The Black Bag

Out of Nowhere – Why I Write Fantasy

Window Display of Autumn Harvest FoodsI’ve had several ideas buried like nuts in my mind for some time – though maybe I’m actually nuts. One in particular has been asking to be written several years, perhaps as long as a decade. I never really knew how I wanted to approach the story so I let it ride.

Fantasy is a great genre so an idea can be developed in any way necessary to tell the story. I’ve only dabbled with urban fantasy once before but this idea certainly fell into that sub-genre. After all, the idea came from reality in such a way that it had to be told as a story set in this world.

The other day, this idea surfaced in my mind again but this time a funny thing happened on the way to conscious thought – it shifted out of urban fantasy and I recognized it’s potential. In that instant, I realized that this story idea needed to be written in a secondary world setting rather than in its original, primary world concept.

Now I don’t want to share the idea at the moment but it is certainly rich with ideas and potential with the movement into traditional fantasy. I get to develop the notion into a plot, setting and everything else. This is the beauty of writing fantasy fiction – the chance to take the commonplace aspects of living and drop them into a different world entirely where they become unusual. It’s why I love reading and writing fantasy – the chance to bake something fresh out of the brain-oven using everyday ingredients. Can you tell I’ve got Thanksgiving on my mind?

Pumpkin Pie with Pastry Leaf CrustInspiration is a great motivator for writing. It’s also integral, especially with fantasy- in my opinion. If a story setting doesn’t fit, it will leave both the author and the reader uncomfortable. The precision of concept fitting it’s setting in fantasy is almost as important as characterization. Otherwise, it may just be the proverbial “emperor in new clothes”.

I’m looking forward to developing this short story project. I love my updated concept and the opportunity to fit it into a completely new and unexpected setting. I hope to post it and a few other stories on my Short WIP page soon.

Why do your read/write fantasy or any other genre? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

Complete DIY Self-Publishing Pt. 5: Publication

HammerComplete DIY Self-Publishing Pt. 5: Publication

This is the fifth part of a series about self-publishing a short e-book as a completely DIY project. Part 1 introduced why you should consider trying to self-publish on your own at least once. Part 2 dealt with some of the tools you will need to gather at some point to accomplish the project. Part 3 addressed the importance of formatting and using the tool of a style guide. Part 4 covers – well – the cover.

So you’ve arrived at go time with your book publication. Your book is formatted and the cover created. You’re ready to get this book into the public eye. But is there anything else you should do? Here are some checkpoints to cover before you upload your book.

Add the Tidbits

The style guide from Smashwords suggests using several pieces of information at the beginning and end of your book. First make sure to add the legal copyright notice and any necessary disclaimer are included. Do you have a proper cover page inserted? Is there a linked Contents page? Have you inserted an Author page at the end with your contact information and previous credits? All these pieces are useful elements needed in your book so verify they are in the manuscript and contain correct information.

Test the book

Save the book as an ebook format and use Adobe Digital Editions to view the finished product. When you view the book make sure the appearance is consistent. Also test your contents page and chapter headings to ensure the links are all working correctly. If you are using Scrivener you can compile the book in to a digital format. If you are using Word you can save it in PDF format.

Re-check your cover

Does your cover contain any misspellings? Is the appearance effective like you anticipate? Lastly, is the cover the correct size for your vendor(s)? As I shared in a previous post, I had to do some extra photo editing with Gimp to get the cover to the correct size.

Space Shuttle LaunchVerify the manuscript is ready

The manuscript should be saved as a Word document for uploading to your chosen vendor(s). But you created a digital version to test, why upload the Word version? When you upload a digital version it is basically “as is” so Kindle and Smashwords won’t determine if you have problems. Also, save two versions in Word – one for each vendor with different legal notice that you are publishing this through a specific vendor.

Create your accounts

Each vendor will require that you create an account. As part of the process you will be required to provide information for legal and tax purposes. Make sure you create these accounts so you’ve got your details and decisions completed before uploading to make the act of publication easier. As part of your process when you publish, the book will be assigned an AIN (Kindle) or ISBN (Smashwords) as identifiers for your book. Read the requirements from each vendor so you know what to expect.

Conclusion

Once you’ve published the book you can sit back and wait for the vendor(s) to verify the content has no mistakes that need correction. If there are mistakes or changes that are required you must address them before the book will be available to the public. If you have no issues you’ve launched the book. Now comes the hard part – selling it. But now you have the experience that goes with self-publishing in all aspects so you know what to expect from the process on a larger project.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Do you have a short project you’d like to self-publish? If you’ve published previously what experiences can you share? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

Under Construction – Templates and Scrivener

Under ConstructionLike any construction project, your writing is only as good as the foundation. With Scrivener templates can play an important role in creating your next writing project and the ease with which you progress. Templates can be like blueprints for your projects so let’s take a look at them today.

I’ve recently written about uses for Scrivener such as blogging and various email message templates. I received a comment from my most recent post sharing Scrivener templates for blogs, one from AllIndieWriters.com and the other posted at ThaddeusHunt.com. This is excellent information for those interested in blogging with Scrivener.

Templates are easy to make with Scrivener and they provide you a way to design basic projects of various kinds.

But how do you make a template should you want to create one yourself? It’s rather a simple matter. I’ll describe it and provide some links with screenshots.

BlueprintsWhen you have created a project with all the configuration you want for a basic project click on File => Save As Template. Name it and choose the location to where you want to save it. Now you have your template. Click here for a post with screenshots.

When you want to use the template you must import it. Here’s how:

When you start to create a project by clicking File => New Project the New Project window opens.

In the lower left click options to expand a menu and click Import Template.

Navigate to the template to choose it and you are ready to import your template.

Here’s the link for screenshots showing how to import the template.

Interested in more templates for specific projects? Here’s a list of links for templates to download. Some of these lists have some overlap but I’ve found a few interesting ones I’m going to use.

Justinswapp.com

GwenHernandez.com

SMWorth.net

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom CoverIf you know of any templates please share below in the comments. I’m thinking about a bigger use for Scrivener and a template for it. When I’ve completed it I’ll share it in a post with the template for download. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.