New and Improved: Stars Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, In A Nut Shell! 

So you know, this is NO spoiler.

For me, the new Star Wars, The Force Awakes is the best of all the Star Wars movies. Disney has done what Spielberg couldn't do, in my opinion.

In the older Star Wars movies some scenes dragged on, which I think was to show flashy affects and not particularly to move the story forward, for instance, in battle, council meeting scenes and when Yoda droned on with his advice to other characters:

 "me thinks I shouldn't drone on letting the story continue," advises Yoda. 

In this one, I feel, the battle scenes have no lag time and are much more a part of the story.

If you have read some of my book reviews you know that I like adventurous books with story lines that move. Real page turners. I like movies that do the same. Star Wars, The Force Awakens has all that and more. The story is exciting and funny, so expect the unexpected.
AND I've heard the next movie in the franchise will be released in a little over 500 days!

This movie gets 5 out of 5 STAR Wars!!!!!!

From The Book Designer: Is Your Book Held Hostage by a Subsidy Publisher? by Judith Briles in a Nut Shell!

                                                    In A NUT SHELL!

I've had my own problem with a subsidy "publisher" or what I call, POD service as some of you might know. So when I saw this article in THE BOOK DESIGNER by Judith Briles I thought is would be a good thing to revisit this issue in hopes of helping others with a problem with these "so - called - publishers."  

Judith Briles is a Contributing Writer for The Book Designer. She is an advocate for authors and writers and is known as The Book Shepherd

My story here

Author Alert: Is Your Book Held Hostage by a Subsidy Publisher? BY  

What a tangled web they weave … In the past two months, I’ve worked with several private clients and fielded numerous phone calls/emails from authors who have issues with their “publishers.” In all cases, they’ve been duped. They’ve been lured, hooked and now are sinking. The cause: a publishing predator is in their midst.
Their publishers are really not “publishers,” at least in the sense that they have the infrastructure to create and support a quality book and its author or that they have their internal team—from editing to some semblance of book design and publishing marketing and publicity and that they are accountable in the critical accountability departments of actual book sales and responsibility.
I attended a national conference a few months ago where the attendees were professional speakers. Many were well established, but a majority—new to the industry—gobbled up information that would hopefully turn them into a star on the platform. Having a book helps. Within the Exhibit Hall, several booths proclaimed that they were publishers … they would publish your book for a small fee. What they were, vanity presses “(or as some people call them, subsidy publishers)—nothing more, nothing less. The predators of the print world … and they were signing up people … their next victims, left and right.
To Read The Rest of Judith Briles' article and find out the Red Flags that can help you spot the vanity press in sheep’s clothing, as she calls them, go to:

FONTS: FROM THE BOOK DESIGNER: Hermann Zapf, A Legendary Type Designer

FONTS: In A Nut Shell! 

If you like to use different fonts, you might like this article, too. I'm always looking at fonts, especially when I'm working on one of my children's books. So this article by   from The Book Designer, stood out foR me. 

Hermann Zapf, A Legendary Type Designer

Maybe you’ve never heard of Hermann Zapf, the legendary type designer and calligrapher who passed away this summer after a long and fruitful career. But that doesn’t mean you haven’t come in contact with his work.
Zapf was more famous than many other type designers, whose work is usually known only to graphic artists of various kinds. But Zapf was unique both in the designs he produced and in the longevity of his career.
When I was learning typography and design, Zapf’s typefaces were some of the best known and most used in the world, and because of that they influenced me quite profoundly.

Optima, Graceful and Elegant Modernism

For instance, the very first long document I ever designed, a literary magazine while I was in college, was set in one of Zapf’s most famous typefaces, Optima, originally issued in 1958.
Hermann Zapf
Although Optima was not the most famous or the most widely used of Zapf’s typefaces, I think it has a claim to be the one that will last the longest.
It’s an amazing achievement. Zapf was trying to create a design with elements of both sans serif and serif faces. He wanted to create an almost universal design that could be used just as easily for running text as for headlines and other display purposes.
From roman fonts that show the traces of the calligrapher’s pen, Zapf borrowed the gradually thickening and thinning strokes that give letterforms grace and elegance.
But Optima is a sans serif typeface, modern and spare in design. When used correctly, it can be forceful, quiet, even monumental.
Although I stopped using Optima some time ago, it still plays an important part in printed and other typographic displays. The photo at the top of this post is from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Architect Maya Lin used Optima to carve the names of the soldiers who died in that war on the massive wall that forms the bulk of the monument, and she couldn’t have made a better choice.

