Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tips for Self-Publishing - Step Three: Formatting Your eBook

Formatting may be easier with a little help!
Hi all,

When I first started the self-publishing process nine months ago, I certainly had a lot to learn. How did I learn it? Through reading other writer's blogs, reading all the information on sites like Smashwords, Amazon and B&N and by trial and error. I hope I can help you have a smoother transition into self-publishing by giving you a few tips on formatting your eBooks. If you haven't already done so, take a look at the first two articles in this series – Preparing Your Manuscript and Choosing a PublishingPlatform.  Okay, here we go…

Tips for Self-Publishing – Step Three: Tips for Formatting Your eBook

Your manuscript is ready and you've chosen the platforms where you wish to publish your book – now what? Now you have to delve into the world of formatting your eBook so you can upload it to the sites you have chosen. For many indie authors, this can be the most confusing part of self-publishing, especially if you are not comfortable with computers. But formatting your eBook isn't really as difficult or confusing as you may think. And the best part – if you really don't want to do it yourself, there are many services out there who will format your eBook for a minimal cost for all three platforms.

I personally enjoyed learning how to format my eBooks. I'm not saying it was especially easy at first, but as soon as I understood what I was doing, I didn’t mind it. In this post I am not going to tell you step by step how to format your eBooks – there are guides for that – but I'll guide you in the right direction on where to find the information and how to use it.

The Best Formatting Guide

Finding a formatting guide that walks you through the process is priceless and there is one out there for FREE that will save you hours of time and frustration. Smashwords lets you download their Style Guide for FREE and you can use this not only to format for Smashwords, but as a basic formatting guide for Amazon and B&N as well. Just join Smashwords for Free and then go here to download their style guide either in PDF for your computer or Mobi for your Kindle or whatever format you wish. I downloaded it in PDF on my computer so I would have it at my fingertips every time I format a new book.

Of course, there will be a few variations when you create your Amazon Kindle file and B&N Nook file. For example: For Amazon, you will want to use Page Breaks at the end of each chapter so your chapters don't run into each other. For B&N, Page Breaks don't work – you have to use Section Breaks instead so your new chapter will start on a new page. But you can find these tips out on the individual pages for Amazon and B&N.

Formatting for Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Amazon/KDP has their Simplified Formatting Guide.

Barnes & Noble/Pubit has their Formatting Guide in their FAQs. 

For all three platforms, you can start with your Word document and begin formatting for each platform. First – make a copy before formatting – then start. I'd advise you to use the information from the Smashwords guide that applies to your type of book to format and then make whatever other changes Amazon or B&N require. Always keep a separate file for each format; otherwise you will confuse them when you are uploading your files.

Honestly, if you follow the directions step-by-step, you can do this yourself. It just takes time.

Checking your Formatting

When uploading to Amazon and B&N, they allow you to preview how your book looks before you hit PUBLISH. This is important. You want to make sure your formatting looks good before publishing it. If you own a Kindle or Nook, that is even better. You can upload your file (by connecting your Kindle or Nook to your computer) onto your reader and go through the book to make sure it looks good. I never publish a book without doing this first.

Uploading your eBook

All platforms allow you to upload your formatted Word document – simple as that. I do it a little differently, because I like having the mobi or epub file available to share with reviewers without having to pay a bookseller for it. You can upload Mobipocket Creator to create mobi files or you can upload Calibre to create epub, mobi or  any of the files you wish.

But I still can't seem to do it myself…

That's fine too. For many people, it isn't worth their time learning how to do formatting when there are services available that will do it for you for a good price. Tugboat Design will format your novel for all three platforms for only $65. That's a bargain. They also format for CreateSpace and can also create your book cover too.

What about CreateSpace Formatting?

Formatting for CreateSpace is simple and complicated all at once. I use the Word doc that I formatted for Kindle to upload to CreateSpace – BUT – once you upload the file to the size book you have chosen, you then have to work on that file to create page numbers and headings (if desired). I haven't figured out how to do page numbers so I hand the file over to Tugboat Design to finish it for me – she can place in page numbers and headings without a problem.

I hope that some of these suggestions and links helped. In the next article, we'll talk about the importance of book covers.




Monday, August 27, 2012

Tips for Self-Publishing – Second Step: Choosing a Publishing Platform

Hi all,

In the first article, Step One: Preparing Your Manuscript, we discussed the importance of having an editor or proofreader go over your manuscript before publishing. Today I'm sharing information on where you can self-publish your novel. Of course, there are many ways to self-publish other than the do-it-yourself sites. You can submit to small presses, vanity presses or even pay a publisher to publish and distribute your novel. But today I'm only talking about self-publishing your novel on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. So, here we go...

