Black Friday sale alert!

This Friday, November 28th, all Thalia’s Musings ebooks on Kindle and NOOK will be marked down to $0.99! Share the good news about our Lady and Muse Thalia with all your book-loving friends this holiday season! For those without e-readers, there are free Kindle and NOOK apps that will work on whatever device you’re using to read this blog post.

 

Click either of these images to go to the Thalia’s Musings “Shop” page, where you’ll find all the links you need. To my American readers, have a great Thanksgiving and a safe and sane Black Friday! To everyone else, enjoy watching America at its craziest!

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The Next Big Thing: Thalia’s Musings

Thanks to fellow indie author A.M. Day for tagging me in her Next Big Thing post. Check out her Greek-mythology-inspired urban fantasy, Throne of Olympus!

1. What is the working title of your book?

The series title is Thalia’s Musings. The first book is A Snag in the Tapestry, and the second is Snarled Threads. The third volume, which is just in the outline stage, is untitled.

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

This line, from The Greek Myths by Robert Graves:

Having learned his lesson [after killing the Cyclops], [Apollo] thereafter preached moderation in all things: the phrases ‘Know thyself!’ and ‘Nothing in excess!’ were always on his lips. He brought the Muses down from their home on Mount Helicon to Delphi, tamed their wild frenzy, and led them in formal and decorous dances.

I thought that sounded like all kinds of comedy and drama waiting to happen. And Thalia, who is conveniently paired with Apollo in one myth, has always been my favorite muse. Hence the short story that became the first chapter of A Snag in the Tapestry.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

The series is a fantasy dramedy. I’d put Snarled Threads under gay and lesbian, but not A Snag in the Tapestry so much since there are no prominent same-sex relationships. In A Snag in the Tapestry, Apollo’s bisexuality is only referred to, and Artemis and Athena’s will-they-or-won’t-they thing is just background stuff. In Snarled Threads, Apollo romances Adonis (who is also bisexual), and Artemis and Athena’s relationship takes center stage. Making one book gayer than the other was never a conscious decision. I’ve always just taken the story where it wanted to go, and will continue to do so.

4. Which actors would you choose to play in your movie rendition?

I had way too much fun with this question. I ended up casting pretty much everybody, and Thalia’s Musings has a huuuuuuuuge cast of characters. For now I’ll give you the leads.

As Thalia, Beth Riesgraf, most well-known as Parker from TNT’s Leverage.

Beth Riesgraf

She’d need black hair and brown contacts, of course, but she plays a cloudcuckoolander well enough to pull off the character. And if her short film A Standard Story is any indication, Beth is insane in real life, too. This delights me to no end.

As Apollo, Jesse Spencer, aka Doctor Robert Chase aka Beautiful Blond Aussie Dude from House.

Jesse Spencer

The hair would be a bit longer – just past the shoulders – and his face would be completely smooth.

As Calliope, Anne Hathaway, most recently seen as Selina “Catwoman” Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises.

Anne Hathaway

I think she and Beth could look like sisters with the right makeup.

Want to see who I cast as the rest of the Pantheon? Watch for more posts under the tag “Thalia’s Musings casting”.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Thalia the Muse of Comedy observes the comedy, drama, and tragedy of the ancient Greek Pantheon – but when she becomes more than a mere observer, the Fates take notice.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The series started as a webseries and is still available online for free. A Snag in the Tapestry and Snarled Threads were published independently for Kindle and NOOK. I’ll follow the same model with future volumes – publish them in serial format on the website for free, and sell them in complete volumes for e-readers.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I think the rough draft for A Snag in the Tapestry took about two and a half months. Snarled Threads had a lot of starts and stops because of health and other interruptions I was dealing with, so it’s hard to estimate how much actual writing time went into it.

8. What other books would you compare this story to?

I want to say the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan because it’s a mythology-based series people have actually heard of, but beyond the use of Greek gods as characters, they’re nothing alike. One review said A Snag in the Tapestry felt like watching Friends or Cougar Town set on Mount Olympus. I prefer Scrubs or How I Met Your Mother, but okay.

9. Who or what inspired you to write the book?

I did. I totally didn’t mean that. Thalia inspired it. Really. Let the record show that I am totes giving my Muse proper credit. I hate herding sheep.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Have you ever read another book that spoofed Aristophanes and Lady Gaga in the same gag? No, you have not.

