Relaunch and Cover Reveal: “Shade of Evil”

Shade of Evil - 400x600 G1: The Guardians

This series began with the novelette, Shade of Evil, though I didn’t know then that it was going to lead where it has!  One thing I can assure you of is that I am delighted that it has grown into the series, and excited as to where it will go.

Shade of Evil Front Cover 02-smallBack in the beginning, Shade of Evil had a cover design meant to be very plain.  With later developments, however, that concept is no longer appropriate.  As a consequence, the book has a brand new cover.  This new cover features artwork by Chris Graham, and I hope that you’ll think it’s as great as I do!  I think Chris has captured the essence of the story superbly.  You can see the new cover better by clicking on the image.

In addition to the great new cover, the text has been revised, to eliminate some errors and to make the story fit later developments of G1: The Guardians better.  Unfortunately, that does mean that if you own a copy of the 1st Edition, it won’t tally with this version.  I believe that you get automatic updates from Amazon and some other sites, however, but if you don’t, please contact me before the end of this month (August 2013)!

The 2nd Edition of Shade of Evil is available as an ebook, or will be very shortly, through Amazon (stores worldwide) and Smashwords.  It will also be available from most other major online bookstores (including Barnes & Noble, kobo and Apple iTunes) and numerous other sites but I’m afraid I have no control over when!  Remember that Smashwords offers all major ebook formats.  The paperback will be available very soon, via skoobebooks.

If you read Shade of Evil, or have already read it it, I would be very pleased if you provided feedback as to your opinions about it!  Star ratings are okay, though limited when in isolation.  A brief comment on one of the bookstore sites that allow customer reviews to be placed, or a review of any length, would be even better!  Apple iBooks readers, specifically:  I would be thrilled if you could offer feedback on iTunes, which is one of the few major outlets where I don’t currently have any feedback on my books.  If you do leave feedback, I would appreciate you dropping me a line to let me know – sadly, only Smashwords actually notifies authors of reviews received!  If you belong to groups in networks like Google+ or Pinterest, especially where short reviews are posted, I’d be very happy to hear if you’ve posted about this or any of my books there.  Of course, you could leave a comment here, on the appropriate page, or even post a review on your own blog.

~ Steve

More information on G1: The Guardians 
Shade of Evil page with purchase links 

News Roundup

I am delighted to tell you that I have had an article, or guest post, put on the Indies Unlimited site.  You may find it of some interest.  If you do, it would be great if you could make that known over there.

I have more news.  I now own a new Samsung Galaxy Ace Android smartphone, thanks to my eldest son!  I quite like Android as a system but this ‘phone suffers from what would appear to be a common problem with such devices.  The ‘phone itself has very limited storage and relies on you using a memory card.  Sounds okay, until you find the glitch in the system.  Basically, there’s a bunch of apps preloaded, many of which you probably won’t need, but which you can’t delete, so when you find apps you would like to use, you soon run out of space for them!  What happens is that the apps install to the ‘phone and not the memory card and you can’t move them across.  So you actually find yourself with a device with maybe four or five apps you chose and a mass that you didn’t.  I don’t wish to sound ungrateful, because I’m not, but it seems a very clumsy system…

Because of problems I was having with my health, I spent several weeks unable to go out of the house.  Needless to say, I started going just a little nuts.  In fact, it takes very little time for me to develop mild agoraphobia, which simply makes going out even harder, when it does become possible.  Well, yesterday’s lack of a blog post was a direct consequence of the fact that I managed to not only leave the house, but I travelled around 25 miles to my daughter’s!  It isn’t without a price, of course, as road conditions are such that I’ll probably need most  of this coming week to recover, and I got a whole 30 minutes sleep last night.  Still, I did go, and I even spent the day sat outside.  That’s how I discovered that I am distressingly pale.  My hands were amazingly white, and I’m used to them being quite brown long before this time of year.  All said and done, though, it was great to get out and to see my daughter and her family!  I even  got to see my eldest son and his kids en passant.  That was a touch amusing as he brought the kids out to the car to say hello.  Naturally, I opened my door.  The moment the youngest, a little girl, couldn’t retreat fast enough when she saw me and spent most of the time hiding behind her Dad’s leg.

There will be something of a delay in new books being published.  My younger son is absolutely swamped with work, which means that, between that and his family, he can’t devote time to producing the cover artworks.  Naturally, while this is immensely frustrating, I do fully understand.  It means, however, that the second edition of Shade of Evil and my novel, both from the G1: The Guardians series, will not be appearing for a while yet.  It may be of interest to you to know that I have gotten a fair way into the next tale in the series, too, which is showing every sign of being a second novel.  As a side issue, I’ll be posting another segment of background to the series this week, so keep an eye out for it!

