Monday Musings, trying to create a website

Look I found coffee on canvaSo I’m working at website creating. The thing that I can’t seem to find easily is buy buttons for my books. Apparently, if I want a button with the pretty logo in it, I have to make it. Today, you get to see my attempts. Aren’t you excited? You might want to run and hide right now.

All right, so first thing I gotta to is create the image. I’m doing that with Canva. So I took the Kobo logo from images. I didn’t figure they’d start to yell at me for stealing their trademark if I’m use it to create a buy button. Then I put the image in canva and here it is. Let’s see how it looks. Untitled design-28

It’s kinda small. And it doesn’t have a border. And it’s blurry. But it’s a good first try. Now, dinner, and then I’ll come back to this.

Here’s the next try 500 x 100Untitled design-29

So I googled kobo and buttons and found buttons somebody else created. But I don’t like stealing so I just took the size dimensions. 300 x 100

BuyNow

All right, that’s still too big. And I definitely need the lines around it. Hmmm. Let me see. I think I’ll make it half the size and put a black frame.

All right, let’s see how this looks. Hey, I can save this.

So, the size looks right. 150 & 100.  Don’t know why the bottom frame didn’t show up.

The frame thing is weird. I wonder why that’s happening. I got some curves in this one though.

buttons

All right, so on canva I increased the design box to 152 and 52. Then I made the button inside the box a tiny bit smaller, hoping that the bottom part of the frame would fit. 1

And there’s my button. I don’t have any romances on Kobo right now, but I do Amazon. So let me make an Amazon button for, say, The Wild Half and see how I can add a link to the photo afterward, which is what will make it a “button.”

2

Now, I’ll publish this and then see what I can find on adding links to images. All right, I think I got it. I click on the picture, hit the link icon on the tool bar and add the new link. Let’s see if that works. Damn. That didn’t work. Grrrr. . . Okay, maybe I have to preview and see if it works that way. Right now it just keeps asking if I want to edit when I click on it. . .And it worked!

Okay. So if you’re read this far you’re probably trying to figure out how I did this. I went to canva. I created a new project with custom dimensions of 152 and 50. That way I could make the actual part of the button (that shows up on the page) a little smaller. I used the slightly curved (not very curved) open frame to frame the whole button. Then I used the lightly curved colored in frame to fit on the right. I downloaded the logo and added it to the white side, then used the color to fill in the box on the right. I added text, 10, and made it white. And that’s it! I have buttons.

Gonna go make Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and Ibooks now.

 

 

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Failing on the Musings, Death and Alzheimer’s

My Mom died on May 26 due to complications from Alzheimer’s. I just don’t have the emotional energy right now to write about it on two separate blogs, but I do want to inform romance readers like I do dystopian readers. So here’s what I wrote on my other blog:

My Mom passed away last Friday. I got the call, but couldn’t make it in time to be there for her. I wanted to, because she was an atheist and I thought she must be terrified. I wanted to make it easier, but just like everything with this disease, easier is always questionable.

I thought on the way home, as I was crying and trying to drive, that I wished it was Tuesday again. Not Thursday, because the day before no matter what I did, I could not seem to ease her distress. But Tuesday, when she slept half the day. I was so sad. I felt so helpless. All I could do was hold her hand and it seemed like nothing at all. But on Friday, I wanted Tuesday back.

That’s how this disease is. You always want Tuesday back. Even the worst days of the “before” are better than the days of the “after”. I knew it at the time too. I knew when my mother would ramble on and she made no sense at all and introvert that I am, I was quickly exhausted trying to answer, that I would want those moments back. But even then, you don’t hold on to them long enough. You don’t live in the moment enough because there is always pain, often from remembering that other “before”.

You would also think that after all the years of tears that I would be mostly numb right now. I remember one terrible day driving home from a visit, crying in the car, sobbing to my mother who wasn’t there, that I couldn’t fix it. That no matter how hard, I couldn’t make the disease go away. I couldn’t get her back. And I was sorry that I’d failed her. I did–I do even now–feel like I failed her. You could tell me I didn’t. I could say I know, but no matter what, it sits in some dark place in my heart. I can no more get rid of that guilt and sadness than I can destroy the disease.

