Learning new things

*Disclaimer: I’m in the mood for gifs today, so you’ll get a few of them with this post*

Being self published doesn’t always mean you have to do everything on your own, but sometimes circumstances force you to do so.

As I mentioned earlier, my debut post apocalyptic horror novel, The Darkening, will be launched near the end of the year, probably around late October or early November. For that, I have hired an editor (all edits are now done) and am waiting to hear back from my designer. Unfortunately, his busy schedule doesn’t allow him to start working on my project before July. So after I dealt with these two very important parts of the production of a book, I thought that would be it. I’d upload the manuscript on each platform, and all I’d have to do between then and the launch date would be to promote it.

Ermm, how about no?

It turned out that I had forgotten another important bit: internal formatting.

What in the name of dark hell was that?!

I had spent virtually all my (meagre) budget on the editor and I would spend the remaining on the designer. In fact, after reviewing my budget, I realised I had nothing left for promotion!

So the first thought was: is internal formatting something I can skip?

Apparently no. Well, I could, but that would interfere with the quality of the product I wanted to produce.

Now, I know that Amazon has created a Word plugin that creates a basic template for all the available printing options they provide, including trim size. But the problem for me was that this plugin only works on newer versions of Word, you know, the ones with the ugly ribbon menu thing its creators decided to introduce?

Yeah, how about no?

Like many other writers out there, I refuse to work on something with a UI (user interface) that is non-configurable based on my needs. If you think that I’m the only weirdo around the writing realms, think again!

You tell ’em, George!

So since the Word version I work with (2003, if you’re wondering) could not use that plugin and I could not outsource the task, I had to figure out how to format my book on my own. And I did. Partly… Sort of… Kind of…

Enter InDesign. Luckily a friend lent me an older version of the program to test and try out just for this project. And surprisingly enough, if one who knows nothing about internal formatting or InDesign wishes to use it to create simple interior book designs, then it won’t take more than a couple of days to learn it. Thank Youtube for that!

So I managed to create a decent printable copy of my manuscript, and I now have a fraction of a basic understanding of how to use the program. It’s definitely in my to-buy list, even though I know I will only be using a tiny fraction of its capabilities.

Now if I could only figure out a way to make it create a decent epub version without messing everything up, I’d be one step closer to world domination!

 

Writing Prompt 56

Commander Arral clapped Bast on the shoulder. “Ready?”

“Yeah.”

“You nervous, son?”

Bast looked back at his revival pod getting ready for him. “You’ll oversee the revival, right?”

“I wouldn’t let anyone else go near your pod.”

Bast nodded and smiled. “I’m ready.”

“Good boy,” Commander Arral said. “Now go die and save us all. Attaboy!”

Bast let out a cry and charged the advancing enemy.

“Are you actually planning to revive him, sir?” Captain Brega asked and followed Arral to the pod.

“Are you out of your mind, Captain?” Arral yanked all the cables out of the pod. “His pod malfunctioned.”

 

Excerpt from Ground Floor, Second Room To The Left

Ground Floor, Second Room To The Left is a week old. I was so stressed the past few weeks with this release as well as the production of my debut novel, that I actually didn’t think I would make it in time. But at last, it happened. It’s out!

 

 

Those of you following my page on Facebook or are in my newsletter, had already had a chance to read an excerpt of my latest short story. Below you can read the first couple of pages from Ground Floor, Second Room To The Left.

In case you missed it last week, this is the story of Joe and Lucy, a married couple of scavengers, who enter a derelict building to steal copper pipes, only to realise they’re locked in. Things take a turn for the worse because Lucy is claustrophobic and can’t stand the idea of being trapped. But the real problem is the messages that begin to appear on the walls, floor, and ceiling. More importantly, what the messages tell Joe and Lucy they need to do for freedom.

You can get your copy from Amazon or from some of the other biggest retailers.

——

The Second Empire-style house has stood since 1947, but no one has ever lived in it. To the left of the structure stands a pair of dead poplar trees, their branches entwined like Graeco-Roman wrestlers. To the right is a pair of desiccated oaks, also with entangled limbs. The trees dominate the yellow-brown jungle that once was the garden.

An old Ford F-100 pulls over not far from the rickety wooden fence. In it, Joe takes a photo out of his pocket and looks at it. It’s a photo of the house, taken shortly after its construction, but it’s one without the trees. His brow arches up and he lifts the photo next to the house to compare the two. He nods and puts it back in his breast pocket. He then places his hand on Lucy’s knee and gives it an affectionate rub.

