Interview: Thea Hutcheson on “Judging Pashet”


 
“Judging Pashet” is in the Stars in the Darkness anthology, a collection of stories about why being just matters, and what the ramifications are for individuals, groups, towns, countries, or even worlds if justice is not expected, encouraged, or enforced.

Meet Thea!

Thea Hutcheson writes about magic, science, and everything in between. She has a special love for ancient cultures, and captured the essence of ancient Egypt and the impact of flooding – or lack thereof – of the Nile River on people’s lives in “Judging Pashet.”

“Judging Pashet”

In the time of the ancient pharaohs, the great annual flood of the Nile has not come to make the black soil fertile. Princes fight for power after the death of the pharaoh, blockading the boats that carry precious food up and down the river. Starvation faces Mert, her family, and her village unless she finds a way to render judgment on a dead man and make him pay for his crimes.

The stone floor was cool under her bare feet and the breeze from the opening swirled fresh air around her legs. Her heart pounded so loudly she could hear it in her ears. The horror of the crime she was committing made her hands tremble. Her breath harsh and loud in the silence of the tomb. She lifted the lamp and gasped.

The walls sported richly painted scenes of Pashet at his ease, receiving tribute, supping with Osiris.

The conceit of the man went beyond her understanding. She looked among the grave goods. Fine ebon chairs nestled against one another in a corner, ivory bracelets spilled across a carved box, and mounds of sheepskins, stacks of copper ingots, rolls of woven fabric, and tens of bronze oxen leaned against the walls.

And yes, baskets of bread, jars of beer, bags of seeds, pots of dates, honey, and almonds made an open ring around the sarcophagus.

– from “Judging Pashet”

The Interview

What inspired you to write “Judging Pashet?”

I love ancient cultures, especially Middle Eastern cultures. I have a book of Egyptian document translations and a lot of them are judgments of civil disputes. I found that priestesses were often called upon to hear testimony and render judgments, and I wanted to find out what Mert would do in the face of impossible odds and inestimable hubris.

How does “Judging Pashet” fit the Stars in the Darkness anthology?

A small village is suffering as a civil war rages for control of the crown, blockading the Nile river so that supplies have not reached them. The river has also not flooded yet, keeping them from planting. The villagers file a complaint against Pashet, the wealthy man who was responsible for the welfare of the village, who had been abusing them and failing in his responsibilities. As the designated judge in the matter of the villagers’ complaints against him, Mert is charged with finding a resolution. But he dies before she can render judgment, and she must find a way to mete out justice against a dead man and provide restitution to the villagers from his estate. Mert, who also lives in the village and sees her son suffer as a result of this man’s behavior, finds herself in an impossible situation when the needs of the mortal world and the requirements of the spiritual world clash. Her answer shows the selflessness of true justice.

Your protagonist breaks the rules to save people, knowing doing so would have repercussions for her personally. Why did you decide to put this in your story?

Ancient Egyptians had a highly developed sense of right and wrong and balancing the scales in both the mortal world and the hereafter. I wanted to explore mortal needs in direct opposition against spiritual laws.

Why did you set the story in Egypt, and why in this particular time?

I was bitten by the ancient civilization bug at the tender age of seven. I love all those Middle Eastern cultures. Egypt was a highly civilized and structured society, and I loved the idea of working in this part of the world. This particular time in history was very exciting. The death of a beloved ruler led to a dire struggle to fill the vacuum. It was exciting and a wonderful set up for the story’s conflict.

I had to do a diorama in the seventh grade for World History. I chose to do a mummy. I wrapped my Barbie doll in strips of an old sheet, working hard to create the patterns I saw on Victorian photographs. I painted a shoe box for the sarcophagus and several olive and lotion bottle jars for the canopic jars. I placed my pharaoh in the sarcophagus and filled the jars with dry dog food and put water in them (I hadn’t learned they dried the organs) and made a display. I got an A, of course, but my mother made me throw the jars away, unopened.

This was an opportunity to tell a story straight from my heart and the core of my interests. It’s also a bigger, better version of that first diorama, all fleshed out.

Why did ancient Egyptians put food in their tombs?

The Egyptians believed in the “as below, so above” philosophy. In other words, whatever you needed in the mortal world, you would want in the hereafter. So you would need food, plates, pets, servants, a chariot, your boat—all the trappings of a comfortable life. Unfortunately, even with all the elaborate precautions, many tombs were plundered, often almost immediately after they were sealed.

