Sunday, 16 February 2014

My Guest Visit On Emma Jane Holloway's Blog

I am very grateful to Emma Jane Holloway for hosting me on her blog. She was kind enough to give my novel a boost. Thank you Emma! Emma is a wonderful story teller, whose Baskerville Affair Trilogy is a must read.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Review For Penelope Parker

Penelope Parker: Witch in Training is a fun little fantasy book. There is an obvious analogy to be made with the Harry Potter series - a child goes to a school of witchcraft and wizardry to be trained to control her powers. However, there are a few things that set Penelope apart. First, PP:WIT is centered around female characters. While it certainly isn't a girly book (male readers will love it too--no fairy princess nonsense), there is more opportunity for young female readers to identify with the main characters in this book than in some of the other books in this same genre. Further, the magical instruction and rituals in the book reference genuine Wiccan practices. This lends a sense of realism and solemnity to the magical themes that is missing from most witch and wizard books. I think readers will find this both enthralling and educational.

PP:WIT is action packed, and moves very quickly. It is descriptive enough to draw the reader in to its magical world, but it does not get bogged down in overly long descriptions or dialogues. As such, it is perfect for young readers who aren't yet accustomed to reading lengthy novels, or for older readers who just want a fun quick read.

The book's vocabulary is challenging at moments, but not so much as to take away from the experience. Young readers may find that every few pages there is a word they have to look up, or ask an adult about. This is just enough of a challenge to expand a young readers vocabulary and to make them feel like reading this book was an accomplishment.

PP:WIT ends leaving the reader wanting more. The characters are likeable and interesting, and by the end I found myself genuinely interested in their exploits, and concerned for their well being. I, for one, welcome and anticipate a sequel.

Word to the wise: the characters are always hungry, and always snacking on something good. Have some snacks on hand while you are reading. ~J.H.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

My Experience with Self-Publishing

I know many of you who took the NaNoWriMo challenge are wanting to self-publish, so I thought I'd do a post about my experience. The whole idea of self-publishing can be daunting; so many places offering to help you become a published author. But like anything else, it's Buyer Beware. Some companies only want your money, and don't offer good value. Others offer many services, but are also prohibitively expensive, especially for those of us on a hamburger budget!

I checked out many companies, and found that many only offer Ebook publishing, which is fine if that's what you are looking for, but not if you want a hard copy in your hot little hand! Smashwords is good for Ebooks, as is Kindle Direct, as long as you can do your own formatting to their specifications. I found Kindle much easier and more forgiving in that respect; Smashwords had me tearing my hair out before I finally got it right.

For paperbacks and hard covers, there is Lulu, which lets you publish for free, but also has a learning curve to get the formatting right. The problem is, I found them very expensive to produce, and you would have to sell your books at an awfully high price to break even, never mind make a profit.

If you're OK with a paperback, for my money, CreateSpace gives you the best bang for your buck, and their support line is great. You can publish yourself, if you can stand the formatting hassle. I couldn't and used their Simple Interior Design service. It was $349 US, but the best $349 I ever spent, for the frustration it prevented. They also offer editing services if you need them, and a book cover design service. However, one great thing is that they have an online cover designer that you can use for free. It is limited, but offers many templates, and variations. I used it and was pleasantly surprised at the quality. They will also distribute your books to many distributors at no cost to you, unless the books sell, and even then, their royalty system is more than fair. The interior is also very professional, and I am completely satisfied with my experience with them, and will definitely go with them again when my second book is ready for publishing.

Guest Blog Coming Soon!

Keep an eye out here for my guest post about my book, over at Emma Jane Holloway's blog. She is the author of A Study In Silks, A Study In Darkness, and A Study In Ashes. If you haven't read the series, you should! 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Friday, 24 January 2014

Review For Penelope Parker: Witch In Training

Reading Penelope Parker: Witch In Training, written by Susan McCaskill. It is written for Teens and Tweens, but adults will enjoy it too. Just published and available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. I'm on page 54 and enjoying it immensely. If you liked Harry Potter, you'll like Penelope Parker.

Shout out to Sue and congratulations! Well written and humorous!

Jackie Harriz

Review of A Study In Ashes

I just finished the third book in the Baskerville series, A Study In Ashes, by Emma Jane Holloway, and overall, it was an excellent read. Evelina is eminently likeable, as she is not cut from the same cloth as most of the women from that era. She is smart, insatiably curious about all things mechanical, and has an aptitude for magic. 

The book is full of action from start to finish, as Evelina struggles to be who she is while staying within the bounds of who and what society says a woman should be. The only issue I had with this book and the second one is that she succumbs to the charms of more than one man. In my mind, it would have been better had she remained her own person, and not let her feminine side get the better of her.

Having said that, all three books are well worth the read, and one can while away many a delightful hour.

I would give it 9/10

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


It is so nice when another writer appreciates what you do! The post is my husband's, but the comment comes after.

Google Plus Comment

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

My Cover

I am so glad that the photographer and model are pleased with how the cover turned out!

ONE Photography

Between the pages & beyond.....: Author Spotlight with Sue McCaskill

Between the pages & beyond.....: Author Spotlight with Sue McCaskill: Can you tell us about yourself? Well, I was born in England, and lived there till I was nine, when my mom and I moved to Canada....

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Indie Publishing vs Traditional Publishing

This is my take on Indie vs Traditional publishing. Over the past year and a half or so, I've been reading many different articles, some for and some against Indie publishing.

I have a few author friends who went the traditional route, and were completely frustrated because their publisher or editor wanted them to make major changes to their novel. I'm not talking minor things like sentence structure or maybe rearranging things a bit. One author was told to get rid of all the dialects in her book. What?? The dialects helped make the book, and it would have changed it substantially. After weeks of arguing back and forth, she finally won, but at the cost of great frustration.

Then there is the rejection factor; J.K. Rowling was rejected twelve times before the Harry Potter series was accepted. Considering it can take upwards of six months to even get that rejection, one can see how much time is involved. That is even if one can find an agent willing to represent them, and most publishers do not accept unsolicited or unagented manuscripts.

Then there is the time it takes to actually get the book in print; anything up to two years and sometimes longer.

Another friend went the Indie route, observing that these days the publisher expects the writer to do most of the work anyway, and then takes 30% of the profit! "I may as well do it myself, that way I know if things go sideways, it's my fault!" Then there is the time frame; if one is on the ball, one can be published and up for sale in weeks as opposed to months or years. Granted, it is a LOT of work! I did my own editing, revising, polishing, book cover design,marketing, etc. But the satisfaction of holding one's printed book in one's hands is incredible, and worth all the work involved!

I started my novel way back in 2000, after years of life intruding, etc. I finally said that come hell or high water, I would finish the book and see it published before I turned 70. (I just turned 67). What I hadn't planned on, is that the book rather wrote itself, using me as its secretary! I also had not planned on writing a second book-or a third, but that seems to be where I am going at the moment. The last paragraph of the first book came to me long before I finished it, and as my daughter said, "I smell another book!"

Now that the first one is in print, I am busily marketing it locally for a start, and then we'll see. I have a convention in mid February, then I clear off my writing desk, get new pens and paper, and start the process all over again. After all, it is the journey that sustains us.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Revised Book Cover

My book cover has been revised, and I must say, I like it better. What do you think?