Wednesday, November 25, 2015

5 years published

Becoming a writer

I self-published my first book, Rojuun, November 24th 2010 at the beginning of the Self-Publishing revolution.  I had high hopes and low expectations as to what to expect.  I discussed it with my wife and told her that self-publishing would likely ruin my chances to get a traditional contract.  However, the thought of going through years worth of rejections when I could put my book out there immediately just seemed foolish.  So I went for it.

I began writing Rojuun in January of 2010.  I had already written some terrible poetry and a couple of short stories.  I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing, but the experience taught me a great deal.

2010 was a vastly different environment than now with self-publishing.  Everyone was trying new things.  Amazon hadn't figured out their algorithms yet, so when I put Rojuun free after finishing the next couple in the series, It took off with thousands of downloads.  Rojuun and a few of my other books are still free and those books draw new readers to my work every week.

Book 4 of the Ryallon Series: Rojuun FREE!

Five year plan

When I first published, I decided on a five year plan.  I would write as much as possible and do everything I could to succeed to a point where writing could sustain me.  I also decided at the time that if I turned out to be a complete failure, I would set it aside and focus on something else.

The reality is that neither of those happened.  I could have done some things differently along the way to create better success.  I should have reinvested some of my money into my books, but I used it to support my family instead.  My family comes before everything.  I would even give up writing to take care of them.  Also, the last few years have gone badly in many ways.  We've had to work through some very rough times, and continue to have to do so.  My last book took 2 years to write because of it.  That's a serious liability when publishing one's own work.  Optimally, I should be publishing 3 or 4 works every year.

That said, I've still achieved a fair amount of success, more than many have experienced.  I haven't counted my sales in nearly a year, so I can't give you exact numbers, but I've sold about 15,000 copies of my books.  I've made a reasonable amount of money, which has helped with the bills along the way.

And I've enjoyed myself. That's a big key right there.  I absolutely love writing. I don't write for others. If I did, then there wouldn't be so many emo bunnies in my books.  I write for myself. When I'm done, I share it with the world because it's cruel for an artist not to. The stories are still for me though.

What I've learned

There is a saying that you don't become a professional until you spend 10,000 hours doing an activity.  After doing some math where I included a lot of time in the past doing some game building for about 4 years where I wrote a great deal of dialog and story creation, I've far surpassed that.  I've also surpassed a million words of published work. I've completed 9 novels, 10 children's stories, 2 novellas, and 4 short stories. Does this mean I'm a professional?  Hard to tell, but it does mean I've put in the time. 

While writing all these books, I've learned to write.  It's a redundant statement, but it's real.  I've gone over and over every word I've written.  I've changed styles.  I've experimented with different techniques.  All the while, I've tried to write excellent stories about fascinating characters that stimulate the imagination.  I'm still learning with every book I write and striving to get better.

My current books won't ever reach the level of success of a JK Rowling or others like that.  I think I made too many mistakes along the way.  I developed a story line that was a little too large with too many characters to follow.  I should have focused down into some of the stories and developed them into adventure series.  It's something I will keep in mind for the future.

Where I'm at now

I just finished a re-edit of Dralin, which is the 1st book overall in the Ryallon Series.  I did one of those things where I wrote books 4,5,6 before 1,2,3.  However, the Dralin Trilogy is a much better prequel than some others that we'll avoid mentioning *coughstarwars123cough*

In doing so, I realized that I had lost some of my enjoyment and verve when it came to writing.  This book returns to the fun, banter and even silliness that my earlier writing had.  It's a blast and I love the characters in it.


Book 1: Dralin FREE!

Currently, I'm writing my 10th novel: Cloudswept, Book 3 of the Wyvern Trilogy.  It's going very well.  I expect to have the first draft of this book finished in late February if too many more things don't go wrong.

What the future holds

After I'm finished with this book, I'm going to write books 2 and 3 of the Crazed Trilogy.  I'm afraid I left the characters in that trilogy hanging, along with some very frustrated readers!

