned to her guardian’s side, but one look into Logan’s eyes and she knew he spoke the truth about those years.

And like a fool she believed him.

Now, looking out the castle door, she could see those bare tree limbs stretching out through the early evening mist like devil’s claws to snatch the last bit of warmth from the earth before darkness fell.

She sighed and turned to grab her cloak. It was almost time to hunt again.

Now it’s your turn. What happens next? Join the fun and leave a comment below… 

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lunadar

 

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of Lunadar. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne.

But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song.

With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of Lunadar at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

 

donna

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy) from Story Catcher Publishing ebook edition is now available at Amazon and other online retailers, with the print edition coming out October 15, 2018.

An Indie Author’s Journey: The Cost Of Book Publishing

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I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like CreateSpace or Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.

There’s nothing wrong going that route, but I’ve decided to take a different path.

After almost five months of struggling to get the manuscript file and book cover files to be accepted by IngramSpark, a miracle happened Saturday night and EVERYTHING magically fell into place.

LUNADAR: Homeward Bound ebook edition is being distributed to over 20 online retailers, including:

24Symbols                7Switch            Amazon           Apple            Baker & Taylor Blio
Barnes & Noble       Bibliotech       Bookmate        BookI have Shout (Rethink Books)
Booktopia                 Ebooks.com    FeedBooks      Gardners       Glose
iFlipd                          ITSI                   Kobo                  Libreka          Libri
LIX                              SpoonRead      Redshelf          Rockstand      Vida Global          

The print edition is being distributed to over 39,000 retailers (bookstore chains as well as independent bookstores), libraries, schools and universities in the US and all around the world.

And the cost?

I did a lot of research before I started on this journey and I read about books costing everywhere from zero dollars (CreateSpace or Kindle) all the way to $10,000 or more just to get that first book printed.

Now that my book is officially in the production line, here is the breakdown of what it actually cost me to go from an idea to a printed book:

  1. Book Design Template ($15)…This is a software program costing $119 which converts my Word document manuscripts into a book formatted template I am able to upload to Ingram. I know I have at least 8 books scheduled for publication over the next 3-5 years, so my estimated cost per book for this program is $15.
  2. Ebook Creator ($99)…The regular price through Bowker is usually $129, but I got lucky and they offered a special one day so I grabbed it!
  3. Book Promo & Trailer ($34.98)…I found a company making lovely 3D promo book covers and book trailers. I bought one of each and will upload the book trailer on YouTube once Amazon loads the ebook version.
  4. Editing (Free)…I used free grammar and spelling programs. Then I sent the manuscript out to various beta readers who challenged me to strengthen the story. Finally I sent the manuscript to Steve, a Canadian friend of mine who has edited a number of novels. He was not afraid to slash and question my plot, characters, and overall structure of the manuscript to tighten everything up.
  5. Book Cover Design ($100)…I knew this poor gal’s budget couldn’t afford the average graphic design fees of $500 or more for a professionally made book cover, but I didn’t want it to look like a 3rd grader had created it either. So I called my local university’s art department and placed a free ad in the school paper. Kelly Moore, a junior majoring in art and graphic design, answered my ad and the rest is history. My cover is gorgeous and perfectly represents LUNADAR.
  6. Artwork Conversion (Free)…Kelly and I fought with her artwork file for almost four months, getting frustrated because neither one of us could figure out why IngramSpark kept kicking the file back to us. One of my Taekwondo students who is very good with computer programs, but no graphic designer, took Kelly’s file and in one afternoon converted it into the required format Ingram finally accepted.
  7. LUNADAR Map ($20)…I drew the map of Lunadar one afternoon and spent the next few weeks struggling to align it with the book template. I sought out the help from a parent of another one of my Taekwondo students and she was able to adjust my artwork to make it work.
  8. Bowker ISBN & Barcode ($29.50)…I knew I was going to purchase a block of 10  ISBN numbers for $295 and the required barcode was going to be another $100 or so. Fortunately, just when I was about to make my purchase, Bowker offered a bundle special and I basically got the barcode for free!
  9. IngramSpark upload fees (Free)…Usually they charge $49 for the print edition and $25 for the ebook edition but this year is their five year anniversary. They are offering free title setup fees through the end of July.
  10. Copyright fees ($40)…The only thing I have left to do is file for the copyright and my book will be officially born!

