Category Archives: Publishing

I Never Win Anything — by Mary C. Findley

“I’ve never won anything!” You know you’ve said it yourself. So have I. But yesterday I won something. My newly-published novella, His Sign: The Wait Is Over, won an award from Radiqx Press’s Reality Calling: Christian Fiction. Peter Younghusband and David Bergsland both read and review Christian fiction, especially in the Speculative genre, for redemptive qualities. I am honored and humbled to have received this award.

radix press award

award certificate for his sign

Here is an excerpt from Peter’s review:

“I love the other message Findley included in that as Christians we should also be concerned about our fellow Christians who have lost their way and not just those people who do not know Jesus yet. I can relate to the former. I have seen so many of my fellow Christians stop going to church or abandon their relationship with Christ for many and varied reasons then are left alone by the Church. Is this because Christians/the Church find it easier to witness to the unsaved rather than to those who are saved but have fallen away? It was very refreshing having the character of Jonas have as his mandate from God to minister and harvest those who have fallen away from Christ. Findley makes the point here that we as Christians interpret seeking after lost sheep as described in the Word as those who do not know Him yet but as she illustrates in this novel, the lost sheep includes those who have had a relationship with Jesus but have lost their way for many reasons. These like the unsaved still need reconciliation to God. I almost cried out, ‘Preach it, Sister!’

“Mentioning issues like this and having Findley address them in her novels, shows the extent of her knowledge and understanding of the Word, its application and power when applied to the Christian life. There are many examples in this novel with the Christian characters herein, where she shows her expertise here. For the discerning and receptive Christian reader, this is such a joy to read and be ministered to. Findley includes this as part of the developing plot and characterisation without it coming across as preaching to the choir or the unsaved. To achieve that is a talent and a very effective outcome.”

Here is the full review on Peter’s blog:

https://christianfictionreviewguru.blogspot.com.au/2018/01/his-sign-wait-is-over-paranormal-urban.html

He has many great reviews. If you are looking for God-honoring fiction please become a follower. Considering his long reading list, you can appreciate how blessed I feel to have been chosen for a read and review.

Here’s a video about the writing process, with a snippet:

Here is an excerpt:

“Yep. Sure enough, God had something different in mind,” Jonas said. He kept his eyes on the road but his grip tightened on the wheel. “I feel like now I went the wrong way, becoming a minister ahead of schedule, and tried to drag Anna with me, though. I feel like I failed, and I’m afraid … I’m afraid to fail again.

“When you all showed up at the church, ready to move, I knew I was supposed to go with you, but now … farm work – it’s so comfortable, so easy, compared to all the work of trying to build that church. And I got my Anna back. I feel like maybe this is what I am supposed to do, and I should just stay here, start a little gathering for worship. We could set up that refuge or storage or whatever you need, Drew, you and Hass and her people, but … I still don’t know the next step. Maybe there isn’t any next step, for me, except to be here, to make this place into your refuge – a refuge for anybody who wants to come home to Christ.”

“How do you think I feel?” Drew said. “I was a successful guy, doing work I loved, and doing good, besides. You know, saving the world, or at least little bits of it. A success, in every imaginable sense of the word. Now I’m a bankrupt, paranoid, homeless guy with a death sentence from lots more people than Nomie Harker. And I owe for repairs to an apartment that spirit-world monsters blew apart.”

If you would like to read the book for yourself, here it is on Amazon:

myBook.to/His_Sign

his sign radix and edge 1 5 18

 

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Filed under Current Issues, Excerpts from our Fiction Books, Publishing, Reviewing, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

Waiting for a Sign? — Post by Mary C. Findley

 

his sign 12 28 2017

Many people know that I’ve spent the last two years not writing much of anything. A few blog posts, some editing work, but the only publications in those two years have been volume 5 of our homeschool curriculum, Conflict of the Ages V: The Ancient World, Student and Teacher Editions and the summary version, Under the Sun: A Traditional View of Ancient History. That’s not much production for two years. I plinked away at some works in progress, but accomplished very little.

In October, however, I received as a gift some great images from a stock image site called Neostock, and got inspired to create an urban fantasy cover, possibly to sell as a premade, since I’m also a designer. Three Neostock images appear on this cover. The more I talked about the idea behind it with author friends, the more inspired I got to write the story myself.