Several goddesses are mentioned in your story. Who are they, and why were they important to your protagonist?

Ipet is the hippo-headed goddess of childbirth. While male hippopotamus are vicious and are symbolic of chaos, females are exceptionally nurturing mothers. They represent the fierce caring required to carry a child to term, deliver the infant successfully, and nurture them in the face of terrible odds at all stages.

Maat represents justice, truth, honesty. She is often depicted with wings and often has an ostrich feather in her headband. That is the feather that is laid on the scale that Anubis, the god of the dead, holds when the soul is called to judgment. If the heart is heavier than the ostrich feather, the person has failed in their moral life, and is eaten by Ammit and can never live again.

Isis is the daughter of heaven and Earth. She is the wife of Osiris, who was killed and dismembered by his brother Set. She is also the mother of Horus.

What story (or stories) are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

I am working on a time travel series. There is some romance in them as the story unfolds and the characters are brought together, ultimately to be a team. The Bee Lady’s Amulet is the first in the series and follows Melinda, a woman in modern times, who walks through a doorway in an ancient Cretan ruin and finds herself face to face with a goddess who gives her a mission to save people from the destruction of Santorini. The people she meets believe she is the emissary of the goddess and set about planning how to effect the salvation. She thinks that her mission is over when she delivers the message, and is frustrated to find out things are more complicated for her, especially when she finds herself falling into an impossible romance with the earthly husband to Askar, the Cretan goddess. She doesn’t want to stay with him in this ancient culture, but she is heartbroken to know that she will leave and lose him.

The next story features a modern man thrust back into the same time period with instructions from that same goddess to save a witch from the eruption of Santorini. He is young enough to still be discovering who he is, and is thrust into a completely foreign world that he is ill-equipped to navigate. In the course of learning to survive, he meets the woman he is to rescue, and finds that she is not what she thought he was, and all of his beliefs about magic and realism are shifted once again as he falls in love with her.

The third book requires all four of them to work together for the first time on a mission that is endangered by a group committed to anarchy, and which opposes the goddess’ efforts to protect aspects of her creation. In that cauldron the four will face culture shock, the meaning of their relationships, and their commitment to the goddess’ wishes.

Thea Hutcheson explores far away lands full of magic and science with one hand holding hope and the other full of wonder. Lois Tilton of Locus called her work “sensual, fertile, with seed quickening on every page. Well done…” Her work has appeared in such places as Hot Blood, Fatal Attractions, M-Brane, Baen’s Universe, the Beauty and the Beast Issue of The Enchanted Conversation, Realms of Fantasy, and several volumes of the Fiction River anthology series. She lives in an economically depressed, unscenic, nearly historic small city in Colorado with four semi-feral cats, 1000 books, and an understanding partner. She’s a factotum when she’s filling the time between bouts at the computer.

Find Thea at:

Website | Goodreads

Stars in the Darkness is a collection of stories about why being just matters, and what the ramifications are for individuals, groups, towns, countries, or even worlds if justice is not expected, encouraged, or enforced.

All proceeds from this collection will be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Human Rights Campaign.

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Books2Read | Facebook | Goodreads

   
 

Sign up for the Blackbird Publishing newsletter!

Social media management with MavSocial

MavSocial is a social media management tool that can be used to:

  • Track and monitor messages and notifications.
  • Organize your images, videos, etc. in one place.
  • Manage, schedule, and publish content to multiple social media platforms.
  • Create and manage ‘campaigns.’
  • View reports about engagement with your posts.

There are several different pricing plans, including a very basic free plan.

Note: I’m experimenting with social media content management tools to manage multiple Facebook pages, as well as several accounts on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc., so this was my focus in exploring this tool.

Supported social media platforms

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Tumblr

Note that Instagram doesn’t allow third-party apps to publish directly to them, so you can create and schedule your Instagram posts with MavSocial, but need to use the mobile app Mav2Go (available for iPhones only) to publish your posts.

Creating and scheduling posts

The ‘Post Manager’ is used to schedule posts – but in spite of the name, it is not used to manage them. Posts are managed via campaigns.