Total cost for everything from start to finish is $338.48 to bring LUNADAR: Homeward Bound to the marketplace. Yes, I could have gone the freebie route, but I wanted the best quality product I could afford to produce and it was a personal challenge to see if I could do it.

Only time will tell if the world thinks I did a satisfactory job…

 

LUNADAR cover jpg

 

 

donna

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy) is scheduled to be released in ebook edition by the summer of 2018 from Story Catcher Publishing, with the print edition hopefully coming out late fall 2018.

AN INDIE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY: Perfect Timing

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I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like CreateSpace or Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.

There’s nothing wrong going that route, but I’ve decided to take a different path.

This week has been an incredibly busy, frustrating one. My full time job of running a martial arts training facility kept me occupied for at least ten hours each day, Monday through Friday.

I then went home and  put on my publisher’s hat to do battle with trying to upload my book cover to IngramSpark’s website. But every time I tried to upload it, Ingram kept kicking it back, saying  the file itself was not acceptable.

My very talented cover designer, Kelly Nicole Moore, worked tirelessly (even from another state while visiting her family this week ) to address each error message. First she changed the size of the finished file. Then she changed the type of artwork file she used. It seemed every time she sent me a new file to upload, Ingram would find yet another issue preventing them from moving forward with my production schedule.

Writers who only choose traditional publishing may never get to see the “behind the scene” struggles a publisher has to go through just to push their current project to the next level. Self-published authors get to see it all, have their hands in all levels of creation, and are at the front of the line when it comes to frustration over production delays.

My lowest point came yesterday after Kelly sent me yet another book cover version to try.  She was at the point that if her latest effort didn’t work, we would be dead in the water until a miracle came along…or I learned how to use Adobe Acrobat.

Then it happened.

The clouds of doom drifted away, the heavens opened, and an angelic chorus announced the latest file was accepted by IngramSpark! Well, that’s what it felt like when I FINALLY got a thumbs up approval for Kelly’s artwork file and LUNADAR has now gone on to the proofing process. I even managed to find an online coupon I used to waive IngramSpark’s $49 set up fee so it didn’t cost me a penny!

I’m now crossing my fingers…and saying a few prayers…that IngramSpark won’t come across any other issues before moving forward to my print edition release date of 9/27/18.

I’m still having some issues with the ebook formatting but have someone looking at that as well, so hopefully it will all come together soon.

I just need to say thank you, Kelly, for all your hard work and for believing in LUNADAR.

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So what do YOU think? Did she do a great job on my book cover, or what? Let me know in the comments below…

 

donna

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy) is scheduled to be released in ebook edition by the summer of 2018 from Story Catcher Publishing, with the print edition hopefully coming out late fall 2018.

 

AN INDIE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY: Round Two?

 

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I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like CreateSpace or Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.

There’s nothing wrong going that route, but I’ve decided to take a different path.

I’m about to start round two…or is it three…or four? I’ve almost lost count. I have been trying different ebook formatting software, but none seem to be giving me the results I’m looking for.

And even though I have a brand new computer, my internet connection is still pretty basic so I’m running into problems trying to download Kindles ebook software. And every time I try to convert my manuscript into an ebook, the sentences get all messed up…breaking apart into some weird formation…and the end result is more like a scrambled jigsaw puzzle instead of an actual readable story.

So, here I am…still in the fight…with a few more bumps and bruises…but still fighting…

Wonder what this next round will bring? Say a little prayer for me, will ya?

