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Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" and then went on to finally arrive at "Pubbing from the Darkside".  This little tidbit of information should be able to give you a little hint over what has been happening at the Oliver Homestead since I last posted.

Big News! I am part of a great collaboration with a collection of Writers who decided that if a romance book should be done, it should be done by us! Hence, the beginning of what is now know as Welcome to Serenity Harbor, Maine.

This is huge! This is ginormous! All of the books are set around the fictional coastal Maine town of Serenity Harbor. We didn't limit genre, only that their characters fall in love in Maine.

For me, this was a return to something that I love... well, yes... it was a return to writing. I've blogged a little bit about some of my struggles with illness that left with being unable to write for a whi…

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

If you are a writer, you've probably battled a time or two with acquiring just the right inspiration for a story. But it was just that dilema that led me to start off OBSIDIAN with a bang.

Let me tell you a fairytale... Once apon a time, so very long ago, a writer (Me) decided that she wanted to write a mystery, but she was in need of a place to start her story. She'd already decided that she wanted to write a mystery with a Coast Guard officer. This was really important to her since her dad served on Lightships. But she needed a place to start and she was having a problem coming up with ideas.
Enter, the writer's husband, who decided one day that it was okay if his boss put his 24 foot Bayliner in their side yard with a For Sale sign on it without asking his wife.
   "It will only be here a couple weeks," he said, not really thinking it was a big deal. The wife shook her head and consented (reluctantly).

A month later, the boat was still in her side yard and h…

Happy Release Day to me!

I've waited a long time for OBSIDIAN to find a home on the ebook shelves! Today is the day!

Click here for link to Amazon
Tune in tomorrow for the real story behind the opening scene!



Covers! Ugh!

Covers. They are the bane of my existence, but without a good one you truly can't do much with a book. It sounds trivial to say, but it's that two seconds of recognition that initially pull in a possible reader. Especially, since the invention of the ebook. There is no more of browsing the local bookstore to read back copy or check out the latest release rack. We lost our only big chain bookstore within a 20 or so mile radius. We still have small bookstores that are great, but more and more I see people carrying around their Kindles, Nooks, Sony, etc. We've become the instant society, and as such, that means those 2 seconds are crucial to grabbing a reader.

This was the original book cover for OBSIDIAN when it was released from Five Star.

The cover Gods were nice to me and didn't put a goat cat or strangely awkward people on the cover. I was very thankful. This time around I needed a new cover. And while I loved the original cover (orange is my favorite color) the ri…

Yeah!

It's Official! OBSIDIAN will be released TUESDAY (NOT Wednesday), December 18th on Amazon as an ebook!

This is where I've been for the last month, editing OBSIDIAN and getting it ready for publication as an ebook. It was originally published in 2007 as a hardcover from Five Star and later in large print edition. In case you aren't familiar with Five Star they are a Maine publisher that deals mostly in the library market. I was lucky to get in at toward the end of their romance line. They've since discontinued it. But I am glad that this book will gain a new life and hopefully new readers, and just in time for Christmas!





How's NaNoRiMo Going, You ask? Look at this--------------->

Well as you can see by the meter in my side bar, it's safe to say that NaNoRiMo is NOT going anywhere for me. I could give you all kinds of excuses as to why I'm not writing much, but frankly it comes down to letting stress interfere with my writing.

Anyone out there got an Amen for me?

When it's going good, it's great! When it's going bad... it sucks! Unfortunately, this has been a year where I have struggled to write more than other years. It's become hard to put the words on the page and it has more to do with my stress level than with anything else.

We all have stress, but for some this means that your mind and body shut down, especially if there is major worry involved. Our brains go into a survival mode and we function on on-dimensional level. This isn't good if you are trying to create stories out of your imagination. This is the holidays. Many writers have a hard time trying to fit in their writing around family committments and the multitude of …

Reality of Being a Writer (Author): Part 2

Not long ago I posted on an article that Jessica Jewett wrote about the Reality of Being a Writer where I address the myth that writers make a ton of money and live in mansions and travel to exotic places and... well, you get the idea. But the reality is that I have yet to meet more than 2 or 3 writers who can afford this kind of lifestyle.

