Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Young Adult Giveaway Hop

January 29th - February 4th

Hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer
Co-hosted by BookLove101

Hi, and welcome to my stop for the Young Adult Giveaway Hop. Enter for your chance to win an eBook copy of my new release, Fall For Me (The Tate Chronicles #1). Make sure you check out the linky list below for all the other blogs participating. Good luck!

 "This book has plenty of twists and turns with moments that will shock you and leave you eagerly anticipating the next chapter."
Marie for Cocktails and Books

"This delightful, romantic and well-written story puts a different twist on angels and vampires entirely."
Amazon review by I.A.Writes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Liebster Blog Award!

When I first heard of the Liebster Award, I was curious as to what it was all about. It seemed a few people I knew in the blogging world were being presented with this award, and then the lovely Suse Hocking from The Scribbling Post nominated me. I'm feeling very loved!

I had to do some digging though to find out what it was all about. I found this post. It may have changed a little since it started, but I'm happy to go along with it. Now, it's given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. I think this is a nice way to share the love, and get to know some of my fellow bloggers better. It turns out "liebster" means dearest in German.

The Rules:
  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you;
  2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator and create 11 questions for your nominees;
  3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserves to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen;
  4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

11 questions from Suse:

What is your favourite genre to read and why?
I love all things YA, especially in the fantasy and paranormal category. In my head I'm still a teenager, and I like things a that are a little weird. I'm a huge Buffy fan, so I guess that says it all.

Who is your all time favourite book bad guy?

What music do you listen to when you write, if any?
I like Florence + The Machine, Greenday, Paramore, Mumford & Sons, way too many to list. Sometimes I prefer silence, or quiet background noise, so I often just put my iPod on random.

Who or what is your inspiration?
My imagination! And definitely other books I read.

What is your writing goal for this year?
I've just self-published my first novel, so the goal is to get the sequel written and hopefully published as well.

What outside distractions irritate you the most when you’re reading or writing?
Someone trying to talk to me when I'm in the middle of a thought or really good part of the book. Facebook and twitter are a very bad distraction as well, especially when I'm writing.

Favourite place to read?
In my rocker-recliner.

Favourite place to write?
In my rocker-recliner.

If you could be any book character, who would you be and why?
I'd be Buffy, because she's kick-ass!

Name one author you would love to meet in real life.
Stephen King. He has always been my favourite author, and I would love the chance to pick his brains or just chat about writing stuff.

Start to finish when writing a MS? Or do you have several on the go at once?
I have several on the go, but only because when I get a new idea I have to get something down. I try to focus on one story at a time, but sometimes an idea pops into my head that I have to start. Otherwise it manifests and distracts me until it's out.

My nominees:
Sarah Epps
Ingrid Alexandra
Nikki Jefford
R. K. Grow
Melissa Lemon
Jo Schneider

And I don't know any more bloggers, sorry.

Now for my 11 questions:
  1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  2. What's your favourite book to movie adaption?
  3. What are you reading at the moment?
  4. Paperback or eBook?
  5. What do you think of independent/self-publishing?
  6. What's a book you really hated reading and why?
  7. Do you type out or write your ideas down?
  8. What genre do you prefer to read and/or write?
  9. Is there an author that you loved, but were turned off their work because of something they said or did in public?
  10. Where would you most love to travel to and why?
  11. Coffee or tea?
K x

Sunday, January 20, 2013

eBook Formatting – What I’ve Learnt

The last week has been a whirlwind of stress and emotion for me. I knew I wanted Fall For Me to be up and live on Amazon with enough time before the tour starts to actually have buy links active. There would be nothing worse than trying to promote a novel that doesn’t actually exist. What I didn’t know was how long my novel would take to become live after I hit the publish button. I now know that for Kindle it was a matter of hours. For the paperback edition, it was a little longer.

Through this process I’ve learnt a few things that I thought I’d share with you, so hopefully those of you who want to travel the indie route might not make the same mistakes. Although, some things I probably wouldn’t really call a mistake, more of a misinformed decision.

