Bundle story: “Familiar Trouble” by Bonnie Elizabeth

Witches, familiars, and demons clash in this Halloween adventure.

Solitary Wiccan practitioner, Leanne, loves Halloween and dressing up for the children. She never loses sight of the fact that it’s a holiday. Unfortunately, as she’s preparing her late evening spells, someone calls up a demon who lands in her yard.

Fortunately for Leanne, her cat knows more about magic, real magic, than she does. Unfortunately, the young women who have called the demon hate the idea of having to send it back.

Even with Bast’s help, no one can be assured of success or even living through the conflict!

“Familiar Trouble” is in the Witches’ Brew bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.


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About the Author

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.


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Making a background transparent in Photoshop

There are lots of reasons why you might want to make the background of an image transparent.

Perhaps you have an image with a white background that normally appears on a white page, but you know it might appear on a page where the background is gray. Or maybe you’re combining multiple images into one, and you need to remove the original backgrounds in order to make the result look seamless.

For the cover for “To Be a Monster,” I combined two different images: one was a drawing of a Greek ship, and the other a drawing of an octopus.

The octopus image originally had a white background; I made the background transparent so that I could work just with the octopus itself, not the blocked-out rectangle. Then I was able to drag the octopus around, moving it pixel by pixel, until I found the right spot for it.

I could have changed the background from white to black, but then would have had to be careful that I didn’t accidentally cover up a corner of the ship with the black portion of the image.

Prerequisites

  • You have Photoshop.
  • The background of your image is a solid color.
  • Your image is stored in a layer in a psd file.

How to make a background transparent

To illustrate how this works, I’ll use this lovely image I created. 🙂

  • Select New/Layer/Layer From Background.
  • Select the Magic Wand Tool from the left panel in Photoshop.
  • Click on the image area you want to be transparent using the Magic Wand Tool. A line of moving dots will appear around your image and the edges of the layer, depending on where your image is. This line is often referred to as the ‘marching ants’ because it looks like a bunch of tiny, electronic ants are walking around your selection.
  • Once selected, click ‘Delete’ on your keyboard.
     
    The solid background color will disappear, and will be replaced by a white and gray checkerboard pattern. This is to indicate that there is nothing in the image where that pattern appears.
     

There are other variants that will achieve the same result as well. 🙂

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 10.10.5.

   
 

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Bundle story: “Learning the Language” by Ron Collins


Gerald Riggs has been a good father and husband. He’s lived a good life, a safe life. He’s stayed between the lines. He and his wife raised their boy to be the same way. Now that Daniel’s matured, finished school, and gotten out on his own, he’s gone missing. Gerald has to look past the obvious to discover why.
 
The answers may change his life forever.
 
 
 
 
“Learning the Language” is in the Fantasy in the City bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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About the Author

Ron Collins is an Amazon best-selling Dark Fantasy author who writes across the spectrum of speculative fiction.

His fantasy series Saga of the God-Touched Mage was the #1 best-selling dark fantasy on Amazon’s list in the UK for a couple weeks (#2 in the US). His short fiction has received a Writers of the Future prize and a CompuServe HOMer Award, and his short story “The White Game” was nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2016 Derringer Award.

He has contributed a hundred or so short stories to professional publications such as Analog, Asimov’s, and several other magazines and anthologies (including several editions of the Fiction River Anthology Series).

He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and worked to develop avionics systems, electronics, and information technology before chucking it all to write fulltime–which he now does from his home at the foothills of the Catalina mountains.


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Manage your Instagram account via your Facebook page

Managing your Instagram account via your Facebook page links your two accounts.

Note that it does not mean your Instagram posts will show up on Facebook – that’s a completely separate topic.

Prerequisites

  • You have an existing Facebook page (note that you must be an admin or editor of this page).
  • You have an existing Instagram account.

Why set this up?

Allowing your Instagram account to be managed via your Facebook page gives you the ability to do the following from Facebook:

  • Edit your Instagram account details.
  • Manage comments on your Instagram posts. This means that comments will show up in your Facebook Notifications, and if you’re using the ‘New Inbox’ on Facebook, you’ll see something like this where you can quickly go to messages sent via Messenger, comments posted on Facebook, or comments on your Instagram photos.
     
    Here’s a peek at how easy it is to distinguish between post types using Facebook’s new inbox.
     

     
    You can also manage comments via the Pages Manager app, which is available from Apple’s app store and the Google play store.
     
  • Create and manage Instagram ads.

How to manage your Instagram account via your Facebook page

  • Go to your Facebook page and click Settings in the top right-hand corner.
     
  • Click on “Instagram” in the left-hand sidebar. The Instagram management options will appear on the right side of the screen.
     

     

    • To connect your Instagram account:
       
      Click on “Log in,” enter your Instagram account details in the pop-up window, then click “Log in.”
       

