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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…

Independent Publishing: Show and Tell: Part 1

Disclaimer: I'm in no way an expert. But what I am is someone who is traversing my way through the ipubbing journey and I think it's important to share some of the information that I've learned so far. These are the things that I've done, good or bad. My intention is to create some resources for others who are interested. So if you don't see the answers to what you want now you have two choices, you can email me at or you can wait to read on in the series. What I don't know could fill a book, but I still might be able to lead you in a direction where you can find your answer.

Where to start? Logically, it starts with a product to sell. Have you got one? Perhaps you have a book that you have gotten the rights back on and just don't know what to do with it. Or maybe, you have a long back list of books that you've written and polished (polished being the operative word) and want to get them to market. Where do you start?

If you've got a book that has been polished and well edited then you can skip to the next section.
But if you are still working on that book and it needs a little work then there are some things to consider here first. The work you put out there represents you. If I can give you anything else to hang your hat on then it would be this. I've seen a lot of authors who pay to have their books edited. This can be extremely costly and not always with the results that you want. If you don't feel comfortable in your abilities to edit and you have the money to spare then there are those out there that will do it for you. If you are like me and you have limited money to invest there are ways to get around it.

  • Invest in a good book on editing your manuscript or take a workshop that highlights this.
  • Find some great BETA readers. I'm not talking about mom reading your book unless she has the ability to be brutally honest.  (Mine had this ability). But get more than one person who can BETA read for you and pick people who may have different specialties. I belonged to a critique group early on and I learned an huge amount from fellow author Susan Vaughan. Her specialty was grammar and I still carry on many of those lessons today. How many is a good amount of BETA readers? As many as it takes for you to feel that the product you put out there will be the best it can be. I heard once that most editors stopped reading submissions after 3 errors. In this case, the editor is you reader and they do have the ability to return the book and put very visible reviews on your work. Give them something to rave about, not rant.
  • When you think you are ready to publish take one more look. Or have someone else look at it. Even traditionally published books can have a multitude of errors, but they are most often much more acceptable by readers who tend to believe that the error can come from some big name publisher.

If your work is ready to go and you are itching to publish I would urge you to learn a little before you put it out there. I'm a jump in and swim kind of person. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it bites you in the butt! When I decided to put Three Truths up for sale as an ebook I needed to learn a few things about the market before I could take the plunge. I would suggest building your arsenal or toolbox of reference materials.

There are 3 basic "free" yahoo lists that I've found to be an asset gathering information. Each offers their own unique specialties and each come with their own set of listserve rules. Make sure to check them out and follow them. It's better to be cautious, then to get yourself kicked off a list that can offer so much information. Also, don't let the "romance" or "mystery" monikers dissuade you. These people have spent a lot of time analyzing their efforts and are willing to share their information. Not everything works for everyone, but it's a great place to gather resources, get new ideas and even ask questions.


I can't even begin to tell you about the wealth of information that I found by being on these lists. I would, however, suggest being on digest. These can be high volume lists and being on digest gives you the ability to skim.

The last part that I want to talk about is branding. If you've been in writing for any length of time you've heard the term, but there really is a reason for this. Think carefully about the image and books that you want to put out there. This is not the time for scatter shot publishing. There is nothing wrong with writing and publishing different genres, just understand that you need to make it clear to the prospective reader what product they are getting when they buy your book. Think about name, image, quality and availability. These are all part of the package. How do you want to present yourself to the market?

As I progress I'll be talking about different resources that are available. If you have any questions, please let me know at and I'll help where I can.


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We have the cover and that is a really good thing! Especially, since it's a really great cover!

This has been THE project for the last six months. Much of that time has been spent writing my part of the anthology, a novella called ONLY YOU. Another part of that was working with my friend and cohorts to come up with this great anthology! Why wouldn't you enjoy it?! It's filled with stories of love that are all set around the fictional Maine town of Serenity Harbor. Want to know which town Serenity Harbor is patterned after? We'll never tell... well, maybe we will!

Anyway, who can write better about love in Maine than a bunch of Maine Romance authors! I gave you a tantalizing tidbit the other day from my story. Poor Nate Cooper, he doesn't know what he's up against when he decides to take on Kara Simpson. Lucky for him, he's got the whole town behind him!

And what is this rumor of sheep wandering the streets of Serenity Harbor, Maine? Well, you'll just ha…