I also need to write some more Stories for Demented Children.  It's not near as popular as the Ryallon series, but I have some devoted readers of those.  I have a few ideas down for stories there.  I intend to do another Zachary Zombie story and possibly even an Emo Bunny that Should sequel!

I'm not the best writer, but I'm a solid writer that spins enjoyable yarns.  The characters have become real to me and many of my readers.  I believe that I will at some point support my family with my writing.  In any case, I'll keep plugging away.  I truly love writing.

All my best,

John H. Carroll

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Cloudswept, Wyvern Trilogy Book 3, Chapter 1


"Cloudswept" is book three of the Wyvern Trilogy.  This is the first draft of the first chapter.  Please keep in mind that it will be edited numerous times before being published.  That said, I'm actually very happy with it.  It's somewhat exciting, introduces the main character like it needs to, and it has the playfulness that I lacked in my previous book.

I hope this preview keeps you excited for the coming of the book.

I'm including an updated map of Nulanea, a northern continent in the world of Ryallon.

Chapter 1


Year 1393, Fifth Age

Being seven months after the events of Liquid.


The complex lock was taking longer to pick than Pelya liked.  Sweat-soaked strands of hair cascading around her face blocked her vision.  She refused to cut it or put it in a braid as she had done in the past.  It was irrelevant, as was the flickering light of enchanted torchlight from the hallway behind.  She needed the sense of touch, not sight in this instance.  Pelya steadied her breathing to calm anxiety that threatened to scatter her focus.

Four enchanted picks pressed against tumblers through the keyhole.  She needed a fifth, but there was no room for it.  Their magic kept them steady when Pelya’s gloved hand twitched from concentrated effort.  The uppermost pick had three prongs on it.  It should work if she could just manage to press . . .  The lock finally gave a satisfying click of success.

Pelya took the oft-used picks out to put them back in their worn leather pouch.  After rolling it up, she put it back into the secret pocket inside her form-fitting black tunic.   Mystic silver thread covered both the tunic and her dark-blue pants, providing powerful protections against physical and magical threats.  They would probably be needed considering she was breaking into a treasure room below a wizard’s tower.

A quick scan showed the hallway behind her to be empty other than the pit trap in the center of the floor.  Pelya stretched her legs, shook her feet, and adjusted the chain-reinforced leather sword belt around her waist.  Pouches hung from it with items to help her in her mission.  She was a master with the pair of enchanted swords that rested in sheaths at her hips.  Hopefully, those wouldn’t be necessary since her contract required she not kill the wizard whose tower she was breaking into.

Even though she was the one picking locks and evading traps, Pelya wasn’t a thief.  The wizard had stolen a shipment of powerful wizards’ staffs headed from Dralin to Juragdat in the Kingdom of Inizor.  The Cloudswept Bank provided insurance to the merchant shipping them.  If the staffs weren’t recovered, the bank would have to pay out a large sum in compensation.  They already owed a portion of money for the delivery being late.

That was where Pelya and agents like her came in.  For a fee, they recovered stolen goods, saving the bank a great deal of money.  An agent like Pelya cost a great deal though.  She was one of the best and her fee would negate any profit the bank might have made off the insurance.  Paying her was better than covering the entire cost of the shipment though.  It was in everyone’s best interest if the shipment arrived as it was supposed to.

What worried Pelya was that the lone survivor of the theft had mentioned the wizard controlled a golem made of stone.  Of course, the golem wasn’t the only thing that worried Pelya.  She peered into the bottom of the spiked pit where the remains of the previous agent of the bank rested uncomfortably.  Judging by the wounds, it had taken him a while to die.  She wondered if the wizard had stripped his gear before or after the man had succumbed to the end.

A small pile of dust at her feet was all that was left of the runeball that had enabled her to see it and the two traps on the door she had disarmed before picking it.  That had been her last trap-finding runeball.  Ebudae, her best friend growing up in Dralin, had made it along with a number of others Pelya had at her disposal.  Pelya had a request with the bank to either replace them or find her a new device that would do the same job.  Her expenses were part of the fee she charged.

The blood flowed normally through her legs again.  She couldn’t waste any more time.  After drawing her secondary sword, she hunched low, cracked the door open, and looked into the room.