Tips for Self-Publishing - Second Step: Choosing a Publishing Platform
Your manuscript is edited or proofread, beta readers have given you the thumbs up and now you are ready to self-publish your novel. You have several choices for self-publishing and you should consider them all before jumping into the arena. In this article, I'm going to talk about self-publishing on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. There are plenty of other choices but these are the basic sites most indie authors start on. You can also chose to have a Print on Demand publisher, like Xlibris, that charges you for publishing services and they control the price of your book and eBook, but I wouldn't recommend that. (Been there, done that!) If you like to be in control of your books, like I do, then you will want to publish on sites where you have complete control over all aspects of your book.

Publishing on Amazon

Let's face it, Amazon is the top site for selling eBooks and paperback books. According to Amazon, they have 70-80 percent of the eBook buying market and about 80 percent of those buyers own Kindles. So, as an indie author just starting out, you will definitely want to be a part of the Amazon marketplace. In addition to that, Amazon makes it easy to publish your novel in eBook and paperback formats and it's FREE. Yes, it's free to publish on Amazon.

Publishing an eBook on Amazon: To publish an eBook on Amazon, you will need to open an account at Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing. From there, they will walk you through the process of submitting your book. Be sure to read all the FAQs & Terms about publishing on Amazon before submitting a book.  It always amazes me when people publish on Amazon and then don't know how much they are being paid, if they can unpublish or what their rights are. Read everything! Amazon is not out to cheat you, but you can cheat yourself if you don't understand all the details of their program.

Some facts about Amazon:

  • You continue to own all rights to your book
  • You can set the price of your book
  • You have two royalty options (70/35)
  • You can change the price at any time
  • You can unpublish at any time
  • You can upload revised versions of your book any time you want (in case you didn't follow my advice on editing and you had to fix a few errors)
  • You can publish on other platforms as well, unless you join KDP Select (more in another post)
  • You don't have to buy an ISBN # to publish an eBook on Amazon (more in another post)
  • You can choose which countries your book is distributed to

Publishing a Paperback on Amazon: To publish your book in paperback format on Amazon, you have to set up an account at CreateSpace. Again, read all the FAQs and Terms. If you go step by step, the process is fairly simple, however the formatting is a little more complicated than formatting a manuscript for an eBook. But we'll talk more about formatting in another post.

Some facts about publishing on CreateSpace:

  • You continue to own all rights to your book
  • You can unpublish any time you want
  • It is FREE unless you decide to purchase a universal ISBN Number or you wish to distribute to bookstores other than Amazon (additional $25 charge).
  • They will give you a FREE ISBN number unless you choose a universal one.
  • You can buy author copies for a fraction of the cost.
  • You can set your own price on Amazon
  • You can change your book's price anytime you want
  • You can upload a new revised file of the book at any time
  • You can choose to publish on other platforms as well

Publishing on Barnes & Noble

Although Barnes & Noble doesn't hold the highest rating for eBook sales, it can be another market for self-published authors to explore. B&N claims to have 27% of the eBook market, however I think their estimate is a bit high. But I wouldn't write them off completely. You want to have your books available in as many markets as possible and B&N is one you should consider (after Amazon).

Publishing an eBook on B&N:  In order to publish an eBook on B&N, you have to create an account at Pubit. Only U.S. authors can publish on Pubit right now. And the sales market is very limited too.

Some facts about publishing on Pubit:

  • It's FREE to publish on Pubit
  • You don't need to buy an ISBN to publish an eBook on Pubit
  • You own all rights to your book
  • You set the price
  • You have two royalty options (65/30)
  • You can change the price at any time
  • You can upload a revised file at any time
  • You can unpublish at any time
  • You can publish on other platforms also

It is basically like Amazon's KDP program except for the facts that you earn a little less royalty on each option and your books aren't sold anywhere except in the U.S. – which means fewer sales oportunities.

Publishing on Smashwords

Smashwords is a good platform for the author who doesn't want to submit his books separately to places like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Apple and other sites (Amazon is not included in their list). You can upload one book file and Smashwords will create book files for any of the stores you choose to distribute to. Or, you can just upload to Smashwords and not distribute through their premium catalog. It all depends upon the amount of control you want.

Smashwords is a legitimate site and is wonderful to work with but I personally do not distribute through Smashwords because if you decide to make changes (like opt out of other markets), it can take weeks to get the sites to take down your book. I prefer to list my books myself into each market so that with a click of a button, I can publish or unpublish or change a price. This is just something you should consider before distributing through Smashwords.

Some facts about publishing on Smashwords:

  • You own all rights to your book
  • You can unpublish at any time
  • You can set your price and change it at any time
  • You can distribute to other markets through Smashwords
  • Royalties vary depending upon the market you are distributing to
  • A good choice for authors who don't want to format their books for each separate platform
  • **Smashwords has the absolute BEST style formatting guide of all of the sellers!

Deciding which platforms you want your books on is a personal choice. So be sure to check each one out, read their FAQs and Terms and choose which way is best for you. Don't rush when choosing – some can take a minute to leave and others can take weeks. So be sure you know what you are agreeing to before publishing.