Another reality is that being a writer and being an Writer (note: the title case), especially one that is published, are two very different animals.
But I wrote a book? I'm a writer! I used to think that there was no difference between claimed the title of "Writer" or "Author" when you are writing and actually having a book published. I hated the distinction of "Pre-Pubbed" or "Aspiring" and frankly thought that those pegging me with the titles could just go away. Permanently. However, I was unpublished, at the time. Now, when I look at it I find that the distinction isn't really between writing an…

Coming in November to eBook! OBSIDIAN

OBSIDIAN

"OBSIDIAN is a terrific combination of romance and suspense. Teagan Oliver knows how to keep her readers turning the pages!" -- Tess Gerritsen, author of LAST TO DIE: A RIZZOLI AND ISLES NOVEL
"Tangled mystery and touching romance--it doesn't get any better than OBSIDIAN. I couldn't put it down." -- Susan Vaughan, author of PRIMAL OBSESSION.

When a boat explosion kills his best friend, U.S.Coast Guard Officer Jamie Rivard is lured into investigating the connection between his death and an undercover smuggling operation off the coast Maine. But going back to Maine means coming to terms with his brother's death while guarding his heart from a beautiful widow with troubles of her own.

Shelby Teague knows the risks of making a living from the ocean. When her brother disappears while diving, Shelby must overcome her fears and trust in a stranger with a few secrets of his own in order to get her brother back.

Together, Shelby and Jamie must race again…

If It's November, I Must Be Crazy...

I really had no intention of jumping on board this ship. The NaNoWriMo is a month long challenge that involves 30 days of writing, a goal of 50,000 words and over 300,000 writers from all over who are crazy enough to join in.

The idea is really very simple. Get the words on the page. No matter how you do it, get them down. No editing. No revising. Just put your butt in the chair and write. Sounds scary, but if you break it down it's only about 7 pages a day. There is also the idea that in order for form a commitment to making something a habit you need to practice it continually for 20(or something) days. I remember that from a lecture I went to once, but the idea rang true. Want to make something stick. Do it every day. Of course, that would be why the diet and the exercise have been spotty at best. But the writing? That's the one thing I always come back to. In fact, without writing it can feel akin to not being able to breathe. I need it.

So, for a month you will be seein…
In case you hadn't noticed, there's a new page on my blog called Olive U. Actually, if you go to any of my sites or blogs you will find the same information and the same story. The page is all about Information, Compassion, Understanding and Caring. All the things that were important to the namesake of this page. After all, we all need something to stand for... this is what I stand for and I hope you will too!



Of Ghosts and Other Things

It's October, and as such, most find that they are inundated with ghosties, goulies and all kinds of paranormal wanderings as we lead up to Halloween. It always amazes me how many people suddenly find the idea of the paranormal and spirits to be more accepting when we come to this time of year, as if the holiday itself gives them permission to look into a lesser viewed side of our existence.

When I set out to write Three Truths I didn't set out with the idea of including the spirit of Simon's wife. But she became and integral part of the story, another match maker of sorts, for the beleaguered couple. I didn't realize until the story was done how much my own belief system had somehow transplanted into the storyline. They do tell us to write what we know. And, in this case, I know a thing or two about spirits.

I can't even begin to tell you when this fascination with spirits began. From the beginning I was picking out books from the library involving ghosts and ot…

The Reality of Being an Author

When you tell people that you've published a book they automatically seem to think that you are success and have enough money to make the Megabucks seems like a piddly amount. The reality is much different for authors. I've been both traditionally and Independently published and I can tell you that neither one of them is a cakewalk. The upside is that we are doing something we love (or hate. It's a two-sided coin.).

Author Jessica Jewett has posted a great article talking about the reality of being a Bestselling Author. She gleaned much of the information from another blog post, but it's well worth the read. Check it out.

Jessica Jewett; The Reality of Being an Author


New to the Toolbox

I've added something new to my Author Toolbox and to my Associations. I've joined Sisters in Crime. What is that? It's a national writer organization that focuses on women crime writers. This is big. This is VERY big. The way I look at is that the more you align yourself with people who have similar goals, the more likely you are to succeed. That's why I've been a member of RWA for so many years. I've always been adamant about gathering resources and this is yet another great resource.

In Stephen King's book, On Writing, he talks about gathering your toolbox of items that you'll need to succeed. Into that box you put all the things that will aid in the road to publication. I've been published, but that doesn't mean that I stop now. In fact, the need to keep expanding your toolbox grows along with your career. Makes sense doesn't it. It also makes sense that as your career path changes, so does the need for the things in your toolbox. If some…

Rejection, Rinse, Repeat...