But those tears were not enough. I am so sad, hurt so much that I wish I could just rip my heart out of my chest and stop the pain. As I writer, I should be able to articulate why, I should be able to put the thoughts that bring this on into words, but I can’t. I don’t think; it just hits me. I’ve lost other people. My father, my stepfather, even my dog (who was a people, at least in his mind). They all hurt, but this is worse and I can’t say why.

This one thing, though, I do understand. I have been able to cry these last months on command. For no reason or whatever reason you wanted to create. I didn’t know why. It was weird. Now I do. It was this. It was the knowledge somewhere that I couldn’t dwell on it, that my mother way dying and I couldn’t fix it. Now it’s here and between the sobbing jags, I reach places where those tears have stopped. So that’s something.

And those are my thoughts for this week.

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Monday Musings, Why I Love Romance

Historical RomanceYeah, the picture is in no way representative of the someday book cover for this book. I created it just for a photo for this blog post. Here are the few paragraphs of my currently untitled historical romance, which is a good year and a half away from being finished.

Cathy Clifford could shoot a gun.

She’d learned three years previously, shortly after her dead fiancé’s brother tried to kill her. It only seemed prudent.

Unfortunately, she thought as she turned from the target, most men found her masculine talents intimidating, if not repulsive. She need look no further for an example than to Rupert Marston, who, for the last four days, had vied with blond-haired Scott Douglass for her attention, employing too-flattering remarks about her red curls and green eyes. She’d encouraged his attentions, hoping jealousy would compel Scott to act. Now, as smoke rose from the end of her gun, he backed away from her, his face creased in disgust. Obviously that little flirtation was over. No real loss there. Her stomach dropped, however, when she shifted her gaze to Scott.  He stared at her in astonished dismay. Would he withdraw his suit as well?

An unseasonably warm ocean breeze ruffled Cathy’s hair as she swept her eyes over the remainder of the assembled company—two servants, four women and four men, the last of whom Cole Chandler had invited to the back of his Newport estate for this little game of target practice. The women stood behind the men, all expertly dressed and coiffed, with parasols spread wide against the sun: silk and satin lawn ornaments on the expanse of lush green grass. They’d joined the shooting party to cheer the men on and exclaim over their questionable expertise.  Cathy had happily been one of them until she’d made the mistake of advising Cole on his aim. The next thing she knew, she’d left six bull eyes in the target and cradled a smoking rifle in her arms, while the collective group stared at her with varying degrees of alarm and censure. All but raven-haired Gabriel Keller who’d arrived just that morning and watched her speculatively.

After a second, his mouth curved into a tiny smile of admiration and he gave her an all-but-imperceptible nod of approval.

 

I started reading a new series, recommended by a friend of mine, the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher. It’s interesting in that its premise is that the world uses magic. I know I’m going to like it, but I have one major problem–the main character, first person, is a man.

This is my epiphany–I’ve always read romance because the main character is a woman. I loved, loved, loved The Hunger Games for the same reason. It’s not a feminist thing (although I am a feminist). It’s that I identify stronger with a woman. Now mind you, most romances these days have both male and female points of view, but for all that the woman gets do “do stuff.” And I like that. When I read, I want to go on adventures. When I write, I want to go on adventures. And I want to do it, at least part of the time, as a woman. Most of the time, to do that, I choose historical romances.

I did not know I was doing this a a kid. I went from reading books about animals–Call of the Wild, The Black Stallion–to books about people when my mother handed me one. Victoria Holt, On The Night of the Seventh Moon, one of my all-time favorites. I loved it. I read it fast and later I read it slowly, just to sink into the story. I thought it was because of the romantic elements; I was all of 13 and entering the period of my life in which boys were all important and yet pretty foreign.

Now, decades later, I’m not so sure.

Definitely romance was a big thing in that book, and in all of Holt’s books and Mary Stewarts and Phyllis Whitney, which I went on to. But also a murder mystery. I came to believe that the mystery was also what I loved. When I started writing, it was with a mystery in every story. To this day, I cannot write a book without a dead body. I’ve tried, but I’m bored in 10 pages.

But that’s not the only reason I loved those books, either.

It’s the adventure. In On The Night Of the Seventh Moon, the heroine is almost seduced by the hero. I don’t remember it well now, but she ends up in the middle of castle intrigue in Bavaria. I think it’s Bavaria. What I remember now, many years later, is how exciting that was, to “be” the heroine in the middle of castle intrigue. Nothing I’d read had ever put women in that role.

