Let’s Gab About: Uprooted

Let’s Gab About: Uprooted

Let's Gab About Books

AUTHOR: Naomi Novik

SERIES: Standalone

GENRE: Fantasy, YA, Romance

RELEASE DATE: May 19th 2015 

PUBLISHER: Del Rey

INDIE BOUND I BOOK DEPOSITORY I BARNES AND NOBLE

AMAZON I GOODREADS

uprootedsynopsys

DSC_0653SYNOPSIS: “‘Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.’

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies…

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Escape Clause – Book Review

escape_clause_ga_vandruffWhen thirty-something screenplay writer Jaqie Shanahan and her comedy company – Doofus the dog and José the gecko – stumble upon the ghost of her missing best friend, Jeep McBain, this witty, entertaining, mystery-solving adventure takes off at full sail.

“I didn’t know anything about ghost protocol,” Jaqie comments. “José bolted out of my pocket, climbed to my collar and clutched on with his knobby gray toes for a better view, “ while “Doofus snarfled the dead man’s armpits, and nibbled at the sand crabs scrabbling across the mostly bald head.”
Escape Clause is executed with flawless pacing and impeccable editing. Ms. VanDruff credits experience in stage work for honing her storytelling skills. She writes what she enjoys reading – good clean fun, romantic comedy, and amateur sleuthing. Also evident is her great love and appreciation for her animal sailing mates.
VanDruff’s story background is a nautical theme. On top of this, she adds Hollywood sparkle, tongue-in-cheek caricatures, and a budding paranormal romance.
If your reading mood is to navigate into waters that bring on short bursts of laughter, an ‘awww’ for adorable animals, wistfulness at the lengths one will go to for a good friend, then look no further than Escape Clause.

GA’s an author to keep your sights on!

Follow GA VanDruff:

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Amazon
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Billy Jean, Armadillo Queen – Book Review

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00011]If you were a fan of Three’s Company and Alice in the 1980s, you’ll enjoy Billy Jean, Armadillo Queen.

billy_jean_armadillo_queen_megan_scottMarla arrives on the scene after a few personal setbacks. Accepting a job as a waitress in a character theme restaurant, she is transformed into Billy Jean, Armadillo Queen.

The staff ridicule, interactions and backbiting are reminiscent of so many situations where personality conflicts make spending time at work uncomfortable.

Donning her Billy Jean alter ego gives Marla a chance to ‘act out’ in ways that she’d never dare as her real self – with quick redneck banter laced with southern charm. Marla begins to realize levels of freedom that are startling and uplifting.

Marla’s journey is toward self-acceptance. She learns not give negative thoughts power and influence over her actions and decisions. Based on experiences in her own life, Megan Scott wrote Billy Jean, Armadillo Queen in two formats; as a stage play and as a narrative.

In both formats, the warring forces between Marla’s Light and Dark self-talk are entertaining and raunchily humorous.  The dialogue clearly demonstrates the energy and force that thoughts have over daily life and overall level of happiness.

Using laughter to teach such an important lesson is a lovely way to shine a light on a healthier way of thinking.

Connect with Megan Scott:right looking head shot

Buy the Print or e-books on Amazon
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Become an Environmental Champion – Imagine World Habitat Health

History Professor Yuval Harari describes humans as the only species capable of imagination, large-scale cooperation and creating fictional entities that are some of the most powerful forces in the world.

Fictional entities make decisions about resources that have global consequences.

 

“Money is the most successful story ever invented because it is the only story everybody believes,” says Harari. Professor Harari is the author of the international bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

It is a peculiar notion that mass story telling, or fantasy, is responsible for the state of our global habitat contamination. Yet the facts do speak objectively. You don’t need statistics and numbers to tell you what your eyes can see everywhere.

If imagination has the power to pollute the planet, is it possible to use it to heal the world?

Global information is flowing as fast as…water. Consumers – scratch that!- Inhabitants have the power to change the world with thought, keystrokes and lifestyle alterations.

  • Become an environmental champion. Choose an area that you are passionate about. Gather data, talk to friends and family, share on social media and make changes in your own behavior.
  • Vote with dollars to support businesses that practice environmentally sound and sustainable operations and boycott those that don’t.
  • Encourage children, middle schoolers and high schoolers to think about what problems they’d like to solve.
  • Imagine and write stories about positive change.

 

From a simple 200-word writing prompt, I recently realized that I am most passionate about plastic pollution and that I am a water champion.