So I began to work on that story, with the working title, His Sign, and by the end of October I had over 10,000 words. I was very excited to be writing again. How many believers are “waiting for a sign” about how to serve God? This is the story, partly allegory, partly urban fantasy, of one man’s journey after getting a sign he couldn’t ignore. You’ll find a pinch of C.S. Lewis, a sprinkling of Frank Peretti, a dash of Pilgrim’s Progress, and a lot of intent to be faithful to the Scriptures rolled into an offering to readers looking for something different in Christian books.

I was encouraged enough to believe the dam of my writer’s block had broken. Here I am, almost at the end of December, and I have over 30,000 words in His Sign after taking a break for NaNoWriMo and getting in over 30,000 words for that, too. I wanted to finish something to publish by year’s end, and I may still do that. In the meantime, here is a snippet. I’d love to know what you think of this, since it’s sort of a departure from what I normally write, but, I hope, a product of God’s grace and for His glory.

At the moment when Drew Goddard disengaged the gun’s clip, the window and a fair portion of the wall exploded inward. It seemed to his sleep-deprived mind that it didn’t so much explode as liquefy, like a melding but inwardly-expanding bubble containing colors and shapes he recognized as bricklike, woodlike, and even wallpaper and glasslike.

Drew fell backwards off the chair as a … thing … hurled itself at him. A bizarre memory of electron microscope images of dust mites or some such creature became reality, but in gigantic size, a translucent bluish entity with clawed limbs, more like something composed of energy than matter.

fractal-2387459

But it never reached him. His apartment door smashed open and he had a vision of black tactical gear and a waterfall of golden brown hair lunging between Drew and the creature. As the woman spun and unstrapped a handgun Drew couldn’t shake the impression that something like four tattered wasp wings sprouted from her back.

A shriek that seemed to span dimensions ripped its way out of the bluish energy beast. The “gun” the woman held spurted golden beams and the creature responded much as Drew’s apartment wall and window had — bubbling and melding and, after a moment, bursting. A blue hazy glowing cloud settled over the room and Drew frantically brushed at himself to get the reside off in case it was — What? Radioactive? Poisonous? Magic charm cursed? He felt justified when the woman seemed to be madly doing the same thing before turning to face Drew.

And the book is now live! Print edition coming soon!

Amazon worldlink:  myBook.to/His_Sign

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/774380

 

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How to Make a Print Cover for Your Book — Post by Mary C. Findley

7 31 2015 chasing print cover

I recently helped an author friend make a print version of an ebook cover at CreateSpace.  He asked me to give some instructions for the next time. This post assumes you have an image manipulation program and know how to use it fairly well. I won’t be explaining details about tools and techniques. I assume you know them, or else, not to be unkind, you can’t do this.

I also post this caution. I am a cover designer and people pay me to do this for them because it is not easy.  Print covers are especially difficult. I am not saying I don’t like to help do-it-yourselfers, but I am giving you fair warning that it is hard.

So here it is, as simple as I can make it. Anyone who has any questions, please feel free to email me mjmcfindley@gmail.com This post is only about making a print cover, and from a finished ebook cover, and nothing about the book’s interior. If anyone would like to know my process for that, please let me know at the email address above.

When making a print cover, CreateSpace  gives three options. Most of us choose not to take the professional design services option because of cost. That leaves two more choices: 1. use the cover designer or 2. upload your own print-ready pdf.

The first option is one that many of my author friends have used with success. CreateSpace offers different background designs and layouts. Authors can use their own images if they fit correctly into the spaces. This is where some authors have not been so successful. This was the case with the friend I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

I made his ebook cover so I took a personal interest in trying to help him make it work. He relayed to me the error messages he got as his cover was rejected by the cover designer program. I changed the size of the front cover, created a back cover panel — nothing seemed to work, including re-making the size to their specifications.

I didn’t deal directly with CreateSpace so I’m not sure of everything that happened. I just know my author friend’s  frustration level was rising.  I wanted to help.