Watch for this author’s Next Big Thing post next week:

Carol Parsons

Scrivener, Part Deux

(Here’s Part One)

While getting Snarled Threads ready for ebook release, I made a few more notes about Scrivener specifics that I’d forgotten from the first time around (which less than a month ago, so I have a pretty sad memory). So, here it is: How To Format Your F#%&ing Ebook Without Losing Your Mind, Part II.

Naming Chapters

Scrivener_Snarled_Threads
Fig. 1

See the grey sidebar on the left, hereafter referred to as the binder? Notice how I’ve opened a few of the folders so you can see the documents inside them. I labeled the folders with chapter numbers for ease of navigation and labeled the documents inside with “[Numeral]. Title” for the actual Table of Contents, which Scrivener creates for you.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

While I was compiling the ebook, under “Contents” I selected the texts from the folders but NOT the folders themselves (see the checkmarks?). This gave me a Table of Contents that listed the chapters by numeral and title, just like the titles of the documents.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

I retained my formatting, including my chapter headers (bold, centered, 18-pt, double space above text) in the Formatting checklist. See all those boxes? Check ONLY the ones in the “Text” column. Make sure all the other boxes are unchecked. And see that dropdown menu that says “Custom”? It can say “Ebook.” Make it say “Custom” unless you want your entire text to be left justified with indented paragraphs and no paragraph spacing. I prefer full justified text with spaces between paragraphs in an ebook. Plus, as you’ll see, I had some sections that required special formatting.

Poetry

Several chapters in Snarled Threads feature poetry. Some of it is my own, and some of it is borrowed from a public domain translation of the poems of Sappho. Keeping the verse format and putting proper citation in footnotes was essential. Here’s how I did it.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

The verse text is left justified while the main text is full justified. I inserted the footnotes in MS Word before I copied and pasted the text into Scrivener. Fig. 4 shows how the footnotes appear in Scrivener. Don’t worry, once you compile the draft into a MOBI or ePub file, you get little numbers and corresponding notes at the end of the book just like your original document. Just make sure you select “Text” for Formatting during the Compile stage like in Fig. 3.

Random Weird Stuff

Part of Snarled Threads is told through physician’s notes made by a doctor who blacked out her patients’ names and struck through some of her medical observations. Warning: The next image contains plot SPOILERS.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Scrivener kept the strike-throughs from Word, but I had to redo to the black highlight marker. The ePub version I previewed in Calibre (still cannot get my NOOK app to preview self-made files) shows a black highlight over black text as in the image. The MOBI version I previewed in my Kindle app shows a black highlight over brown text, which looks even cooler imo since you can actually see what’s been “censored”.

Want to see how it turned out? Watch this blog for Snarled Threads‘ release date! In the meantime, check out my first book, A Snag in the Tapestry, for Kindle or NOOK.

What’s better than one Thalia’s Musings book for Christmas?

TWO Thalia’s Musings books for Christmas! That’s right, people. If all goes well, Snarled Threads may join A Snag in the Tapestry on Kindle and Nook in the next week or two!

In other book-related news, I now have author profiles on Amazon and Goodreads. I’m like all official and stuff. 😀 Or at least I will be once my awesome photographer gets my pics back to me and I have an author’s portrait on these profiles. You know how all the articles tell you not to get your friend with a cool camera to do your photos? Well, if you happen to have a friend with a cool camera who’s as talented a photographer as you are a writer, screw that.

Keep watching for updates on Snarled Threads‘ release. 🙂 And whatever holidays you’re celebrating this time of year, I hope the season’s off to a great start!

Scrivener: It’s a win

Having now successfully uploaded A Snag in the Tapestry to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I can recommend Scrivener without reservation. My knowledge of HTML is extremely limited, and my experience with HTML is pretty much just making italics and hyperlinks in blog comments. I’m not kidding when I say Scrivener probably saved me from a psychotic episode.

Before I downloaded Scrivener, I read several tutorials on using it to create MOBI and ePub files. Each of them was a little different. My method ended up being a little different, too, so I figured I’d add it to the internet.

I’d written the original manuscript for A Snag in the Tapestry in MS Word. When I publish chapters to the Thalia’s Musings website, I copy and paste them from the Word document and do a final edit in WordPress. What goes on the website always ends up being a little different than what’s saved on my hard drive. So for the ebook, instead of using my original manuscript, I created a new Word document and copied and pasted each chapter from the WordPress dashboard.

I set this new document to 12 point Times New Roman font, full justification, normal spacing. I labeled each chapter with number and title. This was just for search purposes since I’d end up formatting the chapter headers in Scrivener. I made them 18 point, bold, with two spaces between the header and the first line.

