Maria Savva's Blog, page 5

August 23, 2016

My new novel, "The Spider", is now available for pre-order on Kindle at Amazon, worldwide!

Book description:

‘No one’s ever come out of that house alive...’

What lurks behind the door of 8 Goldfern Road?

Are you brave enough to step inside?

By entering the sinister house, George and Glen become entangled in a dangerous battle of wills.

“The Spider” is a story of obsession, infidelity, and broken dreams.

This darkly humorous mystery will appeal to fantasy and romance readers as well as those who love to hate spiders!

The book will be published on Kindle on the 19th of September 2016 and will also be available in paperback at a later date, to be announced.

Pre-order links:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon CA:
Amazon AU:
Amazon IN:
Amazon NL:
Amazon IT:
Amazon DE:
Amazon FR:
Amazon MX:
Amazon BR:
Amazon ES:
Amazon JP:
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Published on August 23, 2016 12:54 • 783 views • Tags: fiction, horror, humour, mystery, new-release, novel, pre-order, romance, spiders, the-spider, thriller

August 21, 2016

Tales From Alternate EarthsTales From Alternate Earths by Daniel M Bensen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book. I've never read these types of stories before but one of my favourite authors, Maria Haskins, has a story featured in it so I was eager to read it.

I admit to being a bit confused when I read the first story, wondering whether this was a book about different types of worlds as the title suggests "Alternate Earths", but when I got to the end of the story and the author's note explained the idea behind it, I realised what a brilliant tale it was. Very cleverly written and thought-provoking.

All the stories in this collection will make you wonder. The authors have imagined what our world would have been like had certain things happened or not happened. For example, if a meteorite had landed in a different place.

As with all anthologies, it is a bit of a mixed bag and there were stories that I enjoyed more than others because of the writing style and content. My favourites included "Stargazing on Oxford Street", "The Secret War", and "Tunguska". All the stories are well worth reading and will appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction as well as speculative fiction.

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Signal FailureSignal Failure by David Wailing

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Emily is on her way home after a night out in London. She takes the Tube in the middle of the night. Her journey starts off quite normally but then things start to take a strange turn when the train stops between stations causing the passengers to panic. I found the descriptive quality of the writing enthralling. This short story is a prelude to the author's novel due to be released next year. As a stand alone short story it is thought provoking but leaves many questions unanswered. I think that was probably deliberate because after reading this story readers will be eager to fill in the gaps. It held my interest from the beginning and is definitely a page turner. In this story we follow Emily as she tries to make her way home. This is quite a creepy tale that touches on themes such as mind control and the paranormal. A well crafted prelude to what I expect will be a brilliant novel.

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Published on August 21, 2016 06:57 • 285 views • Tags: book-review, david-wailing, horror, short-story, signal-failure

August 18, 2016

A Snake in ParadiseA Snake in Paradise by Eden Baylee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am familiar with Eden Baylee's work having read a few of her short stories and her novel Stranger at Sunset. I've always enjoyed her work. She's a very skilled author. The descriptive quality of her writing puts the reader in the characters' shoes and evokes imagery so that it almost feels as if you are watching the action.

I was not familiar with the Lei Crime series and understand that these books are only available from at the moment. The author kindly gifted a copy to me so that I could read it.

A Snake in Paradise is a quick read that has a lot of depth. Lainey Lee is a 49-year-old woman who is newly divorced. She travels to Hawaii, somewhere she has always wanted to visit. The prologue sets the scene for some kind of criminal activity but doesn't give too much away. We then follow Lainey on her trip as she meets up with many interesting characters. This story will keep you guessing, and as it unfolds it becomes clear that this paradise destination is not as heavenly as it first seemed.

I enjoyed this story and would describe it as a page turner because it's the kind of book that you want to carry on reading to find out what happens next.