Palatino, Humanistic Old Style for a New World

“Named after 16th century Italian master of calligraphy Giambattista Palatino, Palatino is based on the humanist fonts of the Italian Renaissance, which mirror the letters formed by a broad nib pen; this gives a calligraphic grace. But where the Renaissance faces tend to use smaller letters with longer vertical lines with lighter strokes, Palatino has larger proportions, and is considered to be a much easier to read typeface.”—Wikipedia
Hermann Zapf
Probably the font that Zapf is best known for is Palatino, and that’s part of what killed this font for many designers.
Why? Because it was included in the original 35 Postscript system fonts that formed the basis of the desktop publishing revolution. It was the only oldstyle face and it seemed that every single person who wanted to produce an invitation, a newsletter, an advertisement, an annual report, or anything else believed that Palatino would give their product a touch of “class.”
Of course, with all these amateur designers hacking away at the early and still somewhat primitive tools we had, it soon seemed that we were living in a sea of atrocious looking designs created with Palatino.
I don’t think that’s true any longer.
One of the interesting things about Hermann Zapf’s career is that he started when books were typeset with hot metal type and printed letterpress.
When the industry moved on to “cold type” and photolithography after World War II, Zapf adapted and became the leading type designer of his day.
And he kept right on working when graphic arts entered the digital era, and was still producing variants of Palatino as late as 2006, almost 60 years after its introduction.

For more on Typefaces from Hermann Zapf go to:

Read the whole article at:

From SCBWI Newsletter: SCBWI Tackles Book Launches for its Members

New from Society Of Children's Book Authors And Illustrators.

SCBWI has decided to help authors get more exposure by helping them with marketing. I think this is a positive step for members and one I have been waiting for. SCBWI said they with be marketing for it's members driving traffic to the site.

In December they will start throwing Book Launch Parties. The first one on December 1st. In 2016, there will be three, one  in the Spring,  Fall And Holiday. Authors can purchase a page for $25 and add your own content.

SCBWI adds: 

"I hope that if you’ve had a book published in 2015, you will create a Book Launch Party page. (LOG IN to and click MY BOOK LAUNCH PARTY on your profile page.)  If you have a book coming out in the spring, sign up for the Spring Book Launch Party as soon as it’s available.
If you don’t have a book coming out, then come and visit the parties.  Don’t worry, we’ll send you an invitation soon.  Look for it!  And come visit again and again.  Buy books.  Support your community!  Remember, we need to be the rising tide that floats ALL our books.   All books matter." 
Children's authors and illustrator have NEW hope and help for book sells!

Working Project: Janoose & The Fall Feather Fair

Here is how my latest project is going.
 The finish pictures for Janoose &The Fall Feather Fair.
This book is a sequel for my children's book, Janoose The Goose which I co-wrote with my old grandson, Luke, when he was seven

The Fox returns to Free Range Farm and again, he wants something from Janoose! What is it THiS Time!

 I have 9 picture left to paint. 

Characters Gone Mad: Authors Margot Finke & LRW Lee

On Characters Gone Mad, Authors Margot Finke & LRW Lee bring their picture book and teen characters to life not as they intended originally!  
Check Out Books Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Red River Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Daisy and Bartholomew Q~ Daisy suffered from procrastination—putting off until later, things she should do RIGHT NOW. Her mom nagged, but Daisy has not started the essay that is due tomorrow. Bartholomew Q. accepted no excuses. After muttering a magical mantra, he whisked Daisy off to find fabulous words for her essay.

Andy Smithson believes he is merely a kid too often in trouble with his overambitious parents--until his destiny as the Chosen One to break a 500-year-old curse is revealed. Swept away to the land of Oomaldee of medieval times, he discovers he must collect several ingredients for a magic potion to defeat the oppressive curse that plagues the land, the first of which is the scale of a red dragon, the fiercest of all dragon species. There's just one tiny problem, he's never battled dragons, except in his Dragon Slayer video game. Armed with only his wits, an ancient sword and a magic key, he must overcome grave peril at every turn before he can even attempt the feat. Buy:

JD's Site:

Recorded at:

Ellynore Seybold-Smith on Red River Radio's The Authors' Words

Author Ellynore Seybold-Smith talks with JD Holiday. 