And Finally…

I’m looking for willing volunteers!  I’d dearly  like to hear from anybody who would like to review the tales in the G1: The Guardians series.  Naturally, I am willing to provide free review copies, in whatever ebook format is required.  I am not looking for any ego massaging!  I would truly like some honest reviews.  It would also be fantastic if said interviews were published on the following:

  1. Amazon,
  2. The reviewer’s blog,
  3. any other bookstore site (kobo, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc.)

Obviously the review could be copied and pasted!  I would also like permission to include such reviews here, on this blog, and some might well be included in any advertising/marketing I do, and even potentially in the books themselves, or as part of the blurb!  I do not offer anything beyond a review copy of each ebook!  If you’re interested, please use the contact form below.  I will be extremely grateful for all reviews.

Please indicate sites you may be willing to submit your review(s) to in the “Remarks” field.

Jutoh – The Answer To Self-Publishing Prayers

Jutoh: What it is

jutoh Jutoh is a software package that permits the creation of ebooks.  That was difficult!  No, seriously, it is just that.  You can import your writing from various sources or use the (admittedly) basic built-in editor.  When you are ready, you can then export your ebook in various formats.  There’s also a basic cover designer.  Jutoh is programmed and published by Julian Smart of Anthemion Software.  If you want something to provide a “writer’s desktop”, with a wide variety of very useful features, I would recommend that you also take a look at Writer’s Café, from the same source.  This concerns the whole process up to creating the finished product.  It provides tools that can help in the actual writing of your works of fiction.  Combine the two (very simple), and you have everything you need!

.:0:.

My Own Story

When I first started writing ebooks, the only option that I could find was Open Office’s PDF export.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t like PDFs.  More, I was aware of the Kindle and iBooks, along with other ebook formats.  That’s what I wanted!  I wanted something that came as close to behaving like a real book as possible.  After a lengthy period of searching, my eldest son, Damien, sent me a link to Anthemion Software’s Jutoh.

Now, I’m not going to pretend it was all smooth sailing from that point.  To be honest, I’m not a great one for reading guides to software.  To me, the best software is usually as intuitive to use as possible.  Jutoh appeared to be just that.  Naturally, not having actually read anything about using it, I started colliding with problems, most of which could be sorted in moments by simply reading the User’s Guide.  What I did learn, however, was that Julian Smart, the creator of the software, is superb at providing remarkably patient support, whether it’s just pointing to a part of the User’s Guide, or delving deeper.  I can say in all honesty that I have never experienced such excellent levels of support!

These days, I write away in Open Office, open a new project in Jutoh when ready, and import the Open Office document.  Very little work is required after that.  I have saved configurations that I import at the beginning.  Close the project, reopen it and apply the configurations.  That just leaves designing a cover, or using one already made, adding a few extras, and then I can run the ebook generator for each format I want, including a special format Open Office document for submission (after conversion to a Word document) to Smashwords.com with no problems.  Life simply can’t get any simpler.

Jutoh can be as simple or as complicated as you want, according to what you want of your ebook.  If you opt for complicated, you can rest secure in the knowledge that Mr Smart can help in an emergency.  You will get quick support through joining the Yahoo Group.

.:0:.

Testimonials for Jutoh

“I just put a new Teen novel up on Kindle – using Jutoh, it came out clean and easy to read, even with my differing fonts.   I started to get good reviews right away; and as you know, that is the life-blood for self-publishing.”

R. W. Jensen, Author of Diary of a Celebrity Horse Trainer

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“I started using Jutoh almost a year ago. Up until then I was going crazy trying to get my first book formatted to meet the Smashwords premium catalog standards, but it seemed no matter how closely I followed Smashwords’ own directions I kept having problems. I was not a happy writer.

Since I’m fairly technically inclined I decided I had no choice but to learn HTML and format the book that way. While I was looking for HTML tutorials somehow I ran across a review for Jutoh from an indie author and so I checked it out. I was blown away and in love from first usage.

Here’s what makes Jutoh such an invaluable tool for me:

  • It runs on every major platform. I like to use GNU/Linux, the fact that it’s supported is great. Occasionally I need to use Windows or Mac, and it’s even better than I can install it legally on all three platforms using my serial number.

  • It uses HTML for formatting, but I don’t have to dig through the code unless I really want to. eBooks really do need to be formatted in HTML, but having use of Jutoh’s WYSIWYG editor makes my life so much easier.