Now that the rain has finally stopped, Joe switches the wipers off, allowing Lucy a clear view of the building. As she examines it, a small knot forms at the pit of her gut that chases away the fake excitement she had up to now. Under the racing lead-coloured clouds, the house stands dark, barren, and wind-bitten. Almost on the verge of falling in on itself.

A small bulge on her throat goes down once and rises slowly, but she gives her husband a smile and hopes he doesn’t notice her discomfort. She takes his hand into hers to give it a soft kiss, and rests her head on his shoulder for the last bumpy and mud-filled stretch of road leading to the house.

They park the battered Ford in the overgrown gravel driveway.

“Looks ancient,” Lucy says. “No owners?”

“Nope. Unclaimed property for over three or four decades. Locals said no one has set foot here except one or two demolition crews.”

“Well, it’s still standing,” Lucy says.

Joe smiles. “Yeah. Crews stayed one day, then left and never came back. According to the locals, the place is haunted.”

She arches a brow. “Haunted?”

Joe waves a hand as if shooing a fly. “Rumours. Old people’s tales. I mean, really old, with more snow on their pates than teeth in their mouths and brains in their heads. They said the architect and his assistant vanished, like some of those who came to tear it down.” He opens the driver’s door and places one foot out. “You ask me, I say they all ran out of money, packed up, and left.” He gives her a toothy grin and steps outside.

Lucy takes a two-piece folding mirror out of her pocket and stares back at her curved nose, her complexion with as many imperfections as there are exes in her past. Ex-hairdresser, ex-phone saleswoman, ex-wife to an online scammer she married after a wild weekend in Vegas with a ton of booze and several snorts of the good white stuff. His treat.

Her gaze drifts back to the way they came, to the barely visible tree line that defines the main road. Then she eyes the dilapidated structure before her, and a weight settles on her chest.
—–

If that enticed you enough to want to buy the story, you can do so from Amazon or if they’re not your favourite place to buy ebooks, try any of these retailers instead.

And if you do honour me with your purchase, why not share your thoughts about the story with other readers out there? You can do it by leaving a brief and honest review of what you read. Not only will it help me, but it will help others to find a story they might like (or stay away from, if you think it was bad).

On a side note, I have made some changes to my mailing list. Now, anyone who signs up for my monthly newsletters will receive a free short story! So, sign up here or try the link to the right (near the top of the page, under the search bar), and download your copy. Naturally, I won’t hold it against you if you choose to spread the news far and wide about the free story so others will know… 😉

Writing Prompt 55

“Oh, for the love of Holy Morhan, will you please stop thinking that there’s always something wrong?”
Jonas stuck his hands in his pockets, kicked a pebble, and lowered his head. “Something is wrong, though,” he muttered under his breath.
Pela rolled her eyes, sighed, and slapped her hands on her thighs. “You’re impossible. You know for once, just once, I’d like to hear something positive from you.”
They reached the edge of the forest at the top of the hill. Jonas stopped.
“Were your parents really cruel?” Pela asked and carried on walking on her own down the path. “Was it a hex one of the enchanters put on you, huh?”
“Pela?”
“Did you pee on one as an infant?” Pela continued without paying attention to her surroundings.
“Pela?” Jonas insisted, still frozen in place.
“Did you accidentally fall into one of their cauldrons perhaps?”
“Pela!”
“What?” She stopped and looked around her for Jonas. “What are you doing back there?”
Jonas jerked his chin at the hanging-upside-down citadel. “Is that wrong enough for you?”

Published in the #redditwriters anthology

Just a quick note to let everyone know that the anthology I mentioned a couple of weeks ago is now live. You can get your copy here (for you in the US, and here for those of you in the UK). The title is TL;DR: A Redditwriters Mixtape Vol. 1

In its pages you will find thirty-one stories from twenty-six authors. There is no theme to the anthology, so almost everyone will find at least one story to his or her liking. There’s fantasy, crime, horror, and even comedy.

Why should you buy this anthology? Because that way you’d be giving to charity. The proceeds from this endeavour go directly to Doctors Without Borders. So, if you buy a copy, you won’t be giving money to us, but for a good cause.

 

I hope you enjoy it! Happy reading, everyone!