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Published on August 18, 2016 04:46 • 706 views • Tags: book-review, eden-baylee, lei-crime-series, mystery, snake-in-paradise
The World According To WantThe World According To Want by Julie Elizabeth Powell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I always look forward to reading anything by Julie Elizabeth Powell. She's one of the most imaginative writers I know. This short story sees the author take a different direction with her writing (unsurprisingly as she is very experimental and writes in different genres). "The World According To Want" is a science fiction short story set one thousand years in the future. The author explores what could happen if the world changed in such a way that people were given the chance to have whatever they want. We meet two characters who are disillusioned about how the world has changed and are both in their own way trying to make a difference. It's a quick and interesting read that will make you think.

The author has included some enjoyable and thought-provoking bonus content: two poems and a flash fiction piece.

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Published on August 18, 2016 04:42 • 312 views • Tags: book-review, julie-elizabeth-powell, sci-fi, science-fiction, short-story

August 15, 2016


Tower Sniper: The Terror of America’s First Active Shooter On Campus was released on July 26th 2016 and focused on the Charles Whitman and his rampage on the UT campus August 1st, 1966.The heartbreaking events of that day still ripple through the history of the University of Texas and in the memory of the victims of Charles Whitman. That was the day the engineering student at the University in Austin rode the elevator to the top of the 30 story university tower armed with seven firearms and a foot locker filled with ammunition, food and supplies. His ‘reverse siege’ of the campus and surrounding area lasted 96 minutes, during which he shot 46 people – 14 fatally. When the murders of his wife and mother, plus the death of a victim in 2001 from wounds sustained that day are included, the total horror was 17 killed and 31 wounded. It was the first of what has become a sorry and sorrowful chain of similar events – campus mass shootings – in the United States.
Goodreads #Giveaway for signed hard back copy of Tower Sniper #BaBB Click to TweetTweet: Goodreads #Giveaway for signed hard back copy of Tower Sniper #BaBB

Book Description:
On August 1, 1966, University of Texas engineering student Charles Whitman went to the top of the 307-foot campus tower. Over the next 96 minutes he shot and killed 15 people and wounded 31. Tower Sniper: The Terror of America’s First Campus Active Shooter, by Monte Akers, Nathan Akers, and Dr. Roger Friedman, explores the history and personal experience of this seminal tragedy, enriches public memory, and advances our understanding of mass shootings that continue to haunt America.

The authors vigilantly examine the details leading up to the event, the shootings, and their half-century legacy in stark detail. In doing so the authors correct various myths that have been part of the public narrative for decades, such as a brain tumor having motivated Whitman’s actions, that he intentionally targeted certain victims, and that he attempted to make it appear that multiple snipers were active. Witness interviews, examination of primary sources, and handwriting analysis reveal information overlooked until now, including the factors that actually contributed to Whitman’s predatory behavior and how his death and autopsy were mishandled.

Employing the expertise of a clinical psychologist who was best friend to one of the shooter’s young victims, the book contrasts current understandings of trauma with the approach taken at the time, documents the long-term traumatic legacy of mass shootings, and describes how individuals and communities can successfully cope with traumatic memories. The release of this book coincides with the unveiling of the newly expanded memorial for the victims of this tragedy on the University of Texas campus, August 1, 2016, the 50th Anniversary of the shooting.

Read An Excerpt of Tower Sniper:
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Giveaway Details:
Enter for a chance to win one (1) of two (2) hardback copies – autographed by all three authors – of the 1st print, 1st edition of Tower Sniper – The Terror of America's First Active Shooter on Campus; by Monte Akers, Nathan Akers, & Roger Friedman, Ph.D.!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tower Sniper
by Monte Akers

Giveaway ends August 21, 2016.

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Published on August 15, 2016 14:06 • 250 views • Tags: giveaway, tower-sniper

August 13, 2016

My new novel, "The Spider", is almost ready for release!

I've been working on this one for a couple of years and am very excited to share it with you.

Here's the blurb:

‘No one’s ever come out of that house alive...’

What lurks behind the door of 8 Goldfern Road?

Are you brave enough to step inside?

By entering the sinister house, George and Glen become entangled in a dangerous battle of wills.

“The Spider” is a story of obsession, infidelity, and broken dreams.

This darkly humorous mystery will appeal to fantasy and romance readers as well as those who love to hate spiders!