Firstly, I’ll start with the eBook formatting. I actually typeset my print book first. Because I’m a graphic designer I did this myself, and I actually wanted a printed proof in my hands to sit down and read through, and get others to read, before I made my corrections. I find it much easier to do the proofing stage on paper than on screen. Once it was typeset, Fall For Me actually went through four home printed proofs and two CreateSpace proofs before I finally approved it. And I bet there are still some things I’m not entirely happy with, but there comes a point when you need to let it go.

Anyway, back to the eBook formatting. This is what I did, and what ended up working for me. If you have any other tips, I’d love to hear them.

First, I copied the entire text from my design document and pasted it into Word. I was hoping that all my formatting would be retained because I didn’t fancy the thought of having to go through hundreds of pages and reapply italics. Luckily it did, but I needed to make a few adjustments before I could call it ‘formatted’.

Then I followed all the directions in Amazon’s Building Your Book For Kindle. I used the PC version, but there is a MAC version as well. I suggest you use this if you want to format for KDP as it is simple to follow. It will take you through basic formatting, creating a table of contents, and inserting bookmarks, as well as uploding etc. But, I had a bit of an indent problem, so…

Next, I went through and checked my styles that had been imported from InDesign. You can just use the styles already in Word, but any styles that you create or import need to be based on Word’s Normal style. I’ll tell you why later. Right click on your style either in the quick styles or the styles list and a dialogue box appears. If you look at the image below, I have a style called Paragraph No Indent that is based on the style Normal. 

I needed to make sure the style was doing what I wanted it to, so I adjusted the Font and Paragraph sections in the menu down the bottom of the same dialogue box. This will automatically update all test in your documnet that has the style applied to it.

I set my font to Bookman Old Style at 10pt. You can use whatever you want. I would pick something simple though as Kindle changes the fonts anyway, and the user also has a choice between a few different ones depending on their device. The paragraph is set to 1.5 line spacing with no space after paragraphs and no indent. I used this style for all the first paragraphs in my chapters. I then did the same for my Paragraph Indent style for the rest of my book copy, only the indent is set to 1cm.

Now back to my indent problem. Kindle automatically does this thing where any paragraph that doesn’t have an indent applied, it gives it one. I was pulling my hair out trying to find out why all my first paragraphs were indenting when I had no indent applied. It’s because Kindle want to create the best user experience possible, but nowhere in Amazon’s Building Your Book For Kindle did it say this was the case. But maybe it did and I missed it, which is quite possible.

This is the solution I used: Remember how I said to base your styles on Word’s Normal style? Well, I then went into that style and modified it to match my other paragraph styles in every way concerning font, line spacing etc. The only change I made was to make the paragraph indent a tiny 0.03cm. It now has an indent that is so small it can’t be seen, and it will override Kindle’s annoying automatic indent.

Once I figured out how to fix my indent problem, I ended up with a nicely formatted eBook. At least, I hope I have. I checked it on the previewer and my iPad, and all seems fine.

The last tip I wanted to share with you is for those who decide to go with a white cover for your eBook. I love my white cover. The print book looks so pretty, but for a while I was cursing it because on-line a lot of sites are also white. I eventually came up with a solution. To differentiate the cover from Amazon’s white background, I needed a rule around the image. KDP suggests uploading a full size cover image of 2500 pixels on the longest side for best results across all sizes, but I found when it was reduced to the tiny size that's in the search results, half of the black rule around the image was disappearing.

I tried a couple of things and ended up doing this: I put and extra little bit of white space around the entire image so the black rule sat in from the edge of the file. It took a few goes to get the amount of white space just right so all the rule would show around the edge of the entire cover - extremely frustrating to say the least.

I’d love to hear what other indie authors have experienced with formatting their eBooks. Do you pay someone, or do it yourself, and what problems have you come across?

My next challenge: formatting for Smashwords. Their guide is a lot longer than the one for KDP.

K x

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Healthy Obsession, an Aurora Sky Promo and a Giveaway

When I was little, I can remember curling up under my dad’s arm and being terrified of the Daleks on Dr Who. Yes, my father let his five-year-old daughter watch scary science fiction—and I love him for it!