Water Facts

Planetary Water

  • Water covers around 70% of the Earth’s surface.
  • The earth is a closed system, similar to a terrarium, meaning that it rarely loses or gains extra matter. The same water that existed on the earth millions of years ago is still present today.
  • Water regulates the Earth’s temperature.

Properties

  • Water dissolves more substances than any other liquid. Wherever it travels, water carries chemicals, minerals, and nutrients with it.
  • Water can move up narrow tubes against the force of gravity in what is known as capillary action.

Drinking Water & the Human Body

  • Water regulates the temperature of the human body, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, cushions joints, protects organs and tissues, and removes wastes.
  • 75% of the human brain is water and 75% of a living tree is water.
  • 22% of our bones are water.
  • Most people around the world have access to clean drinking water but it is a major problem in poorer areas of the world.
  • Drinking water is needed for humans to avoid dehydration, the amount you need each day depends on the temperature, how much activity you are involved in and other factors.
  • More than one-quarter of all bottled water comes from a municipal water supply – the same place that tap water comes from.
  • According to the World Health Organization, 3.2 million children under the age of five in developing nations die each year as a result of unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation.

Household Water Use

  • The average person in the United States uses anywhere from 80-100 gallons of water per day.
  • Flushing the toilet uses the largest amount of this water.

Manufacturing and Food Production

It takes:

  • 2.6 gallons of water to make a sheet of paper
  • 4 gallons of water for a dairy cow to produce one gallon of milk
  • 6.3 gallons of water to make 17 ounces of plastic
  • 26 gallons of water to irrigate one calorie of food
  • 924 gallons of water to produce 2.2 pounds of rice
  • 2,641 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans
  • 3,962 gallons of water to produce 2.2 pounds of beef
  • 39,090 gallons more water to manufacture a new car
  • 300 million gallons of water are needed to produce a single day’s supply of U.S. newsprint.

Water Pollution

  • Water is part of a deeply interconnected system. What we pour on the ground ends up in our water, and what we spew into the sky ends up in our water.
  • Leather and chemical industries cause are major contributors of water pollution.
  • Industries released 197 million pounds of toxic chemicals into waterways in 1990.
  • Around 70% of the industrial waste is dumped into the water bodies where they pollute the usable water supply.
  • Fourteen billion pounds of garbage (mostly plastic) is dumped into the ocean every year.
  • Water pollution is the major cause of various diseases like cholera and typhoid.
  • The Ganges river in India is one the most polluted in the world. It contains sewage, trash, food, and animal remains.

Stuff to Do

100 Ways to Live Plastic Free

Join the Plastic Pollution Coalition

Become a Member of the South Yuba River Citizens League (California)

Article Sources:

Environmental Protection Agency

Science Kids

All About Water

Sunnyslope County Water Conservation Tips

Conserve Energy Future

Tree Hugger

 

Simmer and Smoke – Book Review

Heat and flame transform substances from one thing into another.simmer and smoke

Simmer and Smoke is a well executed debut novel. The subtitle —A Southern Tale of Grit and Spice—gives an accurate description of the sentiment of the book.

The story follows the lives of Mallory and Shelby—women who live near Atlanta, Georgia. They have divergent economic and social status and challenge ineffectual feelings, failures and self-doubt as they strive toward their personal and professional goals.

The mother daughter relationship with the theme of ‘home’: what it is, what it means and what happens when one strays too far away from it—is explored throughout.

“Home is the place I can live with myself, without hating myself.” – Mallory Lakes

It took a while to feel connected to the characters—at first I identified more strongly with one—then switched to the other. Whenever I put the book down, it persistently called to be picked up again and again.

In many ways, Simmer and Smoke reminded me of the NY Times best seller, The Telling Room, by Michael Paterniti. Its pacing is indicative of the culture from which the story is told and it leaves one with a craving to search out the food that is described within the pages.

Fortunately for the curious reader / fan, Lampman’s culinary website – dinnerfeed.com — has hundreds of recipes to investigate and includes more of her expository writing.

Preparing Files with Pictures for KDP – e-book

This is part two of an article discussing file preparation for seamless book file uploads to Kindle Direct Publishing also known as KDP (e-books). Click here to read about Manuscript Formatting PDF files for CreateSpace – Print Books.