And here's the wonderful cover, designed by Kat at Aeternum Designs. Kat also designed the covers for the second edition of my novel A Time to Tell and my short story collection, Lost and Found.

The book is currently being formatted for e-book, by EbookBuilders. I'll have news of the release date soon!
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Published on August 13, 2016 08:42 • 1,196 views • Tags: aeternum-designs, cover-reveal, ebookbuilders, fantasy, horror, humour, mystery, new-release, novel, paranormal, the-spider

August 9, 2016

August 9th is National Book Lovers Day.

To celebrate, I've picked 10 of my favourite books (by independent authors). I hope you will read at least one of them. If you do, and if you like the book/s, please think about leaving a review on Goodreads or Amazon, or anywhere else. Reviews help authors. Without authors there would be no books and there would be no National Book Lovers Day.

So, for all you bibliophiles out there, here are some suggested reads.

1. Darcia Helle's - Eli's Coming

Eli's Coming by Darcia Helle

I could have picked any one of Darcia Helle's books. She's a very talented author and I'd recommend all her books. Eli's Coming is her latest novel. It's a supernatural thriller with elements of dark fantasy and suspense, full of thrills, humour, and believable characters.

2. The Guardian's Apprentice, by J. Michael Radcliffe.

The Guardian's Apprentice (Beyond the Veil) by J. Michael Radcliffe

I'm a big fan of J. Michael Radcliffe's books. He is a brilliant fantasy author. If you like dark fantasy, with dragons, other worlds, magic, etc. I'd highly recommend any of his books.

3. Living the Dream, by Tim Baker

Living the Dream by Tim Baker

I've read a few of Tim Baker's books and have enjoyed them all. He is a talented writer whose books are skillfully written, full of suspense, adventure, and humour. He's one of my favourite authors and I always know that when I pick up a Tim Baker book I'm going to enjoy it.

4. Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity Missive One, by Julie Elizabeth Powell

Weird A Henry Ian Darling Oddity Missive One by Julie Elizabeth Powell

As with all the authors I've mentioned so far, I could have chosen any one of Julie Elizabeth Powell's books to recommend. She's a prolific writer who has a boundless imagination and always surprises me with her books. She's very inventive and creative with her writing, experimenting with all sorts of genres. "Weird" is her latest series of books, which is excellent.

5. Odin's Eye, by Maria Haskins

Odin's Eye by Maria Haskins

If you're a science fiction fan you'll love Maria Haskins' short story collection. Maria is a very talented author. She also writes poetry. With Maria's writing, I can always tell how much effort has gone into making sure every sentence says exactly the right thing, and her writing evokes imagery and emotion. It's a joy to read.

6. Nocturnal Embers, by Helle Gade

Nocturnal Embers by Helle Gade

If you like poetry, you'll love Helle Gade's books. Her poetry is from the heart and full of passion. I'd recommend any one of her collections of poetry.

7. You Wish..., by Terry Tyler

You Wish... by Terry Tyler

Terry Tyler is another one of those talented authors who always produces quality fiction. Whenever I pick up one of her books, I know that I'll get lost in the story. "You Wish" was the first one of her books that I read and it made me a fan.

8. Crooked Moon, by Lisette Brodey

Crooked Moon by Lisette Brodey

Again, I could have picked any one of Lisette Brodey's books. She is another author who likes to experiment with different styles and genres. I've enjoyed all of her books. "Crooked Moon" is a favourite of mine.

9. What Tim Knows, and other stories, by Wendy Janes

What Tim Knows, and other stories by Wendy Janes

I recently discovered this author's writing and am glad I did. She writes beautifully, and this short story collection is full of realistic characters and true-to-life tales that will make you think.

10. Rock'n'Roll Suicide, By Geoffrey D. West

Rock'n'Roll Suicide (Jack Lockwood mysteries) by Geoffrey David West

A great crime thriller. This book is the first in a series, and I would highly recommend the whole series. Geoffrey West also writes great short stories.

