Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fight Against Cancer: Lavender Dreams

October is Cancer month.
Lavender Dreams from Muse It Up Publishing
Muse It Up Publishing authors and a cover artist volunteered to contribute ten stories for an anthology, Lavender Dreams, with all proceeds designated to go to research and to the fight against cancer. 

Lavender Dreams is dedicated to the memory of one of our dear editors, 
Karen McGrath, who passed away in 2011 from cancer. She will always be remembered for her editing skills, warmth, and generosity.


Tributes and Dedications


A Blessing in Disguise by Gloria Oren


Cancer Didn’t Get Him by Barbara Ehrentreu

Taking Flight by Vicki Batman

Camp Chemo: The Last Laugh by Nan D Arnold

Waiting by Rosemary Gemmell


Stories from the War by Nathaniel Tower

Testing…by Lisa J Lickel

The Cancer Tree by Nathaniel Tower

Behind A Closed Heart by Suzannah Safi

The Book by Tanja Cilia


Barbara Ehrentreu, Gloria Oren, Lisa J. Lickel, Nan D Arnold, Nathaniel Tower, Rosemary Gemmell, Suzannah Safi, Tanja Cilia, Vicki Batman

MuseItUp Authors dedicate this book to all who have been affected in one way or the other by cancer.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tour Artprize in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Artprize is a unique art contest, display, coming together of community every October in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Artists compete for the top prize of $200,000. Check out the Artprize site so you can see the winners. 

My daughter and I visited last week and saw a miniscule number of the sometimes gorgeous, sometimes mindboggling, sometimes awesome works. I believe there were over 1600 entries from every shape and size and media. It is overwhelming. The displays are in downtown Grand Rapids, so it's fun for us small town gals to get into the city and walk around. There are also venues scattered throughout the Grand Rapids neighborhoods. Perhaps next year, you can go too? 

Here are some of the photos I took on our latest visit so you can experience it, well not really experience it, but I can share some of the discoveries with you.

Oh say can you see? Star Spangled Banner written on license plates in the shape of the USA

Had to take a close up of this plate--poetic license.

The four seasons painted in vibrant colors.

This artist had a whole room full of paintings like this. The snake wound around two walls. It is not on tile, but looks like it.

Funny crow made of rubber tires. Yes, it's oversized to say the least.

A keyboard made of wrenches. Can you believe it?

In this large area behind the BOB, many fantastic displays. My favorite was this elephant and infant.

This metallic fish symbolizes Michigan and the streams and lakes here. Gorgeous in the sunlight.

This is NOT a painting. The image is made entirely of colored buttons. Yeah, really!

Small squares individually painted to make one entire rectangle of color.

Okay--next year you just gotta go and truly experience a crisp fall day in Michigan admiring the creativity of these artists.

To discover a local artist featured in my new girls e-book, visit the Girls Succeed blog site to meet Jane Stroschin and see her latest enormous project.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Self-publishing: Making the Dream Come True

You are invited to join me at Beth Overmyer's blog 
for the "unofficial" unveiling of 
Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women. 
Leave a comment to win a PDF copy or format of your choice.
Contest ends 11:59 pm October 12.

Today is a BIG day for me because my dream was to publish this book for girls with the goal to inspire and empower them to make their dreams come true. Perhaps knowing my dream is now a reality will help them realize all the possibilities can be theirs too.

I have so many folks to thank for helping me along the way--Warm thanks to the marvelous women who took the time to share their stories with me. Each one of them did so because they wanted to inspire and empower girls to make their dreams come true.

Thank you to the Koffee Kuppe Writers, the Fremont Library Writers Group, and to the Children’s Non-fiction Online Writers who helped to nurture and shape these stories for the readers.

Many thanks to all the girls who read and offered feedback on the stories and to those who took time to suggest careers for the book. Appreciation is extended to teachers Mrs. Blake, Mrs. Blamer, Mrs. Cooper, and Mrs. Creemer who shared the stories with their students.

