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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

Kindle Edition published 2013-08-14
Bestseller ranking: 713665

Product Description
Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

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Messages - Paranormal Kitty

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Does interest in Christmas-themed books drop to almost zero on Dec 26?

I would assume :) It might pick back up in June/July. "Christmas in July" may be a good marketing tactic if you miss the boat on December Christmas.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Underperforming first book - any help?
« on: Today at 03:50:52 PM »
A friend just told me this (I've never neither written nor read fanfiction,) but I still refuse to budge on that. I mean, it might sound unprofessional but so what, have you read my bio? It says I escaped an insane asylum and live in a cave, I'm pretty much crafting a character here. I neither hope nor expect to be taken seriously (in the more general sense of the word,) since I'm precisely aiming to give people a laugh. I get that it isn't standard, but it's a bit out there to believe people are staring at a book that draws them and then saying "That name? not buying it, no. Maybe if it wasn't a single word."

Hmm. You might have a point if you can craft the rest of the package (especially the cover) to match the humor with the name. I mean, Chuck Tingle isn't the most serious name either.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Underperforming first book - any help?
« on: Today at 03:12:10 PM »
Here's the thing about the name, and I'll address it since several people have pointed it out: I believe you all are looking at it as authors, not as readers. Why? Well, because in all of my life as a reader I have never, not once, refused to buy a book on the grounds that I don't like the author's name, or that it "sounds unprofessional" unless I happen to, say, be buying a textbook. The only cases where a name has affected whether I buy a novel or not is when I either already like the author (making me more likely to buy) or when I already loathe the author.

I think as a reader it would turn me off as well. Single names are common in music, but not so much for authors. It might possibly work if you're publishing children's books, but for what you're doing I really don't think so. It doesn't help that Tizzy sounds like a dog or cat's name.

You really should change the typography on the cover. The image is really nice, but the type is way too small and not exciting at all. It's probably not readable in a thumbnail.

There are several other books with my title, plus a Taylor Swift song and a Bastille song. I tried to think of something else that worked, but nothing did, so I decided to go with it. I'm hoping on the bright side that it will cause people to stumble across my book while looking for something else. Titles aren't copyrightable (hence multiple songs having the same name).

As a newb, how much formatting trouble am I likely to get into using the KDP program?  Do you mind making a recommendation on where I can learn more about formatting? 

Thank you!

I got some good info here when I asked the other day:,258154.msg3594621.html#msg3594621 Use Word for the e-book. The Smashwords style guide is really helpful.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Night of the Living Shirtless Men
« on: Yesterday at 12:44:48 PM »
That comment and the covers I posted are a response to this poster:

I suspect if they were sparser I wouldn't have as much of a problem either. Looking up a couple of lists of best erotic fiction, there's so much more interesting, varied stuff going on in most of these covers, for example.

The thing about those covers is they were probably done by an artist that indies would never want to or be able to pay the price of. How we ended up with "conventions" like headless, shirtless men is mostly out of practical cost considerations in the first we've seen due to limitations of stock photo availability or restrictive image terms. What I get annoyed with is the misconception that these things are "conventions", or with people who say "your book has to look exactly like every other book or no one will know the genre". If someone can afford to be different in a good way, please do. A talented designer who knows how to develop a concept can make the genre obvious without having to make the book look like every other book...but again, that costs $$$.

Writers' Cafe / Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« on: Yesterday at 08:49:30 AM »
Another one that I hear all the time and that drives me nuts, has now crept into print. "You coming to work, aren't you?" "You in Denver, aren't you?" "We going to the movies."
It was bad enough when you're was your, now we don't even have that  ::).

If it's in dialogue, that's just how the character talks. It's a feature of some dialects.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Night of the Living Shirtless Men
« on: November 19, 2017, 05:51:05 PM »
Kitty, your cover is awesome!  Looking forward to reading your book. :)

Aw, thanks :) Hopefully I get it published soon. I was hoping before Halloween, but I have a habit of being late with practically everything, so no surprise haha.

BTW, someone should totally write "Night of the Living Shirtless Men", a horror/erotica crossover where headless, muscle-bound shirtless men rise from the grave and chase down our brave heroine.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Night of the Living Shirtless Men
« on: November 19, 2017, 05:38:46 PM »
Covers are signals. Why is every UF cover of a skinny girl with long hair and skin-tight leather pants, preferably with fire shooting out of her hands?

TBH, the fire hands thing is just as played out and tired as the headless, shirtless men. UF covers are also all looking the same. That's why I didn't go that route with mine. We'll see what happens.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Drop caps or no drop caps?
« on: November 19, 2017, 05:19:39 PM »
So I decided to include them in the print book, but I'm pretty sure I'm leaving them out of the e-book (still working on that one) after reading how some people had issues with them. It's probably not worth the risk. Thanks for all the replies!

I doubt they would have had electricity. REA didn't happen until the late 30s. There's a map of the phone system at that time in this article if that helps:

Some of my ancestors were mining coal in Oklahoma around that time (this town: I know it was very dangerous and there were a lot of accidents, which is why a lot of said ancestors are buried there. Most of the miners were immigrants. If there were phones available, it probably would have been a communal phone at a store or something as I'm not sure the average miner could have afforded a home phone. There would be telegraphs, I'm sure.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Underperforming first book - any help?
« on: November 19, 2017, 12:32:46 PM »
I think the cover and title don't really say satire or hilarious. They're both really serious, so I think people are expecting one thing when they click on it and then deciding it doesn't interest them after all. I don't know a whole lot about satire, but don't they usually have titles that are sort of a play on words or double meanings?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Night of the Living Shirtless Men
« on: November 19, 2017, 10:19:18 AM »
I kind of wonder what some people are thinking with these stock photos. Like okay, we have this sexy pose, but what else does he need? Ah, yes. The crown from the Burger King mascot. Now it's perfect!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Advice on using the "n word" in books
« on: November 18, 2017, 08:42:02 PM »
If you are writing dialogue as people speak it and it pulls the reader out of the story, they were probably looking for a different book.