To create a new post:

  • Go to Campaigns > Campaign Planner, click on the name of an existing campaign, and then on ‘Add Post.’ This will take you to the Post Manager. (You can get to the posts a few different ways, like from the campaign page or the campaign calendar.)
  • Go to the Post Manager and select the desired campaign from the dropdown. Note that the campaign must already exist, and you can’t create a new campaign from within the Post Manager.

You can save drafts, schedule posts, or publish them immediately.

Each post must be associated with either a campaign you’ve already created, or with the ‘Miscellaneous – Quick Posts’ campaign, which is the default campaign. A post may only be associated with one campaign, and it doesn’t appear possible to change the campaign associated with a post after the post has been saved.

One or more forms of social media must be associated with each post. If you have multiple Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, etc., you can select one or more to publish to. If you select multiple channels, you can’t edit channel-specific values. For example, if you select both Facebook and Twitter, you can’t edit ‘news feed targeting for pages’ which is Facebook-only.

Campaigns

To create a new campaign, go to Campaigns > Create Campaign, or click on Create Campaign in either of the other campaign management tabs. You can create a single (one-time) campaign, or one that repeats.

Details for your active campaigns can be viewed under Campaigns > Campaign Planner, and you can see a calendar view in Campaigns > Campaign Calendar.

Social Inbox

The Social Inbox is where you can track posts and messages, reply to comments on your posts, ‘like’ comments, etc. Select the social media channel, and then you can narrow down what you see by page, account, etc.

Mysteriously, only two posts from one of my Facebook pages show up here, and none of my Twitter posts are visible. They do show up in the Reporting tab, though.

Reporting

You can view reports for your digital assets, by campaign, or by social media platform. For each social media platform, you need to select the page, account, etc. that you want to view data for.

The data you see in the reports varies by social media channel. For example, you can see information on ‘likes’ for Facebook, and on replies and mentions for Twitter. You can also export data.

References

   
 

Sign up for the Blackbird Publishing newsletter!

Story spotlight: “Rolo the Great” by Annie Reed

A heart-warming tale from Annie Reed, one of the founding members of The Uncollected Anthology, a quarterly publication of short fiction some of the best writers working in urban fantasy today.

Rolo, a diminutive, courtly peddler of tourist trinkets, has at long last found the woman of his dreams.
Unfortunately, she’s trapped in the belly of a brass pig.

In a world filled with magic, a man with none finds himself at a distinct disadvantage. Not that Rolo would ever let a little thing like that stop him. For even a small man can accomplish great things in the name of love.
 
 
“Rolo the Great” is in The Faerie Summer. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


Collections With Stories by This Author


More by the Author


About the Author

Annie divides her time between writing short fiction (her first love) and novels in whatever genre strikes her fancy. Her most popular fantasy stories, including her Diz and Dee fantasy detective stories, are set in a fictional version of Seattle called Moretown Bay. She has two mystery series: the Abby Maxon mysteries featuring Reno private detective and single mom Abby Maxon, and the Jill Jordan mysteries about rural Nevada Sheriff Jill Jordan.

Annie’s background is as diverse as her writing. She’s been in a rock band, worked as a radio DJ, and taught tole painting. These days when she’s not writing, Annie spends her time in a law office working for a busy litigation attorney. She lives in Northern Nevada, and together with her husband and daughter, she shares her house with a number of high-maintenance cats. (Aren’t all authors required to be owned by cats?) A friend to backyard bunnies and kamikaze quail, Annie would probably befriend dogs, too, except they’d chase the rabbits.


Find the Author

Website | Goodreads

   
 

Sign up for the Blackbird Publishing newsletter!

Interview: Bonnie Elizabeth and the Fantastic Feline Heroes bundle

Meet Bonnie!

Bonnie not only writes fiction, she also blogged as her cat Chey for many years. In addition to cat stories, Bonnie writes fantasy, mystery, Gothic suspense, and occasionally science fiction. She writes books about acupuncture as Bonnie Koenig.

Fantastic Feline Heroes

Who doesn’t love cats? And what cat doesn’t have a great cat story of their heroism, even if it’s only saving their owner from a spider?

From honorable feline assassins to compassionate feline dreamwalkers, these cats are saving the worlds—at least for someone. This multi-author bundle pays tribute to every cat who has ever played hero, from little things to big.

If you purchase the bundle through BundleRabbit, you have the option to donate a percentage of the purchase price to either the Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary or Milo’s Sanctuary & Special Needs Cat Rescue.