No lights shone from inside.  The crack allowed light from the hall to enter, which wasn’t enough to see anything, but would allow anything inside to see her.

This was when her job was most dangerous.  Every option available to her had risks that could get her killed.  At least she was alone and wouldn’t be the cause of anyone else’s death.

Pelya flung open the door and darted inside to the left.  Her first thought was gratitude that the floor didn’t open into another pit trap.

Torches in brackets on the walls of the circular treasure room sprang to life, sputtering with enchanted flame.  Long crates made to hold staffs were stacked on the right side of the room.  There should be eighteen of them.  Other crates lined the walls along with a full bookshelf, numerous bags and assorted items on shelves.

Pelya’s next thought was consternation at the golem standing in the middle of the treasure room.  To her dismay, it noticed her.

A voice like rolling boulders emitted from it.  “Password.”  Crystalline black gems glowed with enchantment from a head made up of rock pieces molded together.

Pelya hated passwords.  She guessed.  “Carnivorous fairy.”

“Not password.  Intruder die.” It came after her.

Pelya drew her primary sword as she dashed to the side.  “Intruder die is a terrible password.”

Its body consisted of two large stones for the torso and two for each limb.  Rocks for the hands and feet mimicked a human’s shape.  Joints glowed with red light when it moved.  Each thudding step the golem took shook dust from the mortar.  It moved faster than Pelya anticipated.  It also showed intelligence in the course it took to intercept.

She reversed direction just before it reached her.  “Shall we dance?”

The golem skidded to a halt and swung its fist where she had been.  Had it connected, it likely would have crushed Pelya’s skull.

Pelya slashed at its arm with her primary sword.  It took a chunk out of the rock with a clang, but did no real damage.  That was a worrisome outcome considering the level of enchantment in the blade.  Runes flashed on the golem’s arm, proving mystical protection in addition to the fact that it was made out of stone.

It attempted to backhand her with the arm.

Pelya rolled backward, jumped to her feet, and dashed to the other side of the circular room.  “You don’t laugh at my jokes, you don’t want to dance.  You’re a very rude host.”  She shoved home her primary sword and grabbed a statuette from a shelf.  With a twirl, she tossed it in an attempt to distract the golem before dashing the other way.

The golem altered his chase to snatch the statuette out of the air.  It put it back on the shelf with gentleness belying its size and make.

It was a better distraction than Pelya had hoped for.  She pulled a runeball out of one of her pouches.  There was only one more of its type after this, another one she needed to replace.

The golem stomped toward her.

Pelya tossed the runeball at it and said the activation word.  Then she said, “Catch!”

The golem snatched the runeball out of the air.  It skidded to a halt and opened its hand to look at it.

The runeball had already begun its magic.  Pelya watched with the fascination she always felt while observing one work.

It disintegrated into liquid that melted the golem’s hand.  From there, it traveled up the arm.  The runes carved into the stone popped and sizzled as it streamed through the shoulder to the upper stone of its torso.  The effects slowed significantly.  Drops of melted stone splatted to the floor.

The golem stared at its melting body.  The effects were beyond its instructions on how to react.

Pelya slid her secondary sword into its sheath.  “You’re falling to pieces, golem boy.”

It looked at her.  Slurred words emitted from it.  “Passwerrll . . . intrugg.”  The enchantments holding it together gave out.  The remaining stones fell with a racket.  The runeball continued to liquidate them at a slower and slower pace.

“Tsk.  I’d hate to be the one who has to mop up that mess.”  Pelya raked her hair back and dashed to the door.  She was alone.  The pit was an issue though.  She had to carry out eighteen crates.  “Maybe being alone wasn’t such a good idea.”  There was still the issue of the wizard.  Most constructs like the golem had a focus that would alert its maker.  If that was the case, then she wouldn’t be alone for long.