Please feel free to recommend any of your favourite books by independent authors, in the comments below :)
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August 7, 2016

Today I'm thrilled to be introducing you to Eden Baylee. She's a very talented writer who has written many novels and short stories. Eden also contributed stories to Triptychs (Book 3 in the Mind's Eye Series). She's one of the friendliest authors I know and she's always very supportive of fellow writers.

Eden has also offered to give away one of her books to one of my blog readers. Keep reading this post to find out how you can enter to win.


Welcome to my blog, Eden, it's lovely to have you as a guest. Firstly, tell us where does your inspiration come from?

It doesn’t come from any one person or place. I can name a few writers I’ve admired for various reasons: Charles Bukowski for his brash honesty and brevity; John Fowles for his imaginative storytelling; John Steinbeck for his masterful prose; and countless poets who’ve inspired me to think differently about my writing.

Many musical talents have also inspired me with their lyrics and style – Paul Simon, David Bowie, the Beatles.

I believe inspiration can hit at any time if we are open to it. Whether it’s at an art show, live theatre, or an encounter with someone who makes me see something outside the norm, I am always ready to be amazed. It doesn’t happen too often, but it’s great when it does.

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is a novella called The Lei Crime Series: Charade at Sea for the Lei Crime Kindle World. I wrote it to unite two characters I introduced in my first two books for the series.

In A Snake in Paradise, I introduced Lainey Lee, a recently divorced woman trying to make it on her own after years in a bad marriage. She travels to the Big Island as a gift to herself but falls into the middle of a crime ring.

In the second book, The Lei Crime Series: Seal of a Monk, Lainey returns to Hawaii and meets ex-Navy SEAL, Max Scott in Kauai. They work together to find a missing girl and romance is hinted at the very end of the book.

In Charade at Sea, the storyline focuses on the developing romance between Lainey and Max. The setting is a cruise ship around the Hawaiian Islands.

Unfortunately, these Kindle World books are available only on for now.

How much research do you do when writing a book?

It really depends on the story. For the Lei Crime series, I knew nothing about Hawaii, tattoos, and Navy SEALS. I had to research each of these topics as my stories unfolded. The old adage of “Write what you know” is a great one, but it also points out how much I don’t know!

Ha, ha!

As well, if I were only to write what I know, it would be a less interesting journey for me as I enjoy learning new things.

Very true. I agree. One of the great things about writing is that we learn about a lot of things we would otherwise never know about!

In my novel, Stranger at Sunset, I was familiar with the setting of Jamaica where the story took place, but there were many plot points I had to research. As an example, the story involved murder using an unusual substance, so I consulted a Professor of Pharmacy to ensure the scenario I wanted to write was possible.

An author can make up some things, but unless you are writing fantasy or science fiction where you create new worlds, it’s still important to get the facts straight.

Who does your cover design? Is there anyone you’d recommend?

All of my cover designs are done by JBGraphics.

Full disclosure. He is my husband, so we work closely on every aspect of my book design and media. My best advice for anyone looking for design work is to visit a designer’s website. See if their style is something you might like for your own designs. In my case, I am lucky I have a lot of input into how my covers ultimately turn out.

For me, book covers are important in presenting a mood and an idea for what the story is about. The clearer you are able to convey this to the designer, the better he/she will be able to give you what you want.

What type of music do you prefer to listen to?

I’m an audiophile and I love most music. I tend to listen to classic rock if I have a choice. It’s familiar and always good, and I can sing along to it. I also listen to a lot of blues and jazz if I’m just relaxing. I grew up in the disco age, so I know that era of music very well, but it’s not my “go-to” music.

I have an open mind for most types of music, so if there is something new or different, I will give it a listen before I decide whether I like it or not. Music tends to sit deeply in my unconscious. A song can conjure an old memory for me, and if it was a pleasant memory, then I fall in love with the song all over again.

When writing a novel or story, do you think word count is important? If so, what is the ideal length?

I use word count as a guideline for readers, so it’s more important for them than it is for me. In my novellas for the Lei Crime Kindle World series, the stories range from 18K-24K. A novel can be anywhere from 50K – 100K. Depending on where you get your information, these numbers may differ.