Find the bundle at:

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | BundleRabbit | Facebook | Goodreads

The Interview

What inspired you to create this bundle?

Honestly? I wouldn’t have done if Kris Rusch hadn’t passed me in the hallway at the Master Class and said, “You need to do a bundle on cats.”

She made me feel guilty about not doing a bundle, even though I’m not really a manager sort of person. I like managing my own things, but not when there are other people around. I’d rather just take care of my own stuff and go my own way, so to speak.

Why did you choose the feline hero theme?

The idea of a cat bundle was really broad. There are lots of anthologies that use cats as a theme and I wanted this to stand out. Also, as I grew up reading fantasy and SF, I knew there were a fair number of professional anthologies that wrote about cats in the fantasy realm. I really wanted to do “Cats in Space” but I don’t write enough SF and I wasn’t sure how that would go over with cat people I knew. But cats as heroes? That I could totally see! So Fantastic Feline Heroes.

How do the stories in Fantastic Feline Heroes match up with what you expected? Were you surprised by any of them?

I think they hit the themes that I wanted. I guess my big surprise was that I “found” Matt’s on the BundleRabbit site. I hadn’t even invited him, but the story was such a perfect fit for the theme that it surprised me. But then again, if you’ve read my author interviews (done by my cat Gemini), you’ll notice I knew most of the authors, so the fact that there were really good stories from many different themes wasn’t a surprise.

That said, I was really thrilled that Mollie Hunt was able to participate. She’s an author I don’t know personally and I love that I get to introduce people to someone completely knew. And her story was such a delight!

Purchases of the bundle through the BundleRabbit website provide readers the option of donating a percentage of the purchase price to either the Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary or Milo’s Sanctuary. Why did you choose these two organizations?

As a long time cat blogger, I was familiar with the Blind Cat Rescue. I really thought that the people working with those cats, along with the cats themselves, were pretty heroic, and it seemed like a good fit for a bundle about heroic cats.

Dayle Dermatis suggested Milo’s Sanctuary, and it really fit with heroic cats. Again, it’s a shelter I was familiar with from blogging, so I could feel good about offering it as a charity that people could donate to.

In both cases, I know that other people who blog about cats who are very supportive of these two charities, and I hope that they’re excited enough about a new way to share this information that they’ll go out and tell people!

Tell us about your cats!

I have three cats now, Gemini, Ichiro, and Ham. I started blogging about Gemini but my cat, Cheysuli, who recently died, was the voice of my blog at MySiamese.com. Chey was a chocolate point Siamese and she had attitude. The household isn’t the same without her.

So how to organize this. I’ve always had cats. I got Gemini shortly after I lost my first Siamese, Simone, a lilac point. It seemed it was meant to be. Gemini just showed up at my doorstep, mewing. I took her in, even though I’m not a long-haired cat owner. I like sleek cats that are easy to groom. Gemini was anything but.

She wasn’t very interested in me or in my calico cat Georgia, who was my only surviving cat at the time. Gemini was only about 5 weeks old, give or take but she looked smaller, all short legs and cobby little body.

After a few months, I found Chey, who was a 3-year-old retired breeder queen that I got for the cost of her spay. She was a beautiful chocolate point cat. Chey and Georgia instantly bonded, which surprised me because Georgia had never liked other cats.

When we lost Georgia, I worried that Chey would be lonely as Gemini was never a particularly friendly cat. In fact, it’s only been in the last couple of years that she’s really come out and decided she likes me. She’s 12.

Anyway, we got Ichiro. He was a kitten. I got a boy thinking perhaps he’d be a little more outgoing. He’s sweet and quite a busybody, but he’s still a little hesitant. He’s very sensitive.

Chey hated him on site. In fact, she stopped eating. We force-fed her for days, and she ended up having a surgery before she came back to us. I think she just felt so betrayed that there was another cat in her household.

Once she got through her health issues, she tolerated him and he adored her. I think as time when on she came to accept him and like him as a companion that Gemini never never really was for her.

When we lost her in May of 2017, I knew Ichiro would be lonely without her. He was very clingy. My husband and I had a couple of trips planned in the summer, so we waited until the second trip was finished and then began searching for another cat for Ichiro.