I saw that very rarely as a child of the 60’s and 70’s. Consider that this was a time when having Lieutenant Uhura on the bridge in Star Trek was radical. Not just a woman, but a black woman, with a large, active role in a sci-fi story about exploring “strange new worlds.” But, in order to do that, she had to wear short skirts and be a communications’ officer. Heaven forbid we let a woman be science-y. The pilot of the show had a female doctor wearing pants like everybody else. To televise a series, that had to go.

So I read Holt’s books and got to be a woman adventurer. In the first Mary Stewart book I read–still one of my favorite all-time books–Nine Coaches Waiting, I got to save an awkward and lovable kid from his evil uncle. I did it (as the reader) with a great deal of courage and thought. Yes, in most of these books and in the books I wrote, the hero often “saved the day” but he never did it without the heroine being a big, big part of the adventure.

I read those books and went on to romances with sex which was even more fun. Wow, women could have sex in books and have adventures? Sign me up! Sweet Savage Love, the heroine travels through the Wild West and becomes part of Mexican War (and is also, I realized when I tried to read it a few years back, one of the most selfish heroines in the history of the genre). The Flame and The Flower, the heroine travels on ship and ends up on an early American plantation. Woodiwiss’s heroines aren’t always particularly active, but as a reader, I did get to go on adventures. In pretty much all of Laurie McBain’s books  the heroine engages in some pretty adventurous stuff. Highway men and stuff. Lots of fun!

And now, it’s many years later. The first “modern” kickass woman, Princess Leia, is now decades old. So is Agent Scully from the X-files. Kickass women in movies happens far more regularly. We have series with women detectives who shoot guns (Castle) and movies with women fighting back against men who abuse them. We have Rogue One, and a female heroine in the last three of The Star Wars series, and we have The Hunger Games and Divergent. I love it all. We are still a long way from equal in heroic roles, but women now have many different genres to enjoy strong, adventurous roles in. We’ve come a long way.

For me, I will finish with my Post Plague Series, and I’ll write historicals, because that’s where I’m comfortable. I love history. But for everybody who denigrates romance as keeping women in sterotypical roles–the history of the genre is the opposite. It gave women like me, and continues to give women a place to go where we can be heroes in fantasy world to prepare us to be heroes in the real world.

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Monday Musings, the terror of publishing

I started this on a closed facebook page for writers. This is the post.

I have almost as much a fear of success as I do of failure, and it often keeps me from moving in any direction. I think it’s because for writers success means people reading your work, which can be very personal.

I’ll be honest–this is as much a reason for my lack of blog posting as anything else. It’s terror of people reading my thoughts and that terror is there even though I have maybe one person visiting my two blog sites a week, and, lately, very few sales. I rarely hold back in my writing and when I do I get angry with myself. But putting myself into my work is exposure. Anna Nalick explains this best in Breathe (2 am)

Two AM and I’m still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer
Inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to.
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
‘Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to.

Mind you, by putting this here I am, literally, using her words however I want to.

The thing is, I don’t know how to not write. It feels to me like communication through the written word is part of my DNA and as the world moves on and methods of communication through the internet becomes wider, it becomes almost compulsive. I am on facebook multiple times every day. And fiction, for me, is a great way to “illustrate” my thoughts and emotions. Some of that is subconscious, and it takes a book or two before I realize that I’ve been working out some things.

And that makes it even scarier.

I also tend to write my books in a bubble. I write what I think and feel, and I try to understand others’ thoughts and feelings by delving into the heads of other characters. It is so much a thinking process for me and I love it. I really do. There is nothing in the world like it. But then I have to come out and I have to share it and suddenly I realize that I had written no-holds-barred and what I put out there is me. I am partly afraid of rejection, but I am also just afraid of people knowing me. It’s an introvert thing, which I have yet to be able to explain fully.

Obviously I have found the courage to publish the work, both through a brick and mortar house and through the indie world. That much I can find the courage to do. What I have a difficult time doing is promoting it. Promoting for me is not just standing in front of a crowd naked, it’s yelling, “Hey look at me! I’m naked! You know you gotta see this. You’ll love it.” Totally terrifying.

But. . .I am determined to do it. This week, even. I’m moving forward on newsletter writing, and giving away a free book (details later) and finding newsletter subscribers, and maybe posting some excerpts here. Just know, anybody who reads this, it is terrifying for me and for many writers. Writing and publishing are acts of courage.