In the next post: Step Three – Tips for Formatting Your e-Book

Hope this helps those of you who are new to self-publishing.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tips for Self-Publishing – Step One: Preparing Your Manuscript

Hi all,

It has been about nine months since I started my self-publishing journey and over this time, I've learned an incredible amount of information about self-publishing through trial and error. To date, I have had small successes and am doing better than the average indie author, but I still have a long way to the bestseller list. However, I've learned a lot too, and would like to help other new indie authors on their publishing journey as well.

I've read many author's blogs and articles on self-publishing and tried many different things myself to see what worked and what didn't. I'm still learning, but I also have a wealth of information that may help a newbie indie author not make the same mistakes I did and possibly get a better start on their own journey. There are several books available that will teach you the tricks of self-publishing, but for the most part, all the information is free for those willing to look for it. So, over the next few months, I'm going to share information that I learned along the way in a series of blog posts about self-publishing. I hope these posts will help new indie authors just starting out and will help you succeed in fulfilling your dream as an author.

Self-Publishing - Step One: Preparing Your Manuscript

You've a written novel. Congratulations! Now, you are ready to send it out into the world on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or another self-publishing platform. But, are you really ready?

Your novel may seem ready to you but often times it isn't. Yes, you've read it many times over and fixed every error you could find. You've made sure the storyline is smooth and consistent and you even ran it through grammar and spell check. It's ready, right?

Unfortunately, even when you read your manuscript several times over you still can miss spelling and grammar errors. Unless you are an editor for a living, you probably have a few small or even big mistakes that you didn't find but will jump out at readers. And that will affect your sales and your long-term ability to sell other novels in the future.

So, What Should You Do?

At the Very Least-Hire a Proofreader

Most self-published authors who are just starting out have literally no budget to pay for an editor to look over their manuscript. But at the very least, you should find a competent proofreader to read your manuscript and help you fix any spelling errors or inconsistencies in your novel. You can hire proofreaders who do as little as fixing spelling errors to as much as helping with grammar and consistency. They all charge different rates, so you will want to check out the websites of several before choosing one. Please resist the urge to ask your mother, grandmother or best friend to proofread your book for free (unless they are professors in English). While they may help you find errors, their help will probably not be as professional as hiring someone who does this for a living.

Hire a Professional Editor if You Can Afford To

Hiring a professional editor can be costly and time consuming, but it is well worth it if you want to present a professional book to the buying public. An editor is costly – many charge per word and a 60,000 word manuscript can cost you in the range of $1,000 or more. Some do offer a variety of services so you can choose as little editing or as much as you think you need. If this is your first novel, it can be daunting to spend that kind of money when you are not even sure it will sell – but if you are a serious author, you will want to publish the best possible book the first time around.

Where Do You Find a Legitimate Proofreader or Editor?

A good place to start is the World Literary Café Toolbox for Authors – They list proofreaders, editors, book cover artists and many other services available to authors. You will have to join first, but it's free and WLC offers a variety of other helpful FREE services for authors that you will want to use to begin your self-publishing journey.

You could also go on Twitter and do a search using the hashtags #proofreading, #proofreader or #editor. Once you click on their Twitter account, you can see if they have a website. Don't hire anyone who doesn't have a professional looking website or any testimonials from other authors. If there are testimonials, look at each author's book to see how well it is edited. If they are on Amazon (and almost everyone is) then you can view the first few pages right at the site. Also, look at the comments for those books. If any readers complain of errors, then don't hire that person.

Read through other self-published author's blogs to see who they use. Often authors share their publishing experiences on their blogs and are happy to answer your questions about who edits their books. Choose authors whose books interest you and who write in the same genre as you do. Most independent authors are friendly and happy to help a new indie author.

After the Proofreading or Editing Process – Beta Readers

Before sending your book out to the general public, find people who will agree to be your Beta Readers and who will give you an honest review of your novel. While friends and family are good for this, you can't always depend upon an honest critique since they won't want to hurt your feelings. If you are part of a writing critique group, they are the perfect people to read your novel. You can also find Beta Readers at WLC. Not only will Beta Readers let you know if your book is ready for publication, but they can also be the first to leave a review on sites like Amazon, B&N and Goodreads.

You want to put your best foot forward when you start your publishing journey, so strongly consider a proofreader or editor for your first novel. You are a serious novelist, and you should treat yourself as one. Don't be afraid to invest in your future, and hopefully, in your next bestselling novel.