       
    • To edit your Instagram details:
       
      Click “Edit,” modify your Instagram details, then click “Save.”
       
    • To disconnect your Instagram account from your Facebook page:
       
      Click the “Disconnect” button at the bottom of the screen.

References

   
 

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Bundle story: “Roses Around the Moment” by Dean Wesley Smith


Eve Bryson died so fast that she felt fine, standing on a twisting mountain road in the rain, not realizing her body lay broken in her Miata down a slope.

Then hunk-of-a-man Deputy Cascade steps into her life, arriving on the scene to investigate her death.

Wet, cold, hungry, and needing to pee, she finds herself dead and in lust. Then things really start to happen.

Eve died. And life got better.
 

“Roses Around the Moment” is in the Haunted bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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About the Author

Considered one of the most prolific writers working in modern fiction, USA Today bestselling writer Dean Wesley Smith published far more than a hundred novels in forty years, and hundreds of short stories across many genres.

At the moment he produces novels in several major series, including the time travel Thunder Mountain novels set in the Old West, the galaxy-spanning Seeders Universe series, the urban fantasy Ghost of a Chance series, a superhero series starring Poker Boy, and a mystery series featuring the retired detectives of the Cold Poker Gang.

His monthly magazine, Smith’s Monthly, which consists of only his own fiction, premiered in October 2013 and offers readers more than 70,000 words per issue, including a new and original novel every month.

During his career, Dean also wrote a couple dozen Star Trek novels, the only two original Men in Black novels, Spider-Man and X-Men novels, plus novels set in gaming and television worlds. Writing with his wife Kristine Kathryn Rusch under the name Kathryn Wesley, he wrote the novel for the NBC miniseries The Tenth Kingdom and other books for Hallmark Hall of Fame movies.

He wrote novels under dozens of pen names in the worlds of comic books and movies, including novelizations of almost a dozen films, from The Final Fantasy to Steel to Rundown.

Dean also worked as a fiction editor off and on, starting at Pulphouse Publishing, then at VB Tech Journal, then Pocket Books, and now at WMG Publishing, where he and Kristine Kathryn Rusch serve as series editors for the acclaimed Fiction River anthology series.


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Adding a Goodreads books widget to your author website

This is a simple way to add a Goodreads widget to your author website.

Prerequisites

You already have a Goodreads author profile, and have at least one book associated with your profile.

JavaScript must be supported by your website’s software.

What’s so great about this widget?

The HTML is already formatted, so you get a nice-looking set of mini-book covers and links to your books on Goodreads. Both the cover and title of each book go to that book’s page on Goodreads.

You could create this on your own, of course, but it’s nice to have the tiny version of the image (50×75 px) created for you, the links are already set up so you don’t have to go look them all up, and everything is nicely formatted so the covers are left-aligned and there are horizontal line breaks in between the entries.

Another nifty thing is that whatever color you have set for hyperlinks (I use a light green on my author website) will be applied.

How to add a Goodreads books widget to your author website

  • Log in to Goodreads and go to your author dashboard.
     
  • Click on ‘Author Widgets’ in the right sidebar.
     
  • Scroll down until you get to the ‘Books Widget’ section.
     
  • Customize the parameters, and hit enter. The result will be displayed to the right of the HTML box.
     
    Note that if you change the number of books the example that is displayed will match the number you selected, but the HTML in the text box will not. Information on how to get around this is in the ‘customize’ section further down in this post.
     

     
  • Copy the HTML in the text box, and paste it wherever you want it on your website.

Exactly where you want this text to go will depend on what software you’re using for your site, how that software is organized, etc.

In my case, I’m using WordPress and have several custom sidebars set up, so I added my books HTML to one of the sidebars, then have a plugin set up so that my other sidebars reuse that chunk of code so it’s only in one place.

Are there any issues to be aware of?

There are several issues with using this widget.

  • The Goodreads site implies that you can set the number of books that will appear in your widget, but this doesn’t appear to be working. My widget code contains information for only 5 titles. When you increase the number the correct number of books appears in the example on the Goodreads site, but it doesn’t appear in the HTML they provide to you.
     
  • There’s a note on the Goodreads page stating “Books are ordered by popularity on Goodreads,” which makes sense. However, one of the five books that appears in my generated HTML hasn’t been released yet, and several others that have been released and have reviews don’t appear in my HTML.
     
  • The text you’re copying/pasting is fixed, including the reviews and ratings – so if these change you need to re-generate the HTML on Goodreads.
     
  • The generated HTML contains a link to your Goodreads author page, and looks something like this:
     
    Jamie Ferguson’s books on Goodreads
     
    There’s nothing wrong with this, but it might not fit the way you want your website to look. For example, this came out as much larger font in my sidebar than I wanted.

But never fear! You can customize your HTML!

