ePublishing 101 – Collected Edition

ePublishing 101 is a tutorial on every aspect of doing business as a PDF publisher, covering topics from planning and production to release and marketing, and everything in between– giving readers the benefit of the extensive experience of Phil Reed of Ronin Arts and Gareth-Michael Skarka of Adamant Entertainment.

Anyone interested in creating and self-publishing their own RPG should probably read this collection of advice from two of the most successful PDF publishers in the industry. The PDF market has grown considerably over the last few years with sites such as DrivethruRPG, e23, YourGamesNow, IndiePressRevolution and RPGNow offering publishers several options to reach potential customers.

ePublishing 101 is available at RPGNow.com

Lunar Eclipse in Madison, Wisconsin

Icy Cold Winter's NightLike many Madisonians I ventured out in the cold, winter night to watch the lunar eclipse and try to take a few pictures with my digital camera. It’s still occurring, up in the sky behind me, but you can get a sense for how cold it was outside by the ice-covered tree you see here.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon passes through Earth’s shadow. The last lunar eclipse took place on October 13th, 2004 in our area, but according to the resources I read, lunar eclipses can be seen at different times according to the physical geo-location you are in. This Wikipedia article about lunar eclipses has some great information and links to NASA as well as a US Naval calculator for when you can see the next lunar eclipse.

Partial Lunar Eclipse Photo | February 20, 2008While lunar eclipses are fascinating to watch, I (of course) am intrigued by how different cultures take on a more spiritual outlook to this astronomical event. According to Zodiac Arts for example:

A lunar eclipse is a time of beginnings, endings, exposure and major changes. It always has something to do with “relationships”. The changes are tied to how we relate and will have a lasting impression. Emotions run high, causing upsets and feelings of disorientation. Actions taken often do not have the expected results, but they do bring awareness and enlightenment. The energy of an eclipse is at its strongest during the two days before and three days after its occurrence.

Whether or not you believe in astrology, remember also that several religions worldwide have followed this phenomenon for centuries and continue to incorporate the phases of the moon into their beliefs. Here in the US, lunar eclipses were an integral symbol, part of the “dire” apocalyptic predictions that took place in 1999 and continue through to today.

The next lunar eclipse is a few years away, so I hope you had the chance to get out there and enjoy it!

The Misconception of Writers like Dan Brown and Stephen King

As a horror author, I often delve into all things dark and creepy with the intent to entertain. Some writers, like myself, dig deep, researching human history to explore “real-life” events, (like this short story I wrote, a “Queen of Crows” zombie fiction piece inspired by the tragic events of Bosque Redondo in the 1800s. For some of us, it may not be crystal clear “when” we were attracted to the genre. For others, like myself, I can say that “it feels right” to me. My first horror fiction piece was at the age of 9 winning a community contest; and both Poe and Hitchcock were early influences that left a long-lasting impression.

Never, in all my years researching and reading horror did I stop to think whether or not Stephen King was “Christian”-enough as a person to offer tales like “The Dark Tower” series or my favorite, the unabridged version of “The Stand.” Whether it’s because the spotlight has turned on Christianity or not, however, myself and others have been scrutinized under this lens so much so that for some, it has interfered with project completion.

The thing that I don’t understand is: Why would you ask this question in the first place? Some writers offer their personal beliefs through their work; others, like myself, do not. Our primary goal as authors is to sell our work to the largest audience possible; in order to that, we sometimes write within certain tropes or horror stereotypes in order to provide an entertaining story that readers can relate to.

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MLV Writes Book Reviews (Fiction)

Monica has been a contributor to FlamesRising.com for several years. She has written a variety of news articles, essays, convention reports, licensed fiction and plenty of reviews.

Some highlights of her fiction reviews are:

Small Favor by Jim Butcher
Ironside by Holly Black
Season of the Witch by Natasha Motert
Name on the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Shadowplay by Tad Williams
Prince of Lies by James Lowder
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
A Hunger Like Fire by Greg Stolze
Chaos Bleeds by Christopher Golden
Waking up Screaming by H.P. Lovecraft

Stay tuned for more of Monica’s reviews of Horror and Dark Fantasy products on FlamesRising.com. She has also written reviews of movies, games, music and more.

Using Keywords to Sell Your Work

As more newspapers struggle to keep in print, like the Capital Times here in Madison, readers, job seekers, and house hunters will continue to turn to online sources to find what they’re looking for.

Hunting through the ClassifiedsThe reverse, however, is also true. Just as you try to find work, there are ways to make your work more attractive to potential buyers by inserting keywords relevant to the market you’re targeting. If you think about it, the idea of using keywords to highlight your resume, query letters, writer’s submissions or portfolio is nothing new. Human resource departments have been filtering out resumes, comparing it to keywords within their classified ad for years. Many writers, though, make the mistake of offering one version of their resume in multiple places, believing that it’s enough.

Earlier I pointed out, that one of the biggest challenges as a writer is whether or not to diversify. By modifying your resume, using keywords found within similar ads or markets, you can navigate the waters of online job markets to find work by turning the tables on prospects so you can appropriate address your market.

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Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

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