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Monday Musings

So I already broke my promise and didn’t “muse” last week like I was going to. I didn’t lost-in-thought-1220447-639x833post about that giveaway either. See, I’m just not very good at all of this. I love my books and I adore my characters who are, to me, people. Friends. But introverty-introvert that I am actually promoting or marketing them. . .well I avoid it. A lot. All the time. I want people to read my books, because I want to share my books and my friends. But I don’t want people to read my books because so, so much of me is in them. It’s a privacy thing.

But. . .I guess I just have to believe that, while there are people who will hate those aspects of me, there are people who will love them, will love my books, will love more. Those are the people I want to reach but I guess I won’t get there without some promotion. Without having the courage to show people my bared soul. Blech.

Let me see, what other musings have I got? Not much. I guess I am not really deep and meaningful on Mondays. Oh, here’s a thing. I’ve decided that I’m going to, for the PostPlague series under D.L., start working on some short stories about the secondary characters to fill in for newsletter subscribers while I work on the third book. Okay, scratch the “decided” because I have commitment issues, and say “thinking about.”

It occurred to me that I could probably do that for historical romance readers as well. I’m just not sure what yet. I’m thinking about the books out there and pretty much everything you need to know about the characters are in the books. The PP series is first person, so writing about other characters gives you their perspective. But my romances are 3rd person, so we see everybody’s perspective. I mean, I guess I could tell readers about Rick Winchester’s story before he arrives at the Bar M (The Wild Half) but I’m not sure that’s really all that interesting and the purpose of romance writing is romance. If that’s not in the short stories, do readers want to read it? I don’t know.

For other characters, I have the whole book written or am writing it. For example, in Running Wild, at the end of the book we have this little part about the private investigator that Nick hires: (Could be some spoilers here–fair warning–oh there, I xxxxx out a name to save a little something)

 

“That might explain why he’s so dead set again the movement,” Nick said. “You think his father’s connections could have gotten him access to the baggage car and Star’s trunk?”

“Easily,” Gabe answered.

“What trunk?” Lee asked.

Gabe stayed focused on Nick. “We’ve no direct proof, not yet, but as possibilities accrue. . .”

“And then there’s the picture frame,” Del said slowly. “Doubtless xxxxx used xxxxxx to enter the house.”

“I expect so,” Gabe said, as if he understood perfectly well the information about a picture frame that Nick had never heard of. “Nick, I’m in complete earnest when I say there’s no time to lose in this.”

 

and then there’s this a little later:

 

Gabe hesitated. “From Boston, is he? I should be honored to make his acquaintance. First, though, Nick, if you would be so obliging, I would like a moment’s privacy with you.”

Nick frowned as he pulled his six-shooters from the bedside table to lay on the bed. He couldn’t see what Gabe could have to say that the others couldn’t know, but arguing would take precious time. “O.K.” They stepped into the hall. “What is it?”

Gabe took a breath and put a hand on his shoulder. Something crossed his face briefly before he said in a low voice, “Miss Montgomery shall be fine, as long as you leave tomorrow and take Huntington. You’ll want the assistance. But don’t—and I mean this in all earnestness—don’t allow him near Mrs. Huntington. Understand?”

Nick frowned. That marriage had always made him uneasy and Del’s notorious reputation for an explosive temper only crowded the mourners. “You’ve heard of them in Philadelphia?”

Gabe smiled wryly, a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “One can hardly avoid it. Keep him as far away from her as possible.”

Nick sighed. “I’ll try, but I can’t keep a man from his wife if he wants to see her.”

Gabe held his gaze a moment before dropping his arm with a sigh. He shook his head. “You’re right,” he said looking away. “It’ll be for Viv to manage then,” he added under his breath.

“Viv?”

Gabe looked back at him. “My sister-in-law. She’s quite, uh, talented at cleaning up messes after the fact.” He took a breath and then offered Nick one of his rare, real smiles. “You’ve got your guns. A rifle cane too, I believe?”

“Yes,” Nick said. Had he told Gabe about that? “Star gave it to me.”

“Good. Keep it with you at all times. You’ll need it.”

