Friday, August 20, 2010

Websites or Blogs? (Website & Interview update)
I spent this week working on the new website.  Have a look when you get a moment! 

I wanted to get it ready for my next interview which is today at Ginger Simpson's blog, Dishin' It Out.

I had to put 'author' on the end of my domain because there are many Karen McGrath's.  We are taking over the world, don't tell anyone!  It feels odd having this new appendage but I'm glad to have a domain name for interviews and promotion purposes. 

I used  They have two web editors, one for non-techs like me and the other for computer gurus.  The non-tech web editor is drag and drop meaning you drag the elements you want from the tool bar and you drop them onto the page you're working on.  Simple enough.  There aren't a lot of elements to work with but I was able to use what I had with ease and efficiency so no complaints here!  Of course, for triple the money it will do magic for me but text and pictures are enough for now. 

I'm staying with the branding, "making dreams come true one page at a time..."  That is the genius of my middle daughter, Molly.  I told her I needed a slogan for the website to keep in line with the Dream branding I have for the blog and of course, with my writing.  In seconds, literally, on a  bus ride to the dentist, she quipped that one.  I love it!  She is a talented songwriter in case you're wondering.  

Why a website?  I've been mulling this over for the last few months.  Friends say having a website is a waste of time and money since blogging sites are free and have more pages now.  Some say you need a storefront and blogging is still considered sub par.  I didn't want to give up the interaction here on the blog for a non-relational site.  I came to some conclusions after sifting through many opinions. 

Having a website is more professional 'looking' than 'just' having a blog.  The public perception is that a blog is camp but a website says you know what you're doing.  It's just a perception thing but those perceptions can make a difference.  A website presence is necessary.  But I didn't want to give up this blog, this is where the interaction happens and I didn't want to lose that.  The website editor had blog pages available but I just linked the blog page to here.  The website is the cottage by the sea while the blog is my backyard cook-out.
All in all, I'm happy with it for now, or for the next year at least!  I can change pictures in seconds so I'll update the sidebar and text ones from time to time. and I plan to add a photo page so everyone can see our kitten who has taken to stealing potato chips.  I'm setting up a sting so you can see her in the act!  That, and her sugar paintings...

The guest book was improvised from elements in the editor.  Technically it's not a real guestbook, whatever that is... but it functions perfectly well the way it is.  Please have a look and sign it!

What do you think about websites and blogs?  Are websites necessary anymore? 

What do you want to see when you visit an author's website?

photo credits not captioned:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Muse Online Writer's Conference


Hi everyone, Here is the info on the Muse Online Writer's Conference. Click the post title for the link.

Every year Lea Schizas coordinates the Muse Online Writer's Conference.  It's free and online.  Donations are accepted.  Also check out the two books on the right sidebar.  Both are excellent and on my bookshelf.

The free registration closes August 15th, which is this Sunday.  After Sunday, there will be $5.00 late fee per person and registration will close completely on September 10th. 

There is something for everyone at the Conference.  There are workshops and pitch sessions with publishers and agents and chats with authors, editors and publishers.  If you don't know what you're doing, pick a few workshops and hang out, ask questions and soak.  If you know what you're doing, I don't need to tell you anything!

Get a head start and register today.  Lea will upload the workshop agends by the end of this month and will begin uploading handouts in September.

Some special tips:  As soon as you register, write down your password and keep it handy.  This will save you a lot of time later.  The front page says that Muse is accepting submissions.  We are, but only for MuseItHot.  Mainstream is closed until October 1st.

Enjoy and hope to see you there!  ....and of course, Happy Writing!

Photos from The Muse Online Writer's Conference website.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Primordial Sun, The Heart of the Amazon

The cover art is in by the amazing Delilah K. Stephans.  Thanks Delilah!

Primordial Sun, The Heart of the Amazon
coming from MuseItUp Publishing
April 2011

Attorney Kylie Watson returns to Brazil to mourn her missionary parents where she's swept into the Amazon's current with vivid nightmares, family secrets, church corruption and international espionage.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

From Papyrus to Plastic

Two years ago I emailed a best-selling friend of mine in Ireland who told me he didn't want to wait two years for a publisher to print his latest book so he decided to make it into an ebook for sale on his website.  I was a little skeptical until he told me he sold 3000 copies in the first six months.  That's impressive! 

Since then Ebooks have taken the Publishing World by storm.  I held out for a short while saying I prefered print books, thinking to myself every time that of course I did, that's all I'd ever known! 

Well, it didn't take long.  I got some free ereading apps downloaded to my pc and before I knew it, I was ordering tons of free ebooks in seconds flat and some others under ten dollars each.  The clincher came when I took out a paperback from the library and became annoyed when I had to turn the page instead of pressing a key!  And worse, I had to push the paperback open because the words got lost in the middle toward the binding, instead of being flat like it is on my ereader... I'm a goner! 

Ereaders are like Mp3's for books.  And you can download many of them for free to your pc or phones.  Pretty nifty!  Amazon Kindle has one for free download, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Adobe Digital are all free ereaders for your pc, laptop, netbook, phones and other gadgets.  Simply go to the website of your favorite bookstore and find the free download. 

And the prices of ebooks are usually under ten dollars, another plus.  I searched for a book that I discovered is not in ebook yet and guess what I did?  Ordered the hardcover,right?  No, I decided to read a bunch of others instead that are in ebook and email the author to find out when it will be in ebook.  Yes, I love this instant gratification thing.

Most ereaders run from $100. to about $150. with the more expensive ones going to approximately $300. and more.  Amazon's Kindle was about $270. but recently came down in price and connectivity to compete with Barnes & Noble's Nook at $150 with WiFi.  The numbers here are a few cents to a few dollars off but you can research it yourself.  One thing you'll want to know is Kindle will only read Kindle books downloaded through Amazon so if the book you want isn't there, you're out of luck.  The Nook supports three efiles, pdb, pdf and epub which is the industry standard.  The Jetbook, Kobo and Sony Ereader support other files as well as epub.  Thank goodness most places will give you a choice of files to download.  There are many ereaders I didn't mention.  Be sure to do some homework before you buy one as there are different features and "feel" to each.  But then why buy one when  you can get it free on your pc?! 

What do you think of ebooks? 

Photo credits: & Nook website