Odd title, I know, but frankly I'm in the kind of mood. Quirkey, resigned, somewhat off balance, none of these are new reactions for me. But then, I'm no stranger to rejection. This week I recieved a rejection from a well known house that allows submissions of previously published work. I'd submitte it back in August and had no hopes of hearing anything on it until October. So imagine my surprise when I opened my email on one of my truly yucky days this week and found an "R" email.

After comisserating with my friends I feel a bit better. The book is good. I can publish it myself. But I was hoping to find an expanded audience for it that I'm not sure I can get through Indie Pubbing. My friend Diane made the comment that "Instead of hurting less, it seems rejections wound us more", as we progress through the years. It's tough. No one wants their baby to be turned down, especially when it's already found a good home once. It's kind of like…

Indie Pubbing: So... Let's Talk Pricing... Again

I can't tell you how many discussions I've been involved in that have to do with pricing your own work for sale. Think about it... you've labored for hours over this baby. You've sweat blood and tears over this work. Now,  you've got to put it at a price that will not only be fair to you, but won't turn readers away. How hard is that?

There are tons of writers out there all trying to gauge pricing and how to maneuver for the best sales. But none of us truly can say what will work and what won't. I've done the KDP select route and I've done the free days and frankly, all it did for me was kill of potential sales. I may have gained a reader, but they've already bought my book. Now what?

Okay, so a lot of this has to do with the fact that without additional inventory to give to readers you really have very little play room with setting prices. But that doesn't mean that you should in any way undercut the value of your work. You spent the hours…

When Did it Become Fall?

I've been busy. Daughter is now back at college and son is back at school and things should be settling down around here, but they aren't. I love my kids, but I've have also always loved the time when they went back to school (my apologies to the teachers who also have to go back). Somehow, when the dust settles it easier to get my thoughts back in line and think about all the things that need to be done before the upcoming holidays. But this year I'm distracted.

Not only am I getting lots of new things up in my Etsy Shop (shameless self promotion inserted here), but I'm editing a book that I wrote some time ago and that has my mind going in a thousand different directions. Last week, one of my most favorite cities was again in danger. I was in New Orleans in the pre-Katrina era, certainly not long before. I'd love to say that the city won't be forever divided in history as pre and post Katrina, but it would seem that the impact is monumental. For me, the…
No matter what you take from this article, it's food for thought. From Kindle Review, New Accurate E- Book Best Seller List ~ Or Big 6 Manipulation & Trickery?
Check it out and let me know what you think. Can there be fair reporting of ebook bestseller status? Or is this something that is still somewhere down the road?



Contractions are Killing Me!

And I don't mean that I'm having a baby. I can't even speak on that since I had two c-sections (too much TMI, sorry!) Anyway, I decided that before I try to submit Obsidian I was going to go back through and see what needed to be edited. After all, it may have been edited professionally and my copy editor is now a multi-published mystery author, but there is always room for improvement. Or in my case, I think there was a mansions worth of room left. Let me explain...

Back in college I took a wonderful writing course from a Professor who was published in Literary Fiction (I gave it caps because that was the way she talked). She was wonderful and gave me tons of encouragement, but she was very specific about the tone of the writing and one of her biggest pet peeves was the use of contractions. Because she was nice to me and encouraging, I wanted to make her happy with my work and so... Yup, I cut all the contractions from my writing. Not a single we're, they've, coul…

Reasons for Backing Up Work and Not Throwing Out Anything

Okay, confession time... I've been sitting on the new version of Obsidian for quite some time. Mostly like a year. I've had the rights back for awhile, but with working on the Darkness Paranormal Series I put Obsidian on the back burner. Time to bring it to the front.

But that brought up a very big problem. The original book was on my laptop which fried itself last year. I've yet to get a new laptop and all the old information is stuck on the old hard drive. I didn't have a digital version of the book. Ackkkk!!!!! The prospect of typing it all back into the computer is a daunting one. And what if I make big mistakes when it's already an edited copy? Worse, I knew that at some point I had made a copy of the book on disk, but for the life of me couldn't find it. It wasn't on my hard drive, my thumb drive and on any of the piles of disks that I still have. This was bad.

But, since I am an optimist at heart I concluded that eventually my copy would show up wh…

All Aboard the Airship!

Happy Birthday to Innocent Darkness and it's Airship Commander, Suzanne Lazear! It's finally here! Release day for the first in her Aether Chronicles Series, a Steampunk Extravaganza that is being release from Flux (one of my favorite Pub Houses!).