Okay – your novel is now ready to publish, right? Next post will be Step Two: Choosing Your PublishingPlatform.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Release: All For Love by Ann Swann

Hi all,

Ann Swann, acomplished author of The Phantom Pilot, The Phantom Student and various short stories is releasing her first romance novel, All For Love today! I am pleased that she is announcing her book release here on my blog as well as her contest. And as an extra surprise, she has added an excerpt from the first chapter of All For Love. Ann's writing and storytelling abilities are exceptional so you will definately enjoy this new novel. Here is the message and excerpt from Ann:

Buy now at Amazon!
All For Love
Ann Swann

Yay! It's almost here.  My newest novel, All For Love, will be released in digital format on August 23, 2012 from 5 Prince Publishing.  The print version will follow soon after! To celebrate the launch, I'm running a month-long contest:


Send me a picture of yourself reading a copy of ALL FOR LOVE and be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  You may photograph yourself reading either the digital or print copy.  Send pics to and I will post them on the blog as well (unless you tell me otherwise).  The contest starts August 23rd and ends September 23rd.  Have fun ~ I can't wait to see you!  All names will be entered into the computer for a random drawing.  

All For Love will be available at


Barnes & Noble 



Now, read on for a preview of the book!

Book Description:

Liz falls in love with Quinn the moment they meet in college.  He professes to love her, too.  She begins to think about the future, but his past rips them apart.  What Liz does next impacts the rest of their lives.  She feels it is the only way… she does it all for love.

Excerpt from ALL FOR LOVE:

Part One—Now 

 Chapter One

            We were drinking iced tea at our favorite sidewalk café when the plastics plant exploded.

            One moment Ronnie was checking my left hand to see if my wedding ring was still there, and the next thing I knew she was crawling across the blistered sidewalk in slow motion, reaching out for me.       

            Ronnie and I have been friends since college.  She and Carol were my dorm mates.  The best friends I’ve ever had.  But college was a long time ago.        

            “How long do you think it takes to fall out of love?”  I had just asked.

            Stalling for time, Ronnie gazed about The Sidewalk Café.  The strong breeze should’ve been cool, but it was dry and hot.  Instead of our usual twelve inches of rain for the year, we’d received just less than two.  The drought in our area of West Texas had been catastrophic; a simple spark from a piece of machinery could start a wildfire that might burn for days or even weeks. The weather channel delighted in telling us we were smack dab in the middle of the worst dry spell since the nineteen fifties.

            In a way, it was fitting.  I seemed to be smack dab in the middle of a drought myself.  My nest felt as empty as the prairie, and my husband, who could’ve been the spark to light my world, was also brittle and dry.  In fact, he was so dry he was practically nonexistent, like the prairie grass hiding in the earth, waiting for moisture.

            Ronnie swished a fly away from her drink.  “What’s going on, Lizzie?”

            I hesitated.  She was so good at taking the wind out of my sails.  In fact, I’d swear she was using “wait time” on me, a technique we had learned in our education classes at the university about a hundred years ago. 

            Shrugging nonchalantly, I forged ahead.  I really wanted her input.  I still valued it every bit as much as when we were nineteen.  “I think he’s screwing around again.”  I sipped my tea.  Mine was sweet, hers was not.  She was usually the sensible one—at least when she wasn’t toasted on Mexican red.

            She smoothed the shiny fall of hair off her face.  It was still the fresh reddish color of a blood orange. 

            “Are you sure?” she asked.  “Or is it just suspicion?”  She swirled her tea, giving me a moment to answer.  The amber liquid climbed the inside of her glass like a tiny tsunami.  She reached across the table to touch my hand.  We weren’t very demonstrative anymore, not like when we were in school.  I don’t know why, but I suspected it was my fault.  A hug upon meeting was the extent of our physical relationship.  Sometimes one of us would hug the other when we parted—it all depended upon our emotional altitude at the moment.  But this time, she wasn’t being demonstrative by clasping my hand, she was simply checking to see if my wedding ring was still in place.   She turned my hand over and pushed it flat down on the table.

            The emerald-cut diamond was in the same place it has resided—almost continuously—for over thirty years.

            “Well, I guess you’re still together, so either no proof or you want to stay.”  She was blunt, as always.

            I opened my mouth to explain, but my words were cut short by the tremendous explosion that blasted my streaky sienna hair into a halo, shivering the plate glass window behind us.  Ronnie was on her feet in an instant, her own heavy hair standing out from her head like a fright wig as she stared toward the southwest, toward the Pan-Tex Plastics plant that has crouched there for years.

            “Oh My God!”  Her voice, though it should have been loud, was dim, as though the blast had flattened her words.  Later, I realized it was my eardrums that were flattened, not her words.

            I tried to stand but my wits were scrambled.  My scarf, the one Quinn bought for me in Italy during our one and only European vacation, was hanging from the little teal-striped awning.  My eyes darted here and there, searching for something to label.  Searching for some cause.  Terrorist?  Yes, that must be it.  Terrorist.  My eyes continued searching high and low, but there was nothing out of the ordinary except for the staticky condition of my hair, the tingling of my skin, and that pesky scarf hanging inexplicably from the awning above us.  And then I realized my insides were vibrating, tingling just like my skin.  Breakers of air rolled in from the plant, thrashing me like the waves of tea had thrashed the inside of Ronnie’s glass.