  1. I told him I would download a CreateSpace template of my own. This is step one, by the way, of my how-to instructions. Go to this link:   https://www.createspace.com/Help/Book/Artwork.do Choose your color (black & white is most common. If you have a color interior, chose that. Plug in the trim size (his was 6 x 9) and the page count.  They create a zipped file containing two items: a pdf and a png file. You download that file, open it, and upload the png file into your image program. Photoshop, Corel, or whatever one you use. You will see a blank template marked with some of the instructions needed to create the cover with trim edges and spine marked.
  2. Unfortunately, in my program, PhotoImpact, it doesn’t handle that file as a png. For those with the same problem, this is an extra step if the template doesn’t have that layer with the pink lines separate from the white background. All you need to do is create a blank image the same size as (or slightly larger than) the template, copy and paste the template into it, center it, and use the magic erase tool or whatever it is called in your program to wipe out the white areas inside and around the pink template.
  3. Create a background that complements your ebook cover. That could be a simple solid color, but I like to use at least a textured background, like stone or fabric. You can get free textures at this link: http://webtreats.mysitemyway.com/ These are tileable, meaning you can fill the background with a smooth, even image. Choose a photo background instead if you wish. Make sure, again, that the background complements and doesn’t distract from your main front cover image.
  4. Lay out your ebook cover centered in the front cover area of the template. Getting an exact fit may require resizing. Don’t expect a perfect fit against the spine. When the book is completed it’s rare that the printers make an exact fold in the same place every time. I soften and fade the edges so that there’s no need to worry about an exact fit. The alternative is to try to exactly match whatever your ebook background is. That’s difficult if you didn’t make it yourself. If you did, that makes it easier.
  5. The hardest part for me is the back cover text. I suggest you lay it out a paragraph at a time. Small amounts of text are easier to manage. Pick an easily-readable contrasting text color and font. If necessary, use a screen behind the text to add contrast, and/or a thin outline, and/or a drop shadow.  Choose whether you will center it, block it, or just make normal paragraphs. This text, by the way, is your book blurb. It can be exactly what you made for your ebook upload page, or different. Up to you. Just make sure it is a comfortable fit. You can also have an author bio and image if you like. Just be aware of the space you must leave open for the barcode CreateSpace will add. It’s part of the template.
  6. The spine text is pretty simple. Type or copy and paste it in — I put the author (last name only) first and then the title and any publisher name if you use it. Then just rotate the  text 90 degrees so the head of the test faces toward the front cover. Make as sure as you can that the text fits within the pink borders. CreateSpace often says this is where you have a problem but often they just fix it and it works out fine. Make sure you delete the template, flatten or merge all parts, and save as a pdf.
  7. Remember, all images are required to be 300 DPI. Everything has to fit well within the pink lines.  Err on the side of caution. CreateSpace may still say the dimensions are off, but in every case I have let them adjust and had good results.
  8. Go through the review process, make adjustments if it doesn’t pass, and just keep at it until it does pass. “Your files are printable” is the message you are looking for.
  9. Please, please, please order a proof. Look for text too close to the spine or edge, readability, and good image quality.  Different printers produce different quality. If you can’t live with what you get, CreateSpace is good about fixing what they can. Contact them, but remember that they have what they call, paraphrasing because I don’t remember the exact wording, “acceptable variations” and there’s only so much you can do.

I wish you all the best. And I’m ready to help anyone who needs it.

Image Credit: Print cover for one of my books, made using the ebook version as described in this post. Design by Mary C. Findley. Texture from Webtreats, Images from Depositphotos.com

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Will you be my Valentine? I mean Free Reader?

valentine-free-books

Whether you’re a Valentine’s Day lover or hater, we hope you’re a free book lover! There are lots to choose from, including nine from Findley Family Video Publications. Come pay a visit to our facebook event page and see all the free books! Some are free only certain days so be sure to check throughout the three day event!

http://bit.ly/2lEM6Ds

Or come straight to the Christian Women Writers’ website to see what’s there! Whoa! A free Kindle giveaway!

http://cwwriters.com/readers/valentines-day-event-plus-kindle-fire-giveaway/

win-a-kindle

 

 

 

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Even I Can Use Instagram — Post by Mary C. Findley

ruthie-book

I haven’t written an actual “writing” post for awhile. As I posted not too long ago, it’s been a year of upheavals and little or no writing for me. Still, I have picked up a few ideas for writers in my stumbling, fuddy-duddy way, that might help. I tend to discover things other people have known and used for a long time, and one of those is Instagram.

Unfortunately, I discovered it after I dunked and destroyed my first and only smart phone. I’m back to a regular old keyboard phone for now. I joined a group of authors on a lovely new blog called Candidly Christian (see my first post here)  http://candidlychristian.com/life-lessons/ .

