New Things

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Busy Birds
Busy Birdies

After this past year of epic chaos interestingness, I am happy to say that  I have learned a lot, and strangely, even the really unpleasant lessons are now showing me their value – retrospect is a fine thing indeed. Now, tempered to the strength of old boots, while hopefully not looking too much like one of them, I am happy to say that there is quite a lot of fabulousness to come over the next few weeks. Beginning with the epic launch in the next weeks of the beginning of her public life, Cynthia Reyes’ amazing Myrtle the Purple Turtle, closely followed by some unadulterated genius of science-fiction by the one and only Joelle LeGendre there is a lot coming up – all happy and wonderful beginnings from some very talented people.

I’ve made sure this time, that failing the actual end of the world (wasn’t that supposed to be today by the way? – ah well – maybe later – the day is still young) no internet or other problems will be tolerated. Calmness rules now….mostly…..ahem.

Zen Birdie
Zen Birdie

I haven’t been twiddling my thumbs while being mostly in internet darkness. I have found ways, which include zooming around the bush, swearing in ways that only writers can, in my car holding my laptop out of the window looking for signal, to ensure that the important things don’t get lost or undone because of internet devils ever again. I’ve mainly concentrated on work, such as illustrating, editing, proofing and so on over the past months, relegating my social media activity to the last place in the line – obviously focusing on making sure that I don’t let any of my authors down with the surreal things that have happened to try and knobble me – that red guy with the tail and fork kind of overplayed his hand though – it’s impossible for those kinds of problems to win when you’re looking at them and giggling hysterically – hah!

First up. Look out for Myrtle’s introduction here in the next day or two, where I will share the story of how she came to be, and the amazing woman who created her, together with her wonderful and inspiring family, and the honour and pleasure of being allowed to bring that gorgeous little turtle to life with illustration. I will tell all in Myrtle and Cynthia’s own post though – I’m just saying Hi Again to all of you lovely bloggers with this one. Hiiii there guys!!!

Myrtle the Purple Turtle

 

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My WIP – Tales from the Irish Garden- with Illustrations by Donata Zawadzka

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A wonderful tale, as only Sally Cronin can weave, and a gorgeous illustration by Donata Zawadzka – fabulous!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

I first published the following story in February of this year and at the time Donata Zawadzka had just been introduced to me by Paul Andruss.  Tales from the Irish Garden was just a twinkle in my eye, but I was already writing some stories down to be included.

Eight months on and I am delighted to say that Donata has now produced four wonderful illustrations that I will be using as part of the artwork for the collection. Because I loved this illustration so much, I have also bought the original to use in the book with this story.

Tales from the Irish Garden, follows on from Tales from the Garden which was set in Madrid Queen Filigree will be forced to relocate from her home in the sun in Spain to her cousin’s kingdom in Ireland… expect some misadventures along the way. New characters such as…

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Smorgasbord End of Summer Party – Music, Dancing, Headliners and You…and #Free books

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How wonderful to come back to blogland with a party throw by the fabulous Sally – thank you my dear friend! XX

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to three days of activities where I hope to introduce you to some headlining acts who have contributed and supported the blog since the early days in September 2013. These last four years have been such an adventure and I hope that it will continue for many years to come.

However, I have to say a huge thank you to everyone who has dropped in and left their mark on the blog. That interaction has motivated me to keep writing and to continue to build a book promotion site that helps other authors get their books noticed. With hundreds of thousands of new titles each week it is a challenge to grab the spotlight, but I hope that in some small way, I can help with that.

In September I will be increasing the number of opportunities to showcase your work with a new author interview series.. with a…

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Working With Formatters

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Lit World Interviews

Quite a few of my clients have come to me to have their books formatted, and then found themselves unable to update their already published works with their latest releases because they don’t have the formatted Word manuscripts on file. That’s fine if the formatter who worked on your previous books is available to do the updates. Hopefully the formatter is still in business and findable, or even alive. Things happen. If you have the formatted manuscripts, either your current formatter, or yourself, can do the updates in minutes and have the incarnations required by the various publishing platforms quickly. If you don’t then you either leave them as they are minus any future updates or have whatever manuscripts that you do have on file reformatted, which is a wast of money.

When hiring people to work on your book, here are a few things to take note of before…

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Better Late Than Never

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So far recently, every time I’ve thought that I would be back to blogging often, some weird and terrible thing has happened. Lots of bad things. Now I’m sure that I will be back, even though that’s not to say that everything is all unicorns dancing on moonbeams for me, I’m OK, happy, and I’ve finally realised that change, no matter how toothy and scary it appears at the time, is best embraced and worked with rather than fought with. Change can be beautiful when viewed over your shoulder I think—the trick is to keep on moving no matter what and believe that it will be. Life is often about hard choices, and sometimes life can be so hard that the choice becomes whether to stay upright and carry on walking at all through that terror-filled valley or to find a suitably large rock to hide behind for the duration.