            Up and down the street people poured onto the sidewalks, pointing southward.  That’s when I saw a great pillar of black smoke billowing from the place where there should have been only tall towers, slim columns, and fat boilers.  Inside the smoke, orange flames were eating the edges of the deceptively serene noontime sky.  Not many folks realized that raw plastic is made from natural gas.

             I shaded my eyes and looked away.  It was too much, too surreal.  But normalcy wasn’t found when I looked away.  On the ground, dozens of black smudges caught my eye, grackles knocked out of the air by the concussive blast; the smaller gray spots were undoubtedly sparrows. 

More of Chapter One can be found on my blog.  Hope you enjoy it!

About the Author:
Ann lives with her handsome hubby, Dude, and various neurotic (rescued) pets, in far West Texas.  All for Love, Ann’s first Contemporary Romance novel, is being published by 5 Prince Publishing on August 23rd in digital format.  The print version will be released shortly thereafter.  It will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords.

Check out Ann’s Afterthoughts to enter the All For Love picture contest ~ it’s a chance to win a $25 gift certificate from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Her first book, ThePhantom Pilot, is a Middle Grade/Young Adult ghost story.  It is book one in The Phantom Series.  Book two, The Phantom Student, will be published in October.  The series is published by Cool Well Press.

Ann also has short fiction in the paranormal romance anthology, Timeless, edited by Denise Vitola.  Two other short tales are included in the upcoming anthology Campfire Tales (also by Cool Well Press).  She also has short fiction several literary magazines such as The Rusty Nail.

Chems is Ann’s first attempt at self-publishing (don’t laugh).  It is a Middle Grade/Young Adult pseudo-zombie tale, which is currently available on Amazon.

Connect with Ann:

Ann's Blog   

Twitter  @Ann_Swann 

Where to buy Ann's Books:

                      The Phantom Pilot    



                     All For Love

I can't wait to read Ann's new book - I know it will be great!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


By now at B&N
Hi all,

I wanted to let everyone know that my romance novel MEMORIES is now available for your Barnes & Noble NOOK e-reader. For months, MEMORIES has been available exclusively at Amazon, but now it's time to widen its availability. If you haven't had a chance to read MEMORIES because you own a NOOK, now is the time to pick it up. It is still at the affordable price of only $2.99!

Buy MEMORIES now at Barnes & Noble!

What readers are saying about MEMORIES:

Author Ann Swann on Goodreads:

"I really enjoyed reading Memories. The author has such a smooth writing style I just wanted to turn off all the phones, curl up in my quilt, and read. Miguel was a young Vietnam veteran dealing with symptoms of post-traumatic stress when he met Dani. She stood by him through it all until he finally pushed her away just when she needed him most. Years later they accidentally discover each other again, but is it too late? Even though he claims to love her, can Dani trust him? Or will he break her heart like before? This was a very satisfying book. I think anyone who has ever been in love will enjoy this story."

Author Alle Wells from Alle's 5 Star Review:

"Old memories and buried pain rise to the surface when Dani encounters a man that she has hated for twenty years. A career advancement requires her to work with the man that she thinks took away the most important thing in her life.
Miguel remembers Dani as the woman who loved his only daughter and calmed him during his nightmares of Vietnam. Seeing her again, he remembers the good in the relationship and seeks reconciliation. Their relationship is healed through communication and compassion. Dani and Miguel’s story of sets a fine example for lovers of all ages."

Dianna Kennedy on Goodreads:

"Well, Deanna, you did it again.
At first I thought well it's a love story. Dani and Michael sort of made peace with the past and you think it's all going to be good now But, when the trauma started, (don't worry, I'm not giving the plot away) it started getting more sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for Michael to make that phone call. I felt like smacking him. I could feel his terror and pain. You made my heart hurt for him.
Then you take us on the journey of rediscovery and commitment. I just did not see the end coming at all. It was a complete journey."

Billie Copas on Goodreads:

"Excellent! Very well written and engaging. The characters grab ahold of you and refuse to let go! A very heart-warming and emotional book. It really makes you stop and think, and to feel. My only complaint is that it wasn't longer! I wasn't ready for the book to end."


I am so excited that MEMORIES is now available to a wider audience. Of course, MEMORIES is still available on Amazon Kindle and Paperback through Amazon too.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Author Interview: Andrea Buginsky

Hi all,

Today we are talking to Andrea Buginsky, who writes fantasy novels for the middle-grade/young adult audience. Here she shares more about herself and her books.