Check Out Books Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Red River Radio on BlogTalkRadio

 For many years, Ellynore Seybold-Smith, her husband and two children lived aboard a sailboat. Adventures with the boat resulted in a book called THE WOODEN MISTRESS, first published in 1994. Years later, Ellynore and  husband sailed across the Atlantic on a friend's boat. They enjoyed touring Europe in a VW camper. A few years later Ellynore was widowed but after a time she saw an opportunity to become my own person. That's when her first book was published. She now has four books published including a collection of short stories. Her latest book, RELEASED, a story of a 37 year old woman released from an Arizona Prison and trying to connect with her children she had no contact with for 15 years. The ride takes her across the country. She finds something she was not looking for. One reviewer says "a good solid plot with endearing and intriguing characters that tug at your heartstrings."

THE WOODEN MISTRESS ~ published 1994 by Books Unlimited and republished 2013
  A naive young couple buy a big old sailboat. Too eager to close the deal, they ignore red flags. When they are on the ocean the boat starts falling apart, that is when the real adventure begins.

ONE COLD NIGHT AND OTHER STORIES ~ Short stories and 3 poems written over a period of time. 

 SIGRIT ~  In Germany in 1944, seven year old Sigrit comes home from school and finds her parents hanging in the attic. She is forced to travel with a woman who hates children, while being taken to live with strangers. Even her 14 year old brother is yanked away from her. She is taken in by some wonderful people. After the war she again connects with her aunt who brings her to America.

ERIKA, A sequel to SIGRIT  ~ Erika was putting clean clothes away when she found a letter hidden in her husband Walter's underwear drawer. The envelope was still sealed and addressed to her. After reading the return address, Erika fainted. There was a time when her biggest hope and desire had been to receive a sign of life from her first husband, who was missing on the Eastern Front. When she finally found out he was alive, it became her biggest nightmare. How will she make it through the horror?

RELEASED ~ Story of a 37 year old woman released from an Arizona Prison and trying to connect with her children she had no contact with for 15 years. The ride takes her across the country. She finds something she was not looking for.
One reviewer says "a good solid plot with endearing and intriguing characters that tug at your heartstrings."

Ellynore Seybold-Smith site:



From The Book Designer:Manuscript to Ebook: A Cleaning Guide

Manuscript to Ebook: A Cleaning Guide

by David Kudler

David Kudler:  Over the last couple of months, I’ve been talking about just what an ebook is, and four basic methods for creating them.
This month, I’m going to get a bit more into the nitty-gritty — how best to prepare your manuscript for conversion.
Whichever of the methods you use to create your ebook, it’s essential to have the original file be as clean as possible.*
What do I mean by that?
Basically, it comes down to one thing:

Keep It Simple with Styles

The most important thing you need to do to your text is to make sure that all of the formatting is simple and consistent. By simple and consistent, I don’t mean minimalist — I just mean that:
  • all of the body paragraphs look the same
  • all of the chapter titles and section heads look the same
Most manuscripts that come to me don’t look that way. Sometimes, they look as if they’ve been fed through a wood chipper.
As we write, we pull text from various sources:
  • quotes from the internet
  • snippets of text that we typed into the phone
  • chapters written in different apps
Or perhaps we play around with how the text looks:
  • sometimes paragraphs begin with an indent
  • sometimes with a tab, sometimes with four spaces
  • sometimes with two returns in a row
Maybe we try out different fonts to see how they look; if a project has taken a long time, our tastes may change and the typeface we used for the body text may have changed, sometimes more than once: Palatino, Times, Times New Roman, Cochin, Helvetica, Comic Sans.
Maybe you found that your eyes were getting tired and so you upped the font size from the standard 12 points to 14; maybe a line was too long and so you decreased it to 11 points. I’ve seen all of this.
Unless you’re looking closely, this can make your book look like a crazy quilt.
Here’s the thing: we don’t want our font changes to be local. We want them to be global — uniform throughout the book. And so we don’t want to tag each paragraph with a typeface, size, and weight (i.e., bold, semi-bold, regular, or light).
If we do that, once it gets imported into the ebook, if we want to change how the text looks, we have to make the change for each individual paragraph — even if most of the paragraphs are the same, if just a few are different, they’ll stand out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Styling with Styles