Cuz, I’m diving in once again to this indie author publishing process…

 

donna

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy) is scheduled to be released in ebook edition by June 2018 from Story Catcher Publishing, with the print edition hopefully coming out late fall 2018.

 

An Indie Author’s Journey: Hitting A Stone Wall

 

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I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like CreateSpace or Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.
There’s nothing wrong going that route, but I’ve decided to take a different path.

I’ve completed the final edit and decided my young adult fantasy novel needed a map to help my readers visualize LUNADAR as I see it.

 

Lunadar map

 

It took me one quiet Sunday afternoon to complete it and I am rather proud of my first time effort to draw a fantasy map. I found some scrapbook paper with a pirate scroll design on it. I researched different fantasy maps and listed all the places around LUNADAR I wanted to show.

Once I found elements I liked, I sketched it out on the scrapbook paper with a #2 mechanical pencil. Then I looked for different compasses. I wanted something to tie the map to LUNADAR’S overall storyline. I knew once I saw the sun/moon compass that this was the one I had been looking for. Once the map was completed, I outlined it with an ultra fine tip black marker.

I then took a picture of it with my iPhone in black and white “noir” so I could load it to the front pages of my book. I thought I was breezing through all this like a boss.

Then I hit a stone wall.

I can’t get the two edges of the map to line up on my formatted pages so it’s going to look dumb on the pages of my finished ebook. I’m going to do a shout out to my illustrator friends on Facebook to see if they know something I don’t that can help me. 

Cross your fingers…unless, of course, you are someone with an answer to my problem…and then, please use those said fingers to help another writer out…

 

PLEASE?

 

donna

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy) is scheduled to be released in ebook edition by June 2018 from Story Catcher Publishing, with the print edition coming out by Spring 2019.

An Indie Author’s Journal: Setting Up Shop

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As I mentioned last week, I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like CreateSpace or Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.

There’s nothing wrong going  that route, but I’ve decided to take a different path.

 

STEP TWO: Create Your Company Image

 

My writing “entity” for the past eight years has been THE STORY CATCHER. After much thought, I decided to expand on that concept and set up my own publishing house, appropriately named STORY CATCHER PUBLISHING (www.storycatcherpublishing.com), with only one author to promote…me.

Here are the steps I’ve taken so far to set up my company:

1) Bought new computer…$495. (I went with an HP laptop and one year of Windows 365 was included)

2) Used WordPress to create new business website…$100. (I could have gone with the free version but the step up gives me more features to create a more professional website)

3) Created personalized “.com” name for WordPress website and blog…$50. (I could have stayed with a “wordpress.blogspot.com” format, but again I’m trying to streamline a better overall professional look to everything I’m doing moving forward.)

4) Requested EIN number for new company…$0.

5) Set up Excel spreadsheets for monthly accounting of business expenses…$0

6) Used Vista Print to create business cards, car magnets, and banners…$96. (There are other companies like Moo.com, Gotprint.com, and Overnightprint.com to name a few, but when I saw this design on Vista Print, I just knew it would represent my company the best.)

What do you think?

 

SCP business card front(full color business card front)

 

SCP business card back(full color business card back)

 

SCP car magnet

(car magnets)

 

SCP banner(full color business banner)

 

Last week I promised a sneak peek at the book trailer I had created for my upcoming young adult fantasy book release early next year. I think the video is fabulous (and it only cost me $25), but I’m having trouble adding it to my YouTube channel. Maybe someone out there can help me out with the conversion of a google drive mp4 book trailer to a YouTube url?

Anyway, here’s the link to my book trailer I will be releasing next year for LUNADAR: Homeward Bound. Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hAmIB_fn0KMSaJsXzKRag9XkPsVe6GFd/view

Next week I will talk about the software I’m using to format my novel for publication as well as some questions you can use for your beta readers. See ya next week!

 

Author Profile Pic
International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.