Carefully avoiding the puddled golem, Pelya went to the crates and counted.  There were eighteen, just as reported.  Pelya took a scroll out of a protective pouch.  On it was a list of the stamps on each end of the crates.  Different wizards had made each staff to sell.  A broker had arranged the sale to a merchant in Juragdat.  Pelya took the time to make certain each mark matched.  A wizard’s staff was a valuable device only the wealthy could afford and only an archmage could afford one.  Her fee for the recovery wouldn’t cover the cost of one.

“What did you do to the master’s servant?!”

“I gave it a bath.”  Pelya mentally cursed herself for the lapse in awareness.  In an instant, she was on her feet with both swords drawn.  The scroll fell to the ground.  “Who knew stone melted when you washed it?”

There was only one man, a bodyguard by the looks of him.  “You’re a thief!”

“I am not.  What an appalling accusation.”

A wizard in his night robe burst into the room, shoving the bodyguard aside.  “A thief?!  In my vault?”

“I just explained that I’m not a thief.”  Pelya held her chin up high.  “Weren’t you listening?

The wizard’s face was ruddy with outrage.  “Just who are you and how did you get in here?  He gestured at the grey puddle on the ground.  The spell had run its course.  Pieces of stone stuck up from it, including the top of the head with the crystal black eyes staring up at its maker as though confused by what had just happened.  “And what did you do to my pet?”

“My name is Jerald, I came in through a hole in the wall and I gave your pet a bath.”  Pelya indicated the puddle with her sword.  “I think it’s allergic to water.  You might want to look into that.

The wizard’s finger shook in rage as he pointed it at Pelya.  “Kill him!”

The bodyguard frowned.  “I thought she . . . he was a girl, boss.”

The wizard leaned forward and held his arms out in disbelief.  “I don’t care.  Girl, boy, just kill whoever it is.”

“Right.”  The bodyguard drew his sword.

Pelya met it with her secondary before he could bring it into position.  With the flat of her primary, she slapped him in the face.  At the same time, she tripped him.

The bodyguard hit the ground hard, bounced once and fell unconscious.  His sword clattered to the ground.

Pelya looked down at him.  “Wow.  I would think a wizard’s bodyguard would have more skill.”

The wizard shrieked in outraged, “You killed him!”

“No I didn’t.”  Pelya rested her primary sword over her shoulder and put the other fist on her hip with the sword still in it, but pointed back.  “You’re making a lot of unfounded accusations.  I don’t appreciate it.  It’s very rude.”

“Rude?”  The wizard sputtered, his face redder than before.

“Yes, rude.”  She shook her head.  “I’m just not feeling very welcome here.”

“You . . . I . . . Of course you’re not welcome here!”

Pelya slammed her swords into their sheaths.  “Oh, well just come right out and say it.  Now I know how you really feel!”

He pointed accusingly at her.  “There is something wrong with you . . . you . . . whatever your name is.”

Pelya crossed her arms.  “Name’s Gilbert.  Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to point?”

“I thought you said your name was Jerald.”  The wizard frowned suspiciously.

“Well if you know my name, why did you ask?”  Pelya threw a hand up in exasperation.  She reached into a pouch with the other.

The wizard noticed her hand going to the pouch.  He stepped back to begin casting a spell.

Pelya acted fast.  If he gathered much energy, she could kill them all with backlash by interrupting the spell.  She yanked the runeball out of the pouch and threw it at him, saying the activation word at the same time.

It hit him in the face and exploded into powder.  Fear widened his eyes as he inhaled while beginning his incantation.  The powder put him to sleep instantly.

Pelya dropped to the floor and curled in a ball.

The energy of the unfinished spell crackled and hissed, but it hadn’t been formed enough to create an explosion.  The wizard fell limply, his head bouncing once.  The sleep spell in the runeball would keep him asleep for five or six hours.  The concussion might add a few to that along with a headache.

Pelya sprang to her feet.  She checked the bodyguard.  He had a concussion and possibly a broken cheek.  At least he was alive.  She reached into another pouch and pulled out a tiny sachet of sleeping powder.  Carefully, she dabbed some on her finger and placed it on his mustache.  The small amounts he breathed would keep him asleep for about as long as the wizard.  She then dragged him away from the door and made him as comfortable as possible.  She wiped the rest of the dust off her gloved finger onto his pant leg.