The moderator asked us to join Instagram to help promote. I did that, on my laptop. I discovered that I could join, follow, and like (or heart) posts, but I couldn’t post anything myself from my computer. I kept getting messages in my email to download the app, tormenting me with the memory of my dear departed smartphone. So I figured I was doomed to never know the joys of true Instagram participation. I flashed back to the days I started using Twitter and didn’t have any tweets. https://elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/curiouser-and-curiouser-an-authors-adventures-in-twitterland/

Or so I thought. I do know that in the world of devices there is usually some kind of workaround. It didn’t take long to discover that there is indeed a Chrome extension for Instagram that works on laptops and desktops. The picture at the top of the article, which is Ruth, daughter’s “hearing-aid” cat, referred to in my first Candidly Christian post, is also my very first Instagram post. I know, I know. In the future I will crop and clean up images better. But I like to share my struggles as well as my successes with struggling fellow writers.

When you set up your Instagram profile, you might fetch up against the daunting task of including your self-description. Describe yourself and your reason for being there in 140 characters. Not easy. I based my profile description on my Amazon author page. Here’s the highly distilled, Instagram version:

Cover artist ❤ pets cross-genre author w/never-say-die heroes crazy smart husband 3 kids 18-wheeler shotgun Proverbs 16:3 Book midwife elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com

Here’s a link for a Chrome Instagram Extension. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/instagram-for-chrome/opnbmdkdflhjiclaoiiifmheknpccalb?hl=en-US

Here’s my Instagram profile. https://www.instagram.com/marycampagnafindley/ It’s lonely over there, and I’d appreciate follows and whatever else you do on Instagram. (still figuring that out.) And pointers.

And, oh, dear, I hear there’s something called Snapchat! eeps!

 

 

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Filed under and about Blogging, Current Issues, Everyday observations, Publishing, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

A Children’s Book I Illustrated — Archibald and the Fiery Furnace — now 99 cents!

archibald ad

A couple of years ago I took the plunge into children’s book illustrating and here is my first effort. This is a fantasy frame tale for children involves a “runt of the litter” kitty named Archibald who helps teach lessons of loyalty and the search for belonging. He travels through Bible history seeking his “forever home,” meeting true heroes of the faith. This first one is about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. You’ve never heard the fiery furnace from a cat’s point of view, have you?

boy fish archie yuck 25

Archie is an odd cat who hates fish, but children will enjoy searching through the story for a hidden fish on each page. The book includes full-color illustrations and at the end there are devotional lessons that make for great snuggle-time teaching moments for anyone who loves teaching kids the Word of God.

neb and cat jewels

Archie visits the throne room of Nebuchadnezzar but even a cat who has experienced the special love and care of God can’t seem to save his new friends from this king’s wrath.

 

archie and angels 25

Maybe the angels who sang Archie to sleep as a kitten will charge in to the rescue?

 

not afraid

Things certainly don’t look good for his friends, and there’s nothing Archie can do but pray!

Archibald and the fiery Furnace is only 99 cents right now, so come to Christian Book Finds and have a look! http://christianfictionebooks.blogspot.com/

archie baby golden light tree bird

Enjoy the story of Archibald the abandoned kitty’s journey into a better understanding of God and how He works through His Word. — post by Mary C. Findley

 

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What’s Free or 99 cents at Findley Family Video Publications?

free books

The following books are free as first in a series, prequel, or introduce a series. Click on the cover to go to the book’s page.

  new ephron cover 25     latest pain ebook new fonts 25     Disestablish 25      Great thirst 1 prepared the edge 25     anti 1 estab 2 4 2014 25    sojourner ebook 25     OT NT MS history student excerpts 25

empire 1 ebook 25

99cent books

These books are either on sale or permanently 99 cents. Choose from historical, fantasy, SciFi, and nonfiction. Everything from current issues to romance to adventure to homeschool helps to relationships to writers’ and readers’ tools.

baron ebook 25

good bad ugly 25

25

king of glory 25

chasing 9 6 2015 25

what i sec hum new 25

hope cover 25

student

teacher

what is science ebook new 25

fifty shades one final tagline the edge 25

4 4 2014 part 4 results 25

send a white rose 9 6 2015 ebook 25

acolyte new 25

new anti ebook cover 25

City on a hill ebook 25

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