I don’t know if there is an ideal length for readers. The trend toward shorter stories, packaged in a series, as opposed to the 100K-word novels might lead one to think it’s better to write novellas or short stories, but I think this would be a mistake.

Ultimately, you cannot chase the trends, and the only thing an author has control over is their story. The story will dictate the number of words necessary to tell it. Whether you decide to break up the final product into a series of shorter books or sell it as a novel is just packaging.


Do you have any advice for writers as to how to deal with bad reviews?

Yes. Read it and move on. Don’t dwell on it. If you think there is merit to the review such as bad grammar, the plot had holes in it, the characters were wooden, etc, then learn from it for the next time. If you think the review is bogus, ignore it.

Readers can love or hate a book for any reason. They do not need to justify themselves in a way that satisfies the author, so there is no point in getting upset or telling the whole world about it.

Bad reviews can teach us much more than good ones. For example, if you are getting bad reviews consistently, and the reviews are all saying the same thing, then it’s worth taking a step back. Read your book again with objectivity, and remove your ego from the equation. Learn how you can improve. Writing is a lifelong process, and there is always something we can learn!

Wise advice!

Thanks you for joining me here, Eden!

Thanks so much, Maria, for inviting me for an interview. I truly appreciate your generosity.

As a gift for your readers, I’d like to offer a commenter an e-book from my Lei Crime Kindle Worlds series. They can choose the one they like. Though readers outside the USA cannot buy it, I can still send them a gift of it.

I’ll let you choose the winner!

Thank you, Eden, that's very generous!


About Eden

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres.

She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction ~ Spring into Summer, Fall into Winter, and Hot Flash.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton—a psychological mystery/suspense called Stranger at Sunset. In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created Lainey Lee for the Lei Crime Series, a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii. 

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! 

To stay apprised of Eden's book-related news, please add your name to: her mailing list.

For more information about the author, visit her website: or find her on Facebook: and Twitter:

You can also follow her on: or Amazon.UK:


Remember, for your chance to win a copy of one of Eden's Lei Crime series books, just leave a comment below. I'll pick a winner on Friday 12th August!

Good luck!
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Published on August 07, 2016 13:30 • 1,348 views • Tags: author-interview, competition, eden-baylee, interview, lei-crime-series

August 5, 2016

Continuing my series of interviews with authors, joining me today is Margaret Duarte, who recently published the first book in her series of Visionary Fiction novels. I invited Margaret here to find out a bit more about her writing.


Thanks for inviting me to participate in the Q&A on your blog.

Thanks for joining me, Margaret! Please introduce yourself.

I’m the daughter of Dutch immigrants and a former middle school teacher, who lives on a California dairy farm with her family and a herd of happy cows, a constant reminder that the greenest pastures are closest to home.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Since I’ve just started my journey toward publication (one book published, three on the way), I’ve had little experience with the publishing world other than hearsay—which is sometimes more frightening than fact. However, I have observed enough over the years to give the following advice:

· Don’t submit too soon. When I finished my first novel fifteen years ago, I was so proud of my accomplishment that I immediately entered the prestigious William Faulkner Novel Competition. It’s one of America’s leading literary writing contests and offers a hefty first prize of $7,500, plus assistance in finding a literary agent and publisher. Oh, the innocence of the budding writer! Between the entry fee (somewhere around $20, I believe) and the postage (no electronic transmissions back then), I was a bit poorer for the experience. But I learned an important lesson: There are plenty of writers out there who have not only written novels, but have put in many more hours than I have at perfecting and polishing their craft. I heard that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of deep practice to get really good at something, which translates into approximately ten years, which I bypassed five years ago.

· Take classes, enter contests, join critique groups, and attend writer’s conferences to get feedback on your work and to learn all you can about the craft of writing.

· Buckle down and never give up. You’re in this for the long haul.

Great advice. Especially the third one. Once a writer, always a writer!

Tell us about your latest book.

Between Will and Surrender, book one in my “Enter the Between” Visionary Fiction Series, was published in 2015. It won first place in the 2016 Northern California Publishers and Writers Awards for fiction.

Congratulations. That's a great accomplishment.