Andrea Buginsky, Author

My name is Andrea Buginsky, and I’m a freelance writer and author. I write fantasy for young adults, though my stories are also good for middle-grade readers. I’ve just released my third book, “Nature’s Unbalance,” which is the second book in my YA fantasy series, THE CHOSEN.
I’ve been traveling around the blogosphere for the past couple of weeks introducing “Nature’s Unbalance,” and Deanna was kind enough to let me finish my tour on her blog. I’d like to thank Deanna for her hospitality, and take this opportunity to introduce myself to her followers.

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing all of my life, but I turned it into a career in my sophomore year of college, when I decided to major in journalism. I’ve been freelance writing for years, and decided that I also wanted to try to write a book. After several attempts at other genres, I wrote “The Chosen,” my first YA fantasy, about five years ago. It took me a couple of years to write my first book, and another to find a publisher. Now, I have two other books published with Solstice Publishing, along with “The Chosen,” and I am loving being a published author!

What is your favorite writing style?
I am absolutely in love with YA fantasy. I love to create my own world where anything I can imagine is possible. There is no box I have to stay inside of. I can be as creative and outrageous as I want to be. I love creating the characters that live in that world, and adventures for them to go on.

Where do you get your ideas?
I watch a lot of TV and movies, and I love to read. My ideas come from a mixture of all three. Anytime I’m exposed to a storyline I like, especially in a fantasy surrounding, I can start thinking about how I would put my own spin on it, and start creating a new story based on my ideas.

The idea for THE CHOSEN series actually came from a role-playing game I played with my family several years ago. I decided to expand on our characters, and write adventures for them to go on. I created a world for them, called Phantasma, and have been adding to that world with each subsequent book in the series.

What’s the best thing about writing?

Immersing myself in my own little world, which is something I do on a regular basis, whether I’m writing or not. But while I’m writing, I get to really get into that world, and create it in full.

What’s the worst thing about writing?
Feeling stuck. I can get to a point of the book where I just don’t know what comes next. I’ll sit there trying to figure it out, waiting for my characters to tell me where they’re going next, and what they’re about to do. But sometimes, they’re a little too quiet…

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I watch a lot of TV (probably too much) and I also like to watch movies. I like to read too.

Do you like reading?
Yes, I love to read a variety of genres, but mostly YA fantasy. Some of my favorite authors are J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Danielle Steel, and Nicholas Sparks.

What are you reading right now?

“Daughter of Hauck” by Kate Marie Collins.

So, now you know a little more about me. I hope you will take a look at THE CHOSEN and see if it’s a series you’d like for yourself:

The Chosen

Halli is a shy, young dwarf who has no idea of her true calling. When the evil Prince Gastle sets out to destroy the world of Phantasma, Queen Laurali of the Elves comes to tell Halli she's a Holy Paladin with the power to heal, and will join The Chosen, a group of brave warriors being sent to defeat the evil beast and save Phantasma. Will Halli be accepted by her group, and be able to keep them alive through their adventures? Will the evil Prince Gastle be defeated, freeing Phantasma from his destruction? Only time will tell.
Amazon Kindle


Nature's Unbalance (The Chosen)

During a time of celebration for The Chosen, a mysterious force appears on Phantasma, threatening to destroy Nature and all of her creatures.
Will The Chosen find and defeat this force, and save Nature before it's too late?

About the Author:
Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer and author. “The Chosen” was her first book, and was followed by “My Open Heart,” an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. “Nature’s Unbalance” is the second story in THE CHOSEN series. Andrea plans to write more in the series. She’s already done with the first draft of book 3 and has a concept for book 4. You can find Andrea on her website, Andi’s Realm. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Book Review: Stevie-girl and the Phantom Student by Ann Swann

Hi all,

(This post has been modified 4/10/13 to reflect the republishing of Ann Swann's novel.)

Stevie-girl and the Phantom Student is book two in the Phantom Series by Ann Swann. You can read my review of the first book, The Phantom Pilot, here. I loved the first book, and Ann generously sent me a paperback copy of this second book to read in advance. I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first one. Below is my review of Stevie-girl and the Phantom Student. It is currently available. These books can stand alone too, so you don't have to read them in order - but I think it is better if you do!

Stevie-girl and the Phantom Student
Cover by Tugboat Design

Ann Swann

My Five Star Review:

Stevie and Jase befriend the new kid in school, Derol Pavey who has Tourette Syndrome, and soon strange things begin to happen. A little ghostly girl begins haunting Stevie and the kids wonder if she is somehow connected to Derol's arrival. Soon, the kids are involved in a tangled web of the past, bullying, and the consequences of mistreating those who are different.

The Phantom Student is book two in The Phantom Series by Ann Swann. We met Stevie and Jase in book one, The Phantom Pilot, and now we follow them on this new adventure. This is a wonderful book that holds your attention from the first page to the last. Ms Swann has a beautiful way with words and captivates her audience with her excellence in writing. I thoroughly enjoyed The Phantom Student and can't wait for book three in the series.