How to customize your HTML

This requires either a trivial knowledge of HTML, or a bit of bravery on your part. 🙂

Here are examples of a few things you might consider doing.

  • Remove or modify the link to your Goodreads author page.
     
    If you look at the generated HTML, you’ll see something like this.
     
    <a style=”font-size: 1.3em; color: #382110; text-decoration: none;” href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3285253.Jamie_Ferguson?utm_medium=api&utm_source=author_widget”>Look at my books!</a>
     
    You can remove this entirely, customize the text, font, etc.
     
  • Add more books to your HTML.
     
    Presumably the 5-book limitation is a bug and will eventually be fixed, but here’s how to add more books to your generated HTML.
     
    Change the number in the settings on Goodreads’ page to something larger so that the book(s) you want to put in your widget are listed. Then look at the page’s HTML, find the <div class=”gr_book_container”> section for the desired book(s), and copy/paste it into the HTML on your site.
     
    Here’s an example of one of my books using Chrome’s developer tools to look at the source.
     

     
  • Remove the reviews and ratings.
     
    You can leave these in if you’d like, of course, but you might want to take them out if you don’t like the fact that the numbers are fixed until you copy/paste the next version of HTML from Goodreads.
     
    For each book, remove the section that looks like this:
     
    <div class=”gr_review_stats”>
    ratings: 1 (avg rating 5.00)
    </div>
     

References

   
 

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Bundle story: “This is the World Calling” by Dayle A. Dermatis

Tansy and Ki come from two of the most powerful witch dynasties—and the feud between their families puts the Hatfield and McCoys to shame. So why, then, did their parents not care when the two would run off and play as children, lost in their own little world?

When they meet again as adults, Tansy and Ki’s mutual attraction makes it vitally important that they find the answer to that question.
 

“This is the World Calling” is also part of Uncollected Anthology, Volume 3: Heartspells.

“This is the World Calling” is in the Witches’ Brew bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.


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About the Author

Called “one of the best writers working today” by bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith, Dayle A. Dermatis is the author or coauthor of seven novels and more than a hundred short stories in multiple genres, including the first seven Uncollected Anthology anthologies and the forthcoming urban fantasy novel Ghosted. She is a founding member of the Uncollected Anthology project.

A recent transplant to the wild greenscapes of the Pacific Northwest, in her spare time she follows Styx around the country and travels the world, which inspires her writing.


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Claim and configure your BookBub Author Profile – and why you should

BookBub Author Profiles are useful even if you never run a BookBub ad, and they’re quick and easy to set up. And why pass up a chance for free marketing? 🙂

Prerequisites

Before claiming your profile, decide if you want to use the same log in information as your author self, or both your author self and your reader self.

I prefer to keep my accounts separate, so I have one BookBub account for Jamie the reader, and a separate BookBub Partner account for Jamie the author; both use different email addresses. I do this for every site I use – and I have separate accounts for Blackbird Publishing as well on those sites where that’s appropriate. I find the separation helps me better track which role I’m acting in when I do something. But there’s nothing wrong with mixing if that works better for you.

Why should you claim your Author Profile?

  • Any BookBub members who ‘follow’ your profile will be sent an email alert when you release a new book (as long as you’ve claimed the book in the first few days after release), or when you run a BookBub Featured Deal. This email includes your cover, a brief description of your book, and links to purchase your book at the retailers. The email also gives readers the ability to bookmark your book.
     
    Note that this applies to new releases in the U.S. only.
     
  • BookBub occasionally suggests authors for readers to follow, and they prioritize authors who have claimed and completed their profiles.
     
  • Your profile can contain links to sign up for your newsletter, your author website, etc.
     

Claim your Author Profile

  • Go to BookBub’s Author Profile page and click the “Get Started” link in the section labeled “Create an Account & Claim Your Profile.”
     
  • You’ll be taken to a sign in screen. If you’re using an existing BookBub reader account, you’ll be asked to create a BookBub Partner account; if you are creating a new account, click on the “Sign Up” link next to the text “Don’t have a Partner account?”
     
    Note that you must set your role to “Author” in order to be able to claim your profile.
     
  • Go to the Partner Dashboard and click on the link “Manage Your Author Profile,” then walk through their screens to find and select your author name.
     
  • BookBub will review your request, and it can take up to a week for them to do so. This process should go smoothly, but contact BookBub’s support team if you run into any issues.
  •  
    Note that you have to create a separate BookBub Partner account for each author name, as you can only claim one author profile with each Partner account.

    Configure your Author Profile

    • Log in to the BookBub Partner Dashboard.
       
    • Click on your profile icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen, then select “Manage Profile.”
       
       
    • Add a cover photo and a biography. Hyperlinks will look like text when you’re editing, but will be displayed as actual links to the reader.
       