My husband fell in love with this black and white tuxedo boy who was only five months old. We had talked about getting an older cat, but he liked this one. He’s a crazy kid and the name Ham stuck. We do call him Hamlet but it’s not about the Danish prince. It’s because he’s a “little ham”. And he is–always wanting to be the center of attention. Jumping in and not thinking. He’s a wild man. Hence his nicknames, Haminator and Hamnible Lecter…

Why did you decided to start blogging as your cat, and how did your cat feel about this?

I started blogging probably in 2005. It was a way to make myself write daily. It was actually about Gemini and not Chey. Chey came into this when I had this affiliate site called My Siamese, everything for you and your meezer, and I learned that adding blog content could help bring people to the site. Well it did, but I never sold much on the site, so I eventually pulled down the affiliate links and just used the blog as the main part of the site.

When I moved a couple of years ago, I sort of fell out of the habit of updating it. There were so many people out there blogging about their cats, and I didn’t really have anything new to or different to say. It was hard to get people to come read too, and if no one was reading I didn’t feel as if it was worthwhile. Plus, I was starting to write books and stories that did get read.

What story (or stories) are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

I’m working on a bunch of short stories right now. I did a challenge in the fall to write three novels in three months, which I completed, and those will be coming out this spring or summer. I have a new series that’s sort of a dark fantasy series, and also a gothic ghost story.

The shorts are to give myself a rest and also strengthen my plotting ability. I think I do characters decently, and I’m always working on voice, but plotting can be my downfall. I hate hurting my characters. I hate doing bad things, so I need to work on that!

We’ll see what comes out of these shorts!

Bonnie Elizabeth started writing fiction when she was eight years old. Fortunately, that manuscript has long since been lost. In between a variety of odd jobs, including working as an acupuncturist, Bonnie wrote articles about acupuncture and the business of being an acupuncturist for a variety of acupuncture journals. She also blogged as her cat while transitioning to her real love of fiction writing. She writes the Whisper series, which begins with Whisper Bound, and has a number of other fantasy, urban fantasy, and mystery projects in the works.

Find Bonnie at:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

   
 

Sign up for the Blackbird Publishing newsletter!

Interview: David H. Hendrickson on “How to Get Your Book into Schools”

Meet Dave!

David H. Hendrickson has published well over one thousand works of nonfiction ranging from sports journalism to humor and essays. How to Get Your Book into Schools is his first book for writers.

How to Get Your Book into Schools

David H. Hendrickson leads you through every step of the process of getting your book into schools. He highlights the critical pitfalls to avoid, and points out ways to maximize your profit when a school adopts your book.

Dave has first-hand experience; his novel Offside, a coming-of-age tale of a young country boy from Maine who must adapt to a new life in the city, was adopted as required reading for its entire student body and staff by Lynn English High School, in Lynn, Massachusetts.

How to Get Your Book Into Schools is available in both ebook and print.

The Interview

What does it mean to “get a book into schools?’

There are two ways. First, your book can be one of many titles selected for a Required Reading list, then students pick the books that appeal to them. If your book is one of, say, twenty titles, and students only need to pick one or two, this will be a nice addition to your usual sales, but it won’t be a bonanza.

Alternatively, a school can choose your book for an “all-school read.” This is a very big deal, and there are ways to help make this happen, such as working with the school so the total cost fits their budget or grant.

Which of your books have you gotten into schools, and what sort of results have you seen from them?

I consider Young Adult to be the “sweet spot” for most schools. I’ve published three YA titles, but one is a sequel, so I’ve focused on the other two, Offside and Cracking the Ice.

Offside was adopted by Lynn English High School for an all-school read, which meant the school bought 1750 copies, and over the course of a summer, every student, teacher, and administrator read the book.

Since then, I’ve adopted a marketing campaign to duplicate that success, either with Offside or Cracking the Ice, and both books are now under consideration for use by several high schools.

Are there different techniques for getting your book into different types of schools? How about different grade levels?

In How to Get Your Book Into Schools, I point you to lists of public and private high schools, as well as those for middle grades, so you don’t have to spend hour after hour of researching that information.

Once you’ve selected the schools to target, most of the techniques are the same, but there are differences. For example, faith-based titles will appeal to faith-based private schools, but likely not others. Also, many private schools end their year earlier than public schools, so that has to be factored in.

Do schools tend to prefer different formats (ebook, paperback, hardcover)?