I grew up with shows like Dr Who, The Twilight Zone, Lost In Space and Star Trek. For as long as I can remember I was always allowed to watch pretty much anything Dad was watching, and we often sat together to see Arnold Schwarzenegger (as Ben Richards in The Running Man) kill Buzzsaw for the twentieth time. Ok, so maybe I was a little older by then, but you get the idea. My dad’s love of all things sci-fi instilled in me a passion for it, too.

Then in 1997, along came Buffy. I had finished high school the year before and started college, but I still looked forward to sitting down with Dad and watching whatever sci-fi, paranormal, freaky show we could get our hands on. (We were both also huge fans of The X-Files. I mean, who wasn't!)

Over the seven seasons that Buffy was on air, a lot happened in my life. I graduated from college, bought my first house and married my high school sweetheart. My parents also moved away, so I lost my regular TV time with Dad. This made me sad because unfortunately my husband doesn’t share my same passion for the weird and otherworldly.

For a while, I forgot about Buffy. I know! Shame on me! But about a year or so ago I went out and purchased the entire seven seasons on DVD (along with the five seasons of Angel). I drove my husband mad watching it all again from the beginning. Sometimes I managed four or five episodes in a night, and he thought I’d gone completely crazy. But those people out there (and I know you exist!) that don’t get it, well, you just don’t get it.

Joss Whedon is a genius. Enough said.

I tend to prefer my heroine to be more kick-ass than clumsy, and I’m sure you all know who I’m referring to when I make that analogy. I also like my bad boys bad, and not so much sparkly. In Buffy’s world the boys are definitely bad. I’m still torn as to which team I’m on. I keep changing my mind all the time, and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll just have to live with wanting both Angel and Spike—a bit like Buffy, really. Ok, now I’m getting into creepy obsession territory, so I’ll move on.

I’ve done some digging around on YouTube, as all people with a healthy obsession do, and I just wanted to share with you some of my favourite videos. There were quite a few, and I found it hard to choose, so I hope you enjoy.

I definitely prefer my vamps mean:

The hotness of the Buffy bad boys:

I could go on, and on, about how much I love Buffy, but you probably don't want to hear it so...

Now for the promo:
Aurora Sky Vampire Hunter is a new novel by Nikki Jefford. Nikki’s original take on these creatures of the night is packed with attitude, angst and blood, and it’s a must read for any hard core vamp fan. If you love Buffy as much as I do, then you'll love Aurora. Check out the info below, and don't forget to enter the giveaway.

Book Description:
If there is one thing eighteen-year-old Aurora Sky wants, it’s to get off the iceberg she calls home. Being kissed before she graduates wouldn’t hurt either.

Then a near-fatal car wreck changes everything. Government agents step in and save Aurora’s life in exchange for her services as a vampire hunter. In Alaska. Basically she’s a glorified chew toy. All thanks to her rare blood type, which sends a vampire into temporary paralysis right before she has to finish the job… by hand.

Now Aurora’s only friends are groupies of the undead and the only boy she can think about may very well be a vampire. And if he’s a vampire, will she be forced to kill him?

For ages 16+

Author Bio:
Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt. She writes edgy teen fiction, including the Spellbound Trilogy and Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter.

Nikki married S├ębastien, the love of her life, while working as a teaching assistant in France during the 1999/2000 school year. They now reside in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands, 70 miles northeast of Forks, Washington.

Nikki’s Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Find Aurora Sky at Amazon | Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

K x

Monday, January 07, 2013

ARC Sign Up and a Giveaway

It’s not long now until Fall For Me hits the virtual shelves, and I still have so much to do. Just quietly between you and me – I’m freaking out a little!

The blog tour with Bewitching Book Tours kicks off at the beginning of February and will run for the entire month. All the ARCs have gone out to the tour participants, but I thought I’d make the ARC available to others who may want the chance to review Fall For Me.

Please fill out the form HERE if you are interested, and don’t forget to tell me why you would like to review.

As an added bonus, all those who sign up for an ARC will get the chance to win a $10 iTunes gift card.

Now, I’m off to cross a few more things off my massive to-do list.

K x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Know Me Better

Know Me Better is a Weekly Meme hosted by
I'm A Reader, Not A Writer.