E-books are, in essence, web pages – complete with links. Once your file is uploaded to KDP, it is converted into a MOBI file. A MOBI file is an elastic thing that changes size to fit tiny smartphone screens and large tablet devices. Page numbers don’t exist in MOBI files.

When including images in your e-book, there are several considerations to take into account – especially when doing file set-up for children’s picture books.

childrens self healing empowerment book
Toby Bear and the Healing Light, by Lisa Boulton

Image & Text Arrangement

Should images be kept separate from the text, or should words go directly on top of the pictures? I’ve seen e-book formatting both ways.

Although full-color pages with text on top of artwork are lovely in printed books, it doesn’t translate well in an e-book.

  • If the text is placed on top of an image in an e-book, it becomes part of that image and, therefore, is not stretchable.
  • If the text is placed separate from the image, the reader can then pinch or enlarge the word size to fit their needs.

I opt for functionality over beauty – text and images separate.

Image Size for e-books

Images should be sized at or near 400 px X 600 px at 96 px /in for an e-book.

*Note: Images that are too large waste server space, take a long time to download and frustrate readers. 

Folder Structure

There are several files and file folders that must be structured according to KDP specifications for smooth, error-free uploading.

*Note: Before beginning this process, save all your work in a sperate place. You can return to this file if something goes horribly wrong.

1. Create a folder with all of the images (sized appropriately) that will be inserted in your book. Give it a name like, ‘e-book images.’

2. Create a new folder. Give it a name like, ‘MyZippyNewBook.’

Image & Text Placement

3.  Begin inserting images into your finished manuscript.

Inside your Word Document, place pictures by locating your cursor where you want the image to go then, Insert -> Pictures.

*Note: Do not use the Copy / Paste function. The images will show up in your workflow but when you go through the next step, the file will be corrupt.

4. Once the images have been placed, you are ready to turn your manuscript into an HTML file. (*Note: For good measure, save an additional copy of this file in another location before continuing.) To do this, choose File  -> Save As. Where it says, Save as type: choose Web Page, Filtered

*Note: At this point MS Word will start gifting you pop-up warnings. Don’t be afraid…just do it…it works.

5. Save this new file in the empty folder that you created and named ‘MyZippyNewBook.’ Close the document.

*Note: the formerly empty ‘MyZippyNewBook’  folder will now contain your ‘manuscript.html’ file and images.

inside file to be zipped
Billy Jean, Armadillo Queen by Megan Scott

 

6. Navigate back until you see the closed ‘MyZippyNewBook’ folder, right click on it and Send To -> Compressed (Zipped) File.

Upload Zip File to KDP

7. Once the folder has been Zipped – it will look like a duplicate folder to zip fileMyZippyNewBook folder – but this one will have a zipper on the folder icon. The Zipped folder is what you upload to KDP.

*Note: The zipping process marries the images with the text. 

*Note: If your book has no images, graphics or jpeg files, you can skip the zip step.

Manuscript Formatting PDF files for CreateSpace – Print Books.

 

Manuscript PDF Settings for CreateSpace – Print Books

Programs are like bicycles, scooters or skateboards.  If you don’t use them daily the skills get a little rusty. Here are my notes (for me and) for you on how to set up a PDF file so that will upload seamlessly to CreateSpace.

Your manuscript is edited and completely ready to go in MS Word. To upload it to CreateSpace, it must be converted into a PDF file that embeds the fonts.

Before you begin, you should have entered all the information necessary to start a book project within CreateSpace. In this process, you will have chosen a size for your book. CreateSpace will provide measurements of that size. These exact measurements are what you will enter when setting up your PDF document.

Example: A standard book size is 6″x 9.” CreateSpace provides the measurements 15.24 x 22.86 cm. This will need to be converted to mm by moving the decimal over one space to the right. The numbers you will enter on the PDF set up is 152.4 x 228.6 mm.

  1. Within Microsoft Word, Click on Print
  2. Change the Printer Setting to Adobe PDF
    save

File Print

3. Click on Printer PropertiesPdf property settings

4. Change Default Settings to: PDF/X-1a:2001

5. Adobe PDF Output Folder: Click on Browse to direct it to where you want the PDF file to go (this should be a file folder that you can navigate to when CreateSpace asks for which file to upload).

6. Adobe PDF Page Size: Add a custom setting using the measurements that you got for your book at CreateSpace.

 

And there you have it!  Good luck and happy authoring.

Click here to read about How to Format KDP files (e-books) with pictures.

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