Unraveled (Thalia’s Musings 3) ebooks are here!

Unraveled (Thalia's Musings, Volume Three). Click to shop for Thalia's Musings ebooks!
Unraveled (Thalia’s Musings, Volume Three). Click to shop for Thalia’s Musings ebooks!

Unraveled is now available for Kindle and NOOK at an introductory price of $0.99! Like all Thalia’s Musings ebooks, Unraveled is DRM-free. Click the image above to go to the updated Shop page and find the version you need, as well as links to download free e-reader apps that will work on whatever device you’re using to read this post.

Happy Holidays!

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The Beginning of the End

Today I posted the final chapter of Unraveled (Thalia’s Musings, Volume Three). A year ago I felt like I would never finish it.

Unraveled (Thalia's Musings, Volume Three)
Unraveled (Thalia’s Musings, Volume Three)

Next on the agenda: drafting the fourth and final volume of Thalia’s Musings. At this point I can’t even begin to estimate when that one will be ready for publication, but it will be written, and you’ll get to read it as soon as possible.

Coming up a little sooner is the Kindle and NOOK release of Unraveled. I don’t have a date set in stone yet, but my goal is to get it out there before Christmas. Keep watching this blog and my various social media outlets for updates!

Speaking of Christmas, Volumes 1 and 2 will be marked down to $0.99 until tomorrow morning, when they’ll go up to $1.99 and stay there until New Year’s Day. If you buy them (or if you’ve already bought them, or read the identical free version on ThaliasMusingsNovels.com), you will be doing me a HUGE favor if you leave a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I’m an indie writer with a budget of zero, so word-of-mouth is the only way new readers are going to discover these books.

I hope you enjoyed Volume 3 and that you’ll stick around for Volume 4!

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!

Light at the end of the tunnel

I didn’t get a blog post written for this week, because the rough draft of Thalia’s Musings 3 has been taking all my writerly energy. I’ve finished 13 of a proposed 16 chapters. The book may actually be readable sometime this decade! So if you haven’t read volumes 1 and 2 in awhile, or at all, now’s a good time to catch up. Click here to read both volumes online for free, or here to purchase either volume for Kindle or NOOK. And now, back to writing!

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Buy An Ebook, Help a Disabled Kid

Quick version: The royalties for all Thalia’s Musings ebooks sold between 3/1/14 and 4/1/14 will be donated to World Vision’s Child and Family Health Fund. Want to know why? Keep reading.

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Click to shop

UPDATE: World Vision has reversed its new hiring policy because of pressure from their financial supporters. I’m still making this donation because (1) everything I said about World Vision’s work and why I admire it is true, and (2) I’m bigger than the people who effectively turned the children helped by World Vision into hostages in a culture war that we’re all sick to death of fighting. If you’re as upset by this turn of events as I am, please don’t take it out on World Vision. In all likelihood, they only reversed the decision because it was the only way to keep helping the people they were helping. Also, as far as I know, they still stand by their repudiation of Uganda’s discriminatory laws.

World Vision is an international charity that supports children in need and their communities around the world. They’re most well-known for their child sponsorship program. As Rachel Held Evans explains in this post, the money from the sponsorships is pooled to support things like schools, housing, and clean drinking water for the whole community. World Vision makes a point of employing local people in the communities it serves. Their business model is designed to stay in a community for only 15 or 20 years, with the goal of training local people to take over their work entirely when that period ends. Although World Vision is a Christian organization, they do not require the people they help to be professing Christians or to take part in proselytizing activity of any kind. They’re just trying to fulfill the Bible’s commands to care for those in need, especially widows and orphans.

So, why has this awesome organization lost over 2,000 sponsors since Monday?

Because the director of their USA branch announced that they would employ Christians in same-sex marriages.

Christianity Today’s coverage of that announcement is at my Tumblr, including my initial reaction to the news:

This is a huge deal. Personally, I’m not a fan of employers requiring anything of their employees beyond “Show up on time and fulfill your job description,” and I wouldn’t work for anyone who wanted to regulate my sex life. But this is a big deal because World Vision is acknowledging that the morality of a sexual relationship is not determined by the genders of the people in it. They’re holding queer employees to the same standard as straight employees: you can only have sex with the person you’re married to. They’re acknowledging that a same-sex marriage is as valid as an opposite-sex marriage. While I don’t agree with World Vision’s definition of what qualifies as a moral sexual relationship, I completely agree that the genders of the people involved is irrelevant to the issue.

Oh, and World Vision Uganda issued a statement condemning Uganda’s anti-gay laws. You know, the ones that say you can be imprisoned or executed for being gay? The kind of laws even Glenn Beck calls “heterofascism”?

Now, as to why I’m donating book royalties instead of just quietly making a donation myself…I’m broke. That’s it. That’s also the reason I’m (full disclosure) not currently sponsoring a child myself, although I really wish I could. I don’t have the funds and this is the best way I can think of to raise them. But this really is just about supporting an organization whose work I believe in, not drumming up book sales. If you aren’t interested in buying Thalia’s Musings ebooks, or if you’ve already bought them both in the past, or if you don’t trust third parties to make charitable donations for you, please consider donating the price of one of my books ($4.99) directly to World Vision’s Child and Family Health Fund or any of their other projects. I picked the Child and Family Health Fund because, as someone who’s dealt with chronic medical conditions since childhood, this is an issue close to my heart. Maybe there’s another issue close to yours, like education or supporting small businesses in the developing world or fighting human trafficking.

If you’re as broke as I am and can’t even spare $4.99, then please at least go to World Vision USA’s Facebook page and leave them a nice message and a 5-star rating. Or send a friendly tweet to @WorldVisionUSA and the #WorldVision hashtag. However you’re able to help, I want to see this incredible Christian charity rewarded, not penalized, for actually practicing Christian charity.

Still Here

Hey everyone, just wanted to write a quick post to keep this url out of the Blog Graveyard. I’ve been busy with afk/offline stuff, working on the third volume of Thalia’s Musings, and starting another writing project that I don’t want to say much about until I’m sure it’s going to turn into something. Yes, I am completely insane to be tackling two major writing projects at once. But where the Muse leads, the artist must follow. And I promise that, whatever other writing projects I take on, Thalia’s Musings will not be neglected or abandoned.

In the meantime, while you’re waiting for Volume 3, why not get Volumes 1 and 2 for Kindle or NOOK? Both versions are DRM-free, so the NOOK version should be compatible with any ePub reader or app (i.e. Kobo, Calibre, Bluefire, NeoSoar, etc.). And both Kindle and NOOK have free reader apps for PC, tablets, and smartphones.

Anyway, back to work!

Snarled Threads Release Date

Mark your calendars, people. Snarled Threads, the second volume of Thalia’s Musings, will be available DRM-free for Kindle and NOOK on…drumrollllllllllll………….

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

aka

12/12/12

In the meantime, if you haven’t bought A Snag in the Tapestry yet, here’s the Amazon listing and the Barnes & Noble listing. And if you don’t have a Kindle or a NOOK, you can get free reader apps for PC, smartphones, or tablets.

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.