Each week she answers five questions from her author interview list, and invites us to join in the fun as a way to get to know each other better.

If you would like to join in please comment on this post, or share on your own blog post and link up below.

Favourite restaurant?
My hubby and I don’t tend to eat out much as we have two young children. If we do go out it’s to the local Chinese. When we get takeaway it’s usually from the Thai place up the road – Bambu Thai and Indonesian.

What is your view on self publishing?
I think self-publishing is wonderful. It has given so many aspiring authors the opportunity to live their dreams, but it needs to be done right. I know firsthand how much hard work is involved in travelling the self-publishing road, and short cuts shouldn’t be taken, otherwise you’ll find yourself off the path, surrounded by a dark forest with an angry dog about to attack you. Well, not really, but you get the idea. Self-publishing is as I said hard work, but it’s also extremely rewarding.

How do you feel about banned books? Do you have a favourite?
I think every book has a place. It comes down to the fact that we all have the ability to make our own decisions. If you know you won’t like something, or you don’t agree with what a particular author has written about, don’t read it. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? Isn’t writing a form of expressing our opinions and ideas? My favourite banned books would be Alice In Wonderland and the Harry Potter series.

Are you for or against books being made into movies?
I’m all for it, but it has to be done well. I pretty much always enjoy the book more than the movie, and I get upset when things are changed or left out. But, there have been some fantastic adaptations. The Hunger Games is a favourite, as are all the Harry Potter movies. One that springs to mind that was a huge disappointment was I Am Number Four. Such a great book, not so much a great movie.

Top 3 things on your bucket list?
  1. Finish Fight For Me, the sequel to Fall For Me
  2. Reassess my employment situation
  3. Travel
K x

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year – Resolutions for 2013

Every year on January first we all make resolutions, and every year a lot of us fail to keep them. When I look back at some of the resolutions I’ve chosen to make in the past, I have to wonder what on earth I was trying to achieve. I’ve come to realise that in order to be able to follow through with my resolutions, and in turn feel good about myself, I have to make them achievable. So, I’ve decided to make a list of five resolutions that I know I will (probably) be able to keep.

1) Write more!
This is at the top of my list, and the one thing that I really, really want to achieve in 2013. Until now, I have only written when I’ve had the time, which unfortunately has not been as often as I’d like. Both my kids will be at school this year, so I’m planning to set aside at least an hour each day to dedicate solely to writing. Some days I’m hoping to have more time, but I think starting with an hour a day is achievable. Now that Fall For Me is very close to being published, I have to get the second instalment written!

2) Read More
Currently I read a book about every two to three weeks, give or take. Sometimes I go through patches where I don’t read for a month, and it leaves me feeling horrible, like I’ve missed out on something. In 2013 I’m going to aim to read at least one book per week. For some people this is nothing, and I know a lot of the book bloggers out there read far more than that in seven days, but I need to also have time for other things, like life! I’m planning to write in the mornings, and read at night to relax.

3) Listen to my Kids
I am ashamed to admit that sometimes I don’t give my kids the attention that they need and crave. I easily switch off and have mastered the art of nodding in all the right places. This year (and every year after) I’m going to pay more attention to them. They grow up so fast, and I don’t want to miss any of it.

4) Disconnect to Reconnect
I know I spend way too much time on my iPhone or iPad, checking Facebook and Twitter to see what’s going on. I’ve decided to stop doing this, and to look up more at what’s going on around me. There are so many things we miss in our lives because we have our heads in whatever electronic device is in at the time. I’m going to try and go outside more, play with the kids more, bake more, talk face to face with my friends more, instead of living life through a computer.

5) Use my Calendar
Every year I buy a diary, and every year I use it for a few months then forget about it. I should have worked out earlier than this that I am not a diary user. I bought myself a beautiful calendar which has a special meaning for me that I won’t go into here, and I have hung it on the wall near my kitchen. I have decided to use this to stay organised instead of trying to use a method that has never previously worked for me. I’ll be able to see the whole month at a glance, and I’m actually excited about using it.

One more thing that I want to do in 2013 is dream more, because that’s what the good stuff is made of – dreams. Where would we be if we couldn’t dream?

What are your resolutions for 2013?

K x