  • Producing a book for nearly any bookstore is painless. Want to upload to Kindle? Push the button for .mobi. Publishing on iTunes or Nook. Piece of cake, that’s the .epub button. Smashwords, my old nemesis? Again, as easy as pushing a single button. (OK, Smashwords has the extra step of opening the file and resaving it as a .doc file, but even my grandma can do that.)

  • The community is active and vibrant, and Julian (the creator) is a champ at service and support. And bug squishing. I’ve yet to run into an issue that the community couldn’t help me through, and I’ve had some strange ones come up. I’m sure there are other communities this helpful, but the fact that most Jutoh users are authors adds something special to it.

I’ve gotten handy enough at formatting that I’ve even been able to take on some clients, and Jutoh hasn’t failed me yet. If you are willing to learn your way around inside Jutoh (and the learning curve is short), I would encourage you to try it. It will let you focus on writing more and formatting less, and that’s what all writers want, isn’t it?”

Adam Tervort http://adamtervort.com

***

Of the dozen or so eBook creation apps on the market aimed at the non-HTML crowd, Jutoh is the ONLY one I can recommend without reserve. It’s what Word or Word Perfect would be like if they produced epub and mobi files, and it’s just about as full featured as either. It produces the best looking HTML and CSS out there. More importantly, it’s very easy for amateurs to use. Making a table of contents (TOC) has never been easier. There’s no perfect substitute for coding by hand, but Jutoh comes closer than any app of its kind.

Charles Seper – professional eBook formatter and owner eBook Pioneers

Sources for eBooks by Steve

It’s about time that we updated the information about where you can obtain Steve’s eBooks from.  The best place to get them from is Smashwords, and its numerous affiliated sites, where the maximum number of formats is available.  All other sources have restrictions on the formats they offer!

The current list is:

Other sources will become available over time and we will endeavour to keep you informed of these changes as they happen.  You can, of course, also locate sources using search engines.

Feeling Cheated – DRM and ebooks

As I mentioned in my last post, I was given a kobo mini eReader for Christmas.  I was also given some cash.  I thought about it carefully (so I believed) and decided that, as shopping locally is difficult, I would get my wife, Jenny, to buy me iTunes gift cards.  The plan was that iBooks are generally in ePub format so would suit the kobo.  With the gift cards activated and registered on iTunes, I hunted down C S Lewis‘ “Space Trilogy” and purchased all three books, though I thought they were rather pricey.  I then copied them to the kobo, only to discover that they wouldn’t work!  I had fallen foul of that vile invention: DRM!

DRM, or Digital Rights Management, is a copy protection system, of sorts.  In fact, for ebooks, what it does is stops you from being able to reading your ebooks in the way you choose.  I could read these three volumes on my iPod, but as that has top remain plugged in to the mains or a computer, that really wasn’t what I was looking for!  If I had bought paperbacks, I could take them wherever I wanted and read them at my leisure.  I simply wanted to do the same with the ebooks on my kobo.  DRM ensured that I couldn’t make that happen!

I don’t apply DRM to my own works.  I have a strong dislike of it, whatever media it’s applied to.  If I’ve paid good money for something, then I expect to have certain rights.  I expect to be able to read ebooks in the way that suits me.  There’s a big difference between the iPod Touch screen and the kobo mini eReader screen.  Apart from the obvious size difference, reading on the iPod isn’t possible in string sunlight.  Then there’s battery life.  With wifi turned off on the kobo, the battery will last a very long time between charges.  The iPod drains very quickly in comparison.

Apart from the fact that many ebooks from mainstream publishers are overpriced, the application of DRM is a limiting factor which must surely impact on sales, which also impacts on the author’s income.  There is nothing like such protectionist systems to encourage the “black hats” to break the encryption and then “share” the cracked items with all and sundry.  If DRM didn’t exist, then piracy would, I’m sure, be greatly reduced.  Eliminating DRM and asking a more reasonable price would encourage far more people to remain firmly on the legal route for obtaining ebooks.

~ Steve

More Places To Get eBooks

We’re happy to announce that Steve’s short story ebooks are becoming available from more sources!  All three are not only available on Smashwords and Goodreads, they are also available from Diesel eBooks Store.  In addition, Skylord and To Sail The Dark Sea are available from iTunes.  Skylord is also available in the USA and Canada from the Sony Reader Store.

There is every likelihood that these ebooks will be available from more and more sources as time passes.  We will try to keep you updated about the sources but it’s possible that some web sites may be overlooked.  We won’t list all the offshoots of Smashwords, as these are essentially part of Smashwords – they’re just under different names and addresses.

We are looking into offering downloads from the main Imagineer web site.