The way to avoid this is by using the Styles function in whatever app you’re using to get the manuscript ready. †‡
In Word, the Styles tool is part of the pop-up Toolbox:
See that list on the right? Each one of those items is a style — a global set of choices about what kind of font to use where. If you’ve worked with HTML at all, this is something like a stylesheet
  1. The first thing we are going to need to do is to make sure that all of the text is the same typeface and size, with the same margins.
    Yeah, I know: painful. You spent hours getting those Zapfino captions looking just right.
Here’s the truth: none (or close to none) of the formatting that you’ve done will translate properly to an ebook.
Remember: there’s no way to predict what size screen your reader is going to be reading on. And if whatever conversion technique you choose doesmanage to make the ePub version of the text look more or less like the Word (or Pages or OpenOffice or InDesign or…) document, if you’ve used local formatting, the text will be difficult to style later, and won’t display consistently across different platforms — on a Kindle Fire, say, or an iPhone, or a 27” monitor.**
So we’re going to strip back the text to the bare studs. The only formatting you’ll want to keep is italics and boldfacing. ††

2 Before we destroy all of your beautiful fonts, save. Now save the file again under another name — add clean at the end of the filename, or something to let you know which version to use.

3 Select the whole manuscript (press ctl-A in Windows and command-A on Macs). In the Styles tool, select the Normal style.

 Yeah. Sorry.

This will have gotten rid of most of the formatting — though not those character style changes I talked about: italics, bold, etc.

4 Select the whole text again and make sure that it’s all the same font and size — choose a common font like Times or Helvetica so that it will display all of the character styles correctly.

5 Click on the New Style… button at the top of the Styles tool, and name the style something like Body or Text.

6 With all of the text still selected, click on the Body style button that has appeared in the Style tool, so that the entire manuscript is formatted as Body paragraphs.

Why have we done this? Because the huge majority of your book is going to be regular body text. We’re going to add the other styles back in a minute.

You probably don’t need to worry about the way that the style looks. If you want to play with the side or bottom margins or the first-line indent, go for it‡‡ — but don’t get too fine about typefaces, letter-spacing, line-spacing, etc. We’re probably going to have to set a lot of those after the conversion anyway — and here’s a difficult truth: many of the styles you specify will be overridden by the reader’s user preferences.
The typeface and size, the background color — unless you know what you’re doing (and sometimes not even then), the font display preferences that a reader chooses will trump many of the design choices you’ve made.

Adding Styles Back In

Now, you’re going to need to go through your whole book and set the style for each paragraph that isn’t a body paragraph. 

To Read The Rest Go to JOEL FRIEDLANDER's The Book Designer:

Rachel Rueben on Red River Radio's The Authors' Words

Rachel Rueben on 
The Authors' Words with JD Holiday

Check Out Books Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Red River Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Rachel Rueben had no intention of becoming a writer, but after school and a “real job” she lost all hope in humanity and wrote a book.  Her first novel, “Hag” a YA romance, made it to #10 on the Amazon’s bestseller’s list in the summer of 2012.  Her next project includes a series of supernatural books called, “The Eternal Bond Series” due out in the fall of 2013.
Rachel is a blogger, podcaster, and content contributor to several writing blogs.

Books with blurbs and buy links:

Hag, YA Romance
Audrey is having trouble in school, her friends abandon her after her breakup from her ex Desmond. Forced into exile, she believes she'll roam the earth alone until she meets Roddai the new boy from Chicago. Goofy and cute, Audrey winds up with a huge crush on him. However, her new love has a huge secret which he shares with Desmond and it threatens to destroy them all.

Eternal Bond: The Vampire Novel Series
Infected with the Black Death, Elizabeth Rothchild believes when she closes her eyes for the final time, she will be standing before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. Instead, she's bitten by a vampire and reborn "Clara" savior of the damned.   Entrusted with an ancient power beyond her understanding, she isn’t told of the horrors that await her.  Manipulated by everyone she finds herself in a battle with the undisputed queen of the fold, Apollonia.  It's a fight she is destined to lose...
  Return to a time where magic was real and life was far from sacred.