I was speaking generally as to why someone might be concerned about offending readers, not specifically regarding the OP. Plus, saying the f-word and the c-word every five minutes may be the way someone speaks, but try putting that in a clean romance and see what happens. It depends on what you're writing and who your audience is how it will go over.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Night of the Living Shirtless Men
« on: November 18, 2017, 08:03:46 PM »
You know, the shirtless guy thing isn't my thing, but it doesn't bother me and wouldn't keep me from buying a book. It's the headless part that I really can't stand.  I know some folks say it's so the reader can imagine it on their own, but I'm sure there are detailed descriptions in the book of Shirtless McHeadless.  It comes off as blatant objectification to me.  I don't like it when it's done to women and I don't like it when it's done to men either.

Don't like it.  Don't buy it.  Wish they would stop showing up in every category under the sun.

The reason I've heard is because the model didn't want their face on those kind of books or something like that. Those covers all end up looking the same though. The main reason I wouldn't pick them up is that the muscly hairless chest image is unattractive to me and just ruins the story before I ever start reading it. You would think 50 Shades might have started a trend for classier covers, but apparently not.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Advice on using the "n word" in books
« on: November 18, 2017, 07:43:12 PM »
As a writer, you are going to offend people. We have to get used to that. Times change and so does our awareness of 'issues'. 

One more thing, at the risk of offending someone somewhere (I don't mean to), there is no bigger assassin of art--and to be specific I am talking of art that is intended to reveal something about the real world we live in--than identity politics.

If you're trying to sell books, you probably want to avoid offending your target audience. At the very least, it can pull them out of the story. In some genres, what the OP is talking about is fine or even expected, but in others it will be offensive or a distraction at best. You don't want people returning your book all the time if you're trying to make money. If you only care about making art rather than selling, then I'd say you don't have to worry about it at all.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Advice on using the "n word" in books
« on: November 18, 2017, 06:57:44 PM »
It seems implied that your friends who say this to each other are black, so why don't you ask for their opinions? You can/should also run it by beta readers. Personally, I would say only use it if you think it's necessary for the characterization/plot-advancement. If the story calls for it, that should be obvious to readers, but if not it can look gratuitous. Also make sure you aren't writing stereotypes. I know several black people who never use this word. FWIW, I have black characters in my book and it never even occurred to me to use this word.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Night of the Living Shirtless Men
« on: November 18, 2017, 01:57:45 PM »

So, it's Amazon putting these books into categories where they don't belong? Why would they do that when it harms the customer experience?

No, it's the authors. But they do it to get visibility because Amazon makes it hard for erotica to be seen. Try using Goodreads to find books instead of Amazon's categories.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Night of the Living Shirtless Men
« on: November 18, 2017, 01:30:51 PM »
Hasn't it always been like that? I gather most of the shirtless books are "legitimate" and written by indies. They are just in the wrong categories because Amazon likes to hide them otherwise.

Writers' Cafe / Re: E-book formatting questions
« on: November 18, 2017, 08:10:37 AM »
For years I used Scrivener (which has a PC version) with no problems. Its native format is RTF, and I like it because it always handled conversions to mobi or epub with no problem.

I downloaded a trial of Scrivener awhile back, but the PC version is unusable if you have a high-res screen. I don't know if they ever fixed that.

Writers' Cafe / Re: E-book formatting questions
« on: November 18, 2017, 07:47:20 AM »
You can create (or modify) styles for paragraphs, headings, footnotes, and all sorts of things. I have one called Chapter Heading that bolds the font in large/small caps, leaves a space under it, and then switches back to the normal style.

As to the Mac thing, I'll get one when I earn enough money to pay for it, but I managed to publish my first five books on a $299 netbook, which paid for me to upgrade to a $599 netbook. MS Office included. Every time I check out a Mac, I get sticker shock.

The HP laptop I have cost about the same as a Mac (bought it when I still had a job). I didn't get a Mac (had one before) because they didn't have the features I wanted. For some reason, they think customers like it when they remove simple, useful things like the SD card slot, and they can't seem to understand why anyone would want a touch screen. Vellum would have to be really amazing, can't-live-without-it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: E-book formatting questions
« on: November 17, 2017, 07:11:05 PM »
So it sounds like the styles are basically the same as paragraph styles in InDesign. Speaking of which, I don't know why Adobe doesn't have something like Vellum yet. You'd think there would be demand. Trying to do an e-book from CS6 is a mess so I didn't even bother.

Get Vellum and a Mac,
And never look back.

Yeah if I had enough money for that I'd just pay someone to format the **** thing for me.

Writers' Cafe / Re: E-book formatting questions
« on: November 17, 2017, 04:39:22 PM »
@Kyra Halland - thank you for answering my questions!

Writers' Cafe / Re: E-book formatting questions
« on: November 17, 2017, 03:14:09 PM »
Leading, font size - those things are reflowable in the ebook file, meaning the person reading should be able to adjust them to their liking on their device. I'd suggest you just use single line spacing, whatever font size is easy for you to work with, and don't try to make them fixed in the ebook.

How do you know if you're making them fixed or not? I didn't expect this to be such a headache since other people were saying the e-book is easy to do compared to print. I understand basically nothing about the coding/HTML and whatever is actually happening when you set things a certain way in Word or what that's going to do when it displays on an e-reader or app. I'm afraid I'm going to make a mess out of it and not be able to fix it.

Does .doc or .docx matter? The Smashwords guide is saying .doc?

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