Buy the Stevie-girl and the Phantom Student:

Amazon Kindle

You can purchase the first book in the series - Stevie-girl and the Phantom Pilot - at:


About the Author:

Ann Swann was born in the small West Texas town of Lamesa. She grew up much like Stevie-girl in Stevie-girl and the Phantom Pilot, though she never got up the nerve to enter the haunted house. Ann has done everything from answering 911 Emergency calls to teaching elementary school. She still lives in West Texas with her husband, Dude, two rescue dogs, and one rescue cat who rules the roost.

Stevie-girl and the Phantom Student, Book 2 of The Phantom series, will be published in October, 2012. Her story, Soul Gardener, is in the anthology, Timeless. And her new stories, Skeleton Rock, and The Blister Bear, will be included in Campfire Tales (which should be out in September). You may visit Ann at where there are even more stories to read!

Connect with Ann:

Amazon Author Page


Twitter: @Ann_Swann

Hope you all get a chance to enjoy Ann's books. She also has a brand new romance novel coming out August 23rd titled "All For Love". You can find out more about it on Goodreads.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Cover Reveal for Sara's Promise!

Hi all,

I am so excited about the new book cover that Tugboat Design created for my upcoming novel, SARA'S PROMISE. If you follow this blog regularly, you have probably already seen it, but this is the official reveal!

I just love this cover. Deborah at Tugboat Design took my ideas and story and did an excellent job of creating a cover I love. I hope all of you like the new cover as well!

Sara's Promise is a women's fiction/romance novel and will be available in December 2012. I plan on publishing it to Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and in paperback - hopefully simultaneously. Here is the book description for Sara's Promise:

Do you believe in soul mates?

 William Grafton had the perfect life. He had a lovely wife, Sara, and two wonderful children. But one day his perfect forever was shattered when Sara died suddenly, leaving him alone to raise his children and figure out how he would ever get through life without his one true love. Five years later, he finds himself looking into a familiar pair of blue-green eyes that remind him of Sara. The woman is the exact opposite of Sara, yet he finds he is drawn to her. But a few odd events occur that make him begin to wonder – has his Sara truly come back to him as she once promised in the form of this new woman? And can he let go of Sara to open his heart to a new love in his life and a new forever?

 Does love last forever – even in death?

 Annie Paxton doesn't believe in soul mates or fate. She had watched her father die of a broken heart after her mother passed away and has since cast away any fairy tale ideas of love. Then she meets the man who has been haunting her dreams, and she begins to see love in a whole new light. But her dream man is still tied to his deceased wife, and Annie doesn't know if he will ever be able to break away from his past. As strange occurrences unfold, Annie wonders if William could ever truly love her for herself and not for the traits that remind him of Sara.

          Were William and Annie brought together by fate, coincidence or by Sara keeping her promise?


I look forward to sharing this beautiful love story with you in December.

Click here to place Sara's Promise on your To-Read list at Goodreads

Check out more beautiful book covers at Tugboat Design


Friday, August 17, 2012

MEMORIES Blog Tour & Giveaway - Day 8!

Hi all,

Welcome to the last day of my MEMORIES Blog Tour. It has been such a wonderful week visiting with all the fine book bloggers who helped me share my romance novel, MEMORIES, with so many new readers. I've had so much fun and met a lot of new people.

Today, the last day of the tour, I will be visiting Lisa's World of Books where she will be sharing an excerpt from MEMORIES. I hope everyone will stop by and visit.

I hope you've been able to join us along the way, but if you missed any of the stops, you can see stop by the following blogs:

Roxanne's Realm - Interview

Fang-Tastic Books - Excerpt

Mila Ramos - Excerpt

Books for Me – Book Review and Excerpt

Laurie's Thoughts & Reviews – Character Interview

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom – Excerpt

Novel Reflections – Book Review

My Escape - Book Excerpt

Boekie's Book Reviews – Book Review

Mom Loves 2 Read – Excerpt

I'd like to thank all of the hosts in the MEMORIES Blog Tour. They have been so kind to open up their blogs and invite us all in and share an interview, excerpt, character interview or book review of MEMORIES. Book bloggers are essential to authors – without them, we would never be able to inform readers about our books. So again, I'd like to offer a big thank you to all those who participated in the blog tour.

I'd also like to thank Bewitching Book Tours for organizing this tour. They've done a wonderful job!

And don't forget about the Giveaway – This is the last day to participate.


In celebration of the MEMORIES Blog Tour, I'm having a giveaway! Follow the directions below and you will be in the running to win an Amazon $25.00 Gift Card. Here is what you need to do:

1. Giveaway dates are Saturday, August 4ththrough Friday, August 17th (9:00 PM Central Time.) Winner will be announced/contacted on Saturday, August 18thin the afternoon.

