Saturday, May 31, 2014

Last Blogger Blog Post

I finally did the work and set up a web page.  Blotspot has been an excellent resource the past few years, but with both of my books out in virtual and physical forms, I felt it was time I had a full website for my work.

It's been an excellent run. I just noticed that I have had 11K views on this blog.

But you can now find me at Sara.Stark.Writes.  I hope you'll follow me there.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Down Time...

Today marks three months since I've written a post. I've often thought about writing something, but I have felt so apathetic lately that mostly what I do [in my spare time] is read or watch TV.  I've always been an avid reader, but to just sit and watch TV all day on a Sunday is abnormal to say the least.

And though I'm not participating, the world goes on around me, and that fuels my apathy. I often contemplate what the point is, why get up and go to work, why record my thoughts, why write stories? And to be honest, I can't come up with one good reason. Why strive for anything? It's all so tiresome. My stories tire me, and yet these characters, these people never leave my head.

Beryl keeps pestering me, but I can't find her voice. I'm not sure I relate to Beryl. I purely made her out of cloud-stuff, ether and imagination. Is she an angry young woman or resigned? I can do resigned, as that's what I'm feeling right now, but how is that the least bit interesting? It's not. It's boring. Capital B, Boring.

And I can't keep writing my story over and over again. To a degree, I've done it twice already with Janice and Maggie. I was thinking today that Maggie's ending was what I wanted for myself. Yes, there is a bit of autobiography in her story, the handsome man and his daughter that I wanted for my own. But it didn't happen. Life isn't like fiction. There are no happy endings, or at least, not many. There's just existence. Moving forward each day because there's nothing else to do.

I feel as though I have fallen into a dark crevasse, a sump hole full of foul-tasting water in which I'm drowning. Okay, that's a bit dramatic, but sometimes it does feel that way, that just making it through another day requires all my strength.

Don't get me wrong. As whiny as I sound, I have a good life, an easy life, but when I look around me, I still wonder what does it all mean. If I were to die today, nothing would change... Well, nothing except for me.

So I accomplished something today. I wrote a blog post. Yay, me! And I'll keep working at life, because there's no other option. I'm not a quitter.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Physical Cover for Couillon

This is the physical cover, or very close facsimile to what I'll use when I run Couillon through CreateSpace.

The pink is the bleed/trim part, and I left it in this jpeg for you to see where the spine will be. Since it's only 46 pages, the spine will be too thin to add any text, even the title. So I pulled part of the back onto the front and added the "instruction".

If you can't read the back, it says at the bottom: "Couillon is a women's literary fiction novella which advises you to watch what you wish for because the scariest monsters in this world are human."

I included this because I want people to understand that this is not an urban fantasy. I had a woman (probably a young woman, I suspect not older than early twenties) post on GoodReads that she had read darker "recipie" books. But instead of throttling her, I did good. I didn't reply to her post. I didn't rationalize anything because in my opinion that's just bad form for an author. 

But if I had said something, I would have said that she must have a very good life if she doesn't realize that the real monsters in this world are not zombies or vampires, that they're human. I also would have suggested that before she gives a bad review for a book not being an urban fantasy, she pay attention to the genre it's listed under. And because I'm snarky most of the time, I would have recommended that she learn how to use a dictionary before she berates a good piece of writing. Finally, I would have said, Really? You read a book all the way through, a book that only costs .99 and then you returned it? Now that is bad form. 

Anyway, I didn't do any of that. And she'll never know unless she manages to break out of her "dark" fantasy world. But I doubt that will happen. And honestly, I hope her life is easy enough that she never realizes the truths portrayed in Couillon. As for returning a .99 book after reading it, I so hope karma catches up with her on that one.

Okay, enough ranting for one evening. Back to writing.

To quote Anna Nalick, "If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Major Milestone - 10K Views

While I was watching a movie earlier this afternoon, the blog view count went from 9994 to 10004.  What a milestone!  In a little over two years, I've had 10,000 views.

Now you're probably thinking some blogs get that in a week, maybe even in a day. I say f'them. :-)

But seriously, I didn't expect it to be a well trafficked blog because it's about me and about writing and about the pains and pleasures of becoming an author. I'm not writing it just to get views. I'm writing it, mostly for me, as a diary of the process, one that I share with the whole world.... or anyone willing to read it.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

An Untold Want, the physical book

So the cover failed the first review because it wasn't sized correctly. I ended up pulling down a free tool [after paying for a month of Adobe PDF creator, which didn't do what I needed] called PrimoPDF. It's Norton approved, and suggested by one of the techs at CreateSpace.  And it's free.

So the cover passed the review the second time through, but because the DPI wasn't over 200, they're saying the cover will be blurry in spots. I submitted it for a physical proof anyway, because I need to read through again to check for typos. Yes, a friend pointed out several after I published on Amazon.

So I'm re-doing the cover again:
(1) to raise the DPI level
(2) to do a better job on matching the colors
(3) to re-do the barcode.

Why re-do the barcode you ask? Because if I use my own ISBN, CreateSpace won't distribute to libraries. I must use their ISBN for that capability, and I want that. Contrary to what you might think, libraries buy a lot of books, and if someone checks out my book from the library, they may buy one next time. Plus the CreateSpace ISBN is free. So other than re-doing the cover, it won't cost me anything.

So here are the three new building blocks. I'm posting them in several places, including FaceBook to see what the colors look like. Believe it or not, gimp (the Photoshop-esk tool I use) displays one color while MS Photo editor displays another, and so on. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Physical Version on An Untold Want is in the Works!

Tonight, after much work, I submitted An Untold Want for review by the CreateSpace reviews. 

I learned a lot of lessons along the way, but the most recent one is that if you want to distribute to libraries [and this is a very good idea], you must use a CreateSpace ISBN.  At this point, I'm not sure why I purchased ISBN numbers, because it seems that everyone is giving them away for free.  Who knew?  I didn't, at least not till now.

I learned that formatting physical books, especially the headers and footers, is not nearly as easy as you would think. In fact, it was a huge pain in the hiney.  I learned about margins and bleed space and trim sizes. That the spine [which makes sense once you think about it] is based on the number of pages.

I learned that covers have to be submitted in PDF format, which means I had to subscribe to Adobe PDF generator [for $9.99 a month], after I used gimp to create a cover [which was also a lot of work].

And that the royalties are way better on Kindle than on CreateSpace.  Their estimated manufacturing costs are way off.

So, you may be thinking, why do all this, especially considering my novel is published on Kindle. The reason I went down this path is to be able to submit An Untold Want to the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Competition, which requires a physical copy.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that even though I love my Kindle, I really would like to have physical copies of my books to display on my bookshelves. It's one of those look what I did!! feelings.

Anyway, enough about how great I am.  I've included images here of what the cover and pages will look like.  BTW, the dashes around the text on the pages won't be there in print.  They're just there to indicate where the margins are.

Please let me know your thoughts/opinions on the formatting.  I may not change anything, but you never know. I'm still pondering whether the image with the text and crows should be more yellow.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Not My Week...

Wow, I totally got out voted this time in the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction competition.  There were a lot of good stories submitted. 

[sarcasm alert]

Mine was the obviously the best story. So, apparently not everyone recognized how brilliant I am. 

Here's how it went: