Is hard copy still alive & kicking?

I’m pretty sure the book in its physical, dead-tree form is not going away, at least until we quit paper entirely. But I do like holding a book in my hands for reading. That love, instilled in childhood, will probably be the first thing to go as children grow up reading on electronic devices. Keep your children reading real books! Objects of affection that last and last. (What was your favorite book from childhood? I have a falling-apart copy of The Night Before Christmas in Texas That Is, given to us by my Texas grandparents. It’s still pretty funny to see Santa in cowboy boots.)

That said, digital seems to the wave of the future. But like me, people still like real books. I just formatted my mystery Nordic Nights to be printed on demand (one at a time, less waste)  by Amazon’s Createspace. I’ve done about four or five books so far for them so not a new experience…. or so you would think! Every time I format a book I have to re-learn certain aspects of Microsoft Word (which as much as I hate it is the only word processor that has all the bells and whistles I need.) Section breaks are the main bugaboo, and headers, and pagination, and do-you-start-every-chapter-on-the-right-or just flow? After about a week of hair-pulling I got it right. And the reason I know is there is a new gadget at Createspace that lets you actually look at your uploaded text. It’s called Interior Reviewer and after you upload your file (pdf/x please) you can turn the pages, get called out for your mistakes, and re-do it if necessary. It appears there is still some actual person doing final review but this new feature lets you fix the major things. I can see reviewing interior text formatting errors would be a major hassle for Amazon (it’s a major hassle for me and I only have to do one book at a time.)

The templates you download from Createspace make interior formatting much simpler. But beware adding new pages (to make certain text on the right or left usually.) I found out the new pages weren’t sized properly, going in at 8.5 x 11, instead of the document page setup size. That wreaked havoc with pdf/x, making it break down each size into a separate file. Such joy, to get the NO ISSUES report from the Interior Reviewer. Ring the merry bells! And I thought designing the cover would be a bitch.

Oh, it’s the little things this holiday season…. cheers!

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Growing old waiting for your audiobook? Take action!

A quick note here mid-week to give a shout-out to Iambik Audiobook who have released three of my books on audio recently. Not only does the author have input into the narrator selection (akin to having final approval on your book cover — when did that happen?) but you work with the narrator and Iambik to make the best product you can. I found the experience transforming, maybe because I’m doing my books with Thalia Press these days. (That means I edit myself basically so I love having a team at Iambik!)
The company is bundling the three audiobooks — my two Dorie Lennox mysteries, One O’clock Jump and Sweet and Lowdown, plus my stand-alone suspense Blackbird Fly, with a 25% discount right now! The single title price is only $6.99 but you can all three for just over $15. (The discount code is mcclendon-audio through the Iambik website.)

To find out more about the books and their narrators, check out this Iambik blog post. I loved what they had to say about my writing (another reason to love Iambik!)

The Iambik Blog: The Prolific and the Chroniclers

Chilling Crime for Winter

The theme is winter, and the Thalia Press Authors Co-op rises to the occasion, digging deep into their devious imaginations with short stories of cold, ice, mystery, and of course unexplained homicide.

Eight established crime authors and eight chilling stories to send shivers down your spine: The anthology, Dead of Winter, edited by Katy Munger and Lise McClendon, will release next week as an e-book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Enjoy this collection of intriguing, surprise-filled stories full of buried secrets, back-stabbing and revenge —  all set against the wintry backdrop of the cruelest season. Continue reading “Chilling Crime for Winter”

The Importance of Boots on the Ground

First let it be said that I love research. Maybe too much. When I was writing my historical mysteries I had to finally set aside all the fascinating books and just *write.* Because you don’t want your research to be show-y and all “this is what I know.” It should flow naturally from the story. But a couple weeks ago I found out — in the nick of time — that sometimes all that book and internet research, even your memories of a place you’ve been, aren’t enough. You need boots on the ground.

My new thriller, Jump Cut, comes out next week — officially. I spent a couple days in Seattle shooting video and stills for a book trailer that I cobbled together last week. (Also just in the nick of time! Wouldn’t want to be planning ahead.) While my son (a great photographer, thanks, Nick!) and I drove around the city, getting shots of Seattle iconic sights like the monorail, the Space Needle, the ferries, etc., I noticed something. I had a couple details wrong. And they were, like, really important! In the big climactic scene. Continue reading “The Importance of Boots on the Ground”