I haven’t seen interest in ebooks yet, but I expect that to change over time, especially in the more expensive private schools where all students may be required to own an e-reader.

For now, though, my focus has been on trade paperbacks, since the economics of hardcovers forces a list price of about twice that of paperback. For an all-school read or a student picking titles off a Required Reading list, that extra cost is prohibitive. On the other hand, if the book is going to become part of the curriculum, used semester after semester, then hardcovers are worth the cost. As a result, I’m now investing in the extra design and layout cost of adding the hardcover option.

What’s the most important lesson you learned that helped you achieve the success you’ve had with schools?

Be aware. Be aware of the opportunities available to you, and of problems as they arise so you can quickly address them. Be aware of hidden costs and the deadlines you need to hit.

And especially, be aware of cash flow. There are ways to address the problem, but if your book is adopted for an all-school read, you will almost certainly pay CreateSpace or IngramSpark up front for the printing, and then have to wait for the school to pay off its Purchase Order months later.

What did you enjoy most out of getting your novel Offside accepted by a high school?

I spoke at the school following the summer in which students read the book, and they treated me like a rock star. Other than family events, it was the greatest day of my life.

The applause was thunderous. A group of boys chanted the name of the book. After the talk, I signed hundreds of books, Post-It notes, journals, backpacks, and over a dozen—I kid you not—outstretched arms.

I’ll never forget that day.

What story (or stories) are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

I’ll be spending the rest of January on short stories, trying to sell to four anthologies based on an assigned theme. After that, it’s back to writing the third, and final, book in the “Rabbit Labelle” series. (Offside was the first, and Offensive Foul the second, but both stand nicely on their own.)

I love the characters from that series and enjoy the surprises they’ve had for me. Rabbit, his mother, and Anna will always have a special place in my heart. I hope everyone who has read the books feels the same way.

David H. Hendrickson’s first novel, Cracking the Ice, was praised by Booklist as “a gripping account of a courageous young man rising above evil.” He has since published five additional novels, including Offside, which has been adopted for high school student required reading, and its sequel, Offensive Foul.

His short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and numerous anthologies, including multiple issues of Fiction Fiver.

Hendrickson has published over fifteen hundred works of nonfiction. He has been honored with the Joe Concannon Hockey East Media Award and the Murray Kramer Scarlet Quill Award.

Find Dave at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

   
 

Sign up for the Blackbird Publishing newsletter!

Welcome to 2018!

Things may have appeared to be quiet at Blackbird Publishing for the past few weeks, but there’s been a flurry of activity behind the scenes! With the holiday and end-of-year chaos, this seemed like a good time to focus on getting ahead on publishing for 2018, as well as to revamp the blog posting topics and schedule.

There are a total of eleven – yes, eleven! – anthologies on the list for 2018. This includes three new issues in the series A Procession of Faeries, issues in the brand new series Ever After Fairy Tales, a new justice-themed collection along the lines of Stars in the Darkness, a witch-themed collection, and a new series that’s a collaboration with Wonderland Press. There will also be a few standalone titles, a non-fiction book, and at least one audio book.

The Just the Facts series of how-to posts for authors and indie publishers will continue, and the somewhat sporadic interviews will become a regular series. Look for an interview with Dave Hendrickson about how to get your books into schools, one with Chuck Anderson and Jim LeMay of Mad Cow Press about the tribute anthology they put together to honor the wonderful author Edward Bryant, an interview with the editors of the online magazine Electric Spec about how they select stories, and interviews with authors participating in the Stars in the Darkness about why they chose the stories to write for that collection.

There are a few other things in the works as well, so stay tuned – and Happy New Year!!!

   
 

Sign up for the Blackbird Publishing newsletter!

New release: Midwinter Fae

Midwinter Fae, the second volume in the series A Procession of Faerie, is a collection of stories about faeries and magic at Midwinter.

On the day of the shortened sun
A battle between two kings has begun.
The old year dies, and the Oak King rules
We celebrate with logs of Yule!
But the Holly King is defeated, not dead
To Caer Arianrhod he heads.
Until Midsummer, when they battle again
And the Holly King will once again reign…

 
 
Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Books2Read

Learn more about the collection at: Facebook | Goodreads

   
 

Sign up for the Blackbird Publishing newsletter!

Flip an image with Photoshop

Sometimes you want to flip an image either horizontally or vertically.