Problem with the rock is that the longer you stay with it the longer you stay in the valley. I reckon too that if you do spend a whole long time quivering in fear behind it, wondering how to get rid of the bulls-eye on your forehead and the sign on your back that says “Kick Me Really Hard All The Time”, you get to thinking that you’ve missed your chance altogether. That’s never true—it’s never too late. The hardest two parts about getting through to the sunshine are probably getting rid of that feeling of waiting for the next disaster, believing that of course more horribleness is surely on the way, and secondly believing that you deserve all horribleness issued to you anyway because you really are not only not fabulous, but you could indeed be the very epitome of anti-fabulousness.

Not easy peasy, but once you transform that rotten duo of beliefs, you might just be able find the rest of the trip not as petrifying as you imagined, and quite a lot of fun. Of course, some people’s valleys aren’t quite so deep and dark, but even though all people will have some level of tribulation in their lives, not all are properly equipped to deal with it depending on what they’ve learned one way or another, so I’m feeling quite excited about my upcoming non-fiction projects. Yes—finally! Late, yes, but at least not never. More on that and also epically late fiction launches to follow.

The past couple of years have been pretty surreal, and I’m really grateful to have actually not totally crumbled and expired. The worst happened this year when I lost one of my feathered horde, who those of you who have followed this blog for several years will know are my constant, very, very much beloved companions and fabulous feathered joy blessings. Little Button zoomed off to await the rest of us in Heaven. The worst thing is the way Jelly still mourns him. Those two little guys used to have the most appalling fights—feathers literally flew—but still, weeks and weeks after the fact, Jelly refuses to go to the places where they sat together, and would not bath in their bath either. I eventually threw it away, and now he will only bath in my cupped palms under running water. He looks at the ceiling fan that was Button’s domain, with a proper look of hope that his buddy will be there, and cried too, for a long time while holding on to one of my fingers very tightly with his tiny claw. I’ve never seen an animal grieve the way Jelly has, but it has taught me that without any shadow of a doubt, those of God’s creatures who we bring into our lives and love so much, will most certainly not “just die”. We will most certainly see them on the other side. I was going to post a RIP Button tribute, but as with when Angus died I couldn’t do it, those things just make everyone cry. I will instead be posting more photies of the whole horde in future regardless of “where” they are. Just the happy guys that they are should be shared. We place too much emphasis on mourning when we lose a love to what we see as the grim reaper, when I believe now that we should rather focus on the joy of their lives, and the knowledge that they really are in another place now—a good place—looking forward to seeing us again. Death is just a doorway, not an ending. It’s our job to move on positively, enjoy the time we have left here, and be as productive, helpful, and loving as we can while we do so.

BUTTON
BUTTON

Weirdly, even though the thought of my little yellow angel is still like a hot knife through my heart, after a couple of weeks of thinking that I would expire too from the pain of his absence, his death kicked me right out of my own weird head thing. Sometimes when the worst thing that you can think of happens, you have to either move forward with joy—or give up and camp out in the valley, forever in pain and misery. So moving on to new things for my horde and I. New things for Jelly will have to be found to take his mind off the past. New joys, and sometimes sadness too, but never hiding too long again behind anything.

I keep in mind now that when you expect only the horrible, the horrible is exactly what you will get. I’ve made a couple of fabulous discoveries—one especially, astoundingly simple, and almost instantly healing—all of which I’m very hard at work compiling into books for this year. Lots of fabulous publishing and design projects have been coming my way from my fabulous Indie authors. Thank you to all of you for your support, for allowing me to work with you on all of your wonderful books, and for your patience the couple of times I dived behind a rock or had a couple thrown at me.

When the trials of life do delay you one way or another, remember that it’s never too late to get moving again. Even if you drop some of your luggage on your way through your wilderness, that’s not always a bad thing, when you walk through the darkness concentrating on the light ahead, often there is a wonderful blue sky waiting for when you take that first step towards the exit of that valley.

Sky

Self-Publishing and Formatting Quick Tips

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Lit World Interviews

One of the biggest challenges to Indies is getting a professionally published looking book when up against the costs of editing, proofreading, formatting and cover designs. If you can afford these services then foregoing them is not a good idea, but when you really can’t afford them they can mean the death of some really great literature. There are a couple of things that can help though.

Editing or Proofreading Swopsies

Rather than simply asking for Beta readers, offer to swop proofreading services. Writers have a different kind of eyeball when reading. I’ve just finished a Joanna Trollope book, professionally published by one of the big houses, professionally edited and put together, but so far I’ve found a couple of typos and instances of poorly strung together sentences. As far as the cover design is concerned, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was specifically looking for and wanting…

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DRM or Not for Amazon

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Lit World Interviews

When you load your book up to Amazon you will get to choose whether or not to enable Digital Rights Management.


It is important to note here that this particular choice cannot be undone. Short of unpublishing and republishing this cannot be changed. Once you have some nice reviews and lots of sales on any particular book unpublishing it is not a great idea, so give some thought to this before setting it in stone. So, what is DRM?

Amazon says that Digital Rights Management “is intended to inhibit unauthorized access to or copying of digital content files”. While this sounds great in terms of combating piracy, in reality it’s about as effective in this regard as a straw hut would be at keeping you dry in a hurricane. My African Me & Satellite TV was published with DRM enabled and it is my most pirated book. Stripping DRM is…

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