Hopefully word will get out that this interactive ebook is now available at and 

In November I plan to publish a FREE study guide to accompany the book.

Look for the Official launch party in November! Lots of prizes and cyber-goodies. Squeeeeeeeeeeee---sorry I just had to do that. Thanks for helping me celebrate early.

To discover more about my self-publishing experience, check out Part 1 and Part 2 posted earlier.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Self-Publishing on Amazon and Smashwords

Part 2:

Woot, woot, I formatted my manuscript in Word and uploaded the word.doc to Amazon's e-book publishing company, Kindle Direct, after filling out the form required. The uploading went smoothly with no problem. However, I wanted to preview the newborn e-book that would show up on the Kindle. I clicked on the previewer and magically my e-book, Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, appeared. My heart leaped! After six years of work on this project for middle grade girls, my dream was coming true, an interactive, non-fiction e-book to inspire and empower girls.

Flipping through the pages, my heart caught in my throat. The biggest worries over loading up the photos and having them stay centered were not realized, but instead wonky things happened with extra double spaces in spots that were single spaced in the .doc. Parts of sentences were missing and centered texts were bunched over to the left. I stared in disbelief at the previewer. I checked my word document. Nothing was wrong even when I punched in Word's show/hide feature for formatting.

After studying how I could NOT publish the document, I clicked to download the HTML doc ground out by Kindle Direct Publishing and pulled it into my Kindle. The problems did not show up. I sent the doc to my friends who have Kindles. They reported no oddities when clicking through the pages, well, maybe one or two which didn't show up on the previewer.

I scratched my head. I decided to go ahead and upload the same doc to Smashwords. I had read Mark Coker's extensive Style Guide for formatting your ebook on Smashwords and followed each step carefully. His constant warnings about remembering to do this and don't forget that rattled in my brain. Taking a deep breath after filling out the form for Smashwords, I clicked on "upload the file" and crossed my fingers. I was told I was #16 in the queue, so I checked email, etc. to get my mind off the fact that I had dumped my pure and perfect word file into the Smashword "meat grinder" as Coker calls it.

When I returned to the screen, a list of problems appeared that needed to be "fixed" before they could okay the e-book for sale at Smashwords. Actually they were easy fixes--more than four returns on the title page. using a table which is a no-no for this publisher, and a few stray tabs I'd missed  (no tabs allowed for Smashwords). Re-submitted the file and jumped for joy when it said conversion complete. 

Smashwords suggests  the author read the book in the e-pub format, so I downloaded the Adobe Digital Reader and checked the pages. All seemed to look fine to me. Even the pictures were sharp and centered. Hooray!!

I could breathe again. It went through. I am now in the process of being vetted for entrance into their Premium Catalog which goes out to major distributors. It doesn't cost anything to get into the catalog, but an ISBN number is required. And lo and behold, Smashwords gives the author a FREE ISBN. Yes, really!

I will soon attack the word file for Amazon to figure out what is wonky in it. Then re-load and publish it!

I thought I would feel relieved and happy when the e-book was finally out to the world, but now because I self-published this piece, I feel more pressure to put out an excellent product for my readers. It is all in my hands. I did not realize I would feel that responsibility so heavily. On the other hand, I am thrilled to see the book come alive online. But I will be even more excited when all the kinks are straightened out...I fear that will be a never-ending process. One good thing about publishing an e-book, the changes are easy to make and quick too.

I will release the buy links to the book as soon as I am satisfied with the pages so you can take a peek at it.

To be continued------

In case you missed it and want to read Part 1, you are welcome to discover the beginning of this journey.

Mother's Day Excerpt from Arranging a Dream, Happy Mother's Day, Working Moms

YouTube VIDEO: Mother's Day Excerpt from Arranging a Dream Hello and welcome! I wanted to pop in to wish you moms, grandmoms and those w...