Her contract imposed a severe penalty for killing anyone.  The bank wished to acquire a respectable reputation in its dealings.  It made it easier to gain contracts and to deal with kingdoms that frowned on murder and vigilantism.

The pit in the hallway needed to be covered so she could move the staffs out.  There didn’t appear to be anything in the treasure room that could help her.  She went to the door only to discover that a plank was already placed across it.  That solved that problem, though it irritated her that she hadn’t heard them do so.

Pelya went back to the crates to recover her inventory scroll.  On the back of it were enchantments to open two of the crates.  The makers of the others hadn’t given access to the bank.

It took her a few minutes to get those crates out of the stack.  Carefully performing the enchantments, she opened each to verify that the staffs were there.  To her relief, they were.  One was made of entwined wood with gems and crystals bracketed to store and channel magic.  Even without the enchantments in the staff, it was valuable.  The other was a metal shaft with three orbs of power at the top in semi-circle brackets.  It looked powerful.  She closed and resealed them.  It was sufficient evidence that all the staffs were likely still within the crates barring any obvious visible physical damage.

Pelya checked over the wizard and bodyguard again.  They were both sound asleep.  The wizard snored peacefully.

There was no time to waste.  They would wake up eventually.  She wanted to put as much ground between her and the tower as possible before they did.

She grabbed the first crate and carried it down the hall and up a set of stairs.  Once at the top, she traveled along another hallway to a door she had come through.  Beyond it was a room with a hole of melted stone in the outside wall, the result of another of the runeballs that had destroyed the golem.

Pelya took the crate out into the night air to the road leading to the tower.  Both moons were out, shining brightly between wispy brushes of clouds.  Siahray was half-full in its waning cycle while Piohray was half-full in its waxing.  Together, they cast a lavender glow over the landscape.  Pelya put her fingers in her mouth and whistled loudly.  Then she went back to get another crate.

By the time she got back with the second, she heard and saw two horses and a cart coming up the road in the moonlight.  She put the crate on top of the first and looked around.  The tower was situated on the side of a hill in the rolling plains of Obda.  The wizard had no neighbors.  The road was little traveled and rough, but wouldn’t be hard to travel in the night.

Honey, her beautiful chestnut warhorse with blonde mane, glared at her.  Tied to a rope behind her was a sturdy mare pulling a skinny cart on two wheels.

“Yes, I know you don’t pull carts and that you don’t even like pulling horses that do.”  Pelya put the crate in the back of the cart.

Honey snorted.  She flicked her tail and hit Pelya as she walked by.

“Hey!  Don’t be like that.  You know I love you.”  Pelya tried to hug her neck, but Honey turned her head away and stepped aside.

“Wow.  I’m feeling very unappreciated today.”  Pelya pulled an apple out of a pouch and held it up.

Honey kept her head turned to the side, though she did eye the apple as if considering.

Pelya set it on the ground.  “Well, if you change your mind, it’ll be right here.”  She got the mare a bag of feed to keep her docile, though Honey seemed to have matters in hand . . . or hoof.  “I have to get the rest of those crates.”  She patted Honey’s rump.

Honey snorted.

It took two hours to get the wagon loaded and the crates tied down.  In that time, Honey ate the apple and stopped glaring at Pelya.

Pelya wiped sweat from her forehead with the sleeve of her arm and then took her gloves off and put them in her swordbelt.  She unhooked the mare’s lead from Honey’s pommel.  “There, all done.”

Honey was unimpressed.

Pelya climbed into the wagon’s seat and attached Honey’s lead to the side of it.

Honey was less impressed.

“I know.  You’re a warhorse and I should be riding you.  We just need to get this wagon to the Cloudswept Bank in Anukarda.  They can take it where it goes after that.  She released the brake and flipped the reins.

The steady mare pulled the cart down the road with no complaint.

Honey refused to discuss the matter further.

Publishing checklist for my book files

This is a checklist for altering my file to publish at each distributor.  This is the way I do it, though it will be different for everyone.  I'm doing this partially because it may be helpful to others, but mostly because it'll be helpful to me for future books.  Sometimes it's difficult to remember all of this.