Fedelta: A Romantic Suspenser 
Fedelta in Italian means loyalty and that's all Cassandra Fenetti has left after her father is murdered at the hands of the Cosimo crime family. Follow along as Cassandra avenges her father's murder and restores honor to her family name.
Recorded at:

THE AUTHORS WORDS: Characters Gone Mad

Join JD Holiday for Characters Gone Mad with Authors Karen Vaughan, Mary E. Martin and Gail Hedrick. The authors bring their characters to life in a VERY different way!
 Listen here!
Check Out Books Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Red River Radio on BlogTalkRadio

LAURA HAMILTON FITZ ~ After being caught up in so many murder high rise apartment building and become the building managers there. Another dead body is found in the dumpster. There new domicile includes a bitchy tenant association president by the name of Stella. Challenges the limitations of Laura's anxiety medication on a daily basis.
mysteries over the last years Laura decides to become a crime scene investigator. This happened on her honeymoon with Gerry and they become embroiled in yet another murder mystery. Moving to a
Karen Vaughan's site:
Buy Karen Vaughan's books at:

ALEXANDER WAINWRIGHT ~ Alexander is Britain’s finest landscape this paintings is the numinous light suffusing his work enthralls his viewers convincing them that they can glimpse the beyond—that which lies beneath, behind or beyond this all too solid world. In his presence, people experience a sense of wisdom but Alex gains as much as they do and he comes away enriched by a profound respect for and love of the human spirit. But Alex also has his nemesis, Rinaldo, a conceptual artist.
painter known as the Master of Light. He has won a prestigious contemporary art for his paint “The Hay Wagon.” What is special about
Mary E. Martin's site:
Buy Mary E. Martin's books AT:

EMILY SANDERS ~ Emily is a very practical, tomboy, age 13, in the first helps kids imagine themselves as young scientists or engineers and encourages them to experience science through adventure and discovery.  Scent of Something Sneaky's release date is 9/15
book, Something Stinks!  She takes charge when dead fish start turning up near her aunt’s house.  She tries to round people up to help her, but no one seems to care about dead fish.  She investigates farms, a golf course, and local factories and tests the water with those who do help her leading them into trouble with the law and confrontation with the town's most powerful citizen. In the second book, The Scent of Something Sneaky, Emily is 14, staying at a B&B in N.Carolina mountains, owned by the grandmother of a friend  and the girls are helping at the inn. Both books
Gail Hedrick's site:
Buy Gail Hedrick's books at:

Show at RED RIVER RADIO at Blog Talk Radio:

The Dragon's Loyalty Award!

I want to thank Author, Dellani Oakes for adding me to her Bloggers Dragon's Loyalty Award list. Dellani and I have known each other for many years now, and if there is a list of the MOST Trustworthy people in my life, Dellani is at the top.

dragonaward (1)

 Here Are The Rules For This Award: 

* Display the award certificate on your website.    >

* Announce your win with a post, and link to whomever presented your award.  (THIS IS THE POST)
Dellani Oakes

* Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers. (I have 5)

* Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post. 

 Bette Stevens

Janet Ruth Heller

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Carmela Dutra

Debbie Roppolo

* Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
Well, I don't know about interesting, but here are some things people might not know about me.

1) My dad past me the writing gene.
Angelo and me, Prom 1969
2) I have a wonderful husband, Angelo.
Jennifer and me in 1975.

<<  3) Angelo and I met when I was 15 and he was 16 on a Blind Halloween Date!

4) I have one daughter,      >>
one son-in-law and one grandson!

The Passaic Fall in Paterson, NJ
5) I can trace my family back to 1791 to the village of Paterson,                                                                                                                                                                                                            >>
 (when it was founded) NJ.

6) I use to tune pianos for a living.

7) I was in my 30's when I started to write.

The Authors' Words: Author Debbie Roppolo

On The Authors' Words: JD Holiday talks with the author Debbie Roppolo.

Check Out Books Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with WorldOfInkNetwork on BlogTalkRadio
Debbie is the author of many short stories including being 2011 Debbie published her first children's book, Amelia Frump and her Peanut Butter Loving, Overactive Imagination which she patterned the character "Amelia" after her own childhood. In 2013,
Amelia Cooking Up a Peanut Butter Storm won second place in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. Her book, He's My Brother focuses on how siblings sometimes feel alone after a diagnosis of autism.
published in Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover's Soul, and Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul.  Klutzin’Around the Christmas Tree was the title for an anthology. In

After Debbie's son, Joseph was diagnosed with autism, she felt the need to raise awareness about the disorder and become an advocate through her writing. Doing research and conversations with her older son Jonathan, she discovered that siblings sometimes feel alone after a diagnosis of autism. There is little focus on their thoughts and emotions, and they are are forced to cope alone.

He's My Brother was written with the intent of bringing awareness to this situation in addition to supplying information about autism.



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