      Note that the genres are not editable; they are set based on the categories of the books that BookBub has associated with your profile. BookBub’s help page on this topic refers to an older version of their profile screen, so contact them directly if you’d like to modify your genres.
       
    • Click on the “View Profile” link at the top right-hand side of the page (underneath your profile icon) to see what your profile looks like to readers.
       
    • If you’d like to get copies of the email alerts that are sent to your followers, go to the View Profile page, click the gear under the “Edit Profile” link, check the box next to “Send me copies of email alerts my followers receive.” and click “Save Changes.”

    Manage your books

    BookBub will automatically associate your books with your profile, but it’s important to make sure all of your books are listed. In my case, they correctly linked three books to my profile, but I had to manually add the others.

    • To add books, either go directly to the My Books page, or select “Manage Books” on the View Profile page, then click on My Books.
       
    • Click on “Add Books” at the top right-hand side of the page.
       
    • Search for your book, then click the “Add” button that appears next to it.
       
      You can search by title, Amazon URL, ASIN, ISBN, or a keyword.
       

    I was unable to add two collections that I’m in. My guess is that this is because my name doesn’t appear on the Amazon sales pages; Amazon only allows you to list 10 authors on the sales page, and there are more than 10 authors in each of these titles. I sent a note to BookBub, and will see how that goes. (Note that you can claim a title as your book on Amazon even if your name isn’t listed on the sales page.)

    References

       
     

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Bundle story: “Trinket” by Anthea Sharp


 

High-tech gaming and ancient magic collide when a computer game opens a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie ~

Violet Yamaguchi can’t wait to play the immersive new computer game, Feyland – but she doesn’t suspect the game wants something in return…
 
 
 
 
“Trinket” is in the Fantasy in the City bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.
 


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About the Author

Growing up on fairy tales and computer games, Anthea Sharp has melded the two in her award-winning, bestselling Feyland series, which has sold over 200k copies worldwide.

In addition to the fae fantasy/cyberpunk mashup of Feyland, she also writes Victorian Spacepunk, and fantasy romance. Her books have won awards and topped bestseller lists, and garnered over a million reads at Wattpad. She’s frequently found hanging out on Amazon’s Top 100 Fantasy/SF author list. Her short fiction has appeared in Fiction River, DAW anthologies, The Future Chronicles, and Beyond The Stars: At Galaxy’s edge, as well as many other publications.

Anthea lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she writes, hangs out in virtual worlds, plays the fiddle with her Celtic band Fiddlehead, and spends time with her small-but-good family.


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Create a YouTube channel and publish a video

YouTube channels can be handy for book trailers, videos of you being interviewed about your books, videos of your cats playing…whatever makes sense for your author and/or publisher persona. 🙂

Prerequisites

  • You already have a Google account, and therefore a YouTube account.
     
    If you have an existing Google account you want to use, you can log in to YouTube.com with that account.

    If you don’t have an existing Google account (or if you have one, but don’t want to use it), go to YouTube.com, click ‘Sign in’ in the top right-hand corner of the screen, then click ‘Create Account’ to create a new Google account.

  • You have a video to upload to your soon-to-be-created channel.

YouTube channel types

There are two types of YouTube channels:

  1. A personal channel owned by your Google account. Only you can manage this account.
  2. A channel owned by a Brand Account. Multiple people can manage a Brand Account.

YouTube allows you to create one channel owned by your Google account; all additional channels must be owned by a Brand Account.

You can move a channel to an existing Brand Account, so if you start off by creating a personal channel you can always move it to a Brand Account later if desired.

Note that creating a Brand Account also creates a Google Plus account.

Creating a YouTube channel

  • Sign in to YouTube.com
  • Click on your profile image in the top right-hand corner of the browser.
  • In the pop-up that appears, click the gear icon.
  • If you have no existing channels:
     

    • Click on “Create a new channel.”
    • A pop-up will appear asking how you want to use YouTube.

    • If you want to use your Google account, click ‘Create Channel.’

      If you want to create a Brand Account, click ‘Use a business or other name.’

    If you have one or more existing channels:

    • Click on “See all my channels or create a new channel.”
    • You’ll be taken to your channel list.

    • Click ‘Create a new channel.’ You’ll be asked to create a Brand Account.

    • Enter the desired name and create your Brand Account; this will also create your channel.

Upload a video to a YouTube channel

Select either your Google account or, if you have one or more Brand Accounts, the appropriate Brand Account. Make sure the profile icon in the top right-hand corner of the page matches the account/channel you want to upload your video to.

  • Click on the upload icon at the top of the page.

  • Click on ‘Select files to upload’ and navigate to your video, or drag and drop your video file.
  • Select the visibility for the video; the default is Public.
  • Enter whatever values you’d like – a description, tags, etc.

  • Click ‘Publish’ to publish the video to your channel.

References

   
 

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