Innocent Darkness...
Noli Braddock and her best friend V’s incident with a flying auto have landed them in a heap of trouble. And when Noli is sent to a spirit-squelching reform school in San Francisco, she’s sure that her rebellious adventures are over.
   Meanwhile, Kevighn Silver has been ordered by the Faerie Queen to bring a mortal girl back to the Otherworld. The magic requires a blood sacrifice every seven years, and only a mortal girl who shines with the Spark—a girl like Noli—will keep the Otherworld from complete destruction.
   When an ill-timed wish sends Noli tumbling into the Otherworld, she’s more homesick than ever . . .  until V arrives to save her from an untimely demise. But who exactly is V? And if he helps Noli esc…

Lessons Learned from Marie Force

I've been very busy lately. Very busy. I'm not making excuses because a good amount of what I've been doing has had to do with writing. But I've also been working long and strange hours and I've also been putting together another blog, this one on my other loves... vintage and creative projects for the home. I'll let you in on that one later, but for now I want to talk about some of the writing related things that I've discovered when it comes to formatting your ebooks and books for Createspace.

These are the things that would have been done in-house by a traditional publishing house. I remember when I got my first contract and had to submit a style sheet listing information about the story and the characters and even how we envision our covers. I got none of it on my covers. Want to know how bad it can get? Check out my post here on the evolution of a cover. Thank God for Sabrina's Digital Imagery because she saved my book from the dreaded goat cat th…

More Adventures at Createspace

Some of the things you should never do when you are exhausted...

1. Make life altering decisions. No jumping into marriage. Buying a house. Having another child... you get the picture.
2. Drive. As an example, you should never try to drive the almost 10 hours from Maine to Pennsylvania and back in one shot just because you are convinced it'll be no problem... it will probably be a problem and no amount of caffeine and blasting 80's music while you sing at the top of your lungs will keep you awake when you are that tired.
3. Buying groceries... sounds innocent enough, but I can tell you that there are a whole lot of bad decisions that are made when you have to rush into the grocery store after working all day and can't figure out what you want for dinner. Hamburger Helper anyone? How about my friend Bun's choice of sardines in a can or Moxie over ice cream with potato chips. Yes... I'm serious. But he is an original.
And lastly...
4. Don't do anything embarrassin…

Adventures at Createspace

I've taken another leap of faith... or should I say imagination this time and gone the route of having Three Truths published in book format through the POD-Amazon-Linked Createspace.com. I've been hearing about it for some time and still I hesitated. When going the indiepub route I find that I sit on my decision longer than usual, mostly because I'm afraid to make the wrong jump. Was Createspace the right jump to make? Only time will tell.

The process is not unlike publishing through the KDP Dashboard (Kindle Direct Publishing). It walks you through the process and there are safeguards in place, such as being to opt-in-or-out of a professional editing service. I opted out since Three Truths has already been out there in print format in another incarnation as The Three Truths of Katie Talmadge. It was originally published through a small press that offered no distribution and little else. But again, that was a choice I made in the beginning of the pubbing part of my writ…

An Over Extending Arc

Last night was one of those nights where the story kept me awake. I should say "stories", since the thing that has been bothering me the most is how to best utilize Obsidian now that I have the rights back to it. This seems like an easy enough thing. After all, the story is already edited and had an audience. I can either choose to find another publisher for it, or I can I can choose to put it out there myself. The problem with a new publisher is that most don't want a previously published work. It's really too bad since it's a good book. The second problem is that I have another book that I wrote as a semi-sequel to the book. I pitched it to the original publisher, but it was too off for them to want to publish it for a line that is primarily a library line. That was okay with me. I loved the characters. But what really threw me off was when I realized that out of the two fulls that I wrote after Obsidian was published, the one that I thought was the sequel was…

How Much is Too Much and How Much is Not Enough?

If you've been in indie-publishing for any length of time and done any kind of research then you know that the market is as fluid and volatile as the river behind my house. One minute things are calm and smooth, flowing along in a steady, peaceful manner and the next a flood of information comes along that makes the current kick up and the urgency levels to rise.

What am I talking about? Pricing.

