Quote of the Moment

"What's Past Is Prologue." - William Shakespeare

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Haunted Unicorn Publishing - Ebook Formatting

Time to try more new things! What, you think I'm taking on too much? Let's hope not. ;)

Haunted Unicorn Publishing is the imprint I've been using on my titles since I started indie publishing back in 2012. I've always considered expanding it and actually publishing other writers' books. Right now, I'm not going to go quite that far. Baby steps!

At this time I'm offering Ebook Formatting Services. Well, my alter ego is the one headlining it all -- I figured using my real name in correspondences for that part of my business would be a good idea, since it's not like I'm trying to hide who I really am as Alexa Grave. Alexa Grave can keep the writing hat, so my alter ego can have the business hat (way to compartmentalize - hehe).

Anyhow, I'm offering simple, but clean, Ebook Formatting. This means no bells and whistles. No fancy embedded fonts, drop caps, or images (aside from the book cover). Sometimes I think all of that gets in the way of the story, which writers and readers alike know, that's the most important thing in a book!

I've used trial and error in the last year to come up with an ebook formatting process that works for me. One that when I look at it looks nice and streamlined. No added flourishes (I admit, though, I like a little flourish on the paperbacks).

Sticking to simple also helps with the varying different ereaders out there. If you keep it basic, you're less likely to run into errors on say a Nook reader even if it's flawless on a Kindle. You can find Epub and Mobi samples on the Formatting page of the Haunted Unicorn Publishing site (made with my bent sense of humor, of course).

All of the details and the Ebook Formatting Request Form link are on the Haunted Unicorn Publishing website, but I'll list the basic pricing structure below. Also, now through March 31, 2017, you can get a 33% discount off of the word count prices (not the extra fees list)! Head on over to the Haunted Unicorn Publishing Facebook Page to find out the discount code. You need the code for the discount! Please consider Liking the Facebook Page while you're there. =)

Oh, and I also hope to start offering Developmental Editing by the end of the year or beginning of next year! It depends on the toddler and if she's ready for some form or preschool in fall (we're getting there).

I'll leave you with the Haunted Unicorn Publishing motto (and of course the formatting prices)!

Read on! It’s all about the story!

Current Ebook Formatting Prices for Haunted Unicorn Publishing

***Please check the Formatting page of the Haunted Unicorn Publishing website to confirm that they haven't changed and for other fees.***

❦ 9,000 or less words — $9
❦ 9,001 – 45,000 words — $18
❦ 45,001 – 75,000 words — $27
❦ 75,001 – 105,000 words — $36
❦ 105,001 – 135,000 words — $45
❦ 135,001 – 165,000 words — $54
❦ 165,001 + words — Please fill out the form and Haunted Unicorn Publishing will send you a quote.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

No No No No No No No No - LEGO Batman!

The LEGO Batman Movie! I saw it, and my comments on it are below. Be forewarned, there are spoilers. So many spoilers. If you haven't seen it yet and don't want to hear about all of the awesome pop culture references, then go watch it and come back and read this post. You really should go see it. And don't tell me you'd rather see 50 Shades Darker instead (for shame).

LEGO Batman was AWESOME!

OK, yes silly reference to the first LEGO movie, but it comes with the territory. And I actually think The LEGO Batman Movie was better than The LEGO Movie.

First, the song in the opening seen -- best Batman song ever! "Who's the Bat(Man)." It's on my list to buy. ;)

Onto the serious stuff? Nah, not yet. But I have to say, I really did enjoy this movie. And not just because the toddler sat through it entranced instead of making a scene in the theater. I was literally laughing out loud through most of the movie, and for me that's great. Everyone needs to laugh. It's good for the soul. Honestly, it was nice to see the Batman/DC franchise poking fun at itself, among other things.

Let's see, some of my fav lines... Barbara Gordon: "Batgirl? Can I call you Batboy?" Oh, and when Sauron tells Joker the Bat Cave is under Wayne Manor. Joker: "You mean to tell me Bruce Wayne is... Batman's roommate?"

Part of the humor, though, was in the pop culture references. When Joker goes to the Phantom Zone, it's filled with so many bad guys from a lot of other movies and books. Voldemort, The Eye of Sauron, Godzilla, King Kong... but my favorites were the Gremlins and the Daleks! I'm likely dating myself with the Gremlins, but I got all giddy when I saw Spike right away in the Phantom Zone. And you have to love the Daleks and their infamous line: "Exterminate!"

There were so many Easter eggs and references in this movie that I'd have to watch it a couple more times to catch most of them -- and I'd probably still miss some (because let's face it, I haven't seen and read everything, so some stuff may have gone over my head). Siri is Batman's computer! Too funny.

With so many references stuffed into this movie, I'm actually a bit overwhelmed and not sure what others to mention!

I'll move on then and get a little more serious. Not too serious. Promise.

Not only does The LEGO Batman Movie have great humor, it actually has a solid story arc and character growth.

Batman has relationship issues. Right from the beginning he doesn't even want to claim Joker as his main villain (and the Joker's face when he's rejected is priceless). This stems from the loss of his parents, and you see him struggle with this throughout the movie and eventually overcome it and start to let people in. Which then ends with him finally admitting to Joker that he's his main villain. Great arc and a funny one at that. Not the normal "love" story which we see so often in most Batman movies.

Actually having a good story arc and the character growth at the end just strengthened the humor of the movie for me. I was expecting to laugh, but I didn't expect a great story to go along with it! Seriously well done.