Scrivener has a novel template. I didn’t use it since it’s geared toward creating manuscripts, not ebooks. I created a blank document and made a folder for each chapter. This is what the final version of the document looked like:

Scrivener ebook project
Kindle (MOBI) version

The grey bar on the left is the binder. The main part of the screen that looks like a corkboard is Corkboard. Corkboard is where I put my folders in the order I wanted. Every time I added a new folder or page to the draft, Scrivener would automatically put it at the top. I’d go to Corkboard and drag it where I wanted it.

Buttons

See the green button with the plus sign? That’s what you click to add a new folder or page to the draft. The dropdown menu lets you select Page or Folder. I put my chapters, acknowledgments page, and preview for the next book in folders. I put my title page, copyright page, and author bio in pages. I didn’t create a Table of Contents page. Scrivener will do that for you, complete with hyperlinks, when you compile your ebook files.

See the icon at the far right? The white page with the blue arrow? That’s Compile, the magic button that turns your draft into an ebook. If you’re making two different ebook files (like MOBI and ePub), you’ll want to do a Save As before you click Compile. I created two appropriately-titled identical documents at this point. I edited the Nook version so that the copyright page said Nook Edition and the author bio didn’t contain a hyperlink to the Thalia’s Musings website (Kindle allows hyperlinks, Nook doesn’t).

So then I was ready to compile my ebook. I clicked Compile and selected either Kindle or epub. The menu walked me through the metadata (I love saying that word. Metadata. Metadata. Metadata.). On the Contents menu, I opted for a page break before each folder (chapter) and each page of “front” matter. I didn’t upload my cover image to the file since both Amazon and Barnes & Noble ask for it to be uploaded separately.

I was able to preview my MOBI file in the Kindle app on my laptop. I never could get my ePub file to open in my Nook app, so I used Calibre to preview that.

Disclaimer: It didn’t actually happen like this the first day I opened Scrivener.

If you’re new to Scrivener and to ebook formatting, I recommend giving yourself at least a week before your release date to play around with the program. Plan on spending the first day going through Scrivener’s tutorial. Plan on compiling and previewing a few times before you get results you’re happy with. Do NOT skip the preview stage. You want to see what your book will look like in e-readers before you upload it to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Any questions about my experience with Scrivener? Ask away!

UPDATE: For more details about things like poetry/verse, footnotes, and Table of Contents, check out Part Two of my Scrivener adventures.

They’re heeeere!

A Snag in the Tapestry is available NOW, DRM-free, for Kindle and Nook! Remember, if you don’t have a Kindle or a Nook, you can download free apps for your computer or smartphone from both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Click here to see the Nook listing. Click here to see the Kindle listing.

 

 

An Exclusive Interview

In anticipation of the ebook release of A Snag in the Tapestry (Thalia’s Musings, Volume One), I have given Greek blogger Seireina an exclusive interview. Here are just a few of the questions she asked me:

  • What inspired you to write Thalia’s Musings?
  • What influences does Thalia’s Musings have other than Greek mythology?
  • Who’s your favourite author and what’s your favourite book?
  • Any advice for web-lit authors out there?
  • Is there anything more you would like to reveal about Volume 3 that you haven’t yet?

Click here to find out what my answers were!

Ebook Progress Report

All the major formatting work on A Snag in the Tapestry (Thalia’s Musings, Volume One) is done! The cover art should be done by the end of the week. Both the Kindle and Nook versions should be released on (Black) Friday, November 23 right on schedule.

I’m reserving final judgment until my ebooks actually upload and go live to the Kindle and Nook stores, but at this point I fully expect to become one of the many indie authors singing the praises of Scrivener. After my ebooks are published and I’m sure what I did actually worked, I’ll write a post detailing how I did it. Based on the reviews I’ve read, every writer uses Scrivener a little differently. The common denominator is ZOMG EPUB AND MOBI FILES WITH ONE CLICK!!!

Ten more days! 😀

Official Release Date

In what is UNDOUBTEDLY the biggest news story to hit the internet today, I can now give you an official release date  for the very first Thalia’s Musings ebook. A Snag in the Tapestry will be coming to Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com on…wait for it…

NOVEMBER 23, 2012

also known as

BLACK FRIDAY!!!!!!

For my non-American readers, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is when American retailers start the Christmas shopping season in full force. It is a day of overhyped sales, shopping riots, and pure unabashed commercialism. It is something no sane, rational human being would ever voluntarily participate in. And I finally get to be a part of it. >:-D

Mark your calendars!