First of all, my books are already formatted as I write.  I write them one chapter at a time and then put each chapter in a master file.  I add the table of contents and hyperlinks to all my chapters.  I also have everything formatted for submission to Smashwords, so there will be a lot of steps that you may need to do that I've already done.

This is the process for altering an individual file to all the sites I publish to.  Perhaps I'll go through the details of settings for each site one of these times.

This whole process took me about 6 hours tonight, taking into account making dinner for the kids and running one to play rehearsal.

0. Beginning format

I have a chapter 0 that I use as a template.  I've formatted it and set the formatting as the normal style that all my files use.  When I go to write a new chapter, I change "Chapter 0" to "Chapter 1" and save it as that chapter name.  I have a master book file that I insert each chapter into when I'm done with them.  This is also based on the new normal formatting style.

I keep things as simple as possible with fonts and formatting so that the book looks uniform throughout all the stores.  This helps to avoid issues.

0a. I set the font as Times New Roman 12pt. This is a personal preference. Use what you like.
0b. Set your paragraph style. It's on your home tab, paragraph style.  It's also on the Page layout tab. There's a lot of info here.  I set alignment left, outline level body text. Left and right indentation 0, First line .33, though I'd recommend .3 or .5. The emo bunnies liked .33 best, so I went with it.  I set before and after spacing at 0.  There's also the option of not using indents.  You can do block style.  If you do, then adjust it so that it gives you a space between paragraphs.   While writing, I set line spacing at 1.5.  Most people will use 2.
0c. While writing, NEVER use the tab button.  Did I emphasize that enough?  Use first line indent.  Tabs mess up formatting.

0d. I set my margins at 1".  That really has no effect on formatting the book, it's just a preference.
0e. Use Heading style 2 for each chapter.  Edit the heading style.  Format it, center it, increase the size of the font. Remove indentations for the heading style.  I increase the size to 16 for chapters and I underline them.  It's a personal style preference.

Note:  I highly recommend using heading styles.  It makes all the difference in the world with navigation and with creating tables of contents in Amazon and Createspace.

On the master book file:

0f.  Use Heading style 1 for the title.  Format it, center it, increase the size of the font.  Edit the
0g.  Add your copyright information.  This is a sample of what it could look like.  I add any artwork copyright info for the cover or inside illustrations here too.

2nd Edition
Published by John H. Carroll at Smashwords

Copyright 2011, 2015 John H. Carroll
Cover Copyright 2011 John H. Carroll

Cover photography by Tracy Carroll

I keep it simple, but that's personal choice.  I recommend registering your copyright as well.
0h. Optional: add a dedication.

1.  Smashwords.

1a.  Ensure it says "Published by John H. Carroll at Smashwords". (This will be different for other people, in case you were wondering.)
1b.  Change spacing to single spacing.
1c.  Add author bio.
1d.  Link author notes to table of contents.
1e.  Check all links.
1f.   Remove hidden bookmarks.
1g.  Publish to Smashwords.

(Note - I distribute to B&N and other stores through Smashwords, so I won't be adding the process for those stores.)

Copy Amazon version of word document file to Amazon folder.
Copy Amazon version of word document file to Createspace folder. (If applicable)

2.  Amazon

2a.  Remove "Published by John H. Carroll at Smashwords".
2b.  Add page breaks before each chapter.
2c.  Remove all bookmarks except the TOC bookmark if you make your chapter headings click back to the Table of Contents.
2d. Delete your Smashwords table of contents.  Go to the references tab and select table of contents.  Use this to create your table of contents.  It's where heading style comes in handy.  I have a tutorial on how to do that here:
2e.  Replace author bio with Amazon author bio.
2f.  Publish to Amazon.

Copy the original word document to Kobo folder.

2.  Kobo.

3a.  Save file.
3b.  Save as 'web page, filtered'.  (html)
3c  Use Calibre to convert html to epub.
3cc.  (wait for Calibre to update *sigh*)
3d.  Open file to ensure quality.
3e.  Publish to Kobo.