 

In these paragraphs I’ve set up 3 stories–Gabe’s, Viv’s and Del’s. Okay, Del’s has already been set up to some extent in 2 books, but I’ve given hints of Gabe, whose romance with Catherine Clifford is entwined with Vivian Taft’s. So I can’t really give anybody a short story on that. Those are two books, which were half written before The Post Plague Trilogy screamed “write me, write me.” But. . .hmmmm. There are parts of Catherine’s story that I could write, I suppose. I should consider that.

Okay, so those are my musings for the week. Now I actually get some writing done! Oh wow, look, I figured out what block quoting is and how to use it. Cool! I’m kinda psyched about that.

 

 

 

 

 

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Been away. . .

So, I’ve “been away” for a while, ie: haven’t posted to this blog since 2015. I’ve been busily working away on my dystopian trilogy. But then I come here and see, wow, I’ve been hacked! Somebody came on and put in their contact information. Not sure exactly why they came to this blog, which has almost no activity, but, well, I guess all hackers can’t be brilliant, right?

Anyway, I’ve got some little bits of news: I am working on getting my rights back on Wicked Woman and The Wild One. Also, the second book in the dystopian trilogy is out. I’ve decided, too, that I should come and post here more often. So come Monday, I’m starting with Monday Musings. Just my thoughts for the week. Next Monday–4/3/17–it’ll be about a facebook hop that I’m in, which will giveaway some books on various facebook pages (including my D. L. Eagan page) and at least one amazon card worth $200. You might want to come back and check on that!

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The Liars, not really victorian. At all.

I’m tired. But I finished my dystopian book that I started in March in a fit of insanity. It is now up on Amazon. I’ll put it up on other platforms within the next couple of weeks.

Did I mention I’m tired?

First thing, probably should post the blurb.  And mention that even though it’s not Victorian, or a romance, it does have romantic elements. And I do believe that my years creating the Victorian world for readers has helped me enormously creating this dystopian world.

Freedom is the first lie.

274 years have passed since hatred, greed and corruption created the plagues that took down civilization.  Out of the chaos comes a new religion, Reyism, and an ideal government, the Temple.  The Temple generously provides all citizens with daily injections of life-saving serum, and an ideal test to assign them to their ideal jobs. They have achieved utopia, or so the Prophet preaches.

It’s a lie.

Neri Symmes’ survival depends upon lies. She must lie to stay alive. She must lie to keep her sanity, because anyone who challenges the benevolence of the Temple, or her husband, the Prophet, risks savage punishment and execution. Then Neri discovers that two friends, one of them an old flame, are embroiled in a desperate scheme against the Temple. Joining them might mean true freedom, but it also means deceiving her sadistic husband, who has all the power–and all the serum–on his side.

And pretty pretty cover.wtf liars

here’s the link

So basically what happened was I got very caught up in reading Hunger Games. If you’ve looked at the rest of my blog at all, you will see that. And then I got caught up in wanting to read more books like that, but I couldn’t find any that really hit me hard. So the part of my imagination that I seem to have no control over started posing that What If question that starts pretty much every story.

What if the protagonist of the Evil Authoritarian Dystopian Government is part of that government?

Or, what if she was the sister, daughter, wife of the leader of that Evil Authoritarian Dystopian government? Basically, what if the protagonist is Eva Braun (Hitler’s mistress)?

Well. . . kind of couldn’t see Braun taking down Hitler, especially since she was at his side when he died.  And no matter how I worked it in my mind, I couldn’t see how she could be sympathetic, so I had to work around that.

Also, didn’t really want to do Hitler. Lots of reasons, but mostly because I think he was nuts. And he had reasons, horrible and terrible though they were, for what he did. I wanted a straight-up sociopath. So, that’s what I did.

Then I had to create a government. An evil government. And what hit me first and hardest was an evil religious government, but not a religion that currently exists. This idea scared me, and that’s when I went for a long drive. And sent many WTF? emails to my critique partners.

And then, even though I thought I lost my mind, I wrote the book, because what else could I really do? And since I’d already gone down the rabbit hole, I took pretty much everything that fascinates me and put it in the book. There’s a Meyers-briggs type test. There’s the sociopath. There are plagues. There’s a love triangle, pretty clothes and the heroine, Neri, looks like she’s living the high life to everybody else, but she is so not.

So. There’s the story behind the story.

Give it a try. I love the story and heartily recommend it. Or I would heartily recommend it, if I weren’t so tired. I mostly just recommend it.

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