For example, in this cover I wanted to horizontally flip the image of the woman so that she was facing right, not left.

There are two options, depending on the situation:

  1. You can flip the entire canvas.
  2. Flip a single image layer.

Flip the entire canvas

If you want to flip everything, you can flip the entire canvas.

  • Select Image > Image Rotation > Flip Canvas Horizontal (or Vertical).
     

Just keep in mind that this really will flip everything – all of your image layers, any text you’ve added, etc.

Flip a single image

  • Select the image layer you want to flip.
     

     
  • Select Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal (or Vertical).
     

     

Photoshop version

The version of Photoshop used for this post was the 2017.1.1 Release of Adobe Photoshop CC, 20170425.r.252 x64, on OS X 10.13.1.

   
 

Sign up for the Blackbird Publishing newsletter!

Publish and distribute an audio book on Findaway Voices

Findaway Voices allows you to publish and distribute an existing audio book. There is no requirement for exclusivity, and you control the pricing.

You keep 80% of the royalties Findaway Voices receives. The actual percentages vary by the type of partner, channel, and business model.

These instructions assume you have an existing audio book, but you can also use the platform to find a narrator to record your audio book.

Prerequisites

  • Audio book files.
  • A book cover.

Here are the five types of audio files you’ll need. Note that all but one is required.

  • Opening Credits (required)
    Material preceding the main text. Examples: Dedication, Introduction, etc.
  • Body Matter (required)
    The main text.
  • Back Matter (optional)
    Anything following the main text. Examples: About the Author, Bibliography, etc.
  • Closing Credits (required)
  • Retail Sample (required)
    A 1-5 minute long sample of the book. Customers will be able to preview this sample before purchasing your audio book.

Draft2Digital and Findaway Voices

If you have a Draft2Digital account, you can create and manage your audio books through their site. The integration is pretty seamless. I set up one audio book through Findaway Voices, and then selected an existing ebook on Draft2Digital to set up audio for. Both books appear on my audio books dashboard. I can’t see the one that’s only set up in audio book form in my regular ebooks panel on Draft2Digital, but that makes sense as I haven’t made it available as a stand-alone ebook

Set up your audio book

  • You’ll be prompted to start a new audio book when you create your Findaway Voices account. If you’ve already created your account, log in and click on ‘My Audiobooks,’ and then click ‘Start New Audiobook’ and set the button next to ‘Do you already have audio for this book?’ to ‘yes.’
     
  • You’ll be prompted for information about your book – title, description, narrator(s), copyright information, BISAC code, etc.
     

     
  • Upload your cover. Audio book covers are square, so you can either upload a regular, rectangular book cover, or make a square cover yourself.
     
    If you upload a rectangular cover, a frame will be added to your image. You can choose the color for this frame based on a selection of colors Findaway Voices picks from your image.
     

     
    Or you can create a square version of your existing cover.
     

     
  • Add your audio files.
     

     
  • Set the price for your book.
     

     
  • Select which distributors you’d like to use for this book.
     

     
  • Review everything and make sure it’s correct.
     

     
  • Set up your Payment Profile. This includes selecting which tax form to use (W-8BEN, W9, etc.).
     
  • Click ‘Submit for Publishing’ on the ‘Review your Audiobook’ page to publish and distribute your book!

References

   
 

Sign up for the Blackbird Publishing newsletter!

Bundle story: “Can You See the Real Me?” by Sèphera Girón

Welcome to the eighties!

A time when going off to University signified true independence, smoking in the dorm rooms, and partying.

Tia has her eye on the resident hottie, Dana.

Although she’s not terribly pretty, she hopes she can entice him in other ways.

Find out what happens behind closed residence room doors in this creepy little tale.

“Can You See the Real Me?” is in the Witches’ Brew bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.


Bundles With Stories by This Author


More by the Author


About the Author

Sèphera Girón is a multitalented artist with a background in stage, film, and music as well as writing. Her main love is horror and most of her work embraces themes of occult, metaphysical, erotica, and suspense.

When Sephera isn’t writing, she’s a professional tarot card reader. She also holds Certificates in Reiki and Touch for Health. Her acting has led her through theatre shows and movies, including Slime City Massacre and Killer Rack. She’s currently a co-producer for The Great Lakes Horror Company podcast.


Find the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

   
 

Sign up for the Blackbird Publishing newsletter!