(Note - If you do wish to publish to B&N directly, this process will work for that too.  You can even use the exact same file if you like.)

4.  Createspace

This is a whole lot more complicated.  *sigh*

4a.  ctrl-a (select everything).
4b.  change paragraph formatting to 'justify'.
4c.  Open the 'page layout' - 'page setup' box
4d.  Margins (for a 100k word novel)  top: .75, bottom: .75, inside: .75, outside: .50.  Gutter: .25 (left)
4e.  Set 'multiple pages' to 'mirror margins'.
4f.  On the paper tab, set size to 6 x 9.  *This will be different if you're publishing your book under a different size.
4g.  On the layout tab, select 'different first page' (so you don't number the first page) and set header and footer to .35.
4h.  Insert page numbers.  First page different so the title page isn't numbered.  While in footer, go to page layout and remove first line indent.  This will not effect the main text.
4i.  Center title page.
4j.  Change font style and size of title to whatever the theme is.  (In the case of my Ryallon books, this would be Fairydustb, size 36 for the title)
4k.  Delete ALL bookmarks.
4l.  Center each chapter, remove hyperlinks, change font style and size 26.  Make this Heading style 2 for this document.  That way you can have word Create the Table of Contents for you.
4m.  Make the first letter of each chapter theme font style and size 16.  Possibly add a space between the quotation mark and the letter if needed for the style.  Make certain quotation marks are the same size as the letter.
4n.  Embed the font.  file/options/save/embed font/only characters in document/do not embed common fonts.
4o.  Make certain there are no blank pages.
4p.  Go through and search for section breaks  ***  with ctrl-f.  Center them all.  ctrl-e.
4q.  Make certain the end ### is centered.
4r.  Make certain the prologue, epilogue and author notes are all centered and font style themes are applied.

This may or may not help you, but perhaps it will give some a little insight as to the work that goes into submitting files to the different sites for publishing.

All my best,

John H. Carroll

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My top ten favorite movies of all time.

A blog post about movies?

Yes, I needed to do a blog post and I decided to do one about movies.  Plus, I'm exhausted and can't focus enough to edit.  Plus I just wanted to do something different.

But you're a writer.

Yes, but one day I would like my movies to become books.

Well all right then.  Proceed.

Thank you.

These are my favorite movies.  Of all time.  I have not seen every movie available, so there may be one or two that you think I'm crazy for missing, but that's alright.  You may also not agree with these choices.  I don't necessarily say the are the best, just my favorite.

I invite you to tell me how terrible you think they are in the comments.  I'd even be curious to know what your top ten are.

1.  Fifth Element

 Best. Movie. Ever.

2.  Ever After

I love Drew Barrymore in this.  The story is wonderful and the feel of the movie is perfect.

3.  Lord of the Rings Trilogy

The books were like reading through mud.  The movies took the best parts and made the most epic fantasy series of all time a magnificent movie.
Liv Tyler can whisper to me in Elvish any day.

4.  The Avengers

I love super hero movies.  This one was that good.

5.  Valentines Day

I saw this with my wife and we both loved it.  It is one of my favorite memories of all time. :)

6. The Sound of Music.

Yes, I really love this movie.

7. The Fugitive. 

This is an excellent movie.  It's truly awesome.  If you haven't watched it, you need to remedy that.

8. The Philadelphia Story

Cary Grant, James Stewart and Katherine Hepburn are brilliant together.  They play off of each other perfectly.

9. Scrooge with Albert Finney.

Brilliant performance and one I've watched at Christmas with my family countless times, so it holds wonderful memories for me.

10. Star Wars.

  All of it.  I know that's cheating, but Star Wars is awesome.  The reason it's not higher is because of Episodes 1,2 and 3 . . . which I still enjoyed and not just because of Natalie Portman.  I don't care what my wife says.

That's your list?

Yes, that's my list.  Depending on my mood at any given moment, the order may change.

Why aren't there any movies about Emo Bunnies?

Because I haven't found any.

We're disappointed in you.



All my best,

John H. Carroll