The novel is about Silicon Valley resident Marjorie Veil, who has been conditioned to ignore her own truth, give way her power, subjugate in relationships with others, and settle for the path of least resistance. But she has many surprises in store, for there are synchronistic forces at work in her life that, if she listens, will lead her to her authentic heart and happiness. The seemingly impossible happens in the wild of the Los Padres National Forest where Marjorie goes on retreat to make sense of her life when she thinks she has gone insane. The innocence of the Native American orphan Marjorie befriends, as well as more mystery and adventure than she bargained for, show her how love can heal in what turns out to be a transformative spiritual quest.

Do you do your own editing or use a professional?

Being a former English teacher, I do my own proofreading and line-editing. That said, I belong to a critique group, without which I couldn't imagine taking a novel through the long revision stage. I also have three beta readers who know their stuff. When my manuscript is the best it can be, I send it to a professional “content” editor. In about four weeks, she returns it with her suggestions for revision. In the case of Between Will and Surrender, her biggest issue was with my climax scene, which improved tremendously after a rewrite.

I also think it's so important to get feedback after writing the book and before publishing because all the editor's/beta readers' comments can help to make the book so much better in the long run. I think books tend to get better with each re-write. That part can go on for ever if we're not careful though! The trick is to know when to stop editing!

How much research do you do when writing a book?

So far, years of research in a diverse range of subjects have gone into writing my “Enter the Between Series.” I have two packed, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to prove it. The books I found most helpful in researching the first novel of my series, Between Will and Surrender, are:

Earth Quest - Earth Medicine: Revealing Hidden Treasures of the Native American Medicine Wheel - a Shamanic Way to Self-discovery and The Medicine Way: A Shamanic Path to Self Mastery, by Kenneth Meadows, Dancing the Dream: The Seven Sacred Paths Of Human Transformation by Jamie Sams, The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot, Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes Crisis, by Stanislav and Christina Grof, The Natural History of Big Sur, by Paul Henson and Donald J. Usner, The Salinan Indians of California and Their Neighbors, by Betty War Brusa, The Ohlone Way, by Malcolm Margolin, and The Carmel Mission: From Founding To Rebuilding, by Sydney Temple.

Those all have very intriguing titles.

What genre do you write in?  

Because of the visionary/metaphysical aspect of my novels, I consider myself a Visionary Fiction writer (You’ll find the definition of VF at the Visionary Fiction Alliance of which I am a founding member.). However, my stories also have the broad commercial appeal of women’s fiction.

Who does your cover design? Is there anyone you’d recommend?

My covers were designed by the talented Clarissa Yeo at Yocla Designs

What’s your favorite book, and why is it your favorite?

I have not one favorite book, but many, among them: 

Keeping Faith, by Jodi Picoult, The Year of Pleasures, by Elizabeth Berg, The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, The Girl with No Shadow, by Joanne Harris, The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman, The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield, In the Woods, by Tana French, The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and the Odd Thomas series, by Dean Koontz.

Do you format your own books?

The first time around, I paid to have my book formatted, but I was not completely satisfied. So I learned how to format myself. Formatting is a lot of work, but, as a result, I’m in full control of my work, which is a big plus. It’s the small things that make the difference between a book acceptably formatted and one formatted professionally. Two books I found helpful in my learning process were How to Self-Publish Your Book Using Microsoft Word 2007: A Step-By-Step Guide for Designing & Formatting Your Book's Manuscript & Cover to PDF & Pod Press Specifications, Including Those of Createspace, by Edwin Scroggins (I’ve upgraded to Word 2016, but most of the information in this book is still applicable) and Format YOUR Print Book with Createspace, by Tim C. Taylor. There are also free books available on Amazon that show you how to self-publish using their KDP and CreateSpace services.

Where are your books on sale?

Currently, my book is only for sale on Amazon. After my second and third books are published, I will branch out to Smashwords and Ingram Spark for wider distribution.

Thanks, Margaret. Your book sounds fascinating. I'll be adding it to my to-read list. Good luck with the series.

Author links:


Amazon author page:


Facebook Author page:!/pages/Mar...

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