Oh, and the last bit I have to mention: Harley Quinn. How can I not? She's one of my fav villains. I loved it that they kept switching up her outfit to reflect the many looks of her character through the years.

If you want a laugh, make sure to watch The LEGO Batman Movie! And if you've seen it already, there's no reason you can't see it again, right?

Thursday, February 09, 2017

(Not) Writing With A Grade Schooler

So, I have (Not) Writing With An Infant and (Not) Writing With A Toddler. It's time for, (Not) Writing With A Grade Schooler! All of these lists will be part of my upcoming non-fiction humor book, GSD vs. Everything (possibly tweaked, of course). Enjoy, and please allow yourself to laugh!

WARNING: What follows may or may not be a work of fiction. Tread carefully into the realm of possible hyperbole. Do not let any likely truth scare you from either a) writing or b) having a child (though it may scare you from doing both at once). I take no responsibility at the emotions the following text will invoke.

1. Wake up, tired and bedraggled, but determined to get some writing done today (I know, I know).

2. Yay! Grade Schooler has the day off of school. You imagine how much writing you'll get done since she can entertain Preschooler.

3. After breakfast, you send both kids upstairs to play nicely, and open your work-in-progress. Here I come, words!

4. Clearly neither child knows the definition of the word nice. Five minutes after they've scampered upstairs, Grade Schooler shrieks, "Stop it, Preschooler! Leave me alone! I don't want to play with the doll!" Her tone curdles your insides, and you mourn the words you were just about to write.

5. You call both kids downstairs. Grade Schooler gets a lecture about how to treat her sister -- it's not nice to yell at her. Treat her like your friend. She's the only sister you'll ever have (seriously -- no more kids!). Even though she apologizes and said she won't do it again, you know she will. You just hope it's not today again. Then you tell Preschooler to listen to Grade Schooler if she doesn't want to play with something. Preschooler says, "I understand," in her garbled English, but you know she lies. She's saying what you want to hear. Smart ass.

6. Again, you send the kids upstairs, insisting they don't argue. This time it only takes two minutes before Grade Schooler is calling down to you. "Preschooler bit me!"

7. You trudge upstairs, put Preschooler in a time out, check on the status of Grade Schooler. No bite marks... this time. Preschooler gets her own lecture after the time out, and you wonder why you even try because you know she's going to do whatever the hell she wants.

8. Just as you're about to go back to writing, Grade Schooler asks for a snack. So everyone goes downstairs and you don't even attempt to write while they bicker back and forth during snack time.

9. Nap time for Preschooler! Now you'll get some writing done -- it's always the best time to do it (and you hope she doesn't give up her daily nap until she's in school full time). You tell Grade Schooler you need to get some work done, so she should read quietly. She's agreeable and settles down on the couch with a book.

10. Finally, you turn the music on and get into the world you're writing. Look at the words fly! OK, flying is relative. If you haven't written anything all day, 10 words is flying.

11. Grade Schooler laughs. And this isn't a quiet giggle. Nope, it's a loud, I-want-to-get-your-attention laugh. It's a trap. And you're dumb enough to fall for it by asking, "What's so funny?"

12. You're then regaled by what she just read in her book. Of course, you have no clue what she's talking about. Nor do you care about the story she's reading because you want to continue writing your story, damn it. But she ends up telling you about not only the book she's reading, but the whole series, which is long as fuck, before you can get her to shut up.

13. You tell Grade Schooler to go read upstairs. She obliges, but knocks something over in her room and wakes Preschooler up. Guess it's lunch time.

14. After a too long lunch, due to Preschooler's desire to take two hours to eat, Preschooler plays happily on her own. Now you can get some writing done. No fighting!

15. In a few minutes, Grade Schooler starts wandering around downstairs, looking lost. She declares she's bored. You can't understand because you're never bored -- you always have a novel to write since you can never seem to make progress on it. Plus, she has a ton of books, toys, and art supplies bursting out of her room to keep her busy for the next two decades. You point this out. She doesn't want to do any of that.

16. You're about to tell her to go do it anyway, when her face lights up because she remembers something. Then she tells you about one of her friends and what he did the other day (you're not sure what because you're not really paying attention) in great detail. You've never met the kid she's talking about and couldn't care less about the stupid shit kids get up to if they aren't your own.

17. Finally, you get her to stop talking about her friend. But as you're turning to look at your screen, she says, "Oh I have homework I forgot about!" Yup. And it's due tomorrow. She needs to cut pictures out of magazines and paste them on a paper and do who-the-hell-knows what with them. Magazines? You don't subscribe to any, since between the junk mail, your writing, and the amount of paper Grade Schooler's teacher sends home, you already have a major paper clutter problem.

18. You bundle Preschooler and Grade Schooler up and head out to buy some magazines that are just going to get cut up.

19. Once you get home and get Grade Schooler set up to complete her homework, Husband calls and asks what you want him to pick up for dinner because he knows full well you never have time to cook anything between the kids and writing. Writing? What writing?

20. Time for another snack. You then put Preschooler in front of the TV so you can get a little writing done before Husband gets home. Grade Schooler is told to finish her homework. She whines and claims it's no fair that Preschooler gets to watch a show and she doesn't. Husband calls again and instantly hangs up when he hears tears in the background.

21. Grade Schooler finally calms down and concedes to finishing her homework. You proceed to triple your word count. 30 words! Hot damn! Then Husband walks through the door with dinner.

22. You realize you've written less today than when you're home alone with Preschooler. Over dinner, Grade Schooler reminds you that she has Friday off this week as well. Yay...