2. Purchase one of my three novels – MEMORIES,WIDOW, VIRGIN, WHORE, or OUTLAW HEROES.

3. Send the date of purchase and Amazon transaction number to my email address– – with the word GIVEAWAY in the subject line. (Include your email address in the body of the email in case a problem occurs so I can contact you if you are the winner.)

4. Tweet one of the below Tweets for the book you purchased. (Or Facebook it if you are not on Twitter.)

That's it! You will be entered into the giveaway!


I just purchased MEMORIES by Deanna Lynn Sletten - a powerful #romance #novel. @DeannaLynnSletten

I just purchased WIDOW, VIRGIN, WHORE by Deanna Lynn Sletten- A heartwarming story. @DeannaLSletten

I just purchased OUTLAW HEROES by Deanna Lynn Sletten - action/adventure for kids 10 & up! @DeannaLSletten

Thank you to everyone who visited the participating blogs and followed the blog tour.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

MEMORIES Blog Tour & Giveaway - Day 7!

Hi all,

It has been a very busy week visiting all the wonderful blogs who so generously hosted my MEMORIES Blog Tour. Everyone has been so kind. Books for Me, Novel Reflections and Boekie's Book Reviews each gave wonderful reviews for MEMORIES. Laurie's Thoughts & Reviews hosted a fun character interview with lead male protagonist, Michael DeCara. And all the other participants did a wonderful job of sharing excerpts and information about MEMORIES.

Today I'll be visiting MomLoves 2 Read where she will be sharing an excerpt from MEMORIES. I hope you will take a moment to visit this blog and read the excerpt.

And don't forget about the GIVEAWAY!


In celebration of the MEMORIES Blog Tour, I'm having a giveaway! Follow the directions below and you will be in the running to win an Amazon $25.00 Gift Card. Here is what you need to do:

1. Giveaway dates are Saturday, August 4ththrough Friday, August 17th (9:00 PM Central Time.) Winner will be announced/contacted on Saturday, August 18thin the afternoon.

2. Purchase one of my three novels – MEMORIES, WIDOW, VIRGIN, WHORE, or OUTLAW HEROES.

3. Send the date of purchase and Amazon transaction number to my email address– – with the word GIVEAWAY in the subject line. (Include your email address in the body of the email in case a problem occurs so I can contact you if you are the winner.)

4. Tweet one of the below Tweets for the book you purchased. (Or Facebook it if you are not on Twitter.)

That's it! You will be entered into the giveaway!


I just purchased MEMORIES by Deanna Lynn Sletten - a powerful #romance #novel. @DeannaLynnSletten

I just purchased WIDOW, VIRGIN, WHORE by Deanna Lynn Sletten- A heartwarming story. @DeannaLSletten

I just purchased OUTLAW HEROES by Deanna Lynn Sletten - action/adventure for kids 10 & up! @DeannaLSletten

Thanks everyone for all your support!



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

MEMORIES Blog Tour & Giveaway - Day Six!

Hi all,

Welcome to day six of the MEMORIES Blog Tour! I've been having a great time visiting with my host book blogs as well as with all the readers. The hosts have been sharing a lot of fun information about me and my book MEMORIES such as interviews, reviews, excerpts and a character interview. If you haven't had a chance to catch up with us, you can visit these sites to follow along with the blog tour so far:

Roxanne's Realm - Interview

Mila Ramos - Excerpt

Books for Me – Book Review and Excerpt

Laurie's Thoughts & Reviews – Character Interview

Novel Reflections – Book Review

My Escape - Book Excerpt

Today our host is Boekie's Book Reviews where they will be sharing a book review of MEMORIES. I hope you will stop by and leave a comment. I will be visiting throughout the day to answer and questions and comments.

And don't forget about my Giveaway!


In celebration of the MEMORIES Blog Tour, I'm having a giveaway! Follow the directions below and you will be in the running to win an Amazon $25.00 Gift Card. Here is what you need to do:

1. Giveaway dates are Saturday, August 4ththrough Friday, August 17th (9:00 PM Central Time.) Winner will be announced/contacted on Saturday, August 18thin the afternoon.

2. Purchase one of my three novels – MEMORIES, WIDOW, VIRGIN, WHORE, or OUTLAW HEROES.

3. Send the date of purchase and Amazon transaction number to my email address– – with the word GIVEAWAY in the subject line. (Include your email address in the body of the email in case a problem occurs so I can contact you if you are the winner.)

4. Tweet one of the below Tweets for the book you purchased. (Or Facebook it if you are not on Twitter.)

That's it! You will be entered into the giveaway!


I just purchased MEMORIES by Deanna Lynn Sletten - a powerful #romance #novel. @DeannaLynnSletten

I just purchased WIDOW, VIRGIN, WHORE by Deanna Lynn Sletten- A heartwarming story. @DeannaLSletten

I just purchased OUTLAW HEROES by Deanna Lynn Sletten - action/adventure for kids 10 & up! @DeannaLSletten

Thanks for your support!