I was one of those that jumped on the KDP Select Program bandwagon, signing up for a limited three month term with my novella, STEALING DARKNESS. I set the price at a .99, believing that since it was a novella the limited price would make it attractive to buyers. I was also interested in the free days promotion that is part of the Select program, but what I have discovered is that I may not have made the best choice. You see, I undervalued my work. In order to put myself in a competitive place for selling my novella I put my price lower than would be a benefit to me... the person who labo…

Weekly Catch Up

I was going to sacrifice one of my rare days off to painting the trim and base boards in my house. But since it turned out overcast, gray and slightly muggy I decided that you all would benefit from my distraction and I would share a few things I've seen this week.

The first thing is from a post from Jen Talty at Write It Forward Blog. She posted about Promoting your book in iBooks and offered up tips to make it easy for your prospective readers to jump on over to iTunes and download you latest. Thanks to her post, I now have a nifty little button to help me offer Three Truths to my readers.

See...


Isn't it lovely? I wish all the ebook stores had these nifty little gadgets. It would make my life so much easier. There is also another gadget that can be added in case you have multiple books that you want to offer in a scrolling box. Very lovely and handy! I would suggest that if you have a book to sell on the iBookstore that you go grab a gadget for yourself and put it on whate…

Modeling and Master Groups

I have very little time to actually read, so I'm usually apt to grab something on a whim that appeals enough to me to carry me through a 30 minute lunch break and maybe my 2 15-minute breaks (if I'm lucky). Anyway, the pick this week is a book I've had on my shelf for some time. It's Writing For The New Age Market by Richard Webster (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2003). For some time now I've been working on the idea of writing non-fiction. As if I didn't have enough on my plate I thought I'd add something else to the mix. But I have a desire to share some of what I've learned and to help "pay it forward" when it comes to what I've had the opportunity to experience. I'm a firm believer that we are here to learn some very important lessons during this lifetime and part of those lessons includes passing along what we know so that others can be helped. I'm by no means some know-it-all-expert intent on bringing followers to some cause. But I t…

Where Have I Been?

Life Stuff...
Where have I been? My first answer would be to tell you that I'm not really sure where I've been. It's been a crazy couple of weeks, but things are finally starting to wind down around here. I haven't given up on talking about Independent Publishing and getting the word out to those that have questions, but since I'm a mom as well as a writer there are times when the "mom" part needs to take over. This was one of those times.
Happy "late" Mother's Day to all the moms out there! We spent Mother's Day weekend making a flying trip to Pennsylvania to retrieve my daughter from her first year of college. I find it hard to believe that it's been an entire year. Parts of it went exceedingly fast and, at times, they felt as if they crawled. I've lost track of how many trips I made to Pennsylvania in the last year. I know it was a lot. But it was worth it for her to be at a great college and have wonderful first year experie…

Congrats to Diane Amos!

Winner of a 2012 NECRWA Beanpot Award for Promise Me Forever! I wish I could have been there to congradulate you in person!
And for those of you following my Independent Publishing posts... I haven't forgotten! Stay tuned for the results of my first Amazon Free Promo. Coming soon! 

Free Today! Stealing Darkness!

Check it out! Stealing Darkness is a FREE read today! And, if you like the story, please take a moment to "like" Stealing Darkness on the Amazon page!

http://www.amazon.com/Stealing-Darkness-Paranormal-Novella-ebook/dp/B007SH9IHO/ref=lp_B001JP4FUG_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1333975074&sr=1-3

Minn Sterling ran away from Crescent Lake to escape the pyschic legacy left to her by her mother and to protect her heart from the man she was too scared to love. But when three women are mysteriously killed and the only connection the police have is her psychic link to the killer, Minn has no choice but to face her fears and run back into the arms of the one man who believes in her enough to catch the killer.



Yeah!

Independent Publishing: Part 3: Amazon Kindle Continued

Disclaimer: This is part 3 of my Independent Publishing Series and Part 2 of my Epubbing through Amazon Kindle section. I've talked about the prep and I've talked about everything that goes along with it, including loading your baby up on the Amazon KDP Dashboard. In this post I'll talk about the second part of the Dashboard and I'll talk about the Reports tab on the Dashboard. If you haven't read the first post I'd suggest you start there at Independent Publishing: Show and Tell: Part 1. My reason for putting this information out there is to help anyone else looking to make their way through the process of publishing their work. I am not anti-Traditional publisher, in fact, this process has made me ever more aware of just how much they do and the time and effort involved in bringing a work of the imagination to the masses. If you have any questions I would urge you to take a look at some of the links listed on my Independent Publishing page and, as always, you…